Overview of Satanism
Satanism is the art and practice of invoking the dark, mystical creative energy of the universe. The practice of Satanism is based on an awareness of the inherent power of the universe to shift and undulate according to the intentions of practitioners of both “white” and “dark” mystical arts, or good and bad magic. The image and basis of Satanism is Satan, or Lucifer. Lucifer, whose name means the “bearer of light”, represents the archetypal rebellion of one of God’s most powerful archangels. According to Christian theology, Lucifer had great power in God’s pantheon of angels, cherubim and other divine beings. When Lucifer broke away from God’s dominion, he was banished from God’s heavenly realm. Eventually, Lucifer came to be viewed as the very incarnation of the antithesis of God.
Early history of Satanism
Satan was not mentioned in the Bible until the book of Job. It is generally believed that the concept of Satan evolved over time as part of an amalgamation of Paganism and Christianity. Paganism is an ancient earth-based religion that pre-dates Christianity by several thousand years. The pagan god Pan is depicted with a horn on his head, a short goatee and the torso of a man with goat’s legs, a figure whose description is fairly close to Biblical descriptions of Satan. In pagan lore, Pan is easy going and loving – thus clearly different than the modern conception of Satan – though Pan’s clear roots in a half-world between human beings and other animals marks it as an unnatural being.
Anton Szandor LaVey founded the contemporary Church of Satan in 1966 and wrote the classic Satanic text, “The Satanic Bible”. According to LaVey, all gods and goddesses are projections of our own internal minds and can be made to do our bidding. If an individual practices the black or white mystical arts, he or she is standing in the center of the creative power of the universe and can use that power to uplift and heal or to punish and destroy. Some of the techniques that are utilized in Satanic circles are the practice of ritual magic, the casting of spells, the invocation of energies and the wearing of ceremonial garb while conducting ritual circles. The practice of Satanism is related to Satan because of his symbolic importance as a powerful spiritual entity who broke away from the dominion of God. Satanists revere the power, independence and self-determination Lucifer is said to possess. Satanists believe that we create and tap into our own pantheon of gods and goddesses. In doing so, we are essentially harnessing the power of the universe for good or evil purposes, and, like Lucifer, we are therefore completely responsible for the consequences of our thoughts and actions.
Satanism’s relationship with Christianity
Christianity has demonized Satan and reviles him as the embodiment of evil, and Satanism is thus looked down upon by most Christians. This is because Christianity strongly supports a reliance on an external god who can be relied on for strength, support and wisdom. This is antithetical to Satanism which, as previously discussed, believes that we are the creators of the gods and goddess we rely on.