Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Echoes of a past life: Could it be Satan?
Recently the mayor of Moscow called a planned gay pride march "Satanic" and vowed to stop it. People throwing around the accusation of Satanism has always amused me: it's one of those superstitions that seems imprinted on people of modest faith and fundamentalists alike. Sadly, the accusation ends up causing a great deal of harm as the gullible find a powerful rallying cry to victimize people who might stray from some dominant societal norm.
Here's a piece I wrote (yeah, under a pseudonym) for a New York City pagan newsletter back in 1991. "Our Pagan Times" was the newsletter of New Moon New York, an open circle. I actually edited the monthly newsletter for a year, though this predates that time. New Moon was a great group: it was a good place to meet people at different levels of experience and involvement in Paganism. I learned a lot from those folks. Anyway this short piece has a fairly simplistic conclusion that I would say quite differently today. But the core point that the fundamentalists are displaying extreme hypocrisy is fair enough: it's a safe bet to say more children are abused by crazy fundamentalist parents trying to beat "the devil" out of them than by any so-called actual Satanist. I've done some very slight editing to this piece to fix some poor choices of words; blame any poor choice of ideas on my 1991 self.
Satanic Child Abuse and Intolerance
from Our Pagan Times, Vol. 1 No. 8, October 1991
A dangerous bunch of fundamentalist Christians have been running around claiming to be "Satanic Cult Survivors." They even held an art show recently in SoHo, and have published a six-page resource entitled "identifying Characteristics of Satanic Cult Survivors." This document consists of long lists of associations that potentially reveal whether one might be a survivor of satanic cults and satanic incest without really remembering actual events. The document is actually hilariously funny, full of side-splitting suggestions such as "Strong reactions to babies' crying [suggests] Memories of hearing babies cry during sacrifices." And "Drink[ing] large quantities of water, soda...gives the impression of washing away the taste of human flesh. Cannibalism is a necessary part of cult rituals...Many survivors become vegetarians."
But this type of ridiculousness and similar efforts on the part of similar folks are not always a laughing matter.
I suppose it should be said here, for the record, yet again, that Witchcraft, Paganism, Wicca, are not Satanism. To be a Satanist, that is, to invert the icons of Christianity, one must first be a Christian. We are not Christians; we are not interested in dualities of good and evil and we are certainly not interested in chanting the Lord's prayer backwards.
Are there Satanists? Sure. They fall into several sometimes overlapping groups. First, there are a handful of creepy individuals fascinated by the dark side of the occult, and fascinated by their own alienation from society. I'm sure you can go to The Magickal Childe [an occult bookstore in NYC--ish] to meet them. But they commit no mass murders, and control no secret strings behind the scenes of society. They choose dark spiritual imagery because it is "forbidden," because it seems to give them power they don't find in reality.
Then there are the heavy metal teens. Pimples, parental alienation, lack of hope for the future, and bad music are enough to drive anyone to Satan! But seriously, they're not serious, and only hurting themselves slightly more than if they took up the J.D. hobbies of the past like smoking in school bathrooms and crashing parties at the gym.
Then there are the mentally unbalanced. This society is a very difficult one to live in. Our big cities, New York especially, are full of too much hostile, negative energy. Insanity and madness are rampant here: they are a product of our self-destructive society. I suspect most of those who think they are the survivors of Satanic cult abuse fall into this category. They've been badly hurt -- by living in an alienating society, and maybe even occasionally by actual incest and abuse -- and need some healing. They have found what appears to them as healing in the delusions of the biggest group of Satanists of all, and the most dangerous.
That group is Christian fundamentalists themselves.
We, as Pagans, know it is possible to manifest reality through focused energy raising and visualization. Now, the fundamentalists have raised tremendous energy and constantly visualize the this image of an evil god called Satan and his vengeful "good" god Jehovah. What are they manifesting?
The increasing racial violence, the threat to abortion rights, the violence against lesbians and gays, the violence to the environment. The rolling back of the social revolution of the '60s and '70s. These are the manifestations of Christian fundamentalism. These hateful, intolerant bigots are, through their religious practices, manifesting the evil that they cleaim to be crusading against. And mind you, they turn around and claim that we Pagans are the same as Satanists.
Goddess bless, we know the world as a diferent place than they do. We have a lot of healing to do.