Theistic Satanism: Home > Satan as Muse > Robert Eady
Comments on his article Satanism, Witchcraft and Church Feminists (Christian Order, February 1998)
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2006 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
Though Robert Eady certainly does not approve of Satanism, and although his article "Satanism, Witchcraft and Church Feminists" contains a lot of the usual religious right wing distortions of reality, it is nevertheless worth reading as a concise primer on some of the things that most conservative Christians - i.e. those Christians who are most likely to believe in the Devil - consider to be quintessentially "Satanic." Insofar as most forms of Satanism do draw some of their ideas from Christianity, it behooves us Satanists to look at what some of Satan's most fervent avowed enemies say about Him.
Eady regards Satan as "evil" in many specific ways that most well-educated modern nonreligious folks would consider to be "good" or at least neutral or mixed. He also seems to regard Satan as the Muse of modern civilization, giving Satan - and alleged Satanists - credit for nearly every major historical development in the modern Western world, especially those developments that most nonreligious folks would regard as political and social progress (at least in the long run, though some of those developments, such as the French Revolution, were indeed extremely painful in the short run).
Eady begins by making some interesting comments about Satanism itself:
According to the authoritative Encyclopedia of American Religions, there are two basic types of overtly Satanist groups to be found operating in North America today. The first of these is the "sickies," composed of "disconnected groups of occultists who employ Satan worship to cover a variety of sexual, sadomasochistic, clandestine, psychopathic, and illegal activities." In this branch of Satanism, which is sometimes used to rationalize paedophilia as well as the perversions cited above, one can expect to find those individuals engaged in grave robbery, sexual assaults and the ritual blood letting performed on animals and more rarely, human beings. According to the Encyclopedia, the "sick" Satanists are not theological in their approach.
The other branch of Satanists is said to be the groups that "resemble liberal Christian theologies with the addition of a powerful cultural symbol (Satan), radically redefined." These groups "take Satanism as a religion seriously," and should not be confused with the "sickies" described above.
In the above two paragraphs, Eady devotes a lot more ink to the "sickies" than to what he himself acknowledges to be the more serious Satanists. Significantly, among the so-called "sickies," he doesn't bother to distinguish between the truly harmful and the merely eccentric. From any down-to-earth secular ethical point of view, there's a world of differencebetween a Devil-made-me-do-it murderer and a person who uses Satanic trappings in the context of consensual BDSM. But from Eady's conservative Catholic point of view, apparently this doesn't matter; any kind of sex other than heterosexual penis-in-vagina, for reproductive purposes only, is "sick" - despite the world's already vast human population.
Eady then says:
Although Satanists are neatly compartmentalized, or some might say isolated by most of the standard or official sources, it should be noted that there is overlap between the two groups. Some followers of "theological Satanists" have been involved in horrific crimes.
Unfortunately, yes, some black circle boys do hang around the public Satanist scene. Most Satanists are not at all fond of them, though. ("Black circle boys" is my term for the Satanist scene's criminal fringe.) Another overlap between the above two categories that Eady doesn't mention is that quite a few of the more serious Satanists have various harmless but traditionally-disapproved-of eccentricities too.
In addition, Satanists who do break the law may actually be less dangerous than those who are more theological in their approach.
A most fascinating statement! As Eady explains:
So, in a totally secular vein, a teenager who spray-paints the side of a Church with a Satanic symbol is obviously less destructive or dangerous than a devil worshipper who spends years writing articles and appearing on talk shows.
In a totally secular vein? No, from a secular point of view, "destructive or dangerous" means actually violent, abusive, etc. From a secular point of view, a Devil worshipper who is not violent or abusive and who does not even advocate criminal activity of any sort, but who merely writes articles about Satanism, is not "destructive or dangerous" at all. Only from a traditional Christian (or Islamic) religious point of view is a public Satanist spokesperson "destructive and dangerous" merely by being a public Satanist spokesperson.
But Eady has raised what is in fact a very good point. Even in terms of a traditional Christian understanding of Satan, it can be argued that a law-abiding Satanist can do a much better job of serving Satan than can a violent criminal. And that, in turn, is a good argument against the still-too-common misconception that Satanism itself encourages violent criminality. For more about this matter, see my articles Why "Satanic ritual crime" doesn't make sense even from a Christian point of view and Satan and "Evil" in Christianity (and Satanism).
Next in Eady's article are sections on "Anton LaVey" and "Satanism & Witchcraft," with which I have various quibbles I won't bother to go into here.
Then, in a section titled "The Power of Evil," Eady makes some fascinating historical claims. Without advocating any grand conspiracy theories, he asserts that nearly every major historical trend of the past couple of centuries began as the work of "Satanists" (in at least some loose sense of the word "Satanist"). I, like many Satanists, would love to believe that this is true. Alas, Eady is short on citing good sources for his claims.
It is actually not at all unlikely that quite a few major historical figures, especially in the 1800's, may have had Satanist/Luciferian leanings. Certainly quite a few famous writers did, so it's not unlikely that quite a few other people did too. However, solid evidence is needed before one can assert this as a fact rather than as a mere likelihood.
Those who have attempted to laugh off Satanism as youthful rebellion or the harmless buffoonery of crackpots have not bothered to investigate the evils that the direct invocation and praise of the devil can bring into the world. Montague Summers' exhaustive work, The History of Witchcraft, describes in detail the horrific evils perpetrated by witches and worshippers of the Devil over many centuries.
Montague Summers's ideas on witchcraft have long since been discredited. Ditto for Richard Cavendish, whom Eady cites later in the article regarding medieval witchcraft. For example, a great many of both Summers's and Cavendish's "facts" are based on writings by witch hunters who in turn sensationalized the contents of an unrepresentative sample confessions extracted under torture in witch trials. (For a more up-to-date historical view of the witch hunts, see Recent Developments in the Study of The Great European Witch Hunt by Jenny Gibbons; another copy here.)
Eady goes on to say:
One only has to read of the sexual perversion and widespread practice of the black mass in France to understand that it was not just a desire for so-called liberty, equality and fraternity that led to the enthronement of a prostitute as the goddess of "reason" in Notre Dame Cathedral. When the French celebrate their "glorious" Revolution each year on Bastille Day, it's doubtful many fully appreciate its Satanic and Masonic roots, or know of the orgies of the Satanists that occurred on the night after their Catholic king, Louis XVI, was murdered before the Paris mob.
Eady doesn't give any sources for the above historical claims. If anyone knows of any real historical evidence for the idea that Satanists were behind the French Revolution or held orgies on the night Louis XVI was executed, I would be very interested to hear about it. I've seen plenty of allegations along these lines on conspiracy theory sites, but no actual historical evidence.
Eady then goes on to repeat the common ultra-right-wing claim that Karl Marx was a Satanist:
In the late nineteenth century few of the ardent followers of the "atheist" Karl Marx knew of the terrible violence and bombastic praise of Satan that were to be found in the feverish poetry which the founder of Communism wrote as an adolescent and a young man.
Personally, I'd love it if such an influential historical figure as Karl Marx were indeed a Satanist. If anyone knows of any good evidence, please email me. Unfortunately, I haven't found any good evidence at all on various right wing sites which have purported to "prove" that Karl Marx was a Satanist.
For example, several right wing sites mention something Karl Marx allegedly wrote about "buying a sword from Satan," which is supposedly a veiled reference to a ceremonial sword used in occult rituals. Alas, on the sites I looked at, Marx's "sword from Satan" remark was never quoted in context, so I have no idea what Marx may have actually been talking about. Offhand, I'm guessing that by "buying a sword from Satan," Marx might have meant something akin to Lenin's dictum that the capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with. In other words, using the enemy's resources against him. Thus, even if Marx did indeed say that he had "bought a sword from Satan," this does not, in itself, prove that Marx considered himself to be on Satan's side.
Another oft-cited alleged piece of "evidence" for Marx's "Satanism" was some poetry he wrote in his teen years about being damned to hell. Frankly, this sounded to me more like a guilt-ridden Christian than like a Satanist.
Back to Eady's article. He also refers to Charles Swinburne as a "Satanist" without referencing any work of his that would indicate he was. I would very much appreciate hearing from someone knowledgeable about Swinburne.
Eady then goes on about how "New Evils Surpass the Old." One of the top two "new evils," according to Eady, is the widespread acceptance of homosexuality. In the previous section, one of the terrible old evils was the Catholic Church's loss of political control over the Papal States in Italy back in the 1800's. Oh, how terribly evil ... NOT! Isn't theocracy wonderful?
Clearly, the traditional Catholic idea of "evil" is very different from what most well-educated modern folks would consider to be "evil." The traditional Protestant idea of "evil" is not identical in every respect to the traditional Catholic idea, but it, too, tends to be far removed from any practical down-to-earth concept of "evil." Ditto for Islam. It is good for us theistic Satanists to remind ourselves of these facts about the beliefs and values of Satan's avowed enemies, and to remind ourselves that Satan has indeed displayed great power in the modern world.
Next, in sections about Aleister Crowley and "Crowley's Influence on Gerald Gardner & Wicca," Eady makes a big deal about how modern Witchcraft is derived from Gardnerian Wicca, which drew a lot of inspiration from "Satanist Aleister Crowley." Whether Crowley was a "Satanist" depends on how you define "Satanist." But it is indeed true that Gardnerian Wicca borrowed rituals and other ideas from Crowley.
Next are sections titled "Wicca explained" and "Gnosticism." He makes various inaccurate statements including the following:
- "The basic form of Wicca is the coven (or base community), which consists ideally of 13 people who meet regularly to practice their so-called craft. The number is significant; it is a mockery of the number 13 which composes Jesus and his 12 apostles." The numbers 12 and 13 have had plenty of other meanings through the ages. For example, there are between 12 and 13 lunar months per year.
- "Covens cast spells which sometimes mock the Eucharist." He's probably referring to "cakes and wine," which is not a "spell," and which most Pagan Witches probably don't think of as a "mockery of the Eucharist."
- "Modern witches ... use storytelling in the coven to raise anger directed against the so-called patriarchy (i.e., the arch enemy, God the Father)" No, "patriarchy" is not the same thing as "God the father." Patriarchy is a category of social customs, not a spiritual entity. Most Witches don't believe in "God the Father." And only a minority of Witches are politically minded enough to focus energy on opposing patriarchy.
Eady also says: "Wiccans strongly deny any relationship to devil worshippers, however, their faith, like that of the Satanists, appeals to those who detest the idea of authority or order emanating from God the Father." That much is true. I would add that, in both religious categories, those who are motivated solely by rebellion are unlikely to stay long. I would also add that, from the point of view of both most Wiccans and many Satanists, our common rejection of the idea of an authoritarian God seems like only a minor similarity compared to the many differences between Satanism and Wicca. However, from a traditional Abrahamic point of view, our rejection of the idea of an authoritarian God is the most salient feature of both Wicca and most forms of Satanism.
The remainder of Eady's article is devoted to showing that feminism is Satanic. His main argument for this is the popularity of Lilith among feminists.
Well, he does have a point there. Unlike the various ancient goddesses reclaimed by modern Pagans, Lilith always was regarded as an evil demon until only very recently. In most cases, those who venerate Lilith aren't "Satanic" in the sense of revering the figure of Satan (even though Lilith is traditionally thought to be the wife of you-know-who). But perhaps they could be called "devil worshipers" if you define "devil" as "any god or godlike entity that is traditionally considered evil," in which case those who worship Lilith do indeed worship "a" devil, even if they don't worship "the" Devil.
In short, Eady's article contains a lot of the usual nonsense found in religious right wing cultural critiques, but is nevertheless worth reading as a summary of how Satan is viewed by many of His most fervent avowed enemies.