Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Is ‘Public Occultism’ Fading Out?   35 comments

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:. – Acts 2:17

 

Nick Farrell has done it again.  Love him or hate him, you have to admit he knows how to stir things up from time to time.  😉  This time, it was with a blog post declaring the death of “public occultism.”  If I were to summarize his position, I would say he feels occult students have become millennial wannabes who believe magickal knowledge should simply be on tap.  You just turn on your computer, press a few buttons, and one of the various modern occult leaders will simply deliver their wisdom to your front door in a nice box with a smile printed on it.  You shouldn’t be expected to actually have to study, to practice or (Gods forbid!) actually get up and DO anything.  Nick tells us of one student who canceled their own initiation ceremony because they had to go pick up a new fridge.  He discusses how few people make it through the first lessons of his correspondence course – apparently because there is practical work (beginner stuff like sitting in meditation for half an hour each day) and the students just can’t hack it.

You can bet there have been reactions to Nick’s post from every point of the spectrum.  Some wholeheartedly agree that modern occult students have simply lost the path.  Others suggest there are issues, but that Nick is probably making more out of them than is necessary.  And yet others are downright angry at his implications – possibly because he hit a little too close to home for their comfort?  I don’t know…

I find myself somewhere in the middle.  On the one hand, I’ve actually seen much of this before.  I remember, during the 1990s, it really felt as if the above-quoted Biblical passage had come to pass.  Magick was no longer some dark and dirty underground secret – a taboo hobby which could cost you your job, your home, and your family.  No, magick was back!  Magick was mainstream!  “The Goddess is alive, and magick is afoot!” – so proclaimed T-shirts and bumper stickers.  You couldn’t throw a stick without striking an occultist or someone who personally knew one.  Covens and orders were proliferating.  That stupid movie The Craft happened, I guess.  (It wasn’t all bad.)  For a while there, magick and paganism had become an outright fad – and it wasn’t the first time.

In the history books, we see that occultism enjoyed a boom in popularity in Europe during the late 1800s and into the early 1900s.  However, two World Wars put an end to that.  It revived again in the 1970s and grew quite popular by the 1990s, and then the world went to hell and people found other things to talk about.  Then along came Harry Potter and Hurricane Katrina, and suddenly there was a fad for ATRs (African Traditional Religions) and old-school witchcraft and wizardry (like Goetia).  That latter fad, in fact, is still underway.

The point is that occultism, in one form or another, seems to swing in and out of popularity all the time.  The muggles find the subject either fascinating or terrifying (often both), and it makes great soil in which to plant your fantasy fiction.  Ever played Dungeons and Dragons?  Were/are you into comics?  Star Wars?  How about the works of Piers Anthony?  Or Terry Pratchett?  Lord of the Rings or (of course) the Boy Who Lived himself?  All of these and much more are examples of some point in history where magick grabbed a hold of the public fancy and thus enjoyed a bit of a golden age – just as it did in the late 1900s, and during the late 1800s, and during the 1600-1700s, and during the Renaissance before that.

So the “death of public occultism” is nothing new and shouldn’t really raise any alarms.  In fact, I dare say it is part of the natural order of things.  A fad comes along, during which large numbers of people enjoy exploring the occult sciences.  Then, as expected, the largest number of them move on to the next shiny thing and occultism is left with the very few who were truly called to the Path and have something to offer.  Those few then become the teachers of the next crop of aspirants – once the next Tolkien or Rowling comes along to get everyone excited again.

Some have suggested that it is not magick that is fading away, so much as popular interest in Golden Dawn-style ceremonial.  And that is true to a large extent. “Western Mystery” (read Ceremonial Magick) conferences hardly ever happen these days, and if they do they are small and informal.  (You may remember the SOMA conference in Texas that didn’t happen.)  My current Ceremonial Magick 101 class does not have a single ceremonial magician in it.  (Though that may be more due to the local market being tapped out – we’ve been holding the class in the same place for a few years now.)

But it’s not just the CM community that seems to be in a slump.  Attendance at Pagan Festivals has been down over the last couple of years.  And the class I hosted only a week ago on the subject of working with ancestors (using a boveda, something we learned from our ATR experiences) had a truly dismal turn-out.  Yet the same venue has no problem filling seats for New Age classes.  In fact, my wife and I have both noticed that the shop itself has, over the years, progressed from being an occult shop where Pagans hang out to a semi-Pagan/New Age shop where New Agers hang out.  And this has been in reaction to the market, not a decision made by the owner.  You see, the biggest and fastest-growing occult fads out there today are the New Age (yes, still) and Chaos Magick – both systems of E-Z Occultism that encourage you to just make it up as you go along.  No study.  No work.  No effort.  Just play.

These are the trends that I personally find worrisome.  It all seems to come down to the millennial mindset of on-tap information and instant-gratification.  The belief that anything worth having isn’t worth working or searching for.  And, my all-time favorite, the ridiculous jackassery that leads students to honestly believe they are there to teach the teacher rather than the other way around!  (At that link, the blogger states:  “A core tenet of the WMT is reincarnation therefore there may be some younger people who remember way more than their older counterparts.”  I assume he wrote that with a straight face, but I don’t see how.)  Many teachers are finding it necessary to either stop offering classes, or are dumbing them down and converting them to New Age nonsense in order to sell seats.

The fact is that occult information has become too easy to find.  Worse than that, occult leaders are too easy to contact.  There was a day – even as recently as my younger years – where an aspirant had to seek and quest for many years to find the occult.  The only popular literature out there was a Time-Life series called “Mysteries of the Unexplained” (hey look! you can still buy it!) – anything else had to be sought out one painstaking bit at a time.  And that was just the books!  The possibility of actually meeting or even conversing with one of the leaders of the occult underground was the stuff of fantasy.  And when you did meet one of them, you respected them.  You feared to annoy them with your puny little questions, and you took their answers seriously.

I can understand why students don’t want teachers who walk around like Ascended Masters and talk down to everyone around them.  That’s an extreme.  But the other extreme is to have easy access to nearly any occult leader you could want, where you can just drop them an instant message and have your questions instantly answered. No need to seek for the answer, or even just look it up in a book already on your shelf.  Hell, don’t even bother with Google!  Why should you when the current teachers are right there on demand?

In the early days of the Information Age, we teachers tried to step up and help everyone we could.  We had gone it alone, and we knew how that sucked.  We were in awe of the technology that allowed us to communicate with students like we had never done before, and we used that to help as many seekers as we could.  But what you, dear reader, likely don’t grasp is that this state of affairs just kept growing.  In the beginning, I helped every single person that wrote to me – both laypersons who needed magickal help and seekers asking for guidance.  I even guided a couple of people through their own attempts at the Abramelin Rite.  (And, O’boy, was that a bad idea!)  But, very quickly, I found myself overwhelmed.  Between email, internet forums, and social media sites like Facebook, I was receiving more requests than I could possibly answer.

Not only that, but I also discovered 99% of the people I was trying to help valued my teachings exactly as much as they had paid for them (in dollars or personal effort):  zero.  I was wasting my time and theirs.  In the end, I had to put up a price-wall to reduce the number of requests for help, and (for various reasons) I have completely ceased privately teaching magick to anyone online.  (And by the latter I don’t just mean that I don’t take online students – I’m talking about people who constantly write me with question after question, apparently hoping they can learn magick from me via attrition.)

None of this would be such a problem if occult leaders weren’t so easily accessible.  I believe that we have freely given of ourselves so much that we have inadvertently devalued both our art and our experience.  We have saturated our own markets with free goods (that being ourselves).

I think it is time for the serious occult teachers to consider reducing their availability.  I’m not suggesting we should disappear from the Internet entirely.  But we need to pull back.  We can write books, articles and blogs and even interact in online groups.  We can still give interviews and appear on podcasts.  We don’t have to vanish into obscurity.  But we seriously need to pull back a little, and stop trying to be occult white knights riding to everyone’s rescue.  Students should learn every scrap of magick they can from the written materials before they come to us.  Then they should feel fortunate when they can get a private word or two with us – because that is what makes them value what we have to say.

“Public” occultism is on the way out (at least until it rises again).  So we won’t have the luxury of hosting standing-room only lectures and conferences the way we could just a few years ago.  We aren’t going to get rich.  (Not that we ever were…)  And we will be dealing with smaller numbers of students – but with any luck that will also mean we will be getting higher quality students.

Let the tourists go find the next shiny thing.

Posted October 10, 2015 by kheph777 in history, social commentary

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Llewellyn Magick Blog: Does the Bible Outlaw Magick?   1 comment

Greetings Readers!

 

magick_blog_updated

From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, July 7, 2015:

The Western Mystery Tradition is quite steeped in Biblical literature and imagery. Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Masonry, the Golden Dawn, and Thelema have extremely close ties to the Christian spiritual tradition. (This is not to be confused with the political co-opting of Christianity from about the second century CE onward.) Not to mention my beloved Solomonic grimoires, which are most certainly an expression of medieval Christian mysticism. Even indigenous forms of witchcraft and folk magick around the world now bear the stamp of Christian influence (though these are cases where Christianity was merely adopted into an existing worldview, rather than overwhelming and replacing it). We can see this especially in places like Africa and South America, where Catholic forms of witchcraft are quite common.  The question of magick among these traditions arises every so often.  […]

You see, that Bible that so many of us like to use as a magick book in its own right (and, never doubt for one second that it *is* a magick book) actually tells us that magick is evil and must never be practiced. […]

 

Deuteronomy 18:9-12: When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

 

It looks like the Bible is exceedingly clear on this point, and believe me the above is only a scratch on the surface of Biblical admonitions against witchcraft, sorcery, divination, etc.  […]  Therefore, can we simply ignore the fact that the same book stresses, over and over again, that magick is an abomination to the same Divinity we invoke in the Psalms? Isn’t it highly likely that Divinity will be offended that we are calling it for something in which it has clearly stated it wants no part?

Read the Rest at:  http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/07/does-the-bible-outlaw-magick/

Posted July 7, 2015 by kheph777 in history, llewellyn blog, religion

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Babylonian Magick – Major eText find!   6 comments

Greetings fellow Wizard-Priests!

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Years and years ago, back in my early days of study into Biblical history and the Qabalah, I gathered a set of awesome texts concerning Babylonian magick and religion.  (Sadly I did not own them, but had checked them out from the local library – remember those?)  Before I dove head-first into the Solomonic grimoires, I quite regularly invoked the Annunaki (Gods) of Sumeria and Babylon.  I got outstanding results though Them – and that was before I knew how to properly build altars or work with them in a more traditional Pagan manner.  (At the time, I was invoking them through a basic Qabalistic framework.)

In time, I left the Annunaki behind.  It was largely out of respect, as I discovered that I didn’t know how to work with Them properly and that I should probably be focused more on the “Gods” of my own time and culture – that is the Archangels and Angels found within the Qabalah and the Solomonic texts.

Yet, I don’t think I said goodbye to them forever.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that I’ll return to Them again.  That point was driven home a few years ago when Tabatha Cicero created her own Babylonian Tarot (for which, I am proud to say, I handed over to her all of my own research on Sumer-Babylonian language, myth and magick).

Now, the Annunaki have reached out once more to remind me They are there, and that They haven’t forgotten about me (or – that they don’t want me to forget about Them, as if I could!).  Just recently, I stumbled across a website that offers many of the old books I used to create my own Babylonian practice – all of which remain to this very day some of the best books ever published on the subject.  They are in PDF format and you can download them for free.  I’ve created this blog post to archive the links for myself, as well as to share them with you.  🙂

Babylonian Magic and Sorcery: Being the Prayers of the ‘Lifting of the Hand’ – L.W. King:

(http://archive.org/details/babylonianmagics00kinguoft)

The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia – R.C. Thompson

Vol 1:

(http://archive.org/details/devilsevilspirit01thomuoft)

Vol 2:

(http://archive.org/details/devilsevilspirit02thomuoft)

Also,  going beyond just Sumeria and Babylon, these are some of my favorite books on Middle-Eastern magic:

Semitic Magic – R.C. Thompson

(http://archive.org/details/semiticmagicitso00thomuoft)

The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities of Ancient Israel – Mark S. Smith

(http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Early_History_of_God.html?id=1yM3AuBh4AsC)

The Hebrew Goddess – Raphael Patai

(http://books.google.com/books?id=VfAX_wkMM4IC)

A History of God – Karen Armstrong

(http://books.google.com/books?id=7J_vp4X28JAC&dq=armstrong+the+history+of+god)

This list is by no means complete, but should be a great start for anyone interested in these subjects.  I’m sure I”ll be expanding this post over time.  So stay tuned!

In the Light of Shamash,

Aaron

So You Think 2012 is the End of the World?   11 comments

Greetings faithful readers!

Ok, I doubt many of you actually think 2012 is the end of the world.  However, the media sure is having a field day over the subject.  And what they are popularizing as the “2012 prophecy”, in fact, has absolutely nothing to do with what is actually happening .

Yes, I said “actually happening.”  There is something happening this year – and in fact has been happening for quite some time.  If you are one of the very few who actually understand McKenna’s Timewave Theory, then you know what I’m talking about.  If you have no idea what the hell “Timewave Theory” means, or who Terrance McKenna is, then believe me when I tell you that you know nothing about 2012 – regardless of what you’ve seen on T.V. or in movies.

So, I want to take this oportunity, as my very first post of 2012, to bring you folks into the inner circle of the 2012 prophecy and the Timewave Theory.

This whole hub-bub originated with Terrance McKenna.  I won’t go much into where he came from, since you can Google him just as easily.  Suffice it to say that he was one of the big movers and shakers back in the heyday of the 60s drug culture.  (Back when drugs like LSD were being studied in earnest by university psychologists and scientists.  The same culture that gave rise to folks like Tim Leary and Robert Anton Wilson.)

Terrance is something of a genius who has no problem combining modern scientific and psychological knowlege with ancient mystical wisdom.  For example: he studies the I Ching, he studies ancient cultures – like the Mayans- and he also does a lot of thinking about the future.  And that is the mind that created the Timewave Theory.  Now this subject can be rather complex – especially when the mathematics get involved – but I can give you a simplified explanation of the Timewave Theory here:

It all began with a rather simple observation.  Every once in a while, we invent something so huge, so revolutionary, that it utterly changes the way human beings live on this planet.  We’re talking about BIG stuff here, like the taming of fire.  Or the invention of the wheel.  Or the creation of farming.  Not just day-to-day conveniences, but things that literally make the humans who lived before the invention a completely alien civilization when compared to the humans who came after the invention.

McKenna looked back over the course of human history, and noticed a specific pattern in our progress:  It seems that each new revolutionary invention comes along in about half the time as the previous one.  So, let’s say it took us 10,000 years to tame fire.  Then the wheel would have come along 5,000 later.  The next major innovation would have come 2500 years later, etc, etc.

So McKenna decided to create a mathematical equation to chart this exponential rate of human progress.  This is where it can become complex – but don’t worry I’m not gonig down that road.  If you want to know more about the timewave equation, you can Google that too.  For now, let’s just take a look at a simplified graph to illustrate the idea:

Timewave Graph

Now, let me make it clear that the above chart is in no way scientific or even close to an accurate view of human history.  I just threw it together with a few example inventions to illustrate the point.

As you can see above, as time progresses, humans come up with new revolutionary inventions in half the time as the previous revolutionary invention.  This causes the Timewave itself to curve higher and higher – until it finally goes vertical.  That vertical line means that we are inventing world-changing new technology each and every second of each and every day.

And that’s impossible, isn’t it?  Everything you buy will be obsolete – and seriously so, like an 8-Track tape would be today – before you could even get to the check-out counter to purchase it.  Cities would have to be re-designed over and over again every day in order to keep up with new advances.  Your day-to-day life would change as drastically each day as it has changed over the last 50 years.  Future shock would be at an all-time high, meaning more and more people would develop psychological problems akin to post-traumatic stress disorder.

And there is real reason to be concerned about that kind of thing.  Even now, our technology advances tremendously every few weeks.  Before long, it will be every few days.  Then every few hours.  Then every few minutes.  Then every few seconds.  And then? – well McKenna’s graph goes entirely vertical at the winter solstice of 2012.  I call that point the “crash of the Timewave.”

So what can we imagine might happen after the timewave has crashed?   MnKenna himself admited that he didn’t know.  I can’t personally predict a thing past 2012, and I’ve encountered other futurists who say the same. 

If “time” is measured as the progress of humanity, then “time” ends at the end of this year.  And that is why McKenna referred to the year 2012 as “the end of human history.”  And, perhaps you can guess why our media jumped on that comment and ran with it – assuming it meant earthquakes and volcanoes and the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  (Sheeeesh.)

McKenna has made a few suggestions of what we might expect, as have others – but they all admit they are purely speculating.  Just tossing out ideas on what could possibly come after 2012. 

One is that, perhaps, we’ll finally invent time travel.  Yes, that is far-fetched – but it would invalidate the entire graph above, allowing us to move anywhere on the timeline we wish.

Another idea: perhaps aliens will finally reach Earth this year.  It’s a bit less far-fetched than time travel.  And the influx of new alien technology would also invalidate the above graph, starting a whole new technological age (and thus re-booting the Timewave chart at zero).

Another possibility – one the media salivates over – is that our technological civilization will collapse for some reason, sending us back to, perhaps, the 17th century or so and forcing us to pick the Timewave up from there.  (Of course that says nothing about what happens when the chart goes vertical again – which it would do in even less time than the first time around.)

I think the most level-headed theory is that 2012 will simply mark the end of an age, and 2013 will launch a new one.  The chart reboots to zero, and we begin the path of progress anew.  And/Or, perhaps we will simply hit a technological plateau where little to nothing comes along that might be called revolutionary.

Whatever is going to happen, it is fast approaching.  It has been happening for all of human history, but today we are getting to see its culmination.  Have you noticed the social upheaval and mass uprisings of the past decade – and especially over the last year?  Have you noticed that every single thing that has ever been popular is, currently, popular somewhere right now? 

Groups of people are going out into the woods to live like cavemen and see what it was like.  Others are playing the ancient sport of bull-leaping.  Others are swing dancing.  There are people out there attending Victorian parties and filling out damce cards, while others indulge in futuristic virtual realities.  (More often than you might think, those virtual realties are recreations of ancient cities and past cultures.)

All forms of music and art from throughout history are being performed and enojyed somewhere by someone.  Every single decade’s pop culture, from every single century, is currently back “in fashion” somewhere.   I’ve even heard of entirely extinct languages being revived by modern descendants of lost civilizations.  I like to call this time we live in the “dumping ground of history.”

Truly this is the culmination of human history.  It’s all happening Right Here, Right Now.  Maybe it will reach critical mass this December – or maybe it’ll happen sometime later.  (This isn’t hard science, folks.)  It is hardly the end of the world – but it is certainly exciting to witness!

I urge you to share this blog post on your Facebook, Google+, blogs, etc.  The popular misconception of 2012 as the “end of the world” is selling us all short.  We are poised to witness the most intense moment in human history, but the T.V. has you all looking the wrong way.

In LVX

Aaron

Posted January 1, 2012 by kheph777 in history, timewave

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The Truth about Satan   4 comments

A member of the Conjure Corner forums asked for some historical facts about the figure of Satan.  The timing is interesting as I am currently doing some work with the Abramelin system of spirit magick.  Thus, I decided to put several obscure bits of theological history into one post – and why not archive it here too?  So if you’ve ever wondered about that Satan guy, here you go:

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Here are some historical facts you will find very fascinating.  🙂

– The name Satan comes from the Hebrew Sathan – which means “accuser” or “adversary.”  You see, the Israelite people adopted many aspects of Babylonian culture, both before and during the Captivity (about 600 BCE).  The Babylonians, meanwhile, are the folks who created the system of law that we use to this very day – including the concept of the prosecuting attorney.  This prosecutor’s job was (then, as it is now) to stand in the royal court and bring formal charges against those accused of crimes.  And since Babylonian cosmology assumed the heavens worked just like earthly courts, they assumed the Gods sat around in the same kind of court setting – judging the fates of humans.  You can see this in the first known record of “Satan” – the Book of Job.  There, we meet haSathan (the accuser) hanging out in the Court of God, BS-ing back and forth with the Big Guy Himself.  Not only that, but he is quite comfortable with contradicting God and placing bets with Him over the true faithfulness of a human being.  What Job reveals is that Satan (or haSathan – his job title) is not in rebellion against God at all, but merely doing the job appointed to him.

-The Jews understood that haSathan was just a title.  They believed the name of the entity depicted in the Book of Job was Samael – the poison of God.  Samael was not in open rebellion against God, but still firmly in his employ.  Most anciently, he seems to have been an Angel of Death (especially violent and untimely death).  In the Qabalah and the grimoires that borrowed from it, Samael became the Angel of Mars and Gevurah – thus making him the Angel of War.  There are Hebrew midrashim (legends) that suggest Samael once refused to bow down to Adam (the Image of God), and was thus punished.  These legends were likely adopted from similar Arabic myths.  For his refusal (which was based on his love for God and refusal to worship a mere image) he was cast down to earth and sentenced to serve the roles of Angel of Death and (thanks to his understandable beef with humans) as haSathan.  He took his punishment, and does the jobs he was assigned.  But he was still a big wig in God’s Court, as illustrated by the Book of Job.

-Lucifer was originally a Roman deity of Venus.  Lucifer Morningstar was the herald of the light of dawn.  Meanwhile, in ancient Canaan we find the God of Venus is named Helel Ben Shakhar (Helel, Son of the Dawn).  Apparently, there is an obscure Canaanite myth wherein Helel attempts to rise up and take the Throne of the Rising Sun from his father Shakhar.  He fails and is cast down.  Basically, the entire tale is an embodiment of the fact that Venus is the brightest star in the night sky, rises in the East just before the Sun and is finally the *last* star in the sky to fade out in the dawn light.  In this sense, the Sun must “defeat” Venus each morning in order to successfully rise.  (Which reminds me of the Egyptian Apophis, a serpent-monster that had to be overthrown by Re’s army each and every morning in order for the sun to rise.)

In the book of Isaiah (chapter 14), the prophet makes a comparison between Helel and the king of Babylon, when he says of the Babylonian king, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Helel, Son of the Morning!”  Later, the Bible was translated into Latin, and the translator merely looked for a Latin translation of the name “Helel.”  He found “Lucifer”, and thus the Lucifer-as-Satan myth was born.  The casting down of Helel by his father Shakhar was transformed into the famous tale of Michael (Archangel of the Sun) casting Lucifer down from heaven.  Lucifer even takes the form of a dragon very similar to the Egyptian Apophis (which is interesting considering the Egyptian origins of early Christianity).

-The typical “horned and hoofed” image of Satan didn’t come along until the medieval era.  The Catholic Church was by then a massive political force in hot competition with any other religion or Mystery Cult it encountered.  The Greek and Roman Pagan Mysteries were certainly a target, and so the image of Pan was adopted and demonized as the image of “Satan.”  Pan represented everything the Christian Priesthood stood against – sex, drugs, parties, hedonism and pleasure.  Pan represents everything that is still animal about the human animal, and his cult encourages a proper ritualized indulgence in that part of ourselves.  The Church surely had a hard time stealing members from that cult – so they demonized its followers and invented stories of witch gatherings who worship and have sex with a horrible goat-demon. The Devil was born – and over the years would become associated with all things vile and horrible about humans (violence, rape, torture, etc).

UPDATE:  Unfortunately, I skipped a rather important aspect of Satan’s origin story when I first posted this blog.  Several of you wrote to me and pointed that I had forgotten about the god Saturn in my analysis.  Well, I can’t agree that Saturn – or Chronos in Greek – has much of anything to do with the figure of Satan.  (He has more to do with the image of Thanatos, or Death.)  However, I also suspect some confusion may have been made between Saturn – the god of Time – and the god Pluto (or Hades in Greek) – the Lord of the Underworld.

Much of the imagery we associate with Satan as the God of the Underworld comes to us from Hades.  Take a look at this image of Hades, with his two-pronged pitchfork in hand and cerberus lying at his feet.  That is the origin of the image of Satan as ruler of Hell.  In Greek mythology, Hades is one of three brothers who possess the world:  Zeus who rules the sky and carries a single-pointed spear or thunderbolt, Poseidon who rules the sea and carries a three-pronged harpoon, and Hades who rules the earth (up top and below) and carries the two-pronged pitchfork.  Thus, Hades is intimately connected with nature and its seasonal cycles, as well as with underwold concepts such as the dead, treasure and occult initiation.

When we consider this, the Christian concept of Satan as “God of this world” begins to make more sense.  He not only rules in Hell – but notice that the grimoires quite often invoke him as the ruler of the natural world as well.  Such as we see in the Book of Abramelin – where all the lesser spirits of nature are classed under the authority of Lucifer, Leviathan, Satan and Belial.  (This is likely a break-down into astrological triplicity – Fire, Water, Air and Earth respectively.)

Sadly, the Church tended to see anything associated with nature as evil – as evidenced by its demonization of Pan.  The same happened with Hades/Pluto, so that the once-venerated Lord of the Underworld became the feared and despised demonic Satan.  Still, the grimoires do seem to preserve some of the older concepts – focusing on Satan in his Hades/Pan aspect as ruler of nature.

-As for Satanists:  The actual ‘Church of Satan’, founded by Anton LaVey, is strictly atheist.  They view the Church (and in fact all religion and spirituality) as a major historical enemy of humankind.  They also realize that Satan (as the Devil/Pan) embodies many things that are natural and beautiful to the human animal.  Therefore, they elevate Satan as a fitting symbol of opposition to everything Christianity (as a political force of mass control) has done to the world.  They do not believe in any actual entity by that name, nor in God, etc.  Even their witchcraft is strictly of the psychological type.

There was once a sub-group of Satanists who believed in an actual entity named Satan.  They assumed that Satan traces back to Egyptian concepts of the War God Set (which is only partially true), and thus began to worship Satan as the ancient Egyptian deity.  This caused a row in the Church of Satan, as atheism is a strict rule of the Church.  So the group broke away and established the Temple of Set.  I think they draw a lot from Crowley’s Thelemic material.

-I assume there are also true “Satanists” – that is, those who worship the Christian Satan *as* the embodiment of evil and hatred, etc, etc – but I’m not personally aware of any official groups.  To my knowledge, most of these types are teens (either alone or in small groups) looking to freak out their parents and teachers.  lol

-Finally, there is also a Luciferian tradition – about which I know little.  However, I’m fairly certain the tradition refers to the original Roman deity Lucifer Morningstar, the perfectly benevolent Herald of the Dawn.  Someone else might correct me here, but I think they associate Lucifer with other figures like Prometheus (who brought fire to mankind from heaven).

LVX

Aaron