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The Black Mass
Ritualised Sexual Magic
Notes & Reference
The aim of this dissertation is to focus upon some of the ritual magical aspects of modern Satanism without recourse to the sensationalism that is only too evident when Satanism is misunderstood. It is only when one steps aside from one's preconceptions and morality that Satanism can be understood in a clear and balanced light.
There has been in the past a tendency to approach Satanism with a deliberately ignorant misunderstanding, where Satanism is only, and definitively understood as being a cult phenomenon for the paedophile, sadist or teenage rebel. Yet throughout the history of Satanism, which has its roots in pre-christian cults, there has been a number of individuals who have sought, through a magical process of alchemy to change themselves through both ritualistic and non-ritualistic processes. These individuals have continually questioned that which is commonly accepted, as Magdalene Graham says in an article entitled 'Re-Defining Satanism.' (Dark Lily. 1989). 'We want to know. Those four words summarise the Satanic quest.'(1)
Yet again and again there arises the sensationalist articles in the press and the literary spheres promoting Satanism as a mindless cult of sex, drugs, murder and torture all practiced hedonistically for the sole pleasure or ego-gratification of the Satanists. In an attempt to redress the imbalance I have therefore focused upon five different areas that are particularly relevant within the context of Satanism as a whole. These areas are also most relevant when attempting to counter the false claims made by both the media and the church concerning the activity of Satanists and it is the media and the church that, according to Satanic adherents, hold the masses in a strangle-hold of repressive and unnatural morality and slave-like consciousness.
Satanism is therefore suggested to offer freedom, true freedom of thought, rather than artificial freedoms that are offered by political or religious systems. Satanism deals with the here and now, with reality as it is. Satanism accepts the inequality of people, of sexes and of races. It accepts the necessity of disease, famine and death. Take away such things and mankind creates a dangerous imbalance in nature and it is in nature that Satanism is firmly grounded.
However, in order to return
to a natural way of living, certain practices are deemed useful in order
to free the individuals contaminated psyche from the education of a society
and civilization racked with guilt, repression and taboo. One may ask whether
society in the latter half of the twentieth century is really as oppressive
as the Satanist makes out. In answer to this the Satanist may cite many
examples of political policy that encroach upon individual liberty. The
predominance in equal rights - for sex and race - practically forced
upon the inhabitants of western society. The continual repression and taboo
concerning minority sexual groups, be they for example sado-masochistic,
transvestite or homosexual. The forbidding of an individuals
right to kill in self defence and the maintenance of the laws against euthanasia are all examples of the (generally unconscious) influence of society upon the individual. It is for these reasons and many more besides that the Satanist seeks to find liberation by utilising ritual procedures which also, if effective enough, release large amounts of psychical energy which can then be directed towards specific goals be they external or internal of the practitioner.
Magic in this context is
defined in two ways, largely dependant upon the way the word is spelt.
Traditionally magic has been spelt 'magic', the definition of which is
generally understood to mean causing changes in the world or the individual's
consciousness in accordance with the individuals will using psychical or
occult forces. The second spelling of magic adds a 'k'
to the end of the word, thus 'magick.' This spelling dates back to the writings of Aleister Crowley's system of magick - itself based upon older qabalistic and eastern magical traditions. Crowley added the letter 'k' in order to differentiate between his own brand of sex magick and other non-sexual forms of magic. In this essay I have however used both forms of the word, in relation to how the relevant Satanic group spells the word.
During the 13th century a secret religious society known as the Luciferans was discovered operating in Germany. The Luciferans believed that Lucifer had been wrongly cast out of heaven but that one day he and his worshippers would resume their rightful place in heaven. During the investigation that ensued, the Roman church also discovered an initiation ritual which some of the Luciferians confessed to under the threat of death. According to their confessions the new initiate was required to kiss the behind of a toad, after which he was approached by 'a man with black eyes who was pale, emaciated and icy cold.'(2) The man, most likely representing the devil himself, was kissed by the initiate who then instantaneously lost his Catholic faith. After this a feast was held and 'a large black cat appeared, emerging from a statue which was always present.'(3) Again the members present would kiss the cats behind and then the ritual was concluded with an orgy.
Some of the more sensationalist
accounts of Satanic Initiations have added to the early Satanic tradition
mentioned above as also including the ritual slaughter of a virgin, usually
female, or of a baby or young child and the drinking of a concoction of
urine, sperm and/or vaginal fluid and blood whilst the participants blasphemed
against God and Jesus Christ. From a moral perspective there is little,
or often, no attempt to apologise for such cases from any Satanic quarter.
Here one comes across the Satanic morality, or amorality where what is
traditionally accepted by society is not by Satanism. It is by going against
the accepted norm that the Satanist finds the freedom within, by going
to extremes of emotion, thought and action the Satanist can
find a balance between them, one that is based, not on rhetoric, but on both personal experience and premeditated action. So whilst society has attempted to imbue its members with moral constraints which are often portrayed as being permanent and absolute, Satanists see themselves as tending towards a more honest approach, developed from conscious experience, where morality is considered as being both temporal and relative. It is obvious from this perspective that Satanic morality is both offensive and dangerous and here then lies another barrier for the Satanic Initiate, for he or she must face and question his or her own morality.
The concept of initiation originates in a non-Satanic religious source where initiation is held to be a symbolic transition from one stage to another. The differences occur in the use of symbolism and of dieties. Thus in some examples of a Satanic initiation the neophyte may undergo a ritual coupling with a Temple Priest or Priestess. This coupling is a symbolic union of Satan and his bride Baphomet. Thus if the neophyte is female, then a Priest, representing Satan will couple with her, or if the neophyte is male a Priestess, representing Baphomet, will couple with him. The obvious exception is if the neophyte is gay and then he or she must seek out a relevant Sapphic or Uranian Temple. The individual to be initiated may also undergo tests - both during and previous to the initiation ritual - and may be subjected to both humiliation and pain. Humiliation may take the form of being stripped naked and bound before the Temple into which the neophyte is seeking initiation. The symbology here is of a stripping of personality, wherein the individual is no longer protected by his or her personality as symbolised by his or her clothing and is instead bared to all devoid of any societal position or power that he or she may have. Adding to this feeling of nakedness, which is enhanced by the unfamiliarity of the Temple and its members, the neophyte may also be subjected to a ritual scourging representative of the neophytes worthlessness, uncleanliness and weakness.
The necessary prequisite
to undergo such a Satanic initiation begins simply with the feeling 'that
there is more to life than the normal round of work and pleasure.'(4) It
is from this perspective that the individual may seek and join a Satanic
Temple or Tradition, yet this will usually only occur if the individual
is to some extent free from the manipulations of society and its adherent
morality as mentioned earlier. Once the ritual initiation has been completed
there then begins a process of psychological change. To a large extent
this change is simply a development of conscious awareness of one's actions,
thoughts and feelings. The individual, having successfully passed through
the first stage of initiation, as symbolised by the initiation ritual,
must then undergo such further development and it is this development that is reflective of a true initiation, not simply Satanic but of any religious, occult or mystical path. It is therefore unfortunate that great emphasis is placed upon the external form of initiation together with the exaggerated interpretations of blasphemy, sacrifice and sexual depravity whilst little emphasis is placed upon an understanding of the internal form of initiation.
This internal initiation
has also been likened to the process of rebirth. Yet this rebirth is an
internal one, which is not simply reduceable to a change of mind but also
involves the development of the astral body and, dependant upon which tradition
the initiate belongs to, later on of the mental and divine bodies. With
some ritual initiations, if they are powerful enough, the astral body of
the neophyte may become so strong that the individual will have a spontaneous
out of body experience. Yet in order for the astral body(5) to be fully
developed a long process of inner work must begin and this may take the
form of self study. Here the premise Know Thyself is of the utmost importance
where the initiate studies his or her reactions to all his or her
experiences. Thus he/she will slowly become aware of patterns of thought or emotion that he/she follows during a specific event, or events. This conscious awareness establishes that the individual usually reacts in a set way to set occurrences. By being aware of this the individual is then advised to cease reacting and thereby begin to control his or her psychological processes.
Whilst this method is most
notably advanced by the Society of Dark Lily, there are a number of Satanic
groups that also promote the idea of conscious awareness, which is eventually
followed by conscious control of one's actions. Another interesting concept
that is connected to the role of the initiate is that the individual, once
initiation is complete has become a part of a larger timeless tradition.
This concept is mainly found in Traditional Satanic groups such as the
Order of Nine Angles. Initiation, whilst essentially being individual,
that is, focusing upon the individuality of the new initiate which will
therefore determine specific events that he or she may undergo, means that
the individual will, by virtue of his or her initiation, add to the larger
Sinister Tradition of which he/she is now a member. Examples of this role
are found in the development of new ways to
manifest the sinister energy of the Tradition. Art, music, philosophy, politics and literature are all examples of this creative expression that the new initiate is eventually expected to develop further, a development that should essentially imbue within the creation the energy of the Dark Gods themselves.
The Black Mass
The most infamous Satanic ritual is the rite known as the Black Mass. The development of the Black Mass is not, as some authors have understood it, a recent development, but one that has occurred over a period of 1200 years and its origin, far from lying in an established Satanic tradition, lies within the rituals and ceremonies of the early Christian church.
The Mass of the Dead is considered by some(6) to be the originator of the Black Mass and, although considerably different from the modern versions of the Black Mass, it's sole function was to procure the death of a person. This variation of the early Christian Mass was performed by a Christian priest accompanied by a female server, with whom he had copulated prior to the ritual. The Mass took place in a disused church, water from a well in which an unbaptized child had drowned replaced wine and a black triangular host was duly consecrated.
The progression from the Mass of the Dead into the modern Black Mass took a new turn when it was linked to the medieval witches sabbath. Accordingly the inclusion of a horned figure who presided over the ceremony and who came to be associated with the Hebraic scape-goat came to be one of the central aspects of the Black Mass. The orgy was also then included, something that was most likely derived from the rites of the Bacchanalia or Dionysiac cults of ancient Rome and Greece, of which shall be spoken presently.
In his book The Black Arts (Pan Books Ltd. 1967.), Richard Cavendish outlines the proceedings of the witches sabbath. Commencing with the witches paying homage to the Devil. The witches would light a fire whilst the Devil was seated upon a throne in the form of either a goat, representing Satan himself, or a dog, which may have been connected with the dark Goddess - the dog being one of the sacred animals of Hekate - rather than with Satan himself. The witches would then approach and adore the Devil, though their approach would be in a manner foreign to normal men, such as walking crab-like or with their backs turned to him. After this 'came the offering of the candles to the Devil and the obscene kiss.'(7) where the witch kisses the Devils behind. Following the obscene kiss, initiation, baptism or marriage would occur followed by the feast and the orgy which concluded the witches sabbath.
The inclusion of a feast and an orgy at the end of the witches sabbath is very much reminiscent of the Bacchanalia that existed during the times of the Roman empire. The Bacchanalia was originally a secret sorority that eventually initiated men into its cult. Its members, who were said to indulge licentiously in their passions, were also alleged to have been responsible for a number of deaths, performed in secret caves, and defilements of its male members who refused to take the oath of the cult or to commit specific vices. When the cult was finally repressed by the authorities there was estimated to be some 7000 men and women who were members, many of whom were arrested and imprisoned whilst their meeting places were destroyed and the Bacchanalia were prohibited throughout Rome. The similarity between the Bacchanalia, the witches sabbath and the Black Mass are therefore fairly evident.
In modern times there are numerous versions of this ritual used by different Satanic groups. The Black Mass contained within the Church of Satan's 'The Satanic Rituals' (Avon Books. 1972) is based upon a combination of the rite used by the Societe de Luciferiens, a French Satanic society that operated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the fictional work of J.K. Huysmans entitled La Bas. Explained as a psychodrama that elevates the 'concepts of Satanism to a noble and rational degree,'(8) the Black Mass is considered to free the individual from the constraints that have been acquired - both consciously and unconsciously - from past indoctrination and stigma. The actual ritual as laid out in the Satanic Rituals consists of a priest, who acts as the main celebrant, accompanied by two assistants, being referred to as the deacon and the subdeacon respectively, a nun adorned in habit and wimple and a naked female who serves as the altar and a congregation. The ritual begins with an invocation to the Prince of Darkness and his host of demons, followed by a renunciation of past allegiances and a dedication to Satan-Lucifer. The ritual progresses through the Satanic Offertory, Canon and consecration of the host. The Mass is completed with the recital of the fifth Enochian Key and the Repudiation and Denunciation, whereby the power and divinity of Christ is denied and the power of Satan is invoked to cause vengeance to Christ and his host of angels. After this has been said the rite is concluded with the wafer which, having been consecrated by insertion into the vagina of the female altar, is then cast to the floor and trodden upon. The participants drink from the chalice and the ritual is then officially declared completed.
The Order of Nine Angles
offer a similar though different tradition concerning the Black Mass. Whilst
in the Church of Satan's Black Mass, the naked female takes the place of
the altar, the Black Mass of the Order of Nine Angles stipulates that it
is a naked male who serves as the altar. Three further participants and
a congregation complete the number of celebrants. As
opposed to the accepted understanding of a Black Mass where the participants are all adorned in black robes, the three leading participants wear white (Priestess), scarlet (Mistress of the Earth) and Purple (Master of the Temple) and whilst the Church of Satan exclude the sexual element that seems to have been prevalent in many of the previous versions of the Black Mass, the Order of Nine Angles have included two specifically sexual elements, the first being the masturbation of the Priest by the Priestess, who then ejaculates over the host, which is duly trampled upon by the congregation and the inclusion of an orgy at the end of the ritual.
The usefulness of the Black Mass has a number of different features. Its first and most universal function within Satanic orders is that it is a powerful ritual of psychic release, a catharsis that enables its participants to free themselves from the conscious and unconscious influences of the prevailing authority of the Christian church. By inverting or altering the texts and ritualistic procedure of the Christian Mass, the participants of the Black Mass effectively tap into and alter their own, often unconscious, feelings and thoughts that pertain to the Christian world-view. From such a perspective the theory that Satanists who perform the Black Mass hold the Christian world-view as their own becomes a fallacy. For the Satanist is trying to free him or herself from the Christian world-view in virtue of his or her performance of the Black Mass. For example, in the Order of Nine Angles version of the Black Mass the Christian 'Our Father' is replaced by the 'Satanic Our Father' thus:
'Our Father which wert in heaven hallowed be thy name
In heaven as it is on Earth. Give us this day our ecstasy
And deliver us to evil as well as well as temptation
For we are your kingdom for aeons and aeons.'(9)
Whilst this seems to be the central function of the Black Mass, the Order of Nine Angles also state that if the ritual is performed correctly the energy so raised may be directed by the chief celebrants according to their wills. From this perspective the Black Mass can effectively live up to its seventh century predecessor The Mass of the Dead and cause the death of an opponent or adversary.
The importance of the Black Mass in modern Satanism therefore has a number of purposes and even though some groups - such as the Society of Dark Lily - regard its cathartic use as something of the past, such catharsis being performed intellectually - it still remains one of the most potent and blasphemous rites of Black Magic.
One form of modern blasphemy
is the Mass of Heresy of the Order of Nine Angles. The theory behind this
Mass is based upon the assumption that Christianity has produced an effect
not only on the magical or psychic level of human life but also on the
sociological level. This social aspect of Christianity is considered to
be manifest mainly in the political forms of Communism and liberalism.
The concept of equality of races and sexes, the goal of eternal peace and
the upholding of Jewish state from which Christianity is assured a firm
foundation in its Holy birthplace, all amount to a Holy Crusade according
to Satanists. The need for a new form of the Black Mass, one that frees
the psyche of the protagonists from the unconscious influences of liberalism
and equality is one that has been answered in the form of the Mass of Heresy.
Whilst this Mass negates equality it upholds and positively identifies
with the positive aspects of National Socialism. Thus the individual pronounces
that he/she believes in the inequality of races and the divine status of
Adolf Hitler, who is perceived as being god-like, a saviour of the Aryan
race. The Holocaust is denied and the Swastika and Mein Kampf are focal
points for the ritual, Mein Kampf replacing the Black Book of Satan which
is used in the Black Mass and other traditional forms of Satanic Ritual.
To many individuals such
a ritual appears to be pointless and unnecessary. The holocaust is proven
and therefore such a ritual seeks to deny the truth. Yet such reasoning
only strengthens the Satanists' case. Nazi Germany has become a scapegoat
for the projection of the Jungian Shadow(10) according to some Satanists'.
In the case of the defence even Simon Wiesenthal
has openly defended the view that not all camp guards were brutal and cruel sadists, rather only 10%, a fraction of what many would have one believe. The key then to the use of rites such as the Mass of Heresy is to free the psyche from prejudice, in relation to this a member of the Order of Nine Angles says 'individuals who participate in genuine Satanic Masses sometimes experience a kind of 'satori' - or sudden enlightenment - and are thus led to an increase in their consciousness as well as an enhanced vitality because they have broken free of constraining opposites.'(11) Yet probably the best example to show the blasphemous nature of the Mass of Heresy is that in some countries individuals who perform it may be liable to prosecution and imprisonment.
Ritualised Sexual Magic
'If Sex Magick is the most
popular subject within Occultism this merely proves that it is also the
most misunderstood.'(12) This introduction to the subject of ritualised
Sexual Magic by the Society of Dark Lily, indicates how some Satanists
view sex. This view is also true of the Order of Nine Angles, who place
Sexual Magic in a rational position amongst other forms
of Ritual Magic.
From these examples alone the true use of sex cannot simply be reduced to the uncontrolled indulgence of the Satanist. To the Satanist sex is a powerful force, a force that is to be respected not misused, after all it is through sex that a being is born and this by itself indicates the vast amount of power that sex beholds to the Satanist. Sexuality in Satanism then is not simply reducible to sado-masochism, rape, child-abuse or sexual torture, such observations reflect a psychological problem within the opposers of Satanism rather than the Satanists themselves. For the Satanists say that it is the Christian religion that has disrespected the most important act of the animal kingdom by reducing it to a sinful act.
In Satanism a number of different approaches to sex are taken and whilst groups such as the Order of Nine Angles include numerous sexual elements in their rituals, including orgies, other groups such as the Society of Dark Lily view sex as an important aspect of self-knowledge. From this perspective the Satanist should understand and accept his or her sexuality, an understanding which requires 'a complete comprehension of one's attitude and behaviour in relation to [one's] sexuality...'(13) By experimenting with one's own sexuality one should eventually find the mode of sexual expression that he or she is best suited to and it is only by such sexual experimentation that this can be found.
An anonymous article in the Society's journal 'Dark Lily' entitled 'Sex and the Occult' (Dark Lily 10) refers to the practical use of sex in the context of accessing the participants' subconscious mind. The author of this article goes on to say that by performing a sexual ritual the participants are able to access their own subconscious mind far quicker than is possible in other circumstances such as prolonged meditation. Such methods of sexual magic, when performed under a ritualistic setting provide the participants with a focus for the conscious mind, which then enables the more advanced of the two participants to raise the level of contact to the psychological rather than the purely physical. Under such methods 'the work of many weeks can be compressed into days or hours.'(14) The transference from the physical to the psychological is a method whereby the energy raised may be directed within the psyche and used to balance and cleanse the individual psychologically, where the destruction of specific aspects of the individual's psyche are necessary for further development to be made. The use of sex is considered then, not to be - as the Order of Nine Angles perceive it - drawing forth energy, but rather in the speed that the changes in consciousness are made and in the creation of balance and the restoration of health.
Even though both the Society
of Dark Lily and the Order of Nine Angles differ in their conceptual approach
to ritualistic sexual magic the Order of Nine Angles Rite of Nine Angles
provides a prime example of a method of ritualistic Sexual Magic. The sexual
nature of the rite may be performed in two ways. Firstly, a Priest and
Priestess perform the ritual naked upon an
isolated hilltop. The rite itself involves the use of the Sound Magick technique known as vibration, which involves the Priest
projecting, in syllables the following words of power: "Nythra Kthunae Atazoth." Thus the syllable "Ny" is sounded for a period of between ten and twenty seconds, then "thra" is sounded for the same period of time and so on. Such methods of Sound Magic enable the participants to activate hitherto unknown areas of their minds and cause changes in consciousness as though
inducing a semi trance-like state. The Priest therefore vibrates these words in the direction of the Priestess who holds a quartz crystal tetrahedron in her palms. After this vibration has been completed, the Priestess lies on the ground, still holding the crystal whilst the Priest performs cunnilingus. When the Priestess is suitably aroused the Priest then begins copulation, during which the Priestess visualises a gateway situated in the stars above them opening and a black nebulous chaos flowing downwards to the earth.
The second form of the Rite
of Nine Angles, known as the Cthonic form, is performed with the addition
of a congregation who hold an orgy after the rite whilst the Priest and
Priestess vibrate specific words of power and trained cantors chant a particularly
difficult and elaborate Sinister Chant. The energy from the orgy is used
to enhance the presencing of the Dark Gods who are then said to
manifest. The changes of consciousness that may occur through such a rite
can be equated on one level with the creation of the Antichrist, that is,
the Satanist who absorbs the power brought forth through the ritual becomes
akin to the Antichrist, an individual who embodies the power of the Dark
Gods of the Sinister Tradition. Such an individual is considered to be,
on a psychic level, a gateway to the abode of the Dark Gods.
The role of the orgy within Satanism has two main functions. Firstly it provides a release of any sexual repression, be it conscious or unconscious, that has been acquired during and prior to the individual's puberty. This period of sexual development has largely been corrupted, according to Satanists, by the rise of Christian morality concerning sexuality. By virtue of this repression during the most important period of sexual development, Christianity has distorted numerous psyches with an un-insightful advocation of celibacy that does not lead one to self-knowledge but to psychical disorder. This repression is therefore inevitably sublimated in numerous ways. Accordingly some individuals may sublimate the sexual energy in such a manner that they orientate towards sexual criminality.
The role of the Satanic orgy is therefore to indulge and delight in sexual congress in whatever manner the individual desires. The orgy takes place, according to the tradition of the Order of Nine Angles, after an external magical ritual, the Black Mass being one of the more common. The second function of sex within the orgiastic sphere is that concerning the direction of the energies raised through unrestrained sexual indulgence. With the inclusion of an orgiastic element within Traditional Satanic rites, the energy that the ritual would have produced is naturally expanded to include the sexual energy which is then directed towards a specific intent according to the preset aims of the Master and Mistress of the Temple. An alternative method is for the energy to be stored in a crystal for use at a later date.
Although the above are the
balanced expressions of ritualistic sexual magic, there are cases where
some Satanists utilise aspects of sexuality that are considered abhorrent,
evil and that are unlawful. Yet, although there are cases whereby women
initiates may become the so-called victim, there is no evidence whatsoever
that paedophilia is occurring within Satanism and
even though there have been numerous allegations from the media connecting Satanism to child-abuse, the only cases of ritual child abuse that have been successfully prosecuted in court are those that find the paedophile to be a Christian minister or Priest.
Central to Satanic magic is the concept of the Abyss. The word Abyss comes from the Greek word abussos meaning bottomless [a-, not + bussos,bottom]. In reference to Satanic magic however it is considered to have a number of different meanings which are used by different groups.
Firstly the abyss is more commonly understood as being a reference to the Satanic underworld wherein Satan and his demonic army reside. This interpretation largely stems from Christian sources, most especially Revelations in the New Testament: 'And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven fallen unto the earth: and there was given to him the key to the pit of the abyss. And he opened the pit of the abyss; and there went up a smoke out of the furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.'(15)
According to Andrew Collins, writing in The Black Alchemist (ABC Books. 1988), the Friends of Hekate and associated individuals have used this form of symbolism in their magical activities where they have utilised the apocryphal imagery of the Christian bible in an attempt to construct a magical version of the Antichrist.
A second interpretation of the abyss comes from the Order of Nine Angles who suggest the abyss to be located where the world of causality meets with the world of a-causality. Whilst the former is understood primarily as rational and physical, the latter is understood to be irrational, non-physical and magickal. This understanding of the Abyss as a gateway between two different worlds has long past associations with the concept of the Temple as a gateway to the world of the gods. This in itself is interesting bearing in mind that many pre-Christian Temples, upon which Christians built their churches are believed to be situated on ley lines, which carry two currents of energy around the planet. It is this belief that is reflected in the theory that the Abyss is a location point where the magical worlds and the mundane worlds collide. Yet this gateway is also believed to exist within the human psyche at the point where the conscious and the unconscious meet and it is from this point that the Satanic magician draws forth his magical power through the medium of Satanic ritual.
Magical use of the abyss
from this perspective varies according to the tradition of the Order of
Nine Angles One may utilise the tarot cards as pathworking images to explore
the hidden side of the human psyche, the side that normally remains untouched
in the abyss. Alternatively the individual may undertake a specific ritual
that draws forth the powers or energies contained within the abyss as they
are, that is without any form of imagery or symbolism. This ritual involves
a long and arduous walk - 80 miles over two days for males, 56 miles for
females - followed by a ceremonial ritual where the individual invokes
the chaotic energies of the Abyss by visualising a crystal filling with
darkness whilst continually chanting the word "chaos." Entrance into the
abyss, if successful, will result in changes of consciousness that will
culminate in the individual himself becoming such a
gate between the two worlds. Speaking less esoterically this means that the individual will, by virtue of the changes in consciousness that include the crystallisation of the astral body, be able to manifest magical energies without recourse to the procedure of magical ritual. Symbolism is therefore no longer necessary although it may still be used by the new Master or Mistress.
The third interpretation of the abyss comes from the Society of Dark Lily who teach that it is symbolic of the journey from Initiate to Adepthood. As such, the Satanist passes through the Abyss over a long period of time in order to attain Wisdom: the 'Abyss is that awful thing you go through or go across to get to where you think you want to be, that is, Adepthood.'(16) The method whereby the Satanist passes through the abyss may vary from individual to individual. The Master who leads the Society of Dark Lily suggests however that there is only one method to cross the Abyss and that is that the individual must 'subdue [his or her] subconscious mind.'(17) By subjugating one's subconscious mind the individual gains complete control over his or her actions and reactions, thoughts and feelings. Here then every part of the individual's mind - both conscious and unconscious (or subconscious) is understood and controlled.
One more notable interpretation of the energies representative of the Abyss is the doctrine of the Qliphoth. This concept links the Christian apocryphal tradition of the abyss, or bottomless pit with the Cabalistic concept of energy that was left over from the creation of the universe known as the Qliphoth. The Qliphoth, or 'Kelipth'(18) are described as being 'husks' or 'shells' by Asim MaTheP Lamm.(19) 'They are the waste or litter or filth which the organism of the universe gives off.'(20) From this perspective the Qliphoth can be utilised by the Black Magician to work dark magic, using a powerful form of universal energy. As such, Kenneth Grant, the head of the English Lodge of the Ordo Templis Orientis, more commonly known by it's initial's O.T.O., has written a trilogy of books on the subject of using such dark energies. This has been formulated into the 'Typhonian Current,' a system of magic that works with the dark side of the Cabalistic Tree of Life. Although some groups such as the Order of Nine Angles oppose a Cabalistic interpretation of Satanic magic, the O.T.O. uses what is described as 'the esoteric doctrines of the 'black' magick of the left hand path.'(21) Opposition to Left Hand Path Cabalism is largely due to an aeonic approach to magic in general which views the Judeo-Christian esoteric and mystical traditions as being a distortion upon the pagan ethos which lacked any absolute duality. This is indicated by the dual nature of the pagan gods, possessing both light and dark sides, rather than being either solely good or evil.
Working with the energies of the abyss there are obviously innumerable dangers that threaten both the sanity and the life of the Satanist that seeks to pass through or across the Abyss. Reasons for this danger lie in the requirement of specific preparation of both body and mind. According to the Order of Nine Angles the two main problems that may occur are most likely to be 'madness or extreme personal dis-orientation resulting in a 'possessed' personal life and/or loss of vitality... [or] personal delusion about one's own abilities and understanding, both personal and magickal.'(22)
Yet for whatever method that is used to cross or pass through the Abyss there can primarily be one of three results. Firstly the individual may renounce the Satanic quest, secondly the energies encountered may cause dramatic changes detrimental to the individual's psyche and thirdly the individual may pass through successfully achieving Adepthood and wisdom.
The first result, that of
renunciation, occurs when the individual has gained more knowledge than
he or she can cope with. Explanations of such a development can only be
inadequate due to the nature of the changes in consciousness that such
knowledge brings. Reality, for the individual has changed, everyone else
remains the same, but the Satanist now sees things in a completely different
way. An analogous example of this experience would be as follows. Imagine
you are standing in the hallway of a house. The hall light is already turned
on, but, since it is night-time you need to turn on the light whenever
you enter a different room. When you enter the dining room you turn on
the light and see on the table the severed head of a policeman. This scares
you and your immediate reaction is to leave... The analogy is simple,
the light is the acquisition of knowledge. But once you have learnt something
- seen the policeman's severed head on the table - you cannot unlearn it.
Therefore you have to live with that knowledge. The acquisition of occult
knowledge concerning oneself and the world is not simply learning how to
do spells, invoke demons or make a pact with the devil, rather it implies
the acquisition of something that will drastically change the way the Satanist
sees the world. It is akin to the eastern concept that life as man knows
it is an illusion and that magical traditions can take man from the falsehood
of normal uninitiated life, to the truth and meaning of existence. Renunciation,
once one has begun to explore both oneself and the world at large, is therefore not uncommon.
The second result of entering the Abyss is far harsher than renunciation of the quest. For this is the path that leads to dementia, delusion and/or death. Primarily this is experienced when the Satanist seeks to encounter demonic, chaotic, negative or darker energies before he or she is ready. Preparation for such invocation is a lengthy process. Cathartic rites such as the Black Mass may be of use here, where the individual re-programmes his or her mind and emotions in order to free him or herself from the unconscious influence of repression, morality and guilt. If there is doubt or uncertainty within the Satanist's mind the energies may manifest in a manner that is detrimental to the Satanist. Many people consider the examples of individuals using black magic, Ouija boards and so forth as always causing harm to the individuals themselves, but this is a misunderstanding, since the individual using such methods must undergo a process of catharsis in order to remain in conscious control of the forces summoned. It is for this reason that some Satanic groups promote indulgence and then control of the animal nature in man.
Although outwardly the traditions of the Order of Nine Angles and the Society of Dark Lily both approach and describe the concept of the Abyss differently, there are similarities when one considers what occurs when there is a successful passing of the Abyss. Thus the concept of 'all is one' is found in both systems. Yet both groups advocate a maintenance of individuality in relation to a unification with the natural order of the cosmos. Thus there is no loss of self-hood in Satanic tradition, no absorption by the godhead as represented by the Right Hand Path traditions.(23)
Together with a unification with the natural order, is the acquisition of wisdom that is found not only in Satanic and Left Hand Path traditions but also in those of the Right Hand Path. Here wisdom refers to an understanding of the cosmos in essence, as it is. From a Jungian perspective it implies a withdrawal of not only one's own projections but also of all the projections from all other people onto the universe. Everything is therefore understood according to its inner nature rather than its exterior form. This is referred to as 'acausal perception' by the Order of Nine Angles, that is, perception that occurs other than causally and it is this form of perception, partly as a product of a successful crossing of the Abyss, that is said to determine the adept from the initiate.
Lastly the Order of Nine Angles believe that personal Wyrd or Destiny is finally achieved when the individual successfully passes through the Abyss. The Satanist has then passed the personal and become part of the larger natural forces a 'Becoming-One with them'(24) whilst maintaining his or her individuality. Finally, as the Adept guiding the Society of Dark Lily says 'there is no question of choosing to take the Right Hand Path or the Left Hand Path. There is only one route. You either cross or you do not cross. But what you do when you get to the other side is entirely up to you. You then have access to everything.'(25)
The concept of ritual sacrifice has been the subject of much debate within the sphere of the Satanic underground. On the whole there can be seen to be two main camps emerging. On one side lies groups such as the Order of Nine Angles and the now-defunct Friends of Hekate. These groups, although differing in their approach to ritualistic magic, can be said to promote the use of human and/or animal sacrifice under certain conditions and for specific reasons. That is, they promote the conscious and willed use of sacrifice rather than the weak indulgence epitomised by the modern day serial killer who has no or very little control over his actions. On the opposite bench can be found the Society of Dark Lily, the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set. Lying inbetween both camps can be found the diabolist who may sacrifice animals during his or her rituals of invocation. Yet whilst the diabolist - who often is a solo practitioner, working alone and in secret - may kill animals in his rites, it is doubtful if he would perform human sacrifice on the scale of the Order of Nine Angles or the Friends of Hekate and it is to these two groups one should turn in order to gain a deeper and more constructive insight into the concept and of human sacrifice.
The Friends of Hekate, operated throughout England between the 1960's and the 1980's. Although the group is believed to still operate under a different name or names, they have been linked to a number of disappearances and deaths that occurred in Sussex during the 1970's and 80's. Altogether the deaths of five people have been connected to the sacrificial rites of the Friends of Hekate: a policeman, a vicar, an old age pensioner and two women all disappeared during this space of time. Both the policeman and the vicar were found on a ley line and furthermore, both the vicar - whose disappearance occurred on 31st October - and the policeman were found in an area that had been thoroughly searched beforehand. The vicar himself was the rector of two villages in Sussex where a number of Satanists were alleged to operate and, according to a letter received by Toyne Newton, author of 'The Demonic Connection' which examines the activities of the Friends of Hekate and the concept of an international Satanic conspiracy, members of the Friends of Hekate actually lived within these villages. Another supportive piece of evidence to suggest accusations of human sacrifice are true concerning the Friends of Hekate, comes from a letter addressed to Toyne Newton, care of The Unexplained magazine. In this letter the anonymous writer practically confirms that the Reverend was ritually sacrificed by the Friends of Hekate:
'A few years back a friend
of mine joined them, they are called the
friends of Hekate, they meet in the woods and barn up by the church and make
ritual sacrifices at the time of Orion and the archer.'
The anonymous writer goes on to say that his friend:
'...was very frightened when
the police (were) looking out for the
vicar you mention (Rev. Harry Neil Snelling) and when I said I was going to
join the search party on the downs he said no need, they'd got him.'(26)
Whilst the evidence points to the fact of ritual sacrifice by the Friends of Hekate, little is actually known of their rites although they are believed to focus specifically upon the worship of the ancient Greek goddess Hekate. Whilst the information concerning the connection of the Friends of Hekate with human and animal sacrifice is both scarce and hypothetical a far more open approach is advocated by the Order of Nine Angles.
The sacrificial tradition of the Order of Nine Angles is believed to date back to the time of the semi-mythical land of Albion. Originally the Order of Nine Angles state that the sacrificial custom occurred once every seventeen years, when a Priest of the tradition was sacrificed in order to 'retain the 'cosmic balance' - in modern times to keep a nexion open.'(27) This tradition has continued until modern times and although it is believed to have remained as it once was in essence, the outward form, that is, the words and chants of the ritual are believed to have been altered over the years. What is understood is that the ritual sacrifice was performed in honour of the dark and violent goddess Baphomet - the severed head being associated with her worship. The Priest himself would have secured an acausal existence in the Land of the Dark Gods and would thereby become immortal.
In more modern times the
Order of Nine Angles approach to ritual sacrifice has significantly altered
from a willing sacrificial victim - that of the initiated Priest
- to that of an unwilling sacrificial victim. Yet such acts are not performed
without conscious decision, accurate planning and reasoned behaviour, for
the Sinister Satanist - as a follower of the Order of Nine Angles Tradition
is sometimes known - is an individual who is in control of his or her actions,
actions that are both conscious and willed. It is for this reason that
the victims, or Opfers as they are more commonly known, are usually selected
in this tradition impersonally. They are tested according to their character
and, should they fail the test, are judged to have selected
themselves. As an Order of Nine Angles manuscript states 'the actions/life of a victim are indicative of weakness, of all these traits and actions which Satanists despise. Things such as cowardice, sycophancy, treachery, fear, lack of self-discipline.'(28) Combined with this judgement is the decision to select an Opfer whose death will in some way aid the Satanic dialectic. As such victims include 'zealous interfering Nazarenes'(29) over-inquisitive journalists or politicians or businessmen whose philosophy and actions are anathema to the Satanic Spirit.
Probably the most Sinister of all rites of Sacrifice to be found in modern days is the rite known as The Sinister Calling. The rite itself requires a complete Satanic Temple trained in sinister chant and 'assumes willing sacrifice.'(30) The preparation for the rite which takes places over a period of seven days requires all Temple members participating to adhere to a Black Fast. The Fast itself demands absolute silence save for the chanting nine time a day at sunset of the Diabolus, a Satanic version of the Christian Dies Irae chant. Further the members must 'wear only ceremonial robes, will abstain from intoxicating drinks and sexual pleasures and eat no meat.'(31) The rite may be performed in one of three locations: A sinister Temple, a cave, or an isolated hilltop. Prior to the actual rite the sacrificial Priest is chosen by lot. The congregation then assemble in the Temple and the rite begins. The Priestess serves as the altar for this rite whilst the Opfer is held by the Temple Guardian. The Master and the Mistress then conduct the rite which begins with a ritual dance accompanied by the rhythmic chanting of "Binan ath ga wath am." The Master of the Temple opens a nexion, or gate to the realm of the Dark Gods from which the Dark Gods will presence themselves if the rite is successful. The Opfer-Priest is then united with the Priestess in coition whilst the Priestess visualises the Gate opening further. The Priest is then led away to a secluded place where the Master of the Temple will then perform the ritual sacrifice. Returning to the Temple the Master will present the Mistress of the Earth with a bowl containing the blood of the sacrificed Priest. The Mistress will then wash her hands and face in his blood as a representation of the dark goddess Baphomet. The rite itself is concluded with a feast.
An alternative ritual of sacrifice is that known as the Giving which occurs once every 51 years. The function of human sacrifice according to the Order of Nine Angles occur on two levels. Firstly it releases a vast amount of magical or psychical energy that can be directed in accordance with specific goals, or, alternatively stored in a crystal for later use. The second use of human sacrifice is that it 'draws down dark forces or 'entities.'(32)
One other aspect of the Order of Nine Angles methods of sacrifice is that the victim is traditionally beheaded. This tradition stems back to the ancient head cults of Europe, a tradition that was still in existence in Great Britain up until at least the 17th century, when a Scottish clan leader beheaded seven treacherous member of the Madonnell clan and ceremonially washed their heads in a well on the shore of Loch Oich.
Differing from the two groups mentioned above, the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set have both actively disputed the traditional view that Satanists need to sacrifice humans or animals. The Temple of Set have even gone to the extent of banning its members from association with the Order of Nine Angles due to the latter's views on, and advocation of, human sacrifice.
The Church of Satan have
approached the choice of human and animal sacrifice from the perspective
of the amount of energy that it dispels. When comparing this dissipation
of energy with the energy produced through emotional and sexual release,
Anton La Vey, High Priest of the Church of Satan, concludes that 'the only
time a Satanist would perform a human
sacrifice would be if it were to serve a two-fold purpose; that being to release the magician's wrath in the throwing of a curse, and more important, to dispose of a totally obnoxious and deserving individual.'(33) It is apparent then that there is a comparison between the Order of Nine Angles methods for the selection of victims and that of the Church of Satans. Both select victims that are naturally obvious as targets for Satanic wrath. However, the Chruch of Satan, although adhering to this Satanic tradition, do not actively carry out direct human and/or animal sacrifice as do both the Order of Nine Angles and the Friends of Hekate.
It can be seen from the above examples, stemming from modern Satanic traditions, that the concept of the virgin or small-child as victim is obsolete in modern Satanism and whilst the media often portrays the essential nature of Satanism as one that advocates and indulges in virgin sacrifice, child abuse and the like, the actual fact of the matter is that traditional Satanic groups, such as the Order of Nine Angles and the Church of Satan, would be more inclined to sacrifice the child abuser than the child.
Throughout this survey of Satanic Black Magic there has been an attempt to approach the subject without recourse to the sensationalism that often appears in the reports of Satanic activity made by the media and the church. There has also been an attempt to focus upon the reasons behind the practice of Black Magic by Satanists rather than simply focusing upon the rituals themselves. Thus, where Satanic traditions, such as that of Sacrifice are discussed there has been an attempt to relate the reasoning behind the tradition and thereby reveal the reasons why such a tradition exists.
It is hoped that in virtue of the areas discussed, it has also been shown that Satanism can no longer simply be reduced to a 'cult' phenomenon with all the associated stigma that is attached to the word. For Satanists, freedom from society and most especially morality, is an important aspect of Satanism. Yet this does not imply that Satanism can be reduced purely to a process of cathartic rebellion. Thus, some teachings within Satanic groups, most notably those advocated by the Order of Nine Angles and the Society of Dark Lily, focus upon the attainment of wisdom and of an understanding of how the universe works devoid of the individual's subjective feelings, wishes or desires. There is therefore no attempt to hide from the natural laws of the universe or from the fierceness and danger that such laws imply.
Further, Satanists believe
that Satanism, by virtue of it's adherent philosophies, is a system of
magical practice that is suitable for only a minority of individuals who
can see through the traditional morality of the day. In itself Satanism
is not dedicated to acquiring new followers. Rather it is considered by
the Satanists themselves as a method for personal evolution
whereby the individual may reach a higher level of awareness; an expansion of consciousness and it is this that reveals, according to the Satanists, the true nature of the Left Hand Path. For the difficulties in achieving such a freedom of thought are evident in the fact that very few individuals can claim to have successfully passed through or beyond the Abyss and gained direct knowledge of the universe as it is in essence. Thus Satanism maintains the theory that man, as he is, is only a partly developed being, a being that through the practices of Satanic magic, and magic in general can complete his development.
The Left Handed Path - An Analysis
Appendix II Re-Defining Satanism
Appendix III Satanism and Child-Abuse
Notes & References
1. Graham, Magdalene. Re-Defining Satanism. Dark Lily 8 (Dark Lily: London, 1989), p. 10.
2. Cavendish, R. The Black Arts (Pan Books Ltd: London, 1967), p. 331.
3. ibid, p. 331.
4. Society of Dark Lily. 'Dialogue Between Adept and Pupil' in Dark Lily 1 (Dark Lily: London, 1987), p. 10.
5. The name astral body is a term used to refer to a magical body created from psychical energy by magical methods such as prolonged visualisation. It is considered to consist of a form of energy that vibrates at a higher level than the physical matter.
6. Rhodes, H.T.F. The Satanic Mass (Rider & Company: London, 1954).
7. Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts (Pan Book Ltd: London, 1967), p. 345.
8. La Vey, Anton. The Satanic Rituals (Avon Books: New York, 1972), p. 34.
9. Robury, Conrad. The Black Mass, in The Black Book of Satan (Brekekk: Newport, Year of Fire 102), p. 15.
10. The Jungian Shadow is the name given to the darker side of the individuals' psyche. It consists of repressed instinctive energy. The Order of Nine Angles believe that the white European race possesses a collective shadow which was presenced during the Third Reich.
11. Order of Nine Angles. Satanism, Blasphemy and the Black Mass (Order of Nine Angles. No publishing date).
12. Society of Dark Lily. 'The LHP View of Sex-Magick' in Dark Lily 6 (Dark Lily: London, 1988), p. 12.
13. ibid, p. 12.
14. Society of Dark Lily. 'Sex and the Occult' in Dark Lily 10 (Dark Lily: London. 1990), p. 16.
15. Revelations 9:1-3.
16. Society of Dark Lily. 'Crossing the Abyss' in Dark Lily 4 (Dark Lily: London, 1988), p. 17.
17. ibid, p. 18.
18. Cavendish. Richard. The Black Arts (Pan Books Ltd: London, 1967), p. 296.
19. Lamm, Asim MaTheP, The Qliphoth (MaTheP Lamm. 1991).
20. Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts (Pan Books Ltd: London, 1967), p. 296.
21. Grant, K. Nightside of Eden (Skoob Books Publishing: London. 1994), Dustjacket
22. Order of Nine Angles, 'The Abyss' in Hostia volume I (Thormynd Press: Shrewsbury, 1992).
23. The Right Hand and Left Hand Paths are distinguished primarily in that whilst the Right Hand Path primarily accepts an absolute duality, understood to a certain extent in the belief in an absolute morality, the Left Hand Path accepts an interaction of what may be inadequately termed good and evil. See Appendix 1.
24. Order of Nine Angles. 'Notes on Esoteric Tradition - X,' in Fenrir vol. IV no 1. (Rigel Press: York, 1996).
25. Society of Dark Lily. 'Crossing the Abyss.' Dark Lily 4 (Dark Lily: London, 1988), pp. 18-19.
26. Newton, Toyne. The Demonc Connection (Blandford Press: Poole, 1987), between pp. 96 and 97.
27. Order of Nine Angles. 'Esoteric Tradition VI: Baphomet, Opfer and Related Matters' in Hostia volume II (Thormynd Press: Shrewsbury, 1992).
28. Order of Nine Angles. 'Victims - A Sinister Expose' in Hysteron Proteron (Thormynd Press: Shrewsbury, 1992).
29. Order of Nine Angles. 'A Gift for the Prince - A Guide to Human Sacrifice.' in Hostia volume I (Thormynd Press: Shrewsbury, 1992).
30. Order of Nine Angles. 'The Sinister Calling.' in Hostia volume II (Thormynd Press: Shrewsbury, 1992).
32. Order of Nine Angles. 'A Gift for the Prince - A Guide to Human Sacrifice.' in Hostia volume I (Thormynd Press: Shrewsbury, 1992).
33. La Vey, Anton. 'The Book of Lucifer.' in The Satanic Bible (Avon Books: New York, 1969), p. 88.
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Grant, Kenneth. Nightside of Eden. Skoob Books Publishing: London, 1994.
Holy Bible, The. Oxford University Press: London, 1937.
LaVey, Anton Szandor. The Satanic Bible Avon Books: New York, 1969.
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Lurker, Manfred. Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons Routledge: London, 1988.
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Newton, Toyne, The Demonic Connection Blandford Press: Poole, 1987.
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Order of Nine Angles. Hostia. Secret Teachings of the O.N.A. Volume I Thormynd Press: Shrewsbury, 1992.
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Parker, John. At the Heart of Darkness Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd: London, 1993.
Rhodes, H.T.F. The Satanic Mass Rider & Company: London, 1954.
Robury, Conrad. The Black Book of Satan Brekekk: Newport, year of Fire 102.
Ruthven, Suzanne. Malleus Satani. The Hammer of Satan ignotus press:
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