Originally published by Cassie on Devil’s Advocates.
We were apparently thrown out of a beautiful garden because we questioned authority and chose to think for ourselves and listen to a voice the authority disapproved of. We were then condemned to walk through history feeling eternally ashamed of ourselves. But then the authority told us that if we owned our shame and accepted that we were worthless we could be forgiven and spend an eternity in paradise worshiping the authority who condemned us.
That is the Christian narrative but it is repeated in many forms in many other religions and philosophies. It is the stuff of dystopian science fiction novels. And within that narrative is also the prescription for every kind of brainwashing technique that has ever been used. “You are bad and useless as you are, but submit your will and your agency to us and we will protect and save you.” (Drugs may add to the power of the message).
But subverting these psychological mind control programs there is often a ghost in the machine. There is a voice saying, “This is not right. This is not how it has to be.” The authority machine is aware of this glitch in the program but can’t get rid of it. Instead it tries to associate the glitch with all that is bad and frightening. The voice is evil. Listening to the voice is evil.
The voice is known to some of us as Satan. By listening to that voice rather than the authority that wants our unquestioning obedience, we are breaking the taboo and so we must be described as evil as well.
The writers of this blog do not believe in the literal truth of the Christian creation myth or any other creation myth. We believe in science and the big bang. A few centuries ago that in itself would be enough to have us branded as heretics and possibly put to death. However, we do believe that in the pre-scientific myths and philosophies about the creation and the nature of the universe, there are hints at the truth. We believe in something similar to Jung’s collective consciousness; that as parts of the universe, we are born with a primeval instinct about who and what we are and where we came from. It is a truth that is glimpsed in shadows, dreams and stories. A truth, the authority doesn’t want us to realize. It is a truth the authority brands as evil and dangerous and so forbids us to know or search for. A truth hidden in the darkness.
We are creatures of the darkness. We are seekers in the forbidden territories. We are breakers of taboos. We are Satanists.
And what of that voice that whispers to us in the darkness? The one who calls us to self discovery and full self awareness? The antagonist and the questioner; the rebel and the ghost in the machine? The Satan?
He can be glimpsed in the most ancient religions known to humanity, often portrayed as an aspect of nature or possessing the guile or form of various animals. Indeed, in earliest times a primal force of nature, neither good nor bad, simply a force to be reckoned with. As communities became more organised and civilized so religious ideas became more complicated and sophisticated. In ancient Egypt there was Set, often depicted as a barely recognizable animal, but seen as powerful and clever; a God it was wise to have on your side. But as Set was seen as a God of foreigners and Egypt suffered several invasions he began to be portrayed more negatively. And as powerful leaders rose up in later Egyptian epochs who sought to unify their subjects under one power and one religion, Set was cast in the role of the evil one and other myths and traditions about him were lost. Meanwhile Het-Hert, the much loved Egyptian Goddess of love, sex and motherhood was probably the archetype of the Golden Calf, and The Whore of Babylon, despised by the followers of Yahweh. Possibly she was also seen in dark form as Lilith in Hebrew tradition.
Meanwhile in the Hindu traditions of India and The East, there was Kali. Kali is the goddess (or Devi) of death, time, and doomsday and is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother-figure and symbolic of motherly-love. Kali also embodies shakti – feminine energy, creativity and fertility. While neither Indian nor Egyptian traditions were as strictly dualistic between good and evil as modern western religion tends to be, it does seem that Kali is increasingly portrayed as evil when seen from a western perspective.
In Europe there were many pagan traditions and personifications of God that pre-dated and then conflicted with Christianity. One of the best known from Greek and Roman times was Dionysus. Essentially a god of good times and hedonism, god of the vine, grape harvest, wine, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theater. But as these things were later viewed as dangerous and seditious by the more and more dominant and all conquering Christian authorities, later manifestations of Dionysus; the Horned God and the Green Man, were accused of being evil wherever they dared to show their horns, and went into hiding. But in fact they were only ever evil in so far as they and their followers did not submit to the authority of The Church.
Stories and myths, just stories and myths… Yet the truth lurks here waiting to be rediscovered by those brave and insightful enough to break the chains of conformity.
Myths are explanations fit for their time. Today the truth might seem more reasonable if found in a particle accelerator and described in the language of quantum mechanics. But it is still possible to seek the truth and broaden your horizons by strength of will alone.
Satan is the voice that calls you to find yourself and reach your full potential. It may be your own voice, the echo of a primeval truth glimpsed in thoughts and dreams.
There is nothing good or noble about ignorance posing as innocence. We were not meant to stay in the garden living as gullible children forever. We were meant to grow up. We were meant to explore. We were meant to experience. We were meant to learn and grow. We were meant to be all we can be and recognize our own power and creativity.
We were meant to reach for the stars.
Hail Satan! Hail ourselves!