I’m rereading chapters from a book I bought 20 years ago, while researching the whole “mind control” / “dark occult” sphere, The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe. Link is to an article by the same author about, specifically, the Inquisition aspect of Christian authoritarian mind control.
There’s a subtlety that’s lost on people who jump straight to “Satanic rituals are a hoax; nobody does that!”, “why would you sacrifice children or animals?”, and “this is a witch hunt by deluded Christian fundamentalists!” There are answers to all these questions, starting with the fact that the “Satanic cults” people escape from are all very small and extremely secretive, because they know they’re committing crimes.
So where did the Satanists come from? My best theory is that their practices are a dark form of Druidism, of which the modern form tends to look a lot like Wicca. As someone who practiced Wicca some years ago, I’ve kept a lot of what works for me, and the rituals I can either take or leave. All of these groups seem to share common symbology: pentagrams, candles, the magic of clockwise and counter-clockwise directions and opposites/complements, and belief in a shared spiritual realm.
Wicca and modern Druidism are supposed to be a recreation of European nature religions, typically but not always Celtic, which were stamped out by authoritarian Christian churches, so consequently we don’t have a lot of written records, or indeed any, as to what those ancient priests and priestesses were up to, exactly.
Consequently, I suspect that any groups today in the world practicing the sorts of things that Satanic ritual abuse survivors talk about, are descendants of a dark form of European paganism, rather than forming in reaction to Christianity, and that they’ve borrowed symbolism from multiple sources, including Lucifer and Satan from Christianity, and Baal from the Middle East. At any rate, I’m convinced these groups actually do exist, because there are too many witnesses now for it to all be a hoax.
Update: I forgot to mention that the survivors of these extreme “Satanic” cults all say that the groups don’t have a name for their own religion. They typically call it “the old religion” or something like that, but they also all seem to possess elaborate genealogies of their particular “family lineage”. That’s why Fritz Springmeier got so obsessed with “Illuminati bloodlines”. I just think he’s going about that task sloppily.
Update 2: I had to get all this off my chest because my biggest gripe with all of the evangelical Christians, including Fritz Springmeier, who investigate the dark occult, is that they tar all of the rituals and pagan holidays and magickal practices with the same brush, because, as Ellerbe’s book explains in great detail, organized Christianity and Islam have persecuted and tried to destroy all forms of magical practices, which is why, among other things, we have no written records of the very practices I’m talking about.
It just gets under my skin that some Christians think pentagrams are evil, or candles are evil, and then atheists make fun of the Christians for being silly and superstitious (see also: Jack Chick and his eponymous “tracts”), and then nobody learns anything.
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