The Synagogue of Satan by Stanislaw Przybyszewski 1897
Translated by Joe Bandel 2011
But the strongest death rage was the hatred that was directed against Satan—as magician and Satan—as healer.
Be poor in spirit and meek. Be obedient, be a follower, don’t think! That was the highest law of religion for the imbecile masses. But the magician was proud despite all laws. He rose into the air against the law of gravity and did not sink in the water. If you wanted you could throw him into the fire and he would come out healthy. The magician was too proud to be a follower. If he wanted to he could even become as good of a god as Christ.
“Christ is not able to do any more than I can, through virtue I also can become divine,” said Theodorus of Mopsuesta.
The magician despised poverty of spirit, broke open all things secret and unraveled all mysteries. He determined the successor to the Emperor from the stars and knew the fates of all the nations. The magician was that which Christ himself was, a defiant criminal of all the laws, a knowledgeable seer. He was a god, but much prouder than Christ.
Christ made his teachings available to the plebeians, formed his ancient band of conspirators out of child-like farmers and servants. The magician planted his teachings in only the proudest and strongest of souls.
The Christian wrath, the hatred of the plebian and the poor in spirit, the devotees of the law and those that could not do anything other than “follow” was directed against these defiant titans.
The law of Constantine had already placed heavy penalties upon the practice of magic. Now one law followed another and each new one was more severe than the last until under Emperor Valens all the philosophers were driven out. Even the brilliant Iamblichus took poison after being imprisoned. Having a book of philosophy was enough to put your life at risk. In order to avoid this fate all the folk gathered their books together and burned them.
This was the beginning of the terrible martyrdom of the proud children of Satan, against which the Christian persecutions of Nero seemed like a charming game.
During this time the magicians became priests and assembled the pagans around them. The old ways became the practice of magic. The symbols were lost and their content. No one knew what the signs or symbols meant anymore, but the magician helped them. He conferred mystical meanings upon them which by and by through the power of suggestion began to exert enormous influence. The words that no one knew anymore became a powerful means to help the magician establish a rapport between his Master and his soul.
The church perceived that it could not accomplish its goal with punishment and torture. It used its ability to imitate, only to imitate, and grasped onto “the magical link”, the “choc en retour”, that plays such a large role in magic.Incantations along with magical signs became replaced with Holy Water and the sign of the cross. Magical evocations were thwarted through the Mass and Holy Water was used to drive out Satan. The magician might conjure up a thunder storm in the name of Satan, but Christ could disperse it with the cross.
Still, the longer the battle went on, the more the church had to yield. It became forced to absorb the pagan cults into itself. The bacchanalia at the festivals of Ceres Libera were combined with the processions of the festival of St. Mary and celebrated with greater exuberance than ever before. Up until the 13th century the folk and the priests celebrated lascivious and orgiastic festivals together such as the festival of the ass and the festival of fools (fatuorum).
Remnants of the phallus cults crept into the church. The capitals of the columns thronged with obscene figures. A favorite subject depicted in churches was Noah and how he slept with his daughters. But the images were especially about hell! God, how magnificent!
The paltry brains of the church fathers and doctors that were so airy, naïve and spacey had no need to exert themselves when they could plagiarize. Hades made the greatest impression on the good Eusabius. Well, even the demon himself could have a good revelation now and then, but it was simply astounding how much the pagans knew about hell. Rabanus Maurus in his description of hell does not once forget to mention the rivers Phlegeton, Cocytos and Styx and throughout the entire Middle Ages the boat of Charon was seen as the boat of the devil.