Taking ownership of Satanism

Satanic statue

Satanic Temple is successfully taking ownership of Satanism from Christianity and Hollywood.

Satan first is mentioned in the Book of Job, used by the Jew to describe an angel of their god who acts in the role of quality controller, testing the people of Israel through adversarial hardships such as famine, disease and invasion.

When the Christian religion came into existence, they used Satan, Satanic, and Satanists to mean anything that was contrary to their religion, thus a Jew, Muslim, Cathar, Pagan or Scientist could be dumped in the same bucket as a follower of Satan.  Satanism never existed until Christianity invented it, and there was no movement that identified itself as Satanists until the 1880’s.

From around the 1740’s Satanism became associated with an extreme form of hedonism by wealthy individuals in the Hellfire movement.  In the 1880’s Satanism as a movement came to media attention after lurid stories appeared about black masses involving upside-down crosses, stolen consecration wafers, sexual orgies, and reversed versions of the Christian masses in several locations in France.

For about another hundred years Satanism was pursued by small groups of people pursuing a similar form of Satanism as that in France in the 1880’s.  In the 1960’s Anton Lavey decided to create an atheistic version of Satanism and defined his interpretation of Satanism in the Satanic Bible and other publications, forming the Church of Satan.  Arguments within the Church of Satan saw several further groups emerge such as Temple of Set under Dr Michael Aquino.

The centralistic and militant form of atheism expressed by Church of Satan including Social Darwinism caused Satanists to form alternative versions of Satanism, the most successful being Satanic Temple in 2014.

It has only been since the 1960’s that Satanists have collectively taken ownership of Satanism away from Christianity and Hollywood, forming their own definitions of what it means to be a Satanist, and self-identifying as Satanists.  Regardless of if the Satanist follows a spiritual or a rational version of Satanism, all agree that the path embraces the primacy of the will and choice of self over group conformity, and a love of life.

Modern Satanists separate themselves from those that either promote or pursue Christian or Hollywood definitions of Satanism of harming people and animals by referring to them as Reverse Christians.  Since the era of Book of Job, the idea of Satan and Satanism has been an evolving process, and it is only in the last 60 years that Satanism has been clearly defined into a positive version contrary to that of Hollywood and Christianity.

There is currently an epic fight going on between Satanists such as Satanic Temple and those such as Christians over the ownership and definitions of what it means to be a Satanist, a battle that is being won thanks to modern Satanists taking an active role in defining their Satanism rather than allowing outsiders to define it for them.

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21 thoughts on “Taking ownership of Satanism

  1. May I direct your attention to various texts by the ONA – such as the The Geryne of Satan – where a quite different and scholarly version of the etymology of Satan and Satanism is given.

    In this version, ‘Satan’ is and was someone opposed to those who considered themselves as “chosen” by their monotheistic god. That is, an opponent of the Jews.

    Now if you or any Levey-inspired modern satanist have any scholarly comments to make about that “Geryne of Satan” text they would be most welcome.

  2. “Regardless of if the Satanist follows a spiritual or a rational version of Satanism, all agree that the path embraces the primacy of the will and choice of self over group conformity, and a love of life.” And the very same characteristics could be attributed to Christianity. Or don’t you know that? Regurgitating bits of Aquino-flavored pudding, and presenting it as history, is putting the Will in neutral and conforming to the doctrines of someone else’s religion. A religion, incidentally, with a focus on life after death and having a rich fantasy “life”. Whatever blows your dress up, I guess, but that’s not Satanism to me.

    • Kori, I disagree. Christianity is obsessed with death, fear, guilt, suffering and hate. Christianity demands the sacrifice of will and choice to that of the group, their god, their priests, church and bible. Satanism embraces all the oppositie of these things.

      • I think you are confusing the behavior of individual Christians, or restrictive added-on doctrines of some sects, with essential Christianity — which is actually a child of Paganism as much as Judaism.

        The concern with (life after) death was borrowed from pagan mystery cults in late antiquity. Personally I’ve known many professed Christians who are not haters, and not focused on guilt or suffering. Christian scholars have devoted tons of published text to the nature and use of Free Will. It’s a mistake to dismiss Christians as a gang of zomboids bleating “Amen” in unison to everything about contemporary culture we oppose as ignorantly repressive.

        The non-stop “org wars” among Satanists are of the same nature as sectarian squabbles among Christians. The LHP is infested by sheep in wolves’ clothing. The Satanist groups which are religions require that members subordinate their wills and limit the scope of their words and actions to conform to the doctrines of the group. It’s no more (and no less!) of a sacrifice than conforming to the requirements of a Christian sect.

        I think the Geryne of Satan text (mentioned in a comment above) is a more interesting peek at the roots of traditional Satanism, without all the New Age, slightly dark, Christian copy-catting.

      • Kori, whilst I do not wish to get drawn into a mire of the challenges and influences in Christianity, I will say that there is obviously many individuals in that religion that manifest their beliefs in positive and benefial ways, but also too many who do the reverse.

        As far as Satanism is concerned, it has always been about the manifestation of the individual will and choice over group-think, and the celebration of life rather than death, hence the love of some of its adherents to hedonistic practices such as wild partying.

        Because Satanists are all individuals, there is going to be more argumant and disagreement in Satanism than most other religions who are mostly conformist in nature.

        Satanists are encouraged of course to explore their religion by looking at different sources, however, anything produced by ONA needs to be viewed with an air of skepticism as firstly they are not Satanists, secondly they produce a lot of bullshit that tends to contradict other material they put out so nobody knows what is authentic in their material.

      • Another thing I will add, the Satanism manifested by Satanic Temple, Church of Rational Satanism and others, all embrace the whole human being and puts intellectual theory into experiential practice. The human is empathic just as they can become cruel, and life is about action rather than intellectual masturbation.

  3. @satanicviews wrote: {quote} nobody knows what is authentic in ONA material {/quote}

    Some – admittedly only a few over the decades – do work out and have worked out what is “authentic” and what is not. Which is exactly the point of putting out apparently contradictory material. Now, your “Satan” may not be sly, mischievous, testing, japing, and difficult, but the “Satan” of the ONA certainly is all those things, and more.

    • @ WyrdSister.
      Why bother marketing to Satanists about ONA if you are interested only in mindgames and semantic bullshit? If you desired to be taken seriously worthy of study, being authentic is a start.

      • @satanicviews wrote: {quote} if you are interested only in mindgames and semantic bullshit {/quote}

        You et al may call “contradictory material” mindgames and semantic bullshit, but the ONA term such things part of the “sinister game” they play with potential initiates. After all, if their “Satan” is indeed sly, mischievous, testing, japing, and difficult, then why wouldn’t they be sly, mischievous, testing, japing, and difficult in respect of potential initiates?

        Just because your “Satan” may be honest – and not sly and not mischievous – does not mean that the ONA have to accept such a “Satan”.

        @satanicviews wrote: {quote} If you desired to be taken seriously worthy of study… {/quote}

        The reality is that few if any self-described modern ‘satanists’ – inspired as most of them are and have been by Howard Levey and his Ayn Rand with trappings ‘satanism’ – have ever seriously studied ONA texts such as the “Aρρενόθηλυς: Alchemical And Hermetic Antecedents Of The Seven Fold Way” text, or ONA ontology. For if they had, they would have made some scholarly – or at the very least, rational – comments on such things as Keynes MS 27 in the library of King’s College, Cambridge, or on Sloane MS 3189 in another library, or on the use by Iamblichus of the term μητρίζω, or on what ἐπίβουλος has to do with the Satan of LXX, and so on, etcetera.

        All the self-described modern ‘satanists’ have done for over thirty years is to propagandistically declaim that the “ONA isn’t worthy of serious study.”

    • Check out the Wikipedia page about the “Order of Nine Angles” which provides a reasonable non-partisan overview of the ONA based on the Wikipedia criteria of “verifiable sources.”

      While both Levey-inspired (ONA hating) ‘satanists’ and ONA supporters will find much to disagree with in that article, it’s a reasonable place to start, especially if you follow up the “verifiable sources” in the article.

  4. Thanks for the great article.
    I’m a member of TST myself.

    I already shared it on twitter and facebook.
    Will be looking forward to your future posts.
    I wish more people would read this instead of following dogma.

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