- For other uses of the word, see Satanism (disambiguation).
Generally, the word "Satanism" is used by scholars to describe several distinct spiritual practices and beliefs; the two most significant seem to be LaVeyan Satanism and Theistic Satanism. Ideas about Satan come from essentially these two sources. Careful use of the word Satanism, according to one website, refers to a "small religious group that is unrelated to any other faith, and whose members feel free to satisfy their urges responsibly, exhibit kindness to their friends, and attack their enemies.
LeVayan Satanism is largely based around the teachings and writings (such as The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals) of Anton Svandor LeVay, who founded the Church of Satan. An offshoot that claims to remain true to LeVay's legacy was founded by his daughter and is called the First Satanic Church.
Theistic SatanismTheistic Satanism, also called Spiritual Satanism, contains several groups. Some groups consider themselves to be the true Satanists while other groups see reality as subjective and view issues such as "true & false" as the folly of zealots.
Reverse ChristiansOne group that falls under the definition of Theistic Satanism are called "reverse Christians"; this is sometimes used as a disparaging term by other theistic Satanists, and embraced to a lesser or greater extent by the groups given this label. Groups called "Reverse Christian" are said to practice what Christians claim Satanists do, and worship what Christians consider to be the enemy of Christ and God, basing their concept of Satan somewhat on descriptions of him in the bible. Some other groups of theistic Satanists do not accept the bible as depicting the true Satan to the same degree, basing their concept of him on personal spiritual experience and prayer.
LuciferianismRecently developed is an offshoot of Satanism that keeps most of the tenets of Satanism, yet has more leniency to what is commonly referred to as a 'good' morality. Their view of Satan may incorporate some concepts from contemporary western religion, such as their sense of him as a father. One of these groups considers themselves to be 'Christian Satanists,' rejects the ideas of magic and rituals, and define themselves as being in the middle of LaVeyan Satanism and Christian teachings. This stance has led to their rejection from the Church of Satan.
Groups alleged to have practiced SatanismMany groups have been believed to have worshiped Satan, from pagans celebrating Pan to Yezidis worshiping Melek Taus. Most of Crowley's work shows he did not consider himself a black brother, and modern Thelemites such as the Ordo Templi Orientis do not consider themselves to be Satanists, but a fraternal Gnostic order with a structure that seeks to resembles freemasonry, with individuals themselves choosing whether to practice ceremonial magic.
Books on the history of Satanism
- Satanism and Witchcraft: The Classic Study of Medieval Superstition Considered the first modern work to discuss Satanism.
- The Black Arts: An Absorbing Account of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, and Other Mystical Practices Throughout the Ages Summary of the history of Witchcraft, Satanism, and Devil Worship in the last part of the book.
- The Satanic Cult Translated from the 1964 German edition by Christine Trollope
- Lure of the Sinister: The Unnatural History of Satanism
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