There's a certain something about occult documentaries made in the 1970s. Maybe it's the style -- the colours and tones are rich and vibrant and the wardrobe has a certain vintage feel that I love. Or maybe it's the content? Interviews with well-respected founders of contemporary traditions and footage of rituals conducted in spaces that I can only dream of visiting give me access to a time and place that no longer exists.The moods in these films shift back and forth from serious to slightly laughable; in one segment we get an honest and thoughtful sound bite from a well respected occult talking head, and in the next, a scene that is just a little too stereotypical; a naked woman grooving on an altar, middle aged English folk running skyclad in a circle, and lots and lots of black velvet attire. Read More
I was putting together a time-line for another essay when something occurred to me. Various religions that started as fringe have grown and expanded over the years, many becoming legitimate in the eyes of the mainstream (or at least, approaching legitimacy), but somewhere along the line we seem to have run out of steam.Early into the twentieth century Aleister Crowley received Liber AL vel Legis or The Book of the Law, the central text of Thelema, a new religion or spiritual technology (I'll leave it to those more invested to argue which description suits it best). Crowley joined the OTO and shortly afterwards assumed the role of the OHO, subsequently reworking its rites and rituals to integrate the principles of Thelema, effectively setting it up as a Thelemic organization, which it remains today.In the late 1950s Malaclypse the Younger and Omar K. Ravenhurst received a divine revelation from a chimpanzee in a bowling alley. There they learned of Our Lady of Chaos, Eris. The Goddess of Discord was alive and well and continues to merrily wreak havoc on mortals, who don't always seem to get the joke. Indeed, Kerry Thornley (Omar K. Ravenhurst) described it as a religion disguised as a joke disguised as a religion... Even so, Discordianism's still around and stronger than ever, even if it's not always taken as seriously as some of its more greyfaced adherents would like. Read More
For the past couple of years, I've had a Google Alert set for the word “Satanic.”I created it because I wanted to study how media use the word. Every day, news stories and links containing the word “Satanic” wend their way to my inbox. They range from articles about Salman Rushdie (all of which mention The Satanic Verses) to pieces about Toyota recalls, calling sticky gas pedals “Satanic.”However, many are articles about crime. Big, gory, violent crime, and petty graffiti depicting pentagrams and other symbols. Read More
This slight annoyance of being regularly asked by ‘fluffy Pagans’ if we are Satanists probably goes with the territory of being chaos magicians - at the very least we are supposed to eat a baby a week, it seems. The founder of Satanism, the late Anton LaVey, made the very pragmatic point that “stories of unbaptized babies being stolen by Satanists… were not only effective propaganda measures, but also provided a constant source of revenue for the Church, in the form of baptism fees. No Christian mother would, upon hearing of these diabolical kidnappings, refrain from getting her child properly baptized, post haste.” It’s all about the money, honey.We have also had dealings with several people who would fall under the stereotypical definition of ‘real nutjobs about Satan.’ These include one especially memorable person at an academic conference on alternative religion that we attended a while back. Read More
Where Do Demons Live?: Everything You Want to Know About Magic, by Frater U.'. D.'. Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738714790, 187 pp., 2010 In Where Do Demons Live? Frater U.'. D.'. assumes the persona of "Aunt Klara", an agony aunt for occultniks, delivering lectures on magickal combat, magickal musick, the models of magick (with a focus on the elusive cybernetic model) and answers questions about Freemasonry, witchcraft, the Golden Dawn, the OTO and Satanism.The result is many ways reminiscent of Aleister Crowley’s Magick Without Tears, in that it represents in a collection of brief essays on a wide variety of topics, though in a vein all his own. Much like Frater U.'. D.'.'s previous works (Practical Sigil Magic, Secrets of Western Sex Magic, High Magic I and II), the advice and recommendations given by Frater U.'.D.'.'s alter (altar?) ego are refreshingly direct and matter of fact. Read More
Far too long has the subject of Satanic magic and philosophy been written down by wild-eyed journalists of the right-hand path.While not a "wild-eyed journalist of the right-hand path" (whether defined in Tantric, Blavatskian or newage terms), I have, over the past few months, shared some rather amusing sensationalist news stories written by those who are. I thought it only fair to take the time to write a short piece on "real" Satanism and go beyond highlighting some of the more absurd stories that rise up out of the deep.This is a little tricky as Satanism is a broad term these days encompassing a variety of religions. There's "traditional" Satanism which does involve devil-worship and Luciferianism which (sometimes) runs along similar veins. However, there's also "modern" and LaVeyan Satanism which does not, as these Satanists are atheistic, holding the self in the highest position of reverence.For years I managed the website for the Satanic Read More
--Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible.