Formed on Walpurgisnacht 1966, the Church of Satan has since attracted followers throughout the world. Its High Priest, Anton LaVey or 'The Black Pope', formulated its rites in positive forms of celebration: Satanic weddings; funerals devoid of sanctimonious platitudes; lust rituals for the realisation of sexual desires; and destruction rituals enabling triumph over enemies and the achievement of life's goals.
In The Satanic Bible LaVey explains the philosophy of Satanism, describing the rituals and trappings that create a church of true flesh-worshippers. A challenge to other religions, this book shows how to initiate Satanic cults and ritualise black magic – it is a must for all those fascinated by the dark, hidden forces within man's nature, and for those determined to overcome the repressions and inhibitions fostered through so many generations.
Prior to that fateful Walpurgisnacht, Anton La Vey (1930-1997) had led a chequered career that included stints as a police photographer, lion tamer and organist on the strip club circuit so no surprise that he went about his Black Ministry with more than a touch of showmanship (a good thing, as far as i'm concerned. Nobody likes a boring Satanist). As the 'sixties drew to a close, LaVey and the Church released their first album The Satanic Mass - perhaps best described as "hearing is believing" - and then the Evil One published this, his colorful manifesto, a mercifully concise explanation of his beliefs, best summed up by the The Nine Satanic Statements as outlined on page 21.
Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence! Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual beams! Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of critical self-deceit! Satan represents kindness to those who deserve instead of love wasted on ingrates! Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek! Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires! Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his "divine spiritual Intellectual development," has become the vicious animal of all! Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification! Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!
See what i mean about concise? Would that Aleister Crowley was so to the point, then i might be able to read more than a page of his Confessions ... without lapsing into a coma.
In 1993, LaVey granted an interview to Gavin Badderly of Paranormal-interest magazine The X-Factor. As was the case with X-Factor interviews, it's over almost before it begins, but even within three pages LaVey came across as a sharp and thoughtful bloke; i'd never dream to guess at how genuine he was about it all, but his definition of Satanism as "rationalised self-interest" has the ring of truth about it. If, like me, your "interest" in Witchcraft & Black Magic is for entertainment purposes only, then the lack of photo-supplement is a downer - the COS were very good at dressing up - but if you want a book that virtually guarantees no-one except goths and psychic tv fans will sit next to you on the bus then always slip a copy of The Satanic Bible in your pocket before you leave home.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.