He is known in the neo-pagan circles as Magus Veleslav. The Internet is full of his pictures with various Hinduist tilakas on his forehead, and tridents. He is an interesting person in his own way, a real philosopher. I bought his book, and gradually got involved in the practical world of neo-paganism, participating in annual celebrations such as fall and spring equinoxes and winter and summer solstices. The thing is, paganism is closely related to nature and it has a certain appeal, because nature is always beautiful; it is something normal and natural that people gravitate to.
Father George: When my friends and I talk to Rodnovers, we often get a feeling that many of them do not really believe in the gods they talk about, draw or carve on those vertical logs ( Ivan Liskov: Yes.
I started reading that newspaper regularly and this gradually led me to the world of the occult. Ivan Liskov: It is not that I liked it all—in the beginning I was just fascinated.
There was something mysterious and mystical about it, and I was intrigued.
He was not perceived as bad or evil, but rather as a misunderstood and tragic character that can give you unlimited power. That was how I got acquainted with satanists, the people who deliberately devote their lives to serving the devil. This seemed to me a magical island where I could hide from the reality of everyday life, and feel like a full-fledged resident of this fairy-tale country. Father George: As far as I understand, the satanists, no matter what they think of satan, are somehow fixated on evil. There are also people who do not waste their energy on that, but practice various rituals and look more serious. It promotes the idea that evil is not an absolute concept. For example, “thou shall not commit adultery” is presented like a limitation of people’s freedom and natural desires.
I was surprised to find out that there were several of them in my neighbourhood. Not only on profanity and blasphemy, but also on murder and suicide, for example. Their appearance may not demonstrate their affiliation with satanism. Justification can be found for anything, including evil.
We continue presenting the articles based on Spas TV channel’s program My Path To God.
The host of the program, priest George Maksimov, interviews people who converted to Orthodoxy from various non-Orthodox denominations and heterodoxies.
I thought, “Why should I overthink this, my grand-grandparents were pagan.” Or rather, grand-grand-grand-grandparents… Looking for information was quite difficult, because when you are 15, serious works by historians and ethnographers seem boring. I was into reader-friendly books published by neo-pagan organizations that during that time were popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain. They mentioned Ilya Cherkasov, the head magus, the “patriarch of the Russian Rodnovery (Native Faith)”.
From the books I learned that there was a strict hierarchy in the world of spirits and that satan was their leader. He gave me some recommendations, answered my questions.
All the occult books that I previously read prepared me to perceive satan simply as the head of that hierarchy. I learned that there was a Church of satan and special music called black metal that openly glorified the prince of darkness and introduced people to the world of spirits and magic, where legends and fairy tales come true. For example, there are vulgar occultists—a kind of pop-satanists, who kill cats, put on makeup and visually express their views in every way possible. In particular, the satanic Bible by Anton Szandor La Vey, the notorious founder of the Church of Satan, says that the devil encourages violation of all ten commandments simply because it is natural.
Today Father George interviews Ivan Liskov who joined the satanists in his adolescence and whose search for “true religion” later resulted in many years of involvement with neo-paganism (see the video here in Russian). You are watching My Path To God, a program about people who had to reconsider their ways of life and give up many things during their journey to Christ. I think I should start with my childhood, because it all goes back to that time.
The guest of today’s program had to live through much in his life, including satanism and paganism. I remember that when I was 7 or 8 years old, my mother used to take me with her to the cemetery to visit grandmother’s grave.