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Satanism

Satanism

The worship of Satan, the Christian devil. The idea that such a parody of Christian worship could and did exist emerged in several stages. Central to Satanism was the idea of magic and that extraordinary miracles, if not performed by God in answer to the prayer of one of his servants (i.e., a Christian), had to be accomplished by the devil in cooperation with someone who had made a pact with the devil. Once the idea of the pact became commonplace, it was but a short step to the notion of an organized community of devil-worshippers. Some substance was provided by the small pockets of paganism that had not succumbed to the church's evangelical efforts.

Before the fifteenth century, the magic practices (i.e, witchcraft) associated with paganism had been defined as unreal and pagan belief as disbelief. However, for several centuries the Roman Catholic Church had been engaged in a struggle to eliminate heresy, especially in southern France. That successful effort had left it with a large and efficient organization, the Inquisition, essentially bereft of a job. Thus the redefinition of witchcraft as Satanism served the purpose of providing work for those conducting the Inquisition. It transferred witchcraft from the realm of doubt to that of heresy and apostasy, and thus the concern of the Inquisition. Satanism implies the acceptance of Christianity and the subsequent transfer of allegiance to the Christian anti-God.

Immediately after the papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus, issued in 1484, which unleashed the Inquisition, two German Dominicans, Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, wrote a massive text, Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches Hammer), which became the textbook for witch-hunters in understanding the evil of witchcraft and in locating and identifying witches. Witches were accused of sacrificing infants and of having sexual intercourse with the devil (most witches were women). Since the Bible affirmed the existence of witchcraft, to believe it did not exist was to be considered in itself a heresy, according to the inquisitors.

Thus was initiated the era of the great witch-hunts. In spite of the Reformation, which split the church and commanded so much attention in the sixteenth century, the crusade against witches continued and was pursued by Protestants and Catholics alike. Confessions were obtained by torture and tended to conform to the image expected by the inquisitors after having read the Malleus Maleficarum.

There is no real evidence that a devil cult existed. Its description in the Malleus Maleficarum was the result of the imaginings of a group of people who had never seen what they described. The confessions were extracted from people informed as to the nature and content of what the inquisitor sought. Such has remained the case to the present. Even though some groups of Satanists emerged, they were always adult converts and created the organization de novo each generation. There was no Satanic organization to carry the tradition from generation to generation. Thus the imagination of Christian clergymen was necessary to inform each new group of Satanists as to the beliefs and activities of Satanism. Without the writings of Christian anti-Satanists, Satanism could not exist.

The anti-Satanist literature defined the practices proper to any self-respecting Satanist, including the Black Mass (a parody of the Roman Catholic Mass), the saying of the Lord's Prayer backwards, the destruction/profanation of sacred objects, the sacrifice of an infant, and the invocation of Satan for the purpose of working malevolent magic (sorcery ). It was not until the late seventeenth century that something similar to the Satanism described in the Malleus Maleficarum came into being.

The Affair La Voisin

In the year 1679, King Louis XIV set up a secret court to deal with several cases of poisoning of the French nobility. The investigations and findings of the court centered around the activities of Catherine Deshayes, better known as La Voisin. La Voisin operated as an adviser and fortune-teller to ladies at the court. She supplied them with love potions, charms, and occasionally, poison. However, things turned in a more sinister direction in 1667.

In that year La Voisin was consulted by the Marquise de Montespan, Françoise-Athenais, who was ambitious in the extreme. She wanted to become the queen of France. Her goal was, through magic, to alienate Louis from both the queen and his current mistress. Reportedly, following a mass during which two doves were killed, she became Louis's mistress. Further masses were said to secure her position. Then in 1673, with the Abbé Guibourg officiating, a mass was said over Montespan's nude body, during which an infant was sacrificed and the blood used to create a host that was then added to the king's food.

These later masses seemed to have no effect, and Louis was perceived to be changing his affections to another. Finally, in 1879, she had a mass for the dead said for Louis, followed by an attempt to poison him. The plot was discovered. La Voisin was arrested and Montespan distanced from the king (though for the sake of appearances she was never publicly accused). The affair, as the extent of La Voisin's activities became known, threatened to bring down the monarchy if made public. It was handled with the utmost discretion. La Voisin was executed, but most of the people involved were merely banished.

Since the era of the affair, sporadic incidents of Satanism and ephemeral Satanic magic groups have appeared. Among the more renowned were those described in a fictionalized account in J. K. Huysman's novel La Bas in 1891. The groups that appeared were largely made of young people using Satanism as an expression of their youthful rebellion. They came and went with little sign of their existence except a desecrated graveyard or church. A few were discovered during a ceremony or soon afterward. The number of such groups seemed to rise in the years after World War II, though that may have been a result of better reporting and the correlation of the scattered accounts facilitated by improved communications. However, a new thrust developed in the 1960s.

The Church of Satan

A new era began on Walpurgis Night (May Eve), 1966. Anton LaVey announced the first day of the year of Satan (anno Satanas) marked by the founding of the Church of Satan. The very affront of such an organization in an ostensibly Christian nation was newsworthy, but LaVey, an old carnival performer, was able to make good use of publicity eventsthe first Satanic wedding and the first funeralto have his picture on the front page of newspapers across the United States.

To some, the very appearance of the Church of Satan was all they needed to project it as a symbol of all that was wrong with contemporary society and to associate the new organization with every occult-related crime that was uncovered. The reality was more mundane. The Church of Satan was, in fact, a fairly small group (never more than a few thousand members), which affirmed some of the values that LaVey saw as dominant in secular society but counter to traditional values. People were trapped in a value system that affirmed mutually contradictory goals. He advocated indulgence of the senses, individual responsibility, selfishness, life in the present, and ego strength and assertion. He specifically denounced love for ingrates, turning the other cheek, and obscurantism.

The main holiday in the church was an individual's birthday. The primary ritual was the Black Mass, which served as a psychodrama for people, allowing them to overcome inhibitions and move ahead with their lives. He specifically eschewed any illegal activities and told members to pursue their goals, but to do so without harming others.

The Church of Satan gave Satanism a new respectability. Its scripture, The Satanic Bible, became a steady seller at newsstands, and LaVey attracted some celebrities to his organization. During the early 1970s, however, the church went through a period of turmoil and a number of splinter groups emerged. The most substantive of these (and the only one to survive the decade) was the Temple of Set. Founded by Michael Aquino and Lilith Sinclair, two prominent leaders in the Church of Satan, the temple became the home of a sophisticated Satanic theology developed from Egyptian thought.

Satanism in the 1980s

Satanism had plainly declined by the end of the 1970s; however, in the mid 1980s reports that it had merely gone underground began to surface. Claims of the existence of a massive Satanic underground emerged around a set of reports concerning ritual child abuse. Amid the heightened concern for child abuse generated during the era, children began to tell horrendous stories of having been abused as part of forced participation in Satanic rituals, both in homes and in day care centers. These stories were soon joined by an increasing number of stories of women, and a few men, mostly in their thirties, who told stories of having been abused as children and youth, and then having suppressed the memories until they were recalled twenty years later in sessions with counselors.

These two types of reports generated much attention in the press, a heated debate among psychological professionals, and a variety of court cases. In the end, little substance concerning Satanic activity emerged, though a core of childhood trauma was discovered at the heart of many of the reports. Some cases were discovered to be lies told to reclaim custody of children lost in a divorce settlement, and many were generated by psychological counselors using unprofessional techniques and practices. As the cases were investigated and no supporting evidence was discovered, the stories became increasingly conspiracy oriented. By the 1990s little support remained for the veracity of the accounts of widespread Satanism.

Sources:

Kelly, Henry Ansgar. The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974.

LaVey, Anton. The Satanic Bible. New York: Avon, 1969.

Lyons, Arthur. Satan Wants You. London: Rupert Hart-Davies, 1970.

Richardson, James T., Joel Best, and David G. Bromley. The Satanism Scare. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1991.

Robbins, Rossell Hope. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. New York: Crown Publishers, 1959.

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Black Mass

Black Mass

According to the inquisitors, the Black Mass epitomized the worship of Satan and perverted the most holy mystery of Christian worshipthe Christian mass. Evidence of such occurrences was confirmed in the confessions forced from accussed witches and sorcerers, who claimed that the devil had mass said at his Sabbat. Pierre Aupetit, an apostate priest of the village of Fossas, France, was burned for celebrating the mysteries of the Devil's mass. Instead of speaking the holy words of consecration, the frequenters of the Sabbat were alleged to have said: "Beelzebub, Beelzebub, Beelzebub." The devil in the shape of a butterfly flew around those who were celebrating the mass, who then ate a black host, which they were obliged to chew before swallowing.

It is possible that the concept of the Black Mass derived from underground traditions of Cathar heretics, who were put down by orthodox Christianity during the fourteenth century. The Cathars believed in two gods, the God of light and the Prince of darkness, the maker of all material things. However, the idea of a Black Mass only became operative in the fifteenth century when the Roman Catholic Church turned on the "witches" as followers of Satan, whom because they believed in the magic of the Christian mass, hence could conceive a vulgar misuse of its powers. Several printed accounts which may have fueled the concept document strange occurrences, including the 1335 story of a shepherd found nude performing a parody of the mass and the 1458 story of a priest who mixed semen with the holy oil used for annointing people.

However, Satanism, as defined by the Church at the end of the fifteenth century, existed solely in the imaginaton of the inquisitors. Its ideas and practices were carried from generation to generation by the writings of Christians involved in the pursuit of witches and the stamping out of its practice. No evidence of anyone actually holding a Black Mass appears until the seventeenth century in France, when police arrested a fortune-teller named Catherine Deshayes, known as "La Voisin." Allegedly committing poisonings and sacrilege, La Voisin was a well-known abortionist, and was suspected of providing infants for ritual sacrifice in a Black Mass conducted by a libertine priest, Abbé Guibourg. These masses were purportedly celebrated on the body of a naked woman. It was claimed that at the moment of consecration of the host, an infant's throat was cut, the blood was poured into the chalice, and prayers were offered to the demons Asmodeus and Ashtaroth. Other obscene rites were associated with the host.

At the trial of La Voisin, evidence was given that some Black Masses had been held at the request of the royal mistress the Marquise de Montespan, in order to retain the favor of Louis XIV. Other masses were associated with murder and poison plots, and many famous names were involved. Over 300 individuals were arrested, although fewer than half were tried; de Montespan was spared. La Voisin was subjected to brutal torture for three days, but she would not confess to poisoning, and on February 22, 1680, she was burned alive.

The modern Black Mass seems to have appeared as part of the magical revival in late ninteeth-century France. J. K. Huysmans is generally credited with reintroduing Satanism and the Black Mass in his book La-Bas (Down There), which includes a detailed description of a Satanic service. More recently the Church of Satan in San Francisco has based its much publicized diabolism upon a rejection of the Christian ethics of self-denial and humility. Its founder, Anton La Vey, published his own version of a Black Mass.

(See also Black Magic )

Sources:

Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1967.

Huysmans, J. K. Down There (La-Bas): A Study in Satanism. Translated by Keene Willis. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1958.

LaVey, Anton. The Compleat Witch; or, What to Do When Virtue Fails. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1971.

. The Satanic Bible. Seacaucus, N.J.: University Books, 1969. Reprint. New York: Avon Books, 1976.

. The Satanic Rituals. Seacaucus, N.J.: University Books, 1972.

. The Satanic Witch. Los Angeles, CA: Feral House, 1989.

Rhodes, H. T. F. The Satanic Mass. London, 1954.

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Satanism

Satanism: The cult of Satan, or Satan worship, is in part a survival of the ancient worship of demons and in part a revolt against Christianity or the church. It rose about the 12th cent. in Europe and reached its culmination in the blasphemous ritual of the Black Mass, a desecration of the Christian rite. The history of early Satanism is obscure. It was revived in the reign of Louis XIV in France and is still practiced by various groups throughout the world, particularly in the United States. One of the largest and most influential Satanic groups is the Church of Satan (1966), founded by Anton LaVey in San Francisco. A splinter group, the Temple of Set (1975), was organized by Michael Aquino. Many Satanic groups, including the ones mentioned, attest that such worship does not necessarily imply evil intentions, but rather an alternative to the repressive morality of many other religious groups. Such groups see no harm in their indulgence in "worldly pleasures" that other religions forbid. Other, more severe brands of Satanism likely exist, although much of the activity pegged as "Satanic" has less to do with the religion than with various forms of sociopathy. Indeed, reliable research has found no evidence indicating the existence of alarming, large-scale Satanic phenomena. An unfortunate mistake is the unfounded—yet common—linkage of minority religious traditions, such as the African-derived voodoo and Santería, with Satanism. See also witchcraft.

See A. LaVey, Satanic Bible (1969); A. Lyons, The Second Coming (1970) and Satan Wants You! (1989); J. T. Richardson and D. Bromley, ed., The Satanism Scare (1991).

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satanism

sa·tan·ism / ˈsātnˌizəm/ (also Sa·tan·ism) • n. the worship of Satan, typically involving a travesty of Christian symbols and practices, such as placing a cross upside down. DERIVATIVES: sa·tan·ist n. & adj.

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Black Mass

Black Mass. Usually a blasphemous caricature of the mass, with an inversion of symbols and a worship of Satan, not God. But the term is also used colloquially for the requiem mass for the dead when black vestments are used.

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Satanism

SATANISM

SATANISM has assumed a variety of forms through human history. Allegations of organized worship of Satan can be traced to Europe during the Middle Ages. Fears of Satan worship surfaced during the fifteenth-century witch-hunts, and Christian manuals were produced for depicting and combating Satanism, most notably the Malleus maleficarum (c. 1486) and Compendium maleficarum (c. 1620). Historians suggest the existence of a satanic cult in the royal court of Louis XIV that conducted "Black Masses" to mock the Catholic Mass. There were also a few practicing satanists in Europe during the late nineteenth century, triggering Satanism fears. In America, colonial-era New England experienced a period of witchcraft allegations and witch-hunting. Beyond the colonial witchcraft episode, satanic imagery has been perpetuated throughout American history by conservative Christian groups that believe that Satan is an active, personal presence in human affairs. Satan serves the function of explaining evil and misfortune, identifying heretical faiths, and bolstering Christian solidarity. This essay describes the more recent incarnations of Satanism, the 1960s countercultural satanic churches, and the 1980s Satanism scare by reviewing the history and organization of satanic churches, the current outbreak of satanic subversion fears, and the relationship between them.

Churches

Satanic churches began forming, first in California and then gradually spreading across the United States and to Europe, during the late 1960s. These churches achieved popularity in the 1970s as part of the counterculture movement of that period. The Church of Satan and Temple of Set are the largest and most visible existing satanic churches. A number of other satanic churches also appeared, but most were small and short-lived organizations that originated as schismatic offshoots of the Church of Satan. Although the Church of Satan claimed hundreds of thousands of members during its heyday, the total active membership of all the satanic churches never exceeded a few thousand. The Church of Satan is the more significant of the two groups; it is the first contemporary church devoted to the worship of Satan, it gave rise to most other satanic churches, and practicing satanists typically trace their beliefs to Anton LaVey's thought. Interest in satanic churches, although not Satanism, declined dramatically with the demise of the counterculture.

The Church of Satan was founded in San Francisco in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey (19301997), born Howard Stanton Levey. The details of LaVey's life remain contested, but evidence has mounted that most published accounts are in error and that major elements of LaVey's life were fabricated by sympathetic biographers who created a legendary persona for LaVey. In the legendary account, LaVey's grandmother was a Transylvanian gypsy who introduced him to the occult as a child. LaVey then ran away from home at age sixteen and worked successively in jobs such as an oboe player in the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, lion tamer with the Clyde Beatty Circus, stage hypnotist, nightclub organist, and police department photographer. He also claimed romantic affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. Most of this colorful personal history has now been challenged. Nonetheless, LaVey did become something of a celebrity during the 1960s when he pronounced himself the Black Pope, officiated at both the first satanic wedding and the first satanic funeral, and conducted a satanic service at which a nude woman served as the altar. His persona included a shaven head and black robe, a coroner's van as a car, and a pet Nubian lion.

LaVey's version of Satanism is presented in The Satanic Bible (1969), whole sections of which were drawn rather directly from several other writers' works. The iconoclastic philosophy contained in The Satanic Bible is decidedly hedonistic and is premised on self-preservation as the most basic instinct of human beings. LaVey inverts traditional Christian values, such as sexual constraints, pride, and avarice, and he elevates their opposites, such as indulgence, self-assertion, and sexual freedom, as satanic virtues. For LaVey, Satan is not an anthropomorphic being but a source of power that humans can control and that, once unleashed, can make humans gods. The major rituals conducted at Church of Satan "grottoes"sex magic, help and healing, and destructionreflect satanic values. LaVey's thought has been more influential than the small church membership might suggest; his Satanic Bible has sold hundreds of thousands of copies in a number of languages and it continues to serve as the primary scriptural source for satanists.

The Temple of Set was founded by Michael Aquino (b. 1946), who holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the army before his retirement in 1994. Aquino and his wife joined the Church of Satan in 1969, and Aquino quickly rose in the leadership ranks. Over the next several years the relationship between LaVey and Aquino deteriorated, however, and Aquino, along with several dozen Church of Satan leaders and members, left to form the Temple of Set. Aquino served as high priest of the Temple of Set from its inception in 1975 to his retirement in 1996.

Aquino reports that he invoked Satan during his 1975 dispute with LaVey and received a visitation from Set, the Egyptian god of night. According to Aquino, Set is a metaphysical being formerly known under the Hebrew misnomer Satan. Set has used his power over the millennia to alter the genetic makeup of humans and to produce a species possessing an enhanced, nonnatural intelligence and potential. Although humans are not destined for immortality, they have the potential to achieve it through Setian beliefs and practices. The objective of the Temple of Set is to realize full human potential through self-creation and empowerment. In their quest for self-creation, initiates can progress through the following six degree levels: Setian, Adept, Priest or Priestess of Set, Master of the Temple, Magnus, and Ipsissimus. Total membership in the Temple of Set's local chapters ("pylons") has never exceeded several hundred.

Satanic Cults and the Satanism Scare

The "Satanism scare" swept the United States, Canada, and Europe during the 1980s. Satanic cults were thought to exist in an underground network that was involved in a variety of nefarious activities, including ritual sacrifice of children. According to the groups that mobilized to combat satanists, the outbreak of Satanism was simply the latest in a series of incursions by evil forces through human history. The incursion was inevitable, it was argued, even if its timing and form were not predictable. Because putative satanists operate underground, it was believed that they were able to penetrate major social institutions and engage in considerable destructive activity before their presence was detected. By some estimates, satanists were ritually sacrificing fifty to sixty thousand children annually in the United States alone during the 1980s. Satanists allegedly are motivated by a quest for personal power, which they seek to enhance by appropriating the life energy of children at the moment of their deaths in ritual sacrifices.

Proponents of satanic cult theory claim that Satanism is organized at four levels, with involvement often beginning at lower levels and subsequently graduating to higher-level activity. At the lowest level are "dabblers," typically adolescents who are lured into Satanism through experimentation with heavy metal music and fantasy games containing embedded satanic themes. More sinister are the "self-styled satanists" who employ satanic imagery in committing antisocial activity and are thought to be members of satanic cults. The public face of Satanism belongs to "organized satanists," consisting of the satanic churches, which publicly engage in the worship of Satan. Orchestrating the entire range of satanic activity are the "traditional satanists," who are organized into an international, secret, hierarchically structured, tightly organized cult network that engages in ritual abuse and sacrifice of children. Satanists procure children through abduction of missing children, purchase of children on the black market, and control over child-care institutions. Some children are abused, some sacrificed, and others raised as "breeders" to produce babies for later rituals. Intimidation, drugs, hypnosis, and brainwashing are employed to maintain power over children in satanists' hands and prevent them from revealing the existence of the satanic cults. Outsiders rarely discover well-concealed, secret satanic activity; those who do are intimidated into silence by satanists in positions of power.

A variety of evidence was offered in the 1980s to demonstrate the existence and active operation of satanic groups. There were widespread reports of mutilated animal remains that were thought to have been killed for body parts used in satanic rituals. Communities across the country mobilized to repel satanic cult incursions upon discovering satanic graffiti or rumors of impending satanic abductions of children for ritual sacrifice. Satanic churches, such as the Church of Satan, were cited as evidence of the public presence of satanists. Several high-profile criminals, such as Richard Ramirez ("The Night Stalker") who committed a series of murders in Los Angeles and San Francisco before being captured in 1985, openly flaunted satanic loyalties. Most compelling were the horrific personal testimonies of young children and adults who recalled satanic abuse in the course of therapeutic treatment. Therapists reported threats to their safety if they revealed the accounts of their clients.

In response to these various occurrences public opinion began to reflect heightened concern with Satanism. Mass media reports of satanic activity burgeoned, therapists treating individuals diagnosed as ritual abuse victims warned of the catastrophic impact of the abuse on their clients, special training and therapeutic procedures were developed for law enforcement and mental health professionals, police excavated the sites where ritual abuse victims were believed to be buried, and child protection agencies investigated preschools where child abuse allegedly occurred. In addition, legislatures conducted hearings on Satanism and passed laws facilitating the testimony of ritual abuse victims, and a number of high-profile trials resulted in the conviction of individuals on child-abuse charges.

The extraordinary claims of satanic cult subversion gradually were discredited, however, as evidence of satanic networks was challenged. Investigations of unexplained animal deaths led to the conclusion that they were the product of roadkills, trapping, disease, poisoning, and predators. Local panics over impending satanic abductions of adolescents turned out to be instances of urban legends with a satanic theme. Graffiti with satanic symbolism was found to be the work of isolated, alienated adolescents. No cases of satanic messages embedded in heavy metal music were documented. No connection between satanic churches or sociopathic criminals and a satanic cult network was ever established. Nor was any trace of the satanic cults themselves produced: no organizational records, documents containing doctrines or rituals, physical implements or equipment, meeting places, or defectors. Repeated official investigations of purported ritual sites yielded no supporting evidence. Most compellingly, not a single death attributable to a ritual sacrifice was documented. By contrast, disconfirming evidence steadily mounted.

The primary evidence supporting the existence of satanic cults was the testimony of children and adults who recalled abuse while in therapeutic treatment. However, the validity of these accounts was undermined by discoveries that biographical accounts by individuals claiming to be ritual abuse victims were fraudulent and that satanic material was introduced by therapists rather than raised by clients. A succession of reports by scholars, investigative journalists, police agencies, and governmental commissions unanimously concluded that there was no plausible support for the satanic cult claims.

Conclusions

The social creation of satanic forces has a long history in Western societies. In contemporary Western societies, Satanism has assumed two marginally related forms. The satanic churches constituted one element of the 1960s countercultural rebellion in which Satanism represented a rejection of traditional Christian morality in favor of hedonistic, individualistic values. The Church of Satan in particular was more culturally significant than its small peak membership might suggest. Many thousands of individuals held brief memberships in the church, and The Satanic Bible became the primary scriptural source for countercultural satanists who never maintained any organizational affiliation. While the Church of Satan and Temple of Set were swept up in the Satanism scare of the 1980s, no connection between these churches and underground satanic cults was ever produced. The Satanism scare of the 1980s was a reaction to rapid social changes that reconstituted home and workplace relationships in North America and Europe. Satanism symbolically represented a widely experienced sense of vulnerability and danger by American families. The threat was symbolically constructed as satanic cults, organizations that exploited the vulnerability of American families by so abusing and terrorizing young children as to permanently impair their capacity for full expression of selfhood. What the satanic churches and Satanism scare had in common, then, was the creation of social evil symbolized in satanic forms, one reacting against historical Christian morality and the other the emerging individuation of modern and postmodern society.

See Also

Anticult Movements.

Bibliography

Bromley, David. "Satanism: The New Cult Scare." In The Satanism Scare, edited by James Richardson, Joel Best, and David Bromley, pp. 4974. Hawthorne, N.Y., 1991. A theoretical analysis of the Satanism scare from a sociological perspective. Bromley treats the Satanism scare as one of a number of subversion episodes that have occurred through American history and links it to societal changes that produced widespread fears of child endangerment.

Hicks, Robert. In Pursuit of Satan: The Police and the Occult. Buffalo, N.Y., 1991. A critical analysis of the Satanism scare from the perspective of a law enforcement official. Hicks meticulously debunks claims of an underground satanic cult network and provides information critical to law enforcement officers confronted by alleged satanic incidents.

Kahaner, Larry. Cults That Kill: Probing the Underworld of Occult Crime. New York, 1988. Kahaner is a journalist who in this book lays out the case for an underground satanic cult engaged in horrific crimes.

La Fontaine, Jean. The Extent and Nature of Organized and Ritual Abuse: Research and Findings. London, 1994. La Fontaine conducted a governmental investigation of satanic activity in England. The report debunks claims of an underground satanic network engaged in ritual sacrifice or other crimes.

Lanning, Kenneth. "Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime: A Law Enforcement Perspective." Police Chief 56 (1989): 6283. An analysis of satanic and occult crime reports by an official in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Lanning finds no evidence of organized, satanic ritual crime.

LaVey, Anton Szandor. The Satanic Bible. New York, 1969. The best-known and most influential statement of satanic theology. This book contains precepts of Satanism that underpinned the Church of Satan as well as a number of other satanic groups.

Nathan, Debbie, and Michael Snedeker. Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt. New York, 1995. Nathan is a journalist and Snedeker an attorney. Together they trace the emergence of child abuse as a problem, the unquestioned acceptance of children's abuse testimony, and the resulting national hysteria about ritual sexual abuse of children.

Ofshe, Richard, and Ethan Watters. Making Monsters: False Memories, Psychotherapy, and Sexual Hysteria. Berkeley, Calif., 1994. This book examines the process through which pseudo-memories are implanted by therapists. One of the cases deals with purported satanic ritual abuse.

Pulling, Patricia. The Devil's Web: Who Is Stalking Your Children for Satan? Lafayette, La., 1989. Pulling was one of the more vocal, public advocates of the existence of an organized satanic cult engaged in ritual abuse. She sought restrictions on fantasy games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, which she claimed constituted one means by which youth were lured into satanic cults.

Richardson, James, Joel Best, and David Bromley, eds. The Satanism Scare. Hawthorne, N.Y., 1991. An interdisciplinary, academic collection of essays on the Satanism scare. The contributors debunk the Satanism scare by examining the history of Satanism, the construction of the satanic threat to children, the role of therapists and police in promoting the scare, and the circulation of rumors of satanic activity.

Smith, Michelle, and Lawrence Pazder. Michelle Remembers. New York, 1980. A biographical account of alleged satanic ritual abuse by Michelle Smith, written with her therapist, Lawrence Pazder. The therapeutic relationship led to a romantic relationship as Smith and Pazder both left their spouses and were married. Publication of this book is widely regarded as the immediate event that triggered the Satanism scare. Smith's claims were subsequently discredited.

Stratford, Lauren. Satan's Underground: The Extraordinary Story of One Woman's Escape. Eugene, Ore., 1988. A biographical account of alleged satanic ritual abuse by Laurel Wilson writing under a pseudonym. For a time Wilson was influential in spreading satanic ritual abuse claims, recounting horrific stories from her childhood. Her claims were ultimately discredited, and the book was withdrawn from circulation by the publisher.

David G. Bromley (2005)

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Satanism

SATANISM

This term is here understood to signify the cult honoring Satan with quasi-religious ceremonies in mockery of Christian rites, and with the performance of other works tending to promote the cause of Satan's dominion in this world. That such a cult exists appears clearly established, but no reliable information is available regarding the extent of its diffusion. For an explanation of the sources and rationale of this curious phenomenon, as well as for a judgment of its morality, see devil worship.

[m. d. griffin]

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Satanism

Satanism

Church of Satan

First Church of Satan

First Satanic Church

Luciferian Light Group

Temple of Set

Church of Satan

PO Box 499, New York, NY 10101-0499

One story repeated continually in the media throughout the 1970s was how Anton LaVey (1930–1997) shaved his head on Walpurgisnacht (April 30) in 1966, proclaimed the beginning of the satanic era, and launched the Church of Satan. LaVey became a celebrity of the burgeoning occult movement and the object of front-page newspaper articles. His early fame came from news coverage of such events as a satanic funeral service for a Navy man killed in an accident at Treasure Island Navy Base, rituals performed with a nude woman on the altar in his black house in San Francisco, the revelation of the actress Jayne Mansfield’s association with the church, and a bit part for LaVey (as the Devil) in the movie Rosemary’s Baby.

LaVey had been a circus animal trainer and carnival organist. While he was with the carnival, he became intrigued by claims of paranormal phenomena and gained a reputation as a ghost-hunting debunker. Over the coming years, LaVey would write five books—The Satanic Bible (1969), The Compleat Witch (1971; reprinted in 1989 as The Satanic Witch), The Satanic Rituals (1972), The Devil’s Notebook (1992), and Satan Speaks (1998). Each explores the philosophy of satanism he embodied in the Church of Satan, and the latter two works include much in the way of social commentary and wry observations on the human condition.

The basic themes of LaVey’s satanism are carnality, self-assertion, anti-establishmentarianism, and the epicurean gratification of man’s physical and mental nature. Satan is seen as a Promethean figure, representing indulgence, vital existence, undefiled wisdom, kindness to the deserving, vengeance, responsibility to the responsible, the notion that man is just another animal, and the so-called sins that lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification when indulged in with moderation. In LaVey’s view, Satan represents the source of these life-enhancing values. Rituals were conceived both as self-transformative psychodramas and as magical acts that focus emotional energy, with the goal being to plant thoughts in the minds of others, who will bring about the sorcerer’s will.

Satanic philosophy is, at its base, atheistic. It embraces social Darwinism and skepticism, and it is meant to be a tool for getting the most out of life, since there is no belief in an afterlife. Each satanist is seen as living according to his own set of values. The Church of Satan opposes illegal acts that are at variance with laws established for the common good. Sex is viewed as the strongest instinct (next to self preservation) and natural in all forms between consenting adults. Drugs use is viewed as escapist and contrary to the realistic view of life as preached by the church.

The church celebrates three main holidays. For individuals, the most important day is one’s birthday. For the group, Walpurgisnacht celebrates the climax of spring and the anniversary of the church’s founding, while Halloween is an ancient harvest festival that now serves as a time to explore the often repressed sides of its celebrants through dressing in masks and costumes. The equinoxes and solstices are also celebrated as seasonal turning points..

Baptism is a ceremony of glorification of the one baptized. LeVey’s works offer rituals for different magical goals (e.g., compassion, lust, destruction) as well as celebratory purposes. The Enochian Keys, which first appeared in print in 1659 in a biography of John Dee (and were later used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) are employed in satanized versions in rituals. The text used for the traditional Black Mass ritual, “Le Messe Noir,” is found in The Satanic Rituals). As performed by the church, it is meant to be not simply a blasphemous pageant against the Catholic Church, but a purging ritual that makes full use of psychodrama to rid individuals of the influence of any sacred cows. Satanic wedding and funeral rites were revealed in The Satanic Scriptures (2007) by High Priest Peter H. Gilmore.

Operating from the San Francisco headquarters, the Church of Satan spread to urban centers across the United States, with grottos in Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York City; and throughout the Midwest. By 1977, one spokesperson claimed more than 10,000 members for the church (lifetime membership is available for a $200.00 registration fee). In the mid-1970s, administratively centralized grottos were deemed counterproductive and disbanded. A more cabal-like underground structure was instituted and continues today. Over the years, groups have emerged that use LaVeyan ritual and philosophy, but that may or may not give LaVey credit and are not affiliated in any way with the Church of Satan.

When LaVey died in 1997, Blanche Barton was High Priestess and succeeded him as the Church’s administrative head. In 2001 Peter H. Gilmore was appointed High Priest, and in 2002 his wife Peggy Nadramia became High Priestess, with Barton remaining as the chairperson of the advisory board, the Council of Nine. In 2007 Gilmore wrote The Satanic Scriptures, which brings the philosophy of satanism up to date and explains the workings of the Church of Satan. The book also includes social commentary and important rituals. It is being translated to date into French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Estonian.

Membership

Not reported. Church membership statistics are considered confidential. Church membership is granted for life to new members (who can be expelled if they do not live up to the philosophy), and there is no published account of active members (estimated to be several thousand). Internationally, the church reports concentrations of members in just about every nation in the Americas and Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand, with newer members in the Middle and Far East as well as South Africa. The Satanic Bible has recently been translated into French, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Italian, and Spanish.

Periodicals

The Black Flame (officially endorsed) • The Cloven Hoof.

Sources

Church of Satan. www.churchofsatan.com.

Barton, Blanche. The Secret Life of a Satanist. Los Angeles: Feral House, 1990.

LaVey, Anton Szandor. The Satanic Bible. New York: Avon, 1969.

———. The Compleat Witch. New York: Lancer Books, 1971.

———. The Satanic Rituals. Secaucus, NJ: University Books, 1972.

———. The Devil’s Notebook. Los Angeles: Feral House, 1992.

———. Satan Speaks. Los Angeles: Feral House, 1998.

Lewis, James R., and Jesper Aagaard Petersen. The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of Satanism. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Press, 2008.

Wolff, Burton H. The Devil’s Avenger. New York: Pyramid Books, 1974.

First Church of Satan

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The First Church of Satan was one of several small satanic groups to emerge in the 1990s as the Church of Satan experienced a shift of leadership from founder Anton LaVey (1930–1997) to Blanche Barton and the controversies accompanying that change. John Dewey Alle (b. 1951), known as Lord Egan, had been a member of the church of Satan in the 1970s but turned to other pursuits in the 1980s. In the mid-1990s he decided to reactivate his association with the milieu created by LaVey but quickly found himself in conflict with Barton. He charged the Church of Satan with having shifted its emphasis from a celebration of individualism (the primary message behind the Church of Satan’s outward manifestation) into an assertion of elitism.

Alle founded the First Church of Satan as an instrument to champion the satanic spiritual path. Satanism was viewed as a path for freethinkers and individualists who wished to pursue truth through self-exploration and spiritual stimulation. The church did not center on a particular structure or belief system, but allowed individuals to seek their own way. The church tolerated all spiritual paths, discouraging any dogmatic approach to the spiritual life.

The church also discouraged debate over the existence of Satan. Rather, images of Satan as the promoter of freedom were seen as valid metaphors of the spiritual aspiration, and the Satanic Bible (with the additional teachings offered by LaVey through the Church of Satan) as tools encouraging individuals to develop their personal spirituality.

The church encouraged the creation of satanic covens (groups), though such local groups were considered strictly autonomous. The First Church of Satan did not issue charters for covens, though it did provide material to facilitate their operation. Membership was open to anyone who made a modest donation to the church.

Alle continued to evolve philosophically. In 2003, with the help of his wife, Lillee C. Alle, he created a new magical system based on Hermetics that he termed the Alle Shadow Tradition. The new “tradition” superseded and replaced the First Church of Satan.

Membership

The First Church of Satan was a small organization (low hundreds) that sought to influence people primarily through the Internet. The LaVey movement numbered in the low thousands. Many people were influenced by The Satanic Bible, which has remained in print since its first publication in the 1960s.

Sources

Alle, John. www.myspace.com/crystalscryer

Alle Shadow Tradition. www.alleeshadowtradition.com

First Satanic Church

PO Box 475177, San Francisco, CA 94147

The First Satanic Church is one of several small satanic groups to emerge in the 1990s in the wake of the death of Anton LaVey (1930–1997), the founder of the Church of Satan, and the emergence of Blanche Barton to leadership. Karla LaVey, Anton LaVey’s eldest daughter, did not accept Barton’s leadership, and in 1999 she disaffiliated with the Church of Satan and founded the First Satanic Church in an attempt to recover what she felt had been lost. The church promotes and uses the writings of Anton LaVey.

The First Satanic Church sees itself as an elite organization designed to engage those few who wish to engage in a serious study of the occult realm, particularly satanism. The new church differs from the present Church of Satan in several aspects. Although sharing the teachings presented in The Satanic Bible and other writings of LaVey, the First Satanic Church engage in the recruitment of members. Those who become aware of the church and wish to affiliate take the lead in making contact. In addition, although it has several Internet sites, the church does not see itself as a cyberspace organization and demands that prospective members make contact by more traditional means. Prospective members must go through a screening process.

The First Satanic Church sees itself as the purveyor of individualism and self-interest. Satan is the symbol of opposition to the majority mindset that seeks to mold the individual into its image. As such, satanism is neither the inverse of Christianity, but presents another spiritual path. Nor is the church involved with illegal activities such as animal mutilation or sacrifice. The church has established an online community using a cyber address that parodies The 700 Club, the television show of popular Christian televangelist Pat Robertson. The church has also developed a radio outreach, The Voice of Satan. Karla LaVey holds an annual celebration of the Black Mass each year on Halloween.

Membership

Not reported. The church has less than 100 members.

Sources

First Satanic Church. satanicchurch.com/content/.

Luciferian Light Group

PO Box 7207, Tampa, FL 33673

The Luciferian Light Group is an organization founded in the early 1990s that is dedicated to bringing forth the ancient teachings of Lucifer and hastening the establishment of the Satanic Empire. The order is organized as a secret society with an inner circle that is called the Church of Luciferian Light.

Membership

Not reported.

Periodicals

Onslaught.

Temple of Set

PO Box 470307, San Francisco, CA 94147

The Temple of Set was founded in 1975 by members of the international priest-hood of the Church of Satan who had resigned from that institution because of what they considered to be its over-commercialism. A senior initiate, Michael A. Aquino, invoked the Prince of Darkness in quest of a new mandate to preserve and enhance what he held to be the more noble concepts which the Church of Satan had conceived. The mandate was given in the form of The Book of Coming Forth by Night, a statement by that entity in his most ancient semblance as Set. Set ordained the Temple of Set to succeed the Church of Satan. The temple describes itself as an initiatory institution dedicated to Set, an ancient Egyptian deity, the corrupted legends of whom became the basis for the Christian Satan.

Temple initiates do not consider Set an evil figure, nor do they consider the temple merely a refutation of conventional religion. According to temple philosophy, the universe is a nonconscious environment possessed of mechanical consistency. In contrast to the universe, and occasionally violating its laws, is Set. Set has, over a period of millennia, altered the genetic makeup of humans in order to create a species possessing an enhanced, nonnatural intelligence. The techniques and teachings of the temple are designed to identify and develop this higher evolutionary potential in appropriate individuals.

The temple is governed by the Council of Nine, which appoints the high priest of Set and the executive director. There are six initiatory degrees: Setian, Adept, Priest(ess) of Set, Master of the Temple, Magus, and Ipsissimus. The program is designed principally for individuals, although there are local Pylons of the Temple in several parts of the United States. International conclaves for the entire temple are held annually. The temple provides an annotated reading list containing material on a wide range of occult, scientific, and religious subjects. Topics covered include ancient Egypt, historical and contemporary occultism, psychology, ethics, and experimental science.

Membership

In 2002 the temple had approximately 500 members.

Periodicals

Scroll of Set.

Remarks

Among those who joined in the founding of the Temple of Set was Lilith Sinclair, leader of what had been known as the Spottswood (New Jersey) Grotto of the Church of Satan, the largest group of its kind on the East Coast.

Sources

Temple of Set. www.xeper.org/

Aquino, Michael A. The Crystal Tablet of Set. San Francisco, CA: Temple of Set, 1985.

———. Temple of Set Reading List XIX. San Francisco, CA: Temple of Set, 1984.

Scott, Gini Graham. The Magicians. New York: Irvington Publishers, 1983.

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Satanism

Satanism

2019

Brotherhood of the Ram

(Defunct)

Operating from the early 1960s into the 1970s, the Brotherhood of the Ram established a bookstore in Los Angeles. Satan was to this group a god of joy and pleasure. Some traditional aspects of Satanism, such as the "pact," were accepted. Members made a pact with Satan renouncing all other devotion and their Christian baptism, and then signed the pact with their own blood. Membership was confined to Southern California. As of the 1980s the store has been closed and the group reportedly disbanded.

2020

Church of Satan

Box 210666
San Francisco, CA 94121

One story repeated continually in the media through the 1970's was how Anton LaVey (1930-1997) shaved his head on Walpurgisnacht (April 30) in 1966, proclaimed the beginning of the Satanic era, and launched the Church of Satan. LaVey became a media event and the object of both features and front page newspaper articles. His early fame came from news coverage of such events as a Satanic funeral service for a Navy man killed in an accident at Treasure Island Navy Base, worship with a nude woman on the altar in his black house in San Francisco, the revelation of actress Jayne Mansfield's association with the church, and a bit part for LaVey in the movie "Rosemary's Baby" (as the Devil).

LaVey had been a former animal trainer and carnival organist. While with the carnival, he became intrigued by the psychic and gained a reputation as a ghosthunter. LaVey was the author of three books—The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, and The Compleat Witch released in 1989 as The Satanic Witch. Each contains the teachings of the Satanic Church.

The basic themes of LaVey's brand of Satanism are self-assertion, antiestablishmentarianism, and the gratification of man's physical or mental nature. Satan is a Promethean figure, representing indulgence, vital existence, undefiled wisdom, kindness to the deserving, vengeance, responsibility to the responsible, the notion that man is just another animal, and so-called sins which lead to physical or mental gratification. It is LaVey's opinion that Satan represents the source of these values. Rituals are conceived both as psychodramas and as magical acts that focus psychokinetic force, as in the ritual magick tradition.

Satanic philosophy is very close to the teachings of Aleister Crowley in The Book of the Law. Each person is seen as living according to his own set of rules. However, the Church of Satan opposes illegal acts at variance with laws established for the common good. Sex is viewed as the strongest instinct (next to self preservation) and natural. Drugs are viewed as escapist and contrary to the realistic view of life as preached by the church.

Ritually, the church celebrates three main holidays. For individuals, the most important day is their birthday. For the group, Walpurgisnacht and Halloween are the major days. Both have sexual implications as the spring rebirth of nature and the harvest festivals. Baptism is a ceremony of glorification of the one baptized. There are various rituals for different magical and celebratory purposes. The Enochian language, which first appeared in print in 1659 in a biography of John Dee (and was later used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) is employed in rituals. The text used for the traditional Black Mass ritual, "Le Messe Noir," is found in The Satanic Rituals (published in 1972). As performed by the church, it is meant to be not simply a blasphemous pageant against the Catholic church, but a purging ritual, making full use of psychodrama to rid individuals of the influence of any sacred cow.

Operating from the San Francisco headquarters, the Satanic Church spread to urban centers across the United States, surfacing in Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York City; and throughout the Midwest. By 1977, one spokesperson claimed more than 10,000 members for the church (lifetime membership is available for a $100.00 donation). In the mid-1970s, administratively centralized grottos were deemed counterproductive and were disbanded. A more cabalistic underground structure was instituted and continues today. Over the years, groups have emerged which use LaVeyan ritual and philosophy, but which may or may not give LaVey credit or be affiliated in any way with the Church of Satan.

Lavey died in 1997, Blanche Barton has succeeded him as the Church's administrative head.

Membership: Not reported. Church membership statistics are considered confidential. Church membership is granted for life to new members, and there is no count on active members (estimated to be several thousand). Internationally, the church reports concentrations of members in England, Holland, and Sweden. The Satanic Bible has recently been translated into Danish, Swedish, and Spanish.

Periodicals: The Black Flame (officially endorsed). Send orders to PO Box 499, Radio City Station, New York, NY 10101-0499.• The Cloven Hoof, Send orders to Box 210666, San Francisco, CA 94121.

Sources:

Alfred, Randall H. "The Church of Satan." In The New Religious Consciousness, Edited by Charles Y. Glock and Robert N. Bellah. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976.

Harrington, Walt. "The Devil in Anton LaVey." The Washington Post Magazine (February 23, 1986): 6-17.

LaVey, Anton Szandor. The Compleat Witch. New York: Lancer Books, 1971.

——. The Satanic Bible. New York: Avon, 1969.

——. The Satanic Rituals. Secaucus, NJ: University Books, 1972.

Wolff, Burton H. The Devil's Avenger. New York: Pyramid Books, 1974.

2021

Church of Satanic Brotherhood

(Defunct)

In the early 1970s, controversy began to develop among the Midwestern grottoes of the Church of Satan. Among those involved were Wayne West of Detroit and John de Haven of Dayton, Ohio. The dissolution of the Stygian Grotto of the Dayton area of the Church of Satan occurred on February 11, 1973. Anton LaVey had revoked the grotto's charter, accusing it of "having been acting in violation of the law." With members from Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, the Church of Satanic Brotherhood was formed in March 1973 by John de Haven, Joseph Daniels, Ronald E. Lanting, and Harry L. Booth.

The church followed the practices of the Church of Satan with several exceptions that grew out of the controversy. Only those people who "can get along with others" were allowed in the Brotherhood. The Satanic Rituals by LaVey was viewed as a collection of butchered rites as used in their original form at the Central Grotto. An intense polemic against LaVey was launched.

After its founding, the Brotherhood spread rapidly. Grottoes were established in St. Petersburg, Florida; Dayton-Centerville, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; New York City; and Columbus, Ohio. A Council of the Churches was headed by the bishops (fourth degree). The priesthood made up its third degree. Each grotto was headed by a magister. A periodical, The True Grimoire, was published monthly.

The Church of Satanic Brotherhood lasted only a short period. In 1974 John de Haven publically renounced Satanism and proclaimed his conversion to Christianity. He made his announcement in the midst of a gathering of the Church in St. Petersburg during which he smashed many of the altar implements.

2022

First Church of Satan

PMB 172, 203 Washington St.
Salem, MA 01970

The First Church of Satan is one of several small Satanic groups to emerge in the 1990s as the Church of Satan experienced the shift of leadership from founder Anton LaVey (1930-1997) to Blanche Barton and the controversies accompanying that change. John Dewey Alle (b. 1951), publicly known as Lord Egan, had been a member of the church of Satan in the 1970s but turned to other pursuits in the 1980s. In the mid-1990s, he decided to reactivate his association with the milieu created by LaVey but quickly found himself in conflict with Barton. He charged the Church of Satan with having shifted its emphasis from a celebration of individualism (the primary message behind the Church of Satan's outward manifestation) into an assertion of elitism.

Unable to relate to the Church of Satan anymore, he founded the First Church of Satan as an instrument to champion the Satanic spiritual path. Satanism is a path for freethinkers and individualists who wish to pursue truth through self-exploration and spiritual stimulation. The church does not center upon a particular structure or belief system, but provides space where individuals can seek their own way in a self-chosen fashion. Within the church, there is great toleration for all spiritual paths, criticism being aimed at more the form of the search rather than the methods and conclusions. Thus a dogmatic cast to one's spiritual life is discouraged.

The church also discourages debate over the existence of Satan. Rather, images of Satan as the promoter of freedom are seen as valid metaphors of the spiritual aspiration, and the Satanic Bible (and the additional teachings offered by LaVey through the Church of Satan) as tools encouraging the individual to develop their personal spirituality.

The church encourages the creation of Satanic covens (groups), though such local groups are considered strictly autonomous. The First Church of Satan does not issue charters for covens, though it does provide material to facilitate their operation. Membership is open to anyone who makes a modest donation to the church.

Membership: Not reported. The LaVey movement organizationally was never large (numbering in the low thousands), though many people were influenced by The Satanic Bible, which has remained in print since its first publication in the 1960s. The First Church of Satan is a small organization (low hundreds) that seeks to influence people primarily through the Internet. There were, as of 2002, eight covens in the United States and two in Canada.

Sources:

First Church of Satan. http://www.churchofsatan.org/. 1 February 2002.

2023

First Satanic Church

PO Box 475177
San Francisco, CA 94147

The First Satanic Church is one of several small Satanic groups to emerge in the 1990s in the wake of the death of Anton LaVey (1930-1997), the founder of the Church of Satan, and the emergence of Blanche Barton to leadership. Karla LaVey, Anton LaVey's older daughter, did not accept Barton's leadership and in 1999 disaffiliated with the Church of Satan and founded the First Satanic Church in an attempt to recover what she saw had been lost in the 1990s. The church promotes and uses the writings of Anton LaVey.

The First Satanic Church sees itself as an elite organization designed to engage those few who wish to engage in a serious study of the occult realm and Satanism in particular. The new church differs from the present church of Satan in several aspects. Though sharing the teachings presented in the Satanic Bible and other writings of LaVey, the First Satanic Church does engage in the recruitment of members. Those who become aware of the church and wish to affiliate take the lead in making contact. While having several Internet sites, the church also does not see itself as a cyberspace organization and demands that prospective members make contact by more traditional means. Prospective members must go through a screening process.

The First Satanic Church sees itself as the purveyor of individualism and self-interest. Satan is the symbol of opposition to the majority mind cast that seeks to mold the individual into its image. As such, Satanism is neither the inverse of Christianity (but another spiritual path) nor is it involved with illegal activities such as animal mutilation/sacrifice. The church has established a website using a cyber address that parodies The 700 Club, the television show of popular Christian televangelist Pat Robertson. The church has developed a radio outreach, The Voice of Satan. Karla LaVey holds an annual celebration of the Black Mass each year on Halloween.

Membership: Not reported. The church is less than one hundred people.

Sources:

First Satanic Church. http://www.the600club.net/church/. 1 February 2002.

2024

Luciferian Light Group

PO Box 7207
Tampa, FL 33673

The Luciferian Light Group is an organization founded in the early 1990s that is dedicated to bringing forth the ancient teachings of Lucifer and hastening the establishment of the Satanic Empire. The order is organized as a secret society with an inner circle that is called the Church of Luciferian Light.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Onslaught.

2025

Order of Dionysus/Sabazios

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Order of Dionysus/Sabazios was founded in 1990 as the Church of Satanic Youthfulness by Joseph E. Aufricht. Originally enjoying a good relationship with the Church of Satan, whose perspective inspired Aufricht to start his separate work, the two groups have pulled apart over various disagreements on specific teachings.

The order is essentially atheistic in belief but allows a belief in the existence of spiritual entities by members. Aufricht has argued that if a supreme creator exists, the creator would be responsible for both good and evil. God would have created Satan with the ability to rebel, and being all-knowing, would have known that Satan would rebel. Aufricht believes the basic philosophy of the Christian Bible to be mere myth written by very fallible human beings for the purpose of controlling the masses in one form or another. The order stands staunchly against forms of social control and for the destruction of Christianity and other forms of spirituality.

The order basically follows the teachings presented by Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, in his various books and writings. It differs primarily in its advocacy of the rights of teenagers, who currently exist in a state of "slavery" from parents and other authorities, according to the order. The order believes that teens are essentially adults and should be so treated. Members of the order assert that teenagers should have the same freedom of choice, especially in matters of sexuality, as legal adults and fight for legal changes that will allow such freedom to become operative. Included in the freedoms the order advocates is the freedom of teenagers to engage in sexual relationships with adults.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Rejuvenation.

2026

Order of the Black Ram

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Order of the Black Ram is a Satanic organization based on the belief in Aryan racial superiority and closely associated with the National Renaissance Party, a neo-Nazi organization. Adherents believe that each race is the embodiment of a racial soul which is expressed in its culture and philosophy. Individuality is stressed. The Order of the Black Ram is eclectic, drawing on the writings of Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan); Robert Heinlein's novel, Stranger in a Strange Land; and Neo-Paganism. It was headquartered in suburban Detroit, Michigan, where its grand magister, the Reverend Seth-Klippoth, resided. Liber Venifi-ca was an irregular periodical.

2027

Ordo Templi Satanas

(Defunct)

Closely associated with the Church of Satanic Brotherhood was the Ordo Templi Satanas (OTS). Some OTS members were former members of the Brotherhood. Practices, beliefs, and organization are similar. There were two temples of the OTS, one in Indianapolis, Indiana, and one in Louisville, Kentucky (headed by Clifford Amos). Leader of the OTS was Joseph Daniels, known as Apollonius, priest of Hermopolis. He was also one of the founders of the Brotherhood. This miniscule group disbanded after a few years.

2028

Our Lady of Endor Coven

(Defunct)

Existing for many years prior to the establishment of the Church of Satan was Our Lady of Endor Coven, the Ophite Cultus Satanas, founded by Herbert Arthur Sloane of Toledo, Ohio, in 1948. Satanas (the Horned God) appeared to him first when Sloane was a child. Later, Sloane saw him as the figure pictured on the dust jacket of Margaret Murray's The God of the Witches. (Murray is discussed in the introductory material to this volume.) The Lord Satanas appeared again when Sloane was twenty-five years old.

The system of Our Lady of Endor Coven was based heavily on Gnosticism; The Gnostic Religion by Hans Jonas was a highly recommended book. The Christian God, the creator, was identified with the Gnostic Demiurge. The Demiurge is the God beyond the creator God, an emanation of the transcendent God. Satanas is the messenger of the remote God who brought Eve the knowledge that there was a God beyond the God who created the cosmos. The God beyond takes no part of "this world," except as he is concerned with the return of his spirit, now entrapped in matter as the divine within humanity. The return of the divine within humanity to the God beyond is accomplished through Gnosis, occult knowledge which people can attain.

Satanism was believed to be the oldest religion, dating to the worship of the Horned God found in the prehistoric cave paintings in Europe. It differs from witchcraft in not turning the Horned God into a fertility god and thus retaining his spiritual significance. Organization followed a pattern similar to witchcraft, covens being the prime structure. The organization was headed by a priest but has no extra-coven structure.

There was but one coven led by Sloane. It dissolved after his death in the early 1980s.

Remarks: For a brief period of time Sloane was a member of the Church of Satan, but his membership did not visibly alter the coven he led.

2029

Temple of Set

PO Box 470307
San Francisco, CA 94147

The Temple of Set was founded in 1975 by members of the international priesthood of the Church of Satan who had resigned from that institution because of what they considered to be its over-commercialism. A senior initiate, Michael A. Aquino, invoked the Prince of Darkness in quest of a new mandate to preserve and enhance the more noble concepts which the Church of Satan had conceived. The mandate was given in the form of The Book of Coming Forth by Night, a statement by that entity in his most ancient semblance as Set. Set ordained the Temple of Set to succeed the Church of Satan. The temple describes itself as an initiatory institution dedicated to Set, an ancient Egyptian deity, the corrupted legends of whom became the basis for the Christian Satan.

Temple initiates do not consider Set an evil figure, nor do they consider the temple merely a refutation of conventional religion. According to temple philosophy, the universe is a nonconscious environment possessed of mechanical consistency. In contrast to the universe, and occasionally violating its laws, is Set. Set has, over a period of millennia, altered the genetic makeup of humans in order to create a species possessing an enhanced, nonnatural intelligence. The techniques and teachings of the temple are designed to identify and develop this higher evolutionary potential in appropriate individuals.

The temple is governed by the Council of Nine, which appoints the high priest of Set and the executive director. There are six initiatory degrees: Setian, Adept, Priest(ess) of Set, Master of the Temple, Magus, and Ipsissimus. The program is designed principally for individuals, although there are local Pylons of the Temple in several parts of the United States. International conclaves for the entire temple are held annually. The temple provides an annotated reading list containing material on a wide range of occult, scientific, and religious subjects. Topics covered include ancient Egypt, historical and contemporary occultism, psychology, ethics, and experimental science.

Membership: In 2002 the temple had approximately 500 members.

Periodicals: Scroll of Set.

Remarks: Among those who joined in the founding of the Temple of Set was Lilith Sinclair, leader of what had been known as the Spottswood (New Jersey) Grotto of the Church of Satan, the largest group of its kind on the East Coast.

Sources:

Aquino, Michael A. The Crystal Tablet of Set. San Francisco, VA: Temple of Set, 1985.

——. Temple of Set Reading List XIX. San Francisco, CA: Temple of Set, 1984.

Scott, Gini Graham. The Magicians. New York: Irvington Publishers, 1983.

2030

Thee Satanic Church

(Defunct)

In 1974 Thee Satanic Church of the Nethilum Rite divided, and a second organization was established by Dr. Evelyn Paglini, one of the original cofounders. Its belief and structure were identical to those of the parent church. The Satanic Church opened a book and occult supply store in a Chicago suburb and Paglini began an occult periodical, Psychic Standard, which did not carry any Satanic material. Paglini's group slowly dropped their Satanic trappings. In one of their last public actions, they gathered at Comiskey Park prior to a Chicago White Sox baseball game to do a magical ritual to aid the faltering team.

The Psychic Standard ceased publication in 1980. Shortly after that time Paglini moved away from Chicago.

2031

Thee Satanic Orthodox Church of Nethilum Rite

(Defunct)

Centered in Chicago was Thee Satanic Orthodox Church of Nethilum Rite headed by High Priest Terry Taylor. Headquarters were at the Occult Book Shop in Chicago. The Church went public in 1971. It was opposed to the Satanism of Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan. Members believed in God as the creator of the universe and in Satan as the creature of God. Satan is the apex of creation who possesses all the power and knowledge of the universe. Members tried to acquire as much of Satan's knowledge and power as possible. This acquisition was to be achieved through magical rituals and psychic development and through the elders, described as an "international group of high ministers in the private end of Thee Satanic Church." The Church disappeared in the mid-1970s.

Only one center, in Chicago, was ever established. It claimed 538 members in 1973. Weekly Saturday night meetings were held including songs, prayers, a ritualistic mass, and introduction of new members. Recruitment was through evening public discussion sessions, the store, and classes given by Taylor.

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