Monday, June 13, 2011

Philosophical Satanism - Part I Modern Satanism: The Failed Religion

I was born March 8, 1951. Growing up, I was influenced by the work of a distant relative, also of Irish extraction, Warder Clyde Allee, better known as W. C. Allee. He died soon after I was born. Allee was the animal ecologist who coined the phrase "pecking order" which came into widespread use. At the time, W.C. was referring to the behavior of hens who would use their beaks as a weapon to establish a chain of command in the chicken coop. The top hen would peck on all the others, but they couldn't peck on her. The next one down would peck on everyone but the top hen. The third one down would peck on everyone but the top two and this would continue straight down the line until you come to the bottom hen who was pecked on by everyone and couldn't peck back.

Many might argue that human society is structured the same way: you have the masters and the slaves with varying levels of dominance and submission. But W.C. noticed a third option among animals with greater intelligence: social cooperation. This follows the reasoning of Ayn Rand, when she spoke of the Ideal Man and Friedrich Nietzsche, when he spoke of the Ubermensch or Overman. In both cases, the superior human is seen as having no need to dominate or be dominated by others. The superior human leads by example and does not require validation within a menial pecking order.

Philosophical Satanism revolves around this concept of recognizing your sovereignty as an individual. Now, sometimes we have to look at these things allegorically, because an image is more powerful than words alone:

When you ask a Christian what the goal of their religion is, they will often tell you that it is to emulate Jesus the Christ - to walk in his footsteps. Satanists sometimes choose a similar mythological figure - that of the Archangel Lucifer refusing to accept the authority of a God above himself. Comparatively, the Satanist desires to emulate what the Archangel Lucifer is doing - refusing to accept the authority of a God above himself. This is what Crowley meant when he wrote, "There is no god but man." This also explains why Satanists do not worship Satan or Lucifer or Beelzebub or Mammon or any of the other deities demonized by Christianity. Those who do worship demons are called "devil worshipers" and they practice what could only be called, upside-down Christianity. Therefore, philosophical Satanism must never be thought of as a church or a religion.

In the year 1966, Howard Levey, better known as Anton LaVey from San Francisco, was encouraged to create a "Church of Satan" by professional publicist Ed Webber. Anton was told that the press was going to flip out over all this and that he would get a lot of notoriety. The gimmick worked and LaVey became a popular cultural icon. Tragically, this new religion does misrepresent the philosophy proposed by Crowley and Nietzsche and tries to dogmatize individualism with Satanic rules and statements. LaVey's High Priestess, Blanche Barton, tried to rationalize the contradiction by stating, "This is an organization for non-joiners." She may as well have said, "This is a church for non-believers." This again begs the question, do the words "Church" and "Satan" even belong in the same sentence together? That's something you may want to consider.

And then there is the silly assertion made by LaVey that, if you show enough devotion to a thing it becomes your religion, whether it be coin collecting, racing sports cars, playing baseball or forming an anti-religion. Now that's a weak attempt to redefine the way billions of people already think about the word, "religion" and I doubt if that's going to help you to communicate ideas in a meaningful fashion. If you want to be successful, you can't speak to people using a different language. Besides, I don't think you are going to win many adherents calling yourself an "anti-religion religion."

The Church of Satan has created a social clique with a herd mentality and a set of rules with layers of presumptive stratification where blind obedience to the High Priest is rewarded. This poses the question, "If you are judged by your superiors, who is there to judge you if you are inferior to nobody?" Certainly, replacing one deity with another is not the answer. Organized religion opens the door to the abuse of power and organized Satanism is no exception.

Boyd Rice stated our case for elitism quite eloquently on his website:

"At one time, the sycophants and functionaries at the forefront of the CoS may have been called apparatchiks or pencil pushers. Today they are bloggers, whose sole arena of combat is the internet. When they employ 'satanic' ideals, it's in endless squabbles in cyberspace - rarely in real life or the real world. The LaVey I knew abhorred such types, and frequently told me as much.

I am told that many in the Church of Satan were offended by my book NO, and particularly by my essay on individuality; which they perceived as a potshot taken at them. How very perceptive - it was exactly that! If Anton were alive to read the text, he'd agree wholeheartedly; and laugh his ass off. He often lamented to me that his ideas vis-à-vis individualism were misguided and that he'd in effect 'given birth to a monster'; or that such ideas applied to a few rare souls and not to everyone with the price of admission.

Consequently, my first official act as new leader and only truly ordained High Priest of the Church of Satan is to declare that the organization no longer exists. True LaVeyan Satanism only exists insofar as it is manifested in deeds - in life and living. Never in mere words. Elitism is self-defining, it is not a commodity that can be bought or sold for a few hundred dollars, or whatever the going rate is for a little, red membership card. "

Let us recall the Devil's Advocates who might be called philosophical Satanists because they knew how to invoke the image of the adversary to get their point across:

Ambrose Bierce, who wrote The Devil's Dictionary
Mark Twain, The Chronicle of Young Satan aka The Mysterious Stranger
George Bernard Shaw, who scripted The Devil's Disciple
Friedrich Nietzsche, self-proclaimed Anti-Christ
Aleister Crowley, self-proclaimed Beast of Revelation

Each one of these individuals were shit-disturbers who upset the social order. If it were not for them and others like them, slavery would never have been abolished and innocent people would still be hanged, burned, drowned, imprisoned and tortured as witches.

None of these individuals would have proposed a Church of Satan to address the needs of an atheist seeking a sense of direction or purpose.

I leave you with this very important quote by Aleister Crowley:

"The essence of every missionary message has always been to assimilate the taught to the teacher, and it has always been accompanied by bribes and threats. My message is exactly opposed to any of this. I say to each man and woman, you are unique and sovereign, the center of a universe. However right I may be in thinking as I do, you may be equally right in thinking otherwise. You can only accomplish your object in life by complete disregard of the opinions of other people."

Carpe Noctem (Seize the Night)
Rev. John D. Allee
Order of Shadows

Quotations:

bulletAnton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan: "You cannot love everyone; it is ridiculous to think you can.  If you love everyone and everything you lose your natural powers of selection and wind up being a pretty poor judge of character and quality.  If anything is used too freely it loses its true meaning.  Therefore, the Satanist believes you should love strongly and completely those who deserve your love, but never turn the other cheek to your enemy!"

bulletAnon: "Satanism is the official religion of the American corporate boardroom.

Overview:

Religious Satanism is a valid religion, generally followed by adults. It is essentially unrelated to teen Satanic dabbling and to various other beliefs and practices that have been described as Satanism.
The largest of the many traditions within Religious Satanism is the Church of Satan (CoS), which some people believe was founded on Walpurgisnacht, 1966-APR-30, (I Anno Satanas) by Anton Szandor LaVey (1930-1997). It was actually founded later that year.
The CoS, shares one property with the Church of Scientology: it is so controversial that many versions of "the truth" have sprung up over the years. It is impossible to separate reality from fake history. The following essay is our best shot at describing CoS history.
The beliefs, practices and rituals of the Church of Satan have few, if any, points of similarity with the Christian or Muslim concept of Satan. The CoS' Satan is pre-Christian, and derived from the Pagan image of power, virility, sexuality and sensuality. Satan is viewed as a force of nature, not a living quasi-deity. Their Satan has nothing to do with Hell, demons, pitchforks, sadistic torture, demonic possession, and profound evil. There are references in LaVey' writings to having conducted a few Black Masses for publicity purposes, in which the Roman Catholic Mass was ridiculed. But, it is unclear whether these references were satirical or whether they reflected actual rituals. Assuming that the black masses were fictional, all of their rituals have no connection to those of Christianity or of any other religion.
Some of their beliefs and practices are:

bulletThey do not worship a living deity. Members are Agnostics or Atheists.
 
bulletMajor emphasis is placed on the power and authority of the individual Satanist, rather than on a god or goddess.
 
bulletThey believe that "no redeemer liveth" - that each person is their own redeemer, fully responsible for the direction of their own life.
 
bullet"Satanism respects and exalts life. Children and animals are the purest expressions of that life force, and as such are held sacred and precious..." 1
There are probably fewer than 10,000 religious Satanists in North America. The best known Satanic organization is the Church of Satan. Associated with the CoS are many local grottos. CoS membership is kept secret within the group. 2 Many Satanists prefer to work alone as solitary practitioners.

Founding of the Church of Satan:

Many rumors have grown up about Anton Szandor LaVey's (1930-1997) life before he founded the Church of Satan: that he was a lion tamer, sideshow barker, police photographer, student of criminology, "official church organist", etc. It appears that none of this is true. The persistence of these rumors are a testimony to Anton's extensive publicity talents. 1,2
Religious Satanists existed in the 1950's, both in the United States and the UK. But they were little known to the public. Legends describe how modern Satanism burst into mass consciousness on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, (I Anno Satanas) when LaVey announced the creation of the Church of Satan. 1  In reality, LaVey was teaching weekly lectures on occult topics for $2.00 a person during the spring of 1966. A professional publicist, Edward Webber, suggested that he
"... would never make any money by lecturing on Friday nights for donations ... it would be better to form some sort of church and get a charter from the State of California ... I told Anton at the time that the press was going to flip out over all this and that we would get a lot of notoriety."
Formation of the Church of Satan occurred much later in 1966; it was triggered by a newspaper article that referred to LaVey as the "priest of the Devil's church". 2 
LaVey is widely believed to have been the technical advisor for the 1968 movie Rosemary's Baby. He claimed to have played the part of the Devil in that film. Apparently, his only involvement with the movie was that he was once asked by a theatre in San Francisco to make an promotional appearance when the film opened. 2 However, LaVey seems to have been involved as an advisor in a later movie The Devil's Rain which was released in 1975. He appeared in the movie as a Satanic priest. Some chants and symbols in the movie come from his writings.
LaVey wrote the Satanic Bible in 1969. This was followed by The Compleat Witch (1970) (later republished as The Satanic Witch). The Satanic Rituals was published in 1972. These are essentially the only readily available books on Satanism that can be found in most bookstores. Many additional publications have been written by other Satanic groups. However, they are not in wide distribution; one normally has to discover them through specialist publications or Satanic Web sites. 
Anton LaVey allegedly died on 1997-OCT-29. Some maintain that the death certificate was forged to read OCT-31 -- Halloween.

The Modern Church of Satan

It has been claimed that on the last night of April, 1966 - Walpurgisnacht, the most important festival for practioners of witchcraft, Anton Szandor LaVey announced the formation of The Church Of Satan. He had seen the need for a church that would recapture the body and carnal desires as objects of celebration.
“On the Witching Hour of June 6, 06, (6/6/6), Satanism evolved to meet the needs of the next generation walking the Left-Hand Path: The Modern Church of Satan was founded. We are the New Gods. We are the New Devils. We are the next progression of Satanists.” ~ The Modern Church of Satan
The Modern Church of Satan was founded to provide a church, an organization, a community, and an intellectual collective for the evolved members of the Satanic religion within the modern world. We are the strength and the energy of the next generation, exploiting the potential of the cyber age. Regardless of age, the members of the MCoS are not interested in the petty turf wars, antiquated traditions, internal politics, and rhetorical or grammatical debates on interpretations of Satanism. We are only interested in that which truly matters: our life and the pursuit of our Satanic goals.
The members of the MCoS seek to uphold a noble and dignified version of the Satanic Philosophy, one which may be respected within our respective societies. We are victorious in life, accomplished in our pursuits, and hell-bent in the quest for our true purpose and earthly desires. Our life is ours alone and we embrace each day with excellence and verve.

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends, fads, and popular opinion.” ~ Jack Kerouac