Images of The Dark LordPosted: October 10, 2012
I am sometimes frustrated by the way that Satan is portrayed in art and imagery. Most of the images available are nothing more than grotesque caricatures based on Christian fears and fantasies or Hollywood archetypes of evil. Of course, there is a place for these; part of Satanism or any Left Hand Path involves confronting ideas and images of things regarded as evil or taboo and re-evaluating them. At a deeper level it means coming to terms with darker aspects of ourselves and rather than denying or repressing those aspects, integrating them in a positive and useful way. For this reason many of the images Satanists use in magic and ritual can seem quite shocking and disturbing to those of other faiths. Perhaps I will write another post about Satanic imagery in general, but for now I want to look at how Satan himself is portrayed.
As will be clear to anybody who has read this blog more than once, my own Satanic beliefs are very eclectic. I could equally well call myself a Luciferian or maybe even still a Pagan. Thus I see Satan in many ways and forms.
From a pagan perspective the favourite image of the Horned God I have come across is this statue of ‘Cernunnos’ by Pagan Artist, Neil Sims. It speaks not of evil but of the raw power and beauty of nature and of masculinity.
From a Luciferian point of view there are several renditions in art that I quite like. Unlike Satan,Lucifer as bringer of light and wisdom is usually portrayed as a beautiful angel. Of course many artistic renditions are painted from a Christian perspective so although Lucifer is beautiful he is often shown in a negative way, as a fallen angel,sad or dejected. There are some biblical references to the fact that Lucifer was also a God of Music, something which obviously resonates with me. I found the following image on a Christian site and unfortunately I could not find a reference to the artist.
I quite like the following image too although again I am unsure of the artist.
For me any image of Lucifer should emphasise power, knowledge, wisdom and grace. I think there is always an element of pride or vanity there too.
As for images under the name Satan there seem to be very few that are not two dimensional representations of horror or evil so if any artists are reading this I challenge you to produce something more Godly and less based on fear and prejudice. Having said that, there are a few that I like anyway. I have always been a fan of the dark art of H R Gieger. The following rendition of Baphomet is one of my favorites.
I do think imagery is important. Symbols can be fine in their own right, indeed they can convey deep meaning and used magically can have great power. Figurative art extends that symbolism and makes things more personal. Perhaps that is unnecessary for some Satanists, but eclectic though I may be, I am theistic and I like to have pictorial references in my mind if only for psychological reasons. Anton LaVey may have had many faults but he certainly understood the power of drama and imagery in ritual and belief. That is why I find the lack of variation and depth in images of Satan unsatisfactory. Perhaps a combination of the images I have included above convey something of how I visualize the Dark Lord but I would like to find something more rounded and comprehensive. My God is deep and complicated and certainly not actually anything similar to human in form. My God is also of course an aspect of myself. I guess depicting something like that is an artistic challenge. Hopefully there are some artists out there who like a challenge!