Glossary of Tenebrous Satanism

This glossary clarifies a number of terms used in Tenebrous Satanism that may be unfamiliar. Many of these echo language used by The Order of Nine Angles (ONA/O9A), but in many instances, I do NOT mean the exact same thing O9A does when using the term. I’ll thus be linking back to this page whenever what I say on my blog risks misunderstandings.

Abyssal Void of Darkness

This term is unique to Tenebrous Satanism, and central to it. About this force/entity, I assert:

  • It is the origin of spirit, the force that animates all living beings.
  • It compulsively pours itself out into material existence, seeking to enjoy ever-greater novelty, complexity and overcoming of adversity.
  • Its essence is individually-manifest via instincts of self-preservation and self-advancement present in every organism.
  • Its essence is collectively-manifest via the prevalence of evolutionary dynamics in all natural processes.
  • Though it “enjoys” existence “through” individual beings, it is ultimately amoral and indifferent toward those beings’ happiness or lack thereof.
  • Consciousness recoils from it, so by default, humans are alienated from it. This results in a secret terror at the heart of human existence – terror both of the meaning of life, and of the meaning of death.
  • A goal of Satanic praxis is to train consciousness to cease recoiling from it, and to instead embrace it. This results in self-understanding, liberation, and the gaining of a degree of personal power not otherwise attainable.
  • Since they came forth from it, all living beings must eventually return to it. The “afterlife” is thus characterized by perpetual transformation, and no static or peaceful eternity is to be had.

It should be noted that the Abyssal Void of Darkness is not what Tenebrous Satanism means by Satan. Rather, if someone were to call me “a Satanist who also happens to venerate H. P. Lovecraft’s Azathoth,” I would not complain.

In circumstances where I use only one of the three terms, often “Void” is suggestive of one’s experience of the entity prior to entering into life, “Darkness” one’s experience of it during life, and “Abyss” one’s experience of it at life’s end. I also alternate just for stylistic variety, though, as really, it is all one thing.

Acausal vs. Causal / spirit vs. flesh

“Causal” and “acausal” are among the terms that Tenebrous Satanism inherits from O9A:

  • Causal means that which is “natural,” that which can be known by the senses, etc.
  • Acausal means that which is “supernatural,” that which remains hidden to those unpracticed in seeing it, etc.

Tenebrous Satanism additionally uses “flesh” as a synonym for “causal” and “spirit” as a synonym for “acausal.” “Flesh/causal” designates that which is part of the material universe. “Spirit/acausal” designates that which comes from the Abyssal Void of Darkness, beyond/behind material existence.

On the whole, I think it’s fair to say that my usage of “causal” and “acausal” tends to be quite close to O9A’s.


“Adventure,” capitalized, is a concept whose significance in Tenebrous Satanism is most-efficiently communicated via the following parable:

Once upon a time, Darkness split itself into many beings, and those beings set out on an Adventure.

Unfortunately, amid the hardships of this Adventure, some of these beings fell into despair. Despair made them forget that they had undertaken the Adventure by their own free will. They became convinced, instead, that an evil entity had cruelly forced and/or tricked them into it.

These despairing beings then proceeded to ruin the Adventure for everyone else, by discouraging those who would otherwise take bold risks, rationalizing that anything enjoyable that may come of the Adventure is itself “sinful,” and generally whining.

A goal of Tenebrous Satanism is to reconcile all beings with Darkness, so that we can all get on with trying to still have the best Adventure we can.

This narrative expands upon the first part of the first tenet of the Tenebrous Creed: “Satan is an advocate of the unending Adventure of spirit in the realm of flesh.” “Adventure,” in this context, specifically means “Darkness’ quest for novelty, complexity and the overcoming of adversity” – the embrace of which is symbolized by Satan’s fall from “heaven.” Consider, on this front, that “hell” was intended as a punishment, yet Satan emerges as its ruler.

Analogously, the Satanist rejects the claim that, given how terrible life is, only “heaven” (e.g. a savior, utopian interventions, or etc.) can “save” us. Tenebrous thought agrees with religions such as Buddhism re: life is rife with evil and suffering. Our approach, however, is to affirm life anyway, instead of trying to escape from it. Accordingly, the Satanist embraces hardship as simply the price of attempting to build a mighty empire in as inhospitable an environment as “hell.”


This is a term not only shared between Tenebrous Satanism and O9A, but present in esotericism more broadly. In the abstract, it speaks to a sort of “spirit of the age” – what is elsewhere called “zeitgeist.” When an occultist speaks of “aeonic goals,” “aeonic magick,” etc., the implications typically are that: i) they do not like something about the way society is now; ii) they have a vision of how people might live differently; iii) sorcery is to play a role – whether central, or supporting – in shifting the world toward their vision.

Tenebrous Satanism and O9A both have aeonic goals in this sense. It should be emphasized, however, that we do not agree about what the ultimate goal should be, nor how best to bring it about. As a mixed-race individual, I obviously have no interest in the founding of any kind of “Aryan galactic empire.” I also assert that O9A vastly overrates the potential for violent criminality to effectively accomplish aeonic change.

The main area of abstract agreement that I do have with O9A, however, is in contending that our current aeon suffers from a variety of Satanism-unfriendly ailments. Satanists should, then, seek to do something about this. This is not to say that one must “get political,” for often, meaningful change must start with withdrawing from the herd, to work on oneself first. Nor is politics the only valid method of change-making. Regardless of the exact details, though, I would like to see Satanists come up with more creative, constructive and effective ways of bringing about social transformation than O9A has yet managed.


I don’t recall seeing this term in O9A texts, so I can’t comment on if/how they use it. It forms a trio with Magian and Faustian, though – terms O9A appropriated from Oswald Spengler. Tenebrous Satanism does use it.

In Tenebrous philosophy, Apollonian, Magian and Faustian to refer to three different thought patterns. Unlike O9A and Spengler, who define these as patterns of cultural/ethnic groups, Tenebrous Satanism defines them as universal human tendencies. Different people and groups may manifest them to a lesser or greater extent at different times. Nonetheless, any person or group is potentially able to manifest both the best and the worst of each pattern.

The Apollonian thought pattern, Tenebrously-defined, is characterized by a preoccupation with order vs. chaos. It is a part of human consciousness oriented toward labeling and classifying things based on surface appearances. This is beneficial inasmuch as it helps the organism quickly identify resources, allies, threats, etc. Its exaggeration, however, breeds counterproductive social stratification, sex and gender stereotypes, etc. Nonetheless, at its best, it promotes an appreciation for beauty and a sense of harmonious unity with the natural world.

There’s thus nothing wrong with being “Apollonian.” Tenebrous Satanism doesn’t blame human beings for trying to impose order on a chaotic world. It pushes back only at the point where people impose and regulate order so strictly as to produce oppression.

Celestial, Sinistral and Tellurian

This is a threefold classification of spirits (i.e. acausal beings / supernatural entities) used in Tenebrous Satanism:

  • Tellurians are spirits of an Apollonian ethos.  Their primary interest is in helping or hindering humans’ earthly accomplishments.  Their subspecies include nature spirits, pagan deities, and many so-called “demons.”  Such beings’ motives vary widely.
  • Celestials are spirits of a Magian ethos – or, all too often, a Dogmagian one.  Their primary interest is in persuading humans to turn toward that which is otherworldly rather than worldly.  Among such beings are the angels of the Abrahamic religions, Buddhist bodhisattvas, etc.  These sorts of entities frequently believe they are “helping” human beings, but by further aggravating human alienation from the Abyssal Void of Darkness, they are actually harming humans in the long run.
  • Sinistrals are spirits of a Faustian ethos.  Their primary interest is acquainting humans more fully with the Abyssal Void of Darkness, so as to deepen humans’ acausal insight, and accelerate evolution thereby.  The Nekalah are of this faction.  Such beings are often possessed of surprisingly deep compassion for humans, but their close association with Darkness nonetheless causes them to take forms that most humans find distressing to encounter.  Their open desire for strife, so as to upend the status quo, is also off-putting to many.

It follows from such a classification that, whereas Satanism is typically taken as framing all other religions as “wrong,” Tenebrous Satanism actually asserts that all other religions are at least half “right” re: the spiritual realities they orient themselves toward.


This term is a compression of “dogmatic Magian.” The second tenet of the Tenebrous Creed states, “Satan is an adversary of any dogma that denies or distorts the realm of flesh, for such dogmas are insidious destroyers of life.” Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness argues that though the Magian thought pattern (see my definition below!) has done humans some favors, it also has a unique propensity to become harmfully dogmatic. The resultant Dogmagianism will have such features as:

  • Dividing the World into dualistic “good” and “evil,” without acknowledging anything in between
  • Destruction of privacy via puritanical thought-policing, lest any impurity suggest that a “good” person is actually “evil”
  • Inflation of “good” peoples’ self-importance and self-righteousness, producing crusaders, inquisitors, witch-hunters, and censors
  • Extreme backlash against any deviance from “good,” manifest in shaming and persecution of “sinners”
  • Proposing utopian solutions to problems, while rejecting any actually-realistic solution as “compromising with evil”
  • Refusal to allow any criticism of proposed utopian solutions, and/or to admit when such solutions have already been tried and failed
  • Fencing off parts of one’s preferred “story” as “sacred,” such that constructive criticism of one’s own ideology becomes forbidden

There is nothing wrong with using storytelling to promote human social cohesion. There is plenty wrong, however, with telling the kind of story that turns human life into a one-dimensional purity contest, whose strict imposition would damn basically everyone.

Abusive ideologies of this kind both seduce people with self-flattery, and browbeat them into compliance via peer pressure and gaslighting. I therefore call for the liberation of ideology’s victims, not the incitement of hatred against them. It is only the ideology itself, not its individual proponents, that Tenebrous Satanism regards as “the enemy.”


One of three terms of Oswald Spengler’s, alongside Apollonian and Magian, appropriated by O9A. Tenebrous Satanism also appropriates this term from Spengler. However, it defines it differently from either O9A or Spengler himself.

In Tenebrous philosophy, Apollonian, Magian and Faustian to refer to three different thought patterns. Unlike O9A and Spengler, who define these as patterns of cultural/ethnic groups, Tenebrous Satanism defines them as universal human tendencies. Different people and groups may manifest them to a lesser or greater extent at different times. Nonetheless, any person or group is potentially able to manifest both the best and the worst of each pattern.

The Faustian thought pattern, Tenebrously-defined, is characterized by a preoccupation with progress vs. stasis. It is a part of human consciousness oriented toward adaptive innovation, ever-seizing upon new opportunities to “advance.” This is beneficial inasmuch as the organism thus-motivated becomes ever more powerful and capable. Its exaggeration, however, breeds a propensity to treat other people as mere pawns in one’s own plans to move things “forward,” dehumanizing them thereby. Nonetheless, at its best, it is the attitude that best serves Darkness’ quest for ever-more novelty, complexity, and overcoming of adversity.

Tenebrous Satanism contends that Faustianism is evident wherever people recognize the qualities that best support “progress”: free exchange of ideas, the exposure of these ideas to Darwinian pressures (i.e. the good should be freely identified and built upon, the bad freely critiqued and rooted out), etc. Contra O9A, I assert that there is nothing “Western” or “White” about such values. Critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and other such Adventurous qualities can be developed by any willing person. As individuals in whom the Faustian spirit is strong, Satanists ought to seek the cultivation of these qualities both in themselves, and in receptive others.


Given the individualistic and iconoclastic nature of Satanism, pretty much all denominations view conformity negatively.  Tenebrous Satanism’s reference to “The herd” is simply another example of this kind of discourse.

In comparison to other Satanic denominations, however, Tenebrous Satanism does temper its hostility toward the herd considerably.  This stems from a realistic recognition that human beings are, like it or not, social beings.  As I write in Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness:

(A)lthough our worldview valorizes individualism, this does not change the fact that we ourselves remain, whether we like it or not, members of an animal species that tends to flourish best when we cooperate with our fellows. The Satanist who preaches individualistic libertarianism to the point of occluding this reality is no less guilty of self-deceit than the deluded creationists and blank-slaters that Satanism opposes.

Tenebrous Satanism therefore urges Satanists to refrain from the unrealistic romanticization of the self-reliant “lone wolf” that is so often found in other Satanic denominations. Honest reflection upon the nature of human life strongly suggests that those who are dismissive toward sociality have nonetheless always found themselves the beneficiaries of it at some point.

My contention is that Satanists should neither seek to please the masses, nor act as though oneself can do without society completely.  Our task is, instead, to establish an intelligent balance between our self-evolution and our flourishing – recognizing that all meaningful forms of the latter will involve other human beings in some way, however indirect.  Failure to acknowledge this reality is, I argue, a front on which Satanism itself has previously failed to contend adequately with the Perils of human life.

Homo Hubris

In contrast to homo sapiens, this term’s implication is “humans who are, in fact, far less wise than they think themselves to be.” Both O9A and Tenebrous Satanism use it to identify a “type” we consider all-too-common.

O9A defines homo hubris as possessed by a narrow preoccupation with personal gratification, and aversion to introspection. Such people are, O9A charges, little more than domestic animals, useful idiots whose complacency keeps “the system” intact. The term thus often plays a role in Niner articulation of “Jewish puppet-masters behind the scenes” -type conspiracy nonsense.

When Tenebrous Satanism uses the term “homo hubris,” by contrast, it is without any such Antisemitic notions. In my usage, it designates a person possessed by certain counterproductive attitudes and habits – for example:

  • Obsession with “keeping up with the Joneses” re: owning status goods, broadcasting one’s possession of “correct” beliefs & values, etc.
  • Complaining about things one has no control over, instead of focusing on what one can do, and taking steps to do it
  • Taking one’s misery out on others (e.g. because one is unfit and exhausted) instead of addressing the source of misery (e.g. attending to one’s own health)
  • Acting as if one is “too smart” for religion or other group endeavors, while at the same time being secretly lonely and bitter at life feeling “meaningless”
  • Harboring absurdly strong opinions about books that one has not personally read, films that one has not actually watched, etc.

I do agree with O9A that there is something about modern living that seems to aggravate homo hubris -type behavior. I contend, though, that inasmuch as these behaviors arise from misfirings of humans’ evolved traits, they must be tackled empathetically. Encouraging broken people to fix themselves is more productive than merely despising them.


One of three terms of Oswald Spengler’s, alongside Apollonian and Faustian, appropriated by O9A. Tenebrous Satanism also appropriates this term from Spengler. However, it defines it differently from either O9A or Spengler himself.

In Tenebrous philosophy, Apollonian, Magian and Faustian to refer to three different thought patterns. Unlike O9A and Spengler, who define these as patterns of cultural/ethnic groups, Tenebrous Satanism defines them as universal human tendencies. Different people and groups may manifest them to a lesser or greater extent at different times. Nonetheless, any person or group is potentially able to manifest both the best and the worst of each pattern.

The Magian thought pattern, Tenebrously-defined, is characterized by a preoccupation with truth vs. falsehood. It is a part of human consciousness oriented toward storytelling, making up narratives that are used to coordinate social cohesion. The made-up thing – a religion, nation, ideology, etc. – becomes “the Truth,” while anything that threatens it is “Falsehood,” to be dismissed, fought, etc. This is beneficial inasmuch as it allows human beings to achieve things of scale by working together, e.g. trade, empire-building, etc. Its exaggeration, however, breeds fanatical devotion to what is ultimately a fiction, and thereby rationalizes various forms of “evil masquerading as well-meaning do-gooding.” Nonetheless, at its best, it does give people meaning, direction, and strong inspiration to work together effectively.

The main thing to note re: my use of “Magian” is that it is NOT some kind of code for “the Jews,” as O9A often uses it. I have no issue with any race of people, nor with any group of monotheists as a whole. I use the term neutrally, to describe one kind of human thought process. It is not Magianism, but Dogmagianism, that Tenebrous Satanism identifies as a problem.


The Nekalah are the specific pantheon of Dark Gods venerated both by O9A and by Tenebrous Satanism.

A few details about the Nekalah on which Tenebrous Satanism especially differs from O9A include:

  • The entity addressed as “Kthunae” in O9A’s tradition is addressed in Tenebrous Satanism as “Athushir”
  • “Mactoron” and “Falcifer” refer to the same entity
  • “Vindex” refers to a role that the sorcerer may take on during certain ritual workings, not an entity in itself
  • Baphomet is still venerated, but not given as foremost a role as in some parts of O9A’s tradition
  • Nythra gets a lot of emphasis due to how predominant this entity is in my personal gnosis
  • I personally do NOT endorse human or animal sacrifice directed toward any of the Nekalah

One of the prime directives of Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness is to reveal my gnosis of the Nekalah. I hope to encourage other sorcerers to work more extensively with these entities thereby.


This term is used by both O9A and Tenebrous Satanism to mean “a place where different energies intersect with one another.” For both of us, this can include:

  • Any living being, as such beings constitute intersections of causal and acausal energies
  • What other traditions would call a “coven” or “grotto” – i.e. a group of Satanists united by a shared purpose
  • A place where “the veil is thin” between the causal and acausal realms, and contact with acausal entities enabled thereby

Tenebrous Satanism sees each individual living being as a nexion of flesh and spirit. It also sees the earth as a whole as a nexion in which different beings and forces come into contact with one another, and envisions worlds beyond ours in similar terms.

Closely connected with these views of life and world is our belief that it is the will of the Abyssal Void of Darkness that the causal and the acausal come together, for only in that coming-together does Darkness experience the novelty, diversity, and overcoming of adversity that its nature inherently gravitates toward.

Tenebrous Satanism thus rejects the “Gnostic” tendency often found in esoteric Satanism. In our view, the material world is not a mistake, punishment, etc. If an individual being seeks escape from it, that is their own business, but Tenebrous Satanism does not preach that disengagement from the material world is superior to continuing to engage with it. Our conviction, to the contrary, is that Satan’s kingdom is to be built on this earth, via the ongoing attainment of flourishing and self-evolution – and the replacement of institutions and ideologies that oppose these goals with something healthier and more constructive.


This term designates a set of difficult, unpleasant conditions and experiences that Tenebrous Satanism sees as inherent to enfleshed existence. Darkness’ quest for novelty, complexity and the overcoming of adversity does produce a number of unfortunate byproducts. Tenebrous Satanism contends that we live our best lives when we acknowledge these conditions, and mount an intelligent, empathetic response. Trying to pretend away reality, on the other hand, solves nothing. Problems equally arise when one tries to address one Peril whilst ignoring others aggravated thereby, or etc.

Say we have, for example, a woman slaving away in a sweatshop. “That’s capitalism; if she doesn’t like it, she should just get a better job,” responds the conservative. This in fact solves nothing, because life is not that simple or easy. Material, systemic factors can, in fact, leave such people entrapped. On the other hand, “this is terrible – we must shut down the sweatshop immediately!” responds the progressive. The immediate moral blight is eliminated… except now, the unemployed woman is forced to become a prostitute. This, in turn, demonstrates how well-meaning do-gooding can make things worse instead of better.

Point: despite coming from opposite perspectives, both conservatives and progressives are capable of proposing short-sighted things. Moreover, in both cases, the short-sightedness tends to proceed from refusing to be realistic about limitations of the human condition.

This is not to say that I have a perfect solution for all such problems! My contention, though, is that if people could be persuaded to think more about their blind spots, they would be able to come up with better solutions. Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness’ enumeration of life’s Perils is meant to support such reflection.


This name receives an entry here in order to issue a few quick clarifications re: in what sense Tenebrous Satanism is “Satanic.”

On one hand, Tenebrous Satanism, like O9A, venerates several entities who resemble the mythological “Satan.” One is Noctulius, who is the equivalent among the Nekalah of Lucifer. Another Nekalah, addressed as Shaitan or Satanas, is an equivalent of Islam’s Ibliss. These two entities are, we believe, distinct from one another, rather than identical.

This is not to say, however, that Tenebrous Satanism subscribes to “devil worship.” In the first place, we respect the Nekalah as esteemed colleagues whom we are allied with – we do not “bow down” to them. In the second place, these entities are not, in fact, central to why I call the Tenebrous philosophy “Satanic.” To me, the term’s significance is not as any entity’s personal name, but in its general meaning of “Adversary.” It evokes, that is, someone or something that goes against established norms.

Five – and not the only five – senses in which Tenebrous Satanism is “adversarial” include how it:

  • Criticizes and resists dogmas that “normal society” has been deluded into thinking of as “good”
  • Encourages the pursuit of forms of human excellence that can only be achieved by standing apart from the herd
  • Recognizes a cosmic horror at the heart of existence that most other religions would prefer to deny
  • Urges reflection upon ideological blind spots, via honest contemplation of the Perils of the human condition
  • Facilitates alliances between sorcerers and acausal entities, so that they may work together to alter the world’s current direction

This pervasive adversarial spirit is what justifies the name “Satanism.”

Or put another way: “Satan” is not just one entity’s name, but a fit title for any and all who choose to live in an adversarial manner.


“Sinister” is a word derived etymologically from “left-handed,” with the connotations of “inauspicious, malevolent, etc.” It therefore suits both O9A and Tenebrous Satanism, for the following reasons: i) we are both “left-hand path” religions, seeking inward development through transgressive means; and ii) we both have a pervasive adversarial spirit that makes us “enemies” of the status quo. To identify as “Sinister” thus makes a similar point to identifying as “Satanic”: we are “Dark” iconoclastic individuals, who can understand full-well why we make “normal” people nervous.

Some common applications of “Sinister” found in mine and O9A’s discourse include:

  • “walker of the Sinister Path” = someone who subscribes to “our” way – whether Tenebrous Satanism’s, or O9A’s
  • “advancing the Sinister Dialectic” = achieving “our” aeonic goals – whether Tenebrous Satanism’s, or O9A’s
  • “Sinister empathy” = for O9A, this means something like “insight into acausal matters”; for Tenebrous Satanism, it means “an empathic ability so well-developed that it extends even to that which ‘normal’ people fear and despise.”

Broadly speaking, then, “Sinister” just means something that is transgressive. Its usage both by Tenebrous Satanism and O9A therefore indicates only that we both want things that “society” finds threatening. It does not necessarily mean that we want the same things as one another. Those concerned about such matters should consult my blog on being “O9A adjacent.”

Sorcery vs. Witchcraft

Tenebrous Satanism recognizes the following three kinds of Satanist:

  • A secular Satanist gravitates toward the mythology of Satan, Satanic social critique, etc., but is unconcerned with acausal matters
  • A witch is a Satanist who engages in esoteric praxis, e.g. meditation, divination, ritual magick, etc.
  • A sorcerer is a Satanist who is explicitly allied with one or more Nekalah, in joint pursuit of aeonic change

It follows from this definition that a sorcerer is inherently a practitioner of witchcraft. Many witches, however, are not sorcerers – and that is fine. The main thing that distinguishes a sorcerer from a witch is an established relationship with one or more particular Nekalah. Sorcerers may additionally undergo an initiation process, as described in the Ninth Key. Whether initiated or not, though, what primarily defines a sorcerer is cooperation with external acausal forces (i.e. the Nekalah) for some purpose beyond immediate gratification. There is nothing “wrong” with witchcraft that uses only one’s own internal energies, or aims solely at gratification. Nonetheless, Tenebrous sorcery explicitly aims at an aeonic horizon that Tenebrous witchcraft does not.

It should be noted that Tenebrous Satanism does not judge practitioners for being secular vs. being a witch/sorcerer. Nor are sorcerers somehow “better” than other kinds of Satanists. Such rankings create status games that distract individuals from what should be the real focus: their own self-evolution. For some, that evolution will involve occult practice. For others, it will not.

Being myself a sorcerer, my personal conviction that there is room in the plans of Nekalah for all kinds of Satanists.

Revision history

This page was updated on Aug 25/23 to reflect final revisions to Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness. Of particular note, draft versions of the book formerly capitalized words such as “spirit”, “flesh”, “life”, “world” and “herd”. In the editorial process, this was judged as needlessly distracting, so I have tried to eliminate it both here and in older blog posts as well. I would appreciate if readers used the Contact form to inform me if they stumble upon any broken links inadvertently created in this process that I may have missed.