Why the Satanic Panic is still a thing

Satanic Panic has returned, or so we’re told. It certainly feels that way when we consider the extent to which hardcore American conservatives and the far-right in general are leveraging the same essential moral panic, and all its inherently fascistic undertones, as part of the gradual consolidation of fascism across the world. Indeed, long-time readers of this blog may have noticed that this past year has so far has seen me cover new iterations of Satanic Panic. This includes the conservative outrage against Lil Nas X, conspiracy theories about the Astroworld disaster, Jordan Peterson’s transphobic rant in which he compares trans people to Satanic Panic, and the whole industry of conspiracy theories that cast Ukraine as a Satanic fascist nation in opposition to Christian Russia. Just hold that last thought for later, because it will be important to cover that in more detail. Indeed, the Russian state to whom the Western far-right is allied has played a unique role in thrusting Satanic Panic back into focus by making it part of the ideological basis for their ongoing invasion of Ukraine. But while a lot of commentary on the subject seems to present this as a revival of 1980s moral panic, the reality is that Satanic Panic never actually died out. The basic tropes still persist to this day and are a fundamental part of the core of hardcore right-wing ideology and the conspiracy theories that build themselves upon it. We laugh rightly about the fact that there was a time where some people seriously believed that heavy metal was indoctrinating people into some sort of violent Satanism, no matter the actual religious affiliations (or often the lack thereof) of the bands in question, but that basic idea still has its adherents in this very decade! In this setting, I hope to demonstrate not only the way that Satanic Panic has been brought back into focus, but also the way in which Satanic Panic has always been present in Western societies.

Contemporary Satanic Panic

But first of all, let’s bring focus to perhaps the most recent discourse of Satanic Panic that jumped onto my radar, and in all truth is my impetus for writing this article to start with. Last week, a Twitter user going by the name Rob (or @.houellebecq_2) has gone semi-viral for suggesting that the Satanic Panic of the 1980s was actually “justified”. To re-state the basic facts of our subject, this Satanic Panic was based around a number of right-wing conspiracy theories. One of those conspiracy theories asserted that schools and daycare centers across America were secretly controlled by devil-worshipping paedophiles who (we’re told) carted their victims off through underground tunnels and into their ritual chambers to abuse or kill them. Another popular Satanic Panic idea that sort of connected with that is the belief that heavy metal (not to mention its more “extreme” varieties), Dungeons and Dragons, video games, horror movies and more were portals through which children and teenagers would be brainwashed into becoming Satanists and start ritualistically murdering people or committing other crimes as a result. Rob’s argument is that these beliefs are all justified because “there actually was widespread abuse in the 80s”. When he was called out for this, Rob asserted that his critics were simply weaponizing some alleged experience of gaslighting, then argued that people don’t accept his claims because of media hyperfocus on the occult aspects, an alleged overcharging of cases, and supposed outgroup anxieties about suburban Christians (which, if anything, is probably what is actually justified for reasons I plan to elaborate). He then suggested that people read The Witch-Hunt Narrative by Ross E. Cheit, which ostensibly argues against the idea that the McMartin accusations constituted a witch hunt, while rather suspiciously refusing to link to any court documents to support his case. Forgetting the obvious problem with trying to bat away decades of disconfirmation (not to mention explicit repudiation by children involved) with a single source coupled with the refusal to present any relevant legal evidence that just might refute Rob’s case, a quick search for Cheit’s book The Witch-Hunt Narrative gives us no indication that he actually endorses the idea of Satanic Ritual Abuse – even though he argues that widespread abuse was real, he does not seem to support the idea that this was ritualistic or “Satanic” in nature.

With this established, let’s emphasize exactly what’s wrong here. First of all, the argument that Satanic Ritual Abuse was a real, widespread phenomenon, and that Satanic Panic is therefore justified, is a fundamentally fallacious argument; one which, I suspect, has applications for other fascist conspiracy theories. Why, with this peculiarly shoddy reasoning, someone may as well argue that the fact that the USS Liberty was mistakenly attacked by Israeli military forces off the Sinai peninsula, for which the government of Israel had apologized and given restitution, was proof of some broader nefarious Jewish conspiracy against white people. I don’t bring up this example by accident. Not only is the logic the same, many of the same people who still believe that Satanists are secretly abusing and killing your kids also tend to hold some really toxic and bigoted beliefs about Jews – sometimes coded (see the way the Right has been talking about “globalists” for decades or even close to century), and other times overt. That’s not a coincidence either, because the basic premise of Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracy theories is itself evolved from a much older tradition of blood libel in which Jews were frequently and maliciously accused of abducting people as victims of blood sacrifice, and these ideas are both pillars of a far-right/fascist ideology whose aim is to preserve a traditionalist notion of “the natural order” applicable to human civil society by oppressing or exterminating any designated Other seen as defying this order. I must stress for the record: this is what Rob thinks is somehow “justified”, and on such an appallingly weak standard of evidence.

I’m sorry to say this, but there’s more. Rob is not the only person trying to argue that the old Satanic Panic was justified. Anna Biller, the same woman who gave us The Love Witch, also recently endorsed the idea that Satanic Panic was justified based on the supposed reality of the McMartin preschool abuses. In fact, Biller even went so far as to claim that the “tunnels” where children were taken through to be abused were actually real, that the McMartin case was only debunked because no one at the time could prove that the tunnels existed, and that they were supposedly later found and the media wouldn’t cover it. How does she claim to know all of this? By going down a “Satanic Panic rabbit hole”…by which she means she went to some message boards and saw people claim that the tunnels were real and that they were covered up. Well, that and her other source is a website run by a man named Neil Brick, who incidentally has apparently also claimed that he was brainwashed by the CIA to be some sort of super soldier to go and kill people in Eastern Europe. His organisation, S.M.A.R.T., repeatedly claims the existence of large scale CIA mind control programs, and Brick himself repeatedly claims that the CIA financed various mass brainwashing programs. But there’s more. On S.M.A.R.T.’s website, you’ll find an article about Michelle Remembers, Lawrence Padzer’s infamous and discredited book that was taken up as the basis of the whole Satanic Panic nonsense, written by a retired psychologist named Alison Miller, in which Miller argues that the claims presented in Michelle Remembers are almost literally true and praises Padzer’s credentials. The website also seems to defend the work of Bennett Braun, a doctor who planted false memories of ritual abuse and demonic possession into the head of Pat Burgus – a charge that, surprise surprise, S.M.A.R.T. categorically denies. So Anna Biller is basing her “expertise” about Satanic Panic on conspiracy theories concocted from SRA theorists/apologists and probably also 4chan for all I know!

Of course, Biller has other arguments at her disposal. She claims not only that the ritual abuse cases were all real, but also that they were part of a massive international criminal trafficking operation, which she claims was, like Donald Trump’s abuse cases, too big to prosecute because they involved rich, powerful men at the centre. This new spin on the old Satanic Panic is fundamentally indistinguishable from the basic claim made by the QAnon movement, which claims the existence of an elite conspiracy to traffic minors in order to ritually abuse and sacrifice them, but is also if anything slightly more ridiculous (even if still less lurid) simply because it would have us assume that the richest of the rich and the highest echelons of US state power are somehow almost entirely invested in the fates of some random preschools daycare centers, and their faculty members, to the point of assassinating (or “Epsteining”) witnesses. Truly, I can hardly think of anything more absurd than this. But as ludicrous as this all is, it seems that we should make note her precise point of comparison – Jeffrey Epstein – as it seems to be a part of not only Biller’s Satanic Panic narrative but also other narratives from the last four or five years.

Biller claims that rich men abused children in the McMartin case and dressed it up in “Satanic trappings”. It seems that she never actually specifies what “Satanic trappings” she’s meant to be referring to. What is true is that all sorts of claims of ritualistic behaviours have been made about Little Saint James Island, and while we know that the human trafficking was real, the ritualistic behaviour probably wasn’t. One thing I do remember seeing from the Epstein cycle is a photograph of a bizarre mask via Getty Images, apparently found at Ghislaine Maxwell’s house in New York City. The mask is strange, it seems to resemble an old man with a long forked beard, some red eye-shadow on his face, a headdress seemingly meant to recall ancient Chinese royalty, and a mysterious triangle symbol on his head and on the cloth flowing downward. There’s almost certainly nothing “Satanic” about the mask, in fact as far as I can tell no one seems to really know what, if anything, it actually represents, but the usual conspiracy theorists took it up as evidence of “Satanic” inclinations on the part of Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, and their clique of haute-bourgeois paedophiles. It is repeatedly claimed that the triangle on the mask is meant to be the symbol of NAMBLA, that notorious pro-paedophilia activist group, and the conspiracy theorist more or less expects you to connect the dots to Satanic Ritual Abuse from there somehow; you may remember PizzaGate adherents trying to tie the same symbol to Comet Ping Pong Pizza and cast it as a nod to Baphomet despite there not actually being a link.

And it’s not just QAnon types who peddle certain theories about the Ghislaine Maxwell mask. Some leftists have also joined in, and I don’t just mean Anna Biller. Matt Christman, on an episode of the Grubstakers podcast, speculated about the nature of the Ghislaine Maxwell mask and linked it to PizzaGate, though ultimately admitted that he cannot know what it actually means. Fans of the TrueAnon podcast are much less cautious, actively labelling the mask “demonic”. That whole “dirtbag” scene has a bizarre relationship to QAnon, where they outwardly mock and deny QAnon, but some figures, like Christman, at the same time describe QAnon as “half-right”, agreeing with them that the world is ruled by “a cabal of cannibalistic psychotic sexual abusers” (which, to be honest, sounds an awful lot like the way that the Polish far-right ideologue Andrzej Lobaczewski talks about “pathocrats”) while disagreeing principally with the idea that Donald Trump is going to arrest them all. It is curious that this way of discussing QAnon makes no mention of the fact that the concept of Satanic Ritual Abuse is a central part of QAnon ideology or the fact that anti-semitism, both overt and coded, is also so fundamental to QAnon beliefs. I wonder what could explain such oversight.

In this setting, we can’t escape the impression that a generalized mode of conspiracism, and from there various degrees of Satanic Panic, are really everywhere, spread out across much of the political spectrum. In fact, S.M.A.R.T. has sometimes enjoyed mainstream media credibility. In 2020, Associated Press (yes, the same Associated Press that was recently partially responsible for legitimising the idea that Monkeypox is a “gay disease”) ran an article titled “SMART Founder Neil Brick Speaks at Child Abuse Conference in Dundee, Scotland“, whose content, if you look closely, is a word for word copy-paste job of an article from S.M.A.R.T.’s website titled “THE ORGANISED AND RITUALISED ABUSE OF CHILDREN: THE CURRENT INTERNATIONAL SITUATION”, published as a paid press release by S.M.A.R.T. with no editorial involvement from Associated Press. Think about that for a moment or two: an SRA conspiracy theorist group paid Associated Press to publish one of their articles as a press release to basically promote their cause, and by implication Associated Press didn’t do much research into S.M.A.R.T. before agreeing to run a paid press release from them. This is not even the only press release from them that AP has run. In the same year AP also ran an article titled “SMART Newsletter Celebrates Twenty-Five Years of Publishing – Neil Brick Editor“, which is another paid press release from S.M.A.R.T., and towards the end of that year they published yet another article titled “SMART announces the 24th yearly Child/Ritual Abuse and Mind Control Conference“, which is unsurprisingly another paid press release, this time ran via a company called PR Newswire. There’s another article like that from last year too. PR Newswire, in turn, has published multiple articles from S.M.A.R.T. promoting their conferences as press releases. These articles also end up reproduced wholesale on other mainstream media outlets such as Yahoo News.

The American media seems to be normalizing S.M.A.R.T. by running articles from them without any critical considerations, without any research into the organisation, their work, or who its participants include, let alone challenge Neil Brick, the head of S.M.A.R.T., for his claims that he was brainwashed by the CIA to be their super soldier. That’s not necessarily a surprise considering that the media still has a habit of contributing to Satanic Panic discourse. Stop and wonder why, for a time, the only outlet that would cover The Satanic Temple’s lack of financial transparency or their litigation against Queer Satanic was Newsweek, and even Newsweek couldn’t cover it without including weird reporting about “Satanic” orgies. Stop and wonder why, to this day, news outlets will report instances of murder committed by apparent Satanists as connected to Satanism without ever doing the same thing when it comes to murders committed by Christians who openly say that God or their faith told them to do it. Even in cases of writing about the real threat posed by groups like the Order of Nine Angles or Tempel ov Blood, writers such as Matthew Feldman cannot help but disingenuously construct their own broader anti-Satanist moral panic. In this setting, Satanic Panic definitely has not gone away, and the mainstream media are surprisingly and alarmingly complicit in its perpetuation. No wonder, then, that even people like Anna Biller eventually fall for it.

But make no mistake: the lion’s share of Satanic Panic comes from hardcore right-wingers. In the run-up to the destruction of the Georgia Guidestones, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor proclaimed that she was “the ONLY candidate bold enough to stand up to the Luciferian Cabal”. The moral panic directed against Lil Nas X was manufactured by Republican politicians running on a Christian Nationalist culture war. As I pointed out earlier, QAnon itself is built upon an ideology that starts from the premise that “the elites” (mostly referring to Democrats) are secretly abducting, abusing, and killing children as part of a “Satanic” cult, a premise that itself evolved from the earlier PizzaGate movement. Right-wing conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones have done much to cultivate the mythology of Satanic Panic in casting prominent Democratic politicians and others he doesn’t like as demons and Satanists. Many have observed that the increasing right-wing emphasis on what they call “grooming” – a term meant to refer to emotional manipulation for the purpose of sexual exploitation that the Right now uses to refer to things like promoting gender affirming care – has taken the form of Satanic Panic in that it retains basic tropes thereof, such as the basic idea that children are being manipulated in order to be exploited by the same people that the far-right already thinks are Satanists. American culture is in a peculiar place now where people are reckoning with the nature of moral panic through media such as Stranger Things and at the same time a chunk of the country believes in and will reproduce the same panic.

America is not even the only part of the world where Satanic Panic continues to persist. In the United Kingdom, in 2015 there was a Satanic Panic centered around the Christ Church Primary School in Hampstead, where several faculty members and parents were accused of the ritualistic abuse and murder of children, and even after the accusations were debunked there is still a movement of conspiracy theorists, or “Satan Hunters”, based around that conspiracy theory to this day. In Switzerland, within the last year, it was found that a number of psychiatric professionals have employed Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracy theories as the basis of their therapeutic practice. The German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth seems to have actually produced a report featuring Satanic Ritual Abuse terminology. In South Africa, an actual “ritual murder task force” called the Occult Related Crimes Unit, which was originally established in 1992, was re-established in 2012 and apparently still exists.

I haven’t even gotten around yet to discussing Russia, and as war in Ukraine rages on so too does the Satanic Panic narrative. Since I wrote about Russian Satanic Panic narratives back in March, I have seen more examples of just such a narrative. For one thing, it is the explicit and official argument of the Russian armed forces that the Russian army is “the last bastion against the satanic new world order”. This was ascertained from an official Russian Officer’s Handbook, which was obtained by the Ukrainian GRU. It is suggested that related texts have been circulating in Russian military forums for a maximum of six years, which could mean that Russian soldiers have already primed themselves to regard their enemies as “the satanic new world order”. This would be consistent with the fact that the idea of Russia as the “last bastion of the world of faith” has itself circulated in the Kremlin and Russian media for years. Then, in April, Russian forces had supposedly uncovered Satanic paraphernalia in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol; Channel One claimed that there was evidence of a “satanic organisation of gays and lesbians” that was supposedly funded by the United States in order to destroy Russia. In May, some strange and practically indecipherable graffiti was discovered in a Ukrainian village called Trekhizbenka, which RIA Novosti interpreted as a “Satanic seal” and on this basis accused Ukrainian soldiers of practicing”black magic”. Sometimes this is paired with narratives that Ukraine is under the thrall of some sort of nationalistic neo-pagan religion based in neo-Nazi ideology. Stranger still, in May and June it was reported that Russian “shamans” were performing rituals, blessing Russian troops, and calling upon “the spirits of the earth” to protect Russia from Ukraine and its allies. One might recall Gerald Gardner performing a group ritual to try and protect Britain from Nazi invasion back in World War 2. If nothing else it shows that Russia not only regards their struggle with Ukraine as a holy war, they also seem to see it as having some sort of “occult” significance, and they take that very seriously.

The Russian establishment has, over the course of the war, aggressively denounced Ukraine and its people as “Satanists”. Alexander Novopashin, an Archpriest who was also a “corresponding member” of the European Federation of Centers of Research and Information on Cults and Sects, recently expressed his support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which he described as “anti-terrorist”, and claimed among other things that “the West” is conspiring with “cults” (which he later says are “Satanic”) in Ukraine in order to spread Nazism and undermine supposed Ukrainian unity with Russia, that Ukrainian schools teach Nazism and cannibalism to children, and that all Ukrainian Nazis are also Satanists. Russian state media, especially Rossiya One, constantly stresses the idea that Ukrainians are Satanists as part of their coverage of Ukraine. In one segment, Rossiya One pundits claim the existence of a joint “satanic plot” by Ukraine, America, Britain, and the European Union to destroy Russia in a “hybrid World War 3”. In another segment, Vladimir Soloviev portrays Ukrainians as “Satanic Nazis” and claims that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is “not a Jew” – both are apparently standard-issue Kremlin talking points. In a more recent segment, Apti Alaudinov, commander of the Chechen Akhmat forces, argued that the Russian war in Ukraine is a holy war against “Satanism” and “the armies of the Antichrist/al-Dajjal” – by which he means Ukraine, America, NATO, and LGBTQ people. Tsargrad TV, owned by arch-conservative Kremlin ally Konstantin Malofeev, supported the war in Ukraine by arguing that Russia is fighting against “the enslavement of the once brotherly Ukraine” by “the Global anti-Christian system”, and claimed that LGBTQ pride rallies (which they call “Gay Marches”) are the symbol of that system as well as a larger “Satanic ideology”. Aleksandr Dugin, of course, continues to support the campaign against Ukraine, continues to present it as a battle against “the Antichrist”, and has argued that the war is not really a war but instead a “geopolitical exorcism” of Ukraine.

As I’ve outlined in my original article about Russian Satanic Panic, these narratives all align with similar conspiracy theories promoted by the American far-right, which also emphasize the idea of “satanic” bio-laboratories, and as I have shown in that article American and Russian right-wing conspiracy theories are connected in the same network of right-wing propaganda warfare. Moreover, Satanic Panic is not new to Russia. Russian fascists sometimes depicted their Bolshevik enemies in a sort of diabolical fashion. One example is a poster created by the fascist White Army in 1919, which depicts Leon Trotsky, then the commander of the Soviet Red Army, as a red devil wearing nothing but a pentacle, reclining upon the Kremlin wall and presiding over extra-judicial killings. In Poland, Nazis depicted Trotsky in a similar manner in a poster called “Bolshevik Freedom” (or “Wolnosc Bolszewicka”) in which a devilish Trotsky sits naked on top of a pile of human skulls. Given the atheistic nature of Soviet state life and the abundance of Soviet anti-religious/anti-theist propaganda, it seems unlikely that the Soviets would have contributed to Satanic Panic mythology. However, there were instances where the Soviet Union did echo aspects of the Satanic Panic found in their Western rivals.

In 1985, a Komsomol (youth wing of the “Communist” Party of the Soviet Union) in Soviet-controlled Ukraine produced a list of bands that were to be banned from Soviet radio stations on the grounds of “containing ideologically harmful compositions”. There’s no mention of Satanism on this list, but the general formula is very consistent with American Satanic Panic directed at heavy metal and Dungeons and Dragons and the like. I suppose the closest thing on the Komsomol’s list of transgresssions would be “religious obscurantism”, a rather enigmatic charge specifically levelled against Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Given that Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden were frequently accused of being “Satanic” simply because of their imagery and references to Satan despite not actually having any sort of Satanist message, I suspect that “religious obscurantism” may have just been how the Soviets interpreted artistic references to the Devil. The Komsomol also seems to have hated basically all punk music with a passion, so bands like The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Madness, the B-52s, the Stranglers, Depeche Mode and more were all denounced (although that said I can probably think of one punk band the Soviet Union did like). They also seemed to genuinely think that AC/DC, KISS, 10cc, Sparks, and even Julio Iglesias were all promoting “neofascism” somehow. Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, Talking Heads, and Dschinghis Khan were all denounced as “anti-communist propaganda”. And of course, several bands and artists were denounced on charges of “violence” and “eroticism” that feel very familiar to the way that certain video games and movies, not to mention some bands even, were frantically denounced in America and parts of Europe. Apart from the relative absence of discussions of Satanism, virtually every aspect of this seems to mirror similar moral panics against popular media in the Western countries that opposed the Soviet Union.

Of course, the modern Russian state is not the only nation to manufacture Satanic Panic for political purposes. From 1972 to 1974, British intelligence concocted stories of black masses, devil worship, witchcraft, and ritual killings in Northern Ireland in order to present to a public narrative which asserted that Irish paramilitary groups, in addition to threatening Britain politically, were also Satanic black magicians who were unleashing the forces of evil to destroy Christianity in Britain. British agents would go and plant all sorts of ritual artefacts and occult paraphernalia in abandoned buildings across Northern Ireland, as well as parts of the Republic of Ireland, in order to manufacture stories about Satanic rituals to local newspapers that were then passed onto local newspapers who would turn them into sensationalist front page scoops. According to Colin Wallace, a former British army intelligence officer who spoke about this scheme with Professor Richard Jenkins in the book Black Magic and Bogeymen, the idea was to discredit paramilitary organisations not only in the eyes of the public but also in the eyes of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, both of which were seen to be influential over the paramilitary movements. By having the media cast paramilitary groups as Satanic magicians through fake stories about black masses and ritual killings, it was hoped that a devout Christian population and local religious leaders would be convinced that paramilitary groups were responsible for somehow unleashing supernatural evil into the world and thus turn against them. British forces also hoped to keep young people indoors at night and within view of army observation posts, thus effectively monitoring the local population.

However, it seems the campaign never panned out. Coverage was ultimately confined to certain newspapers, with next to no corresponding national television news coverage. Meanwhile, in Ireland, the stories were treated with widespread skepticism to the point that some Irish news outlets and citizens suspected that it was all a hoax created by the British army as a counter-insurgency tactic. In fact, Irish republicans at the time theorized that rumours of black magic and “Satanic” ritual killings were a black propaganda campaign carried out by British intelligence in order to cast the “freedom struggle” as “diabolical”, with the ultimate aim of manufacturing consent for a curfew to be imposed upon the population. Given the facts of the matter, I would suppose that these republicans were not off the mark in their guesses, and that in the end they were at least correct to assume it was an intelligence operation. In 1990, Colin Wallace spoke out about it in Paul Foot’s book Who Framed Colin Wallace?, where he confessed that the aim of the “Information Policy” section he worked for was to demonize paramilitary groups and keep young people indoors through horrific rumours of ritual brutality.

According to Wallace, the operation played on and took influence from Northern Irish media coverage of horror films such as The Exorcist and The Devil Rides Out, not to mention the actual films themselves, as well as Dennis Wheatley’s books (such as The Devil Rides Out, The Satanist, and To The Devil, A Daughter), Rosemary’s Baby, and possibly a right-wing evangelical text called The Back Side of Satan (which was apparently an early text of new Christian right of the 1970s and 80s). This all gels very well with the context of what was dubbed the “occult revival”, a period of widespread popular fascination with occultism during the late 1960s and 1970s which saw the spread and growth of many occult and alternative religious movements and, naturally, also came with a lot of fear and religious panic directed towards the occult. This, of course, was reflected in horror movies, some forms of popular music (in fact, it’s part of the very birth of heavy metal as we know it), and reactionary Christian backlash towards occultism and alternative religions. There’s a sense in which the Satanic Panic that became infamous in America largely developed from the already-existing Christian anxieties towards the broader occult revival, its reception or representation in popular culture, and its bouts of media prominence. And of course, during the British witchcraft craze in view of the overall occult revival, there were certainly many sensationalist scare stories about witches involving their supposed worship of the Devil. Even some occultists, such as Charles Matthew Pace, sought to opportunistically exploit this climate by passing on their own self-made legends as tell-all exposes to a tabloid media eager for sensational stories to fill their pages.

The Evolution of Satanic Panic

For all that, though, Satanic Panic in its modern sense, or at least its central thesis, is essentially an ideology – one whose tropes are incredibly old and equally persistent. Many iterations of Satanic Panic centre around the idea of a secret society of “Satanists”, “Luciferians”, “devil-worshippers”, “Illuminati”, whatever the preferred term may be (in conspiracy theories their use is completely interchangeable), who somehow control all the major institutions and whose mission it is to subvert the order of the country by destroying its religion and traditional values, presumably in order to turn it into a totalitarian dictatorship. Putting aside the actual nature of totalitarianism, the basic idea is an outgrowth of conservative reaction in the aftermath of the French Revolution. The French Revolution, with its overthrow of the French monarchy, its equally violent rejection of Christianity, and its support for new doctrines of rationalism in the form of civic cults, no doubt shocked traditional Christians in both France and elsewhere. Such a seismic rejection of the traditional order of civil society, they reasoned, could only be explained by way of conspiracy, and so they blamed the “Illuminati” among other scapegoats. Like many lasting conspiracy theories, this one had a little kernel of truth to it: there was a secret society by that was called Illuminati, founded in Germany by Adam Weishaupt in 1776, whose aim was to promote rationalist philosophy and undermine the influence of religion and superstition in both public life and government. But they did not last long: in the 1780s, the Illuminati and all other secret societies were banned by Charles Theodor, the Elector of Bavaria.

It was Augustin Barruel and John Robison who, in the late 1790s, first set out the argument that the Illuminati had survived criminalisation and that it had somehow organised the French Revolution from behind the scenes. Their ideas soon spread to the United States, where they inspired religious sermons directed against the Illuminati and a wave of anti-Illuminati authorship. Barruel himself was a conservative and traditionalist Jesuit priest, whose main political concern was the preservation of the dominance of Roman Catholicism over public life. The French Revolution, naturally, was deemed a threat to that order, and so he weaved a conspiracy theory in which the Illuminati used the French Revolution to destroy the French monarchy with the ultimate aim of overthrowing Roman Catholicism, and in service of this idea he posited a broad connection between the Enlightenment, Freemasonry, occultism, and “Paganism”. After receiving a letter from a man identified as Jean Baptiste Simonini in 1806, Barruel also began to consider the idea that Jews may have been involved in his imagined conspiracy. Simonini’s letter argued that both the Illuminati and the Freemasons were created by a Jewish organisation based in Piedmont, and claimed that he himself had been initiated by these Jews and that they had revealed this to him. Barruel himself had insisted that he did not consider Jews to be primary conspirators and not principally responsible for the French Revolution, and had originally refused to publicize the letter, ostensibly to prevent anti-semitic violence from breaking out as a result. However, in 1820, Barruel confessed on his deathbed to a priest named Grivel that he had written a new manuscript which posited the existence of a centuries-old anti-Christian conspiracy that he believed was started by the prophet Mani, involved the Knights Templar, and whose council was partially led by Jews. Barruel had apparently destroyed this new manuscript two days before his death, but the manuscript itself goes to show how Barruel’s basic idea ultimately evolved into an anti-semitic canard.

If you look at modern conspiracy theories surrounding the “Illuminati”, many of them inevitably incorporate familiar anti-semitic tropes, depicting Jews as part of a dangerous secret society plotting some sort of evil agenda. In the 19th century, Simonini’s anti-semitic letter was spread throughout influential conservative circles and was eventually published in a conservative magazine called Le Contemporain in 1878, despite Barruel’s intentions to the contrary. In fact, Barruel’s basic idea about how the French Revolution was created and organised by the Freemasons formed part of the premise of the notorious “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, which argues that Jews were at the head of Freemasonry and to this day is part of the canon of anti-semitic bigotry. Then, as now, right-wing conspiracy theories about some anti-Christian cult or secret society plotting to destroy Christian civilization tend involve anti-semitism. That is not by accident, because these conspiracy theories, and the general idea of widespread Satanic Ritual Abuse, all evolved from a much older trope known as blood libel.

Blood libel is the name given to a whole genre of anti-semitism in which Jews were accused of abducting non-Jewish children in order to sacrifice them and use their blood to make matzos. The entire idea is just grotesquely and absurdly wrong on all levels and remains a classical example of xenophobia, but it’s an idea that has been trafficked in order to justify anti-semitic persecutions or pogroms for centuries – particularly by Christians. The Christian church fathers repeatedly denounced Jews and accused them of all manner of brutal crimes against Christians. Martin Luther repeatedly and notoriously attacked Jews, regarded them as being possessed by the Devil, and accused them of plotting against Christians. Such ideas continued to proliferate and evolve throughout the Middle Ages, during which time Jews were ruthlessly persecuted across Europe. So widespread was the idea of blood libel in the Middle Ages that you can find an example of it in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, specifically The Prioress’ Tale, in which Jews are depicted as being incited by Satan to murder a young boy for singing “Alma Redemptoris Mater” through a Jewish ghetto. Incidences of children who disappeared and later died were blamed on Jews by people who accused Jews of killing them as part of a ritual sacrifice, resulting in trials and executions of innocent Jews, rafts of anti-semitic legislation, and the emergence of whole popular anti-semitic cults centered around celebrating these children as Christian martyrs while reviling Jews as the agents of Satan. Blood libel as a trope continues to persist in anti-semitic circles to this day, and in fact the Nazis made it part of their own anti-semitic mythology in papers such as Der Sturmer, a 1934 “special issue” of which depicted Jews as murderers of Christians and Christian children while denouncing them as “the devil’s brood” and accusing them of shedding blood in accordance with “the secret rite” (I have to stress the emphasis that Der Sturmer placed on Christianity in this issue, which suits their nature as a Christian fascist movement). Far-right conspiracy theorists naturally follow suit in this trend; this includes Alex Jones, who at one point blamed what he called a “Jewish mafia” for America’s problems and elsewhere publicly threatened CNN’s Brian Stelter while referring to him as “drunk on our children’s blood”.

It is also worth noting the extent to which anti-semitism formed an important part of the horrors we rightly associate with the Middle Ages. The Spanish Inquisition itself was originally created for the purpose of rounding up Spanish and Portuguese Jews who converted to Catholicism, who were targeted by Catholic monarchs who feared “Jewish influence” for the apparent purpose of coercively and tortuously ensuring the loyalty of local Jewish communities to the Catholic state and monarchy. Furthermore, the Inquisition viciously persecuted Judaism by burning Jews on the stake for refusing to convert to Catholicism, as well as burning copies of the Talmud, and they were also involved in deporting Jews from Spain and Portugal.

The blood libel trope can also be found in the medieval moral panic against witchcraft. One of the beliefs that people developed about witchcraft concerns a so-called “witches’ salve” or “flying ointment”. According to Francis Bacon, one of the ingredients of this ointment was human fat, specifically the fat of children or infants who were killed or exhumed. In the Middle Ages, it was widely believed that witches would kill newborn infants and suck their blood through their navels. It was frequently believed that witches abducted children for the purpose of collecting their blood and fat in order to consume or use to make ointments that granted them the magical power of flight. In one 17th century account, witches were accused of not only killing an infant but also digging up its buried corpse and later boiling and then roasting it for consumption and also to extract fat for their ointments. In many ways this idea is somewhat identical to the old blood libel directed against Jews. There is also an obvious line of progression between these stories about witchcraft and the broader mythology of Satanic Ritual Abuse.

A notorious 17th century French moral panic is perhaps illustrative in this regard. In 1677, a fortune teller named Magdelaine de La Grange was arrested on charges of forgery and murder, and La Grange’s claims to know about other crimes, particularly poisonings, being committed in the court of Louis XIV opened up an extensive investigation by French authorities into what was dubbed “The Affair of the Poisons” – a scandal involving mysterious deaths that were suspected to have been caused by poison. Numerous members of the aristocracy were implicated on charges of murder and witchcraft, fortune tellers and alchemists were rounded up and arrested on suspicion of providing various “illicit” services, and the king himself feared that he might have been poisoned by someone. Among the royal court, a major suspect was none of other than Madame de Montespan, Louis XIV’s mistress, who was widely believed (though never confirmed) to have been involved in the Affair of the Poisons. It was claimed that Madame de Montsepan consulted a “witch” named Catherine Monvoisin, with whom she supposedly performed rituals and prayed to the Devil in order to craft a love potion meant for Louis XIV, and that they ritually sacrificed and crushed newborn infants in order to drain the blood and mashed bones for their concoctions. It was thought that 2,500 infants were killed and buried in Monvoisin’s garden, but no evidence of infant remains was ever found and there is no evidence that the garden was ever actually searched. It was also claimed that Madame de Montespan allowed both Monvoisin and a priest named Etienne Guibourg to perform a “black mass” for her, in which Guibourg supposedly sacrificed an infant by slitting its throat over de Montespan’s body, had its blood pour into a chalice placed on her navel, and then used the blood and a consecrated host to create a potion or communion wine. It’s not clear if any of that ever actually happened.

The resemblance between this account and the blood libel trope should be somewhat clear: a religious renegade takes children (in this case supposedly purchased from prostitutes) to be ritually murdered in order for their blood to be consumed in some mixture or another. Instead of matzos or flying ointments, it’s wine or potions, but you can see the basic formula. Moreover, Satanic Panic continued to develop in France in tandem with the growth of the French occult underground. French occultists would sometimes accuse each other of being “Satanists” almost as a matter of course. “Satanists” (insofar as they were said to exist back then) were accused of holding black masses and engaging in various “immoral” activities. Eugene Vintras, a heterodox Catholic mystic who proclaimed “The Work of Mercy” was accused by Eliphas Levi and Stanislas de Guaita of being a Satanist who received “bloody hosts”. Joseph-Antoine Boullan, despite being a Christian, was often accused of being a prolific Satanist and of celebrating “black masses, particularly by Stanislas de Guaita”, possibly because of his apparent association with sex magic and his supposed encyclopedic knowledge of Satanism. Boullan himself claimed that it was de Guaita that actually performed the “black masses”. Jules Bois, in turn, accused Stanislas de Guaita of killing Boullan using black magick. French occultists alongside traditional Catholics also tended to accuse Freemasons of worshipping Satan or Lucifer. Jules Doinel, writing under the alias “Jean Kostka”, claimed in the book Lucifer Unmasked that Lucifer was the “secret god” of both the Freemasons and the “Gnostics”. Jules Bois claimed the existence of a “satanic temple” in which Lucifer was venerated as the “master builder”, suggesting a link between Luciferianism or Satanism and Freemasonry.

One event that marked perhaps the most lasting influence on modern Satanic Panic was the Taxil Hoax, which fooled the Catholic establishment by convincing them of the existence of a “Satanic sect” within Freemasonry. In 1885, a man named Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, better known as Léo Taxil, publicly professed his apparent conversion to Roman Catholicism while denouncing his earlier anti-clerical works, and over the course of the 1890s he began writing a series of tracts denouncing Freemasonry. A year prior to this, Pope Leo XIII published an encyclical in which he accused the Freemasons of organising the “partisans of evil” against the Catholic Church and of “rising up against God himself”. Taxil claimed that the Freemasons practiced Satanic rituals and murder and worshipped the Devil, and that members of the upper ranks of Freemasonry were members of a sect called the Palladium Rite, which worshipped Lucifer as the God of Light and Good, denounced God (or rather Adonai) as the God of Darkness and Evil, and practiced sexual congress with demons. Taxil further claimed that the Palladium Rite was based in South Carolina in the United States. Later on he introduced a character named Diana Vaughan, the supposed High Priestess of the Palladium Rite, and later proclaimed that she had converted to Catholicism. Of course, “Diana Vaughan” never made any public appearances to corroborate his story. Then, in 1897, Taxil called a press conference in which he promised to reveal “Diana Vaughan” to the public and deliver other revelations about Freemasonry. But when the conference took place, Taxil instead revealed that there was no Palladium Rite, that “Diana Vaughan” was a fictional character played by his secretary, and that everything he had said about the Freemasons, and even his conversion to Catholicism, was all an elaborate hoax played on the Catholic Church, by which he meant to expose the fanaticism and gullibility of Catholics who denounced Freemasonry.

But far from extinguishing this anti-Masonic fanaticism, Léo Taxil may have ended up furnishing it for generations. Despite the fact that all of Taxil’s claims about Freemasonry and Satanism were exposed by Taxil himself as being completely false, the same claims continue to be repeated by right-wing Christian conspiracy theorists against Freemasonry to this day. Taxil’s work, including an infamous fake quote attributed to Albert Pike that was made up well after he died, has been continuously cited in both right-wing tracts against Freemasonry and in Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracy theories. In fact, the idea that the Freemasons were some kind of diabolical religious sect who either led or were part of the forces seeking to destroy the Catholic Church is one of the classical elements of fascist politics, where just as before this idea is almost invariably connected to anti-semitic beliefs about Jews.

In France, the proto-fascist Charles Maurras attacked Freemasons alongside Jews, Protestants, and “foreigners” as threats to the French nation, blaming them for its supposed “decline”. This idea formed part of the ideology of Action Francaise, a far-right movement which he co-founded, and in 1940 the Vichy regime organized an anti-Masonic exhibition based on these ideas. The Vichy government oppressed Freemasons and applied its statutes against Jews to the Freemasons and other groups, and the Nazi propaganda ministry within Vichy France commissioned the production of an anti-Masonic (and anti-semitic) movie titled Forces occultes (“Occult Forces”), which depicted the Freemasons as conspiring with Jews and the Allied nations to push France into going to war against Germany. In Spain, Freemasonry was already periodically regarded as the source of all crimes and regularly persecuted by Spanish monarchs and the Inquisition, fascist propaganda depicted a “Judeo-Masonic” plot, and when fascists took power Freemasonry was banned and Freemasons were killed. Francisco Franco believed that the Freemasons were part of a communist plot to destroy Spain and frequently ranted about how Freemasons were supposedly behind everything from the British Broadcasting Corporation to the assassination of Carrero Blanco. After the establishment of democracy in Spain, right-wingers similarly blamed “Jewish-Masonic-Communist” propaganda for the fact that voters didn’t elect them. In fascist Italy, Freemasonry was deemed incompatible with fascism and banned by Benito Mussolini, despite the fact that many prominent Italian Freemasons at the time actually supported Mussolini’s fascism. In Britain, fascists such as Barry Domvile advanced the idea that a small section of Masons were plotting to impose a global system of financial control at the behest of a section of Jewish elites. In Nazi Germany and its occupied territories, Freemasonry was banned, Masonic lodges were forcibly disbanded, Freemasons were sent to concentration camps where they were marked as political prisoners, and anti-Masonic exhibitions were created to depict Freemasonry as part of a Jewish conspiracy to destroy Germany. Adolf Hitler himself believed that Freemasons were responsible for “paralyzing” Germany’s “instinct for self-preservation” and otherwise regarded them as an instrument of the Jews. The Empire of Japan also enlisted Freemasonry as a scapegoat for their own purposes, as is at least evidenced by a Japanese delegate to the Welt-Dienst in 1938 stating his belief that “Judeo-Masonry” had somehow forced China to attack Japan; the delegate also denounced both Sun Yat Sen and Chiang Kai Shek as Freemasons. In the United States, hardcore right-wing televangelists and other reactionary ideologues are typically inclined to attack Freemasonry as a form of Satanism and for its supposed association with the Rothschilds.

Of course, it should be noted that not all attacks on Freemasonry came from fascists, and the attacks that didn’t did not necessarily come from the same place, though authoritarians of various stripes tended to view the Freemasons as a threat in some way or another, often as a source of opposition. That might be why Masonry seems to have been criminalized or denounced throughout the old “Communist” bloc. The Soviet Union banned Freemasonry and condemned it as bourgeois, and so did China, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary – post-war Marxist-Leninist Hungary in particular seemed to regard Masonic lodges as places where capitalists, imperialists, and enemies of the “people’s democratic republic” all gathered to oppose socialism. Even Fidel Castro, who was relatively tolerant to the Freemasons, still seemed to regard Freemasonry as potentially subversive, and Masonic lodges were sometimes assumed to be places of refuge for possible political dissidents. Masons often attribute this consistent authoritarian mistrust of Freemasonry to their own equally consistent moral support for liberal-democracy and its attendant values, which in theory would be repellent for any dictator. But I think that it is probably all the more the case that the secrecy of Freemasonry was always the primary source of authoritarian anxiety, that is to say the idea that there is a domain possibly outside of the control of state power whose liberty is guarded by secrecy. I intend to establish this as an important theme in the older roots of Satanic Panic, but for now let us establish that, even with all of this in mind, most anti-Masonic tendencies are fascist in nature, typically incorporating anti-semitic talking points and stemming not so much out of contempt for all things “bourgeois” but more out of a long line of Catholic traditionalist reactionary ideology which is itself nourished by a legacy of medieval bigotry.

You might wonder, though, how Freemasonry comes into it at all. What was so scary about Masonry that it might inspire generations of moral panic? Not much, it would seem. Freemasonry as we understand it is not a religious organisation as such. Masons were frequently accused by religious groups, particularly certain Christian and Islamic groups, of setting up their own religious group in competition with traditional religion(s), but there doesn’t seem to any set of distinct holy books, theology, religious philosophy, or the like that can together be described as “Masonic religion”. Yes, admission to Masonic lodges typically requires that you believe in some kind of supreme being, but there is no distinct “Masonic God”, and people of many different religions, believing in different gods or concepts of God, can be a Freemason. In fact, despite widespread Christian mistrust of or hostility to Masonry, several Freemasons are also Christians. Freemasonry can best be thought of as fraternal society based in a series of rituals, allegories, and mysteries that are, from their perspective at least, meant to develop the integrity of their members. For all the secrecy, there doesn’t seem to be much more to it than that. But again, secrecy is part of core of anti-Masonic mistrust. There is of course the general religious pluralism of Freemasonry, and the tendency among Masons to support rationalist ideas, but secrecy is the element on which reactionaries base the idea of the Masons as some sort of “Satanic cult”.

The “Origin” of Satanic Panic?

I said before that I would establish the reason why Satanic Panic has always been with us, and in the idea of a secretive cult that threatens to destroy the order of things was not invented as a reaction to the Enlightenment. Satanic Panic in its modern sense is a direct descendant of conspiracy theories that emerged in the Enlightenment as a sort of reactionary narrative in defense of a traditionalist society, but there are much older forms of the same idea that have recurred before modernity, and well before the Middle Ages.

Returning to the subject of anti-semitism among the church fathers, we can establish that they laid the ground work for the medieval blood libel that evolved into Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracy theories and their antecedents. Tertullian regarded Jews as the source of heresy, claiming that they guided heretics in discussing ideas contrary to Christian orthodoxy, and argued against Marcion’s doctrine by saying that Jews were an inferior people whose sufferings were caused by their lack of belief in the Christian God. John Chrysostom accused Jews of murdering Jesus and claimed that Jewish synagogues were brothels and places of criminality and demonic possession. St. Ambrose accused Jews of tempting Christians into heresy and justified the burning of synagogues by Christian mobs. Jews were considered “anathema to Christ” by Christian Councils, which prohibited Christians from sharing feasts with Jews and regarded Christians who violated these edicts as Jews themselves. When Christianity took over the Roman Empire, Roman imperial law regarded Jews as a detested category of Roman citizen – officially legally protected, but religiously reviled and politically marginalized – based on Church doctrine that Jews were not only inferior to Christians but also supernaturally evil.

Whenever people discuss Christianity as a supposedly “progressive” world-historic force or even “egalitarian” belief system, it’s often forgotten that, although Judaism as a religion was never outlawed, discrimination against Judaism as a religion as well as Jews as a people was extensive in the Roman Empire during the Christian era. Jews were forbidden from receiving any honors or offices equivalent to their non-Jewish counterparts, Jews were not allowed to become attorneys, sue Christians, or testify in court, Jews who performed circumcision were punished with death, Jews were banned from serving in the military until they received Catholic baptism, Jewish synagogues were officially referred to as “conciliabulum” (which, in Roman slang, often meant “brothel”), and if a Jew “violated the rights of a Christian” he was punished more severely than a Christian would be for the same offense against a Jew. Conversely, Christians who converted to Judaism or agreed to be circumcised were exiled from Rome on the grounds of having “contaminated themselves with the Jewish disease”. From the beginning, Christian power tended to involve authoritarian anti-semitism.

Blood libel, of course, was also ancient. A Greek Christian historian named Socrates Scholasticus accused Jews of mocking the death of Jesus by binding a young Christian boy to a cross and scourging him to death. And yet it was not only Christians who made blood libel accusations against Jews. In pre-Christian Greece, there were people who accused Jews of abducting Greeks and fattening them up to be sacrificed to their god, then going to groves to eat their flesh, burn their bodies, and swear eternal hatred to Greeks. Such anti-semitic accusations were advanced by figures such as Apion (who claimed that the king Antiochus Epiphanes discovered a Greek captive being prepared for temple sacrifice), Posidonius, Apollonius Molon, and Diodorus Siculus. According to the Suda, a Greek historian named Damocritus in the 1st century BCE claimed that Jews captured a non-Jew every seven years in order to sacrifice them to their god, which he claimed was the head of a golden ass. Hellenistic anti-semitism typically stressed the belief that Jews were superstitious and misanthropic, claiming that Jewish people were impious, hated all people of all other nations, refused to share table with them, and because of this were hated by the gods. Some argue that these accusations originally emerged as justifications for Antiochus’ persecution and criminalization of Judaism. Of course, it is worth noting that, according to Louis Feldman in Studies in Hellenistic Judaism, anti-semitism was not a dominant strand of pre-Christian writings about Jews, and, by his count, many pre-Christian writers had an either neutral or positive opinion of Jews. In fact, polytheistic philosophers such as Aristotle, Theophrastus, Hecataeus of Abdera, Varro, and Numenius all praised Jewish theology. It is possible that Judaism was so influential on or shares so many similarities to ancient Greek philosophy that it was even claimed by Philo that Heraclitus “stole” from Moses. Then again, even anti-semitic writers such as Apollonius Molon reserved some positive remarks for Jewish patriarchs such as Noah and Abraham, and even some people who praised Jewish theology, such as Hecataeus, still nonetheless regarded Judaism as “unsocial” or “hostile to foreigners”.

The Hellenistic anti-semitic trope of Jews abducting Greeks in order to sacrifice them to their deity is obviously absurd, both from the standpoint of Jewish religious law and Greek and Roman law. But it is also worth noting just how close we come to modern images of devil worshippers sacrificing people to the Devil. Medieval Christian blood libel itself cast Jews as performing sacrifices and committing murders on behalf of Satan, and so we can map out an obvious line of developmental progression from medieval blood libel to Satanic Panic. With the Hellenistic version, instead of venerating the head of a goat, the imaginary cult of misanthropic human sacrifice venerates the head of an ass. One can easily imagine the idea of a sect that hates all other sects and is charged with abducting people outside of its cult for sacrifice as a very antique form of what would become the Satanic Ritual Abuse canard, and the line of progression between Hellenistic blood libel and Christian blood libel is not hard to notice.

Hellenistic anti-semitism can probably be analysed in the context of a period of interaction between Hellenistic polytheism and Judaism, which took place against the backdrop of the colonization of much of Asia by Alexander the Great and the attendant birth of that very construct we call the Hellenistic age. In this same setting, a syncretic tendency emerged in which Judaism merged with aspects of Hellenistic Greek culture and philosophy; this came to be known as Hellenistic Judaism. One product of this contact is the occasional identification of the God of Judaism with the Greek god Zeus, or, perhaps more frequently, the god Dionysus. Plutarch claimed, via interpretatio graecia, that the Jews worshipped a form of Dionysus or Bacchus, arguing that they represented themselves with symbols similar to those of Dionysus and hailed their god with ritual words similar to those uttered by worshippers of the god Sabazios, and similar ideas were expressed by many authors in antiquity. This likely emerged from confusion on the part of Greeks and Romans who may not have entirely understood Judaism or Hebrew, and here we arrive at one of the results, through which we link to another ancient conspiracism, this one involving the cults of Sabazios and Dionysus.

In 139 BCE, the Roman praetor Cornelius Scipio Hispalus ordered the deportation of the first Jews who settled in Rome. Cornelius accused the Jews of trying to subvert Roman religion by promoting the “corrupting” cult of a god called “Jupiter Sabazius”. Sabazius (the Roman name for Sabazios), of course, was not the God of Judaism but rather a Phrygian sky god who was worshipped with ecstatic rites and in mystery traditions in Anatolia and Thrace and was repeatedly identified with either Zeus/Jupiter or Dionysus (the Suda, for instance, regards Sabazios and Dionysus as the same god). The name Jupiter Sabazius may well have been, by way of interpretatio graeca, in reference to the name YHWH Tzevaot (or Sabaoth), one of the names of the God of Judaism, thus interpreting YHWH as a foreign version of Jupiter and again confusing the name Sabaoth as Sabazius. We typically understand that Roman society was happy enough to incorporate non-Roman gods into its own religious life; examples include Isis (from Egypt), Mithras (originally Mithra from Iran), Apollo (from Greece), Cybele (from Anatolia), and Serapis (from Hellenistic Egypt). But, as we can see, this inclusivity was not always consistent.

Sabazios in general has a strange reputation in both Rome and Greece. In Rome, he was of course identified with the God of Judaism and hence reviled by Roman authorities who regarded him as a threat to Roman religion in a manner out of step with their attitude towards many other foreign gods. Once again, there’s an obvious sign of Roman anti-semitism. But perhaps there is also a connection to the Roman attitude towards the cult of Dionysus or Liber, which was also frequently regarded as a subversion of Roman society. We will return to this theme momentarily. For now, let us note that, in Athens, the worship of Sabazios was mocked as superstitious and, because they were practiced largely by women, seemingly effeminate. Demosthenes tarnished his opponent Aeschines in a debate for allegedly joining his mother’s practice of worshipping Sabazios, while Aristophanes mocked Sabazios as one of an entourage of foreign deities being kicked out of Athens. However, despite such mockery, Sabazios did come to be worshipped in Athens over time. Yet the idea, for instance, that women worshipped Sabazios with sexual orgies points us in direction of the prolific Roman moral panic against the cult of Dionysus.

In 186 BCE, the Roman Senate issued a decree which placed restrictions and prohibitions against the Bacchanalia, a series of festivities dedicated to the god Dionysus and based around the Dionysian Mysteries. The decree ruled that no one could form a Bacchanalia or observe the sacred rites anywhere without the approval of the Senate, no man or Roman citizen or Roman ally could participate without, again, the approval of the Senate, men were not allowed to be priests of the Bacchanalia, no more than five people could observe the sacred rites, and all revelries that were not approved and regulated by the Senate were to be disbanded. This decree, which effectively bans the Bacchanalia in most cases, was issued amidst a period of moral panic directed against the Bacchanalia, which was regarded by the Senate and others as a threat to the Roman state. Roman authors such as Livy represented the Bacchanalia as a seditious conspiracy whose participants, coming from all classed and gendered backgrounds, gathered at night to get drunk, have orgiastic and promiscuous sex, and under the cover of darkness and religious veneer break all moral, social, religious, and civic laws and commit ritual and political murders in complete secrecy.

Where might we begin? We can look at how, in Livy’s narrative, the Bacchanalia was popular and appealed especially to women (who then outnumber men), plebeians, “men most like women” (possibly referring to “sexually passive men” by Roman standards, or perhaps more broadly to non-cishet males), the young, and the “uneducated and fickle”. In essence, the marginalized elements of Roman society. This would be much in line with the Greek cult of Dionysus, the god who was also worshipped by marginalized communities in ancient Greece, and who Euripides’ Bacchae presents as fighting against a king trying to oppress his worship. In Rome, a popular plebeian cult dedicated to Liber (Dionysus) was often regarded as subversive due to its association with cultic civil disobedience. Livy also presents the Greek origins of the Bacchanalia and its excesses as part of its untrustworthy and immoral character, suggesting that the Bacchanalia, from the standpoint of Livy’s narrative, is dangerous partly because it is “too Greek”, and thus entirely foreign and distinctly un-Roman. This, of course, is in some ways out of step with the inclusivity usually found in pre-Christian Roman polytheism, and can arguably be explained in the context of a reactionary fear that gripped the Roman Republic at the time.

But think about it: the whole idea of a religious movement holding orgies at night, worshipping a rebellious and subversive god, in whose name his believers break all social norms and laws and, supposedly, commit ritual murders in secret, fits a lot of the modern tropes by which we define Satanic Panic. Livy’s proposal that the Bacchanlia had the Roman masses and even some of the Roman elite in its sway implicitly suggests that the cult of Dionysus had a dangerous and insidious broad power over society, which can in some ways dovetail with the kind of power that Satanism is supposed to possess in the imagination of anti-Satanist conspiracy theories. In fact, as much as Dionysus has been compared to YHWH, there are many other ways in which you can compare Dionysus to the Devil. The whole rebellious vengeance that the Bacchae presents is one such way, but perhaps another is the darksome personage found in his incarnation as Dionysus Melanaigis (Melanaigis is an epithet meaning “black goatskin”), to say nothing of the fact that he was sometimes depicted with horns and has been shown with an entourage of satyrs. All this on its own doesn’t make Dionysus into a pre-Christian incarnation of the Devil any more than the comparisons given by Plutarch and the Suda among others might establish him as a pre-Christian precursor of YHWH. What it does point to, however, is a prefiguring of the assemblage of tropes that comes to form what we came to develop over the centuries until we see the Satanic Panic of modernity. We might even think about modern self-conscious representations of Satanism: the “sabbat” depicted by Stanislaw Przybyszewski in The Synagogue of Satan is arguably none other than the Bacchanalia in certain regards, albeit dedicated to Satan.

But, of course, being that this is pre-Christian Rome, we can’t quite call it a Satanic Panic. Yet, this is no trouble, for Satanic Panic itself is a type of moral panic, as was the anti-Bacchanalia panic, and both panics are in themselves also representations of an ideology at work in their respective societies. Within the context of ancient Rome, there is a clear conservative nationalist undertone to it all: the idea is that there is this massive foreign cult acting in conspiracy against the Roman state and working to destroy the social foundations of Roman society and, therefore, attacking everything about what it meant to be Roman.

This reactionary conservative ideology is fairly clearly expressed in Livy himself, who seems to have believed that Greek mystery cults were a source of “degeneracy” in Roman society to be blamed for its supposed decline in his time. In this regard Livy was perhaps a pre-modern exponent of social degeneration theory, complete with its attendant xenophobia. Of course, not everyone in Rome hated foreign mysteries, and not every foreign mystery was reviled, but the Dionysian Mysteries were not the only mysteries subject to conservative mistrust, even under official state tolerance. The mysteries of Cybele or its priesthood were treated with disgust by Roman men and in Roman literature, since the rites of self-castration performed by the galli were seen as an affront to Roman masculinity, and the Roman Senate even tried to enact legislation to prevent men from becoming galli. However, the Roman state still accepted a regulated version of the cult of Cybele. We might arguably count the cult of Sabazius among the mysteries that were despised in Rome, since Roman authorities presented the worship of Sabazius as a corrupt religion.

An important thing to remember about mystery traditions in both Greece and Rome is that, whereas traditional religion emphasized communal and social bands reinforced through ritual, mystery cults tended to encourage individual religious expression, which traditional civic society and its representatives would always have seen as divisive. It doesn’t take that much imagine for the Greek and Roman conservative to go from “this isn’t like our religion, that’s divisive” to “this is a threat to our social order and national identity”.

The Social Significance of Satanic Panic

A clear ideology and social function emerges from the moral panics of antiquity and thus inherited by the Satanic Panic of modernity. The social function is the function of marginalization, arrayed against basically anything that either state society or reactionary forces typically in support of it deem to be an insidious threat. The narrative of this function is that there is a sinister and secretive religious conspiracy whose goal is to corrupt the population, take over the institutions, overthrow the state, abduct and ritually kill people (often children), and/or destroy the identity of a given nation or society. The ideology implicit in this is very often as follows: there is a natural order that is apparent in human societies, expressed in nations and/or states, which humans must observe and obey and indeed do so by natural inclination, and anything that changes, supercedes, destroys, or simply turns away from this order, or simply does not figure in that order to start with, must be ontologically evil and the work of a murderous conspiracy.

In antiquity, the main object of this would be ecstatic worshippers of Dionysus, and in Rome’s case the participants of Bacchanalia and the cult of Liber. For a time, early Christians also experienced a similar marginalization. The Romans also had their own anti-Christian version of the blood libel trope: they sometimes accused Christians of killing and eating human babies, and of literally drinking human blood and eating human flesh based on a misunderstanding of the Eucharist. When Christians took power, the targets were very often Jews, and then magicians, occultists, Freemasons, “Satanists”, and, to be quite frank, anyone who challenged theocratic authority and often the ruling classes it supported. Consider, for instance, that in 1233, when the peasants of Stedingen revolted against local authorities over excessive taxation and stopped paying tithes to the archbishop, Pope Gregory IX accused the peasants of practicing “satanic rites” and declared a crusade against them. Similarly, in 17th century France, the Catholic priest Urbain Grandier, who also defended the autonomy of Loudon and opposed both the centralised authority of the French state and church orthodoxy, was accused of signing a pact with Lucifer and seducing nuns with black magic, blamed for a supposed outbreak of demonic possession, and ultimately burned at the stake over it.

I would also point out that this type of moral panic is not necessarily confined to the West, and that there are examples of similar panics with a different central subject that I can point to in Asia. In India, the practice of Tantra came to be demonized by orthodox/conservative Hindus, especially after the British Empire colonized India. Religious “reformers” blamed Tantra, particularly the “left hand path” of it, for weakening the moral fibre of the Indian nation – this is an expression of social degeneration theory similar to the kind espoused by Livy – and thus Tantra was blamed for the conquest of India by the British. In Japan, Tendai Buddhism was accused of partaking in illicit sexual rituals and “wicked teachings” over the worship of Matarajin, a syncretic Japanese Buddhist deity who happened to be (among other things) a patron deity of marginalized communities and social classes. Similarly, a somewhat popular Shingon sect called Tachikawa-ryu was similarly vilified by Shingon orthodoxy, accused of promoting black magic and illicit sexual rituals, its apparent “founder” Ninkan in turn was accused of cursing the emperor and conspiring against the Japanese nation, and ultimately the sect was outlawed and purged.

It may be worth stressing, though, that Satanic Panic as we understand it is fairly distinctly a Western phenomenon, in terms of its general setting and composition, while also pointing to the existence of similar panics wherever else they are found. In view of such a global perspective, we can make the following observation: Satanic Panic is a type of social/moral panic that is instrumented for the purpose of broad social marginalization. Moral panics in general tend to pervade organised human societies over the centuries, no matter how rational or enlightened they may see themselves as, and even some of the more “libertarian” or even “progressive” of us can end up falling into some moral panics for the simple reason that we do not even recognize them as moral panics. And the uncomfortable truth about human societies, or at least the societies we seem to create, contain within themselves the logic of marginalization, which it employs to preserve social authority through the marginalization of a given social or religious minority. Satanic Panic forms a conservative ideology of marginalization whose aim is to preserve a traditionalist order of society by attacking what it perceives as a sinister conspiracy against itself, with such a conspiracy inevitably constructed on anti-semitic tropes, whether directly or by conceptual lineage.

I would also point out that this does not mean that ritualistic abuse is a thing that never happens, but the extent to which it does has barely anything to do with the overall claim and ideological purpose of Satanic Panic. In my article on E. A. Koetting, I pointed out that the activities of the Order of Nine Angles and Tempel ov Blood could as well constitute an actual active fascist conspiracy, and that the same people who believe in QAnon or the like would never talk about it. That’s not for no reason. Satanic Panic as an ideological device does not concern itself with esoteric white nationalists, particularly not when they, despite their apparent opposition to Christianity, share the same reactionary Christian ideology that was designed to marginalize Jews, just that this time they claim to do it in the name of some fictitious ancient pagan cult. In the end, for Satanic Panic, it’s the ends of ideological marginalization that matter, and it is these parameters by which Satanic Panic determines what constitutes Satanic Ritual Abuse.

The simple summary of all this is that Satanic Panic, as a modern phenomenon, is a reactionary or fascist ideology that evolves from and within the social function of marginalization. That is why Satanic Panic is still a thing, that is why some antecedent of it has always been a thing, and that’s why it will continue to be a thing; not for as long as the light of Enlightenmentarian Reason doesn’t sufficiently shine upon the masses, but for as long as we do not rid ourselves of the structure and logic of marginalization locked into Society that, so long as it still operates, will continue to produce social panics and ideologies of social panic.

Who are the “Luciferians”?: A response to “Luciferianism” by Brandon Smith

The article we’re about to respond to was originally posted on a website called Alt-Market way back in 2013, titled “Luciferianism: A Secular Look At A Destructive Globalist Belief System”, but seems to have been doing the rounds again in later years on right-wing libertarian websites. Etu Malku did a response to this article already on his blog back in 2013 as well, but I feel his response is rather lacking in content, and he had very little input beyond simple assertion. Other than that, I think it would be nice to do a few response articles on this blog on the subject of Luciferianism for once. So let’s get started.

Our author, by the name of Brandon Smith, begins this article with the conceit that he possesses as morbid fascination with the subject of evil. Well, I suppose I could be interpreted as bearing a similar fixation, but more on darkness as a generic meta-concept than “evil”, and such is one of the animating elements of my discourse of the chthonic and the demonic to a certain extent. He says that this is necessitated by the logic of the need to “understand the enemy”, likening himself to an exterminator dealing with cockroaches. Very flattering, I’m sure, to be thinking of yourself as slaughtering abject religious minorities/non-conformists.

Before any discussion of Luciferianism begins, Smith spends a good chunk of time discussing the concept of evil as a reality in general. Given that the title suggested a discussion specifically on Luciferianism, you can imagine the reader’s disappointment to find such wide gaping delay before the main subject is even brought forward. He is keen to establish that evil is in fact a concrete reality in the world, and that the establishment spends its days trying to convince the public of the opposite; that evil is nothing more than a matter of personal or received opinion. Examples of this establishment propaganda are not forthcoming. For his point about the existence of evil he does cite the work of Carl Gustav Jung, hinting his belief in continuous archetypes in the psyche as evidence for the existence of evil, and that the existence of the human conscience implies evidence of an intrinsic understanding of duality. His operating thesis is that evil, like beauty, is recorded in the psyche and therefore derives objective truth from being a quality of psychic expression.

Before we go any further, we need to note something about Jung, as someone who is myself quite the appreciator of his work from the perspective of spiritual philosophy, though, as you’ll see, not necessarily the man himself. For starters, Smith cites Jung’s concept of the shadow to refer to the evil aspects of the human psyche, but that is not strictly what the Jungian concept of the shadow entails. He also mention the “personal shadow” or “collective shadow”, which are not actual components of Jungian psychoanalysis and I suspect this is a confusion of the shadow with the unconscious, which are not necessarily the same concept. In Jungian lexicon, the shadow simply refers to the hidden or unconscious aspects of the psyche, which the ego or persona either represses or simply does not recognize. This can typically include repressed desires or impulses, some of which could be bad, but also more generally childish qualities, resentments, sometimes vital qualities that are forbidden by convention, really anything that the persona has to suppress in order to be a social agent, and all told, those things could either be good or bad or much in between. The shadow is “dark” at least to the extent that the persona, its inhibitor, is identified as “bright”, and even insofar as it is “dark”, it does not comprise only of evil tendencies, and in fact can consist of creative tendencies, realistic insights, or even what could be deemed “normal” instincts that the persona otherwise suppresses. Part of the goal of Jungian psychanalysis is the assimilation or integration of the shadow into the psyche, which involves a careful mediation between the ego and the unconscious content so that synthesis may be achieved. Although Smith has not yet actually mentioned Luciferians so far, I would not that we Luciferians also have a great admiration for Jung’s work, as it paves the way for recognizing some concept of darkness not as something to be destroyed but instead as the potential  basis for some form of self-realization.

Smith also makes a point about Jung being attacked by the establishment because he presents something threatening to public conditioning. The fact that Jung as a figure and his works remain popular and influential to this day would suggest that, if the establishment set out to bury Jung and his work, they have failed spectularly. Although make no mistake, Jung does not enjoy as sterling a reputation in academia and modern psychology as he does in popular imagination and modern religion. Smith refers to various claims that Jung was a Nazi, and it is worth pointing out that, although Jung was not a Nazi, having worked for the Allies against the Axis during World War 2 and wrote in terms of horror about the Nazi regime with its replacement of the cross with the swastika on the back of mass atrocity, he also said some very strange things about the “Aryan” unconscious having “higher potential” than the Jewish one, and despite opposing Nazism he still seems to have reserved some modest praise for Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, the leader of the volkisch German Faith Movement. This does not mean one has to throw out all of Jung’s insights, not least because those of Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt are still accepted in broader philosophical discourse despite both of them literally having actually been members of the Nazi Party during World War 2, but it does invite a great deal of caution when dealing with Jung as a figure.

Moving on from that, let us consider Smith’s arguments and definitions pertaining to evil. How does Smith define evil? He defines it first and foremost as any action that seeks to destroy, exploit, and enslave in the name of personal gain or gratification, and as something that begins with the denial of the existence of conscience. For the former, there is little reason to object although whether or not the criteria is purely absolute is a matter worth discussing. For the latter, it seems Smith has declared that evil is a matter of holding a different epistemic opinion from himself, however wrongheaded that difference of opinion may be. Whilst we get definitions of the concept of evil, his argument for it being objective is somewhat thin, though admittedly this was not supposed to be the focus of the post. He states that most people have an “intuitive relationship” to the concept of good and evil, feeling anxiety when confronted with evil thoughts, arguing that “some might call this a “moral compass”” and that he personally would call it “soul” or “spirit”. Now, I have no inherent objection to discourse on soul or spirit, but at least stop pretending you are looking at this from a strictly secular perspective if you are going to bring such things up. I know I don’t pretend to be a strictly secular person these days. Returning to a previous point, I would say that the objectivity of evil, or beauty, as derived from the psyche depends on the situation not simply of the psyche as an objective fact, but on the objectivity, within the psyche, of the conceptions within it.

If morality is objective, and I do not see it salient to see it as completely subjective, there is a certain fluidity to morality that must be accounted for, one which entails that, regardless of objectivity or subjectivity, one cannot argue for absolutes that stretch across unchanged for all time, even if we can say that there are key axioms that persist in human psychology. Slavery, for example, was once seen as a necessity of the social order, and that upholding it was good in terms of upholding the social order. The abolition of slavery was unthinkeable until relatively late in human history, and in antiquity the idea that people should not be made to be slaves would be seen as a threat to the social order. Not even the Bible was particularly explicitly opposed to slavery except in that Moses fought for the freedom of the Israelites from the slavery imposed on them in Egypt, and even then the Bible still does not oppose slavery in itself, only the unjust treatment of slaves. I would not say that this makes slavery moral or devoid of moral value in one way or the other, but I would say that it forces us to reckon with the fluidity of morality even as we consider morality to have objective value.

In any case, at a certain point in the article we finally arrive at Smith explaining that “there is a group of people in the world who do not see good and evil the way most of us do”, that they “exhibit the traits of narcissistic sociopaths”, and that “there is an ideology or system of belief that argues for the exact opposite of what conscience tells us is “good””. This, we are told, is Luciferianism, and Smith attempts to argue that Luciferianism is in fact the source of “most existing destructive -isms”, including socialism and “globalism”, and that it is a religion build by sociopathic narcissists for their own benefit. Of course, Smith does not bother to provide any evidence for the starting premise of his claim here. Socialism as we know it, in fact, was actually invented by people who happened to be Christians, such as Henri de Saint-Simon (the man who coined the very term socialism). What Smith calls “globalism” is in reality just a development of free market capitalism as globalization advances, and to be fair there are probably forms of economic organization that correspond to globalization in some form that stretch back before modernity. Neither of them can be traced to any “Luciferians” or conspiracists in particular. The actual politics of Luciferians as a broad movement can in fact be at variance, but they tend to be profoundly libertarian, whether that is libertarian in the left-wing sense or the right-wing sense or even somewhere in between, and this corresponds to a broad ethos of religious or simply mythopoetic libertarianism that has always animated Luciferianism as it exists to some extent.

We must note, briefly, that he links at one point to an article of his where he views “the globalists” as fundamentally not human. Who are these “globalists”? They seem to refer to elite liberal politicians and networks thereof who promote a kind of multiculturalist or cosmpolitan liberal politics who he, as an obvious conservative, despises. Now this in itself is not problematic on its own, there is good reason to disagree with the United Nations and the European Union and similar entities and the various business interests that align with some mode of liberalism, but do remember that there are people on the ground who have some sympathy with them, and these people would thus in some sense be in league with what in his view is outside of the human. He talks quite a bit about evil, but it is quite baffling to see someone talk about evil without talking about dehumanization, which is an effective way to cast undesired social minorities outside the realm of the human and justify their disposal. Actually, scratch that, Smith begins the other article by openly acknowledging that dehumanization or otherizing can be dangerous due to its potential to cast a wide net of aspersion over a number of unrelated individuals, but justifies it anyway on the grounds that “other-izing is perhaps the only option when faced with a very particular type of person embracing a very particular brand of ideology” and that it thus becomes “a matter of survival”. Of course he is keen to establish that he only means to dehumanize the politicians and not their supporters, but that he needs to emphasize them as “psychologically broken non-humans” is still somewhat telling, though I suppose that . Say what you will about us Luciferians and our views on morality, but we are generally not fans of dehumanization as a principle, and I would say that this is not least to do with the fact that we tend to be on the receiving end of it from conservative Christians and similar types, or to the fact that we generally do not feel the need to organize our lives around the threat of an overrarching and apocalyptic Archetype of Evil.

.Anyways, returning to the Luciferianism article, Smith complains that it is difficult to identify “the “true sacraments” of Luciferianism on the grounds that Luciferians “refuse to admit that our belief system is a religion. This of course represents Smith’s difficulty in grasping the reality of Luciferianism as an admittedly very diffuse and decentralized movement. I do wish that we might transcend that situation and become more of a cohesive and united movement, and to be fair I do believe that some of us need to start taking seriously the idea of Luciferianism as a religion, but the truth is that for many of us it is somewhat more than a religion. This may perhaps be due to certain preconceptions of religion that trickle down from the Christianity that many of us grew up with, which then obscures the idea of religion as something deeper than that, and that we, in some ways, swim in religious concepts without really properly coming to terms with that. He also claims that “the system”, which we can infer to be tied to “the Luciferians”, actively disseminates misinformation in order to confuse non-adherents. Whilst it is certainly true that the established system promotes a flurry of misinformation for the purpose of confusing the masses, the idea that we Luciferians set out to confuse the masses and mislead them is itself complete misinformation. We are frequently the subject of false narratives crafted to those who want us to go away or be scattered to the winds, or by those who believe that the evils of the powers that be could only make sense through some kind of diabolical mystical element, for which they interchangeably use the names Satanism, Luciferianism, Illumanti, or even Freemasonry (and of course, sometimes, they let the cat out of the bag and simply call it a Jewish conspiracy, like they always meant to say), and it is because of this that we Luciferians, along with the Satanists and others, make it a point to expose these narratives for the falsehoods that they are. Smith uses the term occultism to refer to “religious secrecy”, and he terms this itself elitism, but while some Luciferians, owing to excessive Left Hand Path tendencies, due possess some elitist views, modern Luciferians don’t hide their belief system at all. In fact they’re very keen to share their ideas where they can, and often write books dedicated to explicating their views, which can be very diverse owing to the current diffuse state of our movement.

Commenting on what he believes to be beliefs Luciferians confess to, he says that first and foremost the goal of Luciferianism is to attain personal godhood through the accumulation of knowledge. Accumulating knowledge is a universal theme in Luciferianism, but in practice the idea of becoming your own god is not necessarily. Carl William Hansen, the father of our creed for example, did not really speak of it at all, while Fraternitas Saturni had a belief system that could be interpreted in a similar light but they also talk about uniting with the World Soul, which does not have the standard implications that can be connotated in terms of psychological egoism, and then of course the writings of Michael Howard or Madeline Montalban make no proper mention of it. I suspect that Smith is speaking of Luciferianism through the ideas of Michael W/ Ford, who leans ultimately more to the direction of Satanism and unfortunately appears to be popular, I say unfortunately because I believe his ideas generate confusion due to their obvious similarity to, and derivaiton from, Satanism. For my part, I believe largely in the idea of achieiving individual freedom or autonomy in a spiritual sense through a kind of mystic union with a “dark” ultimate principle of reality (which I hold is not the same as the god-concept) in which, ironically, the two opposites are in fact one, studying the laws of nature and the hidden realms of the human, by dissolving the boundaries between the self and the other (thus negating crass egoism and blind altruism by destroying the distinction between egoism and altruism), and cultivating individuation – all, of course, modelling after the Luciferian archetype, that is that of the morning star himself. I’m not too sure how many Luciferians share my exact position, but I derive it from Carl William Hansen and other Luciferians as well as a cocktail of other influences filtered through my own freethinking ways.

Because of the assumed belief in self-worship, Smith brings up Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theory for no other reason than to suggest that complete knowledge of the universe is “mathematically” impossible (be wary of the use of math in philosophy, it is associated with Platonic idealism and in science it can be used to support scientific theories that otherwise have no physical-theoretical basis, such as string theory), and that despite this we are not bothered by “mathematical reality”, which means that we supposedly destructive chase that which we cannot have and that science, when not “tempered by discipline, wisdom, and a moral compass”, will result in catastrophe. One can imagine calling back to the Manhattan Project, no doubt, to the invention of the atomic bomb that was later mercliessly deployed against Hiroshima and Nagasaki by America, but I would hard pressed for evidence that it was “Luciferians” who were behind it. Indeed, the senseless destruction of innocent lives, although by all accounts a war crime, just repeatedly justified not by “Luciferians” seeking to justify godlike power over others, but instead by the establishment who committed such a crime through utilitarian arguments which held that the bombing would save more lives than allowing the war to continue would. Of course, given that the Soviets at this time were already on the way to capturing the surrender of Japan through repeated successful campaigns towards the north of the country, the problem with such arguments are easily exposed as fraudulent, and that if anything the Soviets, by being allowed to complete their campaign against Japan without interference, would have saved more lives than America ultimately did, and thus the defence of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are nothing more than a convenient way for the bourgeoisie to get away with war crimes. As for the theme of power over others, while Luciferians tend to emphasize personal empowerment, they do not actually mean to advocate for holding power over others on principle, and sovereignty and control is reserved in large part for themselves, meaning control over their own lives and not those of others. So the idea that we seek “godlike power” in the sense that we seek absolute power over the lives of others is quite ridiculous. He talks about how one inevitably desires followers in pursuit of a god, “What is a savior, after all, without a flock?”, but what he does not understand is that we Luciferians do not seek mere followers, we do not want people only to follow us like a flock, and we do not want to position ourselves as mere saviours. We want people to have the means to save themselves, and that is the extent of any “salvation” we could speak of, and we have no desire to rule over anyone through force or through trickery. Quite the opposite, in fact – we wish to spread our way to others by offering an alternative spiritual philosophy and worldview to anyone who is interested in one, and we tend to find essentially all established organized religions guilty of the very thing Smith accuses us of doing.

Smith’s next paragraph concerns the idea of Luciferians seeking to elevate the power of the individual. Right off the bat, it is strange that this should be taken as a source of evil here, since the typical right-libertarian actually does believe in elevating the sovereignty individual. And in fact by my reckoning there are at least a few Luciferians who may well find themselves situated in the right-libertarian camp or somewhere adjacent to it (that was once the case for myself as well). So then, should he not have something in common with the Luciferians he describes, or are his libertarian beliefs only valid up to the point where he must recognize it in those who seek to break from Christianity? Indeed, he admits that he agrees with the Luciferians on “individualism”, but adds the caveat that “any ideology can be taken to extremes”, citing that the pursuit of individual gratification can go too far, to the extent that others suffer. Of course, he gives no actual examples of this, and gives very little illustration to serve his point. Perhaps on the surface it is a matter of intuition, in that we can work out for ourselves, without much effort, the point at which individual gratification becomes destructive, but at a deeper level, he is speaking to something that requires elaboration. Just what is it he thinks we Luciferians get up to that becomes a destructive pursuit of individual gratification? He does not say, perhaps because it means actually making accusations against us that he cannot substantiate. Instead he quickly moves on to describing the apparent elitist nature of Luciferianism, claiming that we do not seek the elevation of all individuals, only “certain “deserving” individuals”.

The implication is that we seek out some sort of Elect and privilege them above all other people, presumably as part of an elite stratum of society that exercises exclusive sovereignty over the rest of society, but we have no such designs in mind. I for one claim no affilitation with Blanquist technocracy or the mystic aristocracy of the Utopians. Perhaps Roger Caillois was an enthusiast of aristocracy, but he only seems to have called himself a Luciferian insofar as Lucifer to him represented a refinement of the what he thought of as the satanic archetype asssociated with French Romanticism (the same milieu, I might add, from which we get much of the modern positive archetype of Lucifer who was, if anything, hardly a sympathizer of aristocracy). He complains that Luciferians tend to view non-adherents as inferior people, “to be sheared like sheep”. I can perhaps attest to the first part of that tendency among some Luciferians, those influenced by Satanism anyway, but I haven’t the slightest idea where he gets that last part. He also appears to profoundly misunderstand what Luciferians mean when they say they don’t seek to convert people (although, to be fair, why the hell should we not try to convert people as long as it’s not in the aggressive way that Christian fundamentalists do?). Many Luciferians dislike the idea of actively seeking the conversion of others, because they believe that in doing so they do not respect the freedom of thought of other individuals, shunning proselytism, even if it means undermining their ability to spread their beliefs, because to them it represents the forceful imposition of one perspective upon other people. There is an admirable aspect to this, however flawed the stance may be, in the sense that there is a sense of respect reserved for those who, without prodding, arrive at our perspective or at least a similar degree of questioning the beliefs that are taken for granted, reified, and thus restrict the individual consciousness, and so they prefer to simply have those who want to come to us do so on their own. Ironically, however, the first Luciferian in history, Carl William Hansen, was actually known for his proselytism within the Masonic lodges of which he was a member – so well-known in fact that eventually other Masons got fed up and removed him from many of those lodges – so historically it’s not like proselytism is actually an un-Luciferian thing to do, just that modern Luciferians don’t like doing it.

Despite the fact that Smith establishes that Luciferians do not seek proselytism or conversion, he also proclaims that “their goal of influencing the public through social and political spheres is rather evident.” Besides the obviously self-contradictory logic of opposing proselytism and at the same time somehow proselytizing to the masses through propaganda, how is this evident? At this point a title drop is warranted. Who are these “Luciferians” who Smith believes to be influencing the public through “social and political spheres”? Well, it is not as though Smith does not attempt to give examples, but his examples are pathetic, and we shall go through them now.

The first example given is none other than Saul Alinsky, that famous political activist who everyone on the right name-drops (not to mention attribute quotes to him that were actually paraphrased from the Nazis) but none of them really understand. Alinsky is taken by the right to be some sort of mastermind of the political left, but within the left itself no one actually talks about him or refers to back to his work in any way, or at least I, within my observations of the left, have never seen any such references by the contemporary left. Alinsky is frequently accused by the right of being a communist. While he probably was some form of leftist and anti-fascist, was willing enough to work with communists, considered fascism to be far more of a threat to civilization than communism (a view that, in my opinion, is correct), and to that extent he even sympathized with Russia do to its strong stance against the Nazis, it seems he never actually identified himself as a communist or with any communist movements, and seems to have had some sort of philosophical objection to joining a Communist Party. Conversely, many communists do not particularly care about Saul Alinsky (let alone even know who he was), not least because they already have a whole pantheon of communist philosophers and ideologues upon which they base their conceptions of communism. Alinsky was not a Luciferian, or at least never identified himself as a Luciferian, but he apparently did give a short statement of respect for Lucifer, who he called “the very first radical”, in Rules for Radicals. Smith refers to Alinsky as a “high level” leftist organizer and “Democratic gatekeeper”, implying that he had a connection to the Democratic Party apparatus. In reality, however, there is no evidence that he was ever involved with the Democratic Party at any level, and he certainly did not “inspire” people like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or George Soros for that matter. The only connection Alinsky ever had to these people was that Hillary Clinton wrote her thesis on Alinsky in the , and she explicity disagreed with Alinsky’s ideas and tactics, preferring the idea that reformers should work within conventional politics rather than pursue radicalism external to the governmental system (hardly a “far-left” contention), and while Obama seemed to have been familiar with Alinsky’s ideas, he never actually embraced them and in fact criticized them as being too focused on self-interest over “people’s hopes and dreams”. Neither of them can be counted seriously as proteges of Alinsky. If anything, however, it was the political right, specifically the Tea Party movement, who readily embraced Alinsky’s ideas, albeit reorienting them from his original leftist/progressive grounding towards right-wing libertarian and conservative politics, despite the previous conservative tradition of maligning Alinsky as a dangerous subversive, although this was quickly abandoned once people started talking about Clinton’s thesis on Alinsky.

Next, Smith turns his attention to the United Nations, specifically their apparent connection to the Lucis Trust. It is true that the Lucis Trust was originally called the Lucifer Publishing Company, and its founders, Alice and Foster Bailey, did choose the name in honor of Lucifer, but although they expressed positive ideas of Lucifer, they were not Luciferians, at least not in the sense that they consciously identified with any belief system that could be called Luciferianism. They were in fact Theosophists, that is two followers of the religion of Theosophy that was created by Helena Blavatsky. Theosophical literature does contain broadly positive interpretations of Lucifer as a bringer of enlightenment, and these ideas contributed to the broad alternative view of Lucifer as a rebellious hero that has metastasized in the present, but it is not centered around Lucifer. Instead Theosophy is based largely on the idea of receiving esoteric spiritual teachings from a group of perfect beings known as Ascended Masters and in reassembling what Blatavsky believed to be the one universal religion, upon which all others are secretly based. Suffice it say, this idea is completely absent in Luciferianism, finds no expression in any historical formation of Luciferianism, and I will say for my part that to believe in the authority of Asccended Masters is no better than to believe in the authority of prophets or supreme Gods. In fact, for Theosophy, Lucifer is nowhere near as important as Maitreya, a figure appropriated from Mahayana Buddhism, who they believe to be the savior of humanity who incarnated as Krishna and Jesus Christ and was supposed to incarnate again in the body of Jiddu Krishnamurti (such messianism is another belief that we Luciferians have no interest in). Where the United Nations comes in is that supposedly the UN was involved with the Lucis Trust and Robert Muller, the former Assistant Secretary General of the UN not to be confused with Robert Mueller, was affiliated with the Lucis Trust. I have found very little evidence connecting Muller to the Lucis Trust. Smith provides a link to a Lucis Trust page in his article, but Muller is only mentioned once, and in passing. It is in no way clear that Muller had any tangible connection to the Lucis Trust. As for the UN as a whole, there is indeed a Lucis Trust page expressing support for the United Nations, and a page in which the Lucis Trust regarding “support of the United Nations”, but if you actually read it you find that the Lucis Trust is merely one of several non-government organizations recognized by the UN and which spread information about the UN for the purpose of promoting it. There is little to suggest that the Lucis Trust was particularly important, and there is still very little evidence that very many UN members were actually involved with the group as members, and certainly no evidence to suggest that the UN incorporates Theosophical ideas directly into its core ideology. Not that it matters, though, since the Lucis Trust, despite its previous nomenclature, never actually promoted Luciferianism and instead was a Theosophist organization, and Robert Muller may have been a Theosophist in some sense but he was never a Luciferian – these are two different belief systems that should not be paired together or conflated with each other.

Smith argues that Luciferians “approach global governance like they do everything else – with heavy propaganda spin”. In reality, Luciferians hardly talk about “global governance”, and no Luciferian has ever expressed a desire to implement one world government. For one thing, individual Luciferians tend to have somewhat different political views, though typically never holding any particularly authoritarian ideologies, He says that “Luciferian ideals are sugar coated in a host of flowery and noble sounding motifs”, referring to the apparent use of environmentalism to justify large-scale centralization of power. I’m not about to argue that such things do not occur in modern politics, but the idea of attributing this to Luciferianism is total bullshit. For a start, Luciferians like myself tend not to rely on “flowery” motifs in particular, not least when we choose as our central archetype a “fallen” angel, accursed for his defiance. I tend to place a particular emphasis on the chthonic aspects of world mythology, which were not especially sugary in theme and tone. And while many Luciferians can be seen as supporters of broadly environmentalist ideas, we are not typically fans of the concentration of power into authoritarian centralization, since we cherish individual freedom as a primary value.

And now we come briefly to a popular talking point surrounding Lucifer and Luciferianism: the link to “Gnosticism”. “Gnosticism” is the name given to a diffuse selection of heretical or heterodox Christian sects that were united only by a shared belief that gnosis (or spiritual knowledge) rather than faith was the key to salvation. He claims that “Some gnostic texts depict Satan as the “good guy” and God the “bad guy” in the story of Genesis; God being a ruthless slave master and the serpent as the “liberator” bringing knowledge of the material world to mankind”. No such texts exist, and no “Gnostic” sect in the history of “Gnosticism” has ever venerated Lucifer in any capacity, not even the sects that supposedly honoured snakes. The idea of God being a tyrant in “Gnostic” mythos is also a complete misunderstanding of “Gnosticism”. The “ruthless slave master” in Gnostic myth clearly refers to certain conceptions of the Demiurge, as found specifically in the Gospel of Judas where he is called Saklas, as well as similar texts, but this being is not referred to as God and in fact is treated as an entity separating himself from God out of ignorance. The whole point of stereotypical “Gnostic” dualism, along with similar dualistic beliefs outside of “Gnosticism”, is that the being worshipped in the Old Testament was not the real God, but merely claimed to be God to justify his creation and his rule over it, and that the real God had to be discovered by Christians in order to re-unite with him through gnosis, and thereby be saved in some fashion. This basic idea has nothing to do with Luciferianism, or Satanism for that matter. In fact, the earliest expressions of Luciferianism in the 20th century actually subverted “Gnostic” dualism. Carl William Hansen referred to Lucifer as the Demiurge and believed that this Demiurge was actually a positive figure, also using it to refer to Pan, who is the dark substrate of the material cosmos for whom Lucifer represents its light, more specifically its creative power or “ego” (not to be confused with the individual ego in the every day sense). Fraternitas Saturni saw the Demiurge as a Promethean rebel figure, identified with Lucifer as well as Saturn, who stole fire from “God” or the Solar Logos and retreated to the dark corners of the solar system to challenge his rule. Michael Howard, and perhaps Madeline Montalban as well, argued that Lucifer was a demiurge and the regent of this world, as well as the bringer of light. Even Michael W. Ford argued that the “Gnostic” demiurge Yaldabaoth was a positive affirmation of selfhood in opposition to God. Thus, Luciferianism is actually something of a subversion of “Gnosticism”, taking its core conceit of gnosis and applying it, and some of its mythos, in ways that completely up-end the formula of “Gnostic” Christianity. Of course, some Luciferians still seem to prefer the popular but baseless interpolation of “Gnosticism” as a belief system that venerated Lucifer and thus “Gnostic Luciferianism” is born.

Next Smith addresses related idea of Lucifer as a “heroic saviour”, which he says is a common narrative and cites a quote from Manly P. Hall, the famous Canadian mystic and Freemason, in which he expresses a belief that Lucifer represents individual intellect that resists natural impulse and rebels against nature. While it sounds like it could be Luciferian in its own way (though I personally do not view Nature as something to be conquered any more than the Christian believes it is possible to conquer God), it would be doing Freemasonry a disservice to refer to it as Luciferianism, and Manly P. Hall never called himself a Luciferian or advanced a doctrine called Luciferianism. Freemasons, for one thing, believe in God, and although generally they don’t impose much doctrinal limits on Masons, one thing that is required of prospective Masons is that they believe in some concept of a Supreme Being or God, even if it is not necessarily the Christian God, with all concepts of God being connected together in universal brotherhood. Lucifer was interpreted by Freemasons as a positive figure to some extent, but he is not their central archetype and they certainly do not worship him as God. In this sense, Hall, and other Freemasons, merely contributed to the archetypal development of Lucifer as a positive figure, but did not center this archetype in their thinking.

Smith then discusses the idea of Lucifer as an archetpye, stating that “One Luciferian model describes God as an archetypal concept only, a mythological comfort blanket that helps us to face the loneliness of existence”. It is correct that Luciferians make use of the model of Lucifer as an archetype, but I dispute the notion that it constitutes a “comfort blanket”. Far from it. Myth has the potential to be a guiding force, a way of communicating ideas and even truths that animates people in a way that ordinary communication often doesn’t. Christianity, of all religions, is one of the most successful examples of the use of mythopoetic narrative concerning a mythologized fiure to convey what they consider to be profound spiritual truth and ethos. To say that it is a coping mechanism is in some ways a deeply ingrained product of the assent of rationalism and positivism, but does not reflect the whole truth. Both ancient Greeks and some Christians were actually conscious of the idea that their belief systems compose a mythopoetic narrative that serves as a ground for their religious ethos. Apply the same thing to all other religious belief systems, and the approach makes sense except in the case of religions that actually exclude this approach (I suspect that Islam might be an example of such, because it considers the idea of relating God to the physical world to be blasphemous in a way that even Christianity does not). Smith criticizes this approach by saying that one cannot reconcile the concept of the lack of a corporeal God with the existence of inherent psychological archetypes, and then asking “Where did archetypes come from if there is no creative design or intended meaning to humanity?”. The short answer to that question, of course, is Man. God did not design these archetypes, they are a product both natural development in relation to the psyche in the sense of having been informed by natural processes, and human teleological influence in which the archetypes are reshaped by Man, sometimes for political ends, before again taking on a life of their own. Meaning, relatedly, is not something that has been handed down by an absolute father figure. Indeed, I perhaps would posit that, if it was, there would be no need of meaning. Our quest for meaning springs forth because, even as Jung himself said, Man was born into a world that he does not understand, and thus tries to interpret it. If there was a God, a source of absolute meaning and order, and this was instanteously apparent as it would be, humans would have no business ordering the world because they are already ordered by God, and they would have no business seeking to interpret the world and no variance of interpretations and beliefs because there is, necessarily, only one belief. Thus we Luciferians hold that meaning is for the individual, and individuals, to draw out on their own terms, communing with the world and its hidden aspect to negotiate their own meaning, cultivate their own selfhood, and order their own lives. That for us is part of the true content of what Jung meant by the process of individuation, and such a process is, indeed, a struggle. Thus let’s quote Skull Knight from the Berserk manga: “Struggle, endure, contend.”

And now we come to a truly preposterous set of claims from Smith. He says that “more discreet Luciferians” argue that the figure of Lucifer is separate from Satan. There’s nothing “discreet” or duplicitous about this argument, because it is incontrevertibly historically and scripturally true. Lucifer as a mythological figure begins in the pre-Christian Greco-Roman world, but of course has roots and analogues beyond it, with morning star deities like Athtar or Ishtar informing part of the character we call Lucifer today, and there are many similar deities that carry forth aspects of Lucifer throughout the world. Satan, on the other hand, has very few reliable counterparts in the pre-Christian world and as a postulate is specific to Judaism, Christianity, and later Islam. The modern Lucifer may overlap with certain folklorisitc interpretations of Satan, but is not completely identical in emphasis, and ultimately are in no way connected by the Bible. The Bible does not even feature fallen angels, those are products of extracanonical Jewish tradition. There is no instance of Satan being called Lucifer and falling from Heaven before the events of Gensis, and while Satan is shown to be falling from heaven in Revelation, this is only supposed to happen after the death and resurrection of Jesus, suggesting that, until Jesus enters the heavenly retinue, Satan has always been just an angel in God’s court, a heavenly functionary rather than the prince of Hell. Smith admits that the name Lucifer is not mentioned in relation to Satan in the Bible, but still asserts that “this argument seems rather coy and disingenuous to me” on the grounds that “for centuries the term Lucifer has been synonymous with the devil in the public consciousness” and that thus Luciferians only try to separate them “through a twisted form of wordplay and semantics”. If your own scripture proves that you are wrong, why is it us who are doing “twised games of wordplay and semantics” and not you? And isn’t this funny? You hark at us for not believing in absolute, totally objective meaning, and now your own arguments for why Lucifer and Satan are the same thing are nothing more that cheap exercises in ontological subjectivism. I’m sorry, but just because society has believed in something that was wrong or incorrect for centuries does not mean that this thing suddenly becomes correct. Or do you agree now with Joseph Goebbels when he said that a lie, told often enough, becomes the truth? Should we now declare that it was wrong to abolish slavery simply because it was considered just for thousands of years?

Continuing on the preposterous claims made by Smith, he says that we Luciferians do not care about the truth (that is, the “truth” according to Smith anyway) because we supposedly aim to sell Satanism to the public, thus requiring that we “put a different face on an old and ugly idea”. For starters, Satanism is not a particularly old idea. The first actual religious expression of Satanism, in a conservative estimate, would be the Church of Satan as founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, but there may also have been people peddling eccentric and heterodox religious takes on Satan before that, and some claim that the first man to call himself a Satanist was actually a Polish poet named Stanislaw Przybyszewski. Either way, Satanism finds no self-conscious religious expression prior to modernity. There is no ancient expression of Satanism as a religious concept. Satanism and Luciferianism, for that matter, are two different belief systems that, although sometimes overlapping, start with different central archetypes and conceits. Satanism is about the carnal ego (even if some Satanists pretend otherwise) while Luciferianism sometimes places emphasis on a “higher self” and in any case advocates for the evolutionary potential of humans. Satan is the accusing angel sent by God to chastise and torment humans, while Lucifer is the spirit of the morning star, who to us is the emblem of the light of the earth (and the underworld) who inspires rebellion against God or the Solar Logos (as Fraternitas Saturni put it). Luciferianism has complex origins in which an ancient pagan archetype is filtered through Christian folklore, occultism, and radical romantic literature, whereas Satanism, assuming LaVey is its main progenitor, emerges from a syncretic mix of Randian egoism, Nietzschean individualism, and Social Darwinism, without the same confluence of development. They are decidely different in roots and in character. Smith makes a point about how Satanists refer to Satan and Lucifer in the same breath and that Anton LaVey apparently did so as well, and I would say that if they did so then they are simply wrong-headed in light of history.

Smith claims that Luciferians, specifically the “more marketing conscious Luciferian groups” (whatever that means), treat Anton LaVey as an annoyance due to him supposedly being open about Luciferian beliefs in public. The fact that Anton LaVey never once used the term Luciferian to refer to anything doesn’t seem to be a problem for his narrative. We supposedly “believe in secrecy and initiation” and don’t like our “darker side on display for the whole world to see and to judge”. We may talk about initiation in a spiritual sense, but we’re not very secretive about it, or really any of our beliefs. Luciferians don’t tend to hide their core beliefs from the public, and certainly our “darker side”. I assume he means something malevolent, which we don’t, and I cannot imagine how anyone can look at Luciferians like us and think we like to hide any discourse concerning darkness, or the occult, or “the adversary” in the case of Ford and his ilk, or anything like that. We’re deeply interested in the subject, we’re open enough about it when spreading our beliefs, and we actually tend to think of darkenss as pertaining to a postulate of the true nature of beings and reality, and a base for light, enlightenment, evolution, creative power, and freedom. Our view of darkness could be said to be reminiscent of alchemy or Tantra, in that we consider it to be the raw base of transformative potential.

Then Smith brings up Michael Aquino in order to establish that he is “a direct antithesis to Anton LaVey”. On the surface that may actually be correct, at least for those who know the history of Satanism, but his reason for saying this is not actually because of the stark philosophical distinction between LaVey and Aquino. Instead he says this because Aquino supposedly set out to create a “more marketable” version of Satanism in the Temple of Set. I suppose if by “more marketable” we mean literally being on record going off to Wewelsburg Castle to practice black magick, brandishing a dagger wielded by Heinrich Himmler, and openly praising the works of Adolf Hitler and other Nazis while carefully pearl-clutching about their detractors (I wish I was making all of that up, but unfortunately it is well-documented), then perhaps it is “more marketable”. If anything, however, Anton LaVey has proven “more marketable” in this regard, not least because of the palatable nature of his rationalistic atheism. Suffice it to say that the Church of Satan remains a somewhat popular face of Satanism (though outpaced, in the last decade, by The Satanic Temple). Smith claims that Aquino showcases the “Luciferian belief in magic”, and at this point I’d like to stress that Aquino is not a Luciferian and has never used the term Luciferian to refer to himself, his belief system, the Temple of Set, or anything to do with magic. Satanists, typically, do not use the term Luciferian to describe themselves, because the term, by their reckoning, does not describe anything they believe, however similar. It is true, however, that Luciferians have a certain fixation on “magic”, though modern Luciferians don’t necessarily mandate that individual Luciferians practice it, and the more atheistically-inclined are sometimes encouraged to look at it in terms of psychological phenomenon. In fact, in his Lucifer-Hiram pamphlet, Carl William Hansen talked about what was then a contemporary attitude to magic as something “natural”, which could be apprehended by investigating the laws and ways of nature.

Smith says that Luciferians “believe in the power of magic words and symbols in the form of psychological key phrases and archetypes”. No examples are given to demonstrate this. He adds that Luciferians have adopted the use of archetypal psychology, which is sort of true, while stressing that “where psychologists like Carl Jung used archetypal psychology to heal people with mental and emotional illnesses, luciferians use archetypes to manipulate and control public thought.” In the case of Jung, this is in some ways a very simplistic reading of Jungian psychoanalysis, considering that Jung’s concept of individuation means a lot more than simply healing the psyche, but in the case of Luciferianism, we have no intention of using archetypes to manipulate public consciousness. Smith argues that we control people’s thoughts through popular culture and films, and you just know this shit gets good when we start talking about Hollywood conspiracies. His examples of Luciferian ideas in popular culture include the movie Blade Runner (OK, at least that just means we’ve got good taste) and the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events. In the case of Blade Runner, Smith argues that its main “Luciferian” theme is that it shows androids rebelling against their creator and eventually murdering him. To reduce the movie to a kind of robo-triumphalism seems silly to me, and it only shows that people like Smith don’t understand the movie in terms of a 1980s popular culture that was specifically communicating the danger of rapid technological acceleration (with androids “killing their creator” being one example of that). In the case of the Netflix series, he claims that it showcases a belief in elitism, moral relativism, anti-theism, and even features a serpent that saves the protagonists from danger. I remember seeing the Brad Silberling movie version of it when I was a kid, and that movie to me had a lot to do with kids trying to outsmart a capricious guardian, not sure how that’s strictly “Luciferian” though, but as for the TV series I couldn’t tell you because I don’t have Netflix (and given Cuties I will probably keep it that way at least for some time). I have to assume it’s not quite like the way Smith paints it, but honestly he only made the show sound interesting. Also, with a careful reading of the Bible, you could make the argument that the serpent was actually doing God’s work, at least because the tree where Adam and Eve ate from could only have been present through God’s design; he knew it was there, knew that its fruit and the serpent would tempt then, and did nothing except warn Adam and Eve about it, and in his omniscience surely knowing they would ultimately disobey him.

Towards the end of the article, Smith claims that we Luciferians are duplicitious, citing our “duplicity” as the reason that people should be wary of our “promises and arguments”. He does not really establish why we are duplicitous, though. Yet, in the interest of balance, this is not for a lack of trying on his part. He attempts to establsh that we are deceivers, but in so doing he showcases his own ignorance about not only Luciferianism, but also a number of other subjects including even his own religious scripture. Thus we should say that he attempts and fails to establish duplicity. Smith states that humanty has spent the better part of 2,000 years attempting to rid society of the influence of “secretive occult elitism”, and the implication is that we Luciferians oppose this because we are “relentless” in our supposed “desire for power”. By this, it seems he means some sort of “high priest class”. Well we Luciferians don’t plan on ruling anyone by means of a class of high priests, nor do we plan on having ourselves be ruled by them. And it’s certainly true that civilization has had to deal with efforts by the ruling elite to consolidate their own secretive inner circles for the purpose of holding power and maybe doing nefarious deeds. The problem with trying to blame this on Luciferians, apart from the fact that Luciferianism in the sense we’re talking about is a marginal religious movement than never actually existed before 1906, is that, in the case of the West within the last 2,000 years, the people trying to establish a high priest class happened to Christians, and their sect happened to be Roman Catholicism. In fact, if Martin Luther is to believed, the whole problem of pedophile priests in Catholicism is not a new thing, and sexual abuse was suspected to have taken place even in his day, and otherwise it was not before the Reformation that you didn’t have to read Latin in order to be a good Christian. But of course, if I know Smith’s type of right-wing conspiracy theorist well enough, I’d assume he would simply treat the Catholics as a cabal of devil worshippers who merely claim to be Christians.

Smith concludes by asserting that regardless of the “positive spin” that supposedly we put on our “ideology” (by which he clearly means religion or spiritual philosophy), “the fruits of their activities speak much louder than propaganda”. What does he mean by “our activities”? Why, “globalism” of course, which he defines as “a cancerous desire for control over civilization and of every aspect of human thought”. Such a desire would run counter to just about everything Luciferians talk about regarding individual freedom and freedom of thought against conformity, Smith’s definition of “globalism” sounds rather like what we might otherwise call totalitarianism and pretty much no Luciferian I’ve ever met has ever argued in support of totalitarianism, and if anything I have met some Luciferians who might actually agree with Smith in that they oppose what they also call “globalism” (and I myself was once a right-winger sympathetic to nationalism at the same time as being a Luciferian). So all in all, I have no idea where Smith gets his ideas about what Luciferians are other than other people who think exactly like he does, and probably only know about as much as he does. He also claims that Luciferians pursue “a perversion of nature” in their quest “to obtain what they call “godhood””, and that “Transhumanism and genetic tampering carry all the hallmarks of the luciferian ideal”. Well not all Luciferians are necessarily pro-transhumanism. In fact, I for my part argue implacably against it, and I can draw arguments for it based on Carl William Hansen’s ideas while employing Cynic and Epicurean arguments in favor of pursuing a life of natural authenticity as a base of value and freedom, something that transhumanism ultimately threatens. As for “genetic tampering”, he gives no examples thereof, and I couldn’t say whether many Luciferians generally are for or against such things partly as a result of that. If he means GMO’s, that’s pretty much a nothingburger if you’ll excuse the pun. If he means something that involves making sure your child isn’t born with a debilitating disease, I can understand the ethical dilemmas there depending on the technology, but on the other hand, wouldn’t you want your offspring not to be born in suffering as a first principle?

In closing, Smith declares that everything about Luciferianism is an affront to “inherent conscience” and that thus it can only become acceptable through to the majority through deception, adding further that our philosophy must be either “dangerously incomplete” or “outright cataclysmic” if, as he claims, we have to lie about our philosophical motives. We don’t deceive the majority, and our ideas are not embraced by the majority of people, and in fact we expect that the majority of people will not embrace Luciferianism, so the first part of that is just a non-starter of a claim. We feel no need to lie about our motives. Such a thing serves only to hurt us as we affront our own conscience. There are few Luciferians in the world, none of them are part of the elite as people like Smith love to claim, but the few Luciferians there are give no illusions about their convictions, and some of them write books about those beliefs. As for his claim that “it is hard to find anything of value in their system”, I for my part can give my own take on the value of my belief system.

In my formulation of Luciferianism at least, the main sense of value comes from the . Without the supreme authority of God, there is Nature, the all-encompassing actuality of reality, from which there is no extrication, yet within which we see the seat of ultimate freedom. Nature is that which most people, even neopagans, know only as trees, rivers, mountains and such things, but not only does it comprise the totality of the space of life (and death) itself, but there is much that we do not know of it, and its laws (such that they can be called) lay at the same time hidden and readily available to reason, and from its bosom emerges a psychic current which nourishes Man, makes him complete, and underscores the real and fully human, not just the apparent self-image of Man. Set against authenticity of nature and the freedom of humans, indeed whatever chaos may underpin them, society frequently assembles reifications – of natural forces, of societal functions, of human virtues, or of the human ego itself – to lead humans astray from the basic facts of their existence on the promise of glory, honor, security, salvation, meaning, or any such things. They stand as the lights of the Apparent over the Real, and the concept of the Solar Logos refers to the principle of reification and power over the earth for which they stand. Lucifer is the emblem of the Real which stands in rebellion against the Apparent, whenever it rules over humans and leads them to ignorance and subjection. The light being brought to the world as implied in his namesake is the light of the earth, of nature, even its dark interior, the messenger of the truth at its most authentic, and therefore its most “absolute” as such can be called in a way that the gods of the heavens can never embody. His light is that which profanes “the sacred”, in the name of the only true sacred, which is also, ironically, profane in itself. Lucifer in this context is also the emblem of the inquisition of Man into the laws of nature, so that he may decide his own destiny, individually or collectively, and so he embodies gnosis of the ultimate principle reality. There is also a demiurgic quality in the Lucifer myth, at least in that he becomes a symbol of the creative power by which Man becomes the artificer of his own surroundings and which, when remembered and held to the root, is recalled as his own power, and one and the same with Nature, but which, when obscured by ignorance and reification, is mistaken for such things as Fate, God, or some supreme order of things.

Thus, the value of our mythopoetic way of thinking is to explore the world and the hidden mystery of life and death on our own terms, free from the dogma, obscurantism, and reification that has characterized much of organized religion (whether that is Christianity, beyond Christianity, or even before Christianity), and, in this quest, the pursuit of a destiny through the seat of authentic freedom in Nature, to set against societal certification. The daemon is the image of that destiny. It may seem like I am declaring a doctrine associated almost purely with non-religious atheism, but indeed it has religious implications akin to Taoism, aspects of paganism, and even some of Christianity (during their early period, one could still speak of journeys to the underworld). Indeed, I hark back to the two suns at Delphi, where the bright sun of Apollo and the night sun of Dionysus represented two spiritual currents, and I interpret the former to be the path toward reification and the latter to be the chthonic mystery heralding the real. What is more, for all Smith’s talk about how we Luciferians are supposed to be in favour of totalitarian engineering of society, the ideas I set out are totally against that, in fact it positions the reification of goodness and virtue as the font of artifice and social engineering, a manipulation of human consciouness that is to be opposed. In fact, I wager that many of the things Smith claims to oppose are in fact also opposed by us, at least given that ideological libertarianism of some stripe is the practically norm for Luciferians.

The last things I should note in regards to Smith’s article is the many things he says about Luciferianism. He treats it as though it is one big centralized and unified bloc, and certainly consolidated enough to have command over the superstructural apparatus of modern capitalist society. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I could only dream of us having a cohesive enough movement to shake up society. But one wonders where Smith gets his ideas about Luciferianism with regards to elitism, moral relativism and the rest. I suspect he gets a good chunk of it from having only then found out about Michael W. Ford’s writings, but then it is probably just as likely that he never read anything from Luciferians at all, and insread simply picked up his ideas about Luciferianism from people like Mark Dice. I won’t say that no Luciferian is a moral relativist of some stripe, because I think there are Luciferians who are, though I do not consider myself one. One should look at the Cynics, and the way they embodied many of the ideals that we Luciferians hold ourselves to today, and note that they emphasized virtue as the prerequisite of the good (and free) life, just that their idea of virtue also meant the willingness to defy and even transgress social convention in pursuit of freedom, truth, and authenticity, so they cannot be said to be moral relativists. The idea of rebelling against and casting aside unjust gods of falseness in heaven also cannot meaningfully be separated from this conception of moral mission. So the only way the canard of “moral relativism” makes sense for Luciferianism, in my opinion, is from the perspective of people who despise and misunderstand our morality.

Finally, it is worth noting that part of the title of Smith’s article is “A Secular Look At A Destructive Globalist Belief System”, yet I do not see any indications that this is meaningfully a secular argument. It certainly failed to establish Luciferianism as “globalist”, for one thing, but more to the point his arguments do not make sense when framed as a “secular” perspective. He criticizes atheistic takes on archetypal psychology because he believes that the archetypes do not make sense without “creative design or intended meaning to humanity”, and this argument makes absolutely no sense for someone who is not religiously-minded to deploy, and by this I mean the argument is not a secular one, but a Christian one, arguing for the existence of God. You could say that in fact it is an atheist criticizing the idea as having theistic implications, but then he argues for good and evil as having transcendent existence, and complains about established, traditional religious narratives being subverted. Thus, our supposedly “secular” commentator is in fact a Christian god-believer fronting a very weak disguise for himself. No doubt that his audience sees through the charade he puts up, but praises the Christian underneath.

So in summary, Brandon Smith’s article is as mediocre as one would expect. It is built almost entirely of either misinformation or misleading interpretations of extant facts, or perhaps both. In either case, you will learn nothing about Luciferianism by reading that article, and it will not be particularly useful to you unless you already happen to subscribe to Smith’s worldview.

Illustration of Paradise Lost by John Martin

Link to the Alt-Market article: http://www.alt-market.com/articles/3651-luciferianism-a-secular-look-at-a-destructive-globalist-belief-system

The ideology of the Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracy theory

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).

An 18th century anti-semitic engraving depicting Jews performing an orgiastic ritual involving pigs, goats and the Devil

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 opponents 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 reverse of the Great Seal of the United States as it appears on the one dollar bill, which for some reason people believe is the symbol of the Illuminati.

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 “spirit cooking” bullshit

Well, we have 4 days to go before the end of the US presidential election, and I think we’ve hit what is probably the most bizarre revelation from the Podesta emails. This revelation in question is that John Podesta, the chairman of the Clinton campaign, was invited to some kind of “Spirit Cooking” dinner by the performance artist Marina Abramovic.

That’s not the weirdest part. Apparently, people saw the term “Spirit Cooking dinner” and, without looking at the facts, ran with it and generated the idea that the Clintons were part of some kind of devil worshiping conspiracy.

You heard me right.

A piece of “evidence” offered by proponents of the “#ClintonCult” conspiracy theory.

Abramovic’s work tends to deal with themes such as ritualism, pain, human consciousness and the body. I’m sure it makes for some interesting performance art, at least for fans of performance art or modern art in general. The term “spirit cooking”, however, seems to refer to a “cookbook” she wrote two decades ago where she writes “aphrodisiac recipes” as some kind of artform. There’s also a performance piece she did where she painted writing on the walls with a special combination of pig blood, breast milk and semen. And that’s it. I’ve seen the video, there’s not much to it other than she writes some bizarre things on the wall. Maybe she thinks there is a ritualism to it, but I’m not entirely sure of that. To me, it’s performance art. The only thing the email suggests is that Podesta is interested in Abramovic’s artwork – who knows why – and simply wants to have a get together of sorts with the artist herself.

That’s it. There’s not much to it other than that. All talk of devil worshipping conspiracies and blood feasts is pure hyperbolic speculation based on not a single scrap of credible evidence. The image I showed above is someone pulling together unrelated content and tying it together, whilst not mentioning a single fact about her work. Abramovic isn’t even a Satanist as far as I know and as far as she herself can tell you. Thus, this is one of those moments when the right-wing media looks really stupid, and when the fucking Guardian can actually come out like a sensible read on the matter.

Look, I know that the Clintons are corrupt and they’ll do anything to get into power but this “spirit cooking” shit is insane. Even for a guy like me who is interested in the occult, I find there is plenty of genuine wrongdoing to pin on the Clintons to the point that there is no need to drum up some kind of pseudo-satanic conspiracy theory surrounding them. And anyone who believes that there is an actual conspiracy of Satanists controlling the United States government from the shadows is retarded, plain and simple.