An epiphany is an appearance of the sacred, an experience to a person. An autophany is a profane, powerful and strong experience of the self as divine, immortal, sacred, untouchable and almost transcendental to the world. It is the experience of the self as God. As a religion that encourages us to experience the sacred in an autophanic and profane way, I here describe Satanism in terms of two faces. The first is Satan as the Limbic Demon of our Ancient Emotional Center, a bridge between our primitive self and our intellectualism. The second is Satan as a Social Demon of Dead Cultures, who utilizes symbolism from failed theologies and reuses them. This reuse of old emotional and social wreckage is representative of the way Satanists are self-empowering as opposed to pursuing guilt complexes. The use of our carnal side, and of dead/death symbols is therefore an instrument of autophany. In trance states1, these symbols assert themselves as representations of the self.
Materialistic and spiritual epiphanies are the same: They both have a fundamental cause that resides in biochemistry and cognitive psychology. Their source is our subconscious, our ancient and primitive brain. Satanism is a limbic2 religion: a holism that combines our primitive instincts with our intellectual minds. Satan represents Humanity as a whole. The carnal and the super-ego3 are combined and neither is rejected. Many other religious traditions reject part of Humanity... they reject our senses and become austerics and monacists, or they reject sexuality and become perverse, or they reject the ego and become deluded and hypocritical. Satan represents carnal man combined with intellectualism4. Our greatest Human Potential is realized through the utilisation of all of our nature and by turning primitive instincts to powerful use. By not denying our Human nature and developing the mature ways in which we need to deal with our emotional and physical needs, Satanism is Humanistic. This is the first face of Satan.
The second face of Satan is a consumer and regurgitator of useless demonic memes. These are ancient demons, satanic symbolism and demonized gods that we find in history. Past religions have had their gods demonized by newer religions, and newer religions have contributed to the rich symbolism of culture with their own interpretations of what evil is. Satanism takes these concepts and empowers the Satanic celebrant with them: The Satanist chooses from these ancient taboos and shunned symbols and finds the ones with which he resonates. The cause of this is rebellion, search for knowledge and the willful disregard for stifling religious tradition. Durkheim, the religious scholar, says that sacred things are "things set apart and forbidden". Nothing is set apart, for the Satanist. Everything is real and palpable, demonstratable or logical, or emotional and Machiavellian. Things are 'set apart' and made unquestionable by religionists because they know that if they are questioned, they will be torn apart by the truth. Sacred "truths" are scared of truth. "In his principal book, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912), Durkheim wrote that the crucial factor in the social functioning of religion was its division of the world into the sacred and the profane"5: In Satanism, everything is profane. It is a symbolic destruction of those religions, a symbolic resistance. Socially, the exaltation of these evil symbols causes unease amongst those who still believe in the religions in which the symbols are used to represent 'evil', this unease can only be reconciled with reality when the symbols are not taken so literally by the believer: I.e., when they become more relativistic or intellectual about such matters. Which is the aim.
In the Book of Lucifer 4 of The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey expands on the idea that old gods were demonized. "Whenever a nation comes under a new form of government, the heroes of the past become villains of the present. So it is with religion. The earliest Christians believed that the Pagan deities were devils"6. LaVey lists many examples of such entities, including concepts such as demons and devils and half animal beings that were all changed from a position of good into one of evil. Seventy seven of these Infernal Names are listed in The Satanic Bible.
“The semantic meaning of Satan is the "adversary" or "opposition" or the "accuser". The very word "devil" comes from the Indian devi which means "god". Satan represents opposition to all religions which serve to frustrate and condemn man for his natural instincts. He has been given an evil role simply because he represents the carnal, earthly, and mundane aspects of life.”
Satan allows us to bear the full power of our own nature to bear on the world. No part of ourselves goes repressed or made perverse through neglect or hate. The Limbic System, even its most ancient and primitive parts, are carnally accepted and reused. Where it is archaic, it is consciously re-expressed. Unlike many anti-Human moral systems, Satanism actively encourages healthier methods of self control than self denial: Our instincts cannot be suppressed, their expression can only be changed. The former is the pious way, the latter is the Human and healthy way. Socially, the old dark symbols are re-used and re-employed to their best affect in the same way as primitive emotions. Nothing is sacred.
This text appears in Rule Satannia Issue 2, this online version is cut down and shortened, the full version contains additional explanatory text.
By Vexen Crabtree 2003 Jan 05
(Last Modified: 2015 Sep 09)
Parent page: The Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism