The contemporary world is yet to fully understand or perhaps embrace Satanism openly, despite the many centuries its ideologies have come. But this hasn’t really deterred its vocal adherents from openly and sometimes controversially expressing their beliefs. It’s something that many of us believe to have started with the inception of the Church of Satan in the 1960s.
From as far back as the 17th century in ancient Europe and North America, devil worship was alive and kicking. What contributed to its popularity was the backlash and repression it used to receive from the then Roman Catholic churchmen who would associate it with witchcraft. Of course, the history and roots of Satanism are pretty hard to trace, especially because of the massive prosecutions in the heyday of brazen torture and witch burning.
Following France’s influential Taxil hoax in the 1890s, however, the plot that earlier centered on prosecuting the alleged followers of Satan took a new turn. Anyone suspected of being associated with Freemasonry, Lucifer and Baphomet were not spared since this was around the same period that the three were seen as one and the same thing.
After a brief hiatus in the mainstream media, the 1966 unveiling of the Church of Satan stole the headlines again. So bold was the comeback that the subsequent years, especially the 1970s saw TIME magazine develop a massive interest in documenting the new era of worshipping the Satan. The stories revolved around the devil being a ‘father’ of a modernized and organized a public group in the United States.
With the craze growing in publicity, Satanic Symbols like a gong, candles, bells, elixir, a sword, parchment, a chalice and ‘a model phallus soon became fashionable. The 80s and the 90s probably was a milestone following the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spreading across the US and UK. This new group had to battle and be contented with massive half-truths, including the suspicion that sexual abuse and murdering children in their rites was a norm.
In any case, evidence of these rites was nonexistent. But all the same, the likes of John Todd, Hershel Smith, and David Hanson and other leftists had taken advantage of the newfound fame around Satanism to spread huge conspiracies around it. Authors took up the matter and books that spoke about the association of serial killers’ patterns of execution and cultic beliefs made the whole thing appear bizarre.
Satanism in the era of social media
When hundreds of Lucifer aficionados took over the American city of Detroit in order to catch a glimpse of a giant statue at a Satanic Temple in 2015, many were in awe of the whole spectacle. Yet practicing Satanism is something that had been happening long before then. It existed mostly as a movement shrouded in secrecy and use of unusual concepts and symbolic expressions.
To them, the temple isn’t a symbol of a religious organization or better yet its adherents finally going open with their beliefs. It rather is a group of individuals who, according to Jex Blackmore, prioritize human logic and embrace “a reconciliation of opposites.” This, however, doesn’t deny the fact that Satanism has a long history.
Today, little is known about what Satanism truly is, and a lot is just, but hearsay thrown about on the internet. Countless books, documentaries, and conspiracy theories on social media have been said, and Christian churches have never relented speaking against it. Yet despite all this, modern-day devil worship hasn’t stopped growing!