Ah, hello. If you’ll excuse me for breaking out of character…or into it, as the case may be (voice? what voice? I have to have a ‘voice?’)…I might as well tell you that this is a “creative writing opportunity” during which I get to “be myself” for the first time in months. But I’m not too practiced at it, at this point, so I hope you can forgive any lapses in cognition. (and voice.)
This post follows an old pattern established on our side: other voices step in to say what our original voice feels s/he cannot. (This used to happen a lot; our previous author has mentioned being largely silent as a child…I was one of the first voices s/he developed with the necessary aggression to speak things others may not like to hear. I essentially was the identity with the “egg tooth” which enabled us to “hatch.”) I may clarify what the previous post was actually about. It has to do with me in specific.
During the amount of time when we were a very young adult, there was a period of time when…we were studying the paranormal, and a large number of alternative religions. At the time, this person was feeling very outcast, like they may not live much longer (it was a constant battle to avoid contemplating throwing ourselves off the roof of our 5-story dorm), and as such there was nothing to stop him/her from investigating things which someone with a higher “honor” status would never touch. That was, we had nothing to lose but our lives, and that seemed as though it would be gone sooner rather than later, anyway.
I feel like I — or we (the pronoun issue is so trying) — are coming to a better understanding of one of these alternative religions. I really don’t know what has happened within the last 24-48 hours, but what we learned from a daemonolatry enclave has started to make sense. At first it was easier to investigate Satanism (isn’t it always?), though within that specific subculture (Satanism, that is) there is a great deal of ego which usually isn’t pleasant to deal with.
I should clarify: there are at least two kinds of Satanism, more if you get into really studying cultures and the niches people have carved out for themselves online. What I’ve understood to be the more popular of the two is called “Atheistic Satanism,” or “LaVeyan Satanism,” (although here there is a split between the Church of Satan — which LaVey founded — and the First Church of Satan, which one of his students [John Dewey Allee] founded: and if I’m correct, at a later date). Despite the name…the official belief in the Church of Satan is that “Satan,” as a supernatural being, does not exist. I quipped long ago that this is the reason Anton Szandor LaVey (the founder) lived as long as he did (this is the guy associated with the infamous “Black House” in San Francisco…though I don’t know if that place is still standing — I remember hearing something about it in the late ’90’s, but that’s all).
The other major form of Satanism is one in which there is an overarching belief in a metaphysically real “Satan,” though I have found…that the name doesn’t necessarily fit the station of this deity. Using the term “Satan” immediately references the deity against a Judeo-Christian/Islamic framework (referenced from within Satanism as an “Abrahamic” framework). While that is the present dominant paradigm…and would demonize this form of, “Satanism,” for being a challenger to it at all…I don’t feel it does the religion justice to name it what its enemies would call it.
It’s like continuing to call Native Americans (etc.), “Indians,” long after the argument has been ground into the dirt that Columbus didn’t know where he was going and didn’t know where he had landed. We get it. Everybody gets it. But we still keep calling American Indigenous/First Nations, etc., people “Indians,” and every time someone says “Indian,” it means we have to ask for clarification as to what they mean, because the term has been historically applied to distinctly different cultural sets of people (neither of which are homogeneous) located on opposite sides of the globe.
Of course, though, calling “Satanists” by said term can bring out the worst in people (by this I don’t mean the Satanists, by this I mean those who label), which — may have been a reason for Atheistic Satanism to exist in the first place (to show others their flaws, that is). Overall, though, Theistic Satanists — in my experience — do just want to live as they are and be safe and unmolested (like, pretty much, everyone else).
There have been a number of differing names for this variant, depending on which school or cult (yes, some of these legitimately fall into “cult” territory, and not the benign type) one is dealing with. I generally use the term “Theistic Satanism,” as it’s one whose provenance I’m already familiar with. The subtext is much different, depending on what name one uses, here.
The problem, majorly, is that Atheistic Satanists and Theistic Satanists are different types of people. Most people enter the Satanist “scene” through LaVey’s writings: and to be clear, from what I can tell, LaVey just wanted to make a statement that he was against whatever the mainstream liked (“Satan” = “Adversary”)…which means that today we still get people who want to claim self-sufficiency and ultimate individuality (a reversal of interdependence and selflessness) whose clothes came from Vietnam. Some of the ways these things work out just do not make sense. In addition, reversing valuation on everything (besides hinting at possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is a really easy way to make yourself emotionally sick. Some psychological ways of being have endured for millennia because they work.
On top of this, during the time Atheistic Satanism was founded/in the news (I am thinking this was the 1970’s?), the dominant culture was far-Left (Hippie); which means that LaVey’s writings tend to the extreme Right. Which means that then we get this huge influx of people who identify with LaVey’s vision who are conservative to a concerning degree (I guess he didn’t mind people conforming to his brand of rebellion?).
I don’t believe that there has been a form of Satanism which has not been profoundly impacted by LaVeyan influence. The exceptions being things related to the key term, but more difficult to find; such as hereditary Daemonolatry sects. I’ve heard it said as regards the latter that “all Demonolators are Satanists, but not all Satanists are Demonolators.” There is a subtle difference here between Daemonolatry and (Theistic) Satanism, in that one approach is essentially building a relationship with lesser Divine spirits (approaching polytheism, though not necessarily technically so), and the other is focused largely upon one Deity (in this case, “Satan”).
Of course, I am telling you this now, but…please for the love of all that is holy, do not take it as permission to go and dabble with Daemons. To unknown people and to people who mistreat them or don’t respect them, the Daemons can be harsh. (I am not going to get into why I feel this way; that’s not my story to tell. However, my sense is that they live on a different order than us, and as such, our [short, fragile, time-bound] lives are not as important to them as they are to us.)
What I’ve seen proposed before is the idea that “Satan” is the All and that the various Demons are facets of the All. This didn’t really make sense to me until I realized that what I had been talking about: the Infinite (really infinite potential, corresponding to Yin, I now recognize) may have branches which relate to various concepts. At any one time, at least one of these branches of the Divine is working through a person (I would think; then there is my experience of feeling empty).
In contrast, the Demiurge (false God) would then not be the true God because of being delimited by descriptions. And yes, I did just get into Gnosticism…which may have something to do with mystical Judaism (I’m thinking of Qabalah). (And no, that is not a misspelling of Kabbalah; Qabalah is how it is spelled in Ceremonial Magick circles — distinct from Hebrew tradition. No, I don’t know if I trust the Ceremonial Magickians more. Yes, that is an alternative spelling of “magic.” Look up Aleister Crowley if you’re wondering why I’m using it.)
That is interesting, though. Infinite potential reading as Yin…and reading as something which is qualitatively similar to (but not equivalent to) the All.
If “Satan” is Infinite potential (Yin) and the Daemons are his aspects, what is Satan being defined against (Yang)? “Finite being?”
That…actually sounds as though I may have hit upon something.
I think I’ve done my job, for tonight…