What is Satanism?
What is Satanism? What is the Satanic Bible? What is the truth behind Satanic rituals and Satan worship? Is the focal point of Satanism "Satan" of the Hebrew and Christian Bible or someone different? These are examples of questions people have when they hear about Satanism.
It is helpful to know that terms like “Satanism,” "satanic," and even the name "Satan," encompasses a wide variety of ideological, philosophical, and theological beliefs. "Satanic" groups can be quite different from one another, but still use the same terminology.
There are different ways to classify satanic groups to help people understand 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."
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 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 that largely operate in secret.
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|