I have just been apprised of a new development that is set to undertake within the broader Left Hand Path community. Thomas Karlsson, the Swedish occultist known for his involvement in Dragon Rouge, wrote a Facebook post on Friday announcing the birth of a Global United Nightside Movement. This is not to be taken as a pet project of his, but rather it appears to be a collaboration between Thomas Karlsson and Michael W. Ford (founder of the Assembly of Light Bearers, formerly known as the Greater Church of Lucifer), Stephen Flowers and Don Webb (two prominent and high-ranking members of the Temple of Set). It’s not strictly associated with either Satanism or Luciferianism or any specific Left Hand Path tendency per se, rather it is intended be a movement for all religions that fall under the category of “Nightside Spirituality”, otherwise known as “The Dark Path” or The Left Hand Path. With such leading lights as Karlsson, Ford, Flowers and Webb behind it, you can be assured that this is supposed to be a major project.
Right off the bat, I have a mixed opinion of this pursuit. Unity is a sorely lacking feature in many LHP circles. I’ve heard it once said that we are like a heard of cats. Therefore, it is easy to imagine that we would need to find a source of unity, and thus the idea of a Global Unified Nightside Movement has some appeal in the sense that it might seem to bring such a unity. However, I find it difficult to imagine such unity being possible in the long run. People often chalk it up to just different Satanists or different Luciferians being too different from each other, and in many ways that’s true, but in my view it comes down more to the fact that Satanism, Luciferianism, Setianism or what have you all represent movements that are distinct from each other. They can be thought of similarly to the relationship between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, or between Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – all of them can be thought of as belonging to a loose family of faiths, whose relationship is defined by a shared common origin or a shared set of themes, tropes or philosophical and mythological frames of reference, but are ultimately distinct in content and ideology. To me as a Luciferian I find that, in the ultimate analysis, to treat me as being part of a united front with Satanists or Setians seems to be missing the point, especially given that I disagree with a lot of the doctrines from various Satanist organizations nowadays, and I’ve made clear that I do not support Michael Aquino’s particular vision of Satanism. And to be honest, I don’t think I would want to be a part of anything that would ask that I find common cause with the Order of Nine Angles and the degenerates that comprise that fascist cult. Not that I should assume that, of course, but it is worth raising as a concern as regards the theme of unity. My sense of reservation also emerges from my experience as a socialist, having entered into various left-wing spaces via the internet and observed conversations such as the theme of “left-unity”. The left has, historically, never been a united front in the same way that the right has managed to be. Throughout the history of socialism you have Marxists, utopian socialists, social democrats, anarchists, progressives (if you could call them left-wing) and other factions of the left constantly fighting each other over doctrinal differences. In Marxism itself, doctrinal division is also all too common – in my country alone, there are numerous self-identified communist parties, some of them splintering off from each other or existing as splinters from existing socialist parties, and many of them all subscribing to similar doctrines of Marxism-Leninism. Now I’m not quite saying it’s like that for LHP movements, but I derive from my knowledge of the history of socialist politics and of modern leftist spaces a sense of skepticism for any attempt of unity between wide and disparate movements.
That said, although there is little information to go on other than Karlsson’s Facebook post, I believe that there is some potential in the proposal. There is clear ambition and reflection in the project proposal, there is the desire to be a genuine, large-scale spiritual movement, which is something that I respect. There is quite a bit of emphasis on the exoteric aspect of Left Hand Path practice. What I would like to know more about, however, is precisely the exoteric side, the activity and praxis that this entails. We are invited to gather collectively as part of a larger movement dedicated to what is called Nightside Spirituality, but what we could really use is a well-defined plan of action or set of events to go on. I realize it’s early days, and I’m expecting there to be some sort of website or Facebook page or whatever to go with this project, but I still long for more information on the subject.
At the center of my desire to assess this project, however, is the nine constituents that Karlsson outlines in order to break down the essence of the movement. These constituents serve as basic points underpinning the philosophy of the movement. They are as follows:
1) Individual freedom: “The bigger the government – The Smaller the citizen.”
2) Spread the knowledge of The Nightside to those worthy.
3) Support science against superstition.
4) Be Watchmen against imperialist religions.
5) Create strong networks.
6) Inspire to Indiviuation as C.G. Jung called it.
7) preserve and relive the ancient traditions and make them adapted to our times.
8) Support each other.
9) Be loyal to our common taskmaster who has many names.
I like most of these constituents, but I think it’s worth discussing them in more detail.
I won’t lie, the first point is a real eyebrow-raiser for me, due to my familiarity with right-wing politics. Now I’m prepared to give these guys credit by pointing out that the statement “the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen” could mean have a number of meanings beyond right-wing libertarianisma and conservatism, and it could just be a generic assertion of the value of individual freedom or liberty, as can be found in left-wing doctrines as well as right-wing doctrines. In fact an argument for left-wing minarchism is very much possible to make, drawing from the works of authors like Anton Pannekoek, Eric Hass, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mihailo Markovic, and Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels themselves. But when I see talk of “big government vs small government”, it almost invariably comes from right-wingers, an American conservatism/libertarians in particular, and while the discussion of “big government vs small government” is often applied to discussions of individual liberty, in practice the whole point of that theme is economics, specifically the role of the state and its regulations in overseeing market forces within the context of capitalism. “Big government” usually means the expansion of government bureaucracy in theoretical context, but it also tends to . Thus I worry that there is a noticeable right-wing political flavour to this effort by Karlsson and co, which I suppose may be but a broader sign that the Randian framework of the Church of Satan is still subtly at play.
In case you may think I’m being out of line in saying this, consider two things. First, the fact that “big government vs small government” is a theme that only really appears in right-wing circles, and at that it’s mostly an American thing. I almost never encounter it outside of the US, except for in some British conservative circles, particularly the ones partial to Nigel Farage. Second, Stephen Flowers, one of the men behind this project, seems to be intensely right-wing. In his comment to Karlsson’s post, Flowers responds to the point about opposing superstition in which he singularly blames Karl Marx for what he believes to be, a sentiment that echoes the right-wing conspiracy theory known as Cultural Marxism. In fact, if you read Flowers’ book Lords of the Left Hand Path, you will find there are many times where we comments on Marx, Marxism and communism, and he makes claims about Marxist philosophy without ever citing any works from Marx or Engels or any other Marxists, or at least not directly. This is even more telling when you consider that, when he comments on the anarchists and their apparent reverence for Satan or Lucifer as literary figures, he will directly cite anarchists like Bakunin and Proudhon. Also, in the same book, there’s a section in which he accuses Marxism of being the origin of what we would call political correctness, a claim that is no different to the kind of conspiracy theories that have been bequeathed to us by people like Paul Weyrich and William Lind, the former of whom I might add was a leading figure in the conservative Christian “Moral Majority” movement. Again, no citations offered within that part of the book.
Honestly, I wonder what people are still doing talking about Cultural Marxism these days after Slavoj Zizek demolished Jordan Peterson, its chief exponent in the current decade, on the subject in their debate in April. Just for the sake of illustrating it, I will present the relevant clip from that debate below. But, I can sum it up with the following: Peterson fails to identify any Marxists that he holds to be responsible for the trend of academic postmodernism within the mainstream or for political correctness.
Anyways, returning to the constituents, the second constituent seems to show a sense of reservation regarding the distribution of knowledge. The idea seemingly is not to spread the knowledge of the Nightside to as many people as people, but only to “the worthy”. The logical questions that follow from this, of course, is “who are the worthy?”, “what determines whether you are worthy or not?”, and “what does it mean to be worthy?”, and for that matter, “worthy of whom?”. I suspect this plays into that idea of esotericism, of hidden knowledge, which I think all of us who get into Left Hand Path ideas and similar belief systems tend to be into. But I think there is this pervasive attachment to the idea of it being esoteric that misses the point: the point of being the light bringer is to reveal the hidden, and that means the esoteric no longer being esoteric, no longer hidden but instead known. No one will fear the darkness once it is brought into light. Isn’t that the point?.
The third constitutent is entirely positive and noble, and for me very befitting for those who seek to embody the Morning Star. Supersition is in no way the ally of those who seek truth and freedom, and we do not raise ourselves against the mystified reign of Yahweh only to mystify ourselves further. I think it’s worth noting that one comment to Karlsson’s post stook out in particular because it seemingly defended superstition on the grounds that the word superstition means the survival of pagan beliefs, on the grounds that the word superstition comes from the Latin words supra and stitio meaning “stay above” and “survive”, adding in a separate comment that this was the Christian meaning of the term. Of course, the word superstition originated not in Christian Rome but in pre-Christian pagan Rome, where authors such as Pliny used the term to refer to the survival of folk beliefs like divination. The similar term “superstitio” was used by Roman writers such as Tacitus to refer to religious movements that were barred by the Roman Empire, such as the religion of the druids. The concept of superstition in the Greco-Roman world also seemed to have . The Roman author Cicero used the term “superstitio” to refer specifically to fear or excessive fear of the gods, as opposed to the proper respect and veneration of the gods, for which he used the term “religio”. So in a way, when we say we oppose superstition, you can think of it not only as opposition to irrational folk belief in unfalsifiable supernatural phenomenon, but also opposition to the need to fear the gods and the unknown. This idea is completely consistent with Luciferianism in particular, and it was bequeathed to us by the Hellenists of Greece and Rome, and we would do well to learn from them.
The fourth constituent leaves me a little puzzled. What exactly is meant by “imperialist religions”? That’s another thing about this project I hope gets explained more. For my initial worries about right-wing political influence, one wonders if there’s a bit of a left-wing cue to this one. But I jest. Considering that the revivification of ancient tradition is involved in this project, I do wonder what this means for Alexander the Great (who is the subject of low-key praise in Michael W. Ford’s works), whose imperial expansion spread the Greek religion far and wide and resulted in syncretic interpretations of the Hellenic tradition. I don’t have much to go on here.
The fifth constituent is to me a genuinely positive one. It’s one of the key assurances that there will be a focus on collective solidarity, whether Karlsson and co realize it or otherwise. Exactly how this is to take shape is yet to be seen, but I think it’s safe to assume that this will involve the formation of a community of like-minded individuals. Of course this still leaves the question of whether this points chiefly to online communities or real life communities. I will find it hard to imagine that there’s much to be done in the way of real life community activity, but I do have high hopes and would like to see where this goes further. In fact, I am eager to find out whether or not the invariably social nature of this constituent and its demands leads to a collective pondering of how to interpret Left Hand Path ideas in a way that frees them from the atomizing effects of the hyper-individualism that the community often lays claim to.
The sixth constituent is interesting because it lends to itself a means to liberate the community from the egoism that was bequeathed to us by the likes of Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan, along with similar figures and movements. After all, the process of individuation is contextualized by an idea of self that is not definable as the ego, and in relation to which the ego is nothing but a diminutive aspect of the broader whole, or even an entirely illusory entity. In fact, I’ve seen interpretations of Jungian individuation as in fact not referring to the consolidation of a unique state of being but instead referring to, in a bizarre way, the attain of oneness, of initation with the whole. In any case, you cannot interpret the concept of Jungian individuation in a manner that resembles egoism, Randian or otherwise, without bastardizing it completely, and I imagine that anyone familiar with Jung’s ideas knows this, so it will be interesting to see the notions of self that emerge from the emphasis on Jungian individuation.
The seventh constituent resonates with me because I find that it aligns with the Luciferian ethos, which is all about revivifying the ancient ways in a new context, centered around the revolutionary figure of the Morning Star, or Lucifer. Of course, with the Temple of Set a big influence in Karlsson’s project via Flowers and Webb, I am rather concerned about what they could mean by “the ancient traditions”, possibly they may follow from Aquino’s fanciful fictions about the religion of Atlantis, but as it is intended to be a broad principle this might not necessarily be the case. It could simply refer to the ancient custom as defined within the Indo-European milieu, which would include Hellenism. In either case, this is a strong element of the Nightside Spirituality being defined by Karlsson, and I can definitely support it.
The eighth consitutent is benign in much the same way as the fifth one, and to me it seems to be almost the same point, a very positive one at that. We all start out msiguided, confused, and ignorant outside of our volition, and many of us lose our way. As such, a network of support which forms the basis of a community is often vital, and a good way to promote interpersonal solidarity.
The ninth constituent to me is rather mysterious. Just who is “our common taskmaster who has many names” supposed to refer to? I have to guess it is the name of a deity or a force of some kind, which leads me to suspect the influence of theism, but I can’t quite say for sure. So for now, I’m just going to have to ponder on what was meant by that statement.
And that’s all there is so far on the Global United Nightside Movement project. I’m eager for more information on the project, and I wait patiently for the opportunity to learn what my place in it might be.
This weekend two mass shootings took place in the United States: the first one in El Paso, Texas, and the other (the focus of this short post) in Dayton, Ohio. At first I thought both of them were yet more white nationalist shootings. Indeed, I initially believed they were the same shooting because they happened so close to each other. But after a while it soon became clear to me that the Ohio shooting was not the work of a white nationalist, but instead the work of a Democratic partisan, who aligned himself with Elizabeth Warren, and a supporter of Antifa. The real kicker, one that the conservatives are really harping on about, is that, apparently, the shooter, identified as Connor Betts, was a Satanist.
The exact content of his apparent Satanism is sparse. Two pieces of evidence are used to identify him as a Satanist. The first are his “satanic” patches, one of them saying something to the effect of “against all gods” and the other a devilish goat image, but that to me is not entirely convincing, given that he considers himself a metalhead, it could just be an aesthetic thing. The former patch could also be an expression of some quasi-anarchist sympathy, which given his otherwise liberal politics would make him just another variety of the same old anarchoid-liberal that’s been corrupting the left for years now. The second that I’ve seen is a tweet saying “selfies for Satan”. That, really, is the only thing attaching him to Satanism, and for me it leaves more questions about the actual substance of his Satanism. For all I know, he’s probably the type of person who would find himself a member of The Satanic Temple. But since he seems to have killed himself during his rampage, he can’t really tell us himself what his deal was.
Not that any of it matters though. All that matters is that this was a sensless tragedy, carried out by a senseless individual, and that this senseless tragedy will be used to divert people away from recognizing what remains a concrete pattern of white nationalist terror in the US, which for some reason the right still seems intent on either defending, obscuring or simply downplaying. And even though I am not essentially a Satanist, baseline or otherwise, and haven’t been for quite some time, as someone who has evolved from Satanism (indeed, as a Luciferian and hence liable to be mixed up with Satanism), I must make some sort of statement on the matter, though I didn’t want to initially.
I could advance the case that Connor Betts isn’t, strictly speaking, a proper Satanist, given that he reeks of one of those Satanic Temple atheists (The Satanic Temple, I may stress, being an organization that literally began as a satirical religion for a mockumentary project), but I feel deep down that would be missing the point. Instead I would like to say that I condemn Connor Betts, regardless of the authenticity of his Satanism, and not only that but I also say that Satanists should not be compelled to take responsibility for Bett’s atrocities. Those who pester you about the shooter being a Satanist are the same ilk of people who would encourage prejudice against innocent Muslims, Christians or Hindus in response to terroristic actions committed by believers of said religions, and you should compel the conservatives in particular to demand why you have to answer for the actions of degenerate such as Connor Betts, but not when a Christian terrorist kills in the name of his God or when Christians go to holy war against non-believers. I, as a Luciferian, certainly have no business having to answer for this waste of flesh and blood either way. He can rot in peace for all I care, and the atrocity he committed will not serve as a cross for either Satanists or Luciferians to bear for themselves.
It’s time at last for me to comment on Michael Aquino’s new edition of Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible. I’ve been meaning to read that book for quite some time, and now that I have, I have a lot to say. My good friend Summer Thunder assured me once that it was an important work for Satanism or more specifically Satanic culture, and I have no reason to doubt him. After all, this is indeed a revision of The Satanic Bible, and one written by one of Satanism’s leading philosophers and exponents who also leads a major Satanist organization (the Temple of Set), so we can take this as a important point of development for Satanism, one that may indeed already have influenced its direction since its release last year. As such, the most important part for me will be to assess the general philosophical content of the book so as to gauge what could well be the direction of Satanism going forward.
Right off the bat, before we get into the content, I must mention how such intent is reflected within the structure of the book. The book can best be described as what The Satanic Bible would look like if it was written by Aquino, with his particular background and ontology in mind and with a lot of additional content included. The book has five chapters, the first four of which are named for Satan, Lucifer, Belial and Leviathan in that order, reflecting the structure and intent of the original Satanic Bible. The Satan chapter isn’t the quite the same as it was in LaVey’s book, but it does offer some diatribes intended to expound the spirit of Satanism, this time from the (alleged) perspective of the infernal pantheon (Satan, Beelzebub, Azazel, Abaddon, Asmodeus, Astaroth, Belial and Leviathan). The Lucifer chapter is devoted to Aquino’s formulation of a philosophy of Satanism that is somewhat distinct from LaVey’s original philsophy, much like how in LaVey’s original book the Book of Lucifer was dedicated to formulating moral and epistemological philosophy, with sections of the book divided between the subjects of the universe, time, gods, and the soul (with a lot of very silly titles). The Belial chapter is, much like in LaVey’s book, dedicated to magick, ritualism and explaining how it works. The Leviathan chapter is devoted to the word of Set, which is divided into nineteen parts in exactly the same way as the Enochian keys are in LaVey’s book. In addition to this the four chapters (except for the Belial chapter) each come with a backstory section dealing with the chapters of the original Satanic Bible. After those four chapters, however, there is an additional fifth chapter, titled Yankee Rose (a clear reference to the cryptic ending of the original Satanic Bible), which seems to be focused on the history of the Church of Satan (a subject also covered in the preface), with of course the aim of “decoding” the meaning of the Yankee Rose phrase in the original Satanic Bible.
The book begins with a foreword supposedly written by Satan himself. I think it’s safe to assume it was not quite written by Satan, but from the perspective of what Aquino believes to be Satan, but that it is taken as the word of Satan, and that the word of several other beings is mentioned in the book, indicates that Aquino intends his doctrine to derive from revelation, which is the tell that we’re dealing with a theistic framework. In any case, it serves as the introduction to what Aquino’s version of The Satanic Bible is supposed to be: a means of self-discovery from the Satanic viewpoint, the act of reading it to be taken as a rite passage to into “a universe” or “universes” not known to physics (he actually goes out of his way here to refer to physics as pedantic; totally not anti-scientific at all, I see we’re off to a wonderful start already). Also worth noting is how Satan is taken to be the name of an entity universal to human cultures, supposedly embodying the same tropes throughout his incarnations, with the name Satan just being the name specific to Western “Judeo-Christian” culture, and he treats various other deities as isomorphic to Satan archetypally, such as Set (of course, this is Aquino after all), Odin and Quetzalcoatl. All of these are very quizzical for numerous reasons. I find it funny how Aquino never referred to the Roman god Mercury, since Odin, and to a lesser extent Quetzalcoatl, both share traits with Mercury (Odin in particular was linked to Mercury through the Gaulish deity Lugus). Or Ba’al considering Set has more in common with Ba’al than Satan and indeed was directly identified with Ba’al by the Canaanites who migrated into Egypt (referred to by historians as the Hyksos). Also, I find it weird how, after Set got sick of being referred to by Satan at the time Michael Aquino began founding the Temple of Set (at least according to Setian lore anyway), Set seems to just be cool with being referred to as Satan. Weird how that works.
The preface appears to center itself around the idea of a revision of the Satanic Bible, entailing that the project was in planning for a long time (apparently LaVey intended to do his own revision as early as the 1970s but never got round to writing it before his death in 1997), but it also seems to focus on the subject of the authenticity of the original Satanic Bible, which Aquino seems to believe was repudiated not long after it was origianlly written. It’s here that we also, for a brief moment, see Aquino’s intent in so far as forming a philosophy based on what he believes to be beyond nature, unnatural. To me this is much in contrast with Anton LaVey, who (if Stephen Flowers is anything to go by) intended to create what can be described as a natural morality, and I say this on the grounds that, if Aquino’s morality is centered on an unnatural object, then his moral system can be framed as an avowedly unnatural morality. One minor detail to note however is that he appears to treat every Abrahamic book after the Torah as just a clone of it, which seems nonsensical when you consider the way that these texts diverge from each other (for example, the Hellenic influence on the New Testament in contrast to the Old Testament). Though, as you’ll see later, he tends to do that a lot with RHP religions. After some pretty interesting historical exposition on the early days of the Church of Satan, we return to the theme of the original Satanic Bible’s authenticity, where Aquino claims not only that it lost authenticity in 1975 due to LaVey’s careerist restructuring of the Church of Satan, but that the Satanic Bible itself had been reduced to a work “occult fiction” that happened to contain social criticism. That’s rather harsh of him, but I guess I can understand where he’s coming from.
After the preface is a page entitled Introduction by Lady Diane LaVey High Priestess Church of Satan, but that page consists entirely of the page title, Diane LaVey’s birthday, an image of Diane LaVey from the old days, and a statement saying “Michael’s audacity is breathtaking”. That’s it. After this is the contents section and then the rest of the book. Some introduction. One wonders what the purpose of this page was.
There are two short sections preceding the first chapter. The first is a list of Anton LaVey’s inspirations, and the second, more interestingly, is a section entitled Indulgence in Brimstone. This appears to be this books version of the Nine Satanic Statements as they appeared in the original Satanic Bible. In both cases they directly precede before the Satan chapters of their respective books, contain nine statements to sum up the ethos of the belief system in short order, and both are decorated with the Cross of Leviathan (a.k.a. the symbol of sulfur or brimstone). This to me is one of the things that demonstrates continuity between the two Satanic Bibles, which is good because it fulfills the purpose of the book. As far as the actual statements go, they are as follows:
Indulgence establishes life, as abstinence death.
Indulgence in the present realizes the future.
Indulgence is quickened by truth, stricken by falsehood.
Indulgence is nourished by love, generosity and benevolence: but only when so appreciated and recompensed.
Indulgence in the excitement of creation finds its balance in the annihilation of destruction.
Indulgence is the Fountain of Life, but forbidden to those who seek only to consume life.
Indulgence within Nature through a form of that Nature is a gift of the Natural and the NonNatural, that you may Become both.
Indulgence for its own pleasure is a sacrament.
Indulgence is ever beset by the death-worshipful who would kill whatever they fear: Beware!
Unlike the original Nine Satanic Statements, in these new statements Satan does not seem to make any appearance, and instead the center of this litany is the concept of Indulgence. In the footnotes, Aquino tells us that the concept of Indulgence “elicit far nobler, indeed divine qualities in the Satanist”, speaking in relation to the original Nine Satanic Statements and the speech from John Galt in Atlas Shrugged that Aquino thinks forms the basis of said Statements, but beyond that his concept of Indulgence is not precisely defined other than in distinction to LaVey’s formulation of hedonism in the Lucifer chapter, where he explains that Indulgence should be taken to mean an Epicurean rather than hedonist outlook. It seems that these nine statements are to be taken as the primary means of defining this concept of Indulgence. In many ways we see an echo of Anton LaVey’s original ethos, as summed up by that famous axiom of his, “Life is the great indulgence – death the great abstinence”. But we also get a framing that might be characterized as somewhat Epicurean, with the emphasis that Indulgence is nourished by truth and the warning that it shall be forbidden for those who seek only to consume it, suggesting that this is not a conception of baseline hedonism. The more peculiar detail is the assurance that one may become both natural and unnatural (or, sorry, “NonNatural”; you could have hyphenated that Mr. Aquino). I wonder how this is to be done, or moreover I wonder how the two can be equals if the highest object of his ontology is what he considers to be outside of Nature.
After this, we come to the Book of Fire, which appears to just be content of The Diabolicon, an essay which was written by Michael Aquino in 1970 while he was a member of the Church of Satan, written from the point of view of Satan and the infernal pantheon. The first thing I notice is that here Satan is identified synonymously with Lucifer which, as I’ve explained before, is historically incorrect. But that’s the least important detail here. I do like how it begins with “Hail Man!”, which suggests some commitment to humanism. In any case, what we’re getting from here on out is a retelling of the mythology of the War in Heaven and the creation of the universe. Here, Satan explains how he liberated mankind by disrupting the order that came into being with the emergence of a being named God by introducing Will. This brings him into conflict with the angels Michael (here the “Lord of Force”) and Masleh (a Hebrew angel of the zodiac who is apparently referred to as Messiah at one point), thus leading up to the War in Heaven (or “The Great Seraphic War”). Masleh then descends to the Earth to censor the effects of Satan’s gift, and inspire in humanity guilt, conformity, herd mentality and so forth, and the host of heaven imposes Abrahamism upon mankind and their prophets teach them to be mindless animals before God, with Satan being hated and mocked in this world order. Already I get weird Randian vibes from this, though Aquino would insist otherwise due to his theistic outlook. But we see an interesting side of Satan as well: a being who feels compassion for the species he is attempting to liberate, a being who feels sorrow for those who have befriended him and heeded his teachings only to be met with cruel persecution and often execution. We also, however, get a very strange doctrine about the nature of the universe.
What, man, art thou? Why thy presence? Because thy own purpose determines that of the cosmos itself, though otherwise it may have been suggested – the creation, perpetuation, and exercise of the Satanic marvel that is free and unbounded Will. Consider, were man to perish, what futility would envelop the Universe, for apart from appreciation and use it is a thing of insignificance.
The implication of this would be that the universe has no existence outside of humanity, or human observance, or would have no purpose without the existence of humanity. This of course would raise such questions as “if this is the case when why does the universe generate us in the first place?” or “what of everything that came before mankind?” or “how do you deal with the concept of the universe existing outside of our opinion of it?”. Sadly, I find that these questions are not dealt with sufficiently.
Next we get to Beelzebub, who describes mankind as his inspiration and object of aspiration and tells us about the history of Heaven, Hell and Earth – basically this is the cosmology section of The Diabolicon. He tells of how, before the fall, he wanted to be Satan (or “be Lucifer”, because in this asinine Christian-inspired framework they’re the same entity), but Satan admonished him and told him that he is not God and that he is not here to offer salvation or “blissful nirvana”, before talking to him about how creation and design stem from impulse rather than by law (in other words, spontaneous creation, which is weird for a theist to advocate for and also kind of flies past the thought of there being a concept of laws of physics that can be observed). Will is also described as being of neither divine nor chaotic origin, and it’s not quite explained what that means. Beelzebub then tells of his desire to become independent from God, talks to Michael of his vision, after which Michael and Satan arguing with each other, with Satan explaining that he differs in substance from Michael because he derives from himself, and as such is discord, whereas Michael derives from God. He tells then that after Satan reveals his mind to the angels, several join him, and then Masleh implores Michael to cast him down, which he does, resulting in their exile and the concept of God being “shaken”, resulting in the rise of endless chaos, which is weird because apparently humans have still had to deal with God and his angels since the events of the war in heaven. Where heaven is the place of order and conformity to God, Hell is a place where freedom is absolute and truth is not constant because it reflects the wills of all who inhabit it.
Then we get to Azazel, here the Arch-Daimon of Hell, who tells more about the war in heaven. Then we get to Abaddon, here the Daimon of death, who continues in that direction. Then we get Asmodeus, who in this book seems to have transformed from the demon of lust to the Daimon of science. Here Asmodeus claims to be responsible for Isaac Newton discovering the law of gravity, the materialist philosophy of Democritus (which is ironic because of what has already been established), and the efforts of mathematicians, astronomers and explorers to understand the cosmos around them. He also claims to be repsonsible for teaching politics and civilization to the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Chinese, the Aztecs and the Ashanti. This is a quite a departure from Asmodeus’ usual mythological role, and again affirms the revelationist aspect of Aquino’s doctrine, stressing that human enlightenment was the product of supernatural intelligences. Then we get to Astaroth, Daimon of the senses, who claims credit for the ability of man to comprehend the true depths of his progress. Then we get to Belial, who I’m sure is trying to talk about how he taught black magic but it feels drenched in jargon. One weird detail I find fascinating is that, at the end, Belial refers to Man as “at once child and father of the universe”, which in my view has the potential to be extrapolated into a framework that I doubt Aquino would appreciate because it sounds too much like Hinduism or Buddhism. Finally we get to Leviathan, or rather an entity describing Leviathan since this time it doesn’t appear to be in first person. Here Leviathan is treated as the Absolute, a principle of existential continuity, answerable to nothing other than the final master of the universe. It is stated here that the Black Flame will only achieve full mastery and perfection when the universe is destroyed and there is nothing but Man and Leviathan, because only then can Man be sure that he isn’t subject to a greater will. So essentially, in this framework, the only way to truly be autonomous is if nothing exists that can create dependencies. This to me is a profound weakness because it reveals just how bad this framework really is, at least so far. If we take this as the revelation of a supernatural being, then it shows that Aquino’s philosophy (or the words of the infernal pantheon) cannot deliver the true depth of its emancipation without the destruction of all that is. If it’s a metaphor, then it encourages the individual to simply cut himself off entirely from all that is, because in this framework only by doing so can you achieve real or perfect freedom. It’s a recipe for supreme alienation – after all you don’t get much more alienated than being willing to proclaim that the only way you’re going to be free is if the universe is destroyed. And, in that sense, it’s another form of the reaction that all too many LHP practitioners have when faced with the reality that, so long as you live in a society, or indeed an integrated universe governed by laws, you will always be subject to interdependence and a myriad of complicated hierarchies in which you are sometimes the master and sometimes but another subject. What better way to get rid of that problem than to cast aside the ultimate externality?
All in all, all the other problems aside, most of the Book of Fire makes for a somewhat interesting narrative device that can be utilized by Satanists and you can gleam some gems from it, but it’s not the best sign post for the philosophy we’re getting. One other complaint I have about the Satan section though is that it feels weird to read parts of it at first for one simple reason: the design is fucking awful. Seriously. Aquino used a different font for the sections where it’s supposed be the word of one of the Daimons, which I guess is intended to convey that it’s not the word of the author, but there are no quote marks where there’s supposed to be a quotation from another character, and I swear the commas look like period dots. On close inspection you can make out the difference between commas and period dots, but it’s pretty subtle, and if you read it at first glance you might not tell the difference. It’s just such an awkward design.
Now we get to the Lucifer chapter, and for the purpose of this review we’re going to skip the commentary on LaVey’s original Book of Lucifer essays and go straight to Aquino’s chapters. Before we do though, I must note that this chapter in particular showcases Aquino’s tendency to design very insular and stupid-sounding terms for concepts that may already be covered in the English language. For example, in his commentary on LaVey’s originaly essays, he uses a made-up word called “Internetrality” for what seems like he could have just used the word cyberspace instead. I also have this weird feeling of mild annoyance with when in the backstory section Michael Aquino insists that if you read his new chapters you’ll realize that you already assume his philosophy to be correct, that you “know these answers already, intuitively”, citing Plato (the most authoritarian and idealist of the ancient Greek philosophers) and his concept of “universal truths”. At best, it’s a pathetically arrogant attempt to justify his philosophy not in any empirical basis but in subjective “timeless” intuition. At worst, it smacks of something a cult leader might say. Either way, my suspicion is aroused.
We begin with a section on universes, which begins with the discussion of objective and subjective universes. The concept of an Objective Universe is pretty straightforward. It refers to the notion of the universe as we understand it, a matrix of reality comprising of matter and energy and indeed the totality of all phenomenon within it, governed by natural laws that can be apprehended via the scientific method. The concept of a Subjective Universe refers to the Objective Universe as perceived by an individual self-conscious being, or the universe that exists within their mental space. It’s here that we begin to see the development of what can only be described as an anti-scientific framework. He insists that human science has no idea about natural laws in the sense of what they are, why they are or what enforces them, without considering perhaps that we have some idea of why they exist in the sense that we know that they are necessary for the functioning of the universe in various ways. He then goes on about how it is impossible to acquire an accurate assessment of the objective universe through experiment and empiricism, because every interpretation of the universe is totally subjective according to him, even when large numbers of people observe the exact same phenomenon and report back to each other than they have. He even goes so far as to suggest that what we normally observe as insanity is actually just the phenomenon people’s Subjective Universe replacing the Objective Universe, and he treats the designation of insanity as nothing more than the suggestion of social conformity, a suppression of individual will.
This for me is one of the biggest problems I can think of in Aquino’s framework, and one of the biggest dangers that you might come across in the Left Hand Path. The primary implication of what he is saying is that the Subjective Universe is either just as valid as the Objective Universe, or that it has the potential to be more valid and more meaningful than the Objective Universe, and that by telling someone that their Subjective Universe cannot reflect the truth outside of your perception of it then you are in a sense restricting their social freedom. If this is your epistemology, then you have surrendered your right to challenge the Abrahamic worldview, or any other worldview you condemn, because, if you do so, then your framework tells you that you are trying to suppress the Subjective Universes of those people. The Christian fundamentalist’s claims about God literally creating the world in six days, about evolution being false and dinosaur bones just being tricks from God (or Satan) designed to test your faith, about Noah’s Ark being real, about how building the Temple of Solomon will lead us to a Thousand Year Kingdom on Earth, about the Holy Spirit, about Jesus resurrecting, all of it would be counted as part of the Subjective Universe of the believer, and you now have no right to dislodge that because that’s just the triumph of the Subjective Universe and the will of the faithful. Or maybe it doesn’t apply when they do it. Maybe they’ve surrendered their subjective wills to a false god if they do it. Maybe when you do it, you’re exercising your free will and society has no right to stop you. But you’re only making that judgement on a subjective basis. If you base your framework on subjectivity, then my interpretation of reality is equally valid to anyone else’s, and talking someone out of an erroneous position becomes impossible and talking about philosophy becomes a case of talking about how good you are at telling stories or making paintings. It also lends credence to all of the bullshit that we’ve been seeing over the last decade or so from what we used to call “social justice warriors”, people who assert that their gender identity or racial identity is a much larger subject than any objective matrix that it may operate under. If you adopt this framework of subjectivism, then you’re unable to oppose the modern liberal/progressive tendencies that contain such thinking. The only way you can get past this and imbue your framework with truth is to entertain the premise that there is a reality that exists outside of subjective perception, but Aquino doesn’t necessarily allow this because he implies that this pursuit is scientifically and epistemologically impossible!
But that’s not all. There’s another dimension to the Subjective Universe idea: the Collective Subjective Universe (or CSU). The concept of the Collective Subjective Universe is just his term for when a Subjective Universe is shared, approved and/or enforced by a larger body of people – in other words, it’s his way of saying that human civilization is just the pursuit of cultivating a subjective universe capable of forming consensus (in other words, what is real is what we all agree to be real). There’s no actual justification for why you can’t collectively share the same observation of objective reality I must point out. It’s just his way of pointing out that societies are founded on or undergird themselves with a shared set of values. He pointed out the salience of George Orwell’s criticism of the concept of thoughtcrime, but viewed from the perspective of the ontology we’re given thus far, the only reason Aquino has to give a shit is because his own Subjective Universe is in danger of being suppressed. Hell, if we actually go far enough with this, further than Aquino himself would allow, we would arrive at the premise that Satan himself doesn’t have much of a moral ground to oppose God other than that humans wouldn’t have the freedom to express Subjective Universes or arrive at a state where this subjectivity supercedes reality. He’s already established that if you believe you’ve been possessed by the Holy Spirit we have no right to get in the way of that so why stop there?
But we haven’t even begun to wade in the river of bullshit yet. Aquino then claims without empirical basis that time does not exist. I’d say tell that to actual physicists like Lee Smolin or Carlo Rovelli, or really many physicists who can tell you that, even if there’s no real consensus on how we define it, there is some consensus on the fact that it exists. But that’s not all, he denies the theory of relativity as formulated by Albert Einstein, calling it a tar-baby without actually bothering to demonstrate why exactly it’s wrong other than apparently it refuted the ideas that Immanuel Kant had about time and space. This would require Aquino to explain why so many of the predictions laid out by the general theory of relativity have been proven correct – such as the Shapiro effect, the equivalence principle, frame-dragging effects, gravitational redshifting, light deflection by cosmic bodies, the perihelion procession of the planet Mercury, the gravitational microlensing of stars etc. – and the fact that the theory has been taken up as the best way of explaining the laws of gravity, not to mention the fact that general relativity has passed numerous experimental tests since its proposal by Einstein. Too bad he only devoted a paragraph worth of text to the subject. But not to worry, I’m sure his Subjective Universe will grant him the freedom to bypass this reality. Actually, he later goes on to insist that the speed of light is not 180,000 miles per hour and that curved space, wormholes, wormholes and black holes are all fictional concepts, all on the grounds that time has no basis in reality. Again we are compelled to ignore that many of these things have already been observed, and in fact this year we got our first up close and personal photo of an actual black hole. Yeah, needless to say I hope Aquino has re-evaluated that aspect of his epistemology. I will give him credit on one thing though: string theory is bullshit, being almost all metaphysics with no actual science to it, and I swear it’s being propped up by the more science-savvy wing of the religious right.
One thing he might be somewhat salient on is where he talks about meaning and points out that Adam and Eve’s true “sin” was that they recognize Good and Evil in a manner that is not in conformity with El (used as the true name for the Biblical God). He points out that meaning is not a function or property of the Objective Universe, but instead a property of the Subjective Universe, and, you know, there’s probably some truth to that. If there is a greater meaning or purpose to this life, the universe seems to reticent to instruct us on what that is, and as such we are left to either figure it out or indeed devise meaning for ourselves. But where Aquino would probably leave this to the dominion of your Subjective Universe, I would insist that we should be able to determine meaning for ourselves by apprehending the world around us. Our only path to mastering the world around us comes from correctly understanding how it operates, this means dealing with a conception of reality that might lie outside of our perception of it. But where Aquino insists that for some reason this is thought-slavery, the rest of us may recognize this is knowledge.
Unbelievably the next section of the Lucifer chapter is devoted to time. I say unbelievably, because Aquino already stated that time isn’t real. Actually, it’s about Aquino’s views on time in relation to religion, so I’m being unfair. In explaining what that has to do with anything, he claims that “OU-aligned” religions (that is, religions that base themselves around the premise of there being an Objective Universe that you have to grapple with) make you do slave tasks within a certain time limit, namely the duration of your life. Man, if only he applied this to labour, maybe he’d be semi-on to something. It’s in this section also that we get into the definitions of the Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path. Here the two concepts are defined very simplistically: Right Hand Path means absorption of the individual into the universe or God, while Left Hand Path means the pursuit of individual divinity. Pretty standard. Of course this affects how Aquino defines the view of time in these paths, so what is he going for? For RHP religions, he assigns the concepts of linear or cyclical time, with linear time being common to Western religions and cyclical time being common to Eastern religions (and, of course, he seems to imply that the two perspectives are linked to each other, as he suggests in the footnotes where he claims that Buddhist concept of time and “the Great Mandala” contains nods to the Christian Peter, Paul and Mary). For the LHP, however, he seems to shift gears from discussing time and instead talk about an Egyptian-inspired framework on death. For Aquino, the fate of the Satanist is neither heaven, nor hell, nor reincarnation, but a postcarnate state of being or Xeper, quoting Peter Pan in saying “to die will be an awfully big adventure!”.
Sadly however this idea doesn’t seem to be elaborated on too convincingly, so I can only assume you have to read his book MindStar to get the full picture. Instead Aquino goes on about how the missing link proves that the Black Flame was brought to mankind by Satan and his Daimons, which he thinks is justified by the change in cranial size in early hominids such as Cro-Magnon. What bothers me is one simple thing: why does Aquino feel the need to attribute this change to supernatural intervention, as opposed to the laws of evolution by natural selection? We have working explanations for the development of cranium sizes that do not require literal divine intervention (as is what Aquino believes in), such as the transition to bipedalism and changes in the female reproductive system that resulted from this transition. Why is the intervention of literal deities necessary? I also find it curious how he writes off most of human history is “doing nothing”, disregarding the fact that humans spent most of their history until the age of agriculture forming hunter-gatherer societies, and then after that he goes on to invoke “the ghost of Atlantis”, implying that Plato’s Atlantis is the explanation. Well “Atlantis” was in all likelihood a morality tale by Plato, which may well have been based on the destruction of Thera by a volcanic eruption. Curiously enough he claims in the footnotes that the term missing link itself has fallen out of favour with paleantologists because it implies too simple a chain of evolution (not, you know, because the term is a colloquial rather than scientific term), and that now they refer to it as “transitional morphologies”. Well I still see the term missing link thrown around and I’ve never, repeat, never, seen the term “transitional morphologies” used anywhere. Then Aquino appears to suggest that the only reason we don’t know that Atlantis is real is because Christians and Muslims destroyed any evidence of its existence, and then complains about how talk of Atlantis is dismissed by mainstream archaeology (which isn’t actually true; they do talk about Atlantis, they just talk about what they think inspired the story of Atlantis because they know it’s not actually real) while the SS under Heinrich Himmler conducted major expeditions to find Atlantis. Well if the Nazis thought Atlantis was real then by god maybe there’s some truth to it surely! You know, the people who also insisted that the Earth was made of ice and thought most other science was wrong because it was Jewish? And not to mention also that even Adolf Hitler dismissed Heinrich Himmler as a nutjob (though admittedly this was coming from his own volkisch Protestant Christian perspective). Why is Aquino giving the Nazis credence?
After citing an unnamed scholar on how Egyptian civilization was complete from the beginning (which makes no sense), he proposes that there may have been an “OU Satanic Age” that began in 100,000 BCE and is presently ongoing. This would in theory mean that the Satanic Age has been going on since the beginning of humanity, but then Aquino would emphasize if, implying that there probably hasn’t been a Satanic Age within the Objective Universe, only the Subjective Universe. Curiously, however, he notes that there may be downsides to this age, or rather he hints at such, but says that it has not to do with the Age itself and more to do with it’s “OU byproducts”. What does he mean by that? Well he refers to two real world problems: the rammifications brought on by the discovery of the nuclear fission and fusion or more specifically the invention of the atom bomb, and the threat of overpopulation on the finite resources of Planet Earth. He doesn’t say how we should counter this in a Satanic fashion, of course. He just notes that the Gift of Satan has an ominous side, before referring back to the Diabolicon where Belial says that the gift can never be recalled. So essentially, Aquino’s idea of the Gift of Satan is a type of uncontrolled, absolute freedom (at least going from what was said in Satan’s and Beelzebub’s sections of the Diabolicon), the downside of which is the constant threat of environmental destruction, with no real safeguard against that, and the assurance that we can’t revoke that Gift, possibly meaning in this case that we can’t restrain the ability of human civilizations in Aquino’s vision to have destructive effects on the Earth. Needless to say, this is an extremely dangerous view of freedom, one that cannot account for the need for order (indeed order as an abstract concept is rejected entirely in the Diabolicon), and it reminds me of some of the worst excesses of libertarianism, especially anarcho-capitalism (I say that because I think it’s safe to assume Aquino is not a man of the left).
Then we get on to his idea of “Subjective Universal Time”, which seems to be his concept of how, in the subjective mental space, time is infinitely malleable, the magician can alter the flow of time in any way he/she likes (slow it down, accelerate it, freeze it etc). How this is possible is not explained beyond it being the property of a seasoned magician or how stage magicians create this illuision of altered time and space – yeah, key word, illusion; that’s what stage magicians do. After this is the Aeons section, of which there isn’t a lot to say other than apparently Aquino ties the concept of Aeons to Gnosticism, and then goes on to claim that, had Gnosticism become prevalent, we might have had a more intellectual and philosophical attitude towards religion in contrast to the dogmatism of mainline Christianity. If by philosophical and intellectual you mean a somehow even more idealistic and pessimistic version of Christianity, then yes. I still find it very strange how Gnosticism keeps getting praise from Satanists despite it being arguably even more anathema to their beliefs than Christianity. Technically speaking Gnosticism is just the name given to various sects of Christianity that coalesced around similar ideas about the nature of reality, but common to them is the belief that the world is the creation an inferior deity, and that the true God is composed purely of spirit. How this idea manages to be appealing to Satanists is beyond me.
Moving on from time, we now talk about the gods and devils. This should be interesting, right? We the section begins with Aquino asserting that the Objective Universe must have a prior genius to conceive, establish and compel its order. In other words, he asserts that there needs to be a prime mover, a God. Of course for Aquino this genius is apparently not one God but instead the Neteru, a collective of supernatural beings that exist within Subjective Universes. In ancient Egypt, the term Neteru may or may not have been the word used to refer to the gods, so we can assume that Aquino is employing a polytheistic framework. These Neteru are considered timeless in that there was no point in time that they came into being, which would mean that they have always existed, and without them there is no explanation for the universe coming into being other than happenstance and the Objective Universe would comprise of utter chaos. He could explain the universe as being the product of laws, atoms, energy, matter and the process that comprise them, but he rejects this explanation and thinks it’s impossible to explain the universe that way. He poses the question of why humans should apprehend a multiplicity of Neteru rather than a singular God, only to leave the question unanswered, and then to suggest that Set and the multiplicity are the same thing. Apparently this is internally harmonious. Aquino says further that the Neteru are no apprehensible within mechanisms of the Objective Universe but through noesis, a Greek word that he uses to refer to intutive apprehension but which actually means the exercise of intellect or reason. Thus we again establish that Aquino’s framework is essentially a high-brow brand of Platonic (or Platonism-esque) polytheism in Egyptian costume.
His critique of the Biblical God isn’t particularly bad, but I must note that his insistence on referring only to El seems historically questionable. Yes the name El is the earliest name given to the Biblical God in the Bible, but the identification of Yahweh with El can be explained rather adequately as a syncretism of sorts, with Yahweh assuming the role of El and taking his name through being identified with the head of the Canaanite pantheon by the Israelites. There’s also the claim that dualism is a uniquely Hebraic corruption (well, borrowed from Persia more accurately), which is odd because it is pretty well documented that the Greeks had their own homebrew dualism via the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Egyptian religion certainly had its own dualistic element in the conflict between Ra and Apep, which later became ever more central to the Egyptian religion following the exile of the Hyksos and Set becoming the resident enemy of the gods. More curious however is when we get to the claims about religion and violence. He points out that Satanists/Setians have never engaged in systematic violence in the same way that other religions have, which is correct, but then claims that the reason for this is simply that the Satanists/Setians are more secure in their beliefs, and that the other religions have no security or confidence in their beliefs. This is an idealist, entirely post-hoc rationalization that shunts to the side the role of power and the specific hierarchies that engender such aggression. Stop and wonder why Christianity transformed from a largely pacifist religion concerned with social reform, albeit packaged as a ridiculous pessimistic cult of resurrection, to the Christianity we know today, known for its countenance of rigid hierarchical authority and repression. The answer lies in the adoption of Christianity by the Roman state, which then fashioned an official Roman interpretation of Christianity, suitable for the use of the Roman state. But this point never comes up once in Aquino’s work, and indeed it’s barely addressed in the type of crude New Atheist arguments that he opportunistically channels in this book.
Then there’s his brief critique of Buddhism, and he sort of misunderstands the Buddhist take on suffering and consciousness. While there are more nihilistic schools of Buddhism out there, many Buddhists don’t actually deny consciousness. They just don’t believe that there exists a self or an ego, and that suffering is caused by cravings or attachments which spring from desire and are tied with the attachment to the ego.
In contrast to Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, Aquino establishes that the Satanic religion is based there being independent, self-aware consciousness that is external to the Objective Universe, and that, for him, the ancient precursor to this was the Neteru who were apparently collectively identified with Satan. Again, a simple search for the term Neteru yields no such determination, unless you count the fact that Christians tend to view every god that isn’t Yahweh or Jesus as Satan, and that the Neteru is widely considered to be the name the Egyptians used to refer to the gods. What Aquino is saying then, whether he would admit it or not, is that his conception of Satan and Satanism is firmly attached to, if not almost indistinguishable from, classical polytheism, but with modern LaVeyan affectations and, in true LHP fashion, taken from the lens of the darker or marginalized gods (chiefly Set). And then in that spirit we come to a few sections on Set and his priesthood where he, against his previously established theology, defines Set as the neter who is against the Neteru, defined as that which is not nature – the irony being with that part is that the Neteru are fundamentally outside of nature in his own theology!
After a long exposition on Set, Satan, and for some reason Melkor and Sauron from the Lord of the Rings universe, we come to a section entitled “Humancarnation” (seriously Mike what’s with the made-up words?), which appears to be a section dealing in metaphysics. The thing that stands out is the way that Aquino fundamentally misunderstands the naturalistic and scientific perspectives of human reality. He complains that the scientific perspective holds that Man is just another animal, which is ironic given that he was quite happy to join the Church of Satan, a religious group that then, as now, stated quite blatantly that Man is just an animal, just that he is the most advanced and vicious of them all. He holds that the scientific world view holds that man is nothing more than a machine, which requires him to ignore the fact that the scientific community does not automatically believe this, and in fact we know from our scientific understanding of the world that, as I covered in my case against transhumanism, that the brain does not actually operate in a way that can be described as mechanical. One the perspective of consciousness he assumes that everyone in the scientific community takes the Daniel Dennett perspective of consciousness – that it does not exist – at which point I would encourage him to look into Roger Penrose. He even goes so far as to claim that the scientific community is not confident to judge whether or not there exist an external God, which would require him to ignore that several esteemed members of the scientific community happen to be atheists.
Speaking of atheism, I find Aquino’s criticism of atheism to be very shallow. He accuses the atheist of only being interested in criticizing Biblical mythology, which is an interesting rehash of that whole “atheists just want to bash Jesus” argument. I mean yeah let’s ignore the way atheists tend to criticize Islam and Hinduism as well as Judaism and Christianity just to go out of your way to look like you got burned by an atheist who told you that general relativity is actually real. Don’t let reality stop you from accusing atheists of “scholasticism”. It’s worth noting that in the previous section Aquino marshals an interesting quote from John Fowles’s Aristos where it is stated “Intelligent Athenians of the fifth century knew that their gods were metaphors, personifications of forces or principles”. It’s particularly interesting considering, to my mind, this is a perspective that is entirely compatible with an atheistic outlook, but then Aquino has the nerve to deem atheism an inferior philosophical outlook. As for his take on agnosticism, there really isn’t much to say other than, at last, an argument of some sort, even if it is basically an ad hominem.
After this however we get a somewhat interesting criticism of the Church of Satan and its hedonistic outlook, criticizing its emphasis on carnal pleasure as not enough, suggesting instead that an Epicurean outlook on pleasure is preferable (which is ironic on his part considering Epicurus was a materialist and thus would be opposed to Aquino on epistemology) and suggested that virtue should be raised to the level of rationality, and that to be a god carries with it the responsibility of upholding a specific set of virtues pertaining to wisdom, ethics and the Agathon (or “the Good”, whatever that might mean), noting that the Biblical God failed in this regard. All of these are fine things, commendable in fact, but I can’t get past that all this is coming from the same guy who already establishing that this very good, as all things in the universe, are to be destroyed so that there is only Man and Leviathan, and assured us of no safeguard against the destructive side of his conception of absolute freedom. What’s even more telling however is that in this part of the book we see the arch-LHP guy Michael Aquino, who prizes himself on being more Satanic than Anton LaVey, propose a conception of serving a good that is by necessity greater than the individual, and marshalled a quoteabout Platonic philosophy that tells us that there must always be a good that transcends the particular goods of individuals. It makes me wonder just how confused Aquino’s framework is. Although I have to say, “serving the Holy Grail” is a particularly metal-sounding phrase, if a bit of an eyebrow-raising one coming from a Satanist (although in fairness there apparently have been pre-Christian conceptions of the Holy Grail).
After this though, we get to the last part of Chapter 12, which I mention only because it contains some claims that appear to be factually wrong. He claims that the Greek concept of telos originates in Egyptian symbolism, with the only evidence of this being a Plutarch quote that doesn’t seem to suggest this entirely. But far more egregious is his take on Darwinian evolution – he appears to consider the Lamarckian model of evolution to be superior to the Darwinian model of evolution, on the basis that Lamarckian evolution places a greater emphasis on individual will. Of course there’s too much evidence for Darwinian evolution to be correct for Aquino to simply dismiss Darwinism as he does and Lamarckianism is considered to have been supplanted by other scientific doctrines, but let’s not allow that to bother us because by god science has to conform to our individual will.
Now we come to Chapter 13, which is (thankfully) the last of the Lucifer chapter. This appears to be yet another chapter about metaphysics, albeit this time with specific attention being paid to the subject of consciousness or the soul, which is going to be fun to say the least. Yet again we open with a strawman of naturalistic philosophy that reads like the only guy he read on the subject was Daniel Dennett. One thing that is interesting, however, is that he claims that the ancient Egyptians recognized that consciouness was external to matter, and his source for this…is Deepak fucking Chopra! The literal Quantum Healing guy! I don’t know what I was expecting from Aquino, but it was almost certainly not this. Although I must say, perhaps I should have expected something New Agey given that he uses a term like MindStar to refer to the Xeper.
His critique of the “Judeo-Christian” concept of the soul is weird because it seems very heavily focused on the Judaic concept of the soul (or perhaps the lack of one), without much attention paid to Christianity. A very basic assessment of Christianity would lead you to understanding the Christian concept of a soul that would thus be distinct from Judaism, one may even go further and try to analyze the Hellenic influences of the Christian doctrine in this regard, but Aquino doesn’t seem to note this, and indeed is of the belief that post-Enlightenment Christians don’t even believe in such a doctrine. Even more curiously, for a guy who is to be taken as avowedly anti-Christian, Aquino seems very happy to employ the type of argument that would otherwise be reserved for Christian apologists. He seems to imply that, if you have a society where people believe in an afterlife or a God, then the result is a society of hedonisitic decadence. He marshalls a scene from Pinocchio in support of his point (huh, I’m getting some Jordan Peterson vibes from this part) in which The Coachman invites unsuspecting youths to a place called Pleasure Island, an amusement park where they could do whatever they wanted without any rules until they, in their mischief, they transformed into donkeys and were sold into slavery. This on its own is capable of illustrating a somewhat profound moral point, and in fact it sounds like something that can be used as a metaphor for something I remember hearing from Buddhism, but here it just seems like an arbitrary way of giving slack to people who don’t agree with your belief system.
Then we arrive at Aquino’s explanation of his concept of the “MindStar”. There isn’t much to say of the MindStar on its own, and it’s only a page before we talk about it in relation to an assortment ancient Egyptian concepts of the soul. What I will note however is that Aquino notes that, in his version of Satanism, death does not mean personal obliteration but rather “the MS T-Field relinquishing of a no-longer needed OU sensory interface”. No-longer needed eh? That sounds like something you can get away with when you describe what we’d call natural death, passing away into old age as it were, but I wonder how that works when you get killed? If a guy stabs me to death does my soul decide that I no longer needed that body anyway? What a strange concept of death and afterlife.
After this we arrive at the third chapter, the Belial chapter, which as I explained before is devoted to magic. Here, magic is defined as the means by which a practitioner renders the universe intelligible to his will and thus able to interact with and influence it, which seems fairly in line with that old Crowleyite axiom that much of the Left Hand Path uses to define magic. Of note is the definition of black magic and white magic, as based on the doctrine of the Temple of Set. Traditionally, black magic and white magic are defined as magic intended for malevolent and benevolent purposes respectively, and in the Left Hand Path the terms black magic and white magic are typically treated as arbitrary. Here, the term white magic refers to the magic that is specific to mainstream religions, which for Aquino is a form of self-deception and for him not real magic, while black magic refers to magic that operates from the Setian premise of the individual being distinct from the objective and subjective universes and as such is called “D5 tools”. This dichotomy is ostensibly based not on good magic or bad magic, but rather on true magic and false magic (though, surely this lends itself to a good vs bad value judgement if truth is tied to goodness). These concepts are expanded upon not too much further into the book. White magic is defined further as a highly concentrated form of conventional religious ritual, such as prayer, often with the intent of currying the favour of or seeking the will of a deity or daemon. Black magic is divided into two categories: Lesser Black Magic and Greater Black Magic. Lesser Black Magic is a tool to focus the mind outward in order to identify the properties of the objective and subjective universes, which for Aquino is an analytic process separate from traditional ceremonial magic, which seems like an attempt to frame the concept in rationalistic terms (wasn’t expecting that from him), with the aim of controlling natural law for the purpose of changing a situation in conformity to your will. Greater Black Magic is the category of black magic whose purpose is the analysis and control of subjective universes, with the aim of replacing the subjective universe that the individual learns as a result of societal conditioning with a subjective universe that is consciously created by the individual. Unless the practitioner is suitably disciplined, this comes with the risk of becoming mentally unstable, supposedly because you’ve been given license by the Black Flame to go into multiple subjective universes and do whatever you want with them.
In between the sections on Lesser and Greater Black Magic we get a section about how history is just a form of “reality control”. Aquino outright states that history is not a means by which to derive as a foundation for or evidence of anything because historical accounts are written by humans with different interests and therefore utterly subjective. It’s a particularly myopic form of nihilism because it completely bypasses the part about history where people gather evidence of things that happened and draw conclusions from them not to mention use them to either support or disprove certain accounts of history. It’s another case of something being more complex than Aquino makes it out to be. It’s also very rich that Aquino would complain about subjectivity considering his whole framework frames subjectivity as eing superior to the objective world, as is at the very least suggested by the fact that magic concerning the subjective universes is the “greater” category of magic. Of course he backpeddles later and says that the implications for black magic is that history is merely incomplete rather than unreliable.
In the section devoted to Ritual, Aquino gives a critique of LaVey’s use of the term Shemhamforash in his rituals, which is actually just one of the many Hebraic names of YHWH. He seems to treat the use of it as essentially “mystobabble”, which, while not entirely fair considering it isn’t an atraditional name, is salient insofar he is correct to point out that doesn’t really have anything to do with Satan. As for the rest of the Ritual section, there isn’t much for me to say given that it’s sort of a continuation of the epistemology of Aquino’s already established framework, but otherwise it’s not terrible in that it seems to me like it can be used to derive small aspects of methodology.
Now we move on to the fourth chapter, the Leviathan chapter. For the purpose of this post, I won’t comment on the Enochian Keys themselves and instead focus on the backstory lore surrounding them, particularly because it involves Aquino’s exposition on the character Enoch. Aquino considers him to be the Biblical equivalent of Cadmus, Hermes and Thoth, a connection that I’m not sure where it comes from, although it might be extrapolated from the way people have tried to connect him with Hermes Trismegistus, the alleged founder of Hermeticism. I’m also not sure where Aquino got the idea that Enoch was a sex-maniac. That’s news to me. Other than that, there is a somewhat decent summary of the Book of Enoch, and why Aquino thinks Enoch to be a missing figure of the Left Hand Path. Personally though I wonder if Aquino isn’t taking creative license with the myth, since it sounds like, in the Book of Enoch, the Watchers are still supposed to be the bad guys, and the “Black Flame” Aquino refers to is not depicted as a spark of divine consciousness, but a weapon by which to attack the believers of God.
But there’s another strange quirk to this chapter, one that gives me the clue to a particularly elitist character to Aquino’s thinking. His explanation for why the “Judeo-Christian cult of El” (read: Christianity) prevailed in Rome effectively amounted to him saying that the people were too stupid and ignorant to believe in esoteric mystery religions. Of course he frames it as being the religions of pre-Christianity, but that doesn’t make sense because the people were quite fine to be polytheists before Christianity showed up. In fact, we know that in the case of Rome at least we know that, in the early days of Christianity, the Romans treated Christians with pity at best, and suspicion at worst, and at any rate many were certainly willing to cheer at the sight of the early martyrs being slaughtered in the Colosseum. But apparently the polytheism they already believed in wasn’t not sophisticated enough, so it seems like he’s referring to a certain type of esotericism that existed in the ancient world that was not understood by the masses – probably because its practitioners willfully prevented the masses from understanding their doctrines by making their religions so exclusive. And again, the political realities of ancient Rome are casually ignored here. Aquino ignores how the Roman imperial hierarchy was rigid in its consolidation of state power, ruthless in its persecution of dissidents, and often too corrupt to do anything for the average citizen. Christianity, for better or worse, emerged as the answer to this political situation, offering deliverance from the poverty meaning citizens felt in their day to day lives while preaching against the excesses of the Roman Empire. But Aquino doesn’t account for this. Instead he prefers to think that the masses were just insane gluttons for punishment who embraced a tyrannical god not because his followers promises worldly liberation and spiritual salvation (even if that was for naught) but because they were starving for attention. It’s a fundamentally elitist worldview, one that is destined to fail to enlighten the masses because it so fundamentally despises them for being too ignorant to grasp its spiritual doctrine, and also fundamentally idealist because it reduces the rise of ideologies to sentiment rather than account for external political and material conditions. I guess we can expect this from a guy who, for all his anti-establishment flair, appears to be nothing more than a garden variety liberal at best.
He also returns to the point about history not accounting for the majority of human history, which is simply wrong because we know for a fact what humans did for 90% of their history. He asserts, without any evidence or even convincing argument at all, that there was undeniably ancient civilization for the 90,000 years or so that, in reality, were spent in a hunter-gatherer mode of social organization. There are only two points of evidence he points to in support of this point. The first is that, supposedly, the idea of Atlantis had different names under different cultures, which doesn’t really prove the actual existence of the settlement. The second is that there 335,000 search results for the term “forbidden archaeology” in 2018. What he’s really saying is “go on Google and look up a shit ton of conspiracy theory websites”.
Finally, we’ll address the Yankee Rose chapter, the additional chapter. This section believe it or not is pretty fascinating in that it gives an account of the lore surrounding key aspects of Anton LaVey’s life, such as the Black House. There’s all sorts of colourful details, such as how LaVey preferred to greet guests in his house by arriving through the fireplace and the secret passages throughout the house, which really serve to breathe a type of life into the life of LaVey that you sometimes don’t see when we talk about Satanism, which is further a great contrast to the often dull pedantry found in much of the rest of the book. Then there’s the mysterious stuff about the sinkhole and the photograph of the house supposedly collapsing inward until nothing but darkness remained. It’s an intriguing closer – or so I would say, if it were indeed the closer.
The Ninth Solstice appears to be another section from the point of view of Satan, which means we’re back to that stupid font again although by now you’ve probably adjusted to its awkward character. It seems that in this text Satan is addressing Anton LaVey, who he treats as his anointed man, gives him his tribute, and by his will is consecrated a Daimon and becomes a god. It’s all strangely amicable for a being who, as I mentioned earlier, got sick of being called Satan and insisted on being called Set instead. But apparently this is accounted for when he says the Church of Satan has past its time, and implores LaVey to seek out “the Elect”, whoever that might be. There are a few other peculiar details to note here. Satan declares that he and his entourage have no need to justify their existence or their desires, a statement that I would have expected from an almight sky deity whose rule is absolute and not his freethinking adversary. Once again the elitist aspect of Aquino’s worldview is visible, with Satan’s stress that he will not illuminate the many but instead the few, only the Elect. Only they can truly receive Satan’s wisdom. Such is the mark of a deeply esotericist doctrine (esotericism referring to mystery traditions and the religious practice of keeping occult knowledge hidden to all but a select group). And who is this “Elect”, exactly? Satan doesn’t tell us, and since he’s addressing LaVey we can only assume the two already know between themselves who the term “Elect” refers to, but we sure don’t. Perhaps it refers to the only people who identify as Satanists? Or the highest ranks of the Temple of Set? Who knows. Lastly, Satan tells LaVey to receive his Red Halo as the sign that he has become the Red Magus that Leviathan spoke of. If you remember the Diabolicon from before, you remember that the last section of it says that only with the obliteration of everything else that the Black Flame may “become red in the glory of its perfection”, obviously signifying the full attainment of self-divinity. That in mind, what’s happening in this dialogue actually? Is LaVey still alive at this time, or is he dead and this is supposed to be his disembodied spirit talking to Satan in the afterlife? What’s going on here, because I refuse to believe that LaVey actually destroyed the universe.
Appendices aside, that takes care of the book.
So what am I to make of this whole thing? How am I to summarize this book as a point of development for the direction of Satanism. Summer Thunder may be disappointed to hear me say this (or he would if he didn’t see it coming as he presumably read this post) but I do not see good things coming from the Aquinoite/Setian framework of Satanism.
If we take a look at Aquino’s worldview, it would be tempting to conclude that his framework can be reduced to a more sophisticated brand of inverted Christianity due to the fact that Christian apologist arguments are deployed in service of Satanism, but that wouldn’t be accurate. It’s more like a brand of polytheism that places strong emphasis on Platonism and esotericism, with Satan and his demonic entourage almost filling the role once filled by the gods of old, which is framed as a restoration of the original Egyptian cult of Set, which Aquino insists was the original cult of Egypt before being supplanted by that of Osiris. It’s classical theism, but from the lens of a kind of quasi-polytheist Platonism, mixed with an “I swear it’s not Ayn Rand” brand of hyper-individualist libertarianism, all wrapped up in a framework that lends itself easily to solipsism. It’s a confused philosophical outlook, and it tends to show in many areas. For instance, there is his classical theism and his dismissal of Ayn Rand, and then there’s the fact that his brand of individualism almost hasn’t changed from LaVey’s other than it’s more “Epicurean” in attitude. I guess you can say he can’t be an Objectivist because Objectivism categorically rejects belief in a God, but for some reason that doesn’t stop me from getting the sense that there are scents of Randian morality and ontology still there, bastardized by Platonism-esque theism though they may be. And then there’s the fact that his absolute individualism is contradicted by his insistence on there being something higher than the self – whether it be Leviathan clearly taking the role of the All or the talk of the importance of an Agathon that the individual must serve and cultivate. And then to top it all off there’s just the fact that Aquino supports this whole picture by marshalling a variety of talking points on numerous subjects that are often either dubious, myopic or just straight-up factually wrong, not to mention a shocking level ignorance regarding science – and how ironic is it that a guy who has a Daimon of Science in his infernal pantheon either rejects the scientific method or places it as inferior to divine revelation?
I’m sorry, but I can’t take this as anything other than a mess. If the Satanist movement follow’s Aquino’s doctrine, it will be doomed to exist under the shadow of Christianity, due chiefly to the fact that it marshalls classical theism similarly to how Christian apologists might just that it’s against Abrahamic monotheism and for a different theistic framework centered around Satan and his demons (or, excuse me, Set and the Neteru).
I have been meaning to write about this subject for quite some time now, and was originally planning to write this post in autumn of last year after having begun to notice certain patterns about right-wing conspiracy theories, but for some reason my mind got carried away and I never wrote it. However, after seeing my old friend and comrade Satanicviews return to blogging in order to once again do battle with our favourite butterfaced retard Becki Percy, it occurs to me that the whole SRA scare is still going on, even after the Hampstead hoaxers were defeated. So, for my part, I’d like to join the fight in some small way by detailing my thoughts about the subject of SRA conspiracies and what I believe to be their historical and political roots. I intend to demonstrate that such conspiracy theories are often the product of reactionary conservative politial narratives and often an integral part of the harder core of right-wing politics in Western countries, particularly the United States of America where Percy milks thousands if not millions of boomers for all they’re worth.
Before we begin in that pursuit, however, it is best that we start by giving a solid definition for what we’re discussing. The term “satanic ritual abuse” refers to a number of conspiracy theories that all center around the premise that there is a cabal of Satanists or devil worshippers who go around abducting children for the purposes of sexually abusing them or sacrificing them as part of supposed Satanic rituals. This cabal is typically believed to be a part of much larger organization, which usually is held to be part of the ruling elite. Such ideas about elite devil worshipping predators are also frequently tied to the conspiracy theory that Hollywood, the media, the music industry and popular culture promote Satanism. And often times, you will also find all of this attributed to Jews in various iterations of this conspiracy theory. As you’ll see, that last part isn’t a coincidence, and in fact it has links to old traditions of anti-semitism that go as far back as early Christianity. The SRA mythos has been an entrenched part of the politics of the Moral Majority movement, as well as other fundamentalist Christian movements within the United States, and also seems to be a staple in InfoWars and numerous pro-Trump circles, where you will find all manner of related conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate, the spirit cooking nonsense, and the Qanon conspiracy theory, and where you find people like Becki Percy eeking out some profit from it all. The fact that Satanism as an actual belief system expressly forbids child abuse and pedophilic behaviour doesn’t seem to matter to these people. The modern Satanic Panic, which famously gripped the imagination of the 1980s, begins with the publishing of a book called Michelle Remembers, a glorified horror novel that claimed to document instances of ritual abuse allegedly suffered by psychiatric patient Michelle Smith, as well as the hysteria surrounding the McMartin preschool, which culminated in one of the longest criminal trials in US history and yielded no evidence of Satanic Ritual Abuse.
Many have pointed out that modern conspiracy theories about Satanic Ritual Abuse are related to much older ideas surrounding the concept of blood libel, which refers to the belief that Jews capture children in order to use their blood as part of their rituals and ceremonies (an accusation that flies in the face of Jewish law on human sacrifice). These ideas are not solely the product of the Middle Ages, but instead have a long history within the Christian movement. One of the earliest forms of the blood libel trope comes from Eusebius of Caesaria, who accused Jews of crucifying Christians during their Purim celebrations as a rejection of Jesus. Other Christian fathers similarly accused Jews of barbaric religious practices. John Chrysostum accused the Jews of worshipping the devil and described their religious practice as “criminal and unchaste”. Ambrose of Milan also accused the Jews of devil worship, and even went so far as to defend Christians who burned synagogues – Martin Luther would later support the burning of synagogues centuries later. Justin Martyr claimed that the Jews went around torturing and killing Christians and blaspheming God or Jesus, and also that they were behind every persecution faced by the Christians. Now, it would be unfair to solely ascribe this anti-semitic tendency to the early Christians, given that Hellenic authors like Apion and Democritus (not the philosopher) also claimed that Jews captured Greeks and murdered them as part of their rituals, but I find that it is this early Christian anti-semitism that has so undergirded the anti-semitism of later Christian movements, as well as the old medieval passion plays, and eventually inspired more modern anti-semitic ideologies, including Nazism (Adolf Hilter and many of his NSDAP cadres were open in their admiration of Martin Luther).
Although the accusations of Jews carrying out ritualistic sacrifice were almost certainly false, the blood libel trope served to inspire hatred of Jews across Europe, which often resulted in the persecution of Jews. In England, during the 12th and 13th centuries, the Jews were often falsely accused of ritual murder, which led to them being massacred by mobs and eventually deported from the country by King Edward I. Jews continued to be accused of devil worship as well, often through the image of the Judensau, which depicted Jews kissing, suckling, or having sex with a pig, which sometimes was intended to refer to Satan, thus mocking Judaism as a diabolist religion. Accusations of ritual murder were frequently invoked by the Nazis in their paper Der Sturmer. In the 21st century, the blood libel trope continues to be invoked not only by much of the Western far-right and especially neo-Nazis, but also Hezbollah, Hamas, and throughout Middle Eastern television as well as the Russian Duma.
That anti-semitic tropes such as blood libel would be embraced by the hard right is not surprising in the least. Much of the right is presently engaged in rehabilitating the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, which is a rebranding of the Nazi concept of Kulturbolshewismus. Its anti-semitic roots are echoed in the fact that William Lind, a who spearheaded the development of the idea of Cultural Marxism, said in 2000 that the members of the Frankfurt School were all “to a man, Jewish”. Considering that he describes Cultural Marxism as the process of corrupting Western countries by promoting the abandonment of Christian morality and conservative values, it’s quite clear that this is but a rehabilitation of the idea of Jews promoting degeneracy that the Nazis once espoused. Another proponent of the conspiracy theory, Pat Buchanan, is notorious for his anti-semitism, having once said that there were too many Jews in the Supreme Court and even engaged in some Holocaust denial by claiming that Treblinka was not an extermination camp but instead merely a “transit camp” that prisoners passed through. In fact, the link between Cultural Marxism and anti-semitic conspiracy theories is still barely hidden, and the neo-Nazis will very often just let the cat out of the bag themselves, as for example this image that was originally taken from the neo-Nazi website Rightpedia where they just outright say that Cultural Marxism is a Jewish project. Outside of the far-right, the term resurfaced this year in British politics when Conservative MP Suella Braverman stated that the Conservative Party was engaged in a struggle against Cultural Marxism. Ostensibly this reference seems separate from the far-right, but it’s worth noting that, around the same time, a pair of Conservative MPs allegedly referred to themselves as “Grand Wizards” (which seems like reference to the KKK), possibly as a joke, and not for the first time either, while others called for the formations of a “blueshirts” movement within the party, which instantly calls to mind the blackshirts of Oswald Mosley. Sometimes this theory enters mainstream politics under slightly different iterations. One example of this is Ben Carson, who is currently Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who last year claimed that those who believed that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was guilty of rape during his college days were basically just the stooges of the Fabian Society, a British left-wing think tank that advocates for gradualist methods of acheiving socialism through the current system. He argued that the Fabians sponsored the accusations against Kavanaugh in the hopes of somehow taking over the United States of America in order to implement socialism. He also claimed that the Fabians already control the American education system and media, but lost control of the courts when Trump was elected.
There is, however, another ideological element that think may be present in the SRA mythos, though likely an unstated one, not obvious to most people. Many conspiracy theories involving a devil worshipping elite center around the Illuminati, a largely fictitious organization that conspiracy theorists believe orchestrates many key events in world history and engineer developments aimed at de-Christianizing Western societies. Although the Illuminati in a modern context is a purely fictitious organization, there was actually a group that existed in the late 18th century in Bavaria that was called the Illumanti, which is for historical purposes referred to as the Bavarian Illuminati. Founded by Adam Weishaupt in 1776, the Bavarian Illuminati was a secret society that was formed in order to challenge religious ideas and particularly prejudices that were prevalent in German society at the time, believing them to generate social repression and serve as obstacles to freedom of thought and happiness, their ultimate goal being to create a society of ideal liberty and equality. The society didn’t last long, having been torn apart by internal leadership disputes as well as proscribed by the Catholic Church, and after several edicts the group was eventually disbanded in 1785. But it wasn’t terribly long after its disbandment that people started to claim not only that the organization never actually disbanded, but that it was the direct cause of all manner of major historical events that served to upend the traditional order of society.
After the French Revolution occurred and deposed the monarchy while establishing a liberal republic, the Bavarian Illumanti was accused by its conservative enemies as being the cause of the revolution. . In addition to this, before the French Revolution, there were some who believed that the Bavarian Illuminati would lead a revolution in Bavaria in order to overthrow the government. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of this, but in 1793 the Illuminati’s opponent’s became convinced of this anyway once they discovered that one of its members, Johann Christoph Bode, met with French Freemasons, some of whom allegedly became participants in the French revolution. They supposed that, because of this, the Illumanti instigated the French Revolution and formed revolutionary cells. The claim that the Bavarian Illuminati caused the French Revolution was initially popularized by Augustin Barruel and John Robison, both of whom were staunch opponents of the Enlightenment and Freemasonry and believed that the Illumanti had infiltrated the Freemasons with the intent of promoting revolutionary violence. Barruel in particular is notable for his association of the Illuminati and the ideas of the Enlightenment, which he considered to be a threat to the authority of the Catholic Church, with not only Freemasonry but also occultism and even paganism, an idea that has apparently continued to be propagated by some modern reactionary thinkers such as Gerald Warner and Jason Josephson Storm. Although the Bavarian Illumanti most likely had nothing to do with the French Revolution and certainly did not play any role in starting it, that basic idea came to be the seed for a number of paranoid right-wing conspiracy theories. In the 1960’s, groups like the John Birch Society blamed the long-dead Illuminati for all manner of things – from the welfarist policies of Lyndon Johnson’s presidential administration, to central banking, to both World Wars, to the rise of communism and to the birth of the United Nations. Today, conspiracy theorists like Mark Dice accuse them of wanting to establish a new world order based in Luciferianism, Satanism and communism by infiltrating the media, with both major political parties of the United States (Democrats and Republicans) supposedly being their minions and major world events, including the assassination of John F Kennedy and the 2008 global financial crisis.
The idea of the Illuminati as being a threat to civilizational order, a shadowy force of tyranny responsible for several world-changing events behind the scenes is often dismissed as simply a manifestation of paranoia. But in my view this ignores the very question of why the Illuminati is taken up as the central antagonist of this paranoia. In my view, the myth of the Illuminati represents an obvious manifestation of contempt for the gains of the Enlightenment, chiefly the institution of secularism and the expansion of liberty and universal human rights. That basic contempt is not found solely in the more conspiracist elements of the right, but in more “acceptable” conservative intellectuals such as Yoram Hazony, a neoconservative who espouses the “virtues” of nationalism as a conservative ideology that rejects the doctrines of universal human rights and international law. But even the conspiracists aren’t completely relegated to the fringes. Gerald Warner, for example, is an influencer within the Conservative Party and a major opponent of its Cameronite wing on the grounds of its more modernist outlook. US conservative politics in particular is very prone to conspiracism and as such the conspiracists hardly fail to break into the mainstream of politics, such as the earlier mentioned Ben Carson. As such, the conspiracy surrounding the Illuminati is to be taken as a manifestation of the reactionary conservative view of societies and how they ought to work. In essence, the Illuminati is the bogeyman that threatens what is otherwise a timeless social order rooted in religious hierarchy whose power is not to be questioned. Social freedom and just about any progress away from this order, therefore, is to be treated as the work of shadowy, evil forces set against civilization itself. For modern conservatives, this order also represents free market capitalism and the hierarchy it generates, so of course moving away from free market capitalism would also be seen as part of a larger conspiracy. Indeed, Ben Carson’s conspiracy theory about the Fabians can be counted as something of a variation of the Illuminati conspiracy theory on those grounds.
As such, the SRA mythos is to be taken not merely as paranoid delusion in isolation, but as a primary narrative of conservative and reactionary politics, its content consisting of a synthesis of age-old anti-semitic tropes and 18th century anti-Enlightenment conservatism. When you see Trump supporters like Becki Percy parrot SRA tropes, don’t be surprised. It’s all part of that reactionary, conservative impetus to oppose the cultivation of a society based in liberty, universal human rights and equality under the law, or indeed a society that seeks to expand these ideas by going further to the left, by casting such efforts as diabolical conspiracies.
Does anyone remember years ago when it was only the Joy of Satan guys who were busy mixing Satanism with Hitlerian ideology? Or at least, they were basically the only Nazis most Left Hand Path traveler had to deal with. Those were so much more innocent times, back on the old Yahoo Answers website, before the purple scourge that was their new website format ruined everything. That must have been about eight or seven years ago, maybe a decade. And sweet Ishtar how times have changed.
While the Joy of Satan is almost irrelevant as far as I know (we all remember them and their crazy shenanigans, but they don’t seem to be doing much), there does seem to be a current of esoteric fascism centered around neo-Nazi politics that is very much alive in the current decade, and unfortunately that current involves certain contingents of the Satanist movement. Of course I don’t mean the typical Satanist. In fact, in my experience and from what I have seen it is very much at the feet of the Order of Nine Angles, and from there a certain contingent of theistic Satanists who adopt O9A ideas as part of their belief system. It is somewhat well-documented at this point that the group has a distinctly Hitlerian ontology in their esoteric worldview, as V K Jehannum has detailed in one of his posts about the O9A, but, there is a lot more going on relating to neo-Nazism than simply that.
What I’m attempting to do is bring a rather disturbing development that, for some reason, has eluded me until this point, but which I think deserves the attention of Left Hand Path oriented individuals and communities.
Recently a friend of mine showed me a KiwiFarms thread concerning an internal schism as regards the neo-Nazi organization known as the Atomwaffen Division, with certain Atomwaffen members talking about how they would leave the organization if the organization continued to harbor a certain Satanic element within it.
Now before we continue on I think it’s worth establishing the appropriate context regarding just who Atomwaffen really are. Atomwaffen are a militant Nazi organization that derives much of its ideological milieu from the writings of James Mason, an American neo-Nazi and former Church of Satan associate most famous for being the author of a book entitled Siege, as well as Charles Manson, specifically his idea of the “Helter Skelter” from which they apparently get their ideas about race war. They have a reputation for being linked with numerous murders, including one incident where an apparent member murdered a 19-year old college student named Blaze Bernstein – an indicent that was presumably motivated by him being of Jewish ethnicity and a homosexual. The group seems to have emerged from an online neo-Nazi forum named Iron March (or Ironmarch), which until its mysterious disappearance in 2017 served as a hub for people from all kinds of fascist organization, often people who would go on to commit violent hate crimes. Atomwaffen are so controversial that they are often despised even by others in the extreme right, some of whom consider them plants sent by the US federal government in order to discredit radical nationalist movements.
Entering into that is the drama concerning Atomwaffen and Satanism, which has been going on for the last year if I understand correctly. I first encountered this development in an article for The Daily Beast released in March, documenting the frustration expressed by many neo-Nazis that their movements are being infiltrated by the Order of Nine Angles who they believe go about taking over far-right movements to use as mouthpieces for a kind of apocalyptic Satanism. The article does actually mention the KiwiFarms thread that I’m about to talk about, but it doesn’t go into the full detail – and perhaps, given the actual content, that’s understandable because it is one of the most disturbing things I’ve come across on the Internet. However, for now, the main takeaway from the article seems to be the reaction to the thread’s release on websites like Gab, which is filled to the brim with all manner of unsavory far-right personalities, and from there arguments between different members of Atomwaffen on the subject of Satanism and its relation to Nazism. Those who left Atomwaffen said they did so out of disgust for the group’s affiliation with Satanism, while those who stayed with Atomwaffen say that Satanism will be useful to them in the race war they intend to fight, saying “You guys can get all moralistic if you want about Satanism… but when the fuckin’ race war comes, morals aren’t going to do anything but get you fuckin’ killed.”.
The actual thread goes into much further detail on just what sort of activity the O9A contingent of Atomwaffen was getting up to, from the perspective of a disillusioned neo-Nazi by the name of Vexation who left the group upon discovering these things, centering around a 27-page document he wrote entitled “On AWD“. The individual describes a man named Rape, who was apparently the de facto leader of Atomwaffen, asking Atomwaffen members to read certain books associated with the O9A branch of Satanism. The first of these books, which is apparently supposed to be required reading for prospective Atomwaffen members, is a post-apocalyptic novel entitled Iron Gates, which was authored by Tempel ov Blood, an offshoot of the O9A with probably a more pointlessly edgy name than . The book can probably be described as gore porn, at least as suggested by the commenter’s description of the book opening the with the brutal murder of a baby, in front of his mother. Not only does Rape apparently think it’s a great read but a lot of Atomwaffen guys are described as indifferent to the book on the grounds that it’s “just a meme”. The second book is Liber 333, perhaps one of Tempel ov Blood’s more well-known releases, which is apparently also a window into just how the O9A types think. In fact, I’ll leave a quote apparently from the book featured in the document here:
Second, the infiltration and manipulation of organizations and forms with Sinister potential. Aryanism, particularly the more religiously fanatical forms of it, such as Christian Identity are a good example. The manipulating Noctulian is to use these forms for their own Presencing of the Dark, as well as changing in subtle ways the followers of such forms to following a more Sinister direction. For example, in Identity, using knowledge of the Biblical doctrines and prophecies encourage war, hardship, and system disruption using the scriptures as guidance and proof of the message you are sending to adherents of the said form. Any form with a transhuman, system disruption, or satanic direction to it may be of use here. The key is finding a form that in itself is an aid to the Dialect and empowering it further, causing a saturation of Acasual Energy.
If this passage is indeed from the book, we can gather from it that the “Noctulians”, that is members of the Order of Nine Angles or more or less Tempel ov Blood at least, infiltrate various extreme political movements in order to use them for their own ends if they have the right “sinister” potential. It’s interesting how they seem reasonably confident in spelling that out, presumably under the impression that only the few would read their literature let alone take an interest in doing so to begin with. It’s also quite curious to note how the “Noctulians” frequently seek out ultra-nationalistic and fascistic groups like Atomwaffen and Christian Identity movements. This is most likely because they identify neo-Nazism as the outer rim of politics in the same way their particular form of Satanism represents the outer rim of spiritual philosophy. As one Good Reads reviewer put it, “In the context of cosmopolitan neo-liberalism, neo-Nazism quite possibly represents that furthest outer limit to most people. The neo-Nazi is the “Satanist” of the above example. No matter how they put forth their arguments, they are clearly the enemy of all the values of the society they live in, and their positions come across as gibberish when they travel beyond certain bounds.”
This strategy is echoed in other O9A books featured on the SiegeCulture website, such as Hostia, where it apparently says on page 80:
“A Satanist, concerned with experience, may use a political form for a specific purpose – the nature of that form in terms of conventional politics and morality (such as ‘extreme Right-wing’) is irrelevant. What is important is whether it can be used to (a) provide experience of living and the limits of experience, and/or (b) aid the sinister dialectic of history. Thus a Satanist may become involved in, or set up, an organization of the extreme Right – this is dangerous, exciting, vitalizes, provides experiences ‘on the edge’ and should thus aid the development of the character and insight of that Satanist*. What is important, is that this involvement is done for an ulterior, Satanic, motive: what others think and believe about such actions is totally irrelevant. Anyone purporting to be a Satanist who criticizes such an action, whatever the political hue of the group/organization, reveals by that criticism that they are not Satanists – but rather, moralizing nerds lacking in insight and real Satanic understanding.”
The book is also apparently shown advising its readers to, as part of their transformation into “Noctulians”, become burglars or join the police force in order to specialize in a particular area of theft in addition to becoming extreme right-wing political activists, for the primary purpose of living dangerous lives in order to become hardened by the experiences that come with them.
Further into the document, it is attested that Rape claims to be opposed to Satanism, calling it “gay”, even though it is shown through his Instagram (under the name Vincent Snyder) that he flaunts his interest in the Order of Nine Angles (as well as Charlie Manson). He doesn’t even hide his interest in neo-Nazism. He’s also affiliated with a guy named Dante Aschard, who not only is an avowed O9A Satanist but is also affiliated with Atomwaffen as indicted by his appearance on the Siege Culture website. Rape also runs the Siege Culture account, which puts up tweets saying stuff like “We wish everyone a Satanic millennium” as well as Satanic artwork of Charles Manson (who wasn’t even a Satanist ffs!), which would make sense for someone associating themselves with Atomwaffen. Rape also seems to like larping as a communist, or presumably a National Bolshevik (though lacking the actual NazBol flag in his photo-ops), most likely not because of his own interest in communism as an ideal but because he views it as a vehicle for “sinister” ends (to which any actual communist would either laugh or barf). He even goes so far as to claim that he was “redpilled” by Boyd Rice (who himself liked to hang around white supremacists), Anton LaVey (who was not a Nazi), and Nicholas Schreck (probably not a fascist) alongside Charles Manson and James Mason, and has expressed fondness for LaVey and Liber Falxifer (which don’t strike me as going very well together given the gulf between LaVey’s humanism and the gnostic nihilism of the Chaos Gnostics). It’s possible that he may be more interested in extreme Satanism than the Nazi politics, as he goes out of his way to say “I’m not interested in save our people” (“our people” meaning the white race, of course).
After laying out the full extent of Rape’s connection to O9A Satanism, and Satanism in general, the author goes on to say that other Atomwaffen members respond to his statements on the matter by attempting to dox him, which seems to suggest that they were against such criticism of their leadership and were willing to silence people for bringing it up.
What this development suggests is that there is a band of Order of Nine Angles Satanists who, while they may not even be neo-Nazis, they find in neo-Nazi/fascist movements the potential to carry out their desires and their will in the world, and since this is Atomwaffen we’re talking about we can assume those desires involve spreading as much terror in the world as possible and trying to start a race war. But whereas the actual neo-Nazis, as horrible as they are, are invested in their horrible ideas for decidedly ideological reasons, the O9A guys seem to be involved solely for the prospect of bringing destruction and terror to as many people as possible. Perhaps the worst thing about it is that they simply prefer to use others to do their dirty work. Though I suppose if they actually did form a militia they would probably make ISIS seem like the A-Team in terms of the pure evil that runs through their minds – I don’t say that because they’re Satanists, by no means, I say that because they’re the worst kind of Satanist you can think of: a Satanist who hates humanity, hates the world, looks at the asinine dichotomy Christianity presents and decides “I want to be the bad guy” and presumably masturbate to the works of James Mason and Charles Manson.
While some may look at this as proof of the flirtation and even concordance between fascism and LHP groups, I see it more as proof of the cultivation of esoteric fascism, and how certain individuals are using Satanism in order to manifest this current. The reason I bring the phenomenon to light is so that those in the LHP milieu are armed with the knowledge necessary to take a stand against it, because we cannot stand for it. These O9A fascists smear us with their activities, in the sense that their actions create a justification for other people to treat as alike to them when in truth most of us are nothing like them, and we must not allow the LHP milieu to be dragged into the swamp of fascistic psychopathy.
During one of my regular online travels, I encountered a lengthy, fascinating and well-sourced essay entitled The Devil & the Goddess: Meditations on Blood, Serpents & Androgyny, originally written in 1997 by a man who goes by the name Gyrus and can be found within his 2007 book Archaeologies of Consciousness: Essays in Experimental Prehistory. The essay goes into incredible detail concerning the subjects of Satanism, the archetype of Satan, various strains of left hand path occult philosophy, pre-Christian pagan religions, Tantric Hinduism, goddess worship, sexuality, and many other topics, and according to Gyrus originated as an expression of dissatisfaction with the ethos of Social Darwinism he found in Satanism, particularly as expressed by black metal bands in interviews he had read via EsoTerra Magazine. In this essay, I feel I have found some keys towards crafting an identity for Luciferianism, particularly with Gyrus’ critique of Satanism and his dialogue concerning Taoism. What you are about to read is not, I must stress, a response to the essay itself, nor ultimately an appraisal of it as a standalone text, but rather a commentary on key ideas presented within it as it relates to the “real” subject: namely, the Luciferianism I seek to craft and embody.
There is one thing to bear in mind, of course, with his critique of Satanism. When dealing with Satanism, it is ultimately based on the LaVeyan doctrine of Satanism, as originally outlined in The Satanic Bible. While some theistic Satanists might be disappointed, I have said before that a lot of the core philosophy of The Satanic Bible permeates theistic Satanism as well, though the Church of Satan dares not to admit to such a fact.
Let’s begin this post proper with Gyrus’ commentaries on Satanism in “The Devil and the Tao”, more specifically with his critique of the social Darwinism of Satanism:
“The so-called rationalism of modern—usually ‘socially Darwinian’—Satanism rests on very dodgy philosophical ground, simply because when you bother to try and define the terms used in the idea of “the strong over the weak”, you’re invariably left with a sense of, “Yeah, and…?” It’s like saying you believe in the philosophy of “winners beating the losers”. Jello Biafra nicely undermined knee-jerk social Darwinism with his quip that “the strong prey on the weak, and the clever prey on the strong”; but in the end this just begs the question. Also, orthodox Darwinism inevitably holds that humanity is the latest in life’s progressively ‘better’ attempts at creating organisms. Surely social Darwinism would hold a similar view about contemporary culture? This doesn’t sit too well with the misanthropy, and contempt for the ‘lowering of standards’ in modern society, that is prevalent among many supposed social Darwinists. If the strong really do overpower the weak, why have we been dominated for so long by such a half-assed religion as Christianity? I think many Satanists, in claiming “strong over the weak” to be a universal principle of nature, are actually trying to say, “I’m harder than you and I could have you easily.” Or at least, “I could out-stare you, mate.” That’s another argument. But as for universal principles—forget it. Evolution and history are far too complex and multi-dimensional to limit themselves to the strategies of a fight in a pub.”
In this critique, I see many things. First of which, I see how easily I fell into the right wing of politics between the middle of 2016 and the outset of 2018. Even though many Satanists naturally find themselves averse to social conservatism and reactionary politics because of, among other things, the reactionary antipathy towards the expansion of human liberty and progress in the name of arbitrary tradition and the consolidation of state power and authority to achieve this end, the logic of social Darwinism permeates conservative politics so ubiquitiously, that many people hardly notice. The contempt for the “lowering of standards” is but one trope you see from them, as I often remember from High Tory lizards like Michael Gove when talking about the education system, but you also find it in the logic of free market libertarianism, wherein the market, in the society they ultimately desire, is this force of natural selection wherein those who are able to accumulate capital and wealth ascend to the top and those who cannot meet the demands of the market exist as essentially fish bait, and in this general conservative habit of extolling success above all else – if you aren’t successful, you’re not really worth anything.
More importantly, the brute simplicity of social Darwinism, and the primary mentality that drives it, are exposed in this section. The brute simplicity of social Darwinism lies in its emphasis on the hierarchy of strength, whatever basis for strength or superiority we’re going with here, and consequently in the ability to exert strength over others. The mentality at work is often invariably not just that the strong should rule over the weak, but also “I’m one of the natural elites and deserve to rule over the weak”, but even then this tends to amount to “I think I can beat you in a fight/arm wrestling competition/video game”. You kind of see it in this idea of being like a wolf as opposed to a sheep, after all wolves are mighty predators and sheep are defenseless domesticated herbivores who could be their prey. But wolf behavior doesn’t much the predatory vision of Ayn Rand individualism that some in the Left Hand Path suggest. Not only are wolves pack animals, immediately suggesting a little more collectivism, but the alpha male trope that supposedly stems from wolf behavior is inaccurate: wolves don’t actually compete for the spot of top dog in vicious battles for dominance with the strongest wolf becoming pack leader, rather a wolf becomes the leader of a pack simply by breeding with other wolves and producing pups which then form the pack. In fact, wolf packs are formed in much the same way human families are formed – that is, males and females from different families seek each other out, find each other, and form a pack. Don’t just take my word for it; take it from David Mech, the man who originally wrote about “alpha” wolves in his 1970 book The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species and changed his mind in the light of new evidence concerning wolf packs some 35 years later.
The point of “If the strong really do overpower the weak, why have we been dominated for so long by such a half-assed religion as Christianity?” is a very fascinating and revealing dilemma for many social Darwinists. For the Satanist, Christianity is the religion of the weak and the dumb, the feeble teachings of the lamb, yet, it has dominated the Western world and the imagination of its people for less than two thousand years. Clearly, it is not the “strength” of the Christian religion that has propelled it to power – indeed, Christianity was pretty much persecuted by the Romans until the emperor Constantine embraced it; it gained power not through its own merits but through its elevation into the halls of power by the believing ruler. More to the point, if might makes right, Satan presents an odd scenario, depending on the interpretation of Satan being utilized. If we are dealing with the Satan of the Bible or even Paradise Lost, that figure is ultimately defeated, is he not? But then for many Satanists, Satan is not simply that figure, but a much broader, more universal and thus more powerful natural force that pervades the universe, a dark force of nature as Anton LaVey put it. Taken this way, what could be more consistent with might makes right than getting behind the might of nature itself! Returning to the main point, you might say that the clever rule the strong who rule the weak, and Boyd Rice certainly has, but even then, Christianity is not what I would call the religion of the clever. In fact, I believe it to be one of the most absurd and stupid religions the world has to offer, for reasons that I have devoted many a post within this blog over its entire lifespan to covering. So if the clever rule the strong, who in turn rule the weak, how did such an idiotic, foolish and self-contradicting religion as Christianity come to be the guiding religion of the Western world for over a thousand years?
At the risk of seeming glib, we find a very similar dilemma throughout fascist politics, especially in ethno-fascism. Why is it that if the strong rule the weak and the fascist represents the strong, that the fascist is always destined to be the loser in contemporary society? Why does the mighty Aryan/white man find himself subjected by other races, especially the Jews, when he is supposed to be the master race, the strongest and greatest race of mankind? Conservatives have a similar problem with their memes about how leftists are cucks, and they’re the “alpha males”. You find this encapsulated in Milo Yiannopoulos going on about Marxists being weak beta male cucks. One wonders, then, why the communists were historically more than capable of matching the West in combat, such as the Soviet victory over the Western-backed White Armies during the Russian Civil War, or the frequent routing of American armies by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Moreover, why does the fascist go on about how might makes right and yet never seem to line up in support of the victor? Oh wait, it must because the victor in the struggles of the 20th century was not fascism, but liberal democracy (or more or less whatever passes for democracy these days)! It must be, then, that the fascist places value on something other than simply might – if, that is, he isn’t simply using that as a cover for pure desire for a totalitarian, socially Darwinist state. Returning to Satanism, it seems to To value Satan, a being supposedly to be defeated by God, is to value so much more than the superficial value of might: otherwise, the logic of might makes right, taken to its conclusion, should lead to the Christian Yahweh or Jesus who defeat in in the corresponding myths.
I also find the overall mentality of social Darwinism to be inferior to the quest for knowledge, enlightenment, transformation and praxis, as well the broader sense of mission to emancipate mankind in this sense, and I will quote the late Robert Anton Wilson on this – specifically a section of his essay Don’t Be Afraid of Black Magick in which he criticizes people who pride themselves on being cunning black magicians as opposed to the “suckers” who deal in the light.
The hoodlum-occultist is “sociopathic” enough to, see through the conventional charade, the social mythology of his species. “They’re all sheep,” he thinks. “Marks. Suckers. Waiting to be fleeced.” He has enough contact with some more-or-less genuine occult tradition to know a few of the gimmicks by which “social consciousness,” normally conditioned consciousness, can be suspended. He is thus able to utilize mental brutality in place of the simple physical brutality of the ordinary hooligan.
He is quite powerless against those who realize that he is actually a stupid liar.
He is stupid because spending your life terrorizing and exploiting your inferiors is a dumb and boring existence for anyone with more than five billion brain cells. Can you imagine Beethoven ignoring the heavenly choirs his right lobe could hear just to pound on the wall and annoy the neighbors? Gödel pushing aside his sublime mathematics to go out and cheat at cards? Van Gogh deserting his easel to scrawl nasty caricatures in the men’s toilet? Mental evil is always the stupidest evil because the mind itself is not a weapon but a potential paradise.
Every kind of malice is a stupidity, but occult malice is stupidest of all. To the extent that the mindwarper is not 100 percent charlatan through-and-through (and most of them are), to the extent that he has picked up some real occult lore somewhere, his use of it for malicious purposes is like using Shakespeare’s sonnets for toilet tissue or picking up a Picasso miniature to drive nails. Everybody who has advanced beyond the barbarian stage of evolution can see how pre-human such acts are, except the person doing them.
Genuine occult initiation confers “the philosopher’s stone,” “the gold of the wise” and “the elixir of life,” all of which are metaphors for the capacity to greet life with the bravery and love and gusto that it deserves. By throwing this away to indulge in spite, malice and the small pleasure of bullying the credulous, the mindwarper proves himself a fool and a dolt.
With regards to my point, and I guess Gyrus’ as well, the TL;DR is thus: social Darwinism and the “alpha wolf” mentality of it is stupid because it tells people to focus on being the dominant personality who’s better than the suckers and the sheep rather than actually providing a framework by which the masses can emancipate themselves and seeking out anything more than the simplicity of strength, cunning and the reptilian psyche. There’s natural realism, the acknowledgement of the harsh realities of life and the necessity of strength and force, and then there’s simply wanting to gun for the king of the pack for its own sake. Church of Satan and Order of Nine Angles on suicide watch.
Next we will discuss how in “Satan’s Ancestry”, Gyrus discusses the pre-Christian lineage of Satan, and approaches discussion the Greek deity Dionysus as the nexus between the archetypes of Christ and Satan (before continuing such discussion in “Reclamation”).
“The greatest insights into Christianity and Satan can be gleaned from exploring the Greek god Dionysus. He is very typical of pagan nature gods: he is horned, signifying kinship with animals (like the closely related goat-god of the Arcadian pastures, Pan, another source of Satanic iconography); he is a ‘dying-and-rising’ god, reflecting the cyclic process of the seasons in nature; and he has a strong wild and untamed aspect, again like Pan, forming a bond with pre-civilised humanity. It’s obvious how Satan, Christianity’s repressed shadow, has derived from such an archetype. In its irrational suppression of sexuality, nature, cyclicity and the body, Christianity latched on to this archetype and pushed it so far away from human experience that it became alien, and we became alienated. The already feral, ego-shattering Dionysian godform became utterly evil and terrifying, a force to be held at bay at all costs.
Now things get confusing. Did not Jesus, like Dionysus, die and rise again? Both are intimately associated with vines and wine; both have been connected to the use of psychedelic mushrooms; the flesh of both is in some way eaten as part of their worshippers’ rites; and both names, according to John M. Allegro’s The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, stem etymologically from the same Sumerian root. There’s almost as much evidence connecting Dionysus with Jesus as there is with Satan.
It’s my feeling that we have here a crucial fork in the history of archetypes. Christianity appropriated the more abstract spiritual motifs of dying-and-rising nature gods (mainly supposed ‘life after death’) and up popped the mythical Jesus. The chthonic associations with the Earth, with sexuality and the body, were all repressed, compressed and demonised into Satan. In this division was lost all cyclicity, all the transformative and change-affirming power of nature’s process. We descended into truly profane time; linear time instead of rhythmic, spiralling, sacred time. Norman O. Brown has noted that “the divorce between soul and body [analogous to the Jesus/Satan split] takes the life out of the body, reducing the organism to a mechanism”. Likewise, the conception of an extra-terrestrial, eternal time (Heaven) as sacred renders the Earth profane, and binds us to the linear track of uni-directional historical ‘progress’. We may see ourselves as moving towards this sacred time—but it is an ever-receding carrot-on-a-stick, and tears us away from omni-directional immersion in the moment. “No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.” (Jim Morrison)”
Dionysus’s transformation, like so many pre-Christian pagan deities, into Satan, becomes a metaphor for the bifurcation of mankind, who is split between his bright and shadowy selves, extrapolated in turn as Christ and Satan, engaged in metaphysical conflict at the end of which Christ is supposed to be the winner in the end. This divorce is something that is identified by Luciferians, who desire the completion and unity of the human psyche. In this sense, it is worth discussing Dionysus as a Luciferian archetypal deity of sorts, one whose internal dialectical unity of “light” and “darkness”, or spirit and matter, embodies the unity and wholeness of self that is to be present within the Luciferian consciousness.
Where exactly are the “light” and “dark” sides to Dionysus? In Dionysus one finds both the celestial and the chthonic, his celestial component obviously derived from being a son of Zeus, but his chthonic component coming from both his lineage from the goddesses Demeter and Persephone in some versions of his myth and his identity as Zagreus, “the first-born Dionysos”. He is also frequently associated with chthonic powers, shown to be defeating his enemies by invoking his power as a shaker of the earth, and his chthonic and Olympian personae were venerated alongside each other. Dionysus even seems to have an association with Hades through his apparent powers of the underworld, and he himself made the descent into Hades in order to rescue his human mother Semele. Some, including the philosopher Heraclitus, identified Dionysus with Hades himself, even going so far as to say that Dionysus and Hades were the same being. Interestingly, in Heraclitus, the link between Dionysus and Hades is an example of the unity between opposites within his worldview, with Dionysus representing life and fertility through a phallic cult devoted to him and Hades representing death, and this unity is also solidified by water – for him, death meant the soul becoming watery after life, and for him a man’s soul became moist when drunk.
Speaking of death, it’s in his dying-and-rising that often links him to the “light” half of the Christian archetypal mythos – Jesus. And indeed he did die and resurrect, but not in the way Jesus did. Dionysus died within the womb of his mother Semele, who burnt alive upon looking at the face of Zeus (whom no mortal could behold without burning to death), but Zeus rescued the unborn Dionysus and placed him inside his thigh until he was ready to be born. In another myth, Dionysus died after being ripped apart by Titans, who then ate every part of him except his heart, only for them to be destroyed by Zeus used his heart to create him anew. Later in his life, Dionysus would die again and attain the status of godhood thanks to Zeus, as his son. But Dionysus can overlap with Jesus in more ways than just dying and rising. For the Orphics, Dionysus represented the Good in Man, whose spirit is to be cultivated as opposed to the wicked influence of man’s Titanic heritage. He of course, has a strong association with wine miracles just as Jesus does. He shared his wine and its delights to all people of all walks of life, just as Jesus would claim to offer his salvation to all people of all walks of life. Both were even identified as the morning star, as one of Dionysus’ epithets in the Mysteries was Phosphorus, signifying him as the light bringer. His more devilish or “satanic” aspects are perhaps harder to pin down, but perhaps his historical connection and often outright identification with Hades makes this a little easier, what with him becoming a master of the underworld and all. Although, if Pan is any indication, his retinue of satyrs and maenads must have lent itself to a retinue of demons in the Christian imagination, and his association with the serpent and the phallus must have lent to his lustful associations in the same imagination.
We have, in what is typically recognized as the Greek deity of drunkenness, festivity, theater and revelry, the simultaneously embodied archetypes of the redeemer, the savior, the initiator of the mysteries, and of the wild and indestructible life force whose revelries set the limits of the self asunder. His dialectical unity of opposites, and his appellation of Phosphoros, make me think that Dionysus is a sort of Luciferian archetype, though hardly the same thing as Lucifer himself (historical mythology doesn’t fit the sort of patterns we’d often like them to).
Continuing this theme of discussion, Gyrus critiques Satanism in discussion of Dionysus, or rather his being split in half by Christianity.
“In Satanism, Satan is seen as embodying the principle of division and duality, that principle without which manifestation—matter, flesh, bodies & sex—cannot occur. This is symbolized in the ‘inverted’ pentagram, where two points are directed upwards and one down. The dual realm of manifestation rules over the singular, united realm of spirit. In the ‘normal’ pentagram the spirit rules the flesh. Jesus is seen as opposing Satan, and embodies the spiritual principle of unity. So what are we to make of the actual historical beliefs and practices of the followers of these two figures? Christianity has turned out to be militantly dualistic, denying the body and ravaging the Earth, glorifying the ‘spirit’ and longing for some united heavenly kingdom. And Satanists, while obviously prioritising flesh over spirit, ego over collectivity, are inevitably involved in many practices which approach Dionysian revelry, serving to abolish individual distinction. Also, their emphasis on living for the moment instead of “spiritual pipe-dreams” could be seen to destroy the future-fixation of profane time, following Nietzsche into a whole-hearted immersion in the eternal present.
Our problems in analysing these contradictions betray our present evolutionary and cultural problems. In looking at the splitting of Dionysus, we’re seeing the mythical reflections of a phase in the development of the human species where the increase of city-dwelling and changes in agriculture & economics began to erode our bond with the rest of the biosphere. City walls are the rigidification of human ego-barriers writ large. “When Christians first distinguished themselves from pagans, the word ‘pagan’ meant ‘country-dweller’. For the first centres of Christianity in the Roman Empire were the great cities—Antioch, Corinth, Alexandria, and Rome itself.” (Alan Watts, Nature, Man & Woman) In our quest to urbanize our existence, to become as independent as possible from the less comfortable and benign aspects of nature, we have become lost in a mire of confusion. Witness Blake’s disgust at the industrial revolution in his phrase “dark Satanic Mills”, and the fact that most of the mill owners were probably devout Christians. Protestantism has been intimately linked to the rise of capitalism by psychoanalytical historians; Satanists advocate material power. A church in Coventry recently held a service in thanks for the car industry; and Jesus advocated shunning possessions and said rich people would have a bloody hard time getting into heaven. Such confusion seems to be the price for living under the sway of false dichotomies like Jesus/Satan, spirit/matter, collective/individual, intellect/instinct.”
There is an interesting contradiction referred to here with regards to Christian society, and nowhere is this more pronounced than in the United States of America. Stop and wonder how it is that society that is the most openly Christian, and chauvinistically so at that, is also most openly pro-capitalist, and the most reticent to direct the flow of capital towards the downtrodden and the poor. Jesus preached that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, yet wealth and Christian power intersect and permeate American society under the guidance of free market capitalist ideology. It is in America that what we call the “prosperity gospel” was born, and which permeates so much of Christian televangelism in the country. I can hardly imagine many rich evangelists in America actually giving money to the poor; they’re too busy telling them that God helps those who help themselves! Not only that, but, as I covered in my post against Cultural Christianity, Christian power has not arrived upon the world with the love, beneficence, virtue and compassion it preached, but instead with violence, hatred, avarice and treachery across Europe and the world.
And in a way perhaps this is but a window but the turmoil and contradiction that inevitably springs forth from dichotomous thinking, which I intend to go into in my future Deconstructing Duality series of posts. When you examine our world hard enough, you find darkness where there should be light, and nothing is as it seems. We think ourselves free and individuals yet we’ve hardly been under so much pressure to conform in our lives than in modernity. We see so much contradiction in our being and in our society living in an existence bifurcated by the cross, leaving internal division that once did not exist. The pagans of old did not see the universe in same way that Christians do now. They do not see an omnipresent struggle of good and evil, overseen by an all-powerful and all-knowing intelligence, and they did not see Man fighting himself between his superego and his id. They saw ups and downs, they saw cycles inherent to the process of the natural world, and they saw multifaceted personality in both the human and the divine condition, animating the mythological and natural universes. The contradictions of Christianity simply weren’t present until, well, Christianity became the dominant force in society.
Luciferians, and pagans (and I suspect Taoists and maybe Buddhists too), know that most of the dichotomies we organize ourselves with philosophically are bullshit, they’re pointless, they bifurcate the soul in ways that are not only unnecessary but also harmful to the soul and serve as an impediment to its liberation, wholeness and internal harmony. Our interest, therefore is in smashing these dichotomies, in resolving those contradictions, in freeing mankind from his bifurcated state of being, in leading humans toward a more internally harmonious and from there liberated spiritual existence. We see the superegoic light embodied by the likes of Jesus, Horus, Zeus etc. and the id darkness of the likes of Satan, Set, Hades etc. inevitably represent but shades of Man’s psyche. (or, for the pagans, shades of Nature). Splitting the individual between the two constitutes a barbarity of the soul. Because of that, it makes just as little sense to confine oneself to the shadow as to flee to the light never part with it. It makes equal sense to desire soul as to desire flesh in that they are both parts of Man. That is why we smash the dichotomies presented to us by Christianity and related philosophies with a hammer, and that is why we do not limit ourselves to light and darkness.
Much of the essay after this deals very strongly in the theme of goddess worship so as to build a case for a connection between Satanism and pre-Christian goddess worship, and from there a detailed discussing of sexuality in Tantric practice. Such a subject makes for interesting reading and you can make of it what you will, but since I ultimately did not garner a lot of clues for the direction I should be going in with regards to Luciferianism from such lengthy historical discussion of goddess worship and Tantra, we will skip most of it.
Later on in “The Androgyne”, Dionysus is discussed further in the context of androgyny.
“Dionysus, familiar to us here as precursor of the Jesus/Satan split and son of the Earth, was raised by women, often jeered at for his effeminate appearance, and referred to by a king in a text by Aeschylus as “man-woman”. Alain Daniélou presents copious documentation, in his book Gods of Love and Ecstasy, that Dionysus is almost precisely equivalent to the Indian god Shiva—from whom we may also derive another traditional aspect of Satan, the trident, which is closely associated with Shiva. One of Shiva’s principal aspects is the Ardhanarâshvara, the hermaphrodite. “The Prime Cause may be conceived as masculine or feminine, as a god or a goddess, but in both cases it is an androgynous or transexual being.””
Gyrus’ description of Dionysus, for me, embodies a principle of moving between opposites through his status as the nexus between Christ and Satan and his seeming transgression of the boundaries of gender. He becomes a Baphometic figure, in a sense. In another sense, he could be taken as the embodiment of balance. For me, however, this unity calls for more than just balance, but what I refer to as “elegance”. Why elegance, you might ask? My rationale for this comes from my game design studies, specifically Fundamentals of Game Design by Ernest Adams and Andrew Rolling. Here is how they explain it:
Interactive entertainment is an art form, but like film and television, it is a collaborative art form. In fact, it is far more collaborative than either of those media, and development companies seldom grant the level of creative control that a film director enjoys. Designing games is a craft, like cinematography or costume design. A game includes both artistic and functional elements. It must be aesthetically pleasing, but it also must work well and be enjoyable to play. The greatest games combine their artistic and functional elements brilliantly, achieving a quality for which the only word is elegance. Elegance is the sign of craftsmanship of the highest order.
What they describe is more than balance. It is unity. It is synthesis. And as craftmanship, applied to the spiritual principle of Luciferianism, translates itself as self-making, or self-creating. And in the vein of Gyrus’ discussion of the Tao, we should see this principle of self-creation as perpetual. Elegance then is an aspect of the principle of Praxis. Ah but if only Dionysus was a craftsman, then the metaphor would be complete.
The same sense of synthesis is found in Shiva, but it is not simply through Ardhnarishvara wherein Shiva and his Shakti achieve synthesis. Shiva himself contains many opposites within himself: he is an ascetic, the lord of the of yogis, and yet as the husband of Parvati he is also keeper of his household, he is one of the “good” guys in Hindu mythology who fights and destroys demons and yet he has a host of demons in his retinue (the ganas), and indeed he himself can assume many demonic forms within Hindu myth (such as Virabhadra and Kala Bhairava), he is most well known as the deity of destruction and yet he is also the greatest possessor of creative power and energy. This internal synthesis is a trait that I have always recognized in the deity, and is one of the key characteristics of his that I have always admired as among the qualities I admire the most about him. There probably is a great deal of commonality between the two deities, and perhaps it’s for this reason among many that Shiva fits so well into what might broadly be referred to as the pantheon of the Left Hand Path.
And speaking of Shiva, there is an interesting discussion of Shaivism in “The Divine Body” that I can use to point to something that I believe I already discussed in “For the New Luciferian Era…“.
“Tantric cosmology sees the ground of existence as the union of the male and female principles, Shiva and Shakti. The manifest world is the product of their interplay, where Shiva is the static principle of consciousness and awareness, and the female Shakti is the dynamic principle of energy and manifestation. This is very similar to the Vedic idea of maya, or illusion. The ‘material’ world is seen as an illusion weaved by the goddess Maya (incidentally, this was also the name of the Buddha’s mother), behind which lies the non-manifest reality of cosmic consciousness. We can also relate this back to the idea that Satan rules the world of manifestation—”The Devil is the lord of the world” (Luther)—and God rules the ‘non-material’ realm of the ‘spirit’. Tantra’s Shiva-Shakti cosmology is much more holistic, and does not treat the web of matter weaved by Shakti as ‘illusory’ in the sense of something to be overcome, some cosmic deception that inhibits us. It is seen as the basis of our spiritual quest, the ‘raw material’ with which we should work to transmute ourselves and the world.”
In the post I mentioned, I discussed Michael W Ford’s discussion of the creation myth presented in the Enuma Elish to elucidate the point Ford makes on human evolution in the context of the myth. The blood of Qingu, who is slain by Marduk, and the body of Tiamat, become the raw material upon which the world and mankind is based within Babylonian mythology, and as Tiamat and Qingu are chaotic, reptilian, abyssal beings, Ford is implicitly stating that it is darkness that is the raw material with which humans work to transmute themselves and evolve towards the light of Lucifer, or rather the unity of light and darkness embodied in the Holy Guardian Angel, the Daemon.
But more to the point, I should mention that this view of the world not as illusory but as raw material, I detect the sense of what I have read about Kashmir Shaivism, wherein the world is not an illusion superimposed upon the divine consciousness but a real, objective realm that can be sensed and observed as a product of the energy and consciousness of Shakti or Shiva. The more prevalent view in Hinduism, such as within Advaita Vedanta, has never appealed to me because of its negation of the world, and this sense of infinite regression that it brings with it – I mean, if the world is not real, what is, and from whence did this “real” object spring, and why is this reality real and not the one we experience, sense and observe? But in this form of Hinduism, at least from what I’ve heard, the material, phenomenal world is a real, tangible thing that can be observed, felt and experienced, which allows for the subject to at least attempt to divine the truth through observation and experimentation in a reality shared between him/herself and a multiplicity of other subjects. The interesting thing about this, at the root of their view of reality, is their view that the phenomenal world is based on the energy of the divine consciousness, or the divine energy of Shakti – the divine and the phenomenal form the same body of the existence, and become the same thing, which was otherwise cleaved by such schools as Advaita Vedanta.
I think it’s also worth touching on the comparison between the Hindu concept of Maya and its superimposition over reality and the Christian conception of Satan as the ruler of the world. Applying the Hindu concepts to Christianity arguably results in the Gnostic interpretation – the real Satan, in Gnostic Christian parlance, is the Demiurge, or Yaldabaoth, who created the material world as a prison for the soul, and this prison becomes equivalent to the illusion weaved by Maya, and in turn the unmanifested divine consciousness of the Brahman becomes the true God within Gnostic Christianity (the Monad, or Bythos). But in principle you can kind of see it play out within the Christian perspective: Satan, being the father of lies according to them, weaves a web of ignorance over God’s creation through temptation and deception, resulting in a sense in a world of illusion layered over the actual world. But for Gyrus, in Tantra and Shaivist cosmology, the setup of the inferior world of illusion superimposed upon the truth and divine consciousness is done away with – instead of being an illusion superimposed upon all-pervasive and unmanifested spirit, the material universe we experience and inhabit is a real, tangible, observable thing, and the basis of our spiritual, alchemical transformation. There can be no great demiurge pulling the wool over our eyes in this set up, and the classic dualisms of ontological God and Satan, the Monad and Yaldaboath, Maya and Brahman, become quite irrelevant.
In this sense, free of the grand and ultimately false meta-dichotomy imposed by Christianity, Gnosticism and orthodox Hinduism, the universe becomes not this chess game between Yahweh and Beelzebub, or Jesus and Satan, not some parlor trick imposed upon the real self which is somehow also God himself (who, by the way, is also for my money the only logical source of the grand illusion in the first place!), and not a prison imposed upon you by, if we go by Gnostic lore, the bastard offspring of a misguided emanation of God (by the way, how is it even possible for an emanation of the perfection of God itself to make mistakes?), but the authentic locus of the perpetual transformation and evolution of all beings, forms and processes within it, and thus of the quest and struggle of mankind to emancipate and perfect itself, within which praxis is lived and achieved, enlightenment is achieved and disseminated from the enlightened to the unenlightened, and the vivifying force of life, quest, and struggle animates sentient beings. That, for me, is not only a more sensible way to view the universe, it also creates the perfect ontology for any spiritual and philosophical worldview and pathway wherein liberation is the primary goal.
So why did I bother going through all of this? What body of philosophical ideology have we grasped for Luciferianism to inherit?
First of all, I think I’ve established in a very lengthy and detailed fashion that the social Darwinism of many old forms of Satanism, for me at least, would not be a part of it. It is a simplistic outlook, one destined to lead to subjection after subjection based on such an inane characteristic as either animal might or reptilian cunning. The state of a might makes right world is one in which the criteria for the creation, maintenance and removal of human subjection is based on the possession of the greatest strength and force, it is one in which the pure competition of power generates subjection and thus cannot be emancipatory, and it ultimately appeals to so little of the human (or even animal) condition as to be crude.
Secondly, while Luciferianism in some forms already emphasizes a unity and balance of opposites, here I establish the understanding of this not simply as balance but as a dialectical unity, light and darkness contained as aspects within the broader whole rather than simply existing as poles to be checked against each other by moderation. Following from this, it is pertinent not simply to recognize both light and darkness but to smash the relevant dichotomies entirely in favor of synthesis. This idea is extended towards a much wider premise, calling for the abolition of the divorce between the world and the soul that inhabits it. Rather than retreat from the material world, embrace the unity of soul and matter.
Third, building from the idea of Michael W. Ford’s interpretation of the Babylonian creation myth, and from what seems to be Gyrus’ assessment of Tantric Shaivism, I propose a kind of spiritual ontology based on perpetual transformation and self-making and re-making, using the raw material of the world, the chaos, the ceaseless transformations therein, for there is where the potential lies. We need no Redeemer so long as we have the capacity to renew and “redeem” ourselves.
Fourth, we should all be reading up on Tantra I guess.
I know it may seem abrupt, but I think I have to talk about this, because it seems like a notable positive development. The Satanic Temple’s statue of Satan, entitled Baphomet, has had quite a journey in its day. It was originally designed with the intention of standing opposed to the Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma State Capitol Building. But, after said monument was ordered to be removed, the statue found itself without a home, and in the end was placed at a private unveiling party held by The Satanic Temple in Michigan. For a while, I thought that was it, the closing chapter in the story of our delightful goat-headed friend. But it seems that’s not the case.
Last year, a new Ten Commandments monument was erected on the property of the Arkansas State Capitol buidling, just like what had been done with Oklahoma. The monument was destroyed by someone ramming his car into it not long after its placement, but it was replaced in April this year thanks to a fundraising campaign by one Jason Rapert – a Republican State Senator and the founder and president of an Evangelical Christian organization called Holy Ghost Ministries. This has predictably been met with opposition from The Satanic Temple, along with the ACLU and atheists and secularists in Arkansas, and in response to this development The Satanic Temple have decided to hold a rally, the Rally for the First Amendment, in front of the Arkansas State Capitol Building to protest this decision, bringing with them the famous statue of Satan they designed for Oklahoma. In the background of all this, The Satanic Temple are naturally also suing the government for the right to keep that statue there permanently, or at least for as long as the Ten Commandments monument remains.
This in a way is such a triumphant moment. After being denied its moment to stand opposite the symbols of Christianity, at long last, the Baphomet/Satan statue finds the opportunity to do exactly that. We’re finally seeing what we thought we were going to see about three years ago in Oklahoma. And, honestly, from what I’m seeing of this event, it actually does look glorious. I like the sight of that Satanic statue set against the State Capitol building from an aesthetic perspective, as well as political.
I expect this to be a productive effort too. My prediction here is that, just like last time, that Ten Commandments movement is being pulled from the State Capitol. We know already that Jason Rapert, and presumably his fellow Christians, will not stand for the Baphomet to have permanent residence on the property, and we can assume that Lucien Greaves and TST are going to push through with their suit. We can safely predict that, rather than allow the Satanic statue permanent residence, the government will ultimately remove the statue in order to please both TST’s demands for the government to uphold secularism and the Christian demands for Baphomet to just go away. Mark me when I say this is going to be a very cut and dry victory for The Satanic Temple.
It appears that that India is seeing more cases of alleged devil worship and black magick within the last few years, leading to reports of “Satanic cults” springing up within the country. Because of this it is of some value to take a look at what exactly these cults believe. Do they actually represent a form of Satanism as is being reported, or is it simply a form of edgy spiritism that utilizes Satan for its own ends? Are we dealing with a serious philosophical or spiritual tradition here, or just something that a few deranged individuals do for fun?
To start with, let’s take a look at the extent of the phenomenon in question. It’s not clear, but there has been increasing coverage of stories of devil worship since at least 2013, centering around the regions of Kerala and Nagaland. At one point the Vatican news outlet Agenzia Fides claimed that Nagaland was host to around 3,000 teenage devil worshipers in the summer of 2013. In 2014, in the Christian majority region of Meghalaya, the local government has started carrying out night patrols in an attempt to police so-called Satanic activities, with particular attention being paid to graveyards based on the belief that devil worshipers gather in graveyards in order to conduct their rituals at night. Particular concern is often paid to Kerala, where apparently a number of bizarre ritualistic crimes have taken place over the years, sparking concern of a rise of so-called Satanism in the region. Notable activities reported within Kerala include theft and/or desecration of communion bread for the purposes of performing a Black Mass, desecrations of churches, and even murders. What is interesting to note about Kerala is that it is considered the most literate and progressive state in India, which suggests that the rise of black magick and devil worship isn’t confined to the poor and religiously and socially backwards parts of the country.
But just what does this phenomenon represent as a broad system? Media reports on the subject will often talk of it in the context of “Satan worship” or “Satanic cults”, but having scoured said reports, I am unsure what this is based on. VICE actually did an article on the subject a few days ago in which Zeyad Masroor Khan investigates one group of people engaged in some sort of black magick in the city of Aligarh, located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. For Khan, the supposed “Satanism” described in India . In fact, here is what Khan makes of the overall philosophy of the group:
“The philosophy of the “blood brothers” is based on a combination of ideas derived from Satanic literature, religious texts, paganism, the popular art and fortuities—the sign that they say universe keeps throwing to them about the existence of forces that created it.”
In other words, it’s a hodge-podge of what appear to unrelated concepts, brought together by either the vague sense of a search for esoteric knowledge and power, affinity with darkness (not to mention dark music such as black metal), and possibly a proclivity towards superstition. It also seems to be more decadent than the Satanism you find here in the West, with members of the black magick group frequently taking illicit drugs whilst studying their philosophy.
Some members of the group have a different interpretation than others. Here is what is described of the conception of Satanism held by one of the members of the Aligarh black magick group, who goes by BlackLeg.
“For him, Satanism is not “a religion”. “In its essence, it’s about worshipping yourself,” he said. He said there’s no conflict between his beliefs and those of his religious girlfriend.
BlackLeg’s philosophical view of Satanism contrasts with some of the things V said his group participated in. “We did everything,” V told me, “from desecrating holy books to asking people to stand on the Quran, to test their devotion. Some of us did that, while the weaker ones refused.””
Apparently some members of the group are more inclined to the LaVeyan, philosophical angle of Satanism, while others (possibly the majority) are into actual black magick coinciding with a vague of theistic worship of the infernal pantheon – I say vague because I know most theistic Satanists I know actually have a guiding spiritual philosophy or ideology underpinning their belief system, and because of the lack of information surrounding their actual beliefs.
This, of course, is just one group, in what might be the only article I’ve seen that actually attempts to go into detail as to what the Indian devil worshipers believe. The rest of the articles I’ve come across make no real attempt to articulate the kind of “Satanic” belief system they think they’re dealing with.
For instance, in the case of a 2013 UACN article titled “Satan worshippers suspected in theft in Kerala church“, the main source of suspicion of Satanism on the part of by local church authorities is the disappearance of communion bread, which is suspected to be proof of Satanists using it to perform a Black Mass. To be fair, it does sound like something the Church of Ahriman would do (though they ultimately returned the communion wafer they stole in order to avoid a lawsuit by the Oklahoma City Archdiocese), but on its own this is not much evidence of Satanism, and we have only a plausible guess to the motives of the incident. Another UACN article, dated to 2012, claims that Satanists attacked a church in Mizoram. What does this attack have to do with Satanism you might ask? Apparently because police found a stack of burned Bibles and, I shit you not, a large A sign signifying anarchy. Yep. It’s that lame. Any Satanist worth their salt will tell that this does not necessarily equate to an actual Satanic ritual. Ironically, the article points out the advice of experts who implicitly hint that the activities of these youths are not influenced by a coherent Satanic philosophy, but largely by Western pop culture, particularly horror moves. Unfortunately, this is also interpreted from the Christian lens as being the influence of celebrities who, allegedly pray to Satan in order to gain fame, wealth and power – which, let’s face it, is about as sensible as Paul Joseph Watson’s claims about Pizzagate and the Illuminati.
In a 2017 article from Firstpost, the main subject is a man murdering his family members so as to “detach” their souls from their bodies, supposedly to free them. The man was also said to be involved with astral projection, which police suspect to be tied to Satan worship. In no way is it actually established what connection there is to Satanism or even Satan worship at all. The only thing vaguely related is the discussion of the communion bread theft incident from earlier. Also discussed is the selling of consecrated hosts stolen from churches. The fact that it seems that it is Christians who are selling the hosts suggests that the connection to Satan worship is not quite so clear cut. The article brings up the concept of “Satan worship” several times but does not seem capable of attaching to the various crimes to any coherent phenomenon of Satanism. In fact, within the same article you can find similar black magick practices within Hindu cults which suggest that what Indian media refers to as “Satan worship” is actually just a kind of Hindu black magick that has been around for centuries, just that I guess some people decided to dress it up in some vague diabolism lifted from horror movies. Perhaps the only thing actually connecting these things to Satanism or Satan worship is either the general loose conception of black magick, long held to be part of the doctrine of Satan, or the blasphemy associated with some of the actions, such as the stealing and selling of consecrations, which surely are the sign of Satanic activity according to India’s Christian population.
Sometimes even the police in India have trouble believing the whole angle of “Satan worship”. In the case of a murder committed by Cadell Jeansen Raja, police doubted his claim that he was a Satan worshiper and had him referred to a psychiatrist, who noted his interest in paranormal beliefs and concepts and suspects him to be living in his own reality, but otherwise the interrogation was said to be ongoing. Police also suspect that his murder was actually motivated not by supernatural belief, but instead by revenge. They say that Raja’s stories about his beliefs regarding astral projection, Satan worship and the paranormal were fabrications, and that his real motivation was his desire to avenge a long period of neglect by his family and a personal suspicion that his father was cheating on his spouse with other women. Raja is currently admitted to a mental hospital in Oolampara.
In an ironic twist, there is something that, in a loose sense, you could interpret as “demon worship” that occurs in India that is also entirely part of the expansive Hindu religion! In the small village of Peringottukara, located within the Thrissur district of Kerala, locals worship a deity named Kuttichathan through special and costly pujas and sacrifices overseen by holy men in order to gain prosperity and dispel black magic. The name Kuttichathan means “little ghost”, sometimes interpreted as “little demon” or “little imp”, and he does sometimes get interpreted as a demon. However, Kuttichathan also seems to be the name of a deity named Vishnumaya, a deity of wealth, magic and illusions. Vishnumaya is held to be a son of the deity Shiva, born of carnal union between Shiva and a human woman named Kulivaka, and he acquired his name because he took the form of the deity Vishnu using his magic. The closest thing to “devil worship” in India is Hindu worship centered around a demigod born from one of the supreme deities, though it is suspected by some that the pujas devoted to him are part of a money-scheming by religious ideologues preying on the gullible.
So, there you have it. The phenomenon of “Satan worship” in India is not a coherent movement of Satanism, but the appropriation of folk black magick for either rebellious or criminal ends, and in at least one case it’s just a convenient pretext to hide someone’s real motives for committing horrible crimes. In one case it’s a strange intersection of gothic and extreme metal subculture, occult philosophy, Indian black magick, drugs and general teenage rebellion. Many cases are mysterious acts of blasphemy that have less to do with authentic Satanism and more to do with youthful rebellion. There is no guiding ideology behind this phenomenon. I suspect the charge of “Satan worship” is an invention of both Indian media and Christians.
A rather fascinating article from The Guardian caught my attention, titled “Hell freezes over: how the Church of Satan got cool”. And by fascinating I mean this was just a puff piece. The article in question goes on about how the Church of Satan suddenly got hip and cool in the eyes of progressive commentators because some imbuing of left-wing radicalism into the Satanic zeitgeist (by the way, please no), and lamenting the fact that Chelsea Clinton isn’t a Satanist. I don’t see why that last part is a problem: the last thing Satanism needs is the Clintons tarnishing its image.
And a strange puff piece indeed. As you’ll see in the link I’ve left at the end of the post, most of the article deals less with the Church of Satan and more with a Los Angeles Times article (which I will also leave a link to at the end of the post). The LA Times article in question makes the case that ̶a̶ ̶b̶u̶n̶c̶h̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶e̶d̶g̶y̶ ̶C̶a̶l̶i̶f̶o̶r̶n̶i̶a̶n̶ ̶h̶i̶p̶s̶t̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶ a new breed of Satanists are channeling their affinity for the dark side towards progressive political causes to unite against Donald Trump.
Yep, it’s more bourgeois left-wing political activism with a layer of pop occultism on top. Just like last year, when you had “witches” casting “spells” against Trump and then nothing came of it other than they looked ridiculous.
Essentially, these people buy into the idea that the world is going to hell, that American life is never-ending chaos, and that, because of this premise, they’ve decided to mix Satanism with feminism. They earnestly believe that without a sense of magical community centered around their version of Satanism, you’d have the rise of groups such as The Proud Boys (Gavin McInnes’ no-fap PUA brigade), and they, seemingly without any sense of irony or self-awareness, describe the fact that people have those groups as “black magic”. It’s so bizarre to hear that complaint when that’s what you’re into. I mean, the idea of just people forming social clubs as a form of magic is stretching, hard, but even if it’s true, why are you complaining? Is it good when you have black magic, but not when they have it? For me but not for thee, is it? They also talk about how one of their main advantages is being more well-versed in Internet culture, which is ironic because, anything, the anti-leftist political circles seem more savvy than they are in Internet culture because of their skill in making irreverent memes – the right arguably helped a President get elected through memes for shit’s sake. And then later on, the article goes on about how it’s all connected to African belief systems like Voodoo (which have nothing to do with Satanism) and how, predictably, The Satanic Temple is promoting inclusivity in Satanism and that sort of thing. I must say, for a bunch of spiritual rebels they certainly are very politically correct. But we’ll get to that later on. And to say that the new direction is more feminist than nihilist is rather accurate: there’s really nothing intrinsically nihilistic about it, because the progressive movement is, fundamentally, one that vies for its own brand of meaning, however vapid it may be.
But I see no sign that this current has anything to do with the Church of Satan. In fact, the funny part is how in the LA Times article they actually acknowledge that supporters of the Church of Satan believe in resisting liberal pieties as well as Christian ones, referring back to LaVey’s opposition to the hippie movement. So The Guardian went and promoted the Church of Satan as being more feminist, based on an article where they outright say The Church of Satan is still against liberal and progressive orthodoxy. The Guardian article just goes on to extoll the virtues of autistically responding to everyone casually using the phrase “satanic” in a manner not consistent with their beliefs. Funny, I’ve seen them accuse all Christians of being pedophiles just because a bunch of Christian priests came out to defend Roy Moore, who was accused of child molestation during the Alabama special election. I wonder, is that just a part of their “laconic” wit? Because to me it sounds like the take of a bitter teenager who still unironically listens to Antichrist Superstar and thinks he’s got religion all figured out. And the way they quote the FAQ section is rather pretentious. They seem to be under the delusion that the universe being indifferent to humans and values being subjective doesn’t apply to their own brand of progressivism as well: as in, surely it’s just as meaningless as Christianity? But hey, self-serving leftists rarely have that consistency about them.
What I find really, almost insultingly hilarious, is when at the end it says that “Satanism’s latest mutation is something else, a contrarian uprising against a patriarchal world order that deserves its comeuppance”, which gives you a very good idea that these people have no idea what contrarianism is. Feminist progressivism? Contrarian? Well I mean it has to be, that’s why in my country you have an entire political party embracing the zeitgeist. No, two! Labour is now thoroughly progressive in its socialism, and the so-called Conservative Party are actively in the business of diversity hiring with their most recent cabinet reshuffle. I mean it’s definitely contrarian, because you see so many Hollywood celebrities virtue signal about equality. Yeah, that’s what contrarianism is: going with the flow!
Whereas, here’s what Anton LaVey had to say about his conception of the “modern Black Mass” in The Satanic Bible:
Any ceremony considered a black mass must effectively shock and outrage, as this seems to be the measure of its success. In the Middle Ages, blaspheming the holy church was shocking. Now, however, the Church does not present the awesome image it did during the inquisition. The traditional black mass is no longer the outrageous spectacle to the dilettante or renegade priest that it once was. If the Satanist wishes to create a ritual to blaspheme an accepted institution, for the purpose of psychodrama, he is careful to choose one that is not in vogue to parody. Thus, he is truly stepping on a sacred cow. A black mass, today, would consist of the blaspheming of such “sacred” topics as Eastern mysticism, psychiatry, the psychedelic movement, ultra- liberalism, etc. Patriotism would be championed, drugs and their gurus would be defiled, cultural militants would be deified, and the decadence of ecclesiastical theologies might even be given a Satanic boost.
It amazes me how no Satanist movement that I have seen seems to be interested in tapping into this, because the simple fact is that we don’t live in the 1980s anymore. Even in America, the age of people like Bob Larson or Pat Robertson is long over. There’s still Satanic Ritual Abuse themed conspiracy theories spread around today, but it’s not the media phenomenon that it was until the early 1990’s. And despite the left’s fears in the wake of Trump getting elected, we see no signs of theocracy in the United States. If anything, despite the government being in the hands of the GOP, the zeitgeist of the wider establishment seems to be against him (including most media outlets). The idea that anyone’s being contrarian by embracing progressivism is dubious at best, and incredibly deluded at worst. It’s disappointing that there are no Satanists out there, that I know of, who are exploiting things like the reactionary movement as a form of rebellion against contemporary culture. Whatever your opinions on them, you can’t deny that they are at the opposite end of the establishment political zeitgeist, and exploiting the energies of such movements would play right into the kind of thing LaVey was talking about. But nope. If the LA Times and The Guardian are to be believed, it seems that modern Satanism is looking to embrace an ideology that, frankly, oozes with not just conformism and moral purity, but also (that’s right, I’ll say it) Christian universalism.
I fear that this will lead to the loss of a chaotic, rebellious edge that was classically associated with the Satanist movement, and if that happens, then I think it will be the end. Satanism’s primary impact and appeal came from the fact that it was rebellious towards the establishment, it placed the individual in opposition to outside social forces and institutions aligned against it, intent on corralling it into conformity in opposition to its will, and dared the individual to think for himself, treat these ideas with derision and mockery, and laugh at those stupid to embrace such hollow dogmas. But whereas in the 60’s it was Christianity and the hippie movement, and in the 80’s it was fundamentalist Christianity, in the 2010s, the popular zeitgeist is progressivism. You can be fired for publicly expressing ideas contrary to progressive ideology, that alone should be enough of a reason to channel rebellious intent against it. But instead a new breed of Satanists are embracing it. This will undo the original spirit of Satanism, rob of its chaotic, rebellious vitality, and turn it into just another whiny progressive movement based on what is, ultimately, feminist emotional porn. It would be sad to see such a defiant movement fall like this.
Going forward, I have thought that I should construct an organizing idea for myself as a Luciferian going forward: one that will govern and underpin my practice, my spirituality and my personal framework for Luciferianism in the long run and thus define the ideal I seek to aspire to.
This organizing idea stems from some contemplations and conversations about the balance of the “light” and “dark” aspects of the self, akin to the superego and the id, or rather the struggle of Man’s rational and instinctual impulses, as well as of the concept of the Morning Star, a name for the planet Venus as the day star, and how it is title that has been not just the King of Babylon but also Jesus Christ himself.
On the first topic, I believe I’ve covered the subject of balance many times before on this very blog, though not so much through the lens of the rational versus the instinctual. So will just say this: whoever said that humans are primarily rational creatures was either wrong or lying. Which isn’t to say that humans are just chimps a few extra sparks of consciousness. Look, in the wild, nearly every animal other than homo sapiens operates primarly on instinct and animalistic pragmatism. You think almost exclusively through the lens of eat, drink, court a mate, procreate, and try to avoid getting killed. This isn’t necessarily rational on its own. Or if it is, it’s in a limited sense because you aren’t necessarily calculating your actions all that much. You’re just making do or die actions all the time, and you can’t ignore the moment or avoid acting out of desperation or else you’re going to die. This is because in the pure state of nature, there is only one primary goal: survival. And that basic desire to survive is not necessarily a rational one, but an instinctual one – perhaps the seat of our instincts. Now bear in mind that I’m not making a moral judgement here. Without following our basic instinctual desire to survive during the time before civilization, perhaps we might not have arrived at the point in our evolution in which we conceivably could build civilizations and rise to the top of the food chain. To have lived in that state was a necessary step in our evolution before we could arrive at civilization. But it can’t be confused as rational, not in the purest sense anyway.
Rational thinking, by contrast, requires objectivity. Even if we can’t achieve perfect objectivity, the rational person must approximate the level of real objectivity as much as possible. This involves the ability to step back from the moment and think long term, guided by logic rather than the immediate senses. Man achieves this in the pursuit of power and civilization, for civilization is ultimately the pursuit of a system in which humans can not only survive but also thrive for many generations to come, long after the architects of such systems are dead and buried. It also requires being able to step back from instinctual habits that, while they were likely useful in the wild, serve to hinder us during the civilization phase and, if left uncontrolled and unchecked, would also potentially lead to destruction. Our tribalism, our proclivity towards force or emotion over reason, our ability to be misguided by fear, and many other flaws of the human condition also derive from millions of years of evolution. This is why few out of our species achieve greatness, because most are ultimately limited by their own condition, while those who achieve greatness do so because they overcome those limitations by, among other things, their ability to step outside of the moment, and make the undertakings that few dare to. But in a way, it can perhaps be said that people achieve greatness by the ability to transform themselves. Again, where most are limited and, whether by choice or otherwise, fail to undertake the necessary transformation, great men and women have the capability to transform themselves, becoming almost akin to gods in the process. The truly great are not limited by the rational, superegoic drive or the instinctual. Often times rational thinking has its limits: after all, it’s not possible to survive as a purely rational being, it’s not healthy to be driven solely by the superego. But equally, we cannot afford to be driven solely by instinctual drives or the id. Hence the need for balance.
On a slight tangent before my next point, this is why I appreciate the philosophy of the Luciferian occultist Michael W Ford so much, because he stresses the ideal of balance. Yet when reading his books, it strikes me how often he focuses on the archetype of the Shadow, via the adversarial or Satanic archetypes (often via Ahriman; I notice the Zoroastrian lore, specifically Ahrimanic sorcery, is a big theme in his writings). He also focuses on Cain quite a bit. Given that Cain was most famous (or should that be infamous?) for that story in the Book of Genesis in which he murdered his brother Abel because Yahweh liked his meat sacrifice more than Cain’s vegetable sacrifice, at the very least it suggests more of a focus on the darker side, a bit ironic considering the emphasis on the balance in his own philosophy. For there to be a hard balance, we must have not just the Shadow, but the light.
From this I segue into the second point, on the morning star and its myth, and its identification with Jesus. The morning star, which is in fact the planet Venus, is the brightest object in the sky other than the Sun and the Moon. It may have been for this reason that its radiance as the morning star was used as a signifier of divinity approximate to a god, or the God. It was probably why Jesus is referred to in the Bible and elsewhere as the morning star, due to his radiance as an incarnation of God, indeed his son. Perhaps it is also why Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, is herself referred to as the morning star by the Catholic Church. Or John the Baptist? Perhaps they brought about the light or day through their teachings? When the term was used to refer to the king of Babylon in the Book of Isaiah, there was a rather different context attached to it. The king was referred to as the morning star, perhaps in a derogatory fashion, because of his perceived ambition to make himself “Most High”, akin to the level of a god or God himself, during his condemnation. Perhaps his comes from Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of the Israelites. In Ezekiel, a similar fate is alluded to for a king of Tyre, who was compared to an unnamed cherub who was once considered “the seal of perfection” before his pride led him to being condemned by God. It’s these associations that lead the morning star to become synonymous with Satan through the myth of his war with, and subsequent fall from, the heavenly host. In Christianity, it seems, the morning star has both positive and negative connotations. On the one hand it is the light of the day, perhaps symbolic of the light of God. On the other it is the symbol of arrogance and rebellious, “satanic” pride.
For better or worse, thanks to Christianity Jesus is the representation of what can be described as the principle of goodness within Western culture. This is not limited to simply Christians. Many secular cultural artifacts in the West treat Jesus in that basic light, just for cultural reasons rather than necessarily religious ones. In a society that has been influenced by Christian thought for well over a thousand years, Jesus represented the archetypal good, at least according to Christian thought. When you think about it, regardless of whether Jesus was a historical person, which I personally doubt, Christ is an archetype. While the Christ myth is not wholly ripped off from pagan stories as people like Peter Joseph and Bill Maher liked to claim back in the day, the story of a divine being who sacrifices himself only to resurrect, and then whose resurrection signifies a greater rebirth or salvation was doubtless adapted from, or at least influenced by, other stories in the pre-Christian world. Some have taken this to mean transformation into a greater self. Some classical myths have this theme as representing the loss and restoration of the earth’s fertility. I have to admit, on its own this doctrine is pretty benign. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad were it not for the doctrine of Christianity, or the personality of Jesus? Who knows.
So where precisely am I going with this? Well I thought about this idea, and I thought about the morning and evening star as phases of Venus when it changes position in the sky, and the myth of Ishtar’s descent into and return from the netherworld, and from there I thought, what if through a myth of the morning star Lucifer would not simply be a dual representation of the light and the shadow via his connection to Venus, and by extension its day and night faces (Vesper the evening star, after all, is but the shadow of Lucifer the morning star), but, in a way, an alternate representation of The Good. Or, perhaps, the Highest Good (if I’m paraphrasing the likes of Jordan Peterson correctly).
Remember what I said earlier about how in Western, or at least Christian, culture Jesus represented the ideal of the good to which to aspire to. Remember also the general archetype of the dying and rising deity surrounding the Christ archetype. Now consider the myth of Ishtar, one of the earliest deific images of the planet Venus, who journeyed into the underworld to meet the goddess Ereshkigal and rescue her husband Tammuz, only to find him alive and well in the surface, acting as though nothing happened, and sent him to the underworld for 6 months each year in retribution. This is thought to mirror the cycle of the morning star and evening star phases of Venus and how Venus “descends” below the Sun only to reappear on another side. The morning/evening star cycle has been observed as follows: Venus appears as the morning star on the east side of the Sun for a period of time, then descends below the horizon, reappears on the other side of the Sun as the evening star, descends below the horizon again and returns to the east side, thus perpetuating a cycle. This is somewhat alluded to in Aztec mythological lore surrounding the deity Quetzalcoatl, the god of wind, wisdom and the planet Venus, as well as two deities who represent the morning and evening star aspects of the planet – Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, the lord of the dawn, and Xolotl, a dog-faced deity who guarded the Sun on its journey through the underworld (much like who Set or Horus guarded the Egyptian sun deity during its own journey through the underworld) and guided the soul to the netherworld. Indeed, aside from the astronomical journey of Venus, Quetzalcoatl at one point does indeed go on his own journey through the netherworld, to gather the bones of the dead so that he could use them to rebuild the human race (based on the belief that human bones would give birth to new humans as though they were seeds) in order to populate a new world after the previous one was destroyed (in this case the fifth world after the fourth world, which is also this world after the last one).
This is how I envision a Luciferian archetype of Lucifer: Lucifer, the brightest star in the sky, descends to the underworld to gain its wisdom, or perform some quest where this is the outcome, returns from the underworld as the master of the kingdom of shadows, perhaps reemerging to the other side to bring fourth the light – hence the name Lucifer, as in light-bringer. To bring the rays of liberty and liberation, to achieve enlightenment, to expose the secrets of the realm of darkness, to make darkness conscious, to enact the greatest good, to make the quest for wisdom, to overcome one’s limits, and perhaps many other meanings. Traditionally, through his association with Satan by Christians, Lucifer is seen as a principally rebellious figure. Through this Luciferian lens, Lucifer becomes more than that. He becomes a heroic archetype, just a heroic archetype that is perhaps willing to be rebellious (at least, according to the Christian rules). His journey is an embodiment of both the embrace of the shadow side and the pursuit of the highest good. It would be a quest comparable to the other underworld journey quests of the mythical world: Ishtar’s descent, Quetzalcoatl’s bone quest, Ra’s quest to defeat Apep, Orpheus’ journey into Hades (and those of various Greek gods), even Jesus’s Harrowing of Hell to some extent. These are heroic quests. And here, the quest is a link between Lucifer, and the Luciferian, and the quest for meaning and the good. And where in Satanism the spiritual system centers around the archetype of the shadow, in Luciferianism, the shadow is simply part of the totality of the spiritual path, to be part of a hard balance struck between it and the light side of the self.
That is the organizing ideal I intend to pursue, meaning that I will lean more towards Luciferianism going forward. I intend to meditate on this much further, and then go on to as much practice as I kind within my limited schedule.