The inverted pentacle (with a solitary point at the bottom, and two at the top), the goat, skulls and momento mori of all kinds, symbols of hell, the inverted cross, the moon and the trident: The majority of these represent eartly, carnal and unspiritual elements of religion. Harsh angles, high-contrast black-and-white-and-red colours make some observers note comparisons between the shock and awe of Fascist imagery. Much Satanic symbolism is designed to shock and to put people off, in order to repel anyone unwilling to suspend prejudice and niceties.
Much of the imagery, words, symbols and phrases within Satanism are intentionally disturbing and are often design to be misunderstood by laypeople. Satanists pick up on the advantages of shock factor subconsciously without really being able to explain why or how it works. Satanism uses such symbols to alienate itself from most people.
Sheep are frequently considered a bit mindless, uncurious and unintelligent because they follow the herd, without thinking and take for granted that that's the way it should be. No questions, no answers. When you have a symbol that is routinely misinterpreted by popular belief then you immediately filter out the masses who are unwilling to question their own assumptions. The Fifth Satanic Sin is herd conformity. In Satanism the individual thinks for hirself and all the assumptions of society are questioned. Therefore, those who are unable to question society's assumptions cannot become Satanists in part because they never look past the veneer.
The Satanic Creed of the Symbol:
In the name of making people think and smashing stereotypes and assumptions. In the name of fun and entertainment! In the name of Satan, you shall think!! And if you cannot break free from the superstitious and paranoid things that society tells you about religious symbols, you will hate Satanism!
Things which make people think and abandon cultural superstitions are good. Anton LaVey utilized shock and imagery to make people pay attention, to confuse them and hopefully stimulate them to think. Different people require different methods to awaken the questioner within, and plain-out shock is sometimes the right method. Once someone has proven they are not put off by mere symbols with negative values imposed by wider society, they are deemed worthy by Satanists of possible engagement.
Click on the titles of each symbol for more information.
|Satan, the dark force of both nature and man.|
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2.6. The Sabbatic Goat - the Goat of Mendes. This symbol derives from Christian fear and confusion: Eliphas Levi, the half-crazy Christian occultist, drew this famous image of the androgynous goat adorned with other evil and carnal symbols. It has been deemed found worthy of use by some occult groups and by many Satanists.
|Satan, Leviathan, Lucifer and Belial. These are defined in The Satanic Bible. They represent Satan divided into four elements, each representing a different aspect of Human nature.|
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In an interview in "Lords of Chaos" by Moynihan & Soderlind (1998)1 Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, is asked "Many fear a strong connection between Satanism and some forms of Fascism. Is there any truth to this?". He replies that aspects of Fascism appeal to Satanists - "the drama, the lightning, the choreography with which they moved millions of people". Blanche Barton also replies with the same sentiment: "Aesthetics more than anything else are the common ground between Satanism and fascism. The aesthetics of National Socialism and Satanism dovetail". The themes of theatre, indulgence, shock and power are natural to both Fascists and Satanists going about the task of creating visuals.
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2.9. The Inverted Cross
This was the cross that St. Peter was crucified on because he didn't feel worthy to be crucified on the same form of cross as Jesus Christ. It was a symbol for unworthiness and deep respect of one's superiors: representing folly, hardship, failure and reverence for Christ. That's what it used to mean - a very Christian symbol indeed. Since the advent of the B-Movie and limited public intelligence, the inverted cross became a reversed Christian symbol - a symbol of anti-Christian sentiment. Because in modern times it has come to represent anti-Christianity, some Satanists have employed this symbol.
2.10. The MoonChristianity. The Moon has always perturbed Humanity. But this fear, in modern Satanism, is faced and accepted full on without the barriers that other religions erect.
Occultists, pseudo-scientists, crazy people and the superstitious, all enjoy making mountains out of mole hills, and volumes has been written by Christian demonologists and the like on 'lunar influences'. Mystical alchemists tried for a long time to create potions that would turn impure lunar souls into golden solar ones2.
Another thing given dramatic status by religionists is that the monthly cycle coincides in length with the female menstrual cycle, more-or-less. The moon even appears red on the horizon from time to time, so it came to be considered female itself. Some of the mythical stories explaining menstruation are as fascinating as they are odd. In classical monotheism this is obviously all bbyecause women are more susceptible to diabolical influences.
A symbol of the vital and individualistic pagan forces of nature and of now-vanquished gods such as Poseidon, the trident is not particularly Satanic. However, it can easily be used, and sometimes is, as a symbol of rebellion and defiance in the face of mainstream religious belief. To reclaim the trident and hold it proudly, as LaVey did, is to reveal to the world the truth that the slavery to the rule-by-fear of the medieval churches is over: strong independence can triumph over centralised dogma.
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“Satanism means "the opposition" and epitomizes all symbols of nonconformity.”
Satanists may use whatever symbols are appropriate, and more importantly, whichever ones the individual happens to like. Expect to see symbols of counterculture and every kind of artefact ever associated with halloween, the dark, and the fun side of the dark. Many are employed in jest, for entertainment. Very little is used in a straightforward way and almost never to represent merely what you'd think. In nearly all cases you need to ask the individual Satanist about hir use of a particular symbol. They may give lucid and intellectual answers steeped in historical knowledge and clever anti-theology. Or they may just like them. Other Satanists will no doubt disagree that the use of particular symbols is useful. There is much dissention in the ranks. The philosopher Bertrand Russell reminds us that, in particular when it comes to religion, "the belief in either pessimism or optimism is a matter of temperament, not of reason"4.
Employing shocking imagery and symbols has downsides:
Many intelligent and powerful people who would make good Satanists are put off because they do not suspect Satanism contains worthwhile philosophy. No-one has time to research everything and unfortunately we cannot all go around looking into the beliefs of all the crazy-sounding people that we hear of. So some good people are filtered out. But that's ok - those good people will continue to lead good, powerful, sensible lives, so there is no harm actually done to the world by their dismissal of Satanism.
Attracting psychos. Satanism genuinely does attract a class of person who, however hedonistic, energetic, demoniacal and powerful, are still at their hearts idiotic, forcefully holding on to lots of ignorant and crazy ideas. That's right, Satanism attracts psychos. Thankfully, the Church of Satan does a very good job of filtering them out when they try to join. But plenty of whackos sound-off in the name of Satanism and thankfully they merely add to the negative stereotypes of us, whereas those in-the-know (and the police!) can quite quickly recognize loners talking rubbish.