Church of Azazel > Resources > Kinds of theistic Satanism
The different kinds of theistic Satanism, and some general theological and occult background
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2010 by the Church of Azazel. All rights reserved.
- Various Satanisms themselves
- Theology and occult background of various Satanisms
- Pantheism, panentheism, and polytheism, hard vs. soft
- Hermetics and ceremonial magick
- Kabbalah and ceremonial magick
- Aleister Crowley and Thelema
- John Dee and the "Enochian Keys"
- Other Renaissance occultism
- Chaos magick
- The Yezidi and the Al Jilwah
- Various Satanisms themselves
The Church of Azazel recommends that its members become familiar with a variety of different forms of Satanism, not just our own, so that prospective members can make an informed decision. We recommend that you spend some time exploring the pages linked on the following pages on Diane Vera's Theistic Satanism site:
- The varieties of theistic ("traditional") Satanism
- The definition of "Satanism" according to new-religion scholars and other observers
- Other theistic or theistic-friendly Satanism/LHP websites
- Miscellaneous links
If you're a prospective member, feel free to ask us questions about anything that intrigues you on the above pages.
Theology and occult background of various Satanisms
Below is some background information to help you understand the theological, occult, and magic(k)al aspects of various Satanisms. We aim to promote a general religious and occult literacy among our members.
Pantheism, panentheism, and polytheism, hard vs. soft
Theological terms that some prospective members might be unfamiliar with are "pantheism," "panentheism," and "polytheism." See the Wikipedia articles on these terms:
Even if you are already at least somewhat familiar with these terms, it is recommended that you read the above pages to deepen your understanding. See especially the distinction between "hard polytheism" and "soft polytheism" in the article on polytheism.
Some forms of theistic Satanism derive ideas from ancient Gnosticism. If you are unfamiliar with Gnosticism, see:
Some ancient Gnostics venerated the Serpent of the Garden of Eden myth as a bringer of Wisdom. One ancient Gnostic scripture, the The Testimony of Truth, comments on the behavior of "God" in the Book of Genesis as follows:But what sort is this God? First he maliciously refused Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge, and, secondly, he said "Adam, where are you?" God does not have foreknowledge? Would he not know from the beginning? And afterwards, he said, "Let us cast him out of this place, lest he eat of the tree of life and live forever." Surely, he has shown himself to be a malicious grudger! And what kind of God is this? For great is the blindness of those who read, and they did not know him. And he said, "I am the jealous God; I will bring the sins of the fathers upon the children until three (and) four generations." And he said, "I will make their heart thick, and I will cause their mind to become blind, that they might not know nor comprehend the things that are said." But these things he has said to those who believe in him and serve him!
The ancient Gnostics believed that the Biblical God is not the true, ultimate cosmic God, but is, instead, a lesser entity whom they called the Demiurge.
Many theistic Satanists, icluding the OFS Demonolatry folks, are believers in Hermetics, which is also the main foundation of pretty much the entire Western occult tradition. For a general introduction to Hermetics, outside the context of theistic Satanism, see:
- Wikipedia article on Hermeticism
- The Corpus Hermeticum and Hermetic Tradition on the Gnostic Society Library website. See especially On the Trail of the Winged God: Hermes and Hermeticism Throughout the Ages by Stephan A. Hoeller.
- The Kybalion (see also the Wikipedia article on The Kybalion)
Although we have our disagreements with Hermeticism, the study of Hermetics has been known to have healthy effects on people recovering from a hardcore Christian background. So we recommend it as worth studying, especially for people from such a background. Those interested in learning Hermetics, as understood by modern occultists, should also obtain Initiation into Hermetics by Franz Bardon.
Hermetics and ceremonial magick
Nearly all forms of Western ceremonial magick are heavily influenced by Hermetics. And nearly all forms of Satanism, both theistic and symbolic, derive at least some ideas and techniques from ceremonial magick. (So too does Wicca.) For some introductions to Hermetic-based ceremonial magick, see:
- Real Magick and Occult Archives - good intro to the techniques of ceremonial magic(k)
- The Hermetic Library
- Hermeticism on Kheper
(Note: The above sites are not Satanists or "Left-Hand Path" oriented. They are listed for background information and because some readers may find the techniques worthwhile.)
Kabbalah and ceremonial magick
In addition to Hermetics, Western ceremonial magick is to a large extent based on Jewish mysticism, known as Kabbalah (or assorted variant spellings such as Cabala or Qabalah). Below are some webpages on Kabbalah as used by many (mostly non-Jewish) ceremonial magic(k)ians:
- Hermetic Kabbalah home page by Colin Low, including a massive Kabbalah Links Page
- The Kabbalah on Kheper
Some theistic Satanists make heavy use of Kabbalah as well. (The Church of Azazel does not. The above links are provided just for background in understanding other forms of occultism.)
Aleister Crowley and Thelema
Todays's forms of Satanism (as well as other modern forms of occultism, including Wicca) are heavily influenced by the writings of Aleister Crowley, who either was or was not a Satanist, depending on how you define the term "Satanist." Most of Crowley's writings, alas, cannot be understood without extensive knowledge of Hermetics, Kabbalah, and Egyptian mythology. But here are some simplified introductins to Crowley's system, known as Thelema:
- Introduction to Crowley and Why Crowley Doesn't Suck by Tim Maroney (who also developed an interesting non-LaVeyan form of symbolic Satanism, Hekate and the Satanic School)
- Thelema on Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
For more information about Thelema and the OTO (an organization that Crowley headed):
- Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) - U.S. Grand Lodge
- Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) International Headquarters
- OTO Australia
- Thelema Texts on the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
John Dee and the "Enochian Keys"
Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible ends with an adapted version of the "Enochian Keys," of which some theistic Satanists have made further adaptations. The "Enochian Keys" derive from the work of John Dee, about whom see the following:
- Wikipedia article on John Dee
- Dee, John in Encyclopedia Mystica
- The John Dee Society/li>
- The Calls of Enoch and Enochian Magic on the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
- The Enochian World of Benjamin Rowe
(The Church of Azazel's rituals will probably not use the Enochian keys. We are providing this information just for historical background on other forms of theistic Satanism which do use them or a modified form thereof.)
Other Renaissance occultism
John Dee lived during the Renaissance. For more about Renaissance occultism in general, see:
- Twilit Grotto: Archives of Western Esoterica
- Rosicrucian Texts on the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
- Grimoires on the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
Note: We definitely do NOT recommend the methods of the grimoires. See About Demons.
Some forms of theistic Satanism/Luciferianism are based on a much more modern form of magick known Chaos Magick. We highly recommend at least a preliminary study of Chaos Magick, for the sake of general occult literacy, if nothing else. See:
- Wikipedia article on Chaos magic
- Chaos Magick Files on Chaos Matrix, including What is Chaos Magick?
- Chaos Magic on the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
- Online copies of four books by Austin Osman Spare, in The Stacks on The Anunnaki Project site
The above sites deal with Chaos Magick in general, not any specifically Satanic adaptation thereof. However, many non-Satanist Chaotes, unlike most non-Satanist Hermeticists and Kabbalists, do identify as "Left Hand Path."
Although the Church of Azazel paradigm is not based on Chaos Magick per se, Chaotes are welcome to join us if they personally find the Church of Azazel paradigm, and rituals based on our paradigm, to be worth their while. Not only can the Chaos Magick "metaparadigm" be combined easily with almost any paradigm, but the Chaos Magick "metaparadigm" itself has some key philosophical principles in common with the Church of Azazel paradigm.
The Yezidi and the Al Jilwah
Some other theistic Satanists have adopted the Al Jilwah of the Yezidis as a sacred scripture, believing it to be an infallible revealed word of Satan. Here is some background on the Yezidi religion and people:
- Wikipedia article - Yazidi
- Yezidis - Armenia Travel, History, Archeology, and Ecology
- the yezidi: the angelick cultus in the middle east by Brian D. Hodges - disinformation, June. 26, 2001
- Devil Worship: The Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz by Isya Joseph, written back in 1919
- Selections from The Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz by Isya Joseph -
- In pictures: Yezidi Kurds - BBC News
- YezidiTruth.org - A Humanitarian Organization
- Yezidism: historical roots by Tosine Reshid, International Journal of Kurdish Studies, Jan, 2005
- Yezidi interviews - Armenian News Network / Groong
- The Situation of the Yezidis in Armenia by Denge Ezidiyan, a Yezidi
The Church of Azazel rejects the idea that Western theistic Satanists should adopt Yezidi scriptures as our own, for the following reasons:
- We are not inclined to believe in the idea of infallibly revealed holy texts. While a scripture may be in some sense inspired, it is written by fallible humans.
- As far as we are aware, no Western Satanist has adopted the entire Yezidi belief system. Nor are any of us likely to want to adopt it, given all its many odd taboos. (Almost any genuinely ancient religion will have a lot of weird taboos.)
- Because the Yezidi are traditionally secretive about their religion, we can't even be sure we have an accurate translation of their scriptures, nor do we know exactly what those scriptures mean to the Yezidi people.
- Tiven the above, and given how vastly different their traditions and historical circumstances are from ours here in the West, we don't know whether the being which the Yezidi revere as "Azazil"/"Melek Taus" is the same entity we revere as Satan/Azazel.
- If indeed the Al Jilwah is the revealed word of the entity we wester theistic Satanists know as Satan/Azazel, it is apparently a revealed word intended only for the Yezidi people, not for the rest of us. The Yezidi themselves apparently believe it's just for them and not for humankind as a whole.
- The Yezidi themselves do not want to be associated with Western Satanists.
- The Yezidi are persecuted. We should not make their lives harder by identifying them publicly with "Satan," a name they reject. If indeed the entity they revere as "Azazil"/"Melek Taus" is the same entity we know as Satan/Azazel, then that's all the more reason to respect their wishes and not to do anything that will make their lives more difficult.
The Yezidi are interesting and worth learning about, but that doesn't mean we should emulate them, or that we should regard Western translations of their scriptures as the infallible word of Satan. Our world is very different from theirs.
Back in the late 1800's and through the 1900's, there were quite a few literary works, by some very famous authors, with favorable portrayals of Satan. Some well-known examples are these:
- William Blake's prose-poem "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"
- Mark Twain's novels Letters from the Earth and A Pen Warmed in Hell
- Jules Michelet's La Sorciere, translated into English under the title Satanism and Witchcraft, a very influential (though, according to later scholars, not very accurate) history of the witchhunts
- Giosue Carducci's poem "Hymn to Satan." (See the annotated translation on the Church of Satan site. Carducci won a Nobel Prize later in his life.)
- Charles Baudelaire's poem "Litanies of Satan"
- Anatole France's Revolt of the Angels
- George Bernard Shaw's plays The Devil's Disciple and Man and Superman. (Try to obtain a version of The Devil's Disciple which includes Shaw's preface, "On Diabolonian Ethics.")
Literary critics and professors of English literature have long referred to literary works of this kind as a form of "Satanism." See, for example, the book Romantic Satanism by Peter A. Schock. An older, similar literary overview is Milton and the Rise of Russian Satanism by Valentin Boss.