Religion is the most important thing in a person’s life. If electric trains are the most pervasive thing in one’s life, that is his religion. Anything can be a religion if it means a lot. If your present religion isn’t the most important thing in your life, then skip it. Find whatever impels you most and make that your religion.
Religions are easy to invent. Most traditional religions have little or nothing to do with reality, are dependent on obfuscation, interpretation, guilt, and unreasoning faith—some more than others. Since Satanism is essentially a religion of the self, it holds that the individual and his personal needs comes first. If that means playing with trains or spike-heeled shoes or singing in the bathtub, those are its sacraments and devotions. Taking inventory of old comic books is counting beads on a rosary, each book being a station of the cross.
Before I codified Satanism, thus enabling me to integrate everything of a personal meaning into a suitable forum, I first considered the religion of Dogism. The belief system made sense, but was too limiting. Dogism holds that if you can’t eat it, and you can’t fuck it; piss on it. Much as I respect dogs and their gods, I could relate more to Catism, the principle religion of cats. The Five Commandments of Catism are:
- DON’T RUN, IF YOU CAN WALK.
- DON’T WALK, IF YOU CAN STAND.
- DON’T STAND, IF YOU CAN SIT.
- DON’T SIT, IF YOU CAN LIE DOWN, AND
- DON’T STAY AWAKE, IF YOU CAN TAKE A NAP.
Catism counsels: “He who sleeps the day away / lives to sleep another day,” or, “Respect the friend who brings your food, for he has been your choice / Or go and catch it for yourself, and have a louder voice,” and other such homilies.
Freud’s “pleasure principle” should be known to be the highest motivator for any religion. The significance of any fetish is a yardstick for its priority. When a fetish transcends all else, including survival needs, religious fanaticism is the result. When the audio equipment takes priority over the music, the way the music sounds is more important than the sound of the music. The act of falling in love can be more important than one’s choice of a mate. If the size of a screen is more important than what’s on it and the latest hardware and software eclipses the quality of the product entered—fetishism is the result.
All activity that consumes, therefore, should be recognized as being both religious and fetishistic. A Satanist whose hobby or fetish is Satanism per se, is no more of a Satanist than one who, realizing the indulgence advocated by Satanism, accepts the Name. The difference between the man or woman who’s a practicing Satanist, from an identity Satanist is that the practicing Satanist looks at the picture, while the identity Satanist studies the frame.
Those who disparage and belittle the Church of Satan to an obsessive degree reveal their fetish. In reality and practice, by their consuming interest, they reveal their true religion to be—the Church of Satan. Otherwise, they would turn on their heel, walk away, and refuse to subject themselves to that which they need not. Clearly, they need us. We don’t need them.
Never underestimate the sexual corollaries to fetishism/religion. It’s too easy (and convenient) to dismiss covert arousal. Just as there have been foot fetishists who work in shoe stores, there are masturbationist writers and artists who have nothing to say and write nothing worth reading. Their output amounts to one stroke or rub per line of type, using their typewriters or computers as sex toys. This can lead to sexual dependency upon the computer. Far-fetched? Things have changed since monks illuminated manuscripts and suffered ecstasies.
Varieties of religious experience can be as interesting as varieties of fetishism. Though there may be many kinds, overall, each disciple has his or her rigid set of preferred and obligatory devotions. Each has personal words of power as a result of distillation. All roads lead to Rome for the serious practitioner. It is Spare’s principle of reduction, Pavlov’s bell. The devout Catholic crosses himself and murmurs “Saints preserve us.” The Pentecostal shouts “Hallelujah!” The Jew says “Mazeltov.” A more potent manifestation is possible, when one considers the true nature of religion. They might instead say: “I need a drink,” “My niece with the fine ass...,” “Is she a disciplinarian?” Every fetishist/religionist has sacred buzzwords: “tickle,” “Cherry ’65 Mustang,” “stinky socks,” and millions more. Sexual fetishes are probably the most epicurean preference of the human animal. The smallest detail is of great significance and there is little margin for error. In fact, there is less room for deviance in deviance, than in any other human endeavor.
If certain words and phrases keep reappearing, it’s because they're never tiresome, always fresh. Uncle Louies favorite musical composition may be the same old tune to others, but to Uncle Louie, it improves with age - which is more than can be said for Uncle Louie. It is his Ave Maria.
Satanism is the only religion which serves to encourage and enhance one’s individual preferences, so long as there is admission of those needs. Thus, one’s personal and indelible religion (the picture) is integrated into a perfect frame. It’s a celebration of individuality without hypocrisy, of solidarity without mindlessness, of objective subjectivity. There need be no deviation from these principles. They should summarily negate internecine strife and bickering. Any attempts at Satanic “reformation” should be seen for what they are: creating problems where none exist. There should be no place in any religion for reformers whose very religion is the fetish of reformation. There is even a place and title for compulsive dissidents, and if they can wear the mantle, they are welcome. They would delude themselves to be revolutionaries. In our camp, they are called “House Masochists.”
Originally appeared in The Cloven Hoof, Issue #127, Year XXXI A.S.
Anton Szandor LaVey
Founder of the Church of Satan
We Are Legion
A Moment In Time
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