I don’t put much stock and feelings in what you ‘should’ feel. According to those who say what I should feel, I should be a mass murderer, but I’m not.
Dark Metaphysics has been about the dark side of metaphysics and magickal practice. I mean to explore all the things that people find spooky about what might be happening in the magickal word and among magicians.
Today, we are talking about twisted ritual. It is its own form of ritual because it specifically involves practices designed to serve a deconstructive purpose. Perhaps the most infamous being what they call the Black Mass. The premise is simple. Every ritual undertaken casts a light out into the world. Every light casts a shadow. They perform rituals specifically to access these shadows and strengthen them.
Twisted ritual comes in all sorts of flavours. Not all have the horror elements people expect in this class of ritual. In fact, many of the orthodox rituals incorporated more of the horror elements than their twisted forms did. One example would be sacrifice. There is an orthodox element of animal sacrifice, which used to include human as well, evidenced in the Bible. But one of the forms of twisted ritual is the false sacrifice. Simulating the form in order to weaken the powers being supplicated.
Using an image of some kind? Yes. A lot of image magick is involved, naturally.
How does it weaken the powers? The twisted rituals all have an element of coercion in common. When the powers of the other ritual are offered, a false sacrifice or a bad sacrifice, it tainted their mana, if you will. The false sacrifice has shown up in many fairy tales, each time exploiting some quirk of the entities behaviour to human advantage. The original version of Hansel and Gretel didn’t end with the witch burning. That was implemented later, but the witch of Hansel and Gretel was not a human being. It was one of the Crone Goddess figures.
Points of spiritual conversion often lead to twisted ritual in order to undo the influence of the previous divinity on the people. Many of the superstitions we still have today relate to it, like knocking on wood, things like that. In those cases, the twisted ritual serves as a banishment of the formerly revered beings. Modern exorcism rites draw from a twisted version of older pagan rituals.
So I would set up a ritual to honour some entity, but then swap in a fake sacrifice to essentially poison the entity? That would be one way, but I will go into exorcism which is another.
The early Jewish tribes had regular contact with pagan peoples, and they did learn about the rites and behaviours ascribed to their Gods. They didn’t at first treat all other Gods as adversaries, but as their nation grew, they came into trade and political conflict. At this point, they believed that the foreigner Gods were causing ill fortune for them, because they were at odds with their people. So they developed rites that exploited their knowledge of these other powers, but instead calling upon their own deity to manifest those conditions that the foreign God found repellent.
It is the origin of the directive to subdue the earth, because these foreign deities were creatures of nature more often than not. So they came to see the earth itself as their enemy. Catholicism uses lore from the older Jewish practices. Adapted of course to invoke the name of Jesus, where Jesus would actually have been invoking the name of God, one of the titles of God. In fact, each title ascribed to Yahweh was seen as a remedy of one of the plagues they used to feel threatened by.
Sounds like magic warfare. It is. Twisted ritual could also be called contrarian ritual or counter ritual.
Eventually, with the rise of Catholicism as the dominant religious power in the west, small sects began developing rituals that we now associate with the Black Mass. The popular accounts of the Black Mass are bogus, but there were counter cultures that rose underground that did adopt the root elements that were suppressed by the church and found new ways as well as old records they used to invoke the powers that came before. Most of the demonic names you can hear about today stem from this.
Like the Skulls? Yes. They would be one such organization, but they are not worshipping evil. They see the establishment as the evil. They are attempting to counter the spiritual malaise sustained by orthodox religion.
Evil is often a matter of perspective? Indeed. Though I myself do not espouse strictly relativistic ethics myself, nor are these topics discussed necessarily a reflection of my personal beliefs. Just throwing that disclaimer in there.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.