Church of Azazel > Beliefs & principles > Needed: new kinds of Satanism
Church of Azazel paradigm and strategy, as of 2012
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2012 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
As of 2012, the New York City proto-congregation of the Church of Azazel is still in an embryonic phase. So far, I've had much better luck organizing the NYC Satanists discussion group, a.k.a. NYC Satanists, Luciferians, Dark Pagans, and LHP Occultists, which welcomes Satanists, Luciferians, etc. of all law-abiding kinds, both theistic and atheistic, on an equal basis. The Church of Azazel, on the other hand, is intended to be focussed on a specific polytheistic Satanist paradigm, rather than embracing Satanists in general.
For various reasons I've concluded that, in order to launch the Church of Azazel in the form I envision, it will be necessary first to build separate, independent groups devoted to each of the Church of Azazel's five Rising Gods of the Modern West (Lilith, Prometheus, Ishtar, Pan, and Lucifer-of-Sophia). These groups will not be Satanist groups, but will welcome Pagans, polytheists, and occultists of all kinds -- including Satanists -- who revere a particular one of the Rising Gods. So far, a group for Lilith devotees, founded by several theistic Satanists in 2009, has been successfully launched and is now holding rituals. I've recently begun trying to build a group for Prometheus devotees too. It is intended that these groups be separate, independent groups, not dominated or controlled by the Church of Azazel. It is desired that they reach out to non-Satanists and, if possible, attract predominantly non-Satanist (but not anti-Satanist) members.
Until all these groups are built, the Church of Azazel proto-congregation will still hold four or five public meetings per year for people interested in the Church of Azazel paradigm, although it is not expected that the Church of Azazel will really get off the ground before all the other groups do.
- Our general theology
- Church of Azazel pantheon
- Satan and the balance between order and chaos
- Other reasons why separate groups devoted to the Rising Gods are needed
- Building the Church of Azazel
Our general theology
The Church of Azazel paradigm is neither purely "reverse-Christian" nor purely "dark Pagan." It is a systematic synthesis of ideas from many different religions, both ancient and modern, unashamedly including some "reverse Christian" themes but by no means limited to them.
We regard all gods as a combination of (1) human-created throught-forms and (2) transcendent spirits whose ultimate nature is unknown and probably unknowable, but who manifest to us via our thought-forms. We do not regard any myths about gods as being literally true. Instead, we look for symbolic meanings of myths in the here-and-now.
Church of Azazel pantheon
Our main deity is Satan – or, more specifically, Azazel, Who is one of the Satans. The Christian and Islamic "Satan" concept is based more on ancient Jewish myths about Azazel (and Belial) than on the original Hebrew Satan, who is portrayed in the Book of Job as a heavenly prosecuting attorney.
We revere Satan/Azazel and the four elemental Princes, who are seen as aspects of Satan/Azazel: (1) Leviathan, or the Ancient Serpent (Water), (2) Iblis (Fire), (3) Lucifer-Azazel (Air), and (4) Belial (Earth).
We also revere five Rising Gods of the Modern West: Lilith, Prometheus, Ishtar, Pan, and Lucifer-of-Sophia. The five Rising Gods are each associated with specific aspects of the modern world that are under attack by Satan's avowed enemies, i.e. by the leaders of those branches of Christianity and Islam that most strongly believe in a Devil (as their Enemy).
Satan and the balance between order and chaos
In those branches of Christianity and Islam that have a strong belief in a Devil, the main social function of the Satan myth is to scare people into conformity to the group's dogma. Satan is associated with everything outside the group's little box.
Therefore, a positive spiritual experience with "Satan" means, to us, that one is interacting with a Deity Who encourages us to look outside of whatever little box we might have confined ourselves to. And that, to us, is a good thing, not a bad thing.
Yet we humans do need structure, order, stability, tribal cohesion, and a sense of meaning – as well as the ability to break out of these things when needed. The Church of Azazel paradigm recognizes a need for balance between order and chaos, between stability and innovation, and between tribal instinct and individuality.
Alas, when Satanists try to satisfy their needs for structure, order, stability, "meaning," tribal identity, and dogma via Satan, Who is fundamentally a God Who challenges all these things, the Satanists all too often end up acting like absurd caricatures of dogmatism and groupthink of the most nonsensical and tyrannical kinds. Perhaps Satan Himself is having fun at the expense of these people, driving them to ridiculous, obviously counterproductive extremes until they finally learn to stop? Or perhaps people who wrap their sense of identity too tightly around Satan are thereby attracting other, lesser, parasitic spirits – hungry Jehovah-wannabees who answer to the name of "Satan"? For various reasons, many Satanist groups and leaders are extraordinarily prone to dogmatism, infighting, and drama. Perhaps one reason may be the paradoxes inherent in using Satan as one's main source of tribal identity, "meaning," etc.?
TTherefore, to whatever extent theistic Satanists seek to satisfy a need for tribal identity, "meaning," etc. in a religious context, the Church of Azazel paradigm advises centering only a part of one's religious identity around one's tie to Satan/Azazel. To whatever extent prospective Church of Azazel members seek a sense of tribal solidarity and transpersonal "meaning," they are encouraged to seek it primarily via identification with one or more facets of today's emerging social order that are associated with whichever one of the five Rising Gods a particular Satanist feels the strongest affinity for. By working to defend -- or, better yet, to advance -- one of the more desirable aspects of today's world, a person can gain a sense of participating in the grand sweep of history, especially when doing so as an act of devotion to a Rising God.
Satan/Azazel – our primary deity -- is then revered as a more transcendant Being, an Infernal Mystery beyond our personal sense of "meaning," but at the same time as One Who helps keep us down-to-Earth, in touch with the practical realities of life and in touch with our own innermost individual Will.
The five Rising Gods are not exactly ardent champions of order and stability either, but they are strongly associated with the more desirable aspects of today's social order, such as scientific progress, religous pluralism, women's rights, and the growing acceptance of sexual variety. They represent an order which is compatible with individuality and dynamic progress, and which needs to be defended against Satan's avowed enemies.
At the same time, even the more desirable aspects of today's social order can devolve into oppressive dogma – and our reverence for Satan/Azazel can act as a counterbalance to that tendency.
Other reasons why separate groups devoted to the Rising Gods are needed
As implied above, one of the reasons why the Church of Azazel needs separate, independent groups devoted to the Rising Gods is as a place for new and prospective Church of Azazel members to develop an important part of their religious tribal identity and sense of "meaning." This is especially important for theistic Satanists who come from intensely Christian backgrounds. The more fanatical forms of Christianity provide a very strong sense of religious tribal identity and "meaning." Therefore, converts to theistic Satanism from intensely Christian backgrounds are likely to feel a strong need for those things in a Satanist context too.
On the other hand, for theistic Satanists from nonreligious or non-Abrahamic backgrounds, participation in one or more groups devoted to the Rising Gods provides an opportunity to stand with some of the actual main targets of Satan's avowed enemies, and thus, indirectly, to gain a deeper understanding of the actual function of the Satan myth in today's world.
To whatever extent the groups for the Rising Gods can attract non-Satanists, they can also provide theistic Satanists with direct exposure to a variety of non-Abrahamic belief systems, thereby helping the theistic Satanists gain in philosophical sophistication and avoid a purely "reverse Christian" perspective.
Finally, to whatever extent the groups for the Rising Gods can attract non-Satanists, they can help end the isolation between theistic Satanists and the rest of the alternative religion scene.
Building the Church of Azazel
In order for the Church of Azazel to function as envisioned, it is necessary first to build separate groups devoted to each of the five Rising Gods. All members and prospective members of the Church of Azazel will be expected to participate regularly in at least one of the groups devoted to the Rising Gods as well as in the Church of Azazel itself. New and prospective members of the Church of Azazel proto-congregation are also expected to attend meetings of NYC Satanists, Luciferians, Dark Pagans, and LHP Occultists as well as meetings of the Church of Azazel proto-congregation itself plus meetings and rituals of at least one of the five separate groups devoted to the Rising Gods.
Once the Church of Azazel is fully organized and holding regular rituals, candidates for the Church of Azazel's priesthood and/or inner core group will also be expected to participate at least semi-regularly in New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry (NYARBB) or something similar. NYARBB is currently dormant but will be revived when possible. The reason for this requirement is that leading members of the Church of Azazel are expected to be knowledgeable about what Satan's avowed enemies are up to, and are also expected to be stauch defenders of those aspects of the modern world that are under attack by Satan's avowed enemies.
Until the separate groups are built for all five Rising Gods, the Church of Azazel cannot fully exist in its desired form. But, in the meantime, the NYC Church of Azazel proto-congregation will hold four or five public meetings per year for people interested in the Church of Azazel paradigm.