Greater and lesser magic

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Greater and lesser magic (known also as high and low magic or collectively Satanic magic) is a system of magic within LaVeyan Satanism. Outlined in The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey defined magic as "the change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable."[1] This definition incorporates two broadly distinguished kinds of Magic: Lesser (manipulative and situational) and Greater (ritual and ceremonial).[2] LaVey espoused the view that there was an objective reality to magic, and that it relied upon natural forces that were yet to be discovered by science.[3] He believed that the successful use of magic involved the magician manipulating these natural forces using the force of their own willpower.[3] LaVey also wrote of "the balance factor", insisting that any magical aims should be realistic.[4]

Contrary to popular belief, magic and ritual within Satanism does not involve animal or human sacrifice or the act of summoning demons. LaVeyan rituals sometimes include anti-Christian blasphemies, which are intended to have a liberating effect on the participants.[5] In some of the rituals, a naked woman serves as the altar; in these cases it is made explicit that the woman's body itself becomes the altar, rather than have her simply lying on an existing altar.[6] There is no place for sexual orgies in LaVeyan ritual.[6] Neither animal nor human sacrifice takes place.[6] Children are banned from attending these rituals, with the only exception being the Satanic Baptism, which is specifically designed to involve infants.[6]

Because Satanism is an atheistic and materialistic religion, phenomena that would be considered paranormal or supernatural are not applicable within Satanic magic; it is instead asserted that any unexplained phenomena which might occur as a result should be thought of as "supernormal".[7]

Some Satanists may practice the casting of hexes or curses within and outside of a formal ritual, though the validity of such a practice is subject to the individual doing it, while some dismiss spellcraft completely. Within this system of magic, the terms warlock and witch are most commonly used by, and to refer to, male and female practitioners, respectively.

Theory[edit]

LaVey explains his reasons for writing The Satanic Bible in a short preface. He speaks skeptically about volumes written by other authors on the subject of magic,[8] dismissing them as "nothing more than sanctimonious fraud" and "volumes of hoary misinformation and false prophecy." He complains that other authors do no more than confuse the subject. He mocks those who spend large amounts of money on attempts to follow rituals and learn about the magic shared in other occult books. He also notes that many of the existing writings on Satanic magic and ideology were created by "right-hand path" authors. He tells that The Satanic Bible contains both truth and fantasy, and declares, "What you see may not always please you, but you will see!"[9]

LaVey did not describe magic moralistically by discerning "White" (good) or "Black" (evil) varieties. Such neutrality correlates with LaVey's philosophical view of an impersonal, and therefore amoral, universe.[10]

White magic is supposedly utilized only for good or unselfish purposes, and black magic, we are told, is used only for selfish or "evil" reasons. Satanism draws no such dividing line. Magic is magic, be it used to help or hinder. The Satanist, being the magician, should have the ability to decide what is just, and then apply the powers of magic to attain his goals. - Anton LaVey

Much of LaVey's ideas on magic and ritual are outlined in The Satanic Bible. LaVey explains that some of the rituals are simply applied psychology or science, but that some contain parts with no scientific basis. The Satanic Rituals, published by LaVey in 1972, outlines the rituals more precisely.[11] The third book of The Satanic Bible describes rituals and magic.[12] According to Joshua Gunn, these are adapted from books of ritual magic such as Crowley's Magick: Elementary Theory.[13] The Satanic Rituals, published by LaVey in 1972, outlines the rituals more precisely, and contains the entire text of the Black Mass.[14] He explains that some of the rituals are simply applied psychology or science, but that some contain parts with no scientific basis. LaVey openly toyed with the use of literature and popular culture in other rituals and ceremonies, thus appealing to artifice, pageantry, and showmanship.[15] For instance, he published an outline of a ritual which he termed the "Call to Cthulhu" which drew upon the stories of the alien god Cthulhu authored by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. In this rite, set to take place at night in a secluded location near to a turbulent body of water, a celebrant takes on the role of Cthulhu and appears before the assembled Satanists, signing a pact between them in the language of Lovecraft's fictional "Old Ones".[16]

In the Book of Belial, he discusses three types of rituals: those for sex, compassion, and destruction. Sex rituals work to entice another person; compassion rituals work to improve health, intelligence, success, and so on; destruction rituals work to destroy another person.[17] LaVey advocates finding others with whom to practice Satanic rituals in order to reaffirm one's faith and avoid antisocial behavior. He particularly advocates group participation for destruction rituals, as compassion and sex rituals are more private in nature.[18] LaVey goes on to list the key components to successful ritual: desire, timing, imagery, direction, and "The Balance Factor" (awareness of one's own limitations).[19] Details for the various Satanic rituals are explained in The Book of Belial, and lists of necessary objects (such as clothing, altars, and the symbol of Baphomet) are given.[20]

Greater Magic, like Lesser, employs one or more of three major psycho-emotive themes: lust (sex), compassion (sentiment), and destruction (wonder). LaVey elaborates on methods for focusing these motivations. Lust rituals can involve masturbation, with orgasm as the goal. Compassion rituals are designed to evoke overwhelming pathos or sadness, and crying is strongly encouraged. Destruction rites involve the symbolic annihilation of an enemy through the use of "vicarious" human sacrifice often involving a customized effigy representing the intended victim which is then put through ritual fire, smashing, or other representation of obliteration. Greater Magic also resembles Lesser in the possibility of combining more than one of the three broad themes of emotion, when appropriate, in order to maximize the success of the working. In any case, full and exhausting self-expression is encouraged for productive 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.

Greater magic[edit]

From left to right: Karla LaVey, Diane Hegarty, and Anton LaVey ritualizing in The Black House, the original headquarters of the Church of Satan.

Greater magic is a ritual or ceremonial practice used 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 props and means suit their immediate emotional and psychological needs in order to bring their workings to an exhausting and complete climax. The Church of Satan claims that a mastery of Lesser Magic will contribute to a mastery of Greater Magic. The Satanic ritual is referred to as an "intellectual decompression chamber." Careful planning of the ritual form according to rational considerations of what means and props are most effective is executed before the rites begin, but during the ritual, skepticism and disbelief are willfully suspended, thus allowing the magicians to fully express their sexual or other emotional needs and frustrations, holding nothing back regarding their true and deep feelings. Also, it is notable that Satanism acknowledges that a Greater Magic working is much more likely to succeed with a few Satanists who are committed emotionally to and focused on what they are doing than with a throng who may all be distracted.

In The Satanic Rituals, LaVey makes a distinction between the ritual and the ceremony, stating that rituals "...are directed for a specific end that the performer desires", and that ceremonies are "...pageants paying homage to or commemorating an event, aspect of life, admired personage, or declaration of faith [...] a ritual is used to attain, while a ceremony serves to sustain".[21]

LaVey emphasized that in his tradition, Satanic rites came in two forms, neither of which were acts of worship; in his terminology, "rituals" were intended to bring about change, whereas "ceremonies" celebrated a particular occasion.[22] These rituals were often considered to be magical acts,[5] with LaVey's Satanism encouraging the practice of magic to aid one's selfish ends.[23] Much of Satanic ritual is designed for an individual to carry out alone; this is because concentration is seen as key to performing magical acts.[24] In The Satanic Bible, LaVey described three types of ritual in his religion: sex rituals designed to attract the desired romantic or sexual partner, compassionate rituals with the intent of helping people (including oneself), and destructive magic which seeks to do harm to others.[5] In designing these rituals, LaVey drew upon a variety of older sources, with scholar of Satanism Per Faxneld noting that LaVey "assembled rituals from a hodgepodge of historical sources, literary as well as esoteric".[25] In the Book of Belial, he discusses three types of rituals: those for sex, compassion, and destruction. Sex rituals work to entice another person; compassion rituals work to improve health, intelligence, success, and so on; destruction rituals work to destroy another person.[17] LaVey advocates finding others with whom to practice Satanic rituals in order to reaffirm one's faith and avoid antisocial behavior. He particularly advocates group participation for destruction rituals, as compassion and sex rituals are more private in nature.[18] LaVey goes on to list the key components to successful ritual: desire, timing, imagery, direction, and "The Balance Factor" (awareness of one's own limitations).[19] Details for the various Satanic rituals are explained in The Book of Belial, and lists of necessary objects (such as clothing, altars, and the symbol of Baphomet) are given.[20]

LaVey described a number of rituals in his book, The Satanic Rituals; these are "dramatic performances" with specific instructions surrounding the clothing to be worn, the music to be used, and the actions to be taken.[6] This attention to detail in the design of the rituals was intentional, with their pageantry and theatricality intending to engage the participants' senses and aesthetic senses at various levels and enhancing the participants' willpower for magical ends.[26] LaVey prescribed that male participants should wear black robes, while older women should wear black, and other women should dress attractively in order to stimulate sexual feelings among many of the men.[5] All participants are instructed to wear amulets of either the upturned pentagram or the image of Baphomet.[5]

According to LaVey's instructions, on the altar is to be placed an image of Baphomet. This should be accompanied by various candles, all but one of which are to be black. The lone exception is to be a white candle, used in destructive magic, which is kept to the right of the altar.[5] Also to be included are a bell which is rung nine times at the start and end of the ceremony, a chalice made of anything but gold, and which contains an alcoholic drink symbolizing the "Elixir of Life", a sword that represents aggression, a model phallus used as an aspergillum, a gong, and parchment on which requests to Satan are to be written before being burned.[5] Although alcohol was consumed in the Church's rites, drunkenness was frowned upon and the taking of illicit drugs was forbidden.[27]

The final book of The Satanic Bible emphasizes the importance of spoken word and emotion to effective magic.[12] An "Invocation to Satan" as well as three invocations for the three types of ritual are given.[28] The "Invocation to Satan" commands the dark forces to grant power to the summoner, and lists the Infernal names for use in the invocation. The "Invocation employed towards the conjuration of lust" is used for attracting the attentions of another. Both male and female versions of the invocation are provided. The "Invocation employed towards the conjuration of destruction" commands the dark forces to destroy the subject of the invocation. The "Invocation employed towards the conjuration of compassion" requests protection, health, strength, and the destruction of anything ailing the subject of the invocation.[28] The rest of The Book of Leviathan is composed of the Enochian Keys, which LaVey adapted from Dee's original work. They are given in Enochian and also translated into English.[29] LaVey provides a brief introduction that credits Dee and explains some of the history behind the Enochian Keys and language. He maintains that the translations provided are an "unvarnishing" of the translations performed by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the 1800s,[30] but others accuse LaVey of simply changing references to Christianity with those to Satan.[31]

Phrases[edit]

Hail Satan a common greeting and ritual term in the Church of Satan, both in its English form, Hail Satan, as well as in the Latin version of it, Ave Satanas. When Ave Satanas is used, it is often preceded by the term Rege Satanas ("Reign, Satan"). (Rege Satanas can be heard in the video of a widely publicized Church of Satan wedding performed by LaVey on February 1, 1967.[32]) The combination "Rege Satanas, Ave Satanas, Hail Satan!" is found as a greeting in early Church of Satan correspondence,[33] as well as in their 1968 recording The Satanic Mass,[34] and ultimately in their 1969 book The Satanic Bible.[35] The phrase is used in some versions of the Black Mass,[36] where it often accompanies the phrase Shemhamforash and is said at the end of each prayer. This rite was performed by the Church of Satan[37] appearing in the documentary Satanis in 1969.[38]

Lesser magic[edit]

Lesser Magic is a system of manipulation that incorporates one or more of three main psychological themes: sex, sentiment, and wonder. The first theme is virtually self-explanatory – sexual seduction is the main aim of the working; the term "sentiment" refers to ideas or impressions of innocence or those inspiring contentment, compassion, or even amusement; and "wonder" often denotes ideas of austerity and awe or impressions provoking fear or submissiveness on the part of the recipient. But these themes can be combined, when appropriate, to multiply psychological impact by increasing the number of complex and simultaneous emotional responses from the recipient. To build his theories concerning Lesser Magic, Anton LaVey seems to have taken inspiration, at least partly, from The Command to Look by photographer William Mortensen and to have capitalized on its strategies, thus prompting the practicing Satanist to expand on whichever of the three major themes he (or she) seems to naturally exhibit.

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.

LaVey explains that, in order to control a person, one must first attract his or her attention. He gives three qualities that can be employed for this purpose: sex appeal, sentiment (cuteness or innocence), and wonder. He also advocates the use of odor.[39]

The Black Mass[edit]

LaVey also developed his own Black Mass, which was designed as a form of deconditioning to free the participant from any inhibitions that they developed living in Christian society.[40] He noted that in composing the Black Mass rite, he had drawn upon the work of Charles Baudelaire and Joris-Karl Huysmans.[41]

When Anton Szandor LaVey published his Satanic Bible in 1969, he wrote that:

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. - Anton LaVey

LaVey went on to call it a redundancy; the equivalent of 'flogging a dead horse.' (See: The Satanic Bible. The 'dead horse' in this case being conservative Christian dogma). Historical Black Masses (as described by the fearfully imaginative) would often involve candles made of baby-fat and the Osculum Infame (kissing the Devil's arse). Both are entirely in opposition to Church of Satan edicts – not bending a knee in acquiescence to any god or devil, and not harming children – and would therefore be both contradictory and hypocritical for a Satanist.

Rather than hold a 'Black Mass,' in 1966 Anton LaVey held a ceremony at his home ('The Black House') before shaving his head and announcing Anno Satanas – the (first) Year of Satan. Afterwards, prominent members of the Church of Satan would hold 'High Mass' on Friday nights at The Black House, as verified in the aforementioned interview.

He went on in the Satanic Rituals (1972) to present it as the most representatively satanic ritual in the book.[42] LaVey further explained his stance in an interview with Occult America. [43] 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."

Symbolism[edit]

Four Crown Princes of Hell[edit]

Main article: The infernal names

LaVey utilized the symbolism of the Four Crown Princes of Hell in The Satanic Bible, with each chapter of the book being named after each Prince. The Book of Satan: The Infernal Diatribe, The Book of Lucifer: The Enlightenment, The Book of Belial: Mastery of the Earth, and The Book of Leviathan: The Raging Sea.[44] This association was inspired by the demonic hierarchy from The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage.

  • Satan (Hebrew) "Lord of the Inferno":

The adversary, representing opposition, the element of fire, the direction of the south, and the Sigil of Baphomet during ritual.

  • Lucifer (Roman) "The Morning Star":

The bringer of light, representing pride and enlightenment, the element of air, the direction of the east, and candles during ritual.

  • Belial (Hebrew) "Without a Master":

The baseness of the earth, independence and self-sufficiency, the element of earth, the direction of the north, and the sword during ritual.

The great dragon, representing primal secrecy, the element of water, the direction of the west, and the chalice during ritual.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Petersen 2012, p. 95; Lap 2013, p. 96.
  2. ^ Petersen 2012, pp. 95–96; Lap 2013, p. 97.
  3. ^ a b Lewis 2002, p. 4.
  4. ^ Lap 2013, p. 98.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g La Fontaine 1999, p. 98.
  6. ^ a b c d e La Fontaine 1999, p. 97.
  7. ^ High Priest, Magus Peter H. Gilmore. "F.A.Q. Demonic Possession, Strange Dreams, Diabolical Destiny - churchofsatan.com". churchofsatan.com. 
  8. ^ Mathews 2009, p. 55.
  9. ^ LaVey 2005, pp. 21–22.
  10. ^ LaVey, Anton (1969). The Satanic Bible. Avon. 
  11. ^ LaVey 2005, p. 110.
  12. ^ a b Steiger 2003, p. 301.
  13. ^ Gunn 2005, p. 102.
  14. ^ Steiger 2003, p. 302.
  15. ^ Petersen 2012, pp. 106–107.
  16. ^ Petersen 2012, p. 106.
  17. ^ a b LaVey 2005, pp. 114–117.
  18. ^ a b LaVey 2005, p. 119.
  19. ^ a b LaVey 2005, pp. 121–128.
  20. ^ a b LaVey 2005, pp. 130–136.
  21. ^ "The Satanic Rituals Spell Book". google.com. 
  22. ^ La Fontaine 1999, p. 98; Lap 2013, p. 97.
  23. ^ Medway 2001, p. 21.
  24. ^ La Fontaine 1999, pp. 98–99.
  25. ^ Faxneld 2013, p. 88.
  26. ^ La Fontaine 1999, pp. 97, 98.
  27. ^ La Fontaine 1999, p. 100.
  28. ^ a b LaVey 2005, pp. 144–152.
  29. ^ Lavey 2005, pp. 155–272.
  30. ^ LaVey 2005, p. 155.
  31. ^ Lewis 2003, p. 112.
  32. ^ Video of 1967 Church of Satan wedding.
  33. ^ Published in Aquino, Michael (2002). The Church of Satan. .
  34. ^ LaVey, Anton, The Satanic Mass, LP (Murgenstrumm Records, 1968)
  35. ^ LaVey, Anton (1969). The Satanic Bible (PDF). p. 75. ISBN 0-380-01539-0. 
  36. ^ Melech, Aubrey (1985). La Messe Noire (PDF). London: Sui Anubis. p. 52. ISBN 0-947762-03-5. 
  37. ^ Barton, Blanche (1992). The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton Lavey. Feral House. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-922915-12-5. 
  38. ^ Gunn, Joshua (2005). "Prime-time Satanism: rumor-panic and the work of iconic topoi". Visual Communication 4 (1): 93–120. doi:10.1177/1470357205048939. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  39. ^ LaVey 2005, pp. 111–113.
  40. ^ Petersen 2012, pp. 96–97; Faxneld 2013, p. 76; Lap 2013, p. 98.
  41. ^ Faxneld 2013, p. 86.
  42. ^ "The Original Psychodrama — Le Messe Noir", in LaVey, Anton. The Satanic Rituals, 1972.
  43. ^ Template:Cite web url=http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/LaVeyOccultAmerica.html
  44. ^ LaVey 2005, pp. 121–140.