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Are these the 20 scariest horror movies of all time? – TheSpec.com

17. ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) Roman Polanski's film about a pregnant woman (Mia Farrow) who gets snookered into Satanism is a slow-building chiller, but the climactic payoff is one of the best you'll ever see.

16. GET OUT (2017) Jordan Peele's story of a young black man (Daniel Kaluuya) meeting his white girlfriend's parents is essentially a race-based version of "The Stepford Wives." It works best as satirical commentary but has enough wig-out moments to earn a place on this list.

15. THE EVIL DEAD (1981) Five college kids find an audiotape that releases demons in this sophomore feature from Sam Raimi. It's freaky great fun thanks to clever camerawork, a sly sense of humour and a star turn from Bruce Campbell.

14. THE OMEN (1976) This knock-off of "The Exorcist" met with mixed reviews but is now considered an iconic horror film in its own right. Harvey Stevens is unforgettable as Damien, a literal demon child, while several top-shelf actors (Gregory Peck, Lee Remick) play the unfortunate adults around him.

13. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) Three filmmakers enter a Maryland forest to investigate a local myth. Assembled from their "found" footage, "The Blair Witch Project" uses virtually nothing but weird noises and shaky camerawork by the actors themselves to create an atmosphere of deep-reaching terror.

12. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) Hooper's low-budget shocker about cannibals preying on hippies was the perfect mid-'70s horror film, a grisly stew of Manson mythology and redneckphobia. Not for the faint of heart.

11. POLTERGEIST (1982) One of two Tobe Hooper films on this list, "Poltergeist" has been almost as widely imitated as "Psycho" or "Halloween." (There's some controversy about whether producer Steven Spielberg "really" directed it.) This is the movie that made an entire generation afraid to watch television.

10. JAWS (1975) Steven Spielberg's masterpiece about an outsize shark may not pack the scares-per-minute of other films on this list. It's part horror movie, part adventure epic. But for white-knuckle suspense plus several nasty surprises "Jaws" is tough to beat.

9. THE THING (1982) John Carpenter's remake of the 1951 classic about a creature discovered in Antarctica is a screamingly great horror flick, full of gore, goo and flame-throwers. The ace cast includes Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley and Keith David.

8. AUDITION (1999) This sneak attack of a movie begins straightforwardly enough with a Japanese widower looking for a younger lover. The harrowing second half no spoilers must be seen to believed. Directed by Takashi Miike.

7. HEREDITARY (2018) Ari Aster's story of an artist (Toni Collette) ensnared by a cult may be too intense for some. Critics raved, but freaked-out audiences gave it a rare D+ CinemaScore. You've been warned.

6. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) Jonathan Demme's modern classic is still the only horror film to win the Oscar for best picture. Anthony Hopkins' sinister and highly quotable Hannibal Lecter is the cinematic serial killer by which all others are now judged.

5. PSYCHO (1960) Alfred Hitchcock's most famous film may not jolt audiences the way it once did. But it's still a terrific shocker, from Anthony Perkins' unnerving performance as the ultimate mama's boy to the lightbulb-swinging climax.

4. HALLOWEEN (1978) John Carpenter terrorized middle America with this simple but effective tale about a serial killer stalking suburban teenagers. Even today, "Halloween" feels like your worst nightmare: a home invasion perpetrated by a semi-supernatural being. Jamie Lee Curtis makes her big-screen debut as terrorized babysitter Laurie Strode.

3. ALIEN (1979) Director Ridley Scott admitted that "Alien" was basically "Jaws in space." Nevertheless, thanks to a groundbreakingly hideous space creature (designed by illustrator H.R. Geiger) and a tough-as-nails Sigourney Weaver as the last survivor on a doomed craft, Scott's movie remains the first word in modern sci-fi horror.

2. THE EXORCIST (1973) Audiences reportedly fainted and vomited during screenings of William Friedkin's film about a little girl possessed by a demon (Linda Blair, in a head-spinning, Oscar-nominated turn). Hype aside, this is still an absolute hair-raiser, especially the later editions that restored the eye-popping "spider-walk" scene.

1. THE SHINING (1980) When it comes to imitators, Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," based on Stephen King's 1977 novel, stands alone. Nobody has ever re-created a hotel quite like the Overlook, nor has anyone equalled Jack Nicholson's unhinged performance as a father gone mad. It's a monolith of terror, undiminished even after nearly 40 years.

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Are these the 20 scariest horror movies of all time? - TheSpec.com

40 Scariest Halloween Movies of All Time – Best Classic Horror Movies – Esquire

Ever since movies like Get Out and Hereditary hit big, weve seen a superhero-like amount of horror films hit theatersand, thanks to streaming services like Shudder, about a centurys worth of cult gems dug up from the grave. Its a lot to sort through, so we rounded up 40 of the spookiest options for you to this Halloween season. Fair warning: When I watched one of the movies on this list (George Romeros Martin) for the first time, my buddy passed out in the first five minutes and an ambulance showed up. So proceed with caution.

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After her estranged mother dies, Annie (Toni Collette) begins to notice some peculiar activity around her house. After another shocking tragedy, Annie begins to spiral out of control. Is there a supernatural force attempting to manipulate her family, or is it all in her head?

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A family (led by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) silently navigate a post-apocalyptic world, stalked at every turn by monsters that hunt their prey with a supercharged sense of hearing. Although the family of survivalists have so far managed to avoid the extraterrestrial hunters, the fractures within their own relationships may lead to their downfall. You will spend this entire movie on the edge of your seat.

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In Jennifer Kent's gothic Australian thriller, a young widow is burdened with her troubled six-year-old son. But it only gets worse for the beleaguered mother when the titular character of her son's picture bookthe tall, top hat-wearing spook named the Babadookbegins to creep beyond the pages of his book and wreaks havoc on the mother and son.

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Six adventurous women go into the dark depths of an unmapped cave in North Carolina, hoping for a fun trek through the darkness. But their mountain vacation is disrupted when they discover that they aren't the only ones in the cave, which also happens to be full of flesh-eating humanoid monsters who hunt them women down.

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Annie thinks she's found a nice guy in her new boyfriend, but after they have sex, he reveals that he's being stalked with an unnamed evilwhich will now hunt her down until she can pass "it" onto the next person she sleeps with. The moody, retro-inspired horror film is a modern classic with an unsettling, unimaginable monster that our heroine must outsmart.

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A young black photographer (Daniel Kaluuya) joins his girlfriend (Allison Williams) for a visit to her suspicious, Obama-supporting parents' home and discovers that they can't be trusted in Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning modern masterpiece. In Esquire, Stephen Thrasher called the film, "The Best Movie Ever Made About American Slavery."

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It's hard to pull off a children-from-hell movie, which makes it all the more remarkable how beautifully this Austrian thriller unspools the mystery of twin boys (who for some unknown reason are always wearing matching tank tops) and their mother whose face is disguised in bandages and may not be their mother.

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In the very literally titled French art-horror classic, a famous and unhinged surgeon kidnaps beautiful women and tries to transplant their faces onto his daughter who is, yes, missing a face.

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Wes Craven was one of a few masters of horror who plumbed the depths of America's Vietnam War-era cultural divides in this grimy, arty thriller about two teenage girls who encounter escaped prisoners in the big cityand how the tables get violently turned.

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In the most disturbing allegory for childbearing gone wrong, Mia Farrow's Rosemary becomes increasingly panicked about her painful pregnancy and the mysterious neighbors in a building with a history of Satanism. The great Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for her role as Rosemary's fiendishly quirky neighbor, who isn't as sweet as she seems.

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Samantha, a broke college student struggling to pay her rent, picks up a babysitting job from a weird couple named the Ulmans. Things get even more strange when Samantha learns that her charge is not a child, but in fact Mr. Ulman's ailing mother. Foolishly ignoring her intuition, Samantha's gig turns into a night from hell when she realizes the Ulmans have some particularly devious plans for her.

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Nearly four decades after its release, The Exorcist is still the scariest movie ever madeand features one of the most terrifying movie villains in Regan MacNeil, an innocent 12-year-old girl possessed by a demonic force. William Friedkin's Oscar-nominated film was pretty much the first prestige horror movie, with incredible performances, heavy thematic material, and game-changing scares.

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Donnie Darko which gave us a taste of how great (and weird) Jake Gyllenhall could befollows Donnie as his cliche teenage-social-outcast problems somehow accrue interdimensional stakes. Its a perfect scary-movie blend: A troubled teen, memorable monster, all set during the Halloween season.

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It created the modern zombie genre, and its fondness for sociopolitical echoes. But even more than that legacy, George A. Romero's low-budget black-and-white original proved that you don't need money to create a horror classic; you just need braiiiiiiiins.

Compass International Pictures

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John Carpenter's bogeyman slasher nightmare spawned a legion of inferior sequels that couldn't diminish the ominous power of his original, about a psychopath who returns to his hometown years later to don a misshaped William Shatner mask and stalk Jamie Lee Curtis.

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Arguably the scariest film of all time, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's bestseller generates terror from its meticulous filmmaking. And, courtesy of Jack Nicholson's turn as a murderous paterfamilias, it also features the most memorable horror-movie performance in the past few decades.

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The story of a child molester who returns from the dead to prey upon his killers' children in dreams, Wes Craven's seminal shocker recognizes that you're never more vulnerable than when asleepa fact that naturally set up countless scares for one of the biggest horror franchises in film history

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Its sequel may boast grander man-vs.-beast action, but Ridley Scott's gorgeous 1979 outer-space saga about a group of astronauts battling against a malevolent extraterrestrial is still the franchise's most deeply frightening installment.

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Ignore all the remakes, remake sequels, and remake prequels, and stick with Tobe Hooper's original 1974 grindhouser, about a slightly unhinged hippie-hating family with a house notable for its giant meet hooks, human bone furniture, and slammable slaughterhouse metal doors.

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A cautionary tale about the perils of stealing from your bossand, also, about staying at roadside motels run by mamma's boys. Alfred Hitchcock originated the surprise first-act murder of the star with the story of a woman (Janet Leigh) on the run who is way too accepting of a dark-haired stranger's (Anthony Perkins) generosity.

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The only thing scarier than facing off against a hideous intergalactic monster is facing off against one that has the ability to shape-shift into human forma who's-the-creature scenario that director John Carpenter employs for intense suspense (with some great, gross special effects).

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Japanese director Takeshi Miike is infamous for pushing the boundaries of good taste, though he's rarely delivered more extreme tension than with this 1999 film about a man who discovers that dating can be a deadly affair.

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A young outcast boy meets, and falls in love with, a young immortal bloodsucker in this superb 1980-set Swedish vampire romance from Tomas Alfredson, which climaxes with an unforgettable pool sequence.

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Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho's 2006 film is a fantastic, Spielbergian tale of a South Korean family under siege from an extraordinary foenamely, a giant sea monster created from toxic dumping.

Empire International Pictures

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Michael Rooker is a serial killer whose crimes don't warrant much attention from the powers that be in John McNaughton's cold, clinical, harrowing character study (partly based on real events).

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Brian De Palma's adaptation of Stephen King's novel is an unbearably disturbing portrait of youthful alienation and fury, with one of the genre's most unforgettable fire-and-brimstone endings.

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A couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) grieving from the death of their daughter become convinced that she's trying to contact them from beyond the grave in Nicolas Roeg's profoundly unnerving thriller. You'll never look at little girls in red coats the same way again.

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The movie that for a brief time in the early aughts made everyone afraid of their TV. Naomi Watts plays a journalist investigating why people keep dying from watching a certain video tape. And just like all of the best scary movies, it's got a creepy kid.

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When The Blair With Project originally came out in 1999, people didn't know whether it was real or fiction. Advertised as "found video footage," it tells the story of three students who travel to a small town to investigate a murder, and eventually get terrorized in the woods.

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Sam Raimi's 2009 horror film is the perfect example of unspeakable horror and gross-out humor. Alison Lohman plays a bank loan officer who turns down an elderly woman's request for an extension on her mortgage payment. The woman retaliates in witchy ways, placing a curse on her new enemy and promising an untimely death.

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A nine-year-old Russian girl adopted by a kind American couple (played by Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard), Esther begins to act out in dangerous ways: bullying her new brother as well as kids at school, murdering a nun, and trying to seduce her new adopted father. It doesn't take one long to realize that maybe this kid is not all she seems.

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If youre Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagino, how do you follow up one of the most memorable love stories of the 2010s? By making one of its best horror films. His remake of Dario Argentos 1977 classic puts Dakota Johnson in the leading role as an American dancer auditioning at a world-famous dance academy in Berlin (where, spoiler, the dance instructors arent just dance instructors!).

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Before James Gunn hit it big with Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy, he was making weird-as-hell genre flickslike the Michael Rooker and Elizabeth Banks-led Slither. Yes, theres a comedic bent to the movie, which takes place in a small town that an alien organism begins to terrorize, but its body horror elements will leave a slug-sized stamp on your brain.

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In Robert Eggerss feature directorial debut, a Puritan family in colonial New England move to a farm outside of their Plymouth colony, where they encounter all kinds of crazy supernatural shit in its surrounding forest. Come for the period-piece colonial throwback, stay for the scary goats.

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If youre unfamiliar with the story, which is based on a Stephen King novel, It follows a group of children battling against an ancient, supernatural clown named Pennywise. Of course, the 1990, Tim Curry-led It miniseries will always be a classicbut Pennywise was just begging for 21st Century, big-budget CGI effects. The giant clown in that projector scene? Tentacles swinging from Pennywises mouth? Good luck sleeping.

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Even though this horror-world OG is nearly 100 (!) years old, this story of Count Orloks hosting of Thomas Hutter still delivers the goods. Yeah, old scary movies like this tend to look a little campy in modern times, but Noseferatus creepy mug, shadowy photography, and a timely message about xenophobia hold up today.

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Body-snatching plots will always be unnervingand Philip Kaufmans remake of the 1956 original nails exactly why that is. The incredible cast of Jeff Goldblum, Donald Sutherland, and Leonard Nimoy star in the film, where San Franciscos citizens start acting a little weirdand Goldblums character is tasked with finding out the cause.

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I would imagine its hard to make a cannibal movie, let alone one thats not a gross-out mess or a campy write-off. Raw, which tracks a vegetarian starting her first semester at veterinary schoolwhere, woah, she gets a taste for flesh. It sounds simple, but Raws built-in suspense (how far is she willing to go?) and art-film vibe makes it worth the watch.

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For a breathless 90 minutes of Stephen Lang in prime form, check out Dont BreatheFede lvarezs breathless horror-thriller. The movie follows three robbers who try to steal $300,000 of cash from a house in an abandoned Detroit neighborhoodwhich happens to be owned by blind Gulf War Veteran, Norman Nordtrom (Lang).

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Master of moving between genres, Steven Soderbergs shot at horror is just as great as the rest of his filmography. Unsane stars Claire Foy as Sawyer Valentini, who is tricked into a 24-hour stay at a secretive psych ward.

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40 Scariest Halloween Movies of All Time - Best Classic Horror Movies - Esquire

Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan. Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[1]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[2] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[2] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[3][4]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[109]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[142] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[179] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[180] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[181] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[182] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[183][184] and efforts at lobbying,[185] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[185] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[188] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[189][190]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[191] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[209] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[210] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[210]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[242][243][244] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[245]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[246][247] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[248][249]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

Theistic Satanism – Wikipedia

Theistic Satanism or spiritual Satanism is an umbrella term for religious beliefs that consider Satan as an objectively existing supernatural being or force worthy of supplication, with whom individuals may contact, convene and even praise, rather than him being just an archetype, symbol or idea as in LaVeyan Satanism.[2][3] The individual belief systems under this umbrella are practiced by loosely affiliated or independent groups and cabals. Another characteristic of Theistic Satanism is the use of ceremonial magic.[4]

The history of theistic Satanism, as an existing spiritual path practiced by people, is obscured by a number of groups accused of being devil-worshippers who asserted that they were not, such as in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe. Most actual theistic Satanist religions exist in relatively new models and ideologies, many of which claim to be independent of the Abrahamic religions.[5]

The internet has increased awareness of different beliefs among Satanists, and has led to more diverse groups, but Satanism has always been a pluralistic and decentralised religion.[6] Scholars outside Satanism have sought to study it by categorizing forms of it according to whether they are theistic or atheistic,[7] and referred to the practice of working with a literal Satan as theistic or "traditional" Satanism.[2] It is generally a prerequisite to being considered a theistic Satanist that the Satanist accept a theological and metaphysical canon involving one or more god(s) who are either Satan in the strictest, Abrahamic sense, or a concept of Satan that incorporates gods from other religions (usually pre-Christian), such as Ahriman or Enki.[8]

Many theistic Satanists believe their own individualized concept based on pieces of all these diverse conceptions of Satan, according to their inclination and spiritual guidance, rather than only believe in one suggested interpretation. Some may choose to live out the myths and stereotypes, but Christianity is not always the primary frame of reference for theistic Satanists.[9] Their religion may be based on dark pagan, left hand path, black magic, and occult traditions. Theistic Satanists who base their faith on Christian ideas about Satan may be referred to as reverse Christians by other Satanists, often in a pejorative fashion.[10] However, those labeled by some as reverse Christians may see their concept of Satan as undiluted or sanitized. They worship a stricter interpretation of Satan: that of the Satan featured in the Christian Bible.[11] This is not, however, shared by a majority of theistic Satanists. Wiccans may consider most Satanism to be reverse Christianity,[12] and the head of the atheistic Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, considers devil worship to be a Christian heresy, that is, a divergent form of Christianity.[13] The diversity of individual beliefs within theistic Satanism, while being a cause for intense debates within the religion, is also often seen as a reflection of Satan, who encourages individualism.[14]

In Luciferianism, Michael W. Ford, author and founder of The Order of Phosphorus, Black Order of the Dragon and later co-founder of the Assembly of Light Bearers, presents both a Theistic and Atheistic approach to Luciferianism, all centered in the foundation of the 11 Luciferian Points of Power,[15] the core of the philosophy. Theistic Luciferianism is considered a individualistic, personal spirituality which is established via initiation and validation of the Adversarial philosophy. Luciferians, if Theistic, do not accept the submission of 'worship' yet rather a unique and subjective type of Apotheosis via the energies of perceived deities, spirits and demons.

A notable group that outwardly considers themselves to be traditional Satanists is the Order of Nine Angles.[16] This group became controversial and was mentioned in the press and in books, because they promoted human sacrifice.[17] The O9A believes that Satan is one of two 'acausal' eternal beings, the other one being Baphomet, and that Satan is male and Baphomet is female.

A group with very different ideology to the ONA is the Satanic Reds, whose Satanism has a communist element.[18] However, they are not theistic Satanist in the manner of believing in Satan as a god with a personality, but believe in dark deism,[19] the belief that Satan is a presence in nature. The First Church of Satan believe the philosophy propounded by Anton LaVey himself was deism or panentheism but is propounded as atheism by the leaders of the Church of Satan in order to distance themselves from what they see as pseudo-Satanists.[20]

One other group is the Temple of the Black Light, formerly known as the Misanthropic Luciferian Order prior to 2007. The group espouses a philosophy known as Chaosophy. Chaosophy asserts that the world that we live in, and the universe that it lives in, all exists within the realm known as Cosmos. Cosmos is made of three spatial dimensions and one linear time dimension. Cosmos rarely ever changes and is a materialistic realm. Another realm that exists is known as Chaos. Chaos exists outside of the Cosmos and is made of infinite dimensions and unlike the Cosmos, it is always changing. Members of the TotBL believe that the realm of Chaos is ruled over by 11 dark gods, the highest of them being Satan, and all of said gods are considered manifestations of a higher being. This higher being is known as Azerate, the Dragon Mother, and is all of the 11 gods united as one. The TotBL believes that Azerate will resurrect one day and destroy the Cosmos and let Chaos consume everything. The group has been connected to the Swedish black/death metal band Dissection, particularly its front man Jon Ndtveidt.[4] Ndtveidt was introduced to the group at an early stage.[21] The lyrics on the band's third album, Reinkaos, are all about beliefs of the Temple of the Black Light.[22] Ndtveidt committed suicide in 2006.[23][24]

Theistic Luciferian groups are particularly inspired by Lucifer (from the Latin for bearer of light), who they may or may not equate with Satan. While some theologians believe the Son of the Dawn, Lucifer, and other names were actually used to refer to contemporary political figures, such as a Babylonian King, rather than a single spiritual entity[25][26] (although on the surface the Bible explicitly refers to the King of Tyrus), those that believe it refers to Satan infer that by implication it also applies to the fall of Satan.[27]

Some writers equate the veneration of Set by the Temple of Set to theistic Satanism.[2] However, the Temple of Set do not identify as theistic Satanists. They believe the Egyptian deity Set is the real Dark Lord behind the name Satan, of whom Satan is just a caricature. Their practices primarily center on self-development. Within the temple of Set, the Black Flame is the individual's god-like core which is a kindred spirit to Set, and they seek to develop. In theistic Satanism, the Black Flame is knowledge which was given to humanity by Satan, who is a being independent of the Satanist himself[28] and which he can dispense to the Satanist who seeks knowledge.[29]

Some groups are mistaken by scholars for Theistic Satanists, such as the First Church of Satan.[29] However, the founder of the FCoS considers what he calls "devil-worship" to often be a symptom of psychosis.[30] Other groups such as the 600 Club,[6] are accepting of all types of Satanist, as are the Sinagogue of Satan, which aims for the ultimate destruction of religions, paradoxically including itself, and encourages not self-indulgence, but self-expression balanced by social responsibility.[31][32][33]

The diversity of beliefs amongst Satanists, and the theistic nature of some Satanists, was seen in a survey in 1995. Some spoke of seeing Satan not as someone dangerous to those who seek or worship him, but as someone that could be approached as a friend. Some refer to him as Father, though some other theistic Satanists consider that to be confused or excessively subservient.[34] Satan is also portrayed as a father to his daughter, Sin, by Milton in Paradise Lost.

Seeking knowledge is seen by some theistic Satanists as being important to Satan, due to Satan being equated with the serpent in Genesis, which encouraged mankind to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.[35] Some perceive Satan as Eliphas Levi's conception of Baphomet a hermaphroditic bestower of knowledge (gnosis). Some Satanic groups, such as Luciferians, also seek to gain greater gnosis.[4] Some of such Satanists, such as the former Ophite Cultus Satanas, equate Yahweh with the demiurge of Gnosticism, and Satan with the transcendent being beyond.[4]

Self-development is important to theistic Satanists. This is due to the Satanists' idea of Satan, who is seen to encourage individuality and freedom of thought, and the quest to raise one's self up despite resistance, through means such as magic and initiative. They believe Satan wants a more equal relationship with his followers than the Abrahamic God does with his. From a theistic Satanist perspective, the Abrahamic religions (chiefly Christianity) do not define good or evil in terms of benefit or harm to humanity, but rather on the submission to or rebellion against God.[36] Some Satanists seek to remove any means by which they are controlled or repressed by others and forced to follow the herd, and reject non-governmental authoritarianism.[37]

As Satan in the Old Testament tests people, theistic Satanists may believe that Satan sends them tests in life in order to develop them as individuals. They value taking responsibility for oneself. Despite the emphasis on self-development, some theistic Satanists believe that there is a will of Satan for the world and for their own lives. They may promise to help bring about the will of Satan,[38] and seek to gain insight about it through prayer, study, or magic. In the Bible, a being called 'the prince of this world' is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4:4, which Christians typically equate with Satan.[39] Some Satanists therefore think that Satan can help them meet their worldly needs and desires if they pray or work magic. They would also have to do what they could in everyday life to achieve their goals, however.

Theistic Satanists may try not to project an image that reflects negatively on their religion as a whole and reinforces stereotypes, such as promoting Nazism, abuse, or crime.[37] However, some groups, such as the Order of Nine Angles, criticize the emphasis on promoting a good image for Satanism; the ONA described LaVeyan Satanism as "weak, deluded and American form of 'sham-Satanic groups, the poseurs'",[40] and ONA member Stephen Brown claimed that "the Temple of Set seems intent only on creating a 'good public impression', with promoting an 'image'".[41] The order emphasises that its way "is and is meant to be dangerous"[42] and "[g]enuine Satanists are dangerous people to know; associating with them is a risk".[43] Similarly, the Temple of the Black Light has criticized the Church of Satan, and has stated that the Temple of Set is "trying to make Setianism and the ruler of darkness, Set, into something accepted and harmless, this way attempting to become a 'big' religion, accepted and acknowledged by the rest of the Judaeo-Christian society".[4] The TotBL rejects Christianity, Judaism and Islam as "the opposite of everything that strengthens the spirit and is only good for killing what little that is beautiful, noble and honorable in this filthy world".[4]

There is argument among Satanists over animal sacrifice, with most groups seeing it as both unnecessary and putting Satanism in a bad light, and distancing themselves from the few groups that practice it[which?], such as the Temple of the Black Light.[44]

Theistic Satanism often involves a religious commitment, rather than being simply an occult practice based on dabbling or transient enjoyment of the rituals and magic involved.[45][46] Practitioners may choose to perform a self-dedication rite, although there are arguments over whether it is best to do this at the beginning of their time as a theistic Satanist, or once they have been practicing for some time.[47]

The worship of Satan was a frequent charge against those charged in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe and other witch-hunts such as the Salem witch trials. Worship of Satan was claimed to take place at the Witches' Sabbath.[48] The charge of Satan worship has also been made against groups or individuals regarded with suspicion, such as the Knights Templar, or minority religions.[49] In the case of the Knights Templar, the Templars' writings mentioned the word 'Baphomet', which was a French corruption of the name 'Mohammed' (the prophet of the people who the Templars fought against), and that 'Baphomet' was falsely portrayed as a demon by the people who accused the Templars.

It is not known to what extent accusations of groups worshiping Satan in the time of the witch trials identified people who did consider themselves Satanists, rather than being the result of religious superstition or mass hysteria, or charges made against individuals suffering from mental illness. Confessions are unreliable, particularly as they were usually obtained under torture.[50] However, scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Santa Barbara, has made extensive arguments in his book Witchcraft in the Middle Ages[51] that not all witch trial records can be dismissed and that there is in fact evidence linking witchcraft to gnostic heresies. Russell comes to this conclusion after having studied the source documents themselves. Individuals involved in the Affair of the Poisons were accused of Satanism and witchcraft.

Historically, Satanist was a pejorative term for those with opinions that differed from predominant religious or moral beliefs.[52] Paul Tuitean believes the idea of acts of reverse Christianity was created by the Inquisition,[53] but George Bataille believes that inversions of Christian rituals such as the Mass may have existed prior to the descriptions of them which were obtained through the witchcraft trials.[54]

In the 18th century various kinds of popular Satanic literature began to be produced in France, including some well-known grimoires with instructions for making a pact with the Devil. Most notable are the Grimorium Verum and The Grand Grimoire. The Marquis de Sade describes defiling crucifixes and other holy objects, and in his novel Justine he gives a fictional account of the Black Mass,[55] although Ronald Hayman has said Sade's need for blasphemy was an emotional reaction and rebellion from which Sademoved on, seeking to develop a more reasoned atheistic philosophy.[56]In the 19th century, Eliphas Levi published his French books of the occult, and in 1855 produced his well-known drawing of the Baphomet which continues to be used by some Satanists today. That Baphomet drawing is the basis of the sigil of Baphomet, which was first adopted by the non-theistic Satanist group called the Church of Satan.[57]

Finally, in 1891, Joris-Karl Huysmans published his Satanic novel, L-bas, which included a detailed description of a Black Mass which he may have known firsthand was being performed in Paris at the time,[58] or the account may have been based on the masses carried out by tienne Guibourg, rather than by Huysmans attending himself.[59] Quotations from Huysmans' Black Mass are also used in some Satanic rituals to this day, since it is one of the few sources that purports to describe the words used in a Black Mass. The type of Satanism described in L-bas suggests that prayers are said to the Devil, hosts are stolen from the Catholic Church, and sexual acts are combined with Roman Catholic altar objects and rituals, to produce a variety of Satanism which exalts the Devil and degrades the God of Christianity by inverting Roman Catholic rites. George Bataille claims that Huysman's description of the Black Mass is indisputably authentic.[54] Not all theistic Satanists today routinely perform the Black Mass, possibly because the Mass is not a part of modern evangelical Christianity in Protestant countries[60] and so not such an unintentional influence on Satanist practices in those countries.

The earliest verifiable theistic Satanist group was a small group called the Ophite Cultus Satanas, which was created in Ohio in 1948. The Ophite Cultus Satanas was inspired by the ancient Ophite sect of Gnosticism, and the Horned God of Wicca. The group was dependent upon its founder and leader, and therefore dissolved after his death in 1975.

Michael Aquino published a rare 1970 text of a Church of Satan Black Mass, the Missa Solemnis, in his book The Church of Satan,[61] and Anton LaVey included a different Church of Satan Black Mass, the Messe Noire, in his 1972 book The Satanic Rituals. LaVey's books on Satanism, which began in the 1960s, were for a long time the few available which advertised themselves as being Satanic, although others detailed the history of witchcraft and Satanism, such as The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish published in 1967 and the classic French work Satanism and Witchcraft, by Jules Michelet. Anton LaVey specifically denounced "devil worshippers" and the idea of praying to Satan.

Although non-theistic LaVey Satanism had been popular since the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969, theistic Satanism did not start to gain any popularity until the emergence of the Order of Nine Angles in western England, and its publication of The Black Book of Satan in 1984.[62] The next theistic Satanist group to be created was the Misanthropic Luciferian Order, which was created in Sweden in 1995. The MLO incorporated elements from the Order of Nine Angles, the Illuminates of Thanateros and Qliphothic Kabbalah.

As a moral panic in the 1980s and the 1990s, there were multiple allegations of sexual abuse and/or sacrifice of children or non-consenting adults in the context of Satanic rituals in what has come to be known as the Satanic Panic.[63] Allegations included the existence of large networks of organized Satanists involved in illegal activities such as murder, child pornography and prostitution. In the United States, the Kern County child abuse cases, McMartin preschool trial and the West Memphis cases were widely reported. One case took place in Jordan, Minnesota, in which children made allegations of the manufacture of child pornography, ritualistic animal sacrifice, coprophagia, urophagia and infanticide, at which point the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was alerted. Twenty-four adults were arrested and charged with acts of sexual abuse, child pornography and other crimes claimed to be related to Satanic ritual abuse; three went to trial, two were acquitted and one convicted. Supreme Court Justice Scalia noted in a discussion of the case that "[t]here is no doubt that some sexual abuse took place in Jordan; but there is no reason to believe it was as widespread as charged", and cited the repeated, coercive techniques used by the investigators as damaging to the investigation.[64]

These iconic cases were launched after children were repeatedly and coercively interrogated by social workers, resulting in false allegations of child sexual abuse. No evidence was ever found to support any of the allegations of Satanism or ritual abuse, but the panic resulted in numerous wrongful prosecutions.[citation needed]

John Allee, the creator of the LaVeyan website called First Church of Satan,[65] equates some of the "violent fringe" of Satanism with "Devil worshipers" and "reverse Christians". He believes they possibly suffer from a form of psychosis.[66] Between 1992 and 1996, some militant neo-pagans who were participants in the Norwegian black metal scene, such as Varg Vikernes,[67] committed over fifty arsons of Christian churches in and around Oslo as a retaliatory action against Christianity in Norway, but such church-burnings were widely attributed to Satanists.[68]

Some studies of crimes have also looked at the theological perspective of those who commit religious or ritualized crime.[69] Criminals who explain their crimes by claiming to be Satanists have been said by sociologists to be "pseudo-Satanists",[45] and attempts to link Satanism to crime have been seen by theistic Satanists as scaremongering.[70]

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Theistic Satanism - Wikipedia

Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan. Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[1]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[2] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[2] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[3][4]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[109]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[142] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[179] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[180] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[181] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[182] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[183][184] and efforts at lobbying,[185] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[185] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[188] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[189][190]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[191] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[209] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[210] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[210]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[242][243][244] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[245]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[246][247] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[248][249]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

Theistic Satanism – Wikipedia

Theistic Satanism or spiritual Satanism is an umbrella term for religious beliefs that consider Satan as an objectively existing supernatural being or force worthy of supplication, with whom individuals may contact, convene and even praise, rather than him being just an archetype, symbol or idea as in LaVeyan Satanism.[2][3] The individual belief systems under this umbrella are practiced by loosely affiliated or independent groups and cabals. Another characteristic of Theistic Satanism is the use of ceremonial magic.[4]

The history of theistic Satanism, as an existing spiritual path practiced by people, is obscured by a number of groups accused of being devil-worshippers who asserted that they were not, such as in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe. Most actual theistic Satanist religions exist in relatively new models and ideologies, many of which claim to be independent of the Abrahamic religions.[5]

The internet has increased awareness of different beliefs among Satanists, and has led to more diverse groups, but Satanism has always been a pluralistic and decentralised religion.[6] Scholars outside Satanism have sought to study it by categorizing forms of it according to whether they are theistic or atheistic,[7] and referred to the practice of working with a literal Satan as theistic or "traditional" Satanism.[2] It is generally a prerequisite to being considered a theistic Satanist that the Satanist accept a theological and metaphysical canon involving one or more god(s) who are either Satan in the strictest, Abrahamic sense, or a concept of Satan that incorporates gods from other religions (usually pre-Christian), such as Ahriman or Enki. [8]

Many theistic Satanists believe their own individualized concept based on pieces of all these diverse conceptions of Satan, according to their inclination and spiritual guidance, rather than only believe in one suggested interpretation. Some may choose to live out the myths and stereotypes, but Christianity is not always the primary frame of reference for theistic Satanists.[9] Their religion may be based on dark pagan, left hand path, black magic, and occult traditions. Theistic Satanists who base their faith on Christian ideas about Satan may be referred to as reverse Christians by other Satanists, often in a pejorative fashion.[10] However, those labeled by some as reverse Christians may see their concept of Satan as undiluted or sanitized. They worship a stricter interpretation of Satan: that of the Satan featured in the Christian Bible.[11] This is not, however, shared by a majority of theistic Satanists. Wiccans may consider most Satanism to be reverse Christianity,[12] and the head of the atheistic Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, considers devil worship to be a Christian heresy, that is, a divergent form of Christianity.[13] The diversity of individual beliefs within theistic Satanism, while being a cause for intense debates within the religion, is also often seen as a reflection of Satan, who encourages individualism.[14]

In Luciferianism, Michael W. Ford, author and founder of The Order of Phosphorus, Black Order of the Dragon and later co-founder of the Assembly of Light Bearers, presents both a Theistic and Atheistic approach to Luciferianism, all centered in the foundation of the 11 Luciferian Points of Power[15], the core of the philosophy. Theistic Luciferianism is considered a individualistic, personal spirituality which is established via initiation and validation of the Adversarial philosophy. Luciferians, if Theistic, do not accept the submission of 'worship' yet rather a unique and subjective type of Apotheosis via the energies of perceived deities, spirits and demons.

A notable group that outwardly considers themselves to be traditional Satanists is the Order of Nine Angles.[16] This group became controversial and was mentioned in the press and in books, because they promoted human sacrifice.[17] The O9A believes that Satan is one of two 'acausal' eternal beings, the other one being Baphomet, and that Satan is male and Baphomet is female.

A group with very different ideology to the ONA is the Satanic Reds, whose Satanism has a communist element.[18] However, they are not theistic Satanist in the manner of believing in Satan as a god with a personality, but believe in dark deism,[19] the belief that Satan is a presence in nature. The First Church of Satan believe the philosophy propounded by Anton LaVey himself was deism or panentheism but is propounded as atheism by the leaders of the Church of Satan in order to distance themselves from what they see as pseudo-Satanists.[20]

One other group is the Temple of the Black Light, formerly known as the Misanthropic Luciferian Order prior to 2007. The group espouses a philosophy known as Chaosophy. Chaosophy asserts that the world that we live in, and the universe that it lives in, all exists within the realm known as Cosmos. Cosmos is made of three spatial dimensions and one linear time dimension. Cosmos rarely ever changes and is a materialistic realm. Another realm that exists is known as Chaos. Chaos exists outside of the Cosmos and is made of infinite dimensions and unlike the Cosmos, it is always changing. Members of the TotBL believe that the realm of Chaos is ruled over by 11 dark gods, the highest of them being Satan, and all of said gods are considered manifestations of a higher being. This higher being is known as Azerate, the Dragon Mother, and is all of the 11 gods united as one. The TotBL believes that Azerate will resurrect one day and destroy the Cosmos and let Chaos consume everything. The group has been connected to the Swedish black/death metal band Dissection, particularly its front man Jon Ndtveidt.[4] Ndtveidt was introduced to the group at an early stage.[21] The lyrics on the band's third album, Reinkaos, are all about beliefs of the Temple of the Black Light.[22] Ndtveidt committed suicide in 2006.[23][24]

Theistic Luciferian groups are particularly inspired by Lucifer (from the Latin for bearer of light), who they may or may not equate with Satan. While some theologians believe the Son of the Dawn, Lucifer, and other names were actually used to refer to contemporary political figures, such as a Babylonian King, rather than a single spiritual entity[25][26] (although on the surface the Bible explicitly refers to the King of Tyrus), those that believe it refers to Satan infer that by implication it also applies to the fall of Satan.[27]

Some writers equate the veneration of Set by the Temple of Set to theistic Satanism.[2] However, the Temple of Set do not identify as theistic Satanists. They believe the Egyptian deity Set is the real Dark Lord behind the name Satan, of whom Satan is just a caricature. Their practices primarily center on self-development. Within the temple of Set, the Black Flame is the individual's god-like core which is a kindred spirit to Set, and they seek to develop. In theistic Satanism, the Black Flame is knowledge which was given to humanity by Satan, who is a being independent of the Satanist himself[28] and which he can dispense to the Satanist who seeks knowledge.[29]

Some groups are mistaken by scholars for Theistic Satanists, such as the First Church of Satan.[29] However, the founder of the FCoS considers what he calls "devil-worship" to often be a symptom of psychosis.[30] Other groups such as the 600 Club,[6] are accepting of all types of Satanist, as are the Sinagogue of Satan, which aims for the ultimate destruction of religions, paradoxically including itself, and encourages not self-indulgence, but self-expression balanced by social responsibility.[31][32][33]

The diversity of beliefs amongst Satanists, and the theistic nature of some Satanists, was seen in a survey in 1995. Some spoke of seeing Satan not as someone dangerous to those who seek or worship him, but as someone that could be approached as a friend. Some refer to him as Father, though some other theistic Satanists consider that to be confused or excessively subservient.[34]. Satan is also portrayed as a father to his daughter, Sin, by Milton in Paradise Lost.

Seeking knowledge is seen by some theistic Satanists as being important to Satan, due to Satan being equated with the serpent in Genesis, which encouraged mankind to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.[35] Some perceive Satan as Eliphas Levi's conception of Baphomet a hermaphroditic bestower of knowledge (gnosis). Some Satanic groups, such as Luciferians, also seek to gain greater gnosis.[4] Some of such Satanists, such as the former Ophite Cultus Satanas, equate Yahweh with the demiurge of Gnosticism, and Satan with the transcendent being beyond.[4]

Self-development is important to theistic Satanists. This is due to the Satanists' idea of Satan, who is seen to encourage individuality and freedom of thought, and the quest to raise one's self up despite resistance, through means such as magic and initiative. They believe Satan wants a more equal relationship with his followers than the Abrahamic God does with his. From a theistic Satanist perspective, the Abrahamic religions (chiefly Christianity) do not define good or evil in terms of benefit or harm to humanity, but rather on the submission to or rebellion against God.[36] Some Satanists seek to remove any means by which they are controlled or repressed by others and forced to follow the herd, and reject non-governmental authoritarianism.[37]

As Satan in the Old Testament tests people, theistic Satanists may believe that Satan sends them tests in life in order to develop them as individuals. They value taking responsibility for oneself. Despite the emphasis on self-development, some theistic Satanists believe that there is a will of Satan for the world and for their own lives. They may promise to help bring about the will of Satan,[38] and seek to gain insight about it through prayer, study, or magic. In the Bible, a being called 'the prince of this world' is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4:4, which Christians typically equate with Satan.[39] Some Satanists therefore think that Satan can help them meet their worldly needs and desires if they pray or work magic. They would also have to do what they could in everyday life to achieve their goals, however.

Theistic Satanists may try not to project an image that reflects negatively on their religion as a whole and reinforces stereotypes, such as promoting Nazism, abuse, or crime.[37] However, some groups, such as the Order of Nine Angles, criticize the emphasis on promoting a good image for Satanism; the ONA described LaVeyan Satanism as "weak, deluded and American form of 'sham-Satanic groups, the poseurs'",[40] and ONA member Stephen Brown claimed that "the Temple of Set seems intent only on creating a 'good public impression', with promoting an 'image'".[41] The order emphasises that its way "is and is meant to be dangerous"[42] and "[g]enuine Satanists are dangerous people to know; associating with them is a risk".[43] Similarly, the Temple of the Black Light has criticized the Church of Satan, and has stated that the Temple of Set is "trying to make Setianism and the ruler of darkness, Set, into something accepted and harmless, this way attempting to become a 'big' religion, accepted and acknowledged by the rest of the Judaeo-Christian society".[4] The TotBL rejects Christianity, Judaism and Islam as "the opposite of everything that strengthens the spirit and is only good for killing what little that is beautiful, noble and honorable in this filthy world".[4]

There is argument among Satanists over animal sacrifice, with most groups seeing it as both unnecessary and putting Satanism in a bad light, and distancing themselves from the few groups that practice it[which?], such as the Temple of the Black Light.[44]

Theistic Satanism often involves a religious commitment, rather than being simply an occult practice based on dabbling or transient enjoyment of the rituals and magic involved.[45][46] Practitioners may choose to perform a self-dedication rite, although there are arguments over whether it is best to do this at the beginning of their time as a theistic Satanist, or once they have been practicing for some time.[47]

The worship of Satan was a frequent charge against those charged in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe and other witch-hunts such as the Salem witch trials. Worship of Satan was claimed to take place at the Witches' Sabbath.[48] The charge of Satan worship has also been made against groups or individuals regarded with suspicion, such as the Knights Templar, or minority religions.[49] In the case of the Knights Templar, the Templars' writings mentioned the word 'Baphomet', which was a French corruption of the name 'Mohammed' (the prophet of the people who the Templars fought against), and that 'Baphomet' was falsely portrayed as a demon by the people who accused the Templars.

It is not known to what extent accusations of groups worshiping Satan in the time of the witch trials identified people who did consider themselves Satanists, rather than being the result of religious superstition or mass hysteria, or charges made against individuals suffering from mental illness. Confessions are unreliable, particularly as they were usually obtained under torture.[50] However, scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Santa Barbara, has made extensive arguments in his book Witchcraft in the Middle Ages[51] that not all witch trial records can be dismissed and that there is in fact evidence linking witchcraft to gnostic heresies. Russell comes to this conclusion after having studied the source documents themselves. Individuals involved in the Affair of the Poisons were accused of Satanism and witchcraft.

Historically, Satanist was a pejorative term for those with opinions that differed from predominant religious or moral beliefs.[52] Paul Tuitean believes the idea of acts of reverse Christianity was created by the Inquisition,[53] but George Bataille believes that inversions of Christian rituals such as the Mass may have existed prior to the descriptions of them which were obtained through the witchcraft trials.[54]

In the 18th century various kinds of popular Satanic literature began to be produced in France, including some well-known grimoires with instructions for making a pact with the Devil. Most notable are the Grimorium Verum and The Grand Grimoire. The Marquis de Sade describes defiling crucifixes and other holy objects, and in his novel Justine he gives a fictional account of the Black Mass,[55] although Ronald Hayman has said Sade's need for blasphemy was an emotional reaction and rebellion from which Sademoved on, seeking to develop a more reasoned atheistic philosophy.[56]In the 19th century, Eliphas Levi published his French books of the occult, and in 1855 produced his well-known drawing of the Baphomet which continues to be used by some Satanists today. That Baphomet drawing is the basis of the sigil of Baphomet, which was first adopted by the non-theistic Satanist group called the Church of Satan.[57]

Finally, in 1891, Joris-Karl Huysmans published his Satanic novel, L-bas, which included a detailed description of a Black Mass which he may have known firsthand was being performed in Paris at the time,[58] or the account may have been based on the masses carried out by tienne Guibourg, rather than by Huysmans attending himself.[59] Quotations from Huysmans' Black Mass are also used in some Satanic rituals to this day, since it is one of the few sources that purports to describe the words used in a Black Mass. The type of Satanism described in L-bas suggests that prayers are said to the Devil, hosts are stolen from the Catholic Church, and sexual acts are combined with Roman Catholic altar objects and rituals, to produce a variety of Satanism which exalts the Devil and degrades the God of Christianity by inverting Roman Catholic rites. George Bataille claims that Huysman's description of the Black Mass is indisputably authentic.[54] Not all theistic Satanists today routinely perform the Black Mass, possibly because the Mass is not a part of modern evangelical Christianity in Protestant countries[60] and so not such an unintentional influence on Satanist practices in those countries.

The earliest verifiable theistic Satanist group was a small group called the Ophite Cultus Satanas, which was created in Ohio in 1948. The Ophite Cultus Satanas was inspired by the ancient Ophite sect of Gnosticism, and the Horned God of Wicca. The group was dependent upon its founder and leader, and therefore dissolved after his death in 1975.

Michael Aquino published a rare 1970 text of a Church of Satan Black Mass, the Missa Solemnis, in his book The Church of Satan,[61] and Anton LaVey included a different Church of Satan Black Mass, the Messe Noire, in his 1972 book The Satanic Rituals. LaVey's books on Satanism, which began in the 1960s, were for a long time the few available which advertised themselves as being Satanic, although others detailed the history of witchcraft and Satanism, such as The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish published in 1967 and the classic French work Satanism and Witchcraft, by Jules Michelet. Anton LaVey specifically denounced "devil worshippers" and the idea of praying to Satan.

Although non-theistic LaVey Satanism had been popular since the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969, theistic Satanism did not start to gain any popularity until the emergence of the Order of Nine Angles in western England, and its publication of The Black Book of Satan in 1984. [62] The next theistic Satanist group to be created was the Misanthropic Luciferian Order, which was created in Sweden in 1995. The MLO incorporated elements from the Order of Nine Angles, the Illuminates of Thanateros and Qliphothic Kabbalah.

As a moral panic in the 1980s and the 1990s, there were multiple allegations of sexual abuse and/or sacrifice of children or non-consenting adults in the context of Satanic rituals in what has come to be known as the Satanic Panic.[63] Allegations included the existence of large networks of organized Satanists involved in illegal activities such as murder, child pornography and prostitution. In the United States, the Kern County child abuse cases, McMartin preschool trial and the West Memphis cases were widely reported. One case took place in Jordan, Minnesota, in which children made allegations of the manufacture of child pornography, ritualistic animal sacrifice, coprophagia, urophagia and infanticide, at which point the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was alerted. Twenty-four adults were arrested and charged with acts of sexual abuse, child pornography and other crimes claimed to be related to Satanic ritual abuse; three went to trial, two were acquitted and one convicted. Supreme Court Justice Scalia noted in a discussion of the case that "[t]here is no doubt that some sexual abuse took place in Jordan; but there is no reason to believe it was as widespread as charged", and cited the repeated, coercive techniques used by the investigators as damaging to the investigation.[64]

These iconic cases were launched after children were repeatedly and coercively interrogated by social workers, resulting in false allegations of child sexual abuse. No evidence was ever found to support any of the allegations of Satanism or ritual abuse, but the panic resulted in numerous wrongful prosecutions.[citation needed]

John Allee, the creator of the LaVeyan website called First Church of Satan,[65] equates some of the "violent fringe" of Satanism with "Devil worshipers" and "reverse Christians". He believes they possibly suffer from a form of psychosis.[66] Between 1992 and 1996, some militant neo-pagans who were participants in the Norwegian black metal scene, such as Varg Vikernes,[67] committed over fifty arsons of Christian churches in and around Oslo as a retaliatory action against Christianity in Norway, but such church-burnings were widely attributed to Satanists.[68]

Some studies of crimes have also looked at the theological perspective of those who commit religious or ritualized crime.[69] Criminals who explain their crimes by claiming to be Satanists have been said by sociologists to be "pseudo-Satanists",[45] and attempts to link Satanism to crime have been seen by theistic Satanists as scaremongering.[70]

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Theistic Satanism - Wikipedia

The Occult and Satanism in America – The American TFP

Few Americans took notice that in the last U.S. census of 2010, witchcraft had become the fourth largest religion in the United States. As shocking as that may be, Satanism has become just as popular. So says Zachary King, one of the most renowned former Satanists who converted to the Catholic Church, in an interview he gave to Crusade Magazine.

Does the Devil Exist?

When we speak of the occult and Satanism, many readers may have the impression that we are talking about the fabled bogeyman. The bogeyman is in everyones nightmares, but it doesnt really exist. According to a Gallup poll in 2003, only 70% of Catholics believe in the existence of the devil, which is only 2% higher than the average American.

Most Catholics do believe that the devil exists, but is largely absent from their lives. Or perhaps, for our peace of mind, we would like to think he is only distantly involved. Some would rather not talk about it. After all, one of the maxims of the American way of life is Live and let live. Let the devil be and hopefully, with a wing but no prayer, he will leave us be.

In a four-hour interview with former Satanist Zachary King, a lot was revealed about the activities and growing popularity of Satanism in America. The interview also showed that children are at a high risk of getting involved in the occult and how much the world is becoming more accepting of the devil. Far from sleeping, the devil has been awake and quite active.

Zachary King, a former Satanist high wizard, converted to Catholicism in 2008.

A Former Satanist Converts

Zachary King converted to the Catholic Church in 2008. His conversion story, which involves the miraculous medal, is a fantastic story in itself, but it is not the focus of this article. He was a former Satanist who reached the degree of high wizard in the World Church of Satan. A high wizard is hand selected by the top leaders. If a satanic high priest is more or less equivalent to a Catholic priest, a high wizard is more or less equivalent to a mystic saint. In this position, he traveled extensively to perform satanic rituals for politicians, CEOs, TV producers and artists. His more than twenty-six years of deep involvement in Satanism has given him insight into this secretive world.

A Blurry Line

The occult and Satanism are nothing new. Many times the distinction between the two is blurred even by authorities who have studied both, since, by their very nature, both deal with the devil, though occultists may not always perceive it as such. This is evident in the book written by Mr. Luis Solimeo and Mr. Gustavo Solimeo, Angels and Demons. Mr. King himself first dabbled in the occult before being recruited into Satanism.

Defining the Occult

The occult is as old as the first temptation in the Garden of Eden when the serpent tempted Eve to become like God by merely eating a fruit. Mr. James R. Lewis, the second most prolific writer on the occult, has a long list of occult movements which includes Wicca, Druids, Voodoo, Brujeria/Santeria, the garden variety of New Age religions, astrologers, psychic readers, spirit mediums, among other less known sects. The terms witchcraft and the occult are synonymous. Occultism can be defined as the movement of people who believe in harnessing the power of spirits or nature through the use of herbs, crystals, amulets, incantations, symbols and spells for either good or bad effect.

The practice of the occult has always been popular and public throughout history. We see the practice in different forms like the priests of the Pharaoh whom Moses fought, Simon the Magus whom Saint Peter confronted, or the druids Saint Patrick challenged. Occultism was universally prevalent in pre-Christian times.

Ever since Saint Michael the Archangel expelled the fallen angels from heaven, they seek to destroy Gods creation by turning man away from God to the point of worshiping Satan himself, the ultimate enemy of God.

Defining Satanism

Satanism can be considered as ancient as the revolt of Lucifer and his angels against God. The former light bearer, as the name Lucifer signifies, deceived a third of the heavenly host and led a revolt against God. There are many variations of Satanism according to Alfred E. Waite, the most published authority on the occult and Satanism. In his book, Devil Worship in France, he defines Satanism as the movement of people who imitate the fallen angels and declare allegiance to Lucifer as a form of defiance to God.

Whereas the occult is an indirect, albeit sometimes unsuspecting, worship of the devil, Satanism is its unabashed counterpart. As Mr. King noted, the occult dabbles with the power of the devil many times not knowing it. Satanists, on the other hand, he continues, embrace it fully and openly.

The presence of Satanism has not been as obvious as that of the occult throughout history. All the gods of the gentiles are devils (Ps. 96:5), say the Scriptures. However, Satanism, per se, is the open worship of the devil, and, as such, if it did exist as a movement, was completely secretive in the past.

The Shift in the Soul of Western and Christian Man

The practice of the occult began to diminish markedly as Christianity spread, especially in the lands where it took root. Superstitions were replaced by the true Faith. Pagan rituals were replaced by prayers and the sacraments. The paranormal activities worked by invoking spirits were replaced by miracles wrought by novenas, prayers and devotion to Mary, the angels and the saints. Miracles abounded during the Middle Ages, a period when saints, imbibed by a true Christian spirit, walked the land.

Something changed in the lands where Christianity once flourished. Today, the influence of the Christian faith is much diminished in society. The appeal of witchcraft and, consequently, devil worship returned.

Bishop Fulton Sheen made the saying popular that the greatest trick the devil played on mankind was to make us believe he doesnt exist. The trick seems to have changed. The devil is now playing a new and improved trick on mankind.

The Resurgence of the Occult and Satanism

According to the above-mentioned 2010 census, there are more people involved in the occult in America than there are Muslims or Jehovahs Witness. Compare this to polls in 1980 when the people who affiliated themselves with the occult were so statistically small, no specific data was assigned to them. They were grouped with Muslims, Buddhists, Unitarians, and others, which altogether was only 2% of Americans.

The tally of the number of Satanists is harder to come by. According to Zachary King, his conservative estimate is about 4 million in the United States and about 10 million worldwide.

One reason why its impossible to have hard figures on the number of Satanists in America is because of the secrecy. The Church of Satan, founded by Anton La Vey, was the first of its kind to officially establish itself as a non-profit religious organization with the U.S. government on September 20, 1971 in California.

The Church of Satan ironically professes to be atheistic. In their belief system, the only god is oneself. The only sacraments are to pleasure oneself in any way imaginable. The only commandment is to do whatever makes you happy. Curiously, however, in their private rituals, they constantly invoke Satans name.

A symptom of the dechristianization of society can be seen in the multiple controversies and lawsuits against the erection of monuments to the Ten Commandments which occur in cities all across America.

The Black Mass

Perhaps another mark of their increased popularity is the controversy they have generated in the news lately. The Satanists especially have been demanding public acceptance by trying to distribute books about the devil to school kids, putting up a public monument of Satan in Oklahoma City or setting up a holiday satanic display next to a nativity scene in the Florida state capitol.

The greatest controversy in 2014 was regarding the satanic black mass. On May 12, 2014, Harvard University scheduled a reenactment of a black mass. It was canceled by the school due to overwhelming protests. It would have been the first black mass offered to the public in the world.

In September of 2014, a satanic black mass was performed in Oklahoma Citys Civic Center where the admission was opened to the general public. In that sense, it was the first public satanic black mass celebrated in history. It was a public act in a public venue offered to the general public. It was the first time in history that Satan could be worshipped in broad daylight before the whole world. Previously, all satanic activities were done as privately as possible, in basements or in rooms with covered windows, and in the middle of the night.

Shockingly, Zachary King notes that a black mass is much more common than people think. Many high priests will perform it every night starting at midnight, the witching hour, and conclude at 3:00 a.m., the inverse time of Our Lord Jesus Christs death on the cross.

What is a satanic black mass? Mr. Alfred E. Waite, author of Devil Worship in France (1886), described it as a ritual based on the Catholic Mass. It is not based on Jewish or Muslim services, nor Buddhist or Hindu rituals, not even Protestant services.

The following is a list of rituals done in a satanic black mass compiled from the writings of Mr. Waite and confirmed by Mr. King.

Just as the Holy Mass is celebrated on top of an altar containing a relic of a martyr, Satanists perform theirs on top of an undressed woman of ill repute. Just as we humble ourselves repeatedly invoking Gods mercy, they offer their acts of constant revolt in imitation of the devil. Just as Jesus is offered as a sacrifice, they offer human or animal sacrifices. Just as we lift our hearts and minds to God asking His presence, Satanists repeatedly implore and demand the presence of demons. Just as we fill our naves with sacred music and chants, they fill theirs with weird music, a gong sounding every time the name of Satan is invoked. Just as we direct our prayers to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels and saints, they direct theirs to Satan, the demons in hell and the damned souls in hell, especially those who committed particularly heinous sins on earth, like Cain and Judas. In addition, Mr. King added that he even witnessed some Satanists pray the rosary completely in reverse, starting from the last word, Amen, and ending with Hail.

Litmus Test: the Sacrilege with Consecrated Hosts

Here is the worst part and what seems to be the main point of their ritual. Just as we receive Holy Communion, believing the consecrated host to be the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ and are encouraged to offer acts of faith, adoration, love, thanksgiving, reparation and petition, the Satanists, too, receive communion. Real Satanists insist on using a real consecrated host. They then spit Our Lord on the ground, trample all over Him, all the while screaming blasphemies and profanities at Him.

In his book, Alfred E. Waite writes that in order to form a partnership with the lost angels one must please Satan. Since Christ is the enemy of Satan, the sorcerer must outrage Christ, especially in His sacraments. Because of this they insist on using a consecrated host and they obtain this by stealing It.

A priest in France wrote last year about a former Satanist who claimed he could tell a consecrated host from an unconsecrated one. This convert claimed that if you put a consecrated host on a table along with ten unconsecrated ones, he could pick out the consecrated one without hesitation. When the priest asked how that was possible since there is no physical difference, the former Satanist said he could do this because of the intense hatred he felt towards that one species.

Although not all pro-abortionists are Satanists, the connection between abortion and Satanism is not surprising. During satanic rituals, aborted babies are offered as human sacrifices to the devil.

Satanism and Abortion

Another shocking aspect of a black mass is the use of abortion. A common image used to portray abortion is that of the false god Moloch whose statues mouth is shaped like a burning furnace where babies are thrown in as a sacrifice.

Done completely under the protection of the law, satanic high priests today will assist in an abortion and offer the killing of the baby to the devil. Lawyers are consulted to make sure everything is done according to the law. In addition, many high priests dedicate all the abortions in the world to the devil every night during the witching hour.

Explaining the Shift in the Soul of Western and Christian Man

How did this shift happen? How can society today accept or be indifferent to such heinous acts?

In his masterful book, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, Prof. Plinio Corra de Oliveira analyzes the modern-day crisis and explains the changes in the soul of Western and Christian man.

Prof. Corra de Oliveira explains how society was transformed in five stages. The historical reference point of his analysis is the High Medieval Ages when the Gospel of Christ pervaded all of culture and society. During this time, the practice of the occult existed, but it was extremely unpopular and it was never public.

Plinio Corra de Oliveira, author of Revolution and Counter-Revolution, prognosticated that the Fifth Revolution would be the Satanic Revolution. This revolutionary process attempts to reverse the fruit of Our Lords death on the Cross, namely Christian civilization.

The first changes started with humanism and Protestantism in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. We see during that time the resurgence of the Greek and Roman deities. As Prof. Corra de Oliveira says, The thirst for earthly pleasures became a burning desire. Diversions became more and more frequent and sumptuous, increasingly engrossing men Hearts began to shy away from the love of sacrifice, from true devotion to the Cross, and from the aspiration to sanctity and eternal life. He called this the First Revolution.

The Second Revolution is the French Revolution. In this period we see the proclamation of the goddess of reason. Mr. Waite noted the growth of popularity of the occult and devil worship during this period.

The Third Revolution is the Communist Revolution. Though communism never promoted witchcraft and devil worship, it tried to abolish religion and establish materialism. In all the nations where the errors of communism spread, as predicted by Our Lady at Fatima, the role of God diminished and the role of atheistic materialism increased.

The Fourth Revolution, as defined by Prof. Corra de Oliveira, is the Cultural Revolution. During this phase we begin to see the rise of New Age religions and the occult.All the previous four stages progressed towards one finality: the end of Western and Christian civilization.

What shifted in the soul of Western and Christian man is the influence of Jesus Christ and His cross in the hearts of modern men. The whole revolutionary process attempts to reverse the fruit of Our Lords death on the cross which inspired and is the foundation for Christian civilization. We now live in a civilization where more and more Christian values are being eroded and persecuted, and anti-Christian values are being promoted.

Before the author of Revolution and Counter-Revolution died in 1995, he prognosticated that the Fifth Revolution would be the Satanic Revolution.

Hope in Face of the Advancing Satanic Revolution

Within the context of the struggle with the devil, sometimes we are tempted to think that God is an equal opportunity employer. God set an enmity between the woman and the serpent in the book of Genesis. There is a competition between the two factions. Sometimes we have the impression that God abides by the rule of fair play. There are rules in this competition and both sides are given equal opportunity to make their play. Or, so, some may think.

TFP Members in TFP Ceremonial Habits carry a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during the 2009 Public Square Rosary Rally in New York City.

This is not the case. There is no parity between the devil and Our Lady. She was given a super abundance of graces, supernatural gifts and spiritual qualities. She is superior in every spiritual sense to the devil. She has proven this to us again and again.

This is one of the reasons why The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property always makes the effort to spread devotion to her Immaculate Heart through our America Needs Fatima campaign. It is also one of the main reasons why we promote the Public Square Rosary Rallies every year. Even as the occult and Satanism grow in popularity and Christianity is increasingly being persecuted, we are confident in the fulfillment of her prophecy at Fatima that her Immaculate Heart will triumph.

Where is the hope in face of the resurgence of the occult and the coming Fifth Revolution, the Satanic Revolution? Even though the media and Hollywood do not give it much notice, the signs of Our Ladys actions are out there.

A big sign is the 12,269 Public Square Rosary Rallies held in 2014. Crowds from 10 to 500 gathered in public squares all across the country praying the rosary for the conversion of America. This movement has grown from 2,000 rallies to over 12,000 within less than ten years. This is a big sign that Our Lady is active.

Another sign is the increasingly warm reception given to America Needs Fatima Custodians who take replicas of the most famous statue of Our Lady of Fatima to homes around the country. About 2,000 talks were scheduled in 2014. America Needs Fatima members host the statue in their homes, inviting family, friends, neighbors, parishioners and, sometimes, complete strangers for a presentation about the prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima and how to pray a rosary. Here, too, we see the Blessed Virgin Mary very active.

Other signs of hope are the conversions. Zachary King converted in 2008 by an extraordinary grace from Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. He and his wife now spend their time giving talks about the dangers of the occult and Satanism. His main devotions now are to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady.

Another prominent convert is Blessed Bartolo Longo (1841-1926) who became a model of piety. At his conversion from Satanism, he dedicated the rest of his life to expiating for his sins. At one point, he was tormented by doubts that the devil still owned his soul and that nothing he could do would save him from that.

Our Lady of the Apocalypse chains the old serpent who is the devil and Satan. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. Gen. 3:15

At the height of this temptation, he heard in his ear a promise that said, One who propagates my rosary shall be saved. From then on, his mission became clear: to spread devotion to the Holy Rosary. He restored a painting of The Virgin of the Rosary which became the focus of this devotion in the region of Pompei. The church that houses this painting was raised to a minor basilica.

My Hope With This Article

I pray that this article acts as a warning siren to America. It is not meant to be sensational. It is meant to warn America that the storm is here. The Satanic Revolution, the fifth and final stage of the process of the Revolution, is here and attracting a following. We need to be aware of its dangers. We need to be spiritually prepared for it as best we can.

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

I pray that America does not forget the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this onslaught. As Mary said at Fatima, to convert the world, God wants to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart.

Continued here:

The Occult and Satanism in America - The American TFP

Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan. Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[1]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[2] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[2] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[3][4]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[109]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[142] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[179] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[180] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[181] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[182] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[183][184] and efforts at lobbying,[185] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[185] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[188] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[189][190]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[191] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[209] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[210] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[210]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[242][243][244] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[245]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[246][247] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[248][249]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses …

some Prophets are stopped from having sex with their wives, they have sex with a snake

Coming in the wake of self-acclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiris stunts that he has called miracles, Malawian Prophet Trevor Kautsire made a rare confession on modern day Prophecy.

Prophet Kautsire (right) with host Brian Banda

In an interview on one Malawian television talkshow that was followed by Malawi24, Prophet Kautsire made the chilling claims that modern day Prophets are not using the power of the Holy Spirit to perform their so-called miracles.

I was in South Africa and I met the who-is-who of the gospel, what they told me is heart-breaking, said Kautsire.

He disclosed that when he was in South Africa he was told of rituals that he had to perform if he were to become a renowned Prophet. Kautsire disclosed that the ritual involved sacrifices that included the killing of family members or church members.

I am speaking this from experience, some Prophets have had to sacrifice their church members to gain fame. You have heard of people dying in places of worship, it is because they are using the people as sacrifices, said Kautsire, a comment which commentators said was referring to the Nigerian teleprophet TB Joshua at whose church over a hundred people died.

Kautsire further said that it was easy to decipher fake Prophets because they do miracles for no important reason.

A miracle is supposed to meet a need, however when a Prophet does a miracle that does not meet any need there is no reason to believe that Prophet, he said. Commentators have thought that he was apparently referring to Bushiri who has been in the news for the walk-in-the air stunt which does nothing to glorify the name of the Lord.

He said that Prophets are using magic, witchcraft and Satanism to perform miracles.

There are some who are told to keep a worm and keep feeding it, the worm grows into a snake and when it comes to that stage where it is a snake, it brings them money. The catch is that one should never sleep with their wife but the snake, said Kautsire disclosing the secrets in the dark world of Prophecy.

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Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan. Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[1]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[2] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[2] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[3][4]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[109]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[142] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[179] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[180] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[181] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[182] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[183][184] and efforts at lobbying,[185] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[185] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[188] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[189][190]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[191] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[209] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[210] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[210]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[242][243][244] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[245]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[246][247] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[248][249]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan. Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[1]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[2] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[2] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[3][4]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[109]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[142] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[179] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[180] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[181] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[182] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[183][184] and efforts at lobbying,[185] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[185] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[188] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[189][190]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[191] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[209] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[210] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[210]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[242][243][244] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[245]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[246][247] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[248][249]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses …

some Prophets are stopped from having sex with their wives, they have sex with a snake

Coming in the wake of self-acclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiris stunts that he has called miracles, Malawian Prophet Trevor Kautsire made a rare confession on modern day Prophecy.

Prophet Kautsire (right) with host Brian Banda

In an interview on one Malawian television talkshow that was followed by Malawi24, Prophet Kautsire made the chilling claims that modern day Prophets are not using the power of the Holy Spirit to perform their so-called miracles.

I was in South Africa and I met the who-is-who of the gospel, what they told me is heart-breaking, said Kautsire.

He disclosed that when he was in South Africa he was told of rituals that he had to perform if he were to become a renowned Prophet. Kautsire disclosed that the ritual involved sacrifices that included the killing of family members or church members.

I am speaking this from experience, some Prophets have had to sacrifice their church members to gain fame. You have heard of people dying in places of worship, it is because they are using the people as sacrifices, said Kautsire, a comment which commentators said was referring to the Nigerian teleprophet TB Joshua at whose church over a hundred people died.

Kautsire further said that it was easy to decipher fake Prophets because they do miracles for no important reason.

A miracle is supposed to meet a need, however when a Prophet does a miracle that does not meet any need there is no reason to believe that Prophet, he said. Commentators have thought that he was apparently referring to Bushiri who has been in the news for the walk-in-the air stunt which does nothing to glorify the name of the Lord.

He said that Prophets are using magic, witchcraft and Satanism to perform miracles.

There are some who are told to keep a worm and keep feeding it, the worm grows into a snake and when it comes to that stage where it is a snake, it brings them money. The catch is that one should never sleep with their wife but the snake, said Kautsire disclosing the secrets in the dark world of Prophecy.

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We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses ...

Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan. Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[1]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[2] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[2] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[3][4]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[109]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[142] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[179] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[180] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[181] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[182] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[183][184] and efforts at lobbying,[185] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[185] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[188] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[189][190]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[191] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[209] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[210] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[210]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[242][243][244] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[245]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[246][247] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[248][249]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan.[1] Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[2]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[3] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[3] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[4][5]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[110]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[143] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[180] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[181] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[182] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[183] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[184][185] and efforts at lobbying,[186] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[186] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[189] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[190][191]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[192] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[210] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[211] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[211]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[243][244][245] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[246]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[247][248] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[249][250]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses …

some Prophets are stopped from having sex with their wives, they have sex with a snake

Coming in the wake of self-acclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiris stunts that he has called miracles, Malawian Prophet Trevor Kautsire made a rare confession on modern day Prophecy.

Prophet Kautsire (right) with host Brian Banda

In an interview on one Malawian television talkshow that was followed by Malawi24, Prophet Kautsire made the chilling claims that modern day Prophets are not using the power of the Holy Spirit to perform their so-called miracles.

I was in South Africa and I met the who-is-who of the gospel, what they told me is heart-breaking, said Kautsire.

He disclosed that when he was in South Africa he was told of rituals that he had to perform if he were to become a renowned Prophet. Kautsire disclosed that the ritual involved sacrifices that included the killing of family members or church members.

I am speaking this from experience, some Prophets have had to sacrifice their church members to gain fame. You have heard of people dying in places of worship, it is because they are using the people as sacrifices, said Kautsire, a comment which commentators said was referring to the Nigerian teleprophet TB Joshua at whose church over a hundred people died.

Kautsire further said that it was easy to decipher fake Prophets because they do miracles for no important reason.

A miracle is supposed to meet a need, however when a Prophet does a miracle that does not meet any need there is no reason to believe that Prophet, he said. Commentators have thought that he was apparently referring to Bushiri who has been in the news for the walk-in-the air stunt which does nothing to glorify the name of the Lord.

He said that Prophets are using magic, witchcraft and Satanism to perform miracles.

There are some who are told to keep a worm and keep feeding it, the worm grows into a snake and when it comes to that stage where it is a snake, it brings them money. The catch is that one should never sleep with their wife but the snake, said Kautsire disclosing the secrets in the dark world of Prophecy.

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We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses ...

Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan.[1] Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[2]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[3] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[3] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[4][5]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[110]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[143] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[180] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[181] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[182] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[183] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[184][185] and efforts at lobbying,[186] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[186] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[189] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[190][191]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[192] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[210] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[211] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[211]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[243][244][245] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[246]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[247][248] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[249][250]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

Modern Satanism | Spiral Nature Magazine

Modern Satanism is probably the widest-spread of the Satanic denominations, and also the biggest bone of contention amongst the others. Modernists do not worship Satan as a god or deity; theistically, they are atheists. They believe in neither a god nor a devil, nor spirits and supernatural beings. Needless to say, it is usually not the Modernists who appear on Jerry Springer or get featured in the headlines of the local newspapers. The main argument over the Modernists is that, if they are in truth atheistic, why even bother using the name Satan? Why not just call yourself atheists or humanists or secular humanists, et al., instead of dragging in the name of a Christian boogeyman? Obviously I cant answer this for them, but the section Why Satan? on the Foundations page may shed some light on the various reasons which exist.

There are, as I see it, primarily three flavours of Modern Satanism: Naturalist, Psychologic, and Symbolic. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive:

The Naturalists view Satan as the natural force of the universe, the underlying current of nature. The power which makes trees grow, earthquakes shatter, stars form and die.all these, the raw energy of What Is, is Satan. As such it has no good or bad side in and of itself; it is everything. But, it is not intelligent or self-aware. Just like electricity or wind power, it exists without consciousness, but may be tapped by the conscious user (magician). This is the basis of Modern Satanic magick: that by training oneself to tap into this force Satan one may subtly warp reality into a form more advantageous to ones desires. However, it is not an external godhead or force which enables you to accomplish this; it is the force of your own willpower and emotions, exerting a draw on the Satan, attracting it to you so that you can mold it into a more suitable shape.

The Psychologic viewpoint centres around Satan as being the primordial side of the human psyche which the majority of humanity seeks to control and eliminate, instead of accepting and utilizing. The Freudian id, the Jungian shadow, the animal within these are perhaps the best parallels to the Satanic self which the Psychological view of Modern Satanism desires to seek out and liberate.

There is a great tendency by non-Satanists to reflect on this particular viewpoint and come to a conclusion that developing ones Satanic self is tantamount to reverting to childhood akin to an infants gimme gimme gimme mine mine mine outlook on life. While some may think this, it is my personal belief and the belief of most Satanists I have met that truly coming to terms with ones inner self, coming to terms with both the proper civilized part and the unruly animal part, is infinitely harder than shoving a piece of yourself in a closet and pretending that it does not exist.

The Symbolists view Satan as a mental/mythic archetype, as the Adversary or the Light-bringer. As such, the figure of Satan as an anthropomorphic being is completely fictional: he does not exist as such. However, the mental conception of the figure draws us to him. We identify with him, respect him, admire him, even as a fictional character. The archetype or mythic figure embodies a lot of what Symbolists consider important and good qualities. Some of them may include pride, independence, free-will, intelligence, knowledge, truthfulness, and ambition. The exact list will vary on who you ask. The qualities of the archetype may be draw from various sources, such as the Christian Bible, Miltons Paradise Lost, the Apocrypha, The Satanic Bible, and personal experience or thought. For some, the admirable qualities may include destruction, cruelty, hatred it truly depends on what the individual Satanist sees as desirable and undesirable, or as admirable and inadmirable. Again, he Symbolists do not worship Satan-Lucifer, or acknowledge his literal existence, but view him as a mythic figure much like Peter Pan, Uncle Sam, Zeus, or King Midas.

Finally, no discussion of Modern Satanism would be complete without discussing the LaVeyan Satanists (Church of Satan).

LaVeyan Satanism was founded in the 1960s by Anton Szandor LaVey. It is without a doubt the most well-known of the Satanic denominations, and is the only one (as far as I am aware) with federally recognized religious status. Officially, it is known as the Church of Satan, and is head quartered in San Francisco. Anton LaVey passed away in late October of 1997, at which time leadership of the Church passed into the hands of Blanche Barton (a long-time associate of LaVey). Although at one time Karla LaVey (LaVeys daughter) was participating as a co-High-Priestess, she has since split from the Church of Satan over ideological differences. She is now the acting High Priestess of the First Satanic Church (founded Oct 31st, 1999), which claims to be a resurgence of Satanic ideals closer to the spirit of her fathers original teachings.

Although it is true that Satanism existed before him, LaVey can be said to be (with relative authority) the father of Modern Satanism. Before LaVey went public with his new Church, and with his many works on Satanic philosophy (The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, The Devils Notebook), Satanism was an underground, disorganized, and chaotic religion. Since the formation of the Church of Satan, information has become much more readily available and people had, for the first time, a sense of Satanic identity and organization.

The core philosophy of the Church of Satan is that of indulgence; of living ones life to the utmost of intellectual and material/carnal fulfilment. This includes fulfilling all of ones desires, so long as it does not involve the unwilling (children and animals are classed as unwilling). If fulfilment of these desires comes from illegal actions, so be it but the Satanist must be prepared to pay for any actions which he or she performs (the doctrine of personal responsibility).

Lastly, we come to the point of semantics. LaVeyan Satanists generally contend that they are the real Satanists, and that without LaVey none of Modern Satanism would be possible, as it was LaVey who opened up the doors to Satanism in the 1960s. Satan-worshippers or Devil-worshippers, they tend to regard as foolish and trapped in Christian behavioural patterns (turning to a god or otherworldly force). Similarly, Traditionalists (those who worship Satan as a spiritual or divine being), tend to call the LaVeyans pseudo-Satanists or pretenders, claiming that they are just atheists who use the name Satanist for shock value and capitalistic gain.

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Modern Satanism | Spiral Nature Magazine

Satanism – Wikipedia

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan.[1] Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.[2]

Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[3] The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes.[3] Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[4][5]

In their study of Satanism, the religious studies scholars Asbjrn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen stated that the term Satanism "has a history of being a designation made by people against those whom they dislike; it is a term used for 'othering'". The concept of Satanism is an invention of Christianity, for it relies upon the figure of Satan, a character deriving from Christian mythology.

Elsewhere, Petersen noted that "Satanism as something others do is very different from Satanism as a self-designation".Eugene Gallagher noted that, as commonly used, Satanism was usually "a polemical, not a descriptive term".

The word "Satan" was not originally a proper name but rather an ordinary noun meaning "the adversary"; in this context it appears at several points in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Book of Samuel, David is presented as the satan ("adversary") of the Philistines, while in the Book of Numbers the term appears as a verb, when God sent an angel to satan ("to oppose") Balaam. Prior to the composition of the New Testament, the idea developed within Jewish communities that Satan was the name of an angel who had rebelled against God and had been cast out of Heaven along with his followers; this account would be incorporated into contemporary texts like the Book of Enoch. This Satan was then featured in parts of the New Testament, where he was presented as a figure who tempted humans to commit sin; in the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, he attempted to tempt Jesus of Nazareth as the latter fasted in the wilderness.

The word "Satanism" was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms "Satanism" and "Satanist" are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the "heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes [sic]" of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as "swarmes of Satanistes [sic]". As used in this manner, the term "Satanism" was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term "Satanism" began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630.

Historical and anthropological research suggests that nearly all societies have developed the idea of a sinister and anti-human force that can hide itself within society. This commonly involves a belief in witches, a group of individuals who invert the norms of their society and seek to harm their community, for instance by engaging in incest, murder, and cannibalism. Allegations of witchcraft may have different causes and serve different functions within a society. For instance, they may serve to uphold social norms, to heighten the tension in existing conflicts between individuals, or to scapegoat certain individuals for various social problems.

Another contributing factor to the idea of Satanism is the concept that there is an agent of misfortune and evil who operates on a cosmic scale, something usually associated with a strong form of ethical dualism that divides the world clearly into forces of good and forces of evil. The earliest such entity known is Angra Mainyu, a figure that appears in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. This concept was also embraced by Judaism and early Christianity, and although it was soon marginalised within Jewish thought, it gained increasing importance within early Christian understandings of the cosmos. While the early Christian idea of the Devil was not well developed, it gradually adapted and expanded through the creation of folklore, art, theological treatises, and morality tales, thus providing the character with a range of extra-Biblical associations.

As Christianity expanded throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, it came into contact with a variety of other religions, which it regarded as "pagan". Christian theologians claimed that the gods and goddesses venerated by these "pagans" were not genuine divinities, but were actually demons. However, they did not believe that "pagans" were deliberately devil-worshippers, instead claiming that they were simply misguided. In Christian iconography, the Devil and demons were given the physical traits of figures from Classical mythology such as the god Pan, fauns, and satyrs.

Those Christian groups regarded as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church were treated differently, with theologians arguing that they were deliberately worshipping the Devil. This was accompanied by claims that such individuals engaged in incestuous sexual orgies, murdered infants, and committed acts of cannibalism, all stock accusations that had previously been leveled at Christians themselves in the Roman Empire.The first recorded example of such an accusation being made within Western Christianity took place in Toulouse in 1022, when two clerics were tried for allegedly venerating a demon. Throughout the middle ages, this accusation would be applied to a wide range of Christian heretical groups, including the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, and the Hussites. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, with Lucifer having appeared at their meetings in the form of a cat. As well as these Christian groups, these claims were also made about Europe's Jewish community. In the thirteenth century, there were also references made to a group of "Luciferians" led by a woman named Lucardis which hoped to see Satan rule in Heaven. References to this group continued into the fourteenth century, although historians studying the allegations concur that these Luciferians were likely a fictitious invention.

Within Christian thought, the idea developed that certain individuals could make a pact with Satan. This may have emerged after observing that pacts with gods and goddesses played a role in various pre-Christian belief systems, or that such pacts were also made as part of the Christian cult of saints. Another possibility is that it derives from a misunderstanding of Augustine of Hippo's condemnation of augury in his On the Christian Doctrine, written in the late fourth century. Here, he stated that people who consulted augurs were entering "quasi pacts" (covenants) with demons. The idea of the diabolical pact made with demons was popularised across Europe in the story of Faust, likely based in part on the real life Johann Georg Faust.

As the late medieval gave way to the early modern period, European Christendom experienced a schism between the established Roman Catholic Church and the breakaway Protestant movement. In the ensuing Reformation and Counter-Reformation, both Catholics and Protestants accused each other of deliberately being in league with Satan. It was in this context that the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" emerged.

The early modern period also saw fear of Satanists reach its "historical apogee" in the form of the witch trials of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This came about as the accusations which had been leveled at medieval heretics, among them that of devil-worship, were applied to the pre-existing idea of the witch, or practitioner of malevolent magic. The idea of a conspiracy of Satanic witches was developed by educated elites, although the concept of malevolent witchcraft was a widespread part of popular belief and folkloric ideas about the night witch, the wild hunt, and the dance of the fairies were incorporated into it. The earliest trials took place in Northern Italy and France, before spreading it out to other areas of Europe and to Britain's North American colonies, being carried out by the legal authorities in both Catholic and Protestant regions.Between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals were executed as accused Satanic witches.Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. However, in their summary of the evidence for the trials, the historians Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow thought it "without doubt" that some of those accused in the trials had been guilty of employing magic in an attempt to harm their enemies, and were thus genuinely guilty of witchcraft.

In seventeenth-century Sweden, a number of highway robbers and other outlaws living in the forests informed judges that they venerated Satan because he provided more practical assistance than God.The historian of religion Massimo Introvigne regarded these practices as "folkloric Satanism".

During the eighteenth century, gentleman's social clubs became increasingly prominent in Britain and Ireland, among the most secretive of which were the Hellfire Clubs, which were first reported in the 1720s. The most famous of these groups was the Order of the Knights of Saints Francis, which was founded circa 1750 by the aristocrat Sir Francis Dashwood and which assembled first at his estate at West Wycombe and later in Medmenham Abbey. A number of contemporary press sources portrayed these as gatherings of atheist rakes where Christianity was mocked and toasts were made to the Devil. Beyond these sensationalist accounts, which may not be accurate portrayals of actual events, little is known about the activities of the Hellfire Clubs. Introvigne suggested that they may have engaged in a form of "playful Satanism" in which Satan was invoked "to show a daring contempt for conventional morality" by individuals who neither believed in his literal existence nor wanted to pay homage to him.

The French Revolution of 1789 dealt a blow to the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Europe, and soon a number of Catholic authors began making claims that it had been masterminded by a conspiratorial group of Satanists. Among the first to do so was French Catholic priest Jean-Baptiste Fiard, who publicly claimed that a wide range of individuals, from the Jacobins to tarot card readers, were part of a Satanic conspiracy. Fiard's ideas were furthered by Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, who devoted a lengthy book to this conspiracy theory; he claimed that Satanists had supernatural powers allowing them to curse people and to shapeshift into both cats and fleas. Although most of his contemporaries regarded Berbiguier as mad, his ideas gained credence among many occultists, including Stanislas de Guaita, a Cabalist who used them for the basis of his book, The Temple of Satan.

In the early 20th century, the British novelist Dennis Wheatley produced a range of influential novels in which his protagonists battled Satanic groups. At the same time, non-fiction authors like Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed published books claiming that Satanic groups practicing black magic were still active across the world, although they provided no evidence that this was the case. During the 1950s, various British tabloid newspapers repeated such claims, largely basing their accounts on the allegations of one woman, Sarah Jackson, who claimed to have been a member of such a group. In 1973, the British Christian Doreen Irvine published From Witchcraft to Christ, in which she claimed to have been a member of a Satanic group that gave her supernatural powers, such as the ability to levitate, before she escaped and embraced Christianity.In the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, various Christian preachersthe most famous being Mike Warnke in his 1972 book The Satan-Sellerclaimed that they had been members of Satanic groups who carried out sex rituals and animal sacrifices before discovering Christianity. According to Gareth Medway in his historical examination of Satanism, these stories were "a series of inventions by insecure people and hack writers, each one based on a previous story, exaggerated a little more each time".

Other publications made allegations of Satanism against historical figures. The 1970s saw the publication of the Romanian Protestant preacher Richard Wurmbrand's book in which he arguedwithout corroborating evidencethat the socio-political theorist Karl Marx had been a Satanist.

At the end of the twentieth century, a moral panic developed around claims regarding a Devil-worshipping cult that made use of sexual abuse, murder, and cannibalism in its rituals, with children being among its victims. Initially, the alleged perpetrators of such crimes were labelled "witches", although the term "Satanist" was soon adopted as a favoured alternative, and the phenomenon itself came to be called "the Satanism Scare". Promoters of the claims alleged that there was a conspiracy of organised Satanists who occupied prominent positions throughout society, from the police to politicians, and that they had been powerful enough to cover up their crimes.

Sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne, 2016

One of the primary sources for the scare was Michelle Remembers, a 1980 book by the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder in which he detailed what he claimed were the repressed memories of his patient (and wife) Michelle Smith. Smith had claimed that as a child she had been abused by her family in Satanic rituals in which babies were sacrificed and Satan himself appeared. In 1983, allegations were made that the McMartin familyowners of a preschool in Californiawere guilty of sexually abusing the children in their care during Satanic rituals. The allegations resulted in a lengthy and expensive trial, in which all of the accused would eventually be cleared. The publicity generated by the case resulted in similar allegations being made in various other parts of the United States.

A prominent aspect of the Satanic Scare was the claim by those in the developing "anti-Satanism" movement that any child's claim about Satanic ritual abuse must be true, because children would not lie. Although some involved in the anti-Satanism movement were from Jewish and secular backgrounds, a central part was played by fundamentalist and evangelical forms of Christianity, in particular Pentecostalism, with Christian groups holding conferences and producing books and videotapes to promote belief in the conspiracy. Various figures in law enforcement also came to be promoters of the conspiracy theory, with such "cult cops" holding various conferences to promote it. The scare was later imported to the United Kingdom through visiting evangelicals and became popular among some of the country's social workers, resulting in a range of accusations and trials across Britain.

The Satanic ritual abuse hysteria died down between 1990 and 1994. In the late 1980s, the Satanic Scare had lost its impetus following increasing scepticism about such allegations, and a number of those who had been convicted of perpetrating Satanic ritual abuse saw their convictions overturned.In 1990, an agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ken Lanning, revealed that he had investigated 300 allegations of Satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence for Satanism or ritualistic activity in any of them. In the UK, the Department of Health commissioned the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine to examine the allegations of SRA. She noted that while approximately half did reveal evidence of genuine sexual abuse of children, none revealed any evidence that Satanist groups had been involved or that any murders had taken place. She noted three examples in which lone individuals engaged in child molestation had created a ritual performance to facilitate their sexual acts, with the intent of frightening their victims and justifying their actions, but that none of these child molestors were involved in wider Satanist groups. By the 21st century, hysteria about Satanism has waned in most Western countries, although allegations of Satanic ritual abuse continued to surface in parts of continental Europe and Latin America.

From the late seventeenth through to the nineteenth century, the character of Satan was increasingly rendered unimportant in Western philosophy and ignored in Christian theology, while in folklore he came to be seen as a foolish rather than a menacing figure. The development of new values in the Age of Enlightenmentin particular those of reason and individualismcontributed to a shift in how many Europeans viewed Satan. In this context, a number of individuals took Satan out of the traditional Christian narrative and reread and reinterpreted him in light of their own time and their own interests, in turn generating new and different portraits of Satan.

The shifting view of Satan owes many of its origins to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), in which Satan features as the protagonist. Milton was a Puritan and had never intended for his depiction of Satan to be a sympathetic one. However, in portraying Satan as a victim of his own pride who rebelled against God he humanized him and also allowed him to be interpreted as a rebel against tyranny. This was how Milton's Satan was understood by later readers like the publisher Joseph Johnson, and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, who reflected it in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Paradise Lost gained a wide readership in the eighteenth century, both in Britain and in continental Europe, where it had been translated into French by Voltaire. Milton thus became "a central character in rewriting Satanism" and would be viewed by many later religious Satanists as a "de facto Satanist".

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of what has been termed "literary Satanism" or "romantic Satanism". According to Van Luijk, this cannot be seen as a "coherent movement with a single voice, but rather as a post factum identified group of sometimes widely divergent authors among whom a similar theme is found". For the literary Satanists, Satan was depicted as a benevolent and sometimes heroic figure, with these more sympathetic portrayals proliferating in the art and poetry of many romanticist and decadent figures. For these individuals, Satanism was not a religious belief or ritual activity, but rather a "strategic use of a symbol and a character as part of artistic and political expression".

Among the romanticist poets to adopt this view of Satan was the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had been influenced by Milton. In his poem Laon and Cythna, Shelley praised the "Serpent", a reference to Satan, as a force for good in the universe.Another was Shelley's fellow British poet Lord Byron, who included Satanic themes in his 1821 play Cain, which was a dramatization of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. These more positive portrayals also developed in France; one example was the 1823 work Eloa by Alfred de Vigny. Satan was also adopted by the French poet Victor Hugo, who made the character's fall from Heaven a central aspect of his La Fin de Satan, in which he outlined his own cosmogony.Although the likes of Shelley and Byron promoted a positive image of Satan in their work, there is no evidence that any of them performed religious rites to venerate him, and thus it is problematic to regard them as religious Satanists.

Radical left-wing political ideas had been spread by the American Revolution of 176583 and the French Revolution of 178999, and the figure of Satan, who was interpreted as having rebelled against the tyranny imposed by God, was an appealing one for many of the radical leftists of the period. For them, Satan was "a symbol for the struggle against tyranny, injustice, and oppression... a mythical figure of rebellion for an age of revolutions, a larger-than-life individual for an age of individualism, a free thinker in an age struggling for free thought". The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was a staunch critic of Christianity, embraced Satan as a symbol of liberty in several of his writings. Another prominent 19th century anarchist, the Russian Mikhail Bakunin, similarly described the figure of Satan as "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds" in his book God and the State. These ideas likely inspired the American feminist activist Moses Harman to name his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. The idea of this "Leftist Satan" declined during the twentieth century, although it was used on occasion by authorities within the Soviet Union, who portrayed Satan as a symbol of freedom and equality.

During the 1960s and 1970s, several rock bandsnamely the American Coven and the British Black Widowemployed the imagery of Satanism and witchcraft in their work. References to Satan also appeared in the work of those rock bands which were pioneering the heavy metal genre in Britain during the 1970s. Black Sabbath for instance made mention of Satan in their lyrics, although several of the band's members were practicing Christians and other lyrics affirmed the power of the Christian God over Satan. In the 1980s, greater use of Satanic imagery was made by heavy metal bands like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands active in the subgenre of death metalamong them Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Entombedalso adopted Satanic imagery, combining it with other morbid and dark imagery, such as that of zombies and serial killers.

Satanism would come to be more closely associated with the subgenre of black metal, in which it was foregrounded over the other themes that had been used in death metal. A number of black metal performers incorporated self-injury into their act, framing this as a manifestation of Satanic devotion. The first black metal band, Venom, proclaimed themselves to be Satanists, although this was more an act of provocation than an expression of genuine devotion to the Devil. Satanic themes were also used by the black metal bands Bathory and Hellhammer. However, the first black metal act to more seriously adopt Satanism was Mercyful Fate, whose vocalist, King Diamond, joined the Church of Satan. More often than not musicians associating themselves with black metal say they do not believe in legitimate Satanic ideology and often profess to being atheists, agnostics, or religious skeptics.[110]

In contrast to King Diamond, various black metal Satanists sought to distance themselves from LaVeyan Satanism, for instance by referring to their beliefs as "devil worship". These individuals regarded Satan as a literal entity, and in contrast to LaVey's views, they associated Satanism with criminality, suicide, and terror. For them, Christianity was regarded as a plague which required eradication. Many of these individualssuch as Varg Vikernes and Euronymouswere Norwegian, and influenced by the strong anti-Christian views of this milieu, between 1992 and 1996 around fifty Norwegian churches were destroyed in arson attacks. Within the black metal scene, a number of musicians later replaced Satanic themes with those deriving from Heathenry, a form of modern Paganism.

Rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk used a "working definition" in which Satanism was regarded as "the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan".

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu. They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term "Satanist" as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing "popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion" and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society's perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology.

The use of the term "Lucifer" was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a "Romantic Satanist". During his younger days, Levi used "Lucifer" in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar.According to Introvigne, this image gave "the Satanists their most popular symbol ever".

Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term "Lucifer" without adopting the term "Satan" in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that "Lucifer" was a force that aided humanity's awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer.

"Satan" was also used within the esoteric system propounded by the Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name "Ben Kadosh". Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a "Luciferian" interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh's work left little influence outside of Denmark.

Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless used imagery considered satanic, for instance by describing himself as "the Beast 666" and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent "Antichristmas cards" to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he "in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy", with his "image and thought" becoming an "important influence" on the later development of religious Satanism.

In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie ("Satanic Magic") that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world.

In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called "Satanic Initiations", included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was "a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator".

In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Sathanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane's claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which had been established in 1966.

None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s.

Anton LaVey, who has been referred to as "The Father of Satanism",[143] synthesized his religion through the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. LaVey's teachings promoted "indulgence", "vital existence", "undefiled wisdom", "kindness to those who deserve it", "responsibility to the responsible" and an "eye for an eye" code of ethics, while shunning "abstinence" based on guilt, "spirituality", "unconditional love", "pacifism", "equality", "herd mentality" and "scapegoating". In LaVey's view, the Satanist is a carnal, physical and pragmatic beingand enjoyment of physical existence and an undiluted view of this-worldly truth are promoted as the core values of Satanism, propagating a naturalistic worldview that sees mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey believed that the ideal Satanist should be individualistic and non-conformist, rejecting what he called the "colorless existence" that mainstream society sought to impose on those living within it. He praised the human ego for encouraging an individual's pride, self-respect, and self-realization and accordingly believed in satisfying the ego's desires. He expressed the view that self-indulgence was a desirable trait, and that hate and aggression were not wrong or undesirable emotions but that they were necessary and advantageous for survival. Accordingly, he praised the seven deadly sins as virtues which were beneficial for the individual. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine highlighted an article that appeared in The Black Flame, in which one writer described "a true Satanic society" as one in which the population consists of "free-spirited, well-armed, fully-conscious, self-disciplined individuals, who will neither need nor tolerate any external entity 'protecting' them or telling them what they can and cannot do."

The sociologist James R. Lewis noted that "LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement". Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. Petersen noted that it is "in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu", with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it "iconoclastic" and "the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology." Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey's writings "as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos." He also states: "With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey's Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace."

A number of religious studies scholars have described LaVey's Satanism as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality", with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism". In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism". The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic." The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation", while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence". It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".

Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made"; that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit, who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". LaVey used Christianity as a negative mirror for his new faith, with LaVeyan Satanism rejecting the basic principles and theology of Christian belief. It views Christianity alongside other major religions, and philosophies such as humanism and liberal democracy as a largely negative force on humanity; LaVeyan Satanists perceive Christianity as a lie which promotes idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. LaVeyans view their religion as a force for redressing this balance by encouraging materialism, egoism, stratification, carnality, atheism, and social Darwinism. LaVey's Satanism was particularly critical of what it understands as Christianity's denial of humanity's animal nature, and it instead calls for the celebration of, and indulgence in, these desires. In doing so, it places an emphasis on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary", who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood. LaVey espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"a projection of his or her own personalitynot an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism.

LaVey explained that the gods worshiped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. The current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, further expounds that "...Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates [...] Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.[180] The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being these Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being."[181] The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[182] The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers, atheistic or otherwise,[183] and maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey.

After LaVey's death in 1997, the Church of Satan was taken over by a new administration and its headquarters were moved to New York. LaVey's daughter, the High Priestess Karla LaVey, felt this to be a disservice to her father's legacy. The First Satanic Church was re-founded on October 31, 1999 by Karla LaVey to carry on the legacy of her father. She continues to run it out of San Francisco, California.

The Satanic Temple is an American religious and political activist organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The organization actively participates in public affairs that have manifested in several public political actions[184][185] and efforts at lobbying,[186] with a focus on the separation of church and state and using satire against Christian groups that it believes interfere with personal freedom.[186] According to Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen, the group were "rationalist, political pranksters". Their pranks are designed to highlight religious hypocrisy and advance the cause of secularism. In one of their actions, they performed a "Pink Mass" over the grave of the mother of the evangelical Christian and prominent anti-LGBT preacher Fred Phelps; the Temple claimed that the mass converted the spirit of Phelps' mother into a lesbian.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan, as they believe that this encourages superstition that would keep them from being "malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world". The Temple uses the literary Satan as metaphor to construct a cultural narrative which promotes pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[189] Satan is thus used as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms.[190][191]

Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship.[192] Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion.

Luciferianism can be understood best as a belief system or intellectual creed that venerates the essential and inherent characteristics that are affixed and commonly given to Lucifer. Luciferianism is often identified as an auxiliary creed or movement of Satanism, due to the common identification of Lucifer with Satan. Some Luciferians accept this identification and/or consider Lucifer as the "light bearer" and illuminated aspect of Satan, giving them the name of Satanists and the right to bear the title. Others reject it, giving the argument that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan. They are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism and traditional Western occultism.

According to the group's own claims, the Order of Nine Angles was established in Shropshire, Western England during the late 1960s, when a Grand Mistress united a number of ancient pagan groups active in the area.This account states that when the Order's Grand Mistress migrated to Australia, a man known as "Anton Long" took over as the new Grand Master. From 1976 onward he authored an array of texts for the tradition, codifying and extending its teachings, mythos, and structure.Various academics have argued that Long is the pseudonym of British neo-Nazi activist David Myatt, an allegation that Myatt has denied.The ONA arose to public attention in the early 1980s, spreading its message through magazine articles over the following two decades. In 2000, it established a presence on the internet, later adopting social media to promote its message.

The ONA is a secretive organization, and lacks any central administration, instead operating as a network of allied Satanic practitioners, which it terms the "kollective". It consists largely of autonomous cells known as "nexions". The majority of these are located in Britain, Ireland, and Germany, although others are located elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.

The ONA describe their occultism as "Traditional Satanism". The ONA's writings encourage human sacrifice, referring to their victims as opfers. According to the Order's teachings, such opfers must demonstrate character faults that mark them out as being worthy of death, and accordingly the ONA insists that children must never be victims. No ONA cell have admitted to carrying out a sacrifice in a ritualised manner, but rather Order members have joined the police and military in order to carry out such killings. Faxneld described the Order as "a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism", while religious studies scholar Graham Harvey claimed that the ONA fit the stereotype of the Satanist "better than other groups" by embracing "deeply shocking" and illegal acts.

The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan,[210] who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology.[211] The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.[211]

The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanitythrough the means of non-natural evolutionthe "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.

In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members.

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen used the term "reactive Satanism" to describe one form of modern religious Satanism. They described this as an adolescent and anti-social means of rebelling in a Christian society, by which an individual transgresses cultural boundaries. They believed that there were two tendencies within reactive Satanism: one, "Satanic tourism", was characterised by the brief period of time in which an individual was involved, while the other, the "Satanic quest", was typified by a longer and deeper involvement.

The researcher Gareth Medway noted that in 1995 he encountered a British woman who stated that she had been a practicing Satanist during her teenage years. She had grown up in a small mining village, and had come to believe that she had psychic powers. After hearing about Satanism in some library books, she declared herself a Satanist and formulated a belief that Satan was the true god. After her teenage years she abandoned Satanism and became a chaos magickian.

Some reactive Satanists are teenagers or mentally disturbed individuals who have engaged in criminal activities. During the 1980s and 1990s, several groups of teenagers were apprehended after sacrificing animals and vandalising both churches and graveyards with Satanic imagery. Introvigne expressed the view that these incidents were "more a product of juvenile deviance and marginalization than Satanism". In a few cases the crimes of these reactive Satanists have included murder. In 1970, two separate groups of teenagersone led by Stanley Baker in Big Sur and the other by Steven Hurd in Los Angeleskilled a total of three people and consumed parts of their corpses in what they later claimed were sacrifices devoted to Satan. In 1984, a U.S. group called the Knights of the Black Circle killed one of its own members, Gary Lauwers, over a disagreement regarding the group's illegal drug dealing; group members later related that Lauwers' death was a sacrifice to Satan.The American serial killer Richard Ramirez for instance claimed that he was a Satanist; during his 1980s killing spree he left an inverted pentagram at the scene of each murder and at his trial called out "Hail Satan!"

Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen observed that from surveys of Satanists conducted in the early 21st century, it was clear that the Satanic milieu was "heavily dominated by young males". They nevertheless noted that census data from New Zealand suggested that there may be a growing proportion of women becoming Satanists. In comprising more men than women, Satanism differs from most other religious communities, including most new religious communities. Most Satanists came to their religion through reading, either online or books, rather than through being introduced to it through personal contacts. Many practitioners do not claim that they converted to Satanism, but rather state that they were born that way, and only later in life confirmed that Satanism served as an appropriate label for their pre-existing worldviews. Others have stated that they had experiences with supernatural phenomena that led them to embracing Satanism. A number reported feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of many practicing Christians and expressed the view that the monotheistic Gods of Christianity and other religions are unethical, citing issues such as the problem of evil. For some practitioners, Satanism gave a sense of hope, including for those who had been physically and sexually abused.

The surveys revealed that atheistic Satanists appeared to be in the majority, although the numbers of theistic Satanists appeared to grow over time. Beliefs in the afterlife varied, although the most popular afterlife views were reincarnation and the idea that consciousness survives bodily death. The surveys also demonstrated that most recorded Satanists practiced magic, although there were differing opinions as to whether magical acts operated according to etheric laws or whether the effect of magic was purely psychological. A number described performing cursing, in most cases as a form of vigilante justice.Most practitioners conduct their religious observances in a solitary manner, and never or rarely meet fellow Satanists for rituals. Rather, the primary interaction that takes place between Satanists is online, on websites or via email.From their survey data, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen noted that the average length of involvement in the Satanic milieu was seven years. A Satanist's involvement in the movement tends to peak in the early twenties and drops off sharply in their thirties. A small proportion retain their allegiance to the religion into their elder years. When asked about their political views, the largest proportion of Satanists identified as apolitical or non-aligned, while only a small percentage identified as conservative despite the conservative views of prominent Satanists like LaVey and Marilyn Manson. A small minority of Satanists expressed support for the far right; conversely, over two-thirds expressed negative or extremely negative views about Nazism and neo-Nazism.

In 2004 it was claimed that Satanism was allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians.[243][244][245] In 2016, under a Freedom of Information request, the Navy Command Headquarters stated that "we do not recognise satanism as a formal religion, and will not grant facilities or make specific time available for individual 'worship'."[246]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated in the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson over protecting minority religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[247][248] The court ruled that facilities that accept federal funds cannot deny prisoners accommodations that are necessary to engage in activities for the practice of their own religious beliefs.[249][250]

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Satanism - Wikipedia

We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses …

some Prophets are stopped from having sex with their wives, they have sex with a snake

Coming in the wake of self-acclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiris stunts that he has called miracles, Malawian Prophet Trevor Kautsire made a rare confession on modern day Prophecy.

Prophet Kautsire (right) with host Brian Banda

In an interview on one Malawian television talkshow that was followed by Malawi24, Prophet Kautsire made the chilling claims that modern day Prophets are not using the power of the Holy Spirit to perform their so-called miracles.

I was in South Africa and I met the who-is-who of the gospel, what they told me is heart-breaking, said Kautsire.

He disclosed that when he was in South Africa he was told of rituals that he had to perform if he were to become a renowned Prophet. Kautsire disclosed that the ritual involved sacrifices that included the killing of family members or church members.

I am speaking this from experience, some Prophets have had to sacrifice their church members to gain fame. You have heard of people dying in places of worship, it is because they are using the people as sacrifices, said Kautsire, a comment which commentators said was referring to the Nigerian teleprophet TB Joshua at whose church over a hundred people died.

Kautsire further said that it was easy to decipher fake Prophets because they do miracles for no important reason.

A miracle is supposed to meet a need, however when a Prophet does a miracle that does not meet any need there is no reason to believe that Prophet, he said. Commentators have thought that he was apparently referring to Bushiri who has been in the news for the walk-in-the air stunt which does nothing to glorify the name of the Lord.

He said that Prophets are using magic, witchcraft and Satanism to perform miracles.

There are some who are told to keep a worm and keep feeding it, the worm grows into a snake and when it comes to that stage where it is a snake, it brings them money. The catch is that one should never sleep with their wife but the snake, said Kautsire disclosing the secrets in the dark world of Prophecy.

Originally posted here:

We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses ...

We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses …

some Prophets are stopped from having sex with their wives, they have sex with a snake

Coming in the wake of self-acclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiris stunts that he has called miracles, Malawian Prophet Trevor Kautsire made a rare confession on modern day Prophecy.

Prophet Kautsire (right) with host Brian Banda

In an interview on one Malawian television talkshow that was followed by Malawi24, Prophet Kautsire made the chilling claims that modern day Prophets are not using the power of the Holy Spirit to perform their so-called miracles.

I was in South Africa and I met the who-is-who of the gospel, what they told me is heart-breaking, said Kautsire.

He disclosed that when he was in South Africa he was told of rituals that he had to perform if he were to become a renowned Prophet. Kautsire disclosed that the ritual involved sacrifices that included the killing of family members or church members.

I am speaking this from experience, some Prophets have had to sacrifice their church members to gain fame. You have heard of people dying in places of worship, it is because they are using the people as sacrifices, said Kautsire, a comment which commentators said was referring to the Nigerian teleprophet TB Joshua at whose church over a hundred people died.

Kautsire further said that it was easy to decipher fake Prophets because they do miracles for no important reason.

A miracle is supposed to meet a need, however when a Prophet does a miracle that does not meet any need there is no reason to believe that Prophet, he said. Commentators have thought that he was apparently referring to Bushiri who has been in the news for the walk-in-the air stunt which does nothing to glorify the name of the Lord.

He said that Prophets are using magic, witchcraft and Satanism to perform miracles.

There are some who are told to keep a worm and keep feeding it, the worm grows into a snake and when it comes to that stage where it is a snake, it brings them money. The catch is that one should never sleep with their wife but the snake, said Kautsire disclosing the secrets in the dark world of Prophecy.

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We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses ...


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