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June 2, 2008 11:56 AM   Subscribe


 
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Oh wait.....

I remember reading this little tidbit of Sammy-lore somewhere else but I'll be damned if I can find the link.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:19 PM on June 2, 2008


The Church of Satan is lame. Every time I meet a Satanist, they are quick to point out that despite all the symbols and pentagrams, it isn't really about devil worshiping but rather about living an uninhibited life, doing what you want, not constraining yourself to other peoples morality (usually about sex) etc.

Just once I'd like to meet a Satanist who attends black masses and actually worships the devil as an anthropomorphic force of evil in the universe, instead of this new Buddy Satan who tells you it's okay to smoke dope and drink beer as long as you have a designated driver. Buddy Satan is a loser.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:36 PM on June 2, 2008 [16 favorites]


If you "want to meet a Satanist who attends black masses and actually worships the devil", there's this weird kid in my neighborhood named "Ricky" who'd love to buy you some icy-cold Pom and show you his tapes.
Buddy Satan is a loser, but I'm sad for Ricky's parents.

Nice post, miss l!!!
posted by Dizzy at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2008


No matter what people may say ('he was in it for the lulz' vs 'he was really in it',) personal experience says CoS members tend to be very pro-Sammy, and pro-Rat Pack in general. (Also pro-drinks-with-umbrellas.)

Say what you want, but when this Cube joined, it didn't introduce me to orgies or pot or death metal - it gradually introduced me to the same music my prototypes listened to in the 1940s and 1950s.

Pastabagel: I highly doubt you've ever met one of us, but only pretenders. No card-carrying US CoS member will proclaim themselves so...Crowleyan. Ugh. (Dope-smoking is a crime, and thus likely a kick-outable offense, at least for US Members.)
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2008


In the book Why Me (Sammy's follow-up to Yes I can) he says that "everyone" was into Satanism in the 70's, and it was just dabbling "for sexual kicks".
posted by cell divide at 1:00 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


pastabagel--be careful what you wish for. I think your assesment holds true for much of this stuff, but I tend to think there are indeed a few hardcore people involved in related groups who are not at all benign. For instance, that guy Michael Aquino (co-founder of the CoS, founder of ToS and pictured w/AL and Sammy in one of the links in this FPP) has always creeped me the fuck out. I agree with most people that Anton LaVey seemed harmless enough, but Aquino is another matter entirely (they appear to have had a falling out). Despite all the nonsense out there, Aquino's military intelligence connections and background in mind control experiments do seem real, and there is enough smoke concerning the Presidio pedophilia case to convince me something was going on. It remains quite difficult to determine where the facts end and the speculation begins with a shadowy character like Aquino, but my intuition based on what I've read is that he may indeed be one of those whose interests in these matters goes well beyond harmless dabbling.
posted by ornate insect at 1:21 PM on June 2, 2008


Satanists - basically just swingers.

See also: Chaos magic.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


ornate insect - are we talking Men Who Stare at Goats type military intelligence?
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on June 2, 2008


(Dope-smoking is a crime, and thus likely a kick-outable offense, at least for US Members.)
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 3:57 PM on June 2


Wait a second. Members of the Church of Satan are not allowed to smoke pot because it's illegal? You're sort of making my point for me, there.

Reading the website and the wikipedia page makes CoS (as distinguished from the other CoS) sound more like Ayn Rand. In truth, the organization has absolutely nothing to do with Satan whatsoever, it's just clever branding.

At least Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis has some semi-credible historical and religious lineage. And they claim to be in possession of a single ultimate secret, which is assuredly bullshit but no-less intriguing for it. And in may ways CoS seems to crib Crowley's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."

So, do Church of Satan people do anything cool? Can you conjure anyone? Maybe not Pazuzu, I can understand that, but maybe you guys could try to summon some kind of bunny demon or something, like Black Lord Phluphi or something?

Come on, man, give me something. Mainstream Christians are going around saying the stories in the Bible are just metaphors, some pastors don't believe in an actual God, the internet has run all UFO and alien visitation stories into the ground, so I'm desperate for something to believe in.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:46 PM on June 2, 2008


(Just to add to my previous post, lest it be misconstrued, it may well be that Aquino is a harmless crank. His own page suggests as much, and I realize there has been a whole lot of Lyndon LaRouche-type stupidity and hysteria regarding these topics. But it also seems possible that there are people involved in all this stuff that are seriously deviant. Sorry for the derail. And yes, artw, it appears Aquino has a military intelligence background, for what it's worth).
posted by ornate insect at 1:49 PM on June 2, 2008


It's not a derail. This post is about the Church of Satan as much as it's about Sammy Davis Jr.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:12 PM on June 2, 2008


Who needs the Church of Satan, Church of Christ, or Church of Mormon? I've got the Church of SCOTCH.
posted by grubi at 2:17 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


"The devil man can, cause he draws a pentagram, and kills a goat in the middle"

Sung to the tune of "Candyman"

Shamelessly stolen from my friend Bubba, who was the first to tell me about the Sammy Davis/Satan stuff.
posted by TedW at 2:22 PM on June 2, 2008


Do any of those links have pictures of sexy satanic rituals? Involving one of these maybe?
posted by Mister_A at 2:24 PM on June 2, 2008


Just once I'd like to meet a Satanist who attends black masses and actually worships the devil as an anthropomorphic force of evil in the universe, instead of this new Buddy Satan who tells you it's okay to smoke dope and drink beer as long as you have a designated driver.

Satanism is not the same thing as Satan worship.
posted by Tehanu at 2:27 PM on June 2, 2008


::Just once I'd like to meet a Satanist who attends black masses and actually worships the devil as an anthropomorphic force of evil in the universe, instead of this new Buddy Satan who tells you it's okay to smoke dope and drink beer as long as you have a designated driver.

::Dope-smoking is a crime, and thus likely a kick-outable offense, at least for US Members

BWAHAHAHA. Oh man, Buddy Satan is lame.

PB, haven't listened in a decade, but Art Bell was to weirdass beliefs and the radio, what rule 34 is to porn and the Internet.

Here's his chat with a married Iowa Satanist couple who genuinely worship themselves a red, soul-eating anthropomorphic Robert Johnson kind of devil.

Here's a chat with Aaron Donahue, who seems to be the TimeCube guy of Satanism.

And here is his interview with Harlot, a self-described Evil Witch. She sure does love to be evil. (doesn't appear to be online but I remember being entertained)

And finally, here's Slayer, you should go listen to them. Just because.
posted by dgaicun at 2:57 PM on June 2, 2008


Satan is real
posted by Artw at 3:07 PM on June 2, 2008


Yep, guess you gotta go to bittorent if you want some AnthropomorphicSatan-worshipin' Harlot action: What I am is a Satanic, fourth generation earth witch.

Testimonial:

"Recently, I heard bits and pieces of an interview with a satanist witch named Harlot (it's disconcerting to be jarred awake by a person on the radio screaming about the coming of the Great Evil One)..."
posted by dgaicun at 3:12 PM on June 2, 2008


My earliest recollection of Sammy Davis, Jr. is in the role of the hookah-smoking caterpillar in an all-star version of Alice In Wonderland. Nothing particularly Satany about that, but the Jabberwocky scene was the closest thing to Hell my mushy little mind could imagine for years afterwards.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:27 PM on June 2, 2008


Hey Sys Rq? HERE YOU GO! Although he's spending more time dressed up like Thomas Jefferson for some reason. I suppose it's hard to dance in a caterpillar outfit.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:38 PM on June 2, 2008


Sammy started his personal relationship with Satan during a 1968 visit to the Factory, a nightclub he partially owned.

Yeah, I remember when I started my personal relationship with Lucifer, I was nursing a bad hangover and he popped in and said "Gimme your soul and I'll take care of that for you." I thought about it and said "Throw in the ability to sort M&Ms by touch and kill with my mind and you've got a deal."

The rest is history.

As to Sammy's connections to the guy, you've got to admit, back then stars didn't give a shit, did they? Can you imagine the kind of press it would get if a mainstream celebrity nowadays was a member of the Church of Satan?
posted by quin at 3:43 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was going to post about how Aaron Donahue was an entertaining and arrogant nutter who tried hard to start a cult, but wasn't charismatic or interesting enough to recruit many outside of his mom, dad, and sister. Then I found this expose by his dad about how he and his wife were held prisoner in a rotting house by an increasingly delusional Aaron and his mentally deranged girlfriends.
posted by bunnytricks at 3:44 PM on June 2, 2008


Just once I'd like to meet a Satanist who attends black masses and actually worships the devil as an anthropomorphic force of evil in the universe,

Head to Norway.
posted by jonmc at 4:05 PM on June 2, 2008


There was a lot of celebrity Satanism in the late '60s and early '70s. Whatever it means, it's largely over. There are a few public Satanists - arts and music. There are many, many more Satanists who recognize it is in their own best interest not to say a goddamn thing about it. You've got Christian groups that want to bring about the end of the world - you think it's a good time to be out and proud? All the kids who are out and in your face about it are kind of like other people who find a new group identity and then proclaim it the gospel truth to all comers.

Conjure a corporeal spirit? Highly likely impossible from a scientific point of view. No CoS member is going to claim they can do this. The amount of energy required to do something like that would be ridiculous, and for a practical point, it would be easier to hire a good stage company to do so. As a rule, though, rituals are fuuuuullll of stage magic. There's a lot of suspension of disbelief, and magical practice is the kind of thing people latch on to but isn't really important within the belief system. You don't need to go to a grotto ('church meeting') every Friday - in fact, they're being phased out. You want ritual? Get some people together and go for it. Hell, I'd say a lot of us are lapsed Catholics that passed through atheism but still needed some ceremony, something cooler than Unitarian sing-songs.

Part of what makes Satanism different is that it is an evolving religion. We'll admit our origins (unlike many new religious movements) and we don't look at heritage or anything but achievement when it comes to internal ranking.

Aquino is a total nut job. On top of that, he's a corporeal theist. In no way associated with the Church since the '80s.

Want to think we're lame? Fine. But we do make some damn fine mixed drinks, as a general rule, among those of us who drink.

You want more, go read the books. The current High Priest just wrote a new one. It's got Godzilla in it. I like it much better than the idea of the U2charist or some nasty goat guts on the good wood floors.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 4:18 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Some years ago I was at my dentist's office having a bridge put in. They injected a local anesthetic, but they also offered me additional nitrous oxide as it was a bit of an involved process. I said yes. I didn't think I was particularly high from the nitrous, but perhaps I really was. Soon it came time to match the color of the bridge to the color of my teeth. I didn't know that there were different shades of tooth color, so it came as a surprise.

During the momentary pause in the procedure I slurred out the following suggestion: "Go ahead and make my teeth as white as Sammy Davis Junior"...
posted by Tube at 4:19 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Satanists - basically just swingers.

Of course they are/were. And Sammy was the ultimate pussy hound. That statement by Valerie Solanis, about how men would wade nostril deep through a river of shit, just for the vague possibility of pussy could have been written for Sammy.

I mean, the guy did Linda Lovelace, ferchristsake. Although now I'm feeling a conspiracy theory coming on, even as I write. Didn't Linda claim that she'd been forced to do the shit that she did in those single reel pornos that they used to use in the cubicles by satanists? Was it a menage a trois with Anton La Vey and Sammy that led to her rendition of the Iggy Pop classic, I wanna do your dog?

Whatever the hell it was that was going on here, I'm not sensing that there was a great deal of lulz involved, despite how weird it all was.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:32 PM on June 2, 2008


I thought Sammy was Jewish!
posted by hortense at 5:21 PM on June 2, 2008


Conjure a corporeal spirit? Highly likely impossible from a scientific point of view. No CoS member is going to claim they can do this.

My comments have been sort of tongue-and-cheek up to this point, but now I have to ask the question. What's the point of joining CoS? If being a member of the CoS means that you don't actually believe in Satan and adhere to a relatively pedestrian humanist/objectivist philosophy, why bother with the Satan imagery at all? Why invoke the symbol of the Satan, the Prince of Darkness if you're going to rob the symbol of all its power and deny that darkness is anything different than light?

And where's the belief in the profound? The profane? Where's the quest for the ultimate mystery that has haunted every serious philosopher since the dawn of time? If as atheists the CoS doesn't believe in this ultimate mystery, what is the point of forming a religion around it? Is it just a multi generational attempt to co-opt "Satan" as some kind of brand? It's possible that the self-avowed satanists I've met aren't members of CoS, but so what? Who says that you are the authentic satanists and they aren't? Who says that CoS isn't the poser, the impostor church, the cheap imitator of a long and storied secret religion?

Again, I have to respect Crowley in his madness. He believed he was in possession of some hermetic knowledge, some piece of the ultimate truth that required repeated focus, study, meditation, and the entranced state offered by ritual to make the acolyte receptive to it. From a historical standpoint, he's at least trying to resurrect or recreate a religion that is alleged to have existed at least as long as Christianity.

I mentioned "the other CoS" as a reference to Scientology before, but from what I can tell the Church of Satan is more akin to the Urantia foundation, that other science fiction religion that, lacking the clever marketing and arcane knowledge that Scientology offered, failed to attract enough believers to be anything other than a footnote in the 20th century cult history.

I don't mean to knock your religion, but I'm trying to understand. I understand why someone might turn to worshiping the good old fashioned goat sacrificing devil of yore. But why a religion based around a very rudimentary secular philosophy?

Thanks to everyone for the links to Varg, Burzum, and the Norwiegian church burners. I'll toss back a Gorgorth interview. These guys have the right idea. If you're going to worship civilization's worst bad guy, you've got to be a bit of a bad guy yourself. And being a bad guy means more than bedding a few cocktail waitresses and saying, "Hey, man, I play by my own rules."
posted by Pastabagel at 5:32 PM on June 2, 2008


Also, thanks for the links to Harlot. That's some damn fine crazy, right there.
posted by Pastabagel at 5:34 PM on June 2, 2008


The 'why join the CoS' question has been answered many times by people higher up than me. There are essays on the site and the forums ('not official', although very much condoned).

eg: Satanism vs pure objectivism - other essays here.
Satanism vs Neopaganism.

Various interviews with Magus Gilmore (or Rev Harris, or Rev Malebranche) are available which usually answer this question, as well as other common ones.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 6:12 PM on June 2, 2008


My comments have been sort of tongue-and-cheek up to this point, but now I have to ask the question. What's the point of joining CoS? If being a member of the CoS means that you don't actually believe in Satan and adhere to a relatively pedestrian humanist/objectivist philosophy, why bother with the Satan imagery at all? Why invoke the symbol of the Satan, the Prince of Darkness if you're going to rob the symbol of all its power and deny that darkness is anything different than light?

I have a bit of knowledge about this, and in my experience, the CoS is made up largely of the following groups of people:

* Goth types/extreme metal fans (one of their highest ranking members calls himself "Lestat Ventrue", from Anne Rice and White Wolf RPGs, he was granted the priesthood in LaVey's final days solely for making the first CoS/Satanism website)
* Randroids (LaVey openly acknowledges Rand in The Satanic Bible, and much of the CoS philosophy comes from her)
* People from Christian upbringings who are rebelling against Christianity
* Neo-Pagan dilettantes who try everything (these people often go on to Michael Aquino's Temple Of Set, then quit that and become voodoo priests or whatever)

LaVey died in 1997, and the church is currently run by Peter Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia, and has little to do with LaVey's church of the 60s and 70s which Sammy Davis Jr. joined. It basically exists today as a mechanism for Peter and Peggy to collect money from teenage metalheads (it costs $200 to join, no refunds). The upper-level membership spends, or at least spent, much of their time harassing people in the CoS IRC channels and on alt.satanism, particularly people who represent or belong to other Satanic organizations. A large chunk of recent CoS history is nothing but a goofy Internet drama worthy of Encyclopedia Dramatica (search for Tani Jantsang and Hr Vad's "CoS Files" for more background on this than anyone could possibly care about).

According to Michael Aquino, who was LaVey's second-in-command from '68 or so to '75, the early Church of Satan very much existed to worship an actual, real Satan, and the "metaphor" stuff was just for lower-ranking members. Then in 1975, Aquino says, LaVey decided to turn it into a way to make money for himself and began selling initiatory degrees, and Aquino and many of the higher-level members left to form the Temple of Set. However, Aquino's story has been widely denied by everyone up to and including LaVey himself, so no one but LaVey knows if it's really true.

For an answer to your question about "why use Satan as a symbol", LaVey answered this in considerable detail in The Satanic Bible, which you can buy for a couple bucks at pretty much any bookstore if you're really interested. It's a pretty interesting read.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:19 PM on June 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


If anything, Satanism holds that indulgence in life or “fun” as perceived by the individual is the highest standard of ethics.

Okay. Then why are you guys fucking about with an entity anywhere to the right of Dionysus?
posted by bunnytricks at 6:36 PM on June 2, 2008


DecemberBoy--I was wondering what your take was on Aquino's apparent background in military intelligence, the rumored links between Aquino and the Presidio child abuse scandal (as reported by the San Jose Mercury News and others), the restraining order that appears to have been filed against Aquino by a former ToS member, and the Paul Bonacci case. It is difficult to make out what happened on any of this, but there seems to have been a flurry of legal activity surrounding these cases in the late 1980s.
posted by ornate insect at 6:50 PM on June 2, 2008


I was wondering what your take was on Aquino's apparent background in military intelligence

As far as I know, he was a Lt. Col. in the Army and specialized in PsyOps. It sort of makes everything he says slightly suspect, but he backs up a lot of what he says with enough verifiable facts that it's believable.

the rumored links between Aquino and the Presidio child abuse scandal (as reported by the San Jose Mercury News and others)

All bullshit, and part of the 80s SRA hysteria. I pretty much completely believe Aquino's story: Jesse Helms discovered that an actual, real live Satanist was serving as a high ranking Army intelligence officer, and the orders came down from him to do something to get rid of him. The chaplain's story was full of contradictions and outright lies, no charges were ever brought despite considerable effort to do so, and Aquino retired honorably from the Army.

the restraining order that appears to have been filed against Aquino by a former ToS member

Not familiar with this, but the ToS has long been accused of targeting former members for harassment, and there are publicly accessible records of them doing so to Scott "Lupo" Locklin on USENET.

and the Paul Bonacci case

I only have a cursory familiarity with this, but from what I've read Bonacci seems like a fruit loop. His story sounds like standard schizoid rambling about government mind control, the only difference being that the part about the high-ranking Satanist Army intelligence officer (Aquino) happened to be true, which gave credence to the rest of his wacky story.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:08 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


DecemberBoy--thanks for your answers. You may be correct that most of the rumors swirling around Aquino are sensationalist BS, but it does appear difficult to get much solid, factual information on these matters. Aquino's background in military psyops (he appears also to have been a Green Beret in Vietnam) still gives me the creeps though.
posted by ornate insect at 7:21 PM on June 2, 2008


Reading the website and the wikipedia page makes CoS (as distinguished from the other CoS) sound more like Ayn Rand.

As an aside, though I can't find the quote, LeVey said that he just took Objectivism and added a religious spin to create the Church of Satan.
posted by champthom at 7:33 PM on June 2, 2008


Okay, so current High Priest Peter Gilmore says "Most succinctly, we are atheistic, skeptical epicureans who embrace Satan as a symbol of liberty, pride, and individualism. "

Except that isn't what Satan symbolizes. At no point prior to the founding of CoS did anyone anywhere ever suggest that Satan was a symbol of liberty, pride, or individualism. More to the point, there was absolutely no need to use Satan as a symbol to promote this new religion, and in fact doing so is misleading and confusing, as it in no way represents the Satan most people are familiar with.

Finally, using Satan as a symbol establishes this church as being the antithesis of the Christian Church, when in fact most of its tenets do not even contradict Christian teaching.

There's a lot of discussion in Gilmore's essays that Christians have something to fear in the Church of Satan. For example, "And are there truly some grounds for people to feel fear at the ever growing phenomenon of contemporary Satanism? As a long-time priest in the Church of Satan and media representative, I can candidly say, “Yes!”"

But the truth is there is nothing to fear in this religion, because there isn't that much to it. A devout Christian has nothing to fear from someone who denies the existence of both God and the devil, embraces a simple secular philosophy, but chooses to embrace the power of the imagery of Satan. Satan is ultimately a Christian symbol, so to acknowledge the power and import of symbols of Satan is to acknowledge the power of Christianity. A magician of the Crowley school is more dangerous to the Christian, because the magician operates within the same theological worldview but works at contrary purposes.

In fact, a conventional atheist is more problematic still, because he denies and dismisses all of it outright. A Christian has more to fear from Scientology than from Satanism. I only bring up this aspect of fear because it seems to important to Gilmore.

I've been reading some of the forums, and the response in this one is particularly informative. At this point I'm inclined to accept at face value DecemberBoy's assessment of the membership.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:30 PM on June 2, 2008


Some other famous CoS members:
LaVey claimed Jayne Mansfield was a member (and his lover), but some of her close associates deny this. LaVey also claimed to have placed a curse on her lover Sam Brody, which supposedly caused the car accident that killed him and her both. She may or may not have been a member (Satanism was a hip religion at the time, much like Scientology in the 80s and 90s), but Mansfield and LaVey almost certainly at least knew each other.

Marylin Manson is a CoS priest, his title given to him by LaVey himself, although he isn't very active in the organization these days.

Crypto-fascist industrial/neofolk/martial musician Boyd Rice was also granted a priesthood by LaVey, but has distanced himself from the post-LaVey CoS and has nothing to do with them anymore.

LaVey also claimed to have had a pre-CoS affair with a prefame Marilyn Monroe while he was working as an organist at a strip club she danced at, but this is almost certainly entirely fabricated. LaVey lied about nearly every aspect of his life, much like L. Ron Hubbard did.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:04 PM on June 2, 2008


Oh, and Manson murderess Susan Atkins also danced topless at a few of LaVey's "Satanic Witch" girlie shows in San Francisco in the very early days of the CoS, but she wasn't a member. I'm not even sure if the CoS had "members" as such that early on.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:13 PM on June 2, 2008


I'm watching Race The Devil right now... every last apparently normal thing the normal people in the RV encounter out on the road TURNS OUT TO BE SATANISTS. It kind of reminds me of this thread.
posted by Artw at 12:36 AM on June 3, 2008


Personally, I prefer Sammy Davis Jr, Jr.. You never know when you'll need an Officious Seeing-Eye Bitch.
posted by the cydonian at 1:46 AM on June 3, 2008


You know what other lounge singer was a Satanist? Yeah, that's right, Marc Almond...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:08 AM on June 3, 2008


Race The Devil - wow, I remember that as being pretty much awesome as a kid, no idea as to how it would compare now. It certainly adds to the Deliverance-fueled mind-set of the non-American that all the fly-over is da EVIL! (See also Stephen King novels)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:46 AM on June 3, 2008


It's got an awful lot of set up for teh normals that doesn't really do much or go anywhere, and theres some shots that seem to last forever without having a point, in that was you see in 70s stuff. I do like that the Satanic menace is essentially faceless – once they witness that satanic ritual out in the desert literally anyone or anything could be a Satanic plot, but it’s kind of let down by literally everyone and everything being a satanic plot – there are no false alarms whatsoever, it’s Satanists all the way, and yet somehow they never twig onto this – “ooh, I wonder if those people at the roadwork’s up ahead are not Satanists, every other bugger we’ve met has been but it’s worth a try”.

Of course, rural America IS evil – I’ve been there and it was shit – but they’re probably more likely to surround your RV with a ring of fire because they thing you’re the Satanists.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on June 3, 2008


At no point prior to the founding of CoS did anyone anywhere ever suggest that Satan was a symbol of liberty, pride, or individualism.

Um, what? Milton and Nietzsche both seem appropriate, here. Historically, symbolism which links the Devil to notions of individuality and liberty goes back at least to the Hellfire Club. And the idea that Satan was never a symbol of pride is ridiculous in the extreme -- the Christian religion itself makes the claim that Satan's sin was pride!

I'm not sure if I've ever seen anything funnier than the idea that the author of the Satanic Bible (much of which is paraphrased or outright plagiarized from Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Ragnar Redbeard, Rabelais, and others) actually invented its core ideals! Sorry, but this stuff goes back a lot further than 1966.
posted by vorfeed at 10:20 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


My sockpuppet's new profile picture. Thanks, lynnster!
posted by not_on_display at 10:45 AM on June 3, 2008


You know what? I just like dressing up on occasion and not being a LARPer. I share an aesthetic with some members. I've found an intellectual discussion of magic to work for me. I find the presence of deity doesn't, although yes, I like some of the trappings.

No one that I know would say that Anton LaVey actually invented much of Satanism. He invented the structure of the CoS (which has morphed) and put together some previously disattached philosophies. All religion is syncretic, but at least CoS Satanism largely admits it.

Pointing the boards out was foolish on my part; it's like assessing the Something Awful forums from the public parts - okay, not that bad, but you get the idea.

From my experience - over ten years now, not public, largely not involved in grotto activities when they were prevalent - which you are all likely to discount - it's more like Masons. Only with more artists and a tiny bit more sex and less little cars and funn..y...hats (okay, there are funny hats, but those are a personal choice.)

I'm sorry you all think the Cube is a tool. I'll go back to internet memes and nonsequitors.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 5:36 PM on June 3, 2008


I don't think you are at all a tool, Cube. I'm sorry if it came across that way. In fact, I appreciate your candor and willingness to discuss something you are involved in. My criticism is more directed to the idea of the group, not really its members, though some of the higher-ups on that thread I pointed out seem less willing to discuss the church that I would have expected in a public forum they run.

In fact, I only pointed that thread out because someone was asking nearly the same questions as I am.

To say its like the Masons actually makes it make more sense, but also makes it a lot more like OTO, though probably less rigidly hierarchical.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:28 AM on June 4, 2008




I had to take a few days from the thread between getting a little emotionally involved and not sleeping enough all week.

Reverend Bill is one of the best logicians I know and I wish I had an archive of his arguments. The forums, I should note, are technically not official. 'Condoned' is probably a better word.

The 'Why Satan? Why not some other term?' argument is treated in one of Anton LaVey's books of short essays, as well as TSB. One of the significant parts for me is that Satanism treats ritual and the act of religion as something that is likely intrinsic to human nature. (That isn't all of it, but it's one part that's easy to explain.) A bit ago on Ask Metafilter someone asked the question as to what could fill in for religion when one doesn't believe in a god. Well, here's one answer. I grew up sort-of-Catholic and thoroughly enjoy the trappings of religion. Doing formalized rituals, a series of deliberate acts, gets my stress out of my system and seems to have a good psychological effect on my life.

I know almost nothing about the OTO, so I can't really compare. I checked Wikipedia and on reflection, I'd say that the formal organization of both Masons and the OTO are similar, what with the latter being a close derivative, but the organization of the CoS is a lot less hierarchical and, this being recently emphasized, less actually connected. No one has to participate in any group things to even get promotion within the group. Somehow Central needs to hear about what you've gotten accomplished in real life, but you don't need to do anything specific. There's no major, complex philosophical ladder, no specific things to study.

Also, Diabolus Rex is awesome.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 7:49 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Conservatives secretly Satanic
posted by Artw at 11:07 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


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