By Vexen Crabtree 2004
Satanism is not part of the New Age and is in most areas very much incompatible with traditional New Age thought. However bookstores will invariably put LaVey's books in the Mind-Body-Spirit section, through ignorance and innocence. LaVey's texts clearly should be in philosophy or religion section - probably in the latter.
The New Age is a wildly varied collection of practices and beliefs rather than a structured belief system, and as such it is difficult to define1. Popular elements include alchemy, alternative psychotherapy techniques, animism, aromatherapy, astrology, channeling, crystal work, divination, Gnosticism, karma stuff, lightwork and colour healing, magic, mediums, psychic powers of every kind, reincarnation and past life regression, sacred geometry (leylines, pyramid power, magical shapes), Spiritualism, Tarot card readings, Taoism, Yoga and many other splintered movements and zany practices2,3
It derives from folklore, superstition, pre-modern magical beliefs and elements of Hinduism and Buddhism. The peoples of mythical places such as Atlantis and Avalon rub shoulders with the gods, goddesses and other spiritual beings from ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, Celtic, Nordic, Saxon, Teutonic and Native American belief systems4. New Agers themselves emphasize the 'arcane' nature of their 'ancient' and 'secret' wisdom5. Some of it comprises of practices that are commonplace in the East (such as meditation) but which are simply called 'new age' when they happen to be practiced by Westerners. Much of the Indian influence on the New Age derives from diluted practices and ideas brought from India by the Theosophists.
See: "The New Age" by Vexen Crabtree (2014). Its page menu is:
Belief that spiritual, natural or supernatural forces, where they exist, can be used for practical purposes according to how the self sees fit in accordance with rules of cause and effect.
Belief that belief-systems are individual, free, that consolidation of beliefs (i.e., becoming an organized religion with dogmatic beliefs) is a historical error leading to closed minded stagnation i.e., as most world religions become.
Belief in self-help and self-empowerment.
Break from organized religious structures.
Both have gone through, and are going through, processes of emerging from being "underground" and are now able of being open and direct via internet and bookshops in a way never before possible. This is because oppressive Christian/white light powers are no longer in general control of our culture.
The scholar Asbjørn Dyrendal states that "New Age and Satanism share a common suspicion of the socialized self and of socially dominant ideologies"6, which is true, as both distrust the way the "masses" are made docile and predictable by the mass media, trash culture, etc, and seek to break free from such limitations. Dyrendal does go on to point out differences. His fellow academic, Jesper Aagaard Petersen, writes that "Although modern Satanism is very different from New Age spirituality on many accounts, the basic focus on socialization as repression of an essential nature [...] are comparable" [In "Contemporary Religious Satanism" by Jesper Aagaard Petersen (2009)7].
The New Age is infused with concepts of karma - but this is nonsensical mystical wishful thinking. There is no universal law restoring the balance of justice for all living beings. Lots of bad people get away with stuff, and lots of good deeds go unrewarded. It may hurt, it may be repulsive, but, that's all part of real life, accepted by Satanists.
The religious, spiritual and quasi-godly talk is abhorrent to Satanists: the New Age's roots in theistic mysticism clouds the balance of the entire genre of thought.
New Agers tend to be ridiculously gullible and very uncritical of crazy beliefs and odd ideas. Satanists criticize ideas and think deeply about them, whereas the New Age is rammed full of so many obviously wrong-headed ideas it is hard to imagine how thinking Humans can fall for any of it. Satanism is the opposite, and is a religion of doubters, skeptics and questioners!
Asbjørn Dyrendal: "The self-development strategies we encounter in LaVeyan texts are rarely probable candidates for inclusion in a "New Age"-like [environment]"6. Satanic self-help is harsh, demanding, sometimes aggressive, sometimes selfish, etc. There is no pretence that everything we do has to be for the good of others.
Amongst Satanists there is spite and distrust of the New Age movement. Anton LaVey hated the "chickenshit New Age"8 and talked of maze-making, obfuscation and misguided convoluted practices based on delusional white-light style ideas, and much of the New Age is considered, by Satanists, to be a refuge for sheep who are taken up on anti-Christian waves but who are unable to drop spiritualistic trappings, so they merely tag along with the New Age without ever having opened their minds.
Is Satanism inherently opposed to the New Age? On the one hand, it is not. This is because there is a cross over, some Satanists' are well versed in New Age concepts and practices through the mutual study of Hindu or other religious beliefs that individuals interested in New Age and Left Hand Path might read up on. Many Satanists' have been, or are, actively interested in various new age shops, people, events, practices and theory.
The "worth" of New Age is that it still freshens some peoples' minds, it forces the world to accept different ideas and fights stagnation. But disadvantages are that it may well foster and cultivate gullible stupidity and it certainly is a refuge for sheep who fail to question the whys and hows (of both the practices themselves and the practitioners who take their money). Depending on what a Satanist thinks the greater evil (organized religion... or stupidity?) and whether they grant the logic of the various branches of the new age in general any credit will determine whether (s)he opposes or supports (or ignores!) the New Age.
Current edition: 2004 May 26
Last Modified: 2015 Mar 27
Parent page: The Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism
All #tags used on this page - click for more:
(2014) "The New Age" (2014). Accessed 2017 Aug 01.
(1996) The New Age Movement: Religion, Culture and Society in the Age of Postmodernity. Paperback book. Published by Blackwell Publishers Ltd, London, UK.
LaVey, Anton. (1930-1997) Founder of the Church of Satan.
(1969) The Satanic Bible. Paperback book. Published by Avon Books Inc, New York, USA. Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966..
(1992) The Devil's Notebook. Paperback book. Published by Feral House, CA, USA.
(1998) Satan Speaks!. Paperback book. Published by Feral House, USA.
(2002) Religion, Science and the New Age. This essay is chapter 5 of "Belief Beyond Boundaries: Wicca, Celtic Spirituality and the New Age" by Joanne Pearson (2002) (pages p173-224).
(2002, Ed.) Belief Beyond Boundaries: Wicca, Celtic Spirituality and the New Age. Paperback book. Published by Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Aldershot, UK, in association with The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
York, Michael. Principal Lecturer in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology and Director of the Sophia Centre at Bath Spa University College, UK. Previously a post-doctoral reasearcher at the Academy for Cultural and Educational Studies in London.
(1995) The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-Pagan Movement. Published by Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, USA.