Posts tagged “satan

Basics of The Yazidi Religion

peacockThe Yazidi religion is believed to be around 6,000 years old in fact. Yet throughout their long history they have faced 72 genocides and soon they may unfortunately be facing genocide number 73 at the hands of the group formerly known as ISIS (Which now calls itself “The Islamic State”). Why all the hate towards this small, but ancient group of people? This is due to one major misconception about their religion – the idea that they worship Satan. Not only do the Yazidis not believe in a devil, but they don’t believe in hell either. In fact, the evil Satan is more of a reality in the Judeo-Christian religions than for the Yazidis.

GOD’S HIGHEST ANGEL IS A SAVIOR RATHER THAN A DEVIL

The reason for this misconception is because they believe that God created the Earth and designated seven angels to preside over his creation. The highest of these angels is Tawsi Melek, who is also known as the “Peacock Angel.” He is the primary figure in the Yazidi religion and is the one who filled the Earth with colorful things, such as flora and fauna. Yet this mighty Melek is similar in some aspects to Christianity’s Lucifer and Islam’s Shaitan. When God created Adam, he asked his angels to bow down to the humans. All angels obeyed except for Tawsi Melek, who replied, “How can I submit to another being! I am from your illumination while Adam is made of dust.”

The key difference however, in the Yazidi religion, is that Tawsi Melek was right not to bow down to the humans, and he was right to stand up to God. He was not thrown into hell. Instead he descended to Earth and wept for all the pain in the world. His tears ended up extinguishing the fires of hell. Thus, the Yazidis do not believe in a hell with a devil, but rather they believe that evil is man-made. They hold that the source of evil is in the heart and spirit of humans themselves, not in God’s highest angel. In the Yazidi religion, Tawsi Melek is a bringer of knowledge and life. It is interesting that Lucifer is also a bringer of knowledge in the Christian religion – yet this aspect of Lucifer is seen in a negative light by the Christians, while Tawsi Melek’s knowledge is mainly a positive force in the world of the Yazidis.

THE YAZIDI HOLY SITE – LALISH

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When Tawsi Melek descended to the Earth to make our world more colorful, it is believed that he descended to a site known as “Lalish,” which is situated in Northern Iraq. After Melek descended to Lalish he met with Adam and turned him towards the sun, telling him that it was a symbol of the creator. He then added that Adam should pray towards the sun daily and taught him a prayer that all humanity should chant for the creator. Most Yazidis pray 3 times a day and most Yazidis also make it a goal to go on a pilgrimage to their holy site at least once a lifetime.

HOLY DAYS

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(The Yazidi Holy Site “Lalish” on New Years)

The Yazidi religious year includes four holy festivals:

  • The New Year (The first Wednesday of April)
    • Apparently the Yazidis also like coloring eggs in April. They do this to celebrate the colors that Tawsi Melek brought to the world.
  • The Feast of Sacrifice
  • The Feast of Seven Days, Sept 23-30
  • The first Friday of December feast following three days of fasting.

Wednesday is also a holy day of the week for the Yazidis and Saturday is a day of rest.

A BELIEF IN REINCARNATION

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So if evil people don’t go to hell, where do they go? Much like in Hinduism, Yazidis believe in the purification of the soul through a series of lifetimes. If a soul is pure, it will ascend into heaven. However, if someone lived a truly evil life, they will be reincarnated as a member of a different religion. The Yazidis are very proud of their own traditions and ethic group, which means that being cast out of the Yazidi ethnic and spiritual lineage is one of the harshest punishments imaginable for their people. In fact, Yazidis believe in only marrying within their ethnic pool, and narrow that requirement down even further to only marrying within their caste.

THE YAZIDI CASTE SYSTEM

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(A Yazidi man healing a woman)

  • THE SHEIKH CASTE
    • The Sheikh caste is the highest of the three mentioned castes here. Sheikh is an Arabic word which denotes a ruler or an elder of a tribe. It is believed that the members of this caste descended from 6 of the 7 great angels (excluding Tawsi Melek). Members of the Sheikh caste are believed to have special healing powers.
  • THE PIR CASTE
    • The Pir Caste is also a significant spiritual caste, and much like the Shiekh, they are required to be at major life events such as marriages, circumcisions and funerals.
  • THE MURID CASTE
    • The Murids are a majority of the Yazidi people, who are basically “commoners” and do not function as priests.

THE YAZIDI’S SYNCRETIC ORIGINS

Having a caste system and believing in reincarnation sounds very Hindu inspired. This is no accident. It is believed that the Yazidis migrated to India after a major flood that happened 6,000 years ago. Then about 4,000 years ago they migrated back to their homeland in Northern Iraq. In fact, the Yazidi religion has similarities to Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and Mithraism. It is probably because the Yazidis have encountered and lived among these people over the last 6,000 years of their existence, but due to their tight ethnic bonds – formed a unique religion to fit their people.

WHEN WAS THE YAZIDI RELIGION TECHNICALLY FOUNDED? 

This is an update I decided to add after publishing the article. It’s a bit confusing because I state that the Yazidi religion is 6,000 years old. Some have argued with me that the Yazidi religion can’t be that old, considering that it has Islamic customs. However, one must realize that the practice of praying 5 times a day was not unique to Muslims. In pre-islamic times, it was a normal practice for many Middle Eastern cultures who bowed and prayed to the various phases of the sun throughout the day – including the ancient Egyptians and Zoroastrians.

Also, one must understand that the Yazidi religion is a fluid religion that has evolved and grown over time as a result of their contacts with other people. Much of what they believe today was codified in its current form in the 12th century A.D. by the reformer known as Sheikh Adi. Many Yazidis consider him to be an Avatar of the angel Tawsi Melek and his tomb is at the holy site of Lalish. However, even though its most recent reforms were established in the 12th century, many of the basic ideas are thousands of years old.

THE YAZIDIS TODAY

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As mentioned in the introduction, Yazdis are a very small ethnic and religious minority. There are only 700,000 Yazidis in the world, and 600,000 of these Yazidis live in Iraq. Today the terrorist group that calls itself “The Islamic State” is terrorizing and killing these ancient people, along with driving them off of lands they have occupied for thousands of years. The “Islamic State” has only two options for the Yazidis, “convert or die.” They have also taken to selling Yazidi girls into sexual slavery.

It is very important for the world to know about the Yazidi people, what they are going through, and the beauty that their religion truly represents. The fact that they celebrate a colorful, peacock of an angel as a bringer of knowledge and life speaks volumes about their core beliefs – even if most of their religion is transmitted by word of mouth, rather than the written word. These are a people who have a rich and colorful tradition that masked men in black are attempting to destroy. Let us do well to understand, support and pray for these people in their hour of need.

YAZIDI LINKS

Yazidi Religious Traditions

Yazidis in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures

Yazidis on Wikipedia

Stop the Yazidi Genocide – Facebook


Satanists Unveil 7 Foot Tall Baphomet Statue For OK Capitol

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FULL STORY HERE

Imagine going on a day trip to visit the Oklahoma state capitol. Perhaps after a long walk you’d like to stop and have your children relax in the inviting lap of the Baphomet!

There was much hoopla when the Oklahoma state legislators in 2009 decided to approve the installation of a privately funded statue of the 10 commandments monument. It was installed last year amid much protest from the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

But once the statue of the 10 Commandments was erected, many other groups began to chime in, wanting their own beliefs represented: People for the ethical treatment of animals, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and a Hindu group have all requested their own statue on the Capitol Steps.

The Baphomet statue pictured above was suggested by a group that calls itself “The Satanic Temple.” Will the statue be used? That remains to be seen.

I myself would love to see a gleaming monument of Jupiter’s Cock encrusted with diamonds shining next to the 10 Commandments Statue. Hey, the Romans believed such talismans brought luck! But if we’re going to honor one religious tradition, we must honor them all. Can you imagine the lawns of all the country’s state capitols, dotted with statues of Freya, Zeus, Krishna, Jesus and Pan? That is what true religious freedom would look like.


Satan: A Symbol of Man’s Subconscious Revolt Against Christianity?

Exploring a world of sex, drugs, rock and roll….and Satan.

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DISCLAIMER: Pagans are not Satanists. Christians talk more about Satan than Pagans do. This article also does not represent every Satanist’s point of view, it just is a basic summary of Satanism in music and modern practice. This is not an article telling people to go worship Satan, it is merely examining the practice as well as the idea of Satan in other areas of cultural life. 

Although it is controversial, it is true that Satan has popped up in the subject matter and lyrical content for many heavy metal and rock bands throughout the years. Most of these musicians are not Satanists themselves. So why has Satan and Hell been a popular topic in the realm of Rock and Roll? I’m here to explore this theme and put some popular misconceptions about the whole deal to rest.

Music and art are a manifestation of the subconscious reality within ourselves. It is fascinating that the imagery of Satan, the so called Lord of all Darkness and Evil, has been such a prevalent musical topic and inspiration. So we must question, what does this iconic figure represent? Perhaps, rather than being a symbol of all evil and darkness – he has come to represent man’s suppressed primeval nature.

The Christian Church has long had a monopoly on the sexual and moral laws of man. Yet as the chains on the minds of men begin to crumble, man’s true instincts will bubble to the surface. Rock and Metal music are a manifestation of this primeval out-pour. This is why the legacy of Rock and Roll is sex, drugs and brutality.

Some look at Satan merely as a symbol. Yet there are a few who actually call themselves Satanists. How is Satanism practiced today? Does it involve sacrificing babies and drinking goat’s blood? Sorry, it’s not that exciting. If we’re talking about Satanists of the “Lavey variety,” imagine a room full of ritual atheists drinking wine and talking about their birthdays.  That’s right, some Satanists are actually Atheists while others are Theists. These are the two different approaches to Satanism in practice, Atheistic and Theistic.

So this article will look at the emergence of Satan as a counter-cultural icon in an age where the rules of Christianity are beginning to fade away.

SATANISM’S ORIGINS

PAN –  THE PRIMEVAL GOD OF THE FOREST GETS CO-OPTED

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What image does the word “Satan” conjure? A red goat man with a pointy tail and trident? The interesting thing here is that the bible didn’t actually give a very specific physical description of Satan. From what I’ve read, he was initially a fallen Angel who disguised himself as a serpent at some point. I don’t remember anything about pointy horns and a tail.

The goat-like image of Satan is an effort on the part of the early Christian Church to defame some of the popular Pagan Gods. Some of the key Gods who were converted into a Satanic image were Pan, a Greek who really knew how to party. Pan represented the free and primitive call of the forest to a place of natural sexuality and savage revelry. It is interesting that the Christians took the God of raw masculinity and nature to re-brand into their chief bad guy. Perhaps they were trying to tell people to ignore their base, primeval instincts.

SATAN AND SEXUALITY 

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There has long been an association between Satan and sexual power. Throughout the Middle Ages and even in some parts of the world today, many Christians believed that an initiate of Satan would meet him out in the woods and engage in sexual rites. It was primarily believed that witches (females received most of the blame) would have sex with Satan in the woods in exchange for supernatural powers and magic. This is why witch hunters and priests would verify the identity of a witch by examining her naked body, they were checking for “the devil’s mark.” This could be a mole, a birth mark or any kind of scar or skin blemish. The protests of the “witch” usually went ignored.

What is significant about this paranoia? Perhaps these priests were afraid of the Old Pagan Ways returning. After all, druids practiced out in wooded groves, as well as other spiritual folk. This also goes back to Pan, since he was a God of the Wild Wood.

In particular, there was a fear of women having access to magical power. Notice how all the church authority figures were male? This is why most of those accused of witchcraft were female. Yet the church fathers were not only afraid of female power – they were afraid of people getting in touch with their natural, sexual urges. Which explains the paranoia about people having sexual rites with the devil in the woods.

Satan’s role as a sexual deviant would later emerge powerful in the realm of rock and roll and metal.

PARADISE LOST: LUCIFER HAS A NEW MEANING IN PRE-ENLIGHTENMENT ERA

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After brutal war between the Protestants and Catholics, many people were getting tired of religion. It is natural that the Enlightenment emerged with a celebration of reason and science – and a general discontent with Christianity.

Before the Enlightenment Era began, the poet John Milton wrote an epic poem about the fall of God’s highest Angel Lucifer to the lowest pits of hell. This was one of the first times that a major literary work portrayed Lucifer in a sympathetic light. He described himself with the now famous quote, “Better to reign in hell, then serve in heaven.” While Satan is still understood to be the antagonist of this work, there has been much debate throughout the ages as to his real role. In this Epic, Satan attempts to raise a rebellion and wrestle control of heaven from God, claiming that God is a tyrant and that the Angels should each be Gods onto themselves.

It is significant to note that Lucifer in this poem represented many of the traits that eventually became important in the Enlightenment Era: knowledge, self-determination, an escape from religious tyranny and individualism. During time periods in which people buck convention, Satan will play a role of inspiration. Later in the 1960’s, there was a massive social revolution spurred on by rock music, psychedelic drugs and “free love”. Here, Satan would once again become a revolutionary symbol. Satanism as a religious and occult practice also emerged into the limelight – or shall we say  darkened torchlight – during this era.

ALEISTER CROWLEY 

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“The key of joy is disobedience. ” ~ Aleister Crowley 

The fascination with the occult began to rise during the 19th century. This was a time period in which Western Cultures were exploring (plundering) other parts of the world and opening their minds to alternative religions. This trend later continued into the 20th century.

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) is one of the most well known Occultists of the 20th century. He is famous for such works as “The Book of The Law,” “Magic in Theory and Practice,” and “The Book of Thoth.” He was also a reknown sex and drug addict. He enjoyed opium, hashish and mescaline. There is some dispute over the fact of whether Aleister Crowley was actually a Satanist or not. Did he worship the old Pagan Gods, did he worship Satan or was it a mix of both for him?

In his Liber Samekh ritual, there are several invocations to Satan. Yet what did “Satan” mean to Crowley? Was it devil worship or something else? A key concept for Crowley was the idea of the “True Will.” A key quote from Crowley is “Do what though wilt, shall be the whole of the Law.” Perhaps to Crowley, Satan or Lucifer were manifestations of the True Will?

Thelmapedia gives a further explanation for this idea of the “true will.”

“The concept postulates that each individual has a unique and incommensurable inherent nature (which is identical to their “destiny”) that determines their proper course in life, that is the mode of action that unites their purest personal will with the postulated course that preexists for them in the universe (Source).” 

Read Thelmapedia  for more information on the works of Aleister Crowley.

How would this True Will manifest itself later in the 20th century?

The 1960’s controversial film maker Kenneth Anger made a movie about Aleister Crowley. An interesting fact about this film is that one of the actors, Bobby Beausoleil, was involved with the Manson family (Interview).

RISE OF THE “I-THEISTS”

ANTON LAVEY’S CHURCH OF SATAN

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Above I mentioned that the character of Satan in Paradise Lost encouraged the angels to overthrow God and become their own Gods. Many modern day Satanists seek to revel in their own internal power and worship themselves as a God. In particular, this is a key ideology for Anton Lavey’s Satanists.

While not all Satanists are part of the Church of Satan, it is definitely prominent enough to mention. In 1966 Anton Lavey set out to create The Church of Satan and wrote The Satanic Bible. He reigned as the High Priest until his death in 1997.

What are the fundamental beliefs of Lavey’s Church of Satan? 

“Satanists are atheists. We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions.

Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”

Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person” Church of Satan FAQs.

What are some misconceptions about the Church of Satan? 

The Church of Satan FAQ section clears up several of the prominent myths about Satanists. This page explains that Satanists do not perform sacrifices, they do not ritually abuse people and they definitely do not have sex with children. Having sex with children, an animal or any non-consenting adult is strictly against the Satanic Rules and is grounds for immediate expulsion from the church. (Funny how this isn’t always the case for Catholic Churches…oh did I go there, yes I did!)

What kind of rituals do Laveyan Satanists have? 

Satanists do not see any Gods or divine forces behind ritual. They still perform rituals, but they see it as a kind of “self transformational psycho drama.” For Satanists, ritual is a means to expunge oneself of emotional baggage or to mark a significant occurrence in one’s life.

Criticisms of Lavey: There are some wild rumors that Lavey lied about portions of his past in his biography or that he even recanted his beliefs on his deathbed. The truth of these rumors however, remains unknown. In the content below however, I will give further examples of some criticisms that other Satanists may have of Lavey and the fact that he tried to turn Satanism into an organized institution.

THEISTIC SATANISTS

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Unlike Laveyan Satanists, Theistic Satanists are spiritual. It is hard to make assumptions about the beliefs of Theistic Satanists as a whole, since they are a diverse and disparate group of entities.

The common ground for many Theistic Satanists is the importance of knowledge, self-development and individualism.  In the Old Testament, Satan was a bringer of knowledge, since he is the one who encouraged Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and leave the limitations of Eden behind. The quest to raise up oneself, and one’s power is important to Theistic Satanists. These Satanists see Christianity as a demand for submission to a megalomanic God. In this dynamic, Lucifer plays the role of the liberator.

Beyond this common ground, there are many different orders, such as The Order of Nine Angels, The Temple of Black Light, Children of the Black Rose, Palladrists, and Luciferianists. Theistic Satanism is also sometimes called “Traditional Satanism.” These Satanists see Satan as an actual deity to worship. Some of the orders mentioned above see Lucifer as something entirely different from the “Devil.”

Luciferianists see Lucifer as a God of Light, Knowledge and equality. The Temple of the Black Light, on the other hand, believes in a militant nihilism. They believe that a true Satanist can never be a part of Society, since they believe society to be founded on lies.

It is difficult to accurately portray the attitudes of some of these orders, since they are closed to the public and are highly secretive in nature. However, there is a belief that some of the more radical Satanic groups despise Lavey’s Church of Satan and his modern attempts to make Satanism into something safe and socially approved. They believe that turning Satanism into a “church” is the ultimate irony, since a church is a part of an organized religion. Satanists from both the Order of Nine Angels as well as The Temple of Black Light have expressed that Satanism is supposed to remain on the fringes of society. They believe that Satanism isn’t supposed to be safe or socially sanctioned – rather, they think Satanism is supposed to be dangerous and embrace the chaos of the unknown.

This primeval chaos certainly manifested itself from the Sexual and Social revolution that emerged from the 1960’s via Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll.

SEX, DRUGS, ROCK AND ROLL….AND SATAN

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Metal and Rock music played a prominent role in breaking controversial ideas about Satan into the cultural mainstream. First of all, an overwhelming majority of rock and metal music is NOT about Satan. Yet as far as Rock and Metal are concerned, Satan played the same role for modern rockers that Dionysus played for the Ancient Greeks. Dionysus himself was a subconscious manifestation of drunken debauchery, raucous violence, in your face blatant sex and a general enjoyment of Earthly pleasures.

The Blues

Even the Blues, Rock’s ancestor, was called “The Devil’s Music.” Part of this was the controversial aspect of Blue’s Musicians using the “Blue’s Note” or the flattened fifth in a musical scale. This was already highly unconventional. Yet even more controversial was the gritty lyrical content of Blues Music itself: sex, drink and hardship. There is even a legend that Robert Johnson, a famous Blues virtuoso, received his guitar skills from the devil in exchange for his soul.

The Beginnings of Rock and Roll

Eventually the Blues spawned Rock and Roll with the song “Rocket 88” in 1951, a song about women and fast cars. A key feature of Rock and Roll music in the 1950’s is that it  flaunted sex in the face of a very sexually restrained American public. When Elvis started to gyrate his hips on stage, the women in the audience went insane with sexual delight – some even passed out from all the excitement. I wouldn’t blame them, considering that this was the same time period in which Ricky Ricardo and Lucy had to sleep in separate beds on television in their neck high pajamas.

The 1960’s Cultural Revolution

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Hmm…a fallen angel, where have we seen that before? 

In the 1960’s, Rock Music became a key part of the sexual and cultural revolution. One of the prominent bands of the time, Led Zeppelin, incorporated symbols of the occult in their music and included the occasional allusion to Satan. Houses of the Holy for example contained the following Satanic Lyrics:

So the world is spinning faster. Are you dizzy when you’re stoned
Let the music be your master. Will you heed the master’s call
Oh… Satan and man.

There is some controversy about Led Zeppelin, considering their interest in Aleister Crowley. This interest is fairly obvious – considering that Jimmy Page bought Aleister Crowley’s old house – The Boleskine House! However, in recent years Jimmy Page has denied that he had anything to do with Satanism and that the occult was merely a musical topic – not a lifestyle.

Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

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Later, as the genre of Rock and Roll evolved into Metal in the 1970’s, hard rockers continued to use Satanic imagery and symbolism in their lyrics and band art. While these Satanic images were used to cause shock and controversy, most of these heavy metal bands deny any actual involvement with Satanism as a religion. Other artists from this era, such as Ozzy and Danzig, would also deny bowing before Satan in real life. You can read the Danzig article here. In this way, Satanism was more of an artistic concept – a symbol for the return of the primeval self.

The Rise of Black Metal

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Eventually, a genre emerged in the 1980’s that truly celebrated Satan – Black Metal. This began when the English Heavy Metal band Venom’s second album, Black Metal kick-started an entire genre. Unlike previous genres that dismissed Satan as a mere artistic muse, early Black Metal embraced Satan very openly. Upside down Pentagrams and bloodied crucifixes became a staple of the genre. Bands like Burzum even engaged in burning churches – although Burzum’s frontman Varg believes in the Ancient Norse Religion, not Satanism. Later in the 1990’s, some Black Metal groups eventually made the split from Satan-centric content and delved into the world of Ancient Paganism. You can read about that in my article: Bathory and Paganism.

Yet there are many Black Metal artists today who still have a strong connection with Satan. Behemoth’s newest album in 2014 will be called “The Satanist.”

Watain is one of the key, openly theistic satanist bands in the world of Black Metal. While they like to keep a majority of their rituals private, they have incorporated this ritual atmosphere into their music and art. Erik Danielsson, the Frontman of Watain, discusses the bands connection to Satanism more in the following interview.

If you would like to see an example of ritualistic ambience in Watain, watch the opening of Watain’s 2012 DVD.

SATANISM IN SUMMARY

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Satanism is a diametrical opposition of Christianity’s laws. Where Christianity demands humility, chastity, love for all and obedience; Satanism calls for pride, lust, love for only those you care about and devotion to the self. Some Satanists use upside down crosses or inverted Christian symbols to show their own personal rebellion.

Do I agree with the principles of Satanism? No. I won’t expand too much on my personal opinion here, but I’ll throw down my two cents. Why am I a Pagan instead of a Satanist? I am not looking to follow an inverted form of Christianity. I am looking to follow the eternal laws of Nature as our ancestors did for millennia.

Yet Satanism is clearly significant here in a cultural context. As the hold of the Christian Church on the minds of men began to crumble, people began to look to Satan as a symbol of rebellion in order to break their shackles. Paradise Lost became popular in the 17th century because this was a time when key thinkers were breaking free from the church and beginning to explore new scientific and spiritual ideas about life and nature.

Eventually Satan became merged with our understanding of Ancient Pagan deities – as he represented a sort of raw, primeval power. This chthonic power took root in Rock and Roll and inspired the masses to break the conventions of their time. People began to explore ancient ideas about sex and identity.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Bathory’s transition from Satanic to Pagan based metal