Magus Anton Szandor LaVey conducting a ritual with a nude altar.
Serpent

“State of the Church”—October XXXVI A.S.

Greetings Satanists!

The time has come to report to you, our cherished members, about the current “state of the church.”

The Church of Satan:

The Church itself remains, as it was intended to be, a cabal of like-minded, highly independent individuals who don’t require a social support group. Such selective folk, the aristocracy of the able, at times partake of the pleasure of finding those few who share their personal interests. When such fortuitous linkages occur, these mutual passions often fuel the production of goods that are sent out into the world, to be shared with those of highly-evolved tastes and superb senses of discrimination. Such efforts are as boulders thrown into the stagnant pond of mass consciousness, raising conceptual tsunamis whose effects are seen for years to come. As you read on, you will note that we are taking a proactive interest in the promotion of these endeavors.

E-Bulletin list:

Beginning in January of XXXVII A.S., I shall be launching an E-Bulletin as a means for directly addressing our membership, beyond our News page and other announcements posted on this, our official web site. To that end, we now strongly suggest that all members of the Church of Satan obtain an e-mail address, and notify us of this at your soonest convenience. Members who currently don’t own computers should find access to the Internet through computers in libraries and Internet caf├ęs, and they may use free e-mail services such as Hotmail or Yahoo to obtain an address. Once you have this address, e-mail us a notice at e-mail@churchofsatan.com and we will include you on the E-Bulletin list. We may request that you confirm your membership before adding you to this list. The bulletins will be issued as deemed necessary, and members may contribute news of their own projects which may be included, if and when they are relevant.

Special Interest Groups:

It has never been the purpose of the Church of Satan to provide a haven for huddlers, and so we have generally eschewed aboveground means for organized interaction. This tends to attract people who are desperate for sources of amusement, who generally offer nothing in return to those who end up being entertainers for these parasites. However, over the years we’ve seen that many amazing projects have come into being through the sub rosa interaction of some of our talented members who share similar interests. To the end of facilitating more such results to enrich all of us, we are preparing to launch Special Interest Groups. These are meant as “think tanks” for brainstorming concepts and then producing a concrete manifestation of this interaction.

I’m asking you, our members, to send me suggestions for the sort of pursuits in which you personally would like to be involved. Send them to SIG@churchofsatan.com. So far, we are considering launching groups for various sciences, which would produce essays, and for the various arts, which would produce artworks (music, literature, paintings, films, sculptures, videos, exhibitions, performances, books, magazines and so on). We have members interested in promoting our philosophy in languages other than English, and thus we will have SIGs for working towards translating and publishing existing Satanic literature as well as creating new works for our growing international membership in specific different languages.

The only limits to this endeavor are the collected passions of our membership. But it is crucial that all who choose to participate understand that the goal is not just intercommunication, but to work towards some form of tangible result which can be shared with the membership, and perhaps also with those of the outside world who are worthy. General interaction will be through e-mail, as we are not limiting this to geographic proximity, though more personal contact might be required for specific projects.

So, the focus of our organization will continue to be outwards, toward moving the real world, not inwards and insular. In brief, the SIGs are intended to be a catalyst for projects that are brought to fruition in ways that will move the world in Satanic directions. The trick for success, as we Satanists are well aware, is to know the precise fulcrum point, and then apply an idea whose time has come.

Membership:

This continues to grow at a satisfying pace, and the processing time for Registered Membership now takes about a month. Soon we will be accepting online payments, and that will work to make the processing time briefer still. We are currently focusing on processing Registered Memberships as well as evaluating the many applications for Grotto Master status. Once we’ve completed this stage, we will then begin to process the waiting Active Membership Applications. Then we will be prepared to place eligible members in touch with local Grotto Masters. We thank you for your patience as we continue to expand our administrative foundation.

Phase:

Over the course of the existence of our Church, we have seen several distinctive phases, marking the growth and development of this experiment. We list them from our first decade retrospective written by Anton LaVey, and printed in The Cloven Hoof, Volume VIII, #2.

  • The First Phase, Emergence, crystallized the zeitgeist into reality—let loose the knowledge of a Satanic body politic into a ready but dumbfounded social climate.
  • The Second Phase, Development, saw an organizational and institutional expansion as a result of carefully stimulated exploitation attracting a variety of human types from which to distill a Satanic “ideal.”
  • The Third Phase, Qualification, provided sufficient elucidation to establish the tenets of contemporary Satanism, contrary to prior or current misinterpretation. The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, and The Compleat (Satanic) Witch might have been conveniently overlooked, but were readily obtainable to any who chose to gain knowledge of our doctrine and methodology. An aura of respectability prevailed—often to a point of overcompensation—to counterbalance inaccurate presumptions by the outside world.
  • The Fourth Phase, Control, encouraged dispersion and the Peter Principle as a means of isolating the “ideal” evaluated from Phase Two. De-institutionalization separated the builders from the dwellers, thus filtering and stratifying what began as an initiatory organization—or persuasion—into a definite social structure.
  • The Fifth Phase, Application, establishes tangible fruition—the beginning of a harvest, so to speak. Techniques, having been developed, can be employed. The Myths of the Twentieth Century are recognizable and exploitable as essential stimuli. Human foibles may be viewed with an understanding towards radical embellishment.
  • The Sixth Phase, the development and production of Artificial Human Companions, has become part of our Pentagonal Revisionism statement.

We have seen some fascinating strides in the evolution of this Sixth Phase, particularly in the work of the Real Doll company. But overall, the general lack of discrimination that characterizes the herd has led them to be content with something less concrete for their sense of self-satisfaction. Indeed, the spread of the personal computer has provided the outlet wherein the masses’ fantasies of adequacy, both sexual and social, are fulfilled. We “misanthropologists” have observed that it now takes place in chat rooms, via instant messaging, and in the fantasy world of web sites, all played out on the screen of a cathode ray tube—the computer monitor as messianic son of the television God worshipped in the homes of all herd peoples. It is only for the pioneering few to reject the touch of the keyboard, and pursue actual flesh-like textures produced by the artificers of contemporary androids. In their secret laboratories, they carry on in this Rotwangian endeavor, and currently we may look to Japan for the latest technological advances in the emergent art of robotics.

We are now in the midst of a Seventh Phase, that of Elaboration, wherein the results obtained from the continued application of our basic theories are examined and then crafted into ever more effective practice. Our productive members are now refining the materials which we began to reap in the harvest of the Fifth Phase, and combining them in ways ever more subtle and complex, which influence society in the directions of our Will. Based on our understanding of the myths of the Twentieth Century, some of us may work towards the formation of the mythology of the Twenty First Century. From the shattering of sacred icons we move towards secular icon building, generating new archetypes that will join the current pantheon of essential imagery. We are on the threshold of what may be a long period during which the innovators in our movement formulate symbols and characters that embody the quintessence of our values—self-determination, discrimination, and pride in accomplishment. In time, these may become broadly accepted ensigns of what is truly Satanic—as we define Satanism.

Satanism culturally promotes the idea that a diverse range of choices should be open to the aware individual. The availability of such options will always threaten tyrants who wish to force “infidels,” often on pain of death, towards conversion to their “One True Way.” It doesn't matter which deity is pictured benignly spreading his or her arms for the forced followers. Satanists see this embrace as that offered by the “Virgin of Nuremberg,” and we refuse it. And the time may come when our “fellow travelers,” who enjoy the benefits of our global secular society, do likewise. Let those who fear us continue to do so for the precise reason: that our way of life, if widely embraced, will limit the repressive reign of spiritual fanaticism.

As our ideas gain acceptance in new areas of the globe, we may see a swift progression through some of our earlier phases in various previously isolated locales. Our current swift communications technology makes certain that our far-flung members may get swiftly up-to-speed.

Philosophy:

Satanism as a philosophy remains a tool used by certain carnal individuals, a pragmatic means for attaining the fullest satisfaction in their lives. As a movement, Satanism may find it wise, wherever possible, to promote the proliferation of social structures that champion individualism as a value, and advocate maximum personal liberty for those who have the proper strengths required to wield this privilege with absolute responsibility.

Indulgence was the “watchword” chosen by Anton LaVey when he founded the Church of Satan in 1966. I think a case may certainly be made that this concept has in the interim made a lasting impact on human society. As we look through the landscape of what is currently offered, we see that Dr. LaVey’s vision has had broad cultural effect, as the amount of freedom for personal pleasure has abundantly increased on all levels of social strata.

Dr. LaVey also noted that a prime danger was that the old concept of finding a “scapegoat” to blame for one’s actions is becoming part of the weft and weave of our society. The escape clause that some “Devil made me do it” is behind the current victim-culture of “political correctness” that has seen full fruition in the extant laws of many nations.

Criminals who commit reprehensible acts are often deemed blameless, while nebulous currents in society itself are given the mantle of responsibility for demented, irresponsible behavior. We see our judiciary tacitly accepting the idea that people are automatons, who must of necessity be programmed from without by societal influences. This absolves criminals from blame when they do what is consensus “evil,” and seeks to put the responsibility anywhere but upon the heads of the perpetrators. Hence, we witness the widely-practiced twisted theory of injustice which mandates that “blameless” criminals must be offered mercy and forgiveness.

The time is now for Satanists to expose the madness of religious fanaticism, wherever it may arise…”

Satanists now call for a halt to this grotesquery. We do this through the advocacy of our current watchword: Justice. Our means for its implementation is “Lex Talionis”— that punishment must fit in kind and degree the crime. Such a dictum has been cherished in ancient cultures and is overdue for a full-scale rebirth. The doom which should be over every person is: “Let it be upon your own head.” Only you can take credit for your successes, and only you must be at fault for your failures. It is high time to put an end to the perpetual whining, finger pointing, and begging for special dispensations. And the current of general opinion is now flowing towards our desired direction.

The recent terrorist attacks on the United States evoked a worldwide fervor that just retribution be meted out for these criminal acts. Mercy is being discarded in favor of a true Satanic passion for justice. We have reached a historical “fulcrum point,” wherein the “mass” of widely-embraced values may now be leveraged in our desired direction. The time is now for Satanists, and others who cherish individual liberty, to expose the madness of religious fanaticism, wherever it may arise, and show the world-at-large that freedoms are threatened by those willing to die for their immaterial deities. We may see a continued societal transformation, if the understanding of the nature of the current situation is kept in sharp focus. The former days of forgiveness will be ended as aroused nations visit their wrath upon those who are enemies to the freedoms offered by secular civilization.

To conclude this address, I stress that our organization and philosophy are both “organic,” ever evolving, for they are predicated on the continued deepening of our understanding of the beast called Man. Such knowledge may be utilized to broaden the horizons of freedom and responsibility—but this practice demands virtuosity. Anton LaVey established an insightful foundation which stands us in good stead as we further explore the implications of his ideas while we elaborate the applications of Satanism in our current cultural milieu, setting the stage for future permutations. He sounded the “fundamental tone,” and we now compose exquisite symphonies from the resultant overtones, provoking “sympathetic vibrations” in those of like nature. We shall never become hidebound, as the natural progression of evolution and revolution are axiomatic to our philosophy. Satanism’s essence is to flow with Nature—ever forward!

So, my Epicurean comrades, we are in exciting times. Indulge, innovate, and celebrate the unique life that is your precious treasure, as well as the lives of those dear to you, who enrich your days by their very existence. The world is ours, so go forth and fill your experience with satisfaction. As you flow with the eternal now, may it be in exquisite pleasure.

Hail Satan!

Peter H. Gilmore
High Priest and Magus of the Black Order