The Church of Satan - Its Beliefs and Practices:
We will deal with Anton LaVey's below. It remains the largest and most influential Satanic tradition.
At the core of the Church of Satan are the nine Satanic Statements, written by Anton LaVey. In abridged form, they state that Satan represents:
LaVey's theology contain the following concepts:
- indulgence, not abstinence
- vital existence, not spiritual pipe dreams,
- undefiled wisdom, not hypocritical self-deceit
- kindness to those deserving of it, not love wasted on ingrates
- vengeance, not turning the other cheek
- responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires
- man as just another animal - the most vicious of all
- gratification of all ones desires
- the best friend that the Christian Church has had as he has kept it in business for centuries
LaVey's rituals and ceremonies contain the following concepts:
- People have created Gods in many forms; pick one that might be useful to you.
- Heaven and hell do not exist.
- Satan is unrelated to the modern (post 1400 AD) concept of the Christian devil. They look upon him as a God who represents the carnal, earthly, and mundane aspects of life.
- Satan is not a being; he is a force of nature.
- Ritual killing (of humans or animals) are not allowed. Blood drawn from a victim is useless. Victims are killed symbolically not actually.
- Human life is held in sacred regard.
- The highest of all Satanic holidays is the birthday of the Satanist. Of less importance are:
- Walpurgisnacht (evening of April 30) and Halloween (evening of October 31),
- Solstices in June and December,
- Equinoxes in March and September,
- Satanic Revels are held five to six weeks after each equinox and solstice
- Black Masses (parodies of the Roman Catholic religious service) are not normally performed by Satanists (except perhaps for their entertainment or publicity value)
The Church of Satan's rules of behavior include:
- Names used include Satan, Lucifer, Belial and Leviathan.
- Ceremonies are pageants, which are used to celebrate a person or element of faith.
- Magick rituals consist of three types:
- Sex magic (includes masturbation),
- Healing or happiness ritual, and
- Destruction ritual (may include sticking pins in a doll; drawing a picture or writing a description of the victim's death; delivering a soliloquy, etc.). Destruction rituals are best performed by a group.
- Male Satanists wear full length black robes, with or without a hood.
- Young women wear sexually suggestive clothing; older women wear all black.
- All Satanists wear amulets with the symbol of Baphomet, described above
- Altar: When the Satanic Bible was written (1969) a nude woman was customarily used as an altar, since Satanism is regarded as a religion of the flesh, not of the spirit. She reclined on an altar that was trapezoidal in shape, about 1 m high and 2 m long and placed against the West wall of the room. Her head pointed South. A live altar is now rarely used.
- One white candle is placed to the right of the altar; it symbolizes the belief of Satanists in the hypocrisy of "White Magicians" and Wiccans because of the latter's insistence to do no harm to others. At least one black candle, representing the Powers of Darkness, is placed to the left of the altar. Additional black candles are oriented as needed to provide sufficient illumination.
- The following tools are used:
- A bell is rung nine times at the beginning and end of the ritual; the Satanic priest rotates counter-clockwise as he rings the bell
- A chalice is ideally made of silver; it may not be formed of gold because that is a metal that Satanists believe that Wiccans use; LaVey's followers attempt to distance themselves as much as possible from Wicca. In fact, Wiccans use chalices made of various metals and other materials, including silver.
- Other ritual tools include a gong, sword, elixir (usually wine), phallus, and parchment. They and the chalice and bell are placed on a small table near the altar.
- The language used during magical ritual is Enochian, whose words variously sounds similar to Arabic, Hebrew or Latin. It was revealed to Dr. John Dee, court astrologer and metaphysician to Queen Elizabeth I, through his helper Edward Kelley. Kelley said that he was in contact with the Angels described in the Apocryphal book of Enoch.
The Church of Satan is highly decentralized, believing that a strong central organization is not desirable. Each Satanist is expected to follow his/her own path. Some other Satanic groups have a strongly organized structure.
- Prayer is useless; it distracts people from useful activity
- Enjoy indulgence instead of abstinence. Practice with joy all the seven deadly Christian sins (greed, pride, envy, anger, gluttony, and sloth)
- If a man smites you on one cheek, smash him on the other.
- Do onto others as they do onto you
- Engage in sexual activity freely, in accordance with your needs (which may be best realized through monogamy, or by having sex with many others; through heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality; using sexual fetishes as you wish; by yourself or with one or more persons). Sexual activity must be between consenting adults. The ideal is a monogamous relationship based on compatibility and commitment.
- Suicide is frowned upon.
- The Satanist needs no elaborate, detailed list of rules of behavior.
Local groups of Satanists are usually called grottos or temples, They correspond to Christian congregations and Wiccan covens. Satanists feel that Wiccans are hypocrites. because the latter restrict their work to positive, healing activities. Satanists use Magick and other rituals to benefit themselves and their friends, but also use these same rituals to harm their enemies. They have incorporated some anti-Wiccan elements in their rituals.
Satanists have been described as being violently anti-Christian in their beliefs and practices. Many authors, almost all conservative Christians, have described alleged Satanic rituals in which religious Satanists recite the Lord's Prayer backwards, or desecrate and use the host and wine that they have stolen from a cathedral. This is pure fiction that can be traced back to books written during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. Most Satanists' attitude towards Christianity and other world religions seems to be more of amusement and ridicule; their attitude towards Christians and other believers appears to be primarily pity. They do not single out Christianity, but criticize all other faiths. A minority of Satanic groups does take a strong anti-Christian stance; this is probably in response to persecution.