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Author Topic: Pagan conceptions of Satan?  (Read 2253 times)

newthoughts

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Pagan conceptions of Satan?
« on: December 23, 2016, 09:53:15 am »
I was wondering if anyone else here had an interest in ways Pagans might think of Satan that differed from how Xians and Laveyans think. I've had an interest in this for a while, so I wondered if anyone here had some sources that depicted Satan in a way outside of the Xian paradigm. So far, I've found a few articles that provide what I'm talking about, like this one:
http://josministries.prophpbb.com/topic17416.html
But I'm curious if anyone else here has thought about this, and what sources you found helpful with your beliefs. I'm tired of reading things that written by people who can't even imagine anything different from what they were taught in church.

Darkhawk

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Re: Pagan conceptions of Satan?
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2016, 10:39:41 am »
Quote from: newthoughts;200435
But I'm curious if anyone else here has thought about this, and what sources you found helpful with your beliefs.

 
You do need to remember that the overwhelming majority of pagan religions have exactly zero beliefs regarding Satan, because he is not a part of those religions.  There is no more need for most pagans to have beliefs about Satan than there is for them to have beliefs about Uriel or practices regarding Eid.  There is no requirement to have beliefs about things that only matter in other people's religions.

Of those pagans who do have beliefs about Satan, in my experience the overwhelming majority of them are variations on "We don't believe in him and he doesn't exist anyway."

So, when you get to the tiny minority that do have relevant beliefs, there are a couple of strands:

- common or garden theistic Satanists of various sorts, who are often in theological dialogue with the LaVeyan atheist thread, including the Temple of Set
- Luciferean Satanists, who tend towards a Promethean theology and may not derive from LaVey, and who tend to have a Miltonian and otherwise literary approach
- some forms of generally not Wicca-derived religious witchcraft, who have either interactions with a primordial horned god considered "the real Satan" or an antagonist/challenger patron figure (or both)
- some forms of Christo-Pagans who are interested in alternate interpretations of the dualism of the more Manichean forms of Christianity
- a smattering of "other", including people who have religious practices related to folklore traditions that include a devil figure of some sort

For historical derivations of the concept of Satan, I recommend Jeffrey Burton Russell's The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity.  For the above categories, your best luck is looking for people who have such beliefs in specific.  The only blog I know about off the top of my head is Awaken in Light, which falls in the Luciferean category.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

OldenwildeHP

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Re: Pagan conceptions of Satan?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2016, 11:42:49 pm »
Quote from: newthoughts;200435
I was wondering if anyone else here had an interest in ways Pagans might think of Satan that differed from how Xians and Laveyans think.

 
I've been reading a great book called Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, by Peter Bebergal. He talks about the origin of "the Devil" in the blues -- you know the old legend about goin' to the crossroads to sell your soul to the Devil in exchange for mad musical skills. Traces to Elegba, the Mercury-like God of the crossroads in African traditions, as filtered through Xian dualism. And he cites quite a few well-known rock musicians talking about how they saw the Devil as actually Pan or Dionysus in disguise -- the Spirit of unfettered ecstasy, the true "God of Rock"!  

That's very different, IMO, from the ego-worship of Laveyan Satanism or the evil anti-Yahweh of monotheism. It's using the stereotype of the Devil to reveal the archetype that puritans have perverted.
"You\'re not alone -- the majority of the world\'s people believe that it\'s neither men nor money that rules the earth but magic." -- The Goodly Spellbook

Beryl

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Re: Pagan conceptions of Satan?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2016, 05:29:32 am »
Quote from: OldenwildeHP;200488

That's very different, IMO, from the ego-worship of Laveyan Satanism or the evil anti-Yahweh of monotheism. It's using the stereotype of the Devil to reveal the archetype that puritans have perverted.

 
Just want to point out that "evil anti-Yahweh of monotheism" is a bit... inaccurate? Satan as Evil Opponent is a very Christian idea. In Judaism the satan isn't opposed to HaShem/YHVH (and certainly isn't some hugely powerful being), there are various interpretations but the concept is more of one who tests people, or indeed more of a metaphor for the 'evil inclination' that is in all people (which isn't the same as 'original sin' - again, that's a Christian thing - it's more 'we all have an inclination towards good, selfless acts, and one toward self-serving acts, and we need both but we should work to keep the good inclination dominant.' Very roughly speaking.) I don't know much about s/Satan in Islam, so can't comment on that, but basically: 'monotheism' isn't actually a monolith.

OldenwildeHP

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Re: Pagan conceptions of Satan?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2016, 01:28:50 am »
Quote from: Beryl;200493
Just want to point out that "evil anti-Yahweh of monotheism" is a bit... inaccurate?

 
You're right, thanks for the correction!

A lot of the latest scholarship I've seen suggests, if I understand it correctly (never a given :whis:),  that the earliest Old Testament mention of a Satan-like figure is the "adversary" in the Book of Job, who acts as a kind of prosecuting attorney regarding the flawed mortal, Job. He's not evil there -- he's more like a skeptic. When that was written, he was evidently still seen as one of the "sons of El" -- the many deities who were the children of El and Elat, the Father God and Mother Goddess in the polytheistic Semitic matrix in which Judaism was rooted. (Still is, if you know where to look.)
"You\'re not alone -- the majority of the world\'s people believe that it\'s neither men nor money that rules the earth but magic." -- The Goodly Spellbook

Emma Eldritch

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Re: Pagan conceptions of Satan?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2016, 02:00:37 pm »
Quote from: OldenwildeHP;200488
I've been reading a great book called Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, by Peter Bebergal.

 
I really liked that book. I was reading Turn Off Your Mind - The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius by Gary Lachman at the same time, which made for an interesting mix.

hraefngar

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Re: Pagan conceptions of Satan?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 03:14:42 pm »
Quote from: newthoughts;200435
I was wondering if anyone else here had an interest in ways Pagans might think of Satan that differed from how Xians and Laveyans think.

 
it's not exactly what you are looking for, but have you ever read the Galdrabok, which is a medieval Icelandic grimoire?

It was written 5 centuries or so after Iceland had formally converted to Christianity, but the lore of the Heathen  religion was still alive in folk memory.  

Anyway, the magician responsible for the grimoire calls on the Heathen deities like Odin, Thor and Freyja, as well as "Satan and Beezlebub" to aid in his spells.

To the magician, all these deities were real in some sense, and all could be enlisted to bolster the magic spell.

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