Great Martyrdom Cult
From Satan Service
Definition is the first stage of the corruption of the GMC. As we offer to define it, so does it pass into another form. We know that this may sound quite evasive, but the GMC *IS* evasive. It is the manifestation of the unconscious mind of our society. The more we attempt to understand it, the more it becomes impossible for us to understand. It is the equivalent of the Buddhist sunyata, which we can never quantify, yet it has an everlasting quality of presence.
The following is a document we concocted from a number of exchanges we had with fellow Satanists in alt.satanism. Please excuse its very rough form. We've just compiled a dozen or two posts and tried to make a coherent whole out of it. It is presented as a dialectic, with the preliminary theory following the first question.
What is Satanism?
I cannot speak for everyone, just as a Buddhist and Christian can only describe what their religion is TO THEM, so I am here only speaking of mine. Satanism is in its formative social stages at this time, given shape by many small groups and individuals. The term varies within many social organizations (compare 'Witch') and so is impossible to categorize in any absolute fashion.
There are many attempts right now to DEFINE Satanism so that it ceases to be an unknown. Given this, one might say that the Order-based social organism is attempting to infiltrate and destroy this rebellious little faction by requiring self-identification. Self-definition is the first step to co-opting a new social trend. As I define Satanism for everyone I do it a disservice, so take this in the spirit in which it is meant - as a reflection of my experience and dreams. It in no way describes an orderly ORGANIZATION, but a social trend, recurrently surfacing and disappearing.
Satanism is the latest in a line of manifestations of the Great Cult of Martyrdom. I'm not quite sure of its origins, but examples of it include Christianity and Witchcraft/Wicca. Long ago these latter religions were manifestations of the Great Martyrdom Cult, but over time they have been co-opted by the establishment into social indoctrination schemes. Today Christianity and Wicca (this last is part of a conglomerate known to many as Neopaganism) are mixtures of honest mystical rebellion and conformist religious cliques.
The GMC is an occult network of those whose minds are triggered by society into a direct confrontation with the orthodox for the purposes of internal coherence. It surfaces with different names, at different times, and with different 'philosophies', but always toward the same eventual endpoint:
(internal to both the social group and the individual).
An example: Catholicism used to be a 'universal', inclusive movement, yet now it excludes by virtue of its extremity and its hierarchy. It pins the badge of 'Satanist' upon those whose lives it finds compete with its social, oppressive power, and it encourages persecution through its fanaticism.
The GMC surfaces here in the guise of 'Satanist'. It holds up the Shadow of Yahweh to the conscious mind of Catholicism and espouses only the most extreme forms of individualism. Catholicism must face its Shadow to some extent, and those who are most vigilant in confronting the hypocrisy are quite often killed (I think that the 'Inquisition' was largely a reaction to a particular GMC success).
Note that there is more than one way to 'kill' a member of the GMC. Here a few possibilities:
- Out and out crucifiction (pun intended)
- Co-opting the images/language/memory of the martyr
- Adopting the names and appearances of having 'converted', yet simply continuing the same oppression under a new name.
Essentially what the GMC comes down to is practicing my spirituality in such a way as to bring up the repressed unconscious energies of the culture in which I live. This often involves focussing upon certain 'unpopular' deity- images, doing 'taboo' things and sometimes bringing the 'hidden' practices out into the public eye.
'Satan' derives from the word 'Shaitan', which means, roughly, 'opponent' or 'adversary'. When someone engages energies which are in some way contradictory to our path, they become our 'Satan'. Such a person is seen in different ways by different people.
Some wish to rid themselves of this entity, vacating the office until another entity comes along. For some, Satan is also an ally/guardian, in that She safeguards very important energies of consciousness and, if appropriately challenged, will yield this resource.
In this way some adherents of the GMC become 'martyrs', or those who are killed while practicing what they know to be their religious path. If these unconscious energies are released too quickly or in too explosive a fashion, they can backlash and kill the mage, as with Jesus the Christ.
In the case of Christ, however, this martyrdom was part of his formula, and his cult therefore carried on beyond his life, irrepressably.
The germinal form of the Great Martyrdom Cult (GMC) is what I call The Heretics. Satanists can be converted by a 'Church of Satan', but it'll take a while to co-opt 'Heretics', since 'heretics' oppose all doctrines and organizations, PERIOD. I tend to see the GMC as composed of 'agnostics' and 'anarchists'.
These are the Scientific and Political cultists, respectively. The difference between these and nihilists is that the former are not so much proposing an alternative as opposing the oppression of the establishment for the health of all (and sometimes for our own greater glory!).
There are different stages that the Cult's forms undergo from the time which they resurface until they are completely co-opted. One of the first steps is the infiltration of their number with what are today called 'white-light bambis', who no more have an understanding of what magick and social transformation are than does today's average college student understand political activism.
A Satanist tends to oppose all authority that conflicts with hir will. The only variable is whether this opposition is active or passive. Heretics intentionally adopt labels which the orthodoxy DEFINES as heretical (before or after the fact) and they then associate with counter-cultural images.
Satanism presupposes resisting or opposing that orthodoxy. Satanism also seems to include self-promotion, sometimes at the expense of others. This is precisely what the Satanist is doing with respect to society.
The Satanist BECOMES the Demon which the oppressive Orthodoxy begins to summon in its ignorance. The Satanist simply attempts to manifest the repressed energies. Sometimes this can result in nasty powder-burns, however. ;)
The Satanist BECOMES an image which the orthodoxy abhors. She behaves AND speaks in ways which derive from the unconscious mind of the society in which she lives - i.e. those energies which the society has repressed are given expression in hir). It ain't about shoving the Orthodoxy's face in any 'facts', though it may include counter- propaganda. It is a visceral, archetypal IMAGE which is portrayed in behavior and words.
Strict opposition and persecution includes many many people. The GMC is not that big. Very few individuals are probably members.
Martyrdom and Morality
There are different ways to 'break from dogma'. 'Martyrdom' has a rather particular meaning which does not always apply to those who are killed BECAUSE of what they say/do (e.g. sociopathic killers).
Nobody can get 'kicked out of the Cult' because the only way to escape the Cult is to DIE. Rebels have MANY ways to resist oppression. Martyrs have a particular path. It is easier to resist the orthodox dogma and avoid becoming a martyr. It is difficult to resist until death regardless of who is watching. However, being persecuted unto death is not necessarily martyrdom. It may give RISE to martyrdom, but it is not the same thing.
The American Heritage Dictionary discloses:
Martyr: 1. One who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles.2. A person who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause or principle. 3. A person who endures great suffering.... 4. A person who makes a great show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy.From the Greek, 'martus', witness. <------- NOTE!!
When people object to my meaning, they are usually thinking of definition #4 - a person who makes a *show* of suffering. I mean that Satanists, Witches, Christians, etc. have endured hardship BECAUSE of their identification with the labels they use/d. This is not about 'making a show'. It is about withstanding religious oppression in the pursuit of personal freedom.
The label 'Satanist' (i.e. adversarialist) comes closest to the direct challenge of this oppressive characteristic of the Orthodoxy. I'm sure that it will also (as perhaps the Temple of Set has shown) be co-opted and a new version of the GMC will keep the 'faith'.
We are talking about those people who use a sort of social judo upon the masses, those who hold a mirror (or more accurately, a picture of their deep selves) and march it down the throats of those in power. This usually results in those in power stripping them of this picture, displaying their fangs and BECOMING the picture to the detriment of the martyr. All the martyr did was to live their life. This happened not to fit in well with the popular psyche. We're not talking 'sociopaths' here, we're talking social psychiatrists, or maybe 'social exorcists'. :>
What MAKES a Christian/Witch/Satanist is hir individual power. Resistance to oppressive authority is what all of these at one time or another have shared. Just because modern Satanism has not been as corrupted as has what is now called 'Christianity' doesn't make it of a different tradition in regards the GMC. There are yet elements of the Christian complex which retain vestiges of the GMC's influence.
The Roman Catholic Church is not Christian, not in the sense of the Great Martyrdom Cult. The ORIGINAL Christians, the ones who were opposed by the Roman Pagans (yes, Pagans weren't nonviolent or nonoppressive) were martyrs. When the Romans co-opted the language and behaviors of these martyrs (in effect, CALLING themselves Christian without adopting the values/theories), then the Cult submerged. They resurfaced in Europe in response to the Roman Catholic Church and called themselves 'Witches' (and perhaps 'Satanists'). When this holocaust subsided, the Cult submerged once more and has been recently resurfacing in the form of 'Witches', and more often, 'Satanists' in response to the repressive Euro- American Puritanism still rampant in our culture.
Let me put it another way.
The Great Martyrdom Cult is DYNAMIC. It doesn't maintain the same image/label/location.
It is INSIDIOUS. It can never be destroyed because it transcends conscious identification.
It is REBELLIOUS. It takes on the face of the Great Enemy and plays out the energies that have been repressed by the Orthodoxy.
The Tool of Language -- a Weapon of the Literati
I agree that not all those who engage modern Satanism/Witchcraft are martyrs. That is not my point. This Cult is very clever. When its expression begins to be corrupted by the Orthodoxy it assumes different forms. Language is the weapon of the literati and the literati are often the tools of the oppressive establishment.
I tend to use atypical definitions because I look to the word roots and try to achieve the most comprehensive, effective meaning possible. There are very good reasons for rejecting common associations of meaning.
One of them is to attempt to broaden a discussion or create one. Another good reason is to help new meanings grow. We are speaking a LIVING language. Humpty Dumpty has a *lot* to teach us (look up Lewis Carroll).
The entirety depends on the GOALS of the expression. If our goals are to curb discussion, speculation, and arrive at a consensual truth, then the 'commonly accepted' meanings are very good for this. If our goals are to experiment, explore, challenge and inspire, then variations are necessary.
If they are to confound, confuse and obfuscate, then radical and complex variations are in order. I don't think any goal is better, overall, than another.
For example, I use the term 'Christian' in many senses. Sometimes I use it in the sense that Christians are a part of the GMC, and I associate Witches and Satanists in order to draw attention to the essential unity of these sects of the GMC through time and space.
I sometimes use the term 'Christian' to mean 'one who participates in the oppressive machine operated by the Orthodoxy.' I would do this if I wished to point out how the GMC in its Christian guise has been co-opted (even if there are some within its ranks who continue to be martyrs - the focus has now shifted to resisting the CHRISTIAN tradition as the orthodox).
I most often use this term in reference to MYSELF to mean 'Anointed One', which roughly translates as 'Holy One' or 'Sacred One'. Those who know ourselves to be the Child of the Divine, the Sacred Regent who are, at some point, sacrificed upon the altar of Nature. I use this definition when discussing the tradition with those who call people 'sinners' and tell the 'sinners' that we're all 'going to Hell'.
I sometimes use the term 'Christian' to mean 'one who places hirself upon the Cross (an esoteric concept) as a martyr unto God'. This is often how I associate Christians, Satanists and Witches within or without the GMC. I am referring to this when I say that Satanists and Witches are Christians.
As far as 'the GMC' is concerned, there is no built-in morality in these terms. To be sure, the very strong use of the term 'martyr' by Christian theologians in a moral light has sullied its use, but not beyond repair or redress.
I use it in its secular meaning - one who chooses death rather than abandon hir spirituality. Neither is the word 'cult' moral in in any way. Again, the term is stigmatized by accusatory abuse. However, technically, used by scholars, it has a rather important meaning - a system or community of religious worship.
I am bypassing the moral meanings of these terms. I don't recognize the Catholic Church (or any other moralistic entity) as an authority on religion and I wish to co-opt their abuse of the language.
My use of the phrase 'Great Martyrdom Cult' has absolutely NOTHING to do with morality. It is a functional descriptor:
Great - large;
Martyrdom - treading one's religious path unto death;
Cult - religious community.
I'll admit that the meanings I apply are not always the popular ones, but they are 'commonly accepted' (especially among those who study such things, even if they've never combined them) and, more importantly, my INTENT is not derogatory. I often IDENTIFY as one of them!
== Isn't martyrdom an insult to Satanists?
To some, but not to the GMC members. REACTIONARIES are not likely to be members of the GMC. GMC people are tied into a deep unconscious energy which strives for release (note how well the mythos of Cthulhu fits into this theoretic). Satanists have less to do with reacting to the conscious energies and more with tapping into what is repressed. Martyrdom is only an insult to those who are reactionaries against the terminology of popular Christianity.
== Do we have to die to be a martyr? How does one join the GMC?
The idea that the GMC might have a means of martyrdom which does not necessarily lead to death has always intrigued me (and I'm enough of a Satanist to want to find a way to avoid crucifixion).
In the US the best means to assure that the GMC gets a strong foothold is to support our Bill of Rights as it stands, push for freedom of religion, and then wig out on this freedom without physically hurting others (i.e. practice Satanism and blow the minds of our culture with our life-ways without breaking the laws which protect us).
Are you saying that all Satanists have to sacrifice themselves?
Sorry, no rules. If you want to sacrifice yourself, cool. If you want to attempt the downfall of modern civilization as we know it so that you can rape, pillage and plunder WITHOUT being in the military, then you are hereby encouraged to do so.
Of course, I personally oppose such activities myself, but I support anyone's right to attempt them. This is similar to the way that Voltaire spoke about holding opinions. I support people's ability and freedom of choice. I ALSO support society's choice to attempt to restrict certain activities in order to protect itself, even while I may oppose individual restrictions as unwise or detrimental to the freedom of the citizen.
The issue is ego. In too many religions the focus is upon the group ego. A Church has 'more authority' than an individual. A Coven is 'more important' than a Wiccan, etc. Same goes for politics. I supposedly live in a 'democratic republic' or some such yuck. While I think it a wonderful country (US) I think that we are continuing to support the tyranny of the majority and the disempowerment of the individual. More and more people are coming to see the truth of this.
An individual can do as he or she sees fit. That is the Law of Thelema as I know it. A Law of Nature, a description of how things ARE, not how they 'ought to be'. A group can do as IT sees fit too! So governments are formed and regulations are established to see that we can be protected by parental entities called 'police' and, from the 'evil outsiders', the 'military'.
The point is that Satanism is NOT about what one SHOULD do but about who one is and what one's relationship is to the world. We are free and mighty individuals and in order to shrug off the chains of society we must sometimes undergo great struggles and take great risks in the process.
Sometimes this involves self-sacrifice.
Sometimes it does not.
Do Satanists actually worship an evil god?
The term 'worship' is often abused. When this means being required to submit to an external entity, then this is NOT Satanism, whether the classical ruler of the Christian Underworld is the object of adoration or not. This of course doesn't mean that we are *prevented* from submitting to an external (or internal or other) deity. I like to throw myself before the Queen of Demons, personally.
When worshipping begins to mean a steadied focus, a listening and a respect paid to an entity or being, whether internal or external, then this is more like worship with which I'm familiar and is indeed involved in some Satanists' practices.
Take me, for example. I am married to the Goddess of Destruction. I don't feel I have to bend over for Big Honcho Satan, but I have a healthy respect for Hir and think SHe teaches valuable lessons.
Not all Satanism has this religious overtone, however. It is similar to the way in which some Witches simply love 'Nature' and some focus upon a particular god, goddess or pair for their journey. Some of us even (GASP!) change gods/idols as we ourselves change!
Then do you *really* serve Satan?
Yes, I choose to serve Satan/Kali/Nature. I have a vow of humility. I am under all things by my own free will. Thus the Temple of Kaos is *Under Satan*.
Why do you identify with such a negative force?
I think of myself as a Witch, a Christian AND a Satanist. Am I being self-negating? There are very positive meanings (commonly held! :>) which one may attribute to the terms 'martyr' and 'cult'.
If anything the term 'GMC' is overly POSITIVE, not negative. I call the cult GREAT. I mean it in terms of size, history AND value. Does this mean that I judge it 'morally'? Well, I don't think morals (i.e. social evaluatives) are worthwhile except for the establishment of legal structure (admitting the sin - the ignorance - of the natives).
In terms of my own thoughts and values, I will admit that I think the GMC is VERY valuable.
Didn't God create Satan?
Well, yes, most intelligent Christians side with the intelligent Jews and Muslims in attributing the CREATION of Satan to God and in this way seeing that SHe is quite perfect. The term 'Satan' is taken from Judaism, where 'Shaitan' is God's Attorney, a sort of 'Bad Cop' to Jehovah's 'Good Cop'. Satan seems to be the representative of the Id, to put it in psychological terms, who challenges us to explore, expand, experience ecstasy, exultation.
Satan isn't 'the Bad' to all Christians. Some see Hir as the essential SYMBOL of our world, as sensuality and its beckoning pleasures. Some see Satan as the Deceiver who lures us, as does Maya, to do that over which we'll suffer.
Does Maya have a personality, traditionally? I think that Sri Ramakrishna and company give Her one. I know that some Christians see Satan as one of the Faces of God, and no more fear Hir than they would a horror-show.
Some see Hir (Satan) as a spoiled brat who disobeys the Good and Worthy God-Parent. However, some see Hir as a Guardian to tremendous Mystery and Wisdom. Some see Hir AS the world. Note how often Satan and the work of this being are associated with 'evil' by fundamentalists and identified with 'the flesh'. Satan has many faces for many people, and I think that this exemplifies some of Hir titles ('the adversary'; 'Father of Lies', etc.).
If you want 'historicity', then see some other alt.satanism FAQ. Try Lupo's or Mr. Aquino's or a new one.
C'mon, what *is* Satanism? What are its religious rules?
No rules, sorry. We're talking about anarchy, the lack of rulers. If you don't understand this, then you better start reading some Western philosophy and quick.
Why do so many Satanists seem to be merely 'anti-Christians'?
There are many reasons that some Satanists (I don't) run counter to Christianity.
1) Historical oppression (in their lives, in Europe, elsewhere) associated with this religion
2) Definition of themselves and their path (some find it important to accept the polar Satan/God model and act from it)
3) Herd-mentality (some are just along for the ride, and the current trend in 'Satanic' groups is to be at least slightly anti-Christian -- especially anti-organized-Christian)
4) Adversarialism (this is where I get into the picture slightly). Some of us find it important to invoke the god of adversarialism in defense of wisdom. Ignorance just seems to dissapate when I start to ask questions, challenge assumptions, argue vehemently.
So is Satanism a part of Christianity or not?
It seems that Christianity has had a major role in the development of Satanism. From its use of Shaitan in _The Bible_ to its persecution of rival religions, Christianity has been a major dynamo for opposition and thus inspires Satanism naturally.
Many other religions (often Western or Middle-Eastern, interestingly enough) inspire this reactive kind of movement.
Why are Satanists so egotistical?
Aren't they all reactionaries following leaders
who want them to be their slaves?
All action stems from self-interest. I tend to think that I am free, but when I feel trapped, Satanism sometimes moves me to feeling free again. I don't 'follow' anything. Sometimes I am satanic. Sometimes I'm erotic, sometimes I'm both.
Beliefs and such aren't part of this. As I see it this is DEscriptive, not PREscriptive or PROscriptive. 'Do what thou wilt' is a very useful statement to offer others (through words and deeds) as it is accepting that which others offer me. I can and do just as easily dispense with this acceptance, retain the DWTW, but oppose the energies of their behavior.
To me, Satanism is a part of a healthy society. I don't equate it with sociopathology. Satanism is one mode of operation, and the Law of Thelema is merely the principle under which I understand things to operate. It seems to describe people quite well.
Does believing certain things keep one from
being a member of the GMC?
What about Science?
These are just ideations. GMC has to do with reflecting the shadow side of society. Ideations are threatening to society if it is stuck in one world-view, but they aren't like a nightmare. We are talking imagery here. Some nice ideas in imagery, but not much with regard to Science.
The worst that modern Science has to offer is conscious extinction at the end of personal life. Most 'sciences' won't examine this subject, however, because it goes beyond 'physically observed data'. Phew!
This is the reason that modern Science is stuck on materialism. It began as a faction of the GMC, but it was co-opted by those Christian 'scientists' who didn't take it to the interior world of the psyche. Magick involves taking Science to the subjective world. That is why it is spurned by modern Science. That is why it is spurned by modern Christianity.
It is much easier to leave the repressed energies in the social psyche rather than dredge them up by focussing on Sociology and Psychology. Today these fields are treated with disdain by most 'hard-scientists'.
What is to be gained from Satanism and nonbelief?
The practice of Satanism can bring me a renewed self-determination, self-worth, and generally enable me to reclaim my self-respect. It is antagonistic, admittedly, yet it is also self-empowering.
The practice of nonbelief can bring me a clarity of mind and a less attached, mature approach to others and the world. Belief is for the mind what faith is for the heart. Both work well for those without experience, but as soon as we come to know the divine (Satan), these are hardly worth bothering about.
In essense, NOTHING is to be gained by practicing these things, yet it feels good, so why not do it? I like it and it works for me. Is there any better reason, ultimately?
Is the GMC solely a Western cult?
The Jewish/Christian/Wiccan(Neopagan)/Satanist line of strict heresy in the face of oppressive establishments is fairly isolated as far as I can see. Hinduism and Buddhism, for example, with which I'm familiar, are the stay-at-home, chanting/starvation-types. There is no martyrdom fixation in their tradition.
I doubt we'll find anything similar with any but a few strays in Eastern cultures. It is a largely WESTERN phenomenon. Then again, I'd like to hear everything you can dig up, since I'm no historian. ;>
Why can't you tell us more?
How can we recognize members of the GMC?
Until I'm asked more specific questions I don't know much, and some questions I will not be able to answer in any case (given the premise from which they are asked). As with occult 'mysteries', it is less a matter of the oaths to which I've been sworn than the difficulty of expressing in words what I've experienced over time.
Most GMC members don't even know WE are part of it, let alone who ELSE might be. I can ONLY tell a member of the martyrdom cult by how the words/ideas which they espouse, how the appearance which they present to society at large, interacts with that same society. If someone perpetually foster power-over relationships, then I usually figure that they aren't in the GMC or that they have a very particular role within it that is subtle and deceptive.
I tend to assume that power-over corrupts, no exceptions. If you can make a case against this I'd like to hear it, but I've found that GMC arises from those without much of this power. Sure their personal power allows them to think and act beyond simple subsistence (and they are sometimes called 'Middle Class'), but they don't really have much coercive power beyond this, else they would not wish to dig down into the social subconscious. They'd be too busy 'enjoying the limelight'.
People who helped flesh out this theory (in usenet):
Scott Locklin (Lupo the Butcher)
Chris 'ICE' English
Thanks one and all.