Devil worship is a theistic spiritual and religious worship of the Satan of Christianity. Devil worship is more properly called diabolatry, because of its connection with the beliefs of Christianity. Some Satanists accept the title of devil worshiper as a proper title, while other Satanists may use the term 'devil worship' as a disparaging commentary on other Satanists, in their attempt to disassociate from Christianity and the Christian Devil.
Much like the name of Satan which is a title for 'accuser' and opposer, the word Devil, is also an accusatory title for one who slanders or attacks. Christians accept that the Devil, and Satan are the name of the same demon. The Devil of Christianity can be defined and described in many different ways, depending on the sources of the myths.
But, the word 'Diabolatry' had been used as far back as the 13th century, when it was known as the French 'diabolique', and as 'diaballein' in Greek,1 a word meaning a slander or attack, or to literally throw aside. These words originated from the Greek 'Diavolus', meaning something that is downward flowing. All of these words came to describe the nature of the devil in Christian literature - as one who opposes god, an attacker, who was cast aside below the earth, to become the low creature from the underworld.
The word 'Diabolatry' is also found in occult literature, where it was used to describe devil worship by Aleister Crowley, in his book Magic in Theory in Practice. As he defined magic in this text he separated Black magic, which he thought was the magic of the True will, from Diabolatry, a lifestyle of materialistic pursuits that he compared to Christian Devil worship. The word 'Diabolism' was also used by Aleister Crowley to differentiate simple or low sorcery and magic used for evil and immoral purposes, from his 'Black School' of mysticism.2
There is a history of devil worship that can be found in many stories, written to sensationalize and to frighten the public. Tales about Devil worship were based on fictional accounts that Christians usually accepted as truths. Examples of this can be found within early medieval texts and books such as the witchfinder's manual, the Malleus Mallefecarum. These were stories of witches and their associations with the devil. None of these tales were true, but as a method of propaganda it was an important tool of the Church, and it was used as a literary device throughout the ages.
The Blasphemous Rite
of Black Mass WorshipBooks were written about underground societies who held blasphemous rituals of black mass. Some of these authors, such as Leo Taxil, propagated hoax material about Satan worship and Masonry for profit and gain. Others used their morbid imagination to create scenes of Satanic worship and black mass, as was found in the French novel LaBas. Authors like Jules Michelet used materials from the witchcraft trials to create a fictional history of witchcraft in his book, Witchcraft and Satanism.
Material from books such as these were instrumental in inciting moral panics. Examples of this were the witchcraft trials, and more recently from the Satanic panic of the 1980's. Many innocent people suffered from these stories which intended to place the blame on anyone who fit the ideal of 'devil worshiper', even if this ideal was invented to produce results. While these stories that were created were not true, some authors cite them as reference to actual historical devil worship, regardless of the lack of evidence and the unlikely tales that they are sourced from.