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 The Occult Revival

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Posts : 631
Reputation : 85
Join date : 2011-09-19
Age : 23
Location : Somewhere in the Dark Forest

PostSubject: The Occult Revival   Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:42 pm

Much of the occultism that we have today was influenced by the occult
revival of the 1800's. Prior to that there are many Christian
Grimoires and ceremonial magic books that were published.
It was Freemasonry, religion, hermetics, alchemy and ceremonial magic
that were combined to create the rituals of the Hermetic Order Golden
Dawn in the 19th century. Aleister Crowley created his traditions
from these sources, adding the practice of Egyptianism and eastern
mysticism. There was also the advent of the racist teachings of
Theosophy, The Secret Doctrine and H.P. Blavatsky. Both authors were
influenced by the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, Freemasonry and
One of the more influential writers on witchcraft was the textbook
historian Jules Michelet, who wrote 'Satanism and Witchcraft'
(1863).1 Many quote his text as a source of historical knowledge,
without realizing that he had used information from the witch trials
to build his story of the black mass, and witchcraft. No serious
historian would ever accept the testimony of torture victims from
witch trials as historical evidence.
Occultism has always been a very obscure area of research, while at
the same time it has been sensationalized by the public and the media
because of the curiosity to know the unknown.
In 1891 the text known as La Bas, written by Huysmans caused a
sensation.2 While this tale was nothing more than literary fiction,
it is also quoted by some pagans and even by some satanists, as
evidence of historical satanism and witchcraft.
In the same era, storyteller Charles Leland created the Witch's
Gospel (1899), a story about Aradia, the goddess queen of Witches.
With this document he proclaimed that Italian witchcraft was ancient,
that it was handed down to him through the works of an old
storyteller from Italy. The sources and documents that he worked from
are still in question to this day. This text is often used in neo
paganism and some branches of witchcraft as a historical text. Most
accept that the tales he created were fictional, with a sprinkling of
historical truth to them.
Practices of the occult branched out from the works of the Golden
Dawn, and Crowley. The advancement of traditions like Wicca and neopaganism
became socially acceptable through the work of Margaret
Murray, Alex Saunders and Gerald Gardner.
Some of these authors have asserted that the covens, sabbats and
rituals of these accused witches had a pre-christian history. There is no proof of any of this, as the witch trials, and all of the
confessions created during it, originated from false accusations.
All of those terms, such as 'coven', and 'Sabbat' did not exist until
they were written in witch-finding materials of the age of the
inquisition.3 The accepted history of some of the beliefs in modern
witchcraft are often taken from the literature of witch-finding
material. Some, but not all, Wiccans believe this reconstructed
history. Most will deny the obvious association with (literary)
satanism, and witch-finding materials forgetting the fact that
according to the Church fathers and executors, these accused witches
were in league with the Devil, not the benevolent 'horned god' of the
wood as it is portrayed today.
The dictionary of witchcraft terms states that witchcraft is a family
of pagan and magico-religious traditions deriving from the myths of
pre-christian Europe. It is also "..the craft used by witches, known
as magic, especially that [which is utilized] for personal power with
the energies of natural objects".4
It is related to the practice of folk magic and other simple forms of
magic. This is a traditional type of definition from the religion of
witchcraft, known as Wicca, created in the 1950's by leaders such as
Gerald Gardener and Margaret Murray. The foundations of this type of
religious magic was based on the past traditions of Hermeticism, and
The Golden Dawn. Wicca is a religion, and their use of magic is a
part of their religious expression. Regardless of this, there are
many other methods of witchcraft that are independent of the Wiccan
Another legendary witch of that era who had a dubious reputation was
Alex Sanders. He claimed to have been initiated into witchcraft by
his grandmother. He also claimed that the source of his magic was his
grandmother's grimoires to which he added materials from the Crowley
and Mather's grimoire, the Key of Solomon. Sanders began his
initiation into witchcraft through the Gardenerians.5
Because they would not accept him as one of their own, he created
his own coven. This expanded to what Saunders claimed to be more than 1,623 witches who were now practicing his form of magic, known as the
Alexandrian Witchcraft tradition. His coven also initiated two more
popular witches, Jan and Stewart Fararr. At the height of his
popularity he was called the “King of the Witches.6
His popularity lead many to question Alex Sander's history and claims
of historical witchcraft. It was then revealed that most of the
material that was copied into his book of Witchcraft came from
Gardenerian writings. His popularity as a witch ended with that
revelation. While he was exposed as not being genuine, Sanders is
often credited for making initiation into witchcraft easier and more
popular for other people.
Even more influential than Alex Saunders is Jan and Stewart Farrar,
both of whom were initiated into Saunder's coven in 1970. After the
breakup of the coven of Sanders, the Farrars gained fame through
their own 'reformed Alexandrian' tradition of witchcraft.
The Witch hunt propaganda of the medieval era also became a source of
history in Satanism. Theistic Satanist Diane Vera, asserts that there
are many occult traditions that were developed from the tales of
witch persecutions, and literary Satanism. "..some modern religions,
including Wicca and some pre-LaVey forms of Satanism, drew
inspiration from 19th century literary Satanism.."7
Literary Satanists were the authors that wrote about Satan in a
positive light, or who wrote about satanism in general but who were
not satanists. Some of these authors, like Michelet, Mark Twain, and
William Blake, who wrote about Satan but did not have an organization
or following, or did not worship Satan in the religious sense.
However unhistorical their writings were, there are traditions in the
occult that draw from these sources, and create a history that is
based on these literary tales of witchcraft and ideas about Satan.
A version of Satanic Witchcraft for Satanism was made popular by
Anton LaVey, and his book, The Compleat Witch: or What to do When
Virtue Falls (1971).8 This book was written as a method of
instruction to satanic women and how they could apply their powers of
seduction. It is a guide on how to think like a witch, how to dress,
how to act and various other advices that LaVey felt characterized
the behaviours and natures of women.
LaVey's method is a guide to enchantment by using the appearance and
personality in such a way that men will fall prey the witch. This
ability to entice men is a measure of personal power. Of course, he
offers little practical advice on the esoteric or magical aspects of satanic witchcraft; his book is a treatise on how he envisioned the
Satanic witch to be - as as a fantasy of seduction within the earthly
realm of the physical.
In a published essay titled Satanic Witchery, Abby Brimstone reviews
the concepts of The Satanic Witch, agreeing with LaVey's
stereotypical views of women. Brimstone writes that women live in a
"male dominated society", and "All she really needs is to understand
how to maneuver her looks, curves, and intelligence to acquire
success and happiness".9 Brimstone believes that a woman has to use
her appearance and feminine wiles to survive and to dominate over
Blanche Barton, Magistra of the Church of Satan, wrote about her
views of women and satanic witchcraft in her essay, Satanic Feminism.
She acknowledged that LaVey tried to promote a kind of feminism that
was based on the perceived notions of Christianity, and its
"blasphemous philosophical roots",10 where women, and lust were
considered to be evil. In her view the real satanic witch is compleat
because she is the dominant force in her own life, independent,
willful and strong. The satanic witch, according to her, should be
"..in constant, intimate spiritual and sexual contact with her
strongest Demonic archetype, Satan Himself".11
LaVey's agenda seemed to be more about stereotyping women and their
role in society, instead of promoting equality. LaVey's definitions
of witchcraft allude to his belief that only women could be witches,
and they were mysterious and magical with a supernatural ability to
seduce men. This is a very shallow perception on the part of LaVey
that he promoted because of his desire to objectify women.
His categorization of women in The Satanic Witch is based on the
Lavey Synthesizer clock, a systematic method of associating body
types with temperament.12 LaVey borrowed these ideas from William
Sheldon's system of somatotype, a method of determining personality
according to a person's body type and shape. The theories of Sheldon
have been disregarded as false by modern psychologists.
Nietzsche also had a belief in three major body types which embodied
certain qualities of the personality,13 which some have regarded as a
philosophy of racial stereotyping or eugenics. LaVey had tried to
effectively characterize women by their looks in the Satanic Witch.
My speculation is that his controlling attitude about women seems to
show that he was insecure and perhaps feared the power of the female mind.
He portrayed the roles of women as the source of all evil, when he
created his version of the Black Mass by having a naked woman on the
Satanic Altar, an act that glorified the sexuality of women and
offered nothing more. Perhaps LaVey's categorization of women as the
source of 'evil' was an attempt to negate the movement of feminist
[Wiccan] witchcraft in his era. It also served to shock and outrage
the public and give them something that they all wanted at the same
time - entertainment.
But, magic and witchcraft is not a form of entertainment, especially
for those who study and practice it in their every day lives. Magic
can be used by anyone willing to learn the craft. It's origins are
from many sources and the techniques of spell making are a craft, the
craft of the witch.
In the practice of LaVeyan Satanism, spell work is a psychological
method. Some LaVeyan satanists choose not to burn candles in their
rituals, use witchcraft, or even attempt magic, as they claim that
their method of magic is not metaphysical, it is psychological,
physical. They are generally wary of all things that are related to
the occult.
However, LaVey included instructions on the uses of certain candle
colors, rituals, and spells in the Satanic Bible. These were more
than just psychological devices; LaVey labeled these practices as
methods of Satanic High magic, compared to the low magic of
psychological manipulation as presented in the Satanic Witch.

Modern Magic
Other areas of magic were developing during this era as well, to
mutate into new forms of magic. The magicians Peter Carroll and Ray
Sherwin created methods from the past works of AO Spare, to create
the method of 'Chaos Magick'. This type of magic was very non
traditional in approach. It used various methods to produce results,
rather than being dependent on the meaning of the method used. It was
magic based on method, not tradition.
Of course, these few chapters are an abbreviated history of occultism
and magic, but it describes how these traditions have influenced each
other throughout time. There are many sources to work from, but as
you can see, not all sources are based on real historical origins.
Regardless of this fact, all of these practices are a part of the
We have been able to reconstruct ideas and methods of magic from past
histories, for various occult uses and 'traditions' like witchcraft,
wicca, chaos magic, and Satanism. These methods are creative and useful reconstructions of the past which serve as a backdrop for many
of the religious and magical practices that we have today. Even
though we can not recreate the past, we have a long record of history
to learn from and to use so that we may understand magic.
Magic is a life-changing process, a journey that will shape an
individual's conscious being, and change their life in many ways.
Magic has been used for centuries but it is not simply a recreation
of the rituals of the past. It is something that can be
used to shape the future. Magic is an evolution, a means of
metaphysical exploration, and it continues to evolve to this day.

Source: www.spiritualsatanist.com
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