The Satanic Bible was written by Anton LaVey in 1969. It is a collection of essays, observations and basic Satanic rituals, and outlines LaVey's Satanic ideology. The author claims the influence of Ragnar Redbeard and Ayn Rand among others. The book contains the core principles of Satanism and is considered the foundation of the philosophy and dogma that constitute Satanism.
Books of the Satanic Bible
Long since removed from contemporary printings of the book, the first edition of The Satanic Bible contained an extensive dedication to the thinkers who influenced LaVey.
The primary dedication of the book was made to Bernadino Nogara (misprinted as "Logara"), Karl Haushofer, Rasputin, Sir Basil Zaharoff, Alessandro Cagliostro, Barnabas Saul (Dr. John Dee's first Scryer), Ragnar Redbeard, William Mortensen, Hans Brick, Max Reinhardt, the American Sociologist Orrin Klapp, Fritz Lang, Friedrich Nietzsche, W. C. Fields, P. T. Barnum, Hans Poelzig, Reginald Marsh, Wilhelm Reich and Mark Twain.
The secondary dedication included Howard Hughes, Marcello Truzzi, Marilyn Monroe, William Lindsay Gresham, Hugo Zacchini, Jayne Mansfield, Fredrick Goerner, Nathaniel West, Horatio Alger, Robert E. Howard, George Orwell, H. P. Lovecraft, Tuesday Weld, H.G. Wells, Harry Houdini, Togare (LaVey's pet lion) and The Nine Unknown Men.
The Satanic Bible, after the introductions by other authors, is divided into four books: the Book of Satan, the Book of Lucifer, the Book of Belial, and finally the Book of Leviathan. LaVey seems to have taken this hierarchy from The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, in which these four demons serve as the chiefs of Hell. Each book approaches a different aspect of Satanism, and serves a unique purpose within the structure of The Satanic Bible.
The Book of Satan
The Book of Satan: The Infernal Diatribe introduces Satanism in dramatic fashion: through the verse of Ragnar Redbeard in Might is Right. Anton LaVey chose segments from different sections of Might is Right, and made slight changes to the verse to amend what he perceived as errors in logic or consistency with Might is Right. As Anton LaVey stated in his introduction to later editions of Might is Right, he found both considerable inspiration in that book, but also glaring errors that made it, taken part by part, incompatible with his Satanic philosophy; it was instead the whole of the message that he found appealing, and the passages selected and changes made to best capture what he found appealing in Might is Right. The Book of Satan was also recited by LaVey in ritual ceremonies, in part or in whole, and his recording of The Satanic Mass includes a full recitation of The Book of Satan. The Book of Satan is symbolically associated with the element of Fire.
The Book of Belial
The Book of Belial: The Mastery of the Earth introduces in detail the Satanic concept of magic. It is, like the Book of Lucifer, divided into essays, each of which brings greater explanation of what LaVey defined as magic and how he believed it could be applied. These essays and their meaning are briefly summarized here:
I. The Theory and Practice of Satanic Magic (Definition and Purpose)
LaVey gives the following definition for magic:
"The change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable".
LaVey then goes on to distinguish what he terms Lesser Magic from Greater Magic.
Lesser Magic consists of non-ritual or manipulative magic, through use of natural abilities to manipulate other humans and therefore circumstances by wile and guile. At the forefront of this effort, according to LaVey, is knowledge of how to employ appearances to one's advantage. He states that a person can employ contrived appearance to gain the alliance or obedience of others, and a competent magician can even combine these aesthetics as necessary. LaVey also states that a magician's actions to manipulate are an important component of Lesser Magic. LaVey later treated the matter of Lesser Magic in considerable detail in his book The Satanic Witch.
Greater Magic includes all ritual and ceremonial magic, which LaVey spends the remainder of The Satanic Bible detailing.
II. The Three Types of Satanic Ritual
LaVey names three types of Satanic ritual:
Lust Rituals are conducted for the purpose of sexually attracting a person of your choice. LaVey specifies that you must have a particular person, or at least type of person, in mind for this to have any chance of success.
Compassion Rituals are performed for the gain of those you care for, or on one's own behalf. The purpose is to increase worldly gain for the target, whether it be a friend or yourself. Any ritual aimed at gaining material wealth, physical advantage, or increase in life station falls into this category.
Destruction Rituals are otherwise known as curses or hexes, and are employed for the destruction of one's enemies.
LaVey also warns that in each of these cases, the only risk is that you must truly want to see what you have wished for come to pass. He very clearly states that there is no guilt-ridden risk that your rituals (specifically, destruction rituals) will be returned upon you (such as the "threefold rule"), but rather that you must be aware of the consequences should you get what you want. He advises that if you perform a lust ritual, that you be prepared to take what you have desired should it come to you; if you perform a compassion ritual, be aware that all gains may be at another's expense; if you perform a destruction ritual, that you should not care whether your enemy lives or dies.
III. The Ritual, or "Intellectual Decompression Chamber"
LaVey begins by explaining the role of both solitary and group rituals, and which kinds of rituals are suited to group performance and which are not. He suggests that destruction rituals can be enhanced by group participation, but that compassion and lust rituals, due to their highly personal nature, are best performed alone, as self-consciousness has no place in the ritual chamber.
He then describes the ritual chamber as an "Intellectual Decompression Chamber", or a means of releasing pent up energy by willfully entering into a state of conscious suspension of disbelief. He adds that only by relieving oneself of intellectual critique of what one is doing in the ritual chamber, can one hope to truly achieve magical ends. He acknowledges that this is similar in principle to the rituals of other religions, but claims a distinction from them, as Satanists are consciously aware of what they are doing and the fact that they are entering into a suspension of disbelief for specific purposes, instead of the self-deceit and delusion characteristic of other religions.
IV. The Ingredients Used in the Performance of Satanic Magic
LaVey names five elements essential to a magical working:
Desire: The magician must possess great desire to see the intended outcome come to fruition.
Timing: A time for ritualization should be chosen to align with whatever time the target is most receptive; LaVey especially names the period in which the target is in deep sleep as the ideal time for this.
Imagery: Accoutrements conducive to the ritual environment, and the full visualization of the desired outcome, must be present. This not only includes the standard ritual equipment, but more specifically any specialized imagery or items the magician requires to give him a full mental view of what he wishes to happen. This can include drawings or paintings, sculptures, dolls, written poems or verses, or anything else that aids in visualizing the outcome.
Direction: As mentioned before, the magician must have a very clear target in mind. All three types of ritual demand that the magician know specifically who (or at least, what kind of person) he wishes to be targeted by his magic. The magician must also be able to give vent to all his desires during the ritual, not before or after.
Balance: The magician must temper his magic with a dose of common sense, otherwise known as the balance factor. LaVey states that ritualized desires must be realistic; wishing for the impossible or the absurdly far-fetched will not yield results, as the magician cannot reasonably hope to put forth enough magical energy to accomplish what cannot be accomplished by any means. To quote LaVey:
Magic is like nature itself, and success in magic requires working in harmony with nature, not against it.
V. The Satanic Ritual
This segment of The Book of Belial begins detailed instructions for actual performance of ritual and how it is conducted. It includes instructions of selection and use of ritual attire, the altar, Sigil of Baphomet, candles, bell, chalice, elixir, sword.
The Book of Belial is symbolically associated with the element of Earth.
The Book of Leviathan
The Book of Leviathan: The Raging Sea contains explicit instructions as to what is to be said and done during ritual. Its text is largely invocations and ritual verse, including the Invocation to Satan performed at the outset of each ritual, The Infernal Names, and separate invocations for each of the three ritual types. It also includes the nineteen Enochian Keys, a dark reinterpretation of John Dee's verses of the same name in the fictive language Enochian. These keys serve as moving ritual chants in Satanic ritual, and the English translations serve likewise as versed statements of Satanic dogma. The meaning of the Enochian Keys was altered by LaVey from John Dee's version in an effort to make them more consistent with Satanic dogma while retaining their usefulness as ritual devices.
The Book of Leviathan is symbolically associated with the element of Water.
The Satanic Bible ends with a stamp reading only "YANKEE ROSE", in all capital letters, and in slightly inkier typing. The meaning of this is a matter of speculation, and remains a mystery, to both the public and Satanists alike. The Church of Satan website, however, offers one possible clue in the song by that name, recorded by Anton LaVey on his record Satan Takes a Holiday. However, the website also adds that this may or may not be a clue at all. LaVey wished its meaning to remain secret, and the true significance of "Yankee Rose" shall forever remain a mystery.
There have been many rumors over the years regarding the meaning of the words "YANKEE ROSE" in this context, including claims that they form an anagram or is a form of cryptogram, the name of a haunted ship, or even the brand name of the organ LaVey played in the circus (a period of his life where he made so many of the observations that eventually went into The Satanic Bible).
However, LaVey did record the Holden/Frankl song of the same title as part of a medley on Satan Takes a Holiday, initially released by Amarillo Records and since re-released by Reptilian Records on their Adversary label. Some say this tune was one LaVey used to end his sets in his early days of playing organ for bars and nightclubs.
LaVey once wrote about using old pop music in Satanic rituals: "I have my personal favorites which are readily identifiable with meaningful situations. Perhaps one day I will share them with you, and it will be seen that many Satanists favor the same tunes!" He also talks about such music in several other writings and interviews.
It's therefore widely believed that the phrase is a reference to the song, though it's still not entirely known why LaVey decided to include the phrase in the book.
David Lee Roth's song Yankee Rose came out around the time of the "Satanic Panic" hysteria of the 1980s, a time when many rock bands were falsely accused of practicing or promoting devil worship, or including subliminal messages on their albums. And the fact that the phrase "Yankee Rose" shows up in The Satanic Bible didn't help Roth in this regard. However, again, the use of the same words here is purely coincidental.
The Satanic Rituals
The Satanic Rituals was published as a companion edition to The Satanic Bible, and contains descriptions of a number of other rituals, many of them very elaborate. Both books are published by Avon and remain in print.
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