There are many myths and misconceptions about Wicca or Witchcraft and Satanism that are often held by people of other faith based belief systems. If you go by some of the Evangelical Christians definition of a Satanist you are left with a very large percentage of the population being Satanist as only about 10% of the world’s population is Christian. They often think any religion that is not theirs has to be therefore a Satanist; hence Wicca or The Craft is thereby Satanic in nature. Wicca is a Nature based Neopagan religion. It is a giving and loving religion.
Satanism also is an Earth based Neopagan religion. It on the other hand is very self centered and idiosyncratic. They have many similarities and differences from theology, principles and philosophy, ritual practices, magic/k use, and of course the use of magical tools in ritual. When looking at the differences in the two faiths they are so opposite it is uncanny how so many people see them as one and the same. When theology is brought into light between the two faiths one must see the many similitudes and differentiations in theologies alone.
According to the Church of Satan, and its founder Anton LaVey, the religion of Satanism is an agnostic or atheistic religion. “Satan is a symbol, nothing more,” LaVey says. “Satan signifies our love of the worldly and our rejection of the pallid, ineffectual image of Christ on the cross. ” Turn around and take a look at Wicca and The Craft and you will see it has so many traditions that it isn’t merely a monotheistic religion but due to the many sects and traditions it is also seen as a duotheistic, polytheistic, and henotheistic culture.
Some sects are as Satanists believe, and are an atheistic religion. So in some sects Wicca and The Craft are so similar in nature to Satanism that many are duped into thinking they are one and the same. The most common sect in Wicca is of that of a duotheistic religion. The belief in Goddess/God as deity is common but many henotheistic chapters exist. Henotheistic beliefs are that the Goddess/God is a part of “The One”. As seen in Before Time Was, by Scott Cunningham, “Before time was, there was The One; The One was all, and all was The One.
And the vast expanse known as the universe was The One, all wise, all pervading, all powerful, eternally changing. And space moved. The One molded energy into twin forms, equal but opposite, fashioning the Goddess and God from The One and of The One. ” Thus, whereas Satanists believe more in the symbolism of what Satan represents, most Wiccans believe in a faith based deity of some sort. Principles of Wicca and Satanism are about as different as apples and oranges. Wiccans believe in a set of principles that were set by the American Council of Witches back in 1974.
The 13 principles all witches follow are far from the Satanists 9 Satanic Statements. Witches believe in the attunement with nature and its seasons, placing great importance on our environment and community, that the divine power is within all people as we are but vessels of their power, that power is to be used for the benefit of others, not to be used for the advancement of the self, and that witches need to dwell not just on this plane but also on the spiritual plane in order to achieve balance.
The acceptance that all religions hold merit to their believers and that true power lies in the belief that tolerance of all faiths and a firm grasp that Wicca may be the witches way to what they feel is right but that John Doe has his belief system and who are they to judge another. When taking a glance at the 9 Satanic Statements one can see the huge discrepancies between the two faiths.
With LaVey’s statements of what Satanism represents we are told to indulge the self, vital existence over dreams and hopes, undefiled wisdom over self deceit, kindness only to those who deserve it and not to be shared with those deemed unworthy, and that revenge is better than turning the other cheek. The only philosophy I found that was similar is the Harm none that is a law of magic power and its usage. Satanists, however do not apply it to all, according to the 11 Satanic Rules For Earth, the only 2 beings safe are small children and beasts that are not a source of food or killed due to self defense.
In the practice of religious ritual many of the same characteristics have been used in the construction of base rituals used by both religions. The pre burning times Catholic Church is where Church of Satan has based its most famous of all rituals the famed “Black Mass”. Wiccans do not however have any masses held at all. They do both follow the pagan wheel of time calling the Sabbats and Esbats by differing names. For those who are laymen, a Sabbat is a religious holiday marking a significant point in the year.
While Wiccans celebrate Esbats, full moon celebrations, Satanists don’t seem to follow the pagan year at all they only celebrate spring and fall equinoxes, and summer and winter solstices. Satanists see the biggest holy day of the year as an individual Satanists birthday. Wicca celebrates no such thing. “In his book Satanism, Bob Larson states that the most important Satanic day is the individual member’s birthday. Walpurgisnacht (April 30) and Halloween (October 31) are also important. But in his Appendix D, he states that Satanists have copied the seasonal calendar of Wicca. Besides the equinoxes and solstices, the only Sabbats both religions celebrate are Beltane/Wapurgisnacht, Apr 30, (when the Goddess/God procreate and scatter the seeds of life across the lands) and Samhain/Halloween Oct. 31 (when the God dies a death only to be reborn within the Goddess as her unborn child). When looking for the reasons Satanists celebrate these holy days I as a researcher could find no explanation as to why they celebrate some holy days yet did not even try to incorporate other holy days that Wiccans celebrate. Magic/k is called “The Power” by most Wiccan sects.
It has a set of laws that each individual witch must adhere to diligently. The law of power actually is a list of not just the 1st law known by most as “An it harm none do as thou wilt” but as a list of 6 rules governing its use. Wiccan traditions go by the use of magic/k as need dictates, and do not use it in a frivolous manner. Most will also not use it on themselves unless doing so harms no one else. They also believe that money shouldn’t be exchanged for using magic/k to assist or help others. They believe that the use of magic/k and having the Goddess/God energies flow thru them is a gift that should never be abused or misused.
In Scott Cunningham’s, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, The Law of the Power states, “1. The Power shall not be used to bring harm, to injure or control others, but if need arises, it may be used to protect you and those close to you. ” A Satanist’s use of magic/k power is very different by their use of angels, arch angels, demons, and daemons. Satanists often raise the energies and magic/ks and instead of directing towards others is often directed toward themselves often fulfilling the 1st of the 9 Satanic statements and indulging themselves in its rewards.
On the Church of Satan’s website there is a link to membership, this costs the applicant 200 dollars, which is non refundable. So again the Satanists follow a different set of rules. Wiccan sects often find that Satanists more often than not totally ignore the Laws of Magic/k Power. One analogy is that witchcraft is divine oriented hence is for others or community hence Divine law, Satanists on the other hand follow Satan’s 9 Statements and follow self indulgence and selfishness hence Satan’s law.
One of the biggest areas of similarities and differences is in magical tools, Witches or Wiccans use many of the same tools as Satanists such as Athame, (Male symbolism, in Satanism, God symbolism in Wicca), Bolline, (practical knife, both), Chalice, (feminine symbolism in Satanism, Goddess symbolism in Wicca) but the next tool that is the most confused in all of Neopaganism we hit the Pentacle with Wiccans. A five pointed top pointing star surrounded oft times by a circle. Joseph Barressi explained it well when he said, It is more of a religious symbolism that is commonly explained by reference to the basic understanding that the five points of the pentagram represent the four elements air, earth, fire, and water with the addition of Spirit as the uppermost point. ” Therefore, Divine Spirit rules over the elements keeping balance. Most Wiccans believe if it is consecrated in a magic circle that it has protective and grounding properties. Satanist’s version of a Pentacle is an Inverse Pentacle called a Pentagram. Satanists see the five pointed star as a symbol of Satan himself. Joseph Barressi, states, A reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards, is a symbol of evil and attracts sinister forces because it overturns the proper order of things and demonstrates the triumph of matter over spirit. It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns, a sign execrated by initiates. ” Which makes perfect sense, when you add in to the selfish nature of The 9 Satanic Statements and 11 Satanic Rules for Earth; The Satanist wants the triumph of matter over spirit. The very sign it uses to represent itself is exactly as their Master Satan who according to Christianity, did exactly that and tried to overturn the heavens.
So when seeing so many similarities, it should be easier to see why so many make the mistake of calling a Witch a Satanist. The differences show how the witch wants to help those in need in her community, tries to live green with her environment, and is a true Altruist. The Satanist by living by Satan’s laws of 11 Rules of Earth and 9 Statements prove that the Satanist is a true Narcissist. These two faiths are far from each other in almost all ways. So the Witch isn’t a Satanist any more than the Satanist is a Wiccan.