Why Satanists Aren’t Pagans

Definitions for Pagan:

a person who follows a polytheistic or pre-Christian religion (not a Christian or Muslim or Jew)
wordnet.princeton.edu

A generic term for a number of pre-Christian faiths – druids, witches. Pagan faith is linked to locality and to the Earth.
www.druidnetwork.org

While I think most people who read this blog probably already know the meaning of the word Pagan I thought the above definitions illustrated my main point in this article. That point being that a Satanist can not be a Pagan because Pagans (as can be seen above) are defined as being practitioners of pre-Christian religions.

Satan is a Christian figure – or an Abrahamic figure to be more technical. How then can people who follow a Christian figure belong within an umbrella that is specifically defined as pre-Christian?

The Luciferian Factor


Lucifer is also known as the Morning Star – Venus – a Goddess. Lucifer sounds like Lugh also. God of light anyone? Why not just be Pagan? At least then you can actually break out of the Christian mold.

My Thoughts

I’m not out to make enemies of Satanists. I have met some and they all seem like pretty decent folks. To each his/her own. I do, however, want to state my opinion on Satanism as I see it.

I have read up on the subject and I believe Anton LeVey himself admitted that the Church of Satan was set up as a publicity stunt. He wanted to be famous and so he figured causing a stir among the straights would be a way to get it. Yay for him. He literally became a pop-guru in his time. Rocking the boat of the establishment is usually a good thing, but in my opinion this makes Satanism more of an elaborate joke as opposed to a religion.

The Black Mass is intended to be the opposite of a Catholic Mass. This sounds like some teenagers just trying to do exactly what Mommy and Daddy told them not to. Dad says you can’t date that boy so you sneak out down the lattice work to do it anyway. You rebel!

I don’t think Satanists should be thought of as Pagans or call themselves Pagans. I have no problem with misfits sticking with misfits – as in both Pagans and Satanists working towards religious freedom, etc – but there should be a clear distinction between the two groups.

Got some thoughts? Want to argue my points? I love a good conversation. Hit the comments links below to start one.

19 comments:

  1. We had a similar conversation to this over at SAPRA the other day.

    We had an enquiry from a Satanist as to whether we represented Satanists as well, or not.

    The question was put to the executive and it was an interesting one.
    While I fully agree that Satan is not an Old God, I think there are some soi-disant Satanists around who readily identify with the older interpretations of this archetype.
    Diane Vera is one, if I recall correctly-she's got a ton of stuff on the net, somewhere.

    In the end, I was one of two who reckoned we should be representing Satanists if they self identified as Pagan as well, but not otherwise.
    The thing is, most Satanists are so pissy that they'd die rather than have a lobby group to look after their interests.
    I quite like them.
    Love,
    Terri in Joburg

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  2. I like my fair share of Satanists too. I can honestly say I've had more trouble with the Pagans in my community than the Satanists. The ones I know are really cool people.

    About Satanists self identifying as Pagans - do they use the "older" definition or the new ones?

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  3. Well, Diane Vera seems to identify Satan as a preChristian diety.

    See her summary of beliefs page, an interesting read.

    Love,
    Terri in Joburg

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  4. I read through it and didn't see where she considers Satan to be pre-Christian. She seems to take on some pre-Christian polytheism but all of her references regarding Satan come from the Old and New Testaments. Cool article though! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. You'll get no disagreements from me. Though I do wonder how we deal with groups like the Temple of Set, who consider themselves Satanists, but claim that the "Satan" they weorship is really a pre-Christian deity (like the Egyptian Set).

    Of course, the CoS would quickly tell you that members of the ToS aren't "true Satanists" anyway. So if you believe the CoS, the problem's solved. ;)

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  6. hmmm... I don't get that. If it's Set then why not be a Setist - or something? Why does it have to be Satan? The whole thing confuses me a little but I'm willing to learn. :)

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  7. Those are fair questions. Unfortunately, they're not ones I can answer. I've already exhausted my knowledge on the subject in my previous comment. The only reason I even know about the ToS was because I ran across them when I was studying LaVey and the CoS back when they fascinated me.

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  8. Well you have given me something to look into now. I love a good challenge and figuring out this whole Satanism business just might be my new one. Thanks Jarred.

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  9. I don't know-I thought I'd heard ToS members refer to themselves as 'Setians', but I can't prove it just now.
    Love,
    Terri in Joburg

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  10. That would make more sense Terri. Let us know if you find more info on that. Hugs!

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  11. Hi Lee,

    I found a couple of instances where the Temple of Set refers 'Setians' in passing as a plural noun for their membership.

    One is in an article by Lilith Aquino

    and the other on Wikipedia

    There's loads more places-it's not uncommon apparently.

    Love,
    Terri in Joburg

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  12. Thanks Terri. That makes so much more sense. :) Much Love!

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  13. I have general issues with many labels that different pagans have chosen for themselves. Satanists are poking at Christians, almost like daring them to challenge them. They are going for the shock factor.

    But, in my opinion, so do "regular" pagans tweak the nose of Christianity when they use the label of "Witch". All of the Reclaiming efforts are an enormous waste of energy, in my opinion. Satanists are doing the same thing - taking a word with a very negative history and equally negative modern connotation and using it for something else.

    Calling a rose a skunk doesn't do the rose any favors.

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  14. Wynyfryd, well said. I honestly couldn't agree more, but couldn't have worded it so well. Thanks!

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  15. There are many kinds of Satanists, and for many of us, Satanism is not an inverted form of Christianity. Indeed, Satanists whom I know tend to ignore Christianity altogether, rejecting it AND it's image of Satan=evil=devil=damnation which even Pagans have bought into. We do not have Black Masses or defile consecrated hosts or burn churches and have human sacrifices.

    For example, I am a Gnostic Satanist. I believe that Yahweh is the demiurge, a diluded, jealous God which thinks himself to be the one and only God and who demands obedience and administers punishment. I equate in some way, Satan with Lucifer, and believe them to represent rebellion against the demiurge and reconnection with "true" deity through light and gnosis. True deity for me has many faces, thus I have no problem embracing Gods and Goddesses from antiquity. I consider myself to be a Pagan in this sense. I do not present myself as being a "reconstructionist" or follower of some ancient, lost tradition. I also do not believe that only pre-Christian religions are "pure" or contain truths. I find these in Christianity

    It's odd to me that many modern Pagans have no problem rejecting much of Christianity, but still accept the Christian definition of "Satan" as being the only one. The Christian Satan is more than the Old Testament angel whom Yahweh sent a-smiting. The Christian Satan evolved, gradually absorbing elements of many horned/fertility Gods in an effort by the Church to discredit them.

    It is this Satan who is a Christian invention. Christians also RE-invented Apollo and Diana and Isis and others, yet modern Pagansm knowing this, still embrace these ancient deities whom the Church says are evil. Why then have opposition to those who cast Satan in a new light and call themselves Pagans as well? Again, I do not connect Satan directly with ancient Pagan religions. I accept him though as a real entity who embodies aspects of ancient deities, and embrace Gnosticism, which by the way, originated in late Pagan antiquity before Christians embraced it.

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  16. I reject Satan specifically because I believe the concept is a Christian one which is only a demonization of the Horned God and Venus. I do not believe in Satan as anything more than a myth to scare little Christian children into being good little sheep. And I find any attempt to "reclaim" the image of Satan as fruitless and pointless. Please excuse my candor. It is not meant to be offensive - only honest.

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  17. Satan is not just a christian concept. In spiritual Satanism, he is the pagan creator god based on many of the pagan gods before. Satan in the bible was taken from other gods in order to drive home that paganism was "evil".

    We worship the god and goddess and celebrate nature. Spiritual Satanism is sometimes called "true paganism" meaning it is based off of all pagan faiths before it.

    I mean no insult to anyone, I am just telling you the truth. You don't seem to know much about Spiritual Satanism, so don't try and teach others about.

    Spiritual Satanists are pagans.

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  18. And why use the word "Pagan" at all? The word Pagan was an insult to the indigenous religious peoples applied to them by CHRISTIANS! It was the Christian equivalent of 'gentile' in Judaism. So anyone claiming the title of 'Pagan' in the first place while shooting down Satanism is actually shooting themselves in the foot.

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  19. We need to look to the past. The church(catholic) used and image to depict their idea of what was evil.
    Of course it had to be such as "the Lord of the Hunt"; since he had antlers. We also need to remember people were very superstitious back then. We can hope that is has changed to some degree since then.

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