WHO or WHAT is Satan? +O+
According to THEM
Let us say for arguments sake, that, Satan, by whatever name he took be it Lucifer, Shaitan etc – was an Angel that existed as the Bible says He did.
A problem with the accounts of Satan, of Satan’s character, of Satan’s aims and the nature of His works – that I see – is that, those who tell us, of Satan – I.e. the Church – have committed every act that Satan is supposed to be governable over. I.e. His works are those that break the commandments; while Vatican City is an inglorious example of a False Idol. Of “Thou Shalt Not Kill”; there are untold Wars in the Lord’s name, the Crusades, The Inquisition. Of the Sins – Wickedness, Deception, Vainglory, Pride, Sloth, Gluttony, Envy, Avarice, Anger, Hatred, Cruelty, Evil – so many examples within the annals of the History of the Church.
So one might say – the moral corruption characteristic of Satan has infiltrated even the highest echelons of the Ecclesial Clergy. An accusation to which the Christians tend to answer by telling us Satan is more powerful than Men know. He can creep into the hearts and minds even of the pure – such is his power – and it is only in truly serving God that one overcomes temptation – and that is why Man must continue to struggle against Evil, in himself and in others. [Our reply to this chestnut was given in “Insynsian” (OA#28)]
For those who believed in Satan’s tremendous powers to corrupt – this argument would in effect excuse some of the responsibility of the actions of those members of the Church who sinned that Satan was too powerful for them to resist. In effect this meant they could not control themselves and did the terrible things they did under the command of a higher power. But now, now, they are repentant and seek to prostrate themselves before God to beg forgiveness and try to live Right, in his Name, His Glory. Etc.
Perhaps, over time, the people and generations who suffered directly from the Evil acts of Satan as perpetrated by the Clergy (and of course, others) tended to collectively take an increasingly dim view of this explanation of the Scapegoat for ‘getting away with murder’. And perhaps part of the essential spirit of what has come to be called the LHp, is the feeling that to diffuse some responsibility is to pretty much refuse all responsibility.
I’m not entirely sure how to go about finding out if ‘memes’ are created by large scale collective psychical events or the repetition of one – but perhaps a meme was built on the back of the unavenged emotions of grief and sadness at this Scapegoating, which, the Church setting the example as the Ruling Power, would doubtless have been copied as the example filtered down to an extent of the civilian populace. (Hence – the expansion of the rule and jurisdiction, appearance and power of the Devil led to the burning of “Witches”, as one small instance.)
But most of what I know of Satan – essentially comes from the Bible. The people that govern that book, guard that book – are, to my eyes, culpable of all and more of the ills they attribute to Satan. And so – I wonder about the truth of what they say, I question, I doubt, I lose faith. This version of Satan as an Angel – it could make sense if Satan is endowed the power to corrupt even the most Holy. In which case – Satan is an invisible force active in the world that perpetrates great acts of Deception and utmost Evil.
However – I digress.
In the recently posted Manuscripts ‘The Theory of the Beast II’ and to some extent ‘Ethereal Discourses’ – the fragility and fallibility of piecing together the enigmas of our existence – lie in tatters due to the irreversible damage and loss of the majority of evidence that might contradict the status quo as we know it.
One further point to add to this total appreciation of how much our consciousness is missing when it makes its assumptions based only the evidence left – is the evidence that is given to us in surviving Art. Prior to the Renaissance – the Art of humanity was not prone to be captured in what we now call ‘correct perspective’. Some of this can be seen in the wonderful medieval art. Animals, Landscapes, Buildings, for instance might be placed in the foreground but some distant object slightly overlapped that object – such as the moon – confusing the distance and perspective of all the objects. So the question remains – if we draw now what we see based on our perception – did they draw then what they saw – based on theirs? And if in sight there was such a separation of difference in perception from ours – what else might they have perceived that we did not? Did they hear differently, too? Certainly music recovered from the medieval manuscripts is markedly different to anything we know or appreciate. What link do we have visually or spatially that tie us to theirs?
When I see in documentaries the absolute opulence and artistry of the previous centuries, the gold-gild, the gold leafing, the ornate and impossibly detailed pillars and furniture’s– the likes of which are so valuable precisely because they are from an alien era which we shall in all probability never reproduce or even come close having lost so many secrets of masonry, building, architecture, joining, fitting, carving, sculpting, metallurgy, ad infinitum – but moreover having changed in consciousness and perhaps not imbued with the drive to live that way anymore – I wonder at these ghosts of our past and the way in which some of them lived. I cannot get inside the heads of these ghosts – I cannot understand why such opulence was desired nor fathom the processes by which it was achieved. The artistry in such rooms seems as though it has been there forever.
The world should have appeared rather differently if a link between our art and our perception, and their art and their perception is anything to go by.
How can we know a previous state of consciousness didn’t actually see Satan as concretely as you see what is real to you? Moreover, since we cannot get back to that state of consciousness, only surmise that it has changed from then to now from the evidence left behind, the 2 dimensions of bas relief of the Egyptians for instance were once the only dimensions in art. Height and Width. Depth did not come along until much longer for they too had a different consciousness, different limits to their perception.
If – and I’m not necessarily concluding it was – their consciousness was in fact different as perception in surviving appears to indicate – perhaps they could see Satan – and perhaps because of our perception – we see him differently – or, don’t see Him at all.
“The Golden Bough” by George Frazer was a masterpiece, a real triumph of a latter-day journalist. From it – for it is quoted often – several other bright chaps seem to have pieced together the theory that monsters, gods and other creatures were (and still are) externally projected (i.e. by modern primitives) so that the landscape itself is alive with gods. If the Bough is anything to go by – for a very long time, a certain amount of people if not most believed the Sun, Sky, Moon, Sea, Mountains, and other wondrous keys of nature to be living (and terrifying) Gods. Then, such Gods became more localized. Trees, rocks, stones, rivers, and other smaller scale natural elements came to each have their own god or deity. Later on, objects such as bones both human and animal – fetishes, fur, sticks, stones, and even smaller natural objects came to be imbued with the same – or at least – part of the power of a greater god. Hence Sympathy and a connection between an object and a higher power came into play, i.e. sympathetic magic.
Superstition came to see events and certain social faux pas as the work of devils of the Devil Himself – and so the external projections became increasingly diffused into life around us – and superstition, even now, continues to prevail as a force believed to be malevolent by some – (though for quite a few, its now just a bit of fun to pretend such things are so.) Then of course the same scholars who informed us of this externalization process inspired other scholars to write on the Internalization of such Gods and Deities and Demons, citing Psychology as one of the sturdier of these spiritual materializations. Wherein, our Demons and Devils, our Angels and Saints were perceived to have not been Real – for there was, given our perception, no possible way no evidence for such things to exist, that they were fanciful conjurations over an overactive mind, an underdeveloped sense of consciousness – or as they came to popularly be called: metaphors. Just as the events cited in the Bible are transmuted from a living testament of divine happenings to mere ‘parables’ in modern day (C. 1979-2009) – the demons and spirits of the modern primitive are explained in certain academic circles via an under-development of the consciousness in stasis that projects its psychical demons and desires and wants and needs outwardly – and onto/into objects, people, events, places… thus giving rise to a world truly possessed of terrifying sorceries, witch doctors and ghosts.
Those even more cynical have cited our own ‘civilized’ ghosts as neuroses, habits, impulses, OCD, ADD, the unconscious, the ego, the ID, the censor, the shadow, the animus, the anima, the Self…
Those even more cynical (or perhaps realistic) have then cited the imaginary containers that issue these insights: the psyche, the mind, the soul, time, space, memory, age, form, reality, etc are all just abstracts…
Some who have taken LSD, or Mushrooms (me included) or Peyote, Mescaline, even Ecstasy have claimed to have pierced the veil: a veil that taking such drugs, so prominently makes apparent – showing us the impossibly vast distinction between what we’d call a normal state, and the severe difference, of Being in an Altered State. Wherein, what we call normal – becomes something of a paradox – wherein normal comes to be understood as one state, one state of many, many possible states. And wherein, for some, drugs become dangerous to their health because they don’t have the capacity to accept this multiplicity – drummed into them as it is, the unified perception of the world as one, explained, definitive way of being. And for some others, drugs become just one gateway to explore the multiplicity that, I can say exists because of my experience of differentiation between my previously isolated knowing of only a normal state with the expansion drugs gave me; but wherein such knowing may not exist for others who have not attempted to try them. But in such states – many things are possible – including understanding just how different consciousness can be, just how markedly separate from a previous consciousness it can become – and with such knowledge am I awoken, indeed alert, to the possibility of different consciousnesses, not just within me, but within the history of the human race.
Now – in Theory of the Beast – I relate just one possible idea for the Origin of Satan. And did so deliberately to connect an Ancient Satan with a Modern Perception. Viz. Psychology. This Theory gives a discourse on the fallout of the (accepted by modern perception) ‘schism’ that split unconscious man and conscious man, apart; the leap that threw us from caveman, to modern man. Satan in this light is seen as a by-product of this schism, both real (for those who thought him real) and figurative (for those who think him not real) – but the link that makes Satan real or figurative – i.e. people – was emphasized only in terms of how people as a collective influenced Satan’s historical change.
Somewhere along the line – from one presumably early point of view – Satan changed from an Angel – into a Devil. Somewhere, further down the line – Satan changed from a Wily Man who visited Fields into a Goat-Hoofed, Horn-Bearing, Tail-Equipped, Bearded Monster – then, of course, somewhere else again – A Dragon. Then, Satan lost his body, and became an Evil Force that possessed and manipulated humanity – then, he became a Diabolical Ruler of the Underworld Hell – and even later on, A Symbol of Intelligence, A Set of Values – and even later still he is stripped of his name and becomes simply the concept of Evil – divorced both from his body and his spirit.
But then, this sort of thing hasn’t exactly been Chronological or neatly progressed – it appears to have gone back and forth depending on who was speaking of him, and why.
(*A side note by one of THEM: In almost no instance is Satan is ever referred to as a Woman. Perhaps a prejudice that no woman should ever have such power.)
What changes Satan’s shape? Is it you? Is it me? Or is it the parameters of our consciousness that decides Satan’s appearance, or decides if indeed he appears at all?
Or, does Satan, who, even in all these forms, and who was as real to each of those who sought to imprison/manifest (all depends on your point of view) him, and as real as his current form is to you – change outside and irrespective of our consciousness? Is his form bound by our consciousness – limited in how it appears in accordance with our state of Being, our particular dimensional bias – or is this dimensional bias restricting what we can know of his limitlessness?
Whether you believe in Him as The Black Flame, Ahriman, Ba’al, Lucifer, as one of his many other associated names and titles and entities, or an entirely individual view – makes no difference to the objective fact that Satan, whatever he is or does, cannot be objectively known. He can only be experienced via a filter, which filter affects perception – and all that we know of Satan – has come down through such filters. Satan has largely survived through books. And, all that we know of Satan now, continues to come through filters – even when we seek to know Him directly when we commune.
In ‘Theory of the Beast II’ I listed some of the in-built prejudices the human being has in relation to the perception of his total environment; memory, dimensional perception, cultural bias, etc. but beside the many varieties of these there are so many other variables, arguments, approaches, beliefs attributed to Satan that it has been very difficult to isolate any one, unified definition of what, or who, Satan is. Now – why people persist in presencing His Archetype in so many ways, in so many countries, at so many times is a mystery to me. But THAT they persist is not. I can see even from the evidence available in modern times of Satanism – clearly, that even though people may not agree on the particulars – they all agree that Satan has a certain ‘something’. In one particular terminology, such an agreement to use Satan, and the continuing pool of people even in this cynical age utilizing him for many different purposes – means Satan is still a numinous symbol.
Asked recently if Satan was still relevant today, (Qv. “Satan: A Numinous Symbol in the 21st Century”) I gave the following parable:
If you take two Satanic Bibles, strip the cover off one, replace it with a New Testament cover – then place the books on a table and ask someone to choose the Satanic Bible, which one will they choose?
They will choose the one marked with the words and symbols deemed appropriate to Satan.
The connotations of the Symbolism of Satan(ism) are still highly charged with numinous power – a draw – a hypnotism – even if they are not fully liminally comprehensible by those drawn to them, Satan remains a symbol infused with meaning – even if that meaning is not clear. That both books are actually Satanic Bibles but they reach for the one that is marked thusly – says something profound about the perception of the human being.
Likewise – if you take two Bibles, strip the cover off one and replace it with the Satanic Bible, then ask them to reach for the Bible – they will repeat the action. The Sign – the Symbol – the wrapping paper that is the essence of form – still has power, still has sway, still manipulates feelings, associations…
How the Symbol of Satan is used is up to those wielding it – but there is no question that the causal life of Satan and not so much what it represents, or is interpreted to represent, but THAT it represents, that it is still very much alive, (numinous) and still highly relevant. It will remain relevant until it can no longer represent that certain ‘something’ which takes on such grave and deeper meaning in opposition to the world and its domination by ‘something else’.
The names and attributes we assign to these something’s have changed and will always change – because they are interchangeable. The essence of War between Satan and Christ can just as easily be replaced with Good and Evil, Black and White, Christians and Pagans, Mormons and Episcopalians, Cathars and Bogomils, Serbians and Bosnians, The Americans and the Middle East, Fascism or Communism – or any other outwardly diametrically opposed set of forms played off against the other to make one the champion, and the other something to be championed. And have been, and continue to be. Thus Satan is seen by THEM and ONA not as one half of a total – but as just one external form or numinous symbol which represents one half of a commonly perceived interchange – and which form/archetype represents a diametric opposition to the climate in which we find ourselves oppressed – namely the Archaic Judeo-Christian permeation.
In Rebellion, in Defiance, in Heresy, in Championing, in Martyrdom, in Anarchy, in Chaos, in Vindex – in a symbol that shows the way out of the dark – lies the example set down so long ago for the way out of the restrictive, stuffy, oppressive, totalitarian, ego-maniacal, spiritually dis-connected, body/women/gay hating, simplistic, archaic, hypocritical, prejudiced, blind, slavish, existence that is the sickness of the Magian.
And when we find our way out of the dark that encloses us into the worldview the Church* (but more expressly, the Magian) would like us to have – for then we may be even more easily controlled) then Satan may cease to mean something, may cease to be a numinous symbol… but until the pressures that twist and warp the world and those that live in it relent – Satan will continue to be the shining light, the light bearer that represents the means for Enlightenment, in this particular paradigm at this particular time.
*The Church and its factions represent only part of a certain worldview, which has become much more widespread, influencing every sphere in life and thus ceased to be contained within the clergies of the Church. Thus it is that the term Magian encompasses this spread of its influence into these other Spheres.
To someone who asks why Satan is not mentioned much in Order texts – it should be understood that only the authors can answer why certain things do or do not appear in Order texts. THEM are not the source of the Order – they are. And whilst we share a symbiosis – we can’t answer such questions on the Order’s behalf – but then, while we understand what you mean by a lack of Satan – we also perceive Satan in a similar way to the Order.
There are a number of documents that mention in considerable detail the Order’s apprehensions of him – but if his name is absent for many of the mss – it is because the mss represent his ethos. They view Satan as less a topic to be categorized – and more as a suffusion of a particular way of looking at the world – which world is possessed by forms. Of which – Satan and Christ are the two most prominently etched in the Western consciousness, and of which – both Pagan and Christian values emanate the most strongly throughout all its spheres, heavily influencing and restricting our lives to a certain Ethos – A Duality. The two forms of Satan and Christ are inextricably interlaced and polemically represented (even if they are both so flexible they can be used to express an identical characteristic) – remnants living and ancient that say something very profound about our psyche, our formation – but both of them, even in their massive entirety and scope, only the dancing puppets of something infinitely more.
People have a very hard time getting beyond bouncing back and forth between the two forms of Christ and Satan. They are deeply influenced by both, and yet largely oblivious to the control these forms (and forms in general) have, and the power they have had to permeate every sphere* of humanity to its core.
*From Mvimaedivm II – “It is a well-known fact that the Church is an institution in and of society. It operates via a chain of command and through a worldwide network of bureaucratic institutions over which it possesses powerful influence and control in the decision making process. In a metaphorical sense, the Hydras heads are symbolic of the institutions of the Church whose founding of such institutions has enabled the government of phenomenal influence over all spheres of Life including; Law, Economics, Finance, Property, Estate, Production, Trade, Government, Social Stratification, Military, Warfare, Police, Media, Politics, Religion and even taken for granted concepts such as Time and Space. On a more intimate and personal level, the Hydra also has powerful influence over Social Interaction and Norms, the idea of Good and Evil/Right and Wrong, Morality, Sexuality, Spirituality, Death, Birth and the rituals in between that we call Life.”
Satan was taken out of his Christian context as an opposing side by the Order and used instead as a symbol of avenging power with an ethos that strives not to replace god in name – but above and beyond even that – to destroy and discredit such a pale and simple dichotomy of forms – to reflect what can actually be observed in life when such forms are stripped away – usually by experience.
The Order then, understand that Satan has numinous power and reflects a certain ‘something’ which is in opposition to a certain ‘something else’. They manipulate the power these something’s hold over people to influence and manipulate esoteric, psychic and magical changes in consciousness so that others will slip out of the Dichotomist noose altogether – by using the numinous power of ‘Satan’ as a vehicle. Once done individually via the Seven-Fold Way – the individual can then try to help the collective do the same (i.e. Via THEM).
But not just to do that – but to understand the immaterial nature of these forms and that they CHANGE, and are always changing and as they change illicit corresponding effects and meanings on those they hold in thrall. Change the Symbol – Change the World.
And, owing to the understanding of Satan expressed by the Order/THEM – i.e. that he is a numinous symbol both real and figurative – and given all the evidence we have amassed on the limitations of perception, of comprehension, of ever knowing objectively what Satan is, indeed of knowing what anything is, and that each member of the Order/THEM and the World-Wide Sinisterion differ – since each must experience what Satan represents for themselves – take Life into their Own hands – how do we distill millions of intricately woven tapestries into one solitary thread? What can really be definitively said of his characteristics, of his history, of his appearance, his age, his works, or even his name when we believe so differently from others, not only on his nature – but also on the quality of human interpretation and understanding of not just him, but everything? Far better to turn our attention to the receptor that filters, processes, and manifests Satan – the human being. And so Satan exists on every level, no level, some levels, and which if any, according to more powerful principles and apprehensions of understanding, necessity, perception and need that are only seem so very complex – because they are so simple and so different from the obscurations of the Magian.
But even this lengthy explanation only services a certain level from just one point of view – the rabbit hole is deep. And, judging by all appearances and evidence – infinitely so. And so – we end this manuscript by asking what many probably thought (or hoped) we would provide an answer to.
Who or What, is Satan?
(Wherein we believe asking the question is the answer itself.)
Answer to the Riddle
[Additional clarification supplied to those of good standing within the Temple.]
In the past (and some argue, the Present) it was an act of Heresy to presume to take Authority into one’s own hands to think for/teach oneself.
In asking the question, who or what, is anything, let alone who or what is Satan – one expressed the defiant archetype attributed to Satan; the chaotic/anarchic energy that sought to interrupt the totalitarian doctrine of the Church. One began to ask questions in lieu of accepting given answers.