Traditional Satanists are those Satanists who believe in Satan as a literal existent being, whether human, spirit, alien, or god. Sometimes Satan is viewed as a friend — a comrade, a fellow being which is an equal to be befriended just like any other person or being. Sometimes Satan is seen as an superior being, but not necessarily the most superior being, who should be respected for the power s/he has. Sometimes s/he is seen as the supreme creator of all things; sometimes s/he is seen as being all things, the divinity inherent in All. Regardless of what the traditional Satanist defines him/her as, the commonality therein is that Satan is a definable (if vaguely) external force which has an existence and usually consciousness in and of itself. This may or may not be an active consciousness, but is a consciousness of some sort.
Not all of these beings are seen as evil — in fact, most are not. Only a very slim minority of traditional Satanists actually claim to worship/follow/identify with the Christian concept of Satan as a being of absolute and pure evil. Most of these I’ve seen fit very closely into the “Manson-worshipping Gothic high school drop-out” stereotype. The majority of traditionalists, on the other hand, are rather bright people with well-thought-out philosophies.
Now for a run-down of some specific traditionalist groups:
The First Church of Satan
The First Church of Satan is a very evangelic organization. Lord Egan (the leader and most vocal of the FCoS) has repeated expressed ideas about Modern Satanists being “lost” and “ignorant,” needing to recognize the “grace of Satan” and become “saved.” Weekly sermons are offered in RealAudio from the Church’s website, as well as an HTML version of Satan’s Bible (not to be confused with The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey). The FCoS espouses the view that the so-called deities of the world, such as Jesus, Lucifer, Satan, Jehova, Ra, Isis, et al., are Daemons…beings which are more highly-evolved than ourselves, but who are still very much involved in what we would call a “human life,” as regards having passions, emotions, agendas, etc. They are a “further stage” in our evolutionary development, and some day (after many reincarnations of the spirit), those who are fit will become Daemons themselves.
- First Church of Satan Website
The Church of Lucifer
The Church of Lucifer apparently goes much further back than the First Church of Satan, and is still distinct from it. The Church of Lucifer has suffered a roller-coaster existence; once practically wiped out, it has since been revived with an apparent new “strength.” Nate Leved’s “Church Lucifer” and Children of the Black Rose are separate from the Church of Lucifer, and appear to be very well-organized and documented organizations of their own. Leved’s Church Lucifer has more or less allied itself with the First Church of Satan, although how far and deep this alliance goes, I don’t know. The Church of Lucifer has a moderately- to highly-aggressive / anti-“other religions” stance.
Children of the Black Rose
Notable of the Children of the Black Rose is their very organized and well-documented philosophy of self-enhancement and evolution, the eventual aim being personal perfection and achievement of a “personal heaven” in the Astral Realm along with Lucifer, the Father. Most of their materials seem to be of a psychological bent rather than of a spiritual; it is definitely worth a scan at very least. Most of the writings are accessible either through the website of the First Church of Satan, or of Leved’s own website(Satan’s Playground).
- Satan’s Playground
The Inner Circle Coven of Laiad
The Inner Circle Coven of Laiad is a feminine-based organization, which emphasizes magick and feminine energies through the personae of feminine deities such as Kali, Lilith, and Hecate. I cannot tell from their website if they truly believe these figures to be real and worship them accordingly, but it is apparent that they believe strongly in the energies of these divine figures and use this in their practices. Thus, I term them (at the moment) pseudo-Traditional, since it is not clear whether or not they are Symbolic or Traditional. Anyone who has been looking for a slant on feminine Satanism and feminine diabolical energies and entities would be well-advised to visit this site. It is graphics-intensive, and may take a while to load.
- Inner Circle Coven of Laiad
The Stella Tenebrarum
The Stella Tenebrarum is a Croatian group with a website available in English, German, and Croatian. They are a well-established group with a great deal of material on Traditional Satanism. Their website is graphics-intensive and sometimes difficult to read due to clashes between background colours and the text, but it is definitely rich in content.
- Stella Tenebrarum
Image credit: Thawt Hawthje