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Elements of Satanic Imagery- Where Did They Come From and Why?

When the Bible first was written, there was never any mention of the Devil or any characters like him. He was never an important character in the Biblical mythology, however, when he was written in to some stories, he soon developed fans- and they wanted more of him. As the Devil was written into the Bible, he was portrayed as a minor foil to God and didn’t have an extensive background, making people wonder for years what this foil to God looked like.

Elements of Satanic Imagery

Artists soon came along to kill their curiosities and started to pull together an image of the Devil from other mythologies as well as their imaginations. If you have spent any time doing some type of small research on the Devil or hearing about him in church, I’m sure a few of these questions on this list have popped into your head and has made you extremely curious about who the Devil really is. Despite the Devil himself, there are some other Satanic imagery that needs to be explained, like the inverted cross and pentagram, that has left people scratching their heads for centuries trying to figure out why these images are associated with the Devil.

So, why is the Devil portrayed as handsome?

Satanic imagery
The Devil sitting on a throne of fire surrounded by other demons. 

Source: Pinterest

The 19th century became a turning-point for the Devil in art because he was introduced to the public as a sly, mysterious, smooth talking fellow that made people fall to their knees each time they crossed paths with him. In Goethe’s Faust and Mark Twain’s Mysterious Stranger, Satan is portrayed as a sly, cunning figure who tricks people into their own hell instead of scaring them and making them do his own bidding, like he did in the story of Job. Goethe proceeded to give the satanic character in his story lines that made him look extremely cunning, almost as if he was your average greaser boy. One of the best quotes, according to the readers, from Goethe’s book was when the satanic character said, “I am not omniscient, but I know a lot”. That was a line that made people believe that the Devil was a smooth-talking guy that made everything sound delightful to a person’s ears.

Despite author’s making the Devil out to be some type of cunning smooth-talking guy, the 19th century saw the Devil take on a clever style in the artwork viewed by hundreds. Mark Matveevich Antokolsky and Auguste De Wever started a movement to present the Devil’s image as bronze busts; and despite these two artists starting this movement together, each artist had a different outlook on what the Devil looked like. However, in each of their version’s the Devil was always presented with a menace that was unseen in previous artworks of him.

Why Have People Become So Afraid of Goats?

Satanic
The Devil with a goat head. 

Source: Its Nature

When people start to talk about the Devil and the mysterious ways he can work, people often associate him with goats and that if you see a shadowy figure of a goat near you, that means its the Devil. This trend of associating goats with the Devil started in Greek mythology because goats were often categorized as chaotic, sexual beings that were sometimes untamable. This categorization of goats was specifically directed towards Pan, who was an early inspiration for the depiction of the Devil. A professor of early-modern history at the University of East Anglia named Malcom Gaskil theorized that goats somehow always affected the human psyche and suggested that the Devil is associated with a goat or a goat-like man because of the horns he has and the weird eyes he obtains. Gaskil also suggested that the Devil is associated with goats because of their association of predatory sexual potency and energy. Many people over the years have reported that the Devil had sexually touched them during their sleep or while they were walking around their house, deeming Satan to be a being that behaves like a goat in some ways. Gaskil provided evidence that were in European engravings that discussed the witches’ Sabbath, an area they would gather and pay homage to Satan, and associated him as a goat-like man or an actual goat, but even the evidence has left Gaskil unsure of why the Devil is constantly associated with goats.

Why Does Satan Have Red Skin?

Why Does Satan Have Red Skin
The Devil with red skin, weird eyes, and long sharp horns coming out of his head. 

Source: Blue Ridge Muse

Close your eyes and think about the Devil and what he looks like. You’re most likely picturing a red, skinned toned man that looks somewhat similar to Tim Curry when he was in Legend. Oddly enough, many people don’t know that the Devil was originally blue in the 6th century because blue was perceived as a color that was explicitly more evil than red. Generalizations about what was evil and what was not soon began to change and people started to associate the color red with evil. The depiction of the Devil changed, too, and he went from a blue-robbed man to a person that was bright red and had horns coming out of his head. He was seen as something to fear then because of how people deeply believed that red was the root of all evils.

So, the Pentagram. Good or Bad?

Elements of Satanic Imagery
A bloody pentagram with a skull in the middle of it. 

Source: Demon Cross x Fire

These iconic symbols are associated with the Devil but have been around for centuries. When Pentagrams first rose to fame, they were used as part of Christian symbolism because Christian’s believed it represented the five wounds of Christ- two hands, two feet, and the crown of thorns. However, over the course of a few generations, the cross slowly crept its way into becoming the more relevant figure that represented Christ the most, since he was hung on the cross. During the Enlightenment, things started to change for the Pentagram as Christian-influenced scholars looked into Pythagoras’s use of the pentagram and how it was used to represent the five elements of the earth. Each point was assigned a specific element: earth, fire, wind, and air were on the lower points of the pentagram with spirit resting at the topmost point. Referring back to the 19th century, French Satanist Eliphas Levi looked deeper at the meaning of the pentagram and deemed it to be an intellectual subversion of Christianity. He deemed the pentagram to be this because of the reversal of the natural order, and placed matter over the spirit world.

Why Does the Devil Have a Pitchfork?

Why Does the Devil Have a Pitchfork

An adaptation of art that portrays the Devil’s pitchfork to be on fire. 

Source: Robot butt

Looking at pictures of the Devil, people can always see there is a pitchfork next to him. There are various versions of how this pitchfork looks, but no one really knows why it is so strongly connected to the Devil. For starters, the pitchfork really isn’t a pitchfork, it’s actually a trident. It soon developed into a Pagan symbol for Poseidon, but was quickly taken away as the Christian’s associated the three prongs on it as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When the Medieval Times rolled around, people started to transform the trident into a symbol for the Devil and changed it to be a pitchfork. People are still unsure of why there was a sudden change in the naming of the pitchfork; nonetheless, it is still one of the most iconic symbols in Satanism and remains to be deeply interconnected with the Devil.

What is the Two Finger Salute?

What is the Two Finger Salute
A statue of the Devil doing the two finger salute while children gaze up at him. 

Source: Esquire

This particular symbol isn’t as widely known as the pentagram, however it is still a relevant symbol that is connected to the Devil- and the illuminati. Anyone who takes the time out of their day to research the illuminati or already is well familiar with it, then you know that this is the most common symbol for people who are in the illuminati. People who pose with two fingers on the right hand pointed up and two fingers on the left hand pointed town are supposedly spreading the message, “as above, so below”. This strange and peculiar phrase comes from Hermes Trismegistus, who is the alleged writer of Hermetic writings from 1 C.E. His writings grew to popularity during the Middle Ages as alchemists got their hands on them. The two finger salute then became associated with Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet to express, “the perfect harmony of mercy with justice”.

What Exactly IS the Baphomet and is it Satanic?

What Exactly IS the Baphomet and is it Satanic
The iconic image for the Baphomet. 

Source: YouTube

The Baphomet rose to fame in the 21st century because it is one of the main visual signifiers of Satanic power. It’s origins, however, date back to Pagan visuals that paint the figure to be a more creepy catchall that has no inherent meaning to it. The Baphomet has been around since the 14th century and was originally used by the Knights Templar, who used it as some sort of idol; however, depictions of what the Baphomet actually WAS changed from person to person. No one really knew what it was, and each individual had their own belief as to what it may be. The Knights Templar suffered extreme torture and soon confessed that the Baphomet was either a cat, a severed head, or a head that had three faces.

Eliphas Levi, the man who first inverted the pentagram, created a cannonical version of the Baphomet in the 1850’s and proclaimed the goat creature that is heavily associated with the Devil to be the main being for the Baphomet. Levi was obsessed with the depiction of the Devil he saw once in tarot cards, so he used that to help form an image of the Devil as binary opposites. He also mixed in Occult, Kabbalistic, and Catholic imagery to help perfect the representation of the Devil and to make him an image the public could never unsee.

Who Thought of the Devil Having Horns?

Who Thought of the Devil Having Horns
An old painting depicting the Devil to have two faces, one on his head and the other on his stomach, with horns coming out of his head. 

Source: Pinterest

The Devil is portrayed in many different ways, but one attribute seemed to always remain in the different depictions of him- and that was his horns. On the other hand, if you were to open a Bible today, the scriptures make no reference to the Devil ever having horns. In fact, it really doesn’t describe the Devil in the slightest of ways, making people wonder how the Devil obtained horns. During the first era of Christianity, the church was effortlessly trying to rid itself of any type of paganism, so one of the main forms of propaganda the church thought of was to turn one of the pagan deity’s into something sinister. This stunt of propaganda lead Egyptian gods Bes and Isis, who were feminine deity’s that were often shown wearing the headdress of Hathor, to become variations of the horned Devil.

Antichrist- Real or Fake?

Antichrist- Real or Fake

What the Antichrist supposedly looks like- a person turning away from God. 

Source: NC Register

The Antichrist was never a prominent figure throughout the years, but somehow he slowly crept into cultural-consciousness about 50 years ago or so. People have pointed out that it is ironic the Antichrist is only mentioned four times throughout the Bible and that each time he is mentioned, he is being described as a person who does not acknowledge God in any way. In theory, people speculate that what the Bible is saying is that people who turn on God are automatically deemed as the Antichrist. With that, it wasn’t until the 6th century that the Antichrist was an actual being and Saint Irenaeus proclaimed that this creature was an actual thing, and made a specific reference that it was in fact a beast from The Book of Revelations. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the Antichrist was seen as a human being and wasn’t actually a creature from any book.

In All Seriousness- is 666 the Number of the Beast?

666 the Number of the Beast
A drawing with the number 666 inside of the pentagram and the Devil on the cross.

Source: Story Decker

This trio of numbers is probably the most famous symbol known to man of the Devil. People refuse to have the number 666 anywhere near them, sometimes making their shopping list longer to avoid the number coming across the screen at check out while others refuse to speak of it in any way. This number came from Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, who took it upon himself to decide that the beast from Revelation 13 was the Antichrist and was given the number 666 because the numerical values associated with his name (they added up to the trio of numbers). Even though this isn’t a direct reference to the Devil, many scholars came to the conclusion that “666” was a way to speak out against Emperor Nero- which, his name does add to “666” when you spell it out in Aramaic. It’s believed that Nero was most likely dead by the time the Book of Revelations was written; however, one interpretation of this trio of numbers is that Saint Irenaues was using Nero as a way to compare other rulers who were using his same tactics, such as: taxation, confiscation of property, and economic marginalization. Since scholars believe that “666” was used against Nero, who appeared to be an evil, merciless man, people started to associate “666” with the Devil, since he was portrayed as evil.

How Come People Think the Devil is a Snake?

How Come People Think the Devil is a Snake
The devil with other demons, including a snake. 

Source: Pinterest

If you ask people about the story of Adam and Eve, they will tell you that the snake that was in the garden with Eve and who tempted her to eat the apple was in fact the Devil. However, Genesis was written before the concept of the Devil, so people started to doubt that it was in fact the Devil telling Eve to create the first sin. Early interpreters of the Bible couldn’t comprehend that there was even a talking snake in the garden and the snake was culpable for dragging humans into the world of mortality. They speculated that it made too much sense for the snake to be the Devil. During the intertestamental period, the Devil started to take on a more serpentine quality. This meant that when good and bad angels began to fill fiction and the Bible followed. This snake concept mythology comes from Mesopotamian stories that spoke of serpents having incredible strength; or, it would come from Sumerian myths where there were actual snake gods. The Devil soon took on the qualities of a snake, similar to how the Egyptian gods were turned into evil deities by Christian scholars.

What in the World is Up with Satan’s Goat Legs?

What in the World is Up with Satan's Goat Legs
What an old tarot card depicted the Devil to look like with goat legs. 

Source: My Thoughts Born From Fire

Even though the concept of the Devil started in the 6th century, scholars believe that the adaption of the Devil having goat legs didn’t formulate until the 19th century. One of the most plausible theories people refer back to when asked this question is that the Devil developed goat legs because neo-paganism was coming to a vogue, meaning that artists and poets were becoming infatuated with using the Greek goat-god, Pan, as their source of inspiration for their works. As people continued to paint the Devil over the years, it was natural to paint him with goat legs and pan flutes because of the inspiration from the goat-god.

When Did Satan Earn His Wings?

When Did Satan Earn His Wings
An image of the Devil with massive wings, horns, a tale, and his pitchfork.

Source: Belief Net

The wings the Devil has are often referred to be less-notable than his red-skin tone and the pitchfork he caries around with him. Shockingly, though, people often paint the Devil with leathery-bat wings that are hanging behind him and the Devil appears to be sad in the painting. These types of paintings came from people who were using their own imaginations to try to “outshine” the others and make theirs more appealing to the people. Beginning around the 14th century, though, angels started to be depicted with massive feathery wings and demons- who are rumored to be fallen angels- were given bat wings. By the time the 16th century came around, John Baptist Medina had cemented the idea that there was in fact a winged Devil and soon his engravings depicted the devil with massive bat wings, horns, and dominated depictions of the Devil until the 19th century.

Does the Devil REALLY Like to Gamble?

Does the Devil REALLY Like to Gamble
An old painting depicting the Devil devouring on humans. 

Source: Holy Blasphemy

People are always left scratching their heads when they hear that the Devil likes to gamble for people’s souls. They try to figure out where this came from and who really created such a saying. The only thing that closely resembles gambling in the Bible is when the Devil bet God that he could get Job to curse his name, but other than that there has been no evidence of the Devil gambling for anything, including the souls of people. We bring up Faust, the German legend told by Goethe, where he introduces the concept of the Devil as an entity who simply enjoy’s rolling the dice for your immortal soul. This particular story of the Devil doing that follows a doctor who eventually grows bored with his life and decides to make a deal with the Devil, who happily accepts the offer. The Devil is known to musicians because there is a famous saying going around that they sold their souls to the Devil so they can become rich and famous. Musicians joke about that all the time in interviews, but people still wonder if there is something more to the Devil gambling than a German story about a doctor making a deal with the concept of the Devil.

Who Discovered the Inverted Cross?

Who Discovered the Inverted Cross
The inverted cross.

Source: Tee Public

Just like the pentagram, the inverted cross is one of the most iconic symbols of Satanic power known to man. The inversion of the cross was first used by Eugène Vintras, who happened to be a 19th Gnostic from France. Despite being the inventor of one of the most used symbols in Satanism, he also believed that he was the reincarnation of Elijah, and that he was going to bring the end of the world. After he made a speech about the world coming to an end and that he was going to be the mastermind behind it, he was condemned by the Vatican and declared that, “The Reign of the Suffering Christ had been suspended by the Reign of the Holy Spirit of Love”. To this day, the inverted cross is known to be one of the most unholiest things a person can have in their house because it symbolizes that the Devil is there in your home and he is making you aware of that.

The Devil started out as a concept and has been depicted as completely different things throughout the centuries. He is one of the most talked about beings to this day, though, and is viewed as the root of all evil because of the stories about him. He is still perceived differently to people, and depending on who you ask, they may tell you a completely different depiction of the Devil. Who knows which depiction is right, but all we know is that the Devil seemed to remain a sly, cunning guy that smooth-talked his way into people’s life’s and may have wrecked chaos and havoc in them.

About Carolyn Grace

Aspiring writer, student, loves animals, loves reading and writing, is obsessed with music.

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