Hell and the afterlifePosted: May 25, 2013
In common usage, and divorced as much as possible from any religious connotations, most people probably think of heaven as paradise and hell as continual torment. Paradise might be a beautiful beach, a peaceful forest, a shining city in the clouds or just a state of mind. Hell might be fire and brimstone, it might be pain and suffering, it might be loneliness and isolation. In all these ways, heaven and hell are entirely subjective.
When I was younger and long before I had formally adopted Satanism as my personal philosophy, I used to joke that I would much rather go to hell than to heaven because all the people I liked the most would probably be there anyway and I’d rather spend an eternity in fornication than praising the ego of an entity that wants nothing more than servitude and adoration. With hindsight that was not a joke. It is what I believe and desire. The Christianised idea of Hell is so ingrained in western society that it is very hard to see or even hear the word Hell from another perspective. I have heard some Christians say Heaven is being in the presence of God, while hell is separation from God.
I partly agree. And therefore strongly desire to go to hell when I die. To put it another way; I want my separation from the Christian God to be as total and complete in the next life as it is in this life. Moreover I want to be in the company of like minded souls and continue to feel the presence and power of Satan in whatever form my existence takes. As Satanists we dispute pretty much the whole world view of Christianity including it’s depiction of hell; and we reclaim the word giving it our own meaning. Hell therefore becomes our paradise, our spiritual home.
But really what is hell? Do all Satanists believe in it? Is it really where all Satanists will go?
My first comment may by now be quite predictable to regular readers; not all Satanists believe the same! A lot of Satanists are not only atheists but also quite scathing of the idea of any kind of supernatural phenomenon. A lot of them will believe that this life is all there is and that any talk of reward, punishment or progression beyond this life is nonsense. At the other extreme there are Satanists who believe Satan is a very real deity that exists and that they will live together with him, his demons and other Satanic souls in the spiritual realm of Hell for eternity. My own beliefs are somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.
I have always believed in reincarnation. I believe we have souls which contain our “essence” and that our souls are indeed immortal. I think that living in human (and perhaps other) bodies allows our souls to grow and learn from various experiences that are not possible in the spiritual realms. I fully admit these ideas owe a lot to Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and a whole mish-mash of New Age ideas; but they make sense and seem logical to me. Perhaps that is because the notion of learning and progression are also key concepts for me…
However, I do believe there is likely to be a stop-over point between lives; to re-charge, re-evaluate and internalise the lessons that each life teaches. I do not “know” but I think it is quite possible that during this stage we are surrounded by the souls of people and other entities or energies we are close to. Whether we call this place The Shadowlands, Nirvana, purgatory, heaven or hell depends on our perspective and our beliefs. I think we probably all experience a place that we feel comfortable in. The Christian “Heaven” would be an awful place for me. But my “sanctuary” might indeed be a depressing and terrifying place for any Christians or Muslims that stumbled in there.
There is really no proof for any of the above conjecturers; I am just one of eight billion people trying to imagine what might happen to us when we die.
Hell however from a modern satanic perspective is a little bit more concrete. Hell is separation from the Christian world view; hell is autonomy and independence, hell is basking in the power and wisdom of Satan and/or satanic energy. Hell is where our souls meet and find acceptance. Hell is where we continue to grow, learn and develop. Hell may be where we rest when we die;
but it is also our permanent spiritual home. It is our sanctuary and our idea of paradise.