“Leave me out of it!”
I don’t know about anyone else but I’m suffering from a bad case of “Satanic Overload. The current reports all over the internet about child abuse are so grotesque that it seems only one word is appropriate to describe them – Satanic!
But I’m wary of using this name – it has the kind of lip licking salacious glamour so beloved by the tabloid press And not just the tabloids, much of the alternative media seem addicted to this description in their reports of the wide spread child abuse rings “allegedly” used by people of power and privilege.
Obviously it goes without saying that the endemic abuse of children must be exposed and stopped and the perpetrators brought to justice to get the punishment they deserve (Hung drawn and quartered preferably) It’s just that don’t think these aberrations of nature can be accurately described as Satanic. And I’ll tell you why.
I see the Dark and Terrible Satan as a manifestation of the fear of nature that arose after the time of the “Fall” when we stepped out of the dream like participation with the natural world and experienced it for the first time as something separate.. Perhaps this had to happen as we journeyed towards consciousness. I don’t know.
It’s at this stage that the biblical Satan appears (as does the feminine serpent ) but there is no doubt in my mind that these accounts are a distortion of the “real” Satan who I see as an expression of the masculine vitality enlivening the natural world. This is life in all it’s raw power, wild and animalistic, experienced through the senses, unfettered and unrestrained by self consciousness.
The Celtic depiction this energy is the mythical Cerrunus, half man half goat dancing with cloven hooves to the mad sweet music of the elements. He is guided not by thought, but by instinct and a heightened awareness of the language of the earth – her vibrations, her seasons and cycles, her musky scents. To be this close to nature means you cannot step outside her laws. And importantly,you cannot control her.
This is why I say that that Paedophilia is not Satanic. It is a perversion of nature. Animals for example never sexually violate their young. It is a terrible sickness afflicting those who have lost their connection to the earth and to her laws.
I go along with Anton La Vey, author of The Satanic Bible when he says Satan has been cruelly maligned by false and hypercritical Christian morality. I had faint stirrings of Catholic guilt when I first opened this book, not quite knowing what to expect.
I needn’t have worried. La Veys account of the Horned One is melodramatic, overblown and frankly absurd. And very funny. Take this passage for example-spoken by “Satan”- which rants against phony morality: ”I blast out the ghastly contents of hypercritically whited sepulchres and laugh with mirthful wrath!”.As you see understatement is not one of La Veys defining characteristics.
And in the Chapter on Satanic Sex he confounds all expectations by waxing positively moral!: “Satanism does not advocate rape, child molestation, defilement of animals, or the participation by the innocent or naive who could be easily intimidated or misguided in doing something against their wishes”. Got that? Satanism does not advocate child molestation.
In fact La Vey pours scorn on the obsession that modern society has with sex, saying sexual energy is just one expression of our natural vitality – there are others, which if repressed leads to depression and a sense of meaningless (Described so evocatively in TS Eliots ‘The Waste Land’) The other effect of stemmed libidinous energy is that it is forced into unnatural channels.
He’s got a point. And although it doesn’t excuse the powerful people who abuse children, I’d put money on them having gone through a loveless childhood redolent with repressed or perverted libidinous energy. Just look at the Royals or the Bush family for example
On further reading La Vey comes across as a kind of modern urban (megalomaniac) pagan, reacting against the phoney Christian morality that still lingered in the sixties when the Satanic Bible was being written – when the cultural revolution had just begun it’s overturning of the old stultifying order.
The aspect of La Veys world view that I find totally repellent is his sub Nietzschean exaltation of the strong, who he believes are the natural inheritors of the Earth. This of course evolved from Darwins (misinterpreted) survival of the fittest theory-which eventually was picked up by Hitler. The rest you know.
That being said la Vey does provide an interesting perspective on the duality of our animal/spiritual duality.
La Vey along with Nietzsche and Hitler despised Christianity which he says sucks the vitality out of life. They believed it was inimical to natural biology and responsible for the enfeeblement and oppression of all those affected by it. And when viewed from the perspective of all the indigenous cultures decimated by so called Christianity there’s not much to argue with.
Except – just as the loathsome figure we know and fear today is not the ‘Real’ Satan, so the phoney type of Christianity reviled by La Vey does not represent the ‘Real’ Christ.
Now just for the sake of brevity lets not get bogged down in all those arguments about whether Christ was an historical figure or not, and agree that just like Satan, he is an archetype. No one thinks Satan is a real goat like figure prancing about. Equally it’s not necessary to think of the Christ as someone dressed in white with a halo around his head.
Now this is the point where I have to admit that I don’t feel comfortable with La Veys bombastic Satan. He’s been useful in pointing out the hypocrisy and double standards that have unfairly relegated him as the source of all evil, and he’s given me a good laugh. But in the end he’s too one sided, self important-and he lacks heart. And I don’t go along with his rejection of the true Christian virtues of love,compassion and humility either
Instead I see Satan and Christ as the two inseperable aspects of our human nature. Satan represents the dynamism of Earth and of the natural world which vivifies our physical beings; and Christ represents our spiritual potential. All Satan and no Christ is not possible at this stage in the growth of human consciousness . And all Christ without Satan is not possible while we remain in physical form. Nature and Spirit. Spirit and Nature. Can’t have one without the other. And it’s time we accepted that fact.
A young friend recently gave me album to listen to with the delightful title “Cradle of Filth”. I found the music unbearable but some of the lyrics were wonderful in an adolescent gothy way. One track ‘The Forest Whispers My Name “depicts the age old conflict between the energies of Christ and of the Natural world.
“The forest beckons with her nocturnal call
To pull me close’mid the baying of wolves
Where the bindings of Christ are down-trodden with scorn
In the dark, odoriferous earth”
But why should it be that a belief in Christ bars us from connecting to “The dark odoriferous ? Earth” Why has this split between nature and spirit occurred.? And-the big question.: Can it be healed? .
I shall be tackling this conundrum in my next post. In the meantime,give the Guy with the Horns.a break! Stop nailing all the man made evils of the world onto him, and admit that life without Satan life would be very insipid affair indeed.