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  • 1.
    Faxneld, Per
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    Bleed for the Devil: Ritualized Self-Harm as Transgressive Practice in Contemporary Satanism, and the Re-enchantement of Late Modernity2015In: Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, ISSN 1946-0538, E-ISSN 1946-0538, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 165-196Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Using ethnographic method combined with analysis of primary sources like mass media appearances, song lyrics and websites, the article ex-amines ritualized self-injury in the Black Metal milieu. It is shown that this type of ascetic mortification is no aberration in the history of religions, but diverges from older forms of Satanism. Self-injury functions in Black Metal Satanism as a symbol of transgression and virile bravado, and as a means to display allegiance to the Satanic cause by permanently marking the body. It is typically described by practitioners as a blood sacrifice to Satan. This ritualization of self-injury, where it is explicitly framed as a practice completely different from anything occurring in a secular context, is part of a broader endeavor in the milieu, which seeks to re-enchant a late modernity perceived to be devoid of spiritual values. Increasing mass media attention to self-injury, there postulated as a (secular) mental health problem among adolescent girls, has therefore lessened its usefulness as a sacralized and masculine transgressive symbol. This, it is argued, explains the declining emphasis on it in the Satanic milieu in recent years.

  • 2.
    Faxneld, Per
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    Djävulen som kvinnans befriare: Om en drastisk feministisk strategi , ca 1880–19302015In: Tidsskrift for kjønnsforskning, ISSN 0809-6341, E-ISSN 1891-1781, Vol. 39, no 2, p. 111-129Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The article discusses how feminists, in particular in the period circa 1880–1930, have employed Satanism (i.e., a positive portrayal of the Devil) as a strategy in their endeavors. The central theme in this context is the construction of a counter-myth to the hegemonic Christian myth of Eve’s interaction with the Serpent/Satan in the Garden of Eden. This narrative has traditionally been used by conservative Christians to legitimate the subjugation of women. By making Eve and the Serpent heroic rebels against an oppressive patriarchal God, the social implications of the original myth are attacked. An important background for much of this insurrectionist rhetoric was the esoteric and pro-Satanic counter-myth constructed by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, chief ideologist of the influential Theosophical Society. Equally crucial was the fact that Satanism, as the article demonstrates, was well-established as a language of resistance, and had been employed by dissidents like Shelley and various socialists to provoke the bourgeoisie and display a complete rejection of hegemonic discourses. Concluding the article is a discussion of the paradoxes inherent when a counter-discourse is created, such as the reification and perpetuation of existent mythologies.

  • 3.
    Faxneld, Per
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    Esotericism in Modernity, and the Lure of the Occult Elite: The Seekers of the Zum schwarzen Ferkel circle2015In: Vigeland + Munch: Behind the Myths / [ed] Trine Otte Bak Nielsen, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015, p. 92-105Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Faxneld, Per
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    Förnuftet är en dålig guide: Sekularitet och andlighetsdiskurs inom östasiatiska kampkonster i Väst2016In: Aura. Tidskrift för akademiska studier av nyreligiositet, ISSN 2000-4419, Vol. 8, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Faxneld, Per
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    Kom, Ondska, bliv mitt goda: Black metal-nyreligiositet och motdiskursens ordning2015In: DIN: Tidsskrift for religion og kultur, ISSN 1501-9934, Vol. 17, no 1, p. 62-94Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The article discusses the innovative form of Satanism that arose in theNordic Black Metal milieu around 1989–1990. Its focus on theistic wor-ship of Satan, and evil as the highest value, set it apart from most otherknown forms of Satanism. Drawing on fanzines, records and interviews,it is demonstrated that this counter-discourse positioned itself in oppo-sition to LaVeyan Satanism – which was perceived as too humanitarian,positive and soft – to a greater extent than it focused on anti-Christianpolemics. The possible influence of role-playing games is also scruti-nized, and it is found that there are certain connections between BlackMetal Satanism and this phenomenon. Finally, the paradoxes inherentin a counter-discursive project like the celebration of evil are highlighted.

  • 6.
    Faxneld, Per
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    Mona Lisa’s Mysterious Smile: The Artist Initiate in Esoteric New Religions2016In: Nova Religio, ISSN 1092-6690, E-ISSN 1541-8480, Vol. 19, no 4, p. 14-32Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The article discusses the view, held by many nineteenth-century authors, of Leonardo da Vinci as an esotericist, and his La Gioconda as mysterious, sinister and filled with hidden signs. This “esoterization” of the painting and its creator was part of a broader tendency to view artists, both historical and contemporary, as magicians and mystics in some sense. Hereby, art became integrated into the endeavors of various esoteric groups and thinkers, and an originally secular Renaissance work was absorbed into a nineteenth-century “occulture” or “cultic milieu.”

  • 7.
    Faxneld, Per
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    Satanic feminism: Lucifer as the liberator of woman in nineteenth-century culture2017Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    According to the Bible, Eve was the first to heed Satan’s advice to eat of the forbidden fruit. The notion of woman as the Devil’s accomplice is prominent throughout the history of Christianity and has been used to legitimate the subordination of wives and daughters. During the nineteenth century, rebellious females performed counter-readings of this misogynist tradition. Hereby, Lucifer was reconceptualized as a feminist liberator of womankind, and Eve became a heroine. In these reimaginings, Satan is an ally in the struggle against a patriarchy supported by God the Father and his male priests. The book delineates how such Satanic feminism is expressed in a number of nineteenth-century esoteric works, literary texts, autobiographies, pamphlets and journals, newspaper articles, paintings, sculptures, and even artefacts of consumer culture such as jewellery. The analysis focuses on interfaces between esotericism, literature, art, and the political realm. New light is thus shed on neglected aspects of the intellectual history of feminism, Satanism, and revisionary mythmaking. The scope of the study makes it valuable not only for historians of religion but also for those with a general interest in cultural history (or specific aspects of it like gender history, romanticism, or decadent-symbolist art and literature).

  • 8.
    Faxneld, Per
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    The Death of the Author and the Birth of the Luciferian Reader: Ur-images, Postmodernity and Semiotic Self-Apotheosis2016In: Lux in Tenebris: The Visual and Symbolic in Western Esotericism / [ed] Peter Forshaw, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2016, p. 425-446Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Faxneld, Per
    et al.
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
    Sorgenfrei, Simon
    Om ondskans undflyende natur2015In: DIN: Tidsskrift for religion og kultur, ISSN 1501-9934, Vol. 17, no 1, p. 7-11Article in journal (Refereed)
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