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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: satanism

DEFINITIONS

Satanism: The worship of Satan. Although there is very little evidence of the existence of Satanism prior to the 17th century, many were accused of it and died because of the accusation. Actual Satanism developed in response to the repressiveness of Christian authorities and frequently simply reversed Christian practices and symbolism with such things as reciting the Lord’s Prayer backwards or spitting on the holy symbol of Christianity, the cross, or Crucifix.

In 1966, Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan to practice his form of Satanism that did not worship Satan at all. Rather, it promotes a philosophy of extreme individualism and can be compared to Objectivism, libertarianism, and Nietzscheism. There are also some other groups practicing Satanism of this kind, the most notable being the Temple of Set. There are some smaller groups based on the writings of devout Christians (criticizing supposed Satanists), the writings of LaVey, novels, comic books, and even fictional movies.

In the late decades of the 20th century, some Christians started seeing “satanic abuse” everywhere, resulting in expensive legal cases, the destruction of families, and the ruination of many lives.


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The Work of the Medsen Fey - the Leaf Doctors of Haiti
Loulou Prince is the medsen fey (leaf doctor/herbalist and shaman) for a Haitian community of around 1,500 people who live in the vicinity of Jacmel, a small town close to the border with the Dominican Republic. In his daily practice, he deals with ...
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Witchcraft: What is it?
Candles gleam. Incense smoke swirls. Robed figures, chanting in a long-dead language, whirl around a rustic wooden table. On it sit sacred images—a robust female wearing a crescent Moon on her forehead, a horned male holding a spear in his upraised ...
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