I was thrilled to have a great conversation with Frater Obitus, writer at Satanic Witchcraft in the New Aeon. It was a fascinating exchange on the nature of deity, a philosophical understanding of Satanism, and more.
Q: So first, I’ll explain a bit so you understand where I’m coming from as that might be helpful. I have a background in the church. I was molested frequently and found it very anti feminist. I was also seriously ill, and struggled with the concept of a loving father figure who would let/cause a mere child to suffer so much. I attempted suicide with pills and failed.
20 years ago exactly (at 13) I began studying magic. I started with Wicca (its more vanilla) before moving to the LHP which has been in the past couple years.
I found I could shape my environment and circumstances through acts of magic — I had a natural talent for that and also studied it.
So that brings us here. Reading your last comments, I couldn’t help but bristle a bit when you mentioned being Satan’s special creation, etc. Sounds very Christian. I don’t have hatred for the church like some do. But I also don’t want to replace one thing with another.
So my question is, how does that differ?
A: It differs greatly in the reasoning behind Satan giving mankind the Gift of self-awareness, and also in what man’s powers are. In Abrahamism, man is simply a creature made with the express purpose of worshipping JHVH. And man’s lot in both this life and beyond is to either worship JHVH or be afflicted with punishment for not doing so. On the other hand, Satan’s motive in giving man a capacity for radical individual thought outside of “natural law” is not to have something to worship Him. It is to share the wondrous power of imagination and abstract thought, so that creation itself can be further enriched and diverse through man’s exercise of that power. And man is furthermore not condemned to an afterlife that is merely a reward or punishment decided by someone else. We literally create our own “heavens” or “hells,” to use the popular terms for positive or negative states of being. The radical nature of this Free Will is the scary part: Satan guarantees no nice things for nice people, or bad things for bad people. One’s reality is TRULY what one makes of it. Everyone lives in their own subjective universe, and always will. Without exception. No matter how much we interact with, learn of, and understand the Objective Universe outside of ourselves, it is always and eternally filtered through our own psyches, filtered through our own personal views. The other scary thing about the radical nature of this Will, is that humans are capable of the deepest depths of horrible actions, just as much as they are capable of the heights of beauty. In a way, the Xians are right that it’s Satan’s fault that we have massive wars, injustice, hatred, etc, because these Wills we have are not bound by natural animal law. We are free to think whatever we want, “good” or “evil,” and free to act on it.
Q: I love that. Do you feel that the will can create reality? In the magical sense? “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” … That we share not only wondrous imagination with the divine, but ability to create?
A: It certainly can, but this is a tricky area, because it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Will can override anything in the Objective Universe. It’s your Subjective Universe is what is important, because that’s the Universe you are building and will be inhabiting eternally. The Will can, of course, exercise influence in the Objective World. But the Objective World of nature and physical matter adheres to natural laws put in place by the Gods themselves, and is larger than and pre-exists any individual incarnate human psyche. One can’t very easily Will themselves to be able to physically fly, or to breath water, for example.
But one can use Objective, material ends to change this Objective world to their desires if they can figure out how. Walt Disney World is an example of Walt’s Will manifesting in the Objective World.
Q: I agree. However it seems that there are ways, perhaps minor, to bend natural law. Knowing something that is going to happen, for instance.
A: I wouldn’t say clairvoyance of that type is an example of bending any natural laws necessarily. Instead, that’s one of the pieces of evidence that the psyche itself is not bound by space and time, as it can look “ahead” or “backwards” in time under certain conditions.
Q: How about basic spellwork? Similar, “the psyche unbound”?
A: The psyche transcends natural law, and exists apart from it in its own radical freedom. Much of spells and magic work by influencing other psyches, which are themselves also outside of natural law. When it comes to trying to do magic that manipulates objective, impersonal natural laws themselves, that’s usually much harder. For example, casting a love spell on someone works on their inner self. But trying to use your mind to lift a glass into the air off the table is FAR harder to do than cursing someone.
(unless of course, one works WITH objective reality to move the glass, i.e., command your arm to reach and pick it up)
Q: Haha of course. Very interesting. So, to put into words, where is the line between divinity and our selves? If we are able to manipulate both objective reality and the psyches of others, does that not in some manner make us creators? Philosophically.
A: It certainly does. we are each “Very God of Very God” at the core of our being. The Divine created us, and we in turn “create” the divine in our own image. The gods appear in forms that suit each culture not because they are putting on masks to make each culture more comfortable: it’s because each culture (and individuals) design those masks, names, etc, and we experience the divine through the images we have created in our hearts.
The “line” is drawn in the fact that we are currently incarnate in matter, and therefore limited in many ways by that condition. The Gods (outside of us) are not confined by matter, are not tied to physical bodies, and are not constrained by space and time.
Q: How would you classify, then, lesser daemons? Is there a hierarchy?
I think of, for instance, Xaphan. He is a mischevious fellow. But he is not, say, the great Pan or the Goddess Lilith.
Are they to be at our will and the will of divinity? Are we “higher” than some?
A: To be honest, although I regularly speak in terms of “Satan” giving us this “Gift,” mainly because i find people “get it” easier that way, the truth is a bit deeper. It’s more that what’s really happening is, the Divine (Satan, Pan, etc, whatever you want to call it) chooses to limit itself by incarnating into matter . . . as US. we are it, it is us, and, by incarnating, limiting itself as individual chunks, sparks, like this, it enjoys manifold existence, manifold experience. All of the Gods are ineffably supreme, ineffably part of the One, and each fully of that Power, just as all trees are ineffably “of earth,” and all are sticking out of the soil, and all are fully “earthly,” yet each is an individual tree. This is a really, really rough way of trying to say some real deep shit, and I hope that’s not making it confusing. But the “lesser” demons/gods are, like each of us, a part of “God”.
Q: I know what you mean. I heard an astrophysicist once say we are the universe’s way of being conscious of itself. I’ve also heard, we are God’s way of walking on earth and experiencing creation.
A: Yuh same general idea
Q: I do, like you it seems, take something of a monotheistic approach (there is one great divine Satan). And there are “real” manifestations of that, on the corporeal and other planes.
Are the divine gods then, “real” manifestations on their own higher plane?
A: By “real” do you mean “physical”?
Q: I don’t think real is always physical, not personally anyway. Though it can manifest physically if brought existance or if it chooses to.
A: To me, what things like us and gods really “are” is beyond vulgar sense-perception, even of a “finer” type. The “astral” planes are, like this plane, ultimately just tools used by these psyches. the actual psyche itself is “nowhere,” and does not have mass, and does not occupy space.
They are totally metaphysical realities that exist outside of the universe of matter/energy itself. the same way your thoughts and dreams and memories are “nothing” and “nowhere”.
(while permeating and forming the universe of matter/energy, of course. but the fact that they are also outside of it is vital)
Q: If some, like a neophyte, were to ask you “is Satan real?” How would you respond?
A: I generally simply say “Ask Him.”
Q: Hahaha. Very simple and wise, it made me giggle.
If I were to press you, would I get an answer?
A: Sure. I also tell people that, for me, Satan is an inescapable reality. I couldn’t not “believe” in Him if I wanted to at this point, because I’ve met Him. For me, He’s as “real” as any other personality I’ve met in the course of this life, if not more so.
Q: Can I ask how you met him? Trance, ritual, meditation…you know, the method?
A: Was startlingly simple. I read the Satanic Bible when I was 15, not expecting anything special. Honestly thought it was going to be some stupid/silly/scary horror book thing. Was shocked and amused that it was mostly about life and philosophy, was more shocked that I agreed with most all of it. Was even more fascinated by the guy saying all this was also claiming to be a Priest of the Devil, and was intrigued at how the book was written in a weird, agnostic way that never REALLY pinned down exactly how real or not said Devil was. I was agnostic at the time, and, I figured, ya know, it seems like there’s something to this guy and what he’s saying . . . but what about the Devil part? So, I got a Baphomet print, and a black candle, and turned out all the lights, lit the candle, stared at the Baphomet pic, and asked Him out loud if He was real. He was. It’s not easy to describe what happened. Didn’t hear a voice, didn’t see anything. But that now all-too-familiar “presence” suddenly filled not only the room, but me as well, and He let me “know” how real He was, without having to “say” anything.
Q: I absolutely know what you mean. That has been similar to my experience.
A: You might find Michael Aquino’s account of the first time he felt it interesting and relateable too. I know I did when I read this bit from him for the first time:
“Somewhat self-consciously I constructed a makeshift altar in the spare bedroom in my Army officer’s duplex at 156 North Dougherty Street. The room, otherwise bare and ‘government issue’, was hardly as exotic as [LaVey’s] ritual chamber; even the Sigil of Baphomet was a simple painting on black felt. I closed the door and did not reenter it until the late evening. When I did reenter the room, I received a most unexpected surprise. The whole had become more than the sum of the parts; there was now … “something” … about the place that had not been there before. I turned to Janet; she had sensed it too without a word passing between us. We donned black garb, returned to the room, and commenced an initial ritual whose object was simply an affirmation of our commitment to Satan and the Powers of Darkness. For the first time I experienced that curious sensation which has since become so familiar to me: It is next to impossible to describe the sensations of Black Magical ritual to someone who has not participated in it – and it is unnecessary to do so to those who have. But I shall venture this approximation: It is as though the individual undergoes a form of “mental displacement”. The physical environment is unchanged, the celebrant remains alert and in control of himself, but … something is different. The mind is suddenly aware, if only by a sort of peripheral perception, of forces and influences in the atmosphere which are undetectable under normal circumstances. Moreover the mind is sensitive to a link which it opens with these forces and influences – a link which may be nebulous but which quite definitely exists. Basic magical ritual, then, becomes an exercise in which one struggles to define, strengthen, and ultimately apply that link. It was exhilarating, intoxicating, and – I will admit it – unnerving. I have made tactical parachute jumps at night with Special Forces teams that weren’t half so electrifying. Physical danger is at least something concrete which can be accepted and addressed by the mind in a logical or emotional manner, but the atmosphere of a ritual is a danger far more profound and primal. Yawning pits of infinite darkness seem to open before the naked consciousness, and the magician struggles desperately for a law upon which the normal, natural functions of his mind can grasp. It is not hallucination or madness in the vulgar sense, because one’s normal perceptions and thought-mannerisms are neither abandoned nor distorted. It is rather that something else is added to them. A citizen of the country of the blind acquires an eye.” – Aquino
Q: You know, I’ve not read much from him. I’ll have to.
A: His book “The Church of Satan,” his insider’s account of the history of the early CoS from its inception until its death in 1975, is invaluable.
It’s over 1000 pages long. incredibly detailed source of information. criminally underrated and ignored by a large portion of the occult community.
Q: Tragic. Thanks, I’ll check it out. Anything else you’d recommend reading?
Don Webb’s “Overthrowing the Old Gods: Aleister Crowley and the Book of the Law.”
Sallust “On the Gods and the World”
Crowley “Magick in Theory and Practice” and “Magick Without Tears”
James Hyslop “Life After Death: Problems of the Future Life and its Nature”
Isya Joseph “Devil Worship: The Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidis”
Montague Summers “The History of Witchcraft and Demonology”
Michael Aquino “MindStar”
Those are a few favorites off the top of my head.
Q: Wow, the Yezidis, huh? I had no idea.
A: “The Yezidi interpretation of God was in the purest Satanic tradition. . . . If there was any semblance of a personal manifestation of God, it was through Satan, who instructed and guided the Yezidi toward an understanding of the multifaceted principles of Creation, much like the Platonic idea that the Absolute was itself static and transcendental. This concept of ‘God’ is essentially the position taken by the more highly evolved Satanists.” – LaVey, The Satanic Rituals, 1972
Q: Huh, wow!
A: “Aiwaz is not (as I had supposed) a mere formula, like many angelic names, but is the true most ancient name of the God
of the Yezidis.” – Aleister Crowley