|Occultism today includes a broad mix of activities from many traditions. The fundamental difference between Occult pursuits and Spiritual pursuits is that the occultist seeks to gain control over the powers of the Universe, while the pursuer of Spirituality seeks the passive role of alignment with the powers of the Universe.
Occultism is basically derived from Shamanism, but as modern societies developed from tribal societies, a split occurred between Religion and Magic. In Europe's Middle Ages, Magic was pursued through Alchemy, and mixed practices and beliefs from the pagan Wiccan religion of the ancient Celts, with the Christian Gnostic concepts that saw a popular revival in the 12th Century.
The Wiccan nature cults included sacrificial rituals of animals and humans, and sexual fertility rites designed to harmonize communities with the sometimes brutal forces of Nature. Many Gods were worshiped for their individual powers, including the horned and hoofed "Pan", and the Father of the Celtic Gods "Cernunnos", who standing proud with his huge erection, can still be seen today on the hillside of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England, towering 100 feet over a Roman Catholic monastery.
Christian Gnosticism with its stories of the mystical powers attained by Christ, was embraced as a fulfillment of ancient myth and prophesy, and Christ as a high-priest who achieved God-like powers, was a natural figure to include in their pantheon. Thus, the ancient Celtic Gods of Europe began to merge with the Christian Gods.
Satan and Pan were recognized for their similarities, not only in their physical form, but also in their personal traits.
As the Satan of Gnostic Christianity had such unified and great power in the Universe, as "king and creator of this world", he was a fabulous addition to the supernatural array of Gods. The ancient nature cults, particularly the Gauls, used the conjuring of spirits, a practice derived from Shamanism, as part of their communication with the Gods. According to St. Augustine's "The City of God", the spirits were used for seeking advice and favor, and were divided into "demons called Deuses, and the ancestors".
Demons were hard to control, but could be convinced to do the will of an individual on the material plane if he or she followed certain principles. The Christian Gnostic Satan became an obvious demon figure for worship, as he would be a powerful ally. According to the traditions of the Nature cults, it would be natural to offer sacrifice in return for favors, or have sexual ritual in order to connect with a chosen spirit or demon, as is seen to this day in the indigenous/Hindu beliefs and practices of islands such as Sumatra or Java.
In Europe's Middle Ages, the confusion arising from a clash of mythic and cultural symbolism had obvious moral and ethical implications. Ultimately, the question of whether a person was a "Satanist" would come down to what they were asking the demon to do for them, and what they were prepared to do in return.
Of course, this all depends on one's personal beliefs, ethics, morality, and standing within the social order. While a peasant was accused of selling his soul to Satan to ensure a good harvest, a King who embarked in a Faustian deuce or pact with the Devil, was merely entering into another business arrangement. The myths of King Solomon who used the demon "Asmodeus" to build the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, clearly a metaphor for helping him create his power base, is illustrative of this. However, this alliance ultimately led to the destruction of the Temple, as King Solomon reneged on the deal with his demons.
This popular tale amongst occultists, indeed it is the cornerstone of Freemasonry, clearly contains the moral "always pay your dues to the devil", or your temple will come crashing down... such is the dichotomy within institutions of Western power and Judeo-Christianity.
The Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church designed to root out "Satanism" claimed millions of victims from the peasant and indigenous classes, obliterating what remained of the Pagan nature cults, while "Satanic" practices continued amongst the circles of the power elite within their occult and alchemical secret societies, growing ever more morally and ethically inverted.
The Grail/Dragon aristocratic bloodlines, also known as the Rex Deus fraternity, were evidently the Kings of Satan.
Adolf Hitler and his inner circle of Nazis called the Holocaust "The greatest and most powerful dance of death of all time". Perhaps the real difference between a shamanically informed Pagan ritual, and a Satanic ritual, lies in the consent of any party. A victim by definition is the unconsenting prey of the predator, and any such ritual intends to, and will only, create Darkness.
"The old beliefs will be brought back to honor again. The whole secret knowledge of nature, of the divine, of the demonic. We will wash off the Christian veneer. I want to see in the eyes of youth the gleam of the beast..." said Rosicrucian front-man Adolf Hitler.
Although the Nazis have often been labeled neo-Pagan, their rituals of death were as far from Pagan ritual, and as close to Satanism, as the human race has ever been.
Also see Dragon Court, and Sex & the Paranormal.
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