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On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
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So, You‘re a Witch. Do You Worship Satan?
Article ID: 12807
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,714
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Author: Lady Abigail Welcher
Posted: January 18th. 2009
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I have to admit that this subject is one that is sensitive at best. Most of us accept that not everyone is going to agree on the subject of a devil or a deity called Satan. Yet, I find that most within our community of Witches and Pagans have to deal with the discussion of a devil at some point. Very often we must try to explain that ‘NO’ we do not worship this deity since we do not believe him to be real.
"So, you‘re a Witch. Do you worship Satan?"
I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked that question. It does not seem to matter what tradition you may happen to work with; Eclectic, Druid, Celtic, Wiccan, and so forth, you have most likely been asked this question yourself. Somehow, if you do not believe in the Christian male god of everything, you must believe in and therefore worship Satan. Occasionally, the name may be different, according to whom they see as this entity of evil. (Devil, Satan, Beelzebub and Lucifer being only a few on a long list of names.) Yet, the question is continuously asked.
Most of us have tried to respectfully explain to people that we don't believe in a devil or a hell. This often gets a few strange looks, or a question of what we do believe in.
I believe that some of the people who ask this question, "Do you worship Satan?" don't really care what the answer is. They are those people who believe they already have all the answers and most of them what to tell me what that answer is.
So I have decided that rather than try to explain to them that my beliefs do not consider Satan as valid, I simply say, "No, I don’t worship any of the Christian/Judaeo Gods, good or evil."
That always brings an immediate response. "What do you mean, Christian/Judaeo Gods?"
I reply that Satan, by whatever name he may be called, is their God of Evil, not mine. I have to say, I have received more than a few puzzled looks, not to mention, shock, frustration, and some extremely nasty words. The idea that Satan is their god of evil enrages many within the some of the mainstream faiths. (I am not judging all those within these faiths. I have friends and family whom are both of the Christian and Judaeo faith.)
But, the truth is, Satan is considered by many as evil personified. He is the enemy of their one God. There are a few additional faiths that believe in a concept of an evil godlike being, although it has been my experience, that none of those give him such absolute power and reverence as those of the mainstream religions. Numerous followers of the Bible consider Satan to be not only real, but also created by God to be ruler of Hell. Satan, the God of Hell, was put in this position of authority over all the horrors that occur in human life, via the God of Heaven. Satan is distinguished in this arrangement as the God of Evil. He is seen as a very real and valid part of these mainstream religions.
A few years ago, there was a mini series called, "Revelations." Actor Bill Pullman plays the part of Dr. Massy, a noted expert on Satanism, who had his daughter (who was to be a virgin sacrifice) killed by the followers of Satan. Natascha McFlhone plays the part of Sister Jo, a nun who goes out to prove, or disprove, miracles concerning the coming of Christ and the Anti-Christ. Together they travel the world battling evil and a demented Satanist, played by Michael Massee. (There are many forms of Satanism and as far as I know none of them worship a skinny red guy with a tail and pitchfork.)
The reason I reference this program is because, no matter how enlightened we think we are as a society, this is how many see Satan. Their concept of the Devil, in a very physical form, is of a being looking to put an end to all that is good in the world. In this series we see evil lurking around every corner, children being stolen, and the possible destruction of the world.
Disappointingly, some of the scenes show people chanting, likened to Witches, along with the working of magick and rituals for some diabolical propose. Pentagrams are displayed as the sign of the Devil; just another one of a thousand times the symbolism of Witches, something we are proud of, is used and intermingled with those of a Devil to whom we do not give credence. Nonetheless, it is assumed by numerous people watching, that those chanting persons working evil rituals and magick are also Witches.
It seems impossible to find any recorded history or sacred text, religious or otherwise, that gives reference to a Devil, Satan, Demon, or Lucifer, before or outside these mainstream religions. For thousands of years, the ancient knowledge was verbally passed from generation to generation. Yet, many of the stories, folklore, and teachings of the Gods and Goddesses are the same throughout history, with only cultural differences represented. This includes the majority of stories found in the Bible.
Surprising, many (if not all) of the Bible stories we know today are found in ancient writings of numerous societies that pre-date the biblical writings by centuries. Yet, none of these speak of a Devil, not having the requirement of a God of Evil who could be blamed for the debauchery in the world.
Subsequently, where did Satan, this demonic Devil, come from? The only writings I can find on Satan, or the description of Satan, come from the Bible. Satan is mentioned first in the book of Job. While still living happily in heaven, he appears with the "sons" of God. He is full of himself and wants to show off by testing God's servant, Job. Satan is allowed by God to do ruthless and horrendous things to Job; God wanting to prove that Job would stay strong no matter what evil Satan executed upon him. Later, in Isaiah, we are told how the Devil is sent to Hell.
The Devil, Lucifer, is seen as an angel, being prideful and wanting to be like God. So, he is punished and kicked out of heaven and falls to hell. In this, there appears to be a splitting of God. Now we have two: one good, loving, and benevolent God who lives in heaven, and one evil, malicious, God who lives in Hell.
No real physical description of Satan is ever given in the Bible. He is spoken of as evil, the father of lies, disobedience, and bringing all that is wicked. Perhaps this is why it can be said that the Devil has the power to take on many forms.
Unfortunately, one of the ways the church attempted to turn Pagans away from their own beliefs was by deceitfully altering the accepted wisdom of the Old Ways. Disguising the truth to fit within their own needs served to convert, or destroy, those of conflicting faith. The Pagan Gods were transformed, with the Greek God, Pan, who is recognized as horned, hoofed, goat-like, and holding a long, three-pronged fork, or spear, called a Trident, becoming an early version of the Devil.
The Great Horned God recognized as a human male form with antlers, holding snakes, surrounded by creatures of earth, became a more human personification, sometimes with red flesh, a goatee, carrying a pitchfork. These Pagan Gods lent form to a previously un-solidified god of evil, Satan, the most vile, despised God of sin and death. How bizarre that Satan began his extremely malevolent deeds at the same time the church came into its greatest power on earth, sometime during the thirteenth century. (It should be noted that some believe the source of all evil is most beautiful. Using a pleasing form, he, or she, can lure innocent souls away into hell.)
Satan is believed to perform dark and evil magick, understanding that this also mean that these mainstream religions are based on magick, with water being turned to wine, foretelling the future, miracles of healing, the dead walking, talking with spirits, and the promise of life everlasting. How strange. If it is done in one religion, it is miraculous. Yet, when these same works of wonder are performed in any other religion, they are viewed as works of some devil. Perhaps it is the fear that others would see, and understand, that power and magick are within us all. This being too much to fear for those who wanted to control a populous.
Interestingly, in examination by religious and nonreligious scholars, it is believed that the entire concept of a Devil, or Satan, is due to an error in the translation of two words, "diabolos" and "daimonion." In the original Greek and Hebrew, the word diabolos simply meant opponent or adversary, as in an enemy, rival, or foe. Daimonion was one of supreme authority or complete and absolute ownership. Could this be where the idea of a supreme power of evil found its birth? I have to believe that is from where the popular image of Satan came.
It is amazing that, individuals not wishing to take responsibility for their actions often resort to, "the Devil made me do it." But in those words are frightening reminders of the history of the burning times. It is always easier to blame someone else, another power, or those that are different from you in some way. Once the pointing starts, the true evil begins to grow. The blaming of others emerges like a forest fire and that fire is hard to put out.
At one time, Witches were honored and respected for the knowledge we held in healing and magick. However, we are now still working to reclaim our reputations and show we are not evil.
So, let us repeat again. Witches do not desire, nor have any need, to worship Satan. Witches live right and do what is right because it is right, not out of fear that some big, nasty, red dude with a pitchfork is going to come and get us in the end. Witches are not Satanists. The Devil is not part of our religion, faith, or lives.
We don‘t want him; you can keep him.
Copyright: Copyright 05062005
High Priestess; Ravensgrove Coven
Lady Abigail Welcher
Location: Titusville, Florida
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