Serpent

Monologue from John Fritscher’s Popular Witchcraft

by Anton Szandor LaVey (1973)

I don’t feel that raising the devil in an anthropomorphic sense is quite as feasible as theologians or metaphysicians would like to think. I have felt His presence but only as an exteriorized extension of my own potential, as an alter-ego or evolved concept that I have been able to exteriorize. With a full awareness, I can communicate with this semblance, this creature, this demon, this personification that I see in the eyes of the symbol of Satan—the goat of Mendes—as I commune with it before the altar. None of these is anything more than a mirror image of that potential I perceive in myself.

I have this awareness that the objectification is in accord with my own ego. I’m not deluding myself that I’m calling something that is disassociated or exteriorized from myself the godhead. This Force is not a controlling factor that I have no control over. The Satanic principle is that man willfully controls his destiny; if he doesn’t, some other man—a lot smarter than he is—will. Satan is, therefore, an extension of one’s psyche or volitional essence, so that that extension can sometimes converse and give directives through the self in a way that thinking of the self as a single unit cannot. In this way it does help to depict in an externalized way the Devil per se. The purpose is to have something of an idolatrous, objective nature to commune with. However, man has connection, contact, control. This notion of an exteriorized God-Satan is not new.

I have felt [the Devil's] presence but only as an exteriorized extension of my own potential, as an alter-ego…”

My opinion of succubi and incubi is that these are dream manifestations of man’s coping with guilt as in the case of nocturnal emissions with a succubus visiting a man or of erotic dreams with an incubus visiting a woman. This whole idea of casting the blame off one’s own sexual feelings onto convenient demons to satisfy the Church has certainly proved useful in millions of cases. When the priest is confronted one morning by a parishioner holding a stiffened nightshirt, a semen-encrusted nightgown, the priest can tell him about this ‘terrible’ succubus who visited him in the night. They proceed to exorcise the demon, getting the parishioner off the sexual hook and giving the priest a little prurient fun as he plays with the details of its prediction on some pretty girl in the village. This, on top of it all, leaves the girl suspect of being a witch.

Naturally the priest can keep his eyes open as to who fits the succubi descriptions that he’s heard in the confessional. Of course, the concept of incubi and succubi has also been used by people who have engaged in what they would consider illicit sexual relations. More than one lady’s window has been left open purposely for the incubus to enter—in the form of some desirable male. This can then be chalked up the next day to demonic possession. All these very convenient dodges have kept Christianity and its foibles alive for many hundreds of years.

The birth of a Satanic child is another manifestation of the need to extend the Christ-myth of the virgin birth to an antithetical concept of a demonic birth, a Devil-child. Rosemary’s Baby wasn’t the first to use this age-old plot. The Devil’s own dear son or daughter is a rather popular literary excursion. Certainly the Devil walks in the sinews and marrow of a man because he is the representation of fleshly deity. Any animal heritage, any natural predilections, any real human attributes would be seen in the personification of the Devil. Consequently the Devil would have offspring and be proud of them, antithetic as they are to Christianity. Instead of being ashamed the child was conceived in sin and baptized out of sin, the Devil revels in the lust-conception of his child. This child would be involved much more magically than one who was the by-product of an environment that sought to negate at first opportunity the very motivating force—carnal desire—that produced him.

Religious artists’ desexualizing of the birth process (Christ coming out of the bowels of mary) has caused women to suffer childbirth pains much more than they need to because of the age-old collective unconsciousness that they must suffer this and the periodic suffering that comes every 28 days. Both these are attempts to stamp out or discredit what is in the animal world the most passionate feelings when the animal comes into heat at that time of the month. The “curse” of the menstrual cycle is a manufactured thing, manufactured by society that recognizes this period as one of great desire. Automatically, we have overemphasized its pains, tensions, turmoil, cramps. This taboo is not just Christian. Women have been placed in huts outside many villages. Every culture has thought she’d cause more jealousy and turmoil at this time because of this increase in her passions. Male animals fight more when the femal is in heat. Having been a lion tamer, I know even the females are more combative at this time.

Christianity has put women at this time in more need of self-recrimination. This is the big difference between tribal customs and Christian: in the tribe, the woman is considered bleeding poison; in Christianity the woman is not only considered taboo, but she has to endure her pain as a ‘moral’ reminder of her mortality and guilt. The primitive woman can give birth relatively painlessly and return to the fileds. She goes through the physical act, but not through the moral agonies of the Christian woman. Such is the compounding of guilt. This kind of hypocrisy is my enemy number one.

I don’t think young people can be blamed too much for their actions and antics. Although they coat their protests in ideological issues, I think what they resent most is not the actions of older adults, but the gross hypocrisy under which adults act. What is far worse than making war is making war and calling it peace and love and saying it’s waged under the auspices of God or that it’s the Christian thing to do. Onward, Christian soldiers and all that. I think that the worst thing about Christianity is its gross hypocrisy which is the most repugnant thing in the world to me. Most Christians practice a basic Satanic way of life every hour of their waking day and yet they sneer at somebody who has built a religion that is no different from what they’re practicing, but is simply calling it by its right name.. I call it by the name that is antitheticalto that which they hypocritically pay lip service to when they’re in church.

Take for example, the roster of people executed for witchcraft in the Middle Ages. They wereunjustly maligned because they were free-thinkers, beautiful girls, heretics, Jews, or people who happened to be of a different faith than was ordained. They were mercilessly tortured and exterminated without any thought of Christian charity. The basic lies and propaganda of the Christian Fathers added to the torment of the people. Yet the crime in today’s streets and the mollycoddling of heinous criminals is a by-product of latter-day Christian charity. Christian ‘understanding’ has made our city streets unsafe. Yet helpless millions of people, simply because they were unbelievers or disbelievers, were not ‘understood.’ They were killed. It’s not right that a mad dog who is really dangerous should be ‘understood’ and those who merely dissent from Christianity should have been killed. At the Church of Satan we receive lots of damning letters from people condemning us in the most atrocious language. They attest they are good Christians; but they are full of hate. They don’t know if I’m a good guy or a bad guy. They only know me by the label they’ve been taught: that Satanism is evil. Therefore they judge me on the same basis those people did in the thirteenth through sixteenth centuries. These very same people hardly ever get worked up over a murderer.

I think, in short, that Christ has failed in all his engagements as both savior and deity.”

I think, in short, that Christ has failed in all his engagements as both savior and deity. If his doctrines were that easily misinterpreted, if his logic was that specious, let’s throw it out. It has no place. It is worthless to a civilized society if it is subject to gross misinterpretation. (I’m not just protesting the ‘human element’ in Christianity the ways the Christians do when something goes wrong with their system. I void the whole of the system that lends itself to such misinterpretation.) Why the Hell didn’t the writers mean what they said or say what they meant when they wrote that stupid book of fables, the Bible? This is the way I feel about it.

Anybody who takes up the sanctimonious cult of white light is just playing footsy with the Christian Fathers. This is why the bane of my existence are these white witches, white magicians, people who’d like to keep their foot in the safety zone of righteousness. They refuse to see the demonic in themselves, the motivations Satan’s Majesty and Nature has placed inside them for their terrestrial goal. Materialism is part of Satanism, but a right kind of materialism. Everyone wants to acquire. The only thing wrong with money is it falls into the wrong hands. This makes it a curse, a disadvantage rather than an advantage. The marketplace is full of theives. Easy wealth may be something would-be Faustian Satanists would like to get ahold of. In my experience people have come to me after I had opened doors for them. They come back wanting to know how to turn “it” off as they have more troubles than they had before. Once I offer to people what they think they want, given a week to think it over, they get cold feet. Success is a threat. Threatened by success, most people show their true colors. They show they need a god or an astrological forecast to really lay blame on for their own inadequacu in the threatening face of imminent success. Man needs religion, dogma, ritual that keeps him exteriorized outside of himself to waylay his guilt and inadequacy. men will always, therefore, search for a god. We should, however, be men in search of man. The man in search of God is the masochist: he is the world’s masochist. There are more than we imagine.

In the beginning I may not have intended Satanism to evolve into an elitist movement. But experience has taught me that Satanism can be a mass movement insofar as its basic pleasure-seeking premise is concerned. You build a better mousetrap, and people are going to flock to it. A pleasure principle is going to be more popular than a pleasure denying. I can’t help attracting the masses. As for the people who practice a truly Satanic way of life, you can’t expect the masses to transcend mere lipservice to the pleasure-seeking principle and get into the magical state of the Absolute Satanist. The Absolute Satanist is totally aware of his own abilities and limitations. On this self-knowledge he builds his character.

The Absolute Satanist is far removed from the masses who look for Satanic pleasure in the psychedelics of the headshops. We Satanists are magically a part of all this surface. I realize what my magical lessons have done, the things I’ve stumbled upon. We necessarily spawn our neo-Christian masses seeking their soma through pills and drugs. Certainly I don’t oppose this for other people who get stoned out of their minds. When they do this, the more material things there will be for me and my followers since all those people who freaked themselves out on drugs will be satisfied with their pills and will move off to colonies based on drugs. The rest of us, the Materialists, will inherit the world.

Actually, I’m very much opposed to drugs from a magical point of view, from a control point of view. I feel drugs are antithetical to magic. The pseudo-Satanist or pseudo-witch or self-styled mystic who predicates his success on a drug revelation is only going to succeed within his drugged peer group. His miracles go no further than his credibility. This type of witchery is limited. This, I say, despite the fact that the druggies are no longer just a marginal group, but are a very large subculture which threatens to be the New Spirituality or the New Mysticism or the New Non-Materialism. They don’t realize the whole concept of witchery is manipulation of other human beings. Druggies are not manipulative witches. To manipulate someoneyou’ve got to be able to relate to that someone. Their ideaof witchery is not witchcraft so much—in the senseof witchery being manipulative magic—as wotchery equalling revelation of a spiritual nature. Their superego gets developed through the use of drugs. This superego can be the earmark of a new world of drones who, through soma, would attain superegos which allow them while so controlled to think they have superiorityover those really enjoying the fruits of the earth. This is why as the leader of the Satanic movement I have to examine these popular movements in the culture from a very pragmatic point of view.

The point is there will always be, among the masses, substitutes for the real thing. A planned way of life—not drugs—gets the materialist what he wants. There’s nothing wrong with color TV and cars in the garage as long as the system which provides them respects law and order—a terribly overworked term. But as long as people don’t bother other people, then I think this is an ideal society. I’m in favor of a policeman on every corner as long as he doesn’t arrest people for thinking their own way or for doing within the privacy of their own four walls what they like to do.

We haven’t been hassled too much by the law because we have so many policemen in our organization. I’m an ex-cop myself. I worked in the crime lab in San Francisco and I’ve maintained my contacts. They’ve provided for me a kind of security force. But all in all we have a very clean slate. We are very evil outlaws in theological circles, but not in civil.

How could we murder? We—unlike Christians—have a real regard for human bodies. The Satanist is the ultimate humanist. The Satanist realizes that man can be his own worst enemy and must often be protected against himself. The average man sets up situations for himself so he can be a loser. We Satanists have ancient rituals which exorcise these needs for self-abasement before they happen. We wreck Christians’ tidy little dreams. When you have somebody rolling orgasmically on the floor at a revival meeting claiming an ecstasy, you tell them they’re having a ‘forbidden’ orgasm and they hate you for enlightening them. You’ve robbed them of their ‘succubus,’ of their freedom from guilt. They push their evilness on to us. In this sense, then, we are very evil.

I needn’t send my child to a private school. Why should I when children are, in fact, all Satanists. She has no trouble at school. Ironically enough, the majority of our members are that often-attacked silent middle class. At least fifty percent of our members have children; the other fifty percent are not rebels, but they’re not losers.

I was very liberal in my younger years. I would have been thrown into prison during the McCarthy purge had I been of any prominence. I was ultraliberal, attending meetings of the Veterans of the Spanish Civil War, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the Revisionist Movements of Israel’s founding. This was all very liberal at the time. I was always for civil rights. I had Negro friends when Negro friends weren’t fashionable. A man should be judged on his accomplishments, his kindness and consideration for others. A certain planned form of bigotry may be a little healthy. I mean, if a person is the worst that his race has produced, he should be prevented from using his race unless he is a credit to his race, religion, whatever it is.

Martin Luther King was killed because he was an articulate gentleman, concerned about his wife and family. He tried to do things in a mannerly way. A man like that belongs on a pedestal. But these loud baboons—and I choose the term—are nothing but rabblerousers, spewing venom. The more a person has at stake the more he watches his p’s and q’s. This is the test of a person’s sincerity. The public is no judge. The public is not too particular in its choosing of heroes.

Originally appeared in Popular Witchcraft by John Fritscher (The Citadel Press 1973)