Because Anton LaVey has made Satanism so popular, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. If you’re new to the Realm of Darkness, suddenly feeling the fires of Satan burning within you, be warned: there are unethical individuals out there who will prey upon you, claim to teach you how to become a Great Black Magician overnight, who will promise instructional fellowship and activities with “True Masters,” who may claim unverifiable links with the Church of Satan or other such lineage. With the continued expansion of the Internet, this situation has multiplied geometrically, so your vigilance will continue to be tested as you walk along this cyber-midway. We expect that you will develop the cold-reading abilities of a Carney, rather than the naïveté of the mark. To that end, dear apprentice, we’re showing you some of the ropes. Here’s a tip sheet to recognize pseudo- and anti-Satanic groups that have sprouted up since LaVey started the original Church of Satan:
unethical individuals out there
who will prey upon you…”
- When someone claims to have a direct line of communication with Satan, watch out. Selling that kind of mysticism is exactly how Christianity has kept people enslaved in ignorance for centuries. It’s one of the things we’re fighting against.
- Look out for jargon and secrets to which only the “initiated” can be privy. Once you’re processed through the lengthy and strictly-enforced “degree system,” you’ll discover there are really no answers, just more gobbledygook. If they have something worthwhile to say, they’ll say it. If they don’t, they’ll pretend they do anyway.
- Check the copyright date. Much of the esoterica you may receive from supposed Masters as “wisdom” or “revelation” comes directly from Anton LaVey, the Church of Satan, or our affiliates. Don’t accept the inducements you may receive as emanating from some great brain, when they most likely were cribbed from material released by us weeks, months or years ago. If mainstream writers crib material daily, it can be expected that occultnik hacks would be the first to do likewise. The difference between legit writers doing it and Daimon Oleaginous doing it is that the “Daimon” sprinkles his articles with sour-grapes attacks on the Church of Satan while stealing from us. That’s Christianity—tearing down the “other guys,” who don’t have the “true message.” It boils down to more parasitism; without us these ersatz Satanists would shrivel up and blow away.
- The most parasitic “Satanic” newsletters invariably contain a liberal dose of LaVey-baiting. Their editors’ masochistic requirements are exercised as “lively exchange.” Their mainstay is often the reprinting of any letter, pro or con, from anyone capable of grasping a writing implement or poking at a computer or typewriter key. When responding to such transparent tactics, it’s our policy to preface rebuttals with two acknowledgments:
- “I know you’re a masochist and delight in hostile banter,” and
- “Anything I write or say to you will keep you going for another six months.” The Satanic Bible advises to “question all things”—but it helps to be able to think, first.
- Most pseudo-Satanic groups are short-lived, running out of money, enthusiasm or suckers before too long. An easier game comes along and they’re off in a new direction.
- How do they deal with Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan? This is tricky—some current groups play the Christian game of handing out laurels with one hand while stabbing their progenitor in the back with the other. Others aren’t so subtle, boldly claiming to be the “true” or “evolved” Church of Satan. To make their rationale work, they must somehow convince you that the author of The Satanic Bible wasn’t practicing pure Satanism, that his Church has gone awry in the hands of his successors, and that their new (or “authentically historic”) brand is now the straight stuff. Still others just ignore Anton LaVey altogether and hope you won’t notice.
There are those who appropriate elements of the Church of Satan, as well as those who pretend to be the Church of Satan. Their bids for attention range from clumsily photocopied newsletters to slick websites. Don’t be fooled by unauthorized Grottos, phony Orders of the Trapezoid, Silly Intercommunication Networks, First (Second or Third) Churches of Satan, various and sundry Pathetic Priests (almost always of the “High” variety—Anton LaVey once asked, “Where are all the Low Priests?”), Mangy Magisters and other bogus diabolists who are cruising for malicious business interference lawsuits while demonstrating their lack of originality. Their game is to get your attention (it is their life’s blood), and then to separate you from your money. They know little of Satanism, but to the extent that they successfully fleece the rubes, there is at least a faint glimmer of understanding.
- Be wary of the approach of “You probably aren’t smart enough to join us.” The only way you can prove them wrong is by joining! From the first material you get, you feel you have to prove and defend yourself. Don’t be fooled by flashy web graphics, big words, nice typing and/or fancy paper...and plenty of it. True Satanism builds the ego, it doesn’t tear it down.
- Beware of cults offering sex orgies and drugs, or killing animals in the name of Satan. As you well know, these are not part of Satanic practices. The leaders are copying the lame-brain spook stories from Geraldo or Oprah and obviously know less than you do. Use common sense. Don’t let someone take advantage of you for his or her own perversity; examine motives carefully.
- Carefully examine any groups who set themselves up as intermediaries between you and Satanism, who claim that they can instruct you on how to be a Satanist. Anton LaVey wrote The Satanic Bible, as well as his other works, in such a manner so that they can be directly understood—they are carnal and non-esoteric. No “teacher” is needed, no “guru” must interpret his words for you. If you are a Satanist, you’ll resonate with the concepts in his writings and know that this label is proper for the person you already are—you’re born a Satanist, you don’t become one.
Legitimate Grottos of the Church of Satan do at times conduct discussion groups, where those who have identified themselves as Satanists may discuss the application of the ideas presented in our basic literature. Those who offer courses to “teach” you about Satanism are attempting to fleece the gullible. Buy Anton LaVey’s books, view his videos, listen to his music, and explore the works by other Satanic leaders who he has inspired. Use your own wits to grasp them, as Dr. LaVey intended, and laugh at those foolish enough to waste their money on pompous professors.
- Some other groups to watch out for:
- Feminist, Wiccan-oriented, consciousness-raising groups who practice more male-bashing than magic;
- New Age groups that promote LaVeyan concepts, but shun the dreaded “S” word;
- Jargon-laden Christians masquerading as Satanists;
- Pen-pal or lonely hearts social groups pretending to be elitists performing powerful Satanic rituals.
All of the above are subject to bitch-fights, petty jealousies, and rivalries. They are safe havens for small-minded people trying to play head games, preferring the protection of groups rather than really working to apply what Anton LaVey wrote.
This is not to say that all groups are counterproductive to Satanism as a movement; there are many which are productive, supportive branches of the Church of Satan. Like various divisions of the same army, these distinct Grottos and Orders may emphasize one Satanic image over another, but they are all aligned, in communication and working toward the same goals.
But you must be prepared to sort the truth from the misinformation. Don’t be fooled by self-declared “Masters,” whether they’re wearing white robes or black. They are attempting to misdirect and subvert whatever you’ve developed in the way of ego or identity. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Knowing this, if you choose to affiliate with any pseudo-Satanic or anti-Satanic groups, you may well find yourself disaffiliated from the Church of Satan. Forewarned is forearmed.