F. Goya - El Aquilarre
The role of the Devil in Witchcraft can be a confusing mystery for some. After all the image of the Devil is veiled in evil and misanthropy and many Christian denominations and churches have made themselves depending on him to support their gospel. You turn to God because you need to hate evil, translated into the Devil. Evil, like sin, is to miss the point, and hence all good intentions directed by a mind lacking alignment with heart can be a brooding evil insofar as it evokes negative vibrations to the life of others and your own.
The Devil is known by his horns and cloven hoofs, his pointed tail and trident. He is known by many names and as the architect of details. We find him in crossroads and caves, at the tavern and the racetrack, in the dance and in every choice of life. He is someone we can’t escape because he will appear in any crossroad as the one who challenges you to walk the path of destiny. His trident tells us that he possess the knowledge of all three states and his cloven hoofs that he stands at the point where day turns into night and that he possess the knowledge of the dyad – which is often translated into good and evil.
Well known is the term ‘devil’s advocate’, which is actually a remembrance from one of his earliest roles, as a lawyer. Mesopotamian cultures invited to their trials spirits veiled in skin and veiled in air – and the spiritual accusers were called ‘ha-satan’. It is from this that we find in the equivalence between Satan and ‘accuser’ that became the commonly known synonyms especially with the Septuagint where adversary, devil (diabolos) and Satan became references upon each other. This triple force is very evident in the story of Job where the Devil is clearly taking the role as a challenger of faith, sanctioned by God himself. The Book of Job is interesting as a discourse upon why bad things happen to good people in, but in this scope we should focus solely on the role of the devil himself as a divinely sanctioned challenger.
His other connotations such as Dragon, Belial, Prince of Darkness, Lord of the World are all epitaphs that are better approached from a metaphysical perspective, but it should suffice to question how the spirit of chance relates to all these epitaphs, namely as the one who challenges. For those with a wise heart this is a good thing, because the Devil is the one that makes sense in the flow of life. He is always there in the great design luring us out of our caves so we can see the glory of being in the flow if the world.
Personally I find the Devil in the rune peorth, at the crossroad of choice as well as chance, in the caves and at the roots of every plant. It is this that has given him a misanthropic reputation. He knows, he gives – but the choice is not his – but yours...Unlike our fellow journeymen he doesn’t interfere with your choice, he does not judge...
In the middle ages he gained popularity due to many factors. It was the time of the plague, it was a time of war, revolt and revolution, the Vatican had its time of popes most varied in quality - not to speak of the differences between clergy and peasants in terms of quality of life. The Devil, the accuser surfaced – and he was also the one to take the blame. That the blame he took was for others bad choices were not spoken of, only projected – a heritage we find even today when we scapegoat and try to find culprits in our own badly directed design of life.
I view the Devil as that rock in the cave resting at the pole of world, right there at its roots. He is the chthonic waters, embers and glows that infiltrates and protects the roots.
So how this fits in the idea of ‘satanism’? We find here several nuances and levels, ranging from the juvenile and misanthropic to the more sophisticated avenues that calls upon something resembling Epicurus. Here we find the Devil entering into a detailed play of chance and choice. I find all the talk about might, right and strength measured against power and darkness being a reflex of a warrior ethos finding no base or resonance. I can appreciate the more hedonistic streams, because they praise life. And I do praise life. I do not see how praising life leads to hatred of other forms of life or a contempt of the station other seekers find themselves at. I mean, if I condemn your choice of life on the basis of my life I am solely enforcing a judgment coming from the world of matter. These condemnations are often a product of me being in disequilibrium and striking out to what challenges my disequilibrium. For sure the Devil is there.
And in the Craft of the Wise the Devil is constant companion, as master of dice and rite; he shows himself as the ever present light of ancestral and telluric memory. He is the light that gives voice to nature, the blood that rushes forth in the crossroads. Being the memory of wisdom he is also knowledge – and this is his curse and between his horns where the changing cycles rests we find the wisdom of the ebb and flow of life. The mystery that blood is like the ocean and upon resting in the depth flows to the shores. It is the wave within life. The wise ones were traditionally those that had some notion of this current and their work was related to this current of blood and change.
The Devil, as The Black Man, is the one who hold the wand of possibility and the dices of opportunity – he is the shadow of luck. His voice is only felt through the speech of nature and in the breath accompanying choice. If he is adversary or friend is also a choice – made at his crossroad – which is ours. He is the shades of thoughts that inspire decision as much as he is the force that challenges you towards change, so you can find the path destiny gave to you in order for you to gain the price of abundance. The Devil is the rocks and dirt on your road, the sojourn and the fresh wells as much as the poison and danger you find on your path. As the power at the root he is also boundary. He is the limit of your landscape and the mark of acceptance or denial. He is all this and so much more...he is only enemy of man if you make this choice, because he can be the burning embers in your heart that take shape in intuition as much as you own worst enemy...