Two of my favorite books on magic were penned in the 1970’s: Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson and The Necronomicon by Simon. Though I don’t know if many people realize it today, both books were an attempt to make a Grimoire for Pagans that did not rely upon Christian elements for evocation and spellwork.
In Huson’s tome, still one of my favorites for young people that want to get their start in Sorcery, we have rituals for evoking both Vassago and Flauros (from the Lemegaton) by the power of the decans and whatever Witch Gods you are dedicated to (primarily Cernunnos and Habondia in the book). The triangle is not outside a circle distancing you from the spirit out of fear, but right on the altar in front of you. My first evocations were done this way, and after experimenting with Grimoire methods close to the books, I went back to this style pretty quickly.
Today there a lot of people trying to do the same thing, most notably of course is Jake Stratton Kent, whose approach to the “Trinity” in the Grimoire Verum, if I read him correctly, is not the Father Son and Holy Spirit; but Lucifer, Astaroth, and Baalzebub. This is an approach that certainly gives the devil his due, which brings me round to my point.
There has been a stir recently caused by Pat Mosely’s excellent piece “A Case for Inviting Satan (Back) to Wicca“. Inspired by recent successes that the Satanic Temple has had in striking blows for religious freedom in the US, Mosely wonders if Satanists should not have a place at the Pagan table. Wicca did after all borrow much terminology from the Witch-hunt literature, and it is exactly those terms like Sabbat, Witch, and so on that helped make it more popular than say Druidry.
Those terms from the Witch Hunt era however are also what sometimes brings the eye of the public on Wicca. Sadly Wicca has been all-to-willing to unjustly accuse Satanists of sacrifice, malevolence, and crime as a tactic for deflecting attention from them.”Hey! Thats not us! Thats those Satanists over THERE!!”
Christopher DeGraffenreid makes an compelling case that Wicca is not rebelling against any god, so therefore the idea of Satan becomes superfluous and therefore is un-needed. Its a good case, but one I disagree with.
Many see the Devil as a mask of the Horned God. You can pretend that Christianity has zero impact on witchcraft but it is simply not true. It’s impact is unmistakable and there is no reason that Lucifer of Aradia cannot be seen as connected or identified with Lucifer the Rebel Angel. When you are living in a country with Churches in every town, and laws being passed with nothing but the Bible as support, I would say that Christian or not – Satan is a fine form for the Horned God to take!
I fail to see how Paganism can accept people claiming to worship or work with every Goddess, God and Thoughtform of nearly every culture on earth from every time-period of human history, yet exclude the Devil and Demons.
Certainly for magically inclined Witches, who would like to evoke Vassago, and who may or may not say the lords prayer backwards as an initiation rite, the Horned God does not exclude Old Scratch.
As an aside, the movie VVitch opened to critical praise this week. Those with any interest in traditional Witchcraft or in the roots of many Grimoires would do well to crack open one of the books the writer and director referenced when making the movie The Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scott. Written in 1603 this one of THEE books that Grimoire writers refernced for spirit catalogs and information, as well as the best collection of WitchLore ever compiled. As they say: after you have seen the movie, read the book.