“KISS THE SHA!” (Or, “What I Hear When I Listen to Mercyful Fate”)

I was listening to some Mercyful Fate the other day, and when I heard “The Oath” from their 1984 album, Don’t Break the Oath, it reminded me of all the times the Tonester and I ever thrashed to this song together out in the woods back in the 2000s. The lyrics of this song are partially adapted from Dennis Wheatley‘s 1960 novel, The Satanist, which features a so-called “black mass.”

I’ve always had a confusing relationship with “the satanic.” I am often accused of “worshiping the devil” by Christians, but even other Pagans have reacted to me in similar ways, because they fear and misunderstand Set. I have also met Satanists who consider me a comrade because they think Satan and Set are the same dude. So from the very start of my journey, being conceptualized as a “Satanist” has always been an issue I’ve had to deal with in one way or another. I’ve mellowed out on this subject over the years, especially since learning of Set’s associations with Yahweh and Jesus Christ in Gnostic and Hermetic literature. But thanks to how I grew up, I still have a tendency to translate “Satan” into “Set” in my brain sometimes when I see or hear it, and listening to Mercyful Fate the other day was no exception. As I headbanged to “The Oath,” I found myself “fixing” the lyrics in my head like this:


And here is the original Mercyful Fate song that started all of this, in case anyone might like to hear it.

2 thoughts on ““KISS THE SHA!” (Or, “What I Hear When I Listen to Mercyful Fate”)

  1. I find myself in a similar situation. I have concerns about the “Christianising” of Kemetic deities, and relegating Set to the equivalent of Satan is just that.

    However, I can’t help notice the positive effect that the Satanic Temple for example is having on challenging the hateful Christian right and their part in what is clearly a resurgence of fascism in the world.

    The parallels to Set in this instance are clear. But whilst I remind myself that the manifestations of any deity can be beyond human comprehension, I am not prepared to adopt the tag of Satanist because Christianity (and by extension the western world culture it effects) says so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sentiments exactly. I too appreciate what the Satanic Temple does, and I try my best not to mischaracterize Satanism whenever I discuss it. But I am not a fan of how Set is usually treated in most Satanist literature I’ve seen. The scholarship is usually both sloppy and full of confirmation bias; every effort is made to “prove” that Satan “came” from Set, and nothing is ever mentioned about how Set was also identified at times with Yahweh, Jesus, or even the Jewish community in Alexandria. I’ve had people get really upset at me for even mentioning these things, as well. It seems to me they don’t want Set to be a multifaceted god who can get along with either Jesus and/or Satan whenever He might feel like it; they just want Him to be a fallen angel in Egyptian drag. But this overly dualist mindset is completely alien to the Egyptian way of thinking, at least in my view, which is another reason I do not identify as a Satanist.


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