Satanic Unitarianism – A Hopeful Alternative

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““God, conquered, will become Satan; Satan, conquering, will become God. May the fates spare me this terrible lot …”
– Anatole France, La Revolte des Anges

What happens when, after rebelling against the authority, you become the authority?

This post, submitted by one of my readers (whose girlfriend is the author), explains that “By saying theistic Satanists are not “real Satanists”, the Church of Satan is creating a distinctly Satanic religious identity not in opposition to American society, but in opposition to those “proximate others” who are too ideologically close for comfort, which might threaten their position in America’s religious landscape.””  The subject of the paper focuses specifically on the Church of Satan; however, this notion of opposing “proximate others” prevails throughout all rungs of Satanic culture.  Prominent theistic Satanic groups, such as the Order of Nine Angles and the Joy of Satan Ministries, are as violent in their opposition of LaVeyan Satanism as they are against mainstream religious disciplines, for exactly the same reason — within the Satanic subculture, the Church of Satan is “mainstream.”

In my opinion, this is not an integral failing within either discipline’s theology, philosophy or metaphysics; upon closer scrutiny, many well-read Satanists agree they espouse the same ultimate message, regardless of the differing spiritual (or lack thereof) trappings.  This is indicative of an integral human failing.  Becoming the assumed majority opinion in any cross-reference of society seems to breed an attitude of “us vs. them” — and if acceptance is finally reached within the larger-scale community regarding the veracity of one’s claims, the vitriol turns inward to any who would “jeopardize” their new-found validity.  But at what cost?

If you ask those of us, like myself, who don’t wish to fit into any mold — who wish to embrace the essence of Satan as complete lack of convention, tradition, or hierarchy — it means accepting group identity at the cost of your principles, or consigning yourself to solitary practitionership forever.

There is another way.

I call it “Satanic unitarianism” (although a more advertising-friendly tagline has been suggested: ‘orgiastic Satanism’).  It is based on two simple premises:

1. No one group of Satanism is any better or worse than any other.  Upon closer examination, every group has its failings, its shortcomings, and its skeletons in the closet — some over, some subtle; some tolerable, some harder to swallow.  That is why Satanists are implored to accept no one’s authority as the “one true path;” it is a self-defense mechanism against indoctrination and stagnancy of thought.

2. Every Satanic group has something of value to contribute.  Yes — I do mean EVERY group.  That means even the ones you can’t stand, that make your gut turn, that disagree so strongly with your principles that you have a hard time thinking about it without getting angry.  That means even the ones inundated with Nazi iconography, even the ones saturated in Judeo-Christian themes, and yes, even the ones that reject the principles of magick.  Satanism isn’t about compartmentalizing things into easy-to-process chunks; it’s the difficult but all-important revelation that simplicity of any kind is an illusion, and if you think something’s simple, you haven’t examined it hard enough — or talked to enough people about it.

Not everyone is cut out for that kind of daily mental exertion.  Even people who find it fun and interesting also admit it is draining and difficult!  But I believe it can be taught.  I believe, given an atmosphere supportive and open-minded of new ideas, burgeoning Satanists aloofly guided by these principles will breathe new life into us.

These principles are what the blog, the page, and my Satanic faith are based primarily upon.  Based on the blog and it’s accompanying Facebook page’s growing following (and even the vitriol from its dissent) I can tell I’m not alone, and the idea has traction.  So I propose that people who agree with the principles I have just stated, and who are interested in hearing from all sides of the Satanic debate — rather than engaging in the regrettable feedback loops that so often occur when claims are made in a vacuum — should come together under the banner of Satanic unitarianism.  Join the debates on our Facebook page, distribute the learning material, and most importantly of all, be supportive of all your Satanic brothers and sisters, no matter what path they follow.

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The Church of Satan and Its Opposition to Other Satanic Groups

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“In response to the increasing number of Satanic organizations, Peter Gilmore, the High Priest of the COS, has said that there is no Satanic community beyond the individuals that make up the Church of Satan. Regarding the increasing prevalence of theistic and other forms of Satanism divergent from COS ideology, their official stance is clear. To quote the FAQ section of the Church of Satan website, under “What is theistic Satanism?” it states,

“There is no such thing. People who believe in some Devilish supernatural being and worship him are Devil-worshippers, not Satanists. Anton LaVey was the first to define Satanism as a philosophy, and it is an atheist perspective. “Theistic Satanism” is an oxymoronic term and thus absurd.”

It is easy to attribute the Church of Satan’s rejection of all theistic Satanists to a desire to protect themselves from accusations of ritual abuse or general malfeasance. Considering the Satanic Panic is long behind us, however, a better explanation is one that entails nearly every established religious organization when new players enter the field. In an attempt to distinguish themselves from other forms of Satanism and assert themselves as the only validly operating Satanic organization, the Church of Satan has gone from actively constructing themselves as a social and religious “other” to a culturally established, mainstream religious institution that is not like those other “Devil-worshippers”. Such was the case among the mainstream Protestant churches when Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism started gaining popularity. By saying theistic Satanists are not “real Satanists”, the Church of Satan is creating a distinctly Satanic religious identity not in opposition to American society, but in opposition to those “proximate others” who are too ideologically close for comfort, which might threaten their position in America’s religious landscape.”

– Bridget Mogensen, Everyone’s an Other to Someone: Construction of the Other within the Church of Satan

Working With Demonic Spirits

“Demonic Spirits are essential chthonic/infernal forces which are bound to and from the shadow and dark places of the earth. One should approach daemonic spirits as something other than the self. They are a testing ground; the ones who would have you face the skull containing the Waters of Leviathan, or initiation. They would have you drink deeply of the Gnosis which reveals the Luciferian Mind, that which questions and is strong within it. One should not approach the Goetic spirits with fear, if the mind is clear upon the initiatory intent then this is a building point of character associated with the spirit therein. Daemonic Spirits/Djinn are the phantasms which congress and communicate with those who partake of the Infernal Sabbat, the conclave of witches and sorcerous beings of night-walking dreaming gnosis.

Daemonic (Demonic) Spirits are often Fallen Angels; those who have tasted from the golden cup of the celestial realm of Lucifer, and by falling into the infernal realms have learned the dark ways of their own sorcerous making. Such Daemonic forces are but in someways mirrors of our self, we must gain by association and invocation.This, by this Work alone, will strengthen and develop the very self of the sorcerer, the ever-changing Luciferian and Promethean Essence from which the body and mind it itself a Grand Grimoire of Shadowed Knowledge. Our soul must be inflamed as the Serpent and must work accordingly as the Devil in Flesh, the Tester of the limits and the initiator upon earth. Work always with a goal in mind and do not dabble with the Spirits of the Goetia. You have been warned.

The Four Infernal Princes are –

LUCIFER – East (from Lux Fero, Light Bearer. A common “Shadow” association is Lucifuge, latin for “fly the light” and may have close associations with Mephistopheles.Lucifer in this aspect is the Angel of Light, the Adversary. Lucifer is a title which isbeheld by the fire djinn Azazel being the first angel, fallen from the stasis of light. By thismanner, Lucifer is the liberator and developer of humanity with his gift of the Black Flame, or individualized self-perception.

LEVIATHAN – West (from LVTHN, the Crooked Serpent/Dragon of the Sea. Leviathan is the Daemon of Immortality and initiation, that the Beast and Scarlet Whoremoves through to arise from the Oceans as the Beast 666, the Solar Spirit of manifestation and creativity.)

SATAN – South (from the root SHTN, meaning Adversary. Satan is the name associated with Azazel the Fire Djinn, who is also Lucifer and Samael. The Goat with OneThousand Names by form. Satan = Set-an, the ancient Egyptian God of Darkness, Chaosand Isolation.) Satan is the Adversary, whose symbol can be viewed as a Forked Stavewhich rises in the Noon-tide Sun.

BELIAL – North (from BLIOL, a wicked one. Belial is the Spirit of the earth, created second after Lucifer/Azazel as a powerful Angel. Belial is a powerful daemonic andangelick spirit and initiator, and is associated with both the infernal and celestial.)

The Sub-Princes are (and should be considered Shadow forms of the Infernal Princes) –

SAMAEL – East (being the Angel of Fire who is Azazel. Samael is the Demon prince who is married to Lilith and father of Tubal-Cain. The root word of Samael is SML,which translates “Idol or image”.)

AZAEL – West (associated with Azrael, the Angel of Death or the Egyptian Anubis, the God of the Dead. Azael represents the West and the Realm of Twilight.)

AZAZEL – South (associated with the element Fire, as Azazel is the Fire Djinn of Islamic Sufism. In Hebrew Azazel is the Scape Goat, associated with the root OZ,meaning Goat and Devil, sexual force.)

MAHAZAEL – North (associated with Earth, being Cain or the Egyptian Set as the Lord of the Earth in Typhonian Lore. Mahazael comes from the root MHZAL, meaning toConsume and Devour and is associated with AMAIMON, a Grand Daemon.)”

– Michael W. Ford, Luciferian Goetia

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Personal Meditations on The Cosmos, Life

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I was born upon a drifting particle of iron orbiting a G-type main-sequence star. The particle is approximately twenty-five thousand light-years from the galactic center of the Milky Way. The star is located in the Orion Spur of the Milky Way galaxy, at the coordinates X:-25996 Y:+29 X:-49. The entire Milky Way is a cell forming the body of the local galactic group, which is comprised of almost fifty other galaxies. This galactic group is itself a cell within the Virgo Supercluster; over one hundred galaxy groups and clusters compact to form its roughly thirty three megaparsecs’ worth of length. It is one among sixty clusters which merge to manifest the Pisces–Cetus Supercluster Complex, a galactic filament among a hundred billion others producing the foam-like superstructure of the Observable Universe.

Beyond these parameters, light older than thirteen point seven billion years has yet to extend; aeons to come promise a universe far broader in scope than even the one I currently occupy.

I am composed of sixty five percent oxygen, eighteen percent carbon, ten percent hydrogen, three percent nitrogen, two percent calcium, one percent phosphorus, point three percent sulfur, point two percent sodium, point two percent chlorine, and point one percent magnesium – although I contain fourteen other trace elements of less than point one percent. Ninety nine percent of me is comprised of the six foremost elements; point eighty-five percent comprises the other eighteen. All are necessary for me to exist.

As early as four point four billion years ago, foreign bodies pelting my particle’s surface deposited liquid hydrogen in its atmosphere and upon its surface in proportions sufficient to pockmark its face with early oceans. From the raw materials left by the egg of earth and spermatozoa from the cosmos, I drafted the last universal ancestor – a simplistic prokaryote, lacking even a proper nucleus to house the precious DNA that would go on to code all other life.

I fermented for billions of years, enduring the constant onslaught of asteroid impacts, volcanic outbursts and an anaerobic environment until enough of me had formed to fight back. The star my particle orbits shone less brightly then; as aeons passed, temperatures cooled, and the star’s rays pierced the dense, heavy atmosphere, I learned to convert its precious light-energy into the resources I needed to survive. As a bi-product, I formed oxygen, which clung to limestone, iron, and other minerals until it was ready to oxidize above the water. Upon its release, the world reshaped. A great purge occurred. The parts of me that thrived in the time of darkness could no longer survive in the oxygen-rich environment.

My trials were not yet over. Although I went on to continue photosynthesizing, the oxygen I produced reacted with the methane in the atmosphere to form carbon monoxide, whose properties as a greenhouse gas are far less effective. My particle plummeted into a period of ice. Others would follow, delaying my flourishing until five hundred and forty two million years ago.

Then, abruptly, I exploded into being. I assumed millions of unique forms. I adopted hard shells, bones, organs, and skin. I took to the ocean and the land. I perceived the majesty and enormity of my mother Earth through billions of subjective perspectives – her wrath, her compassion, and even her cruel indifference. I knew her to nurture for some aeons, and cruelly purge in others. Whether she reclaimed my raw parts for future generations or enabled their formation into multitudes of life in the current, each becoming more complex and magnificent than the last, I never fully departed.

Now, my presence on this particle is undisputed. I am born, die, and am reborn again. I create anew from the material of the old, behold my own divinity through billions of lifetimes, and cast my ambitious gaze upon the cosmic grandeur that lay beyond this place.

I anticipate a future in which the very small interfaces with the very large, perceiving – at long last – infinity.

How Satan Expresses Satanic Values

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“Satanists are what they are because they embrace and emulate ideals that they equate with the mythological figure of Satan.  We are not humanists, hedonists, or elitists using the term ‘Satan’ as an attention-getting buzzword.  We see values that are distinctly Satanic in the reality around us, values that run counter to the ones that our society deem as correct or righteous.  For the Satanist, Satan can be a literal being or figurative symbol.  The values we emulate remain the same.

… Satan is above all, the rebel, the iconic anti-hero.  Satan is the challenger of convention and the initiator of progress.  Satan seeks evolution in all things; individuals, societies, cultures, and species.  This is why Satan is described as ‘a lion roaring in the wilderness;’ Satan is the epitome of survival of the fittest and victory through strength.  Satan is the refusal to be ruled by convention.

Strength, as mentioned, is also a substantial trait of Satan and prized by the Satanist.  This is not just physical strength, although that trait is rarely ignored.  It is strength of will, the strength to be a Satanist, to stand opposed to your detractors and nay-sayers.  It is strength of conviction, that no matter what the perks of being a member of the herd may be, you stand your ground.  It is also strength of intellect, the ability to put reason above programmed behavior and the conscious effort to be master of your behavior instead of lackadaisically falling back into old patterns.

Satan represents the individual spirit, the urge to fend for the self, serve the self, and rely on the self.  As Satan would not be subjugated to another, so it should be with the Satanist.  This individualism extends to personal responsibility; that all choices are you own, even only how you react to random events.  Allowing another to take credit for your successes or blame for your failures shows a weakness in personal character, and sets you up to be manipulated by those around you.  It is delusional to wait for someone, man or god, to save you.  Your salvation should be of your own making.

While it is these characteristics that Satan is best known for, his creative ability is often ignored.  Satan encourages the act of creation and the appreciation of the creative act.  In mythology, Satan is attributed with patronage of the arts, especially as an expression of personal ego.  In modern times, some have gone as far as suggesting Satan is at the root of our movies, music, and literature.  Satanists are well served to seek their own means of creative expression.

We have established, based on the mythology about Satan, that Satan is anti-authoritarian, rational, intellectual, resolute, strong, and individualist, and a source of inspiration.  With this in mind, it is natural to ask if Satanists consider Satan to be a reality, or merely a symbol.  This question, however, assumes that Satanists define deity in the same manner as their counter-parts in mainstream religion.  Most Satanists do not consider deity to be a being separate from the reality around us, but rather that reality itself.  They reason that all gods were once aspects of the natural world, and it was only a matter of ego that caused humanity to project human characteristics on these forces.  Satanists also acknowledge that the creation of deity is the attempt to quantify the indefinable nature of the universe.  Deity, therefore, is a symbolic, but is a symbolism that affects the psychology of the individual so profoundly that it changes that individual’s perception of reality.

Satan is the way the Satanist defines reality and is experienced through the self.  Reality is a matter of perception, thus Satan is defined by the Satanists.  Spiritualists will suggest this phenomenon as Satan expressing himself in the manner best suited to the individual, and symbolists will suggest this is simple psychology.  Thus Satan is as real as the individual experiencing it.  The only real mistakes that can be made in defining Satanism for the self is in allowing old perceptions define Satan for you or in assuming that your definition is the one, true definition of Satan.  As long as the Satanist emulate the traits suggested in the mythology and can rationalize why they are Satanists, it is impossible to deny their convictions, whether they believe in Satan as a real being or a symbol.”

– Lianna Satanas Diabolique, Devil’s Bible

What Motivates Witch Hunts?

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“Social scientists agree that witch-hunting movements develop during, and are themselves indicative of, intolerable social stress. The formulation of general theories with predictive capability is, however, probably impossible because of uncountable sociocultural variables – but also, as all agree, because of problems in the definition and measurement of ‘stress.’ The processes of such movements, however, and their impacts on society, are striking similar to those in revitalization movements and can be analyzed using similar processual models.

In historical perspective, it is evident that witch hunts and revitalization movements in small-scale societies are both products of and agents of social change, responding to stress and instituting a new order. It has been suggested, too, that they are a form of periodic social regulator. The most dramatic of revitalization movements, such as the Melanesian cargo cults, the Ghost Dance religions of the Plains in the late nineteenth century, and Africa witch-purging movements, are most neatly described as reactions to stressful colonial experiences. But there must exist some critical factors in societies that enact revitalization that enable such movements to develop; stress of similar intensity is surely experienced in the great majority of oppressed movements who do not instigate such movements. Indeed, some research has shown that earlier forms of some revitalization movements occurred at periodic intervals before foreign contact. Seligmann (1910), Williams (1923), and Lanternari (1963) have shown this for prototypes of cargo cults, through analysis of oral traditions. Bohannan (1958) has shown that witch hunts occurred well before the European presence among the Tiv of central Nigeria. And witch hunts have occurred fairly regularly throughout Western history. Dorothy Rabinowitz suggests that ‘an orgy of self-cleansing’ occurs in American society ‘every fifty years or so.’

Historians and social scientists have written much on the sociology of such movements. And psychological interpretations have been brought to bear: what is really going on in a witch hunt? What deep psychic needs are being satisfied in actions motivated by bigotry, by prejudice and against people of different race, religion, culture of life-style, by what are today called ‘hate-crimes?’ Evolutionary anthropology has suggested that cultural intolerance may have evolved as an adaptive defensive/survival mechanism. The ‘we-they’ attitudes evident among so many neighboring societies, expressed in translations of societies’ names for themselves as ‘people’ or ‘human beings,’ and their names for others as something else, are cultural manifestations of such adaptively advantageous attitudes. Displacement of frustration in the form of aggression against those others is a natural result. It has been suggested that scapegoating behavior is a human universal; with the discovery of similar behavior among privates, primatological bases for this type of behavior were suggested.”

– James T. Richardson, Joel Best, David G. Bromley, The Satanism Scare

Ouija Boards, Exorcism, and Satanism

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“Almost since its invention in the late nineteenth century, the Ouija board has been associated with the threat of demon possession. Both experiences – the ouija ritual and deliverance – share a common structure and share so many elements that they must rely on a similar experiential mechanism. In both, the personality or personalities of those present appear to be overshadowed by alternate ‘selves,’ which often have horrifying stories to tell. This is not the say that the Ouija ritual and deliverance [from demon possession] are identical or equally significant; or that they always have the same form or origin; or that either is intrinsically good or evil.

… Further, we find that during the decade before the first ritual abuse narratives were elicited, a number of psychologists were experimenting with exorcism as a therapeutic technique for disturbed patients. The results of these experiments produced ‘memories’ that were as detailed and as compelling as the first SRA [Satanic Ritual Abuse] stories. Although the therapists found these memories often misleading and ultimately fictitious, their work provided an important link between the folk world of the Ouija, the theological world of the exorcism, and the secular world of satanic cult-hunting.

… Practically since its invention a century ago, mainstream Christian religions, including Catholicism, have warned against using Ouija boards, claiming that they are a means of dabbling with Satanism. Occultists, interestingly, are divided on the Ouija board’s value. Jane Roberts (1966) and Gina Covina (1979) express confidence that it is a device for positive transformation and they provide detailed instructions on how to use it to contact spirits and map the other world. But some occultists have echoed Christian warnings, cautioning inexperienced persons away from it. On the other hand, most adolescents consider the Ouija board as a party game, and most accounts describe nothing more than playful speculation about boyfriends and future events. Yet enough personal experience stories circulate that seem to validate the fears of adults: some teens do admit that evil spirits and even Satan himself take over the board. In fact, according to some such descriptions, adolescents deliberately invite demons to communicate through the Ouija board. Such contacts are followed by messages that threaten death, injury, and demonic possession, and the contact is capped by some physical manifestation that proves the demon’s power.

… Even seemingly benign and truthful messages must be diabolical in nature, Pedigo [Fundamentalist Jess Pedigo] adds, since “if there are only two sources of power who can reveal these hidden secrets and if God is not the power that moves … the planchette, it must, of necessity, be Satan.’

… A representative sample gathered from the traditions of teenagers in folklore archives in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania at first seems to confirm with evil image of the Ouija board. Violent, foul-speaking spirits frequently manifest, threatening to possess or harm the participants. And while some accounts describe trivial fortune-telling questions, some include the elements of sadistic sexual harassment. Nevertheless, it is also clear that they fit into a structured pattern. However improvised the ritual or board session may be, common narrative elements recur that fit it into a set of expectations. If ‘demons’ manifest, their presence is neither surprising nor uncontrollable. The following narrative seems to underlie the adolescent ‘success stories’ consulted:

1. The user invokes a spirit.
2. They then name the spirit and determine its background.
3. Participants test the spirit by asking it questions with known or knowable answers.
4. The messages take on a character of a dialogue between ‘spirit’ and the users, in which the ‘spirit’s’ contribution is less and less predictable.
5. The users confront the spirit, challenging its statements and demanding a sign of its reality.
6. The users terminate contact.

… Once ‘contact’ has been made, users often begin, like exorcists, by asking for a name. One informant said that as soon as a spirit was contacted, they would ask if it was male or female, what it preferred to be called, when it had been alive, how old it was when it died, and similar questions about its past life. The answers determined what course the Ouija board session took. This process may be extended in follow-up questions that generate a history of the spirit’s past life. The archival accounts show that personalities tend to fall into one of two broad categories. One commonly found type of spirit, normally a ‘good’ one, is that of a small child or woman who has died in an accident. In many other cases, however, such ‘good’ spirits alternate with self-consciously evil ones. In addition to Satan and ‘the Devil’ himself, teens described contacting spirits who identified themselves as ‘Evil,’ ‘Legion,’ and ‘Mark a.k.a. Lucifer.’ In general, an ‘evil’ spirit signaled its presence by moving the indicator ‘the wrong way,’ or counterclockwise, or in ‘the Satan way … like a snake slither[ing]across the board.’ Obscene language also suggested evil spirits, as did refusing to spell out words like ‘God’ or ‘cross,’ except in unusual ways. One account that includes several of these elements came from an Ohio youngster:

‘Well, we kept saying that we wanted to talk to Satan ’cause everybody kept say, all the spirits kept saying that was who the power really came from. And we kept pushing for it. And the messengers kept saying, ‘Ya — you know you’re really going to be in trouble if you do. You’re really going to make him mad.’

So, finally, it like stopped, then it started, it, it moved in a snake [“S” movements with the hands], in a writhing kind of thing. And it went around the board writhing like that. And then it, it kept circling the ‘S’. And we asked who it was and finally it would say ‘Satan.’

And it wouldn’t spell, couldn’t spell ‘God.’ It would spell ‘G,’ then it would go to the alphabet to spell ‘G.’ But then it would go to the word ‘Good-bye’ to pick out the ‘o’ and then it would come back to the alphabet to get ‘D.’ It couldn’t use the letters out of the alphabet to spell ‘God’ or ‘cross’ or anything like that.’

… We could see the participants as double insulated from the ‘spirit’ messages by the Ouija ritual. First, since two persons normally move the indicator, it is impossible to say for certain which one might have consciously spelled out the words. Second, a successful ‘test’ and particularly an impressive sign both ‘prove’ that a supernatural entity outside of the two users is responsible for the communications.

… Overall, anti-occult crusaders and serious occultists see the device as a means of opening up a sustained and permanent link with the other world, for good or ill; but adolescents see it as part of a transient state to be approached, touched, then abandoned. The ‘fun’ of activities like these rely on participants’ faith that the trip they are taking through an alternate world that they have created has a secure starting point and a safe means of conclusion.”

– Bill Ellis, Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions, and the Media