There is a vast difference between shamanism and Satanism. I felt moved to make that distinction clear, knowing that a mainstream audience was about to hit on internet research which alleges that Jimmy Savile, and possibly Edward Heath, were involved in Black or Satanic Masses where children were sexually abused, ritually tortured, and sometimes killed.
The element of sacrifice in not present in a shamanic ritual and I recommend that if anyone find themselves taking part in any kind of ritual where there is a demand for any kind of blood sacrifice that you should leave, because no god, goddess or spirit requires this. Shamanic rituals are much more life-affirming and uplifting in their nature anyway, … well, those that I and my associates hold certainly are!… because they’re about fertility and the continuation of life and creativity. They are a joyful celebration… not so the Black Mass.
Looking back in history, it seems to me that the purpose of the Black Mass has been negative … it’s been like a pouting little boy kicking against the rule of his parents. I say ‘little boy’ deliberately … there’s been scant room in these rites for a goddess or an equally regarded Divine Feminine. It’s all been small, stroppy boys railing at the Christian church … and it’s probably why the Masons, like most ‘gentlemen’s clubs’, don’t accept women members.
Now in my opinion, railing against the Christian church is not necessarily a bad thing given the suffering this Roman/Syrian/Judaean organisation has caused for nearly 2,000 years. A Satanic rite without bloodletting is not even sinful … I mean, the Christian church invented the fear of sinning, and it also created the Devil or the evil Satan. So where I depart from the idea of it is here: if you are going to have a Black Mass to try to magically destroy the Christian church, using a Christian character like the Devil to commit sin defeats the purpose. It’s like saying “Every morning, when I wake up, I thank God that I’m an atheist.”
In reacting towards something, you give it more energy. If you really want to destroy something, it’s more effective to ignore it in favour of more creative projects and it will wither on the vine.
I’m currently reading Peter Grey’s The Red Goddess, giving his take on Ishtar and Babalon (why can’t they ever spell it correctly? I have a lot of issues with this book and I will write a review at some point.) But in some areas, Grey’s got it spot on, and particularly in how he explains the magical impotence and moribundity caused by the Black Mass, and why.
For his historical examples, he goes back to the Knights Templars, Sir Francis Dashwood’s Hellfire Club and more latterly, Aleister Crowley and Jack Parson’s desperate and misguided attempts … really only one step up from ouija board.
I’d like to share this extract …
Transgression and magical opposition
“There is delight in disobedience. There is power in opposition. The Black Mass shows that the tyranny of the Church has been actively magically opposed.
“Yet in the parody of the Christian Mass, the sacred feminine has been excluded again. She is not the centre of the rite, but an after dinner entertainment to be brought out with the brandy and cigars and used for male amusement.
“We cannot rely on a celibate order of monks [Knights Templars] a swagger of spoiled libertines [Hellfire Club] and a carnival showman [Crowley] to teach us about Babalon. The Black Mass is a celebration of the cock and not the cunt. It is part of the process of liberation but not the final act.
“Spitting on a cross, fucking your lover while you are dressed as a nun or priest, may be of use. This is deep level programming, challenging yourself to confront and embrace the forbidden, the other. The Black Mass can undo childhood knots and cultural conditioning. What we need is transgression. In transgression, there is power. Celebrating the Black Mass with a black turnip and all the trimmings time after time will not work. This is simply trading one set of binding values for another, you become a worthless parody, leached of value.
“The Black Mass partakes of the same process we can see in Andres Serrano’s piss christ and Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. It is an attack on the symbolic level done with all the tools of art. But after our Black Masses, we need to move on. Our strength cannot rely on opposition alone.”
By the way, before anyone writes in to ask, I have no idea what you do with the black turnip! But if the metaphor for the Black or Satanic Mass is the rebellious child kicking against authority while still completely dependent upon it, then perhaps we can compare shamanic rites to growing up, leaving home and becoming self-sufficient and self-empowered.
What we need is not transgression, but transfiguration and transcendence.
It’s a much more positive and self-transformative path, although there are sometimes dark valleys to traverse and dragons to face on the way to self-realisation – the first one usually being that now that we can no longer blame our parents when things go wrong, there’s only ourselves to blame. That’s what being a grown-up is all about … taking responsibility… and with responsibility comes power.