- What is the difference between Theistic Satanism and LaVeyan Satanism? I thought that real Satanists didn't actually worship Satan?
- Why would you worship a being of pure evil?
- Isn't Satan just a Christian invention and/or vilification of the pagan deity, Pan?
- Do you sacrifice animals to Satan?
- Do you condone ritual murder?
- Isn't what you practice just "reverse Christianity"?
- Are Luciferians and Theistic Satanists the same thing?
- Do Theistic Satanists believe in Hell and want to go there when they die?
- Do all Theistic Satanists love death metal and wearing black clothing with chains and spikes?
- Do Theistic Satanists and LaVeyan Satanists hate one another?
- Are there "covens" of Theistic Satanists?
- I want to join a Satanic group! Where do I look? What do I need to be aware of?
- Are Theistic Satanists Neo-Nazis?
Q: What is the difference between Theistic Satanism and LaVeyan Satanism? I thought that real Satanists didn't actually worship Satan?
A: To simplify things, there are two basic forms of Satanism in existence today - Theistic Satanism and Atheistic Satanism. Anton LaVey's Satanism is atheistic in nature. Theistic Satanists believe that Satan is a real entity and honour Him as such whereas LaVeyan Satanists do not.
Regarding the term "real Satanism", there must be clarification. Many LaVeyan Satanists assert that there is "no such thiing as Theistic Satanism". This is incredibly ludicrous and untrue as we do exist and are as valid a path as any other. More accurately, it should be stated that there is no such thing as "real Satanism".
No one person and no one institution holds a trademark for the word Satanism. While Anton LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, brought the philosophies and ideologies of his vision of Satanism out of the shadows when it was published in 1969, it is documented that a belief in and veneration of Satan as a spiritual being has existed for hundreds of years within the context of the history of Western civilisation.
"Evil is a point of view." ~Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
A: In order to classify Satan as being "good" or "evil", one must first identify exactly who Satan is.
Many Theistic Satanists do not regard Satan as the antagonist of the New Testament, but rather regard Him as an unnamed, amorphous pre-Abrahamic pagan deity sometimes syncretically identifiable with a number of mythological entities ranging from Enki to Loki. This appropriation of Satan outside of His mythology of origin is the result of a longing to divorce Satan from His Judeo-Christian associations as "the Devil" and to assign a new mythology to an otherwise Semitic entity. One can see how easy it then becomes to completely alter the nature of Satan altogether by associating Him with a deity generally regarded as being "good" or simply a "trickster".
Within the parameters of His Semitic mythology of origin, Satan's nature is much more difficult to characterise. It must be understood that the Biblical figure of "Satan" is often misinterpreted as a singular entity. In actuality, Satan was a title as opposed to a proper name. The hebrew term Satan is often translated as "adversary" or "opponent" and sometimes "accuser". A Satan functioned in one of two primary manners.
Firstly, a Satan was often portrayed as an agent of YHWH, always as a Angel, whose purpose it was to test the devotion of Mankind to God. A Satan would often act on behalf of YHWH to trick, antagonise, oppress or torment an otherwise faithful servant of God in order to prove that the unforunate soul's devotion was circumstantial. Much of the wickedness attributed to Satan within the Bible is actually undeserved when viewed objectively - a Satan always acted under the direction of YHWH, a fact often overlooked and one that paints God, not Satan, as the architect of evil.
In another context, the role of a Satan was that of a fallen Angel who had opposed, acted independently of or challenged the authority of YHWH. We find such beings most notably within the pages of the Book of Enoch in the forms of the fallen Grigori, or Watcher Angels, who descended to Earth and took mortal wives - defying YHWH and discarding Their roles as guardians of Mankind.
Outside of the New Testament, there is very little evidence to support the theory that any Satan ever existed as anything other than an agent of YHWH. In this, the argument that Satan is a being of "pure evil" has no substance.
Amongst Theistic Satanists, there are varying interpretations of the nature of Satan. It would be erroneous to insist that there are no Theistic Satanists who regard Satan as wholly evil. Some do very much consider Him to be a "being of pure evil" and consequently willingly exalt "evil", but outside of a handful of individual practitioners and radical sects, the majority of Theistic Satanists do not hold to this view.
A: No. Although a gross over-simplification, Satan can be said to be an entity developed from within Judaism with perhaps even more ancient origins (depending upon your personal cosmology and regard for syncretic implications that He is equatable with any of the various "Satan-like" figures within ancient mythologies). As a "vilification of Pan", a common claim by Neo-Wiccans, it has been theorised that church figures constructed the "image" of Satan in the likeness of Pan to deter the practice of pagan idolatry in medieval times. So while the popular visual depiction of Satan as a goat-like horned entity may have come from such a "vilification", the mythological origins of the being most certainly did not.
A: No. A great many Theistic Satanists differentiate themselves from so-called "devil-worshipers" with the denunciation of this practice. "Pseudo-Satanists" or devil-worshipers tend to be teenagers or otherwise disturbed individuals who condone performing acts of criminality and cruelty either in an attempt to appear "scary" to others or because they genuinely believe in exalting evil in the name of Satan or "the Devil".
For the majority of Theistic Satanists, animal sacrifice is seen as an act of cowardice as many of us also draw upon and adhere to the philosophies of LaVeyan Satanism (in which animal sacrifice is condemned). Not only for the reason that it is contrary to Satanic philosophy, most Theistic Satanists who are also magickally disciplined see no viability, energetically nor ethically, in taking the life of an innocent creature when far more practical and humane methods of raising energy or creating libations exist. Blood sacrifice is most often the practice of using one's own blood, a far superior product, in rituals of veneration and offering.
A: No. Although there are radical sects within the umbrella of Theistic or Spiritual Satanism such as the alleged ONA (Order of Nine Angles) which may have condoned such an act, see above for the views of the majority of practitioners.
A: No. Many Theistic Satanists - especially those who come from a Christian background - do incorporate ritual acts of blasphemy and/or anti-Christian symbolism within their practices. However, there are just as many, if not more, who do not. The purpose of such blasphemy is generally seen as psychologically transformative - a method of breaking free from subconscious reservations due to religious programming through ritualised taboo-breaking. These rituals (i.e. the Black Mass) are most assuredly not essential to Theistic Satanism overall.
As I have already stated, Satan's origins pre-date Christianity - therefore, to reduce Theistic Satanism to mere "reverse Christianity" is a genuine demonstration of ignorance and bigotry. It would perhaps be more accurate to describe some practices of Theistic Satanism to be akin to Christian or Jewish heresy, but statements such as "Theistic Satanism is just reverse Christianity" insinuates that:
- All Theistic Satanists must participate in Christian blasphemy
- All Theistic Satanists must recognise and accept the legitimacy of the New Testament
- Theistic Satanism simply chooses to recognise YHWH and Jesus Christ as "the bad guys" and Satan as "the good guy"
- Theistic Satanists must spend a great deal of time "plotting" against Christians and Christian institutions
- An ultimate goal of Theistic Satanism is to convince others that YHWH and Jesus Christ are to be rejected
This kind of rhetoric smacks of Christian propaganda which is hardly surprising if such a statement was made by a Christian. However, the fact that I have seen this statement made by Neo-Pagans is surprising. I have seen Neo-Pagans state that "we don't even believe in Satan - Satanism is just reverse Christianity". It implies that these individuals are still clinging to a subconscious fear of reprimand by the Christian God - and by divorcing themselves from Satanists, they feel that this will somehow earn them an oversight from God while convincing Christians that Neo-Pagans are not "evil" because the "real evil" is Satanism.
A: No. Luciferians revere the concept and entity known as Lucifer. Lucifer is not generally regarded to be equatable with Satan amongst Theistic Satanists. Lucifer is often seen as a being of "Light" - bringing illumination through Knowledge to Humanity. He is sometimes considered to be a demonized Roman God. The reality is the regard for Lucifer as an entity, most notably a fallen Angel, is due to a misinterpretation to a passage in Isaiah.
Michael W. Ford's "Luciferianism" is not typical of most Luciferians - it has more in common with aspects of the practices of Theistic Satanism than with Luciferianism - although it is certainly not the same thing. That being said, Ford's works are not generally praised by Theistic Satanists due to controversy.
For further reading, please see my article Luciferianism & Theistic Satanism: Are They the Same?
A: Yes and no. This question cannot be fairly answered as everyone believes differently. Theistic Satanism is an umbrella term - in much the same way that "Wicca" is an umbrella term - and there are numerous sects and beliefs within. Some view "Hell" as the realm of Satan and would like for their spirits to reside there after death whereas others do not. There is no general belief in Hell.
A: No. I do personally, but I was a Goth long before I was a Satanist. This "look" is typical of teenage pseudo-Satanists hoping to come across as cool or "scary" (or, for my case, a middle-aged man who has not realised that he is too old for the look).
A: "Hate" is a very powerful word. Generally, they do not get along - although there are many who do.
A: Yes, although Theistic Satanists do not typically call their groups "covens", but rather just refer to them as groups. Surprisingly, it is not the "norm" for Theistic Satanists to practice within such groups as most practitioners are solitary.
A: Most legitimate Theistic Satanic groups do not "advertise" themselves or their gatherings through means such as Facebook, Craigslist or Meetup.com. Finding a reputable group within which one may hope to find comraderie, intellectual stimulation and spiritual belonging is achieved through networking.
It is unwise for an inexperienced Seeker to project themselves into an established Satanic group, be it online or in real life. Online "Satanic communities" tend to be dominated by LaVeyan Satanists who can be exceptionally intolerant of or outwardly aggressive towards Theistic Satanism. Additionally, Theistic Satanic groups seeking to "recruit" members are often cultish and dangerous. These groups tend to be populated by pseudo-Satanists and devil-worshipers as opposed to actual Theistic Satanists. There must a great deal of caution exercised when considering the legitimacy of Satanic groups.
As I have already said, networking is an invaluable tool for Seekers. Many individual practitioners of Theistic Satanism are visible online (myself included) and encourage Seekers to contact them. However, just as there are radical and dangerous Satanic groups, there are radical and dangerous individuals who label themselves Theistic Satanists. Researching is key to understanding and discerning legitimate Theistic Satanic practices and recognising those which are atypical and/or extremist.
A general rule of thumb is that if a particular group or individual expresses views, ideals or a belief in values with which you fundamentally disagree for any reason whatsoever, you should avoid them altogether.
Often, groups will attempt to convince newcomers that the group's ideals and ways of thinking are the "right way" and that the newcomer's ideals and ways of thinking are the "wrong way". Many such groups encourage newcomers to read their (often well-written and verbose) tractates, books and manifestos in an attempt to further sway the Seeker to fall into line.
This website details some of the warning signs of potentially harmful groups which every new Seeker should familiarise themselves with.
A: No. The overwhelming majority of Theistic Satanists are normal everyday people with normal lives and normal everday associations. Although the media certainly delights in associating Neo-Nazis with Satanism, it is not common nor do all Theistic Satanists hold to Neo-Nazi ideology.
However, just as there are radical groups with Satanism which demonstrate an inclination towards criminality and atypical practices such as animal and human sacrifice - there are also those individuals and groups which do condone and associate with Neo-Nazism. Many follow radical movements such as that of the the Neo-völkisch movement or the Black Metal "Satanic" underground. Not surprisingly, alleged ONA mastermind, David Myatt reportedly immersed himself within activities and perspectives aligned with Neo-Nazism.
As within any religion, extremist factions have existed and will always exist within Theistic Satanism.