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Category Archives: Modern Satanism

Kangaroo Court: Of Chief Lundu orders to ban ECG church – Nyasa Times

Posted: August 3, 2017 at 10:04 am

Chief Lundu of the Chewa tribe with his jurisdiction claiming some territory in the southern region of Malawi delivered some very unfortunate remarks during a DPP rally in Nchalo. In his remarks, Lundu ordered that the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church should stop operation in Chikwawa, furnishing his order with some crazy remarks that the church is promoting satanism and also because Prophet Bushiri has political ambitions.

This Court commends the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Francis Kasaila, for coming in quickly and distance the party from these outrageous remarks by the seemingly overzealous Chief. When the government, through the ruling party said it is in good terms with any church operating in Malawi, it brought excitement and hope for respect of the dictates of the Constitution governing our State. The countrys Constitution provides for the freedom of worship and the disassociation from Lundus remarks demonstrated that as a ruling party, the DPP would not tolerate seeds of violation to this sacred freedom that Malawi enjoys at present.

Further, this Court joins the renowned civil rights activist, Billy Mayaya, in wondering where Chief Lundu actually draws his authority to bar the branch of ECG from operating a branch in area where his chieftaincy reigns. It must be emphasized, at this point, that there is and there shall never be any authority in Malawi which shall override the Constitution. Since the Constitution of this republic guarantees freedom of religion and its domicile, no chief has the power to decide which church can enjoy domicile and which one cannot in the area of his jurisdiction. Any such attempted act would translate to dictatorial doctrine which is frowned upon by our Constitution.

Chiefs are recognized and respected because of their customary roles they play in our communities and they form traditional political institutions. The role and relevance of these traditional political institutions in general, and traditional leadership in particular, continue to generate intense, and sometimes, quite acrimonious debates in Malawi. Heated, bitter and rancorous debates on whether those who preside over indigenous political institutions who are variously designated numerous nomenclature as chiefs, village heads, ndunas and so on, should have any formal role in the political affairs of Malawi continue to occur.

Frankly speaking, the institution of traditional rulership is some historical relic that belongs to antiquity. These relics of by-gone instruments are irrelevant to a society currently subject to the objective laws of our modernized society.

The term, traditional rulers actually hints at the common fact that these rulers operate outside the formal structures of modern state power and it underscores the fog surrounding the locus and permitted extent of powers exercised by this class of leaders in our modern society of legal framework.

As we speak, chiefs in Malawi appear have a lot of sway. In rural areas, they solve customary disputes and are the connection for residents to governing district assemblies. They were outlined in the countrys 1967 Chiefs Act as gatekeepers of their residents and champions for local development.

Recently, the lines between heads of state and heads of village arent nearly as clear. Malawis late dictator Kamuzu Banda was known for using chiefs to assert his power all the way down to the local level, and the tendency has carried through to multi-party democracy today. Only that sometimes, the Chiefs nowadays pledge themselves to the government as instruments of dictatorial orders. They believe they still have the ultimate influence in their localities and sometimes countrywide.

This is not for all chief but some who often act like ruling party functionaries largely due to weaknesses within the Chiefs Act which was enacted at the peak of single-party dictatorship in 1967 and was clearly designed to sustain dictatorship by containing provisions that compel chiefs to have personal loyalty to the president. This tendency is rooted from the aberrancies inherent in the said Chiefs Act.

Among several anomalies, the Act (in Sections 3, 4, 10 and 16) gives the president powers to appoint, promote or remove chiefs or increase or decrease the area of a chiefs jurisdiction. It also gives the president discretionary powers to determine the chiefs remuneration. As a result of those provisions, the survival of chieftaincies is dependent on the goodwill of sitting presidents, resulting in chiefs acting in a manner that shows loyalty to the president and, often the presidents political party.

However, some chiefs are cautious and depart from the careless behaviour of such chiefs like Lundu who has, for many times, demonstrated misunderstanding of this loyalty concept. Habitually, Chief Lundu has demonstrated deep-rooted hatred towards anything of which description is complete without the word government or ruling party. He appears to be a full politician operating from the ruling party than a Chief. I must state that he is exhibited dictatorial ambitions lack the support of the law in this country.

It is the conduct of chiefs like Lundu that leaves this Court contemplating that the framers of the 1994 constitution were actually heroes for seemingly being uncomfortable to provide a constitutional role for this set of rulers, called chiefs, whose very mode of exercising power appeared to conflict with the ideals of democratic governance. Malawi is a democratic polity and this Court pays so much respect to the architects of our Constitution for this great insight.

While some chiefs are doing great in complementing the very ideals of democracy in championing community activities that responds to citizens roles in a decentralized governance, it is unfortunate, however, that Chief Lundu will have to be used as a barometers of the ebbs and flows of the powers of traditional rulers.

Malawians have sacrificed everything to fight for a better future but at every stage, the promises given by those who assume some fade of power have always been diametrically opposed to the reality. It is sad that, Chief Lundu has the appetite for this kind of power that would enable him throw commands and take civil control of his jurisdiction.

In the pre-colonial era, traditional rulers exercised effective powers in their domains. In those civilisation-empty days, chief were rulers in every sense of the word as they derived their executive, legislative and judicial functions from traditions long rooted, recognized and revered by the people of their respective areas of authority. Many of the rulers combined temporal and spiritual powers. But, unfortunately, those days are long gone swept off by the wind of democracy which has been blowing our country.

What Chief Lundu and his like-minded have managed to let this Court think is that some of these traditional leaders inherit their positions from their fathers regardless of the fact that they have absolutely no leadership qualities. This Court is of the view that anyone who wants to be a leader of the people in our democratic dispensation should face the ballot box. Leaders should be representative of their people and he who has to occupy the position of leadership has to demonstrate the prowess so required and not just individuals who, by accident of birth, happen to be born in the right family.

The leadership qualities found in any one individual are unique to them and not hereditary passed from parent to child. Therefore all these chiefs should not be trusted with any significant authority in the governance realm and never should they be allowed to attempt to replace elected leaders.

Lundu must know, or be made to know, the actual size of his tail. It is not as big as he wrongly thinks.

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How the Satanic Temple Became a Queer Haven – VICE

Posted: July 24, 2017 at 8:01 am

In the early 90s, Ash Blackwood (who goes publicly by his psuedonym, Ash Astaroth) was an openly gay teen looking for community in his tiny Ohio suburband he found it when he stumbled upon Satanism.

With his piercings and blue hair, he found empowerment by embracing his own brand of weirdnesssomething that brought him routine high school bullying, but seemed to be embraced by the Church of Satan. Without a physical church to visit, he said he'd spend a few hours each day at his local library, logging onto online Satanic forums and chatting with like-minded souls. For several years, those virtual chats sufficed.

Ultimately, however, he became disenchanted by the Church's insincere and aggressive tone, not to mention the bros who infected the scene with outdated machismo.

He nearly ditched Satanism altogether. In 2014, as he prepared for a life explaining away his Lucifer tattoos with a spiel about liking the literary archetype, he discovered the Satanic Temple, an unrelated though similarly-named group. It was actually an anti-Satanic Temple rant that drew him to the organization, posted to YouTube by Brian Werner, a former death metal vocalist in the band Vital Remains. "It's become a very liberal, compassionate, borderline hippie-like outlook on politics and societal issues," said Werner.

"If this guy is leaving the Satanic Temple for those reasons," Astaroth recalls thinking. "That's exactly where I need to be."

A year later, Astaroth established New York City's first Satanic Temple chapter, pulling an online community into a real-life group roughly 80 members strong, the first IRL chapter in the city. The goal: to make it "not just accepting of LGBTQ people, but an enthusiastically accepting atmosphere for LGBTQ people," he said. In other words, the kind of group he'd longed for as a teen in Ohio. To wit, the first question on the New York chapter's membership application asks for one's preferred pronoun, which establishes a communal sense of respect while also acting as a safety net. "If someone takes the opportunity to answer it in a flippant way, they're just not going to be a good fit for our chapter," Astaroth said.

He has since moved to Salem, Massachusetts, where he's now the director of the Temple's headquarters and remains an assistant chapter head of the NYC group he founded. The Temple's openness to intersectional identities is just part of what's endeared him so strongly to the group. "Queer is an extra layer on top of being gay just like Satan is an extra layer on top of being an atheist," Astaroth said. "You can be both."

This would have been news to me six months ago. At 26 years old, newly lesbian, and navigating the tail end of a five year relationship with the man I loved, I didn't know what to call myself aside from "confused." Figuring I might as well lean into that untethered panic, I attended a public forum hosted by the Satanic Temple's LA chapter. Held at a biker bar in the suburbs, I showed up wearing mom jeans and fit in seamlessly, and I've since become a member in good standing.

Since then, I've been consumed with all things Satanic Temple. As someone who identifies as both gay and queerqueer in the modern sense of rejecting binary thinkingI feel at home in its embrace of complexity. As it turns out, I'm not alone.

With 60 chapters around the world (many of them online, according to LA chapter head Ali Kellog) and more than 70,000 followers on Facebook, the Temple has gained recent attention thanks to several campaigns meant to challenge the religious right's grip on American policymaking. Take, for example, its fight for reproductive rights, campaign to install a statue of its gender-fluid deity near a Ten Commandments monument outside the Oklahoma State Capitol building and offer to perform same-sex weddings when Michigan state officials wouldn't. VICE has previously covered the Temple's first "Pink Mass," in which spokesman Lucien Greaves trolled the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, by having same-sex couples kiss over his dead mother's grave.

But beyond these kinds of stunts, the Temple is an important movement that provides a safe, radically-inclusive space for people who identify in all sorts of ways. Without defining itself as an LGBTQ organization outright, the Satanic Temple has become a haven for queer folks. At the first meeting I attended, nearly everyone I talked to was confidently queer, gay, pansexual, transgender, bi, polyamorous, or something in between.

There's still ample confusion about what it means to be a Satanist. Given society's long history of pegging Satan as the root of all evil, that's fairthough it's worth making some distinctions. Anton LaVey, a then 36-year-old American musician, founded the Church of Satan in 1966 with the mission of creating an organization "openly dedicated to the acceptance of Man's true naturethat of a carnal beast, living in a cosmos that is indifferent to our existence." The Satanic Temple, on the other hand, was created by Lucien Greaves (aka Doug Mesner) and Malcolm Jarry in 2014 to promote humanistic principles of benevolence and empathy.

Greaves is surprised I find the Temple's queerness, well, surprising. "It's not a big deal," he said. "We don't have strict separations or definitions of our gay membership, our trans membership, or anybody else." Though he doesn't have an exact headcount of LGBTQ members, Greaves said he wouldn't be surprised if more than half identify as such (an estimate that conforms with my experience at the LA chapter). The organization as a whole is a platform for LGBTQ members to celebrate their identities.

Throughout the long history of Satanic culture, "there's always been a tenor of tweaking the status quo, tweaking the mainstream," said David E Embree, who teaches religious studies at Missouri State University. That opposition to the status quo, Embree said, is exactly why the Temple has such great appeal to many who have been burned by mainstream religions. What's more interesting, in his mind, is the way Temple Satanists formed a community in the relative safety and privacy of online chat rooms. "The internet is the best friend Satanism ever had," he saidwhich makes sense, when you consider how dangerous it can be to identify as anything other than cisgendered, straight, and Christian in much of the country.

That origin storyhow the Satanic Temple was mostly born onlinemakes for an almost too-perfect metaphor. The internet operates as both a Pandora's box of vile commentary and a tool for distributing a means of communication and organization to marginalized communities around the world. It obscures as much as it clarifies and blunts loneliness as often as it exacerbates it. Those are modern-day dualities that both queers and Satanists are all too familiar with. "Humans are complex," as Astaroth put it. "I don't understand why you would resist being as many things as you want to be. That idea shouldn't be intimidating, but refreshing."

This article was written by Kate Ryan. Follow her on Twitter.

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How the Satanic Temple Became a Queer Haven - VICE

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Coltrain: Satanism and paganism are not the same thing – The Daily Iowan

Posted: July 20, 2017 at 3:00 am

Religious freedom is a a fundamental characteristic of America; this includes respecting other religions and not spreading false representations of them.

ByTravis Coltrain

Religious freedom is one of the founding ideals of this country. In the United States, an individual has the freedom to identify with any religion, whether that be as a member of the First Church of Cannabis or a member of the Church of Satan. America was formed with religious freedom very much in mind, and that battle continues to this day.

A lot has changed since the witch hunts of the Early Modern Period, when an estimated 35,000 to 100,000 people were executed under the pretense of being witches. Now, more than 400 years later, we have pop-culture icons using once-taboo religions as a way to gain popularity.

Recently, from Buddhism to Satanism, select religious have become trendy. This is where an issue that comes with religious freedom comes into play, the power to participate in a religion because it is viewed as cool or trendy. This can lead to unrealistic portrayals of a religion because those who simply jumped on the bandwagon are doing it for popularity reasons, not necessarily because they have a true understanding of the religion.

A prime example of this is Matt Skiba, the lead singer of the rock band Blink-182. Recently, Skiba told NME Magazine in an interview, I had a bad feeling about that event [Fyre Festival]. I consider myself a pagan and a witch. With every inch of my energy, I wanted Fyre not to happen I used my witchy ways, and it seemed to work. Ill take responsibility, and everyone can blame me.

However, this is untrue for two reasons. The organizers of Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland, who cofounded the event with rapper Ja Rule, have since been charged with fraud, in which they admitted the festival was a disaster because they spent all the money on promotions and advertisements, meaning it was doomed to fail before Skiba and his magic had anything to do with it.

The second reason is the more important one: Skiba is known as practicing LaVeyan Satanism and has been open about that since 2005. While to many people Wicca and Satanism seem to be pretty much the same thing, that couldnt be further from the truth.

The one key difference between the two religions is belief.

LaVeyan Satanists are actually atheist and do not believe in God or Satan, they simply view the idea of Satan as a symbol for individualism. However, Wiccans do believe in a god and goddess, and some variations of Wicca actually worship numerous gods.

Ironically enough, on the Church of Satans website under the Frequently Asked Questions section, it clearly states when asked if they are allied with Wicca, Satanism is an atheist philosophy, hence it is not congruent with any other philosophy or religion which endorses the belief in supernatural entities.

This showcases Skiba and his witchy powers had nothing to do with the outcome of Fyre Festival, and he was just using Wicca as a steppingstone to put himself in the spotlight. Furthermore, his statement conflated paganism with Satanism, which can lead to more confusion and stigma about two belief systems that are already usually misunderstood.

America gives us the opportunity to learn and experience a vast number of religions, and while it is great to explore and learn about as many religions as possible, we also have to respect their ideals and not simply view them as a trendy statement.

A religion isnt a trend, it is an ideology that needs to be treated with respect, even if it promotes ideas that you do not agree with.

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Coltrain: Satanism and paganism are not the same thing - The Daily Iowan

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 30: Moby, The Beach Boys, Napalm Death, John Coltrane and more – The Arts Desk

Posted: July 13, 2017 at 7:00 am

If theres a downside to the resurgence of vinyl, its that all thats left in most charity shops these days is James Galway and his cursed flute and Max Bygraves medley albums. Then again, theres always new stuff coming in so its down to everybody to get in there quick, before the local record shops hoover up all the gems. And there it is. Many small towns now have local record shops again. Thats surely something to celebrate. Theres even a Vinyl Festival this September in Rotherhithe, with a hundred stalls featuring independent labels and dealers, and the latest vinyl-related tech, alongside DJ sets and staged in conversations with various usual suspects (eg Tim Burgess). As Ive written here before; vinyl is a fad right now but it may not always be, so get stuck in and grab some. Monthly reviews on theartsdesk on Vinyl guide through the best of whats out there, from bangin techno to spanking new countrynwestern to seminal 50 year old jazz. Dive in.


Hidden Orchestra Dawn Chorus (Tru Thoughts)

The third album from Brighton electronic producer Joe Acheson is a suite of field recording-based music themed around dawn in the countryside (apart from two tracks recorded in urban environments). That sounds like the sort of conceptual art project people give lip service to, that creates a few column inches in broadsheet arts supplements, but is basically boring to listen to. Not so. Coming on double transparent vinyl, the gatefold sleeve describes details of the various locations the material was recorded, which range from his own garden to a forest near Prague, and the whole is speckled with violin and piano by the composer Poppy Ackroyd, as well as loads of birdsong. What makes it all so listenable is a dubby propulsion, a mantric head-nodding quality thats earthy yet light, dragging the listener into what can only be described as a soundscape (my allotted one use of the term for 2017). Alongside the crackling fires and whistling winds (and, on Serpentine, relatively hectic percussion) theres a plethora of mellow woodwind and mournful strings. The whole thing could have been an ambient drag but, instead, its a gently engaging masterpiece.

Various The Wicked Die Young: Nicholas Winding Refn (Milan)

Nicholas Winding Refn is a Hollywood auteur to watch (albeit one from Denmark). His films are unafraid to wander outside the normative. Perhaps the best example of this is his beautiful, bizarre horror meditation on the fashion industry, The Neon Demon, from last year. Cliff Martinez wrote the distinctive electronic soundtrack to that film, as well as Refns Ryan Gosling-starring pair, Only God Forgives and Drive. The Wicked Die Young is a companion piece, wherein Refn compiles, over four sides on art gatefold, the music that inspired the mood of The Neon Demon. The result is a great and imaginative collection that retains the strange, sometimes sickly sensual mood of the film in question. It runs the gamut from punk groovers such as 999s surprisingly supple Homicide to the kitschy sex-disco of Tommy Seebacks Bubble Sex; from the even purer kitsch of Lynsey de Pauls Wont Somebody Dance With Me and Dionne Warwicks Theme From The Valley of the Dolls to original gothic synth-pop tunes by Electric Youth, Martinez and Refns brother Julian. The concept behind The Wicked Die Young sounds indulgent but the result is hugely enjoyable.

Moby & The Void Pacific Choir More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse (Little Idiot)

If you enjoyed last Autumns These Systems Are Failing, then More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse is very similar. On transparent candy pink vinyl in photo-art inner sleeve, it may well be that Moby and pals recorded these songs in the same sessions. In terms of production, they certainly sound that way, great hammering walls of melodic synth, with attacking electronic percussion flying along beside, all adding up to a polished 21st century anti-Trump punk. The odd thing about this album is that, while its exhilarating, I find it hard to recall specific songs after it finishes. Im left with a general fist-pumping-the-air sense of righteous howling at the misguided powers that be. That said, there are gigantic stand-outs, such as the cinematically vast All The Hurts We Made, which sounds like long-lost Eighties act Red Box reinvented on an apocalyptic scale by an angry rave-punk behemoth, or the closing A Happy Song which comes on like Gary Numan going ballistic. Hearing These Systems Are Failing, and More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse live on a large system would be a wild experience, theyre a vibrant addition to Mobys critically underrated back catalogue, but two albums of this stuff is enough.

The Beach Boys Wild Honey (Capitol)

After the well-documented sandpit and LSD shenanigans of the Smile/Smiley Smile project, culminating in commercial failure, the battered Beach Boys regrouped for what would be songwriting genius Brian Wilsons last wholly conceived album for a decade. Given the critical kudos which The Beach Boys have gathered in the intermediate 50 years, its usually forgotten that as the psychedelic Sixties bloomed and rock music came into being, they were sneered at as a crappy pop band, a relic of the previous clean-cut era. The critics were certainly not on their side in 1967. Wild Honey, then, was an attempt to deliver something with more oomph and, indeed, it has a rhythmnblues vivacity that fits in with what, say, Stax Records were up to at the time. Its not too far, even, from the Northern Soul aesthetic in places, while songs such as How She Boogalooed It have an almost Stonesy feel. The title track, with its Otis Redding-buys-a-Moog vibe, is a must-have number, and the whole thing has a welcome punchiness.

Various Closed Circuits: Australian Alternative Electronic Music of the 70s and 80s, Volume 1 (Warner Music Australia)

This collection is worth the price of entry for obscure unit And An As seven-minute 1982 corker Affirmation. It sounds somewhere between The Talking Heads and all those early Eighties Manchester indie bands who tried in vain to play funk. Closing with a hypnotic sequence where bleepy keyboard meshes with harmonica and jangling guitar, its a minor classic. Over two records in an info and image-filled gatefold, the rest is a fascinating mixed bag which runs from the bizarre to the brilliant to the best-not. Given the title, I was expecting a collection of 80s electro-pop. There are moments imitative of that, such as Jules Rock, Rock Daddy, which recalls Animotions 1984 hit Obsession, or the ballad Waiting by The Dugites, which has a rhythm track very similar to Ultravoxs Vienna (which it pre-empted). However, much of Closed Circuits is indie band music with electronic trimmings or just plain post-punk experimentalism. German Humours "A Young Mans Old Girlfriend is a lovely Chameleons-ish thing, albeit with the lyrics recorded inaudibly low, while Anna Cessna & Essendon Airports Talking to Cleopatra is an alt-pop mess that would have fitted in well beside And The Restless Natives There Goes Concorde Again on The John Peel Show, meanwhile Scattered Orders A Few Little Shocks is sheer industrial assault. In parts, then, a revelatory selection.

Bernard Herrmann Psycho (Stylotone)

Psycho is one of the most groundbreaking films ever made. In terms of horror, its a key text, and, as its director Alfred Hitchcock acknowledged, much of the films power came from Bernard Herrmanns jarring music (Hitchcock pinned it down to exactly one third). This 7 single, limited to 1960 copies, in honour of Psychos year of release, was cut directly from the master tapes at Abbey Road and sounds that way. It contains the theme music at the start of the film, which mingles a driving melodic thriller motif with something altogether more unsettling, and on the flip, the famous string stabs of the shower murder. The latter is still used as comedy verbal shorthand to describe the dangerously mad over half a century after it was composed. Its a short, sharp, shock of a piece and this 7 makes it ripe for dropping in between other tunes, as a DJ or host, spicing up the menu with something brief, utterly recognizable, classic and energetically disquieting.

Miranda Lee Richards Existential Beast (Invisible Hands Music)

Miranda Lee Richards would have made a less plasticized Lana del Rey, if shed had that sort of team behind her a few years ago. She has that hazy David Lynch-ian thing down but seems more red-blooded and rockin than Americas A1 trip hop diva. Her fourth album, which arrives with a 12 x 24 lyric/art insert, has a country music tint, but is equally smeared with a woozy, stoned, singer-songwriter ethos. Her voice is crystal clear, girl-ish, precise in delivery, and provides an ethereal counterpoint to the tuneful, classy psyche-pop guitar. Here and there are very faint hints of the Cocteau Twins and Miranda Lee Richards acknowledged influence, Mazzy Starr. It's likeable drug-tinted space-pop for wafting around dimly lit rooms trailing a hallucinatory swirl of Boho silk scarves.

Various Behind the Counter With Max Richter (Rough Trade)

Max Richter has gradually wended his way to becoming a leading light of the current modern-classical boom. He exemplifies an unfussy Venn diagram crossover between trad conservatoire virtuosity, self-taught electronic freakery and the relationship of both to the filmic, both literally and conceptually. This three disc set in triple gatefold lays out his parameters via a compilation that runs from Aphex Twin and Mogwais pop music heritage to the canonical likes of Handel, Schubert, Rachmaninov and Purcell. Along the way, and, perhaps, most interestingly, he showcases the more approachable face of abstruse art music, such as Massachusetts vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth performing a piece called Partita III. Courante by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York composer Caroline Shaw, which consists of singing and voice exercises cut together in a way thats both beautiful and entirely different, or the glitched Buchla synthesizer twinklings of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, which achieves a sort of sonic Aurora Borealis. There are a couple of his own works in there too, and its pleasing to see him give peculiar teenage Norwich newcomers Lets Eat Grandma the nod. An elegant collection wherein Max Richter whispers, Come into my world, its not noisy and its sometimes not immediate, but stick with me and youll find unexpected treats.

Napalm Death Scum (Earache)

When Scum appeared in 1987, it changed the game for speed-metallers across the world. It brought in a number of tropes that would prove highly influential, notably the incomprehensible growl-vomited vocals and sudden bursts of blast beats (demented drum assaults). Time has not mellowed it. One way that it stands out from many of the bands it influenced is the defiant lo-fi scuzz-punk feel, especially on side one. Another curious aspect is that its the ultra-hardcore Midlands outfits most famous work yet was made by, essentially, two different bands, one per side, neither of which contained any members of the current Napalm Death (their bassist first appeared on the next record). Overseen by drummer Mick Harris, master of the aforementioned blast beats, and with input on side one from Justin Broadrick, later of industrial metallers Godflesh, it has a rising, falling insectoid hum, the brevity of the songs and the socio-political lyrical content subsumed by the violent need of its makers to purge these emotions from their system. Cheap, caustic and ballistic, Scum remains a signpost on the landscape of extreme music and its power remains little dissipated by the intermediate 30 years. Comes in original lyric/photo sleeve.

John Coltrane Ol + Coltrane Plays the Blues + Giant Steps + Trane: The Atlantic Collection (Warner Bros) + John Coltrane & Don Cherry The Avant-Garde (Warner Bros) + Milt Jackson & John Coltrane Bags and Trane (Warner Bros)

The word legend is much overused by music writers, and even more by PRs. However, some artists achieve legendary status, via the giant shadow their work/persona casts over the decades, most especially if their time on earth flared brief but oh so bright. John Coltrane falls into this latter category, a saxophonist who, for around a decade prior to his death from liver cancer in 1967, flew at the boundaries of what jazz could be in a manner only comparable to his great contemporary, rival and occasional collaborator, Miles Davis. These Atlantic albums, all recorded at the very dawn of the Sixties for Atlantic Records (although some were released later in the decade), showcase an artist enjoying the outer limits of what was then critically and commercially acceptable in jazz, prior to leaping off into free forms and outright experimentalism that divided listeners. 1962s Coltrane Plays the Blues, for instance, featuring material recorded during the 1960 sessions for the commercially successful My Favourite Things album, is full of warmly approachable tones and easy vamping, sprightly, never settling to easy levity. The hook-up with trumpet master Don Cherry around the same period (but not released until 1966) is entitled The Avant-Garde but finds both musicians enjoying their own take on Ornette Coleman compositions, flighty, occasionally challenging, but never going off at the deep end. Giant Steps, produced by Atlantic giant Nesuhi Ertegn (brother of Led Zep pal Ahmet) is a livelier creature, fluid and often frantic, by the standards of the time. Its all Coltranes own music and was a breakthrough album, truly putting him on the map. Its restless energy still leaps from the speakers today. 1962s Ol, meanwhile, the last release while Coltrane was still on the label, is my own favourite, primarily for its driving, flamenco-flavoured, side-long suite of a title track, although the new Trane: The Atlantic Collection is a juicy catch-all compilation (although no Ol). Finally, the Milt Jackson collaboration isnt actually a John Coltrane album at all, more Jackson featuring him, but is from the same period and a tasty addendum to these reissues. All albums come with a 12 x 12 insert featuring the front/back cover art.

Alison Moyet Other (Cooking Vinyl)

As one who hasnt listened to anything Alison Moyet has done for years, and who associates her with middle-of-the-road jazz-pop from the Eighties, Other is a right ear-opener. Many of you will have caught up with these developments already with 2013s The Minutes album; Moyets return to electronic backing which is, after all, where she began with Yazoo three-and-a-half decades ago. Other is, then, overflowing with elegant, studio-symphonic pop, produced by Guy Sigsworth. It ranges from the luscious Bond theme-ish The Rarest Birds to the snappy electro-funk of Reassuring Pinches, and goes many places else (including spoken word poetry). Moyet has said how liberating recording this album and its predecessor have been, freeing her from expectations people have of middle-aged female jazz singers. More power to her. Its a creative renaissance worth following.

Coldcut x On-U Sound Outside The Echo Chamber Boxset (Ahead of Our Time)

For five years, from around 1985, the DJ-producer duo Coldcut and the On-U Sound label-owner and producer Adrian Sherwood were two of the most influential sound-makers in British electronic music, always right at the vanguard, yet both with large popular followings. Coldcut majored in Steinski-influenced, hip hop-flavoured dance music cut-ups, with a soul-pop edge, while Sherwood, Londons alt-dub kingpin, revelled in pushing reggae and world music into bassbin-shattering post-punk weirdness. Finally joining forces, Outside the Echo Chamber is an album in 7 boxset form. Names such as Roots Manuva and Lee Scratch Perry make solid appearances, although the best tune is an instrumental called Metro that riffs on the Doctor Who Theme. The package mingles poppy approachability, especially on the lovers rock song Make Up Your Mind", with more exotic outings, such as an appearance by Mumbai singer Hamsika Iyer, as well as a number of reverberating dub versions. The eight 7s, in brown paper sleeves, are dinked, which is to say they have a large hole punched out of the middle like old-fashioned jukebox fare. The boxset comes with two plastic Coldcut-logoed adaptors to play them on a normal deck.

Peter Gabriel Passion + Long Walk Home (Caroline International/Real World)

Really these should be called The Last Temptation of Christ OST and Rabbit-Proof Fence OST, for thats what they are. I had them allotted as secondary Gabriel releases but upon putting them on the decks, the mastering is extraordinary, the sound incredible, truly putting many of the other releases this month, however good the music, into sonic perspective. Take, for instance, The Promise of Shadows from the fifth side of the soundtrack to Martin Scorceses controversial 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ. It sees Gabriel on synths play off against virtuoso drummer Billy Cobham, the latter very far from his usual jazz-funk mode, creating a dark percussive piece that simply inhabits the whole head, such is the depth of sound. Passion is the much fuller, more rewarding of the two albums. It features musicians from all over, from Turkey to Bahrain to Ghana, and sees Gabriel immersed in his love for fusing sounds from around the globe. It also includes additional pieces that arent in the film. Indeed, theres no need to have seen the film to enjoy it, a rich, electronically-enhanced tapestry of sound that would fit well into a marijuana-stewed late night yurt-bar at WOMAD. The music from the 2002 Australian film Rabbit Proof Fence is equally well-cut to vinyl but lacks Passions breadth and sense of adventure. Instead, its meditative tones are moody ambient, more ponderous, although fans will note that the track Ngankarrparni was recycled by Gabriel on the Up album, put together around the same time. Both albums come in photo-laden gatefold with info/image inner sleeves. Passion is a triple, with its sixth side taken over with etched art imitative of the films poster. Long Walk Home is a double.

Dave Gold Heaven on Their Minds (My Only Desire)

They were certainly having a ball at BBC Radio 2s Jazz Club live sessions in 1974. These four cuts are big band jazz, on its deathbed, having one last funky ball, before rolling over and becoming part of history. If you want to know more about all that, read Romany and Tom: A Memoir, a biography of his parents lives by Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl. His dad was a big band jazzer dreaming of a future in the 1970s when there simply wasnt one. Its heart-breaking stuff. Back to the matter in hand, Dave Gold was a band-leader through the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, working for library music label KPM and others. These loud, proud pieces of music have clearly been plucked from obscurity due to their outrageous danceability. Jesus Christs Superstars Heaven on Their Minds becomes a brassy monster, Golds own walking bassline romp OConnell Street is a flute-addled joy, Jimmy Webbs A Pocketful of Keys is frantic, cheesy easy, and Golds Nostalgia (Aint What It Used to Be) has something of Theme From Shaft about it in places, albeit on the end of Blackpool Pier. An ebullient package for retro soul-funk instrumental junkies.

Rubn Gonzlez Introducing (World Circuit)

20th anniversary re-release for the album the Cuban pianist Rubn Gonzlez cut at the same time and in the same studio as the outrageously successful Buena Vista Social Club, on which he also appeared. Its a wonderfully joyous affair. In his mid-seventies by the time of the Buena Vista sessions, hed played with a whos who of Cuban music during the previous decades, from proto-salsa and rumba kingpin Arsenio Rodrguez in the 1940s to self-proclaimed inventor of the cha-cha-cha, Enrique Jorrn, in the 1960s. By 1996 Gonzlez had no piano of his own and was living in relatively humble circumstances so, once Buena Vista was finished, he hung around at the studio, playing the piano. With producer Nick Gold still at the controls, able to see the potential of what was happening,Gonzlez jammed out this album in two days with a gang of associates. It consists of Cuban standards as well as three of his own, and a jazzy, previously unreleased piece he composed with bassist Orlando "Cachato" Lpez. Coming on double in gatefold, with a 16 page booklet containing info from the original release, it bleeds sunshine and booty-shaking rhythms redolent of the bubbling youth these ageing musicians were so easily able to capture.


Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit The Nashville Sound (Southeastern): The sixth album from former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell is a singer-songwritin country music affair but with a steely, modern lyricism, reflecting the southern American working peoples sense of abandonment and hopelessness. Arriving in a gatefold featuring group Polaroids and a photo/art inner sleeve, as well as an 11 x 11 four page lyrics booklet, The Nashville Sound was a Top Five US hit. Its easy to hear why. Whether rockin out on Cumberland Gap or strumming quietly on Chaos and Clothes, most of the album reeks of trapped, small town working class desperation at the circumstances low government investment and ruthless capitalism have wrought.

Goatwhore Vengeful Ascension (Metal Blade): Theres a sticker on the outside of this one saying Americas most stirring Blackened Death Metal band is back! Twenty years into their career and on their seventh album, Louisiana four-piece Goatwhore are no nearer making pop music than they ever were. Vengeful Ascension, which comes with a 12 x 12 lyric insert and demonic Boschian poster, is rammed with battering, down-tuned dirge-metal that concerns itself with Satanism and doomed apocalyptic imagery. These guys love their Book of Revelations. Possibly. It's rather too relentlessly chugging for this writers tastes, but if you like your blackened death metal solidly machine-moody rather than bloodily raging, Goatwhores latest may be for you.

Courtney Barnett How to Boil an Egg (Milk!): The Aussie garage chanteuse fires out a one-off while we await the follow-up to 2015s sassy breakthrough debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit. Its an exasperated song about stasis, about trying in vain to get life moving, pleading with mundanity, riding a jangling Modern Lovers-type riff. Although it lacks Barnetts capacity for pithy humour, its a passable place-holder. The weird thing is its supposed to be part of the Split Singles Club series of collectable 7s released by Barnetts own Milk! imprint, yet my copy is a one-sided 12 white label.

Metro Skim Identifying Possibilities (6 Dimensions): Steve Bicknell was a perennial presence in 1990s UK techno, his LOST nights providing a template for a certain type of ruthlessly metallic toughness that exists to this day. 6 Dimensions is his label and this seven-track 12 EP is their second release. Its not music designed to be played by anyone but mixologist techno DJs, for whom it would be a tool in the armoury rather than listening music. In that world and that sense, these cuts are tasty. There are a couple of electronic abstractions thrown in but nothing invites anyone but supremely stern tech-heads to get involved.

Hector Plimmer Sunshine (Alberts Favourites): Busy London DJ-producer Hector Plimmer releases his debut album on the delightfully titled Alberts Favourites label (named after cassettes co-owner Adam Scrimshires grandad would compile for summer holidays together). Its Gilles Peterson-friendly percussive noodle, tipping its hat to the sound of drum & bass here and there, but organic and cuddly, firmly in the realm of chill-out jazz. Music synch agencies reading theartsdesk on Vinyl should check it. Its too nice-but-forgettable for me but its the sort of thing most of us have chatted across during delicious summer festival afternoons, a soundtrack for easy good times.

Paradise Lost One Second (Music For Nations): Twenty years ago Halifax metallers divided their fans with their sixth album. Gone was the raging drum attack and death metal snarl, to be replaced by banks of keyboards and polished production. Theyd become electro-goths. Theres a hint, even, of Violator-era Depeche Mode about this music, albeit backed up with Marilyn Manson-esque swathes of epic guitar. The creative punt paid off as the album was a proper commercial success in mainland Europe and even generated a Top 10 hit in Finland (with the song Say Just Words). On double in art/image gatefold, this two decade anniversary re-release only emphasises that their reinvention is surprisingly easy on the ear, with has much in common with the moodier output of late period Gary Numan as with longer haired contemporaries.

Umfang Symbolic Us of Light (Technicolour): New York DJ-producer Emma Olson AKA Umfang - makes music thats uncompromising in the extreme. It leaves this listener wondering if its ridiculous Emperors New Clothes stuff or at the very vanguard of techno-tronica. Its incredibly simple, minimal material, looping around mantrically, too machine-like to be hypnotic, but earnest, stern, very much its own thing. A resident at Brookyns Technofeminism night and a member of its associated Discwoman movement, shes involved in pushing the cause of women in electronica. As a writer and occasional promoter whos been involved in electronic musics shaven-headed blokeyness for nearly three decades, I heartily back that cause. And her music is fascinating, different a possible grower

James Yuill A Change of State (The Happy Biscuit Club): London singer-songwriter James Yuill is a good example of the 21st century musician. Once signed to Moshi Moshi, he earns his breadnbutter here and there, self-releases an album every now and then, melding classic acoustic numbers to laptop-tronic beats and sounds. On A Change of State, Yuills fifth album, his airy voice and lightly played guitar mingle with revolving, building synth patterns. The whole thing, on two records in lyric gatefold, has a melodic underpinning thats appealing, slowly persuading the listener in. Theres something of Nick Mulvey about it although less cosmic in scope. Instead, James Yuill offers a classy lesson in combining classic song styling with home-made modernism.

LTO Storybook (Injazero): Eno-esque electronica from a Bristolian ambient producer who can range into fragments of crackly, Gonjasufi-style songs but is equally at home taking the listener off on a drift through shimmering instrumental tones. Once a member of opaque downtempo explorers Old Apparatus, alongside Planet Mu artist Asher Levitas, he currently earns much of his living as a piano teacher. Cuts such as Rise very much show off LTOs controlled skill at that instrument. A laid back but concentrated piece of work.

Dauwd Theory of Colours (Technicolour): Berlin-based American-Welsh producer Dauwd Al Hilali has had material out in the past on homes to quality techno-tronica such as Ghostly International and Kompakt. Now making a debut on Ninja Tunes techy sub-label Technicolour, the album Theory of Colours is interesting rather than dynamic. This may seem like damning it with faint praise but its layered analogue gloops and swirls, occasionally interceded by the ebb and flow of throbbing, subterranean kick-drums, doesnt so much carry the listener off as float in on itself. Its approachable enough, late night soundtracking for the avant-stoner, but lacks contagiousness.

Martha Tilston Nomad (Squiggly): Anyone whos hurled themselves into the British festival scene will have come across the Small World Solar Stage, a venue that turns up in the best places (Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Bimble Bandala, etc) offering a new agey, folky selection of roots and global flavours. This was where Martha Tilston cut her teeth at the start of her career and still sometimes appears. Her latest album of too many to count has a festival campfire-friendly infectiousness and a lyrical ambition to it. Its easy to imagine Sinad O'Connor covering a song such as Little Arrow, which has a pointed, heartfelt passion, as well as a catchy tune, but, by the same token, Tilston is equally capable of a laidback narrative folky love song such as Taxi Light. Comes with an 11.5 x 11.5 photo/info insert.

Mike Dunn DJ Beat That Shhh/Move It Work It (moreaboutmusic): For anyone who knows their shit, Mike should need no introduction, says the press release, inducing a bunch of journos and bloggers to go Googling then pretending theyve been avin it to Mike Dunn since they were twelve years old. However, Im not falling for that. 99% of you wont have heard of Mike Dunn. I hadnt. He was a Chicago DJ-producer who was around when they were inventing house music in the mid-Eighties. He knew Ron Hardy, a key player in houses development, and undoubtedly went on the journey that Chicago music took at that time. This makes him a person of interest, rather than a Chicago house music legend ( dance music hub By such standards, Eater and The Lurkers are punk legends. Which theyre not. Anyway, to the music, which, in the case of DJ Beat That Shhh is funky UK garage-flavoured house thats jiggy and bar-friendly, while Move It Work It is an update of classic 88-style Chi-house. On both Dunn chats with cool American authority, making them likeable DJ fodder to which he adds character.

Dingwei Untied (Cooking Vinyl): Dingwei is a megastar in her native China, and has been for a decade-and-a-half. As well as a career in pop, shes written soundtracks to multiple successful films and TV series. Now she wants to explore beyond her countrys borders and, with assistance from Suzanne Vega on the trip-hoppy Gypsy, her latest album was put together in Thailand with a team who, between then, have worked with Kate Bush, Sting, Massive Attack, Sade and others. All in Chinese, apart from an English version of Gypsy, its mournful alt-pop rather than shiny major key pop. Think Portishead by way of London Grammar and Roisin Murphys most recent albums. Im not finding it more-ish but, then again, I dont much care for London Grammar of Roisin Murphys recent albums. Comes in gatefold with a cool-looking 2 x 3 Chinese lyric poster.

Stephen Emmer Home Ground (Electric Fairytale): Dutch media heavyweight Stephen Emmer was once a sideman for Eighties alt-pop sorts The Associates and The Lotus Eaters, but his main reputation derives from being a hugely successful player in the world of television music. Three years ago he decided to re-engage with the wider world of popular music, putting out an album of symphonic pop with various high profile singers. He now follows it up with another wherein he channels the spirit of vintage, easy listening soul, featuring singers such as Chaka Khan, Patti Austin and the late soul songwriter Leon Ware. The result is slick as anything, very much the sort of thing that pops up on radio stations with names like Smooth FM and Breeze FM. Theres nothing vibrant here but its partly in aid of the charity War Child so lets move on and wish it all the best.

Various Disco Anthems (Demon): In terms of content, this three disc collection in gatefold is closer in tone to the old Disco Double compilations one finds in charity shops than to The Men in the Glass Booth aficionado boxsets theartsdesk on Vinyl reviewed back in January. Which is to say it contains many of discos big names The Jacksons, Village People, Odyssey, Dan Hartman, Earth, Wind & Fire, etc but the sell is that its all 12 versions. It could, in other words, have been a treat but the mastering is utterly feeble, presumably taken from digital and shamefully weak, removing every ounce of phatness, making the whole thing a pointless exercise. Shame. A missed opportunity.

We welcome any and all vinyl for review. Please hit for a postal address.

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 30: Moby, The Beach Boys, Napalm Death, John Coltrane and more - The Arts Desk

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Satanism Making Comeback Through Witchcraft and Atheism: Rabbi – Breaking Israel News

Posted: June 27, 2017 at 7:01 am

For these nations, that thou art to dispossess, hearken unto soothsayers, and unto diviners; but as for thee, Hashem thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. Deuteronomy 18:14 (The Israel Bible)


At the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, some 13,000 people will connect via internet in yet another attempt to cast a curse on President Donald Trump, this time on the summer solstice. Though spell-casting may seem too absurd to be taken seriously, a rabbinic authority maintains that the witches are tapping into Satanism, a disturbing theology making a strong comeback today in the guise of atheism.

The witches are a motley collection with a mixed bag of rituals and beliefs, incorporating the arcane and the religious. The solstice curse calls for colored candles, Tarot cards, and chanting, but also allows for using Cheetos and religious amulets. As irreverent as this may seem, Rabbi Daniel Asore, who investigates the threat Satanism poses today as a member of the nascent Sanhedrin, believes the connection between witchcraft and politics is more relevant and dangerous than ever.

Witchcraft, or its real name, Satanism, is explicitly a power struggle, which is why it is so readily dragged into politics. Satanism, in its essence, pits the adversary against God, Rabbi Asore explained to Breaking Israel News. Though this power struggle has been brewing all through history, today, when we are so close to Moshiach (Messiah), the role it is playing in politics could not be more clear.

The politicians who believe that man can control all aspects of the world are coming from a belief system based in Satanism, whether knowingly or not.

Rabbi Asore explained how arcane Satanism and modern materialist atheism are surprisingly similar. In both belief systems, nature, not a deity, is the supreme power. There is no God who created or stands above nature, and with no divine spark, man is simply another animal.

Atheists, like all Satanists, see themselves as the ultimate authority, independent of any higher rule, so morality becomes entirely subjective, he told Breaking Israel News. Since the self is the center of the universe, they are anarchists, believe in limiting the world population through war, abortion, and non-productive relationships. Nature has usurped Gods eternal aspect, so the individual is the all.

The conflict between Satanism and religion over the eternal has an end-of-days implication. Satanists reject the possibility of Messiah and do not believe in a future redemption. Rather, they believe nature itself is infinite, and as such, there was no creation and there will be no Messiah.

A quick glance at the website of the Satanic Temple confirms the rabbis claim. The stated mission of the Satanic Temple is to reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.

Rabbi Asore noted that the rejection of the Bible is common to both atheists and Satanists as a basic tenet, though atheistic Satanism does not believe that Satan actually exists, and they do not worship him. Atheistic Satanism believes each person is his or her own God, and that people should worship themselves. To them, Satan is a symbol of rebellion rather than a literal figure.

Satanists believe that the Jews created the Bible as a conspiracy to control the consciousness of society, the rabbi concluded. Any religion that accepts the Bible as divine, as God teaching man the way the world should be according to the divine will, as a way to transcend nature, is pitted against Satanists and atheists.

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Theistic Satanism – Wikipedia

Posted: June 24, 2017 at 2:05 pm

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, whom individuals may contact and convene with.[1][2] 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.[3]

Unlike LaVeyan Satanism, as founded by Anton LaVey in the 1960s, or more generally, unlike atheistic Satanism, theistic Satanism is theistic,[3] believing that Satan (Hebrew: ha-Satan, the accuser) is a real entity,[3] that can be contacted, convened or even praised, rather than him being just an archetype, symbol or idea.

The history of theistic Satanism, as an existing spiritual path practiced by people, is obscured by a number of groups having been accused of Satanism who claimed to not have worshiped Satan, such as in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe, and such beliefs having been heavily persecuted, being grounds for execution during most of European history. Most actual theistic Satanist religions exist in relatively new models and ideologies, many of which even claim to be independent of the Abrahamic religions.[4]

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.[5] Scholars outside Satanism have sought to study it by categorizing forms of it according to whether they are theistic or atheistic,[6] and referred to the practice of working with a literal Satan as traditional Satanism or theistic Satanism.[1] 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. A small, now-defunct Satanist group called Children of the Black Rose equated Satan with the pantheistic the All.[7]

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.[8] Their religion may be based on dark pagan, left hand path 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.[9] 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.[10] This is not, however, shared by a majority of theistic Satanists. Wiccans may consider most Satanism to be reverse Christianity,[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

A notable group that outwardly considers themselves to be traditional Satanists is the Order of Nine Angles.[14] This group became controversial and was mentioned in the press and in books, because they promoted human sacrifice.[15] 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.[16] However, they are not theistic Satanist in the manner of believing in Satan as a god with a personality, but believe in dark deism,[17] 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.[18]

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.[3] Ndtveidt was introduced to the group at an early stage.[19] The lyrics on the band's third album, Reinkaos, are all about beliefs of the Temple of the Black Light.[20] Ndtveidt committed suicide in 2006.[21][22]

Theistic Luciferian groups, such as the former Children of the Black Rose, 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[23][24][25] (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.[26]

Some writers equate the veneration of Set by the Temple of Set to theistic Satanism.[1] 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[27] and which he can dispense to the Satanist who seeks knowledge.[28]

Some groups are mistaken by scholars for Theistic Satanists, such as the First Church of Satan.[28] However, the founder of the FCoS considers what he calls "devil-worship" to often be a symptom of psychosis.[29] Other groups such as the 600 Club,[5] 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.[30][31][32]

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.[33] However, in the Bible Satan is called the father of his followers in John 8:44, and bad people are called "children of the devil" in 1 John 3:10. 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.[34] 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.[3] 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.[3]

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.[35] 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.[36]

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,[37] 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.[38] 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.[36] 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'",[39] and ONA member Stephen Brown claimed that "the Temple of Set seems intent only on creating a 'good public impression', with promoting an 'image'".[40] The order emphasises that its way "is and is meant to be dangerous"[41] and "[g]enuine Satanists are dangerous people to know; associating with them is a risk".[42] 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".[3] 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".[3]

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.[43]

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.[44][45] 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.[46]

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.[47] The charge of Satan worship has also been made against groups or individuals regarded with suspicion, such as the Knights Templar, or minority religions.[48] 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.[49] 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[50] 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.[51] Paul Tuitean believes the idea of acts of reverse Christianity was created by the Inquisition,[52] 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.[53]

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,[54] although Ronald Hayman has said Sade's need for blasphemy was an emotional reaction and rebellion from which Sade moved on, seeking to develop a more reasoned atheistic philosophy.[55] 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.[56]

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 first-hand was being performed in Paris at the time,[57] or the account may have been based on the masses carried out by tienne Guibourg, rather than by Huysmans attending himself.[58] 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.[53] 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[59] 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,[60] 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. [61] 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.[62] 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.[63]

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.

John Allee, the creator of the LaVeyan website called First Church of Satan,[64] equates some of the "violent fringe" of Satanism with "Devil worshipers" and "reverse Christians". He believes they possibly suffer from a form of psychosis.[65] Between 1992 and 1996, some militant neo-pagans who were participants in the Norwegian black metal scene, such as Varg Vikernes,[66] 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.[67]

Some studies of crimes have also looked at the theological perspective of those who commit religious or ritualized crime.[68] Criminals who explain their crimes by claiming to be Satanists have been said by sociologists to be "pseudo-Satanists",[44] and attempts to link Satanism to crime have been seen by theistic Satanists as scaremongering.[69]

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Outlast 2 Garishly Exploits Your Sexual Hangups For Horror – Paste Magazine

Posted: at 2:05 pm

Spoiler warning: this article discusses major plot points from the game.

Somewhere deep within a mountain canyon in rural Arizona, Outlast 2s Blake Langermann runs through dust and darkness pursued by a Christian fanatic. Looking through his eyes, the player hops wooden fences and scans through the electric green static of a handheld camcorders night-vision for a rain barrel or rotted wooden closet she can tuck the terrified journalist inside. A moment of hesitation spent trying to decide whether to sprint further or hide and time runs out. The Christian grabs Blake, beating him about the head until he slumps to the ground. The last thing we see is a knife jammed into Blakes crotch to the accompaniment of lustful grunts and panicked screams.

Searching desperately for his fellow journalist and wife Lynn, lost after a helicopter crash stranded the couple in the canyons, Blake finds himself caught up in the grand eschatological designs of two opposing groups: the homicidally zealous citizens of Temple Gate who worship self-proclaimed prophet Sullivan Knoth and a sect of hazily defined Satan-worshipers lead by a heretical exile named Val. Both groups are determined to abduct Lynn. Shes unexpectedly pregnant and is due to give birth at any moment, though this comes as a surprise to Blake and player both. (Lynn doesnt look like shes nine months along until the next time shes seen up close during the games finale.) Knoth and Vals followers are both trying to kidnap Lynn because they believe shes carrying the Anti-Christ. The Christians want the child killed immediately to ward off the False Messiahs evil; the others want it kept safe to ensure the opposite. Neither group sees Lynn as anything more than a decisive piece in a grand cosmic game.

On its surface, the obsessive Christians of Outlast 2 seem like a condemnation of religion. Amid the upfront creepiness of the fanatics who kidnapped Lynn, this theme is continued through flashbacks to Blakes days in a Catholic high school when he failed to save a classmate from being sexually abused by a priest. Her subsequent death haunts him. In the present day and nightmarish memory, Blake is surrounded by crosses. They line the walls of classrooms and hallways in flashback; they dot graveyards, top houses and occupy spots of importance in Temple Gates many houses and community buildings. Alongside the human viscera and buckets of blood covering most every surface of the games environments, the crosses leave the games strongest visual impression.

The constant association of gore with Christianitys chief symbol is overdone (its hard to walk five steps without finding some combination of severed body part and cross), but its also key to Outlast 2s preoccupation with the religions violent underpinnings. Its a game that quite rightly wishes to criticize the bloody foundation of a major system of faith, splattering the cross as a reminder of the torturous death it represents and evoking murderous extremists as a blown out, entirely unsubtle stand-in for the hate and horror so often carried out in the name of a loving God.

To that extent, Outlast 2 is a moderate success even as it conveys its message with the nuance of a teenager, certain theyre the first and only person in human history hip to religious hypocrisy. Its symbolism, though, is rich enough to be worthwhile. In the town of Temple Gate and the figure of Knoth, who refers to himself as the Modern Ezekiel, the game implies a twisted version of Old Testament prophecies regarding the building of the Third Temple. The Biblical Ezekiel was given visions of the destruction of Jerusalem and an eventual return to the city, construction of the Third Temple and the beginning of the Messianic Agesimply put, necessary preparations for Satans final defeat and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Knoth, too, believes he has been graced with divine foresight. His obsession with individual responsibility for sin, the need to strictly adhere to Gods laws and a willingness to sacrifice in order to purify his community are echoes of Abrahamic eschatological thought, nuance hammered away into a bizarre, frightening new shape.

Outlast 2 sees Ezekiels prophecies enacted in summary. Knoth, like the Biblical figure, believes God speaks to him and prepares his people accordingly. He enforces a self-serving version of Gods law that allows him to sleep with the women of Temple Gate, control his congregants sexual behaviour and most frighteningly, kill newborns if he believes they may be the Anti-Christ. As the game progresses, Blake sees the dead rise again in visions like the prophecy of the valley of bones. He sees Temple Gates enemies (Val and her Satanist heretics) destroyed in a mass slaughter near the games climax. He sees plague visit their home just like Ezekiels vision of the defeat of Gog and Magog, enemies of Israel and allies of Satan.

The recurring, blinding flashes of light throughout the game and the radio tower looming above the canyons are implied to be signals urging the people of Temple Gate into the hallucinations responsible for Knoths prophetic visions (and the citizens eagerness to murder in the name of Jesus or Satan). The signal comes with an explosion of brightness and a bowel-loosening horn blast that resembles the Voice of God. The suggestion is that, just below a socially acceptable surface, the Christians of Temple Gate are looming extremists, ready to murder, rape and war with one another according to their beliefs when loosed from the confines of modern American culture.

This would be a clever though pretty straightforward justification for a religiously-inflected horror game if Outlast 2 contained its scares to these topics alone. (Its best moments are when apocalyptic signs manifest around Blake as raining blood, lakes full of dead fish and a freak lightning storm. The player, like the character, begins to wonder how much of what theyve dismissed as the ranting of religious extremists may actually be real.) But Outlast 2 wants to frighten players in other ways, too.

Its chief villains include a naked man wearing a sackcloth over his head and Val, a naked woman with a similarly bizarre, homemade crown made from what looks like twigs and mud. Both characters faces are purposefully obscured, highlighting their nudity. The player is meant to be frightened by the human body and sexuality for sexualitys sake. Val is introduced following several notes Blake picks up after first arriving at Temple Gate. In them, we learn she was one of Knoths priests who abandoned Christianity for Satanism in large part because she was preoccupied by recurring erotic dreams. She physically enters the game by surprising Lynn and Blake, beating them and licking their faces. Her next appearance comes hours later, naked but for a covering of light-colored clay, in the mines beneath Temple Gate where the Satanists gather. She comes toward the camera as the player kneels, the view highlighting her vagina, begging the player to be shocked.

The entire section spent running from Val, her cloth-masked lackey and the other Satanists is characterized by a desperate sort of scare-sexuality. Blake runs from naked killers, finds an altar where two skeletons are posed to simulate sex, stumbles on a ritual, torch-lit orgy and, in a telling crescendo of terror, rescues his wife, stomach now bulging noticeably and entering into labor. The final moments of the game see Lynn deliver the supposed Anti-Christa normal baby girlbefore collapsing dead on a table, legs splayed and covered in blood. Earlier in the game, the player hid in the same building as a naked woman was tortured for information.

Outlast 2, like a lot of horror, tries to unsettle its audience by homing in on a culturally ingrained fear. Like the dripping eggs and nightmare genital monster of Ridley Scotts Alien, the game tries to exploit a discomfort with sex to make its player scared. In some cases, this can function as a sort of satire that exposes the ridiculousness of a given fear by amplifying its unfounded but assumed cultural basis. Examining the source of terror can lead to a nearly unconscious revelation. (Was a doctor ever truly unsettled by Aliens monster?) But, the takeaway from Outlast 2 isnt that being frightened by nudity, birth and sexuality is absurd. Its premise is that these are valid fears that were right to have. The greatest moments of terror are naked people chasing Blake, penises swinging and breasts exposed. It wants to create revulsion and panic with a babys birth.

The game adequately finds the real horror of unquestioned religious faith in its connection between Christian scripture and the appalling actions of its unleashed Temple Gate villains. But it undermines itself by embracing the same philosophical mindset as the fanatics it hopes to skewer. Knoth and his followers condemn the impure and look properly hypocritical in couching their restrictive views of sexuality in sex-obsessed terms. (And Knoth said: Yea, thine mind is too tight an arbor for the girth of the Lords message, and would split at its penetration . . .) Outlast 2 does the same. Its monsters are drawn from sexually abusive priestsobsessive dissemblers who betray the source of their anxieties by trying to control it in othersbut it tries, too, to make horror by exaggerating an assumed discomfort with nakedness, unrestricted sexuality and reproduction.

Theres a good horror game to be made out of the terror caused by the hypocritically religious. Such an important part of human psychology and historythe shorthand for entire philosophical viewpoints and often staggeringly cruel institutionscan be personified with awful monsters and nightmarish settings. A rejection of this sort has to be self-aware, though. It cant, like Outlast 2, condemn the same systems it hopes to reinforce.

Reid McCarter is a writer and editor based in Toronto whose work has appeared at Kill Screen, PC Gamer, GQ and Playboy. He is the co-editor of SHOOTER (a compilation of critical essays on the shooter genre), edits Bullet Points Monthly, co-hosts the Bullet Points podcast and tweets @reidmccarter.

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Ritual Skulls and Other Magical Objects, in Photos – Atlas Obscura

Posted: at 2:05 pm

There are over 3,000 mystical artifacts on display at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, England. These range, says photographer Sara Hannant, from cures to curses, from spirit houses to spells for sailors, from the tools of wayside witches to the ceremonial robes worn by Western ritual magicians. Its the largest collection of magical objects in the world, and one that Hannant got to know well during an artists residency at the museum.

Much of my recent work concerns magical beliefs, rituals and folklore, says Hannant. I have always been interested in folk magic and I have also been exploring, through a long-term project, the personal connections we have to objects and the significance and memories we attach to them. During her residency, she photographed ritual items that have been imbued with supernatural meaning, including wax dolls, wands, statues, daggers, pendants, robes and amulets. These images are now part of her most recent book, Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

With such a large collection to choose from, Hannant selected the items she found the most resonantbut also those that show the range of the museums holdings, so objects related to cunning folk, ceremonial magic, Freemasonry, Satanism, alchemy, and Wicca are included, plus objects from the witch trials in the early modern period. Each object was photographed in the same way, a deliberate choice by Hannant, who says she found it best to photograph at night, enabling the objects to emerge from the darkness, where it is said magic begins.

Hannant has a particular interest in ceremonies and items of supernatural significance. Her previous book documented British folk customs rooted in cycles of nature: dramatizing the wheel of the year with costumed processions, fire rituals, mumming plays and traditional dances that mark seasonal change.

Atlas Obscura has a selection of Hannants images of magical objects.

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Christians and Jews Combat Witches’ Summer Solstice Satanic Spells on Trump – CBN News

Posted: June 22, 2017 at 5:00 am

Witches around the world are casting spells against President Trump once again tonight, attempting to #BindTrump on the summer solstice.

The witches have been waging spiritual warfare against the president since Trump took office, but now even Jewish leaders in Israel are expressing concerns about it.

"Witchcraft, or its real name, Satanism, is explicitly a power struggle, which is why it is so readily dragged into politics. Satanism, in its essence, pits the adversary against God," Rabbi DanielAsore explained to Breaking Israel News.

Asoreinvestigates the dangers of modern Satanism as part of his role as a Jewish leader. He says the witches' spells are just part of a broader growth in Satanism.

"The politicians who believe that man can control all aspects of the world are coming from a belief system based in Satanism, whether knowingly or not."

The witches communicate with each other through a Facebook page called Bind Trump.

One user says June 21st, the summer solstice will be the "most powerful" binding yet.

They plan to cast more spells against President Trump on July 21, August 19, and so on, until he leaves office.

Their spell calls for demonic help to bind Trump and cause him to fail. It later calls for spirits to bind "all those who enable his wickedness" as well.

Evangelical Trump supporters are encouraging prayers for the president to counteract the spell.

"We ask you to join us in praying for the strength of our nation, our elected representatives and for the souls of the lost who would take up Satanic arms against us," reads a post on the Christian Nationalist Alliance website. Other Christians are countering the forces of the enemy with non-stop prayer and worship at places like David's Tent in Washington D.C.

"Our desire is to make a statement to our generation that Jesus is Lord and should be enthroned above every area of our lives and nation," the group says in a statement on their website.

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Paganism Is Back! Now What Are We Christians Going to Do? – Patheos (blog)

Posted: at 5:00 am

Years ago, a Wiccan leader by the name of Jason Pitzl-Waters spoke in my world religions class. One of the things he said that stood out to me was the level of consternation many American Christians face when witnessing the rise of modern Paganism. They thought Christianity had triumphed over Paganism, and that it was extinct. To their chagrin, it has risen from the ash heap.

I raised this topic with another Pagan leader, Annika Mongan, who spoke in my world religions class today. Annika comes from an Evangelical background. In fact, she is a graduate of the university where I teach and attended a well-known Evangelical church in Portland. We have since met and become friends. The last time we crossed paths in person was at the Parliament of the Worlds Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah back in 2015.

I have addressed the subject of modern or contemporary Paganism in various contexts, including here at my blog, as well as in my book, Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012). Pagan leader Gus DiZerega provided the response to the chapter on contemporary Paganism. In what follows, I will not engage key differences and possible similarities between Christianity and Paganism old and new (For a discussion on modern Paganism, refer here: Ronald Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). Rather, I wish to engage the theme of Christian privilege, and how we should navigate redemptively as we cross paths with our Pagan neighbors. Crossing paths with Pagans should never entail viewing them through the crosshairs of Christian triumphalism. Here I am reminded of what a Jewish rabbi of a Hassidic tradition said to my class the other day. Evangelicals need to light a candle in engaging the diverse religious and cultural other in America today rather than hit them with a broom (whether ours or theirs). So, what might lighting a candle entail when engaging Pagans today?

According to Annika, it is important for Christians to listen to Pagans. She stated in class that a lot of Pagans have not experienced Christians listening to them. It would be very healing if Christians would listen to learn rather than stereotype and categorize modern Pagans falsely. I would add that we dont need to sacrifice our biblical convictions as Evangelicals to come to terms with the fact that Pagans dont sacrifice or eat children. We dont need to agree with Pagans to listen to them, and we should not listen to them in a bait-and-switch manner so thatand only thatthey will listen to us.

There is concern for many Pagans that with the rising tide (once again) of Christian triumphalism in America today there will be a new Satanic Panic wave, where Christians confuse Paganism with Satanism. All too often, Christian triumphalism rises when Christians in America feel that we are a persecuted minority. In actual fact, we are still the religiousif not moralmajority. What we take for persecution is often a degree of loss of Christian privilege. However, even if some of the privilege has dissipated, Christian privilege is still very much present. So, in addition to listening, Annika would encourage us as Christians to come to terms with Christian forms of privilege.

As Annika indicated, many Pagans dont believe there are Christians who understand Christian privilege and that it is alive and well in America today. It would be easier in many circles to get a job if the boss knew you were a Christian, though not a Pagan, or to wear a cross than a pentagram at work. It would be far more readily acceptable to offer a Christian prayer in a public gathering than a pagan invocation. Pagans get Christian holidays off, but not Pagan ones, such as todaythe Summer Solstice.

So, now that Pagans are back, what are we American and Western Christians going to do? Listen to them tell their story and discuss with them Christian privilege. The benefits of doing so will include the possibility of gaining new friends and being Christian witnesses who light candles of hope, truth and love, as the Rabbi said, rather than bonfires of hate to burn others. And just maybe, well get a few more days off from work, such as the Summer Solstice today.

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