The Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism

#anton_lavey #church_of_satan #satanism

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Book Cover

1. Satanism in Two Paragraphs


Satanism is a ferocious religion based on materialism, the empowerment of the self and the ego, the carnal realities of animal life, the questioning of social taboos, the ridiculing of most other religions, and the promotion of tough social justice. Satan is not real but is the most ideal and accurate symbol of reality and nature: The world is full of violence, suffering, stress, striving and death - the life cycle itself requires all these things. It is clear that no symbol of 'goodness' or 'light' can embody it all. The vast, uninhabitable darkness of the Universe, with galactic cataclysms rendering huge destructions on huge scales, means that only Satan can embody the true state of everything that is. Satanists tend to use all the symbols of darkness and evil. There is no heaven, no hell, no afterlife, no angels or demons: there are no gods or saviours apart from ourselves. But if there was a god, it would surely be utterly evil.

The Church of Satan was founded in 1966 by Anton LaVey and as of 2001 its Black Pope has been the powerful and articulate Peter Gilmore. Satanism as religion is highly skeptical, rationalist and philosophical, demanding evidence and strong argumentation, but is otherwise open-minded on magic and some parts of the supernatural. Satanists are often bold, intelligent, demanding; but are also often subtle, cautious, hidden, while others still are outrageous, aggressive, angry and puzzling. It is a religion of fire, drama, depth and forceful progress.

2. Some Opening Declarations

Book CoverFrom the founder:

There is no heaven of glory bright, and no hell where sinners roast. Here and now is our day of torment! Here and now is our day of joy! Here and now is our opportunity! Choose ye this day, this hour, for no redeemer liveth!

"The Satanic Bible" by Anton LaVey (1969)
The Book of Satan IV:2

Book CoverFrom Peter Gilmore, the High Priest of the Church of Satan:

Satanism has been defined. It does not allow for distortions such as belief in cosmic entities, animal sacrifice, or claims that one is a "demon incarnate" amongst other theistic delusions.

"The Satanic Scriptures" by Peter Gilmore (2007)1

Book CoverLaVey also describes Satanism as a social engineering exercise:

My brand of Satanism is the ultimate conscious alternative to herd mentality and institutionalized thought. It is a studied and contrived set of principles and exercises designed to liberate individuals from a contagion of mindlessness that destroys innovation. I have termed my thought "Satanism" because it is most stimulating under that name. Self-discipline and motivation are effected more easily under stimulating conditions. Satanism means "the opposition" and epitomizes all symbols of nonconformity. Satanism calls forth the strong ability to turn a liability into an advantage, to turn alienation into exclusivity. In other words, the reason it's called Satanism is because it's fun, it's accurate, and it's productive.

"The Devil's Notebook" by Anton LaVey (1992)2

3. Classifications, Keywords and Sociological Definitions of Satanism

#atheism #dualism #humanism #left_hand_path #materialism #melton_and_moore #moojan_momen #mystery_religions #Satanism #world_affirming

There are so many ways or organizing religions and beliefs, and so few religions fit neatly into categories, that I must present a list of key terms without attempting to order them into a coherent order. Hover over bits of the text for relevant links:

Some pages about what Satanism is not:

A sensible one-paragraph description of Satanism can be found in the writings of a scholar of comparative religion, Jesper A. Petersen:

Book CoverRationalist Satanism is an atheistic, sceptical, epicurean materialism as formulated by Anton Szandor LaVey in The Satanic Bible and other writings, and then expounded upon by a host of spokespersons in the following years. [The Church of Satan does] consider Satan to be a symbol of rebellion, individuality, carnality and empowerment, and Satanism the material philosophy best suited for the 'alien elite'; catchwords are indulgence, vital existence and rational self-interest. Although ritual practices are described and an ambiguous diabolical anthropomorphism or mystical deism is present from time to time, both are interpreted as metaphorical and pragmatic instruments of self-realization. Science, philosophy and intuition are advocated as authority, and productive non-conformity the highest goal of the individual.

"Contemporary Religious Satanism" by Jesper Aagaard Petersen (2009)3

4. The Satanic Bible

Book CoverThe Satanic Bible was written by Anton LaVey in 1969. There are 4 books in the Satanic Bible:

  1. The Book of Satan. A poetic presentation of the character and aggression of Satanism. It is taken from the words of Ragnar Redbeard.

  2. The Book of Lucifer. The Enlightenment. The philosophical and conceptual basis of Satanism.

  3. The Book of Belial. The theory and practice of Satanic ritual, magic and psychology.

  4. The Book of Leviathan. Texts for use in Satanic rituals. The Enochian Keys, translated by LaVey from the 17th Century texts of the deluded seer John Dee and assistant Edward Kelly.

In an academic book of Satanism, "Contemporary Religious Satanism" by Jesper Aagaard Petersen (2009), James R. Lewis examines the actual role that The Satanic Bible plays in Satanic debate, and concludes what should by now be obvious:

Book CoverSatanists do not consciously regard The Satanic Bible in the same way traditional religionists regard their sacred texts. [...] However, The Satanic Bible is treated as an authoritative document, which effectively functions as scripture within the Satanic community. In particular, LaVey's work is quoted to legitimate particular positions as well as to de-legitimate the positions of other Satanists.

James R Lewis in
"Contemporary Religious Satanism" by Jesper Aagaard Petersen (2009)4

Some scriptural analysis:

Introduction to The 4 Books of the Satanic Bible

The Book Of Satan - The first book in the Satanic Bible

Book Of Satan 1:1-4 - The first 4 verses of chapter 1

Book of Satan 1:5-7 - Verses 4 to 7 of chapter 1

5. The Symbol of Satanism: The Baphomet

The Sigil of the Baphomet is an inverted pentacle form, with two points pointing upwards, one downwards, and one to each side. It is the official symbol of the Church of Satan. Inside the pentacle is the image of a goat, its horns filling the upper two points, its ears filling the two lateral ones, and its mouth filling the lower one. This is Satan. The goat and pentacle theme is very old, and has its origins in alchemy. The pentacle is surrounded by two circles the innermost touching the points of the pentacle. In between the two circles are 5 Hebrew characters, spelling LVTHN anticlockwise: Leviathan.

"Satanic Symbols: The Baphomet and the Pentacle: 4. The Sigil of the Baphomet" by Vexen Crabtree (2008)

My full page on the topic also discusses upturned pentacles in general: "Satanic Symbols: The Baphomet and the Pentacle" by Vexen Crabtree (2008).

Endless information, graphics, links, chat, message boards

Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism

Radio Free Satan

Purging Talon

Feral House - The publisher that refuses to be domesticated Satanism/Church of Satan category

By Vexen Crabtree 2010 Oct 29
(Last Modified: 2016 Sep 03)
Second edition 2000 Jan 30
Originally published 1998
Parent page: The Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism

References: (What's this?)

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Book Cover

Gilmore, Peter. High Priest of the Church of Satan (as of 2001+).
(2007) The Satanic Scriptures. Hardback. Compendium of texts. Published by Scapegoat Publishing, USA. Many essays are new editions of older texts by Gilmore.

LaVey, Anton. (1930-1997) Founder of the Church of Satan.
(1969) The Satanic Bible. Published by Avon Books Inc, New York, USA. Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966.
(1992) The Devil's Notebook. Published by Feral House, CA, USA.

Petersen, Jesper Aagaard
(2009) Contemporary Religious Satanism. Hardback. An anthology. Published by Ashgate Publishing Limited, Surrey, UK.


  1. Gilmore (2007) essay "Rebels Without Cause and other Virtual Delusions" p186. Gilmore is the High Priest of the Church of Satan. Added to this page on 2012 Jan 11.^
  2. LaVey (1992) introduction.^
  3. Petersen (2009) p7. Added to this page on 2016 Sep 03.^
  4. Petersen (2009) p42. The chapter "Infernal Legitimacy" is by James R. Lewis, based on his article "Diabolical Authority" published in Marburg Journal of Religion 2002.^

© 2016 Vexen Crabtree. All rights reserved.