When you think of the term Satanism, what do you think of? A man with a goats head holding a pitch fork? Men in black robes trying to resurrect the devil? To be honest, these where the images that came to my mind when I thought of Satanism, but as Ive come to find out, I was wrong. There are many different types of Satanism, but for this presentation, I would like to examine Satanism as defined by the Church of Satan, started by Anton LaVey.
Anton Szandor LaVey was born in 1930. Soon after his birth, he and his parents moved from Chicago Illinois, to California. As a boy, LaVey was drawn to the darker things in life, such as books like Frankenstein, and Dracula. Later he started reading some of the writings of Aleister Crowley, a man commonly associated with the occult.
As Anton became older, he started working for his local police department, specializing in paranormal cases. He also played the organ in various local gigs. Throughout this Anton LaVey started to become a local celebrity in his own town. It was the 1950s, right before the emergence of the 60s counterculture, and different theories and philosophies about life where starting to emerge. Being the local celebrity that he was, and drawling the likes of Chester A. Arthur III the former Presidents grandson, Kenneth Agner (a film maker), among others, LaVey began to host Friday night lectures at his home. Eventually, someone suggested to LaVey that his theorys had a basis to start a new religion. But LaVeys religion was different one, the likes of which, the world had never seen.
So on the night of April 30, 1966 The Church of Satan was born. 1966 was declared Year One-Anno Satanas-The First Year of the Age of Satan, and soon after, the Satanic Bible was written.
One of the biggest misconceptions I think people have about Satanism is that Satanists believe in the Biblical Devil. Satanists actually do not. They also dont believe in a god or an afterlife. So what is Satan? Satan is a metaphor; a metaphor representing self indulgence. Satan is mans carnal, or natural instincts to be greedy, lustful, prideful, envious, vengeful, and knowledge seekers, among many other things.
Though out history, Satan has been the one people blamed for causing sin in the world. The Devil made me do it is even a popular phrase still said today. A Satanist sees sin, as a natural, thing, and since most sinning is mentally, physically, and emotionally gratifying why not do it! They just use Satan to represent this sin. Now this doesnt mean that Satanists condone killing, raping, steeling, or anything of that nature. In fact those are all condoned in the Eleven Rules of the Earth.
Satanism is a very personal religion, and varies among person to person, because each individual is striving to meet their own goals. It makes it very hard for them to gather, and hold formal meetings like you would expect to find in your more mainstream religions. In fact the Church of Satan would prefer there to be no Satanic Community, or large gatherings of fellow Satanists.
However, there is an acceptation to this. Small group gatherings are acceptable, or gatherings for the use of ritual magic.
Magic in Satanism plays a key role. It is used to help you gain what you desire.
Magic, as we are told in the Satanic Bible falls into two categories: lesser, and greater magic.
Lesser magic can be seen as manipulative magic. Using how you look, talk, and move to manipulate people into doing what you want. The evil eye is a good thing to compare lesser magic too.
The second type is Greater Magic. Greater magic is your ritualistic magic. Its function is to take emotional energy and convert it into a transmittable force. There are three types of ritual magic. The first is a Lust ritual. Its end result would be to fulfill lustful desires. The second ritual is a compassion ritual. The end result is to either help someone or yourself with their health, business, happiness or anything else you can think of. The third type of ritual is done for destruction. This could be compared to a hex.
The Satanic Bible recognizes that some may look at the Churchs use of magic, as just applied psychology, or science. They do not deny this, and add that Magic is never totally scientifically explainable, but science has always been, at one time or another, considered magic.
I know this paper was short, and that I could only briefly cover a few aspects of Satanism, but I hope you have a better view on the theory and practice of this religion. Thank you.