Theistic Satanism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Theistic Satanism, also known as Traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism and originally just Satanism, is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force worthy of reverence or worship.

Possible history of Theistic Satanism

The worship of Satan was a frequent charge against those charged in the Witch trials in Early Modern Europe, or other witch-hunts such as the Salem witch trials. Worship of Satan was claimed to take place at the witches' sabbat. The charge of Satan worship has also been made against groups or individuals regarded with suspicion, such as the Knights Templar, or minority religions. It is unknown how much accusations of groups worshiping Satan in the time of the witch trials were accurate, and how much they were a result of religious superstition or mass hysteria, or charges made against individuals suffering from mental illness. Confessions are unreliable, as they were obtained under torture. Individuals involved in the poison affair were accused of Satanism and witchcraft, and Eustache Dauger, one of those involved, openly claimed to practice the black mass, though his reason for making such claims is unknown.

Some members of Ordo Flammeus Serpens (OFS), a group that venerates demons, say that they were trained by a traditional family sect, or are generational demonolators whose religion has been passed down through the family. Claims such as these are unproven. Tani Jantsang of "Satanic Reds" refers to herself as a generational Satanist, but what she means by that is that her family would have been labelled Satanic by Christianity, although they are in fact "non-Islamic Turko-Tatar". Theistic Satanists are inspired by incidences they see as evidence of previous followers of their faith. The concept of "Satan" may incorporate elements from older religions than Judaism. Ha-satan is the role of one of God's court, whose duties include testing the faith of humanity; the concept may be derived from a judicial function in Israeli court, similar to a prosecuting attorney. The Jewish Encyclopedia says that parts of the Old Testament where Satan is seen to act independently of God may have been influenced by Zoroastrianism. Anne Rice, while not a Satanist herself, equates Satan with Ahriman, the destructive spirit in Zoroastrianism, as does Nikolas Schreck. The Joy of Satan, an anti-Semitic group, believe Satan to be the Sumerian god Enki and believe that all the gods previously worshipped by man are actually extra-terrestrials who communicate with human beings via telepathy. However, most other Satanists, including Diane Vera, do not believe this to be the case, and do not agree with the Joy of Satan's neo-Nazi views. The Joy of Satan believes the Al-Jilwah of the Yezidi to be the words of Satan and considers Melek Taus to be Satan, however this may be based on Muslim prejudices about the Yezidi which Anton LaVey assumed were true, and are not a reflection of what the Yezidi believe. Historically, accusing someone of Satanism was a pejorative term for those with opinions that differed from predominant religious or moral beliefs. Paul Tuitean believes the idea of acts of "reverse Christianity" was created by the Inquisition, but George Battaille believes that inversions of Christian rituals such as the Mass may have existed prior to the descriptions of them which were obtained through the witchcraft trials.

Although John Milton was unlikely to have been a Theistic Satanist, his epic poem Paradise Lost, is an inspiration for Satanism to the extent that William Blake said of Milton "[he is] a true Poet, and of the Devil's party without knowing it." As well as being the inspiration for the Satanic School of literature Milton, Dante, Marlowe, and Goethe, are said by Nikolas Schreck to be the foundation of the modern concept of Satan. He argues that these authors had "access to the Luciferian vision" and a "diabolical consciousness" that flourished due to their separation from the common man, "a radical disruption from the norm that allowed the effulgence of the black light to illuminate their work."

In the 18th century various kinds of popular "Satanic" literature began to be produced in France, including some well-known grimoires with instructions for making a pact with the devil. The Marquis de Sade describes defiling crucifixes and other holy objects, and in Justine gives a fictional account of the Black Mass although Ronald Hayman has said Sade's need for blasphemy was an emotional reaction and rebellion from which Sade moved on, seeking to develop a more reasoned atheistic philosophy. In the 19th century, Eliphas Levi published his French books of the occult, and in 1855 produced his well-known drawing of the Baphomet which continues to be used by some Satanists today (for example the sigil of Baphomet). Finally, in 1891, Joris-Karl Huysmans published his Satanic novel, Là-Bas, which included a detailed description of a Black Mass which he may have known first-hand was being performed in Paris at the time. , or the account may have been based on the masses carried out by Étienne Guibourg, rather than by Huysmans attending himself. Quotations from Huysmans' Black Mass are also used in some Satanic rituals to this day since it is one of the few sources that purports to describe the words used in a Black Mass. The type of Satanism described in Là-Bas suggests that prayers are said to the Devil, hosts are stolen from the Catholic Church, and sexual acts are combined with Roman Catholic altar objects and rituals, to produce a variety of Satanism which exalts the Devil and degrades the God of Christianity by inverting Roman Catholic rites. George Battaille claims that Huyman's description of the Black Mass is "indisputably authentic". Not all Theistic Satanists today routinely perform the Black Mass. If the mass seems to have been abandoned in Protestant countries, this may be because the mass is not a part of modern evangelical Christianity and so not such an unintentional influence on Satanist practices in those countries. If rites of blasphemy such as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit are used at all they are often solely for beginners in Satanism to help them break away from any past Christian indoctrination or restrictive internalization of society's expectations for behaviour.

Michael Aquino published a rare 1970 text of a Church of Satan black mass, the Missa Solemnis, in his book The Church of Satan and Anton LaVey included a different Church of Satan black mass, the Messe Noire, in his 1972 book The Satanic Rituals. LaVey's work on Satanism, which began in the 1960s, had a great influence on popularising Satanism and making people aware of the possibility of being a Satanist. While his theology is not that of Theistic Satanism as his followers such as the Church of Satan do not worship Satan, his books and his philosophy are an inspiration to some Theistic Satanists. For a long time, his books were the few available which advertised themselves as being Satanic, although others were influential to occultists of the day and detailed the history of witchcraft and Satanism, such as The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish published in 1967, as well as the classic French work Satanism and Witchcraft, by Jules Michelet. Anton LaVey specifically denounced "devil worshippers" and the idea of praying to Satan.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Theistic Satanism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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