No religion on Earth is more misrepresented and
misunderstood than Satanism, not that this worries the Satanists. Black Magick
or the Black Arts are general terms applied to the Left Hand Path (though not
used by practitioners). “Black” or darkness is, in this context, associated
with “evil” and this memory survives from primitive times when man moved about
freely in daylight but, when night fell, he withdrew to the protective circle
of light provided by his fire, which kept away hostile animals and anything
else which might be out there, unseen in the darkness. As Shakespeare said:
“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings” (Macbeth I:ii.) and, because
we fear what we do not know, we may unconsciously exaggerate the unknown to
proportions more terrible than its reality warrants.

It is
difficult to substantiate claims regarding the origins of Satanism, since it
has never been the official religion of a state or people. The most
easily-available proof of its antiquity is in the bible: for instance, the
legend of Jesus’ encounter with Satan. Satan offered him dominion over part of
the world in exchange for allegiance, a peculiar tale which, at least, makes it
obvious that such dominion was possessed by Satan. So the bible’s admission
that Satan was not only in existence but powerful, at a time before Jesus began
his campaigning, disposes of the myth that Satanism is merely a negation of and
rebellion against Christianity.

There is
no indication that the followers of the Left Hand Path, even if they
personified their deity, ever represented him with the attributes of cloven
hooves, horns and tail. These were features of various Pagan nature-gods such
as Pan and Faunus, and were attached to Satan by the Christians, who regarded
all other gods as their adversaries and naturally confused them.

Satanists’ best-known symbol has often been mistakenly called “the inverted
cross”. It has no connection with the Christian cross or the cross used by
other older religions. The Satanic symbol represents the sword upraised, in
challenge or acclaim. Pointing
downward, it would show defeat and surrender. Incidentally, in older and
therefore more accurate versions of the Tarot cards, the suit of Swords shows
the weapon upright in the Satanic manner. Only when the cards are reversed
(with the unfortunate connotations usually attached to a reversed card in a
fortune-telling spread) does the sword point down.

is the illogical idea that spirits of deceased persons, if induced to make a
temporary return to Earth, have, since or by reason of their transition,
acquired clairvoyant ability, supernatural powers and wisdom.

It was
essential to the state religion’s thraldom of fear that Death should be
regarded with terror (despite vague promises of heaven for the few lucky ones).
The cemetery, the ever present reminder of this dreaded inevitability, was
surrounded by superstition and horror. The only people who did not regard
cemeteries with this awe were those who had never accepted the new religion of Christianity
and therefore understood that the dead were not more dangerous than they had
been in life.

surrounded churches, and churches were often built on the sites of former
temples. It was natural that the surviving Pagans should wish to meet as near
as possible to their ancient holy place, since it had been consecrated by those
with a knowledge of the Earth, a knowledge which has never been available to
the Christians. The Pagan’s meetings in the grounds of their former temple were
distorted by the Christians with an allegation that these meetings in the
cemetery were for the purpose of raising the dead. The people were intimidated
into regarding all Pagan practices with cringing alarm.

From the Dark Lily Journal No 1, Society of Dark Lily (London