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Preview: About.com Alternative Religions: Most Popular Articles

About.com Alternative Religions: Most Popular Articles



These articles are the most popular over the last month.



Published: Sun, 26 Feb 2017 11:34:00 +0000

 



Geometric Shapes

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context.



Types of Satanism and their Beliefs

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

An overview on the types of Satanism and Luciferianism, including links to more information on these different forms.



How Do Luciferians Differ from Satanists?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

While Luciferians and Satanists both employ terms commonly associated with the Devil, they are not the same.



9 Sins Satanists Should Avoid

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

While the Church of Satan encourages individuality and the gratification of desires, it does not suggest that all actions are acceptable.



What Egyptian Symbol Represents Eternal Life?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The ankh symbol originated in Egypt more than 4000 years ago. Besides being an artistic symbol, it also appears in hieroglyphs, where it means eternal life.



What Is the Ancient Egyptian Symbol Called the...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Eye of Horus symbol originates in Egypt but appears in a variety of more modern contexts, particularly within neopagan, new age, and occult circles.



11 Things the Church of Satan Believes

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Anton LaVey compiled the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth in 1967, two years before the publication of the Satanic Bible. It was originally meant for circulation only among members of the Church of Satan as it was considered



Why Are Zodiac Signs Paired with Elements?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The twelve zodiac signs were divided up among the four elements as early as the Renaissance, with three signs associated with each element.



An Introduction to Rastafari

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Rastafari is an Abrahamic new religious movement that accepts Haile Selassie I, the Ethiopian emperor from 1930 to 1974 as God incarnate.



What Are the 9 Satanic Statements?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

These statements are the opening words of the Satanic Bible, published in 1969 and written by Anton LaVey. They are basic principles guiding LaVeyan Satanists.



A Beginner's Guide to LaVeyan Satanism

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

An introduction to LaVeyan Satanism, including basic beliefs and practices.



The Orishas

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The orishas are the gods of Santeria, an African Diaspora religion that developed among the slaves of Cuba.



The Rosy Cross or Rose Cross

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Rosy Cross or Rose Cross, a complex symbol used by a variety of modern occult groups to represent a vast and complex array of meanings.



5 Types of Magic Defined

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

in a culture that primarily does not believe in magic, all magical beliefs are frequently grouped into a single pile and treated as if all followed a single coherent system, had the same goals, and attracted the same people. In fact, there's a wide variety of different magical practices in existence, and there can be some fundamental differences between them.



What Is the World’s Oldest Monotheistic...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

An introduction to Zoroastrianism, including basic beliefs and practices.



Who Are the Luciferians and How Do They View...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The history of Lucifer is a complicated one. The Biblical use of the word has created associations with Satan that were not originally intended. As such, Satanists and Luciferians are separate practices and see their respective figures differently.



Religion Basics: What Are the 5 Main Belief...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Religions can be broken down into a number of broad categories based on general purposes and views of divinity. Here is a brief overview of some of these categories and how they are used in other articles on the Alternative Religion Guide Site.



What Do Deists Believe?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Deism is not a religion but rather a perspective on the nature of God. There are a variety of common religious beliefs that deists do not accept.



The Orishas – Orunla, Osain, Oshun, Oya,...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The orishas are the gods of Santeria. here we discuss Orunla, Osain, Oshun, Oya and Yemaya.



Pantheism Beliefs Explained

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Pantheism is a form of religion that believes that the universe and God are one and the same. Neither exists outside of the other. Therefore, all things are ultimately connected with one another.



Why do Rastas Smoke Ganja and Wear Dreadlocks?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The smoking of ganja and the wearing of dreadlocks are two of the most known things about Rastas. Each has specific meaning and purpose.



Basic Teachings of the Jedi

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

These concepts widely held among modern Jedi, although their expect presentations varies from source to source. These teachings address such things as nature of the Force, the Jedi worldview, and ethical behavior.



Why Is Scientology So Expensive?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

One of the central complaints of Scientology critics is the vast amount of money required for auditing procedures. How much does it cost?



Purity and Fire in Zoroastrianism

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Ritual purity is central to Zoroastrian practices. Of the six main purifying agents in Zoroastrianism, fire is by far the most potent and revered. Considerable effort is made to keep temple fires uncontaminated in order for them to bestow their purity upon others.



Coptic Crosses

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Modern Coptic crosses often bear little resemblance to older ones, but there was a time when Coptic crosses obviously drew upon the imagery of the Egyptian ankh symbol, and some Coptic groups continue to employ ankhs among their symbolism today.



Scientology

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

An introduction to Scientology, including basic beliefs and practices.



Types of Theism

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

A theist is someone who believes in at least one god. However, there are many different types of theists such as monotheists, polytheists, pantheists and henotheists.



Jedi Religion (Jediism)

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

An introduction to Jedi Religion or Jediism, including basic beliefs and practices.



What is Theistic Satanism?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Theistic Satanism encompasses a variety of related beliefs honoring a figure addresses as Satan or associated with Satan. In contrast to LaVeyan Satanism, which is atheistic and considers Satan merely a symbol for what their faith encourages, theistic Satanists view Satan as an actual being. Theistic Satanism is largely a development of the 20th century.



What Do Spirals Symbolize in Religion and...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Spirals have a long history, dating back to neolithic times, that influences the way people way see spirals in religious and spiritual contexts today.



Rastafari Texts

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

While Rastafari is heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian beliefs, it developed largely as a racial movement among the blacks of Jamaica which looked to Africa and Ethiopia as the Promised Land. As such, the texts commonly embraced by Rastas look to Ethiopian culture and other Afrocentric works.



How Do Tarot Cards and Readings Work

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Tarot readings are a form of divination giving insight into the influences surrounding person or issue. The skill is seem by some as entirely personal, while others view it as a reflection of a universal consciousness or directed by particular gods or spirits.



Understand the Alchemical Allegories of the Red...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

In alchemy, the Red King and White Queen are allegorically brought together in the great work to produce a united whole.



All About Chaos Magic

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Chaos magic is, perhaps the hardest type of magic to explain because definition is the antithesis of chaos. In short, chaos magic is magic that does not conform to any rules.



Types of Western Occult Practices

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The following is a partial list of paths within the Western Occult Tradition. Many occultists follow practices involving aspects of multiple paths. This makes generalizing about the occult extremely difficult and is the reason I find it more helpful to describe individual occult paths.



How to be a Deist

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

It is sometimes difficult to understand how one practices a non-organized religion. Deism has no specific rituals precisely because none are necessary. How, then, is one actively a deist? How can deism influence a person's life?



How Does One Actually Convert to Satanism?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Learn about how to seek membership in Satanic organizations as well whether membership is even necessary for seekers.



A Beginner's Guide to Voodoo

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Vodou (Also spelled Vodoun, Voodoo, and several other variants) is a syncretic religion combining Roman Catholicism and native African religion, particularly the religion of the Dahomey region of Africa (the modern day nation of Benin). It is primarily found in Haiti, New Orleans, and other locations within the Caribbean.



What Does the Eye of Providence Symbolize?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Eye of Providence is a realistic eye depicted within a triangle, cloud, or burst of light and represents divine presence or approval. It has appeared in many different locations over the centuries, from the stained glass of churches to the seals of various cities to the Great Seal of the United States.



Folk Magic Definition and History

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Today, many people speak of magical and religious beliefs as intertwined. In order to sort out what is what, here is an overview of one particular type of magic: folk magic. This is traditionally the magic of the common folk, and it is primarily a practical rather than spiritual practice, although it can certainly include religious components.



The Rebis from the Theoria Philosophiae...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Rebis is an allegorical image representing the ultimate goal of alchemy, the great work. It represents the harmonious union of opposite, the bringing together of spirit and matter.



Is Ganja Legal for Rastas in the United States?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Marijuana, commonly known as ganja among Rastas, is illegal in most countries, including the US. However, as an important part of the Rastafari religion, is ganja smoking protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees religious freedom?



Squaring the Circle

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Squaring the circle commonly means doing the impossible. The idea of squaring the circle has been a mathematical puzzle for thousands of years. It is also used in alchemical illustrations.



Why the Hexagram Is a Powerful Religious Symbol

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The hexagram has possessed a variety of meanings over the last several thousand years. It shows up in Hindu artwork, occult works, Kabbalistic sources, and it is the modern symbol of the Jewish faith. There are two forms of the hexagram. The first is of two interlocking triangles. The second is a unicursal figure.



Why Satanism Does Not Teach "Anything Goes"

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Just because Satanists are avowed hedonists does not mean they teach you can do whatever you want without repercussion. Indeed, they don't even teach that everything you do is ethically permissible. Satanism is not simply a license to resist authority and social norms. It's a fully developed philosophy.



freemasonry religion freemasons occultism free...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Freemasons are a fraternal order dating back at least four centuries and have likely roots in medieval mason guilds. Questions abound today as to what exactly Freemasons do, believe, and expect from members, thanks in part to hoaxes, gossip, misunderstanding and a distrust of anything that offers even the notion of secrecy.



Rules and Sins in Satanism

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Codes of conduct can vary tremendously from one religion to another. Sometimes they are rigid codes which members are expected to follow. Others are much more nebulous and personal. The rules of the Church of Satan are examples of the latter, and their list of sins is viewed quite differently than Christianity looks at sins.



Human Sacrifice - Facts and Fallacies of "Human...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The concept of human sacrifice is one of the more abhorrent facets of religion in the minds of most of us. Historically, minority groups have been repeatedly accused of it. Today, it is a common rumor about Satanism. Not only is that concept totally false, multiple aspects of Satanic teaching are completely contrary to the notion of human sacrifice.



Squares

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

As a basic geometric shape, squares are used in a variety of images and symbolism. They commonly represent solidity, stability, materiality, and the physical world.



Exploring Monotheistic Religions

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Monotheistic deities tend to much more closely resemble each other than do polytheistic deities, precisely because of the nature of monotheism requires they gods to be grand and all-encompassing. Many monotheists even accept that their monotheistic deity is the same deity that is being worshiped by monotheists of different religions.



Beliefs and Practices of Scientologists...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

An overview of Scientology beliefs concerning what happens to us after we die and how they commonly reflect these beliefs through funeral services.



A Complete Guide to Alternative Religious Symbols

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

A quick guide to symbols associated with a variety of alternative religions, organized by religious group. The collection includes symbols from the Baha'i Faith, Zoroastrianism, the occult, Vodou (or Voodoo) and alchemy.



Is Scientology a Cult?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Opponents of the Church of Scientology commonly label it as a dangerous cult. Let's see how it actually stacks up.



Do You Know the Four Truths of the Jedi Code?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Jedi Code is a basic set of beliefs held in common by most modern Jedi. While based on works of fiction, followers find practical and spiritual meaning in its words.



Raelian Movement

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

An introduction to the new religious movement and atheistic religion, including origins, basic beliefs and practices.



Octagrams - Eight-Pointed Stars

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Octagrams – eight pointed stars – show up in a variety of different cultures, and modern users of the symbol borrow liberally from these sources.



Who Are the Crown Princes of Hell in LaVeyan...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

LaVeyan Satanism allegorically employs the names of dozens of demonic beings. Out of all those names, four are considered the most important of demons, the crown princes of Hell. They are Satan, Lucifer, Belial and Leviathan. These four figures correspond to the four cardinal points and the four elements, creating a Satanic framework for a common occult practice.



Syncretism - What is Syncretism?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Syncretism is the process of combining multiple beliefs into one system. Sometimes the result is a completely new religion. Sometimes the result is one religion embracing new ideas or practices from another religion or the surrounding culture. All religions experience some degree of syncretism, but some religions intrinsically depend upon it for its foundational beliefs.



Who is Satan?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Satan appears within multiple belief systems. Unfortunately, there is a common presumption that all of these Satanic figures must indeed be the same being, despite the fact that each religion has its own very unique perspective and description of him.



Black Sun

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Black Sun design originates from a floor design at Wewelsburg Castle, which was renovated by Heinrich Himmler during the Third Reich. It draws influence from older Germanic symbols of similar design.



33 Jedi Teachings to Live By

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Jedi Religion is a very non-dogmatic, non-organized religion. As such, there are few if any rules that can be expected to be followed by all believers. However, this also allows for wisdom to be put forth by members of the community for believers to study, accept or reject as they see fit.



Orthopraxy vs. Orthodoxy

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Religions are generally defined by one of two things: belief or practice, or the concepts of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.



What Does the Winged Symbol of Zoroastrianism...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The history and meaning of the Faravahar symbol, incorporating a human figure emerging from within a winged disk, now associated with Zoroastrianism as well as Persian culture.



Why is the Occult so Associated with Satanism?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

For many people, the word occult is practically synonymous with Satanism. Not only is that a relatively recent phenomena, but it's not grounded in any fact. While Satanists do often participate in occult practices, they are a tiny fraction of occultists. Learn how this misleading connection developed.



Taboos in a Religious Context

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Taboos are a basic part of culture. Not nearly all are religious in nature, but there are also a fair number that do exist within the culture's religious context.



A Beginner's Guide to Xenu and the Scientology...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Scientologists are reticent to publicly discuss or even acknowledge the existence of Xenu. Learn about Scientology's vision of creation.



Complicated Polygons and Stars - Enneagram,...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

As shapes becomes more complex, we see them used less often and in more specific contexts. Here we mention the enneagram (9-sided), decagram (10-sided), endekagram (11-sided), and dodekagram (12-sided).



Alchemy as Metaphysical Philosophy

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Alchemy is a term applied in many different contexts. In the West, it has a strong theological and philosophical component and is commonly labeled as occult. It is a metaphysical understanding of the world, interweaving the study of the physical world with understanding the spiritual one.



A Beginner's Guide to the Western Occult...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Rumor, conspiracy



The Orishas – Aganyu, Babalu-Aye, Chango...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Followers of Santeria honor a variety of beings known as orishas. Here we discuss Aganyu, Babalu-Aye, Chango and Eleggua.



Definition of Left and Right Hand Paths in...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Occult and religious paths are sometimes divided into two categories: the left-hand and right-hand paths. The left-hand path is about the elevation and centrality of the self as well as the rejection of religious authority and societal taboos. The left-hand path focuses on the strength and will of the practitioner, downplaying the need for intercession by any high power (although they may believe a higher power exists). Satanism, Luciferianism and Thelema are all considered left-hand paths.



Zoroastrian Funerals

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Zoroastrians strive for purity in their lives, and death is considered the one of the ultimate corrupting influences.



Scientology Controversies And Misconceptions

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

A list of common controversies and misconceptions that have plagued the Church of Scientology for decades, including Fair Game, Snow White, and the Fishman Affidavit.



Science of Mind / Religious Science

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Science of mind is a 20th century religion based on the New Thought movement that began in the previous century. It teaches that all things are a part of God and that people can influence things in in the world through that connection with God. They are particularly interested in healing through their spiritual practices, although many other things can be influences as well.



What the Elohim Has to Do with the Raelian...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Find out about the Elohim, who, according to the Raelian church, are a human-like alien race that created life through scientific processes on Earth.



Alchemical Sulfur, Mercury and Salt in Western...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The central elements in western alchemy are mercury, sulfur and salt, used to describe spiritual processes in terms of chemical reactions.



Peyote and the Native American Church

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Native American Church is a fusion of traditional Native American beliefs and Christianity. Central to its practices is the use of the drug peyote, which comes from a particular cactus plant.



New Religions are Appealing to Many People

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

New religions are constantly developing, and sizable numbers of people are converting from older, more traditional religions to these new faiths. Explore the reasons for this trend and what makes these new religious movements attractive to many.



Naw-Ruz – The Baha'i and Zoroastrian New...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Persian New Year is commonly celebrated by two distinct religious groups, the Baha'is and the Zoroastrians.



Eight Poor Reasons to Become a Satanist

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

One ultimately joins a religion because they believe in that religion. That religion may certainly also be seen as able to help believers get through life. However, religions such as Satanism are often seen as quick cheats through life - a position serious Satanists absolutely reject. Here are some bad reasons to get involved in Satanism.



Satanic Ritual Abuse - How Prevalent is Satanic...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Satanic Ritual Abuse, or SRA, is essentially a myth. While self-styled Satanists occasionally commit brutal crimes, these are the result of disturbed individuals whose beliefs often have little in common with mainline Satanists.



Gnosticism

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Gnosticism refers to a very wide range of beliefs that is more a collection of beliefs than a relgion. There are two basic components, gnosis and dualism.



Navjote or Sudre-Pooshi in Zoroastrianism

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The navjote is the initiation ceremony for Zoroastrian children that welcomes them into the community.



Is LaVeyan Satanism a Cult?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

All forms of Satanism are commonly labeled as cultish by those unfamiliar with specific practices and teachings, thanks to rumor, folklore, and a hefty collection of B-movies. Let's see how LaVeyan Satanism actually stacks up.



Where Does the Occult Symbol Baphomet Come From?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Deciphering Eliphas Levi's Baphomet of Mendes, a popular 19th century occult image still used by a variety of occult traditions today.



Ebbos in Santeria – Sacrifices and...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Santeria involves a reciprocal relationship with the orishas. While believers approach the orishas for help, guidance and good will, they are also expected to give in return. Indeed, the orishas need such offerings in order to survive. As such, sacrifices and other offerings are central practices within Santeria.



What Are the Principles of Luciferianism?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Order of the Luciferian Sword put together its summary of what it means to be a Luciferian.



Panentheism - What is Panentheism?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Panentheism is the belief that God is both transcendent and immanent. The world is a part of God but God extends beyond the created world. Panentheism is sometimes confused with pantheism.



Satanic Views of Life and Death

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

LaVeyan Satanists accept no beliefs in an afterlife. Each person comes into existence at birth and disappears at death. The period in-between – one lifetime – is the sum total of existence. Life is therefore something to be enjoyed to its fullest. Satanists are encouraged to embrace whatever it is that they enjoy, living full, sensual, self-indulgent lives.



The Swastika Didn't Always Mean What You Think...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

While the swastika is almost entirely associated in the West today with the Nazis, the symbol actually has a long history across the globe representing concepts very different from those given by the Nazis.



Purification Rituals in Religion

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Purification is a central facet of many religion's rituals. Sacred space is a place set aside from the mundane world. As such, it is important to many religious people to keep corrupting influences from entering such a space.



About the Jedi Philosophy

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Force is an impersonal energy field that connects all things according to Jedi philosophy. At its most basic, there are two sides of the Force, the Light and the Dark. Some feel it is more correct to say that one's approach to the Force is either Light or Dark, as the Force is, in fact, impersonal.



Aleister Crowley, Thelemic Prophet

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

A highly controversial figure in his own time, Aleister Crowley is now considered highly influential in occult circles. Besides being held as a prophet within the religion of Thelema, his numerous writings on magic and religion are still widely read.



Why Don't Some Religions Proselytize?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

While people generally consider their religion a good aspect of their life, many do not feel a need to introduce others to it. While they may be open to teaching outsiders who seek them out, they frequently will not seek out potential new converts.



Triquetra

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The triquetra shows up in a variety of different contexts, many of which re largely unconnected. What do various groups associated with this three-pointed symbol?



Non-Trinitarianism - Views of God that Reject...

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Non-trinitarianism is a Christian belief in which God is indivisible, rather than being comprised of the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Non-trinitarians believe in an omnipotent, omnipresent God. They views of Jesus vary considerably, including, but not limited to, acknowledging him merely as a mortal and viewing him as a perfect but not divine creation of God.



How Do I Convert to Zoroastrianism?

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

What options are open to a person, particularly a Westerner, who is interested in Zoroastrianism and the worship of Ahura Mazda?



Sexuality in the Raelian Movement

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

The Raelians are known in part of their very public embracing of sexuality and denouncing those who attempt to stifle and control it. However, being open about sex does not make one a sex addict, despite some people's impression of the Raelians. how do Raelians really approach sex?



Rada, Petro and Ghede Lwa in Vodou

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

In New World Vodoun, the spirits (or lwa) with whom believers interact are divided into three main families, Rada, Petro, and Ghede. Lwa can be viewed as forces of nature, but they also have personalities and personal mythologies.



Discordianism

2017-02-26T11:34:00Z

Discordianism is a modern religion of chaos and irreverence. Some categorize it as a parody religion, although there are many adherents who draw some measure of meaning and philosophy from it's often deliberately ludicrous statements.