Today marks the 91st anniversary of the birth of our founder, Anton Szandor LaVey. Satanists hold one’s natal anniversary to be our own highest of holidays, so many of us take this day to recall the brilliance of the man who, in 1966, launched Satanism as a full-fledged religion. The philosophy he crafted was built on atheism, viewing humans as just another animal—sometimes better but more often worse than the rest who share this wonderful planet with us. Embracing Satan for the adversarial aspect essential to this word, he set forth a conceptual framework for a carnal religion in opposition to all spiritual doctrines. Advocating indulgence over compulsion, and championing individualism and self-fulfillment, he set the parameters for a perspective we use to enhance our enjoyment of the finite lives that nature has gifted us.
We salute Magus LaVey’s pioneering efforts that presented we outsiders with a rational alternative to most other belief systems which we find to be stultifying, hideous, and oppressive. Doktor LaVey wrought for us a truly magical mirror in which to see ourselves with utmost clarity, and for that, we pay him well-deserved homage. The image above of Anton LaVey with Togare was from the period when he was researching widely varied approaches towards understanding our species, before he shaved his head and announced the founding of the Church of Satan.
Music was a great joy to LaVey. He spent many hours at his keyboards, uniquely interpreting works that he felt were emotionally expressive—from Tin Pan Alley ditties and torch songs to the romanticism of Wagner, Saint-Saëns, and Liszt. He also tried his hand at composition and produced this intentionally bombastic march: The Battle Hymn of the Apocalypse, aka Hymn of the Satanic Empire. Click on the title and you can hear him performing this gleefully defiant work.
So, here’s to celebrating our memories and understanding of that joyously impudent fellow who thumbed his nose at the stale, Christ-riddled realms of self-abnegation in his search for a means to attaining satisfaction. He shared his discoveries with us so that we, too, live with all the gusto we can muster.
Hail Anton Szandor LaVey! Hail Satan! So it is done!
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore