LaVeyan Satanism

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LaVeyan Satanism

Associated organizations
The Church of Satan
First Satanic Church

Prominent figures
Anton LaVey | Diane LaVey | Blanche Barton | Peter H. Gilmore | Peggy Nadramia | Karla LaVey

Associated concepts
Left-Hand Path | Pentagonal Revisionism | Suitheism | Might is Right | Lex talionis | Objectivism | Antinomianism

Books and publications
The Satanic Bible | The Satanic Rituals | The Satanic Witch | The Devil's Notebook | Satan Speaks! | The Black Flame | The Church of Satan | The Secret Life of a Satanist | The Satanic Scriptures

For other uses of the word, see Satanism and Satanism (disambiguation).

LaVeyan Satanism is a religion founded in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey. Its teachings are based on individualism, self-indulgence, and "eye for an eye" morality, borrowing philosophically from Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand, and drawing from the rituals and ceremonies of occultist Aleister Crowley. Employing Crowley's terminology, its adherents define Satanism as a "Left-Hand Path" religion, rejecting traditional "Right-Hand Path" religions such as Christianity for their perceived denial of life and emphasis on guilt and abstinence. Unlike Theistic Satanism, LaVeyan Satanism does not focus on literally worshiping Satan, but, rather uses "Satan" as a symbol of carnality and earthly values, of man's inherent nature.[1]

Anton LaVey established Satanism's first and largest religious organization, the Church of Satan, in 1966, and codified Satanic beliefs and practices in the Satanic Bible in 1969. According to the Church of Satan, there are many Satanists around the world, including both members and non-members. It rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations of Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians and pseudo-Satanists. Although exact numbers have never been released, it has been estimated by the church that the number of adherents is in the tens of thousands.[2]


[edit] History

On Walpurgisnacht of 1966, Anton Szandor LaVey began the Church of Satan. Beforehand, he had given lectures from his home, the infamous Black House, charging two dollars for admittance. He formed a "Magic Circle" with his closest associates, experimenting with ceremonial magic. It was suggested to LaVey that he had enough material to start an organized religion.[3]

The Church of Satan attracted a great deal of publicity. Its use of nude women as altars, and performances of a Satanic wedding and funeral service, brought it much attention. Anton LaVey shaved his head and wore a white clerical collar, sometimes even wearing horns to complete the image of the Devil incarnate. His flamboyant personality attracted many followers and admirers.[4][5]

In 1969, LaVey published the Satanic Bible, which, even to this day, remains the most authoritative literature on the subject of LaVeyan Satanism, outlining the basic concepts, philosophy and rituals of the religion. A companion book, The Satanic Rituals, published in 1972, presents an array of rituals associated with Satanism throughout the ages, but not necessarily central to the Church's belief system. LaVey also released other literature to further expand on the ideology, namely The Satanic Witch (previously published as The Compleat Witch), and 2 essay anthologies: The Devil's Notebook and Satan Speaks![6]

Since its inception, many individuals sought to recreate LaVey's success by founding new organizations claiming the throne of "true" Satanism, but most were short-lived and ceased to exist altogether.[7] Some, however, have gained remarkable success, allegedly due to the founders' previously strong relations with the Church of Satan. The reasons for the breakaway from LaVey's church were cited as being a difference in ideology, or commercialization of the institution, thus seeking to recreate its previous underground and elitist status. One notable example is the formation of the Temple of Set in 1975 by former Church of Satan member Michael Aquino, who cites disagreement over LaVey's atheism.[8] Aquino believed in a living deity, whom he called Set.

The other major organization affiliated with LaVeyan ideology is the First Satanic Church, founded in 1999 by Anton LaVey's daughter, Karla LaVey. She argues that, after her father's death, the church moved away from his original modus operandi, and shifted towards a commercial money making machine. Thus, the First Satanic Church is considered a re-founding of the original one. [9]

Today, the Church of Satan is still viewed as the de facto representation of LaVeyan Satanism in the public eye, and fresh publications are released, applying Satanic philosophies to topics of contemporary interest.[10][6]

[edit] Beliefs

In the Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey describes Satan as a motivating and balancing dark force in nature. Satan is also described as being the "Black Flame", representing a person's own inner personality and desires. Satan is seen as synonymous with the nature and even, metaphorically, with certain conceptions of a supreme deity or God.

In his most important essay, "Satanism: The Feared Religion", the Church of Satan's current leader Peter H. Gilmore states:

Satanists do not believe in the supernatural, in neither God nor the Devil. To the Satanist, he is his own God. Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates. The reality behind Satan is simply the dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things. Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshipped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will. Thus any concept of sacrifice is rejected as a Christian aberration—in Satanism there’s no deity to which one can sacrifice.[11]

Satan is said to appear in mythology and literature around the world as a trickster, rebel, and hero. Figures such as the Greek Prometheus are said to perfectly exemplify the qualities of Satan, the prideful rebel.[12] Satan is seen as the powerful individual who acts regardless of what others might say.[13] Also, the word satan is derived from the Hebrew for "adversary" or "accuser" (ha-satan). Thus, combining the traditional rebellious imagery associated with Satan and other relative deities, together with the etymological aspect of the word itself, Satanists claim to be adversaries of mainstream behavior which they define as "herd conformity", seeing it as stifling to individuality, creativity, and progress.[14]

Satanists do not believe that Satan is a god; rather, the function of God is performed and satisfied by the Satanist him/herself. That is, the needs of worship, ritual, and religious/spiritual focus are directed, effectively, inwards towards the Satanist, as opposed to outwards towards a God.

LaVey proposes, instead, that if all gods are creations of humans, worship of an external deity is worship of its creator by proxy. He suggests, then, that the rational Satanists should instead internalize their gods and therefore worship themselves; hence the Satanic maxim, "I am my own god."[15]

It follows that Satanism shuns the idea of belief in all other deities as well. Belief in any such externalized deities is generally considered grounds for excluding someone as a Satanist, and devil worship in particular is considered nothing more than a misguided inversion of Christianity, the practitioners of which being regarded as devil-worshipers, instead of Satanists.[10]

[edit] Philosophy

[edit] Fundamental individualism

Satanism is often mistaken as being a religion that encourages cruelty and irresponsible behaviour, but LaVey's brand is very different. Central is the idea that an individual must enforce their own meaning on life and rise above the perceived conformity of the masses. The Satanist is seen as equivalent to Friedrich Nietzsche's Übermensch; LaVey claimed "Satanists are born, not made" and that "[Satanists] have a disease called independence that needs to be recognized just like alcoholism." There are progressive and libertarian elements here; diversity is encouraged, everyone is expected to discover his own sexuality, chart his own personality, and decide this own ambitions in life. In this stress on individuality, Satanism is considered a "Left-Hand Path" religion.

[edit] Satanism and self-transformation

Adherents to "life-denying" religions are often regarded as self-abnegating in their devotion to their own servility. LaVey's Satanic creed viewed religion as promoting an impersonal relationship with what the churches referred to as "God". Satanism was presented as an opportunity to self-identify with one's own concept of God. Great attention was paid to details gleaned from Noir films like White Heat and The Big Sleep in creating one's ideal Self from deliberately invoked forms. Satanism encourages a follower of the religion to grow throughout their life as they see fit.

[edit] Law of Satanism

Lex talionis, the Law of Retaliation (lex/legis f. nom, "law" and talio/talionis f. gen, "retaliation, returning like unto like") informed much of LaVey's Satanic formulation. "Do unto others as they do unto you" supplanted the directive to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", so that you are only to give compassion and sympathy to those who deserve it. It is a reactive rule, compared with the Christian proactive rule; by the rule, love, compassion, and sympathy are not to be wasted upon "ingrates"; these are to be given only to those who the practitioner feels deserves them. The religion of Satanism, as LaVey espouses it, is centered almost exclusively upon the concept of being one's own god; as such, values and attachments such as love, affection, and caring, along with opposing concepts such as hate and wrath, are to be disseminated at the discretion of the individual Satanist. As such, it is the individual's responsibility (and not that of a god, or the fault of any devil) to both justify and accept the consequences of their actions. LaVey felt that intelligent and strong people spent too much time caring for psychic vampires—weak individuals who always demanded attention and care, yet would never give any back. He taught that Satanists should strive to remove themselves as much as possible from such people in order to live in accordance to their instincts and individual wills.

[edit] The Nine Satanic Statements

  1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!
  2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams!
  3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
  4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates!
  5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek!
  6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires!
  7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!
  8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!
  9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years!

[edit] The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth

  1. Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
  2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
  3. When in another’s lair, show them respect or else do not go there.
  4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat them cruelly and without mercy.
  5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
  6. Do not take that which does not belong to you, unless it is a burden to the other person and they cry out to be relieved.
  7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
  8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
  9. Do not harm little children.
  10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
  11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them. [16]

[edit] The Nine Satanic Sins

  1. Stupidity — The top of the list for Satanic Sins. The Cardinal Sin of Satanism. It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable. Satanists must learn to see through the tricks and cannot afford to be stupid.
  2. Pretentiousness — Empty posturing can be most irritating and isn’t applying the cardinal rules of Lesser Magic. This is on equal footing with stupidity for what keeps the money in circulation these days. Everyone’s made to feel like a big shot, whether they can come up with the goods or not.
  3. Solipsism — Projecting your reactions, responses, and sensibilities onto someone who is probably far less attuned than you are can be very dangerous for Satanists. It is the mistake of expecting people to give you the same consideration, courtesy and respect that you naturally give them. They won’t. Instead, Satanists must strive to apply the dictum of “Do unto others as they do unto you.” It’s work for most of us, and requires constant vigilance, lest you slip into a comfortable illusion of everyone being like you. As it has been said, certain utopias would be ideal in a nation of philosophers, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, from a Machiavellian standpoint) we are far from that point.
  4. Self-deceit — It’s in the “Nine Satanic Statements”, but deserves to be repeated here. It is another cardinal sin. We must not pay homage to any of the sacred cows presented to us, including the roles we are expected to play ourselves. The only time self-deceit should be entered into is when it’s fun, and with awareness. But then, it’s not self-deceit!
  5. Herd Conformity — That’s obvious from a Satanic stance. It’s all right to conform to a person’s wishes, if it ultimately benefits you. But only fools follow along with the herd, letting an impersonal entity dictate to you. The key is to choose a master wisely, instead of being enslaved by the whims of the many.
  6. Lack of perspective — Again, this one can lead to a lot of pain for a Satanist. You must never lose sight of who and what you are, and what a threat you can be, by your very existence. We are making history right now, every day. Always keep the wider historical and social picture in mind. That is an important key to both Lesser and Greater Magic. See the patterns and fit things together as you want the pieces to fall into place. Do not be swayed by herd constraints: Know that you are working on another level entirely from the rest of the world.
  7. Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies — Be aware that this is one of the keys to brainwashing people into accepting something new and different, when in reality it’s something that was once widely accepted but is now presented in a new package. We are expected to rave about the genius of the creator and forget the original. This makes for a disposable society.
  8. Counterproductive Pride — That first word is important. Pride is great up to the point you begin to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The rule of Satanism is: If it works for you, great. When it stops working for you, when you’ve painted yourself into a corner and the only way out is to say, "I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I wish we could compromise somehow," then do it.
  9. Lack of Aesthetics — This is the physical application of the Balance Factor. Aesthetics is important in Lesser Magic and should be cultivated. It is obvious that no one can collect any money off classical standards of beauty and form most of the time, so they are discouraged in a consumer society; but an eye for beauty, for balance, is an essential Satanic tool and must be applied for greatest magical effectiveness. It’s not what’s supposed to be pleasing: It’s what is. Aesthetics is a personal thing, reflective of one’s own nature, but there are universally pleasing and harmonious configurations that should not be denied.[17]

[edit] Magic

Magic, as defined by Satanism, is "the change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable." This definition incorporates two kinds of magic: Lesser Magic (manipulative) and Greater Magic (ritual). Satanism, however, draws no distinction between White and Black magic which correlates with its view of an impersonal universe.[18]

[edit] Lesser Magic

Lesser Magic is a system of manipulation that mainly involves three main themes of sex, sentiment, and wonder. On this point, Anton LaVey seems to take inspiration from a book on photography called The Command to Look. Lesser magic capitalizes on these themes, prompting Satanists to expand on whichever themes they naturally fall under.

LaVey later expanded his system of manipulation in The Satanic Witch. The book was written from the woman's perspective because LaVey believed that women could more fully apply his concepts, but much of the book can be applied by men also. He relates ideas worked out from watching the proprietors of carnival stalls and fortune tellers in their manipulation of customers. The Satanic Witch also proposes The LaVey Synthesizer Clock, a form of somatotyping that adds a fourth body type, the "feminine." The synthesizer is used in identification of personality in order to know how best to manipulate a person through traits often associated with their types and what LaVey referred to as their "demonic" personality, or their opposite on the clock.

[edit] Greater Magic

Greater Magic involves ritual and ceremony in order to focus one's emotional energy for a specific purpose. Satanic ritual is highly variable, with a basic format given in The Satanic Bible. Satanists are encouraged to use whatever elements that suit them in order to bring them to an emotional height. It must be noted that the Church of Satan claims that a better mastery of Lesser Magic will contribute to a better mastery of Greater Magic.

The ritual room is referred to as an "intellectual decompression chamber." Disbelief is temporarily suspended and the magician is encouraged to best express themselves and not hold back on what they may be feeling. Also, it is notable that Satanism draws a line at the participants, stating that a successful working is more likely with a few Satanists who are concentrated on what they are doing than many who may be distracted.

Greater magic is most commonly divided into three categories: destruction, lust, and compassion. Each is considered a basic motivation for all actions, and Satanic ritual is said to fall into these three categories. LaVey elaborates on methods for focusing these motivations. For destruction, one can either act out or destroy a person symbolically in order to vent their anger and hatred. Lust rituals involve masturbation and orgasmic overtones. Compassion rituals concern sadness and crying is encouraged. Overall, full self expression is encouraged in Satanic ritual.

Much emphasis is placed on evocation and music. The last part of The Satanic Bible is dedicated to invocations and the nineteen Enochian Keys, originally written by John Dee. Music is encouraged because it is said to easily manipulate one's emotions, which contributes to the overall success of the rituals.

[edit] The Black Mass

The "Black Mass", a symbolic opposition of the church used in the past, but are not used in the current day by Satanists, as Anton LaVey explained in an interview with Occult America.[19]

"He did not, however, go along with the dramatization of evil as performed in the original Black Mass. “Those,” he explained, “were psychodramas at a time when people needed them. They had to express their opposition, their rebellion against an established church. Our rituals are suitably modified to express the needs of our particular era.”

Anton LaVey stated in The Satanic Bible (The chapter in the Book of Lucifer called The Black Mass):

"The usual assumption is that the Satanic ceremony or service is always called a black mass. A black mass is not the magical ceremony practiced by Satanists. The Satanist would only employ the use of a black mass as a form of psychodrama. Furthermore, a black mass does not necessarily imply that the performers of such are Satanists. A black mass is essentially a parody of the religious service of the Roman Catholic Church, but can be loosely applied to a satire on any religious ceremony."

LaVey went on to call it a redundancy, and it is commonly misinterpreted that the Church of Satan has performed actual Black Masses, however using baby-fat candles and kissing the devil's buttocks (both are common practices outlined in the chapter) would be both contradictory and hypocritical for a Satanist to do. In the 1950s Anton LaVey held a magic circle, or coven, at his home for a charge before the legendary event of shaving his head and announcing Anno Satanas. Afterwards, the prominent members of The Church of Satan held 'High Mass' on Friday nights at The Black House, as verified in the Occult America interview aforementioned. The videos and articles of the rituals and Satanic Marriage performed there are legendary.

[edit] Satanic holidays

The most important holiday in Satanism is one's own birthday, as it is the birthdate of one's own god. This is as a reminder that to a Satanist, you are the most important being in the universe, and to honor your own vital existence and your life. LaVey recommends that a Satanist celebrate their own birthday in any way they choose, with as much pomp and ceremony as they see fit. The Satanic celebration of the birthday can also be seen as a mockery of the holidays commemorating the birth of various gods or saints in other religions.

Three Satanic holidays are named by Anton LaVey in The Satanic Bible but are not considered sacred.

One among these holidays is Walpurgisnacht, which in addition to the occult significance the date carries, also marks the formation of the Church of Satan in the year 1966, or I Annos Satanas. This date is commonly celebrated by Satanists with private or group rituals, and private parties or family celebrations to commemorate the foundation of the Church of Satan.

LaVey also mentions the summer and winter solstices, and the spring and fall equinoxes as lesser holidays. These are likewise often celebrated by ritual or private party; however, they are sometimes also used to substitute popular holidays that Satanists wish to avoid imparting a Christian overtone to but still wish to celebrate in some form.

Halloween is very commonly celebrated by Satanists, but typically there is far less occult significance attached to the date by Satanists than the public might imagine. Halloween is a popular date for both private and group ritual ceremonies, but also a popular date for Satanists to hold private parties for no other purpose than to enjoy the dark fun that is commonly celebrated on that date by the public at large. If anything, Satanists seem to take a sense of irony and humor in the holiday.[citation needed]

Satanism does not specifically forbid the celebration of any holidays or festivals held by other cultures or even other religions. Entirely secular holidays are commonly celebrated by Satanists either for personal reasons or merely as an excuse to have a good time. It is not entirely uncommon for Satanists to even celebrate overtly Christian holidays such as Christmas, though the religious trappings are generally stripped from the holiday, secularizing it. Many Satanists, however, either transfer such holidays as Christmas to the Winter Solstice and either place a darker spin on it or secularize it entirely, or decline to celebrate such holidays altogether.

Of recent note, June 6th, 2006 marked a Satanic High Mass in Hollywood, California by the Church of Satan. This celebration was by invitation only and limited to 100 attendees, and was held in large part to mock the superstitious fear of the date by the public. The date 06/06/06 does not hold special religious significance in Satanism, nor does the number 666. The event was documented, and many members of the Church of Satan were interviewed, by the BBC with permission.[citation needed]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ LaVey, Anton (1969). The Satanic Bible. Avon. p. 40. : "It is a common misconception that the Satanist does not believe in God...To the Satanist, "God" - by whatever name he is called, or by no name at all - is seen as a balancing factor..."
  2. ^
  3. ^ Aquino, Michael (2002). The Church of Satan. 
  4. ^ Steiger, Brad (1999). The Werewolf Book. Visible Ink Press. 
  5. ^ "Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology". 'Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology'. Gale Group Inc.. 1996. 
  6. ^ a b Satanic Source Sheet
  7. ^ Pretenders to the Throne - Peter H. Gilmore
  8. ^ Aquino, Michael (2002). The Temple of Set. 
  9. ^ First Satanic Church
  10. ^ a b Interview with Peter H. Gilmore, David Shankbone, Wikinews', November 5, 2007.
  11. ^ Satanism: The Feared Religion
  12. ^ Cotterell, Arthur (1990-04-19). 'A Dictionary of World Mythology'. USA: Oxford University Press. 
  13. ^ Paradise, Matt G. "World Mythology". Retrieved on 2007-04-13. 
  14. ^ Hernandez, L.. ""What in Hell is 'Satan'?". Retrieved on 2007-04-13. 
  15. ^ LaVey, Anton (1969). The Satanic Bible. Avon. 
  16. ^ Eleven Rules of the Earth
  17. ^ The Nine Satanic Sins
  18. ^ LaVey, Anton (1969). The Satanic Bible. Avon. 
  19. ^ LaVey: Occult America

[edit] External links

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