The Origins of Satanic Imagery
You may not realize it, but the Devil hasn’t always been such an important character in Biblical mythology. When the Bible was first written, there wasn’t even a Devil to speak of, but (like any popular character) as soon as he was introduced, his fans wanted more. The Devil was initially introduced as a minor foil to God. There isn’t even much of a description of Satan’s appearance in the good book, but artists were able to answer the question, “What does Satan look like?” by pulling from their imaginations and other mythologies.
Why does the Satan have a pitchfork? Does he have a lot of hay to work within Hell? Does he just think it looks cool? And why does the Satan have horns? Beyond the Satan himself, there’s also some prominent Satanic imagery that needs explanation, like the inverted cross and pentagrams. So, go ahead and light a black candle, and get ready to learn about sweet, sweet Satan.
Who Gave The Satan His Horns?
Satan’s most well-known attribute is his horns, but if you’ve cracked open a Bible recently you’ll know the scripture makes zero references to the Satan having horns. In fact, it doesn’t really describe him at all. So, where are the horns from? In the first era of Christianity, the Church was still trying to wipe out paganism, so one of the main sources of propaganda was to take a pagan deity and turn him into something sinister. That’s how Egyptian gods like Bes and Isis – a feminine deity who is often shown wearing the headdress of Hathor – became variations of a horned Satan.
Where Did Satan Get His Goat Legs?
If you’ve ever seen the seminal silent film Häxan, you have some idea of what a half-man-half-goat Satan looks like. While the concept of the Devil or Lucifer has existed since at least the 6th century, scholars believe it wasn’t until the 19th century that his goat legs appeared. The most plausible theory for the appearance of his goat legs is that neo-paganism was coming into vogue, so poets and artists were suddenly interested in using the Greek goat-god Pan, as a source of inspiration. So, when it came to painting the Satan, it was natural that the god of chaos and pan flutes would be used as a stand-in for Old Scratch.
What’s Up With The Two Finger Salute?
This Satanic element isn’t as well-known as the pentagram or goats in general, but its occult status is well-known to anyone who looks up a YouTube video about the Illuminati. The salute – two fingers on the right hand pointing up and two on the left hand pointing down – supposedly stands for, “as above, so below.” The phrase comes from Hermes Trismegistus, the alleged writer of Hermetic writings from 1 CE, whose writings became popular among alchemists in the Middle Ages. The salute was applied to Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet in order to express “the perfect harmony of mercy and justice”. Levi really should get some of the credit for creating modern Satanism while Aleister Crowley ended up hogging the spotlight.
Who Came Up With The Inverted Cross?
Like the inverted pentagram, the inverted cross is one of the most well-known signifiers of Satanic lore today. The inversion of Christ’s crucifix was first used by Eugène Vintras, a 19th Gnostic revivalist from France. He wasn’t just the inventor of one of the most recognizable images ever, he also believed that he was the reincarnation of Elijah and that he would bring about the end of the world. Shortly after preaching that the world would end, he was condemned by the Vatican, and he declared that the “Reign of the Suffering Christ had been superseded by the Reign of the Holy Spirit of Love.”