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Church of Satan Policy on Drug Abuse
From time to time, we see people approaching the Church of Satan with questions regarding the Church’s policy against illegal drug use, attempting to characterize the freewheeling use and abuse of such substances as being Satanic and, in effect, challenging the Church of Satan’s negative stance.
This is all quite simple. The Church of Satan does not condone illegal activities. If the use of certain drugs is illegal in your country of residence, they are just that: illegal.
Individuals who choose to ignore this and break the law do so at their own peril. Their actions as individuals shall not be construed as being sanctioned by the Church of Satan. Furthermore, they must pay the dire yet fully predictable consequences they have brought down upon themselves. The Church of Satan is not responsible for their actions, and will not be used as an excuse for their lawless behavior. Responsibility to the responsible. If you are one of these lawbreakers, you are on your own. You make your own personal choice as to what you do as an individual. We make our own personal choices, as individuals, with regard to how we view you, based on the choices you make and your resultant behavior.
If a substance is legal, a Satanist may or may not choose to indulge in it. “Indulgence, NOT compulsion” is your guide. Since survival is the highest law, the Satanist will not ruin or poison his or her body, even if it is legal to do so. This is an important distinction. Self-destructive, suicidal hedonism—via whatever means—is ultimately un-Satanic as it threatens the very thing a Satanist holds most dear: his own life. There is no mystical “Scoreboard in the Sky” dictating whether such an act is Wrong or Right; it simply IS, and dead brain cells, blackened lungs and non-functional livers are not a matter of opinion.
There are those who would try to convince you that our founder, Dr. Anton Szandor LaVey, had a more tolerant attitude toward illegal street drugs than that of the current Church of Satan administration—or that Dr. LaVey wasn’t always against drug use and came to this position later in his life. Thanks to the large body of writings and interviews which he left for us, that is easily disproved.
The following are quotes from Anton Szandor LaVey arranged in chronological order, beginning with one from a newspaper article during his “Magic Circle” days, just prior to the founding of the Church of Satan.
Alameda County Weekender, publication date: February 12, 1966.
...At any rate, there is no doubt that the manufacture of love potions (above) and their drinking (below) is very nearly as old as love itself. As to what goes into them, aside from a large dose of suggestion, that is one of the secrets of the profession. LaVey, however, does not hesitate to point out that nothing narcotic is among the ingredients. In fact, the use of any narcotics has no place in magic as LaVey sees it. “It is true that drugs have been used in magic and in certain religious practices and still are by some,” he says. “The use of the peyote ritual in certain Indian churches—and which has been recently adjudged legal—is an example. But for our purposes the use of drugs would be definitely harmful.” How serious he is on this point is shown by his attitude on LSD. “Like opium, marijuana, heroin and so forth, it ought to be shunned like the plague”—an interesting observation in view of some of his paintings which, despite a definite beauty, are so macabre that they look like the production of a Left Bank artist who had subsisted for weeks on a diet of absinthe and laudanum.
From The Satanic Witch, originally titled The Compleat Witch, publication date: 1970.
“Let me state categorically at this point that drugs are antithetical to the practice of magic, as they tend to disassociate the user from reality, even though he oftentimes thinks himself closer.”
Letters From the Devil*, publication date: January 10th, 1971
“The official stand of the Church of Satan on the subject of drugs is vehement opposition! Asking me to provide you with drugs is like asking a hippie to give an eulogistic speech on the merits of big business.”
Letters From the Devil, published in 1971
“You obviously have a good mind and possess the potential to attain, through proper training, your self-godhead. Don’t throw it all away for cheap miracles; drugs are NOT the answer nor even the first step. They are, instead, a step backwards for any aspiring magician.”
From an interview in Black Magic, Satanism and Voodoo by Dr. Leo L. Martello, publication date: 1972.
“...drugs are great for slaves, but no good for the masters. The glories attained through a drug experience are no more valid than the meaningless baubles with which the status-seeking drone surrounds himself... Those who eulogize on unfoldment gained through drugs have obviously been insensitive to such awareness-provoking stimuli as complete sexual fulfillment, beautiful music, inspirational literature, etc. The excuse that certain drugs are a necessary adjunct to the practice of magic is quite lame...
“I consider drug abuse a polite alternative to suicide. Perhaps one day euthanasia will be be made attractive enough and the drug problem will be solved.”
From The Church of Satan by Blanche Barton, publication date: 1990.
Taking drugs is another issue the public seems to wrongly associate with modern diabolical rites. In his description for the purpose of the Ninth Enochian Key, LaVey states that it “warns of the use of substances, devices or pharmaceuticals which might lead to the delusion and subsequent enslavement of the master.” Contrary to religious propaganda, drugs are not part of Satanic ceremonies or lifestyles because, LaVey claims, Satanists want to heighten their senses, not dull them. “We resist mindlessness of any kind. Again, drugs, like television, are fine for other people. The more enslaved they are, the easier it is for us, as long as they stay out of our way. Whether it’s through religiously-imposed ignorance, spectator sports, crack, pot, coke, heroin—or the consumer insecurities imposed by the almighty Tube—it’s fine with us as long as it keeps sheep more docile and easily contained. That doesn’t mean we have to subject ourselves to it. Military generals don’t step out on the missile range and volunteer as targets for the latest prototype weapons.”
So, when somebody tries to convince you that Anton LaVey “secretly” held beliefs and opinions that were demonstrably in contradiction to the writings he continued to produce during his entire adult life, it’s time to get out a barrel of salt, not merely a grain. The current administration of the Church of Satan thus maintains the policy originated by Dr. LaVey himself.
quod erat demonstrandum
This article was a joint effort of the Hierarchy of the Church of Satan
*“Letters From the Devil” was a syndicated column written by Anton Szandor LaVey and published in The National Insider. At times he answered questions from his readers or commented on mail which he received.