Anton LaVey was a controversial figure who founded the Church of Satan and promoted his philosophy of Satanism. His influence on popular culture and the occult is still felt today, and his church remains active despite legal challenges and internal disputes.
Anton Szandor LaVe was born on April 11, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. LaVey’s parents were Joseph and Augusta LaVey. His father immigrated from Russia, while his mother was of Alsatian and Romanian descent. LaVey was raised in a non-religious household and was fascinated with the macabre from a young age.
During his teenage years, LaVey became interested in music and learned how to play the organ, which would become a significant part of his life. After finishing high school, LaVey joined the circus and worked as a lion tamer and a burlesque organist. He also worked in various nightclubs as a musician and played the calliope in carnivals.
LaVey began exploring occultism and magic during this time and became interested in the writings of Aleister Crowley, the founder of Thelema, and Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy. In 1966, LaVey founded the Church of Satan, which was based on his philosophy of Satanism.
According to LaVey, Satanism is a religion that focuses on the individual and his or her desires rather than the collective good. LaVey believed that Satan represented individualism, indulgence, and personal power. He rejected the Christian concept of sin and embraced a moral code based on self-interest and the pursuit of pleasure.
The Church of Satan’s beliefs is based on the nine Satanic statements, which include statements such as represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek.” The church also has eleven Satanic rules of the earth, which include statements such as “Do not harm little children” and “When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.”
The Black Pope
LaVey’s Church of Satan gained a significant following in the 1960s and 1970s, with many celebrities, including Sammy Davis Jr. and Jayne Mansfield, becoming members. Both Davis and Mansfield called LaVey ‘The Black Pope.’ The church also influenced popular culture, with LaVey appearing in several movies and television shows, including “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Devil’s Rain.”
Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr., the famous American singer, dancer, and actor, was a member of the Church of Satan for a brief period in the late 1960s. It is reported that Davis Jr. became interested in the teachings of Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, after reading “The Satanic Bible.”
Davis was known for his eclectic interests and saw his involvement with the Church of Satan as another form of self-expression. He was reportedly impressed by LaVey’s philosophy of Satanism.
According to various sources, Davis was initiated as a member of the Church of Satan in a private ceremony in 1968 attended by several celebrities.
The Satanic Bible
It is difficult to determine the exact number of copies of “The Satanic Bible” sold since its publication in 1969, as there are many different editions and translations. However, over one million copies of the book are estimated to be sold worldwide.
“The Satanic Bible” is a collection of essays, rituals, and beliefs that form the foundation of LaVey’s philosophy of Satanism. The book is divided into four sections: “The Book of Satan,” “The Book of Lucifer,” “The Book of Belial,” and “The Book of Leviathan.”
“The Satanic Bible” includes several rituals and ceremonies, such as the “Satanic Baptism” and the “Satanic Wedding,” which are intended to celebrate individualism and reject traditional religious and societal norms.
Overall, “The Satanic Bible” is a controversial and provocative work that has been both praised and criticized for its rejection of mainstream religious and societal values.
LaVey died on October 29, 1997, from pulmonary edema. His final words were reported, “Oh, my. What have I done? There is something very wrong with me, there is something very wrong with me…” Many have speculated as LaVey was passing, he saw his fate and was realizing Satan was real, sin was real and needed atoning for, and he was realizing an eternity in Hell. According to his longtime companion and High Priestess of the Church of Satan, Blanche Barton, LaVey simply said, “I’m not sure.”
The Church of Satan Today
After LaVey’s death, his daughter, Zeena LaVey, became the High Priestess of the Church of Satan. However, she later left the church and renounced Satanism. Today, the Church of Satan is still active, with Peter H. Gilmore serving as the High Priest. The church has been involved in several legal battles, including a lawsuit against the producers of the television show “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” for using a copyrighted statue of Baphomet without permission.
Don’t miss the Becoming Outlaws podcast about a woman raised in a house of Satanists.