Father Satan?Posted: March 15, 2014
Quite a lot of Satanists, particularly theistic ones like myself, frequently refer to Satan in parental terms as Father. I can understand this and in certain situations and some rituals I do so myself. However, I think it is often limiting and sometimes faintly ridiculous. The notion of Father Satan can easily seem as childish as the notion of Father Christmas.
I think there is a danger with any deity in any religion of limiting that deity to base human forms. The result quite often is the creation of a limited and fundamentalist mind-set. To me Satan is indeed a real entity, but one which goes beyond the bounds of purely humanistic definitions. He can indeed be a father figure, but he is not limited to that.
Let’s consider some reasons why it may sometimes be inappropriate to think of Satan purely as a Father figure. For many people the idea of a father is of a caring, nurturing guide and mentor. I am quite happy to think of Satan in this way. However to others a father maybe a distant, cruel or even abusive figure and to many the idea of a father lies somewhere between those two polarities. Moreover since we are psychologically complicated people our thoughts and feelings towards our father can be confused and sometimes unhealthy. There are more than a few people whose desire to “please” their father leaves them open to all sorts of abuse and exploitation both from their actual father and other male authority figures. So thinking of Satan exclusively as a father can mean very different things to different people; and could lead some to relate to Satan inappropriately.
And what about a Mother Figure? As a very pagan satanist it is very important to me (and I am sure to many others) to recognise the divine female in all her forms. A purely male, fatherly God will always be lacking fifty per cent of human experience and understanding. I don’t believe Satan does lack that; but this of course implies that Satan has strong feminine aspects and cannot be confined to being a father. Nor can Satan be confined to being a mother. As a deity… As a force of nature it seems clear to me that Satan cannot and should not be limited or confined by human terms and stereotypes.
And yet I must confess that when I first became a Satanist, the feel of his character, the archetypes and images I associated with him and the very taste of his energy were indeed very male. I did and in some ways still do think of him as a Father figure to some degree. I think that was because that was what I needed at the time. The concept of Father Satan is perhaps the entry point for those of us who take the theistic route. But Satanism is very much about progression and it is very important for us to progress and not get stuck with or addicted to the over simplistic concepts which opened the door for us.
It seems to me that if Satan is to be respected as a Deity at all it is important to embrace our deity’s breadth and complexities. It is here that we meet the feminine as well as the masculine and it is here that we realise our language and our stereotypes can not do justice to something which in essence is in advance of us. We can aspire to become equal with Satan, we can embrace and acknowledge Satan as our own true nature and respect our own divinity, but we should also be realistic about our place on the learning curve. Our potential is limitless, but that doesn’t mean we have reached it yet. Satan as Father and Mother and much else besides, represents all we still have to learn in rejecting orthodoxies and our quest to become true masters of our own destinies.
Thus in some contexts I do still think of Satan as a spiritual father figure. In the sense that a child inherits some of her parent’s DNA, I believe as Satanists we inherit some of Satan’s characteristics. This also implies that we become as family with other Satanists even if we don’t agree with them all the time. Satan is our mentor and guide, our inspiration, protector and head of our family. In various rituals I keep these fatherly archetypes in mind. But I also believe Satan is far more besides those concepts.
The image of The Baphomet has become my favourite depiction of Satan and satanic principles. The history of The Baphomet is long and complicated and not limited to purely Satanic traditions but as a shorthand archetype that is obviously androgynous and which is actively male and female I find this the most comprehensive image of Satan to focus on.
Satan is as female as s/he is male. Moreover personally I have found that to fully embrace Satanism means to work with the whole spectrum/pantheon of demons associated with Satan and here you find all aspects of human and non human experience represented; male and female, light and dark and many things which are impossible to categorise.
So yes, Satan can be thought of as Father but should not be limited by that definition. The real beauty and depth of Satanism is beyond simplistic definitions.