How many times have I been either accused or asked about being a satanist? Too many is the answer. It is tantamount to calling Christians Jews or Englishmen French!
Let me first say that being a magician gives absolutely no indication of one's religious inclinations, there are Christian magicians, Wiccan magicians, Jewish magicians and even atheistic magicians. Magick is simply the art of causing changes in consciousness (and therefore in one's perception of reality and thus in one's actual reality) in conformity with one's will. This therefore does not preclude a person of any religion from the practice of magick.
As it happens I have no explicit religious faith, I would say that my view of the world both natural and supernatural coincides most with the Wiccan view though even then there are some fundamental theological differences which I cannot reconcile to.
Satanism itself is divided into two main types in the modern world. The bulk of it is thrill seeking individuals with as little conception of what it means as they have imagination in carrying out the acts they erroneously believe to be satanic. By their own anarchistic and destructive nature it is very rare that a supposedly satanic group will exist for very long, most frequently its members are young and disillusioned people who are intent on being noticed, thumbing a nose a society and authority and singularly uninterested in the theology (and therefore the real magick or power) behind satanism.
The other form of satanism is purer in theology but also suffers from the same inherent destructive nature and that is the satanism of the self-confessed con man, Anton LaVey and his "Church Of Satan". These people are without doubt much more informed and, sadly, much more misguided. That said it is important to remember that the church of satan actually has relatively few "proper" members due to the exorbitant fees charged and most people who will boast of their membership are not actually members - you will find that a little probing will usually result in a torrent of abuse in an attempt to mask the simple fact that the person is trying to inflate his sagging ego by masquerading as a bona fida member of the church.
LaVey's theology is pretty much completely contained in his Satanic Bible, a wholly worthless document of fiction written by his own admission as an attempt to pass off the teachings as valid to the gullible flock who supposedly hang onto his every word. LaVey's satanism focuses less on mysticism and more on practical magick and even in this respect it is a blatant plagiarism (and a bad one at that) of much of Aliester Crowley's O.T.O magick. Crowley and the O.T.O. I will have to leave off discussing for the time being but suffice to say that the O.T.O. is foundered on Germanic mysticism, eastern tantric sex magick and an awful lot of self inflated, pompous hogwash - and that's the real thing, never mind LaVey's puerile attempt to copy it!
The historical origins of satanism are again shrouded with a large degree of bullshit and hype, it is entirely doubtful whether Madame De Montespan and the Abbe Guibourg ever celebrated a true black mass in 17th century France or that Sir francis Dashwood's infamous Hellfire club of London held anything other than orgiastic parties for rich and foolish thrill seekers. The basis of satanism in it's purist sense is as a mockery of the Christian (and mainly the catholic) established church. The black mass being a parody of the christian communion using faeces instead of the wafer as a sacrament and the naked body of a woman as the altar. Again the sacrifice of a living child is also called for and it is entirely doubtful if this has ever been carried out by dedicated satanists on anything other than a once in a lifetime basis.
Satan's origins are surprisingly recent, christian mysticism makes no mention of him until the new testament and even then it is presumed by biblical scholars that he only began to be referred to as Satan with the spread of Christianity across the tattered remnants of the Roman empire during the third and fourth centuries AD. The church very cunningly realised that it had to put a stop to the indigenous pagan beliefs of the bulk of the european populace and to do so it preached that the gods who had been worshiped for centuries previously were in actual fact evil incarnate and the great horned god Cernunnos (to give him his Roman name) was in fact satan himself. It is possible to trace Satan back to Lucifer the angel of God who rebelled and was thrown from heaven after the incident with Adam and Eve, the serpent and the tree of knowledge but since Lucifer was never more than an angel, less numerous or powerful than even Michael or Gabriel it seems theologically ridiculous to support the view that he is a direct contender with God himself.
So if you are curious about my life and my magick and most especially worried about my religion let me assure you that it makes me particularly annoyed when I am compared to or accused of being a satanist, Satanism is at best an anti-christian concept and I hold little in common with the views of christianity to begin with, further I might suggest there are so few "real" satanists in the world that they are about as common as rocking horse droppings. Most people who claim to be satanists are in fact somewhat inadequate individuals who it is very doubtful have ever practiced anything true to satanic theology or worship and who it is doubtful even have done anything more than write the odd 666 on a churchyard wall.
With regards to the commonest form of Satanism and its common connection with rock music, I'd just like to point out that I greatly admire and enjoy the music of people like Ozzy Osbourne (that well known satanist!!!!??) who is, in my encounters with him a decent, intelligent and genuinely funny bloke who knows that writing rock songs about dark subjects sells records and packs concert halls. As for the flux of more modern supposedly satanic rock music groups (that Manson creature for example) then it is clear that their inadequacy as musicians is nothing by comparison to their inadequacy as humans if the best disguise for their shortcomings in talent they can concoct is an even more transparent attempt to outrage and shock by pretending to be satanists.
I hope this goes some way to dispelling the myth that pagans, wiccans, occultists and magicians are in any way connected to satan or satanism. I will in time - and if there is enough interest shown - write a more theologically based piece setting out the differences between satanism in all it's forms, true and hyped, and the mysticism of wicca, celtic paganism, qabalism and the entire gamut of occult ideas and religious systems of which I have any knowledge.