Secret nocturnal rituals of sex and pain, homage to a sadistic whip-wielding overlord, dank underground dungeons decked with iron implements, profane acts of shocking perversity -- all this and more lie in the shared fantastical realm of sadomasochism and satanism. Regrettably the banal reality is less inspiring than the dark recesses of our imaginations, yet the modern young institutions of sadomasochism and satanism share shadows in our dark side.
What shapes do these intersecting shadows form?
One figure can be made out among the many: Zeena Schreck, baptized by her late UnFather Anton LaVey into the Church of Satan as a baby, and now a Priestess in the neo-satanic Temple of Set (ToS), and Alpha Female of the Werewolf Order. Once the spokesperson for the Church of Satan, the striking Ms. Schreck formally and ritually exorcised herself of all affiliations with the Church and her UnFather in 1990 in disgust with LaVey's lies and charlatanism.
An open sadomasochist and dominant, Schreck is also a Black Magician and sincere student of the "Left Hand Path," as many occultniks call it. She has practiced sex magic and sado-magic, as well as more traditional forms of black magic, for many years.
Do most satanists believe in Satan?
First of all, the word "Satan" and "Satanism" are tossed about so randomly and without thought or context, that it would be difficult to say what most who consider themselves "Satanists" have as a general consensus. I consider the word "Satan" to be too limiting to represent the many cultural and historical layers of the Left-Hand Path.
For instance, a Black Magician in Tibet would have no use for the Judeo-Christian concept of "Satan." Satan only has meaning in a society that has been influenced by the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. I personally don't resonate with the idea of Satan, except as a simple and familiar mythological figure that may be easy to understand for those less educated in the Black Arts.
As a Priestess of the Temple of Set, I acknowledge the Prince of Darkness in his most ancient form, that of Set. As Set is the earliest form of this mysterious being documented by mankind, it seems to me the most historically accurate description. However, every culture on earth has its own unique vision of the first principle of Darkness, and all are equally valid.
In addition, as a female Black Magician, there is a wealth of feminine Dark Deities I draw from, including the Indian Kali, the Babylonian Tiamat and Lilith, the Nordic godess Hel and many others.
Isn't satanism merely the inverse of Christianity?
The majority of those who claim to practice "Satanism" are merely reacting and rebelling against a Christian culture and upbringing by adopting that culture's most hated villain. This rebellion is a healthy first step in breaking with mass mentality, but it is only a very basic beginning. Far too many stagnate in a comfortable rut, focusing on pissing off society, their parents, teachers and all other authority figures.
There are very few who actually transcend this state to aspire to Initiation in the Black Arts. The current lot whose idea of Black Magic is wearing black clothing, shaving their heads, donning ostentatious pentagrams and other instant identity symbols are merely play-acting. They are basically Atheists dressed up in black costumes, and do not care much for the actual practice of magic. Not until one discovers and comes into Being as a totally original self, isolated from cultural cliche's, can Initiation even begin.
The true work of Left-Hand Path Initiation is an inner journey of a metaphysical nature. The Left-Hand Path predates Christianity by thousands of years, so in its purest form is neither for nor against Christianity.
Do satanists believe in magic?
I am a Black Magician, so magic is obviously at the heart of my life. I use magic in all aspects of my existence. To me, magic is the core of Left-Hand Path spiritual philosophy. As for the idea of "belief," it is foreign to my understanding of the Universe. Nothing can or should be passively "believed," as this is no better than any other Faith.
What are the main kinds of satanists?
In my capacity as a consultant and teacher of the Black Arts, many have asked if affiliation with one of the many organized Satanic groups is important. I've always believed that the deep work of the Left Hand Path is utterly alone and solitary. There are as many different kinds of practicing Black Magicians as there are human beings. A membership card in this or that group does not make your personal quest more or less valid.
There are literally hundreds of different groups in the industrialized Western world who have called themselves Satanists. Some are probably sincere. Others could be classified as losers and nut-cases, as those who would be attracted to any fringe belief system, such as UFO enthusiasts, would-be vampires, conspiracy theorists, and white supremacists.
Many historical groups that are commonly perceived to be Satanic. The 18th century Hell Fire Club, the 12th century Knights Templar, the Freemasons, the 1960's Process Church of the Final Judgement were all considered to be in league with the devil. Objective research has shown that these groups have had little to do with devilry and more to do with reworked Christianity.
Since my Satanic Baptism in 1968, I have encountered the gamut of contemporary Satanic groups and have come to the conclusion that the only authentic vehicle that concerns itself with true study and practice of Black Magic and Initiation is the Temple of Set. Setianism, at its best, represents the highest level of sophistication the Left-Hand Path has reached in the Western world thus far.
What role does sex magic play in satanism, as opposed to paganism and Wicca?
Sex has no more or less importance to one's being a powerful Sorcerer/Sorceress than any other tool. A lot of the hulabaloo made about Satanic sex orgies is created in the prurient and sexually repressed imaginations of the secular world. Similarly, a lot of people who are repressed need the trappings of something spooky to be able to enjoy a good ol' orgy.
Simply by talking about sex at all, one opens a Pandora's box. Despite a general lip-service paid to sexual freedom since the artificial "sexual revolution" of the 1960s and '70s, Americans are still neurotic about this subject. Personally, I make use of sexual Black Magic but this does not mean that all other Setians or Black Magicians choose to do so.
Paganism and Wicca, like Satanism, are loaded terms that are used widely but generally mean nothing. Having known and witnessed many of those who consider themselves Pagans or Wiccans, I would say the basic difference between their use of sex magic and that of the Black Magican is rooted in the contrast between the Right-Hand Path and the Left-Hand Path. To be concise, I would define the Right-Hand Path to be a use of magic to become closer to cosmic consciousness, which has been termed "Mother Earth, God, the Goddess and Nature" (in general).
The Setian or Black Magician seeks to isolate his or her psyche from this collective and unifying spiritual nirvana. She or he is striving to become an entirely separate and self-created immortal being, removed from the "natural" mechanical structure of the cosmos. In other words, the Wiccan/Pagan wants to be absorbed into the natural world, while the Setian or Black Magician seeks self-deification beyond the natural world.
With this in mind, the Black Magician would use sex as a tool as well as a weapon to control a given situation, whereas the Pagan/Wiccan would use sex as form of harmonizing and unifying with what are seen as benevolent, natural functions.
I have dedicated a great deal of my life to exploding the slanderous myths about my religion. I have learned that many automatically assume that Black Magicians endorse and practice child molestation, bestiality, forced sexual congress and other criminal acts. Let me make it clear that these practices have never had anything to do with Black Magic. This whole idea is a fantasy, an urban legend with no basis in reality.
How is sex magic different from other magical rituals?
Sex is a very raw ingredient when used in a magical Working. Conducted between magicians who are psychologically balanced, sex magic can work in a more powerful or direct manner in sending your will into the universe than other forms of magic. However, if any or all participants are not stable and certain of their sexual being and identity, the results can be catastrophic.
Sex magic is a double-edged sword. The intense emotions activated by a sexual encounter can either focus the magician's will in a way incomparable to other focusing techniques, or distract the magician altogether. If one doesn't have a pre-existing active sex life, and is using the "ritual" setting just to get laid, chances are he or she won't achieve anything more magical than the physical release of orgasm.
Is it true that most sex magic is based on Tantra? If so, what differentiates it? Why study sex magic instead of Tantra?
Tantrism is a very broad spectrum of Hindu spiritual technology, not all of it having anything to do with sexuality, despite popular belief. The specific form of Tantra involving sexual magic is useful to study and comprehend as a system of sexual sorcery that has been evolving for thousands of years. However, for modern Black Magicians in the Western world, I don't see that the use of Eastern terminology and archaic Hindu symbolism is crucial or even desirable for mastering sexual magic. It may make the magician feel more "exotic" to use unfamiliar language from another culture, but it is my magical practice to make things as simple, to-the-point and direct as possible. This is part of the technique of the Order of Leviathan within the Temple of Set.
The tantric tradition has influenced Indo-European concepts of sex magic. For instance, there are Scandinavian forms of sex magic that clearly originated in the earlier Indian system.
One cannot discuss sexual magic without referring to Aleister Crowley and the original O.T.O. from the early part of the 20th Century. Crowley basically mixed some borrowed Tantric ideas with Hermetic and Kabbalistic correspondences, which are not, in my view, at all necessary to performing sex magic. The Temple of Set does not have an official curriculum concerning sexual magic, and prefers to allow individual Initiates to experiment with this method privately, if they wish to.
Does sex magic have particular uses?
Sex magic has as many uses as the imagination of the magician can allow. I've used sex to magically create positive change in my life, as well as harnessing erotic power as a means of destruction. Other purposes have been to evoke a certain entity, divination, deprogramming and as a method of isolating my psyche from outer influences.
I have found that sex magic does not necessarily have to be performed with the awareness of my particular partner to be effective. From the feminine perspective, there is much that can be gained by the seduction of an unsuspecting mate. I have drawn from the energy lost by the orgasm of my male prey, while simultaneously planting ideas in his weakened state of mind that cause him to do my bidding without any conscious persuasion.
In contrast, there are times when I work in tandem with another powerful Black Magician who shares my goal for the results of the Working. My relationship with my "partner in crime" and husband has deep roots in the sex magic tradition. Through working with one whom I am so spiritually connected to and in agreement with, I've found that the effects of our sex-magic has been doubled in its effectiveness.
Have you experienced any negative effects from SM magic? Is there anything particularly to beware of?
I would say the dangers of magical S/M would be those of any Sex Magic. You are dealing with attractions and emotions and involving someone outside of yourself in the delicate Black Magical environment. Sex Magic lends itself to confused emotions, passionate affairs, misunderstood signals and spurned feelings. Yet the chemistry that creates those risks is precisely what makes Sex Magic a powerful tool. The fact that S/M Sex Magic is a topic that generates so much interest proves two things:
1) Sex is like an atom bomb. A potent weapon which fascinates and frightens. We're afraid to let it loose, yet we all have our finger on the button.
2) Despite the fact that many Left Hand Path magicians practice S/M Sex Magic, they still live at the mercy of a Right Hand Path Western civilization, the shame of which is absorbed through osmosis. This means we must work overtime to balance rationality and maturity with a true innocence that can be found in the far reaches of our memory, long before we understood society's "rights" from "wrongs".
Do incubi and succubi exist, or are they metaphors?
The existence of such creatures is entirely subjective. Incubus and Succubus are terms created by the Catholic church to simplify the long and complex history of inhuman sexual beings. Therefore, these terms are culturally limited. The human psyche has always had magical and subjective experiences with such beings, which range from the Babylonian Lilith to the Hellenic Pan. Mother Mary's impregnation by Jehovah could be described as an incubus.
How intertwined are sex magic and SM?
Sex magic is as intertwined with S/M as any other fetish that gets you going. Sadomasochism, in and of itself, is just another erotic tool in the arsenal of the sex magician. On the other hand, one need not practice SadoMasochism to be a powerful sex magician. The point of magic of any kind is not to indulge one's particular obsession for its own sake, but to choose the best approach for the specific aim.
Is there a correlation between the ritualism of S/M and that of sex magic?
Wearing a leather mask and all the appropriate accoutrements is no evidence of real magic, although some find it easier to act out their fantasies if a certain amount of theatricality is involved. I practice S/M and that doesn't always mean it's a "ritual". I practice sex magic, but don't need to have an SM influence in every Working.
Personally, when I am in the mood to be sadistic for strictly sexual purposes, I actually loathe the obligatory Mardi Gras dress-up games that seem to be de rigeur in the so called fetish underground. As with everything I do, I create my own rules when I'm the one in charge.
Is there crossover between satanists and sadomasochists, culturally, ritually or otherwise?
The main crossover I see is that Satanism and Sadomasochism are two previously taboo subcultures that have only recently gained a certain trendy acceptance by the mainstream. When you can turn on Jerry Springer or Sally Jesse Raphael and hear these topics discussed frequently, you know their previous aura of the forbidden is gone.
From an insider's point of view, I saw how the two phenomena went from being unspeakable to chic as American society became more jaded. I became jaded as well, which is probably why the '90s versions of Satanism-lite and safe SM bore me.
I remember, as a very young child in the 1960s and early '70s, knowing the Dutch Madam Monique Van Cleef, who operated the most infamous Whip and Rod House (as they were then called). She was also one of the early members of the Church of Satan. Our house boy, Rudy, would only do his job if my mother demanded he wear a French maid's outfit and spanked him, earning him the nickname "Spanky." He too was a founding member of the Church of Satan.
In the realm of the pop culture Satanism of the '60s, there was a thin line between the supposed Satanic religion and a glorified sex club. Apparently many of the underground spanking clubs and brown wrapper peddlers of gags and whips thought there was a crossover, as the Church of Satan regularly received catalogs and newsletters on this then-secretive scene. It should be remembered that what has now become the fashionable S/M milieu was then illegal.
Many joined the Church of Satan in those days assuming that the fetishes disdained by society would be approved of by the devil. In fact, many of the rituals and "psychodramas" were designed to appease them. When my late father, Anton LaVey, tired of placating what he perceived as a bunch of kooks with sexual neuroses, the public rituals the Church of Satan held at our home ceased.
The relationship between people who like to be hurt and people who like to wear black robes began long before the Church of Satan. In the 1920s, Paris had many popular tourist attractions where, for the right price, Black Masses and Bondage and Discipline were performed. Ooh la la!
The notorious Hellfire Club of England, despite its Satanic reputation, was essentially a gentlemen's society for spanking and raucous debauchery with a little devilish mystery to spice things up.
The Left-Hand Path as a religious pursuit or the serious study of Black Magic can't be compared to these amusing but shallow goings-on. The Church of Satan, the French Black Masses and the Hellfire Club antics were all sassy entertainment. The esoteric and powerful use of Pleasure/Pain eroticism in a Black Magical ritual is something else altogether, not to be taken lightly.
Many sadomasochists describe their rituals in spiritual terms; some even practice SM in the context of various pagan religions. Could this spiritual view of sadomasochism be extended to satanism?
If you are referring to those who glorify suffering of the body as a mystical experience, this would be counter-productive to the Black Magician. These days, every tattoo or piercing or tribal scarification is deemed "spiritual" in a vague, New Agey way. The horrible impact of the Modern Primitive mentality allows anyone to slam a nail through their dick and call themselves a visionary. Most of these notions seem to be dimly inspired by Native American rituals which are Right-Hand Path to the core.
The so-called Pagan religions are practiced today with no regard to historical accuracy, blinded by politically correct romanticism. I'd be all in favor of bringing back the genuine Dionysian bacchanal, the Roman Lupercalia, or the Aztec ceremonies of Tezcatlipoca. I prefer the real thing to the watered down tree-hugging that passes for Paganism now.
On the Xepera e-mailing list, Temple of Set Magus Don Webb recently stated: If one wishes to use sado-magical practices as part of one's Initiation here's the Secret: For Operations to influence the objective world, take the Dominate role. For Operations to work on your Self, take the Submissive role. Has your experience brought you to any similar conclusions regarding SM magic or sex magic?
This is a theory put forth in Stephen Flowers and Crystal Dawn's Carnal Alchemy. I would agree one could go by those guidelines to an extent, but would still encourage the individual to find what works personally. As I've stated before, I don't feel there should be any "rules" as to what should be incorporated for which purposes. I, personally, have found success in effecting the internal as well as the external by dominant means. I can still understand the reasoning behind Flowers' and Dawn's theories, however.
From what I've read, it seems that satanists consider the Black Mass a pervert dilettante's ritual, while sadomasochists consider it a satanic ritual. Is it really a combination of these, or something else? Is its usefulness primarily in severing ties to Catholicism and Christianity, or does it have a sex magical purpose beyond that?
The Black Mass is really the tiredest and most irrelevant left-over from Catholic distortions of the Left-Hand Path. If you grew up in a convent maybe you'll derive some kicks from it, but this ceremony means nothing to me. The Black Mass is an invention of the Catholic Church and its sexual nature is merely a debased echo of pre-Christian religions, which obviously had a less negative view of sexuality. The contemporary Left-Hand Path has evolved far beyond this quaint nonsense.
Descriptions of sex magic I've read tend to assume a male magician and female acolyte. How do rituals with a female magician differ?
Most sex magic manuals in the West have been written by men, thus the preponderence of male-slanted techniques. Obviously a female sex magician can use a male as an acolyte just as effectively.
The tradition of the female sexual sorceress is an important one in the Black Arts, and it is a very different vision indeed than that of loving Earth Mother and feminist nurturer. My understanding of the female Black Magician is as a predator and warrioress, deviating from our societal expectation of peaceful, caring, childbearing, figure of benevolence.
I don't feel that I live in an oppressive Patriarchy that doesn't give "womyn" a chance. As a Black Magician, I create my own universe, regardless of the social circumstances. I've always felt that I am able to use any given person or situation to my own advantage.
Complaining about one's lot in life is victim mentality, and I'm not a victim. First, get it straight, life isn't fair. I've learned that an intelligent, attractive woman can get away with a lot more than most men could. I have never felt any solidarity with a fictional "sisterhood." A true female Black Magician is separate from all of that. Because of this attitude towards life and my own personal Initiation, many of both sexes have described me as a "cold, unfeeling bitch." I'm touched.
The general idea has been that women's bodies are used as the instrument of the male's magical will in sex magic. That's true in some cases and there's nothing wrong with that. The idea that women have no will of their own is unfortunate but not true. I'm very strong-willed, as anyone who's tried to counter my desires knows.
Given that Satanism (as conceived by the popular media) is based on the male image of Satan, does that limit the roles women can play within Stanism, ritually or politically?
Popular media conceptions are just that, and are not worthy of consideration. The Left-Hand Path has very specific links to the dark side of femininity. Satan is just one of a thousand dark forces the Black Magician may draw from.
In fact, within the Temple of Set women play an inportant role and many are in leadership positions. I, as a previous High Priestess of the Church of Satan, co-director of the Werewolf Order, and as an Initiate of the Temple of Set have never been limited in any way.
Perhaps of relevance is the fact that more men are attracted to the Left-Hand Path than women, statistically. Doubtless, this is due to the rather crude, simple-minded concept of Satan as an "Evil Dude". However, some of the most powerful Black Magicians I know are women and I'm confident that tendency will increase as long as there are enough of us to set an example.
Temple of Set
What are some of the foundational principles of the Order of the Vampyre, and the Werewolf Order?
The Werewolf Order is not an order within the Temple of Set but a sovereign entity conceived of by my husband, Nikolas Schreck, in 1984. I became co-director and Alpha Female upon my union with Nikolas in 1988. The Werewolf Order trains those who are drawn to it in the art of magical predation, as well as shape-shifting and transformation, thus the archetype of the Lycanthrope.
The Werewolf Order is often criticized as being not politically correct, due to our ruthless policy concerning elitism and inequality. It differs from some other magical societies in that it is aimed towards leadership rather than gathering followers.
What might be related to sex magic is that our units of magical cells are called Werewolf Order Dens or WODens. They are based on the structure of the wolfpack's social system, which includes rituals of dominance and submission. We incorporate an Alpha Male and Alpha Female, the subordinates, and what I've experimented with, the Beta Males. A Beta male would be one who serves, in a sense, as male acolyte to me. One of these more humorous acolytes went so far as to refer to himself as an Omega Male. The public vehicle is the music we create under the auspices of Radio Werewolf.
From the informational text "Are You a Werewolf":
"We are a radical school of the Left Hand Path, encouraging intense individualism. We seek not docile followers, but bold leaders... Survival and self preservation are our priorities... To fully tap into and withstand this energy we are transmitting, one must have the will of the warrior and the transcendent joy of the gods."
From the file "Order of the Vampyre":
Some of the Order's present research involves our getting acquainted with the characteristics of the Vampyric Being. We are not looking at the blood-sucking gore that has made Dracula and others like him the archetypical Vampyres of legend. But we are looking at some of the alleged powers of the creature, such as invisibility and manipulation... The real Vampyre can indeed be hideous, but it can also be -- and is -- glamorous. Those who are members of the Order of the Vampyre will learn to perfect such skills as the application of cosmetics, the use of their voices in certain ways, and even the act of holding another's gaze."
Are those Orders more involved in sex magic than other orders?
None of the Temple of Set Orders include sex magic as part of their teaching. While we have many experienced sex magicians in the Temple, its something practiced privately, outside of the Temple's formal structure.
So there are no codified Sex Magical training or rituals?
If I can illustrate any one point, it would be to make clear that the use of Black Magic has no hard and set rules or cant. The Left Hand Path, which is probably the most precise description of Satanism/Setianism is fundamentally a personal quest. There are no right or wrong answers or scripture or gospel that any true Black Magician accepts as dogma.
Personal liberty is held at a very high premium by Black Magicians. The Temple of Set and the Werewolf Order do not provide a do-it-yourself ritual kit at the door to be followed by the letter. Those expecting to be handed a fascinating and varied sex life because of membership will be disappointed. Some novices falsely expect involvement with such organizations to provide them with instant wealth, power and social life. We do not. What each individual Initiate does with his or her body is only of their own concern.