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On Satan as a Symbol and Satanism as a Slough of Activities


In general, dogma (what is laid down as by an authority as incontrovertibly true) is worthless to consider, and worthy of opposition by Satanists, regardless of how well it is understood, primarily due to the mind-numbing envelope in which it arrives. One person's "crackpotism" is another's utilitarian paradigm. While you may find it valuable to explain unfounded theories such as that "Magic as a Psychodrama is what triggers the Will of effect on the ether," rest assured that there are many who would be happy to identify you as a crackpot, kook, or occultnik. None of these insulting and ridiculing antics are worthy of those who study these subjects seriously. They are the ravings of those with insufficient breadth of mind or maturity to examine the subject with care and depth of background.

It is largely unimportant what position some Satanist group takes. Groupthink fallbacks are helpful to those just starting out, or for those who need training wheels for the clockwork of their thinking, led about helpfully for conditioning, but long-term such professions are mere appeals to a clueless authority whose group expression demonstrates the lack of foundation it espouses.

Satan is the symbol of whatever people choose to make it. Satanists tend to re-embed this as a positive feature, principle, force, energy, or entity. Rather than just spew dogma, it is valuable to explain what you like and why. You seem to enjoy Satan as a death symbol, and this is a goad for you to enjoy what you have. Therefore Satan is a negative for you, alike to how Christians and Muslims view Satan/Shaitan/Iblis. You might wish to equate Hir as a symbol to entropy (force/principle) or the Grim Reaper (as a person), but this seems odd, if you are saying that the Church of Satan promotes this. The connection, however, is real. The interest in portraying SatanISTS as predators, and idealized ones at that, is prevalent (often 'wolves' or 'vampires', without necessary relation to natural biology or to vampire legends and lore), complete with death-dealing abilities.

The notion that Satanism relates to "indulgence not abstinence" ignores not only the problems inherent to unrestricted and unwise indulgence (no limit here is being applied to recreational indulgence types, unlike what is specified by LaVey and his anti-drug message), such as its unsustainability, social disruption, personal disablement, and complete disorientation, it says nothing about the disciplines relating to, and compensating for, the problems of the 'sins' of Christianity which many Satanists lionize and champion in their immature, reactionary embrace of anything Christians condemn.

It is a testimony to rationality and coherent thought that LaVey and his church have tried to emphasize health and sustainable activities. The fact that Anton endorsed the beauty of alcohol and tobacco while denouncing 'drugs' as self-enslavement mechanisms speaks to the myopic days of the movement's infancy. Following out the rational aspects of this, it is clear many Satanists have emphasized the action of indulgence (and embracing 'sins') over and above the wisdom of sustainability and health maintenance. The core focus in justifying criticism of indulgence has to do with autonomy and inspiration. The argument is that certain types of indulgence impinge upon the central nervous system, and will shape and mould the individual into a dependent, volitionless drone, subsumed to the horde of manipulated plebes.

One problem with 'Satan as a symbol of death and reality' and a focus on darkness, darkness, darkness, is that, by and large, life truly relates to and depends upon light, energetic cascade (such as from our nearby star, whom we refer to as 'Sol' or 'the Sun'), and that it includes much that is tenuous and has dependence upon light and warmth. The focus or interest in darkness would seem to arrive either from a reactionary response to solar cults, or as part of a desert-frame shielding from harsh circumstances. It is in part enshrined within counter-cultural factions such as Thelema (criticizing cave-dwelling 'troglodytes') and Neo-Gnostics/Luciferians (associating light with awakening and awareness).

Trying to constrain by association to your preferred valence or manifestation of Satan is an old error perpetrated for differentiation against Christians by LaVey and his church. It was carried into the Satanist movement itself as a strand of egotistic contention, but is ultimately nonpersuasive insofar as individuals and their interests are promoted over and above Herds. 'God of The Earth', 'God of This World', 'Prince of this World', and the like, are originally characterizations by Christians and Gnostics (the latter calling him 'The Demiurge' and identifying him with the Christian deity Yahweh/Jehovah), subseqently exalted by Satanists who enjoy and perfect and enjoyable this material cosmos and local planet.

Attempting to deny anthropomorphism as a manifestation of Satan is a common feature also applicable to Christian (and general deific) cults (despite the Jewish scriptural tales clearly indicating anthropomorphism of their god). It preserves a convincing or perhaps 'scientific' standard to keep the symbolic legends and images away from human-like characterizatons, and yet the history of demonography is such that anthropomorphism is thoroughly permeating the Satan symbol. Trying to sift it out now seems futile and anti-humanist, especially insofar as Satan may be associated to human endeavours. Subsuming the valued symbol so as to fuse it with all of the universe (or as you said it, "Reality is Satan") is a common reactive tactic engaged by New Age religious to somehow salvage their gods from the light of reason and modern criticism of the fantasies associated to gods (e.g. Creation, afterlife judgement, etc.).

Along with anti-anthropomorphism comes xenophilia and alienesque affiliation and welcoming. The Jesus character very obviously engages outlaws and the marginal members of society, explained as proceeding for a variety of reasons. Supporting or championing alienated people or cultures in part indicates a desire to draw them into mutual cooperation to the novel cult and subculture.

There are several possible attractive qualities to the alchemical sulphur symbol, inclusive of the lemniscate connection to the concept of infinity popularized within the Tarot of Western occultism, the obvious phallic or penile symbolism, and the similar emphasis on Sulphur as an inflammable, infernal element symbolic of the Underworld, Satan, and, by some occultists and crypto-masons, Lucifer (as 'light-bearing, inflammable stone').

The interest in describing things (magic, witchcraft, for example) as 'Satanic' in part derives from a post-Christian condemnation. How far to go with the raft of condemned activities, groups, and phenomena associated by conservative Christians to "evil" is the choice made by religious witches and religious Satanists since their early days in the 1940s. Branding it (e.g. "Satanic Magic") began in previous centuries, such as with Blavatsky's "Occultism", or Crowley's "Magick", and has continued, in religious Satanism, into "Satanic witchcraft" and "Satanic magic". Yet, excepting for their specific purveyors, neither were they circumscribing nor definitive. Adhering to their construct demonstrates slavery to their dictates or dogma.

That said, opposing "the supernatural" as a meaningful category of description is a valiant and worthy affair. Explaining how this is the case, undermining the inherent dualism of the position, will become imperative as people take up more realistic and feasible practical application of Satanic philosophy and religious principles. Teachings such as body/soul dualism and 'spirit' and 'spirituality' pertaining to some alienated dimension of existence will persist as it has for millenia, and finding ways to embrace the natural as the bearer of all life experiences is one of the challenges that faces nouveaureligious in the coming centuries.

The metaphysics of occult arts like magic and divination are indeed strewn with half-understood and left-over theories and terms from centuries gone by. That doesn't dispute their utility, or rational evaluations of what they may make possible and achieve. Ridiculing automatistic devices like spirit boards which have a long history (back to the mid-1800s) or pendulums, or the rest, may give you smug superiority feelings, but nihilistic tilters against occult techniques and tools (Randi, Dawkins, Hitchens and the like) contribute exactly NOTHING to the understanding of what is going on with them, and pit ignorant factions of their followers against them in an oh so simplistic manner.

Promoting 'real Satanic Magic' over 'fake New Age seminars with their Ouija boards' may give you an air of authority to which many Satanists seem to aspire, but those who are aware of the fact that New Agers tend to buy into the Christian scare tales about the dangers of Ouija and spirit boards (cf. Ellis and his work on 'legend tripping') may understand the tenuous position that spiritualism has achieved overlapping to the New Age, and will laugh at your naivete, pointing you toward Demonolatry and other demonolators and the use of the spirit board as a means to engage demons.

Diminishing Satan to a "force" (undemonstrated by any science) and ridiculing without understanding the nature of arcane technology does not in any way demonstrate a 'possession of the powers of Darkness'(!), a 'harnessing of "the Force of Satan"'(!), or the 'taking of the reins of your own godhood'(!). It only makes it plain that you prefer one batch of gibberish over another in pursuit of self-aggrandizement, are content to dispute as a promoter of superordinary elitism with those whom you are positioning as your competitors rather than your peers, and are engaged in the same futile level of groundless claimsmaking perpetrated in the negative by the Christians who came before you.

Impression of will upon reality is demonstrated repeatedly in the construction of technology such as we are using to communicate and that employed to explore the cosmos. Calm investigation into the phenomena, without juvenile and immature demonizing, will contribute markedly and without obscurant sociopolitics to our understanding of what people find compelling and valuable in all of these occult or spiritual arts and tools. Posturing about being or becoming gods is amusing or iconoclastic, but, in the context of actually coming to an understanding of what gods and demons are and developing our skills and abilities, it ultimately undermines your contentions completely. This is something Anton LaVey or those following in his wake never seem to understand when they maintain they 'worship themselves as God(s)', or espouse aspirations of 'becoming god(s)'.

Part of what will impress those beyond your selected cult or fan club as to the reasonableness or viability of your ideas is how well it coordinates with what others find valuable. Castigating and slamming others who might become your allies against an overarching Christian establishment might be amusing or fun for you in the short-term, but ultimately it corrupts sincere efforts to understand and explore the options which are available to intelligent participants in this rebellious movement.