Things have really been progressing inwardly, and my sense of place in Satanism has deepened recently.
I have always taken, as a newcomer, a tentative and inclusive view of Satanism from what I have found in books, the internet and internet friends, plus my previous experience as a polytheist and Thelemite.
That’s ok, it’s probably wise at first, but with something as deeply personal and outwardly divided* as Satanism, you have to go further I feel. I could take into account the atheists and place the default for Satanism at “agnostic”, as an enlightened optimal position, but the fact is I am not agnostic with respect to the gods/demons myself, even if in a philosophical sense I count unknowing as a powerful and profound condition when conscious. But there’s no point me focusing on this spanning of contraries. I won’t come to understand Satanism for myself, even in its variations, if I don’t fully embrace and follow my own Satanism. Maybe this seems obvious, but there is a subtle trap in trying to measure the whole, whereby you internalize an implied requirement to not abrogate any of the parts, formally at least. But that won’t help you follow your own calling.
And I have realised that I am following a calling in effect. This thing goes back a long way, and it is most essentially spiritual.
There have been two bloggers that I have been gaining benefit from recently, and although they are both theists and Satanists, they are quite different in other ways.
First there is VK Jehannum, whose blog is an excellent resource in terms of information on demons. He allies himself with the 218 Current and is a magician, demonolator and Satanist. You can get some sense of the 218 Current from the Wikipedia page on the Temple of the Black Light. There are elements of serious interest to me here (the interdimensional and “chaos” elements, though differently interpreted), as well as things I find risible (the lauding of nihilistic criminality). I think most of the good stuff may well be in better shape in Typhonian Thelema, but I can’t say for sure, as the 218 Current is still somewhat obscure for me. VK Jehannum used to be associated with the Order of the Nine Angles, who have always sounded like hard hippies on really bad acid to me, but he parted company with them. It’s been stimulating to read his blog and listen to his videos.
The other blogger that I have been paying attention to is RJ Womack, aka Brother Nero, and I really do get a sense of fellow feeling with Mr Womack.
I recently read his Satanism: A Beginner’s Guide to the Religious Worship of Satan and Demons Volume I, which I did enjoy and gain from, while not matching entirely in approach, or feeling assent on all his points. Nevertheless, he was giving me more of an answer than most people had, or more of the right questions. He also has a really interesting series of podcasts called Dark Illumination Report. I really found that he had warmth, common sense, maturity, a good range of occult knowledge, and just life experience. He is religious about his Satanism, and while not being closed off against atheists (he believes in Satanists basically standing by what each other are doing, if it is furthering Satanism one way or another) he is proud of being a theist and “serving Satan” in a religious sense. So I say good for him!
I’ve come to realise that if I do take Satanism seriously as a spirituality, then it is absurd to treat it as something that was founded in 1966. I think what Anton LaVey did was very important, and it was the beginning of the Church of Satan, but not the beginning of Satanism, obviously. For whatever it’s proclaimed atheism, it left a space in its “intellectual decompression” for something deeper to flow through in potential, and its moral philosophy was essentially sound in its Satanic quality, and I still consider LaVey to have transmitted what was in many ways a boiled down version of Thelema. I think LaVey furthered a spiritual current.
Thelema itself is I believe a form of Satanism in principle (or at least significantly Satanic), though that is greatly down played nowadays, and contested. Crowley himself considered Hadit (to which the second chapter of The Book of The Law is dedicated) to be a form of Set/Satan, while he was also known to identify Satan with Aiwaz, the being who dictated The Book of The Law to him in Cairo in 1904. Crowley is I think the key figure in bringing Satanism forward, a role for which I think he both paid and enjoyed, but to which he was in no small way dedicated. I agree with RJ Womack in considering Satanism a form of Paganism, and Crowley considered one of his life’s missions to be bringing about the return of Paganism. In a lot of ways, I see Pagan Reconstructionists and Satanists as bringing about the same thing – the return of the gods. Reconstructionists attempt to divest themselves of monotheism and Christianity and piece together an old practice, while Satanists take a direct route psychically and spiritually, which is more focused on the individual. We don’t care if any of it looks Christian, because we know that Satan is not. We raid our culture from the long line of heresy, occultism, folk lore, witchcraft and the imagination. Because our gods and demons are real, we can do it. Not the other way round.
Looking back beyond the 20th century, we have to find our sources and exponents where we can, but I have no doubt they are there. And in the present, we have many atheistic Satanists, but it doesn’t matter that they are atheists. What they do in the name of the free and beautiful god, in the name of demons, in the name of Satan, if it is done in the spirit, in the moment, then the song takes voice.
Above all, this is a spirituality. A banquet by invitation of the soul.
* most notably into theists and atheists, of which the atheists get the most coverage, but also into the religious and non-religious.