Anton Channing Liber Minor 6
|Pagan Teenage Voice |
(Magazine of Minor Arcana)
|Quest Magazine: |
|University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire|
|Pagan Dawn |
History 666 - Baphomet, the Devil, the Horned God and the Anti-Christ.
In the last issue of Minor Arcana magazine, (Lammas 1999) were a couple of articles concerning the place or non-place of Satan in modern paganism. Chaos Magick is a separate movement from the pagan movement, although there are some members who consider themselves to be part of both. It may then be reasonably asked whether Satan and indeed Satanism can have any place in Chaos, regardless of what pagans and Wiccans decide on this matter.
The standard view in Chaos comes from the concept of Baphomet presented by Peter Carroll in Psychonaut. In this we are presented with a being, entity and/or deity that has been engaged in a heroic journey throughout the existence of life on Earth. Although it might be possible that individual animals may be able to psychically commune with this entity we can only ever speculate on this and it can never be truly proved one way or the other. There is an abundance of evidence showing that from the earliest times mankind has been aware of this deity, and that in most cultures we would consider shamanic, it would be known by a title like 'The Great Spirit'. Mankind recognised that by invoking this entity we could give ourselves an edge over other animals and humans that didn't. Using and challenging this life force energy was the aim of the Shaman. It is likely that Shamans used their powers for their own interests, and not in the interests of the tribe, except where those interests happened to coincide.
With advent of agriculture, and what we call civilisation, 'The Great Spirit' underwent a process of division and anthropomorphisms in various cultures. 'The Great Spirit' was not the only 'spirit' to undergo such changes, the planetary bodies and other forces in nature underwent similar processes. The biggest divide that 'The Great Spirit' underwent was a sexual divide. A male aspect, typified by gods such as Pan and Herne emerged, along with a female aspect, the Mother Goddess, Gaia, Danu and other Earth goddesses. As cities grew in power, the worship of deities such as Pan and Gaia became unfashionable, in favour of the gods of the heavens such as Zeus and Apollo. Nature deities came to be seen as the uncouth and uncultured gods of the country folk. Folk who worshipped the nature deities were known as 'pagans' and 'heathens' and generally lived outside of cities.
When the monotheistic religions came to power, deities such as Pan were already seen as so unfashionable that it was relatively easy to demonise them, along with the 'pagans' and 'heathens' that worshiped them. It is unlikely that 'pagans' and 'heathens' would have cared much at the initial conversion of civilisation to monotheistic religions, it wouldn't have been until much later that they would have been persecuted by them. So the concept of Satan was born and used to threaten, suppress and justify the punishment of anyone who dared defy the new monotheistic order. And yet it is likely that the concept of a monotheist God, that should never have an image made of it, emerged as a result of a Shamanic tribe despairing at the hopeless attempts of neighbouring tribes to anthropomorphise the 'Great Spirit'! So here we have a strange paradox where both God and the Devil are actually the same entity! Some monotheistic orders, such as Christianity, actually did anthropormise their 'God' and make images of 'Him'. They even managed to give him a sex!
Where a modern pagan sees a great divide between paganism and monotheism, a Chaos Magician will likely see that the division is much more blurred and that if a pagan is happy to work with both Thor and Mercury, Kali and Isis, Diana and Brigid, why not work with Jesus, Satan, Mary, Yahweh and Lucifer? Many British pagans are happy to accept and work in North American paradigms, and yet arguably the Christian pantheon has had much more of an impact on our culture. How can the Christian gods can be dismissed as irrelevant deities from a far away land, when magicians and pagans up and down the country are invoking Thoth, Set, Horus, Osiris, Isis, Ra, Bast, Nuit on a regular basis? You don't have to make the same mistakes as the Christians in order to work with the gods, that would be like claiming that you have to own slaves and wear togas in order to work with the Greek gods.
In the aeon of Atheism, an even more fanatical, ascetic and anti-anthropomorphic order was born. If you thought monotheism was bad for only allowing one god, atheism tried to deny us the existence of even that. All concept of a being representing our life force energy was completely suppressed, and became the 'Hidden One', or the 'Occult One'. Monotheists never talked about 'the Occult', only the evils of 'devil-worship'. Occult is a label of the Atheist aeon. Atheism, more than monotheism, represents the oppressive force of order at its peak, a complete denial of all life, a claim that we are nothing more than the random movements of waves and particles. Unable to recognize the simple magic of their own apparent free-will they have to put themselves down by claiming that there is no meaning to existence and that it is just an accident of basic scientific laws. They don't question where these laws originated from, nor do they think that they can give existence their own relative meaning. And yet it was during this age that the 'Great Spirit' began to formulate it's current manifestation, Baphomet.
Baphomet is a name which comes from the Knights Templar, and until recently no-one has known for certain where the name came from. It has now been revealed that the name is actually a different name hidden by a Hebrew cypher used by the Essenes and passed to the Templars via the Gnostics and Cathars. The name is actually Sophia, meaning Wisdom and was a goddess of the Gnostics. The Inquisition did not know this and so connected the name with a statuette of Adam Kadmon, (The Sky Man, or Son of Man. i.e. Jesus). The statuette was labelled 'Chokmah' or 'Wisdom' so maybe they were not far off! In anycase Baphomet had already undergone a sex change before Eliphas Levi decided to make him/her/it androgynous. In returning to a state transcendant of sexual division, Baphomet has regained the power it once held as the undivided 'Great Spirit'. In other words Baphomet is one of the new names that the 'Great Spirit' is known by. And yet many people have been unable to see this image as being anything other than an image of Satan. Inasmuch as belief shapes reality this being is Satan, or atleast one of the modern images and names of Satan, despite the fact that Satan was originally nothing to do with any horned entity.
And yet the name Baphomet has also been connected to Adam Kadmon, the Son of Man. It was the Son of Man that Jesus has claimed to be in the Gospels. It may be that Jesus had never meant that he was the Son of Man, and may have been refering to the Son of Man as we would refer to deities and entities we invoke and have contact with today. But because Christians believe this it has power and it can be seen that Baphomet and Jesus are connected, just as Baphomet and Satan are connected. Again Baphomet can be seen to be transcending the dualistic notions of the previous aeons. It can also be seen that any holistic pagan/magician would not shy away from Christian deities such as Jesus and Satan but would instead seek a more enlightened knowledge of these entities than Christian dogma presents us with. Chaos Magick tends towards a more holistic approach than any other contempory magical system I am aware of, although individuals both within and without Chaos Magick betray this statement.
But if Chaos Magicians feel it is just as acceptable to work with Satan as any other deity, how and when would a Chaos Magician work with him? What information do we have about Satan should we choose to work with him specifically, as opposed to the more holistic Baphomet? The answer is simply that Chaos Magicians work with Satan (or not) as they see fit. If they do not feel like doing much indepth study, then they will work with the rituals of Anton LeVey, although they are likely to add their own embelishments. If, on the other hand, they are of a more scholarly bent, then they would probably research Gnostic teachings, and read the writings of Stephen E. Flowers Ph.D., and "What I Did In My Holidays - Essays on black magick, Satanism, devil worship and other niceties" by Ramsey Dukes.
My current paradigm for relating to a concept of Satan is via a mixture of the Gnostic text 'Pistis Sophia', medieval Christian prophecies concerning the Anti-Christ, String Theory, the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, the Qabala, the writings of Flowers and Dukes, the Principia Discordia and Carroll's conception of Baphomet. I will attempt to explain this paradigm without too much cross referencing of these texts, they are all listed above should you choose to investigate these concepts further.
Addendum 2010: Whilst pleasing, the explanation of the name Baphomet given by Hugh Schonfield mentioned above is also likely inaccurate. See the main Baphomet wiki entry for further discussion...
Dogma 666 - Fiat Chaos and the battle of Life and Death.
In the beginning was the Primal Chaos. The Primal Chaos was Nothing, and the Nothing was One. But One is not Nothing and as a result a duality occured and what we know as the universe was, in effect, Created. These very statements are imprecise because of the difficulty our language has in tring to talk about concepts that don't exist within dualistic time and space. Eventually the Universe began to organise itself into Order and the Stars and Planets and other astral bodies. If we care to give these bodies anthropomorphic identities then we can call them gods and/or angels. One such entity was the entity responsible for the planet Earth. The Gnostics called this entity by the name Satan.
If we care to, then we can give other things, such as the scientific laws governing the motion and behaviour of the planets, anthropomorphic identities. One such law is the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy. This tries to ensure that the universe moves backwards towards the Primal Chaos. Monotheistic religions are obsessed with trying to return to the 'Creator', just like the law of entropy. They are also obsessed with trying to force everyone to obey laws that reduce their lives to the level of meaningless atoms. As such they can be said to be worshipping an anthropomorphism of scientific laws.
Satan rebelled, and his rebellion was in the creation of life. In so doing she/he/it was enacting the will of the Primal Chaos in moving things towards increasing complexity. The forces of order, having no real intelligence or consciousness, could not understand this and thus began trying to eradicate life and Satan. However, they were constricted by their own laws, which they cannot break without themselves becoming rebels like Satan. In creating life, Satan gave itself a kind of consciousness through which to understand itself, which also gave Chaos a kind of consciousness through which to understand itself also. Inasmuch as Satan was still subject to the laws of order, order was also given access to consciousness, although its impulse has always been that consciousness is evil because it is movement away from the Primal Chaos, the Creator. Order has been unable to understand that the creator always intended creation to move away from itself, otherwise what would be the point? Terry Pratchett is describing the forces of order and entropy when he talks about 'The Auditors' in his stories about Death. They want to destroy all life. Immanentize the Eschaton as it says in the Principia Discordia. The Principia also calls those who work for 'The Auditors' the followers of 'Greyface' after Gruad the Greyface, reputedly the first human to rebel against Satan and worship the forces of order.
The Gnostics talk about five entities sent by the gods of entropy to impose order upon the Earth and to Immanentise the Eschaton. The Principia talks about 'the Five Orders of Discordia ("THEM")' and advises that we 'Don't let THEM Immanentise the Eschaton'. In a startling correlation, one may wish to examine the history of string theory, a bizarre theory from the fringes of contempory science. String theory was originally proposed as a possible solution to the inconsistency between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. However it was plagued with inconsistencies of its own until around 1985, when five separate 'Super-String Theories' had been developed. Alarmingly to scientists, these were all equally consistent at explaining the universe, yet were incompatible with each other! String theory attempts to wrap the dimensions as we know them into a single meta-dimension. A single dimension is essentially duality. It takes two points to define a line. I propose that the five Gnostic entities, the five Orders of Discordia and the five 'Super-String theories' are all one and the same. Inside the one dimensional strings of the 'Super String Theories' is said to be Ten other dimensions wrapped around. Could these correspond to the ten Sephiroth of the Qabalistic Tree of Life?
But Chaos has helped Satan and given it a plan. Seeing that order is a consequence of duality, and that a return to unity would mean the destruction of all that had been created, the only way to transcend duality is to become a triality! Ramsey Dukes talks about transcending duality by discovering a system of threes, which he calls 'The Good, the Bad and the Funny'. In our system it can be said that Primal Chaos created Order, from which has sprung the new Fractal Chaos. Primal Chaos is the universe at its simplest and Fractal Chaos is extreme complexity, Order is inbetween. Maybe one day a new level of Complex Order will be reached that will transcend Fractal Chaos, just as Order transcended Primal Chaos, but this New Order will be as unrecognisable from the previous Order as Fractal Chaos is from Primal Chaos. So how does Satan plan to do this? Well it has been revealed that Satan intends to merge all the Super-String theories together to create a two-dimensional system. This system has recently been discovered by String Theorists, who have called it M-Theory, or the Mother of all Theories. Medieval prophecies have predicted the the letter 'M' will be the initial of the Anti-Christ. Although we may delight in applying this initial to McDonalds, the Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment or Marilyn Manson, and fundamentalists will see a correlation between this and their assertion that the fictional New-Age Christ of Maitreya is actually the Anti-Christ, I suggest that 'M-Theory' is a more cosmologically pleasing candidate, since it speaks of something that can reach everyone on the planet and dramatically change all our lives.
M-Theory takes the five 'Super Strings' and combines them into a new 'Sixth' theory. This theory is two dimensional. To define two dimensions you need three points, hence it is a system of threes. To create M-Theory, scientists had to add an additional eleventh dimension. I suggest that this corresponds to Daath, the non-Sephiroth of the Qabala. If we are to enter Anti-Christ consciouness, gain the Mark of the Beast and escape the death that awaits us if entropy has its way, then we must add Daath to our trees of life as a valid Sephiroth. We must take the five fingers of the five Super Strings and close them together to form a hand, the five fingered hand of Eris. We will create for ourselves the new Sixth reality of Threes. 666.
It can be seen that the forces of Order are ever present in our World and that it could be destroyed at any time. However, life is persistent, and no organisation or individual is completely under the control of 'the Auditors'. The forces of order can be seen in its purest forms in Fundamentalist Islam, Fundamentalist Christianity and the Jehovah's Witnesses. The first two of these three groups pose the biggest threats but the third cannot be dismissed. The will to live and protect life is strong, and one can only invest belief in humanities ability to resist destroying itself. However, much of the govermental and economical systems of the world are heavilly influenced by the forces of Order and we must be careful not to allow these systems to 'accidentally' destroy the very environment which keeps us alive and healthy. The problem is that many of the 'anti-establishment' groups are also on the side of Order. I will leave it up to the individual to work out whether [a] they believe me, [b] they agree with my bias, [c] what it is they should do about it.