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alt.satanism file of FAQs

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Archive-name: religions/satanism/faqt-l
Version: 2.0
Revised: 50030418
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

Author: "Bolverkr" <>
  From: Thulean-L in Yahoogroups


1. Who or What is Satan?

To some, Satan is only a symbol of the individual's struggle for self-
mastery and empowerment. For others S/He represents a metaphysical 
Dark Force that permeates the natural world. And still others see the 
Prince of Darkness as a Sentient Being.

I've come to use the term _archetype_ when discussing Satan, which is 
specific enough to give others an idea of what I mean, but general 
enough to leave room for interpretation. _Archetype_ is a Jungian 
term for an Idea that exists in the collective unconscious of 
mankind, and is often personified in various mythologies. While I 
don't think Jung ever intended for archetypes to be thought of as 
sentient Beings, he did acknowledge that ones _experience_ of an 
archetype could suggest a transcendent nature.

Satan, as I use the term, is a specifically Western archetype whose 
essence may be described as evolution, or Becoming. As such, S/He is 
the driving force behind all scientific, technological, social, and 
artistic advancement. His/Her 'rebellion' against Order (God) occurs 
whenever and wherever it becomes necessary for the continued growth 
and development of the individual or social organism.

2. What is Satanism?

Satanism is a descriptive term for the religion or philosophy of 
those individuals who seek to utilize this archetype for their 
development and advancement.

Just as Satan is beyond the control of any individual, Satanism is 
not the property of any organization, Order, Church, or Temple. Each 
person who would tread the LHP must come to his/her own understanding 
of both Satan and Satanism.

3. Is Satanism a Religion?

As used by some people, the term _religion_ refers to a philosophy, 
worldview, or belief system that includes at least three elements: 
(a) A creed, or statement of what one believes to be true (regarding 
mankind, nature, deities, etc.). (b) A moral code, describing what 
one considers to be ethical. And (c) rites that are conducted by 
oneself and one's co-religionists; which may be along the lines of 
commemoration, celebration, or supplication.

Certainly _The Satanic Bible_ includes all three elements, and 
Satanists who acknowledge it as _their_ Bible should have no problem 
defending their path as a genuine religion, if they choose to do so. 
However, not all Satanists consider their path to be a religion, and 
even among those who do view Satanism as a religion, not all 
Satanists accept LaVey's (or anyone else's) writings as the Alpha and 
Omega of their beliefs.

4. What is _The Satanic Bible_?

_TSB_ was written by Church of Satan founder, Anton Szandor LaVey 
(born "Howard Stanton Levey"), and published in 1969. As I understand 
it, some portions of _TSB_ had been released earlier to CoS members 
as lectures or classes on various topics. 

The section titled, "The Book of Satan" is composed of excerpts from 
_Might is Right_, by Ragnar Redbeard (1896), a pseudonym for an 
unidentified author. The philosophy of _MIR_ is a kind of social 
darwinism, with a strong racist and anti-semitic tone ("jewish books 
are for the jews, and jew messiahs, too; but if you're not of jewish 
blood, how can they be for you?"). 

The Enochian Keys were originally created by John Dee and Edward 
Kelly, and later became part of 'traditional' Western occultism via 
groups such as the Golden Dawn. LaVey's version is heavily edited to 
take on a more demonic tone. 

Some of the central concepts of _TSB_, such as fulfillment through 
the ego, "rational self-interest," and LaVey's "Nine Satanic 
Statements" were 'borrowed' from the objectivist writings of Ayn Rand.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about _TSB_ is how LaVey 
was able to draw from these various sources and create a more or less 
cohesive philosophy that, in the end, is very different from how 
others had previously used those concepts. LaVey's contribution to 
the Black Arts was _synthesis_, not originality.

5. Where do your beliefs come from?

My beliefs are based on my own studies in philosophy, psychology, 
history, etc., and my own life experiences. Any Satanist who bases 
his/her beliefs on a single book, or the writings of one person, is 
granting that book or person a certain amount of power over their 
lives. You are allowing another human being to define, and thus place 
limitations on, your own beliefs and perceptions. You are seeing the 
world in general and Satanism in particular through someone else's 
eyes, rather than your own self-created Being. ("LaVeyan Satanist" is 
an oxymoron.)

6. What is Black Magic?

Since there is no universally accepted authority on occultism, 
interpretations or definitions are largely a personal matter. As far 
as I'm concerned, any magic performed with the intention of acquiring 
personal power or enforcing one's Will on reality may be called Black 
Magic, regardless of the deity invoked. The so-called White 
Magician's refusal to recognize this is the result of white-light 
hypocrisy and/or self-deceit. 

The only question here is, "What is _magic_?" I like what Issac 
Bonewits wrote in _Druid's Progress #4_:

"Magic is, among other things, a general term for arts, sciences, 
philosophies and technologies concerned with (a) understanding and 
using various altered states of consciousness within which it is 
possible to have access to and control over your psychic talents, and 
(b) the uses and abuses of those talents to change interior and/or 
exterior realities."

7. The Black Flame

Candles are often the only source of light in the ritual chamber. 
Sometimes a lantern may be used in the center of the chamber, in the 
general area of the altar, and is referred to as the Lamp of the Art. 
The flame of the Lamp (or altar candles) may be said to represent the 
intellect and Will of the magician, guided and enlightened by the 
Light of the Spirit.

In the Left Hand Path (LHP), this Light is understood as being an 
aspect of the magician's Being, rather than something bestowed upon 
him or her by something external. It is the self-created Light that 
illuminates and empowers the magician's Work. It is the individual's 
experience of Satan. The Black Flame is not an object that the 
aspiring Magis can _acquire_. If it is not already within you, you 
will never possess it.

"O thou mighty light and burning flame of comfort, that unveilest the 
glory of Satan to the center of the Earth; in whom the great secrets 
of truth have their abiding."

"The Eighteenth Key," _The Satanic Bible_, by Anton LaVey.

8. Satan or Set?

A Setian might say that Set is the oldest form or manifestation of 
the Prince of Darkness. This may be true _if_ you accept their 
definition of Satan as a creation of Judeo-Christianity. However, 
most Satanists reject this interpretation. As I understand it, even 
if Satan is not a sentient Being, the name must identify _something_, 
and that something is most likely as old as mankind. In which case, 
Satan's existence (as Being, archetype, or idea) predates any name 
that we attribute to Him/Her, including Set, _and_ the Hebrew use of 
the name Satan.

You might say that I've adopted a name that was popularized by 
Christianity to identify the underlying essence of what the name is 
intended to represent. Satan is the archetype itself, and 
other 'dark' deities are the cultural images of this essence. When I 
work with god-forms like Set, or Odin, or Prometheus, I do so, in 
part, to increase my understanding of Satan.

9. The Left Hand Path

The goal of the LHP is to achieve that state of Being referred to as 
Godhood, ie. to become a God. The process could be described as "the 
expansion of conscisousness through a Will to knowledge and power." 
The first 'commandment' of the LHP is "know thyself." And from there, 
the traveler of the LHP seeks to strengthen his/her Will in the 
physical and non-physical realms, during which time s/he will 
continue to increase their understanding of themselves, their 
environment, and the world/Age in which they live.

The primary tool for achieving this "expansion of consciousness" is 
ritual magic. Properly understood, magic will be seen as belonging to 
the LHP only, because it is a tool of the individual Will ("my Will 
be done").



[The (above) was taken from a longer Satanism FAQ that was written 
 about 2 years ago. I dropped the rest because I think these are the 
 most interesting points - much of the rest of it addressed the usual 
 satanic-panic type questions about the Black Mass, heavy metal music, 
 animal sacrifices, etc. - Bolverkr (

	 copyright 2003 presumed the author's -- bobo]


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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM