Satanism and Satanic Mythology

Satanism, also referred to as devil-worship, describes both a set of ideas about evil th t are part of the theology of already established religious systems, particularly Christianity, and also some reactions against them. The concept of Satan, that is, of a force representing evil that may sometimes be represented as a personified being, is not unique to Chnsa-amty, being found m both the other religions that originated in the Middle East Judaism and Islam. However, the idea has been most...

Romantic Folklore

By the early twentieth century, also, the language of paganism as a force for positive renewal, and the images of the two deities, were starting to combine with another cultural development*, a set of attitudes to the English countryside and to rural folk customs. The intellectual framework for these was constructed as one of the products of Victorian rationalism, a particular response to the new sciences of geology and palaeontology and the new theory of the evolution of species which was...

Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark

This volume bnngs the History of Witchcraft and Magic m Europe up to the present day by surveying developments during the last century of the millennium. These display again the same two features that seem to have characterised witchcraft and magic, more than most cultural phenomena, down the ages a capacity to adapt to and reflect contemporary needs and aspirations and yet, at the same time, an identity based on what are perceived to be highly traditional forms. It is as though they have...

The Nature Of Modern Pagan Witchcraft

The pleasing rhythms and rhetorical flourishes of narrative history, even narrative in which sections of analysis are embedded, can always neglect a great deal it should be obvious that the one above is limited by being, at least until the very end, a view from the outside looking in, and from the top looking down. Other perspectives would produce very different emphases, though perhaps not a different story. What the treatment most obviously fails to convey, however, is more than a hint of the...

The Myth Of Pagan Witchcraft

As the earlier contributions to this series have made clear, by the end of the eighteenth century educated opinion in Europe had virtually ceased to believe in the reality of acts of witchcraft. Such a change made the early modern trials and executions appear to have been a senseless series of atrocities, born of superstition and obscurantism, and that is how they were portrayed by the writers of the Enlightenment. As such, they represented a superb weapon with which to castigate the old order...

American Feminist Witchcraft

There is no doubt that the USA had its own indigenous pagan revival indeed, it produced the first self-conscious modern pagan religion, the Church of Aphrodite, established in Long Island m 1938 (Adler, 1986 233-6). From the 1930s at latest, also, it contained groups of witches working initiatory traditions, although their beliefs and rites are now very hard to reconstruct because they were later heavily overlaid by those of Wicca, coming m from England (Adler, 1986 67-9 Kelly, 1991 23-6). All...

The Goddess And God Of Modern Paganism

The deities most commonly and fervendy revered in the classical ancient world were those concerned with aspects of civilization and society there were certainly others associated with aspects of wild nature, but these were represented by conspicuously fewer temples, shrines, dedications and literary references. The pattern obtains m early Celtic literature, and it holds good for most of the Christian period, when the old goddesses and gods had become allegorical or mythical figures. A...

Other Satanist Groups

The Black Flame is bought by many satamsts outside the Church of Satan and knits small groups and individuals into a loose network of satamsts. There are said to be differences of oudook and practice among these groups, but most of those referred to in the literature follow the general line established by LaVey. The differences emphasised by the Temple of Set that allegedly set them off from all other groups are organizational and theoretical their practice of magic appears to be similar to...

The Temple Of

The Temple of Set was founded in California in 1975 by a group of51 dissidents from the Church of Satan, led by Michael Aquino, a former US army officer. According to some accounts e.g. Harvey 1995a , they were displeased at the publicity the organization had received and criticized LaVey for, as they claimed, turning satanism into a form of show-business. They declared that they wished to restore the high moral purpose with which the Church had been founded, but the organization that ensued...

Gerald Gardner

The foundation legend of Wicca was first publicized to the world m 1960, in the biography of the person most prominendy associated with its appearance, Gerald Gardner Bracelin, 1960 . As Gardner himself was the source of virtually all of the information m the book, it is effectively autobiography. It told the story of a long and relatively uneventful working life, spent first as the owner or manager of tea and rubber plantations in Ceylon, North Borneo and Malaya, and then as an inspector m the...

The Servants Of Satan

While Christian theology portrayed the Devil as interested in drawing souls away from God and, ultimately m imposing his rule on the world, there were other images of evil that were incorporated into Christian demonology. As well as being the source of evil in the world, Satan and his demons were believed to have human allies and servants. According to Cohn 1970 it is this that distinguishes Christian beliefs m evil from those of other religions. The elaboration of this idea into the notion of...

The Pan European Wiccan Conference

One of the most impressive qualities of modern American culture is that it is so self-critical it is quite hard to find an ideological position taken up by one citizen of the USA which is not ably contested by another. This pattern holds good for its Pagan community. Only a few years after Wiccan beliefs had arrived in the USA, they were questioned and investigated by other members of that community a process launched by two individuals above all. During the first half of the 1970s Isaac...

Secret Societies And Ritual Magic

One of the cultural trends m which twentieth century pagan witchcraft is rooted consisted of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century manifestation of a central theme of the current series the European tradition of learned ceremonial magic. The latter became caught up in one of the most remarkable and until recendy least studied characteristics of Europe m the penod between 1600 and 1800 a tremendous growth of secret societies, into which members were initiated upon an oath to observe the...

The Gardner Ian S

Throughout the 1950s, Gardner continued to revise the Wiccan rituals. At the beginning of the process, between 1948 and 1953, he was taking ideas from a remarkable range of printed sources. The sudden appearance of a stanza of Kipling in the May Eve ceremony is characteristic. Doreen Valiente discovered that the wonderfully evocative term, 'Book of Shadows' used to replace the traditional and tarmshed one of 'gnmoire was snatched from the totally different context of an article on a Sansknt...

Other Traditions

The reality of Gardner's claim to have discovered an existing religion is only one of two large problems which confront a historian concerned with the origins of Wicca. The other,'closely tfelat'ed, lsKvhe amp fer any other groups of pagan witches existed at the time when he was forming his own. It was crucial to his portrayal of this process that he was believed to be reviving an old and secret faith that had almost died out built into that portrayal, therefore, was the suggestion that other...

The Thoughtworld Of Modern Paganism

There were four different languages employed when talking about paganism in nineteenth-century Europe. One assumed it to be a religion of savages, characterized by animal and human sacrifice and a superstitious dread of idols it was used mainly to describe tribal beliefs and some Hindu traditions in the contemporary world, but these were commonly projected back onto prehistoric Europeans. In addition, it was often applied to the temple-based religions of the ancient Near East and North Africa....

The Church Of Satan

The Church of Satan was founded m California in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey, a colourful figure of considerable personal magnetism, with a varied and unusual life already behind him. He had earned his living from music as a teenager, then worked in a circus as a lion tamer, calliope player, fortuneteller and hypnotist, was once employed as photographer m a police crime-laboratory and in an insurance company, and had been an organist and a clinical hypnotist. He was widely read in magic and the...

Forerunners

The work of setting out the context from which modern pagan witchcraft arose must now be completed, by considering a set of groups and individuals who illustrate different ways in which notions of paganism and magic were put mto practice in the early twentieth century. One of these ways, which has until recendy been hardly studied in this context, was through the medium of woodcraft organizations. All of these, ultimately, took their inspiration from North America, and the work of the Canadian...

Satanist and pseudosatanist groups

There are only two long-standing, well-established groups of satamsts and each is largely the creation of one man. The Church of Satan and the Temple of Set were founded 30 and 20 years ago respectively. The founder of the Church of Satan died only m October 1997 and the founder of the Temple of Set is still its leader. Both men have been public figures in California, although they should probably be described as notorious rather than famous for their activities, since their publicity has been,...

Heathenism Odinism

Within the neo-pagan movement are groups that are particularly susceptible to being seen as satamsts and have some attitudes in common with them. These are the Odimsts or Heathens. Although they have been visibly increasing m recent years, they represent a well-established interest m recreating the pre-Christian religion of'north-eastern Europe' or of the 'Norse and Anglo-Saxon peoples'. They may be referred to as Odimsts, after the Norse High God, Odin. The various different groups of this...

Satanism And The Occult

The figure of Satan m romantic literature, particularly in the nineteenth century, has been used to represent the rebellion of the individual against the powerful, whether these are secular monarchs. Church leaders or the impersonal bureaucrats of the state. His fall from Heaven was portrayed as the result of his daring to opppose the all-powerful, rather than m the more orthodox manner as the triumph of good over evil, and he became, by this strange twist, a symbol of human liberty Russell,...

Modern Ideas Of Satanism

Two strands can be idendfied in twentieth-century Chnsnan concepts of Satan and satamsm, neither of which is of recent ongin. The first, which denves from the earlier ideas that have just been outlined, is a belief in a secret organisation dedicated to the worship of its head and master, Satan and to working for the overthrow of the Christian Church and Christian civilization. Its rituals of worship are believed to be characterized by all that is most evil and depraved they include human...

Numbers Of Satanists

It is impossible to know with any accuracy how many satamsts there are altogether, whether within one country or internationally, and any figures given, including those given here, are guesses more or less informed, but still guesses. There are many reasons for estimates to be biassed. Those who perceive satamsm as a danger to society, particularly the more evangelistic Christians among them, exaggerate numbers to emphasize the threat. Extremists claim that every class and subdvision of society...

Popular Witchcraft And Magic

Popular magic and witchcraft have been a major theme of this senes, and their history in modern Europe is treated in another part of this volume it is necessary here only to look at those few aspects of the subject in England which have a direct bearing upon the ongms of modern pagan witchcraft. The first is the very large amount of data, most collected by folklorists between 1870 and 1930. Although none was gained from an actual practitioner, there is plenty to reflect the experience of...