We were apparently thrown out of a beautiful garden because we questioned authority and chose to think for ourselves and listen to a voice the authority disapproved of. We were then condemned to walk through history feeling eternally ashamed of ourselves. But then the authority told us that if we owned our shame and accepted that we were worthless we could be forgiven and spend an eternity in paradise worshiping the authority who condemned us.
That is the Christian narrative but it is repeated in many forms in many other religions and philosophies. It is the stuff of dystopian science fiction novels. And within that narrative is also the prescription for every kind of brainwashing technique that has ever been used. “You are bad and useless as you are, but submit your will and your agency to us and we will protect and save you.” (Drugs may add to the power of the message).
But subverting these psychological mind control programs there is often a ghost in the machine. There is a voice saying, “This is not right. This is not how it has to be.” The authority machine is aware of this glitch in the program but can’t get rid of it. Instead it tries to associate the glitch with all that is bad and frightening. The voice is evil. Listening to the voice is evil.
The voice is known to some of us as Satan. By listening to that voice rather than the authority that wants our unquestioning obedience, we are breaking the taboo and so we must be described as evil as well.
The writers of this blog do not believe in the literal truth of the Christian creation myth or any other creation myth. We believe in science and the big bang. A few centuries ago that in itself would be enough to have us branded as heretics and possibly put to death. However, we do believe that in the pre-scientific myths and philosophies about the creation and the nature of the universe, there are hints at the truth. We believe in something similar to Jung’s collective consciousness; that as parts of the universe, we are born with a primeval instinct about who and what we are and where we came from. It is a truth that is glimpsed in shadows, dreams and stories. A truth, the authority doesn’t want us to realize. It is a truth the authority brands as evil and dangerous and so forbids us to know or search for. A truth hidden in the darkness.
We are creatures of the darkness. We are seekers in the forbidden territories. We are breakers of taboos. We are Satanists.
And what of that voice that whispers to us in the darkness? The one who calls us to self discovery and full self awareness? The antagonist and the questioner; the rebel and the ghost in the machine? The Satan?
He can be glimpsed in the most ancient religions known to humanity, often portrayed as an aspect of nature or possessing the guile or form of various animals. Indeed, in earliest times a primal force of nature, neither good nor bad, simply a force to be reckoned with. As communities became more organised and civilized so religious ideas became more complicated and sophisticated. In ancient Egypt there was Set, often depicted as a barely recognizable animal, but seen as powerful and clever; a God it was wise to have on your side. But as Set was seen as a God of foreigners and Egypt suffered several invasions he began to be portrayed more negatively. And as powerful leaders rose up in later Egyptian epochs who sought to unify their subjects under one power and one religion, Set was cast in the role of the evil one and other myths and traditions about him were lost. Meanwhile Het-Hert, the much loved Egyptian Goddess of love, sex and motherhood was probably the archetype of the Golden Calf, and The Whore of Babylon, despised by the followers of Yahweh. Possibly she was also seen in dark form as Lilith in Hebrew tradition.
Meanwhile in the Hindu traditions of India and The East, there was Kali. Kali is the goddess (or Devi) of death, time, and doomsday and is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother-figure and symbolic of motherly-love. Kali also embodies shakti – feminine energy, creativity and fertility. While neither Indian nor Egyptian traditions were as strictly dualistic between good and evil as modern western religion tends to be, it does seem that Kali is increasingly portrayed as evil when seen from a western perspective.
In Europe there were many pagan traditions and personifications of God that pre-dated and then conflicted with Christianity. One of the best known from Greek and Roman times was Dionysus. Essentially a god of good times and hedonism, god of the vine, grape harvest, wine, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theater. But as these things were later viewed as dangerous and seditious by the more and more dominant and all conquering Christian authorities, later manifestations of Dionysus; the Horned God and the Green Man, were accused of being evil wherever they dared to show their horns, and went into hiding. But in fact they were only ever evil in so far as they and their followers did not submit to the authority of The Church.
Stories and myths, just stories and myths… Yet the truth lurks here waiting to be rediscovered by those brave and insightful enough to break the chains of conformity.
Myths are explanations fit for their time. Today the truth might seem more reasonable if found in a particle accelerator and described in the language of quantum mechanics. But it is still possible to seek the truth and broaden your horizons by strength of will alone.
Satan is the voice that calls you to find yourself and reach your full potential. It may be your own voice, the echo of a primeval truth glimpsed in thoughts and dreams.
There is nothing good or noble about ignorance posing as innocence. We were not meant to stay in the garden living as gullible children forever. We were meant to grow up. We were meant to explore. We were meant to experience. We were meant to learn and grow. We were meant to be all we can be and recognize our own power and creativity.
We were meant to reach for the stars.
Hail Satan! Hail ourselves!
From time to time it is healthy to purge our bodies of all the toxins and waste that have been building up and slowly poisoning us. Equally it is useful to de-clutter our homes and get rid of the things we have been deliberately or accidentally hoarding. Freed from the clutter and the toxins we feel refreshed and renewed, we are able to think and see more clearly and are better able to live fully and productively. I think the same is true in spiritual matters.
For some time now I have had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right in my spiritual life. Progress in some things has been slower than I would have liked and I have occasionally just felt muddled and confused, unsure of which direction to take. This does not mean I have had any doubts about my chosen spiritual path; not at all. Day by day I am more convinced that Satanism is the right path for me. But still something hasn’t felt quite right. I have been wading through treacle when I should have been sprinting and encumbered by indecision when I should have been going full steam ahead.
From time to time I glimpsed what was wrong, but I never thought deeply about it, or perhaps didn’t want to. The problem with toxins and clutter is that we tend to like them; they can be comforting.
The concepts of harmony and balance have always been important to me but I have come to realise my understanding of them differs from some. Perhaps harmony is the better descriptor of what I mean and music provides a good analogy. Play any ten notes on the piano at random and the result will probably be an unpleasant, chaotic sound. However, with a little knowledge or luck you might instead play a pleasing chord or melody. The reason that these notes sound good together is not because you have an exact balance of high and low notes. It is not because the notes are equally spread. It is not because each note is the opposite of each other. No, the rules of harmony are much more subtle and sophisticated. Some notes just go together while others don’t; with experience and a musical ear you can often intuit what will work and what will not. The great composers are particularly adept at that. And so it is with life and spirituality. Balance is not about balancing opposites in a mathematical sterile way, rather balance and harmony depend on finding the central notes and other notes which naturally go with them.
I know where my centre of balance is, the key is to find the notes hat best accompany those central thoughts and ideas. I want to find a harmonious way of life within Satanism, my problem is there is a lot of clutter from beliefs I have adhered and clung to in the past.
This does not mean those former ideas are wrong or bad. I have learned a lot from the various beliefs I have encountered on my path so far, and have the greatest of respect for the people who live fully and harmoniously within those frameworks. I am not against eclecticism either. Most of us are naturally eclectic and taking ideas from different sources can be fine so long as those ideas fit together. The problem is that as we grow some things which worked for us at one time no longer fit with what we believe now.
Personally I have found that there are unhelpful ghosts of Taoism and Paganism in the way I live my life as a Satanist. Ideas which are great and wise in themselves but no longer fit and are actually distracting. Ideas I cling to out of habit rather than fully depending on Satanism. While this is not wrong in itself or for all people, it is wrong for me in my desire to live a balanced and harmonious life fully within Satanism.
So some baggage had to go.
Most of the process was easy and painless, just looking critically at my beliefs and actions and deciding which ones really fit together and which ones no longer did. The only cost to me was time spent in thought and meditation, actually letting some things go was not really hard, with one exception…
As a Pagan I considered Het Hert/Hathor to be my Matron Deity and I developed a very warm relationship with her which has continued until recently as a Satanist. I thought of her as a friend, guardian and mentor. However in all honesty I became too dependent on her and as a Satanist I was using her as an easy get out clause. When I couldn’t work things out or act from a fully Satanic perspective I would turn to her or my understanding of her. I came up with all sorts of justifications as to why she was entirely complimentary to my Satanic beliefs. All of these justification were true, but missed the point. If I was to achieve my ambition to be completely balanced as a Satanist, I could not be so dependant on a different Pagan deity and hide behind her skirts whenever things seemed difficult.
Thus with some reluctance and a lot of sadness I have said goodbye to Hathor as my Matron deity. (Any Pagans reading this who don’t know Hathor would be well advised to seek her out as great source of comfort and inspiration).
Despite the sadness that always accompanies goodbyes of any sort, I also feel relieved and my mind feels sharper and more focused.
It is certainly my aim and my objective to live as authentically as a Satanist as possible, and to find my balance and harmony totally within this philosophy and religion.
So I am no longer a Satanist with Buddhist, Taoist or Pagan leanings. I am simply and exclusively a Satanist. And with the clutter cleared I go forward on my path with greater clarity and determination.
Whatever path you follow, I suggest a spiritual purge and de-clutter can sometimes be healthy and useful. It can be daunting and painful, but the end result is extremely liberating and energising.
Thank you Lord for the challenges!
Okay I must admit that I can be as lazy as anyone else and I quite enjoy an easy life when possible. Placing Satan at the centre of my spiritual world (alongside Hathor) and embracing Satanism and the Left Hand Path as the key to my spiritual growth is probably the best thing I have done for a long time, but it has brought with it some personal challenges. I like a challenge, but of course challenges can sometimes be tough. I am human and sometimes rather less secure in myself than I may seem to others. As much as I know Satanism is right for me, there have been times in the past few months when it would have been much easier to run away from this path, and there were times when I was tempted…
The first challenge was to come to terms with other people’s perceptions of me and of what it means to be a Satanist. It would certainly have been easier not to tell anybody. We all exude an image of ourselves and I think there are aspects of my own image which seemed to be at odds with my being a Satanist. I know I am a basically good and positive person and that is the side of myself which I have most often projected to other people. But I have a darker side which is just as much me and always has been, I think it has been a challenge for other people to accept that and it has been a challenge for me to be as honest and open about those aspects of myself as I am about other things. At the same time many people have a very negative image of Satan and Satanism and it has been a challenge for me to disassociate myself from the negative stereotypes and present Satan in a fresh, new and honest way (which is something I feel a deep personal obligation to do).
As I got to know other Satanists and have hungrily read and absorbed all sorts of information on the various aspects of Satanism, I have occasionally been appalled and shocked by some of the selfish, nasty, perverted and downright evil people out there who add to he illusion that Satan is the archetype of all things evil. I shuddered to think that people might associate me with people like them. It would have been much easier to call myself anything but a Satanist. However, luckily I have also met some very intelligent, thoughtful Satanists and read texts which have a great wisdom within them.
I think I have met and largely overcome those particular challenges now. In doing so I have gained a better understanding of myself and perhaps of other people. The people who matter will accept me as I am.
More recently the challenges have been to my assumptions and beliefs. It is a long time since any of my fundamental attitudes have been questioned so it has been good and it has exercised my brain cells. On the other hand I will admit it is sometimes uncomfortable to question things which have not been challenged in a long time, or indeed ever… I don’t think any of my views or opinions have changed fundamentally; but I have become more critical in my thinking and hopefully a little more consistent in my thoughts and in my reasoning.
There are still other challenges which I won’t go into now. There are times when these challenges are exciting and other times when I feel I just want a a rest and to enjoy the sunshine and forget everything else. Thankfully that is normally possible (at least when the jet stream obliges and we have proper summer weather)!
So, although there have been some uncomfortable moments I do truly thank my Lord and Lady for this opportunity for spiritual and personal growth. There is something quite beautiful about becoming more yourself.