Thursday, 11 April 2013

Demonic Possession, Attachments & Hauntings: Introduction

Originally published 6 July 2012. © Torey B. Scott



I was asked by a dear friend what my thoughts were concerning the concept of Demonic Possession. Of course, being a Satanist, my perceptions tend to diverge from many commonly-accepted “facts” pertaining to spirit possession. Regardless of perspective, the truth is that Demonic Possession, for nearly everyone who dabbles in magick or the paranormal, is perhaps the most feared and dreaded consequence imaginable. Additionally, it is believed that one of the most at-risk demographics amongst those who seek the Unseen is that of paranormal investigators and Ghost Hunters.

There are primarily two conceivable reasons for this. Firstly, paranormal investigators frequently respond to pleas from individuals seeking relief from active hauntings, thus potentially exposing themselves to the entity or entities responsible for such. Secondly, Ghost Hunters often seek out places which either have a history of hauntings or which have the potential to spawn paranormal experiences. I will attempt to share my thoughts on the subject of Demonic Possession as well as suggestions for those who wish to protect themselves against negative entities.

Q: What is a “Demon”?

A: This depends entirely on the perspective of the individual. The term “demon” has been corrupted over the centuries. The term was originally applied to entities which influenced the lives of human beings for good or for evil. Many cultures and world religions document the existence of such spirits – spirits which, by most accounts, were regarded as guardians, teachers, messengers and even protectors. Likewise, most world cultures and religions documented accounts of “evil spirits” – however, “demons” became synonymous with “evil spirits” with the advent of Abrahamic religion, namely Christianity and erroneous interpretations of the translated Hebrew Bible having been influenced by accounts of evil spirits within ancient Semitic traditions. The Christian Medieval Era facilitated and cemented the sensational concept of Demons as the evil beings They are still believed to be by many even today.

After the death of Christ, most notably from the 12th Century to the 19th Century, some Christian and occult scholars began to document and categorise mythological “demons” into hierarchies, developing various magickal techniques by which these entities could supposedly be controlled or destroyed. Accounts of these entities and the practices by which magicians could enslave them were archived in tomes known as Grimoires.

Modern Neo-Pagans may note that many of these so-called evil spirits are actually pre-Christian deities. Gods and goddesses such as Nergal, Ereshkigal, Shiva, Astarte, Persephone and Hades have all been described as “demons” and categorised as such. Of course, most Neo-Pagans are well aware that these deities are not evil spirits at all, but such was the mindset of pseudo-Christian occult authors responsible for many of the famous Grimoires. In addition to known pre-Christian deities, the Grimoire scholars also included the names of various entities from world cultures and religions such as that of the Babylonians, ancient Semitic cultures, Islam, ancient Greece and Rome, the Egyptians and others and classified them as demons. Even with this context, many people still fear these entities.

Q: What is the difference between a Demon and a “negative entity”?

For those who are familiar with the occult, the concept of a “negative entity” should be relatively well-understood. To the Satanist or the Demonolator, the difference between a “Demon” and a “negative entity” is a matter of terminology. Demons, within most theistic Satanic and Demonolatry traditions, are Divine Beings. Most Demonolators accept the original positive connotations of the term “daimon” and equate these with the entities described within the Grimoires. Thus, for example, the Demon known as Agares within the Lesser Key of Solomon is considered to be a good spirit – a god. Many Demonolators believe that the historical tradition of equating Demons with evil was a deliberate attempt on the part of Christians to vilify pagan deities – a theory not without merit. To Demonolators and most Theistic Satanists, Demons are gods and mentors – something wholly different to “negative entities”.

There are many forms of “negative entities”. When we use this term, we are referring to entities or energies which either deliberately or inadvertently cause distress or harm to another being. A “negative entity” is not necessarily wholly malevolent, though we may perceive its actions or motivations to be harmful. Such entities and energies may include, but are not limited to:
    Astral “Nasties” – entities which are spawned and reside within the Astral Realm, capable of latching onto the Astral Body of another being. Auric Leeches – entities or thoughtforms, natural or created, which feed upon the auras or spiritual/life forces of other beings. Otherworld Parasites – entities which are spawned and reside within the various divisions of the Otherworlds, diverse in form and function, which have the capacity (though rare) to attach themselves to the Spiritual Body of the traveller and/or manipulate the energetic link to the physical body as a means of possessing the individual. Vampiric Servitors – thoughtforms created via either deliberate magickal action or intense emotional/psychic projection whose function is to feed upon the vital or emotional energies of another being. Sentient Poltergeists and Imps – spiritual entities residing between Planes which create malicious mischief and discord, often attached to specific individuals and families. Projected Poltergeists – paranormal anomalies inadvertently created and projected by human beings, usually unbeknownst to the creator and which often mimic the behaviours of Sentient Poltergeists. Household and Land Spirits – sentient entities attached to a particular home or location. Residual Hauntings – psychic impressions left behind upon a specific structure or location, usually the result of a traumatic event. Ghosts/Earthbound Spirits – sentient spiritual beings bound to the earthly Plane, sometimes (rarely) seeking to possess the physical bodies of other beings; are usually confused or melancholic. Gremlins – earthbound spirits which delight in mischief, especially pertaining to mechanical devices. Soul Parts – detached portions of animal, plant or human souls which are capable of attaching themselves to the souls or spiritual bodies of other beings.

Additionally, there are instances in which deities, angels, animal totem spirits and other beings which are more commonly perceived to be benevolent take possession of the physical body of a living creature for a variety of reasons.

Q: What is possession?

A: Possession most often refers to the act of an external entity (spiritual) entering the physical body of another being. While spirit possession is most often regarded with fear and negativity, some religions and cultures practice a deliberate and willing form of possession, commonly referred to as “ritual possession”. Most Wiccans familiar with the concept of Drawing Down the Moon will already be familiar with this practice. In ritual possession, the priest/priestess/magician willingly invites an external spiritual entity into his or her physical body for the purpose of magickal workings or Shamanic rites.

However, most people are more familiar with the Hollywood depictions of “Demonic possession” in which a “demon” invades the body an innocent (usually female) person in monstrous contortions, speaking with an Otherworldly voice (often using profanities or blaspheming the Christian God and Christ). To the rescue is usually the seasoned Catholic priest who performs an exorcism and expels the “demon” from the body of its victim. The reality of the manner and frequency of such possessions is debatable.

It has been posited that many historical accounts of Demonic possession were more likely due to the alleged victim(s) suffering from some form of mental illness such as Schizophrenia or Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder). It has even been suggested that Biblical accounts of Demonic possessions were quite possibly the result of a lack of understanding of neurological conditions such as epileptic seizures or brain injuries, both of which can produce symptoms similar to those found within alleged cases of true possessions. However there have been and continue to be instances of “spirit possession” which cannot be readily explained by science and medicine. Many modern practitioners of Neo-Pagan and occult traditions agree – spirit possession can and does occur.

Q: What is an exorcism?


A: According to Catholic tradition, an exorcism is a rite in which prayer is used as a tool to banish or repel negative entities from a person. Most often, however, these entities are referred to within Catholic tradition as “demons” or “Satan” – to a Theistic Satanist or Demonolator this is not the case. Nonetheless, the Catholic Church has maintained a reputation as the foremost authority concerning so-called Demonic Possessions.

There are, of course, many rites non-specific to Catholicism which are designed to deliver the possessed from the oppression of the responsible entity or entities. For instance many Neo-Pagans and practitioners of New Age paths serve as consulting authorities in suspected cases of spirit possession and are, at times, responsible for clearing homes and individuals of negative entities. Today, the term “exorcism” generally refers to the expulsion or banishment of a negative entity from a home or an individual.

Q: If I visit a haunted location, can I be followed or even possessed by a Demon?

A: Again, I will use the term “negative entity” in place of “Demon” as I do not believe that Demons are responsible for random possessions and hauntings. But the answer to the question is ‘yes’, it is possible (though uncommon) to be followed home by a negative entity or to become the victim of an attachment. It is unlikely that individuals who have taken measures to protect themselves both spiritually and physically will be as open to attachments and possessions as would someone who has no experience in the occult.

Q: What kinds of precautions should I take to ensure that I am protected from negative entities?

A: There are a great number of things that you can do to protect yourself from external entities. One of the most important things that you can do is to be sure that you are physically well and mentally and emotionally stable before undertaking a Ghost Hunt or travelling to a location that is alleged to be haunted. As within Nature, predatory entities will prey upon the weak and the vulnerable. Being physically well ensures that your body is in prime condition to withstand any potential spiritual, energetic or physical attack by an external entity. Being mentally well ensures that you have the presence of mind and the soundness of emotion to cope with energetically-charged environments in which external entities often accumulate.

In addition to these measures, it is wise to carry a ‘Spiritual First Aid Kit’ with you when exploring areas which are potentially haunted or excessively charged energetically. A Spiritual First Aid Kit may consist of anything you feel to be protective. An example of a Spiritual First Aid Kit may be a small pouch or a larger bag or purse filled with items such as:

    ~various coloured candles and matches ~protective herbs such as Sage or smudge sticks ~incenses attributed to protection, exorcism or healing (e.g. – Asafoetida, Dragon’s Blood, etc.) ~an athame or similar ritual blade used for directing energy ~aspergillum, blessed water and oils for spiritual cleansing ~ink and paper for on-the-spot creation of amulets and talismans ~brick dust for creating protective boundaries

It is a good idea to research any items which you may find to be beneficial for protection, exorcism, cleansing and healing and include them in your Spiritual First Aid Kit before entering an area known or suspected to be haunted. Additionally, before entering such a space, it is wise to prepare yourself ritually (if you are so inclined) by immersing yourself within a cleansing ritual bath followed by a self-smudging with a cleansing and protective herb or incense. Some people choose to wear amulets consisting of special symbols attributed to protection before participating in a Ghost Hunt; you may also choose to physically draw protective symbols upon your body with a smudge-proof marker before embarking upon such an endeavour.

For those more religiously inclined, it may also be a good idea to consult with any Spirits or Deities with whom you are aligned in order to attain Their protection. Many Neo-Pagans assume that they are automatically protected from anything “bad” because they so happen to have a Patron or Matron Deity; this is not always the case, however. It is always advisable to ensure that you keep an open line of communication between yourself and the Spirits with whom you work. Many Mediums have Spirits known as “Gatekeepers” which can serve as guardians and discerners of other entities; such relationships are possible for non-Mediums who seek protection and aid in discernment from external sources. An example of this form of protective entity is that of the Familiar Spirit, an entity which serves the witch or magician within a magickal context. It is important to understand that a Familiar is not the same as the “familiar” that many new to Neo-Paganism, especially Wicca, have come to understand a beloved animal to be. While it is true that some Familiar Spirits can assume the form of a cat or a dog, it is quite rare. Most Familiars are generally non-corporeal in nature and may be attained through special arrangements with Deities or Demonic beings.

Q: I think I might be possessed! What do I do now?

A: Many people make the assumption that they or someone whom they know is “possessed” or otherwise being harassed by a negative entity when they begin to notice strokes of bad luck, sudden illnesses, depression or other coincidences surrounding them which cannot otherwise be explained. It must be understood that while true possession and spiritual attack can and does happen, it is exceedingly rare on a major scale. More common are energetic attachments, unbalanced chakras and auric leaks which can cause many of the same “symptoms” as true possessions or spiritual attacks. Additionally, the presence of intense fear can greatly influence the perceptions of the individual and can even result in temporary delusions, paranoia and psychotic symptoms.

It is important to always assess the “symptoms” carefully before jumping to the conclusion that you or have been or anyone else has been possessed, spiritually attacked or even cursed. Even the Catholic Church requires its formal exorcists to be fully trained in recognising and assessing the symptoms of mental illness, epilepsy and attention-seeking behaviour. According to Catholic tradition, true possession can often manifest in the form of the afflicted person:

    ~speaking in foreign languages of which they have no former understanding ~sudden personality changes not otherwise explainable by mental illness, stress or physical disease and injury ~blaspheming the Christian God, Jesus Christ and the Saints ~unexplainable displays of super-human physical strength or feats

However, even these criteria are questionable as many mental illnesses also manifest in similar manners. The truth is that there is no fool-proof way to diagnose true possession with one hundred percent certainty. There are a series of questions which should be asked when considering the possibility of a true possession. These questions are designed to ensure that the afflicted individual has been evaluated for the presence of any medical condition which would mimic the classical symptoms of possession and that said condition or conditions has been ruled out.

14 Questions for Evaluating the Symptoms of Possession:


    1. Does the individual have a personal or family history of mental illness, especially psychotic conditions such as Schizophrenia? 2. Does the individual have a personal history of any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders? 3. What is the present physical condition of the individual? (At this point, the individual should be evaluated visually for any obvious signs of infection, injury or disease.) 4. Has the individual recently experienced any major or traumatic events (i.e. – death of a close friend or relative, loss of a job or relationship, etc.) within his or her life that have affected him or her profoundly? 5. Could it be said that the individual, before the onset of symptoms, was a rational and level-headed person? 6. Does the individual have a personal history of attention-seeking behaviour? 7. Does the individual have a personal history of illegal substance and/or alcohol abuse? 8. When did the symptoms manifest and what was the emotional and physical environment which the individual was exposed to like at the time? 9. Does the individual have knowledge and/or practice of the Occult? 10. Does the individual know others with knowledge and/or practice of the Occult and what were/are this individual’s relationship(s) with said others? Are said relationships ongoing? 11. Has the individual recently travelled to areas known or suspected to be haunted? 12. Has the individual recently attained any object of significance (i.e. – inherited jewellery, flea market items, stolen items, artefacts, souvenirs, etc.) and from where did he or she acquire it? 13. Has the individual been evaluated by a mental health professional? 14. Has the individual been evaluated by a licensed medical practitioner?

If, after significant medical and psychological evaluation, the individual continues to display the symptoms of possession, the approach can become rather complex. Depending upon the religious convictions of the afflicted person, proceeding to “exorcise” the negative entity without the aid of a Christian pastoral official may not be recommended if, for instance, the individual is Catholic. Interestingly, most cases of alleged possession are specific to individuals of a Catholic background. Why this is, is speculative. It has been suggested that many of these “possessions” are manifestations of some form of psychosis which draws upon the religious convictions of the individual in question.

In the case of a suspected possession which involves an individual of Catholic persuasion, it is perhaps beneficial to both the individual themselves and their family to contact Catholic officials from within the individual’s local community. Besides respecting the religious convictions of the individual and their family, it must be understood that either the afflicted individual or the family of the individual should be open to receiving aid at least in some regard. As you may or may not already know, many Christians are reluctant to accept spiritual aid from others not of their own religion. This is not to say that healing and cleansing work can only be carried out upon non-Christian individuals, but if you must take into consideration the potential for non-cooperation which may be involved. Of course, if the family of the individual or the individual themselves have endorsed or requested your aid, you may proceed to carry out whatever work is necessary to facilitate healing. Otherwise, you may choose to help from a distance or provide assistance in other ways.

In a situation in which the individual’s religion is not an issue or in which you have been granted permission to proceed, it is advised that you attain as much information as possible concerning the alleged entity or entities responsible for the attack before attempting to carry out an exorcism or banishing. Many entities are not aware of the harm that they are causing to the afflicted individual(s) or places which they are occupying or affecting. In such cases, it may be beneficial to have an experienced Medium assist you in communicating with the entity if you, yourself, cannot. Some cases of “possession” or hauntings can be very easily remedied with a simple conversation.

Non-Possessive Spiritual and Energetic Conditions


There are a variety of conditions which are classified as “non-possessive” conditions of the spirit or astral body. Many of these conditions are the result of interaction with spiritual entities, but others may be caused by energetic disturbances within the environment. Concerning entity-specific conditions, parasitic entities affecting the aura or external layers of the Spiritual Body may be aware of the harm that they are inflicting or may otherwise not possess the sentience to understand. In many cases, entities such as “astral nasties” or auric leeches are simple to remove. By thoroughly inspecting the aura for heavy energetic attachments, leaks or weak spots, such parasites may be detected. Techniques for removing these entities vary according to practice and belief, but may be dispatched through what is sometimes referred to as “psychic surgery” in which the attachment is isolated, neutralised and detached with careful energetic manipulation.

Attacks by sentient entities which are fully aware of the damage that they are inflicting are more complex and often require extensive research pertaining to the entity. Such information may be gleaned, initially, by observing the manner in which the “haunting” or “possession” manifests. Having spiritual allies such as Patron or Matron deities, Gatekeepers, Guardians, Totems, Guides and other similar entities can prove useful for those who routinely find themselves exposed to situations in which attachments may occur. Because of the potential complexity involved in removing sentient attachments, hauntings or possessions, precautionary measures cannot be emphasised enough. Preventing such situations is crucial for they can be particularly difficult to rectify in some cases.

There may be instances in which a spiritual attack is a purposeful assault upon one person by another, usually an accomplished magician. Many such attachments take the form of vampiric servitors. These “entities” are essentially energetic robots designed to attach themselves to the auric field of another individual. In most cases, vampiric servitors are programmed by their makers to drain the energy produced by the victim’s life force or the subsequent fear and paranoia produced when the individual is aware that he or she is under attack. Many vampiric servitors are dispatched in the same manner as simple auric attachments, especially those created by inexperienced magicians. However, experienced magicians often program servitors with complex defence mechanisms, making their disassembly and destruction somewhat complicated.

A common entity responsible for location-specific “hauntings” is the Land Spirit. Land Spirits are usually present within all places, but may especially attach themselves to locations which are spiritually significant. Such locations may include, but are not limited to:

    ~Ley lines and surrounding areas ~Sites significant to ancient religious practice ~Sites abundant with natural resources such as springs, caves, rivers, geysers, etc. ~Old-growth forests

Other similar entities include ancestor spirits, gremlins and household spirits such as kobolds. Instead of banishing such entities, it is wise to remember that we are perceived as the intruders in most cases. Learning to live with Land Spirits involves a commitment by the individual to preserve, respect and maintain the land or location significant to the spirit. A great number of “hauntings” are incidents in which an unknowing home-builder, hiker, archaeologist or explorer has stumbled upon, desecrated or removed an artefact from a spiritually significant location which, in turn, has invited the retaliation of the land spirit responsible for the location. It is always a good idea to thoroughly research an area before building or treading upon it. It is never advised to remove artefacts, even seemingly harmless items such as stones, from a spiritually significant location without the permission of the land spirits. Communing quietly with the spirits of any location is always advisable regardless of your intentions, but it is especially common for individuals to experience the wrath of offended land spirits as “hauntings”.

Another situation which may mimic the “symptoms” of a true possession is what is sometimes referred to as Soul Attachment – a condition in which a fragment of the soul of another being has attached itself to the soul of the afflicted individual. Additionally, symptoms of a Soul Fragmentation, a condition in which the individual’s soul or part of it has “broken apart” and become lost within the Otherworlds (or this plane), can resemble those of a true possession. In both conditions, individuals may experience marked changes in personality, loss of appetite, psychosis and a myriad of other symptoms. Shamanic practitioners are most often called upon to address suspected cases of Soul Attachment and/or Soul Fragmentation as they usually specialise in “diseases” or conditions affecting the soul.

A common factor which is often responsible for alleged cases of “hauntings”, spiritual or psychic attacks and even possession is the presence of excessive Electromagnetic Fields or EMFs. EMFs or EMCs (Electromagnetic Currents) are produced by electricity as it circulates throughout wires, cords and electrical equipment. Many Ghost Hunters rely on a device known as an EMF detector – a specialised device used to detect the presence and intensity of EMFs within an environment. Many cases of the “heebie jeebies” are the result of high-intensity EMFs disturbing the personal energetic fields of an individual. Continued exposure to extremely high quantities of EMFs can result in a variety of unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, paranoia, visual field disturbances and even psychosis. It is thus crucial to first rule out the possibility of high levels of EMFs within an environment in which an alleged haunting or possession has taken place.

In conclusion, true spiritual possession is a difficult condition to diagnose due to the presence of so many other spiritual, energetic and physiological conditions which can mimic its symptoms. It is important to remember the following steps if you are faced with the possibility of a spiritual possession:

1. Protect yourself. Take measures before exposing yourself to the afflicted individual to ground and centre yourself, align your Chakras, cleanse your Aura, converse with your spiritual allies, charge and raise your shields and adorn yourself with any protective amulets that you feel are necessary.

2. Assess. Take note of the individual and his or her physical appearance, behaviour and language. You should ask relatives or close friends whether or not he or she has a history of violent behaviour, mental illness, attention-seeking behaviour, brain injury or disease. You should then take note of when the symptomatic behaviour first occurred and the state of the individual’s mental and physical health at the time, the environment or any new objects to which he or she was exposed and any stressful or life-changing events present at the onset of the symptoms. You should take note of the victim’s choice of religion and ask both the individual and the family members whether or not it is appropriate for you to proceed on your own or if they would prefer for you to consult with a member of the individual’s church, coven, temple, etc.

2. Sense. Those trained within magickal and psychic disciplines should, after thoroughly assessing the individual and his or her environment and personal history, spend some time with the individual in order to gain a “feel” for his or her personal energy and the presence of any “negative” entity or energy either within or surrounding them. Some practitioners are able to view the Auras of others – a useful technique when assessing the Aura for leaks, dark “spots”, tendrils or other anomalies. It may also be useful to consult with a trained Medium if a true possession is suspected, although you may use tools such as pendulums, Ouija boards or dowsing rods to glean more information from the entity. Such tools, however, should be used with caution.

3. Research and network. Once you have attained an adequate amount of information through the assessment of both the individual and the responsible entity, if such is the case, you should strive to research similar cases and their outcomes in addition to the entity responsible for the affliction. Understanding the entity or forces responsible for the condition is crucial. Once you have a clearer idea of what the offending entity or force is, consult with other magickal practitioners if possible for feedback. Sometimes our limited perceptions of an entity can cause us to approach a condition with tunnel vision. Having the benefit of perceptions and experiences separate to your own is a good idea and a way to ensure that you have a full understanding of what you are dealing with and how best to remedy it.

4. Prepare. At this stage, you should gather the appropriate tools and ingredients necessary for the work to remove the afflicting entity or energy if in fact the situation calls for such. If need be, arrange for a Shamanic practitioner, healer or Medium to perform any appropriate work necessary. It not advisable to perform any work with which you are unfamiliar, uncomfortable or inexperienced. When in doubt - don’t!

5. Engage. This stage marks the point during which the entity or energy responsible for the affliction is removed, asked or helped to depart or dissipated. Again, the technique for the removal or dissipation is entirely dependent upon what manner or entity or energy is responsible for the condition. Communicating with the entity may be necessary (such as in the case of Land Spirits or spirits in transit) as may be removing the offending source of energy (such as in the case of EMFs or “haunted” artefacts). In cases which involve EMFs, removing the source of energy may be impossible; thus, one must devise an approach which may involve limiting the amount of time spent in the environment, for example.

Many people make the assumption that possessions, hauntings or spiritual attachments only happen to those who traipse about “haunted houses”, but the truth is that everyone is susceptible to spiritual attack at some point. Being prepared is be as simple as being educated. Use caution when taking artefacts from ancient sites, visiting locations known to experience paranormal activity, associating with individuals who lack self-control and learn to balance that caution with logic. Never assume that you or another is “possessed” or even under spiritual attack simply because of a stroke of bad luck or a crisis of health. Rule out any mundane explanations before jumping to the tempting conclusion that you are being assailed by rogue magicians, “demons” and “leeches” or the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Left Hand Paths Vs. Right Hand Paths

Originally published 17 October 2008. © Torey B. Scott



Some of you are already familiar with the terms and with the meanings behind them. For those of you who are not, this article was designed to provide a brief introduction to the concept of "Left Hand" and "Right Hand" paths.

Who Needs A Hand?


The concept of "Left Hand" and "Right Hand" paths originated in the Hindu Tantra, which is composed of two separate 'paths' - dakshinachara (Right Hand Path) and vamachara (Left Hand Path). Essentially, the difference is that in dakshinachara (Right Hand Path), the more "mainstream" Hindu religious practices such as meditation can be found; alternately, in vamachara (Left Hand Path), one encounters more "taboo" practices such as sexual rites and animal sacrifice, which diverge from traditional and accepted Hindu religious practices.

Besides the Hindus, the concepts of 'the left hand' and 'left-handedness' have been regarded as 'evil' and/or being symbolic of a rejection of traditional religion throughout many cultures.

Examples of Right Hand Paths and Left Hand Paths:

Right Hand Paths:
  • Wicca
  • Christianity
  • Buddhism
Left Hand Paths:
  • Satanism - Symbolic & Theistic
  • Demonolatry
  • Luciferianism

An Illustration of Common Differences


In this segment, I will present several concepts followed by the common approaches to these concepts by both the Left and Right Hand Paths.

CONCEPT: The Self, The Person As An Individual.
  • RIGHT HAND PATH: Typically regards the Self as spiritual in nature. However, a tendency exists to heavily separate concerns of the Ego from concerns of the True Will or Higher Self. Magick and acts for the purpose of self-attainment, self-gain and self-provision are generally viewed as indulgent, wasteful, selfish and in accordance with the desires of the Ego.

  • LEFT HAND PATH: Typically regards the Self as worthy of worship and elevation. Concerns of the Ego and of the True Will are typically not separated, as they are regarded as one in the same. Magick and acts for the purpose of self-attainment, self-gain and self-provision are almost universally viewed as natural and are condoned and encouraged. The desires of the Ego are readily indulged in the belief that the Self is worthy of indulgence.

CONCEPT: The Divine, "God", Spirit

  • RIGHT HAND PATH: Typically regards the Divine/God/Spirit as omniscient, transcendent and sentient. Relationships with a personal Deity are nurtured through worship, prayer and ritual. Divine guidance is sought for the understanding of the True Will. Divine aid is called upon in most common practices. The Ego is inferior to the Spirit or Higher Self and must be overcome for the soul to perfect itself through life experiences.

  • LEFT HAND PATH: Sometimes regards the Divine/God/Spirit as omniscient, transcendent and sentient. May be Atheistic in approach to Deity with a pronounced emphasis on the idea of the Self, the Ego, as Deity incarnate. May often view the Self, the Ego, as part of a greater Source of Spirit, co-existing with sentient godforms and entities (Deities) - however, typically regarding the Self, the Ego, the Human Spirit to be equal to or greater than other sentient godforms and entities (Deities).

CONCEPT: Ethics, Dogma, Codes of Behavior

  • RIGHT HAND PATH: Typically observes some form of dogmatic 'moral code' or system of ethics wherein the individual is expected, to some degree, to abstain from those activities, acts, behaviors and magickal workings which indulge the Ego or the individual in favor of more altruistic approaches. Often regards acts of indulgence as abetting the wasteful desires of the imperfect Ego. Typically holds to rigid ideals and societal expectations.

  • LEFT HAND PATH: Typically denounces most forms of dogmatic 'moral codes' or systems of ethics which suppress the individual and/or the Ego. Commonly favors those activities, acts, behaviors and magickal workings which promote and condone the indulgence of the Self, the Ego. Generally believes that there is 'no such thing as a selfless act'. Does not regard the desires of the Ego as wasteful and/or deviating from any 'True Will' as the Ego is typically believed to be the same as the True Will, Higher Self. May or may not disregard rigid ideals and societal expectations.

CONCEPT: Obedience to a Higher Power or Will

  • RIGHT HAND PATH: Generally adheres to some sense of inferiority to Spirit, The Divine, God, Higher Will. May or may not observe an obedience to the 'Will of the Universe' or to a pre-destined 'fate'. May or may not regard Deity, Spirit as being more aware of what is 'best' for the individual and for mankind.

  • LEFT HAND PATH: Generally rejects adherence to any sense of inferiority to Spirit, The Divine, God, Higher Will. Typically regards the Self as 'Godlike' or 'equal to God', thus being the supreme authority in regards to the needs of the individual and of mankind. Commonly rejects obedience to any Deity.

CONCEPT: Retribution and Karma

  • RIGHT HAND PATH: Typically accepts some idea of Cosmic Justice, Karma, Karmic Retribution, Threefold Law as a Universal and supernatural means of Divine law and order. Additionally, may or may not believe in the concept of polar opposites of 'positive' and 'negative', 'good' and 'evil'.

  • LEFT HAND PATH: May or may not adhere to the idea of Cosmic Justic, Karma, Karmic Retribution, Threefold Law as a Universal and supernatural means of Divine law and order, although, if adhering to the concept, regards it as exoteric. Typically does not adhere to any concept of polar opposites of 'positive' and 'negative', 'good' and 'evil'.

CONCEPT: Happiness and Spiritual Fulfillment

  • RIGHT HAND PATH: Generally believes that happiness and spiritual perfection, fulfillment come from 'good' and/or altruistic deeds. May or may not believe that true salvation/happiness/spiritual fulfillment is only attainable through transcendence of the material plane.

  • LEFT HAND PATH: Generally believes that happiness and spiritual perfection, fulfillment are solely the responsibility of the individual in each lifetime. Typically discards the belief in salvation by means of 'good' and/or altruistic deeds which result in spiritual reward.

CONCEPT: Material Wealth and Indulgence

  • RIGHT HAND PATH: Typically believes that material wealth and indulgences are solely 'fodder' for the wasteful desires of the Ego. Generally conforms to the idea of the material plane as being a place of tests and hardships, a place to learn from and to eventually rise above.

  • LEFT HAND PATH: Typically believes that material wealth and indulgences are necessary for the happiness and contentment of the individual, the Ego as the individual is responsible for his or her own happiness and spiritual reward. Generally rejects beliefs that the material plane is a place of tests and hardships, a place to learn from and eventually rise above, instead adhering to the idea that life is what the individual makes it - that mankind is the master of his own destiny

The Use of Symbolism in Left Hand Paths


One of the first things that one may or may not notice about some followers and/or traditions of Left Hand Paths is the usage of 'inverted' symbolism.

Some quickly attribute the reasoning for the usage of this symbolism to nothing more than 'shock value'. A common (and erroneous) stereotype, for example, of a 'Satanist' will depict a young teenage boy, dressed in all black and chains and wearing an inverted pentagram pendant around his neck. It is true that many teens attempt to shock their parents and their peers by dressing outrageously and claiming to be 'Satanists'. Sadly, however, in the United States, there have been instances of such teens being involved in school shootings and other criminal activity, further tarnishing the reputation of Satanism and other Left Hand Paths.

Though the stereotype is inaccurate, the inverted pentagram is a real symbol used by Satanists and other followers of the Left Hand Path. This inversion is not an act of 'perverting' a 'good' symbol for shock value, but it is a meaningful symbol in and of itself.

The five points of the upright pentagram represent the power of Spirit (the topmost point) reigning supreme above the four Elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water (the material world), which are represented by the remaining points of the pentagram. In this symbolism, we have the representation of the belief of many Right Hand Paths in Spirit transcending the flesh - transcending wasteful material desires and distractions.

In the inverted pentagram, we have just the opposite of this. The five points of the inverted pentagram represent the power of the four Elements (the material world) in domination over the power of Spirit (now the bottommost point). In this configuration, we are now representing the belief of those who follow the Left Hand Paths in the material world being a place of importance, indulgence, lessons and, ultimately, what the individual makes it. There is no need to strive for the obscure goal of spiritual completion by means of transcending the flesh when spiritual completion and true happiness can be had in this plane.

Alternately, many Satanists and other followers of Left Hand Paths use the symbolism of inverted crosses and other 'reversed' versions of traditional religious symbols as a means to represent non-conformity and non-adherence to Dogma, rigidity and the yoke of religious institutions.

Conclusion


In short, labels are just that. Labels. In the end, everyone is in charge of his or her own happiness and fulfillment. Spirituality is just one piece in that very large puzzle. What we choose to call ourselves matters not in the grander scheme of things. With titles come identity and with identity comes acceptance. We humans are social creatures by nature and by nurture. What we seek is belonging and kinship and safety. Groups, families, societies, cultures - all of these are answers to our ever-longing questioning of 'where do I belong?'.

What you believe should not matter to anyone but yourself. We do not exist to fulfill someone else's spiritual void. What you call yourself is completely up to you. "Am I a witch?", "Am I a Satanist?", "Am I a Presbyterian?". Only you can answer that. Though we will always seek to belong to something...somewhere, never label yourself for your friends. Don't label yourself for your family. Be true to yourself - and 'me' is the only label you can ever truly be proud of.

Demonic Medicine: An Introduction

Originally published 22 May 2012. © Torey B. Scott

Like nearly all spirits, Demons possess the potential to both harm and to heal. Many practitioners of paths which are not aligned with Demonolatry fail to recognise the benefit in attaining Demonic alliances primarily due to the fact many individuals cannot overcome their biased preconceptions of what they believe Demons to be.

It must be understood that Demons, unlike some other divinities, are less apt to respond to the pleas of an individual without first having in place an agreement which entitles Them to reciprocal service(s) by the individual. Failure to reciprocate on the part of the individual may result in an undesirable outcome—however the same remains true for other non-Demonic entities. It should be stressed that spiritual alliances must, like human alliances, be maintained if the individual wishes to enjoy the benefits without repercussion.

When we discuss the term Demonic medicine, we are referring to the use of Demonic energies for the purpose of healing. When one has established and maintained an alliance and relationship with a particular Demon, he or she may then approach the Demon with the prospect of working with It in order to heal either themselves or another. Some Demons are less likely than others to agree to such a proposition; but, if approached correctly, most Demons are willing to participate.

Demonic energy is extremely potent and if a Demon is eager to aid you, it is wise to first prepare yourself for the reception of this energy. If uncontained, Demonic energy can have a corrosive effect upon the aura. Because of this, it is necessary to either attain the Demonic medicine through Shamanic journey or to request that the Demon enchant a vessel which can then be used as a key to activate the contained energy when it is needed. Taking the Demonic energy directly into oneself must be done within a specially-constructed circle in order to first transform it from its raw state into a consumable one. The circle, within the context of Demonic magick, is not a protective barrier but serves as a something akin to a decompression chamber.

By placing oneself within the circle, the Demonic energy can be slowly introduced into the environment without adversely affecting the human aura. By bringing one’s own auric vibrations into harmony with Demonic vibrations, the energy which is to be transferred is harmonised. Generally, casting the circle will ensure that the energy within is brought to a balance gradually, but the magician can also choose to alter the vibrations of his or her own person through exhibitory energy-raising techniques such as dancing, vigorous sex (especially BDSM sexual techniques), deliberate pain infliction (self-flagellation, etc.) or using substances (excluding depressants such as alcohol). Of course the use of substances within ritual is only advised for those who are mentally stable and magickally competent—I do not personally endorse the use of illegal substances, but if one chooses to use consciousness-altering chemicals he or she should be aware of the dangers involved and should preferably have another person present in case of a negative reaction.

Demonic energy may also be channelled through the body of the practitioner through ritualised possession. In this practice, the Demon is invited into the body of the magician who may then carry out the healing directly. One should be cautioned, however, that only seasoned and disciplined practitioners should attempt this method due to the dangers of inviting external entities into the body without the proper precautionary methods such as those used by experienced mediums.

Within the context of Shamanic journey, one essentially acclimates his or her own energies to the native environment of the Demon—thus negating the need for an external circle or other general preparatory methods. This is not to say that one should ever carelessly attempt to journey into the Demonic realm without understanding the process—the difference between the preparations for journeying and the preparations for ritual invocation are simply different. Journeying to the Demonic realm is the reverse of the Demonic invocation—instead of inviting the Demon into the realm of the practitioner, the practitioner journeys to the Its realm. It is always wise, however, to ensure that you are properly grounded before commencing the absorption of Demonic energy in any state.

Perhaps the simplest method for acquiring useable Demonic medicine is the aforementioned Demonic enchantment of a vessel. The vessel may be a crystal, a pendant or any other object into which the Demon may deposit a certain amount of Its energy. Such vessels are sometimes referred to as fetishes within the context of Core Shamanistic traditions—however I choose to simply use the term vessel as it is culturally non-specific. Preparation of the vessel depends upon the material and the purpose which the energy will serve. Generally speaking, one may simply cleanse and consecrate the vessel in order to prepare it for enchantment—the actual imbuing of the object with Demonic energy is a varied process that will depend upon the Demon with whom you are working.

Most enchantments are carried out within sacred space in ritualised form—the entire process of cleansing, consecrating and enchanting the vessel may be performed within the same ceremony. The Demon whose aid you will be receiving is invited into the sacred space through invocation (never use Ceremonial evocation). As with any other cleansing, any lingering energies within or about the object are neutralised and the consecration may proceed as would be normally observed by the practitioner. It should be noted that consecrating the vessel in the name(s) of the participating Demon(s) is the best approach, although this will depend entirely upon one’s relationship with Them and/or his or her Patron or Matron deity.

One thing worth mentioning is the potential conflict of interest which can sometimes arise when an individual has called upon the aid of numerous spirits or deities for the same purpose. An example of this would be an instance in which I was seeking healing for my grandfather. Several other individuals had called upon the Christian pantheon for aid. Being aware of the fact that some Demons are opposed to working with these entities, I asked Them whether or not They would object to operating alongside Jesus Christ and Yahweh whilst contributing Their aid to the purpose at hand. Whereas the majority of the Demons whose aid I had sought had no objection, several in fact did. Remember, too, that Demons can have conflicts with other Demons. Many individuals assume that because Demons are generally all categorised into the same group They must all “get along” with one another. This is not true. It is always courteous to ask such questions of any spirit in addition to providing it with as many details pertaining to the working as possible.

Concerning enchanted vessels, if you do not specify exactly what it is that you seek from the Demon, It is left to speculate and will simply supply you with only enough energy to conceivably carry out your healing work. This means that if you do not specifically request a permanent enchantment, it is likely that the vessel will only contain enough energy for a single use or a handful of uses. If you wish for the vessel to serve as a “general purpose” healing item, you must be specific in your asking. Although non-corporeal entities are certainly aware of much more than we are, they are not always mind-readers.

Once you have acquired your enchanted vessel, there are many methods for using it. If the vessel is a stone, you can create Demonic elixirs by soaking the stone in water or alcohol (use caution as some stones are toxic or may be damaged by water or alcohol). Other elixirs may be formed without the use of an enchanted vessel. Vessels may also be used by placing them upon the affected area(s) of the body or by using them in sachets which may then be placed by the bedside or beneath the pillow.

Demonic medicine can also be harnessed in simpler ways. For example, using candles inscribed with the sigil or seal of a particular Demon may be burned within healing rites. Simple talismans may be constructed using Demonic sigils. Invocation bowls, small bowls which have been decorated with Demonic figures and which contain an invocatory phrase, may also be created and used in a similar fashion as is the witch’s cauldron. Demonic sigils may also be used as altar patens upon which flowers, stones, herbs and any other ingredients in addition to perhaps a photograph of the individual in need of healing may be placed.

In some cases, the sigil or seal of the Demon whose aid you wish to employ may be drawn upon parchment and burned. The ashes may then be mixed with liquid and ingested. In addition to only using the ashes, one may create an alchemical tincture by fermenting corresponding plant matter with the ashes in liquid, skimming away the residue and bottling the liquid. Additionally a similar but weaker elixir may be created by simply placing a clear glass of fluid atop the seal or sigil of a particular Demon. This method can be especially useful if you are running short on time and are in need of an elixir but cannot spare the time needed to create the more complex medicinal products. This method for creating a Demonic elixir may be expanded for a slightly more powerful product by placing the glass of liquid atop the seal or the sigil and leaving it outdoors during a full moon (or during midday if the Demon is Solar in nature). One may go a step further and charge the elixir during the ideal planetary hour or astrological state which corresponds to the rulership of the Demon in question.

Image

Demonic medicine may also be attained through the use of oils, known as oleums within some Demonolatry traditions. These oils may be created in the same manner as any other anointing oil—a base or carrier oil should be chosen (it should be noted that in my experience, Demons are not as fussed about whether or not a particular oil is “natural”, plant-based, etc.—I have used mineral oil as a carrier with no issues) and the corresponding essential oils of any herbs which are specific to the Demon in question. The oils should be consecrated in the name(s) of the Demon(s) whose aid is being sought.

When a Demon has agreed to aid you by gifting you with Its medicine, it is courteous to provide the Demon with a suitable offering. Because Demons are, in many ways, more similar in nature to human beings than some other entities, They are often pleased with offerings that reflect the human experience. Whereas some entities may prefer offerings of flowers, crystals and other natural objects, Demons tend to prefer offerings which have either been created by or are indicative of Mankind. Demons have been known to enjoy offerings of:

    Alcoholic beverages (especially those with high alcohol content) Cigars and cigarettes (burned as incense) Sexual fluids Blood (your own) Chocolate Drawings or other crafts (created by you) Music and dancing Sensory libation (emotional discharges such as rage or experiences of pain) Jewellery Money (especially coins) Pornography/Sex toys (and sex acts)

Otherwise Demons are certainly not shy about informing you as to Their preference of offering. If you are uncertain as to what a particular Demon may enjoy, you need only ask. Sometimes clues as to Their preferences may be found by examining Their correspondences and natures, but They often indicate very clearly what it is that you may do for Them that will be most satisfactory. Besides meditating or journeying for the answer, Demons are also capable of expressing Themselves through either direct “thought implantation” or through other methods such as dreams or divination. I sometimes use a pendulum when asking for clarification pertaining to a particular Demon’s preference for a variety of items.

Demon Dossier: Agares

Originally published 27 May 2012. © Torey B. Scott


The Motivator



  • Golden Dawn Zodiacal Attribute: Aries (Succedent Decan)
  • Solomonic Rank: Duke (Sometimes Grand Duke)
  • Planetary Ruler by Rank: Venus
  • Planetary Ruler by Decan: The Sun
  • Tarot Card: 3 of Wands
  • Holy Days: March 30 – April 8

Traditional Appearance:
An old man riding upon a crocodile and carrying a goshawk

Traditional Powers & Authorities: “Maketh them to run that stand still”; “bringeth back runaways”; “teacheth all Languages or Tongues”; “power to destroy Dignities both Spiritual and Temporal”; “causeth Earthquakes”

Agares is the first Duke to be mentioned in most versions of The Lesser Key of Solomon. The Golden Dawn assigns Him to the Succedent Decan of Aries, thus insinuating that His is a Solar presence. His Nature is, indeed, very indicative of resonating with Solar Archetypes—He is a Demon of action, motivation and growth as well as being strongly representative of the importance of seeing endeavours through to completion.

It is tempting to compare the Magickal Image of Agares with that of the Hermit as found in the Tarot. Here we have a solitary figure, an old man—upon His fist He carries a goshawk, replacing the traditional element of the lantern within in the Hermit card. As the Hermit’s lantern illuminates His path, so does Agares’ ever-watchful goshawk keep a steady eye fixed upon its surroundings. However, unlike the free-standing Hermit, Agares has decided to carry Himself upon the back of a strange ally—the crocodile.

This seemingly inconceivable idea of a crocodile as a stead speaks to us of a need to see possibilities where previously we had thought none existed. It suggests that we look beyond surface appearances and shallow convictions in order to negate our self-limiting tendency to judge a book by its cover. Historically and metaphysically, crocodiles represent unbridled brute force—however, in contrast to its primitive and often violent countenance; the crocodile is capable of being a profoundly effective nurturer, demonstrative through the imagery of the mother caring for her hatchlings.

Agares’ nurturing Nature is also demonstrated by His association with the Qabbalistic Sephirah of Binah in addition to the planetary attribution of His rank, Venus. Binah is often characterised as the Great Mother figure, or Aima Elohim. It is receptive, comforting and can sometimes be seen as the inviting white shores beyond the ending of one’s life. Binah also embodies the concept of “Understanding” and great wisdom, further supporting the significance of the old man in the Magickal Image of Agares. We are also inspired to find the significance of this “Understanding” in Agares’ mastery in “teaching Languages”. Through language, we seek to be understood—and through expressing ourselves, we are able to articulate our fears, desires and perception of the world around us. Agares thus bolsters our ability to communicate with one another and with the Universe not only through His personal tutelage in the realm of language, but through His inherent connection with the Sephirah of Understanding. Like the crocodile, Binah indicates the cycle of life and death, departure and return. When we examine Agares’ affinity with “runaways”, the connection between the lessons of Binah and the crocodile become apparent.

Both the goshawk and the crocodile represent higher vision, caution and the need for vigilance. Symbolically, the old man is illustrative of wisdom through experience, perseverance and even fragility. It is quite a worrying situation in which a fragile old man has committed himself to being reliant upon the strength of the crocodile whose powerful jaws could easily rend him limb from limb; but this insinuates profound and unspoken trust on the part of the old man—even his dependence upon the sharp eyes of the goshawk leads us to conclude that, as a pinnacle of wisdom, his experience has given him reason to believe that his life and well-being are safe in the deceptively dangerous guardianship of beasts.

Although we may be inclined to associate Agares with the Hermit, He is best represented by the 3 of Wands. Although His seal is subject to variation from source to source, we can clearly see within its basic shape a pattern of three’s. There are three circles, three unattached arms of the cross and three bands at the bottom of the shield. The number three has a great deal of occult significance—examples being the triplicity of the seasons of life (birth, adulthood, death) and the threefold Nature of linear time (past, present and future).

Because His Nature is fiery, motivating and active, it makes sense to assume that His Decanal association with the Sun and Aries lend him both Solar qualities and those aligned with the Ram of the Zodiac. The Three’s of the Tarot may be viewed as being representative of commenced action—we may break this down into such thoughts as beginning something new, motivation or going forward. Agares’ interest in “making them to run that stand still” suggests that we are correct to attribute the action-based principles of His Solar-Aries assignment to those lessons of His which encompass breaking free from old ruts, rising to the challenge and persevering.

The 3 of Wands can also indicate a tendency to cling to shallow ideals such as appearance, power and wealth. Because Agares’ inspires us to look beyond what is visible on the surface, we find that His traditional powers include “power to destroy dignities” and “causeth earthquakes”. Both of these actions consist of the razing of structures, both symbolic and literal—of destroying what once was in order to return a state of being to its most basic foundations. Through the destructive power of Aries, the jaws of the crocodile, we are stripped bare—exposed to the light of the Sun and entrusted to the care of the nurturing Mother. Through the warming of the Sun’s rays we attain new growth and perspective, guided by the light of the Morning Star, Venus—the eyes of the goshawk.

Agares’ Lessons – Summary


Looking beyond the surface. Finding the “diamond in the rough”. Acknowledging that there is always a silver lining. Undiscovered talents and strengths. Thinking outside the box.

Wisdom through experience. Understanding our fellow human beings and relationship with the Universe. Communication and language.

Motivation. Endurance. Inspiration to climb out of ruts. Action. Beginning new ventures. Finishing what we have begun. Growth. Sports.

Balancing strength with fragility. Nurture, rest and recuperation. Getting back to our roots.

Being honest with ourselves and with others. Letting go of shallow concerns and interests. Starting over. Wearing our hearts on our sleeves. Acknowledging weaknesses in ourselves. Taking a back seat.

Life and death. Cycles and changes. Runaways. Running from problems.

Vigilance. Caution. Higher vision and psychism.

By examining the lessons which a particular Demon has to offer to us, we can find those lessons which relate to a specific problem in our lives and work with that Demon in order to correct any imbalance which may be present. However, just because a particular Demon “specialises” in certain areas, it does not mean that It is limited solely to such. For example, you may discover that when working with Agares, He may be interested in helping you with an issue in your life which may seem completely alien to His Nature or concerns.

The best way to work with a Demon is to begin by using meditation and visualisation to establish contact. Once you have attained a rapport with a Demon, you may begin by asking It questions relative to your specific problem and “tuning in” to receive Its messages. Demons communicate with us in many ways—usually through seemingly random thoughts or signs in our environments. They may also be worked with through Shamanic journey or a variety of divination methods.

Prompts for Exploration


1. When you are feeling distressed or alone, what comforts you? In what ways do you, in turn, comfort others who are in need?

2. Are you guilty of vanity? In what ways? What things affect your self-esteem? What things improve it? What are you unwilling to compromise on when it comes to looking or feeling your best? Why?

3. Do you judge people based on first impressions or how they appear? Have you ever been discriminated against? How did you deal with it?

4. Can you look back on your younger years and recognise things you did or behaviours in yourself that you now consider to be foolish or unwise? What life experiences led you to change these things? How does the person you were make you feel about the person you are now?

5. Are you a procrastinator? Do you often find yourself in emotional or motivational ruts? If so, how do you break free from them and get things done? Who or what are your inspirations in life?

6. Do you feel a need to control every aspect of your life? Do you ever allow others to take the reins while you trust them to do the right thing? If not, what would happen if you did?

7. Do you take responsibility for your actions? Are you a blame-shifter or do you acknowledge your flaws and mistakes?

Meditation – The Old Man & The Crocodile

 


Find a quiet place in which to meditate, making sure that you will not be disturbed. Either using this article or your own drawing, focus your mind on Agares’ seal. When you can visualise it without looking at it, close your eyes and sit up straight, clearing your mind of the debris and remnants of the day’s thoughts and worries. Remain focused, in your mind’s eye, on the seal. Taking a deep breath in through your nose while counting to four, exhaling through your mouth while counting to six. Feel your body relax and your consciousness shift, floating away like a leaf in the current.

Visualise the seal beginning to fade as you imagine yourself in a forest at dusk. Allow yourself to feel the warm summer wind blowing over your bare skin, hear the crickets calling in the thick ferns and marvel at the blue green hue of the trees as their branches sway lazily in the breeze. Before you, an old forest path stretches deep into the darkening woods—further down the track, you notice someone approaching very slowly, but you are unable to clearly make out the figure.

You decide to walk towards them, cautious yet unalarmed. Suddenly you stop as you realise that it is an old man—however, there is something very strange about him. You notice that he carries a goshawk upon his fist, much in the same way as falconers carry their companions. The hawk is watching you closely, peering at you with its large keen eyes and bobbing its head warily from side to side. Even stranger is that the old man appears to be sitting upon the back of a large crocodile, its breath coming heavily as it strides slowly towards you.

The crocodile stops just in front of you, seemingly operating on a telepathic command from the old man. Looking closer, you see that the old man is thin and haggard—his face is withered and a scraggly beard adorns his chin. He smiles at you and asks for your name. Feeling much more confident, you do not hesitate to tell him. In return he reveals to you that he has been searching for you. As you come to understand, he informs you that he has a task for you to complete. He tells you that he needs for you to help a small child. You agree to do what you can, and the old man points behind you. Turning around, you see that there is a door which has appeared upon the forest path. Walking towards it, you take a deep breath and open it, stepping into the darkness within.

The door closes behind you and your eyes slowly begin to adjust. You realise that you are in the bedroom of a little girl. All around you are toys, family photos and school awards, yet you hear only the weeping of the child as she lies curled into a ball on her bed. Walking to the bedside, you kneel down and stroke her hair softly, asking her why she is crying when she is surrounded by so many beautiful things. She tells you that she is afraid of growing up and of losing her family. Overwhelmed, you sit on the bed and take her into your arms, telling her all of the reasons why she should not be afraid of growing up—you tell her how important it is to enjoy each day and to look for the good in everything. You explain to her that by growing up, she will be able to do new things and to meet new friends. Slowly, she begins to relax and you dry her tears. She looks up at you and smiles and wraps her arms around you. You close your eyes and hold her tightly, but are suddenly aware that you are no longer yourself, but have taken the place of the little girl—looking up you see that, in your place, is the old man. He smiles down at you before rising and disappearing again.

You feel completely relieved and are convinced that everything will be alright. You are suddenly no longer aware of any worries and can only think about those things in your life which you are truly grateful for. Closing your eyes, you wrap yourself in the blankets and drift to sleep, bringing yourself back to normal consciousness and feeling refreshed.

Assignments


1. If you are artistically inclined, create a work of art using Agares’ seal as inspiration. You may choose to create a drawing, sculpture or piece of jewellery—alternately, you may even wish to compose a piece of music which best represents Agares as you perceive Him. Outline the symbolism of your creation—explain the meaning behind any colours you may have chosen or any materials or why your work specifically embodies the Nature of Agares. Meditate on this creation at least once a week and make note of any impressions or thoughts you may have.

2. On a sheet of paper or parchment, write down all of the things in your life which you feel impede your personal growth. They may be things such as “insecurity, low self-esteem, feeling inadequate” or “boss has it in for me, no friends, drink too much”. Contemplate these things and on a second sheet of paper, write down things you believe can counteract them. For example, where you may have written “low self-esteem” as an impediment, you can counteract this with something such as “get a new haircut”. Likewise, if you included something such as “boss has it in for me” as an impediment, a counteraction for this may be something as simple as “look for a new job”.

Once you have written your list of counteractions, crumple up the piece of paper containing the impediments and abuse it—take out all of your frustrations on it and pour all of that negative repressed energy into it. Afterwards, either burn it or bury it. Keep your list of counteractions visible and use it as a checklist—strive to accomplish at least one counteraction per month.

An Introduction to Qliphothic Sorcery

Originally published 23 May 2012. © Torey B. Scott

Understanding The Qliphoth



Most practitioners familiar with Left-Hand Paths will most assuredly have been exposed to the concept of the Qliphoth. Like Kabbalah itself, the Qliphoth have often played a central role in many of the practices of Occultists and Ceremonial Magicians. The Qliphoth Itself, if it can even be justly referred to as one ‘thing’, can be a confounding topic and for this reason many new to Ceremonial practices are rather keen to avoid It altogether. However it must be understood that the Qliphoth can mean many different things depending upon context and the inclinations of the Magician.

It would be impossible to discuss the Qliphoth without also including Kabbalah as a whole. If you are not familiar with the basic concepts behind Kabbalah, I suggest that you consider undertaking Magicka School’s exceptional course, “Introduction to the Magician’s Kabbalah” by Marcus Katz. Additionally, there are specialised forums within the boards which deal exclusively with discussions pertaining to the Kabbalah. Further information can be sought online or through books such as my personal favourite, David Ariel’s Kabbalah: The Mystic Quest in Judaism.

To understand the Qliphoth is to first understand the Kabbalah. The problem with this arises due to the numerous interpretations of what the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life actually are. There are many variations of Kabbalistic study—one of the most popular within the magickal community is commonly referred to as the Esoteric Kabbalah. Within some magickal circles, the Esoteric Kabbalah is less favoured in comparison with the other traditional interpretations of the Kabbalah and aspects of Jewish mysticism such as Merkabah. Because of these differences in interpretations, there is rarely little consensus within Occultism as to exactly what the Qliphoth is, how It originated and what It means to the magician.

There are several accounts of how the Qliphoth originated. Some portray the Qliphoth as the ‘shells’ or ‘husks’ of God’s first aborted attempt at creation. In this account, the Qliphoth is the realm of dark energies which some consider to be evil or demonic in nature. In other accounts, the Qliphoth are the ‘reflection’ of the Sephiroth upon the waters of the Abyss. Still others consider the Qliphoth to be the nightime or reverse side of the Tree of Life, opposite but still connected to the realm of Light by Da’ath. In most of these accounts however a common theme is present—the Qliphoth is essentially the ‘dark half’ of the Tree of Life, sometimes referred to as the Tree of Death.

While such a generalisation is by far an inaccurate and unjust summation of the Qliphoth, it is a viable introduction to the concept of the polarity which exists between the Qliphoth and the Sephiroth. The Tree of Life consists of ten ‘emanations’ or ‘numerations’ which are known as Sephiroth (Sephirah in the singular). Each of these numerations essentially represents a different aspect of God’s creative process. Many magicians view the Sephiroth as literal realms while others consider Them to be allegorical, comparable to states of mind. Whatever the case may be, most practitioners who choose to work with the Qliphoth regard It as a collection of the flawed or severe expressions of creation.

The word Qliphoth, like the word Sephiroth, is plural. In the Hebrew language, Sephiroth roughly translates as ‘numerations’ whereas Qliphoth (Qliphah in the singular) translates as ‘peels’ or ‘husks’. Generally the Qliphoth is referred to as a single entity, an area of study—however the Qliphoth in the truest sense consists of ten essential ‘husks’ which mirror the ten numerations of the Tree of Life.

Within some practices, magicians imply that the Sephiroth are present in all things and yet are removed from the earthly realm of Man. Because of the seemingly contradictory nature of Kabbalistic theory, many students are intimidated and resistant to undertaking the study of the Tree of Life. While it is visible from the aforementioned example that Kabbalistic theory can be quite complex, it is again dependent upon the individual interpretations and convictions of the individual as to what the Sephiroth, and Qliphoth, mean to that individual.

In revisiting the concept of the Sephiroth’s presence within the world, while aspects of the Sephiroth exist within all things, all but one of the numerations are said to wholly exist beyond the realm of Man. The tenth Sephirah, Malkuth, is also known as the Shekinah—the fundamental feminine aspect of God which is alone accessible to and knowable by humanity. Malkuth is sometimes equated with the tangible world and Universe - many adherents of modern Goddess-dominated religions have equated the Shekinah with the great Goddess archetypes such as Diana, Gaia or Isis. But deeper still than the Shekinah reside the Qliphoth.

As with the diversity found within the accounts of the creation of the Qliphoth, there is much debate pertaining to other fundamental questions surrounding Their very nature, limitations and location. Second only to the question of what the Qliphoth are is the question of where They reside. In some depictions, the Qliphoth are said to reside ‘behind’ the Tree of Life, directly ‘below’ it or ‘below and behind’ it. Regardless, many accounts of the Qliphoth depict Them as residing amongst us, within the world of Assiyah, the earthly realm itself and, in some ways, within the Shekinah.

Within a polarised perspective, the Qliphoth may then be assumed to encompass all of the negativity and evildoing of this world. While this may be a very appealing and simple explanation of the Qliphoth for some, it is not entirely accurate. The Sephirah of Geburah would in fact better fit such a description as It, not the Qliphoth, is the unrestrained element of God’s severity.

What then, one may ask, is the Qliphoth and how would understanding such forces contribute to magickal practice? Depending upon what one’s personal interpretation of the Qliphoth is, there is great potential in working with Qliphothic forces within the context of magick. Generally, many practitioners of Left-Hand Paths consider the Qliphoth to be something comparable to the ‘Satanists’ Tree of Life’. This is a very inaccurate description of the Qliphoth as it is not simply a Tree of Life for Satanists, but a container of forces which encapsulate the potential for destruction on many levels. However, Qliphothic sorcery - like aspects of any powerful magickal system, path or practice – is not intended for the casual dabbler.

Why would anyone endeavour to work with such destructive forces? Like anything within the Universe, the Qliphoth not only has the potential to destroy but also to create. While the emanative process of the Sephiroth does not function in the same manner, the Qliphoth have been employed by practitioners of many different magickal systems with favourable results. For some practitioners who are inclined towards psychological allegory within magick, the Qliphoth represent the negative states of existence. Some view the Qliphoth in a similar manner as one would view an astronomical Black Hole – perpetually drawing into Itself the Universe surrounding It.

If we were to indeed view the Qliphoth as the “anti-Sephiroth”, it would be marginally feasible that this “drawing into” aspect of Its Nature could be utilised for constructive ends. An example would be to examine each Qliphah and Its unique signature in order to harness the particular “artery” in concordance with the task at hand – for example, if one wished to counter his or her feelings of inner conflict over a decision, the artery of Thaumiel could be focused upon the aspect of his or her life in need of reparation. In this context, the individual arteries of the Qliphoth could be analogised as vacuums, drawing out accumulated energies which are no longer beneficial to the individual. This use of Qliphothic magick, however, is less akin to sorcery than it is to self-examination and self-cleansing. The Qliphoth can also be utilised for projective magick.

Some practitioners of Qliphothic Sorcery ascertain that the Qliphoth Themselves are inherently receptive – that is, as aforementioned, it is believed that the Tree of Death only draws Into Itself and therefore does not project Itself into the Universe. However, within the context of Judaic Kabbalism, this is not the case as it is believed that the Qliphoth are ever-influencing the world of Man – that it is Man, not the Qliphoth, which draws the Peels unto Himself. If this is the case, then utilising Qliphothic energies for projective magick can be rather straightforward – the invocation of a particular Qliphah may be sufficient. However, many magicians who believe that the Qliphoth are wholly receptive also believe that the key to utilising Qliphothic energy within the context of projective magick is not the Qliphoth Themselves, but the entities who govern Them. In the next article, we will explore some of the entities aligned with the Qliphoth and Their functions within.


Satan: Then & Now


Originally published 7 March 2011. © Torey B. Scott


“My names and manifestations on this plane are legion, I have been known to many, but understood by but a few.” -Liber Azazel

It makes sense to introduce this section with a simple question—who exactly is Satan? Most Neo-Pagans assume that they know the answer. For these Neo-Pagans, especially Neo-Wiccans, Satan is simply a Christian invention derived by the Church as a means of frightening Pagans into religious submission. While there is little doubt that Satan, as most know Him today, has Christianity to thank for His bad reputation, He is most assuredly not a “Christian invention”.

In order to better understand the evolution of the mythology behind the name, we will have to work our way backwards to the beginning of His story. Amongst Theistic Satanists today, Satan is a very real being. Something that is exceedingly common is to assume that Satanists worship “The Devil”—the embodiment of evil. For myself and others, Satan and “The Devil” are two different entities altogether.

The role and character of The Devil have been blown entirely out of proportion thanks to the Christian obsession with Satan’s perceived influence over humanity. According to fundamentalists, The Devil controls every aspect of daily life—it is constantly seeking to lure human beings into its snares through the pursuit of earthly pleasures such as rock music, dancing, sex and (of course) alternative religions. One would think, from listening to such claims, that The Devil’s power must surely rival that of the Almighty’s! With so much paranoia and obsession feeding such a concept, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Christians have, through their unfounded fears, created their own Devil.

Many of you may be familiar with what is commonly known as an egregore or thoughtform. The concept of an egregore revolves around the school of thought in which it is accepted that with enough belief and energy poured into a specific character or idea, such a thing may “come into being”—fiction essentially becomes reality. A similar concept drives many of the principles behind Chaos Magick. While there is substance to the system of creating and working with fantastical imagery, for the purposes of this book I will leave the topic at that. It is a commonly shared belief within Theistic Satanism that The Devil is, in fact, an egregore and should not be confused with Satan.

Why and how, you may ask, is The Devil different to Satan? The answer comes in understanding the original role of Satan within the Judeo-Christian context. Satan’s Biblical origins establish that He was, in fact, an angel whose duty was to influence the lives and fortunes of human beings in an attempt to test their faith in and loyalty to God. This means that all of the supposed “evil” for which Satan was responsible was not only condoned by God, but was wholly devised by God. Satan was simply one of many angelic beings whose role was that of the “accuser”—responsible for revealing to God those whose faith was shakeable.

In Hebrew, the word ha-Satan, the word from which Satan’s name was derived, actually denotes a title, not a proper name—loosely translating as “accuser”, “adversary” or even “prosecutor”. Because ha-Satan is not necessarily applied to one entity, it must be understood that it is entirely possible that there is more than one Satan. In fact, the Apocryphal Book of Enoch specifically describes six such Satans, fallen angels and former Grigori whose supposed evil actions in relation to the Beni Elohim earned them God’s condemnation. Additionally, the second Book of Enoch identifies a specific angel, Satanael, as the Prince of the Grigori who was also cast out of heaven for his offenses and a similar angel, called Semjâzâ, is also described in the first Book of Enoch. However it must be made clear that not all Satanists subscribe to the Judeo-Christian descriptions of Satan as a fallen angel and accuser for God. Those who do, however, typically identify with the Satan portrayed in the Biblical Book of Job—an angel whose role is that of the trickster, accuser and tester of Mankind.

In contrast, the image of The Devil in many cases seems to contradict the original role of Satan. The word devil is derived from the Greek word for “slanderer”—diabolos. The Book of Job sees the Hebrew term ha-Satan (Accuser) evolve into ho diabolos (Slanderer) within the Greek Septuagint translation of the Bible. It is not until the advent of The New Testament that the term diabolos becomes much more identifiable with Satan, being mentioned more than thirty times alongside His name. One note of historical curiosity is that some early Gnostic sects and the 11th century French Christian sect known as the Cathars denoted the Christian God of The Old Testament, not Satan, as “The Devil”, a malevolent entity which whose purpose was, through deception, to enslave humanity.

“For God to be free of responsibility for human evil, humanity must be capable of freely choosing to be diabolically evil. But if human beings can freely choose to be diabolically, purely, evil, Satan and his demons are redundant.” -Phillip Cole – The Myth of Evil

Mainstream Christianity has taken the original mythology behind the Biblical Satan and His role and has exaggerated it, embellished it and subsequently evolved it to such an extent that The Devil has become a character of its own. Most of the popular Christian beliefs about The Devil today have actually been derived from The New Testament and the writings of Christian scholars whose own beliefs and interpretations of Biblical lore have contributed to the modern imagery behind The Devil. Concepts such as Hell being the abode of The Devil and the ongoing war between the Christian God and this evil entity for the possession of human souls have no real basis within the Hebrew foundations of the Bible. In a very basic sense, it may be said that Satan is the entity of the Hebrew Biblical tradition and The Devil, the personification of evil, belongs to Christian theology and the traditions of The New Testament. It may be easy to see why so many Satanists take offense to being mistaken for devil worshipers.

In addition to The Devil, Theistic Satanists do not generally consider Satan to be the same entity as the Christian depiction of Lucifer. I personally do not subscribe to the belief that Lucifer and Satan are one in the same. This is perhaps one of the most obvious differences between Theistic Satanism and the related practice of Luciferianism. Like many other Theistic Satanists, I do not believe that Lucifer is Satan primarily due to the fact that the Biblical origins of the word lucifer have nothing to do with Satan.

It is commonly assumed that Lucifer was simply another name used in the Bible to denote Satan, but this is inaccurate. Lucifer means “morning star” in Latin and occurs in the Bible primarily as a translation of a metaphorical title given to a Babylonian King whose fall was detailed in a passage from Isaiah 14:12:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!” -Isaiah 14:12 - King James Version of the Holy Bible

The Babylonian King was referred to as “day star” or “morning star” by Isaiah in reference to the fact that the King’s fall was comparable to the Canaanite myth in which the personified Morning Star, whose arrogance had inspired it to ascend the heavens and to establish itself on the mountain of the gods, is cast into the Underworld. This ancient myth would later be adopted in the second Book of Enoch. In this adaptation, the Grigori Prince, Satanael (replacing the Morning Star of the Canaanite myth), arrogantly aspires to establish his throne higher than the clouds over the earth, desiring to be all-powerful. He leads a rebellion of angels which ultimately fails to succeed, finding himself and his cohorts cast down for their transgressions.

Jerome, responsible for the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, translated the original Hebrew passage as lucifer qui mane oriebaris which, in English, means “morning star that once rose early”. Erroneously, later Christian scholars decided that this entire passage referred to Satan and alluded to the myth of His fall from grace, thereafter the name of Lucifer becoming synonymous with Him. Many Neo-Wiccans and Neo-Pagans tend to believe that Lucifer is the name of a Roman God, a similar belief is found within the context of Gnosticism in which Lucifer is the son of the goddess Sophia.

Many Theistic Satanists accept the depiction of Satan as the serpent responsible for tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden as well as the Gnostic interpretation of Him as being the entity responsible for giving Knowledge to humanity. Although I personally believe that this particular story is allegorical, it nevertheless speaks of Satan’s role as a being concerned with forcing us to question those things in our lives which bind or hinder us. In Hebraic traditions, the entity responsible for the temptation of Eve and her subsequent impregnation with Cain was known as Samael, or “poison of God”. Samael is often equated with Satan by both Hebraic and Christian scholars, but within Talmudic mythology, Samael is regarded as the angel of death and one of the principle Archangels. Jewish traditions do not consider Samael to be evil as His role, in addition to being the angel of death, is that of the accuser, acting upon the direction of God. In other mystical traditions such as those of Zoharistic Kabbalah, Samael becomes the “prince the demons”, a fallen angel, and consort of the four Demonesses of sacred prostitution—Naamah, Lilith, Eisheth Zenunim and Agerath bat Machaloth. In addition to Kabbalistic tradition, Samael’s role as a sinister entity emerged with the advent of Gnosticism in which He is considered to be the demiurge. I do not believe that Satan is a fallen angel in the Biblical sense—for me, He is a god like any other god. I believe that He is, indeed, an “accuser”, but in the sense that He inspires us to take a long hard look at ourselves, to question our boundaries and personal convictions. There is almost a unanimous belief amongst Theistic Satanists that through the pursuit of Knowledge, understanding things for ourselves instead of accepting what we are told by others, we are upholding the spirit of Satan’s lesson that Knowledge is Power.

In religions which view Knowledge as dangerous and threatening to the authority of God and the clergy, Satan would naturally be seen as the adversary to law and order. Perhaps it is because so many Satanists embrace a rather anarchic philosophy when it comes to religious and moral constraints that Satan is such an ideal champion for the human experience. In both Corinthians and the Book of John, Satan is described as the “god” or “prince” of this world. What this means is that Satan is concerned with the mundane, with the pursuit of pleasure and the importance of the enjoyment of incarnation. In Christian theology, worldliness and earthly pleasures are seen as devices through which Satan operates—instilling within human beings a desire to put themselves and their own wants ahead of their relationship with God. It is because of this belief that many Christian denominations shun modern conveniences such as televisions, computers and telephones. These things are seen as serving the interests of Satan.

The mythology of Satan also encompasses other religions such as Islam. Iblis, the angel of Islamic deity Allah, is given a very similar role and nature to that of Satan in the Qu’ranic tradition. In Islamic myth, Iblis refused Allah’s command for the angels, or Djinn, to bow before Adam. He saw Adam as being inferior to the angels—Adam was, after all, made from clay and the angels had been created from fire. Allah condemned Iblis and he was thereafter known as Shaitan, which translates loosely to “rebel”. Shaitan then roamed the earth, vowing to lead astray those human beings whose faith in Allah was questionable. Like the Judeo-Christian God, Allah condones Shaitan’s testing of Mankind.

The figure of Melek Taus within the Yezidi mythos is reminiscent of Satan, as well. Shaitan is, in fact, an alternate name for Melek Taus; although it is unclear if this attribution is the result of an outside Muslim influence. The Yezidi religion is little understood by most. It is suggested that the majority of its beliefs are pre-Islamic in origin which infers that, if Malek Taus and Satan are identical, Satan’s beginnings may be much more ancient than previously understood.

With so many similar mythologies scattered throughout the world’s cultures, it is difficult to say where and when the Satan of Theistic Satanism originated. Many suggest that His roots lie within Zoroastrianism in the guise of the principle entity of evil, Angra Mainyu. However, such a character did not appear within Zoroastrianism until the later appearance of Zurvanism which disappeared before the 10th century. Figures similar to Satan can be found in nearly every world religion—deities such as Loki, Rahu, Mara, Set and Enki have all been compared to Him. However I am not a soft polytheist and therefore do not believe that all of these deities are the same or that they are merely facets of Satan. There is no consensus amongst Theistic Satanists as to who Satan actually is—because it is a highly individualistic religion and because it encompasses many unique paths and points of view, Theistic Satanism acknowledges many different interpretations of Satan’s identity and role within the lives of human beings.

I have been confronted with the assertion by some Neo-Pagans that Satan is nothing more than an amalgamation of pre-Christian gods, created by Christians in an attempt to frighten Pagans into converting to Christianity. As we have already discussed, Satan’s origins are much older than Christianity, but there is some element of truth to this notion. Although similar monstrous depictions of Satan had existed for much longer, according to Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon, it was during the 19th century that Christian writers and representatives began to create a physical representation of Satan that overtly resembled that of the Pagan Horned Gods of old, most notably Pan. This was in reaction to the increasing prevalence of Pan’s appearance within literary works of the time. It would therefore be much more valid to state that Satan’s physical appearance, not He Himself, is primarily a Christian invention derived from depictions of Pagan gods.

There are sects and individuals who believe that Satan is not merely one of many deities, but rather that He is the only deity—the Creator of the Universe and identical to the Neo-Pagan concept of the All. There are others still who believe in a similar concept in which Satan is the Creative Force behind the Universe as well as the Source of all deific manifestations. This belief in one all-encompassing energetic consciousness, expressing itself within the Worlds as deific masks or facets, is the embodiment of soft polytheism in which individual deities are aspects of the greater Whole.

For those Satanists who embrace aspects of Christian theology, Satan’s realm is Hell or a division thereof. I subscribe to a variation of this belief—for me, Satan is a god of the Underworld (which I do not necessarily refer to as “Hell”). I will discuss my personal Cosmology later on, but I do believe that the Underworld is the abode of many deities and Otherworldly entities besides Satan and the Demons. Theistic Satanists who also consider themselves to be Demonolators tend to regard Satan as the Lord of the Demons as He is often described within classical Grimoires. In such works, Satan is sometimes considered to be the highest-ranking Demon within particular hierarchies, commanding Demons such as Beelzebub, Astaroth and Asmodeus amongst others.

There can be a great deal of confusion where Satan’s aliases are concerned—names such as Leviathan, Baphomet, Azazel, Samael, Mastema, Abaddon and the aforementioned Beelzebub are all names which have been applied to Satan. Beliefs will differ from individual to individual, but it is widely accepted that names such as Leviathan, Beelzebub and Abaddon refer to separate Demons and not to Satan Himself.

Amongst Atheistic Satanists, Satan is not understood to be a supernatural entity at all. He is, instead, a representation or a symbol of individuality, rebellion against conformity and the pursuit of natural human desires. To Theistic Satanists who embrace components of LaVeyan philosophy, Satan embodies all of these characteristics whilst remaining a very real and sentient being. Atheistic Satanism is perhaps the most visible strain of Satanism in existence today, but it is often misinterpreted by Christians and Neo-Pagans as being concerned with worshiping The Devil. Atheistic Satanism employs the use of symbolism and ritualised taboo-breaking as a means of psychological evolution for the individual; but, Satan, as the antithesis of established religious dogma, serves as a figurehead and inspirational device rather than an external entity.

Where personal relationships with Satan are concerned, there are many points of view depending upon the practitioner and his or her theological persuasions, sect orientation and experiences. There are some who view Satan as a teacher and a father figure—in fact it is not uncommon to encounter individuals who refer to Him as Father. Others may enjoy a less intimate relationship with Him, choosing to honour Him as a guide and mentor. In my experiences, Satan has been less of a father figure and more of a friend and companion. He is empathetic, involved and willing to listen to my sorrows as well as share in my happiness. Others with a stronger leaning towards Neo-Paganism may choose to think of Him as the God—the consort of the great Mother Goddess. Thus Satan becomes the Horned God, a less popular but certainly a valid perspective.

I believe that there is almost always a lingering fear of Hell and damnation for those Neo-Pagans and non-Neo-Pagans alike that have come from a Christian family or upbringing. I know that I had my doubts when I came to Neo-Paganism in my late teens—there was always this nagging worry at the back of my mind which asked, “what if the Christians are right and I’m really going to Hell?” This is, in my opinion, a natural reaction—especially when one has been told repeatedly of the “realities” of sin and The Devil. There is little doubt that there are individuals who have come to alternative religions and who subsequently deny the existence of Satan in an act of overcompensation for the fact that they are afraid that He may actually exist. This is not to say that this is the sole reason why some Neo-Pagans and Wiccans do not believe in Satan—most assuredly, everyone has a right not to believe in something. However to acknowledge Satan’s existence is not to “admit” that the Christians are right in any way—after all, I believe in Satan and I do not for a moment believe that myself nor anyone else is destined for eternal damnation.

As I mentioned earlier, the Christian preoccupation with the belief that Satan is embroiled in a constant struggle with God over the souls of human beings is nonsense. Because so much of what makes up Christian theology was established by scholars and based upon their own interpretations of the Scriptures well after the death of Christ, there is little left which historically or Biblically supports the idea that Satan is anything like the lying, wicked “Father of Lies” of which He has so unjustly been accused.

I have always found it humorous, but understandable, when I am asked if I have “sold my soul to Satan”. Let me assure you that I have not sold my soul to anyone. Some Satanists choose to enter into agreements or pacts with Him or with their Patron Demon. Before you allow your mind to conjure up images of Faust and “deals with The Devil”, understand that real-life Satanic pacts have nothing in common with their fictional counterparts save outward appearances. We will discuss pacts at length in the next section of the book.

As many Neo-Pagans have begun to warm to the idea of accepting other Christian figures such as the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ or Mary Magdalene into their personal pantheons, it must be stressed that there is little argument in support of a continuing Neo-Pagan denouncement of Satan. I strongly disagree with religious cherry-picking when it comes to deity—I believe that one should be consistent in his or her support or lack thereof. For me, it makes little sense to insist that Jesus Christ is real and worthy of being honoured but that Satan, on the other hand, is not real and is thus not worthy of being honoured.

I have heard the argument from Neo-Pagans who include Jesus within their personal pantheons that Jesus was not the “son of God” but was, instead, simply a prophet or champion of peace, having ascended to the unseen planes and who continues to guide those who reach out to him. Through this explanation, they justify their continued denial of Satan’s existence by claiming that the Bible was only a partial-truth and that Satan is either entirely fictional or simply has no power over human beings. I find this simply absurd in the fact that if their argument is that the Bible is but a half-truth and that Jesus was not whom he was portrayed to be, why then can Satan not play a different role? It is quite a stretch to strip Jesus of his identity as the son of God when the New Testament is quite clear that this was his nature; and, it is an even further stretch to dismiss the existence of Satan entirely on the basis that doing so negates the Christians’ argument against alternative religions being The Devil’s playground. I find it interesting that everyone else in the Bible can somehow assume a different role except for Satan who, mysteriously, remains “evil”.

Satan enjoys a much more welcoming reputation amongst Satanists in that He is embraced as the wellspring of Knowledge and as the true god of Man. Many Theistic Satanists and Demonolators work with Satan in a more transcendent manner—choosing to simply honour Him through prayer and ritual, but never experiencing a vision of Him outside of their own imaginations. For others, techniques such as Shamanic journeying, scrying and intense ritual work have afforded them the opportunity to experience His many manifestations. When I speak of manifestations, I must make it clear that I am not talking about Satan appearing in a puff of smoke. As most active practitioners of Neo-Paganism already know, deities manifest Themselves in a variety of ways—most often these encounters occur during altered states of consciousness.

Some have described Satan as appearing in the form of an old man with white hair, a beard and black eyes—others have described him as being of a ruddy complexion and as having auburn hair. I have encountered Satan through Shamanic journey several times and He has always manifested Himself for me as a clean-shaven, middle-aged man of either Middle Eastern or Eastern European appearance. Deities will almost always appear to us in a form which either means something to us personally or with which we are most likely to feel comfortable. Some deities may not ever appear in human form, instead choosing to assume the guise of an animal, plant or force of nature.

Whatever His history, origins, nature or appearance, Satan has inarguably touched the lives of many people from many different walks of life. Perhaps in this awakening Aeon a new destiny awaits the devils of old--or, perhaps, the world will finally see a new friend in an old enemy.