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Why the altar Skull?

agorman

Active Member
Premium Member
Why the altar skull? I use to see one or more skulls on almost every Satanic altar.

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(This last one seems more like an altar to Kali and Shiva, but came up in a Google Search for satanic altar ).
 

Saint Frankenstein

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!
Premium Member
Skulls are symbols of transformation and ego death. They can also be used to commune with the dead. But you'd really have to ask the individual what it means to them. It's not a requirement for anything. Real human skulls are expensive, anyway.
 

Saint Frankenstein

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!
Premium Member
You mean the death of the false ego to leave room to the real ego/higher self/godself? I thought Satanism is more dedicated to increase the ego rather than destroy it.
Not all Satanists agree about that. There's a split between the LaVey influenced camp and a more Eastern LHP/Chaos Gnostic influenced strain. You have to make up your own mind about it since Satanism isn't an organized religion and there's nothing all Satanists agree on. But I was generally meaning it in the way you described, yes.
 

crossfire

LHP Mercuræn Feminist Heretic ☿
Premium Member
Skulls can also represent Wisdom--the lessons learned from the death of/release from destructive habits.
 

crossfire

LHP Mercuræn Feminist Heretic ☿
Premium Member
In the second picture, the skulls facing each other might suggest socratic dialectic/wisdom through adversity/the Black Flame.
 

Liu

Well-Known Member
It also depends on what you are referring to by the ego - no sense in strengthening a wrong self-image. It may sound paradoxical, but self-confidence and destroying the ego would normally support each other - again, depending on what exactly one means by these terms.

Regarding the skulls, I never had one on my altar (and owning a real one would be illegal here anyway). Those photos look like taken by someone who wants to show off - and may not necessarily reflect actual Satanic altars.
 

February-Saturday

Devil Worshiper
You mean the death of the false ego to leave room to the real ego/higher self/godself? I thought Satanism is more dedicated to increase the ego rather than destroy it.

I know this post is a little old, but I'm rather tired of being accused of this line of thought for being a Satanist.

The Fraternitas Saturni, arguably the oldest Satanic organization, had a lot more in common with Thelema. Ego loss was still a stage of their ritual advancement, since it was based on alchemy. You could say that this was to make room for the "Higher Self," but it's not too much different from finding your individual True Will and devoting yourself to its fulfillment.

Ironically, I think to seek to "increase the ego" in any form is ironically more self-destructive than anything else. It's sort of unambiguously bad for the individual, whether you're adhering to master or slave moralities. Even LaVey knew this and warned about it, specifically calling out excessive indulgence and a lack of self-awareness as hurdles to avoid. Ultimately, that decries the ego, which shouldn't be all that surprising since LaVey was also heavily influenced by Thelema.

There's some confusion here, because Satanism tends to align with ethical egoism and generally be fairly egocentric, but the "ego" in these concepts is entirely different from the "ego" in ego death. Ego death is actually more closely associated with Jung's concept of "individuation," which sounds a lot more like the language you would expect to find in a discussion on Satanism but they're essentially the same process.

Ego death itself is a transient experience used for insight. It's not a virtue to strive for or an end-goal or anything; it's an altered state of consciousness. Mystic practices like Zen or jnanamarga emphasize the temporal nature of these experiences while emphasizing the importance of applying the insight gained from them to daily life; they don't seek to destroy the Self.

ETA: Now, in those practices, ego death is meant to be a stepping stone to some pretty un-Satanic (imo) lines of thought like selflessness and altruism, so I understand why that's often the connotation. Technically, though, that's just Buddhism and Hinduism, not ego death. As a state of mind, it can be used for other things.
 
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Kapalika

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Because skulls are cool and represent a lot of stuff to different people. It's a powerful symbol.
 

LuxEx9

New Member
Per LaVey, it represents the carnal temple of wisdom. Everything you know and understand: is housed in that skull. Without the brain in that skull, you can know and understand nothing.
 
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