Before we get into the article I’m planning on responding to, I’d just like to mention that, a few days ago, E. A. Koetting has been banned from Facebook and Instagram, ostensibly after a BBC investigation “exposed” his influence on Danyal Hussein, who killed Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman last year. I don’t think it’ll do much beyond giving Koetting and his simps a reason to gripe about censorship, particularly considering that his main forum, Become A Living God, still exists, but it is what it is. That said, Koetting’s defenders did have one point on their side: there are indeed people who are using Danyal Hussein’s actions as the basis for a moral panic against Satanism, and Matthew Feldman appears to be one of them.
Writing for The Independent, Feldman’s article is titled “Nazi-Satanism is real and dangerous – and big tech has given it a platform”. Yes I’m afraid that big tech has struck again and chosen to pollute our pure and innocent ecosystem with Satanism. I’m being facetious, of course. I know what he’s talking about, and it is a real problem that we on the Left Hand Path have been fighting over for quite some time now. Feldman, however, appears to have only heard about Satanism yesterday and it fucking shows in what he writes about Satanism.
Feldman opens his article with a brief introduction to the anti-Satanist moral panic of the 1980s, and states that this was “child’s play” compared to “what was to come next”. Indeed, the problem of groups like Order of Nine Angles and their offshoots really does make all that shit about underground Satanists brainwashing and abusing children from the 80s and 90s look like a nothingburger (well, assuming it wasn’t already a nothingburger to start with), but how does Feldman discuss this? He warns us of a “new” and more dangerous breed of Satanism, which he calls “left hand path Satanism”, and, well, I think I’ll just let him take it from here:
Known as “left-hand path” Satanism, its proponents are theistic Satanists that believe self-described acts of evil can manifest Satan or his minions, like Baal or Azazel. This may sound just as fanciful as the American craze of subliminal Satanism, but it’s not.
The terminology is very curious. He speaks of a “left hand path Satanism”, as though there is presumably a “right hand path Satanism” opposed to it, or indeed, as though the term “Left Hand Path” is the name of a sect of Satanism, and in both senses he would be profoundly wrong. There is no “Left Hand Path Satanism” as opposed to “Right Hand Path Satanism”, because Satanism is, as it has defined itself, a Left Hand Path religion, at least in the most basic sense that describes the Left Hand Path. The Left Hand Path is a term that refers not to a specific esoteric sect of Satanism, but to a broad and diverse family of religious and occult belief systems and traditions who are united primarily by the pursuit of antinomianism as a path to whatever the goal of the religion is – whether that’s unity with God, attaining enlightenment, deepening the cycle of reciprocity with the gods, etc. Satanism is a part of the family of the Left Hand Path because, in all its strands, it stresses the religious identification with the antinomian character or archetype of Satan and the embrace of social non-conformity for the purposes of individual self-expression and empowerment within what is, for the most part, a religious or esoteric context. I cannot for the life of me think of any form of Satanism that could be classed as “right hand path Satanism”, although funny enough I think the more Nazi or Aryanist forms of esoteric Satanism sort of come close (for reasons that I laid out here).
As to the idea of the belief that “self-described acts of evil can manifest Satan or his minions”, he is clearly referring to the Order of Nine Angles, the notorious neo-Nazi sect that is only barely mentioned in the article. The Order of Nine Angles and its offshoots are well-known for their doctrine that holds that self-described acts of evil – meaning terrorism, random murder, rape, and racist violence – are all ways to empower the practitioner of Satanism and black magick to become a god and bring about galactic empire under the aegis of a being named Vindex. Needless to say this is not just some generic theistic Satanist belief that is universal to theistic Satanism, but is very specific to the Order of Nine Angles and its offshoots, which also happen to be reviled by much of the rest of Satanism as a movement precisely because of their alignment with neo-Nazism.
A lot of the article is spent going over some pretty basic facts, and even covers the apparent presence of a “Celtic cross” tattoo on E A Koetting’s arm. Since I didn’t cover that previously, let’s briefly get into it here for a moment. This “Celtic cross” appears to be real and seems to be a specific variation of the “Sun cross”, a fairly generic and usually solar symbol that appeared in many different variations throughout history but which was recuperated (or rather appropriated) by fascists of various stripes. A “Celtic cross”, or “Celtic wheel cross” as it appears to be for Koetting, would be basically an equilateral cross surrounded by a circle, but the ends of the cross poke out of the circle, and Koetting’s cross seems to be a white nationalist variation of the “Celtic cross”. I can only imagine Koetting thinks it’s some kind of Pagan sun symbol (he has depicted the Irish god Lugh as a sun god, despite the complete lack of any basis for this in Irish myths and tradition) but the “Celtic wheel cross” as we know it probably never appeared anywhere before the Christian era, so it would be based on Christian aesthetics rather than pre-Christian aesthetics. Of course, trust Koetting to be utterly clueless like that.
However, the main problem comes with the issue of moral panic that builds up as the article progresses. Again, let’s take a passage from the article and let it speak for itself:
All this is horrific enough. But these incitements to murder and terror are scarcely confined to the uglier corners of the internet. To this day, E. A. Koetting happily plies his Satanist grift to more than 87,000 subscribers on YouTube. These cancerous ideas are obviously metastasising. Even a few short years ago these abhorrent acts might have also been dismissed as a “moral panic”. Today they pose a terrorist threat.
Here, Feldman seems confused. He seems to assume that it is the violent acts of esoteric neo-Nazis that would be dismissed as a moral panic, rather than the attitude taken towards Satanists or the narratives constructed around them. The moral panic of the 1980s and 1990s (which, by the way, still persists albeit less pronounced, but it is certainly visible in other parts of the world) was the narratives concerning the supposed actions of Satanists. It was not the actions themselves. And to be frank, the fact that the phrase moral panic is given in quotes suggests a dismissiveness of something that, if you actually talked to some of the many non-criminal and non-fascist Satanists that are out there, you’d know is a legitimate concern. Every Satanist and left hand path practitioner has expressed some concern that the murders committed by Danyal Hussein would eventually be used as a device through which to scapegoat Satanists in general, regardless of their affiliation with Order of Nine Angles, Tempel ov Blood, or Become A Living God, and regardless of whether or not they have committed any crimes to speak of. Satanists who are concerned about living their lives free to express themselves without fear of facing persecution and marginalization are right to be concerned about getting caught in a dragnet that isn’t designed to stop when it catches the right people.
There’s something else to note about this article. This article was published just yesterday, and E. A. Koetting was banned from Facebook a few days ago. Yet Feldman does not feel content for things to stop there. He notes that Koetting still hocks his ideas on YouTube, which is owned by Google, to an audience of currently 87,000 subscribers. Then, at the end of the article, he says this:
As the murders and money stack up, the question must be posed: what next? Are we simply to await more death, or is there something proactive that governments, and concerned citizens can do? We need to start urgently asking these questions. And start demanding answers. Otherwise, quite simply, more innocent victims will die at the hands of infatuated teenagers, hopped up on neo-Nazi Satanism. This is no “moral panic”. It has, instead, become moral to panic about the platform Big Tech has given to these and other extremists. Enough is indeed enough.
The obvious question here is what indeed has to happen for Feldman to be satisfied? I mean after all, the fate of society is at stake here. What is this “something proactive” that governments should do? Who are these “concerned citizens”, and what should they do? Feldman dismisses the language of moral panic, and yet he affirms it consistently, even declaring that moral panic is justified. The risk to non-Nazi and non-criminal Satanists of being vilified in the same way as they were decades ago is not to be dismissed. The question still hangs over our heads. If it is unacceptable for us simply wait for more death, and we need the state (as well as “concerned citizens”) to be “proactive”, then what is to be countenanced for such vague ends?
If we take Feldman’s arithmetic seriously, then every 1 in 1,000 of Koetting’s subscribers takes his ideas on board and uses them as the basis to commit terroristic or sacrifical violence, meaning there are 100 people like Danyal Hussein running around at least. But Danyal Hussein, so far, seems to be a unique case, at least in the sense that he’s the only person we know to have killed for E. A. Koetting’s black magick. And Koetting has been active on social media and writing books for years now. Although Koetting’s books undoubtedly contain advocacy for ritualistic murder and violence, it seems strange that only one person turned out to commit murders inspired by his work. And if we expand to the broader phenomenon of Nazi Satanism, it is definitely a serious problem, we have some fairly high-profile murders attached to the movement and there are active cells across different countries in the world. But how many people are involved with it? There is no reliable data for membership of the O9A, it’s barely possible to estimate their actual membership let alone that of Tempel ov Blood. Some believe the O9A is the largest Satanist organization in the world, but others suggest that their actual membership consists of a couple of thousand people. But there doesn’t seem to be any concrete statistics available to confirm how many people are in the O9A. I’ve never been able to tell you how many people were members of Joy of Satan, even back in the hey day of being on Yahoo Answers where you always saw them sooner or later, and there are lots of small-time, obscure Nazi Satanist groups on the internet. O9A just happens to be the largest of them all, by a mile.
Also, I cannot help but notice the increasing conversation among white supremacy whisperers about Nazism in relation to Satanism, Paganism, and the occult, and this periodically being cited as reasons to distrust Satanism, Paganism, and occultism, all the while we never do have the same conversation about Christianity, even though there are so many white supremacists in the West who identify themselves as Christians. Look around for all the major white supremacist and white nationalist groups in the United States. If they aren’t explicitly Christian in a certain theological sense, they certainly identify with some aspect of Christian culture and aesthetics, do not demonstrate any alignment with Satanism, Paganism, or esoteric belief systems. In fact, many white supremacist movements are influenced by a religious ideology known as Christian Identity, which believes that white people as descended from Adam and Eve are God’s chosen people and that Jews and non-whites are soulless “serpent seed” descended from Satan. There are Christian nationalist groups that constantly pump out white nationalist or adjacent propaganda and, if we take the whole stoschastic terrorism shit seriously, inspire a lot more violence than E. A. Koetting ever ended up doing. The vast majortiy of Trump supporters who beat up and run over anti-fascists do so with the comfort of their belief that the Christian God is on their side – not Satan, not Lucifer, not Odin, not Zeus, just God and his son Jesus. Even the infamous “Q Shaman” who came to Capitol Hill dressed like some kind of berserker from Norse Paganism was actually, despite his audacious Viking-like appearance, a Christian who ranted about elite Democrats being Satan worshipping pedophiles, which is definitely not something a consistent Pagan would do. But despite all of that, you will never hear the same people go on and on about how Christianity has a white supremacy problem, let alone an inherent one. The irony of course is that, even as far back as the early days of Christianity, despite the Bible’s teaching that there is neither Jew nor Greek “for you are all one in Christ Jesus”, several of the church fathers were vicious anti-Semites. I’m waiting for people like Matthew Feldman to declare a moral panic against Christian white supremacy, call it by name like he does with Satanic Nazism, unless he’s afraid of alienating Christians by calling them out.
I get the facts that Feldman uses to justify his case, more than I’m sure he would understand, but if anyone should be panicking, it is we who follow the left hand path and who have striven to beat back its fascist interlocutors for years now. We have been against the O9A since long before it hit the mainstream media headlines a couple of years ago. We’ve been well aware of the O9A, as well as other neo-Nazi groups like Joy of Satan, for longer than you jackasses have, and we’ve been fighting them for longer than you have. You only care about them now that some high-profile murders have thrust them onto the spotlight in a time where anti-fascism can seem more in vogue than ever, but we have constantly fought and opposed their presence and their attempts to exert influence over our community (or so-called community anyway). It matters to us in a way that it never really did for you. We have fought them before you stepped in, and we will continue to fight them long after you and the masses end up forgetting that people like Danyal Hussein ever existed. That’s because the path taken by the children of darkness is that of an iron-fisted commitment, at least for those who have patiently understood their destiny. So while we’re always happy to welcome any ally in the fight against fascism, we don’t appreciate someone wanting to talk about occultism and Satanism in a way that suggests they’ve done absolutely no background research on the subject in order to consciously whip up a moral panic that will serve only to hurt those who sincerely wish to practice the left hand path, including Satanism, without criminality or fascism.
So please, fuck off, because we are not a part of your right hand path, and we are not pawns in your moral panic bullshit that you disguise as anti-fascism.