The Disturbing Rise of Satanism in France

Impiety does not surprise any more in France. In the name of secularism, Wayside Crucifixes are being torn down and statues of the Virgin are being removed. Alas, there is nothing new in this since the sacrileges committed by the anti-Christian Revolution of 1789. On the other hand, a new and particularly disturbing phenomenon seems to be emerging—the public worship of Satan.

Twenty years ago, the idea that the devil could be honored in our squares and streets would have made people smile in Descartes’ country. Witchcraft and diableries seemed to belong definitively to the past, when the French still believed in God. However, by a ruse of which history has the secret, here is that Satan makes his return, without even bothering to hide his hideous face.

Witches, Ghosts and Demons

This phenomenon began with the spread to France of Halloween, the Anglo-Saxon holiday celebrated on October 31 of each year.

Before the advent of Christianity, the Celts celebrated Samain on that night, one of the four great festivals of their calendar, when the dead returned to haunt the living. Over time, Samain-Halloween has become a dark celebration where all creatures—real or imaginary—associated with evil are honored: witches, zombies, vampires, ghosts and of course demons. It is also the occasion of the most important Satanic Sabbath of the year.

When witches and ghosts appeared in the French streets, most commentators saw it as a strictly commercial operation or the resurgence of an innocent folklore to entertain children in the greyness of autumn. However, it was the first time after centuries of Christianity that the Devil was celebrated more than God in France. The Feast of All Saints and the commemoration of the faithful dead were suddenly eclipsed by a grotesque cult of evil figures from Hell.

The Triumph of Hellfest

After the advent of Halloween came the triumph of Hellfest, a metal music festival that has been held every year near Nantes since 2006. For three days, hundreds of thousands of people from all over Europe flock to Clissons to listen to bands with names that evoke, among others, Behemoth, Belphegor, Black Sabbath, Dark Funeral, Deicide or Impaled Nazarene.

The band Mayhem in the song “A Grand Declaration of War” vomits its anti-Christian hatred: “Christianity. Religion of pity. God of the sick. We don’t declare peace, we declare war.” The group Belphégor incites to kill Christians: “Christians to the lions! Burn crosses. Jesus Christ, son of fetid smell. Jesus Christ, castrated savior.” The band Marduck in the song “Jesus Christ sodomized” advocates the death of priests: “Piss on Christ and kill the priest, follow nature—praise the beast.” The band Dark Funeral pledges allegiance to Satan, whom they take as their father: “Lord of the Underworld, unholy father. Your wish is my command. I will cut the lying throat, Christian blood will fall to the ground.” The group Impaled Nazarene, in the album, In Absence of War calls for the desecration and even death of Christian children: “We will hunt you down one by one. We will destroy all your religious relics. We will set fire to places of worship. We will slit the throats of all your children.”

In 2022, with more than 420,000 paid admissions, Hellfest became the largest festival in France in terms of attendance.

A Circle of Hell in our Cities

Without fanfare, Satanism is insidiously spreading in the urban landscape, as it is the case in Nantes. This year, the capital of the Pays de la Loire region exhibited a series of dark and threatening silhouettes in front of one of the city’s churches, as part of the Voyage à Nantes event. One of them, with hairy feet and horns on his head, seems to lead a little group, with a shepherd’s crook in his hand.

“Unnamed characters escape from a final judgment, bursting into laughter. A mayor of ceremony-wolf and his cane open a ball where animals, humans and hybrids do not know what to do… These characters gesticulate and parade in a kind of last disarticulated and agitated parade straight out of a macabre dance,” we read in the presentation-catalog of Voyage à Nantes.

However, that’s not all—Nantes also hosts Charon’s Wheel, a creation of the American artist Peter Hudson. The work in question is a gigantic wheel in the shape of an eye, with a triangular base—which forms a triangle around the wheel, referring to the deist and Masonic symbol of the eye of providence—around which twenty skeletons wave and hang. The name “Charon” refers of course to the boatman who, in Greek mythology, leads souls to the Underworld by making them cross the Styx. After Nantes, Charon’s Wheel of Hell will be exhibited in Paris.

The ideology of the Enlightenment and that of Progress have made us believe in the inevitable and definitive advent of a rationalist, positivist and atheist society. However, while the death of God is proclaimed everywhere, Satan reappears. Atheism is thus only a bridge that has led, in the space of a few centuries, the Eldest Daughter of the Church (France) to the unthinkable—the worship of Satan. “He who is not with me is against me,” Our Lord warned us.

Antoine Bellion writes from France. This articles through the kind courtesy of Avenir de la Culture.

Featured: Hell, in the Missal of Raoul du Fou, Normandy ca. 1479-1511.