Dark Forces

Nevill Drury

in Stealing Fire from Heaven

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199750993
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894871 | DOI:
Dark Forces

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If we are to understand the nature of contemporary Satanism, it is vital to consider the occult philosophy of the Church of Satan (founded by Anton LaVey in San Francisco in 1966) and its successor, the Temple of Set (founded by Dr. Michael Aquino in San Francisco in 1975)—for together they occupy a central position in the world of contemporary black magic. Despite their historical connections, the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set present quite different magical perspectives—the first based primarily on hedonistic indulgences and “sins of the flesh,” the second on metaphysical revelations allegedly received by Dr. Aquino from the ancient Egyptian entity Set, god of darkness. Now greatly diminished in both influence and membership, the Church of Satan that attracted widespread notoriety during the late 1960s was always, in one sense, an offshoot of Californian show-business and was built around the charismatic figure of Anton LaVey, who developed a glamorous persona that included relationships, real and imagined, with various movie stars and celebrities. The Temple of Set, on the other hand, is based on more carefully considered philosophical responses to the magical universe. This chapter profiles the rise of both LaVey’s Church of Satan and Aquino’s Temple of Set, and explores the nature of what is now commonly referred to as “dark magic,” as distinct from “black” or “evil” magic. The practitioners of the Temple of Set focus on self-empowerment and individuality and reject any notion of mystical transcendence or “merging into God.” They maintain that man has limitless potential and may even attain conscious immortality; for them the exploration of this sacred potential is perceived as a rational goal that requires no further justification. Setian practitioners seek an infinite future, accessed through the powers of the magical will. For these particular black magicians, darkness does not represent evil but infinite human potential.

Keywords: dark magic; Temple of Set; Dr. Aquino; Anton LaVey; black magic; evil magic

Chapter.  7381 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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