After some thought on the subject, here are some organizations I think I would consider becoming a member of at some point in my life, preferably after a long period of study of the occult and reading everything I want to read.
I want to stress first that the reasons I have for joining a group are entirely pragmatic. I think it might be easier to become a member of a group of like-minded people and a structure and achieve my goals through them. Would I be bound those groups? That depends on if they suit me consistently. Would I stay a member of those groups after having achieved my goals through them? It is yet to be seen, but if I do then maybe it’s at that point that I might start my own group one day. But anyways, let’s get on with it.
The Greater Church of Lucifer
The Greater Church of Lucifer is an organization that promotes what it refers to as Luciferian philosophy, which is based around what is referred to as the 11 Luciferian Points of Power – the full doctrine is laid in a short book titled Wisdom of Eosphoros, which I highly recommend. It is lead by Jeremy Crow, Michael W. Ford and Hope Marie Ford; Jacob No was formerly among the group’s leaders but left citing apparent personal pressures. This church, of sorts, is for those who wish to illuminate the Black Flame, the flame of individual divinity and awakening. Those who Luciferian philosophy follow desire self-excellence, build knowledge and power of the self to fulfill desires in life and attain a sort of apotheosis and mastery in both the material and spiritual realms. They have no particular stance on the atheism vs theism debate, and membership is basically open to Luciferians of any disposition regarding theism or atheism. There is a certain emphasis on balance in the Luciferian teachings – namely the balance of light and darkness, of carnal and base instincts and intelligent and spiritual consciousness. There is something about their particular teachings that appeals to me, including the emphasis on balance. In my life, I have come to be kind of big into balance at least as a theme, and balance is a theme I have kind of noticed play out in recent times regarding culture wars and social/political conflict as I have come to understand a pendulum swinging in one direction or another. The influence from Michael W. Ford is something I have an interest as well, as I plan to follow his work.
Also, can I just say that the above image is simply fucking brilliant. There’s the main sigil which conveys the ideals of Luciferianism (as I explained in a post where I practically endorsed the Luciferian philosophy), then there’s the figure of Lucifer – who suspiciously resembles the archangel Michael – brandishing a sword and standing with shimmering rays of light behind him and then there’s the flames and embers in the background. It is a wonderful aesthetic expression of the GCOL and its ideas.
The Sect of the Horned God
The Sect of the Horned God is organization which combines atheistic and rationalistic Satanism with elements of pagan (or arguably neopagan) metaphor and symbolism. Similar to the Greater Church of Lucifer, the main goal of following the Sect’s philosophy is for the individual to cultivate the Black Flame, but the founder Thomas LeRoy also describes the main goal of the philosophy as achieving a kind of freedom so profound that even if an individual were incarcerated he/she would still be a free human being. Through doing so, the Sect hopes that the individual comes to consistently live and cultivate a life of vital existence. There are four degrees through which an individual may pass: Neophyte, Acolyte, Cenophyte and Hyperborean. All of them represent stages of the progression of the individual member. There are also five orders in the Sect that can aid the individual as they ascend the degrees and an individual can participate in them. They are the Orders of Pan, Cernunnos, Prometheus, Dionysus and finally Shiva. They correspond to the five elements (including “spirit”) and by passing through each of them the individual can learn about the Left Hand Path, critical thinking and even altered states of the self. Its philosophy is very strongly influenced by the ideas ideas of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Friedrich Nietzsche and Anton LaVey, and they are definitely far closer to Anton LaVey’s original brand of Satanism than The Satanic Temple are.
There is no literature attributed to the Sect, but the founder Thomas LeRoy produces video content on his channel for the Sect in order to espouse the philosophy of the Sect. Any reading material they recommend probably includes the works of the authors I already mentioned. I have watched a lot of LeRoy’s videos and I like his take on Satanism and mythology. I am also fascinated by their more rationalist take on occultism, and I think it could be useful to me.
The Temple of Set
Founded in 1975 following a major schism within the Church of Satan, the Temple of Set is the embodiment of the vision of Michael A. Aquino, for whom there are very few words to describe his intellect and character. Aquino started the organization in response to his disappointment with what he felt was the increasingly exclusively materialist teachings of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan and his odium towards the fact that LaVey began allowing members to move up certain ranks of the Church through financial contributions, which opposed his strictly meritocratic view of how the Church should run – namely, that people should move up the ranks based on how they have grown and developed intellectually, spiritually and so forth.
The Temple of Set is very much true to Aquino’s vision, and in fact I think they might be an organization that has rather high standards for its members. They focus on the gift of willful conscious existence, which they believe is unique to Man, and enshrine consciousness above all else. Followers practice what they term black magick in order to evolve the self, and I’m guessing they don’t think of magick as mere psychodrama like LaVeyan Satanists do, but rather actual magick and sorcery (something that, I have to be honest, still perplexes my more rationalistic tendencies). Great discipline is required of initiates, which is actually one of the main reasons I would be interested in Setian philosophy because I often feel I lack discipline and wish to cultivate more of it, though I fear I lack the discipline necessary to actual be a Setian or at least an Adept or Initiate of the Temple.