Theistic Satanism: Home > To Pagans > Introduction & Updates
Introduction and Updates/Corrections
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2002 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
Below are corrections and other updates to some articles I wrote back in the early-to-mid-1990's.
- Update to Satanism and Me
- Update to A Critique of Wiccan and Other Neo-Pagan Disclaimers About Satanism
- Update to Satanism and the History of Wicca
- Some VERY old posts of mine to online forums
These articles have been widely circulated on the web in both authorized and unauthorized copies. Because they have been so widely circulated, making it hard to track down all the online copies, I have decided NOT to revise the articles themselves anymore, but, instead, to write this separate page of updates.
If you're a webmaster with a copy of one or more of my articles, please put a link to THIS page at either the top or the bottom of your copy of each one of my articles. Please LINK to this page; please do NOT make a COPY of this page, so I can continue to update it without having to bother you each time. Also, please be sure to include my copyright notice, if you have not done so already. The HTML tag for the copyright symbol (©) is:©
- Update to Satanism and Me
Contains a brief overview both of Satanism in general and of my own beliefs in particular, and answers some common Neo-Pagan objections to Satanism.
The main change to my beliefs, since I wrote this article in the mid-1990's, is that I'm no longer inclined to equate Satan with the ultimate cosmic Deity.
I still believe that the ultimate cosmic Deity (if indeed there is one, which I'm not sure) does NOT take the kind of personal interest in us that the major Western religions believe. The randomness of Nature and the workings of the Earth's ecosphere, with all lifeforms feeding on other lifeforms, does not suggest a Creator who "loves" us as individuals. Therefore, any deities who do interact with humans in a personal way, e.g. by responding to prayers, are likely to be finite entities that exist on a much smaller-than-cosmic scale.
I'm now inclined to regard BOTH Satan and the Christian "God" (and various deities outside the Jewish/Christian/Islamic tradition too) as finite intelligent entities. I see the Christian "God" as an entity who is extremely hungry for human attention and who wants to stamp out all competition. I see Satan as the Muse of Western civilization, and as the one deity who seriously threatens the power of the Christian "God."
For more about my current beliefs, see the Church of Azazel site.
Some Neo-Pagans likewise believe in the existence of both Satan and the Christian "God" as finite entities and share my perception of the Christian "God" as a greedy, violent, vampiric tyrant. But they will ask: Why worship Satan? Why not, instead, worship ONLY other deities outside outside the Jewish/Christian/Islamic tradition? Why not stay as far away as possible from both the Christian "God" AND his dreaded enemy?
I'll post my current answer to those questions later.
In the meantime, my article Satanism and Me still contains some good partial answers.
- Update to A Critique of Wiccan and Other Neo-Pagan Disclaimers About Satanism
This article critiques the tendency of some Wiccans and other Neo-Pagans to scapegoat Satanists in their own public-relations literature.
In my response to one common statement:
"Satanism is just upside-down Christianity. It revolves around a travesty of Christian rites. We Pagans would never dream of mocking another religion."
I forgot to mention Paul Huson's 1972 book Mastering Witchcraft, a popular, Wicca-based witchcraft how-to book. This book contained a brief ritual of self-initiation in which one renounced Christianity and said the Lord's Prayer backwards. Of course, the vast majority of Wiccans have never performed this rite, but Paul Huson's book IS one of the classics of modern witchcraft.
Also, I wasn't yet aware that the practice of ritually renouncing another religion has a very old and venerable pedigree -- in Tantrik Yoga. In the book Pacts with the Devil (1993), S.Jason Black and Christopher S. Hyatt discuss the parallels between Hindu Tantra and Western diabolism:
Tantrism can be defined most basically as a body of psycho-spiritual technique which aims to free the aspirant from the bonds and limitations that social programming has laid upon him. This goal is the same in all forms of left-handed practice -- whether it be Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, or Islamic. The complete fulfillment of the potentialities and goals of the aspirant is the highest good. ....
In practice, this entails the ritual desecration (deprogramming) of cultural taboos. In Bengali Tantra this takes the form of the "rite of the five M's" in which the Tantrika partakes of forbidden substances like beef, wine, and drugs, and has sex with a woman (or sometimes a man or a boy) either not of his class, or forbidden in some other way. In European magic, it takes the form of the Black Mass and the witch's sabbath.
The parallels are obvious and both traditions serve the same purpose in "freeing up" the psychic and emotional faculties of the magician.
We would say that they [Western diabolist practices] perform precisely the same functions as psychic tools for self-development as do the Bengali Tantrik practices or the Tibetan Chod rite and for the very same reasons. Why not, then, just do Tantrik Yoga? Because we cannot voluntarily jump from one world of mythic symbol to another without massive, often painful change on a deep, irrational level and we have personally met very, very few who have even come close to doing this.
We know many people who have practice Hatha Yoga to great effect. This does not mean that the idea or symbol of a Hindu deity has the same impact on them that it would on a native Indian.
Pacts with the Devil, pp. 63 and 64.
Black and Hyatt recommend the following books on Tantra:
- Aghora, at the Left Hand of God by Robert Svoboda
- Secrets of Western Tantra by Christopher S. Hyatt
- The Way of Action by Francis King
- Tantrism, Its Secrets and Practices by Benjamin Walker
My critique was written back in the early 1990's and uses some wording that I would not use today. For example, back then I used the word "Pagan" - with a capital P - to refer not just to the modern Pagan religious subculture but also to ancient religions. I would now use "Pagan" with a capital P to refer only to the modern Western post-Christian subculture, and I would use a lowercase p for all other meanings of the word "pagan."
Back then I also used the word "Wicca" to refer to what I would now call "Pagan Witchcraft" (capital P, capital W). There has been quite a bit of controversy within the Pagan community over whether the term "Wicca" properly refers to modern Pagan Witchcraft in general or just to Gardnerian and closely related trads. As far as I can tell, most of the better-educated Pagans now favor the latter usage, so I now use "Pagan Witchcraft" to refer to the larger category of religions which feature (1) reverence for Nature personified as a single Goddess and God, of whom all or most other goddesses and gods are considered aspects; (2) a ritual format derived from ceremonial magick, usually simplified and minus all Hebrew names; and (3) the "Wheel of the Year."
(I use the word "Pagan" (capital P) to refer not just to Pagan Witchcraft but also to other religions commonly identified as Pagan, such as the various Pagan Reconstructionist religions.)
Also back at the time I wrote this article, I used the name "Satan" in quotes a lot. I don't remember exactly why. Most likely it was a way to distance Satanism and its various Satan-concepts from the Christian Satan concept.
Update to Satanism and the History of Wicca
Here, I discussed the common ancestors of Wicca and modern Satanism in the Western occult tradition and in nineteenth century literary Satanism.
This article has gotten me lots of irate Email from Wiccans -- many of whom, apparently, didn't even bother to read the article before writing to me. Many assume I'm a fundy Christian (!) out to defame Wicca.
I've gotten a few legitimate objections. These have all revolved around my use of the book Crafting the Art of Magic by Aidan Kelly, whose accuracy has been disputed by other scholars of the history of Wicca. In particular, I once received an Email message from Valerie Voigt stating that Kelly misrepresented her research on Victor Anderson and the Faerie (Feri) Tradition.
But I subsequently came across a website on the Feri tradition, according to which the many names of The Blue God include not only "Lucifer, the Light Bringer," but also "Malek Taus" and even "El Shaitan." Also on that site, The Guardians of Feri are equated with the Nephilim (the "Sons of God" mentioned in the Biblical Book of Genesis and in the Book of Enoch). There is, though, a disclaimer on the site saying that it does not exactly represent the teachings of Victor Anderson himself.
Be that as it may, even if Victor Anderson never had anything to do with any form of "literature-based Satanism," and even if we dismiss Aidan Kelly's book entirely, most of my other points still stand.
One real problem with my article, though nobody ever complained about this directly, is that I wasn't sufficiently clear on what I meant by "literary Satanism." I've remedied that deficiency in my Reply to Chris N's critique of my article "Satanism and the History of Wicca".
Recently, I've come across some explicitly "Luciferian" writings by "tradtional Witches." See, for example, the publishers' descriptions of the books The Pillars of Tubal-Cain by Nigal Jackson and Michael Howard and The Book of Fallen Angels by Michael Howard.
Another example is -- of all things! -- the article which some Pagan historians have credited with popularizing the Wiccan Rede, Wiccan-Pagan Potpourri by Lady Gwen in Green Egg, Ostara 1975 C.E. Today, most people who identify publicly as either Satanists or Luciferians reject the Wiccan Rede. Yet the Rede itself was first popularized in an explicitly Luciferian article. (See also The Rise Of The Rede by Shea Thomas, on The Wiccan Rede Project.)
For more about some erroneous claims commonly made by Wiccans, see:
- The History of Wicca and Common arguments and common sense on Why Wiccans Suck (a site critiquing the attitudes of many Wiccans -- the site is not against Wicca itself). See also various sites listed on its links page.
- The Scholars and the Goddess by Charlotte Allen (Atlantic Monthly, January 2001)
Regarding the history of Satanism, some fascinating additional information can be found in this article by Ryan Soileau.
Regarding Aleister Crowley's work, from which Gerald Gardner borrowed heavily, see Aleister Crowley: Satanist on TOKUS, from The Watcher, issue #1, currently available on necronomi.com.
For more about traditional Christian-identified witchcraft and ceremonial magic, see this site with background on Harry Potter, including this brief explanation.
Many of the folks who write to me believe fervently that Margaret Murray's "witch cult" theory is an established historical fact and that modern Wicca is descended intact, via said witch-cult, from "the Old Religion." These people, whom I like to call Wiccan fundamentalists, assume that anyone who believes otherwise must simply be ignorant. I've gotten a lot of E-mail lecturing me about "the Old Religion" as if I had never heard of this concept before.
Others have lectured me about the pre-Christian, pre-witchhunt origins of the words "witch", "coven", and "sabbat". Yes, all those words have pre-Christian origins. What originated with the witchhunts was not those words themselves but the conjunction of those three words -- and their conjunction with a "horned God" of any sort. I challenge anyone who claims otherwise to give me a reputable scholarly source.
One minor update regarding my personal beliefs: I wrote, "(I too distinguish between Satan and Lucifer, as do many occultists.)" I'm now inclined to regard Lucifer (or, at least, the "Lucifer" that anyone would likely call upon today) as an aspect of Satan.
Anyhow, for those readers who haven't figured this out by now, I am not a Christian, and my aim is NOT to defame Wicca.
On the contrary, I regard the growth of Wicca and other kinds of Neo-Paganism as a good thing. The more alternatives there are to a Christian monopoly, the better for the religious freedom of all of us. And Wicca itself respects personal freedom to a far greater degree than, say, hardcore Christianity or hardcore Islam.
However, it annoys me when Wiccans distort history at the expense of us Satanists.
For a fairly good, concise history of some real Pagan survivals and revivals through the centuries of Christendom, see Tim Maroney's article Pagan History (1986). One minor disagreement with that article: As far as I am aware, most historians do NOT believe that the witchhunts were primarily about persecution of Pagans or Pagan-leaning people. All sorts of people, many of them not particularly Pagan-leaning, were victims of the witchhunts.
Some VERY old posts of mine to online forums
I recently did a Google search on "Diane Vera." Among the items that popped up were the following, which I had posted in some online forums way back in 1991 or 1992 e.v., only a little while after I first began to identify as a Satanist:
These were originally posts in online forums, known then as echoes, which were somewhat like Usenet newsgroups. This was before the days when nearly all computers had an Internet connection as a matter of course. Back then, there were lots of smaller, separate computer networks. One of these was the Pagan/Occult Distribution Network (PODNet).
I found these old posts of mine in a collection called the Internet Book of Shadows on various websites, including the Internet Sacred Texts Archive.
Intro to Satanism is an early version of what later became the first part of my Satanism and Me article.
Modern Wiccan Concepts based in Literary Satanism is an early version of what later became part of Satanism and the History of Wicca.
Satanism vs. Wicca was, evidently written VERY soon after I first started to identify as a Satanist. For about a year after the profound spiritual experiences of mine which first turned me toward Satanism, I still identified as a Neo-Pagan too. At the time I wrote "Satanism vs. Wicca," I still identified very strongly -- indeed, primarily -- as a "feminist Goddess-oriented neo-Pagan."
I no longer do. My spiritual experiences soon led me to the (reluctant, at first) conclusion that my affinity for Satan is incompatible with the worship of any other deities. Or, at least it is for me, anyway. I'm still inclined to believe that other deities exist, but I don't worship them.
Also, I would no longer say that "Satanism emphasizes spiritual self-liberation via iconoclasm and catharsis." Iconoclasm and catharsis are, certainly, a part of Satanism, but only a part.