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My Tantra of Shiva and Satan

Probably one of the first things people will think stumbling across here is why I seem to be mixing Hindu and Satanic themes. It’s something I do in my music as well, and it’s not just an odd mix. It makes perfect sense to me and my beliefs.

Part of that reason is that I’m a nondualist and so don’t see the dark and light, the seemingly “evil” and “good” as seperate. I do however recognize dualism as the emenational branching off of this nondual source that is neither monistic or dualistic (since it defies even the monistic-dualism duality). I developed this core belief with divination, as well as from the help of spiritual powers as a Satanist years ago. I had no knowledge of Hinduism, Tantra, or Shaivism at the time beyond what narrow understanding Americans typically have of it.

Later I would be introduced to Trika and although I didn’t understand it at first, it fitted perfectly with the divination I had done in the past. Even as recent as of a couple of months ago I found an old discarded part of my old Satanic system that fitted perfectly within Trika. So no where at any point were my beliefs really that contradictory.

The Almost Forgotten Paths

Trika is often another name for Kashmir Shaivism but it tends to be used to refer to the specific beliefs pertaining to triads. Either the 3 Shaktis of Aparā, Parā, and Parāparā, the 3 truths of Shiva, Shakti and Aṇu, or it could refer to Jñāna, Icchā and Kriyā, or even for me I tend to think of Shiva, Kali, and Satan. I also heavily associate Trika with the 3 Guṇas of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas (more on the Guṇas in the next section).

In my opinion Trika shouldn’t be considered totally equivalent to Kashmir Shaivism, of which I would also include the more ancient Kāpālikas, and distinguish Trika from Kaula and Krama (since those who use the word Trika typically imply something more like Spanda). I seem to have elements of each in my beliefs, but all were distint practices and ways of looking at nondual Tantric Shaivism. Unfortunately even then name Kashmir Shaivism is somewhat of a misnomer as today most adherents don’t live in Kashmir, even though that is where it originated, and groups like the Pandits who don’t have any relation (so far as I know) are said to be Kashmir Shaivism as a descriptive term as well. Interestingly Kashmir Shaivism had a lot of cross influence with Tibetan Buddhism and you can see this in a lot of century’s old art from Nepal depicting Shaivia deities, as well as even older Tibetan art that borrowed Shaivia deities like Bhairava and Kali.

A lot of what we know now of the past beliefs is credited to Lakshman Joo who helped revive it after centuries of silence. And later others would come such as Jaidev Signh who would talk to those few authentic lineages still existing, and translate The Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta.

One of the principle ideas of Kashmir Shaivism is that one is Shiva, and that they realize this through Shakti, which is to say, one is God, and they realize this through their nondual nature with the Universe. Unlike many other forms of Hinduism the material world is very real. I’ve seen it described as “concrete monism” and other things like that. I wouldn’t consider myself a monist but the comparison is apt when compared to a lot of dualistic beliefs or even typically monistic ones that hold that only the ideal (consciousness) is real.

Satan as the Foundation of All Reality

Now you might be wondering… where does Satan come into this? Well, you have to understand that to me Satan isn’t distinct from this system. The 36 tattvas (aspects, realities) of Kashmir Shaivism fits very well with an old thing I called the Theory of Aspects as well with my old divination about spirits, demigods, deities and other manifestations. At the top of this system was what I called the “Meta-Satan” which I would now identify with nirguṇa . Guṇa means something close to “attribute” or “thread” in a musical context and if you could imagine 3 properties that make up all of reality, it is said that the Guṇas are those, Nirguṇa being the 4th one that is attributeless (or at least the most attributeless).

The other three are Sattva or purity, truth, peace, Rajas or passion, change, ego-centric, anger and Tamas or darkness, sleep, ignorance, laziness. At least that’s how most people see those 3 Guṇas. I see them more as Tamas being just Darkness, Rajas as being light-darkness and Sattva being as light. To me, it’s also a case of Tamas being destruction, Rajas being creation and Sattva being stasis, along with so many other meanings I can’t even think of them all.

The Satanic Yantra; Universe Encoded

A central part of my system I developed was a Yantra I divined long ago that I either call “The Satanic Yantra” or sometimes “The Puzzle Box”. It can be configured/colored/drawn a lot of different ways but on this “Satan” is always seated in the middle with a pattern you are supposed to imagine going out to start the inwards pattern, although it looks more like a grid when you actually see it without the context.

The movements imagined create what I call an “Opposition Map”. “Opposition” is one of the most common translations of the Hebrew word for Satan, and fits well with how I often see this nondual essence, as inherently oppositional. This shows the flowing nature of nonduality creating duality that folds back in on itself, back to nonduality. This is the principle truth of the Yantra, that nonduality by it’s nature creates duality to oppose itself, and then opposes it’s opposing nature by folding back in to nonduality in a continuous cycle. Satan, in this respect, is the only truth, all encompassing, all embracing, all creating.

Seated in the center of this Yantra likewise would be what I would consider a simutanious reflection of the Meta-Satan as well as the individual self. To me, as a Satanist, a big part of my religion was self-deification and becoming a god. However, in Trika I realized that although one can become like a god, one’s true nature IS God. This isn’t done by some proccess where as one looses their identity, mind or self-hood. Rather in Kashmir Shaivism, unlike in Samkhya and Advaita Vedanta, the mind (or citta) becomes cit (universal consciousness). In this sense, one becomes Shiva / Satan with Shakti… or that is… the physical Universe as their expression (theoretically implying the greatest of magical powers although desire only for these powers makes them unattainable). I believe this is done through realizing one’s nature with Shiva / Satan through nonduality with nature. Hence when Jaideva Singh says in his commentaries on the Shiva Sutras that ‘one becomes Siva through Sakti’.

The Yoga of Deification

The nature of Shivagama deserves not just an entire article but an entire book on it, but I think I should note further that one’s self identity is not lost in this process as is a misconception among some non-Hindus. While it might be in Samskhya in Kashmir Shaivism it’s more like one’s personality is multipled infinitely, not in that you take on other personalities but that your singular personality becomes infinite in the sense of realizing it’s nature as divinity. This is seen as the “true” self that is simply in ignorance of it’s nature. Shivagama is becoming Shiva in that you realize you were Shiva all along.

Maybe I’m not a typical Satanist. I started out as some kind of vague theistic one influenced by theist commentaries. I saw their resources more as something to point me in a direction to figure it out for myself. I kind of settled on realizing I was a pantheist early on but I had some varying degrees of polytheism as well. I was aware of LaVey and identified with what some of he wrote but I remained a theist until after I became Hindu.

Transcending the Theisms of the West

I think that my metaphysics as a Satanist is also what made the leap easier; after all Hinduism is basically kind of pantheism with soft-polytheism. Now days I would consider myself a non-theist. Although I have elements of many different -theisms I kind of see it in a more transtheistic kind of light, almost, at least in the sense that I see my beliefs as not exclusive to theism or atheism or rather that I can’t be described as either and not really in a Tillich or Zimmer sense although early on those were at one time more applicable comparisons. If I were to be called a pantheist I normally wouldn’t object.

I’m different than most pantheists, at least the ones who reject supernaturalism, in that I do recognize magical phenomena and the spiritual importance of deities and their worship. That might be however because Tantra is influenced by Yoga. Indeed I refer to Satan as one of my Ishvaras (personal deity or divine inspiration, Isvara has different meanings in some other Hindu religions). I also call Leviathan, Lilith, Lucifer, Shiva, Kali, Shakti, Laxshmi, Bhairava, Nataraja, and a bunch of others I can’t think of at the moment, my Ishvaras. Basically, they are all a part of my personal pantheon.

Satanism, Angels and Anti-gods

Satanism to me, I would probably say is in every-day terms about perseverance and overcoming, challenging and meeting challenges, a primal source of energy and embracing the self (which works well with the very Kaula like beliefs I have). I really do see Satan in a very non-Christian and non-Muslim sense even though I see him principally as the enemy of Christianity and Islam and the harm it causes. I’m not terribly familiar with things like the Talmudic lore where it says he is Samael, the ruler of fifth heaven who’s name means “venom of god” and all that but I am aware enough to feel the essence of him as a part of Rajas, at times Tamas.

Interestingly the ancient Jews and even today didn’t believe in a devil figure, and not even Hell. They had the concept of Sheol (the grave) sure, but not Satan as something evil. In the Book of Job for example Ha-Satan (The Satan) was an arch angel, one of many that might take that title, doing his… Job… on behalf of Yahweh. In other parts of the Old Testament the same root word for “Satan” is used to mean opponent, thing in the way, or accuser. All of these meanings are pretty relevant to me when talking about something I call “Satanic” or Satan when not talking about the more cosmic kind of Satan such as Satan as a force or the Meta-Satan.

There are even some spirits, which I called “Satans” that would help me a lot. I hadn’t heard from them but a few times as of the last year or so. At one point I figured they were close to Rakshasas which are Indian mythological anti-god like beings more generally known as Asuras. I tended to see them as mostly angelic however, and so not Asuras per se but in retrospect they probably were, as even some Asuras were honorable and good. They told me they served “a dead god” which I have taken at various times to possibly mean something along the lines of pandeism, but it also could refer to a self-sacrificing deity that I’m not yet familiar with.

The Harbingers of the Left Hand Path as we Know It

Part of what I think makes Satanism and my form of Shaivism work is a lot of the general ideas from Kaula (Kulamārga) that is that of Aham (“heart”, sounds like “I Am” doesn’t it?), the idea of there being no pure or impure (the extreme Aghori sect who have heavy Kāpālika influence see it the same way), the focus on sacrifice, freedom, and the antinomian practices… all done in secrecy really resonate with me.

In Kashmir Shaivism Kaula is a householder path, unlike many other Tantric paths that are ascetic. Meaning one can practice them while living a fairly “normal” life. Kaula (Kula, Kulamārga or Kaulācāra) is actually very tame in comparison, but still falls within what many other Tantric paths are known as, as Vamachara (Vāmācāra or Vāmamārga) which is modernly known by occultists as “Left Hand Path” although “Left Hand Attainment” or “Left Hand Way” are more literally correct translations.

I’m not Kaula however, the path requires you live with others in your spiritual “family” and that you defer to a Guru as a gateway to enlightenment. I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing although I recognize it’s potential for abuse, but its’ a little too much for me to swallow. However such a thing is easily avoided if they have truly achieved Shivagama OR one is to take on the ultimate Guru, Shiva.

Jumping Off the Mountain

The Left Hand Path is actually where a lot of bridging and common ground comes along for Satanism and Kashmir Shaivism. Not just with the self-deification but just generally with practice. As a Satanist I developed a sigil and invocation system very reminiscent of yantra and mantra work, in a very Tantric like ritualistic way although I had borrowed the general setup from a variety of sources.

If you are not familiar with the Left Hand Path (LHP)… well it’s an entire topic on it’s own but it would suffice to explain that it is heterodox, often embracing or breaking taboos. It’s somewhat extreme in comparison with the “Right Hand Path” (dakṣiṇācāra or RHP) and the real thing is considered dangerous for the uninitiated or at least those not prepared. A comparison my old teacher gave me, the one that introduced me to Tantra, was that of clinging to the right side of a mountain in your ascent. It was hard but sure in footing so long as you hugged close to it. But on the left side… a plunge off the mountain, to fly with the “Sky Dancers” (Dakini). His specific example was talking about Left Hand Path Vajrayana (Tantric Buddhism).

In that sense, the Right Hand Path is adherence to moral rules, to church organizations, to society and living in the world. In a lot of ways the LHP is seen as evil, or at least black magic to those on the RHP. In India, Aghori are feared and said to be able to curse or bless people. Although perhaps they are more feared for their cannibalism and post-mortum rituals than anything else. The LHP isn’t anti-society so much as it is removing one from it’s influence, abandoning the rules for the “quick and dirty” method that although filled with hazards, pitfalls and dangers is the one that some people need.

The LHP is very contextual to taste, lineage, and context. I’m not really someone that goes well with orthodoxy, normal rules, or expectations. Satan and Satanism for me at this point is very much a way I practice the Left Hand Path. In the context of current-day America, Satanism is about as Left Hand Path as you can get. There is probably some greater reason I started straight off the bat with Satanism and what current-day, western occultists call “Greater Black Magick”. A lot of my early work focused on Lilith and Succubi and even today that still holds a lot of sway over me. Spirit magic is one of my specialties along with sacrifices and divination.

Hetereodox Syncretism

I think it’s important to note here, that although I’ll typically talk more in Hindu terminology much more than Satanic… it’s simply that Kashmir Shaivism so perfectly articulated most what I already believed in a much more mature system and so it’s much easier to point to it was authority rather than my divination as a Satanist, although some holdovers are still there. I still remain agnostic about any Hindu rules for reincarnation but noteworthy is that even in my old Satanic system there was reincarnation but it isn’t how it is in Hinduism.

I also have a somewhat different view of Dharma (no good translation of that word into English) and morality than any conventional Hindu, although my views on Karma are pretty much spot on in the over-arching sense but I don’t see them as rewarding or punishing. These differences I can pretty much attribute to Satanism since in the department of ethics, cause and effect and good and evil I’m very influenced by more Satanic thought. Curiously my views on this also line up with something my old friend told me, which is that Shiva had once said something to the effect of “I am beyond good and evil, but will ultimately do for you what you consider good.”

Closing Words

I’ve attempted to write this article in a way that will give a general overview of my beliefs and some context, although I’m not sure if it’s adequate or too lengthy. For sure, I will need to give a very specific overview of my “systems” within my beliefs. Strangely I’ve rarely talked about my beliefs as a whole, only in parts because the general awareness of different subjects is so central to make sense of what I’m saying often and I was hoping to first paint some very broad brushes with some comparisons to other beliefs but of course doing that catches so many subjects in it.

If you have any specific questions leave a comment and I can try to address them in a follow up.

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