Monday, June 3, 2013

A Short Chat With An "Occult Expert"

Last week SAFM featured a debate on Satanism and crime called "What is Satanism?" - you can find the link to the debate here: SAFM podcast link (31 May What is Satanism?). 

Having listened to this debate, and having become involved in the study of the occult and since also becoming a participant in a joint interfaith project recently, I formed something of an understanding of the topic. 

I was immediately concerned with the sort of things being said by one of the guests on the show - one Adele Neveling, a woman who could not even pronounce "coven" correctly (ku-vern, not coa-vin), but who claimed to have been a Satanist for 18 years! I decided to approach her for comment.

Adele Neveling bills herself as a Christian "occult expert" with 18 years of experience in Satanism, and in the radio show, claimed that she had witnessed or even participated in human sacrifices, and even consumed human or perhaps animal flesh in the process of "worshipping Satan". During the show itself, as you can hear, she did not sound very sure of herself - or her "facts" at all. In fact, she was way too uncertain of herself to be taken seriously as any kind of "expert". For one thing, "probably" does not stand up in a court of law, and people who claim to be Satanists just to get off from criminal charges on the excuse that "the devil made them do it" are probably not really Satanists at all. The fact that her statements continually received the backing of the other Christian "occult expert" being featured - the co-ordinator for the SAPS ORC unit, Colonel Hennie De Jager - who backed her wild claims and unfounded statements to the hilt - was just disconcerting. What makes these people "experts" in "the occult" or in "Satanism"?

Have either of them achieved any actual degrees in Satanism? Have either of them participated in actual Satanist religion? Ms Neveling claims to have spent 18 years in Satanism - does she have anything to show for it afterwards? A degree or some kind of recognition from a Satanic church or occult coven? Does Colonel De Jager?

Did Ms Neveling just participate in a coven of legend trippers who thought that Satanism is all sex and drugs and vandalizing park benches, littering public parks with dead bunnies or chickens, strips of tin-foil and candles? She mentioned "breeders" and human sacrifice and that she had received police attention - but did she offer any proof of any of these allegations? Was anyone ever arrested or charged for any of these alleged crimes? I can't recall any examples of such. Can you? Where did Colonel De Jager receive his training in the "occult"? Was it in an occult study group - or was it at a seminary or in a bible school? Or was it in one of the special 5 day SAPS training courses offered to ORC recruits using material developed by Kobus Jonker - another man who has demonstrated zero actual working knowledge of either Pagan religions, occultism or Satanism and has repeatedly conflated all of these along with traditional African beliefs and practices?

It's disconcerting how many people billing themselves as "experts in the occult" have bugger-all qualifications in the subject. Instead, they have a list of qualifications in studies on the occult THROUGH THE BIASED VIEWS of their own religions... This is NOT the same thing.

It's even more disquieting when you consider the amount of harm these quacks can wreak on the lives of others when they are taken seriously by people who should be doing more to ensure the credibility of their sources - like the SAPS, Department of Education - and journalists.

Amplified through the distorted lens of public ignorance and latent stupidity, things just get worse. If you listen to the debate and listen to the absolute IDIOCY of the people who called in to accuse the lone Satanist who was participating in the debate of being a liar and of covering up murders and other alleged crimes SIMPLY BECAUSE HE CHOSE TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS?? Really?

If you consider the hostility and sheer vindictiveness - coupled with the sheer absence of objectivity, logic or reason evident in the calls - is it any wonder that Satanists do not wish to come forward? How do you change the minds of people who don't seem to be capable of reason in the first place? They would sooner shoot you than look at you - and they certainly won't be interested in hearing someone out before considering a change of heart. Satanists don't hide their identities because they have something dastardly and sinister to hide - they hide their identities so that lunatics and ass hats don't know where to find them.

But what about Satanism and crime in this country? Clearly there has been a rise in "Satanism" claims in recent crimes - but is there any proof to substantiate these claims that are being put to good use fuelling hysteria about Satanists abducting dogs and cats and little children for sacrificial purposes? Do Satanists really abduct cats and dogs every Halloween? Or is it really just a matter of urban myth following the number of illegal dog fighting rings stealing animals as bait? Is Halloween really "evil" as these people say it is? Or is it no more evil than "Christmas" - or possibly even less so?

Ms Neveling has an interesting Facebook page with interesting items posted on it. Another site (rather disturbing and insulting to Pagans and Witches and even Satanists alike) with some of her colorful claims can be found here. She certainly thinks of herself as a kind of "occult survivor", having "beaten Satanism" through "being washed in the blood of Jesus". It sounds exciting, especially if you're into that sort of thing - but is any of it true? Or is the truth perhaps that Ms Neveling has simply swapped one religious delusion for another?

This morning I sent her a message on Facebook:
"Dear Adele.
The SAFM interview you participated in last week cemented for me the whole problem in SA. The problem comes in where generally, "occult experts" who have never ventured out of the comfort of their own religions claim out of their well-entrenched positions of ignorance that anything where Satan is worshiped is "Satanism" - never mind what other Satanists, and even Satanist authority-figures say about it. This is an over-simplistic and completely irrational way of looking at this issue. By the same token, kids that kill people in the name of "Satan" are as much Satanists as those well-documented nuts that kill people because they believe their neighbors are evil 'vampires' or because "God" or "the voices" told them to, are Christians.
The unique character of Satanism in South Africa as referred to by South African Christian so-called “occult experts” is NOT REAL Satanism, but Legend Tripping. That would be the ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY of the whole issue.
Incidentally, the CoS does not have any affiliate groups or chapters anywhere, since it abandoned that system some time ago. Therefore there are no "Churches of Satan" in South Africa, at least NONE that are affiliated to THE actual Church of Satan which is based in San Francisco.
Legend Trippers think of themselves as real actual Satanists because they do the things the police "occult experts" and the press say Satanists do, and live up to the expectations of a fooled public. (The CoS calls these people "devil worshipers".)
That is why when real, spiritual or religious Satanists present themselves and their "mainstream" version of Satanism to these "experts" – and correctly so as a non-criminal belief system, or accuse those who commit crimes in the name of Satan of being mentally ill or suggest that they are trying to evade the responsibility for their actions, they are discredited as liars or accused of "covering up" for the Legend Tripping faux Satanists.
The idea of a non-violent, non-criminal, and non blood-thirsty, non-human sacrificing Satanist just doesn't exist in the minds of most so-called Christian "occult experts" – because it goes against everything they are taught to believe in.
They are taught by their Christian mentors, that Satanism and anything that contradicts their religious doctrine amount to one and the same thing, and that Satanism is to be viewed in the strict biblical sense, deception, destruction, rebellion etc. Apparent "occult survivors" seem to confirm these views – precisely because they have been part of devil worship Legend Tripping rings themselves, run by deluded and dangerous people – and NOT de facto Satanism.
Further, to conflate African traditions such as muti killings etc with a Western religion such as Satanism is false, inaccurate and unethical for someone billed as an "occult expert" - the two are completely separate issues entirely.
Added to that, I have great doubts about most of the claims you made on air, in fact to my mind you were a legend tripper involved with other legend trippers - and that is not Satanism, but a self-deluding form of devil-worship - that is the kind of crime you need to be taking on in SA - not other people's right to freedom of religion. You expect others to be tolerant of your choice to be Christian, then you should also be tolerant to others choices to not be Christian - focus on crime, not religion. Religion isn't crime - CRIME is crime. 
Thank you"

 Loderunner” by Christina Engela
Ever since he’d decided to quit being a P.I. and to try his hand at running cargo instead, things had just blown up in Timaset Skooch’s face one day at a time. (Florpavian Flamebirds tended to do that occasionally.) Between the labor disputes and accidental deaths among the crew, (who believed in settling disputes internally) he was beginning to get a headache worse than the ones he got from getting kicked in the head. Things had just gone pear shaped again and now he found himself in the middle of a kind of cat and mouse game with some cloaks and daggers thrown in for good measure.

Returning from an evening spent visiting relatives in Mars City he didn’t know he had, he arrived at the local space terminal to find his new acquisition stolen. A few minutes later, the crew of his slightly run down loderunner “Celeste“, returned from the nearby pub, blind drunk, puzzled and now unemployed as well.

He was sure it had something to do with the 10 000,00 credits he was offered  to transport two passengers to an asteroid in the rings of Jupiter, (as soon as possible, no questions asked), by a middle-man with no neck and a tendency to smile a lot.

And to crown everything, his girlfriend was mad at him too (just a little).  He was beginning to regret ever winning that card game…

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Published: May 26, 2016
Pages: 268
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Ms Neveling's reply:

"Hi Christina 
Thank you for taking the time to write to me.
I agree with you, especially about: focus on crime, not religion. Religion isn't crime - CRIME is crime. I received many letters from people since Friday - many disagree with me but almost everyone disagree with one another on the topic as well. It's like there is no consensus about the general ideas/objectives/principles of satanism. If there is so much people can't agree within the same movement: why is it so difficult to believe that there are a strong group doing crazy stuff in the name of satanism SA? You are blessed & fortunate not to be part of a group that demands more of you than what you are prepared to give, but to deny the other possibility is like the catholic church denying pedophilia. Have a beautiful day" 

I sent a reply:

"Thank you Adele,
I hope you will take the time to read this email carefully before just casually dismissing it.
I am fortunate enough to have enough savvy to stay out of things I don't feel comfortable with, but I suppose I am also a little cursed with a mouth that won't stay shut when I perceive injustice - even when it doesn't directly affect me.
It is difficult to believe that "there are so many people doing things in the name of Satanism in SA" when the people doing these things are NOT Satanists. I'm not saying this because I want to pick an argument - I'm saying it because they aren't. Just because THEY seem convinced they are doing these things as acts of supplication or worship of the devil doesn't mean that they are Satanists as defined by formal Satanist religion or by conventions of formal Satanic religion. Just because they say "the Devil made me do it" doesn't mean they aren't mentally ill or suffering from some kind of delusion, personality or other disassociative disorder.
You take any average 14 year old black kid living in poverty, they will feel disillusioned with life, their prospects, their chance to do well in life, to make something of themselves - and then they hear of the stories that tell them Satan will make them powerful and bring them riches, and "all" they need to do is kill a few cats or some relatives they probably don't like very much within the context of their dysfunctional family dynamics anyway... All this is contrary to Satanic teachings and ritual practice. If you really had been a Satanist, you would know this.
But these kids DON'T know this - they are young, under-developed, naive and uneducated - and they believe the stories they are told by their hysterical pastors, the media, the "experts" in the police... they start their own little groups, give them fancy sinister sounding names, play tricks, commit random acts of vandalism, and some escalate this to the next level - and what happens?
And whose fault is it? The religion they believed the lies about - or those who told the lies themselves? That's right - you want to find the root of this problem, stop the lies, stop the hysteria and stop the scapegoating. Sitting there on air and making claims about other people's religion while representing your own does not make you sound very convincing as an "expert" at all - it just means you are saying all the things people of your own religion want to hear come out of your mouth, like a puppet on a string.
If people commit crimes, address the criminal - not the entire scope of people who identify with a religious belief system and call themselves Satanists - even though there are more than 5 different sects of Satanism and even though 99% of them abide by the law like anyone else and are just as shocked and disgusted as the rest of the world at the horrendous acts and tragedies wrongfully placed at THEIR feet.
I encourage you to do the right thing - not just the thing that everybody wants you to do. Speak the truth, put the lie to rest."

I didn't get another response. But I think this speaks for itself.

1 comment:

  1. Matthew 7:1-5
    "Do not judge others,so that God will not judge you,for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.

    Why,then, do you look at the speck in your brother's,and pay no attention to the log in you own eye?

    How dare you say to your brother, "Please,let me take that speck out of your eye,"when you have a log in your own? You hypocrite!

    First take the log out of your own eye,and then you will beable to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

    John 5:24
    I tell you the truth,whoever hears my word and believes him who send me has eternal life and will not be condemned;he has crossed over from death to life."

    Adele God bless you in abundance, and may you touch people's life's through the Holy Spirit.

    Christina God bless you! May He touch your heart through His Love xoxo