Satanism: Pentagram
Satanism is one of the most controversial religions in the world today, in whatever expression it takes. Satan, who not all satanic groups acknowledge or recognize, is presented in the Hebrew and Christian Bible as the chief enemy of God and the most evil being in the universe. As a result, many people both fear, and are intrigued by, certain versions of this Satanism, especially expressions that incorporate things such as satanic worship and satanic symbols.

Many people want to know: What are the different expressions of Satanism today? Are there really people who worship the biblical figure, Satan? What is the Satanic Bible? What is the truth behind Satanic rituals? Who are the leaders of these groups and what are their followers like? What are their values and their ethics? What are their objectives, plans, and goals? (Note: Scroll down for an index to in-depth articles.)

Below you will find a brief description on the differences between modern expressions of Satanism as well as an index table that directs you to in-depth articles on subjects like The Church of Satan and Satanic Symbols.

The different approaches of Satanism

Terms like “Satanism,” "satanic," and even the name "Satan," encompass a variety of ideological, philosophical, and spiritual beliefs today. "Satanic" groups can be quite different from one another, but use the same terminology. There are different ways to classify satanic groups according to how each group believes and behaves. Not every group performs satanic rituals, participates in satanic worship, reads theThe Satanic Bible, uses traditional Satanic symbols, or attends "the Church of Satan." (Note: These links also appear in the index below.)

First, not every form of Satanism professes a belief in gods or spirits. While some forms of Satanism believe in spiritual entities, others have a materialistic worldview, and in relation to faith and religion, they are atheists or agnostics. Satanic spiritualists on the other hand, contend that Satan is a god or a chief evil spirit and they pursue interaction with him and other evil spirits. In contrast, those Satanists who are professed atheists and agnostics see Satanism as a philosophical worldview manifesting in a particular lifestyle often characterized by questioning authority. The spiritualitsts are more likely to perform satanic rituals, while the non-spiritualists don't.

Second, satanic groups include a wide range of adherents. Some Satanists are teenagers who are dabbling in self-proclaimed diabolical groups and covens These young people practice Satanism recreationally and their activities often include fantasy role-playing games, heavy metal music with satanic lyrics, and drug use. Other Satanists belong to groups whose purpose is less recreational. This type of satanic order is often esoteric and regularly practices occult rituals. It's also populated by adults, not teenagers.

Third, satanic organizations have different purposes. Some are public, while others are private. Public groups are sometimes incorporated as non-profit religious organizations and can even have tax-exempt status in the United States. This subset of Satanism produces the most literature and is even recognized by the United States military. There are, however, private groups as well, which largely operate in secret.

The different expressions of Satanism

The following chart provides a starting point for understanding different satanic groups.



Spiritualists or Materialists

Known for Public or Private Literature
Beasts of Satan Mid-1990's in Italy spiritualists committing ritual murders from 1998-2004 in Italy private none
Church of Satan 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey
in San Francisco, California
materialists The Satanic Bible public The Satanic Bible (1969, Avon Books)
Dragon Rouge 1989 in Sweden spiritualists practicing occult arts and black magic private none
First Satanic Church 1999 by Karla LaVey in San Francisco, California materialists started by the daughter of Anton LeVay public none
Luciferianism 13th century spiritualists conflicted with Pope Gregory IX private none surviving
The Ophites circa 100 A.D. spiritualists worshipped the serpent of Genesis private made esoteric diagrams
Order of Nine Angles 1960's in England spiritualists affirmation of human sacrifice private Hysteron Proteron by Anton Long
Order of the Temple Late 1800's, early 1900's in Europe varies Aleister Crawley private Some Masonic writings
Our Lady of Endor 1948 by Herbert Arthur Sloane in Toledo, Ohio spiritualists Sloane believed Satan appeared to him as a horned-god when he was a child private Heavily influenced by The Gnostic Religion by Hans Jonas
Palladists 1737 In Paris, France spiritualists called a "Masonic Diabolical Order" in Lewis Spence's Encyclopedia of the Occult private none surviving
Temple of Set 1975 by Michael A. Aquino after a disagreement with the Church of Satan spiritualists Aquino was a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army public Jewelled Tablets of Set, The Crystal Tablet of Set
Typhonian Order late 19th century in the U.K. spiritualists Aleister Crowley led the group for a time public The Typhonian Trilogies by Kenneth Grant
The Yezidi antiquity, Central Asia spiritualists bird worship private unknown

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