I have just been apprised of a new development that is set to undertake within the broader Left Hand Path community. Thomas Karlsson, the Swedish occultist known for his involvement in Dragon Rouge, wrote a Facebook post on Friday announcing the birth of a Global United Nightside Movement. This is not to be taken as a pet project of his, but rather it appears to be a collaboration between Thomas Karlsson and Michael W. Ford (founder of the Assembly of Light Bearers, formerly known as the Greater Church of Lucifer), Stephen Flowers and Don Webb (two prominent and high-ranking members of the Temple of Set). It’s not strictly associated with either Satanism or Luciferianism or any specific Left Hand Path tendency per se, rather it is intended be a movement for all religions that fall under the category of “Nightside Spirituality”, otherwise known as “The Dark Path” or The Left Hand Path. With such leading lights as Karlsson, Ford, Flowers and Webb behind it, you can be assured that this is supposed to be a major project.
Right off the bat, I have a mixed opinion of this pursuit. Unity is a sorely lacking feature in many LHP circles. I’ve heard it once said that we are like a heard of cats. Therefore, it is easy to imagine that we would need to find a source of unity, and thus the idea of a Global Unified Nightside Movement has some appeal in the sense that it might seem to bring such a unity. However, I find it difficult to imagine such unity being possible in the long run. People often chalk it up to just different Satanists or different Luciferians being too different from each other, and in many ways that’s true, but in my view it comes down more to the fact that Satanism, Luciferianism, Setianism or what have you all represent movements that are distinct from each other. They can be thought of similarly to the relationship between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, or between Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – all of them can be thought of as belonging to a loose family of faiths, whose relationship is defined by a shared common origin or a shared set of themes, tropes or philosophical and mythological frames of reference, but are ultimately distinct in content and ideology. To me as a Luciferian I find that, in the ultimate analysis, to treat me as being part of a united front with Satanists or Setians seems to be missing the point, especially given that I disagree with a lot of the doctrines from various Satanist organizations nowadays, and I’ve made clear that I do not support Michael Aquino’s particular vision of Satanism. And to be honest, I don’t think I would want to be a part of anything that would ask that I find common cause with the Order of Nine Angles and the degenerates that comprise that fascist cult. Not that I should assume that, of course, but it is worth raising as a concern as regards the theme of unity. My sense of reservation also emerges from my experience as a socialist, having entered into various left-wing spaces via the internet and observed conversations such as the theme of “left-unity”. The left has, historically, never been a united front in the same way that the right has managed to be. Throughout the history of socialism you have Marxists, utopian socialists, social democrats, anarchists, progressives (if you could call them left-wing) and other factions of the left constantly fighting each other over doctrinal differences. In Marxism itself, doctrinal division is also all too common – in my country alone, there are numerous self-identified communist parties, some of them splintering off from each other or existing as splinters from existing socialist parties, and many of them all subscribing to similar doctrines of Marxism-Leninism. Now I’m not quite saying it’s like that for LHP movements, but I derive from my knowledge of the history of socialist politics and of modern leftist spaces a sense of skepticism for any attempt of unity between wide and disparate movements.
That said, although there is little information to go on other than Karlsson’s Facebook post, I believe that there is some potential in the proposal. There is clear ambition and reflection in the project proposal, there is the desire to be a genuine, large-scale spiritual movement, which is something that I respect. There is quite a bit of emphasis on the exoteric aspect of Left Hand Path practice. What I would like to know more about, however, is precisely the exoteric side, the activity and praxis that this entails. We are invited to gather collectively as part of a larger movement dedicated to what is called Nightside Spirituality, but what we could really use is a well-defined plan of action or set of events to go on. I realize it’s early days, and I’m expecting there to be some sort of website or Facebook page or whatever to go with this project, but I still long for more information on the subject.
At the center of my desire to assess this project, however, is the nine constituents that Karlsson outlines in order to break down the essence of the movement. These constituents serve as basic points underpinning the philosophy of the movement. They are as follows:
1) Individual freedom: “The bigger the government – The Smaller the citizen.”
2) Spread the knowledge of The Nightside to those worthy.
3) Support science against superstition.
4) Be Watchmen against imperialist religions.
5) Create strong networks.
6) Inspire to Indiviuation as C.G. Jung called it.
7) preserve and relive the ancient traditions and make them adapted to our times.
8) Support each other.
9) Be loyal to our common taskmaster who has many names.
I like most of these constituents, but I think it’s worth discussing them in more detail.
I won’t lie, the first point is a real eyebrow-raiser for me, due to my familiarity with right-wing politics. Now I’m prepared to give these guys credit by pointing out that the statement “the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen” could mean have a number of meanings beyond right-wing libertarianisma and conservatism, and it could just be a generic assertion of the value of individual freedom or liberty, as can be found in left-wing doctrines as well as right-wing doctrines. In fact an argument for left-wing minarchism is very much possible to make, drawing from the works of authors like Anton Pannekoek, Eric Hass, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mihailo Markovic, and Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels themselves. But when I see talk of “big government vs small government”, it almost invariably comes from right-wingers, an American conservatism/libertarians in particular, and while the discussion of “big government vs small government” is often applied to discussions of individual liberty, in practice the whole point of that theme is economics, specifically the role of the state and its regulations in overseeing market forces within the context of capitalism. “Big government” usually means the expansion of government bureaucracy in theoretical context, but it also tends to . Thus I worry that there is a noticeable right-wing political flavour to this effort by Karlsson and co, which I suppose may be but a broader sign that the Randian framework of the Church of Satan is still subtly at play.
In case you may think I’m being out of line in saying this, consider two things. First, the fact that “big government vs small government” is a theme that only really appears in right-wing circles, and at that it’s mostly an American thing. I almost never encounter it outside of the US, except for in some British conservative circles, particularly the ones partial to Nigel Farage. Second, Stephen Flowers, one of the men behind this project, seems to be intensely right-wing. In his comment to Karlsson’s post, Flowers responds to the point about opposing superstition in which he singularly blames Karl Marx for what he believes to be, a sentiment that echoes the right-wing conspiracy theory known as Cultural Marxism. In fact, if you read Flowers’ book Lords of the Left Hand Path, you will find there are many times where we comments on Marx, Marxism and communism, and he makes claims about Marxist philosophy without ever citing any works from Marx or Engels or any other Marxists, or at least not directly. This is even more telling when you consider that, when he comments on the anarchists and their apparent reverence for Satan or Lucifer as literary figures, he will directly cite anarchists like Bakunin and Proudhon. Also, in the same book, there’s a section in which he accuses Marxism of being the origin of what we would call political correctness, a claim that is no different to the kind of conspiracy theories that have been bequeathed to us by people like Paul Weyrich and William Lind, the former of whom I might add was a leading figure in the conservative Christian “Moral Majority” movement. Again, no citations offered within that part of the book.
Honestly, I wonder what people are still doing talking about Cultural Marxism these days after Slavoj Zizek demolished Jordan Peterson, its chief exponent in the current decade, on the subject in their debate in April. Just for the sake of illustrating it, I will present the relevant clip from that debate below. But, I can sum it up with the following: Peterson fails to identify any Marxists that he holds to be responsible for the trend of academic postmodernism within the mainstream or for political correctness.
Anyways, returning to the constituents, the second constituent seems to show a sense of reservation regarding the distribution of knowledge. The idea seemingly is not to spread the knowledge of the Nightside to as many people as people, but only to “the worthy”. The logical questions that follow from this, of course, is “who are the worthy?”, “what determines whether you are worthy or not?”, and “what does it mean to be worthy?”, and for that matter, “worthy of whom?”. I suspect this plays into that idea of esotericism, of hidden knowledge, which I think all of us who get into Left Hand Path ideas and similar belief systems tend to be into. But I think there is this pervasive attachment to the idea of it being esoteric that misses the point: the point of being the light bringer is to reveal the hidden, and that means the esoteric no longer being esoteric, no longer hidden but instead known. No one will fear the darkness once it is brought into light. Isn’t that the point?.
The third constitutent is entirely positive and noble, and for me very befitting for those who seek to embody the Morning Star. Supersition is in no way the ally of those who seek truth and freedom, and we do not raise ourselves against the mystified reign of Yahweh only to mystify ourselves further. I think it’s worth noting that one comment to Karlsson’s post stook out in particular because it seemingly defended superstition on the grounds that the word superstition means the survival of pagan beliefs, on the grounds that the word superstition comes from the Latin words supra and stitio meaning “stay above” and “survive”, adding in a separate comment that this was the Christian meaning of the term. Of course, the word superstition originated not in Christian Rome but in pre-Christian pagan Rome, where authors such as Pliny used the term to refer to the survival of folk beliefs like divination. The similar term “superstitio” was used by Roman writers such as Tacitus to refer to religious movements that were barred by the Roman Empire, such as the religion of the druids. The concept of superstition in the Greco-Roman world also seemed to have . The Roman author Cicero used the term “superstitio” to refer specifically to fear or excessive fear of the gods, as opposed to the proper respect and veneration of the gods, for which he used the term “religio”. So in a way, when we say we oppose superstition, you can think of it not only as opposition to irrational folk belief in unfalsifiable supernatural phenomenon, but also opposition to the need to fear the gods and the unknown. This idea is completely consistent with Luciferianism in particular, and it was bequeathed to us by the Hellenists of Greece and Rome, and we would do well to learn from them.
The fourth constituent leaves me a little puzzled. What exactly is meant by “imperialist religions”? That’s another thing about this project I hope gets explained more. For my initial worries about right-wing political influence, one wonders if there’s a bit of a left-wing cue to this one. But I jest. Considering that the revivification of ancient tradition is involved in this project, I do wonder what this means for Alexander the Great (who is the subject of low-key praise in Michael W. Ford’s works), whose imperial expansion spread the Greek religion far and wide and resulted in syncretic interpretations of the Hellenic tradition. I don’t have much to go on here.
The fifth constituent is to me a genuinely positive one. It’s one of the key assurances that there will be a focus on collective solidarity, whether Karlsson and co realize it or otherwise. Exactly how this is to take shape is yet to be seen, but I think it’s safe to assume that this will involve the formation of a community of like-minded individuals. Of course this still leaves the question of whether this points chiefly to online communities or real life communities. I will find it hard to imagine that there’s much to be done in the way of real life community activity, but I do have high hopes and would like to see where this goes further. In fact, I am eager to find out whether or not the invariably social nature of this constituent and its demands leads to a collective pondering of how to interpret Left Hand Path ideas in a way that frees them from the atomizing effects of the hyper-individualism that the community often lays claim to.
The sixth constituent is interesting because it lends to itself a means to liberate the community from the egoism that was bequeathed to us by the likes of Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan, along with similar figures and movements. After all, the process of individuation is contextualized by an idea of self that is not definable as the ego, and in relation to which the ego is nothing but a diminutive aspect of the broader whole, or even an entirely illusory entity. In fact, I’ve seen interpretations of Jungian individuation as in fact not referring to the consolidation of a unique state of being but instead referring to, in a bizarre way, the attain of oneness, of initation with the whole. In any case, you cannot interpret the concept of Jungian individuation in a manner that resembles egoism, Randian or otherwise, without bastardizing it completely, and I imagine that anyone familiar with Jung’s ideas knows this, so it will be interesting to see the notions of self that emerge from the emphasis on Jungian individuation.
The seventh constituent resonates with me because I find that it aligns with the Luciferian ethos, which is all about revivifying the ancient ways in a new context, centered around the revolutionary figure of the Morning Star, or Lucifer. Of course, with the Temple of Set a big influence in Karlsson’s project via Flowers and Webb, I am rather concerned about what they could mean by “the ancient traditions”, possibly they may follow from Aquino’s fanciful fictions about the religion of Atlantis, but as it is intended to be a broad principle this might not necessarily be the case. It could simply refer to the ancient custom as defined within the Indo-European milieu, which would include Hellenism. In either case, this is a strong element of the Nightside Spirituality being defined by Karlsson, and I can definitely support it.
The eighth consitutent is benign in much the same way as the fifth one, and to me it seems to be almost the same point, a very positive one at that. We all start out msiguided, confused, and ignorant outside of our volition, and many of us lose our way. As such, a network of support which forms the basis of a community is often vital, and a good way to promote interpersonal solidarity.
The ninth constituent to me is rather mysterious. Just who is “our common taskmaster who has many names” supposed to refer to? I have to guess it is the name of a deity or a force of some kind, which leads me to suspect the influence of theism, but I can’t quite say for sure. So for now, I’m just going to have to ponder on what was meant by that statement.
And that’s all there is so far on the Global United Nightside Movement project. I’m eager for more information on the project, and I wait patiently for the opportunity to learn what my place in it might be.
Remember in 2012 when the fast food company Chick-fil-A got in trouble over Dan McCarthy, the owner of the company, making public statements about how he opposes same sex marriage on the grounds that it opposes his Christian beliefs? Well after 2012 I was under the impression that the controversy had sort of gone away, though I later found out that the company has apparently continued to donate to anti-LGBT groups. But apparently the Church of Satan has gotten dragged into all of this a few days ago, over a few comments they made on Twitter about recent developments related to Chick-fil-A.
On Friday, the Texas governor Greg Abbott announced via Twitter that he had recently signed a bill known as Senate Bill 1978, which has also been colloquially dubbed the “Save Chick-fil-A Bill” despite not being specifically about Chick-fil-A. According to the bill, the state or other governmental entities are prohibited from taking “adverse actions” against private companies in response to the stated beliefs of the ownership. This in practice means that a company cannot be denied loans, agreements, grants, contracts or other benefits from the state, nor can they be barred from making tax deductions for charity events, nor can they be denied access to a property for forum for their purposes, among numerous other things, all based on the religious views expressed by the company or its leadership. The bill seems to have gotten the nickname “Save Chick-fil-A Bill” in response to Chick-fil-A recently being barred from opening a franchise at the San Antonio airport by the San Antonio City Council due to the anti-LGBT stance attributed to the company, most likely through the owner’s statements and the donations made to anti-LGBT groups. You can make of the bill itself what you will, but it can inferred that it has something to do with the rhetoric of “religious freedom” that has been employed by conservative US politicians over the years. Indeed it shows in Abbott’s tweet when he ends it with the statement, “Texas protects religious liberty”.
So how did the Church of Satan get involved in this one? Someone on Twitter responded to Greg Abbott’s tweet by mentioning that his business donates to the Church of Satan and bragged about how if he faced discrimination in Texas (presumably from Christians) then he could sue and win. The Church of Satan responded to this reply by asking the person not to get them involved, saying “Please leave us out of this”. When another person asked what the Church of Satan’s opinion on Chick-fil-A was, the Church of Satan responded by saying that they don’t have an opinion on the subject, saying “We don’t. Leave us out of it.”. Apparently, it was this that resulted in the Church of Satan being condemned on Twitter by progressives. Such condemnation would be understandable, perhaps even justified, if the Church of Satan took a decidedly wrong opinion on the subject, or at least straight up said that they support Chick-fil-A or Dan McCarthy (which would be absurd because that would mean the Church of Satan siding with Christian conservatism), and to be fair some of the condemnation I’ve seen still is understandable from the perspective that they are refusing to state any opposition to religious reaction, but there is a side of the condemnation that is essentially just calling the Church of Satan a far-right organization at the moment where no far-right opinion was actually being expressed. It’s a classic case of “if you are not with us, you are against us”, and I find it very fitting that such a line is being taken in particular by twoMuslims. It seems that the progressives have not figured out that the Church of Satan has a policy of not getting involved in political matters or making political statements (at least not as they please anyway).
Now I must state for the record that I do not agree with this philosophy of non-involvement and non-engagement with politics, in fact I think that for them to be not evangelizing a political message attached to your organization while both their Christian enemies and their progressive rivals seize the opportunity to wage culture war puts them in grave danger of becoming irrelevant to the larger social environment (a sentiment that would surely find me no favours in the ranks of the Church of Satan). But the fact is, the Church of Satan has no desire to get itself involved in politics as a matter of organizational policy. It’s not exactly in our power to change this, and to be honest I don’t think even the membership has any real say in that, not that most of the membership are inclined to disagree anyway.
I do, however, find it quite telling that all you have to do to be a far-rightist these days is to not have an opinion on a given subject. Not even have the wrong opinion on something, just not having an opinion on something apparently suffices. Again, “if you are not with then you are against us appears to be at play”. Oh but apparently Anton LaVey (who’s been dead for over 20 years) being a “skinhead” (read: bald, not actually a skinhead) in addition to that fact is enough for the organization to be deemed far-right, never mind that the actual organization takes great pains to avoid categorical definition. I personally think of them as nominally right-wing due to their embrace of Social Darwinism and what appears to be an unstated support for classical liberalism insofar as various social positions, but this for me is not enough to simply refer to them as far-right.
For my part, I am actually prepared to offer my own take on the Chick-fil-A controversy. Obviously it is detestable that Chick-fil-A’s ownership opposes gay marriage on the grounds of religious opposition to homosexuality and that they actively support anti-gay causes, and I think that such reaction is to be opposed unequivocally. At the same time, however, I find it rather tiresome that the whole debate comes down to how immoral it is that people still buy fast food from them even after their anti-gay religious stance is public knowledge. And of course, this bothers me in particular because, if you’re at all entrenched in a socialist perspective, one based in a structural view of material conditions, you know practically at the back of your head that this view smacks of the liberal, libertarian and even (ironically enough) Randian view of humans as being purely rational agents, and that this view is profoundly unreflective of the way human behaviour actually works (seriously, do some even light research on advertising; it will change your perception of how humans think). Moreover, because cultural debates like these allow us to escape debate over the productive forces of capitalism, we are invariably led to a position where we end up condemning people for making choices that conflict with any sort of high values in a system that is engineered in such a way that you rarely get to make decisions based on any such values, and the materialities of the system unavoidable condition many people into making the wrong decisions. In sum, there’s no such thing as ethical consumption under capitalism. Deal with it.
It’s time at last for me to comment on Michael Aquino’s new edition of Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible. I’ve been meaning to read that book for quite some time, and now that I have, I have a lot to say. My good friend Summer Thunder assured me once that it was an important work for Satanism or more specifically Satanic culture, and I have no reason to doubt him. After all, this is indeed a revision of The Satanic Bible, and one written by one of Satanism’s leading philosophers and exponents who also leads a major Satanist organization (the Temple of Set), so we can take this as a important point of development for Satanism, one that may indeed already have influenced its direction since its release last year. As such, the most important part for me will be to assess the general philosophical content of the book so as to gauge what could well be the direction of Satanism going forward.
Right off the bat, before we get into the content, I must mention how such intent is reflected within the structure of the book. The book can best be described as what The Satanic Bible would look like if it was written by Aquino, with his particular background and ontology in mind and with a lot of additional content included. The book has five chapters, the first four of which are named for Satan, Lucifer, Belial and Leviathan in that order, reflecting the structure and intent of the original Satanic Bible. The Satan chapter isn’t the quite the same as it was in LaVey’s book, but it does offer some diatribes intended to expound the spirit of Satanism, this time from the (alleged) perspective of the infernal pantheon (Satan, Beelzebub, Azazel, Abaddon, Asmodeus, Astaroth, Belial and Leviathan). The Lucifer chapter is devoted to Aquino’s formulation of a philosophy of Satanism that is somewhat distinct from LaVey’s original philsophy, much like how in LaVey’s original book the Book of Lucifer was dedicated to formulating moral and epistemological philosophy, with sections of the book divided between the subjects of the universe, time, gods, and the soul (with a lot of very silly titles). The Belial chapter is, much like in LaVey’s book, dedicated to magick, ritualism and explaining how it works. The Leviathan chapter is devoted to the word of Set, which is divided into nineteen parts in exactly the same way as the Enochian keys are in LaVey’s book. In addition to this the four chapters (except for the Belial chapter) each come with a backstory section dealing with the chapters of the original Satanic Bible. After those four chapters, however, there is an additional fifth chapter, titled Yankee Rose (a clear reference to the cryptic ending of the original Satanic Bible), which seems to be focused on the history of the Church of Satan (a subject also covered in the preface), with of course the aim of “decoding” the meaning of the Yankee Rose phrase in the original Satanic Bible.
The book begins with a foreword supposedly written by Satan himself. I think it’s safe to assume it was not quite written by Satan, but from the perspective of what Aquino believes to be Satan, but that it is taken as the word of Satan, and that the word of several other beings is mentioned in the book, indicates that Aquino intends his doctrine to derive from revelation, which is the tell that we’re dealing with a theistic framework. In any case, it serves as the introduction to what Aquino’s version of The Satanic Bible is supposed to be: a means of self-discovery from the Satanic viewpoint, the act of reading it to be taken as a rite passage to into “a universe” or “universes” not known to physics (he actually goes out of his way here to refer to physics as pedantic; totally not anti-scientific at all, I see we’re off to a wonderful start already). Also worth noting is how Satan is taken to be the name of an entity universal to human cultures, supposedly embodying the same tropes throughout his incarnations, with the name Satan just being the name specific to Western “Judeo-Christian” culture, and he treats various other deities as isomorphic to Satan archetypally, such as Set (of course, this is Aquino after all), Odin and Quetzalcoatl. All of these are very quizzical for numerous reasons. I find it funny how Aquino never referred to the Roman god Mercury, since Odin, and to a lesser extent Quetzalcoatl, both share traits with Mercury (Odin in particular was linked to Mercury through the Gaulish deity Lugus). Or Ba’al considering Set has more in common with Ba’al than Satan and indeed was directly identified with Ba’al by the Canaanites who migrated into Egypt (referred to by historians as the Hyksos). Also, I find it weird how, after Set got sick of being referred to by Satan at the time Michael Aquino began founding the Temple of Set (at least according to Setian lore anyway), Set seems to just be cool with being referred to as Satan. Weird how that works.
The preface appears to center itself around the idea of a revision of the Satanic Bible, entailing that the project was in planning for a long time (apparently LaVey intended to do his own revision as early as the 1970s but never got round to writing it before his death in 1997), but it also seems to focus on the subject of the authenticity of the original Satanic Bible, which Aquino seems to believe was repudiated not long after it was origianlly written. It’s here that we also, for a brief moment, see Aquino’s intent in so far as forming a philosophy based on what he believes to be beyond nature, unnatural. To me this is much in contrast with Anton LaVey, who (if Stephen Flowers is anything to go by) intended to create what can be described as a natural morality, and I say this on the grounds that, if Aquino’s morality is centered on an unnatural object, then his moral system can be framed as an avowedly unnatural morality. One minor detail to note however is that he appears to treat every Abrahamic book after the Torah as just a clone of it, which seems nonsensical when you consider the way that these texts diverge from each other (for example, the Hellenic influence on the New Testament in contrast to the Old Testament). Though, as you’ll see later, he tends to do that a lot with RHP religions. After some pretty interesting historical exposition on the early days of the Church of Satan, we return to the theme of the original Satanic Bible’s authenticity, where Aquino claims not only that it lost authenticity in 1975 due to LaVey’s careerist restructuring of the Church of Satan, but that the Satanic Bible itself had been reduced to a work “occult fiction” that happened to contain social criticism. That’s rather harsh of him, but I guess I can understand where he’s coming from.
After the preface is a page entitled Introduction by Lady Diane LaVey High Priestess Church of Satan, but that page consists entirely of the page title, Diane LaVey’s birthday, an image of Diane LaVey from the old days, and a statement saying “Michael’s audacity is breathtaking”. That’s it. After this is the contents section and then the rest of the book. Some introduction. One wonders what the purpose of this page was.
There are two short sections preceding the first chapter. The first is a list of Anton LaVey’s inspirations, and the second, more interestingly, is a section entitled Indulgence in Brimstone. This appears to be this books version of the Nine Satanic Statements as they appeared in the original Satanic Bible. In both cases they directly precede before the Satan chapters of their respective books, contain nine statements to sum up the ethos of the belief system in short order, and both are decorated with the Cross of Leviathan (a.k.a. the symbol of sulfur or brimstone). This to me is one of the things that demonstrates continuity between the two Satanic Bibles, which is good because it fulfills the purpose of the book. As far as the actual statements go, they are as follows:
Indulgence establishes life, as abstinence death.
Indulgence in the present realizes the future.
Indulgence is quickened by truth, stricken by falsehood.
Indulgence is nourished by love, generosity and benevolence: but only when so appreciated and recompensed.
Indulgence in the excitement of creation finds its balance in the annihilation of destruction.
Indulgence is the Fountain of Life, but forbidden to those who seek only to consume life.
Indulgence within Nature through a form of that Nature is a gift of the Natural and the NonNatural, that you may Become both.
Indulgence for its own pleasure is a sacrament.
Indulgence is ever beset by the death-worshipful who would kill whatever they fear: Beware!
Unlike the original Nine Satanic Statements, in these new statements Satan does not seem to make any appearance, and instead the center of this litany is the concept of Indulgence. In the footnotes, Aquino tells us that the concept of Indulgence “elicit far nobler, indeed divine qualities in the Satanist”, speaking in relation to the original Nine Satanic Statements and the speech from John Galt in Atlas Shrugged that Aquino thinks forms the basis of said Statements, but beyond that his concept of Indulgence is not precisely defined other than in distinction to LaVey’s formulation of hedonism in the Lucifer chapter, where he explains that Indulgence should be taken to mean an Epicurean rather than hedonist outlook. It seems that these nine statements are to be taken as the primary means of defining this concept of Indulgence. In many ways we see an echo of Anton LaVey’s original ethos, as summed up by that famous axiom of his, “Life is the great indulgence – death the great abstinence”. But we also get a framing that might be characterized as somewhat Epicurean, with the emphasis that Indulgence is nourished by truth and the warning that it shall be forbidden for those who seek only to consume it, suggesting that this is not a conception of baseline hedonism. The more peculiar detail is the assurance that one may become both natural and unnatural (or, sorry, “NonNatural”; you could have hyphenated that Mr. Aquino). I wonder how this is to be done, or moreover I wonder how the two can be equals if the highest object of his ontology is what he considers to be outside of Nature.
After this, we come to the Book of Fire, which appears to just be content of The Diabolicon, an essay which was written by Michael Aquino in 1970 while he was a member of the Church of Satan, written from the point of view of Satan and the infernal pantheon. The first thing I notice is that here Satan is identified synonymously with Lucifer which, as I’ve explained before, is historically incorrect. But that’s the least important detail here. I do like how it begins with “Hail Man!”, which suggests some commitment to humanism. In any case, what we’re getting from here on out is a retelling of the mythology of the War in Heaven and the creation of the universe. Here, Satan explains how he liberated mankind by disrupting the order that came into being with the emergence of a being named God by introducing Will. This brings him into conflict with the angels Michael (here the “Lord of Force”) and Masleh (a Hebrew angel of the zodiac who is apparently referred to as Messiah at one point), thus leading up to the War in Heaven (or “The Great Seraphic War”). Masleh then descends to the Earth to censor the effects of Satan’s gift, and inspire in humanity guilt, conformity, herd mentality and so forth, and the host of heaven imposes Abrahamism upon mankind and their prophets teach them to be mindless animals before God, with Satan being hated and mocked in this world order. Already I get weird Randian vibes from this, though Aquino would insist otherwise due to his theistic outlook. But we see an interesting side of Satan as well: a being who feels compassion for the species he is attempting to liberate, a being who feels sorrow for those who have befriended him and heeded his teachings only to be met with cruel persecution and often execution. We also, however, get a very strange doctrine about the nature of the universe.
What, man, art thou? Why thy presence? Because thy own purpose determines that of the cosmos itself, though otherwise it may have been suggested – the creation, perpetuation, and exercise of the Satanic marvel that is free and unbounded Will. Consider, were man to perish, what futility would envelop the Universe, for apart from appreciation and use it is a thing of insignificance.
The implication of this would be that the universe has no existence outside of humanity, or human observance, or would have no purpose without the existence of humanity. This of course would raise such questions as “if this is the case when why does the universe generate us in the first place?” or “what of everything that came before mankind?” or “how do you deal with the concept of the universe existing outside of our opinion of it?”. Sadly, I find that these questions are not dealt with sufficiently.
Next we get to Beelzebub, who describes mankind as his inspiration and object of aspiration and tells us about the history of Heaven, Hell and Earth – basically this is the cosmology section of The Diabolicon. He tells of how, before the fall, he wanted to be Satan (or “be Lucifer”, because in this asinine Christian-inspired framework they’re the same entity), but Satan admonished him and told him that he is not God and that he is not here to offer salvation or “blissful nirvana”, before talking to him about how creation and design stem from impulse rather than by law (in other words, spontaneous creation, which is weird for a theist to advocate for and also kind of flies past the thought of there being a concept of laws of physics that can be observed). Will is also described as being of neither divine nor chaotic origin, and it’s not quite explained what that means. Beelzebub then tells of his desire to become independent from God, talks to Michael of his vision, after which Michael and Satan arguing with each other, with Satan explaining that he differs in substance from Michael because he derives from himself, and as such is discord, whereas Michael derives from God. He tells then that after Satan reveals his mind to the angels, several join him, and then Masleh implores Michael to cast him down, which he does, resulting in their exile and the concept of God being “shaken”, resulting in the rise of endless chaos, which is weird because apparently humans have still had to deal with God and his angels since the events of the war in heaven. Where heaven is the place of order and conformity to God, Hell is a place where freedom is absolute and truth is not constant because it reflects the wills of all who inhabit it.
Then we get to Azazel, here the Arch-Daimon of Hell, who tells more about the war in heaven. Then we get to Abaddon, here the Daimon of death, who continues in that direction. Then we get Asmodeus, who in this book seems to have transformed from the demon of lust to the Daimon of science. Here Asmodeus claims to be responsible for Isaac Newton discovering the law of gravity, the materialist philosophy of Democritus (which is ironic because of what has already been established), and the efforts of mathematicians, astronomers and explorers to understand the cosmos around them. He also claims to be repsonsible for teaching politics and civilization to the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Chinese, the Aztecs and the Ashanti. This is a quite a departure from Asmodeus’ usual mythological role, and again affirms the revelationist aspect of Aquino’s doctrine, stressing that human enlightenment was the product of supernatural intelligences. Then we get to Astaroth, Daimon of the senses, who claims credit for the ability of man to comprehend the true depths of his progress. Then we get to Belial, who I’m sure is trying to talk about how he taught black magic but it feels drenched in jargon. One weird detail I find fascinating is that, at the end, Belial refers to Man as “at once child and father of the universe”, which in my view has the potential to be extrapolated into a framework that I doubt Aquino would appreciate because it sounds too much like Hinduism or Buddhism. Finally we get to Leviathan, or rather an entity describing Leviathan since this time it doesn’t appear to be in first person. Here Leviathan is treated as the Absolute, a principle of existential continuity, answerable to nothing other than the final master of the universe. It is stated here that the Black Flame will only achieve full mastery and perfection when the universe is destroyed and there is nothing but Man and Leviathan, because only then can Man be sure that he isn’t subject to a greater will. So essentially, in this framework, the only way to truly be autonomous is if nothing exists that can create dependencies. This to me is a profound weakness because it reveals just how bad this framework really is, at least so far. If we take this as the revelation of a supernatural being, then it shows that Aquino’s philosophy (or the words of the infernal pantheon) cannot deliver the true depth of its emancipation without the destruction of all that is. If it’s a metaphor, then it encourages the individual to simply cut himself off entirely from all that is, because in this framework only by doing so can you achieve real or perfect freedom. It’s a recipe for supreme alienation – after all you don’t get much more alienated than being willing to proclaim that the only way you’re going to be free is if the universe is destroyed. And, in that sense, it’s another form of the reaction that all too many LHP practitioners have when faced with the reality that, so long as you live in a society, or indeed an integrated universe governed by laws, you will always be subject to interdependence and a myriad of complicated hierarchies in which you are sometimes the master and sometimes but another subject. What better way to get rid of that problem than to cast aside the ultimate externality?
All in all, all the other problems aside, most of the Book of Fire makes for a somewhat interesting narrative device that can be utilized by Satanists and you can gleam some gems from it, but it’s not the best sign post for the philosophy we’re getting. One other complaint I have about the Satan section though is that it feels weird to read parts of it at first for one simple reason: the design is fucking awful. Seriously. Aquino used a different font for the sections where it’s supposed be the word of one of the Daimons, which I guess is intended to convey that it’s not the word of the author, but there are no quote marks where there’s supposed to be a quotation from another character, and I swear the commas look like period dots. On close inspection you can make out the difference between commas and period dots, but it’s pretty subtle, and if you read it at first glance you might not tell the difference. It’s just such an awkward design.
Now we get to the Lucifer chapter, and for the purpose of this review we’re going to skip the commentary on LaVey’s original Book of Lucifer essays and go straight to Aquino’s chapters. Before we do though, I must note that this chapter in particular showcases Aquino’s tendency to design very insular and stupid-sounding terms for concepts that may already be covered in the English language. For example, in his commentary on LaVey’s originaly essays, he uses a made-up word called “Internetrality” for what seems like he could have just used the word cyberspace instead. I also have this weird feeling of mild annoyance with when in the backstory section Michael Aquino insists that if you read his new chapters you’ll realize that you already assume his philosophy to be correct, that you “know these answers already, intuitively”, citing Plato (the most authoritarian and idealist of the ancient Greek philosophers) and his concept of “universal truths”. At best, it’s a pathetically arrogant attempt to justify his philosophy not in any empirical basis but in subjective “timeless” intuition. At worst, it smacks of something a cult leader might say. Either way, my suspicion is aroused.
We begin with a section on universes, which begins with the discussion of objective and subjective universes. The concept of an Objective Universe is pretty straightforward. It refers to the notion of the universe as we understand it, a matrix of reality comprising of matter and energy and indeed the totality of all phenomenon within it, governed by natural laws that can be apprehended via the scientific method. The concept of a Subjective Universe refers to the Objective Universe as perceived by an individual self-conscious being, or the universe that exists within their mental space. It’s here that we begin to see the development of what can only be described as an anti-scientific framework. He insists that human science has no idea about natural laws in the sense of what they are, why they are or what enforces them, without considering perhaps that we have some idea of why they exist in the sense that we know that they are necessary for the functioning of the universe in various ways. He then goes on about how it is impossible to acquire an accurate assessment of the objective universe through experiment and empiricism, because every interpretation of the universe is totally subjective according to him, even when large numbers of people observe the exact same phenomenon and report back to each other than they have. He even goes so far as to suggest that what we normally observe as insanity is actually just the phenomenon people’s Subjective Universe replacing the Objective Universe, and he treats the designation of insanity as nothing more than the suggestion of social conformity, a suppression of individual will.
This for me is one of the biggest problems I can think of in Aquino’s framework, and one of the biggest dangers that you might come across in the Left Hand Path. The primary implication of what he is saying is that the Subjective Universe is either just as valid as the Objective Universe, or that it has the potential to be more valid and more meaningful than the Objective Universe, and that by telling someone that their Subjective Universe cannot reflect the truth outside of your perception of it then you are in a sense restricting their social freedom. If this is your epistemology, then you have surrendered your right to challenge the Abrahamic worldview, or any other worldview you condemn, because, if you do so, then your framework tells you that you are trying to suppress the Subjective Universes of those people. The Christian fundamentalist’s claims about God literally creating the world in six days, about evolution being false and dinosaur bones just being tricks from God (or Satan) designed to test your faith, about Noah’s Ark being real, about how building the Temple of Solomon will lead us to a Thousand Year Kingdom on Earth, about the Holy Spirit, about Jesus resurrecting, all of it would be counted as part of the Subjective Universe of the believer, and you now have no right to dislodge that because that’s just the triumph of the Subjective Universe and the will of the faithful. Or maybe it doesn’t apply when they do it. Maybe they’ve surrendered their subjective wills to a false god if they do it. Maybe when you do it, you’re exercising your free will and society has no right to stop you. But you’re only making that judgement on a subjective basis. If you base your framework on subjectivity, then my interpretation of reality is equally valid to anyone else’s, and talking someone out of an erroneous position becomes impossible and talking about philosophy becomes a case of talking about how good you are at telling stories or making paintings. It also lends credence to all of the bullshit that we’ve been seeing over the last decade or so from what we used to call “social justice warriors”, people who assert that their gender identity or racial identity is a much larger subject than any objective matrix that it may operate under. If you adopt this framework of subjectivism, then you’re unable to oppose the modern liberal/progressive tendencies that contain such thinking. The only way you can get past this and imbue your framework with truth is to entertain the premise that there is a reality that exists outside of subjective perception, but Aquino doesn’t necessarily allow this because he implies that this pursuit is scientifically and epistemologically impossible!
But that’s not all. There’s another dimension to the Subjective Universe idea: the Collective Subjective Universe (or CSU). The concept of the Collective Subjective Universe is just his term for when a Subjective Universe is shared, approved and/or enforced by a larger body of people – in other words, it’s his way of saying that human civilization is just the pursuit of cultivating a subjective universe capable of forming consensus (in other words, what is real is what we all agree to be real). There’s no actual justification for why you can’t collectively share the same observation of objective reality I must point out. It’s just his way of pointing out that societies are founded on or undergird themselves with a shared set of values. He pointed out the salience of George Orwell’s criticism of the concept of thoughtcrime, but viewed from the perspective of the ontology we’re given thus far, the only reason Aquino has to give a shit is because his own Subjective Universe is in danger of being suppressed. Hell, if we actually go far enough with this, further than Aquino himself would allow, we would arrive at the premise that Satan himself doesn’t have much of a moral ground to oppose God other than that humans wouldn’t have the freedom to express Subjective Universes or arrive at a state where this subjectivity supercedes reality. He’s already established that if you believe you’ve been possessed by the Holy Spirit we have no right to get in the way of that so why stop there?
But we haven’t even begun to wade in the river of bullshit yet. Aquino then claims without empirical basis that time does not exist. I’d say tell that to actual physicists like Lee Smolin or Carlo Rovelli, or really many physicists who can tell you that, even if there’s no real consensus on how we define it, there is some consensus on the fact that it exists. But that’s not all, he denies the theory of relativity as formulated by Albert Einstein, calling it a tar-baby without actually bothering to demonstrate why exactly it’s wrong other than apparently it refuted the ideas that Immanuel Kant had about time and space. This would require Aquino to explain why so many of the predictions laid out by the general theory of relativity have been proven correct – such as the Shapiro effect, the equivalence principle, frame-dragging effects, gravitational redshifting, light deflection by cosmic bodies, the perihelion procession of the planet Mercury, the gravitational microlensing of stars etc. – and the fact that the theory has been taken up as the best way of explaining the laws of gravity, not to mention the fact that general relativity has passed numerous experimental tests since its proposal by Einstein. Too bad he only devoted a paragraph worth of text to the subject. But not to worry, I’m sure his Subjective Universe will grant him the freedom to bypass this reality. Actually, he later goes on to insist that the speed of light is not 180,000 miles per hour and that curved space, wormholes, wormholes and black holes are all fictional concepts, all on the grounds that time has no basis in reality. Again we are compelled to ignore that many of these things have already been observed, and in fact this year we got our first up close and personal photo of an actual black hole. Yeah, needless to say I hope Aquino has re-evaluated that aspect of his epistemology. I will give him credit on one thing though: string theory is bullshit, being almost all metaphysics with no actual science to it, and I swear it’s being propped up by the more science-savvy wing of the religious right.
One thing he might be somewhat salient on is where he talks about meaning and points out that Adam and Eve’s true “sin” was that they recognize Good and Evil in a manner that is not in conformity with El (used as the true name for the Biblical God). He points out that meaning is not a function or property of the Objective Universe, but instead a property of the Subjective Universe, and, you know, there’s probably some truth to that. If there is a greater meaning or purpose to this life, the universe seems to reticent to instruct us on what that is, and as such we are left to either figure it out or indeed devise meaning for ourselves. But where Aquino would probably leave this to the dominion of your Subjective Universe, I would insist that we should be able to determine meaning for ourselves by apprehending the world around us. Our only path to mastering the world around us comes from correctly understanding how it operates, this means dealing with a conception of reality that might lie outside of our perception of it. But where Aquino insists that for some reason this is thought-slavery, the rest of us may recognize this is knowledge.
Unbelievably the next section of the Lucifer chapter is devoted to time. I say unbelievably, because Aquino already stated that time isn’t real. Actually, it’s about Aquino’s views on time in relation to religion, so I’m being unfair. In explaining what that has to do with anything, he claims that “OU-aligned” religions (that is, religions that base themselves around the premise of there being an Objective Universe that you have to grapple with) make you do slave tasks within a certain time limit, namely the duration of your life. Man, if only he applied this to labour, maybe he’d be semi-on to something. It’s in this section also that we get into the definitions of the Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path. Here the two concepts are defined very simplistically: Right Hand Path means absorption of the individual into the universe or God, while Left Hand Path means the pursuit of individual divinity. Pretty standard. Of course this affects how Aquino defines the view of time in these paths, so what is he going for? For RHP religions, he assigns the concepts of linear or cyclical time, with linear time being common to Western religions and cyclical time being common to Eastern religions (and, of course, he seems to imply that the two perspectives are linked to each other, as he suggests in the footnotes where he claims that Buddhist concept of time and “the Great Mandala” contains nods to the Christian Peter, Paul and Mary). For the LHP, however, he seems to shift gears from discussing time and instead talk about an Egyptian-inspired framework on death. For Aquino, the fate of the Satanist is neither heaven, nor hell, nor reincarnation, but a postcarnate state of being or Xeper, quoting Peter Pan in saying “to die will be an awfully big adventure!”.
Sadly however this idea doesn’t seem to be elaborated on too convincingly, so I can only assume you have to read his book MindStar to get the full picture. Instead Aquino goes on about how the missing link proves that the Black Flame was brought to mankind by Satan and his Daimons, which he thinks is justified by the change in cranial size in early hominids such as Cro-Magnon. What bothers me is one simple thing: why does Aquino feel the need to attribute this change to supernatural intervention, as opposed to the laws of evolution by natural selection? We have working explanations for the development of cranium sizes that do not require literal divine intervention (as is what Aquino believes in), such as the transition to bipedalism and changes in the female reproductive system that resulted from this transition. Why is the intervention of literal deities necessary? I also find it curious how he writes off most of human history is “doing nothing”, disregarding the fact that humans spent most of their history until the age of agriculture forming hunter-gatherer societies, and then after that he goes on to invoke “the ghost of Atlantis”, implying that Plato’s Atlantis is the explanation. Well “Atlantis” was in all likelihood a morality tale by Plato, which may well have been based on the destruction of Thera by a volcanic eruption. Curiously enough he claims in the footnotes that the term missing link itself has fallen out of favour with paleantologists because it implies too simple a chain of evolution (not, you know, because the term is a colloquial rather than scientific term), and that now they refer to it as “transitional morphologies”. Well I still see the term missing link thrown around and I’ve never, repeat, never, seen the term “transitional morphologies” used anywhere. Then Aquino appears to suggest that the only reason we don’t know that Atlantis is real is because Christians and Muslims destroyed any evidence of its existence, and then complains about how talk of Atlantis is dismissed by mainstream archaeology (which isn’t actually true; they do talk about Atlantis, they just talk about what they think inspired the story of Atlantis because they know it’s not actually real) while the SS under Heinrich Himmler conducted major expeditions to find Atlantis. Well if the Nazis thought Atlantis was real then by god maybe there’s some truth to it surely! You know, the people who also insisted that the Earth was made of ice and thought most other science was wrong because it was Jewish? And not to mention also that even Adolf Hitler dismissed Heinrich Himmler as a nutjob (though admittedly this was coming from his own volkisch Protestant Christian perspective). Why is Aquino giving the Nazis credence?
After citing an unnamed scholar on how Egyptian civilization was complete from the beginning (which makes no sense), he proposes that there may have been an “OU Satanic Age” that began in 100,000 BCE and is presently ongoing. This would in theory mean that the Satanic Age has been going on since the beginning of humanity, but then Aquino would emphasize if, implying that there probably hasn’t been a Satanic Age within the Objective Universe, only the Subjective Universe. Curiously, however, he notes that there may be downsides to this age, or rather he hints at such, but says that it has not to do with the Age itself and more to do with it’s “OU byproducts”. What does he mean by that? Well he refers to two real world problems: the rammifications brought on by the discovery of the nuclear fission and fusion or more specifically the invention of the atom bomb, and the threat of overpopulation on the finite resources of Planet Earth. He doesn’t say how we should counter this in a Satanic fashion, of course. He just notes that the Gift of Satan has an ominous side, before referring back to the Diabolicon where Belial says that the gift can never be recalled. So essentially, Aquino’s idea of the Gift of Satan is a type of uncontrolled, absolute freedom (at least going from what was said in Satan’s and Beelzebub’s sections of the Diabolicon), the downside of which is the constant threat of environmental destruction, with no real safeguard against that, and the assurance that we can’t revoke that Gift, possibly meaning in this case that we can’t restrain the ability of human civilizations in Aquino’s vision to have destructive effects on the Earth. Needless to say, this is an extremely dangerous view of freedom, one that cannot account for the need for order (indeed order as an abstract concept is rejected entirely in the Diabolicon), and it reminds me of some of the worst excesses of libertarianism, especially anarcho-capitalism (I say that because I think it’s safe to assume Aquino is not a man of the left).
Then we get on to his idea of “Subjective Universal Time”, which seems to be his concept of how, in the subjective mental space, time is infinitely malleable, the magician can alter the flow of time in any way he/she likes (slow it down, accelerate it, freeze it etc). How this is possible is not explained beyond it being the property of a seasoned magician or how stage magicians create this illuision of altered time and space – yeah, key word, illusion; that’s what stage magicians do. After this is the Aeons section, of which there isn’t a lot to say other than apparently Aquino ties the concept of Aeons to Gnosticism, and then goes on to claim that, had Gnosticism become prevalent, we might have had a more intellectual and philosophical attitude towards religion in contrast to the dogmatism of mainline Christianity. If by philosophical and intellectual you mean a somehow even more idealistic and pessimistic version of Christianity, then yes. I still find it very strange how Gnosticism keeps getting praise from Satanists despite it being arguably even more anathema to their beliefs than Christianity. Technically speaking Gnosticism is just the name given to various sects of Christianity that coalesced around similar ideas about the nature of reality, but common to them is the belief that the world is the creation an inferior deity, and that the true God is composed purely of spirit. How this idea manages to be appealing to Satanists is beyond me.
Moving on from time, we now talk about the gods and devils. This should be interesting, right? We the section begins with Aquino asserting that the Objective Universe must have a prior genius to conceive, establish and compel its order. In other words, he asserts that there needs to be a prime mover, a God. Of course for Aquino this genius is apparently not one God but instead the Neteru, a collective of supernatural beings that exist within Subjective Universes. In ancient Egypt, the term Neteru may or may not have been the word used to refer to the gods, so we can assume that Aquino is employing a polytheistic framework. These Neteru are considered timeless in that there was no point in time that they came into being, which would mean that they have always existed, and without them there is no explanation for the universe coming into being other than happenstance and the Objective Universe would comprise of utter chaos. He could explain the universe as being the product of laws, atoms, energy, matter and the process that comprise them, but he rejects this explanation and thinks it’s impossible to explain the universe that way. He poses the question of why humans should apprehend a multiplicity of Neteru rather than a singular God, only to leave the question unanswered, and then to suggest that Set and the multiplicity are the same thing. Apparently this is internally harmonious. Aquino says further that the Neteru are no apprehensible within mechanisms of the Objective Universe but through noesis, a Greek word that he uses to refer to intutive apprehension but which actually means the exercise of intellect or reason. Thus we again establish that Aquino’s framework is essentially a high-brow brand of Platonic (or Platonism-esque) polytheism in Egyptian costume.
His critique of the Biblical God isn’t particularly bad, but I must note that his insistence on referring only to El seems historically questionable. Yes the name El is the earliest name given to the Biblical God in the Bible, but the identification of Yahweh with El can be explained rather adequately as a syncretism of sorts, with Yahweh assuming the role of El and taking his name through being identified with the head of the Canaanite pantheon by the Israelites. There’s also the claim that dualism is a uniquely Hebraic corruption (well, borrowed from Persia more accurately), which is odd because it is pretty well documented that the Greeks had their own homebrew dualism via the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Egyptian religion certainly had its own dualistic element in the conflict between Ra and Apep, which later became ever more central to the Egyptian religion following the exile of the Hyksos and Set becoming the resident enemy of the gods. More curious however is when we get to the claims about religion and violence. He points out that Satanists/Setians have never engaged in systematic violence in the same way that other religions have, which is correct, but then claims that the reason for this is simply that the Satanists/Setians are more secure in their beliefs, and that the other religions have no security or confidence in their beliefs. This is an idealist, entirely post-hoc rationalization that shunts to the side the role of power and the specific hierarchies that engender such aggression. Stop and wonder why Christianity transformed from a largely pacifist religion concerned with social reform, albeit packaged as a ridiculous pessimistic cult of resurrection, to the Christianity we know today, known for its countenance of rigid hierarchical authority and repression. The answer lies in the adoption of Christianity by the Roman state, which then fashioned an official Roman interpretation of Christianity, suitable for the use of the Roman state. But this point never comes up once in Aquino’s work, and indeed it’s barely addressed in the type of crude New Atheist arguments that he opportunistically channels in this book.
Then there’s his brief critique of Buddhism, and he sort of misunderstands the Buddhist take on suffering and consciousness. While there are more nihilistic schools of Buddhism out there, many Buddhists don’t actually deny consciousness. They just don’t believe that there exists a self or an ego, and that suffering is caused by cravings or attachments which spring from desire and are tied with the attachment to the ego.
In contrast to Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, Aquino establishes that the Satanic religion is based there being independent, self-aware consciousness that is external to the Objective Universe, and that, for him, the ancient precursor to this was the Neteru who were apparently collectively identified with Satan. Again, a simple search for the term Neteru yields no such determination, unless you count the fact that Christians tend to view every god that isn’t Yahweh or Jesus as Satan, and that the Neteru is widely considered to be the name the Egyptians used to refer to the gods. What Aquino is saying then, whether he would admit it or not, is that his conception of Satan and Satanism is firmly attached to, if not almost indistinguishable from, classical polytheism, but with modern LaVeyan affectations and, in true LHP fashion, taken from the lens of the darker or marginalized gods (chiefly Set). And then in that spirit we come to a few sections on Set and his priesthood where he, against his previously established theology, defines Set as the neter who is against the Neteru, defined as that which is not nature – the irony being with that part is that the Neteru are fundamentally outside of nature in his own theology!
After a long exposition on Set, Satan, and for some reason Melkor and Sauron from the Lord of the Rings universe, we come to a section entitled “Humancarnation” (seriously Mike what’s with the made-up words?), which appears to be a section dealing in metaphysics. The thing that stands out is the way that Aquino fundamentally misunderstands the naturalistic and scientific perspectives of human reality. He complains that the scientific perspective holds that Man is just another animal, which is ironic given that he was quite happy to join the Church of Satan, a religious group that then, as now, stated quite blatantly that Man is just an animal, just that he is the most advanced and vicious of them all. He holds that the scientific world view holds that man is nothing more than a machine, which requires him to ignore the fact that the scientific community does not automatically believe this, and in fact we know from our scientific understanding of the world that, as I covered in my case against transhumanism, that the brain does not actually operate in a way that can be described as mechanical. One the perspective of consciousness he assumes that everyone in the scientific community takes the Daniel Dennett perspective of consciousness – that it does not exist – at which point I would encourage him to look into Roger Penrose. He even goes so far as to claim that the scientific community is not confident to judge whether or not there exist an external God, which would require him to ignore that several esteemed members of the scientific community happen to be atheists.
Speaking of atheism, I find Aquino’s criticism of atheism to be very shallow. He accuses the atheist of only being interested in criticizing Biblical mythology, which is an interesting rehash of that whole “atheists just want to bash Jesus” argument. I mean yeah let’s ignore the way atheists tend to criticize Islam and Hinduism as well as Judaism and Christianity just to go out of your way to look like you got burned by an atheist who told you that general relativity is actually real. Don’t let reality stop you from accusing atheists of “scholasticism”. It’s worth noting that in the previous section Aquino marshals an interesting quote from John Fowles’s Aristos where it is stated “Intelligent Athenians of the fifth century knew that their gods were metaphors, personifications of forces or principles”. It’s particularly interesting considering, to my mind, this is a perspective that is entirely compatible with an atheistic outlook, but then Aquino has the nerve to deem atheism an inferior philosophical outlook. As for his take on agnosticism, there really isn’t much to say other than, at last, an argument of some sort, even if it is basically an ad hominem.
After this however we get a somewhat interesting criticism of the Church of Satan and its hedonistic outlook, criticizing its emphasis on carnal pleasure as not enough, suggesting instead that an Epicurean outlook on pleasure is preferable (which is ironic on his part considering Epicurus was a materialist and thus would be opposed to Aquino on epistemology) and suggested that virtue should be raised to the level of rationality, and that to be a god carries with it the responsibility of upholding a specific set of virtues pertaining to wisdom, ethics and the Agathon (or “the Good”, whatever that might mean), noting that the Biblical God failed in this regard. All of these are fine things, commendable in fact, but I can’t get past that all this is coming from the same guy who already establishing that this very good, as all things in the universe, are to be destroyed so that there is only Man and Leviathan, and assured us of no safeguard against the destructive side of his conception of absolute freedom. What’s even more telling however is that in this part of the book we see the arch-LHP guy Michael Aquino, who prizes himself on being more Satanic than Anton LaVey, propose a conception of serving a good that is by necessity greater than the individual, and marshalled a quoteabout Platonic philosophy that tells us that there must always be a good that transcends the particular goods of individuals. It makes me wonder just how confused Aquino’s framework is. Although I have to say, “serving the Holy Grail” is a particularly metal-sounding phrase, if a bit of an eyebrow-raising one coming from a Satanist (although in fairness there apparently have been pre-Christian conceptions of the Holy Grail).
After this though, we get to the last part of Chapter 12, which I mention only because it contains some claims that appear to be factually wrong. He claims that the Greek concept of telos originates in Egyptian symbolism, with the only evidence of this being a Plutarch quote that doesn’t seem to suggest this entirely. But far more egregious is his take on Darwinian evolution – he appears to consider the Lamarckian model of evolution to be superior to the Darwinian model of evolution, on the basis that Lamarckian evolution places a greater emphasis on individual will. Of course there’s too much evidence for Darwinian evolution to be correct for Aquino to simply dismiss Darwinism as he does and Lamarckianism is considered to have been supplanted by other scientific doctrines, but let’s not allow that to bother us because by god science has to conform to our individual will.
Now we come to Chapter 13, which is (thankfully) the last of the Lucifer chapter. This appears to be yet another chapter about metaphysics, albeit this time with specific attention being paid to the subject of consciousness or the soul, which is going to be fun to say the least. Yet again we open with a strawman of naturalistic philosophy that reads like the only guy he read on the subject was Daniel Dennett. One thing that is interesting, however, is that he claims that the ancient Egyptians recognized that consciouness was external to matter, and his source for this…is Deepak fucking Chopra! The literal Quantum Healing guy! I don’t know what I was expecting from Aquino, but it was almost certainly not this. Although I must say, perhaps I should have expected something New Agey given that he uses a term like MindStar to refer to the Xeper.
His critique of the “Judeo-Christian” concept of the soul is weird because it seems very heavily focused on the Judaic concept of the soul (or perhaps the lack of one), without much attention paid to Christianity. A very basic assessment of Christianity would lead you to understanding the Christian concept of a soul that would thus be distinct from Judaism, one may even go further and try to analyze the Hellenic influences of the Christian doctrine in this regard, but Aquino doesn’t seem to note this, and indeed is of the belief that post-Enlightenment Christians don’t even believe in such a doctrine. Even more curiously, for a guy who is to be taken as avowedly anti-Christian, Aquino seems very happy to employ the type of argument that would otherwise be reserved for Christian apologists. He seems to imply that, if you have a society where people believe in an afterlife or a God, then the result is a society of hedonisitic decadence. He marshalls a scene from Pinocchio in support of his point (huh, I’m getting some Jordan Peterson vibes from this part) in which The Coachman invites unsuspecting youths to a place called Pleasure Island, an amusement park where they could do whatever they wanted without any rules until they, in their mischief, they transformed into donkeys and were sold into slavery. This on its own is capable of illustrating a somewhat profound moral point, and in fact it sounds like something that can be used as a metaphor for something I remember hearing from Buddhism, but here it just seems like an arbitrary way of giving slack to people who don’t agree with your belief system.
Then we arrive at Aquino’s explanation of his concept of the “MindStar”. There isn’t much to say of the MindStar on its own, and it’s only a page before we talk about it in relation to an assortment ancient Egyptian concepts of the soul. What I will note however is that Aquino notes that, in his version of Satanism, death does not mean personal obliteration but rather “the MS T-Field relinquishing of a no-longer needed OU sensory interface”. No-longer needed eh? That sounds like something you can get away with when you describe what we’d call natural death, passing away into old age as it were, but I wonder how that works when you get killed? If a guy stabs me to death does my soul decide that I no longer needed that body anyway? What a strange concept of death and afterlife.
After this we arrive at the third chapter, the Belial chapter, which as I explained before is devoted to magic. Here, magic is defined as the means by which a practitioner renders the universe intelligible to his will and thus able to interact with and influence it, which seems fairly in line with that old Crowleyite axiom that much of the Left Hand Path uses to define magic. Of note is the definition of black magic and white magic, as based on the doctrine of the Temple of Set. Traditionally, black magic and white magic are defined as magic intended for malevolent and benevolent purposes respectively, and in the Left Hand Path the terms black magic and white magic are typically treated as arbitrary. Here, the term white magic refers to the magic that is specific to mainstream religions, which for Aquino is a form of self-deception and for him not real magic, while black magic refers to magic that operates from the Setian premise of the individual being distinct from the objective and subjective universes and as such is called “D5 tools”. This dichotomy is ostensibly based not on good magic or bad magic, but rather on true magic and false magic (though, surely this lends itself to a good vs bad value judgement if truth is tied to goodness). These concepts are expanded upon not too much further into the book. White magic is defined further as a highly concentrated form of conventional religious ritual, such as prayer, often with the intent of currying the favour of or seeking the will of a deity or daemon. Black magic is divided into two categories: Lesser Black Magic and Greater Black Magic. Lesser Black Magic is a tool to focus the mind outward in order to identify the properties of the objective and subjective universes, which for Aquino is an analytic process separate from traditional ceremonial magic, which seems like an attempt to frame the concept in rationalistic terms (wasn’t expecting that from him), with the aim of controlling natural law for the purpose of changing a situation in conformity to your will. Greater Black Magic is the category of black magic whose purpose is the analysis and control of subjective universes, with the aim of replacing the subjective universe that the individual learns as a result of societal conditioning with a subjective universe that is consciously created by the individual. Unless the practitioner is suitably disciplined, this comes with the risk of becoming mentally unstable, supposedly because you’ve been given license by the Black Flame to go into multiple subjective universes and do whatever you want with them.
In between the sections on Lesser and Greater Black Magic we get a section about how history is just a form of “reality control”. Aquino outright states that history is not a means by which to derive as a foundation for or evidence of anything because historical accounts are written by humans with different interests and therefore utterly subjective. It’s a particularly myopic form of nihilism because it completely bypasses the part about history where people gather evidence of things that happened and draw conclusions from them not to mention use them to either support or disprove certain accounts of history. It’s another case of something being more complex than Aquino makes it out to be. It’s also very rich that Aquino would complain about subjectivity considering his whole framework frames subjectivity as eing superior to the objective world, as is at the very least suggested by the fact that magic concerning the subjective universes is the “greater” category of magic. Of course he backpeddles later and says that the implications for black magic is that history is merely incomplete rather than unreliable.
In the section devoted to Ritual, Aquino gives a critique of LaVey’s use of the term Shemhamforash in his rituals, which is actually just one of the many Hebraic names of YHWH. He seems to treat the use of it as essentially “mystobabble”, which, while not entirely fair considering it isn’t an atraditional name, is salient insofar he is correct to point out that doesn’t really have anything to do with Satan. As for the rest of the Ritual section, there isn’t much for me to say given that it’s sort of a continuation of the epistemology of Aquino’s already established framework, but otherwise it’s not terrible in that it seems to me like it can be used to derive small aspects of methodology.
Now we move on to the fourth chapter, the Leviathan chapter. For the purpose of this post, I won’t comment on the Enochian Keys themselves and instead focus on the backstory lore surrounding them, particularly because it involves Aquino’s exposition on the character Enoch. Aquino considers him to be the Biblical equivalent of Cadmus, Hermes and Thoth, a connection that I’m not sure where it comes from, although it might be extrapolated from the way people have tried to connect him with Hermes Trismegistus, the alleged founder of Hermeticism. I’m also not sure where Aquino got the idea that Enoch was a sex-maniac. That’s news to me. Other than that, there is a somewhat decent summary of the Book of Enoch, and why Aquino thinks Enoch to be a missing figure of the Left Hand Path. Personally though I wonder if Aquino isn’t taking creative license with the myth, since it sounds like, in the Book of Enoch, the Watchers are still supposed to be the bad guys, and the “Black Flame” Aquino refers to is not depicted as a spark of divine consciousness, but a weapon by which to attack the believers of God.
But there’s another strange quirk to this chapter, one that gives me the clue to a particularly elitist character to Aquino’s thinking. His explanation for why the “Judeo-Christian cult of El” (read: Christianity) prevailed in Rome effectively amounted to him saying that the people were too stupid and ignorant to believe in esoteric mystery religions. Of course he frames it as being the religions of pre-Christianity, but that doesn’t make sense because the people were quite fine to be polytheists before Christianity showed up. In fact, we know that in the case of Rome at least we know that, in the early days of Christianity, the Romans treated Christians with pity at best, and suspicion at worst, and at any rate many were certainly willing to cheer at the sight of the early martyrs being slaughtered in the Colosseum. But apparently the polytheism they already believed in wasn’t not sophisticated enough, so it seems like he’s referring to a certain type of esotericism that existed in the ancient world that was not understood by the masses – probably because its practitioners willfully prevented the masses from understanding their doctrines by making their religions so exclusive. And again, the political realities of ancient Rome are casually ignored here. Aquino ignores how the Roman imperial hierarchy was rigid in its consolidation of state power, ruthless in its persecution of dissidents, and often too corrupt to do anything for the average citizen. Christianity, for better or worse, emerged as the answer to this political situation, offering deliverance from the poverty meaning citizens felt in their day to day lives while preaching against the excesses of the Roman Empire. But Aquino doesn’t account for this. Instead he prefers to think that the masses were just insane gluttons for punishment who embraced a tyrannical god not because his followers promises worldly liberation and spiritual salvation (even if that was for naught) but because they were starving for attention. It’s a fundamentally elitist worldview, one that is destined to fail to enlighten the masses because it so fundamentally despises them for being too ignorant to grasp its spiritual doctrine, and also fundamentally idealist because it reduces the rise of ideologies to sentiment rather than account for external political and material conditions. I guess we can expect this from a guy who, for all his anti-establishment flair, appears to be nothing more than a garden variety liberal at best.
He also returns to the point about history not accounting for the majority of human history, which is simply wrong because we know for a fact what humans did for 90% of their history. He asserts, without any evidence or even convincing argument at all, that there was undeniably ancient civilization for the 90,000 years or so that, in reality, were spent in a hunter-gatherer mode of social organization. There are only two points of evidence he points to in support of this point. The first is that, supposedly, the idea of Atlantis had different names under different cultures, which doesn’t really prove the actual existence of the settlement. The second is that there 335,000 search results for the term “forbidden archaeology” in 2018. What he’s really saying is “go on Google and look up a shit ton of conspiracy theory websites”.
Finally, we’ll address the Yankee Rose chapter, the additional chapter. This section believe it or not is pretty fascinating in that it gives an account of the lore surrounding key aspects of Anton LaVey’s life, such as the Black House. There’s all sorts of colourful details, such as how LaVey preferred to greet guests in his house by arriving through the fireplace and the secret passages throughout the house, which really serve to breathe a type of life into the life of LaVey that you sometimes don’t see when we talk about Satanism, which is further a great contrast to the often dull pedantry found in much of the rest of the book. Then there’s the mysterious stuff about the sinkhole and the photograph of the house supposedly collapsing inward until nothing but darkness remained. It’s an intriguing closer – or so I would say, if it were indeed the closer.
The Ninth Solstice appears to be another section from the point of view of Satan, which means we’re back to that stupid font again although by now you’ve probably adjusted to its awkward character. It seems that in this text Satan is addressing Anton LaVey, who he treats as his anointed man, gives him his tribute, and by his will is consecrated a Daimon and becomes a god. It’s all strangely amicable for a being who, as I mentioned earlier, got sick of being called Satan and insisted on being called Set instead. But apparently this is accounted for when he says the Church of Satan has past its time, and implores LaVey to seek out “the Elect”, whoever that might be. There are a few other peculiar details to note here. Satan declares that he and his entourage have no need to justify their existence or their desires, a statement that I would have expected from an almight sky deity whose rule is absolute and not his freethinking adversary. Once again the elitist aspect of Aquino’s worldview is visible, with Satan’s stress that he will not illuminate the many but instead the few, only the Elect. Only they can truly receive Satan’s wisdom. Such is the mark of a deeply esotericist doctrine (esotericism referring to mystery traditions and the religious practice of keeping occult knowledge hidden to all but a select group). And who is this “Elect”, exactly? Satan doesn’t tell us, and since he’s addressing LaVey we can only assume the two already know between themselves who the term “Elect” refers to, but we sure don’t. Perhaps it refers to the only people who identify as Satanists? Or the highest ranks of the Temple of Set? Who knows. Lastly, Satan tells LaVey to receive his Red Halo as the sign that he has become the Red Magus that Leviathan spoke of. If you remember the Diabolicon from before, you remember that the last section of it says that only with the obliteration of everything else that the Black Flame may “become red in the glory of its perfection”, obviously signifying the full attainment of self-divinity. That in mind, what’s happening in this dialogue actually? Is LaVey still alive at this time, or is he dead and this is supposed to be his disembodied spirit talking to Satan in the afterlife? What’s going on here, because I refuse to believe that LaVey actually destroyed the universe.
Appendices aside, that takes care of the book.
So what am I to make of this whole thing? How am I to summarize this book as a point of development for the direction of Satanism. Summer Thunder may be disappointed to hear me say this (or he would if he didn’t see it coming as he presumably read this post) but I do not see good things coming from the Aquinoite/Setian framework of Satanism.
If we take a look at Aquino’s worldview, it would be tempting to conclude that his framework can be reduced to a more sophisticated brand of inverted Christianity due to the fact that Christian apologist arguments are deployed in service of Satanism, but that wouldn’t be accurate. It’s more like a brand of polytheism that places strong emphasis on Platonism and esotericism, with Satan and his demonic entourage almost filling the role once filled by the gods of old, which is framed as a restoration of the original Egyptian cult of Set, which Aquino insists was the original cult of Egypt before being supplanted by that of Osiris. It’s classical theism, but from the lens of a kind of quasi-polytheist Platonism, mixed with an “I swear it’s not Ayn Rand” brand of hyper-individualist libertarianism, all wrapped up in a framework that lends itself easily to solipsism. It’s a confused philosophical outlook, and it tends to show in many areas. For instance, there is his classical theism and his dismissal of Ayn Rand, and then there’s the fact that his brand of individualism almost hasn’t changed from LaVey’s other than it’s more “Epicurean” in attitude. I guess you can say he can’t be an Objectivist because Objectivism categorically rejects belief in a God, but for some reason that doesn’t stop me from getting the sense that there are scents of Randian morality and ontology still there, bastardized by Platonism-esque theism though they may be. And then there’s the fact that his absolute individualism is contradicted by his insistence on there being something higher than the self – whether it be Leviathan clearly taking the role of the All or the talk of the importance of an Agathon that the individual must serve and cultivate. And then to top it all off there’s just the fact that Aquino supports this whole picture by marshalling a variety of talking points on numerous subjects that are often either dubious, myopic or just straight-up factually wrong, not to mention a shocking level ignorance regarding science – and how ironic is it that a guy who has a Daimon of Science in his infernal pantheon either rejects the scientific method or places it as inferior to divine revelation?
I’m sorry, but I can’t take this as anything other than a mess. If the Satanist movement follow’s Aquino’s doctrine, it will be doomed to exist under the shadow of Christianity, due chiefly to the fact that it marshalls classical theism similarly to how Christian apologists might just that it’s against Abrahamic monotheism and for a different theistic framework centered around Satan and his demons (or, excuse me, Set and the Neteru).
I have been meaning to write about this subject for quite some time now, and was originally planning to write this post in autumn of last year after having begun to notice certain patterns about right-wing conspiracy theories, but for some reason my mind got carried away and I never wrote it. However, after seeing my old friend and comrade Satanicviews return to blogging in order to once again do battle with our favourite butterfaced retard Becki Percy, it occurs to me that the whole SRA scare is still going on, even after the Hampstead hoaxers were defeated. So, for my part, I’d like to join the fight in some small way by detailing my thoughts about the subject of SRA conspiracies and what I believe to be their historical and political roots. I intend to demonstrate that such conspiracy theories are often the product of reactionary conservative politial narratives and often an integral part of the harder core of right-wing politics in Western countries, particularly the United States of America where Percy milks thousands if not millions of boomers for all they’re worth.
Before we begin in that pursuit, however, it is best that we start by giving a solid definition for what we’re discussing. The term “satanic ritual abuse” refers to a number of conspiracy theories that all center around the premise that there is a cabal of Satanists or devil worshippers who go around abducting children for the purposes of sexually abusing them or sacrificing them as part of supposed Satanic rituals. This cabal is typically believed to be a part of much larger organization, which usually is held to be part of the ruling elite. Such ideas about elite devil worshipping predators are also frequently tied to the conspiracy theory that Hollywood, the media, the music industry and popular culture promote Satanism. And often times, you will also find all of this attributed to Jews in various iterations of this conspiracy theory. As you’ll see, that last part isn’t a coincidence, and in fact it has links to old traditions of anti-semitism that go as far back as early Christianity. The SRA mythos has been an entrenched part of the politics of the Moral Majority movement, as well as other fundamentalist Christian movements within the United States, and also seems to be a staple in InfoWars and numerous pro-Trump circles, where you will find all manner of related conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate, the spirit cooking nonsense, and the Qanon conspiracy theory, and where you find people like Becki Percy eeking out some profit from it all. The fact that Satanism as an actual belief system expressly forbids child abuse and pedophilic behaviour doesn’t seem to matter to these people. The modern Satanic Panic, which famously gripped the imagination of the 1980s, begins with the publishing of a book called Michelle Remembers, a glorified horror novel that claimed to document instances of ritual abuse allegedly suffered by psychiatric patient Michelle Smith, as well as the hysteria surrounding the McMartin preschool, which culminated in one of the longest criminal trials in US history and yielded no evidence of Satanic Ritual Abuse.
Many have pointed out that modern conspiracy theories about Satanic Ritual Abuse are related to much older ideas surrounding the concept of blood libel, which refers to the belief that Jews capture children in order to use their blood as part of their rituals and ceremonies (an accusation that flies in the face of Jewish law on human sacrifice). These ideas are not solely the product of the Middle Ages, but instead have a long history within the Christian movement. One of the earliest forms of the blood libel trope comes from Eusebius of Caesaria, who accused Jews of crucifying Christians during their Purim celebrations as a rejection of Jesus. Other Christian fathers similarly accused Jews of barbaric religious practices. John Chrysostum accused the Jews of worshipping the devil and described their religious practice as “criminal and unchaste”. Ambrose of Milan also accused the Jews of devil worship, and even went so far as to defend Christians who burned synagogues – Martin Luther would later support the burning of synagogues centuries later. Justin Martyr claimed that the Jews went around torturing and killing Christians and blaspheming God or Jesus, and also that they were behind every persecution faced by the Christians. Now, it would be unfair to solely ascribe this anti-semitic tendency to the early Christians, given that Hellenic authors like Apion and Democritus (not the philosopher) also claimed that Jews captured Greeks and murdered them as part of their rituals, but I find that it is this early Christian anti-semitism that has so undergirded the anti-semitism of later Christian movements, as well as the old medieval passion plays, and eventually inspired more modern anti-semitic ideologies, including Nazism (Adolf Hilter and many of his NSDAP cadres were open in their admiration of Martin Luther).
Although the accusations of Jews carrying out ritualistic sacrifice were almost certainly false, the blood libel trope served to inspire hatred of Jews across Europe, which often resulted in the persecution of Jews. In England, during the 12th and 13th centuries, the Jews were often falsely accused of ritual murder, which led to them being massacred by mobs and eventually deported from the country by King Edward I. Jews continued to be accused of devil worship as well, often through the image of the Judensau, which depicted Jews kissing, suckling, or having sex with a pig, which sometimes was intended to refer to Satan, thus mocking Judaism as a diabolist religion. Accusations of ritual murder were frequently invoked by the Nazis in their paper Der Sturmer. In the 21st century, the blood libel trope continues to be invoked not only by much of the Western far-right and especially neo-Nazis, but also Hezbollah, Hamas, and throughout Middle Eastern television as well as the Russian Duma.
That anti-semitic tropes such as blood libel would be embraced by the hard right is not surprising in the least. Much of the right is presently engaged in rehabilitating the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, which is a rebranding of the Nazi concept of Kulturbolshewismus. Its anti-semitic roots are echoed in the fact that William Lind, a who spearheaded the development of the idea of Cultural Marxism, said in 2000 that the members of the Frankfurt School were all “to a man, Jewish”. Considering that he describes Cultural Marxism as the process of corrupting Western countries by promoting the abandonment of Christian morality and conservative values, it’s quite clear that this is but a rehabilitation of the idea of Jews promoting degeneracy that the Nazis once espoused. Another proponent of the conspiracy theory, Pat Buchanan, is notorious for his anti-semitism, having once said that there were too many Jews in the Supreme Court and even engaged in some Holocaust denial by claiming that Treblinka was not an extermination camp but instead merely a “transit camp” that prisoners passed through. In fact, the link between Cultural Marxism and anti-semitic conspiracy theories is still barely hidden, and the neo-Nazis will very often just let the cat out of the bag themselves, as for example this image that was originally taken from the neo-Nazi website Rightpedia where they just outright say that Cultural Marxism is a Jewish project. Outside of the far-right, the term resurfaced this year in British politics when Conservative MP Suella Braverman stated that the Conservative Party was engaged in a struggle against Cultural Marxism. Ostensibly this reference seems separate from the far-right, but it’s worth noting that, around the same time, a pair of Conservative MPs allegedly referred to themselves as “Grand Wizards” (which seems like reference to the KKK), possibly as a joke, and not for the first time either, while others called for the formations of a “blueshirts” movement within the party, which instantly calls to mind the blackshirts of Oswald Mosley. Sometimes this theory enters mainstream politics under slightly different iterations. One example of this is Ben Carson, who is currently Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who last year claimed that those who believed that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was guilty of rape during his college days were basically just the stooges of the Fabian Society, a British left-wing think tank that advocates for gradualist methods of acheiving socialism through the current system. He argued that the Fabians sponsored the accusations against Kavanaugh in the hopes of somehow taking over the United States of America in order to implement socialism. He also claimed that the Fabians already control the American education system and media, but lost control of the courts when Trump was elected.
There is, however, another ideological element that think may be present in the SRA mythos, though likely an unstated one, not obvious to most people. Many conspiracy theories involving a devil worshipping elite center around the Illuminati, a largely fictitious organization that conspiracy theorists believe orchestrates many key events in world history and engineer developments aimed at de-Christianizing Western societies. Although the Illuminati in a modern context is a purely fictitious organization, there was actually a group that existed in the late 18th century in Bavaria that was called the Illumanti, which is for historical purposes referred to as the Bavarian Illuminati. Founded by Adam Weishaupt in 1776, the Bavarian Illuminati was a secret society that was formed in order to challenge religious ideas and particularly prejudices that were prevalent in German society at the time, believing them to generate social repression and serve as obstacles to freedom of thought and happiness, their ultimate goal being to create a society of ideal liberty and equality. The society didn’t last long, having been torn apart by internal leadership disputes as well as proscribed by the Catholic Church, and after several edicts the group was eventually disbanded in 1785. But it wasn’t terribly long after its disbandment that people started to claim not only that the organization never actually disbanded, but that it was the direct cause of all manner of major historical events that served to upend the traditional order of society.
After the French Revolution occurred and deposed the monarchy while establishing a liberal republic, the Bavarian Illumanti was accused by its conservative enemies as being the cause of the revolution. . In addition to this, before the French Revolution, there were some who believed that the Bavarian Illuminati would lead a revolution in Bavaria in order to overthrow the government. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of this, but in 1793 the Illuminati’s opponent’s became convinced of this anyway once they discovered that one of its members, Johann Christoph Bode, met with French Freemasons, some of whom allegedly became participants in the French revolution. They supposed that, because of this, the Illumanti instigated the French Revolution and formed revolutionary cells. The claim that the Bavarian Illuminati caused the French Revolution was initially popularized by Augustin Barruel and John Robison, both of whom were staunch opponents of the Enlightenment and Freemasonry and believed that the Illumanti had infiltrated the Freemasons with the intent of promoting revolutionary violence. Barruel in particular is notable for his association of the Illuminati and the ideas of the Enlightenment, which he considered to be a threat to the authority of the Catholic Church, with not only Freemasonry but also occultism and even paganism, an idea that has apparently continued to be propagated by some modern reactionary thinkers such as Gerald Warner and Jason Josephson Storm. Although the Bavarian Illumanti most likely had nothing to do with the French Revolution and certainly did not play any role in starting it, that basic idea came to be the seed for a number of paranoid right-wing conspiracy theories. In the 1960’s, groups like the John Birch Society blamed the long-dead Illuminati for all manner of things – from the welfarist policies of Lyndon Johnson’s presidential administration, to central banking, to both World Wars, to the rise of communism and to the birth of the United Nations. Today, conspiracy theorists like Mark Dice accuse them of wanting to establish a new world order based in Luciferianism, Satanism and communism by infiltrating the media, with both major political parties of the United States (Democrats and Republicans) supposedly being their minions and major world events, including the assassination of John F Kennedy and the 2008 global financial crisis.
The idea of the Illuminati as being a threat to civilizational order, a shadowy force of tyranny responsible for several world-changing events behind the scenes is often dismissed as simply a manifestation of paranoia. But in my view this ignores the very question of why the Illuminati is taken up as the central antagonist of this paranoia. In my view, the myth of the Illuminati represents an obvious manifestation of contempt for the gains of the Enlightenment, chiefly the institution of secularism and the expansion of liberty and universal human rights. That basic contempt is not found solely in the more conspiracist elements of the right, but in more “acceptable” conservative intellectuals such as Yoram Hazony, a neoconservative who espouses the “virtues” of nationalism as a conservative ideology that rejects the doctrines of universal human rights and international law. But even the conspiracists aren’t completely relegated to the fringes. Gerald Warner, for example, is an influencer within the Conservative Party and a major opponent of its Cameronite wing on the grounds of its more modernist outlook. US conservative politics in particular is very prone to conspiracism and as such the conspiracists hardly fail to break into the mainstream of politics, such as the earlier mentioned Ben Carson. As such, the conspiracy surrounding the Illuminati is to be taken as a manifestation of the reactionary conservative view of societies and how they ought to work. In essence, the Illuminati is the bogeyman that threatens what is otherwise a timeless social order rooted in religious hierarchy whose power is not to be questioned. Social freedom and just about any progress away from this order, therefore, is to be treated as the work of shadowy, evil forces set against civilization itself. For modern conservatives, this order also represents free market capitalism and the hierarchy it generates, so of course moving away from free market capitalism would also be seen as part of a larger conspiracy. Indeed, Ben Carson’s conspiracy theory about the Fabians can be counted as something of a variation of the Illuminati conspiracy theory on those grounds.
As such, the SRA mythos is to be taken not merely as paranoid delusion in isolation, but as a primary narrative of conservative and reactionary politics, its content consisting of a synthesis of age-old anti-semitic tropes and 18th century anti-Enlightenment conservatism. When you see Trump supporters like Becki Percy parrot SRA tropes, don’t be surprised. It’s all part of that reactionary, conservative impetus to oppose the cultivation of a society based in liberty, universal human rights and equality under the law, or indeed a society that seeks to expand these ideas by going further to the left, by casting such efforts as diabolical conspiracies.
The media has a new line of attack against Satanism in its efforts to tarnish its status within the public consciousness. This line of attack is different from the old days in that it doesn’t seek out to smear Satanists as psychotic, anti-social, criminal elements in society, but instead to smear them as basically pussies who act tough but are scared to death of Christians. Predictably, this smear centers on The Satanic Temple.
What is the subject of these articles you might ask? While promoting a new film entitled Hail Satan?, which this week premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Lucien Greaves gave an interview with The Daily Beast in which he describes his views on Donald Trump and Mike Pence. The main story seems to be this statement:
“Trump is too stupid to predict; the guy has no concept of his own limitations. The thing that makes me most comfortable with Trump is the fact that he has no vision. Mike Pence really scares me: Pence has a clear, theocratic vision for the United States.”
I think this is an entirely reasonable statement, and Greaves is ultimately correct on this point. Donald Trump, while an ally of evangelical conservative interests, is inconsistent on almost every issue, religion being one of them. While he clearly is a Christian (he even said that the Bible was his favorite book), he is not an active member of his church and doesn’t know if he ever asked God for forgiveness. Also, during his campaign he often deviated from conservative tradition by billing himself as a protector of LGBT rights (a point that would find itself incredibly hollow as his administration dragged on considering its attempts to legally erase trans people, rolling out “religious freedom” laws and appointing arch-conservative judges to the Supreme Court). While Trump’s beliefs are often ill-defined and sentimental, Pence is far more consistent and clear about his intentions. He calls himself a Christian above all else, literally does not believe in evolution, is a consistent friend of Christian fundamentalists and can be trusted to act upon their interests, as well as numerous other conservative interests (let’s just say I think the push for war in Iran or with Russia might go faster under Pence than under Trump).
The reason why I think the articles from the likes of The Daily Caller and Russia Today among other outlets constitute a smear of Satanism is that they try to paint Greaves’ obvious concerns as irrational and from there based on irrational fear of ordinary Christians, overlooking the fact that Mike Pence, if he were to become President of the United States, would have much more control over social policy than he presently does and the fact that the possibility of him taking over from Trump remains a possible contingency.
Russia Today even tries to slyly compare The Satanic Temple to the witches who attempted to hex Brett Kavanaugh, asking “Maybe Pence will be next?”. Actually, come to think of it, why is Russia Today wading in on this development? I seem to see them chime in from time to time on Western culture war bullshit, with a fairly recent example being them publishing an article written by Slavoj Zizek about the errors of liberal thinking concerning “toxic masculinity”. It is at least understandable why American outlets join in on the story, but Russia Today seems like it doesn’t have any real connection to any of this.
The main takeaway I guess is that the subject of Greaves’ views on Pence hardly qualifies as a news story, or at any rate a development worthy of being treated as such. Which only really begs the question of why it is.
Does anyone remember years ago when it was only the Joy of Satan guys who were busy mixing Satanism with Hitlerian ideology? Or at least, they were basically the only Nazis most Left Hand Path traveler had to deal with. Those were so much more innocent times, back on the old Yahoo Answers website, before the purple scourge that was their new website format ruined everything. That must have been about eight or seven years ago, maybe a decade. And sweet Ishtar how times have changed.
While the Joy of Satan is almost irrelevant as far as I know (we all remember them and their crazy shenanigans, but they don’t seem to be doing much), there does seem to be a current of esoteric fascism centered around neo-Nazi politics that is very much alive in the current decade, and unfortunately that current involves certain contingents of the Satanist movement. Of course I don’t mean the typical Satanist. In fact, in my experience and from what I have seen it is very much at the feet of the Order of Nine Angles, and from there a certain contingent of theistic Satanists who adopt O9A ideas as part of their belief system. It is somewhat well-documented at this point that the group has a distinctly Hitlerian ontology in their esoteric worldview, as V K Jehannum has detailed in one of his posts about the O9A, but, there is a lot more going on relating to neo-Nazism than simply that.
What I’m attempting to do is bring a rather disturbing development that, for some reason, has eluded me until this point, but which I think deserves the attention of Left Hand Path oriented individuals and communities.
Recently a friend of mine showed me a KiwiFarms thread concerning an internal schism as regards the neo-Nazi organization known as the Atomwaffen Division, with certain Atomwaffen members talking about how they would leave the organization if the organization continued to harbor a certain Satanic element within it.
Now before we continue on I think it’s worth establishing the appropriate context regarding just who Atomwaffen really are. Atomwaffen are a militant Nazi organization that derives much of its ideological milieu from the writings of James Mason, an American neo-Nazi and former Church of Satan associate most famous for being the author of a book entitled Siege, as well as Charles Manson, specifically his idea of the “Helter Skelter” from which they apparently get their ideas about race war. They have a reputation for being linked with numerous murders, including one incident where an apparent member murdered a 19-year old college student named Blaze Bernstein – an indicent that was presumably motivated by him being of Jewish ethnicity and a homosexual. The group seems to have emerged from an online neo-Nazi forum named Iron March (or Ironmarch), which until its mysterious disappearance in 2017 served as a hub for people from all kinds of fascist organization, often people who would go on to commit violent hate crimes. Atomwaffen are so controversial that they are often despised even by others in the extreme right, some of whom consider them plants sent by the US federal government in order to discredit radical nationalist movements.
Entering into that is the drama concerning Atomwaffen and Satanism, which has been going on for the last year if I understand correctly. I first encountered this development in an article for The Daily Beast released in March, documenting the frustration expressed by many neo-Nazis that their movements are being infiltrated by the Order of Nine Angles who they believe go about taking over far-right movements to use as mouthpieces for a kind of apocalyptic Satanism. The article does actually mention the KiwiFarms thread that I’m about to talk about, but it doesn’t go into the full detail – and perhaps, given the actual content, that’s understandable because it is one of the most disturbing things I’ve come across on the Internet. However, for now, the main takeaway from the article seems to be the reaction to the thread’s release on websites like Gab, which is filled to the brim with all manner of unsavory far-right personalities, and from there arguments between different members of Atomwaffen on the subject of Satanism and its relation to Nazism. Those who left Atomwaffen said they did so out of disgust for the group’s affiliation with Satanism, while those who stayed with Atomwaffen say that Satanism will be useful to them in the race war they intend to fight, saying “You guys can get all moralistic if you want about Satanism… but when the fuckin’ race war comes, morals aren’t going to do anything but get you fuckin’ killed.”.
The actual thread goes into much further detail on just what sort of activity the O9A contingent of Atomwaffen was getting up to, from the perspective of a disillusioned neo-Nazi by the name of Vexation who left the group upon discovering these things, centering around a 27-page document he wrote entitled “On AWD“. The individual describes a man named Rape, who was apparently the de facto leader of Atomwaffen, asking Atomwaffen members to read certain books associated with the O9A branch of Satanism. The first of these books, which is apparently supposed to be required reading for prospective Atomwaffen members, is a post-apocalyptic novel entitled Iron Gates, which was authored by Tempel ov Blood, an offshoot of the O9A with probably a more pointlessly edgy name than . The book can probably be described as gore porn, at least as suggested by the commenter’s description of the book opening the with the brutal murder of a baby, in front of his mother. Not only does Rape apparently think it’s a great read but a lot of Atomwaffen guys are described as indifferent to the book on the grounds that it’s “just a meme”. The second book is Liber 333, perhaps one of Tempel ov Blood’s more well-known releases, which is apparently also a window into just how the O9A types think. In fact, I’ll leave a quote apparently from the book featured in the document here:
Second, the infiltration and manipulation of organizations and forms with Sinister potential. Aryanism, particularly the more religiously fanatical forms of it, such as Christian Identity are a good example. The manipulating Noctulian is to use these forms for their own Presencing of the Dark, as well as changing in subtle ways the followers of such forms to following a more Sinister direction. For example, in Identity, using knowledge of the Biblical doctrines and prophecies encourage war, hardship, and system disruption using the scriptures as guidance and proof of the message you are sending to adherents of the said form. Any form with a transhuman, system disruption, or satanic direction to it may be of use here. The key is finding a form that in itself is an aid to the Dialect and empowering it further, causing a saturation of Acasual Energy.
If this passage is indeed from the book, we can gather from it that the “Noctulians”, that is members of the Order of Nine Angles or more or less Tempel ov Blood at least, infiltrate various extreme political movements in order to use them for their own ends if they have the right “sinister” potential. It’s interesting how they seem reasonably confident in spelling that out, presumably under the impression that only the few would read their literature let alone take an interest in doing so to begin with. It’s also quite curious to note how the “Noctulians” frequently seek out ultra-nationalistic and fascistic groups like Atomwaffen and Christian Identity movements. This is most likely because they identify neo-Nazism as the outer rim of politics in the same way their particular form of Satanism represents the outer rim of spiritual philosophy. As one Good Reads reviewer put it, “In the context of cosmopolitan neo-liberalism, neo-Nazism quite possibly represents that furthest outer limit to most people. The neo-Nazi is the “Satanist” of the above example. No matter how they put forth their arguments, they are clearly the enemy of all the values of the society they live in, and their positions come across as gibberish when they travel beyond certain bounds.”
This strategy is echoed in other O9A books featured on the SiegeCulture website, such as Hostia, where it apparently says on page 80:
“A Satanist, concerned with experience, may use a political form for a specific purpose – the nature of that form in terms of conventional politics and morality (such as ‘extreme Right-wing’) is irrelevant. What is important is whether it can be used to (a) provide experience of living and the limits of experience, and/or (b) aid the sinister dialectic of history. Thus a Satanist may become involved in, or set up, an organization of the extreme Right – this is dangerous, exciting, vitalizes, provides experiences ‘on the edge’ and should thus aid the development of the character and insight of that Satanist*. What is important, is that this involvement is done for an ulterior, Satanic, motive: what others think and believe about such actions is totally irrelevant. Anyone purporting to be a Satanist who criticizes such an action, whatever the political hue of the group/organization, reveals by that criticism that they are not Satanists – but rather, moralizing nerds lacking in insight and real Satanic understanding.”
The book is also apparently shown advising its readers to, as part of their transformation into “Noctulians”, become burglars or join the police force in order to specialize in a particular area of theft in addition to becoming extreme right-wing political activists, for the primary purpose of living dangerous lives in order to become hardened by the experiences that come with them.
Further into the document, it is attested that Rape claims to be opposed to Satanism, calling it “gay”, even though it is shown through his Instagram (under the name Vincent Snyder) that he flaunts his interest in the Order of Nine Angles (as well as Charlie Manson). He doesn’t even hide his interest in neo-Nazism. He’s also affiliated with a guy named Dante Aschard, who not only is an avowed O9A Satanist but is also affiliated with Atomwaffen as indicted by his appearance on the Siege Culture website. Rape also runs the Siege Culture account, which puts up tweets saying stuff like “We wish everyone a Satanic millennium” as well as Satanic artwork of Charles Manson (who wasn’t even a Satanist ffs!), which would make sense for someone associating themselves with Atomwaffen. Rape also seems to like larping as a communist, or presumably a National Bolshevik (though lacking the actual NazBol flag in his photo-ops), most likely not because of his own interest in communism as an ideal but because he views it as a vehicle for “sinister” ends (to which any actual communist would either laugh or barf). He even goes so far as to claim that he was “redpilled” by Boyd Rice (who himself liked to hang around white supremacists), Anton LaVey (who was not a Nazi), and Nicholas Schreck (probably not a fascist) alongside Charles Manson and James Mason, and has expressed fondness for LaVey and Liber Falxifer (which don’t strike me as going very well together given the gulf between LaVey’s humanism and the gnostic nihilism of the Chaos Gnostics). It’s possible that he may be more interested in extreme Satanism than the Nazi politics, as he goes out of his way to say “I’m not interested in save our people” (“our people” meaning the white race, of course).
After laying out the full extent of Rape’s connection to O9A Satanism, and Satanism in general, the author goes on to say that other Atomwaffen members respond to his statements on the matter by attempting to dox him, which seems to suggest that they were against such criticism of their leadership and were willing to silence people for bringing it up.
What this development suggests is that there is a band of Order of Nine Angles Satanists who, while they may not even be neo-Nazis, they find in neo-Nazi/fascist movements the potential to carry out their desires and their will in the world, and since this is Atomwaffen we’re talking about we can assume those desires involve spreading as much terror in the world as possible and trying to start a race war. But whereas the actual neo-Nazis, as horrible as they are, are invested in their horrible ideas for decidedly ideological reasons, the O9A guys seem to be involved solely for the prospect of bringing destruction and terror to as many people as possible. Perhaps the worst thing about it is that they simply prefer to use others to do their dirty work. Though I suppose if they actually did form a militia they would probably make ISIS seem like the A-Team in terms of the pure evil that runs through their minds – I don’t say that because they’re Satanists, by no means, I say that because they’re the worst kind of Satanist you can think of: a Satanist who hates humanity, hates the world, looks at the asinine dichotomy Christianity presents and decides “I want to be the bad guy” and presumably masturbate to the works of James Mason and Charles Manson.
While some may look at this as proof of the flirtation and even concordance between fascism and LHP groups, I see it more as proof of the cultivation of esoteric fascism, and how certain individuals are using Satanism in order to manifest this current. The reason I bring the phenomenon to light is so that those in the LHP milieu are armed with the knowledge necessary to take a stand against it, because we cannot stand for it. These O9A fascists smear us with their activities, in the sense that their actions create a justification for other people to treat as alike to them when in truth most of us are nothing like them, and we must not allow the LHP milieu to be dragged into the swamp of fascistic psychopathy.
It has been a while since I’ve talked about The Satanic Temple, and it seems there have been new developments taking place pertaining to that organization. Unfortunately, none of them are good. Here I will attempt to examine them one-by-one and give my commentary on the subject.
The Satanic Temple vs Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
About a month ago, The Satanic Temple decided to sue Warner Bros and Netflix, the producers of a television show named Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which seems to be a reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, on the grounds that the show uses a copy of their statue of Satan entitled Baphomet in their show. The head of the organization, Lucien Greaves, claimed that the design was copyrighted, and therefore Netflix had illegitimately appropriated it, and also claimed that the show was using their design in order to demonize Satanism and promote some sort of Satanic Panic agenda through the show.
There’s a certain irony to Lucien Greaves’ stance on this particular issue. As will be discussed later on in this post, he has stated in the past that he supports freedom of speech even for opinions and ideas he disagrees with, yet in suing Netflix over their interpretation of their Baphomet statue they seemed to be coming to against the freedom of expression on the part of the producers of the show because it makes Satanism look villainous. Of course, when someone on Twitter pointed this out, Lucien said that it wasn’t really freedom of speech because, as he claims, Netflix’s use of their statue amounted to theft of intellectual property. Rather convenient, and rather dubious considering all Baphomet is TST’s interpretation of Satan, a figure that has been interpreted in numerous ways for a few thousand years now.
Now, there is some good news that came out of this: namely, that The Satanic Temple have decided on Thursday to settle the lawsuit with Warner Bros and Netflix, with the organization announcing that “The unique elements of the Satanic Temple’s Baphomet statue will be acknowledged in the credits of episodes which have already been filmed. The remaining terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement.”. However, in true Lucien Greaves fashion, Lucien Greaves casts himself as the victim in a sense, bemoaning the whole affair as “one of the most overpublicized of copyright claims”, which is rather interesting considering it was he and his organization who first leveled the claim to begin with. If you didn’t want this sort of press, and it wasn’t that big a deal after all, why go through all the trouble? To protect a symbol? Seems rather pathetic to whine about the whole affair after having effectively started it yourself.
The Satanic Temple vs Antifa
Another development that happened in relation to The Satanic Temple this month is that they were accused of being aligned with fascism and the alt-right by Antifa movements. To be fair, this has been a thing for a while now, with websites like It’s Going Down accusing The Satanic Temple of harbouring a creeping fascism in its ranks. However, this month, the accusations have resurfaced in a three-part series of blog posts by Trident City Antifa, who believe The Satanic Temple is either an agent of fascism or adjacent to fascism.
The reasoning for their accusations can be summarized by the following claims:
Lucien Greaves’ defence of Milo Yiannopolous over the Berkeley riots last year, with Antifa claiming that said defence amounts to allowing him to oppress minorities with his speech, or something.
Lucien Greaves’ general support for freedom of speech, even for fascists or supposed fascists, and disdain for the “Punch Nazis” strategy.
The Satanic Temple’s hiring of Marc Randazza, a lawyer known for defending the likes of Alex Jones, Andrew Anglin, Mike Cernovich and members of the alt-right, to represent them in their suit against Twitter for allegedly censoring religious minorities, a decision which caused one local branch to distance themselves from the organization in response.
Greg Stevens being on The Satanic Temple’s National Council, which is deemed problematic because of his apparent friendship with Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannopoulous.
Lucien Greaves’ friendship with Shane Bugbee, who is accused of being a transphobe.
Lucien Greaves’ association with Adam Parfrey, who in turn was also apparently associated with a fourth-positionist named James Porazzo and apparent fascist author Robert Stark.
Lucien Greaves’ general opposition to Antifa.
There’s a lot to cover here, but all in all the accusation that Greaves is pro-fascist can be summarized in a few words: the guilt by association fallacy.
Think about it: let’s start with Marc Randazza. Yes, the man defended Alex Jones, and Mike Cernovich, and Andrew Anglin, and there is a reason why he did. He’s a First Amendment attorney, he argues in defense of sometimes bad people typically on the grounds of speech, and Lucien Greaves, in looking for someone to represent The Satanic Temple, must have seen that in him as an ideal candidate to defend his organization. He is also known as a prolific defender of the porn industry. Greaves probably chose Randazza because Randazza was what I guess you’d call a free speech warrior, not because of his supposed fascism. The same concern for freedom of speech, rather than ideological alignment, is the obvious impetus for Greaves’ defense of Milo Yiannopoulos. Then there’s Greg Stevens, who as far as I know seems to be something of a liberal, something like what Dave Rubin was when he started saying he was a classical liberal but before he descended into just straight up conservative libertarianism, and his only link to the alt-right is him being apparent friends with Mike Cernovich and Milo, of whom only one likely seriously shares any deeply-held ethnonationalist political beliefs with the alt-right.
Then there’s Adam Parfrey. Greaves is tied to fascism through Parfrey because Parfrey was apparently associated with Greaves, who was somewhat fond of Parfrey on the grounds that Parfrey supported his work and was the curator of TST’s first art exhibition. The fact that Greaves doesn’t appear to endorse Parfrey’s apparent fascist associations should be a red flag a bad sign for Trident City Antifa’s narrative already. Parfrey’s main link to fascism seems to be him being a member of Boyd Rice’s think tank, the Abraxas Foundation, which I think I’ve shitted on before on this blog because of its fascistic tendencies, and that his label, Feral House, often publishes works from the likes of Robert Stark and Michael Moynihan, and, I won’t lie, the evidence of Parfrey’s fascistic associations seems pretty damning, especially if you check out the “Long Live Death” section of his book Apocalypse Culture. But, this hardly makes Lucien Greaves a fascist because, although he was seemingly chummy with him, he was never sympathetic to the underground fascism that Parfrey liked to play with.
Then there’s Shane Bugbee who is accused of transphobia, racism and homophobia, for which Trident City Antifa have not provided evidence. They’ve provided evidence of Shane talking about how he doesn’t care about 9/11 and there’s mention of how he bragged about a “rape book”, but that’s it. I’ve looked outside the blog as well and haven’t found much. Again, though, besides the guilt by association, this is pretty much invoking a time when Lucien was very much a different person – it is very much worth noting that he renounces the philosophy of Might Makes Right, the book that he drew covers for and liked to talk about with Shane Bugbee.
Finally, let’s address Trident City Antifa’s objection to Lucien Greaves’ overall stance regarding freedom of speech and punching Nazis, which will also allow me to address my problems with Antifa in a much broader sense from the perspective of political praxis. First of all, if their contention is that the consistent application of freedom of speech as a principle to in alignment with fascism or alt-right beliefs, they should consider that both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have both made brilliant defences of freedom of speech in their day, as have Anton Pannekoek as well as much of the Praxis School. Should these people therefore be considered in alignment with fascism, even though the bases of their shared worldviews would be counted in opposition to fascism and the alt-right? Secondly, as to the idea that punching people on the streets makes for viable praxis, it would be a terrible shame if someone on the radical left pointed out the futility of such disorganized violence – except for the fact that somebody did, over a century ago no less. Not to mention, the far-right has for a couple of years now been organizing training camps and are already more or less more militarily prepared for violent confrontation than much of Antifa are (Unite the Right 2017 for instance saw Oathkeepers dressed in full military uniform with assault rifles for heaven’s sake), so I would argue Antifa are poorly prepared for what’s inevitably coming in the future, where there will be nothing to lose.
The underlying errors of Antifa’s praxis also hinge on a very broad definition of fascism, broad enough to include edgier forms of what is essentially baseline conservatism, hell broad enough to include just about anyone who complains about immigration in my books. Hell, they probably think leftists like Angela Nagle and Anna Khachiyan are actually fascists because of various statements on immigration and culture that they found too conservative for them. There is a broadness of definition with their understanding of fascism, and that is a problem because fascism is a very specific ideological tendency, defined by very specific political ideas – central among them the totalitarian state which exists as the sole domain in political life and which exists to govern the flow of capital in the context of private ownership of the means of production. Rather than understand fascism and fascist movements based on a proper theoretical understanding of it based on the ideological text of fascism, they do, like many liberals do, treat fascism as an abstract phenomenon broad enough to fit as many movements and individuals as is desirable. What doesn’t help matters is that there’s a sense of vigilantism about the way Antifa conducts itself, which is important to note because, as we all know, vigilantism has surely never backfired.
It’s this, coupled with the permeation of guilt by association-based assumptions that underpin Antifa’s analysis of whether or not The Satanic Temple is alt-right, and frankly it’s a very sensationalist analysis.
But, in spite of all that, there’s one detail the Antifa people have brought up that perhaps can’t be ignored: one that, while it doesn’t really make them fascist or alt-right or whatever, does raise serious questions about the group’s integrity.
The Satanic Temple vs whistleblowers
Within the last few months, part of The Satanic Temple’s non-disclosure agreement had apparently been leaked, and one detail in particular stands out above the rest:
Recipient agrees that Recipient shall not make any statements, or take any other actions whatsoever, that disparage the goodwill, name, brand, or reputation of the Disclosing Party or its current or former founders, directors, employees, independent contractors, volunteers, donors, supporters, or contributors. For purposes of this Section, “disparage” shall mean any critical or negative statement, whether written or oral, about the foregoing parties. Examples of disparaging statements include, but are in no way limited to, statements that the aforenamed parties have been dishonest, acted fraudulently, misused funds, or otherwise engaged in unethical or dishonest behavior, or are associated with parties who engage in such behavior. This obligation shall be in effect at all times following the Effective Date of this Agreement, both during and after the termination of the Recipient’s relationship with Disclosing Party (in whatever capacity).
While Lucien Greaves claims that it was broadly worded at the advice of their lawyer (apparently not Marc Randazza), this is very clearly a prohibition against public criticism of the organization, and this is important to note considering that Nikki Moungo had come out back in August about a litany of apparent wrongdoings. This would effectively mean that Lucien Greaves’ defence of freedom of speech turned out to be hypocritical in practice for The Satanic Temple’s operation.
It is worth noting, of course, that Lucien Greaves has announced back in September that this non-disclosure agreement will be revised, but it is worth keeping in mind also that this has been a recent development, rather transparently following the controversy surrounding the hiring of Marc Randazza. So, unfortunately, the situation is still Lucien Greaves being caught with his pants down.
All in all, it’s been a very shitty couple of months for The Satanic Temple.
I know it may seem abrupt, but I think I have to talk about this, because it seems like a notable positive development. The Satanic Temple’s statue of Satan, entitled Baphomet, has had quite a journey in its day. It was originally designed with the intention of standing opposed to the Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma State Capitol Building. But, after said monument was ordered to be removed, the statue found itself without a home, and in the end was placed at a private unveiling party held by The Satanic Temple in Michigan. For a while, I thought that was it, the closing chapter in the story of our delightful goat-headed friend. But it seems that’s not the case.
Last year, a new Ten Commandments monument was erected on the property of the Arkansas State Capitol buidling, just like what had been done with Oklahoma. The monument was destroyed by someone ramming his car into it not long after its placement, but it was replaced in April this year thanks to a fundraising campaign by one Jason Rapert – a Republican State Senator and the founder and president of an Evangelical Christian organization called Holy Ghost Ministries. This has predictably been met with opposition from The Satanic Temple, along with the ACLU and atheists and secularists in Arkansas, and in response to this development The Satanic Temple have decided to hold a rally, the Rally for the First Amendment, in front of the Arkansas State Capitol Building to protest this decision, bringing with them the famous statue of Satan they designed for Oklahoma. In the background of all this, The Satanic Temple are naturally also suing the government for the right to keep that statue there permanently, or at least for as long as the Ten Commandments monument remains.
This in a way is such a triumphant moment. After being denied its moment to stand opposite the symbols of Christianity, at long last, the Baphomet/Satan statue finds the opportunity to do exactly that. We’re finally seeing what we thought we were going to see about three years ago in Oklahoma. And, honestly, from what I’m seeing of this event, it actually does look glorious. I like the sight of that Satanic statue set against the State Capitol building from an aesthetic perspective, as well as political.
I expect this to be a productive effort too. My prediction here is that, just like last time, that Ten Commandments movement is being pulled from the State Capitol. We know already that Jason Rapert, and presumably his fellow Christians, will not stand for the Baphomet to have permanent residence on the property, and we can assume that Lucien Greaves and TST are going to push through with their suit. We can safely predict that, rather than allow the Satanic statue permanent residence, the government will ultimately remove the statue in order to please both TST’s demands for the government to uphold secularism and the Christian demands for Baphomet to just go away. Mark me when I say this is going to be a very cut and dry victory for The Satanic Temple.
A rather fascinating article from The Guardian caught my attention, titled “Hell freezes over: how the Church of Satan got cool”. And by fascinating I mean this was just a puff piece. The article in question goes on about how the Church of Satan suddenly got hip and cool in the eyes of progressive commentators because some imbuing of left-wing radicalism into the Satanic zeitgeist (by the way, please no), and lamenting the fact that Chelsea Clinton isn’t a Satanist. I don’t see why that last part is a problem: the last thing Satanism needs is the Clintons tarnishing its image.
And a strange puff piece indeed. As you’ll see in the link I’ve left at the end of the post, most of the article deals less with the Church of Satan and more with a Los Angeles Times article (which I will also leave a link to at the end of the post). The LA Times article in question makes the case that ̶a̶ ̶b̶u̶n̶c̶h̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶e̶d̶g̶y̶ ̶C̶a̶l̶i̶f̶o̶r̶n̶i̶a̶n̶ ̶h̶i̶p̶s̶t̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶ a new breed of Satanists are channeling their affinity for the dark side towards progressive political causes to unite against Donald Trump.
Yep, it’s more bourgeois left-wing political activism with a layer of pop occultism on top. Just like last year, when you had “witches” casting “spells” against Trump and then nothing came of it other than they looked ridiculous.
Essentially, these people buy into the idea that the world is going to hell, that American life is never-ending chaos, and that, because of this premise, they’ve decided to mix Satanism with feminism. They earnestly believe that without a sense of magical community centered around their version of Satanism, you’d have the rise of groups such as The Proud Boys (Gavin McInnes’ no-fap PUA brigade), and they, seemingly without any sense of irony or self-awareness, describe the fact that people have those groups as “black magic”. It’s so bizarre to hear that complaint when that’s what you’re into. I mean, the idea of just people forming social clubs as a form of magic is stretching, hard, but even if it’s true, why are you complaining? Is it good when you have black magic, but not when they have it? For me but not for thee, is it? They also talk about how one of their main advantages is being more well-versed in Internet culture, which is ironic because, anything, the anti-leftist political circles seem more savvy than they are in Internet culture because of their skill in making irreverent memes – the right arguably helped a President get elected through memes for shit’s sake. And then later on, the article goes on about how it’s all connected to African belief systems like Voodoo (which have nothing to do with Satanism) and how, predictably, The Satanic Temple is promoting inclusivity in Satanism and that sort of thing. I must say, for a bunch of spiritual rebels they certainly are very politically correct. But we’ll get to that later on. And to say that the new direction is more feminist than nihilist is rather accurate: there’s really nothing intrinsically nihilistic about it, because the progressive movement is, fundamentally, one that vies for its own brand of meaning, however vapid it may be.
But I see no sign that this current has anything to do with the Church of Satan. In fact, the funny part is how in the LA Times article they actually acknowledge that supporters of the Church of Satan believe in resisting liberal pieties as well as Christian ones, referring back to LaVey’s opposition to the hippie movement. So The Guardian went and promoted the Church of Satan as being more feminist, based on an article where they outright say The Church of Satan is still against liberal and progressive orthodoxy. The Guardian article just goes on to extoll the virtues of autistically responding to everyone casually using the phrase “satanic” in a manner not consistent with their beliefs. Funny, I’ve seen them accuse all Christians of being pedophiles just because a bunch of Christian priests came out to defend Roy Moore, who was accused of child molestation during the Alabama special election. I wonder, is that just a part of their “laconic” wit? Because to me it sounds like the take of a bitter teenager who still unironically listens to Antichrist Superstar and thinks he’s got religion all figured out. And the way they quote the FAQ section is rather pretentious. They seem to be under the delusion that the universe being indifferent to humans and values being subjective doesn’t apply to their own brand of progressivism as well: as in, surely it’s just as meaningless as Christianity? But hey, self-serving leftists rarely have that consistency about them.
What I find really, almost insultingly hilarious, is when at the end it says that “Satanism’s latest mutation is something else, a contrarian uprising against a patriarchal world order that deserves its comeuppance”, which gives you a very good idea that these people have no idea what contrarianism is. Feminist progressivism? Contrarian? Well I mean it has to be, that’s why in my country you have an entire political party embracing the zeitgeist. No, two! Labour is now thoroughly progressive in its socialism, and the so-called Conservative Party are actively in the business of diversity hiring with their most recent cabinet reshuffle. I mean it’s definitely contrarian, because you see so many Hollywood celebrities virtue signal about equality. Yeah, that’s what contrarianism is: going with the flow!
Whereas, here’s what Anton LaVey had to say about his conception of the “modern Black Mass” in The Satanic Bible:
Any ceremony considered a black mass must effectively shock and outrage, as this seems to be the measure of its success. In the Middle Ages, blaspheming the holy church was shocking. Now, however, the Church does not present the awesome image it did during the inquisition. The traditional black mass is no longer the outrageous spectacle to the dilettante or renegade priest that it once was. If the Satanist wishes to create a ritual to blaspheme an accepted institution, for the purpose of psychodrama, he is careful to choose one that is not in vogue to parody. Thus, he is truly stepping on a sacred cow. A black mass, today, would consist of the blaspheming of such “sacred” topics as Eastern mysticism, psychiatry, the psychedelic movement, ultra- liberalism, etc. Patriotism would be championed, drugs and their gurus would be defiled, cultural militants would be deified, and the decadence of ecclesiastical theologies might even be given a Satanic boost.
It amazes me how no Satanist movement that I have seen seems to be interested in tapping into this, because the simple fact is that we don’t live in the 1980s anymore. Even in America, the age of people like Bob Larson or Pat Robertson is long over. There’s still Satanic Ritual Abuse themed conspiracy theories spread around today, but it’s not the media phenomenon that it was until the early 1990’s. And despite the left’s fears in the wake of Trump getting elected, we see no signs of theocracy in the United States. If anything, despite the government being in the hands of the GOP, the zeitgeist of the wider establishment seems to be against him (including most media outlets). The idea that anyone’s being contrarian by embracing progressivism is dubious at best, and incredibly deluded at worst. It’s disappointing that there are no Satanists out there, that I know of, who are exploiting things like the reactionary movement as a form of rebellion against contemporary culture. Whatever your opinions on them, you can’t deny that they are at the opposite end of the establishment political zeitgeist, and exploiting the energies of such movements would play right into the kind of thing LaVey was talking about. But nope. If the LA Times and The Guardian are to be believed, it seems that modern Satanism is looking to embrace an ideology that, frankly, oozes with not just conformism and moral purity, but also (that’s right, I’ll say it) Christian universalism.
I fear that this will lead to the loss of a chaotic, rebellious edge that was classically associated with the Satanist movement, and if that happens, then I think it will be the end. Satanism’s primary impact and appeal came from the fact that it was rebellious towards the establishment, it placed the individual in opposition to outside social forces and institutions aligned against it, intent on corralling it into conformity in opposition to its will, and dared the individual to think for himself, treat these ideas with derision and mockery, and laugh at those stupid to embrace such hollow dogmas. But whereas in the 60’s it was Christianity and the hippie movement, and in the 80’s it was fundamentalist Christianity, in the 2010s, the popular zeitgeist is progressivism. You can be fired for publicly expressing ideas contrary to progressive ideology, that alone should be enough of a reason to channel rebellious intent against it. But instead a new breed of Satanists are embracing it. This will undo the original spirit of Satanism, rob of its chaotic, rebellious vitality, and turn it into just another whiny progressive movement based on what is, ultimately, feminist emotional porn. It would be sad to see such a defiant movement fall like this.
It might surprise you to know that I don’t talk a great deal about my religion in public life, or at least not as much as you’d expect from an avowed Satanist. However, I occasionally do talk about Satanism to people who aren’t Satanists. I’ve even talked to friends of mine who happen to be Christians about the subject, and strangely enough the ones I’ve talked to aren’t nearly as judgmental as one might expect. When I talk about Satanism, I sometimes come across people who tell me about Satanists they know in their lives who have displeased them because they act in ways that lend to them being considered ignorant teenage edgelords. One argument they tell me they’ve come across from these people is the argument that Satanism is just about being rational and treating people with respect and “basic human values”, whatever that means – and sometimes I hear this argument from people who criticize Satanism as just atheism in a costume, citing invariably the tenets of The Satanic Temple (which is not even a Satanist, but rather an atheist organization pretending to be a Satanist one).
I’m just going to say this right out of the gate: Satanism is not as simple as “basic human values”. Anyone who tells you that it is is either grossly oversimplifying the tenets of Satanism, at least as defined by Anton LaVey, or is modelling his/her assessment of Satanism off of The Satanic Temple, which is literally just a satirical atheist political organization. Rather, at its very simplest, Satanism is about Satan: the archetype of, among other things, instinct, the carnal or “dark” aspects of Man – typically in opposition to forces that would seek its constraint or repression – the adversary, or simple the Shadow in the Jungian sense. For Satanists, that archetype is often represented by the Satan of John Milton – the angel who rejected God’s will, not favoring his yoke and instead seeking to rule his own kingdom (as in, “better reign to Hell than serve in Heaven”). As there are many versions of Satanism out there (no, Church of Satan, the rest of Satanism is not just edgy Christians looking to larp as devil worshipers), and given that many Satanists don’t typically expect other Satanists to just accept their own variation of the doctrine, every Satanist has a different way of interpreting this archetype, let alone what Satanism is. But if the essence of Satanism can be reduced to anything, it’s this archetype. The common theme to this archetype can best be described as the angel of the dark side who embodies the freedom of the self to pursue aspects of the self that are otherwise kept under lock and key by the superego, or proscribed by (typically) “the laws of God”. It doesn’t quite matter if you’re a more of a humanistic (for lack of a better word) for whom the point of Satanism is to put Man (via the human self) at the center, or if you’re a more theistic Satanist who worships Satan as a deity embodying what I described earlier, or if you’re one of those anti-cosmics who believes that Satan embodies liberation from the universe itself because it was supposedly created by the Demiurge. In some way, each form of Satanism presents its own take on the archetype, but it’s usually not too far away from the general idea (unless it’s in the form of a Satan that is basically just a substitute for the God you rejected).
As I said before, it’s also not a fluffy, liberal egalitarian religion at all. We believe that we’re all different, we recognize that the strong rule the weak and the clever rule the strong, and we try to pursue the idea of the master morality, through the lens of our dark archetype. We desire to be the strongest, the cleverest, the best, without the fetters of the Right Hand Path.
I don’t think I need to elaborate much further. I have already done lengthy posts on the subject of what Satanism is and isn’t and I will put links to all of them at the bottom if you want to read them. But I hope you get the picture. Satanism is not just “basic human values”, whatever you define them to be.