May 13, 2014
Since Satanism is increasingly arousing public interest and is becoming socially acceptable, I decided to make a deeper research on this topic. What I have found surprised me in a way I didn’t expect. Then, it surprised me again.
Accordingly to Wikipedia, Anton LaVey was the founder of the Church of Satan (1966), as well as the author of the Satanic Bible that has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism.
LEFT: Anton Szandor LaVey (┼ October 29, 1997), the founder of LaVeyan Satanism
He named his third child Satan Xerxes, who as well became a Satanist
In The Book of Satan which is one of four books in the Satanic Bible, the Nine Satanic Statements can be found. These statements outline the basic ideology of LaVeyan Satanism, so we don’t want to miss them here:
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!
Does this sound evil to you? I think these are straight and honest statements, made by someone who apparently bothered himself about the nature of human beings. In his days as organ player, LaVey observed the following, as cited in the Satanic Bible:
“On Saturday night I would see men lusting after half-naked girls dancing at the carnival, and on Sunday morning when I was playing the organ for tent-
show evangelists at the other end of the carnival lot, I would see these same men sitting in the pews with their wives and children, asking God to forgive
them and purge them of carnal desires. And the next Saturday night they’d be back at the carnival or some other place of indulgence.
“I knew then that the Christian Church thrives on hypocrisy, and that man’s carnal nature will out!”
God and Satan
Satanists don’t like to delude themselves about being something special and privileged by ‘God’. They reject such a self-image calling it “hypocritical self-deceit” (#3) which is one of The Nine Satanic Sins, btw.
“To the Satanist “God” – by whatever name he is called, or by no name at all – is seen as the balancing factor in nature, and not as being concerned with suffering. This powerful force which permeates and balances the universe is far too impersonal to care about the happiness or misery of flesh-and-blood creatures on this ball of dirt upon which we live.” (Book of Lucifer, Wanted! God Dead or Alive)
As you have further noticed, in the Satanic Statements it reads “Satan represents…” and it’s not referred to Satan as a figure. Satan is only chosen as a symbol for their philosophies and beliefs. A Satanist neither believes in God as an external entity nor in Satan. They are actually Atheists (mind you: Atheists are not automatically Satanists), and they call those who worship Satan as a real being ‘inverted Christians’.
In the Satanic Bible it reads that: “Entertaining as they might be, most stories and plays about Devil worship must be recognized as the obsolete absurdities they are.” (Book of Lucifer, The Enlightenment)
If you have a closer look at statement #9, this is the only one describing Satan as an individual like Christianity sees it. In opposite to Satanism, Christianity considers Satan as an individual evil being whos temptation must be avoided at all costs. So the Christian church might be the reason why the majority thinks that Satanists worship the evil creature Satan. It’s a big misunderstanding.
The Church of Satan
Let’s see what we can find on the official site of the Church of Satan. The welcome text sounds pretty honest to me. Here are some excerpts, along with a screenshot I have taken:
“[Satan] represents pride, liberty, and individualism — qualities often defined as Evil by those who worship external deities, who feel there is a war between their minds and emotions.
As Anton LaVey explained in his classic work The Satanic Bible, Man — using his brain — invented all the Gods, doing so because many of our species cannot accept or control their personal egos, feeling compelled to conjure up one or a multiplicity of characters who can act without hindrance or guilt upon whims and desires.”
“Since the Satanist understands that all Gods are fiction, instead of bending a knee in worship to — or seeking friendship or unity with — such mythical entities, he places himself at the center of his own subjective universe as his own highest value.”
No surprise, it corresponds to what we have seen in the Nine Satanic Statements above. Satanists are their own Gods. There are no external deities (not even Satan!). A Satanist is aware of and accepts their deficiencies and desires, as well as their ability to give pleasure to others, and they love pleasure and gratification.
You will be surprised when you click on the “Join the Church of Satan” option. They don’t try to convince you of the benefits of their ‘church’, they are not after new members like most of the known churches and religious communities. First of all, you are being encouraged to read The Satanic Bible “and study it prior to making a decision about joining our [their] organization.” It goes on to say that “…it is worthwhile to read this book [The Satanic Scriptures] as well so that your decision to affiliate will be an informed one.”
Can you imagine the Christian church giving you such suggestions before making a decision about a membership? Only the minority of Christians have read the Bible, and many of those who have, became Atheists since they recognized how inconsistent and irrational that ‘holy book’ is, full of discrimination and violence. If you are a Christian and missed to read your ‘holy book’ by now, I encourage you to catch up on it.
But back to the Satanists
Now, before you charge the website of The Church of Satan in order to become a member because the Nine Satanic Statements appeal to you, be aware that you will have to pay US Dollar 200,- for joining. Satanists are not altruists, but to be fair, they “emphasize that you don’t have to join our [their] organization to consider yourself a Satanist, you only need to recognize yourself in The Satanic Bible and live according to the tenets outlined therein.” At this point I don’t want to leave out that most Christian churches charge their members up to 10% of the yearly income and they don’t accept you being a Christian ‘only in your heart’, not getting money either from you directly or from the state you live in. At least you won’t find hypocrisy among Satanists which is worth of being recognized in my view.
The Satanic Bible
I had a look at the Book of Satan and interestingly, it reminded me of Nietzsche‘s philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Like Zarathustra who turns traditional morality on its head and pronounces the death of God, the Book of Satan challenges the moral dogmas imposed upon humanity and demand their justification.
“For I stand forth to challenge the wisdom of the world; to interrogate the “laws” of man and of “God”!” (Book of Satan I 3.)
“I question all things. As I stand before the festering and varnished facades of your haughtiest moral dogmas, I write thereon in letters of blazing scorn: Lo and behold; all this is fraud!” (Book of Satan II 2.)
Satanism about love and hate
In Satanism, love is nothing to be taken for granted. Love and respect must be earned. If anything is used too freely it loses its true meaning. “If you try to love everyone you only lessen your feelings for those who deserve your love.” (Book of Lucifer, Love and Hate) Do you remember the Satanic statement #4? – “kindness to those who deserve it”.
Satanists also accept hate which, together with love, is one of the most intense human emotions.
In the Book of Satan you can find the following lines:
1. “Love one another” it has been said is the supreme law, but what power made it so?
Upon what rational authority does the gospel of love rest? Why should I not hate mine enemies – if I “love” them does that not place me at their mercy?
2. Is it natural for enemies to do good unto each other – and WHAT IS GOOD?
(Book of Satan III)
To be fair, these sound like legitimate questions.
“The Satanist believes you should love strongly and completely those who deserve your love, but never turn the other cheek to your enemy!” (Book of Lucifer, Love and Hate)
Satanism about life and death
I think, the Book of Satan sums this point very good up in a single phrase:
“Life is the great indulgence – death, the great abstinence. Therefore, make the most of life – HERE AND NOW !” (Book of Satan IV 1.)
If you don’t believe in any afterlife, this seems to be the only logical consequence but does it make Satanists automatically an unbridled horde? I say, no. If the lack of beliefs in afterlife would lead to an unrestrained style of living, all Atheists and many others would live like there is no tomorrow, but they don’t. I think, every human being who is capable of empathy and has got a reasoning mind, lives responsible.
You wouldn’t recognize someone as Satanist when standing in front of him. He can be good or evil, helpful or ignorant, exactly like every other human being on this planet.
Moreover, there are The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth which advise how to behave in a specific ‘territory’, for example:
3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.
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 he cries out to be relieved.
11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.
Right and Wrong, The Nine Satanic Sins
In the Book of Lucifer is said:
“When a Satanist commits a wrong, he realizes that it is natural to make a mistake – and if he is truly sorry about what he has done, he will learn from it and take care not to do the same thing again. If he is not honestly sorry about what he has done, and knows he will do the same thing over and over, he has no business confessing and asking forgiveness in the first place. But this is exactly what happens. People confess their sins so that they can clear their consciences – and be free to go out and sin again, usually the same sin.” (Book of Lucifer, Wanted! God Dead or Alive)
To be honest, LaVey has a very good point here. This is exactly what people do. I call it hypocrisy. Imagine you believe in some kind of God who expects appropriate behaviour from the mankind and you did wrong. Don’t you take him for a fool when asking for forgiveness, knowing you would do it again? Don’t you take him for a fool when doing something and having at the back of your mind that you will confess anyway? Isn’t it ignorance and lack of respect towards your God? Let me also ask: Do you need a God and the fear of punishment in order to live responsible and to learn from your faults? This is the difference between religious people who believe in a creator God and Atheists, btw. The religious think they need the religion for a proper and moral living. Atheists don’t and they prove it every day. But back to the Satanists.
You might wonder if there is such a concept like sins in Satanism. Indeed, there have been defined The Nine Satanic Sins, which are quite interesting:
5. Herd Conformity
6. Lack of Perspective
7. Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies
8. Counterproductive Pride
9. Lack of Aesthetics
You can read some details about them on the official site of the Church of Satan. Let us consider here only one of them: #9, Lack of Aesthetics, as this one sounds very unusual for being a sin.
“…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.” (Nine Satanic Sins)
Fair enough. In this case it’s time for a bit Satanic Magic and rituals, and this is where it begins to get weird. Still, it’s all real.
In the Book of Belial you can find the theory and practice of Satanic Magic. It is defined as: “The change in situations or events in accordance with one’s will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable.” (Book of Belial, The theory and practice of Satanic Magic)
In Satanism there is no difference between ‘White Magic’ and ‘Black Magic’. What is pleasure to one, is pain to another, and the same applies to “good” and “evil”.
They differentiate between the so called ‘Greater Magic’ which is a ceremonial magic, and the ‘Lesser Magic’ which is manipulative magic, also called ‘the evil eye’.
The Satanic Bible teaches that “The most important asset to the modern witch is her ability to be alluring, or to utilize glamour. The word ‘fascination’ has a similarly occult origin. Fascination was the term applied to the evil eye. To fix a person’s gaze, in other words, fascinate, was to curse them with the evil eye.” (Book of Belial, The theory and practice of Satanic Magic)
Did you notice how many celebrities show their evil eye? Now you know where it comes from, but let us continue.
“To manipulate a person, you must first be able to attract and hold his attention.”, says the book. This is done by one of the three categories: sex, sentiment or wonder (or a combination of them). This applies to both, men and women. For example, in the wonder category a woman is strange or awesome in her appearance, so “she can manipulate people simply because they are fearful of the consequences should they not do as she asks.” The man in the same category would present a sinister or diabolic appearance. Now we close up on why Aesthetics is important for Lesser Magic (see sin #9).
Visual imagery is another important tool. The Satanic Bible assures that it’s important for emotional reactions and it’s foolish to assume that visual imagery doesn’t mean anything.
Odor is another important manipulative factor in lesser magic. Especially natural body odors as sexual stimulants are meant here.
There are three types of Satanic rituals: sex rituals, compassion rituals and destruction rituals. Each of them corresponds to a basic human emotion. The purpose of a sex ritual is to “create desire on the part of the person whom you desire, or to summon a sex partner to fulfill your desires.” (Book of Belial, The three types of Satanic ritual)
“The compassion, or sentiment, ritual is performed for the purpose of helping others, or helping oneself.” The ceremony of destruction is used for “anger, annoyance, disdain, contempt, or just plain hate”. How these rituals are accomplished is described in details in the Book of Leviathan.
The book says that it’s not necessary for the victim of such a ritual to believe in its powers. The enchantment or curse depends only on the ‘receptivity’ of the person who is to receive the blessing or curse. “Receptivity to the will of the magician is assured when the recipient is as passive as possible. No matter how strong-willed one is, he is naturally passive while he is asleep; therefore, the best time to throw your magical energy towards your target is when he or she sleeps.” (Book of Belial, The ingredients used in the performance of Satanic magic) Men are said to be more receptive for magic than women, btw. When asked “Is there no defense against such witchery?”, a Satanist would answer: “Yes, there is protection. You must never sleep, never daydream, never be without a vital thought, and never have an open mind. Then you shall be protected from the forces of magic.”
Let us consider a few of the ritual devices and ingredients.
“Satanism is a religion of the flesh, rather than of the spirit; therefore, an altar of flesh is used in Satanic ceremonies. The purpose of an altar is to serve as a focal point towards which all attention is focused during a ceremony. A nude woman is used as the altar in Satanic rituals because woman is the natural passive receptor, and represents the earth mother. In some rituals nudity for the woman serving as altar may be impractical, so she may be clothed or partially covered.” (The Satanic Ritual, Devices used in a Satanic ritual)
Symbol of the pentagram and Baphomet
The symbol of Baphomet was used by the Knights Templar to represent Satan. Baphomet represents the Powers of Darkness combined with the generative fertility of the
goat. (The Satanic Ritual, Devices used in a Satanic ritual) Its horns represent duality. The pentagram that is used has three points down and two points up, that means it’s inverted. Since the pentagram symbolizes man’s spiritual nature and Satanism represents the opposite, the carnal instincts of man, the pentagram is being inverted to suit Satanism.
Animals in Satanic rituals (don’t worry, nothing terrible)
In Satanic rituals, parchment from the skin of a sheep which was killed for food, is used. According to the Satanic Bible, “an animal is never slaughtered for the purpose of using all or a part of that animal in a Satanic ritual”. (The Satanic Ritual, Devices used in a Satanic ritual) If no such parchment is available they simply use paper.
Moreover, #10 of The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth states: “Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.” Surprising, isn’t it? I remember stories about Satanists sacrificing black cats from my childhood. Either it has never happened or they weren’t Satanists but rather clueless imitators who believed the horrid propaganda of the church.
What is it actually about the number 666? I remember having read a book many years ago about the wonders and amazing properties of numbers. It was written only from the mathematical point of view and showed for example tricks how you can find out someone’s age without knowing theirs birthday. I had fun reading it. That book also explained why the number 666 is an astonishing one from the mathematical perspective. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the details but that it is special. I’m certain numerology has a good answer, too. Anyhow, the majority will know it from the Christian bible as ‘the number of the beast’. The Satanic Bible, though, doesn’t mention this number at all.
The propaganda of the Black Mass
The Black mass, as it was recently hosted by the Harvard Cultural Studies Club, is very associated with Satanism. Christian communities freaked out and tried to forbid the event. You will be surprised but “the black mass is not the magical ceremony practiced by Satanists” (Book of Lucifer, The black mass) It is a fraud and propaganda created by the church. They invented stories of unbaptized babies being stolen by Satanists for use in the black mass, so parents would get scared and let their babies baptize. As I already mentioned above, not even animals are slaughtered by Satanists but fear has always been a good friend of manipulation.
The Church of Satan says: “In recent years, we’ve wasted far too much time explaining that Satanism has nothing to do with kidnapping, drug abuse, child molestation, animal or child sacrifice, or any number of other acts that idiots, hysterics or opportunists would like to credit us with.”
I’m too tolerant with Satanism, you might think. Well, although I agree on many points with their philosophies, there are things I don’t share at all.
For example, in Satanism, greed is ok. Greed only means that you want more than you need. From greed arises ambition and without ambition nothing can be achieved. I think, greed is not ok at all. Greed leads to wars, slavery and to the exploitation of nature. Greed is the reason why the military-industrial complex dictates our lives and why so many suffer and die because of the greed of big pharma. Greed is the reason why 1% have more than they can spend and enjoy in hundreds of years, whereas 99% live from month to month, sometimes from day to day. Greed always happens at somebody’s charge or the charge of nature and environment. Therefore, greed is NOT OK to me.
Furthermore let’s have a look at their current goals as described on the official site of The Church of Satan, “the current thrust of Satanic advocacy”. One of them, maybe the most important one, is “Stratification”. Satanists don’t accept equality of all human beings. They say, supporting the weak happens at the expense of the strong and equality is another word for mediocrity. If you are weak it only means that you are incompetent and you shouldn’t be protected “from the effects of your own stupidity”.
I don’t say that we are all equal (I wouldn’t defend ignorant arrogant people either) but I think, summing someone’s ‘weakness’ up as stupidity is a fatal mistake. If you have no luck in this world and are born into a poor uneducated family (who probably didn’t have the chance to do better) and live in unfavorable geographic area, you will simply never get the chance to get ‘strong’. It’s an egoistic and restricted way of looking at things.
Anyway, stratification is something we are heading to. In the last years we can observe an accelerated splitting of the rich and the poor, the ‘strong’ and the ‘weak’. The survival of the fittest arrived at a point of brutal selection. I will write a separate article on this topic.
The ultimate question
Is Satanism evil?
Yes and no. I think they are not more or less evil than other theistic religions. The others are greedy bastards, too, additional they are hypocrites what Satanists are not. I don’t think you would like to annoy a Satanist since they have no mercy for enemies but you shouldn’t be afraid of a Satanist who likes and/or respects you, nor of something like devil, Satan ect. These fantasy figures don’t exist, not even for a Satanist. If you believe in such creatures you are at risk of being manipulated easily.
I hope I could give you a small impression of the basics of Satanism. On my little journey I have learned a lot and it was fun writing it. If you are a Satanist and think that I misunderstood something about the Satanic concept, please let me know.