Church of Satan
Official website: www.churchofsatan.com
The Sigil of Baphomet is the official symbol of LaVeyan Satanism and the Church of Satan.
|Church of Satan|
|Anton LaVey · Blanche Barton · Peter H. Gilmore · Peggy Nadramia|
|The Satanic Bible · The Satanic Rituals · The Satanic Witch · The Devil's Notebook · Satan Speaks! · Letters from the Devil · The Secret Life of a Satanist · The Church of Satan · The Satanic Scriptures|
|The Nine Satanic Statements · The Nine Satanic Sins · The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth · Pentagonal Revisionism: A Five Point Plan|
|The Satanic Mass · Satanis: The Devil's Mass · Speak of the Devil: The Canon of Anton LaVey · Satan Takes a Holiday · Strange Music|
|The Black House · Greater and lesser magic · Grotto · The Black Flame · Four Crown Princes of Hell · The infernal names · Enochian Keys · Hail Satan · Sign of the horns|
The Church of Satan is an international organization dedicated to the religion of LaVeyan Satanism as codified in The Satanic Bible. The Church of Satan was established at the Black House in San Francisco, California, on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey, who was the church's High Priest until his death in 1997. In 2001, Peter H. Gilmore was appointed to the position of high priest, and the church's headquarters were moved to Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City.
The Church of Satan describes its structural basis as a cabal that is "an underground cell-system of individuals who share the basis of [our] philosophy". Membership to the Church of Satan is available on two levels: registered membership and active membership. Registered members are those who choose to affiliate on a formal level by filing out the required information and sending a one time registration fee. Active membership is available for those who wish to take a more active role in the organization, and is subject to the completion of a more comprehensive application. The church provides wedding, funeral, and baptismal services to members. Such ceremonies are performed by a member of the church's priesthood.
The church does not believe in or worship a literal supernatural Satan. High priest Peter Gilmore describes its members as "skeptical atheists", indicating the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "opposer" or "one who questions". Gilmore rejects the legitimacy of theistic Satanists, who believe Satan to be a supernatural being or force that may be contacted or supplicated to, dubbing them "devil worshipers".
Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse". The church rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists.
The church does not believe in or worship the Devil or a Christian notion of Satan. High priest Peter Gilmore describes its members as "skeptical atheists", indicating the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "opposer" or "one who questions". Gilmore rejects the legitimacy of theistic Satanists, who believe Satan to be a supernatural being or force that may be contacted or supplicated to, dubbing them "devil worshipers".
In an interview with David Shankbone, High Priest Peter Gilmore stated "My real feeling is that anybody who believes in supernatural entities on some level is insane. Whether they believe in the Devil or God, they are abdicating reason". Gilmore defines the word "Satan" as "a model or a mode of behavior", noting that in Hebrew the word means "adversary" or "opposer", which can be regarded as "one who questions". Gilmore describes Satanism as beginning with atheism, and taking the view that the universe is indifferent: "There’s no God, there’s no Devil. No one cares!" 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.
On their website, the Church of Satan urge anyone seeking to learn about Satanism to read The Satanic Bible, stating that doing so is "tantamount to understanding at least the basics of Satanism". The fundamentals of the church's philosophy are synthesized in The Satanic Bible, as well as The Nine Satanic Statements, The Nine Satanic Sins, and The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth.
In 1956, LaVey purchased a Victorian house in the Richmond District of San Francisco, which he painted black. During the late 1950s, LaVey hosted Friday night lectures on occult subjects at his house. The process of writing his lectures lead him to distill his philosophy based on his earlier research into topics considered bizarre and arcane, and experiences as a psychic investigator and hypnotist, as well as work in the carnivals. He gradually gathered regular visitors who became known as the “Magic Circle”. During this time, LaVey also held “witches workshops”, classes to instruct women on the art of seduction and manipulation through glamour and feminine wiles. According to sociologist and early group affiliate, Randall Alfred, these “workshops” included “various aspects of Satanism” and were part of the Friday night lectures. Though actual numbers are unknown, it has been suggested that the group comprised around twenty people. Accounts suggest that the “circle” included authors, artists, doctors, policemen, and academics among other professions.
In the early 1960s Anton LaVey formed a group called the Order of the Trapezoid, which later became the governing body of the Church of Satan. The group included: "The Baroness" Carin de Plessen, Dr. Cecil Nixon, Kenneth Anger, City Assessor Russell Wolden, and Donald Werby. According to the Church of Satan historiography, other LaVey associates from this time include noted science fiction and horror writers Anthony Boucher, August Derleth, Robert Barbour Johnson, Reginald Bretnor, Emil Petaja, Stuart Palmer, Clark Ashton Smith, Forrest J. Ackerman, and Fritz Leiber Jr.
In the mid-60's, prior to the publishing of The Satanic Bible, LaVey's writings were disseminated among his circle in the form of a series of papers known as the “rainbow sheets”, an assortment of essays describing the philosophy, presented as “an introduction to Satanism”. These essays were later featured in The Book of Lucifer. In addition was a paper describing magic and containing instructions for the practice or ritual.
Formation, rituals and publicity (1966-1978)
LaVey founded the 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". LaVey began performing weekly Satanic rituals with followers at his house in San Francisco, which was known as "the Black House". In February 1967, LaVey and the Church performed a much publicized Satanic marriage of Judith Case and journalist John Raymond. The ceremony was attended by Joe Rosenthal. LaVey performed the first publicly recorded Satanic baptism in history for his youngest daughter Zeena, which garnered worldwide publicity and was originally recorded on The Satanic Mass LP. A Satanic funeral for naval machinist-repairman, third-class Edward Olsen, was performed at the request of his wife, complete with a chrome-helmeted honor guard.
LaVey attracted a number of celebrities to join his Church, most notably Sammy Davis Junior and Jayne Mansfield. LaVey also established branches of the Church, known as grottos, in various parts of the United States; these included the Babylon Grotto in Detroit, the Stygian Grotto in Dayton, and the Lilith Grotto in New York. The Church of Satan was the subject of a number of books, magazine and newspaper articles during the 1960s and 1970s. It is also the subject of a documentary, Satanis (1970). LaVey appeared in Kenneth Anger's film Invocation of My Demon Brother, acted as technical adviser on The Devil's Rain, which starred Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, and introduced John Travolta. The Church of Satan was also featured in a segment of Luigi Scattini's film Angeli Bianchi, Angeli Neri, released in the United States as Witchcraft '70.
LaVey ceased conducting group rituals and workshops in his home in 1972. In 1973, church leaders in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida split to form their own Church of Satanic Brotherhood, however this disbanded in 1974 when one of its founders publicly converted to Christianity. Subsequently, members of the Church of Satan based in Kentucky and Indiana left to found the Ordo Templi Satanis. In 1975, LaVey phased out the Church's "Grotto" system and eliminated people he thought were using the Church as a substitute for accomplishment in the outside world. Thereafter, conventional achievement in society would be the criterion for advancement within the Church of Satan. At the same time, LaVey became more selective in granting interviews. This shift to "closed door" activities resulted in some rumors of the Church’s demise, and even rumors of LaVey’s death.
1980s and early 1990s and "Satanic Panic"
In the 1980s the media reported concerns of criminal conspiracies within the Church of Satan. The FBI would later issue an official report refuting the criminal conspiracy theories of this time. This phenomenon became known as the "Satanic Panic". LaVey's daughter Zeena was the spokesperson and High Priestess in the Church of Satan during the 1980s. During this period, she appeared on television and radio broadcasts, in part to educate about the Church, and in part to debunk the mythology surrounding the Satanic Panic — a period of time in the same era in which Satanism was blamed for the actions of Satanic ritual abuse.
From then until her renunciation of the Church of Satan in 1990, Zeena appeared in such nationally syndicated programs as The Phil Donahue Show, Nightline with Ted Koppel, Entertainment Tonight, The Late Show, Secrets & Mysteries and the Sally Jesse Raphael Show. The appearances were made at the behest of the Church of Satan as its spokesperson. She did this on behalf of her father Anton LaVey, who was no longer interested in making media appearances, as she stated while being interviewed alongside her husband by televangelist Bob Larson.
In the 1980s and 1990s remaining members of the Church of Satan became active in media appearances to refute allegations of criminal activity. The Church of Satan and its members were very active in producing movies, music, films, and magazines devoted to Satanism. Most notably Adam Parfrey's Feral House publishing, the music of Boyd Rice, musician King Diamond, and the films of Nick Bougas (a.k.a. A. Wyatt Mann), including his documentary Speak of the Devil: The Canon of Anton LaVey. The Church of Satan and Anton LaVey were also the subject of numerous magazine and news articles during this time.
|Wikinews has related news: Satanism: An interview with Church of Satan High Priest Peter Gilmore|
After LaVey's death in 1997, leadership of the Church was turned over to his personal assistant, Blanche Barton. On November 7, 1997 Karla LaVey made a press release about continuing the church with fellow high priestess Blanche Barton. Barton eventually received ownership of the organization, which she held for 4 years. Karla LaVey ultimately left the Church of Satan and founded First Satanic Church. That year, the Church established an official website. In 2001, Blanche ceded her position to longtime members Peter H. Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia, the current High Priest and High Priestess and publishers of The Black Flame, the official magazine of The Church of Satan. The Central Office of the Church of Satan has also moved from San Francisco to New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.
After LaVey's death, conflict over the nature of Satanism intensified within the Satanic community. The Church of Satan became increasingly doctrinally-rigid and focused on maintaining the purity of LaVeyan Satanism. The Church's increased emphasis on their role as the bearer of his legacy was partly a response to the growth in non-LaVeyan Satanists. Some Church members – including Gilmore – claimed that only they were the "real" Satanists and that those belonging to different Satanic traditions were "pseudo" Satanists. After examining many of these claims on the Church's website, Lewis concluded that it was "obsessed with shoring up its own legitimacy by attacking the heretics, especially those who criticize LaVey". Meanwhile, the Church experienced an exodus of its membership in the 2000s, with many of these individuals establishing new groups online.
On June 6, 2006 the Church of Satan held the first public ritual Satanic Mass in 40 years at the Steve Allen Theater in the Center for Inquiry in Los Angeles to mark the Church's fortieth birthday. The ritual, based on the rites outlined in The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals, was conducted by Reverend Bryan Moore and Priestess Heather Saenz.
In December 2007 the Associated Press reported on a story concerning the Church of Satan, in which a teenager had sent an email to High Priest Gilmore stating he wanted to "kill in the name of our unholy lord Satan". Gilmore then reported the message to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who informed local police, who arrested the teenager.
Membership to the Church is gained by paying $200 and filling out a registration statement, and thus initiates are bestowed with lifetime memberships and not charged annual fees. The church emphasizes that one does not have to join the organization to consider themselves a Satanist, and that one only needs to recognize themselves in The Satanic Bible and live according to the tenets outlined therein. The Church claims they do not solicit memberships nor proselytize. As the Church does not publicly release membership information, it is not known how many members belong to the Church. However, according to an interview with the Church of Satan, "interest in the Church of Satan and Satanism is growing all the time if our mailboxes, answering and fax machines, and e-mail is any indication." Memberships may be terminated at the discretion of the ruling body of the Church of Satan consisting of the High Priest, the High Priestess and the Council of Nine.
Church membership operates on a system of degrees, with active membership being the first degree. One must apply and be approved for an active membership, and this is subject to one's answers to a lengthy series of questions. Promotion to a higher degree is by invitation only, and the requirements for each degree are not open to the public. Members of the third through fifth degrees constitute the Priesthood. LaVey implemented a system of five initiatory levels that the LaVeyan Satanist could advance through by demonstrating their knowledge of LaVeyan philosophy and their personal accomplishments in life. These were known as Apprentice Satanist I°, Witch or Warlock II°, Priest or Priestess of Mendes III°, Magister IV°, and Magus V°.
- Registered Member (no degree)
- Active Member (first degree)
- Witch/Warlock (second degree)
- Priestess/Priest (third degree)
- Magistra/Magister (fourth degree)
- Maga/Magus (fifth degree).
Priesthood of Mendes & Council of Nine
Members of the Priesthood make up the Council of Nine, which is the ruling body of the Church of Satan, of which Magistra Templi Rex Blanche Barton is the chairmistress. Individuals who are part of the priesthood are those who act as spokespersons of the Church of Satan. The priesthood is exclusive to third, fourth, and fifth degree members. Members of the priesthood may be referred to as "reverend". The High Priest and Priestess act as administrative chiefs and primary public representatives; each position (High Priest and High Priestess) is held by a single individual at a time. The current High Priest is Peter H. Gilmore, the current High Priestess is Peggy Nadramia.
The Grotto System
Within the Church, a Grotto (from Italian grotta, a type of cave) is a clandestine association or gathering of Satanists within geographical proximity for means of social, ritual, and special interest activities. The Black House, the founding place and headquarters of the Church of Satan from 1966 to 1997, was effectively the first grotto, and was for a time referred to as the "Central Grotto". Grottos existed for a time in various parts of the United States; these included the Babylon Grotto in Detroit, the Stygian Grotto in Dayton, and the Lilith Grotto in New York. In 1975, LaVey disbanded all grottos , then reinstated them in the 1980s. The Church of Satan no longer formally recognizes or charters grottos.
6/6/06 High Mass
On June 6, 2006 the Church of Satan conducted a Satanic High Mass at the Center for Inquiry West's Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles, California. The event was by invitation only, and over one hundred members of the Church of Satan from around the world filled the theatre to capacity. The event was documented, and many members of the Church of Satan were interviewed, by the BBC with permission., The main ritual, based on the rites outlined in The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals, was conducted by Reverend Bryan Moore and Priestess Heather Saenz. The music for the mass was created and performed by Lustmord and was subsequently released on his album Rising.
LaVey is thought to be directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious movement. Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse".
- Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch's Mouth & Jack Fritscher 2004.
- Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science & James R. Lewis, Olav Hammer 2010.
- Investigating Religious Terrorism and Ritualistic Crimes & Dawn Perlmutter 2004.
- "Satanism: An interview with Church of Satan High Priest Peter Gilmore". Wikinews. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
- Contemporary Esotericism, Asprem & Granholm 2014, p. 75.
- Lewis 2002, p. 5.
- Faxneld & Petersen 2013, p. 81.
- Ohlheiser, Abby (2014-11-07). "The Church of Satan wants you to stop calling these ‘devil worshiping’ alleged murderers Satanists". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
- Wikinews:Satanism: An interview with Church of Satan High Priest Peter Gilmore
- Interview with Peter H. Gilmore, David Shankbone, Wikinews, November 5, 2007.
- Lewis 2002, p. 12.
- Satanism Today & James R. Lewis 2016, p. 145.
- Satanism Today & James R. Lewis 2016, p. 146.
- The Invention of Satanism 2016, p. 52.
- Satanism Today & James R. Lewis 2001, p. 146.
- The Invention of Satanism 2016, p. 54.
- Lacey, Michael. "Pieces of the Action: What's worse? A venture capitalist or a guy who smokes cunderage hookers?". SF Weekly Jun 20 2007.
- ""Satan's Den in Great Disrepair" Lattin, Don (January 25, 1999)". San Francisco Chronicle. January 25, 1999. Archived from the original on July 20, 2014.
- Boulware, Jack (June 17, 1998). "Has the Church of Satan Gone to Hell?". SF Weekly (San Francisco). Retrieved March 15, 2015.
- Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology & Jesper Aagaard Petersen 2009, p. 48.
- Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science & Lewis, Hammer 2010, p. 78.
- The Invention of Satanism 2006.
- Baddeley 2010, pp. 66, 71.
- "The Satanic Mass/Zeena's Baptism Track A9 go to 3:42".
- "The Satanic Mass, Track A9 (Zeena's Baptism)". Murgenstrumm, 1968 Vinly LP.
- "Satanist Anton LaVey Baptising Daughter". San Francisco, California, USA: Bettmann/CORBIS. May 23, 1967.
LaVey [...] said the mystic ceremony was the first such baptism in history.
- "clippings of Zeena's baptism world wide".
- Baddeley 2010, p. 72.
- Baddeley 2010, p. 74.
- Lap 2013, p. 84.
- Lewis 2002, p. 7.
- "Zeena Schreck Interview in Vice Magazine, Beelzebub's Daughter, by Annette Lamothe-Ramos".
- . 1989 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WcKrdFHTds. Missing or empty
- "Nick Bougas, a.k.a. A Wyatt Mann".
- "Buzzfeed article by Joseph Bernstein "History Of The Internet’s Favorite Anti-Semitic Image"".
- Lewis 2001b, p. 51.
- 'Black Pope' of Satanic Church dies aged 67 Copyright (c) 1997 Reuters SAN FRANCISCO (November 7, 1997 7:47 p.m. EST) By Andrew Quinn
- Petersen 2013, p. 140.
- Petersen 2013, p. 139.
- "UK | Navy approves first ever Satanist". BBC News. 2004-10-24. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- Petersen 2012, pp. 115–116.
- "Los Angeles CityBeat — The Devil's Advocates". Lacitybeat.com. Archived from the original on December 23, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- "Teen Held After E-Mailing Satanic Group Threat to Kill Grandparents". FoxNews.com. 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- Petersen 2005, p. 430.
- Gardell 2003, p. 287.
- Controversial New Religions & Lewis 2014, p. 407.
- "The Church Of Satan – Interview - Worm Gear". Worm Gear.
- Drury 2003, p. 197.
- The Church of Satan Website, under Affiliation: The Grotto System Retrieved December 3, 2010
- Religious Requirements and Practices: A Handbook for Chaplains & U. S. Department of the Army 1978.
- World Religions & Warren Matthews 2007.
- Lewis 2002, p. 7; Lap 2013, p. 84.
- Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Van Gorden Kurt The Kingdom of the Occult; 2013.
- High Priest, Magus Peter H. Gilmore. "The Grotto System". churchofsatan.com.
- "The Nick of time". BBC News. 2006-06-06.
- "Church Of Satan High Priest: 6/6/06 Is 'Just A Day, Like Any Other'". BLABBERMOUTH.NET.
- "Albums". Lustmord. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
- Dyrendal, Lewis & Petersen 2010, p. 116.
- Barton, Blanche (1990). The Church of Satan: A History of the World's Most Notorious Religion. Hell's Kitchen Productions. ISBN 0-9623286-2-6.
- Baddeley, Gavin; Woods, Paul (2000). Lucifer Rising: A Book of Sin, Devil Worship and Rock 'n' Roll. UK: Plexus Publishing. ISBN 0-85965-280-7.
- Aquino, Michael A. (2002). The Church of Satan (PDF) (5th ed.). : A documentary history of the 1966–75 Church of Satan
- Mathews, Chris (2009). Modern Satanism: Anatomy of a Radical Subculture. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-313-36639-X.
Books by Anton LaVey
- Wolfe, Burton H.; LaVey, Anton Szandor (1969). The Satanic Bible. New York, N.Y: Avon. ISBN 0-380-01539-0. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Peggy Nadramia; LaVey, Anton Szandor (1971). The Satanic Witch. Venice, Calif: Feral House. ISBN 0-922915-84-9. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Anton Szandor La Vey (1972). The Satanic Rituals. New York, N.Y: Avon. ISBN 0-380-01392-4.
- LaVey, Anton Szandor; Anton Szandor LA Vey (1992). The Devil's Notebook. Venice, Calif: Feral House. ISBN 0-922915-11-3. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Anton Szandor La Vey; LaVey, Anton Szandor (1997). Satan Speaks!. Venice, Calif: Feral House. ISBN 0-922915-66-0. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
Books by Peter H. Gilmore
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Church of Satan.|
- Official website
- Interview with Anton LaVey by Michelle Carr and Elvia Lahman for Velvet Hammer souvenir programme, September 1997.
- Interview with Magus Peter H. Gilmore by CBC program The Hour.
- Interview with Zeena Schreck by Annette Lamothe-Ramos at Vice Magazine, April 2012