Monday, July 21, 2008

OPHIDIAN SUITHEISM and SATANISM

Post-LaVeyan Satanic Primer

(The following piece was written in part and compiled by Octavius Raziel Masters, former council member of The Empire of Satan. Much of the information contained below was cooperatively written by the senior members of the Empire of Satan, now defunct.)

Introduction to Ophidian Suitheism

There are surely as many different forms of Satanism as there are Satanists. Most Satanists are mired in the LaVeyan theories laid out in the Satanic "Bible." The fact that these people claim to be so elite and superior while shackling themselves to a bible (for which they usually chide Abrahamic followers for doing the same) is hypocritical at best. If you challenge a LaVeyan Satanist with this fact they will more than likely take offense and spare no words in trying to reduce you to a simpleton they can once again leer over. This only illustrates the insecurity of most Satanists, and also explains why most abandon their beliefs and title before the age of 25 as they are unable or unwilling to challenge their beliefs...it's easier to simply abandon their time as a Satanist as "a phase I went through."

Challenging everything in life is a basic tenet of Satanism, and the most paramount. However, woe to the person who dares to challenge most Satanists. To approach everything with an agnostic point of view and engage in reasonable and respectable debate is the hallmark of Satanism; take nothing at face value, accept no singular truth without ample consideration, and be willing to accept change. The reason we call ourselves Satanists is because of the Christian archetype, Lucifer, who dared to question an absolute and infallible authority. It is in this act that we find our strength. However, as Satanists, we must be able to accept and embrace change as we learn and grow as humans. The pursuit of challenging our beliefs must be paramount if we are to take the seeds of Satanism and allow them to flourish into what can be a metaphysical eruption of possibilities. Those Satanists who do not have this ability are merely trading one set of infallible tenets for another. Thus far, the reason for choosing the title of "Satanist" in the majority of cases lies in the archetypal identification. However, it is important to note that most educated and intelligent Satanists will likely agree that the archetype is synonymous with Prometheus, Maui, Quetzalcoatl, Loki, Melek T’au, Maya, Mara, and countless other mythological figures throughout history and cultures...those who acted in humanity's best interests, or their own, instead of following a higher deity's selfish or jealous motives.

Over the past several years, there has been a movement within many satanic communities to move away from the dreaded "S" word and use other titles to describe their beliefs. While I am unaffiliated with any Satanic Organization, I consider myself primarily an Ophidian Suitheist, which is an esoteric and metaphysical expression of Modern Satanism based on some of Anton LaVey’s philosophies. However, the title is not important. It's the philosophy behind it that matters. To the adept “Satanist,” Satan himself is an unworthy symbol. Ophidian Suitheism is a termed coined by occultist David Michael Cunningham. No official church adheres to Ophidian Suitheistic philosophy, and it is not a registered religion in any country. Practitioners of Ophidian Suitheism are inherently solitary and an exact number of practitioners are not known.

There are countless other derivative forms of Satanism, most of which are diluted from Anton LaVey's philosophies or intentional Christian blasphemy. "Theistic Satanists," those that believe in and worship the Christian Devil, are not Satanists at all...merely heretical Christians. Such beliefs are steeped in negativity and pointless adversity. Satanism ideally should be based on personal development, not misdirected rage against another's faith. Satanism should be based on earned or justifiable respect, or at the very least, tolerance or indifference. Alas, there are too few of us who are able to truly focus inward without having to declare fault with everything else.


Criticism of the Official Church of Satan

Some 35 years since its inception by Magus Anton LaVey, the Official Church of Satan (CoS) is still using Coop illustrations and dusty photos from the 1960’s of festooned members mocking the Christian Church as propaganda. There have been countless criticisms of the CoS written over the years; mostly by outraged fundamentalist Christians labeling Satanists as baby killing serial rapists and murderers. Those claims, more commonly known as the “Satanic Panic,” have all been debunked by multiple Government investigations of the 1980’s and 90’s. However, there are still many people who view the Church of Satan as a credible threat to society. Dawn Perlmutter, Ph.D, Director and founder of the Institute for the Research of Organized & Ritual Violence, and developer of Symbolic Evidence Database of Gangs Cults and Terrorists (SEDGCAT), is single-handedly resurrecting the Satanic Panic for no other reason than to try and put down the philosophy and practice of Satanism.

Are we, as intelligent people, supposed to take the writings of Anton LaVey as our Gospel? Even by LaVey’s definition, we should certainly not. We should all strive to take the philosophies he expounded upon and use them as the first stepping-stones towards a higher understanding of our unique visions of society, philosophy, morality, and ourselves. While LaVey was many things in his life, he was first and foremost an eccentric carnival barker…the world was his carnival and he presented it in a very different light than most of “the herd” perceived it.

Anton’s death brought a schism to his Church, and it now lies in the hands of sycophants and charlatans bent on the continued perception of heretical Christianity. It’s apparent in the rituals of the Church, by the Satanic “priests” in their mocking attire, and their paradoxical rhetoric. Why isn’t the CoS continuing to build on Anton’s vision? Where are the books that should be coming from the Church helping to foster thought and fight the stagnancy it now rests in? Magus Peter Gilmore’s “Satanic Scriptures” are a weak collection of essays and articles collected from various Church newsletters. The Church’s publishing house, Purging Talon, is little more than a (albeit effective) means to tithe even more money out of church members with substandard “literature.”

Perhaps there is much more going on behind their veil of secrecy and silence. Perhaps I am not qualified to even ask these questions and criticize. However, it is clear that LaVey did not fear the public like his Church now does…answers may only come with approved membership and appropriate financial tithing.


Nine Points of Mastery

This is a meditation on the Ophidian Way; the necessary perspective one must have to enter into higher satanic understanding. The core tenets are the Nine Points of Mastery. These points are as follows:

1. For the individual, living ceases to exist upon the death of the Self. Therefore if the individual enjoys living, the most important thing for the individual is its own life--thus the god of the individual is the Self.

2. All actions are either productive or counterproductive according to the perception of the individual. Therefore good and evil do not exist but only in the mind of the individual.

3. A thing only has meaning if it is given meaning by the individual. Therefore the only meaning to life is what the individual bestows upon it.

4. The individual is free to decide whether to act or not to act. Therefore the destiny of the individual depends solely upon the individual.

5. Pain and strife are not necessary in order to teach or understand a truth or principle. Therefore there is no great purpose for human suffering.

6. All beliefs are the construction of fallible creatures. Therefore all beliefs must be questioned.

7. Faith is to believe that which has not been verified. Therefore no truth can be found through faith but only through reason.

8. The Self is partially the sum of all its experiences, its ego and identity--the body is merely a tool of the Self. Therefore immortality cannot be solely achieved through immortalizing the body but only through sustaining the Self till time indefinite.

9. The Self is the Center Point of Consciousness. Therefore all are paradoxically the creators of reality.*

*Evidence of the truth of the ninth statement is found within the writings of David Bohm, Michael Talbot, Amit Goswami, Stanislav Grof, Karl Pribram and others.

Seven Signs of Spiritual Slavery

The seven signs of spiritual slavery are used by the student as a reminder that spiritual systems lead nowhere. It shows the outsider the inferiority of their beliefs. In addition to the Nine Points of Mastery, the Ophidian Suitheist recognizes that these Seven Signs define the shackles of intellectual, metaphysical, and esoteric bondage. They are as follows:

1. You must believe that the source of the teachings is not a mere human being. Therefore you will believe that your thoughts, and those of other humans, are inferior and ultimately illusory.

2. You are given the threat of spiritual or physical punishment should you cease to follow the teachings. Therefore you will fear to look in places that may reveal other truths.

3. You are led to believe that human suffering is necessary for the eventual betterment of mankind. Therefore you can never dedicate the wholeness of your being to squelching human turmoil.

4. You are taught that your very nature is a transgression against "right". Therefore you will resist that which would bring you joy by authority of your nature.

5. You are led to believe that your salvation extends solely from the will of a particular supernatural force or entity. Therefore you will fear to resist its will and place yourself in subservience to it.

6. You are given the promise of immortality. Therefore in dreading death you will fear to question the teachings.

7. You must have unquestioning faith in the teachings. Therefore you will never know the truth of any other.


Eighteen Satanic Virtues

Eighteen Satanic Virtues give the Satanist a framework upon which to build their own divinity. While there are absolutes here, the virtues open the student up to ponder his or her own evolution by posing the question, "How have I lived today?" It is there that the Satanist will build upon the virtues and thereby build upon themselves.

Individuality <> Prudence
Loyalty <> Integrity
Courage <> Confidence
Responsibility <>Independence
Sacrifice <> Duty
Nobility <> Temperance
Excellence <> Perception
Discipline <> Perseverance
Humanity <> Creativity


Common Questions, Misconceptions, and Clarification

What is the difference between someone who worships Satan and a Satanist?

A Satan worshiper has modeled himself after the irrationality of theism. This type of person cannot detach himself from the idea that there is something that holds his destiny in its hands. The Satanist on the other hand, will exalt his rational mind to the highest degree and will proclaim himself the master of all he observes. He is circumspect in acknowledging that if something must be done it will be he alone that initiates its manifestation. Nevertheless, it is beyond this mentioning of taking responsibility for ones own life. The Satanist is a scientist in that he will never wholly claim something to be a fact unless it has been proven before him to be so. Blind belief is an attribute of the Right-Hand Path (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Wicca, etc.), it is easily observed to be its biggest weakness, and thus the Satanist avoids its seductive and numbing grasp. Even in the highly mistranslated book of Genesis, it was the Serpent who attempted to instill in humans the understanding that we too have the ability to be gods and goddesses somewhere within ourselves. We advise all of humanity to take caution when dealing with people who want to continue looking past the possibility of godhood and instead want to supplicate in front of false idols.


Do Satanists serve Satan?

No. Satanists do not hold a belief in the literal existence of Satan -- nor do we attempt to worship Him as an external amorphous or anthropomorphic entity. The Satanist worships himself in the Left-Hand Path tradition of Ophidian Suitheism, using various anti-hero archetypes as a useful means of aligning himself with certain magical streams of energy, which are prevalent in the Collective Unconscious of modern day society. The imagery of any incarnation of Satan is powerful, in that it can be used for the purpose of deterring the close-minded from any proverbial doorway or catapulting any magical working with the thrust of humanity's worst nightmares. The idea that Satan exists as a Jungian archetype--created only by mans belief in Him--is therefore effective in the practice of magic and thus this concept can [and is] entertained as well. Theistic thinking is incredibly flawed in that it requires a permanent suspension of the rational mind and therefore it has no place within the teachings of Satanism.

Note: Our conception of Satan is not limited to what is merely called "Satan". We see Him in many cultures as the anti-hero/liberator archetype of the region.


Why are Satanists so anti-Christian?

Historical records of the expansion of Christianity reveal hundreds upon hundreds of years of spiritual and violent oppression at the hands of the creators of a bloodthirsty, contradictory, and utterly maniacal god that was designed to enslave the masses. Ultimately, as Satanists, we try to ignore them as much as possible. On a personal level, the revolt took place the minute we took the title upon ourselves. Liberation is an ongoing process, and unlike the majority of the world's Christians, the Satanist does not trifle with evangelism for the purpose of converting as many people as possible (i.e., saving souls). Nor do we occupy our valuable time with deciding who is morally correct, or homogenizing the world we live in. The Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths have undoubtedly restricted humanity more so than any other phenomena, yet this has only tempered our resolve and determination to exceed. We, as Satanists, have chosen to wield wisdom as our weapon, instead of the flaming finger of "God." To hate a Christian just for his or her faith or beliefs could only be considered as righteous stupidity, and thus, no better than the mindset we oppose.


Is Satanism a religion?

The Satanic individual will at first emulate what he or she perceives as Satan. As a powerful archetype, emulation alone is capable in and of itself of nurturing individualism and personal strength. Rather than further promoting the categorizations of this already broad spectrum of almost unlimited personal choices, let it be known that the term "Satanism" generally applies to a philosophy, with little or no spiritual connotations. However, a Satanist can and frequently will be just as devout as any other religious devotee, the difference being the Satanic emphasis on determinism and will, rather than the self-inflicted tyranny of submission common in most strains of religious fever. Emulation is the most powerful method of learning, and the Satanist that makes it his or her life will ultimately become one's own deity, as this is the realization of the goal of Ophidian Suitheism. By the textbook definition of religion, Satanism does in fact qualify, simply by the fact that the individual will maintain a set of beliefs, values, and practices. The applied faith factor should be of no consequence, whether it should come from a mythological deity or not. The Higher Law the Satanist follows comes from within, and for this reason, Satanism is the most pure religion. After all, religion is mans search for meaning among other men, how to live, and how to love.


Do Satanists practice Black Magic?

Yes, and no. Given to common definition of Black or White Magic, existing public Satanic texts indeed teach "Black" Magic. However, we feel that making this ridiculous connotation is nothing more than symbolic. White Magic can be viewed as that which is cast for a purpose beyond self or selfishness. However, because all acts are irrefutably selfish, this definition is nonsensical. There is not one act that a human can commit that is selfless and therefore all magic is simply magic. To attempt to note a magician's Will as right or wrong, white or black, is primitive thinking. The Satanist moves beyond good and evil and simply defines each action as either productive or counterproductive according to his own desired ends. Classifying magic is a product of Right-Hand Path magicians who result to using childish color codes because they cannot divorce themselves from their limited beliefs -- unfortunately adopted from the guilt ridden religions which they have purportedly transcended.


Do Satanists practice animal or human sacrifice?

No. Those who practice magic that requires the slaughter of life are practicing the weakest kind of magic of all. It is a weak magician who thinks he needs to kill something to make his will manifest.


Does a person have to agree entirely with what is professed to define Satanism in order to call oneself a Satanist?

In being a religion based on rational thought, we invite anyone to prove us wrong. To do otherwise would be to silence potential truths and fall victim to the plight of the Right-Hand Path -- insofar as they demand blind acceptance of their doctrines. Demanding that anyone reprogram themselves with things that they have not proven to be a truth is to lock their mind in a prison. Unlike some religions, we will never say, "Do not question."


Is Satanism against homosexuality, bestiality, orgies, incest, or other sexual activities, which are considered immoral by the majority of society?

Satanism does not support any action that infringes upon another's freedoms, happiness or Will. Sexual activities are nothing more than a mass of physical movements that may be perceived as positive or negative depending solely upon the aesthetics and moral standards of those involved. Therefore, Satanism leaves it up to the participants to decide what is good and enjoyable for them. Satanism is not against homosexuality, open relationships, orgies, or any type of sexual activity between mature consenting people who know what they are getting into. If a person should be ignorant (because of their age for instance) of sexual activities, we feel it would be counterproductive to their healthy development for them to participate in it. Therefore, Satanism is completely against involving young children in sexual activities because they cannot fully comprehend the concept and potential consequences of sex.



What is Satanism's stance on drugs/illegal narcotics and consuming alcohol?

While opinions vary on mind-altering substances, Satanism does not advocate or promote any activity that blatantly destroys the human mind or body. We are aware that there is much disinformation concerning many currently illegal substances. However, we are positively against the compulsive use of anything that is produced to cause addiction or mind numbing effects within its users. Compulsive acts; acts based on addiction are counterproductive to human evolution. Addictive and brain-destroying chemicals are convenient tools for today's slave masters.


What is Satanism's stance on murder and other highly illegal crimes?

Satanism does not advocate that its adherents partake in acts that are considered illegal within the countries that they reside in. We do not agree with all laws in existence but neither does Satanism exist to influence people to break laws. A wise Satanist will work smoothly through the system that he opposes instead of violently against it.


Does Satanism support racism or sexism?

No. We believe on judging people on their own merits. We recognize that women and men are different and each gender tends to have its own intrinsic advantages and drawbacks and therefore they are not equal in the sense of being the same. No one person is exactly the same as any other, therefore people are only equal in that they should be equally given the chance to be judged on an individual basis.


Satanism and Children

Satanists do not indoctrinate children into Satanism. Children lack the basic skills to rationally and intellectually disseminate all the intricacies of issues like faith, religion, belief, morality, and many other metaphysical and esoteric concepts. Self-discipline, tolerance, independence, and respect are a few primary principals that children of satanic parents should instill. Children naturally have questions about the world they live in and the people they interact with. It is critical that the satanic parent answers their questions from an honest perspective, but also explain that there is never one specific answer to questions involving metaphysical, spiritual, and religious implications. Great care must be taken by the satanic parent in order to let the child develop his or her own truly individual beliefs.

“I want to see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as young people are to the cause of Islam. I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel…because we have the truth.”
- Becky Fischer, Pentacostal Children’s Minister


Conclusion

This piece only scrapes the surface of what Ophidian Suitheism can be. There is still so much to explore and boundaries to push. There is little information on communal Satanism and none on communal Ophidian Suitheism. There are cyclical rituals, life event rituals, ethics based on principal (not dogma), morality, and so much more that lies shrouded in individual minds…perhaps never to be chronicled or shared. The Left Hand Path does not invite its adherents. We create our own visions of existence and work hard to manifest our will to create our own physical reality. We wish harm to no one, but defend our right to believe in our own divinity.

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