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Devil Worship in the 19th Century
Posted: 29 May 2005 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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In the 19th Century, devil worship spread across educated European society—especially in England and France.  To name just the most famous instances, Eliphas Levy published several occult books in France in the mid 19th Century that drew a large and loyal following, both in the French version and in many translations.  His frontispiece of Baphomet, the Goat of Mendes, with its pentragram later became the genesis of Anton LeVey's Church of Satan. 

The English translation of Levi's book's gave birth in London to Madame Blavasky's Theosophic Society and the Golden Dawn with Aleister Crowley—two famous cults.  Among some celebrated devil-worshippers: the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the Bronte Sisters, the famous actress Florence Farr, etc.

The question is: what was (and perhaps still is) the enormous attraction of devil worship to highly educated, intelligent, artistic men and women.  None of them were brought up as devil worshippers.  They all sought it out and chose it in early midlife.  Was there any common motive behind devil worshippers?

Mark Starr

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Posted: 30 May 2005 02:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I’ve got a story for you about devil worshippers, and I’d take a lie detector test on this one.<g> I graduated from high school early and worked in the bookstore of a major university to earn some money towards attending college. I was living in a room on the edge of the campus and ate regularly in a little neighborhood restaurant. I was barely 16.

An older man (anyone over, say, 25 was “older” to me) seemed to be interested in me, but was very careful about approaching me. I learned that he was a professor in the math department.  He’d buy things from me in the bookstore, which was perfectly normal, and began to eat at the same restaurant, which was not quite that normal and put me on guard. He was a nice looking guy in a bland sort of way; blond, bookish, professorial. After a week or so he asked if he could eat with me. I said OK. No point antagonizing professors. Finally, after we’d eaten together a few times, he suggested we take a walk.

It was a beautiful evening, almost dusk. Birds were gathering together in the old campus trees we walked under, settling down for the night, chattering. The professor said he’d like me to meet some of his friends. He had very interesting friends, some of them quite famous, and I’d like them. He and his friends were members of a group. He confided that this group practiced the Black Mass. They had a beautiful altar in a secret chapel, very secret and mysterious, and I’d love it.

I noticed that the birds were no longer just chattering but screaming and following us from tree to tree. What really impressed me, though, was that they started pooping all over him. He was wearing a new tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows, and he was very annoyed. I found it very interesting that none of the birds were pooping on me while slathering him with white stuff, so this didn’t seem to be exactly random or accidental. If it hadn’t been for the peculiar behavior of those birds, I probably would have agreed to meet his group, just out of teenage curiosity.

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Posted: 30 May 2005 02:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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” Among some celebrated devil-worshippers: the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the Bronte Sisters, the famous actress Florence Farr, etc.
 
William Butler Yeats, the Bronte Sisters, etc. were most definitely not devil worshippers. What in the world is your definition of a “devil worshipper?” What is your evidence for calling these people “devil worshippers?” Devil worshippers worship, uh, the Devil. None of these people did anything even approaching that.

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Posted: 30 May 2005 04:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“MJ”]” Among some celebrated devil-worshippers: the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the Bronte Sisters, the famous actress Florence Farr, etc.
 
William Butler Yeats, the Bronte Sisters, etc. were most definitely not devil worshippers. What in the world is your definition of a “devil worshipper?” What is your evidence for calling these people “devil worshippers?” Devil worshippers worship, uh, the Devil. None of these people did anything even approaching that.

William Butler Yeats was in fact the Grand Magus of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in London after its membership revolted against founder S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1900.  According to all the histories of the cult, Yeats joined on March 7, 1890—although he was involved from its founding in 1888.  Yeats was caught in a bitter fight for control with “Black Magick” master Aleister Crowley—who was forced out.  Yeats wrote that together with his poetry, his activity in the Golden Dawn was “the most imporant activitiy of his life.” 

The occult activities of the three Bronte Sisters are documented in the book “Strange World of the Brontes” by Marie Campbell.

The incredibly beautiful actress Frances Farr became a top official of the Golden Dawn, the Cancellarius, in 1900.

The wealthy aristocrat Annie Horniman was the principal financial backer of both the Golden Dawn cult and Yeats’ Abbey Theatre.

Moina Bergson, an extraordinarily beautiful artist, married Mathers and became a high priestess in the Golden Dawn.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the Russian-born American occult theoretician, founded the Theosophical Society in London.  The Great Russian composer Alexander Scriabin was a theosophist.  He composed the ‘Black Mass” Piano Sonata.

I am not talking about dabblers in devil worship.  These cults were the real thing, and these people were devoted practitioners.  The books by Eliphas Levy established the rituals of devil worship still practiced by many devil worshippers today.  It was not until the 1950’s, however, that Anton LeVey founded his Church of Satan—which is what people usually mean when they use the term “Satanists.”

By the way, while Arthur Conan Doyle was not a devil worshipper, he was deeply involved in the occult and spiritualism in the latter part of his life.  So much for Sherlock Holmes’ deductions.

Mark Starr

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Posted: 30 May 2005 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Throughout history, there have existed many cults, organizations, and societies who have pursued understanding, knowledge, and wisdom of esoteric principles.

In addition to most of the current forms of religion in modern societies (including Christianity), great numbers of people have pursued ideas expressed by the Rosicrucians (devoted to the study of ancient mystical, philosophical, and religious doctrines and concerned with the application of these doctrines to modern life), the Theosophicals (religious philosophy or speculation about the nature of the soul based on mystical insight into the nature of God), Freemasonry (an international fraternal and charitable organization with secret rites and signs), Kabbalah (a body of mystical teachings of rabbinical origin, often based on an esoteric interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures).  This is just a sampling of those more familiar cults and organizations.

As a matter of fact, Theosophical teachings argued for the essential oneness of all religions and the omnipresence of divine spirit. The little I have read of the Order of the Golden Dawn, it seems to be quite similar to theosophical teachings.  Although tarot, astrology, geomancy, and alchemy might generally be considered pseudo-science, I can see no connection to devil worship.  All these ideas seemed to be a quite common theme with those 19th century seekers of esoteric and occult wisdom.

Mark, you seem to equate the terms occult and spiritualism with devil worship.  Perhaps you should check your definitions and verbal usage before you so quickly condemn unfamiliar ideas or those ideas which you personally consider invalid.

I repeat MJ’s question:

What in the world is your definition of a “devil worshipper?” What is your evidence for calling these people “devil worshippers?” Devil worshippers worship, uh, the Devil. None of these people did anything even approaching that.

mm

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Posted: 30 May 2005 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“mm”]

I repeat MJ’s question:

What in the world is your definition of a “devil worshipper?” What is your evidence for calling these people “devil worshippers?” Devil worshippers worship, uh, the Devil. None of these people did anything even approaching that.

mm

I am trying to decide whether you, like MJ, simply do not know what you are talking about or whether you are disingenuous.  Or maybe that guy covered with bird poop got to you too.

If you want a good definition of devil worship and Black Magic, the works of Eliphas Levy—such as l’Histoire de la Magie Haute and Conjuration of the Four Elements will do.  Have you read them? I have.

Have you read the theoretical works of Madame Blavastsky, founder of the Theosophical Society—especially those which are based on the works of Eliphas Levy that deal with Black Magic?  I have.

Have you read the works of Aleister Crowley—who coined the spelling of ‘Black Magick’ and was a devil worshipper if there ever was one?  I’ve read them.

Have you read the ofiicial dogmas of the Golden Dawn cult? I have.  They have survived.  They are published.  In fact, there is a devil-worshipping cult today calling itself the Golden Dawn, resuscitating many of those old documents.

I’ve become accustomed to all the apologists for Christianity lurking in these forums.  But I did not expect to encounter here any apologists for devil worship.

In sum, you can sugar coat devil worship and black magic into Halloween, if you like.  But I wonder: why you would do such a thing?

Regards,
Mark Starr

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Posted: 30 May 2005 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Mark Starr”]In sum, you can sugar coat devil worship and black magic into Halloween, if you like.  But I wonder: why you would do such a thing?

I have no need to sugar coat anything.  Devil worship and black magic have no personal meaning for me, as I have no belief in the existance of a devil.

I’ve become accustomed to all the apologists for Christianity lurking in these forums. But I did not expect to encounter here any apologists for devil worship.

I am an apologist for neither.  I simply dismiss both.

For the same reason, I have not read your referenced books, nor do I have any interest in doing so.  What reading time I have, I find I can spend with much more revelent and timely material, such as “The End of Faith”.  That is why I participate in this forum, seeking knowledge and intelligent discourse concerning solutions to current problems.

Why are you such an avid fan of what you perceive to be devil worship that you would have read all these books, much less seem so fanatical about discussing them?

And you still haven’t answered our question.

mm

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Posted: 30 May 2005 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“mm”]

Why are you such an avid fan of what you perceive to be devil worship that you would have read all these books, much less seem so fanatical about discussing them?

“Avid fan” is not an accurate description of my interest in devil worship.  I have an historical interest in the subject.  I guess, in your view, three posts on a thread devoted to the topic of 19th Century devil worship makes me a “fanatic.” 

As to why I discuss the subject at all, try dropping “devil worship” or “Satanist” into Google.  You will see that both cults are alive and thriving today. 

Diabolism—as it might be better termed—is an active religion today all over the world.  Those who ignore it do so at their peril.

Just as some Christian fundamentalists murdered non-believers in the name of their religion, and some Muslim fundamentalists have murdered non-believers in the name of Islam, so it has been documented by many police forces around the world that some murders in recent years have been committed by devil-worshippers. 

If you don’t believe what I am saying, look it up—in reputable, scholarly studies published by established criminology journals.  If you can’t find them, we could start another thread on just that topic.  But I assume that you have heard of Charles Manson and Helter Skelter.


[quote author=“mm”]

And you still haven’t answered our question.

 

Apparently you are too lazy to look up the definitions in the reference works I gave you (which can be found on the Internet).  So I will state the obvious:  devil worship is the religious worship of a deity named the devil—or any of his famous aliases.  Part of devil worship is the practice of Black Magic—alleged supernatural powers derived from the devil.

In my definition, I did not say that all devil worshippers are murderers.  However, some books on black magic, such as the works of Levy and Crowley, detail rituals in which the practioner must commit murder and mayhem in order to attain magical powers from the devil.  What we call devil worship today had its theological genesis in these 19th Century and early 20th Century writings.

Moreover, all those 19th Century cults that I mentioned fit the definition of devil worship—if you ever bother to find out what they really believed and what they practiced.

And lastly, all three major religions—Christianity, Islam and Judaism—have always professed belief in the existence of the devil.  So I am not discussing some obscure, irrelevant concept.  Whether or not you believe in the existence of the devil, most of the world does.  This belief has consequences.

Mark Starr

 

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Posted: 30 May 2005 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Mark Starr, I’d still like to see your definition of devil worship. It seems to me that devil worship involves worshipping the devil. Whatever you may think of the organizations you’re talking about, none of them worship the devil. It doesn’t matter whether you like them or agree with them or not. You appear to have some truly exotic definition of devil worship. I have read everything you’re mentioning. it seems to me you either don’t know how to read, or have a habit of reading into texts whatever you want to see there.

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Posted: 30 May 2005 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Mark,

First you rant on about the terror of Islam and our last minute of survival on this planet.  Now you seem convinced that devil worshippers are about to murder us all.

I am sorry you feel so helpless.  I pity anyone who is unable to participate in living due to so much fear.  In that sense, I suppose devils can be created in our minds.  But that is an unnecessary and crippling choice.

And lastly, all three major religions—Christianity, Islam and Judaism—have always professed belief in the existence of the devil. So I am not discussing some obscure, irrelevant concept. Whether or not you believe in the existence of the devil, most of the world does. This belief has consequences.

Everyone on this board has already heard opinions about the basis of believing in superstitution simply because millions of other people believe in such ideologies.  Most of us have moved beyond that infantile idea and have begun to think and believe for ourselves.  It’s called logic and self integrity.  It will set you free.

mm

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Posted: 30 May 2005 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?  Does everything you don’t agree with relate to devil worship?  Or Islam?

Charles Manson?  Really, now!  I seem to recall that he considered himself the new coming of Jesus Christ.  Manson was a mentally ill man with an extreme racist agenda and an aptitude for cult brainwashing techniques. 

Get a reality check, man, and educate yourself before you become self destructive.

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Posted: 30 May 2005 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Do you two ever watch the evening news?

Of course, you dismiss what I wrote as the rantings of a Jeremiah—because you do not understand my simple point in both cases ( Islam and devil worship.)  I am discussing the consequences of religious dogmas, and what happens when people like yourselves fool themselves that such beliefs have no consequences.

If you don’t like Manson as an example, how about the story on TV news yesterday about the fundamentalist church, in which its members (including a police official) molested and murdered its own children.  Yes, they are all mentally disturbed.  And yes, they are all religious.

What I am interested in recognizing is cult behavior—whether it is in Manson’s family or in this fundamentalist church or in the Catholic Inquisition or in Islam’s Sharia.

Regards,
Mark Starr

[ Edited: 30 May 2005 11:56 AM by ]
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Posted: 30 May 2005 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“MJ”]Mark Starr, I’d still like to see your definition of devil worship. It seems to me that devil worship involves worshipping the devil. Whatever you may think of the organizations you’re talking about, none of them worship the devil. It doesn’t matter whether you like them or agree with them or not. You appear to have some truly exotic definition of devil worship. I have read everything you’re mentioning. it seems to me you either don’t know how to read, or have a habit of reading into texts whatever you want to see there.

Dear MJ

You are misinformed.  You were wrong about Yeats, etc.; and you are wrong in your contention that none of these organizations worship the devil.  Such things as hard documented evidence do not seem to phase you.

The books of Eliphas Levi are all about devil worship.  I don’t have the time or patience to quote the texts here, but this is the frontispiece from l’Histoire de la Magie Haute. http://www.hermetic.com/sabazius/baphomet.jpg
This is not Mary Poppins in the picture.  [By the way, Eliphas Levi is not a Jewish name, it is a pseudonym.  Levi was a defrocked Catholic priest.]

Helena Blavatsky was the theoretician and founder of the Theosophical Society.  Her writings were based on Levi’s books—and she acknowledges her debt to Levi in countless examples. 

You may think the word occult is merely a euphemism for dressing up in silly costumes and fortune telling.  Read what Blavastsky wrote—and what the Theosophists believed and practiced.  The Theosophists may have been less organized than the Golden Dawn, but their ideas on devil worship came from the same source.

The Golden Dawn doctrines have survived and you can read them.  The Golden Dawn was a cult of devil worship.  No spinning can hide that fact.  There are tons of dogmas to document it.  Crowley, the self-proclaimed master of Black Magick, almost succeeded in taking it over—but he was personally so utterly repulsive and domineering, not even the true believers in the membership could stomach him, and William Butler Yeats wrested control. [Had Crowley found a power base with the financial backing behind the Golden Dawn, we might have seen the like of Hitler in England around 1900.]

Today, we have the Church of Satan—which is an international cult founded by Anton LaVey in the 1950s, with roots going back to Eliphas Levy.  The CoS hides behind a phony philosophy of individualism for PR purposes.  It is devil worship, pure and simple.  It has a large membership that pays a considerable amount of dues each year.  Thanks to the Web, the recent growth of the CoS has been exponential—according to experts who study cult phenomena.  The CoS has money; and they have activities.

It seems to me that my definition of devil worship is exactly the same as your definition.  I stated it plain as day in an earlier post—just in case you missed it.  Only you cannot recognize the cults that fit your definition.  Or you fool yourself that they do not exist.

Regards,
Mark Starr

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Posted: 30 May 2005 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“Mark Starr”]
What I am interested in recognizing is cult behavior—whether it is in Manson’s family or in this fundamentalist church or in the Catholic Inquisition or in Islam’s Sharia.

Ok, so I believe everyone can recognize all these examples as cult behavior.  Do you think we aren’t aware of the existence of cults and their negative influences on social systems?  Have we not lived with religion and its problems for thousands of years?

Just what is the point you keep trying to make?

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Posted: 30 May 2005 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“Anonymous”][quote author=“Mark Starr”]
What I am interested in recognizing is cult behavior—whether it is in Manson’s family or in this fundamentalist church or in the Catholic Inquisition or in Islam’s Sharia.

Ok, so I believe everyone can recognize all these examples as cult behavior.  Do you think we aren’t aware of the existence of cults and their negative influences on social systems?  Have we not lived with religion and its problems for thousands of years?

Just what is the point you keep trying to make?

What is my point????  That what you just wrote is wrong.  Does everyone recognize all these examples as cult behavior?
NO!!!!!!!
That’s my point.
Mark Starr

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Posted: 30 May 2005 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Thank you, Mark.

Hopefully, we now realize the threat of Muslims and Satanists.  We can also recognize many examples of cult behavior.  We can surely understand that cult behavior can be dangerous to societies.

We are grateful for your insight and your concerns.  We shall no longer fool ourselves concerning the consequences of religious dogma.  Maybe we’ll even write a book.  Perhaps something about the End of Faith?

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