The Satanic WitchPosted: October 12, 2013
This is not a review of the famous (or infamous) book of that title by Anton LaVey, although I do recommend the said tome as one of his most perceptive works. No, this is simply a post about what it means to be a Satanic Witch; or a witch who is a Satanist. Not all Satanists practice witchcraft (although I would imagine that many of us do to some extent) and clearly not all witches are Satanists. So let’s start with terms…
There are many definitions of what a witch is (look them up) but I will give my own. A witch is a person who uses their knowledge of things natural and supernatural to manipulate the universe according to their will. It sounds a bit pretentious but does I think sum it up quite neatly. Thus witchcraft can include everything from knowing how to use herbs to poison or cure people, to invoking Gods, Demons or any other supernatural entities in order to achieve specific results. In between all that, most witches have an understanding of how the flow of the seasons, the connections and correspondences between different elements and the positions of the stars and the moon may help or hinder particular objectives. Most witches also learn and practice techniques to build, harness and direct energy to realise specific aims. To all of these things which can sound a bit other worldly to those who are sceptical about the workings and efficiency of witchcraft, I would add that witchcraft is also very much about the strengthening of will-power and the practical application of psychology.
There may be some who state that they simply don’t believe in witchcraft, but my suspicion would be those people would be the ones who fear it the most. For those of us who practice the craft of the witch it is the fact that it always works that keeps us hooked. When you first try something magical and then see that it actually works the effect is sometimes scary and sometimes intoxicating. Yes, you soon learn that magic spells always work. However, you also learn that the spells don’t always work in quite the way you expected. There can indeed be collateral damage. Having power certainly does mean one has extra responsibility. While there are different traditions, methods and styles of witchcraft, types of witches are perhaps more defined by their moral stance.
I was a witch long before I identified as a Satanist. I’ll admit I was part of the generation that was inspired by Buffy, Charmed and the plethora of films, books and TV series that rehabilitated and popularised witchcraft in the nineties and noughties. I started practising in my mid to late teens firstly on my own and then as a member of a Gardnerian Wiccan coven. I didn’t leave the coven for any ideological reason but simply because I was travelling too often to be a reliable member of the coven. However, once on my own again I began to incorporate ideas from other groups and traditions into my witchcraft and I began to re-evaluate some of the symbols, traditions and morals of Wiccan witchcraft.
While witchcraft enjoyed an increase in popularity from the mid twentieth century onwards and a veritable surge of enthusiasm at the turn of this century, witches are still to some degree reacting against a time when witchcraft was illegal and seen as being evil. Therefore many traditions which embrace witchcraft go to great pains to point out that they are nice and good and do no harm; and that the Horned God many of them honour has no relation to the devil whatsoever. Hence you get terms like White Witches who only do good and Dark or Black witches who it is assumed only do bad. To me these definitions are nonsense.
Witchcraft is knowledge. Knowledge is a tool. A tool is not good or evil in itself; it is all about how it is used. Some witches try to follow a simple moral code of “Harm None”. This is done largely to underline their intention to use their knowledge for good, healing and helpful reasons only and to repudiate other people’s fears and suspicions. It is understandable but in my opinion often impractical and a little bit misleading. (I have known Wiccans and others who claim to harm none to curse and practice quite aggressive and harmful witchcraft when it suits them while still claiming to be all white and good).
As a Satanist, I make no such promise in my witchcraft. Why should I limit my powers as a witch in ways I wouldn’t limit other aspects of my person? If somebody is aggressive to me in other aspects of my life I reserve the possibility to be aggressive right back at them if it seems like a sensible or worthwhile course of action. I acknowledge that if I can cure, I can also poison; to claim anything else would be being very liberal with the truth. However, in reality I am actually a quite nice person who certainly prefers not to hurt anybody if I can help it. There are very few scenarios I can think of where I would actually curse somebody or use magic to do them harm; but I am not going to be dishonest and say that I never could or never would.
As a Satanic witch I am governed by my own will and my own morals which are broadly in line with the basic tenants of the Left Hand Path and LaVeyan Satanism. Moreover, I don’t claim that the Horned God whom I honour and sometimes invoke in magical workings is anyone other than the often despised adversary of the Abrahamic religions; Satan. (Although clearly I don’t believe Satan to be the evil character his enemies portray him as).
The Satanic witch can be male or female. It is a person who studies and uses witchcraft and whose philosophical standpoint is based in Satanism. Satanists are fiercely individual. Therefore while most of us have our personal moral codes which limit our likelihood to do anybody any harm, there may well be some Satanic witches who could be dangerous and harmful. That is a scary thought. The truth however is that ANY witch could do harm, just as any person in the street might potentially be a mugger or a murderer. Thus Satanic witches are no more dangerous to society than any other human being, and in fact most of us use our knowledge to do good for ourselves and others.