>> On a forum where I moderate religion, I got into a nasty dispute about the existence of Satan as a real and overarching source of evil on Earth. Even though I am Catholic, I never could accept something like Satan. I have always thought of it as a cognitive tool by which people rationalize their own mistakes. <<
For the most part you're correct, the concept of Satan is a tool used by organized religion to distance the individual from the power to change themselves. By attributing one's own negativity to an external god-like being, it enables a denial of personal responsibility and disempowers one's ability to change. This leaves the individual dependant upon the religious hierarchy.
The concept also presents a subtle schism to the psyche of the believer. For example, how can an all-powerful and perfect god be in contention with an equally powerful imperfect devil? This essential dualism simply doesn't fit with a *mono* theism and this confuses the psyche at an unconscious level, again increasing both the sense of self-powerlessness and dependence upon the religious hierarchy.
However, Satan does exist. Because this concept has been believed and, in essence, worshiped for such a long period, it has been given both mental and astral density by humanity. In effect, it has become the representative of (anthropomorphization of) all the negativity resident within the human group-mind. In other words, humanity creates its own devil, out of its own self and calls it 'other'. This is the greatest schism of all within the human group-mind.
>> But, if that is true, then black magic is bogus, as well as black magicians. However, as far as I can tell, those people DO exist, and they do harm unto others, and seemingly get away with it, inasmuch as they are able to repeat their mischievous work. <<
"Black magicians" derive their power from this anthropomorphic representation of the negativity resident within the human group-mind. They increase their power by manipulating the negativity resident within individual human psyches.
>> Secondly, how does one defend from such influence? <<
The Elemental Equilibrium (i.e., the complete positivization of the individual psyche) renders one impervious to such influences. When there is no unknown negativity within the self, there is then nothing upon which a "black magician" might prey.
>> The second reason why I want to ask you this, Rawn, is connected with Hermetics. In most places on the internet, the term "hermetics" is tied to Satanism. I found no evidence for something like that... But it still disturbs me greatly that, wherever I mention magic or hermetics, the word "black" or "Satan" springs up as well. <<
This bias is common and is the product of millennia of organized religion. Magic has always been perceived as a threat to organized religion, especially ones adopted by state government, because it frees the individual and places responsibility in their hands instead of the hands of the established hierarchy. Magical philosophy empowers the individual and disempowers the hierarchic governing body, whatever that may be. When you label anything that empowers the individual as being evil, witchery, satanism, etc., then you have effectively swept it into a corner where it cannot effect the larger society.
Of course, these things cannot last for ever. Eventually, the schism they cause within the human group-mind will erupt and the cycle will be broken. All of which is part of the maturation and evolution of the human group-mind.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
06 Dec 2002