History of Satanism, Demographics, and other irrelevant yet often asked social questions.
Interesting title isn't it? I'd like to start off with the Luciferian's first. Reason is, most people I've met who call themselves Luciferians don't seem to know the history of the religion. Rather strange isn't it? Our first stop takes us to a Christian named Lucifer of Cagliari, who was the Bishop of Calaris. This was in the late fourth century. Lucifer came in at a bad time, during one of the Catholic early schisms. Right at this time, the schism was "east" versus "West" Catholic. He was a defendant of his ideas, but how he defended them, in a very violent and often crude language, managed to get himself expelled. He came back and was into the fray again. This time, instead of being exiled, he realized that he wasn't helping anything and became a hermit with a small sect of followers called the Luciferians. Shortly after he died, the sect was disbanded.
Origenes Adamantius (185 CE - 254 CE), an important Christian scholar of the early Greek Church, and Augustine of Canterbury (d. May 26 604/605 CE), founder of the Christian Church in Southern England, both interpreted the use of the term Lucifer as a reference to the Devil. St. Jerome, a staunch critic of Lucifer Cagliari, was one of the main proponents of the thesis that Lucifer = Satan. (Which probably wasn't coincidental). Lucifer actually appears in the Latin Vulgate (1 Peter's "day star") as a title of Christ, and as a title, (Bishop Lucifer of Antioch). By the third century, Origen had interpreted three scriptures, Heylol in Isaiah as being a reference to Lucifer, a cherub in Ezekiel 28 as being Lucifer, and the two of them as being Satan.
The idea came about that Jesus had a brother named Lucifer. Catholic writer Giovanni Papini quotes Lactantius, a Third Century Christian writer, from his apologetic work, Divinac Institutines 11.9:
"Before creating the world, God produced a spirit like himself replete with the virtues of the Father. Later He made another, in whom the mark of divine origin was erased, because this one was besmirched by the poison of jealousy and turned therefore from good to evil. He was jealous of his older brother who, remaining united with the Father, insured his affection unto himself. This being who from good became bad is called devil by the Greeks."
Papini concludes that, "According to Lactantius, Lucifer would have been nothing less than the brother of the logos, of the word, ie. of the second person of the trinity" (Giovanni Papini, "The Devil", p. 81).
The source of satanic myth is "The Book of Enoch" (probably mid second century BCE). But the book mentions the Son of Man and Samyaza. This was before the term "Christ", but the meaning is the same, for those who aren´t completely blind.
"The author of the Clemintine Homilies espouses a... doctrine of the dual aspect of god, which brings him into close relationship with the early Jewish-Christian Church, where, according to the testimony of Epiphanius, we find the Ebionite notion that God had two sons, an elder one, Satan, and a younger one, Christ. (Epiphanius "Panarium", ed. by Oehler, I, p.267). Michaias, one of the speakers in the dialogue, suggests as much when he remarks that if good and evil were begotten in the same way they must be brothers. (Cleminitine Homilies XX, ch. VII)."
In "The Gods of the Egyptians" by E.A.Wallis Budge, he makes an argument for Horus and Set being brothers in the same sense, as Khoor means "That which is Above" and argues that Set must (and does) mean "That which is Below." A similar motif may be found in the New Testament. Judas didn't betray Jesus without Jesus' power, knowledge, and consent. Jesus even mimics some actions of this by giving bread in vinegar, after which the evil spirit possesses Judas.
Another case is made of this for Barabbas. Barabbas was (probably) a member of the Zealot's of Judaism, arrested for sedition. His name means "Son of the Father", and Origen couldn't understand how this sinner could share the same name of Christ. Another argument from this paradigm is that if Lucifer and Jesus are manifestations of the same force, then they can't kill each other, no matter how diametrically opposed, or how much they hate each other. The only way out of it is to love the enemy, which is what Jesus preached.
Gnostics found that Lucifer, as the light-bringer, has a cognate with Prometheus, who stole the light from the Gods, (wisdom). Ophidian Gnosticism is a form which venerates the snake as being the bringer of light into this World. The snake is the Sun, the Phallus, and the Supreme law-giver. This is best expressed in the Gnostic treatise, The Testimony of Truth, where the author quotes from Genesis:
"It is written in the Law concerning this, when God gave a command to Adam, "From every [tree] you may eat, [but] from the tree which is in the midst of Paradise do not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will surely die." But the serpent was wiser than all the animals that were in Paradise, and he persuaded Eve, saying, "On the day when you eat from the tree which is in the midst of Paradise the eyes of your mind will be opened."
Of course, they don't die, so the Gnostics concluded that God was a liar, or that he was less than perfect. The Gnostic document further goes on to say that:
"And he cursed the serpent, and called him "devil." And he said, "Behold, Adam has become like one of us, knowing evil and good." Then he said, "Let us cast him out of Paradise lest he take from the tree of life and eat and live for ever." But what sort is this God? First [he] maliciously refused Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge. And secondly he said, "Adam, where are you?" God does not have foreknowledge; (otherwise), would he not know from the beginning? Surely he has shown himself to be a malicious grudger."
The Luciferian schism is one expressed by Milton in Paradise Lost. Why would Satan, assumeably an intelligent being, rebel against God? Satan had to know he was doomed to fail. The contention Milton came up with, and the Gnostics as well, was that Lucifer was a good-guy who was going against an evil God. A good idea of what the Gnostics thought is probably expressed with Anatole France, "The Revolt of the Angels".
"God, conquered, will become Satan; Satan, conquering, will become God. May the fates spare me this terrible lot; I love the Hell which formed my genius. I love the Earth where I have done some good, if it be possible to do good in this fearful world where beings live but by rapine."
In the more traditional Gnostic sense, the World is ruled by Sophia, or Wisdom. Sophia was God's mother, a virgin, in whom God was concealed inside since the beginning. Sophia was said to have been born from the female essence, named Sige, or silence. She gave birth herself to the Christ and female Achamoth. Achamoth produced Ildabaoth. Ildabaoth was an evil sort of demiurgan deity, and he created a tree in the garden of the knowledge of Good and Evil, but refused access to this tree to humans. Achamoth sent her spirit as Ophis, the serpent, to teach humans how to destroy Jehovah/Ildabaoth. This serpent in Gnostic traditions was either Achamoth, Jesus, or in some cases, Lucifer. Sophia sends her son Jesus to enter as the form of a man, though a spirit in reality, and after he accomplishes his mission, he marries Sophia in heaven.
Applying this to a Satanic model, before we had the Nag Hammadi Library and other Gnostic/Manichaean writings, people who studied Gnosticism relied upon the words of Christian heterodoxies, typically Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and Augustine. Epiphanius describes Gnostic ritual in pornographic terms that would have similarly conveyed the participants' utter inhumanity to a late antique reader:
"Their very liturgy they defile with the shame of promiscuity, consuming and contaminating themselves with human and unclean flesh.... ... [At their feasts:] They set out an abundance of meat and wine, even if they are poor. Having made their banquet from this and so to speak filled their veins to satiety, they proceed to arouse themselves. The man, moving away from the woman, says to his woman, "Arise, hold the love feast with your brother."
And the pitiful pair, having made love ... then proceed to hold up their blasphemy to heaven, the woman and the man taking the secretion from the male into their own hands and standing looking up to heaven. They hold in their hands the impurity and pray.... And then they consume it, partaking of their shamefulness, and they say, "This is the body of Christ and this is the Pasch for which our bodies suffer and are forced to confess the passion of Christ." They do the same with what is of the woman, when she has the flow of blood: collecting the monthly blood of impurity from her, they take it and consume it together in the same way.
Although they have sex with each other, they forbid the begetting of children. They are eager for the act of corruption not in order to engender children, but for the pleasure ... But if ... the woman becomes pregnant, then listen to something even more dreadful which they dare to do. Extracting the fetus at whatever time they choose to do the operation, they take the aborted infant and pound it up in a mortar with a pestle, and, mixing in honey and pepper and some other spices and sweet oils so as not to become nauseous, all the members of that herd of swine and dogs gather together and each partakes with his finger of the crushed up child...
They dare to do other dreadful things as well. When they fall into a frenzy among themselves, they soil their hands with the shame of their secretion, and rising, with defiled hands pray stark naked."
(The source for that is Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 26.3.3-5.7, trans. Philip R. Amidon, in The "Panarion" of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis: Selected Passages (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 76-77.)
Of course, the same thing was said of regular Christians as well. A historian who ranges from objective to having the objectivity of an idiolectal juvenile in a matter of seconds, Jeffrey Burton Russell, comments that though believes the above passage, (despite what we know about historiography and from the Nag Hammudi library), he also acknowledges that the above claims were repeated against any deviant sect. For convienancy, I shall highlight that. I would say my methodology is pretty similar to Cohn's, if there's reason to disbelieve a particular claim against a particular group, then there is sufficient reason to disbelieve that same claim leveled against different groups. Against the Christians, (although this is a fictional character in the narrative), as reported in Octavius, Christian writer Minucius Felix (c. 250 CE) writes that Christians were accused of the following:
'Chapter IX.-Argument: the Religion of the Christians is Foolish, Inasmuch as They Worship a Crucified Man, and Even the Instrument Itself of His Punishment. They are Said to Worship the Head of an Ass, and Even the Nature of Their Father. They are Initiated by the Slaughter and the Blood of an Infant, and in Shameless Darkness They are All Mixed Up in an Uncertain Medley.
And now, as wickeder things advance more fruitfully, and abandoned manners creep on day by day, those abominable shrines of an impious assembly are maturing themselves throughout the whole world. Assuredly this confederacy ought to be rooted out and execrated. They know one another by secret marks and insignia, and they love one another almost before they know one another. Everywhere also there is mingled among them a certain religion of lust, and they call one another promiscuously brothers and sisters, that even a not unusual debauchery may by the intervention of that sacred name become incestuous: it is thus that their vain and senseless superstition glories in crimes. Nor, concerning these things, would intelligent report speak of things so great and various, and requiring to be prefaced by an apology, unless truth were at the bottom of it. I hear that they adore the head of an ass, that basest of creatures, consecrated by I know not what silly persuasion,-a worthy and appropriate religion for such manners. Some say that they worship the virilia of their pontiff and priest, and adore the nature, as it were, of their common parent. I know not whether these things are false; certainly suspicion is applicable to secret and nocturnal rites; and he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men, that they may worship what they deserve. Now the story about the initiation of young novices is as much to be detested as it is well known. An infant covered over with meal, that it may deceive the unwary, is placed before him who is to be stained with their rites: this infant is slain by the young pupil, who has been urged on as if to harmless blows on the surface of the meal, with dark and secret wounds. Thirstily-O horror!-they lick up its blood; eagerly they divide its limbs. By this victim they are pledged together; with this consciousness of wickedness they are covenanted to mutual silence. Such sacred rites as these are more foul than any sacrileges. And of their banqueting it is well known all men speak of it everywhere; even the speech of our Cirtensian testifies to it. On a solemn day they assemble at the feast, with all their children, sisters, mothers, people of every sex and of every age. There, after much feasting, when the fellowship has grown warm, and the fervour of incestuous lust has grown hot with drunkenness, a dog that has been tied to the chandelier is provoked, by throwing a small piece of offal beyond the length of a line by which he is bound, to rush and spring; and thus the conscious light being overturned and extinguished in the shameless darkness, the connections of abominable lust involve them in the uncertainty of fate. Although not all in fact, yet in consciousness all are alike incestuous, since by the desire of all of them everything is sought for which can happen in the act of each individual.'
What a heresiologist tends to find in studying any deviant sect is behavior that makes the other group look bad. From their own rationalistic standpoint, anyone who is not them is bad, and they follow the James Frazer method of "If I were a horse" meaning that "If I were the ultimate embodiement of evil who was worshipping the ultimate embodiement of evil, exactly what would I be doing to show that I was the ultimate embodiement of evil?" For example, during the Satanic panic, Protestants portrayed Satanic Mythical Abuse as being a Catholic creation, see Philip Jenkins and Daniel Maier-Katkin, "Occult Survivors: The Making of a Myth," in Richardson et al., eds., pp. 129-30. We will continue to see more of that as this study pans out.
The light that went out...
Now, you have noted that there was a sect called Luciferians which died out very quickly. Let's note something here very quickly. The Luciferians at the end of the Middle Ages were not even remotely the same as the ones of the 4th century. The point in me telling you that is because if two things claim the same name they are not automatically the same thing! Let's get some history first.
One of the first groups accused by the Church of worshipping Satan in the traditionally accepted way were the Paulicians. No one really knows where they came from, or even where their name is derived from, (Edward Gibbon believes it is from Disciples of St. Paul, and the group did hold high esteem with the teachings of Paul, but there are reasons to believe it may not have been so simple). Regardless, they had some strange practices for their days. They rejected any teachings of Peter, on the basis that he denied Jesus. They believed in Jesus, but held the Manichaeism view that one God ruled the Earth, the other ruled the heaven, and only the heavenly God should be adored. Jesus was not an incarnate, but rather, an angel. In most ways, they can be summarized as "Protestants before Protestantism" (Adeney, "The Greek and Eastern Churches", p. 219).
They were a group of Armenians who lived in the Southeastern part of the Empire, out of the direct control of the Armenian Church. At a synod in 719, John of Ojun, who headed the church in that area, declared that Paulicians were "sons of Satan." He asserted that they gathered at night in order to "commit incest with their own mothers" as well as put infant blood in a Eucharist-like mixture. Also, he said that they paid homage to Satan while prostrating themselves and foaming at the mouth. Historical documents prove that none of this is true, at best, they were just a group of simple-minded people, but remember these ideas, they'll come into play later.
Following this, it appears that the papacy was, (and ironically still is), targeted as the main source for being Satanists and for being the possible anti-Christ. Bernard McGuinn, "Angel Pope and Papal Anti-Christ", Church History 47, dates the first instance of this to the Synod of Reims, (991 CE). In his book "Visions of the End: Apocolyptic Traditions in the Middle Ages", he says that this was used as a critique of the papacy by its detractors.
Following them we come into contact with a group known as the Cathars, (1150-1230). They were survivers of Manichæans apparently, holding most of the same views. (Cathars/Cathari is from the Greek katharos, meaing "pure", literally they are "puritans"). They believed that humans should never have sex, under any circumstances, and that suicide, or the Endura, is not only lawful but commendable. They rejected the Old Testament, thought that John the Baptist was a high ranking demon, and that Mary Magdelene was the concubine of Jesus.
It was believed that they were enslaved by the Devil and that nothing that they did could possibly hurt them. In addition to encouraging vice in this way, Cathars also denounced the Church and their Baptism at the time of initiation. (The higher Cathars would abstain from any vice, however, creating an interesting dichotomy). It's doubtful if they actually worshipped Satan, but the story held on that they were incestuous and cannibals. (Same old, same old.) These Luciferians believed that Lucifer and his host of demons had been unfairly expelled from heaven. Some day, they claimed, he would return and overthrow the Christian God at which time he would reign forever. Accordingly, it was said that they did everything they could to offend God, since their reward would be everlasting paradise with Lucifer. Truth is though, that in Raynaldus, we find out that they were evil because they could fly on wings to heaven if only they would say a Pater noster, with a deacon's hands on them, no matter what they had done, they'd go to heaven.
The Cathar's further believed that Lucifer was on the same level as Jesus, who was the symbol of the Word, who came to Earth to teach man how to escape from the Evil God and return to the Kingdom of Heaven. Lucifer was the older brother of Jesus, who had rebelled against the father, and Lucifer was equally powerful and co-eternal with his brother.
However, the Cathar's really weren't so bad as a sub-sect of them, known as the "Albigenses". These are what seem to be the primary influence of Luciferianism into the Middle Ages. The albigenesis held the dualistic viewpoint, there was a good God, and a bad God. Bad God was the same one from the Old Testament, the Good God sent his Son onto Earth. However, Jesus couldn't assume the form of a human being, because human flesh was weak. Because of this, Jesus couldn't assume full human-form, and came in through the ear of Mary.
In this cult, sex was okay so long as it was not marital sex. A man or woman could leave the spouse freely, and their main idea was to punish the human body for its sinful nature. As such, they would only eat fish, and would generally starve themselves. The most honorable means of death for them was to starve themselves to death. They hated anything to do with the cyclic system of life, a woman who was pregnant was described as having a devil inside of her. They even hated marriage in the animal kingdom, which is why they liked fish so much. (Fish don't raise their eggs.) Eventually, such psychological terror lead the Albigenses to start having revolts, while the people argued over what amounts of marriage were permissable. One view gaining favor was that if a woman was a virgin it was okay. Others disagreed. Eventually, the common folk started to come after them, and they persuaded the Pope, after having his Papal legate murdered by the Albigenses, to call it a crusade.
Luciferians appear to have entered the scene at the late 12th/early 13th century. Conrad of Marburg reports that this sect was growing rapidly. According to him, they would:
". ... blaspheme against the Lord of Heaven, and in their madness say that the Lord has done evil in casting Lucifer into the bottomless pit ... These ... people believe in Lucifer and claim that he ... will ultimately return to glory when the Lord has fallen from power. Through him and with him they hope to achieve eternal happiness. They confess that they do not believe that one should do God's will but rather what displeases him".
Psellus, one of the leading Greek orthodox writers of the tenth century, wrote a book "On the Operations of the Devils," in which he included almost as many fables as in his lives of the martyrs. The heretics, he says, used to meet at night by candle light and invoke the devils. When these appeared in the shape of animals, the lights were extinguished and the worshippers indulged in an orgy of sexuality with the devils and with each other. Pope Gregory IX , in 1233, Gregory wrote to the bishops of Germany, urging them to seek out and persecute the heretics. The letter (given in the Latin in the "Annales" of Ravnaldus, year 1233, p. 89) is one of those weird compositions which infidels can take delight in, but for our purpose it is for demonstrating something else.
The Pope says that amongst these heretics "when a neophyte is received there appears to him a kind of frog," though some say it is a toad. Some kiss it shamelessly on the buttocks, others on the mouth, drawing the tongue and spittle of the animal into their mouths. Sometimes this toad is "as big as a goose or a duck." The neophyte next encounters a "man of extraordinary paleness, with deep black eyes, and so thin that his skin seems to be stretched over his bones." The neophyte kisses him and finds that he is "as cold as ice." The worshipers then sit to table, and a large black cat comes out of a statue, and all of them in the order of their dignity, kiss its buttocks. After a time the lights are extinguished and there is the usual orgy of sexual intercourse. If, the Pope gravely explains, there are more men than women, or women than men, they resort to sodomy. The candles are relit, and they sit again at table, when from a dark corner of the room comes a man "shining like the sun from the loins upward, but rough as a cat below." To this devil the neophyte is presented, and the faithful also give consecrated hosts which they have stolen from the churches where they have communicated.
In questioning whether or not the Luciferians actually commited the acts they said they did, (they confessed without torture), it becomes readily apparent that their "confessions" are nothing more than a parody of the Pope's work.
Pope Eugenius IV stated, "Sometimes they make a reversal of the Holy Cross, upon which our Saviour hanged for us". Here Eugenius IV associated inverted crosses with the devil-worshippers, a concept of sacrilegious inversion is documented by Stuart Clark in his work "Thinking with Demons". Archaeologists have found evidence that this inversion is not simply a literary tradition; an inverted cross surmounted by a demon's head has been found in Iceland, and a magical scroll in the form of a Christian prayer written backwards has been unearthed in Russia.
On these grounds, Buckland, (Complete book of witchcraft, p. 6), says:
"The early Church was extremely harsh on its people. It not only governed the peasants' way of worship but also their ways of life and love . . . . It is no wonder that . . . such harshness led to a rebellion--albeit a clandestine one. The people . . . decided to pray in the opposite direction instead. So Satanism came into being. A parody of Christianity; a mockery of it."
Buckland should also have added that the Church controlled almost all of the people's food. Another would be the fact that people believed that the Mass had sacred powers, and by changing it, it could grant them powers. One such form of the Black Mass is the Mass of St. Secaire, said to have originated in Medieval Gascony, the purpose being to curse an enemy to death by a slow, wasting illness. Another I've heard of is Medici Mass.
One possible influence onto Luciferianism was a mystic named Meister Eckhart. He believed that Lucifer was kicked out of heaven for possessing too great an intellect, but he didn't have the Gnostic demiurgan idea of the World. He thought of God in an inner universal sense of the word. He writes:
"God gives birth to the Son as you, as me, as each one of us... as many gods in God."
However, what we know about these groups is remaining scant, and most of it seems to have yielded in modern days to being slander rather than documented facts. On these grounds, "Man, Myth and Magic" ed. by R. Cavendish and B. Innes, states:
"Perhaps some of the Cathars did reach the conclusion that if the God of Catholics was really the Devil, then perhaps the Devil of the Catholics was the true God. Certainly, the Church maintained that they did. In the following centuries the same accusation was made against other heretical groups, including the Waldensians, the Luciferans in the 13th century, and the Knights Templar in the 14th.... A pattern of 'Satanist' belief and behaviour was built up, whether or not any real Satanism was involved, its essential ingredients being worship of the Devil and the reversal of Christian values. A Satanist was one who renounced Christ and his Church, and blasphemously maltreated its sacred objects, symbols and ceremonies; who adored the Devil in the form of a man or a goat or some other animal; who sang and danced in the Devil's honour and obscenely kissed his person; and who revelled in child-slaughter and cannibalism, indiscriminate sexual orgies, perversion, homosexuality and every species of crime and abomination. This same pattern of accusations was brought against the witches."
In the Jewish realm, Lucifer's name was HYLL, or Heylol with the vowels supplied, an old God from the Canaanite pantheon. The Jewish Shaharit, (Morning Service), was once dedicated to him. He also had a brother named Shalom, the equivalent to the Greek Phosphor and Hesper duo, one representing the morning star, one the night star. Lucifer/Heylol also had a son named Shaher. One Canaanite manuscript reads:
"How hast thou fallen from heaven Helel's son Shaher! Thou didst say in thy heart, I will ascend above heaven, above the circumpolar stars, I will raise my throne, I will dwell on the Mount of the Council in the back of the North, I will mount it on the back of a cloud, I will be like unto Elyon."
If this sounds familiar, the only reference in the Old Testament to Lucifer is in Isaiah. It's almost exactly like this, but it's revamped to fit a Jewish ideological standpoint, and to warn Nebuchadnezzar of his wicked ways. The people who wrote Isaiah/Psalms/Proverbs were fond of using literary motifs found in Canaanite writings. The Canaanite motif itself, far from being original, wasn't.
In one Babylonian hymn the sun-god is described thus: "Desire for rulership seizes his heart." And then he is represented as saying, "I will take the tablets of the gods and decree the decisions. I will establish my throne, I will proclaim laws, I will give orders to all the Igigi (spirits)." Given enough revamping, the phrase sounds just right.
I suppose that this is as good a place as any to reflect upon the story of the rebellion of the angels, at least as a working literary theme. The first person as far as I can determine to put this story into action was Milton, in a work which even Voltaire, the staunch critic, was forced to admire. However, the story as Milton tells it, is inconsistent. Lucifer and his fellow angels were, ``intellectual beings'' (II, 147). For any such creature to rebel against a power they knew was omnipotent would place them as being extraordinarily dumb creatures. The only other tangible solution is that they were extremely adroit creatures, which had found out God was not omnipotent and were planning to expose his flaw.
Another theory is that the rebel angels were simply acting out of defiance and spite, knowing their cause to be hopeless. This is not how Milton paints the picture, but there is a certain twang of perspicuous truth to that. (The Zoroastrian solution to the paradox was to make the opposing powers of good and evil, Ahura-Mazda and Ahriman, equally powerful and equally eternal. While admirably symmetric and logical, there have been strangely few takers for this notion. The Christian solution creates the eternal "problem of evil". )
In a general term, the later speakers on the category of Angels and Demons have opted to take up the central theme that God is less than omnipotent, and overtly hostile. The angels rebellion was a somewhat rational gamble, which failed miserably. This is where we find the whole problem of theodicy being insoluble within the bounds of Christianity; or indeed any religion which believes in a God that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. There simply is no rational answer. If we say that God kicked the angels out knowing they were going to sin, (after all, he made them), then it means God is a sadist who enjoys torturing things. If we say God didn't know, then he is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. At some point, it must be concurred that God (or at least the Christian versions) is either a sadist, or is not omnipotent.
The obvious flaw in the theorem that Demons are fallen angels lies in Etymology. The word "Angel" (Hebrew, malakh), is derived from angiras (Sanskrit), a divine spirit; and from the Persian angaros, a courier; also the Greek word angelos, meaning messenger. In Arabic, the word is malak (a Jewish loan word).
In popular usage, an angel denotes a supernatural being intermediate between God and man (the Greek "daimon" being a closer approximation to our notion of an angel than angelos). In early Christian and pre-Christian days, the term angel and daimon (or demon as we all now know) were interchangeable, as in the writings of Paul and John. The Hebrews drew their idea of angels from the Persians and from the Babylonians during captivity. The two named angels in the Old Testament, Michael and Gabriel, were in fact lifted from Babylonian mythology. The third named angel, Raphael, appears in the apocryphal Book of Tobit. "This whole doctrine concerning angels" (says Sales in his edition of "The Koran, Preliminary Discourse," page 51) "Mohammed and his disciples borrowed from the Jews, who borrowed the names and offices of these beings from the Persians."
While Enoch, in his writings dating back to far before Christian times, names many angels (and demons), these were ignored in New Testament gospels, although they began to appear in contemporaneous extracanonical works. They had a vogue in Jewish Gnostic, mystic, and cabalistic tracts. Angelology came into full flower in the 11th-13th centuries when the names of literally thousands upon thousands of angels appeared, many of them created through the juggling of letters of the Hebrew alphabet, or by the simple device of adding the suffix "el" to any word which lent itself to such manipulation.
An angel, though immaterial, that is, bodiless, is usually depicted as having a body or inhabiting a body, pro tem, and as winged and clothed. If an angel is in the service of the devil, he is a fallen angel or demon. To Philo, in his "On Dreams," angels were incorporeal intelligences. He held that the rabbis, on the contrary, thought of angels as material beings. In Roman Catholic theology, angels were created in the earliest days of creation, or even before creation, tota simul, that is, at one and the same time. In Jewish tradition, angels are "new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23) and continue to be formed with every breath God takes (Hagiga 14a).
In the pseudo-Dionysian scheme with its 9 heavenly choirs, angels are part of an order rank, lowest in the scale of hierarchy, while the seraphim ranking highest. The archangels show up 8th in the sequence, despite the fact that the greatest angels are often referred to as archangels. Strictly speaking, when one refers to the named angels in the bible, it is correct to say there are only 2 or 3. But the following may be considered: Abaddon/Apollyon, mentioned in Revelation as the "angel of the bottomless pit." Wormwood, referred to as a star (Revelation 8:11), but to be understood as an angel. If there is Satan, who in the Old Testament is a great angel, one of the most glorious, certainly not evil and with no hint of his having fallen. He goes by his title of adversary (ha satan). It is only in Christian and post-Biblical Jewish writings that ha-satan of the Old Testament is turned into an evil spirit. The power of these messengers is not as intense as extended in Christian theology, in Jewish theology pre-Persia, they barely even have a role, and no names.
A condensced account of the history of Satanism:
(For better accounts, read "The Second Coming" and "Satan Wants you" by Arthur Lyons, though mildly sensational, a pretty good read.)
Having read an account of the early portion of Satanism's history, (or non-history), you should start seeing a pattern. A new group comes, the old groups say that it practices incest, eats babies, and has orgies. Whether it be Dionysus, Christianity, or Luciferian beliefs, that's the normal way it works. As detailed in some on the history of the Devil, the Christians only had one viewpoint. Either you worshipped God, or you worshipped Satan. There were no exceptions to this.
In order to help the people find those practicing for Satan, two Dominican priests, Kramer and Sprenger wrote a book circa 1486, which was called "The Malleus Maleficarum" (The Witches Hammer). This book became one of the literary classics used as a reference on witch-hunting. According to them, Satanists are fairly easy to find, because:
"(they) Are mostly women because they are more impressionable, more perfidious, more carnal, more vengeful, and (intellectually) more like children than are men.God, being male, has mostly preserved men from heresy. These witches can kill, bewitch and induce plagues in animals; stop cows from giving milk; cause impotence, sterility, abortions and miscarriages; ride at night on broomsticks to sexual orgies; drink the blood of unbaptised infants and devour them, or convert them into soup, or bake them in an oven; their bones are made into ritual instruments; offer their children to demons; kill or place curses on people by simply looking at them, saying a phrase, causing lightning to strike them, by blowing in their face, pushing pins into a wax doll made in the image of the victim, etc; beat, break, stab or step on a crucifix whenever they can."
It's considered reasonable that there is truth in the curses and the breaking of religious iconography, although admittedly the evidence is somewhat scant. (For instance, an upside down cross was the "Cross of Thomas", who was supposed to have been martyred upside down, it's doubtful if the Catholic authorities would have seen it as unpious.) In 1580, at the height of his career, Jean Bodin wrote a major study of demons and witches entitled De La Démonamie des Sorciers, which translates as On the Demonic Madness of Witches. This book was another classic influence on late ideas on demonology and witches.
A verifiable cottage-cheese industry had been formed, and from the pens of literally dozens of authors more and more books were manufactured about the evils' of Satanists everywhere. The next famous book was Guazzo's "Compendium Maleficarum," which was written about 1620. He described how Satan worshipers do many things, including:
"Ride through the air on the back of a goat or a staff, anoint themselves with magical oil and fly on their own, annoint themselves with a cream or make a certain sign, and immediately vanish; appear to change shape from human to animal and back; can change people and animals from male to female and back; swear homage and obedience to Satan, and had their bodies branded with his mark; rejoice, dance, eat and drink in the presence of Satan who appears at these celebrations in the form of a hideous and deformed black goat; suffocated, pierced and killed their own infants, cut off their extremities and cooked their trunks."
The Inquisitors would torture their suspects, meaning that we would get a confession out of them, as most would when being tortured. Near the end of the "Burning Times", an additional concept was added to the ideas of Satanists, that being the "Black Mass". Prior to this point, the forerunner to the black mass was a concept that the Luciferians had an orgy which involved kissing a cat's ass and other weird, surrealistic elements. The Black Mass was a complete parody of the Catholic Mass. Urine or dirty water were substituted for wine; moldy bread or turnips were substituted for the host. The Mass was said in the local language (opposite to the Church's use of Latin). Texts were read backwards. The cross would be spat upon and broken. Infants would be sacrificed. This was an elaboration of an older idea, which was Maleficia. Initiations were to be held at "sabbaths," orgiastic gatherings for morally subversive activities, which witches flew too.
For a more rationalistic reason why women were singled out, we've seen at the beginning that infantcide, child cannibalism, and sexual rites were considered the norm of these events. Having children is an ability that only exists to women, and it is arguably reasonable to conclude that the early Christians must have thought this connection was legitimate enough to warrant them as being the prime messangers and believers of Satan, as only they had children and Satan seems to have a fixation upon children in Medieval literature and lore.
What this caused was a counter-culture spin-off. Ironically, prior to the advent of books which described Satanism, our evidence of Luciferian behaviours hardly molds them into the image being painted. One famous neo-pagan commentator says that the Luciferian drama's are believable because orgasm rituals were known throughout the old World. Orgasm rituals had fallen out of vogue by the time Muhammad came onto the scene, and between Islam and Christianity, there was nowhere to be found any cults of the old. Another reason is that a monk named Epiphanius allegedly witnessed orgiastic rituals among a Gnostic group that he called the Phibionites. Since even marital sex was frowned upon, extra-marrital sex, and an orgy, were the most opprobrious thing that people could think about.
Spence (An encyclopedia of occultism, p. 123), argues that pure Satanists have been historically rare, but suggests that there is more known about the cult of Lucifer. Anyway, Guazzo helped bring about some of the first known Satanic groups, where we find the Catholic Church condemning priests. They were apparently drawing magickal powers from the Orthodox Mass, and using it for evil purposes. We also find that the "Grimoire of Pope Honorious", a magical textbook from the 17th century is now in place, and it gives instructions for saying masses to conjour demons. It's important to note that all mystical texts from this period are carefully constructed so as to appear from Christian saints or Jewish sages. (E.g. the Enochian keys of Kelly, the Clavicule of Solomon, and so forth.)
In the 14th century, John Wycliff accused four mendicant orders, the Carmelites, Augustinians, Jacobites or Dominicans, and Minorites or Franciscans to be the "sons of Satan".
In an interesting show of syncretism, other parts of the 17th century were placed by Satanic activities where Christians would engage in magickal/sexual rituals, meant for the black mass. While any evidence of this is mostly negative, the rumors abounded in a multitude of places. Supposedly, they were headed by defrocked or unscrupulous priests of the Catholic Church. The most notorious of these escapades took place in France during the reign of Louis XIV, engineered by the kings mistress, Madame de Montespan, and led by an occultist named Catherine La Voisin and a 67 year old libertine priest, the Abbé Guiborg. Abbe Guiborg was executed.
According to "A Treasury of Witchcraft: A Sourcebook of the Magic Arts", by Harry Wedeck, (see pp. 203-207) under Madame De Montespan:
"A mistress of Louis XIV of France. In order to retain the king's dying love, she practiced occult and Satanic rites, participating in an obscene Amatory Mass, in the concoction of philtres, (love potions) and, according to historical chronicles, in child sacrifice as well. Among her accomplices were a certain Abbe Guibourg, Lesage, an alchemist, and Catherine La Voisyn, a notorious witch."
Going to the 2001 ed. of the Columbia Encyclopedia under "Poison Affair":
"in French history, scandal implicating a number of prominent persons at the court of King Louis XIV. It began with the trial of Marie Madeleine dAubray, marquise de Brinvilliers (c.163076). She conspired with her lover, Godin de Sainte-Croix, an army captain, to poison her father and two brothers in order to secure the family fortune and to end interference in her adulterous relationship. Her husband escaped the same fate by his complaisance. An investigation was made, and the marquise fled abroad, but in 1676 she was arrested at Liège. The affair greatly worked on the popular imagination, and there were rumors that she had tried out her poisons on hospital patients. She was beheaded and then burned. The Brinvilliers trial attracted attention to other mysterious deaths. Parisian society had been seized by a fad for spiritualist séances, fortune-telling, and the use of love potions. Some of the quack practitioners undoubtedly also sold poison (called inheritance powders at the time); after their arrest they furnished the police with lists of their clients, who often were guilty merely of having their palms read or of buying an aphrodisiac, and accused them of complicity in their crimes. The most celebrated case was that of La Voisin, a midwife and fortune-teller whose real name was Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin and whose clientele included the marquise de Montespan, Olympe Mancini (niece of Cardinal Mazarin and mother of Prince Eugene of Savoy), her sister Marie Anne Mancini, and Marshal Luxembourg (duke and peer of France and one of the military heroes of the time). No formal charges were made against any of these, and there is no evidence that they were seriously implicated, yet a permanent stain was left on their names. La Voisin was burned as a poisoner and a sorceress in 1680. A special court, the chambre ardente [burning court], was instituted to judge cases of poisoning and witchcraft, and the poison epidemic came to an end in France. The affair was symptomatic of the witchcraft trials of the period throughout Europe and in New England; however, the judicial investigation was conducted generally with far more regularity and far less hysteria than elsewhere."
A 1911 Encyclopedia has under La Voisyn:
"French sorceress, whose maiden name was Catherine Deshayes, was one of the chief personages in the famous affaire des poisons, which disgraced the reign of Louis XIV. Her husband, Monvoisin, was an unsuccessful jeweller, and she practised chiromancy and face-reading to retrieve their fortunes. She gradually added the practice of witchcraft, in which she had the help of a renegade priest, Etiennc Guibourg, whose part was the celebration of the black mass, an abominable parody in which the host was compounded of the blood of a little child mixed with horrible ingredients. She practised medicine, especially midwifery, procured abortion and provided love powders and poisons. Her chief accomplice was one of her lovers, the magician Lesage, whose real name was Adam Curet. The great ladies of Paris flocked to La Voisin, who accumulated enormous wealth. Among her clients were Olympe Mancini, comtesse de Soissons, who sought the death of the kings mistress, Louise de la Vallière; Madame de Montespan, Madame de Gramont (la belle Hamilton) and others. The bones of toads, the teeth of moles, cantharides, iron filings, human blood and human dust were among the ingredients of the love powders concocted by La Voisin. Her knowledge of poisons was not apparently so thorough as that of less well-known sorcerers, or it would be difficult to account for La Vallières immunity. The art of poisoning had become a regular science. The death of Henrietta, duchess of Orleans, was attributed, falsely it is true, to poison, and the crimes of Marie Madeleine de Brinvilliers (executed in 1676) and her accomplices were still fresh in the public mind. In April, a commission appointed to inquire into the subject and to prosecute the offenders met for the first time. Its proceedings, including some suppressed in the official records, are preserved in the notes of one of the official rapporteurs, Gabriel Nicolas de Ia Reynie."
Finally, according to "The Geography of Witchcraft" by Montague Summers:
"The abbe Guibourg, the illegitimate son of Henri de Montmorency, was a man of some sixty years, who is described as tall and heavy-limbed with a malign and sensual face. It was he who celebrated innumerable Satanic masses at the instance of Madame de Montespan in order to secure her supreme power and eternal fidelity on the part of the King Louis XIV of France. A long black velvet pall was spread over the altar, and upon this the royal mistress laid herself in a state of perfect nudity. Six black candles were lit, the celebrant robed himself in a chasuble embroidered with esoteric characters wrought in silver, the gold paten and chalice were placed upon the naked belly of the living altar to whose warm flesh the priest pressed his lips each time the missal directed him to kiss the place of sacrifice, uel extra uel intra corporale. All was silent save for the low monotonous murmur of the blasphemous liturgy. The Host was consecrated, and then the Precious Blood. An assistant crept forward bearing an infant in her arms. The child was held over the altar, a sharp gash across the neck, a stifled cry, and warm drops fell into the chalice and streamed upon the white figure beneath. The corpse was handed to la Voisin, who flung it callously into an oven fashioned for that purpose which glowed white-hot in its fierceness. It was proved that a regular traffic hadbeen carried on for years with beggar- women and the lowest prostitutes, who sold their children for this purpose. At her trial la Voisin confessed that no less than two thousand five hundred babies had been disposed of in this manner, for the black mass was continually being celebrated, not only by Guibourg but by other priests. Many ladies of the court had served as an altar, whilst not infrequently some bulker from the street was called in to fill that function. Madame de Montespan was generally attended on these occasions by her confidante, Madame de Ia Desoeillets. Guibourg celebrated three masses in this way upon the naked body of Madame de Montespan. At the first the following conjuration was used: "Astaroth, Asmodeus, princes of friendship and love, I invoke you to accept the sacrifice, this child that I offer you, for the things I ask of you. They are that the friendship and love of the King and the Dauphin may be assured to me, that I may be honoured by all the princes and princesses of the Court, that the King deny me nothing I ask whether it be for my relatives or for any of my household."
According to the chroniclers report, the mistress of Louis XIV, the Marquise de Montespan, feared he was becoming attracted to another woman. She hired La Voisyn, who was reported to be a witch, to help win him back. She and Abbe Guiborg were reported to have said three black masses to invoke the powers of Satan, and his demons of lust and deceit. Then they slit the throats of little children, and the blood was used to flour communional host. When the affair broke out, (the poisoning affair mentioned above, not the black mass), Louis arrested 246 men and women and brought the to trial. Most of the nobility arrested got off with jail terms and exile in the countryside, while 36 of the commoners were executed.
Of the credibility of this, H.T.F. Rhodes writes in "The Satanic Mass" that there does not exist a single document describing the rites and ceremonies of a Black Mass at first hand. It seems to be nothing more than a continuation of the same general reoccuring theme that we have seen thus far. Another source for them is Marquis De Sade, in particular, the novel Juliette (1797), parts four and five, which describe a meeting between the heroine, Juliette, and Pope Pius VI in the Vatican.
In "Inquiry into Satanism: Satanists and anti-Satanists from the 17th Century to our Day" by Massimo Introvigne, we find that: the first black masses, including various atrocities such as have been associated with it ever after, are historically attested to at the court of Louis XIV in the 1670's. During much of what Introvigne calls its "classical" period (1821-1952), satanism seems to have remained chiefly a French affair dominated less by real satanists than by popular rumors, literary mystifications, and widely dispersed conspiracy theories about their supposed activities. In later chapters, Introvigne demonstrates again and again the dependence of twentieth-century anti-satanist mythology on the models provided by the literature of this "classical period". In a play Karl Marx wrote, he has a black mass where a priest burns a Bible.
However, "The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal" ed. by Gordon Stein, denies that any real Satanic activity ever took place. It starts off by saying that you cannot interpret magic as a belief system, thus, saying that people practiced magic doesn't mean they de facto believed something. It then says that:
Medieval -- and many modern -- Europeans believed in and routinely practiced magic, and sometimes sorcery; but there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any medieval "witch cult" as attested by Margaret Murray (1921); see Norman Cohn (1975) for a thorough refutation of Murray's arguments. It should also be emphasized that whereas some people of high or favored position did, or were rumored to, dabble in "occult" activities -- Gilles de Rais (b. 1404, executed 1440), Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486-1535...), John Dee (1527-1608), and Edward Kelley (1555-1595) are among the most frequently cited -- so risky was any such practice and so severe the punishment, it is highly unlikely that any organized "satanic" activity actually took place in medieval Europe.
Dr. Michael Aquino in "Church of Satan", p. 11, argues for much the same viewpoint:
"Yet so strong was the grip of Christianity in medieval Europe, and so savage its persecution of even the mildest heresy, that anything like formalized Satanism was quite unthinkable."
Those who side with these include eminnant historians who have studied original documents of the era, and have concluded that there was no such thing as a Satanic religious cult, at any time period of the Middle Ages. (Cohn, Europe's Inner Demons", Levack, "The Witch-hunt in Early Modern Europe", Moore, "The Formation of a Persecuting Society").
After the original time period, the 18th century saw a fading of Satanic activity. There was a club in England known as the "Hellfire club", which was found by Sir Francis Dashwood, often described as having been Satanic himself. However, it wasn't anything more than a gentlemen's club, where men would get drunk, get laid, and apparently religious eroticism was an often request. It was said they practiced evil rites, but the evidence is doubtful. Other clubs like this popped up in the brimstone boys and blue blazers of Ireland. OGrady writes, There have been many lurid stories about the Hell-Fire Club and its Black Masses, and several other similar societies are known to have sprung up in imitation of it. But there is little accurate information as to what actually went on at any of these meetings. (Joan OGrady, The Prince of Darkness, p. 91). Sir Francis Dashwood (1708-1781) founded The Order of the Friars of St Francis of Wycombe. Though there is relatively little known about the Order, (1), it appears that some of what they did parodied the Christian religion. This is shown in part by Dashwoods name for his order, inasmuch as it parodies the Saint Francis. Their meeting place was an Elizabethan manor house at Medmenham by the Thames, which served as their mock abbey. Do what thou wilt, was carved above the doorway of the Orders meeting place. (Geoffrey Ashe, "The Hell-Fire Clubs: A History of Anti-Morality" p. 126-132, and Gareth J. Medway, Lure of the Sinister: The Unnatural History of Satanism, p. 81).
(1: Eric Towers' "Dashwood: The Man and the Myth" is the most definitive study on the HellFire club. Towers shows strong evidence that what we know of the HellFire Club indicates that it was a revival of Dionysian and Apollo worship, and had little to do with Satanism proper. Daniel Mannix's "The Hell-Fire Club" was a sensationalist report of what happened, written in 1959, and is probably the current source of the misconceptions.)
In the 19th century, another interesting thing happened with Satanism. A form of Satanism arose which we call "Literary Satanism". It wasn't really so much a form of Satanism as it was a genre' of literature. Though there were, of course, revivals of the evil thoughts of Satanism, J.K. Huysman's "La-Bas" (down there) was one example, which had tales of Black Masses taking place among the rich aristocracy. Satan was seen as the bringer of light (Lucifer), as the righteous and pure one. Some sample authors and literature:
Thomas Nashe, the inventor of the English novel, was the first to pay sympathy to the devil in his Pierce Penilesse his supplication to the divell (1592). William Blake (1757-1827), most Satanic writing is probably "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell". Blake's late poetry has Satanic figures in it. Blake saw Satan as a force of desire and energy, and this desire and energy would lead someone to bliss. (Very Dionysian of him). Whether he maintained that viewpoint unto his death I am unsure, as the rest of his writings have a heavy pro-Christian slant.
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), "Litanies of Satan": Baudelaire gives his personal angle on Satan, who he sees as a champion/kindred spirit of the outcast and downtrodden. The tone is undercut with irony, for example: "Whose magic gives a strength to ancient bones / Of drunkards trampled on the cobblestones, / Satan, take pity on my misery! Who, to console us in our fearful lot, / Taught us the mysteries of shell and shot, / Satan, take pity on my misery!"
In the version published in the 1855 "Leaves of Grass", Wait Whitman uses Lucifer to express the voice of a slave.
'Now Lucifer was not dead . . . or if he was I am his sorrowful terrible heir; I have been wronged . . . I am oppressed . . . I hate him that oppresses me, I will either destroy him, or he shall release me.'
Lucifer seems to be invoked in these lines as the ancestor of a slave who was sold into slavery, Lucifer, a black whale, and a snake, who represent the inability of a slave to have a voice within the dominant white society. In an epigram to one of Whittier's antislavery poems, Whitman quotes from a speech by Samuel May:
'Genius of America! Spirit of our free institutions! where art thou? How art thou fallen, O Lucifer! son of the morning--how art thou fallen from Heaven! Hell from beneath is moved to meet thee, at thy coming!'
Whitman himself had worked on the idea of a "black portrait" of "Lucifer . . . the denied God" in the pre-Leaves poem "Pictures." In that poem he writes, in anticipation of the "Black Lucifer" passage, "But I do not deny him--though cast out and rebellious, he is my God as much as any."
Lord Byron (1788-1824) had views so anti-thetical to the orthodox tradition of religion that he and other authors were called collectively the "Satanic School". Interestingly, Byron was criticized by Blake for being too anti-orthodox. (There's quite a few other members of this school of thought. Basically, it was anyone who had "Sympathy for the devil".) We might also note James Branch Cabell, whose hero is the devil, a powerful personage with good manners amazingly. A 19th Century Italian writer named Giosue Carduccia wrote several essays and poems. Among Carduccia's body of work is "L'Inno A Satana" or "Hymn to Satan", which he wrote in 1865. In 1879, Carduccia also wrote "Satana e Polemichihe Sataniche." In 1906, Giosue Carduccia won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Mikhail Bakunin - a Russian anarchist who wrote that the devil was the first free thinker and the world savior; that the devil liberated Adam and sealed his face with the seal of humanism making him disobedient. A more contemporary novel, Roger Williamson's "The Sun at Night", writes that:
'Always, Lucifer is the drive forward of evolution. All who thwart this drive are an abomination and perversion. Lucifer will always be the rebel to each new generation until the time that man reaches perfection. It is the task of the Elect, those who are one with Lucifer, to purge this black dragon and by degree, raise it up through sublimination.'
Bakunin not only glorified Lucifer, but had a concrete program of revolution. He wrote: "In this revolution, we'll have to wake up the devil in people in order to stir up their lowest passions." Mark Twain also used diabolical elements in his writings.
This seems to be a theme expressed in Kurt Seligman in "Magic, Supernaturalism, and Religion" that:
"Satan is an individualist. He upsets the commandments of Heaven which enforce a definite moral conduct. He inspires us with dreams and hopes. He endows us with bitterness and discontent, but in the end he leads us to the Better... He is that 'force which strives for the evil yet causes the good.'"
The next place we trace Satanism to is Leo Taxil, and his book, "Satan in the Nineteenth Century". This attracted a lot of publicity in the 1890's, and he claimed to be a renegade Freemason, who worshipped Satan. The various clergy and political parties took Taxil serious, and bought his books and attended his meetings. He further asked for donations to rescue a lady named "Helen Vaughan", who was under the threat of human sacrifice from the "Satanic" (the Freemasons are completely un-Satanic) Masons. The whole thing was found out to be a fraud, and even Taxil himself admitted to it, (he claimed the FreeMasons were a Luciferian sect, an idea which persists among conspiracy freaks.)
A. W. Pink, in a publication by Bible Truth, tells the World what the Satanic Gospel is all about:
"The gospel of Satan does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal, spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great "brotherhood." It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to the best that is within us. It aims to make this world such a congenial and comfortable habitat that Christ's absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all."
Let us all be on our guard against this horrible religion! I would elaborate on the history of the Church of Satan, and Temple of Set, but both are well-known enough for me not to have to repeat their legacies. (Michael Aquino has the most definitive book on the real history of the CoS and the ToS ever written, unfortunately, he never decided to publish it. He has graciously allowed it to be published on the internet, however.)
One question I commonly get asked is, "Do I believe that there were Satanists before Lavey?" It is impossible to make the a priori assumption that Satanists were not around prior to Satanism actually being formulated. So, I will assume that what we would identify as a Satanist was around at the time. However, I do make other contentions. Namely that:
Let's take a look at one example. A fellow Satanist told me that August Strindberg (Swedish writer) once wrote in a letter to one of his friends:
"I was a satanist in the 1870's and believed in evil as a great power".
I couldn't find that copy of the letter, because my friend is Swedish, and I'm American, and no source was given. (I probably couldn't have read it if one had been given.) However, there's something interesting about Strindberg. Not too long before he passed away, he wrote that:
"Clearly said: I ascribe all my misfortune to this one fact, that I have been godless! An individual that has broken contact with God, cannot receive any blessings. All this talk about 'being your own man and making your own happiness' is chaff! If the Lord does not build the house, they labour in vain who build it. That is the whole truth! That misfortune can also strike a person of faith, we know. But the outcome is not the same. These accidents seem only like trials that pass over and leave peace in their wake!" A curse rests upon everything that an ungodly person puts his hand to. If money comes his way, it will disappear like it came. Nothing remains, nothing prospers in the life of the ungodly!"
His equivocation was that Satanism was the denial of God, (also noting that he was part of a Templar group). This doesn't prove what I am looking for here, a line of transmission, or a clear reference to an organization which is Satanic. Gershom Scholem, a Jewish mystic, admits that all religious sects in history have been accused of perversion by their opponents, and this seems to be a classical case-in-point. (Let's also note that the historical context for an "underground Satanism" simply doesn't exist on the evidence provided, so no "secret groups" or unnamed public groups will suffice as evidence.) Thus far, I haven't been able to locate any such source for this transmission. Another source, Gilbert Murray, believed in such a sect, writing that:
'IN an old novel, still famous and once widely popular, the writer, oppressed with the burden of evil in the world, gives to her heroine the name Consuelo, "Consolation," and makes her half-mad hero a descendant of a strange sect. He is one of those Bohemian Lollards who, despairing of any sympathy from God, threw themselves into the protecting arms of their fellow-outcast, fellowsufferer, fellow-victim of persecution and slander, the Devil. Their word of salutation was: "The Injured One give you greeting," or "The Injured One give you blessing." And they made of the Injured One a figure rather resembling the suffering Christ, a champion of the poor and lowly, a Being more than persecuted, more than crucified, but differing from Christ inasmuch as he was no friend of Pope, priest or Emperor, and therefore presumably no friend of God; he was still unconquered and unreconciled.'
(The irony here is that this sounds almost exactly like what the book "Michelle Remembers" uses in its discussion of the underground cults of Satan who have their middle fingers chopped off. Could Dr. Penzer have "borrowed" this and put it into the book to have made more money? Seemingly more possible, he used this tale to implant memories into Michelle's head which never happened.)
Going to modern Luciferians, here's what one writes about Lucifer:
"(Lucifer) is first and foremost the Primal Spirit, the first mover, the force of Chaos which pre-exists and transcends all matter and energy, and is the source (and final destination) of all matter and energy and all the visible and invisible forces in existence. Our universe was born from the Serpent - the cosmos as we know it has sometimes been referred to as "The Serpent's Egg."
That's very closely inline with modern Satanism, but was pretty far off from Luciferian beliefs. (Also noting that most Luciferian sects nowadays don't seem to quote from Gnostic scriptures, or practice the rites, rituals, ceremonies, etc. that do have recordance.) There might be some real Luciferian sects out there, but all the ones I've thus far encountered seem to be either inspired by Lavey or Crowley. In this case, the cosmology is Orphic, which Tani Jantsang seems to be undertaking, particularly in an Orphic/Pythagorean sense of Satanism. Can it make a great religion? Well, it did for quite a few centuries. Is it a historical lineage? No.
Concerning this, I went and checked out some dictionaries, to see how far back ideas on Satanism go. In "The Devil's Dictionary", 1911 by Albert and Charles Boni, I found this under Satan:
'One of the Creator's lamentable mistakes, repented in sashcloth and axes. Being instated as an archangel, Satan made himself multifariously objectionable and was finally expelled from Heaven. Halfway in his descent he paused, bent his head in thought a moment and at last went back. "There is one favor that I should like to ask," said he.
"Man, I understand, is about to be created. He will need laws."
"What, wretch! you his appointed adversary, charged from the dawn of eternity with hatred of his soul -- you ask for the right to make his laws?"
"Pardon; what I have to ask is that he be permitted to make them himself."
It was so ordered."
No mention of Satanism was ever made. Curious, I started to dig around in older documents to see what the name was. In Mawson, C.O.S., ed. (18701938). Rogets International Thesaurus, I found this:
"DIABOLISM, devil worship, devil lore, diablerie or diablery, diabolology or diabology, Satanism, devilism; devilship, devildom; demonry, demonism, demonology, Manichæism or Manicheism; Black Mass, Black Magic, demonolatry, demonomagy; witchcraft (sorcery); the cloven hoof; hoofs and horns; demonomy."
Rather diverse names isn't it? Looking further still, I found out something interesting from this search. There were two names, with two distinct meanings, of what religion was in regard to the Devil. In "The Warfare of Science with Theology", by Andrew White, Chapter 15 talks about Diabolism. The term of usage in occultic circles has been rather small, though a priest of mine wants to return to it and stop using the name "Satanism", for those who are theistic Satanists, of which he is one. Anyway, in reading the document, and by reading others, I found out a startling revelation, which surprised me because no one in the occult community has ever talked about it.
There were two forms of early Satanism. The first was actually called "Satanism", at least by the enemies of it. It primarily involved ex-priests who used forbidden rituals, and had sex. "Satanism", was actually a restricted category that never made it as a theology, and was only known amongst high-level initiates of the Catholic priesthood. Meanwhile, another pseudo-religion developed, which was called Diabolism. Diabolism appears to be a condition caused by the devil where the person is inflicted with demon possession. This naturally results from having some sort of a pact with the devil. Diabolism was anything and everything, it wasn't any form of a tradition passed down, except perhaps for Bacchic festivals which had been "Christianized" for new purposes. Murray, Tani, Michelet, etc. aren't actually arguing for the existence of Satanism into the time period before Lavey found it, they are really arguing for the existence of a surviving diabolistic cult into the 21st century. That struck me with some amusement. I tend to think those arguing for long existing Satanic traditions, (whether it's Sumeria or Pythagorus), really just don't want to admit their miffed at the CoS, but don't want to rename their religion.
Doreen Valiente wrote. ("An ABC of Witchcraft Past & Present", p. 109):
"The spirits of Nature which the pagans sensed as haunting lonely places, were neither good nor evil. They were simply different from man, not flesh and blood, and therefore best regarded with caution and respect. People of Celtic blood in the lonelier parts of the British Isles take this attitude to this day towards the fairies, whom they call the Good Neighbors or the People of Peace.
The Devil is that which is wild , untamed, and unresolved in nature, and in human nature. He is the impulse in *themselves*, which people fear and of which they dislike to admit the existence. Hence these impulses become exteriorised, and projected in the form of devils and demons. No wonder that in the Middle Ages, when the Church ruled with an iron hand, the Devil appeared everywhere! He was the projected image of the natural desires, especially sexual desires, which would not be denied, however much the Church denounced them as sin."
Psychology and Demographics of Satanism:
A rather interesting aspect of Satanism, everyone wants to know who is involved. Among those who have never actually talked to Satanists, (yet amazingly, manage to be experts in the subject), Satanism is a teenage religion. Yet among those who have done real studies involving people, (which are the ones I'm going to cite, though I can give you an outstanding amount of literature I went through that was just garbage with no means of census in it), say that the average Satanist is in the twenties, and probably a career-orientated person.
If you ask the question, "How many people are Satanists?" you will come across another rocky area. The estimates range from a few hundred to a few thousand. How many Satanists are out there, and who are they?
The first problem with this is the people who are giving out the information. Most people who have written books on Satanism appear to be gullible, dishonest, fraudulent, shock-seekers, or complete lunatics. This is well-documented in the book, "Demons of the Modern World", by Malcolm McGrath. He shows the comparison between the early witchcraft cults and modern day SRA and concludes, "the illusion of a world of demons lurking behind our day to day reality is built right into the structure of modern western culture." As one example, a murder occurred at Pearl High School, where two students were killed and seven wounded. Immediately, the locals suspected that there were underground cults breading Satanists, and Geraldo, (the empyemic crotch-sniffing hound that he is), went to go report on it. The principal denied the Satanic connection between the murderers, and said, ``Those kids weren't even among the group that wore black.'' Nothing has ever been found tying them to the religion. People have made a living off misinformation for years about Satanism, and they won't stop now.
One such example of pseudo-intellectualism is found in "Counseling and Values", Jan95, Vol. 39, Issue 2, p. 145. The article is by Shirley Emerson and Yvonne Syron. It's called, "Adolescent Satanism: Rebellion masquerading as religion". The article sent off hoops of warning bells and whistles. Among other conspicuous claims, no one's identity was allowed to be revealed due to "security reasons". Police officers escorted them to secret meetings, (not very secret then is it?), where they observed these "rituals" with their own eyes. Reportedly, their methodology included talking to people who were in insane institutions, drug rehab, or jail. (Which is, of course, where all objective religious studies are done.) I read the article and was disgusted at how sloppy, cheap, and overall lackluster the research was, yet it's crap like this that often gets looked at. (Which is what happens when you let conservative Christians do research on a religion they believe is the ultimate epitome of evil.) It reminds me of a comment by the late Lavey: "Why do people ask Christians for information about Satanism? You wouldn't ask Hitler about the joys of a Honnukah." (Paraphrased from memory).
Fortunately though, despite that meandering piece of garbage, real studies have been done. In the "Journal of Contemporary Ethnography", January 95, Vol. 23, Issue 4, p. 453, we find some real work done on the subject. Kathleen Lowney, in the article "Teenage satanism as oppositional youth subculture", identifies the first problem of most studies into Satanism. No one asks the Satanists any questions. Had they done so, they would have realized that most members of official churches involved in Satanism are white adults, in their 30's, usually professionals. (Alfred, R. H. "The church of Satan. In The new religious consciousness" Randall was a CoS member from 1968-69, he didn't join for fun or for religious purposes, he exclusively wanted to write a paper on it. He was well-liked by the Satanic community).
She identifies another problem. It took her a year to get close to the members of the group to where they would openly talk to her and let her inside the coven. Yet amazingly, Shirley and Yvonne were supposed to be able to get the utmost expressions of truth from teenagers in a matter of minutes. One of the most interesting parts of Kathleen's work is about the "sex rituals" of the group:
"The Coven enjoyed discussing these rituals in a vague and secretive fashion in front of outsiders, particularly high school teachers, as a way of, as Alice put it, "shaking up the establishment." For instance, Zena, the charismatic leader, was known by the ritual name, The Sex Goddess. This Satanic name was often "dropped" before nonmembers (especially teachers) in an attempt to confound, embarrass, and worry the larger social world. And it worked, One local teacher called me after hearing such a conversation. "All they do is have sex. Sex and Satan. That's all they write about in my class. I'm worried about them." Coven followers often laughed at the consternation their supposed sexual antics created. And yet despite their nomenclature, these rituals did not, to my knowledge, involve sexual intercourse. The sexual innuendos, however, clearly functioned as a source of power over nonmembers."
A noteable point may be made here in how she relates that in less than a year, without ever being in real contact with any Satanists, she was declared an expert and she attended workshops with police officers. In Satanism studies, the word "expert" will get thrown around like candy at Mardi Gras. The most noteable points are the final criticism:
"Analysis of the Coven shows that both the psychiatric and folklore explanations of adolescent Satanism are inadequate. These adolescents were not mentally disturbed, nor were they engaging in major criminal activity. What law-breaking they did--some underage alcohol consumption, minor vandalism of local bridges (spray-painting graffiti), and occasionally driving while intoxicated--are acts many non-Satanist teens also have committed. Nor were they experiencing "just" intergenerational rebellion against their parents. The Coven's critique went far deeper--it questioned the basic values of Victory Village--athleticism, Christianity, heterosexual dyads, and the nature of achievement, beauty, and power.
Yet the "form taken by this resistance [was] somehow symbolic or magical, in the sense of not being an actual successful solution to whatever is the problem" (Cohen 1980, ix-x). Clothing styles, haircuts, and prayers to Satan did not change the dominant culture of Victory Village. They were not meant to do so. The Coven chose these changes as its way of managing the alienation it found in the social structure of Victory Village and its educational facilities--managing it through confrontation. Oppositional subcultures thrive on conflict; they need it. It is only through confrontation with the dominant culture that their subcultural choices--moral, stylistic, sexual, aesthetic--can be constructed and routinized. Cultural belligerence was the central behavioral tactic of the Coven. It took pleasures in antagonizing Victory Village."
By the way, I would urge anyone who thinks I am just being rejectional of one study instead of the other based upon personal inclinations to actually get those two studies and compare them. In the latter, the girl hung out with Satanists and studied them for months. In the former, their methodology can hardly even be discerned.
According to David Alexander, "Satan-mongering is a growth industry promoting 'information' on what is, by every independent investigation, a non-existent problem." Even Massimo, cited earlier, can't help but fall back to conspiracy theories in Satanism in order to help the growth industry. Though he notes that there is almost no violence or problems from established religious Satanic churches, he does have a problem with "Acid-Satanism". "Acid-Satanism" is a form of religion that happens when juvenile crimes, drugs, and occultism mix. This loose definition, of course, can be applied to virtually anything involving teens and some occultic garblings. Of course, going on these types of loose definitions, David Toma says he's "never met a Satan worshiper who didn't do drugs." (Guess he overlooked me, and he overlooked Anton Lavey. One of Lavey's major disdains towards Crowley was Crowley's love of drugs. Have to wonder how many "Satanists" he's met then....) Perhaps a better citation would be the article by Jean La Fontaine in "The Twentieth Century," ed. by Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark. It is objective, if brief, and doesn't rely upon the myth-mongering that seems rampant in many publications.
Another work, Phi Delta Kappan, Sept 1994 v76 n1 p70(3) called "Satanic tourism: adolescent dabblers and identity work" identifies the problem of almost all Satanic studies. There is no difference in studies ever marked between Satanic tourism, that is to say, teenagers roleplaying as Satanists, and actual Satanism. Many people like to roleplay as Satanists, doing "Satanic" things like spraypainting, visiting graves, and visiting haunted houses. The art of "Legend-tripping" is part of urban culture, to go to "forbidden" places to defy society. This is repeated in Bill Ellis, "Legend-Trips and Satanism: Adolescents' Ostensive Traditions as `Cult' Activity." Pp. 279-295 in The Satanism Scare, edited by James T. Richardson, Joel Best, and David G. Bromley.
I'm most familiar with this one due to growing up in rural Louisiana. We're all familiar with the stories about Satanic groups living in the woods and killing animals right? Well, here's what really happened. When I grew up, there were kids who got off by torturing animals. They weren't Satanists, they just got off on it. In fact, most of them were school jocks. Their favorite method was to take two cats tails, tie them together, and throw them over a clothesline. The cats will start ripping each other apart, until one of them gets killed. It's a bloody, disgusting mess. After this happens, they'd kill the other cat, take the two mutiliated bodies, and throw them into the woods. After that, they'd carve various symbols all around the area where the cats had been dumped. When the stench got bad enough, someone would investigate. Low and behold, there's dead animal bodies out there with occult symbols. The cops would get called, and cops being generally lazy, (a recent embarrasment to the police force had a woman who was unconvinced by the police report hire two private investigators who turned up evidence the cops hadn't found years after the cops stopped investigating, which proves the point), would write it up as a ritualistic animal sacrifice, instead of investigating. Of course, the rumors spread from there, usually by the culprits themselves, who got a kick out of the whole sordid affair.
Regardless of Satanism, that's what teenagers will do. A check of various social service agencies in Toronto who deal with adolescents found that teen fascination with satanic cults comes and goes. "It's a phase some kids go through, a fascination with different kinds of music. The music's a way to find a different meaning of life and to determine a value system," says Michelle Anderson, program supervisor of Covenant House's Outreach program.
Marc Galanter, a New York psychiatrist and author of "Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion", is at least partially sympathetic to Satanism.
"There is a defense mechanism called splitting, in which one divides things up into good and evil, harmful and unharmful, friendly and unfriendly. The devil persists for people because he personifies evil in that way.....
There is tremendous pressure in society to find some evil subculture and to say "Ah ha!" when there's something deviant afoot. It makes the world more understandable. After Matamoros, I was interviewed by a reporter from a television station. He needed some footage on why Satanists were going to be killing people in New York next, and I could tell I was disappointing him....
Kids will use whatever's around, whatever's disruptive, to express rebellion. Kids who are going to be in trouble are going to pick up deviant stuff where they find it, but it's a subculture, not a cult.
A subculture tells them that heavy metal is associated with the devil. With a high degree of instability -- and teenagers are a group of high instability -- if it happens to coalesce around a particular group you can get this kind of activity. And drugs do play a role in loosening a kid's moorings."
An adolescent's involvement in Satanism serves specific psychological and social functions. It is considered by the teen to be a solution to development, social, and emotional problems. (Moriarty, Anthony. "Adolescent Satanic Cult Dabblers: A Differential Diagnosis." Journal of Mental Health Counseling and Donald Story. "Psychological Dynamics of Adolescent Satanism." Journal of Mental Health Counseling; Lisa B Ladin, "Predisposing Factors Associated with Adolescent Involvement in Satanism.) Along these lines, Belitz and Schacht ("Satanism as a Response to Abuse: The Dynamics and Treatment of Satanic Involvement in Male Youths.") suggest that "Satanism offers adolescents a chance to participate in something important, where they have status, and to combat loneliness and isolation ... Rage, hatred, fears, and sexuality are welcomed, legitimized, and given a means of expression". Similarly, Bourget ("Satanism in a Psychiatric Adolescent Population." Canadian Journal of Psychiatry) et al. point out that adolescents gravitate to Satanism for "belonging and believing".
This all sounds fine and dandy, but there's a subliminal message which they are all painting. It is wrong to be a Satanist. For instance, what religion does NOT satisfy social and psychological functions? In Egypt, not attending Friday night prayers at the mosque is damaging for job potential. I think that is a strong social function. With Christian teen groups, shirts, bracelets, bumper stickers, etc. who could be deceived into thinking there wasn't a level of social and psychological interaction? The idea then is that level of interaction is the normal level, while any level of Satanic tendencies are not normal. Hence, there must be some psychological problem which is causing them to become Satanists. Objective studies? Hardly.
Although diametrically opposed, the two systems, Christianity and Satanism, actually have many things in common. They both offer a set system of values, a view of the meaning of life, answers to existential questions, like-minded people, meetings, and social interface. Moriarty and Story, op. cit, believe that most adolescent teens come from households in which parents exhibit double standards. Thus, they find a need for a system which is self-governing and internally consistent, one which provides a solid background for belief. Interestingly, in my morality essay, I outline that a morally consistent approach, both in words and actions, is better than a more rationalistic viewpoint which is maintained only in a hypothetical sense.
It seems that in off-hand ways, Satanism is constantly complemented. For instance, in "The Psychology of Adolescent Satanism":
"[The young Satanist] presented himself with a sense of power and control that was eerie. He controlled the venting of his anger with the accuracy of a marksman. His targets were those in authority, most notably his parents. He knew exactly what he was doing. He also praised Satan for giving him this new lease on life. He reveled in this power. He practiced rituals that he thought gave him more power. His authority was The Satanic Bible. This kid was really different."
Rather than be pleased that he was meeting a strong-willed individual, the author was completely stupified. He couldn't understand what he was dealing with, because he'd never even thought of aything like the kid. Therefore he, like almost every other researcher, believed there was something intristically wrong with the kid. Such is the thought of Wanda Draper, a child development specialist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center:
"Satanism has a particularly strong appeal to children who, for whatever reason, feel they aren't getting their personal needs met at home. These adolescents generally have a poor self-image, are unable to say no to peer pressure, and are followers who are easily drawn to those who appear to be powerful."
Unfortunately for Wanda, she's probably never met a Satanist. Anyone mentioned above who has done time with a Satanist note that they are extremely strong-willed, thus the opposition for authority, and far from having a poor self-image, tend to have high egoistic feelings about themselves. If peer pressure were a motivational factor, why would they join a group that is the underdog? As earlier studies noted, the distancing themselves from other peers is voluntary, they are not joining a group just because they need too.
To the credit of Wanda, she apparently read some of the Satanic Bible. She comments that:
"Ritual is a part of the human psyche; it gives a sense of security and a predictable process in which to express feelings. Perhaps most importantly, participating in rituals gives a sense of belonging. When these rituals are not in place at home, the adolescent may find them in a cult environment."
Of course, long before she graced the Satanic scene with her wonderous thoughts, Lavey already noted all of what she said. However, her contemptuous attitude is revealed in the statement because she identifies these problems are "at home" and that this leads to a "cult environment". (Apparently, any teenage gathering is a cult. We should beware the malls then.) Researchers, still trying to figure out the enigma of Satanism, resort to other theories. Perhaps it's just confusion? According to CAN executive director, Cynthia Kisser, "Satanism appears to offer easy answers to complex problems." Again, another person who's never studied Satanism. Satanism says, "FIND YOUR OWN ANSWERS! BLAZE YOUR OWN TRAIL!" There's nothing simple or easy about that, as opposed to say, "Confess with thine mouth and believe with thine heart and thou shalt be saved." On the upside, Satanism gets cooler bands and t-shirts than Christianity does, a must when choosing social structures and accessories.
At least one person doesn't see much psychological motivation behind Satanism. Philip Jenkins, a Pennsylvania State University history professor, and author of "Pedophiles and Priests: The Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis", is considered an expert on the sociology of Satanism. Now, interestingly, how does a History professor become a Sociology leading expert is amazing, but he considers 1990's Satanism a "revenge for the 1960s. Parents have told their children they can do anything they want, and this is what they have come up with." He adds, "I genuinely don't see any great danger...I don't think today's teenagers are doing anything dumber than teenagers normally do."
Of course, one reason we can expect the problems is that these "experts" are often in problematic fields. Let's take these quotes on Satanism's psychological profile.
"Some are experimenters looking for something different. They're bored or they want to do something to get their parents' attention, and this certainly shakes up people. These are kids on the fringe, outsiders. They often have problems at home and suffer from low self-esteem. Often the other kids are afraid of them, so it gives them identity, strength and a sense of power," says Maxwell. "To help them, you've got to deal with the underlying psychological issues so they feel okay about themselves."
Who says this? Linda Maxwell, a Toronto social worker who investigates the erroneous satanic ritual abuse of children. Any wonder then why the quote talks about "Underlying psychological issues" and "feel(ing) okay about themselves"? She keeps going on her ranting:
"Satanism is total self-indulgence, total self power. It offers a complete licence to indulge in everything. This is very attractive to teens who are egocentric. It gives them power and an identity. Some are intellectually drawn to satanic ideology as a rejection of mainstream religion. It's a debate about the meaning of God."
Again, people who have done real studies contradict her. "Most teenagers don't have these problems. There's a small group that are rebellious or get involved because of a lack of parental attention. I've seen one serious teen, but he was psychotic and had other problems," says Dr. Andre Gagnon, professor of psychiatry at the University of Ottawa, who co-authored a 1988 study on satanism in adolescents. Why the glaring cognitive dissonance? One religion scholar, Maximilian Rudwin, contends that "Lacking the Devil, there would simply be no literature." Without Satan's evil to contrast with goodness and light, he suggests, humans would be hard pressed to describe the events of the world or even the substance of their own souls. With this view in mind, it's not hard to see why such rank hypocracy exists among these ivory-tower academics, they're own prejudice and biases prevent them from being able to do objective studies.
David Reed, professor of theology at Wycliffe College/U of T has a different explanation. He believes that the New Age movement is causing people to search for alternative religions that fill a spiritual void, and thus give them more control of their lives.
"People want designer gods. They pick and choose from various religions trying to see if it fits, whether it's eastern meditation philosophies, wicca or satanism. People who are vulnerable emotionally are attracted to the darker side of satanism."
Ultimately though, sociology has failed to note anything bad about Satanism. In The Sociological Quarterly, August 1993 v34 n3 p 523, "Satanism in contemporary America: establishment or underground?" by Diane E. Taub; Lawrence D. Nelson, a list of arguments are made:
"Sociological discourse emphasizes Satanism's ostensibly harmless character (Truzzi 1972, 1974a, 1974b, 1974c; Moody 1974a, 1974b; Bainbridge 1978).(2) Moody (1974a, 1974b) feels that the negative observations concerning Satanism are based more on ethnocentric prejudice than on actual encounters. Harrington (1986, p. 7) likewise represents Anton LaVey, founder and High Priest of the Church of Satan, as a misunderstood "law-and-order" man.
Lyons (1970) lists several benefits that Satanism provides for its adherents: a feeling of identification, power to take control of circumstances, relief from feelings of alienation from the societal mainstream, and a religious atmosphere without the behavioral responsibilities required by traditional churches. Additional advantages of Satanism include the opportunity for rebellion and escape from a restrictive family-value system (Forsyth and Olivier 1990). Moody (1974a, 1974b) further describes conditions under which individuals might experience conversion to Satanism. In most cases, converts had previously investigated other forms of occultism but had become disillusioned with them because of a lack of apparent effectiveness, an absence of practical application, and/or demands for money.
Many initiates, according to Moody (1974a), perceive themselves as evil or are inclined toward such deviance as promiscuity, sadism, or masochism. Therefore, they readily identify with Satanism because their behavior is tolerated or even encouraged. Satanism provides an atmosphere for social protest as well as an opportunity to seek out experiences denied by dominant society (Zacharias 1980).
Henricks (1977) suggests that the emergence of groups such as the Church of Satan is logical and rational, resulting from an inability of the traditional religious structure to provide many individuals with the social imperatives of meaning and motivation. Despite the antithetical values taught by Satanism, most Establishment Satanists find it desirable or even necessary to conform to conventional behaviors in practice. For example, members of the Satanic Establishment tend to avoid the use of drugs as well as the excessive use of alcohol because these substances impair their feelings of control (Truzzi 1972; Alfred 1976). Moreover, Carlson and Larue (1989, p. v) argue that "nearly every Devil-worshipping criminal has had a history of anti-social behavior . . . long before taking up occult trappings." To them, Devil-worship is a symptom, not a cause, of criminal behavior."
Of course, as I stated earlier, the need for sensationalism still appears. While they admit that most of the evidence for "evil" Satanic cults is almost non-existent, they believe this just means that localized and not part of a grand scheme, just a bunch of really evil people who are just doing really evil things for some really evil purpose.... The fact is that most self-proclaimed researchers into Satanism aren't researchers in anything. Gretchen Passantino of "Answers in Action" in Costa Mesa, Calif., is one such example. Quoting Gretchin:
"Contrary to some impressions, satanism is not growing rapidly today, but it is changing markedly. Today, satanism takes its cue from popular culture, from movies and musicians like Marilyn Manson, and not the Church. Twenty years ago, satanic ritual involved explicitly anti-Christian practices, like saying the Lord's Prayer backward, or an anti-Mass. But now these young people have never been inside a church. They don't know the Lord's Prayer frontwards, much less backwards."
Almost anyone who is even remotely familiar with Satanism knows that a Christian background is one of the common links of Satanism. Almost no Satanic Church has held services repeating the Lord's prayer backwards, outside of maybe mockery. The Marilyn Manson question is very interesting to me, however. I asked leaders, (Matt Paradise, Lord Egan, Tani Jantsang), from the Satanic organizations if they knew anyone or had any members who were inspired by Marilyn Manson. They all said, "No", but a few added that they had short-term members or "fans", as a I like to think of them, who did join Satanism for a while after becoming a "Mansonite". In Dr. James Lewis study, only one person answered that they were inspired by join Satanism by Marilyn Manson, two of the 140 mentioned they were influenced by music. Grand total, 3 out of 140, somewhat less than a major influence. The problem with "Mansonites" is that they are followers, while Satanism typically demands leaders. Dr. James Lewis also notes the Satanic Bible of Anton LaVey is one of the key points to a Satanist, even those who claim they hate it, and wrote an article about "Diabolical Authority", or how much validity Satanists give to the book.
At least a good part of Satanism must be given to the key figure in it.
"Evil personified appears at first sight repulsive. But the more we study the personality of the Devil, the more fascinating it becomes. The Devil is the rebel of the cosmos, the independent in the empire of a tyrant; he is the individualising tendency, the craving for originality, which bodily upsets the ordinances of God that enforce a definite kind of conduct; he overturns the monotony that would permeate the cosmic spheres if every atom in unconscious righteousness and with pious obedience slavishly followed a generally prescribed course."
Paul Carus, The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil
Who are Satanists, and how many?
Of course, everyone expects rock-stars or shock artists to proclaim Satanism, (much to the detriment of Satanism, in my eyes), but who else is there? Finding out the answer to this question is something which is far from an easy task. The reason is that just as there are plenty of people who are claiming Satanism without any grasp upon the philosophy of Satanism, there are just as many people who claim to be "experts" on Satanism without ever actually doing any real research.
One person which did attempt to do some research, though having a highly Christian bias, was by Craig S. Hawkins, "The Many Faces of Satanism", from From "Forward magazine", (currently called "Christian Research Journal"), Fall 1986, page 17.
"Yes, some Satanists do fit the stereotypes, but many more do not. In fact, some Satanists are successful professionals, and many are relatively well-adjusted, attractive, and intelligent people. Satanists come from all walks of life.
Also, Satanism is not a monolithic, unified whole in its organizational structure, beliefs and practices, as some may believe. Most local groups are pretty much autonomous, not associating with one another. A few groups associate with other groups, but only within their own organization and not with Satanists outside their alliance."
To find out this question, we turn to James R. Lewis, Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin. He writes in the Marburg Journal of Religion: Volume 6, No. 2 (June 2001). This is probably the only modern day definitive study on the demographics of Satanism, along with some psychological position of what they think. According to his find:
"the statistically-average Satanist is an unmarried, white male in his mid-twenties with a few years of college. He became involved in Satanism through something he read in high school, and has been a self-identified Satanist for more than seven years. Raised Christian, he explored one non-Satanist religious group beyond the one in which he was raised before settling into Satanism. His view of Satan is some variety of non-theistic humanism and he practices magic. The length of average involvement and the often reflective responses to open-ended questions indicates that, far from being confined to adolescent rebels, many Satanists are reflective individuals who--despite the fact that youthful rebellion was usually a factor in the beginning--have come to appropriate Satanism as a mature religious option."
He's not sure how many people are actually Satanists. "One study reported 3% of young adults involved in satanism. In another study of Utah social workers, 20% reported cases of teenage satanic activity," says Dr. Michael Langone, a psychologist and executive director of the American Family Foundation, which provides information on religions and cults. Of course, this is a crude way to get a population sample, especially in a place that is filled with misassumptions. He tells us that
"On the other hand, the editor of The Black Flame, a Satanist magazine, commented on this estimate by noting that:
Each issue of The Black Flame sells between 7 and 8 thousand copies. If even only half of the readers were folks who consider themselves to be Satanists, this would up the estimate given above for practicing Satanists by a good deal. I submit a good deal more than half of those who buy this magazine see themselves as Satanists, and the bulk of our sales are in North America, with the UK and the Scandinavian countries following in amount of copies sold."
I'd also opinion that if the First Church of Satan Messageboard is an indicator, currently at 1200, and about half are members of Satanism, we can get a rough estimate there as well.
This isn't very scary, but what type of mentality do these people have? Does Satanism serve to destroy these people or make them better? Edward J. Moody's seminal paper, "Magical Therapy: An Anthropological Investigation of Contemporary Satanism" tells us that yes, there is an effect, but it could hardly be called negative.
"The benefits of Satanism and Black Magic to the witch or magician are obvious: he need be less anxious or fearful, he is more able socially, and he is actually more successful in many spheres of activity due to his enhanced ability to interact with others."
Lewis, in talking to Satanists about the effects of teens and Satanism, turns to the webmaster of the Satanic Media Watch in a series of e-mail communications. She noted, for instance:
"For every serious Satanist you can find online I would guess you could find at least two teens who are into Heavy Metal music, who never read anything on Satanism, and who have problems in their personal lives. Heavy Metal teens who are into vandalism form local groups and do not go online. It would also be very hard to make them take part in any survey. As you know there are many kinds of Satanists. A lot of teens fit stereotypes rather well. If you do not take this into account and show the public a false picture of Satanism, you will make the public accuse serious Satanists for the actions of teens."
She's hitting upon an important concept. Teens are one of the highest crime rate groups in the U.S. Let's look at some statistics:
From the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 1999, we find that high school students were asked about their experience and behavior in the preceding twelve months:
According to the American Psychological Commission on Violence and Youth, a history of child abuse, parental indifference or neglect, poverty, family violence, and drug use, among other factors, directly contribute to teens' violent tendencies. The question would be that if let's say 8 percent of teenagers are violent, and 2 percent of teens are Satanists, are 8 percent of the teens violent? If we find that no, instead, 35 percent of teens in Satanism were violent, then we'd have a basis for speculations on Satanism and its' "negative" impacts. Unfortunately, no one knows of any such study. The only study I've found on it was by Damphousse and Crouch ("Did The Devil Make Them Do It?: an Examination of the Etiology of Satanism Among Juvenile Delinquents." Youth and Society, Vol. 24, (2): 204-227 Dec. 1992) of youths incarcerated by the Texas Youth Commission during a six month period in 1989, and found that less than 10% of all delinquents admitted to the state reception center had been involved in Satanic rituals. Moreover, they report that there was no statistically significant difference in the level of delinquency between Satanists and non-Satanists. From their abstract, "Research reveals that although the social causes which foster Satanism are similar to those which create other types of delinquent behavior, certain patterns indicate that only youths with certain characteristics are attracted to it. More Caucasians are involved in Satanism than Blacks or Hispanics and those involved are more likely to have higher levels of intelligence and imaginations."
It is doubtful that Satanists really existed before Lavey, and like most comparisons, it's only maintainable at a length. Studies done on Satanism are usually done with a religious motivation, are poorly executed, and would fail any test of reasonable sensibility. What points this out markedly is that what few works have been composed by people who have met and research Satanists contradicts the other 85% which has no such claims to back it up. When doing research on the researches cited above, many of them had interesting backgrounds, like knowing someone who was a "victim" of Satanic Ritual Abuse, or someone who was a former cult member, now a full-time prosleytizing Christian, coincidentally earning money off their lies. Caveat emptor when reading such "experts"! If I may give a little criteria, be particularly careful of when the studies are published. Studies pre-1993, before the FBI report on Satanism was published, tend to be sloppy and sensationalistic, capitalizing upon a cash-cow that various authors have commented about.
Of course, it's not just people trying to make gain's on money, several people enacted various laws during the Satanic panic to get things to go their way, just like during the "Red Scare". I like an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, July 18, 1993, The Satanic Cult Scare: Threats to Civil Liberties by Jeffrey S. Victor, which states that:
"Playwright Arthur Miller suggests in "The Crucible" that a witch-hunt is, in part, motivated by guilt and projection of "sins." There is plenty of guilt among parents today, and it is guilt related to those precise objects of their resentment. There is the guilt of mothers over leaving their children at child-care centers. There is the guilt of parents who have little time to spend talking with their children or supervising them, because both parents are working full-time. There is the guilt of parents who are reluctant to use their authority to guide their childrens' choice of entertainment and friends. The ideological targets of Satanism witch-hunters are things which are believed to shape the minds of children: child-care centers, school books, popular music, and even games."