Church of Azazel > Beliefs & principles > FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
about the Church of Azazel

by Diane Vera

Copyright © 2004, 2006 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.

  1. Basic information about the Church of Azazel
  2. Infernal names and entities
    1. Why do you consider Satan and Azazel to be the same entity?
    2. What about Lucifer?
    3. What about Belial?
    4. What about Leviathan?
    5. What about Set?

  3. Other theological questions
    1. Why don't you believe that the gods are ET's?

  4. Questions/comments/pontifications from Christians
    1. This website is confusing!
    2. Satan is "God of this world" - but only temporarily!

More questions will be added later, as they arise.

  1. Basic information about the Church of Azazel

      Our core beliefs are stated in the following articles:

      Further elaboration on our beliefs can be found in other articles listed here.

      The Church of Azazel is not based on the worldviews of either Anton LaVey or Michael Aquino. We give both these men credit for launching Satanism as an above-ground, legally recognized religious category. And our own paradigm does borrow some ideas from both of them. But our paradigm is not based primarily on theirs, nor do we see either of them as having definitively codified "Satanism."

      For new and prospective members, we recommend these rituals and other practices after one has studied enough to know what one is doing.

      For other basic information about the Church of Azazel, please see Who we are and how to join.

  2. Infernal names and entities

    1. Why do you consider Satan and Azazel to be the same entity?

      First, please note that we equate Azazel with the "Satan" of the New Testament, not with "ha-satan" of the Book of Job, who does seem to be a distinct entity.

      The name "Azazel" (or rather its Arabic form, "Azazil") has been used for over a thousand years by Muslims as one of their names for the Devil. And this does make sense in terms of at least some of the earlier Hebrew uses of the name.

      The ritual of the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:10) makes no sense if Azazel is just another demon. If indeed the "Azazel" of the scapegoat ritual was originally believed to have been a demon at all, then surely the purpose of the ritual would have been to drive away all demons, not just one particular one. If any one demon is to be singled out, then the only demon worth singling out would have to have been the main leader of the pack. In other words, the entity whom Christians call "Satan" or "the Devil." And the parallelism within the ritual itself (one goat for Yahweh, the other goat for Azazel) suggests that Yahweh and Azazel were at one time thought to be figures of similar stature. It certainly does not suggest that Azazel is just a minor player.

      It is debatable whether the "Azazel" of the scapegoat ritual was originally a demon of any kind in the first place. The original meaning of the Hebrew word "Azazel" is unknown.

      However, during the several centuries immediately before the beginning of the Christian era, many Jews did see Azazel as a spirit opposed to Yahweh, though the literature is not consistent as to Azazel's rank or role. For example, in the Book of Enoch, Azazel seems to be just one member of a group of rebel angels. On the other hand, regarding Azazel, the Book of Enoch also says, "to him ascribe all sin." Note:  that's all "sin," not just some of the "sins" resulting from the fallen angels' interactions with humans. So, it appears that the writer of at least one portion of the Book of Enoch thought of Azazel as the Devil.

      In the Book of Enoch, Azazel is also portrayed as a teacher of forbidden knowledge. Our choice of the name "Azazel" in "Church of Azazel" reflects our commitment to encouraging our members to think for themselves and to acquire knowledge.

      The Book of Enoch didn't make it into the Bible, but it apparently was regarded as scripture by many of the earliest Christians, including at least one of the New Testament writers (see Jude 1:14-15, which quotes the Book of Enoch) and some of the early Church Fathers (see the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Henoch, Book of). So, it is highly likely that the Book of Enoch was a major influence on early Christian ideas about Satan.

      (See also the section on Azazel in the Theology of the Church of Azazel.)

      Some theistic Satanists have had experiences with a spirit named "Azazel" whom they regard as distinct from Satan. There may well be more than one spirit who answers to the name "Azazel." Even if "Azazel" is also the name of a lesser spirit, it is a legitimate name of Satan Himself too, having been used as a name of Satan/Shaitan for many centuries.

    2. What about Lucifer?

      Like the name "Satan," the name "Lucifer" has been used to refer to more than one entity. "Lucifer" literally means "light-bearer" or "morning star." In the Latin Vulgate Bible, the word "Lucifer" appears in a variety of different places, with a variety of different meanings. (See the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Lucifer.)

      Historically, the name "Lucifer" has been used to refer to all of the following, among others:

      • The planet Venus as the morning star.
      • A minor Roman god associated with the planet Venus.
      • Jesus Christ.
      • Satan.
      • The "god of the Sun and of the Moon ... who was so proud of his beauty, and who for his pride was driven from Paradise" in Aradia: Gospel of the Witches by Charles G. Leland.

      So the name "Lucifer" can certainly be used, legitimately, to refer to assorted entities distinct from Satan/Azazel. However, there is no good reason to consider any one of these entities to be the "real" Lucifer, with sole title to that name. In any case, the name "Lucifer" has been used by Christians, for nearly 2000 years, to refer to Satan/Azazel. So, surely it must be regarded as a legitimate name of Satan/Azazel too.

      In the Church of Azazel, we use the name "Lucifer" to refer to the "light-bearing" aspect of the Prince of Darkness, associated with the element of Air. Lucifer is the light that emerges from darkness, like the flashes of inspiration that emerge from the darkness of a person's subconscious mind. Lucifer also beckons us to explore dark (unknown or forbidden) realms to attain knowledge.

      We also revere a separate deity, Lucifer-of-Sophia, one of the five Rising gods of the modern West. In ritual, we use the name Lucifer-of-Sophia to distinguish this entity from Lucifer the aspect of Satan/Azazel.

      To disambiguate "Lucifer" as a name of Satan/Azazel from Lucifer-of-Sophia, we use the name "Lucifer-Azazel" in ritual, to refer to the elemental Prince of the Power of the Air, i.e. the Air aspect of Satan/Azazel.

    3. What about Belial?

      As with the name "Azazel," it's debatable whether the Hebrew word "Belial" originally referred to a demon of any kind. In the Tanakh (Old Testament), most Bible translations render "Belial" as "wickedness" or "worthlessness." However, in the New Testament, the one reference to "Belial" (or "Beliar" in Greek) is the following piece of advice for Christians, against marrying non-Christians:

      "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

      This passage makes no sense unless "Belial" is thought to be a spirit ruling over the entire non-Christian world. In other words, the Devil, the "God of this world," as He is called elsewhere in that very same Pauline epistle (2 Corinthians 4:4).

      The name Belial is also used in some of the Dead Sea scrolls to refer to the main ruler of demons.

      (See also the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Belial.)

      In the Church of Azazel, we use the name "Belial" to refer to the aspect of Satan/Azazel that encourages us to be down-to-earth and practical, to better our material circumstances, and generally to be in touch with the realities of this world, of which He is the God. We use the name "Belial" to refer to the elemental Prince of the Power of Earth, i.e. the Earth aspect of Satan/Azazel.

      There may also exist other, lesser entities who answer to the name of "Belial" too. But, to identify an entity uniquely, you need more than just its name (or one of its names).

    4. What about Leviathan?

      The name "Leviathan" has been used as a name of Satan. (The Wikipedia article on Leviathan references ^ Labriola, Albert C. (1982). "The Medieval View of History in Paradise Lost". in Mulryan, John. Milton and the Middle Ages. Bucknell University Press. pp. 115–34. ISBN 9780838750360.)

      However, that is not the primary meaning of the "Leviathan," a word which refers primarily to a (probably physical) sea monster, not any kind of demon at all.

      In our rituals, we may sometimes use the name Leviathan as a traditional name for the one of the four Princes (according to the Abra-Melin grimoire and many subsequent occultists and Satanists including LaVey). But, more often, we will use the Biblical name "Ancient Serpent" to refer to the Prince of the Power of the Waters, i.e. the Water aspect of Satan/Azazel.

    5. What about Set?

      We're not aware of any good reason to equate the ancient Egyptian god Set with Satan. Some people have claimed that the Hebrew name "Satan" is a corruption of the Egyptian "Set-hen," meaning "majesty of Set." But this seems unlikely, given that "Satan," in Hebrew, is not even a proper name of any entity, just a common noun meaning "adversary." Furthermore, in the Book of Job - one of the very oldest books of the Hebrew Bible - "ha-satan" is the heavenly prosecuting attorney, not an enemy of or rebel against Yahweh, and thus does not seem to be the same entity as the "God of this world" whom Christians (and some Jews at the beginning of the Christian era) later called Satan. (We revere the latter entity, not the former entity.)

      In the religion of ancient Egypt, the god Set had His ups and downs. He was seen as sometimes a good guy, sometimes a bad guy, and sometimes ambiguous, depending on which dynasty was in power. During the later dynasties He was almost always seen as a bad guy. The later myths of Set may well have been one of the influences on the Christian idea of Satan, but probably not the only or main influence.

      Thanks to the influence of today's Temple of Set, quite a few of today's theistic Satanists have become fond of "Set" as one of the names of the Prince of Darkness. As Geifodd points out in his articles Why some folks call the Devil "Set" and "Set" and the Prince of Darkness, "Set" can be considered a valid modern name of Satan/Azazel even if the Prince of Darkness is not the same entity as the ancient Egyptian god Set. Again, there is not a one-to-one correspondence between entities and names, and there can be more than one entity with the name "Set."

      However, the "Set" of the Temple of Set seems to have more in common with Prometheus (one of our five rising gods of the modern West) than with Satan/Azazel as revered by the Church of Azazel. The Temple of Set places a strong emphasis on humans as separate from the rest of Nature, in contrast to LaVey's view that "Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his 'divine spiritual and intellectual development,' has become the most vicious animal of all!" - and also in contrast to ther more rose-colored typical Wiccan view of human oneness with the rest of Nature. In the Church of Azazel paradigm, Satan/Azazel is associated with both our "animal nature" and the traits that set humans apart from other animals. Given the Temple of Set's strong focus on those human traits, such as intellect, which set humans apart from other animals, it would seem that their "Set" is similar to our Prometheus, who is specifically a god of human technology and knowledge -- and who, in ancient Greek myth, was the creator of humans, similar to the Temple of Set's view of Set as the creator of human intelligence.

    (See also Infernal names, directional correspondences, etc. on Diane Vera's Theistic Satanism page.)

  3. Other theological questions

    1. Why don't you believe that the gods are ET's?

      Some Satanists - and various other people - believe that the gods are really extra-terrestrial humanoids who occasionally visit Earth in the flesh and, at other times, live on a distant planet, spending a lot of their time in telepathic contact with people on Earth.

      In the 1970's, Erich von Daniken (not a Satanist, as far as I am aware) popularized the idea that various human civilizations were started by ET's. Here are some critiques of Von Daniken's writings:

      Here are some critiques of the writings of Zecharia Sitchin, another proponent of this idea (also not a Satanist, as far as I am aware):

      And here are some articles presenting more mainstream views of the history of ancient civilzations:

      For further commentary, including some further reasons to doubt the idea that Satan/Azazel is an E.T., see also Gods as advanced extraterrestrial humanoids? in Who and what is Satan? Various Satanist reinterpretations.

  4. Questions/comments/pontifications from Christians

    1. This website is confusing!

      This website's main target audience is our fellow Satanists. It isn't organized in the best possible way to explain things to a Christian. So, if you're a Christian, I would suggest that you read articles on this site and on two of my other sites in the following order:

      1. First, you may need to clear your head of all the nonsense that has been spread about Satanism by assorted sensation-mongers. See Popular misconceptions about Satanism on Diane Vera's Theistic Satanism page, and see Against Satanic Panics.

      2. Also on the Theistic Satanism site, see Satan and "Evil" in Christianity (and Satanism).

      3. Note that we do not consider the Biblical God to be all-"Good" in any humanly meaningful sense. For some of the reasons why, please see Bible-sanctioned cruelties and other Biblical nastiness and Heaven, hell, "love," and "justice" on the Counter-Evangelism Resource Page.

      4. Then, on the Church of Azazel website itself, it would probably be best for a Christian to begin with the following two articles:

      5. Then, read other articles on the Our polytheistic Satanist beliefs and principles page.

    2. Satan is "God of this world" - but only temporarily!

      Conservative Christians believe that Satan's rulership of the Earth was granted to Him only temporarily by His enemy, the Christian god, who will eventually drive Satan out completely.

      My response:  I don't give any credence to any religion's predictions about the long-range future. Such matters fall into the category of things we humans cannot possibly know. (See The here-and-now principle in theology.)

      Furthermore, I don't believe that the Christian god is the all-powerful cosmic God. (See Post-Copernican natural theology.) It seems highly unlikely to me that the Christian god has the power to drive Satan out completely.

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