Anton knew the date upon which the first Church of Satan must be established. It would have to be during the traditional night of the most important demonic celebration of the year, when witches and devils roam the earth, orgiastically glorifying the fruition of the Spring equinox: Walpurgisnacht, the night of April 30th—May 1st.
LaVey shaved his head as part of a formalized founding ritual, in the tradition of medieval executioners, carnival strongmen, and black magicians before him, to gain personal power and enhance the forces surrounding his newly-established Satanic order. It was the enactment of an allusion at the end of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan: an incantation rejecting the Holy Trinity and the spiritual life in favor of one devoted to Hell and material pursuits.
Shaving the head is also traditional to the Yezidi devil worshippers as a rite of passage that the emerging adept must perform. The razor for this rite is washed in the waters of Zamzam, the subterranean well of Islam said to be the point of origin for underground streams flowing under the Seven Towers of Satan. The caverns beneath the Towers are supposedly tributaries leading to the place of the Satanic Masters, known as Shamballah, or Carcosa. Thus, shorn of his locks, he leaves the world of the descendants of Adam behind him. To make the ritual complete, LaVey declared 1966 Year One, Anno Satanas—the first year of the reign of Satan.
of the reign of Satan.”
The Council of Nine, following the dictates of the Nine Unknown, was established throughout the world. Many significant writers have obliquely referred to this mysterious cabal—Shakespeare, John Dryden, Talbot Mundy, Richard Johnson—an archetypal formation which is reflected in the nine members appointed to sit in positions of absolute authority on the United States Supreme Court. The new Age of Fire had been inaugurated, and though the ceremony on Walpurgisnacht, 1966, was a highly personal, private one, LaVey would soon feel the tremors it was to produce.
“We blended a formula of nine parts social respectability to one part outrage,” says Anton LaVey. “We established a Church of Satan—something that would smash all concepts of what a ‘church’ was supposed to be. This was a temple of indulgence to openly defy the temples of abstinence that had been built up until then. We didn’t want it to be an unforgiving, unwelcoming place, but a place where you could go to have fun.”
And thus was initiated two revolutions which have carried over into today: 1) the integration of magic and logic, and 2) a religion based on self-indulgence, carnality (here and now instead of there and then), and pleasure instead of self-denial. Other ego-affirming, human potential programs like EST, drew from the ground-breaking attitudes and techniques of the Church of Satan.
by Blanche Barton ©2003
(condensed from The Church of Satan and with supplemental material by Peter H. Gilmore)