|Church of Satan|
|The Satanic Bible · The Satanic Scriptures|
|Anton LaVey · Peter H. Gilmore · Peggy Nadramia · Blanche Barton|
|Atheism · materialism|
|Satanic magic · Sigil of Baphomet ·|
|The Nine Satanic Statements · The Nine Satanic Sins · The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth|
LaVeyan Satanism is a religious philosophy founded in 1966 by Anton LaVey, codified in The Satanic Bible and overseen by the Church of Satan. Its core beliefs and philosophies are based on individualism, epicureanism, secularism, egoism, and self-deification, and propagates a worldview of naturalism, materialism, Social Darwinism, Lex Talionis, and an amoral universe. Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion".
Contrary to popular belief, LaVeyan Satanism does not involve "devil worship" or worship of any deities. It is an atheistic philosophy that asserts that "each individual is his or her own god [and that] there is no room for any other god". Adherents instead see the character of Satan as a symbol of pride, carnality, liberty, enlightenment, undefiled wisdom, and of a cosmos which Satanists perceive to be motivated by a "dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things". He also serves as a conceptual framework and an external metaphorical projection of [the Satanists] highest personal potential. Satan (Hebrew: שָּׂטָן satan, meaning "adversary") is seen as a symbol of defiance to the conservatism of mainstream philosophical and religious currents, mainly the Abrahamic religions, that see this character as their antithesis.
Additionally, Satanism involves the practice of magic, which encompasses two distinct forms; greater and lesser magic. Greater magic is a form of ritual practice and is meant as a self-transformational psychodrama to focus one's emotional energy for a specific purpose. Lesser magic is based on the laws of attraction and consists of using one's natural abilities to manipulate others. LaVey wrote extensively on the subject of magic and ritual in his works The Satanic Rituals and The Satanic Witch.
- 1 Symbolism
- 2 Fundamental philosophy
- 3 Morality and Ethics
- 4 Basic Tenets
- 5 Magic and ritual
- 6 Holidays in Satanism
- 7 Etymology of Satanism
- 8 Related philosophical schools
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
LaVeyan Satanists see Satan not as a literal entity but as a metaphorical symbol. According to Peter H. Gilmore, “The Church of Satan has chosen Satan as its primary symbol because in Hebrew it means adversary, opposer, one to accuse or question. We see ourselves as being thee Satans; the adversaries, opposers and accusers of all spiritual belief systems that would try to hamper enjoyment of our life as a human being”
In The Satanic Bible, LaVey describes Satan as an “allegorical personage”, a “personification”, and “...merely represent[ing] a force of nature—the powers of darkness which have been named just that because no religion has taken these forces out of darkness.”
“ Satanism is not a white light religion; it is a religion of the flesh, the mundane, the carnal - all of which are ruled by Satan, the personification of the Left Hand Path. ”
In a 1986 interview with Walter Harrington of The Washington Post, regarding Satan, LaVey states:
“ Satan signifies our love of the worldly and our rejection of the pallid, ineffectual image of Christ on the cross.” ”
In his essay, "Satanism: The Feared Religion", the Church of Satan's current administrator, Peter H. Gilmore, states:
“ Satanists do not believe in the supernatural, in neither God nor the Devil. To the Satanist, he is his own God. Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates. The reality behind Satan is simply the dark evolutionary force of entropy that permeates all of nature and provides the drive for survival and propagation inherent in all living things. Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshiped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will. Thus any concept of sacrifice is rejected as a Christian aberration—in Satanism there's no deity to which one can sacrifice. ”
In his essay, “What, the Devil?”, Peter H. Gilmore again expounds on the usage of Satan as a symbol:
“ Satan serves us well as a symbol. He was described as the prideful one, refusing to bow to Jehovah. He is the one who questions authority, seeking liberty beyond the stultifying realm of Heaven. He is the figure championed by the likes of Mark Twain, Milton, and Byron as the independent critic who heroically stands on his own.” ”
Satan is said to also serve as a conceptual framework and an external metaphorical projection of [the Satanists] highest personal potential. Satan (Hebrew: שָּׂטָן satan, meaning "adversary") is seen as a symbol of defiance to the conservatism of mainstream philosophical and religious currents, mainly the Abrahamic religions, that see this character as their antithesis. Satan appears in mythology and literature around the world as a trickster, rebel, and classical figure seeking the destruction or subjugation of man. Figures such as the Greek Prometheus are said to perfectly exemplify the qualities of Satan, the prideful rebel. Satan is seen as the powerful individual who acts regardless of what others might say. The word satan is derived from the Hebrew meaning "the adversary", or "the accuser" (hstn or ha-satan);
To Satanists, the belief and worship of Satan as an anthropomorphic being is thought to be nothing more than a misguided perversion of Christianity, and practitioners thereof are regarded as on par with Christians or other adherents of the 'Right-Hand Path'. The Satanic Bible often uses the terms "God" and "Satan" interchangeably, except when referring to the concepts of these as viewed by other religions. LaVey also occasionally uses the term "God" to refer to other religions' views of God, and "Satan" or synonyms to refer to the idea of god as interpreted by LaVeyan Satanism, as when he writes, "When all religious faith in lies has waned, it is because man has become closer to himself and farther from 'God'; closer to the 'Devil.'" Throughout The Satanic Bible, the LaVeyan Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"—a projection of his or her own personality—not an external deity. Satan is used as a representation of personal liberty and individualism. Satan is also used as a metaphor for the ideas connected with the early Christian view of Satan or the serpent: wise, defiant, questioning, and free-thinking. LaVey discusses this extensively in The Book of Lucifer, explaining that the gods worshipped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship.
“ If man insists on externalizing his true self in the form of "God," then why fear his true self, in fearing "God,"—why praise his true self in praising "God,"—why remain externalized from "God" in order to engage in ritual and religious ceremony in his name?
Man needs ritual and dogma, but no law states that an externalized god is necessary in order to engage in ritual and ceremony performed in a god's name! Could it be that when he closes the gap between himself and his "God" he sees the demon of pride creeping forth—that very embodiment of Lucifer appearing in his midst?
” — Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible, pp. 44–45
Atheism and Materialism
Atheism (the rejection of belief in the existence of external deities) and materialism (the assertion that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are the result of material interactions) are the core of Satanism's philosophical foundation.
The Ego and Self-deification
The cornerstone of the Satanic ideology is the concept of the ego, which can be defined as extreme self awareness, rational self interest and individualism. The idea that an individual must enforce their own meaning of life and rise above the perceived conformity of the masses. The Satanist is seen as equivalent to Friedrich Nietzsche's Übermensch.
LaVey proposes that if all gods are creations of humans, worship of an external deity is worship of its creator by proxy. He then suggests that the rational Satanist should instead internalize their gods and, therefore, worship themselves; hence the Satanist maxim, "I am my own god".
Human nature and Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism and the concept of "human nature" are ideas that are prevalent throughout The Satanic Bible. LaVey describes Satanism as "a religion based on the universal traits of man," and humans are described throughout as inherently carnal and animalistic. Each of the seven deadly sins is described as part of human's natural instinct, and are thus advocated. Social Darwinism is particularly noticeable in The Book of Satan, where LaVey uses portions of Redbeard's Might is Right, though it also appears throughout in references to man's inherent strength and instinct for self-preservation. LaVeyan Satanism has been described as "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest" because of many of these themes.
Morality and Ethics
A fundamental stance of Satanic philosophy is the subjectivity of ethics, values, and morality, and that nature and the universe are indifferent to human existence and thus, amoral, asserting that “right and wrong” must be defined by the individual alone.
LaVeyan Satanism is critical of Abrahamic sexual mores, considering them narrow, restrictive and hypocritical. Sex is viewed as an indulgence, but one that should only be freely entered into with consent. The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth only give two instructions regarding sex: "Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal" and "Do not harm little children", though the latter is much broader and encompasses physical and other abuse. This has always been a consistent part of Church of Satan policy since its inception in 1966, as Peter H. Gilmore wrote in an essay supporting same sex marriage:
“ Finally, since certain people try to suggest that our attitude on sexuality is "anything goes" despite our stated base principle of "responsibility to the responsible," we must reiterate another fundamental dictate: The Church of Satan's philosophy strictly forbids sexual activity with children as well as with non-human animals. ” — Magister Peter H. Gilmore
In that essay he also stated:
“ The Church of Satan is the first church to fully accept members regardless of sexual orientation and so we champion weddings/civil unions between adult partners. So long as love is present and the partners wish to commit to a relationship, we support their desire for a legally recognized partnership, and the rights and privileges which come from such a union. ” — Magister Peter H. Gilmore
Lex Talionis and Vengeance
Lex Talionis, or "The Law of Reprisal" (from the Latin lex/legis (f.), "law", and talio, -onis (f.), "retaliation", "rejoinder") informed much of LaVey's Satanic formulation. "Do unto others as they do unto you" supplanted the directive to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", so that you are only to give compassion and sympathy to those who deserve it.
It is a reactive rather than a proactive rule; empathy, love, compassion, and sympathy are said not to be “wasted upon ingrates" – such emotions are best spent only on those whom the Satanist deems worthy. The religion of Satanism, as LaVey espouses it, is centered almost exclusively upon the concept of being one's own god; as such, values and attachments such as love, affection, and caring, along with opposing concepts such as hate and wrath, are to be disseminated at the discretion of the individual Satanist. As such, it is the individual's responsibility (and not that of a god, or the fault of any devil) to both justify and accept the consequences of their actions.
LaVey felt that intelligent and strong people spent too much time caring for "psychic vampires" — weak individuals who demand attention and care, yet never give any back. He taught that Satanists should strive to remove themselves from such people, the better to live in accordance with their instincts and individual wills.
The Nine Satanic Statements
- Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence.
- Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams.
- Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit.
- Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates.
- Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.
- Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires.
- 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.
- Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification.
- Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years.
The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth
- Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
- Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
- When in another's lair, show them respect or else do not go there.
- If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat them cruelly and without mercy.
- Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
- Do not take that which does not belong to you, unless it is a burden to the other person and they cry out to be relieved.
- Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
- Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
- Do not harm little children.
- Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
- When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.
The Nine Satanic Sins
- Herd Conformity
- Lack of Perspective
- Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies
- Counterproductive Pride
- Lack of Aesthetics
Magic and ritual
In Satanism there are two main types of Magic, Greater Magic and Lesser Magic. Greater Magic is a form of psychodrama and involves ritual and ceremony to focus one's emotional energy for a specific purpose. Lesser Magic is a variation of the laws of attraction and consists of non-ritual or manipulative magic, through use of natural abilities to manipulate other humans, and therefore circumstances, by wile and guile. At the forefront of this effort, according to Anton LaVey, is knowledge of how to employ appearances to one's advantage.
LaVey states that Greater Magic ritual can be divided into three subsections based on the type of spell desired: Sex (or lust), Compassion or Destruction. LaVey discusses Greater Magic in detail in his books The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals.
The proper mastery of lesser magic involves discovering what types of strategies of action and usage of aesthetics naturally compliment your personality and appearance. He states that a person can employ contrived appearance to gain the alliance or obedience of others, and a competent magician can even combine these aesthetics as necessary. LaVey also states that a magician's actions to manipulate are an important component of Lesser Magic. LaVey later treated the matter of Lesser Magic in considerable detail in his book The Satanic Witch.
Holidays in Satanism
According to The Satanic Bible, the primary holiday within Satanism is one's own birthday. Since Satanism embraces nature, the seasonal turning points marked by the equinoxes and solstices are also acknowledged. Walpurgisnacht is also a major holiday within Satanism and marks the anniversary of the founding of the Church of Satan. Lastly, Halloween is considered a significant holiday and is "...celebrated as a time when one's inner-self might be explored through the use of a costume, or one might recall those of importance in one's life who have died – as was done on that night in European tradition". Yule is also recognized as the Pagan counterpart of Christmas, and a time of indulgence and other festivities.
Etymology of Satanism
The prefix "LaVeyan" was never used by Anton LaVey or by the Church of Satan, nor does the term appear in any of its literature. The church has stated its contention that they are the first formally organized religion to adopt the term "Satanism" and asserts that Satanism and the 'worship of Satan' are not congruent. The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest. The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers. Today, the Church of Satan promotes itself as the only authentic representation of Satanism, and it routinely publishes materials underscoring this contention.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term 'Satanism' dates as far back as the 1560s.
Related philosophical schools
- Yangism - an ancient Chinese philosophical school, that believed that human actions are and should be based on self-interest
- Cārvāka - one of the heterodox schools of Hinduism, that emphasizes materialism and philosophical scepticism, and considers sensual pleasure as an important element of human life. The doctrine was sometimes called "demonic" by its opponents.
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