Anton LaVey & The Church of Satan

LaVeyan Satanism | WIKIPEDIA | NOV 17, 2016

LaVeyan Satanism is a new religious movement founded in 1966 by the American occultist and author Anton Szandor LaVey. The religion's doctrines and practices are codified in LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible. Its core philosophy is based on individualism and egoism, encouraging an epicurean pursuit of fleshly indulgence, an eye for an eye ethical code, and the concept of "self-deification". The philosophy positions itself in favor of Social Darwinism and opposes egalitarianism, seeing it as a conservator of mediocrity and decadence, and to a larger extent, the Abrahamic faiths, which are seen as lies which promote idealism, self-denigration, herd behavior, and irrationality. The philosophy seeks more draconian measures taken in the realm of law and order, and may also support some forms of eugenics.[1] The religion propagates a naturalistic worldview, seeing mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe.

LaVey established LaVeyan Satanism in the U.S. state of California through the founding of his Church of Satan on Walpurgisnacht of 1966, which he proclaimed to be "the Year One", Anno Satanas—the first year of the "Age of Satan".[2] His ideas were heavily influenced by the ideas and writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, and Carl Jung. The Church grew under LaVey's leadership, with regional grottos being founded across the United States. A number of these seceded from the Church to form independent Satanic organizations during the early 1970s. In 1975, LaVey abolished the grotto system, after which Satanism became a far less organized movement, although remained greatly influenced by LaVey's writings. In coming years, members of the Church left it to establish their own organisations, also following LaVeyan Satanism, among them the First Church of Satan and Karla LaVey's First Satanic Church.

The religion is atheistic and materialist, rejecting the existence of supernatural beings, body-soul dualism, and life after death. Practitioners do not believe that the character of Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype who represents pride, carnality, and enlightenment, 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".[3] The Devil is embraced as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. Moreover, Satan also serves as a metaphorical external projection of the individual's godhood.

LaVeyan 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 psychodramatic catharsis to focus one's emotional energy for a specific purpose. These rites are based on three major psycho-emotive themes, including compassion (love), destruction (hate), and sex (lust).[4] Lesser magic is the practice of manipulation by means of applied psychology and glamour (or "wile and guile") to bend an individual or situation to one's will.[5] LaVey defined magic as "the change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable."[6] 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.[7]

LaVeyan Satanism – which is also sometimes termed Modern Satanism[8] and Rational Satanism[9] – is classified by scholars of religious studies as a new religious movement.[10] When used, "Rational Satanism" is often employed to distinguish the approach of the LaVeyan Satanists from the "Esoteric Satanism" embraced by groups like the Temple of Set.[11] A number of religious studies scholar have also described it as a form of "self-religion" or "self-spirituality",[12] with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the "prosperity wing" of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement.[13] Conversely, the scholar of Satanism Jesper Aa. Petersen preferred to treat modern Satanism as a "cousin" of the New Age and Human Potential movements.[14]

The anthropologist Jean La Fontaine described it as having "both elitist and anarchist elements", also citing one occult bookshop owner who referred to the Church's approach as "anarchistic hedonism".[16] In The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal and Petersen theorized that LaVey viewed his religion as "an antinomian self-religion for productive misfits, with a cynically carnivalesque take on life, and no supernaturalism".[17] The sociologist of religion James R. Lewis even described LaVeyan Satanism as "a blend of Epicureanism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, flavored with a pinch of ritual magic."[18] The historian of religion Mattias Gardell described LaVey's as "a rational ideology of egoistic hedonism and self-preservation",[19] while Nevill Drury characterised LaVeyan Satanism as "a religion of self-indulgence".[20] It has also been described as an "institutionalism of Machiavellian self-interest".[21]

The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest.[22] 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, atheistic or otherwise. [23] Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle".[24] LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made";[25] that they are outsiders by their nature, living as they see fit,[26] who are self-realized in a religion which appeals to the would-be Satanist's nature, leading them to realize they are Satanists through finding a belief system that is in line with their own perspective and lifestyle.[27] Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion".[28]



Anton LaVey | WIKIPEDIA | MAR 17, 2017

Anton Szandor LaVey[1] (born Howard Stanton Levey; April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997) was an American author, musician and occultist.[2] He was the founder of the Church of Satan and the religion of LaVeyan Satanism. He authored several books including The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, The Satanic Witch, The Devil's Notebook, and Satan Speaks! In addition, he released three albums, including The Satanic Mass, Satan Takes a Holiday, and Strange Music. He played a minor on-screen role and served as technical advisor for the 1975 film, The Devil's Rain,[3] and served as host and narrator for Nick Bougas' 1989 mondo film, Death Scenes.[4]

LaVey was the subject of numerous articles in the news media throughout the world, including popular magazines such as Look, McCall's, Newsweek, and TIME, and men's magazines. He also appeared on talk shows such as The Joe Pyne Show, Donahue and The Tonight Show, and in two feature-length documentaries; Satanis in 1970, and Speak of the Devil: The Canon of Anton LaVey in 1993. Two official biographies have been written on LaVey, including The Devil's Avenger by Burton H. Wolfe, published in 1974 and The Secret Life of a Satanist by Blanche Barton, published in 1990.

Historian of Satanism Gareth J. Medway described LaVey as "A born showman",[5] with anthropologist Jean La Fontaine describing him as "A colourful figure of considerable personal magnetism".[6] Academic scholars of Satanism Per Faxneld and Jesper Aa. Petersen described LaVey as "the most iconic figure in the satanic milieu".[7] LaVey was labeled many things by journalists, religious detractors and Satanists alike, including "The Father of Satanism",[8] the "St. Paul of Satanism", [9] "The Black Pope",[10] and the "evilest man in the world".[11]

LaVey was born as Howard Stanton Levey in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Michael Joseph Levey (1903–1992), from Chicago, Illinois, married LaVey's mother, the former Gertrude Augusta Coultron, who was born to a Russian father and Ukrainian mother, who had immigrated to Ohio in 1893; both became naturalized American citizens in 1900. LaVey's family moved to California, where he spent his early life in the San Francisco Bay Area. His parents supported his musical interests, as he tried a number of instruments; his favorites were keyboards such as the pipe organ and the calliope. He did covers of instrumentals like "Harlem Nocturne" by Earle Hagen.[12]

He attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, until the age of 16.[13][14] LaVey claimed he left high school to join a circus and later carnivals, first as a roustabout and cage boy in an act with the big cats, then as a musician playing the calliope. LaVey later claimed to have seen that many of the same men attended both the bawdy Saturday night shows and the tent revival meetings on Sunday mornings, which reinforced his increasingly cynical view of religion. In the foreword to the German language edition of The Satanic Bible, he cites this as the impetus to defy Christian religion as he knew it. He explains why church-goers employ double moral standards.[15] Journalist Lawrence Wright investigated LaVey's background and found no evidence LaVey ever worked in a circus either as a musician or a cage boy.[1]

His "genius" on keyboards later garnered him work as an organist in bars, lounges and nightclubs.[16] While playing organ in Los Angeles burlesque houses, he allegedly had a brief affair with then-unknown Marilyn Monroe, when she was a dancer at the Mayan Theater. This is challenged by those who then knew Monroe, as well as the manager of the Mayan, Paul Valentine, who said she had never been one of his dancers, nor had the theatre ever been used as a burlesque house.[17]

According to his biography, LaVey moved back to San Francisco, where he worked for three years as a photographer for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). He dabbled as a psychic investigator, looking into "800 calls" referred to him by SFPD. Later biographers questioned whether LaVey ever worked with the SFPD, as there are no records substantiating the claim.[1][18] During this period, LaVey was friends with a number of writers associated with Weird Tales magazine; a picture of him with George Haas, Robert Barbour Johnson and Clark Ashton Smith appears in Blanche Barton's biography The Secret Life of a Satanist.

In 1950, LaVey met Carole Lansing and they married the following year. Lansing gave birth to LaVey's first daughter, Karla LaVey, born in 1952. They divorced in 1960 after LaVey became entranced by Diane Hegarty. Hegarty and LaVey never married; however, she was his companion for twenty-five years and mothered his second daughter, Zeena Galatea Schreck (née LaVey), in 1963.[19] At the end of their relationship, Hegarty sued for palimony.[20][21]

Church of Satan

Becoming a local celebrity through his paranormal research and live performances as an organist, including playing the Wurlitzer at the Lost Weekend cocktail lounge, he attracted many San Francisco notables to his parties. Guests included Carin de Plessin, Michael Harner, Chester A. Arthur III, Forrest J Ackerman, Fritz Leiber, Cecil E. Nixon and Kenneth Anger. LaVey formed a group called the Order of the Trapezoid, which later evolved into the governing body of the Church of Satan.[22] According to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church of Satan represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organisation which propounded a coherent satanic discourse".[23]

LaVey began presenting Friday night lectures on the occult and rituals. A member of this circle suggested that he had the basis for a new religion. According to LaVey himself, on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, he ritualistically shaved his head, allegedly "in the tradition of ancient executioners", declared the founding of the Church of Satan and proclaimed 1966 as "the Year One", Anno Satanas—the first year of the Age of Satan (it was later demonstrated that LaVey in fact shaved his head because he lost a bet and made up the "ancient executioners" story after the fact[24]).

Media attention followed the subsequent Satanic wedding ceremony of journalist John Raymond to New York City socialite Judith Case on February 1, 1967. The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle were among the newspapers that printed articles dubbing him "The Black Pope". LaVey performed Satanic baptisms (including the first Satanic baptism in history for his three-year-old daughter Zeena, dedicating her to Satan and the Left-Hand Path, which garnered world-wide publicity and was originally recorded on The Satanic Mass LP)[26][27][28][29] and Satanic funerals (including one for naval machinist-repairman third-class Edward Olsen, complete with a chrome-helmeted honor guard), and released a record album entitled The Satanic Mass.[citation needed]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, LaVey melded ideological influences from Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand,[30] H. L. Mencken, and Social Darwinism[31] with the ideology and ritual practices of the Church of Satan. He wrote essays introduced with reworked excerpts from Ragnar Redbeard's Might Is Right and concluded with "Satanized" versions of John Dee's Enochian Keys to create books such as The Complete Witch (re-released in 1989 as The Satanic Witch), and The Satanic Rituals. The latter book also included rituals drawing on the work of H. P. Lovecraft which were actually penned by Michael A. Aquino, who would later found the Temple of Set.[citation needed] The Satanic Bible included excerpts from Ragnar Redbeard's Might Is Right and concluded with "Satanized" versions of John Dee's Enochian Keys.[32] Admitting his use of Might is Right, LaVey stated that he did so in order to "immortalize a writer who had profoundly reached me".[33]

In 1972, the public work at LaVey's Black House in San Francisco was curtailed and work was continued via "grottoes" or subsidiary branches of the Church of Satan located throughout the USA and some in other countries.[citation needed] During the 1970s, LaVey found himself in financial difficulty.[5] In the Church's newsletter he announced that all higher degrees of initiation would be given in return for a financial contribution.[5] Many of the groups' priesthood were repelled by this act, seeing it as an act of hypocrisy.[5] In June 1975, there was a mass desertion of members from the Church of Satan, with many of the dissenters joining the Temple of Set, which had been founded by Michael Aquino.[34]