Satanism and Luciferianism
Satanism vs LuciferianismThere are numerous types of Left Hand Path philosophy and practice, the two largest categories are Satanism and Luciferianism. These represent slightly different archetypes, however a number of Satanists believe they are one and the same. Certainly virtually all Christians believe that Satan and Lucifer and interchangeable terms. Over the last 50 years, Satanism has diversified and fragmented into a large number of different styles or currents from its LaVey Satanism origins, and includes numerous types of Theistic (or Traditional) Satanism and Spiritual Satanism.
The lines between Satanism and Luciferianism are increasingly becoming blurred in many cases. However, what Satanism in general tends to have in common is the central archetype of individual strength, power and domination in one's interactions with one's environment, in the context of LHP self-deification.
Luciferianism recognises these archetypes and goals but incorporates them into a (usually) wider spectrum of archetypes and philosophies. The central goal of Luciferianism is intellectual illumination, of acquiring wisdom and of learning about the self through occult, scientific and life experience. In general one could say that Satanism is more concerned with the physical environment, is more earthbound with more 'practical' personal goals, whereas Luciferianism is concerned with illumination and the quest for the higher self, in the context of the Left-Hand Path and non-Abrahamic magic and philosophy. This is not universally true of course as some branches of Satanism have spiritual or gnostic components. Satanism is in a sense a subset of Luciferianism. Both Satanism and Luciferianism may draw on the same magical practices and archetypes, but the secondary purpose, attitude and approach to the practice tends to differ, even if the specific stated objective or goal within the ritual is the same. Luciferianism may draw from a variety of spiritual, philosophical and religious sources, but only really in the sense where they can be applied to the LHP. However, increasingly this is not really the case as many branches of Satanism, particularly Spiritual Satanism, draws on Buddhism and Taoism, in the context of Satanism. Luciferianism in many instances could be classified as more 'New Age' but some New Agers would disagree. Luciferianism embrances emotional and spiritual balance to a greater degree than Satanism overall, in terms of abstinence and indulgence, whereas Satanism is more about continual indulgence and hedonism, be this in a pleasure seeking, artistic or other senses. It seems to embrace Nihilism and the Will to Power slightly more. Luciferianism may contain 'light' and 'dark' elements, in terms of magical practice, but it ultimately depends on the interests of the individual, e.g. Light elements drawn from the Eastern and Western mystery traditions as well as darker elements such as Demonology, Voudon and/or Psychic Vampirism etc., and most frequently Chaos Magick which lies somewhere in the middle - on the basis that Chaos Magick being easy to get started with and as it is arguably pre-Luciferic in nature. Luciferianism may also purely be a philosophical practice rather than a magical one, of developing a self of self and sharpening one's critical thinking abilities and knowledge, but one of the tenets of the LHP is that it needs to be applied to one's life (the same goes for the RHP).
There is plenty of conflict within the LHP, although there need not be. Some Luciferians view Satanists as being less intellectually capable, childish, thuggish, mindlessly rebellious, insecure and/or of being stuck in the RHP mentality of requiring a 'Lord' or 'Master'(missing the point of the LHP), even if Satan or Baphomet is deemed to be on equal terms with oneself in Satanism. Some Satanists regard Luciferianism as watered down Satanism, which whilst still being LHP, giving up some its power to intellectual pursuits, endlessly studying and being 'dorks' - the pointless pursuit of the fleeting and non-existent 'higher self'. Some view Satanism and Luciferianism in the Jungian sense as reflecting stages of life, Satanism being more the youthful stage in life establishing one's own independence and separate identity from one's surroundings, whereas Luciferianism being more an 'adult' or 'parental' phase in one's life where one seeks to focus more 'higher' forms of self-actualisation, seeking more wisdom and spiritual or intellectual fulfilment and to come together with society more. According to the hierarchy of human needs, one needs to fulfil one's lower levels of need before one can effectively fulfil the higher levels of need. One could also view the two in a Kabbalistic sense, as a friend of mine Dian stated, with Satanism being more in line with Geburah and Luciferianism more in line with Chokmah.
Some of the philosophical differences between Satanism and Luciferianism are discussed at the link below.
Technically speaking, Luciferianism can be LHP and RHP, however, I would not personally call RHP Luciferianism 'Luciferian' but more Gnostic Christianity, Positive Gnosticism or Illuminism, perhaps with a Luciferian influence.
There is disagreement over the application or use of the term 'Lucifer' within Luciferianism. Lucifer literally means 'bearer of light', 'morning star' or 'bringer of dawn', and is equated with the planet Venus. Lucifer is viewed by many as an archetype of the 'higher or illuminated self', rather than a literal deity. To use this archetype means to become illuminated or to receive light. Some believe that because the term means 'light bearer' that this means that Luciferianism is about 'sharing the light' with others and educating others. Whilst this is indeed one application of the term or archetype, in my opinion, it is a distortion of the LHP philosophy to regard this as the primary meaning and belies a RHP-fixation or disposition to want to convert, save or educate others. It is often said that one have to learn to master oneself first before one can teach others these skills or knowledge effectively. Many Luciferians seem to fall into the trap of becoming fixated on sharing knowledge with others rather than applying it to their own lives fully - not putting themselves first. I find the metaphor of 'light bearer' useful up to a point but it has become so overused and cliched that it is close to becoming meaningless.
Gnostic LuciferianismOne can classify Luciferianism into different currents depending on the exact occultic interests of the individual and what types of magic an individual likes to practise. One current that I have written about the most in the past is Gnostic Luciferianism, somewhat arbitrarily, some of which is reproduced below.
Gnostic Luciferianism is primarily a type of Luciferianism, but one which includes a heavy Classical Gnostic component. The term Gnosis has in recent times become almost a disposal, throwaway term in occultism, used to describe any kind of occult related knowledge. It has a definite historical usage in Hellenic and Judeo-Christian spiritual lineages. Gnostic Luciferianism is generally a fusion of Classic (Alexandrian?) Gnostic religious cosmology, symbolism and philosophy combined with contemporary Luciferianism, whereby Gnostic Luciferianism are Gnostic in the panentheistic/monist sense or in an agnostic, symbolic sense. Gnostic Luciferians in this sense are still Gnostics.
Gnostic Luciferianism however is also used to describe the incorporation of 19th and 20th Century positive gnostic ceremonial hermetic magic and spiritual philosophical practices and ideas, including Theosophy, Freemasonry, Hermetic Kabbalah, Golden Dawn, Thelema and/or Hoodoo or Voudon, into Luciferianism. These practices may well be balanced with other currents and interests such as Eastern internal alchemical practices such as Qi Gong, Taoist Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Tantra, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Transactional Psychoanalysis, Psychology, Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, creative visualisation, Chaos Magic, Reiki, and/or Psychic Vampirism, but clearly it depends on the individual as Luciferianism is extremely diverse. Most of this latter type Gnostic Luciferians tend to be more agnostic and atheistic. However, some may simply call this Luciferianism rather Gnostic Luciferianism.
The more Classic type Gnostic Luciferians may not necessary embrace ceremonial magic at all, e.g. Bestian Gnosticism, which is more Satanic, Luciferian, Kemetic and Jungian in concept, but combined with Classic Gnostic concepts and cosmology. At the extreme end of Gnostic Luciferianism is the 218 current and Anti-Cosmic Gnosticism, which can be Luciferian or perhaps Satanist, with less concept of balance with light and dark, which I will not examine in this article. The purpose of this article is to examine Gnostic Luciferianism specifically rather than Luciferianism as a whole, although some generic Luciferian concepts are mentioned.
Whilst Satanism, especially LaVey Satanism, draw on anti-Christian principles and imagery, and glorify the self in perhaps a somewhat excessive and materialistic manner, Gnostic Luciferianism tend more towards an open approach to religion in general, drawing from a variety of different religious sources, and taking from each what it sees as useful, from the perspective of the self, to seek both light and dark principles. This is perhaps less so for Modern Luciferianism which is less focussed on 'religious mish mash' and tends to stick to hermetic texts and the occult, drawing less influence from different world religions and indeed Gnosticism. Some Modern Lucifierianism dislike the tendency for Gnostic Luciferianism in some cases to adopt a heterogeneous Left Hand Path meets Right Hand Path approach. Clearly this depends on the individual and there is considerable freedom within Gnostic Luciferianism to choose one's own path and to indeed become extremely confused!
Spiritual Satanism in some sense could be likened to Gnostic Luciferianism, however the difference is really that whilst Spiritual Satanism may draw on other religions, mainly Taoism and Buddhism, there is still a primary belief in a 'dark God', like with Traditional Satanism, with the 'dark Lord' or dark gods having greater significance than for a Luciferian who tends to be more pragmatic or scientific about it (a means to an end). Luciferianism, on the other hand, is more about developing the self, and gaining wisdom, in the absence or not of any literal spiritual beliefs about a deity or deities. A Luciferian may not feel so tied to the said deity than a Satanist.
Gnostic Luciferianism is more syncretic and hetereogeneous than 'classic' Gnosticism. It is in general either the worship of a deity Lucifer (not usual); or the recognition of Lucifer as an archetype, ally or guide, often represented by various historical prophets, deities, Gnostic Aeons and/or philosophical positions. In the latter scenario, one can consider the allying with, embodying of, learning from or use of one particular 'Lucifer' or several 'Lucifers'. Most Luciferians and Gnostic Luciferians do not worship the deity Lucifer, although a minority indeed do. More commonly it is something which one invokes from oneself, a reflection of the self. The concept in Gnostic Luciferianism is to plant the seed of thought into one's mind and let the mind take it where it wishes, to one's own personal expression of the Self and one's Will, a little like Gnostic texts and some passages from the canonical gospels do (but perhaps different in outcome to the latter depending on interpretation).
Gnostic Luciferianism draws on the cosmology of Gnosticism, in a literal sense as defining the universe, or a metaphoric sense as defining the Self. Gnostic Luciferianism then may use a literal Gnostic framework for the incorporation of other religious beliefs, or it may indeed use a metaphoric understanding to the Gnostic cosmology as a principle in which to reinterpret/understand other chosen religions, occult practices or belief systems.
The one true, benevolent, mysterious God, Monad, or rather his Pleroma, may indeed be venerated or recognised (by some GLs). As with Gnosticism, theistic Gnostic Luciferianism holds that (in some sense) the creator God, called Demiurge, is synonymous with the Hebrew God of the Old Testament. Demiurge is for the theists regarded as being evil and imperfect and created a flawed world and physical universe full of death, disease, suffering and pain (using the Neo-Platonic and Buddhist concept of physical or earthly suffering). Demiurge trapped the human soul into human form and condemned it to a cycle of endless 'suffering', through birth and death (reincarnation).
The Aeons of Gnostic Luciferianism are messengers of light emanating from Monad/Pleroma. They may include messiahs, and deities drawn from various religions, that emanate from the one true God, Monad - from Gnostic scriptures or interpreted in a Gnostic sense. The Lucifers may also include philosophers and prophets. They depend very much on the type of Gnostic Luciferianism one is talking about. These messengers are figures of light and self-actualisation, helping followers to achieve Gnosis, but offering a variety of different types of secret knowledge, enlightenment and aspects of Gnosis. Followers of Gnostic Luciferianism can choose which Aeon or Lucifer they wish to worship, venerate, recognise or acknowledge, according to their true path or 'Will'. Gnostic Luciferian Aeons often include the Gnostic Jesus Christ (aka Luciferi Christos), Buddha, The Serpent and the deity Prometheus.
Those that believe in the Gnostic cosmology and Gnostic philosophy, but apply it to their lives in the context of Luciferian philosophy and occultism, do not generally regard Monad as 'Lucifer' in general terms. Lucifer is still the archetype of the self, in its light and dark, and indeed higher aspects, as embodied and manifested in occult ritual. Monad is just regarded as Monad. The definition of God or Monad within Gnostic Luciferianism is not the same as in the normal Judao-Christian sense or Right-Handed sense, perhaps being seen as a benevolent force or ally that helps one to experience Gnosis, knowledge, and self-conscious spiritual awakening from the experience/viewpoint of the Self. This is in some sense a cross between the Right-Hand goal of uniting with God, or learning from and emulating the essence and spirit of God, but from a Self stance, and the Left-Hand Path of self-deification and ultimate evolution of the Self.
In classic Gnosticism, by achieving Gnosis (choosing one aspect or multiple aspects of Gnosis from the various messengers) a person is able to break out of the cycle of life and death and rebirth and to ascent to join the Pleroma (the fullness or totality of divine powers) for eternity. See the section on Gnosticism for more information. In Gnostic Luciferianism, the exact details and possibly the concept of what Gnosis actually is is probably slightly different from that of Classic Gnosticism, as it contains a somewhat Luciferic component in addition to the Classic Gnostic cosmology and Aeons. Gnostic Luciferianism is like most other Gnosticism in that it acknowledges, venerates and/or worships the true, mysterious God, Monad, or rather his Pleroma, but rejects the evil creator God (the Hebrew Jehovah).
Whilst the process of seeking illuminism and 'spiritual' self-awareness through Gnosis could be considered a Left-Hand Path, the actual Gnostic goal within Gnosticism and indeed Gnostic Luciferianism of working towards something after one's death (i.e. breaking out of the 'prison' of cyclic existence and reintegration with God/Monad/the Pleroma) is a Right-Hand Path - although I do not believe many Luciferians really have this as a goal. There are probably parallels with the Temple of Set's goal of the uniting with the Black Flame.
The concept of Gnosis within Gnostic Luciferianism is not restricted to the classical Gnostic definition and that attained through demonology, Thelema, Chaos Magic, LaVey Satanism and other 'dark' magic. Indeed the term is used in Chaos Magic as a fundamental part of practice. It may, depending on the individual's Will, other occult traditions, philosophies and sciences, such as hermetic quabalah, sabbat, tarot, other divination, astrology, lucid dreaming, astral projection, psychology, astronomy, astrophysics, particle physics, Eastern philosophies (Taoism, Ayurveda, Tantra, Yoga etc.) and indeed many other areas. It does not tend to involve 'new age' areas such as spiritual healing as the focus is on self-healing and the self rather than healing or helping others. This is discussed on the Left-Hand Path page. Gnostic Luciferianism is a diverse arena and its form depends on the uptake by the individual. Intellectual development and illuminism is thought to enable great spiritual understanding and thought and vice versa.
Some might argue that the concept of Gnosis in Gnostic Luciferianism is not consistent with the concept of (Theistic) Satanic Intelligence. Clearly Luciferian Gnosis is not quite the same as classic Gnosticism's idea of Gnosis, as it is broader in its remit and contains lighter and darker elements. However, this is some commonality with the concept of the Self. The idea of Luciferian Gnosis as mentioned above is considered a higher form of Self-wisdom and is not just fixated on sensory gratification and 'knee jerk' hostility and rebellion for the sake of it. That is not to say that there are no elements of Satanism within it.
'Modern' Gnostic Luciferians may use the framework and cosmology of Gnosticism, and incorporate their own spiritual and occult beliefs and practices into these. In this manner, they are free to choose the Aeons they most venerate or acknowledge, if at all, but also choose exactly how they view Monad (if at all). In addition, they are free to go between the different Aeons or belief systems, embracing both light and dark elements, to achieve 'balance.'
It is likely that in most Gnostic Luciferianism, that the Gnostic Cosmology is a metaphor or analogues for the Neo-Platonic ideas about the formation one's Self, rather than being a literal cosmology. The majority of Luciferians in general that I have come across are either Agnostics or Atheists, and indeed, many Gnostic Luciferians do not appear to be theistic at all, but more agnostic. For them, the Gnostic cosmology could be true, but it cannot be proven, so it is regarded as more rational to merely keep an open mind in the agnostic sense, but whilst using the symbolism as it relates closely to the human experience. Life on earth is a pursuit for knowledge of the self, wisdom and enlightenment, for Gnosis, to achieve Self-Mastery whilst alive. Regarding reincarnation, rebirth or a concept of the afterlife, who knows? It cannot be proven.
Atheistic and indeed many agnostic Luciferians appear to be simply more balanced and philosophical than their atheistic LaVey Satanist counterparts, who enjoy life but also exercise restraint and balance, rather than pursue unbalanced hedonism or a Sinister path alone.
Gnostic Luciferians may well draw upon some of the philosophical aspects of Gnostic Luciferianism and its dark magic rituals, but in general tend to bring their old religious/philosophical ideas with them and simply evolve them a little rather than replace them, but it depends on their background and how long they have been practising the LHP. Those coming from a Christian background may well tend to keep Gnostic Christianity within their Luciferian model for a number of years and slowly over time lose interest in it and eliminate more of the Judeo-Christian influences from their practice.
For example, whilst practising an invocation of Lucifer ritual, it may not literally be a deity who is believed to be invoked, but rather those feelings and illuminated and magical qualities in oneself that one believes one is invoking. For many, the broader concept of Luciferian Gnosis is that of intellectual illuminism and wisdom (through a variety of studies and practices, one of which is occult practice), a process to enjoy whilst one is alive to enrich one's life, a Left-Hand Path, rather than a means to an end to achieve the Gnostic Right-Hand Path goal of reintegration with the Pleroma. This is in keeping with Gnostic Luciferianism's claim to be a Left-Hand Path. Whilst drawing on Gnosticism and Gnostic Christianity, Gnostic Luciferianism is still very much concerned with the Self, as is a Left-Hand Path, and distinct from modern, mainstream Christianity which is very much a Right-Hand Path. Whether the Gnostic goal is a 'side effect' of Luciferian Gnosis or really a goal for some adherents is probably something that depends on the individual. For some, admitting any Right-Hand Path aspects may be 'unfashionable'!
There are very few Gnostic Luciferian texts in circulation. Many Gnostic Luciferians rely on the Gnostic cosmology as defined by the Nag Hammadi Library, and in particular, 'On the Origin of the World' and also 'The Gospel of Judas'. These considered broadly considered Gnostic Luciferian and also broadly associated with neo-Manichaeism. There is some considerable overlap between Manichaeism and Gnostic Luciferianism.
There are however differences between Manichaeism and 'Theistic' Gnostic Luciferianism. Manichaeism does not use recognise Prometheus as a deity/Aeon, nor does it involve the practice of magical rites and rituals or tarot. It is likely that Hermeticism as a whole, and in particular the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn of the 19th Century, and Thelema of the early 20th Century, helped to form the magic and occult element of Gnostic Luciferianism. This is seen as another way of achieving Gnosis.
It is not certain exactly when Gnostic Luciferianism was first founded. The term 'Gnostic Luciferian' can sometimes be found mentioned in 19th Century works such as Eliphas Levi's Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, first published in 1855. Jeremy Crow, claims to have popularised the term in 2002, when he promoted it within the Gnostic community, although elements of the philosophy have been present for arguably several decades. It is thus uncertain whether Gnostic Luciferianism is indeed very modern or whether it existed much earlier. It is probably nothing particularly new but a recycling of Traditional Luciferianism and combining it with other magical traditions like Thelema and Chaos Magic, Gnostic Christianity, Satanism and the ideas of Social Darwinist and Nihilist philosophers. Many of the Luciferian concepts have been circulating within Chaos Magic practice since the late 1970s. So whether it should be called Gnostic Luciferianism or Neo/Modern Gnostic Luciferianism - or simply an extension of Chaos Magick - is a matter of debate - but I have not come across many Gnostic Luciferians so whether the term should be used at all is a matter of debate, above and beyond 'Luciferianism'.
It is possible that the Gnostic Ophites are the earliest inspiration for what we see today as Gnostic Luciferianism. The Ophites or Ophians (Greek for snake) is the term used to refer to any of numerous Gnostic sects in Syria and Egypt around 100 AD, who gave great importance to the serpent of the biblical tale of Adam and Eve, connecting the Tree of Knowledge (of Good and Evil) to gnosis. In contrast to Christian interpretations of the Serpent as Satan, Ophites viewed the serpent as the hero of Genesis, and in line with classic Eastern/Persian Gnosticism, regarding the Hebrew God of the Old Testament as the the 'evil Demiurge'.
The following Sects are regarded as being/having been Ophite Gnostic Sects:
- Naasseners (from Hebrew na'asch = snake)
- The Sethians
- The Mandaeans are considered an Ophite religion that has survived (up to and including the present day).
- The Perates (from the Greek language peras, "to penetrate")
- The Borborites
According to Diane Vera, a Theistic Satanist, Gnostic Luciferianism is based on ancient Ophite Gnosticism, usually combined with subsequent Western occult traditions.
Diane claims that: 'some Luciferians are also strongly influenced by LaVeyan Satanism or by the Temple of Set paradigm, though most are not. Luciferians typically make a sharp distinction between "Lucifer" and "Satan" and between "Luciferianism" and "Satanism," although their idea of "Lucifer" typically does borrow at least some themes from the Christian Devil concept. But a few Gnostic Luciferians do identify as "Satanist" as well as "Luciferian"; a well-known example was Herbert Sloane's Lady of Endor Coven, founded back in 1948. Those relatively few Gnostic Luciferians who do see "Lucifer" and "Satan" as the same entity (or as aspects of the same entity) can be considered Primary Theistic Satanists.'
Diane Vera, regards Gnostic Luciferianism in general as a form of Secondary Theistic Satanism. She defines Secondary Theistic Satanism as a religion or spirituality in which Satan is part of the pantheon and is worshipped, revered, or at least propitiated in some way, at least to some extent, but is not the primary object of worship, veneration, reverence or emulation. She claims that a subset of Neo-Gnostic Luciferians revere Satan as well as Lucifer, but regard Satan as a distinct entity. Gnostic Luciferians however claim not to worship an entity called Lucifer per se, but worship or revere Aeons or 'Lucifers'. Is Satan then one of these 'Lucifers' or is he just an archetype?
Others also believe Gnostic Luciferianism to be closely linked to Theistic Satanism or a subset of Theistic Satanism.
Jeremy Crow, from what I have understood from his articles, associates Jesus, Buddha and Prometheus with Lucifer.
Luciferian Research Society, created by Jeremy Crow, is a Ning-hosted social media community for LHP practitioners, and seems to occupy a middle ground between its Luciferian focus (and name) and being a generic LHP community. There are other Luciferian groups and forums on the internet but this is probably the biggest specialist community, outside of religiousforums.com etc.
Gnostic Luciferianism introduces a wider variety of Aeons, prophets, teachers or Lucifers than can be found in classic Gnosticism. In this sense, Gnostic Luciferianism is more syncretic than Gnosticism. However, the criticism of Gnosticism that I have that focussing too widely on a variety of interlinked teachings does not really allow one to full embrace the spirit of those teachings (at all, in enough depth or for long enough) applies even more so here.
I find that Gnostic Luciferianism as a whole often seems to attract people who consider themselves to be very intelligent and philosophical, almost to the point of narcissism and pretentiousness. Making out that one is intelligent and sharp, and refraining from cussing, and appearing so, is for some a matter of status and image - much as for some Satanists, appearing to be the most 'powerful' is attributed with the greatest status amongst peers. Some may consider a casual interest in chaos mathematics, quantum mechanics and astronomy, and gaining a dark and morbid ego trip/buzz from it, makes one enlightened. Well, it takes a little more than this and a limited amount of contrarian historical/religious knowledge to feign any reasonable understanding of the modern man, modern society, and indeed the universe.
There are inherent contradictions between the Gnostic world view (suffering, reincarnation, uniting with Godhead etc.), ascetic Gnosticism and the Satanic/LHP ideal of hedonism, but then again, hedonism could be said to represent art and other pursuits rather than just boozing, drug abuse and swingers parties etc. Hedonists do not tend to be the most balanced individuals one comes across in normal scenarios. If hedonism can be tightly controlled, is it going to contribute to 'gnosis' in the traditional Gnostic sense? Perhaps. Hedonism to me seems more about individuation than any traditional gnostic goal, although individuation could be said to be a type of 'gnosis' in a modern sense. Some people are naturally 'balanced' in terms of light and dark, the self and the self-less. They don't think about it, make it into a religion or philosophy, they just live it and are it. Gnostic Luciferianism can become dogmatic amongst 'adherents' who seek knowledge and wisdom in all they do - and maybe that's the problem. In many instances, it seems that Luciferians, including Gnostic Luciferians, regard Luciferianism as such an all applicable philosophy that it almost becomes a religion in the way it is applied and the personal approaches to analysis and terminology standardised which is not really what it is not really in the spirit of the philosophy, in my opinion. The quest for knowledge can consume a person to the point where he or she may lose sight of his life's balance, and the whole purpose of acquiring that knowledge.
Theistic Concepts of SatanChristians did not first create the concept of 'The Devil', the evil God or the dark Lord. It has been a recurrent theme in other religions albeit usually focussing on the 'destroyer' aspects, as one force of many in nature. The big question for many Christians is whether the various (predominantly pagan) deities that are commonly associated with Satan (by Christians) are actually this perceived 'evil Satan' or not. Clearly the nature of these Gods is different to the Hebew God and they are not referring to the Hebrew God. Depending on which God one is talking about, there is often a great deal of overlap, as described above. For those entertaining the notion of the Christian Devil, one can only really say for sure in all cases by studying closely the nature of the religions around each God, and how it feels in a spiritual sense, and what other religions it feels most spiritually akin to. Perhaps one can liken it to comparing the God of Islam, Judaism and Christianity as being the same God - some will argue that it is one and the same, but worshipped in different ways and perceived according to slightly different sets of belief systems. Others will argue that they are clearly not the same, and that one is the true God and the others are either false Gods or perverted interpretations of the same God. So perhaps similar approaches could be adopted to the Gods that are associated by Christians with Satan. Some argue it is narrow minded to call other monotheists wrong (e.g. a Christian calling a Muslim wrong, or a Catholic calling a Protestant a 'false' Christian', etc.), but that it is a different culture's way of perceiving the same God. Perhaps the same is true of other ancient religions.
Satanism as it exists today, in both its 'Modern' (LaVey or Atheistic) and 'Traditional' (Theistic) forms, is heavily influenced by ancient Egyptian and Sumerian mysticism and deities, as well as nihilism, hedonism, capitalism, and modern occultism. The philosophical differences between other reconstructionists, say pagans, and Satanists and indeed other occultists is in execution and the spirit in which it is engaged in. There is a large amount of overlap. So whilst the deities discussed above are equated with being the Christian version of 'Satan', i.e. the Devil, they are also regarded by many Satanists as being representations of 'Satan', i.e. the archetype or actual deity as an aspect of Satan, or literally Satan.
One could argue that Theistic Satanism is in fact just a form of dark paganism. If one venerates and worships different 'aspects' of Satan, being represented by different named Gods, i.e. Ba'al or Lucifer, then surely in some sense this is almost identical to actually worshipping these as separate, unconnected, but 'dark' entities as a dark pagan would? This is probably why there is considerable common ground between dark pagans and Theistic Satans, and indeed, many Theistic Satans consider themselves as polytheists rather than monotheists or panentheists.
Theistic Satanists argue that 'Satan' puts ideas and dark thoughts into their minds as a form of questioning, to keep one 'real', giving people a choice of dark deeds which they may or may not choose to actually follow (but presenting options, as 'freedom'), and constantly questioning one's environment, as a form of wisdom. However, one could argue that by that very nature, 'Satan' should also put positive and good natured thoughts into people's minds, and use positive questioning, as employed by psychotherapists and NLP practitioners! But does this actually happen? Or is it focussed on the 'dark' side, the negative side? Is the ratio of positive and enlightening to dark and critical an equal 50/50 split?! Without conscious effort, negative thoughts greatly outnumber positive thoughts. Is it easier to be critical and negative or creative, empowering and positive? Clearly the latter. With many people, the negative thoughts come out as default. Is having thoughts of jealousy, revenge, getting one's own back, punishing someone for an 'injustice', inadequacy or depression empowering or providing us with wisdom, and giving us more sound choices? Sometimes an individual may have momentary thoughts of violence and retribution, even rape and murder, that pass in a split second or matter of seconds. Are such thoughts providing us with useful options and allowing us to question our environment? Or is our mind just a runaway train full of chaotic thoughts, pulling in different directions, according to the various core beliefs we have about ourselves and our environment, both positive and negative? Is such 'questioning' just a result of conditioning, instigated by other people's fears, or those thoughts we are conditioned to associate with certain situations? Are such 'questioning' thoughts an effect of the negative core beliefs and addictive thought patterns and pattern of focus of the conscious mind, manifesting themselves in ways that we can feel powerful and good about ourselves (as our belief system does not allow us to feel good about ourselves in normal 'operation')? Putting someone down may make us feel temporarily better about ourselves, but in the long term, it is not going to work! It is often easier to feel empowered or in control by destroying something rather than creating something. Destructive thoughts come much easier than creative ones, and do not threaten the ego or require the addictive negative patterns of the ego to take a back seat or to be controlled in any way.
If one is looking for people who formally declared themselves as 'Satanists' prior to 1966, then of course they may well be few and far between. It is likely that in Western Industrial societies, society as a whole was not ready for such declarations and for formal 'Satanic' churches, which the rebelliousness, bohemian and free thinking approach of the 1960s enabled. It is likely that if Anton LaVey had wanted to form the CoS before the 1960s, it would not have taken off in the same manner. Society was much more controlled in spiritual terms prior to this. The CoS no doubt laid the ground for the launch of other Theistic Satanic churches. It is most likely that Satanism or worship or a 'Devil' or dark Lord in the literal sense existed behind closed doors and within secret societies and also within the inner circles of certain major Christian religious institutions, behind closed doors. One may find circumstantial evidence and witness statements for this on the internet or elsewhere.
It is likely that many people who call themselves Satanists today are in fact worshipping the Biblical concept of Satan - because of cultural conditioning of the notions of the 'Devil'. Such people may include certain teenagers and rock stars, who feel they are 'hard' and 'evil' if they make this claim or association. Few traditional Theistic Satanists have this concept of a Biblical Satan, and are not quite the same as these other Satanists, who are often more in the public eye. As stated elsewhere, those who worship a Biblical Satan believe in Jesus and God, but choose to worship their polar opposite, whereas many traditional Theistic Satanists do not believe in the existance of Jesus or God, or downplay their importance and position relative to Satan.
It could be argued that in some sense the Satan of the New Testament and of Theistic Satanism is a collective term for dark spirits, the concept used in certain religions. Perhaps in this sense paganism can be associated with Satanism. That is not necessarily putting a value judgement on 'dark spirits'. Indeed, those doctrines that worship the 'devil', reject the concept of the Hebrew God being the true God or existing at all, in which case Theistic Satanism never required Christianity or other monotheistic religions to exist in the first place. Whether you believe that some or all of these different names refer to the same thing is the real issue here. Are all the pagan Gods of historical faiths real? Or are they often describing a smaller number of entities or 'demons'? Or aspects of a smaller number of entities or 'demons'? Or are they describing perceived (real or false) spiritual aspects of the natural world they see around them? Or are they worshipping aspects of Satan? Or perhaps a mixture of both God and Satan (i.e. aspects of 'goodness'/God and aspects of Satan)? So perhaps pagans (e.g. Wiccans) and/or certain other monotheists (e.g. Luciferans, Rosicrucians, Thelemists or even Christians who dabble in New Age or Occult practices) are worshipping the same God as Christians, but also are worshipping/institutionalising the 'darker' or 'ego' side in some sense (interpreted as Satan in this context)? Or is this worshipping of the 'Devil' or dark force just the worship of a collection of 'demons'? So perhaps they are worshipping certain aspects of God and also certain practices are using the power of certain demons? Perhaps even there is no Satan or pagan Gods, but that one is in fact worshipping the dark side of one's ego (or 'dark' aspects of one's own psyche in a Jungian sense). Or perhaps one could interpret it as a balance of suppressing the ego and embodying the spirit of love versus the celebration of the ego through various more egotistical practices. Clearly, if one believes that one is worshipping both the 'good' (i.e. selfless) and 'bad' (self), whatever they might be, then the worshipping the bad will affect one's ability to really connect with the good in the same way as another who worships or embraces the 'bad' to a lesser extent. It could be argued that the vast majority of Christians serve themselves in many aspects of their lives anyway, and so are not really embodying the spirit of the teachings of Jesus (a large proportion of the followers of any religion are going to be hypocites of varying degrees) - but that the embodiment of embracing the ego is not (usually) formally institutionalised in worship or their religious belief system, but is just a result of conflict of values or not embracing the religion to that full an extent. Of course, it is up to the individual to what extent they want to adopt a set of values and what they do, and it is not up to others to judge their 'performance' or consistency.
Ultimately, it comes down to how much Theistic Satanism draws on past pagan and old panentheistic religions and practices, and it is clear that there is a very heavy reliance on these other Gods and Deities. So there is a relationship between many of them and Satan, it is just a matter of how much and in what manner. See the section above on Freemasonry and occultism. The way to decide for yourself is to examine the concepts, symbols and beliefs around each of these 'allegedly different' entities and religions. Remember the CoS law of being mindful of historical orthodoxies and not making incorrect historical statements!
A article by F.D. Lamb on the origins of Satanism, in Italian, can be read at the link below.
© 2006-2014 Fabian Dee