Welcome to the official Church of Satan website. Here we’ll have the opportunity to explore the threads of arcane theories and enticing fever-dreams that make up the tapestry of modern Satanism. You’ll find more here than dripping blood and piercing screams of terror. One of the primary points of Dr. LaVey’s diabolical philosophy is that it’s our role to be practitioners of the unexpected. We challenge, we rage and outrage. We unsettle people. As a Satanist, it’s your responsibility to toy with people’s expectations of you. Just when they think they’ve got you properly pigeon-holed, you reveal an aspect of yourself both more frightening and more intriguing. Contrasts, surprises, real horrors hidden behind the spooky papier-mâché scenery—discover these and use them to your advantage.
I’ve been doing a number of radio interviews lately in connection with the release of Dr. LaVey’s latest book, Satan Speaks. There are a few questions that seem to crop up in every interview, and I’m sure that, in talking with friends and acquaintances, you get asked the same questions quite often. The Satanic Bible came out in 1969 and hasn’t been out of print for 30 years. The philosophy really isn’t that esoteric and doesn’t take much pondering to understand. But it’s that looming figure in the shadows, that majestic silhouette of Satan - leathery wings outstretched, standing proudly, backlit by the flames of Hell—that people find...disquieting. If you’re new to Satanism, or simply curious, perhaps a brief discussion of one of the most common questions might help you to better understand what this site is all about. Why call it Satanism?
Dr. LaVey has answered this question many times in his writings and in interviews but, apparently, it’s a tough concept for some people. It is usually accompanied by, “You know, everything you say makes a lot of sense. But that name, ‘Satan’, is a real turn-off for people. Why don’t you just call it ‘Humanism’ or something—you’d get a lot more followers.”
Of course, the first point is, we don’t need a lot of followers; we need more leaders in society in general and Satanism is a philosophy of leaders. That’s the glib answer. The more complete answer is that Satanists find more strength in images of defiance, fortitude against all odds and self-determination than we do in the image of the guy hanging on the Cross. We are sickened by the complacency, hypocrisy, prejudice, and self-righteousness that most conventional religions (including “Wicca” and “paganism” as they are currently defined) encourage in people. When my back is up against the wall, I’m not strengthened by Jesus’ supposed martyrdom, or by the idea of praying and being saved, or of mooning over some glorious afterlife (so I don’t have to take responsibility for this one). Satanists’ scorn for such drivel is in our hard-wiring, and we could no more “give our lives over to Christ” than we could cut off one of our own limbs. The word “Satan” is the first hurdle to understanding what we’re trying to get across. Question, challenge all things, especially what you’ve been taught about supposed enemies. Sort out the truth from convenient myths. Words are magical and potent—use them effectively.
People have tried to dismiss Satanism, saying, “Well, Satan is only a construction of the Christian church so Satanism is only an inversion of Christianity. It’s still dependent on Christianity; Satanists are just Christians who want to play bad boy.” That’s missing the broader point. Christians didn’t invent Satan. There is always a Satan, an adversary, in every culture. There is always the figure who represents the Dark Side, the unexplored realms, the prideful beast who defies the norm. God, on the other hand, generally represents conventionality, predictability, the safety of normality, the comfort of the larger group and the rewards of staying within the bounds of propriety. That interaction is necessary to life and progress—not “good” versus “evil,” but that constant interchange between a need for conventionality and a need for risk-taking by those few who are compelled to explore the murky regions. The blasphemers and heretics take chances, clearing the path for others to follow. Christianity didn’t invent the idea of that interplay any more than they invented the idea of Lucifer; they just happen to represent the status quo at this time. So, in a Judeo-Christian society, we call ourselves Satanists.
We create our gods, not the other way around. In a very real way, we construct them and define them—and they, in turn, guide and define us. We are a world of storytellers. If aliens really were studying our various cultures on this planet, they might be quite perplexed about our obsession with fiction. We read novels, we go to movies, we watch fictions on television, we’ve carved them on walls for centuries—even our history is filtered through dramatic storylines. Why? We use stories about our heroes, our gods, our demons, our successes, failures, dreams and nightmares in order to preserve what has happened, to communicate our common values, to work through our common fears, to ritualize, instruct and have fun. Humans shine when events become unconventional. That’s the basis for all good tales. What do you do when you’re the underdog, fighting for survival? What do you do when God is dead and there are no rules? What kind of character or honor or sense of justice do you really have when there’s no God to judge you, no threat of eternity in the fiery furnace? That’s when things get interesting. Step beyond the boundaries and see what you might find within yourself. Satanists want to cut through the bullshit, challenge themselves and others, and enjoy life. Read on; perhaps you’ll begin to see your own dark reflection through the words on your computer screen.
Magistra Blanche Barton
Church of Satan