Third character of the Sigil of Lucifer from the Grimorium Verum, used as symbol by some theistic satanists.
|English name||Theistic Satanism|
|Other names||Spiritual Satanism|
Theistic Satanism or Spiritual Satanism is the primary belief in the existence of deities or supernatural forces. Other characteristics of Theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual. Unlike Atheistic Satanism (founded by Anton LaVey in the 1960s), theistic Satanism believes that Satan (Hebrew: הַשָׂטָן ha-Satan, "the accuser") is a real being rather than an archetype.
The history of theistic Satanism, and assessments of its existence and prevalence in history, is obscured by it having been grounds for execution at some times in the past, and due to people having been accused of it who did not consider themselves to worship Satan, such as in the witch trials in early modern Europe. Most of theistic Satanism exists in relatively new models and ideologies, and many claiming to not be involved with Christianity at all.
The worship of Satan was a frequent charge against those charged in the witch trials in Europe and other witch-hunts such as the Salem witch trials. Worship of Satan was claimed to take place at the witches' sabbat. The charge of Satan worship has also been made against groups or individuals regarded with suspicion, such as the Knights Templar, or minority religions. It is not known to what extent accusations of groups worshiping Satan in the time of the witch trials identified people who did consider themselves Satanists, rather than being the result of religious superstition or mass hysteria, or charges made against individuals suffering from mental illness. Confessions are unreliable, particularly as they were usually obtained under torture. However, scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Santa Barbara, has made extensive arguments in his book Witchcraft in the Middle Ages that not all witch trial records can be dismissed and that there is in fact evidence linking witchcraft to Gnostic heresies. Russell comes to this conclusion after having studied the source documents themselves. Individuals involved in the French poison affair were accused of Satanism and witchcraft.