The Church of Satan was founded in California on Walpurgisnacht in 1966 by one Anton Szandor Lavey. The Church of Satan has long been a source of contention, because a great many people have the bad habit of equating the Church of Satan with all the diabolical charges of human sacrifice and black magic.
Ironically there is some truth in this since the Church of Satan was designed to shock the sensibilities of the Christian West at the time that it was launched. However the Church of Satan is very much a product of its era: the swinging sixties.
To quote one academic authority:
‘LaVey, determinately materialistic, rejects contemporary witchcraft as namby-pamby ethicalism and dismisses ceremonial magic as ‘sanctimonious fraud’ and ‘esoteric gibberish’. The contemptible Judeo-Christian is the root of our present misery for it has taught us to repress our true, selfish feelings. Eastern religions are much better. On the whole, LaVey’s Bible is crude popular psychology seasoned with black altars, gongs, bells, chalices and nudity. Why bother with such trappings? Because, LaVey explains, ‘man needs ceremony and ritual, fantasy and enchantment up, the wonder and fantasy which religion, in the past, has provided.’ (1)
Thus one Christian writer has aptly characterised the Church of Satan as follows:
‘LaVey, however, is hardly your fiendish, blood-sucking, baby-killing Satanist. If nothing else, he has been far too public of a persona. A serious look at what he has written will illustrate the point that the Church of Satan is basically a hedonistic cult; a king of playboy fantasy.’ (2)
This image of the Church of Satan as an attempt to form a large playboy cult with free advertising provided in the shock value and resultant widespread press coverage of the performance of alleged ‘satanic rituals’ is much closer to the truth than the turgid fantasy of a widespread Satanic cult sacrificing babies in midnight rituals to their dark master. (3)
It is true that the Church of Satan did spawn a sect that was actually devoted to ‘worshipping the Prince of Darkness’ in the form of Michael Aquino’s ‘Temple of Set’ – which I will cover in a separate article – but regardless of this offspring: the Church of Satan itself worships nothing but hedonism. (4)
Indeed when we peel back the public relations stunts and the overly dramatic rituals we begin to see that the Church of Satan is a rather pathetic attempt to rival Hugh Hefner’s ‘Playboy’ pornography empire.
This becomes evident when we examine the so-called ‘satanic rituals’ :
‘The equipment required is set out in detail. Black hooded robes should be worn by the male participants; younger women should dress attractively but older women wear black. Black is symbolic of the Powers of Darkness and the sexually suggestive of the young women will stimulate the sexual feeling in the men. All participants should wear amulets of either the pentagram or the Baphomet.’ (5)
‘‘The symbol of Baphomet is also placed behind the altar. The objects required are: candles, all black except for one white one, which is associated with destructive magic and is placed to the right of the altar to represent the right-hand path magicians; a bell, which is rung nine times to mark the beginning and end of the ritual; a chalice, which may be of any material except gold; an alcoholic drink, to represent the Elixir of Life that will be drunk from the chalice (LaVey was reputed to use whisky); a sword, representing aggressive force; a model phallus, to be used as a sprinkler for water asperged in benediction; a gong ‘with a full rich tone’; and parchment (or failing that paper), on which requests to Satan are written before being burnt in the flame of a candle. In private rituals not all the paraphernalia is necessary.’ (6)
From this it is evident that the focus is heavily on the sexual arousal of men as a preparation to sex itself, while those who are not attractive – such as older women – are encouraged to dress plainly, because they are not objects of sexual desire to the men.
Evidence this can also be found in the fact that in 1968 LaVey launched a significant marketing campaign at the University of Berkeley in California designed to attract the young students to the Church of Satan, which was an utter failure. (7)
The reason for this is that LaVey was not interested in drugs and strongly criticised the drunken state, which naturally made the students of Berkeley – not exactly known to their aversion to drugs or drink – view LaVey and the Church of Satan as a socially conservative group operating in a completely different era of transgressive politics. (8)
Interestingly this corroborates with what little membership data we have for the Church of Satan.
LaVey famously asserted that the Church of Satan’s mailing list had 7,000 subscribers – sometimes misstated as 70,000 - for their periodical ‘The Cloven Hoof’ , but the reality is that only 20-30 people out of an active membership of 50-60 people participated in any rituals. (9)
Of this group most were over 30 and weren’t exactly in the prime of their lives. (10)
Hence the campaign to try and recruit nubile presumably female teenagers and twenty-somethings by running a promotion campaign at Berkeley. That this failed spectacularly condemned LaVey’s dreams of creating a satanic coven of attractive young women who provided sexual services at his beck and call. To the sordid reality that the Church of Satan – then as now – is a group of geriatrics gyrating in the belief that they can be nineteen again if only they can engage in enough depravity to make it happen.
This rather puts the Church of Satan in the position of in reality being a sad collection of old fogies getting their kicks out of frequent fornication rather than actually practising human sacrifice and black magic that their public relations image implicitly suggests.
What may you ask is the connection of the Church of Satan to the jews?
Well it just so happens that Anton Szandor LaVey was jewish (11) and that the so-called ‘satanic creed’ was simply the jewish philosopher of Ayn Rand’s then fashionable ideology of ‘objectivism’ combined with some impressive-sounding occultic psychobabble. (12)
Complete coincidence: no?
- Jeffrey Russell, 1980, ‘A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics and Pagans’ , 1st Edition, Thames & Hudson: London, p. 146
- Peter Levenda, 2007, ‘Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult’ , 2nd Edition, Continuum: New York, p. 338
- Jean La Fontaine, 1999, ‘Satanist and pseudo-satanist groups’ , p. 96 in Willem de Blecourt, Jean La Fontaine, Ronald Hutton (Eds.), 1999, ‘The Athlone History of Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Twentieth Century’ , 1st Edition, The Athlone Press: London
- Russell, Op. Cit., p. 144
- La Fontaine, Op. Cit., p. 98
- Ibid, p. 100
- http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/8/27/1124666/-The-Paul-Ryan-Ayn-Rand-Satanism-Connection-Made-Simple; http://www.churchofsatan.com/satanism-and-objectivism.php