Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


The cult of Satan, or Satan worship, is in part a survival of the ancient worship of demons and in part a revolt against Christianity or the church. It rose about the 12th cent. in Europe and reached its culmination in the blasphemous ritual of the Black Mass, a desecration of the Christian rite. The history of early Satanism is obscure. It was revived in the reign of Louis XIV in France and is still practiced by various groups throughout the world, particularly in the United States. One of the largest and most influential Satanic groups is the Church of Satan (1966), founded by Anton LaVey in San Francisco. A splinter group, the Temple of Set (1975), was organized by Michael Aquino. Many Satanic groups, including the ones mentioned, attest that such worship does not necessarily imply evil intentions, but rather an alternative to the repressive morality of many other religious groups. Such groups see no harm in their indulgence in "worldly pleasures" that other religions forbid. Other, more severe brands of Satanism likely exist, although much of the activity pegged as "Satanic" has less to do with the religion than with various forms of sociopathy. Indeed, reliable research has found no evidence indicating the existence of alarming, large-scale Satanic phenomena. An unfortunate mistake is the unfounded—yet common—linkage of minority religious traditions, such as the African-derived voodoovoodoo
[from the god Vodun], native W African religious beliefs and practices that also has adherents in the New World. Voodoo believers are most numerous in Haiti, where voodoo was granted official religious status in 2003, and in Benin, where the religion has had official
..... Click the link for more information.
 and SanteríaSantería
, religion originating in W Africa, developed by Yoruba slaves in Cuba, and practiced by an estimated one million people in the United States. Blending African beliefs with those of Roman Catholicism, it fuses Christian saints with African deities (orishas).
..... Click the link for more information.
, with Satanism. See also witchcraftwitchcraft,
a form of sorcery, or the magical manipulation of nature for self-aggrandizement, or for the benefit or harm of a client. This manipulation often involves the use of spirit-helpers, or familiars.
..... Click the link for more information.


See A. LaVey, Satanic Bible (1969); A. Lyons, The Second Coming (1970) and Satan Wants You! (1989); J. T. Richardson and D. Bromley, ed., The Satanism Scare (1991).


1. the worship of Satan
2. a form of such worship which includes blasphemous or obscene parodies of Christian prayers, etc.
3. a satanic disposition or satanic practices
References in periodicals archive ?
This assessment is a major finding following a four-day meeting in Sicily, which included testimony on sects and Satanism, according to Vatican News.
Permanent Secretary Muzila encouraged students to focus on their studies and not be disturbed by the satanism scare.
Documentary tracing events of the Orkney child abuse case of 1991 which saw nine children from South Ronaldsay taken from their families amid allegations of Satanism.
Any reader of true crime nonfiction should have the well-reasoned SATANIC KILLINGS: it follows the rise of Satanism from early times to the 1960s, with a focus on satanic killings and why they occur.
The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide, and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV.
ISS includes satanism, suicide forums and instructions on how to make bombs and weapons in its extremism and illegal activities categories, enabling households and educational establishments to filter out such content.
Their charge was that the texts were in fact teaching religion, such as Secular Humanism and Satanism.
But the court found that the prisoner could not maintain a claim based on the allegation that he was not allowed to have a copy of a catalogue in which items related to Wiccanism, Satanism and Odinism were sold, where the prisoner did not allege or suggest that he either used or needed a copy of the catalogue in order to practice his Odinist religion.
It may never be known if it was his obsession with Satanism which motivated him to murder Jodi, but her gruesome death bore the hallmarks of a ritual killing.
Surfers, beatniks, hippies, the Manson family, LA Satanism, '60s gurus, drugs, orgies .
As a result, texts have been expurgated of references to: sexual innuendo, the disabled, junk food, stereotyping of women (by showing them cooking, for example), scantily clad people, rainbows (gay agenda), age groups, religions, racial or ethnic groups, Satanism, rock and roll music, serious car accidents.