by Jake Block
Recently in a thread here on The Sect’s pages, there was a statement made that by identifying as a LaVeyan Satanist I had “limited myself.” Now, I don’t know, nor do I care by what criteria the individual, and those who chimed in behind him have decided that I must somehow live up to their standards of Satanism as they conceive it to be. Anyone who has read any of the 350 essays that I have written here for The Sect should be able to see that I am hardly some parrot for LaVey. I write on many topics that are “applied Satanism,” in action and not the practice of LaVey’s brand of Satanism, and in doing so, I do not now, nor have I ever suggested that his brand of Satanism was the be all and end all of diabolical thought.
So, my dear readers and friends, my identification as a “LaVeyan” Satanist is not a limitation, but a reminder of where my journey begins, and a “North Star” to bring me safely back home to where I began, should I go astray. It in no way limits me. No more than having studied hundreds of books and concepts of the “occult” and the Left Hand Path automatically elevates me to some rarified position of honor or scholarly degree, for without understanding of these concepts, fortified with decades of application and experience, I might as well be at square one, and all the while deluded into thinking I know the path’s destination, let alone that I had even found the path in the first place.
LaVey himself never proclaimed his brand of Satanism to be preeminent. The modern-day Church of Satan might make some claims of preeminence, but while I have nothing to say about their policies and practices, neither am I in any way a member of that organization, nor so I follow any dictates that they might care to issue. They are their own organization and follow their own path. The Gilmorian Church of Satan is not the LaVeyan Church of Satan that I know. Like a Bull Mastiff and a Pomeranian, both are dogs, but think of them as the same at your own peril.
The Nineteenth Enochian Key points to this, in the words, in the last passage of The Satanic Bible:
“Oh ye pleasures which dwell in the first air, ye are mighty in the parts of the Earth, and execute the judgement of the mighty. Unto you it is said: Behold the face of Satan, the beginning of comfort, whose eyes are the brightness of the stars, which provided you for the government of the Earth, and her unspeakable variety; furnishing you a power of understanding to dispose all things according to the providence of Him that sitteth on the Infernal Throne, and rose up in the beginning, saying: The Earth let her be governed by her parts; and let there be division in her; the glory of her may be always drunken and vexed in itself. Her course, let it run with the fulfillment of lust, and as an handmaiden, let her serve them. One season, let it confound another, and let there be no creature upon or within her the same. All her numbers, let them differ in their qualities; and let there be no creature equal with another. The reasonable creatures of the Earth, and Men, let them vex and weed out one another; and their dwelling places, let them forget their names. The work of man and his pomp, let them be defaced. His buildings, let them become caves for the beasts of the field. Confound her understanding with darkness! For why? It repenteth me that I have made Man. One while let her be known, and another while a stranger; because she is the bed of a harlot, and the dwelling place of Lucifer the King.
Open wide the gates of Hell! The lower heavens beneath you, let them serve you! Govern those who govern! Cast down such as fall. Bring forth those that increase, and destroy the rotten. No place, let it remain in one number. Add and diminish until the stars be numbered. Arise! Move! and appear before the covenant of His mouth, which He has sworn to us in His justice. Open the mysteries of your creation and make us partakers of the UNDEFILED WISDOM.”
Ok, I know. It’s a lot of reading, and it’s always easier if someone unpacks it for you. Here are some of the salient phrases you might understand. Note that I relate this analysis to Satanism, as LaVey would have intended.
“The Earth let her be governed by her parts; and let there be division in her; the glory of her may be always drunken and vexed in itself.” What this alludes to is the idea that division is the natural state there is wisdom in the chaos of division.
“One season, let it confound another, and let there be no creature upon or within her the same. All her numbers, let them differ in their qualities; and let there be no creature equal with another.” Things change over time. Diversity is natural, and it is also natural that there should be stratification within that diversity. People are different… not equal… but different. This is universal and not racially based. Each individual has his/her own strengths and weaknesses.
“One season, let it confound another, and let there be no creature upon or within her the same. All her numbers, let them differ in their qualities; and let there be no creature equal with another. “ Survival of the fittest. The strong prevail and the weak die out.
“The work of man and his pomp, let them be defaced. His buildings, let them become caves for the beasts of the field.” All things are temporary. Nations rise and fall, it is natural, and even the greatest of man’s structures fall to ruin.
“The lower heavens beneath you, let them serve you! Govern those who govern! Cast down such as fall. Bring forth those that increase, and destroy the rotten.” You (as a Satanist) are in a position of power. Use it. Work your way into positions that can make life better for you and yours. “Cast down such as fall,” refers to not propping up the weak with your vital essence. Let them fail as you survive. Raise strong and intelligent people to carry on, to destroy those who are inept failures. This does not necessarily relate to a violent destruction, but not supporting those who, for lack of a better term, talk out of their ass, rather from experience.
“No place, let it remain in one number. Add and diminish until the stars be numbered.” Grow and prosper as Satanists. Add to our number, but there also will be losses. Keep going until Satanism prevails.
Throughout LaVey’s thirty-one year tenure as High Priest of the Church of Satan, he spoke in his articles in The Cloven Hoof of his organization being separate and apart from others. LaVey did not see Satanism as a coalition of disparate groups, and was not into making allegiances with groups not under the aegis of The Church of Satan. He did, however acknowledge that such groups did exist with their own rules and culture, as in his essay, Utopia, Unity and Other Pleasant Diversions in the May/June X A.S. (1975) edition of The Cloven Hoof, where he wrote:
“When asked, “What do you think of (such and such) group who call themselves Satanists?”, my response is always the same: “First tell me what they think of us.” Marginal Satanic groups can result from diverse causes and conditions. Wanting to be boss is one. Some require more institutionalized activity than is readily available. Others seeking titular variety find our degree system too constraining. Some are under the misapprehension that they are unable to join the C/S unless invited or sponsored. There are many others who just want to do their own thing, a suggested in our literature. When acknowledged as inspiration and guideline, we welcome with understanding and good wishes the existence of other Satanic groups. It would be out of character to condemn one for expressing his or her ego. Conversely, if any group is outspokenly hostile to us, while aping our tenets in thin disguise, I cannot help but evaluate its origin as either in resentment or disgruntlement.
“Amidst all kinds of factionalism. sectarianism, stratification, and obfuscation related to the Church of Satan as an organization and Satanism as a movement, one lesson can be learned: In unity there is weakness, in dispersion there is strength. If this sounds like Orwellian double-think, it is. But it works. So-called unity, which develops beyond a small circle, breeds factionalism in any organization, unless overt dispersion is encouraged.
The Church of Satan is a pivotal point around which much revolves. I respect a Satanist who can recognize a natural need for a pivotal point yet maintain individuality; move in varied circles, influence those without, infiltrate, and when possible, emerge with flying colors; and eschew inter-mural rivalries.
Unfortunately, that is a big order to fill, even among Satanists. Therefore, group activity which leads to cliquishness, which leads to factionalism, is bound to occur. If there is merit that evolves from factionalism, it is the separation and isolation process it provides. Factionalists are usually so preoccupied with their own importance and dissatisfaction that they honk their horns loudly, and invariably at each other. They keep things lively, they act flashy, and the customers (the public) are entertained. They provide and effective contrast to the aloof and self-sufficiency of supportive and constructive Satanists, who inhabit the Pleasure Domes I anticipated in my earliest C/S writings.
The Church of Satan, often denigrated but seldom ignored, encourages stratification.”
And finally, there seems to be some strange and misplaced belief out there that clergy level component of The Church of Satan is some happy little bowing cadre of cheerleaders and mother and father confessors just sitting by their phones waiting for you to call and unburden yourself to Satan, like some inverted vision of Catholic confession. BUUUUZZZ!!! Wrong again. This should be put to rest now:
“This might be a good time to make a point concerning the Satanic Priesthood. Our Priests and Priestesses are neither obligated nor expected to take you by the ear and stuff Satanism down your throat. Their title is first and foremost a recognition of their personal magical skill and intellectual acuity, and the Church is primarily interested in their continued personal development. If they choose to give of their time and energy to work with other members of the Church, then we trust the members in question will appreciate this as an individual gesture of confidence in them. Because that is precisely what it is. Consider the oft-quoted phrase that “The Church of Satan has not merely lifted the coin; it has flipped it over.” Our clergy are not shepherds caring for hoards of cretins who haven’t the brains to think for themselves. Our purpose is to identify and nurture those who are self-starters. Consider that.”
— Anton LaVey (The Cloven Hoof Sept/Oct XVIII AS )
For those of you who think The Church of Satan gives a damn about people’s crackpot theories about what Anton LaVey “actually meant,” or that they are looking to bring in to the fold those out there on the web, wandering about like some kind of inverted John the Baptist, selling their personal “kumbaya visions” of some great, all inclusive form of Satanism, they are NOT. You’re thinking perhaps of The Satanic Temple, or some other Johnny come lately cabal of oh-so-enlightened diabolical gurus. The Church of Satan under LaVey’s watch and, I would surmise on the watch of Peter Gilmore as well, really couldn’t care less. In their vision, these people only strain the chaff through a sieve that keeps them at the “arm’s length” of stratification.
Whatever your preconceived notions are, based on your limited understanding of Anton LaVey from his three conceptual books (The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, The Complete Witch [The Satanic Witch]) that form the basis for the concept and codifications of The Church of Satan and its history, or of Me, from reading my hundreds of essays here on in the Sect of the Horned God, or Thomas LeRoy or Lisa Corrine from their videos, or Dark Fool, Dimitri, Maitiu O’Glassain , Etu Malku, or even The Orders of The Sect and those who in their earnest studies have progressed from curious neophytes to Cenobites and beyond, you are trying to finish that 1000 piece puzzle of a black cat at midnight in your mother’s basement, with critical pieces of that puzzle missing. To compound your dilemma, you have forgotten what the hell the puzzle was supposed to be in the first place!
Cue the outro, sing it “Baba Lon.”
“Don’t write me off
Just because I’m old and gray,
Hey, if you don’t shuffle off,
You’ll be old and gray some day,
Oh I ain’t washed up
No, that’s just a filthy rumor,I
I’m a hip old pop,
Late bloomer, baby boomer,
Don’t write me off,
I’m cool and quaint and handsome.
Don’t write me off,
I’m a pool of ancient wisdom.
Don’t write me of
Like some old pathetic has been,
I’m still pickin’,
I’m still grinnin’,
Doing shit you can’t imagine!”
— Don’t Write Me Off (Lon Milo DuQuette)