- What in Hell is ‘Satan’?
© 2005 C.E. by L. Hernandez
Being somewhat public about my religion being Satanism, I am often confronted with email from Christians and other non-Satanists mistaking modern/contemporary Satanism with the Devil worship popularized by the mainstream media, televangelists, and Hollywood horror schlock. These messages often begin with “If you worship in Satan, you must believe in the existence of God”, “Why do you worship Evil when you know Good will win?”, etc. My answer to these questions often comes in the form of another question: “What makes you think I worship your Devil?”
Being inquisitive is part of human nature, but it does become tiresome hearing/reading these same ignorant questions over and over again. If the curious would use some common sense and courtesy by picking up a copy of Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible and reading it first, we’d both be saving our time and energy for more productive and enjoyable tasks. Quite frankly, those types of questions get real old, real fast–and the older and less tolerant of stupid people I get, the ruder my answers become.
The problem with the general public’s misconception is that they view Satan from the perspective force-fed them by Christian hysterics and the media–the very people who know exactly how to unscrupulously make a quick buck off of other people’s fears. Selling ‘Satanic Panic’ has been big business in evangelical circles for a very long time now.
So, if our Satan isn’t what they say He is, just what is He? The short answer is that Satan is an abstract idea/symbol.
In The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey defines Satan not as an anthropomorphic, living deity, but rather as the dark motivating force in nature, which permeates everything and acts as the Balance Factor. It moves all of nature because it’s in all of nature. E.g., the beauty of childbirth: passion/lust > conception > illness/discomfort > joy of expectation > blood/agony of labor > birth > joy/bliss/fulfillment. One may not realize it, but this is the Dark Force (Satan) in action, manifesting as lust to ensure the continuance of the species.
As you can see by the above description, Satan is within us, all permeating. One’s deepest desires, secret vices, hidden drives, etc. Satan, in this sense, is one’s own Dark Force (Black Flame), or the Dark Force as it is manifest in you. This is what a Satanist externalizes in ritual as a religious metaphorical representation.
It has been said that “God” is just another word for “Nature”. This can also be said of “Satan”, and it has also been said (metaphorically) that Satan is God. To the Satanist, man is his own god, and if his deepest inner-self is his Black Flame (Dark Force; Satan), than Satan truly is God! Each Satanist is his own God; his own Satan.
There is a lesson to be gleaned from Lothar Khune in Dennis Wheatley’s novel, The Satanist, when, toward the end, Khune confesses to Circe/Mary that the Black Imp sent to kill Wash is none other than Khune’s own “dark inner self”!
Satan is also the symbol of the very beliefs and principles that Satanists hold dear to them. Think of Satan in the same sense as Plato’s Theory of Forms.
The word “Satan” means “opposer/accuser/adversary”. Satanism is opposed to mainstream herd behavior; it is the accuser of all which stifles progress, creativity and individuality; it is an adversary to those who would outlaw man’s natural instincts and drives in order to control him. This is in perfect keeping with the literary/mythological character of Satan being the rebellious anti-hero, as in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
In fact, Satan, being both gentleman and rebel, can be found throughout literature as the perfect balance between civilization and the bestial. Once again, the Balance Factor comes into play! Satan embraces His whole self, not denying any of His nature.
Some have asked why we use the word ‘Satan’ at all, understanding correctly that it is not viewed by we Satanists as an actual living deity. They say we’re basically militant atheists or humanists who would gain more followers without the use of the word. The problem with that sort of thinking is that we don’t want tons of followers. By our very nature, Satanists are leaders and generally solitary creatures. Our alienation is an exclusivity to us, added to our productivity/creativity this makes us worthy of calling ourselves elitists. In this sense, we are the proud outcasts; the lone rebels; the Satans. Why shouldn’t we be honest, at least to ourselves, about it?
If the ‘S’ word serves to widen the abyss between us and them, so much the better!