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The Satanic Bible

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NaddiaAoC

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The Satanic Bible

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This has been on my "to read" list for quite a while. Recently I decided to do a little research on Satanism and stumbled upon a pretty cool site that outlines its basic philosophy. To better understand this religion I've purchased a copy of The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey and plan to read it in addition to our current book selection. From what I've considered about the philosophy of Satanism so far I largely agree with it, but not entirely. But then again, I don't fully understand it. Is anyone else interested in reading this with me? I think it might generate some pretty interesting discussions, perhaps even some debate. Nad
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Chris OConnor

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Re: The Satanic Bible

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CherylAs you know I own a copy of The Satanic Bible and would love to read and discuss it with everyone here. Nobody who claims to be literate in world religions can do so without being familiar with the varieties of Satanism.As we read and discuss the book here we should do our best to get some true LaVeyian Satanists involved. There are plenty of sites on the web from which we can pull. And I also see no reason why we can't have a scheduled chat session where several articulate Satanists can answer our questions and help us understand this widely misunderstood belief system.Cheryl, feel free to get the ball rolling in any way you like. We could probably use some links to Satanist sites for BookTalk members to research. The key here is to focus on the objective of educating ourselves. We don't have to agree with every tenet of the LaVeyian Satanist belief system, but we don't have to be rude or disrespectful. That wasb't directed at you Cheryl! I mean everyone..all of us. Satanism is as controversial as subjects get, but at BookTalk I would like to think that we can read about and discuss any subject without the conversation deteriorating into mud-slinging.Feel free to pass the word around to any Satanists you encounter that we are going to spend some time learning about their belief system. They are welcome here at BookTalk as long as they are equally respectful. I'll spread the word too. Chris
Greg Artisen

Present

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Well... I was invited, so I came. The opening posts are very welcoming. Naddia has been visiting the Satanic BBS that I frequent and I've been meaning to stop in.The Satanic bible is a very good primer for those wanting to understand Satanism better. However it is, well, parts are an instruction manual and read like one. Not that this isn't informative, it's just not a 'great read'. Some of the other books by LaVey are more readable and entertaining. Such as Satan Speaks or the Devils Notebook. I'd be happy to answer such questions as you might have, insofar as I don't speak for the Church of Satan but rather someone who has endorsed this philosophy for some time.No doubt, this forum is very aware of Satanism in its varied formats. Indeed, the above post has mentioned 'LaVeyian' Satanism. For the record, I prefer the term 'Reductionist'. Not that there aren't 'LaVeyian' Satanists abounding, but I prefer to sidestep some of the common flaws and arguments surrounding LaVey and leave visibly open the opportunity to use other philosophers.Given the level of intelligent questioning here, I'd better go brush up! Thanks for the invitation. I look forward to our conversations. (I don't regularly use this often overused Satanic salutation to close my posts, but somehow, here and now it seems appropriate)Hail Satan!Greg
NaddiaAoC

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Re: Present

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Greg,Welcome to BookTalk! I'm really glad that you decided to check it out and post. I've been reading TSB. I'm about 1/4 into it. I'm highlighting portions that I question or disagree with so that I can ask about them when I'm finished with the book. Thank you for the other book suggestions. I'm very interested in understaning the Satanist's philosophy so I'll take those into consideration when I have finished this one.Nad
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Re: The Satanic Bible

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GregOk, now I'm excited. I was hoping we could get some satanists over here to help educate us all on the subject. I've read The Satanic Bible years ago and am now reading it a bit more thoroughly. We'll have plenty of questions so thanks for jumping in Greg. You might want to post an Intro thread on the Introduce Yourself forum...or maybe not. Thats up to you. I'm just happy to have you here.So far...the one problem I have with Satanism is the spell casting and rituals. The actual philosophy, as presented by LaVey, seems very rational and honest. We'll talk more. I have to get to a BDay party.Welcome to BookTalk Greg! Chris
Greg Artisen

Re: The Satanic Bible

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Well by all means scoot off to the Birthday party. Where I come from that's the most important day of the year.Well if your major issue is ritual and you're fine with the rest, then we almost have nothing to talk about! By the time we're done, you'll most likely see that all the prozac and psychotherapy in the world arn't worth one good ritual! Excuse my arrogance!Have you read any Joseph Campbell? Myth and symbolism are wonderfull tools. They're a form of communication that's much older than our formal language and it speaks to an older, more primative portion of our brains. I go so far as to say that there is a need, not unlike food and shelter or sex for ritual. All religions were originaly myth languages and ritual expression. Unfortunatly, modern theists have converted the very useful myths into concrete facts and destroyed their usefulness.I suppose I should save some of the good stuff for later... No need to dynamite the pond right away!Depending on what you meant by 'spell casting', I may have to armwrestle you. I wouldn't choose those terms and I will argue that 'spell casting' isn't part of Satanism(modern, LaVeyan or Reductionist... FYI, when I refer to Satanism, ad infinitum, I'm refering to these particulars) or TSB. There, I've squared off on you. Which should place us firmly in our corners. But, let me offer another bit for you to chew on. I do practice what we call Greater Magic. It does work on several several levels. I tell you this for two reasons. First, so you may engage in some antagonistic rhetoric with me and secondly, as a tenet of my philosophy. The seventh satanic rule states; "Acknowledge the power of magic if you have used it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained."There! That should put a bee in some of your more scientific bonnets!Greg
Timothy Schoonover

Re: The Satanic Bible

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GregI will agree with you that there is a place for ritual within the human psyche, however you may choose to define that term; however, I think it is important that we not legitimate certain practices that are labeled rituals simply because some people have made a ritual out of them. Obviously some rituals are better than others, and some are just arbitrary and meaningless....crutches, as it were. So I can agree with you on the need for rituals in an individual's life, I think it would be a mistake to condone the whole lump sum package and not apply critical discrimination in the selection of the activities we choose to ritualize.Perhaps, I have said nothing that you would take exception to so far, and having not yet read TSB, I cannot comment on the nature of the rituals promoted therein, but it would seem that the best interests for human societies lies in espousing rituals that do more than 'fill' our psychological need for them.For instance, I would consider meeting with my extended family for dinner on a periodic basis a form of ritual. But this activity while characterized as ritualistic, also serves the purpose of strengthening the family structure and social bonds. I meet with friends one a week to watch HBO's current Original Series, previously Sopranos now The Wire, and this too I would consider a ritual. I could watch the show at home by myself, but there is just something about meeting together in a communal activity that amplifies the experience.So to summarize, I think that we must ultimately appeal to reason to justify the continuance of any given ritual, rather than to exempt rituals from criticism simply because they satiate an unconscious desire in our lives. Why live in a cave when you can live in a mansion?As far as Greater Magic goes, I must admit that the worm is most delicious, but I cannot help but detect the barbed hook it is impaled upon. =) Edited by: Timothy Schoonover at: 6/4/03 4:03 pm
Greg Artisen

Re: The Satanic Bible

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Defining ritual and ceremony is not so easy, I'll be more than happy to do it, if you'll excuse the long route I'll most likely take! As I commenced writing this post, I began doing just that, and upon rereading your post, I found it wasn't as salient to the discussion as I had hoped. I'll post it later on, if for no other reason as I enjoyed writing it.First I feel the need to question your theory that espousing ritual for no other reason than to fulfill some psychological need. (I know, that's not an exact quote, you said, "best interest... more than... need for them") Even rituals just for the need are important. Sure, those that serve a higher purpose are great, but I don't care to dismiss those lesser ones. If you grant that Ritual and Ceremonies are a basic drive or need then I might make an analogy that they are like sex. Society's need for ritual is similar as society's need for sex. Sex is only needed by society for procreation. Maybe it might be argued that it keeps everyone working together better. So to it is with ritual, the public ceremonies like marriage and funerals and initiations (think graduation) are important but the private or tribal use of ceremonies is what makes the individual click! The rather impersonal entity 'society' doesn't have much use for romance or casual sex. That's much more the province of man. You used the term 'society' quite a bit. I think you'll find that I use the term 'individual' even more. Perhaps it is a difference in our perspective? Satanists are self-avowed egomaniacal selfish bastards. We will put the individual needs first. Of course that's not to say we don't have a use for society. We do, as all do. Getting together with friends and family is indeed a ritual that is worthy of continuing. But the ritual I was more referring to is much more along the lines of a marriage ceremony, funeral and perhaps even graduation. These are also social ceremonies but are public as well. So it would seem that we have several levels of ceremonies; public, family (perhaps tribal might be a good term for one's immediate support group) and what we haven't spoke of yet, private ceremonies.On to Greater Magic! This is the focal point of private ceremony thus there are some difficulties discussing it. The particulars I can only speak to my experience and the generalities are...well, generalities. Firstly, I think it's important to stick to the topic, Rituals and Ceremonies. This is exactly why the idea of Greater Magic works. In TSB the Ritual chamber is also called the intellectual decompression chamber. The main purpose of the ceremony is to release pent up or distressing emotions in a manor that is acceptable and beneficial. You don't really need or even want to believe in any magical forces. At the end of the year, you'll tote up the coincidences and either call it the law of averages or a statistical anomaly or you'll notice none. I don't care if you believe in magic. It makes no difference to me. The goal is to have a cathartic moment, and move on, forgetting about the causes of the distress. That's all well and good. Probably not the best description and quite general. I'll get down to the specifics in just one moment.I think I need to back up and give you a little insight into the Satanic personality. Whatever you think about TSB after reading it, most Satanists come away thinking, "wow, that's always the way I have thought, I'm surprised there is a name for it!" So whether you agree or not, suffice to say that those espousing Satanism have a similar or perhaps peculiar mind set. Probably not like yours, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. I'm backing up because of the society/individual perspective differences that took me a moment to hurdle. You may need to take a similar moment to place yourself in the Satanic mind-set to help you understand. Satanists are rather hedonistic or you might say carnal. Perhaps these emotions run a bit stronger in us? So, whether it seems strange to you or not, a Satanist might very well be 'obsessing' to some degree for the love of a woman or perhaps even anger for a foe. Satanists consider this acceptable and normal animal behavior. We do notice that too much obsession can lead to problems so Greater Magic is used to decompress and allow an outlet. When correctly done, enough emotion is generated and expelled that we can forget about what was occupying our mind.We ritualize our psychological 'therapy'. Cave or mansion? I guess that would have to do with our perspective on progress. I guess I don't equate it to a progress issue but rather evolution. Thus the argument would be cave or mansion, sharp stick or firearm, analog or digital, 8086 processor or Pentium IV? Unfortunately the brain is not the computer that would be so easily upgraded. Rather, older more primitive bits of the brain are still there. As evolution found better routes it didn't abandon all the prior bits but rather built upon those existing brain structures. So the analogy must not be old or new but rather that Pentium IV also has the old PI running some systems and the even older 486 and even deeper yet the 8086 is still chugging away at 4 hertz. Some, much smarter than I, scientists have ventured that our very consciousness is as a result of the feedback between these various brain structures.I know that there is a popular train of thought that would make it unfashionable to think of humans as having any similarities to animals. To the Satanist our animal nature is a fact. Thus, we are called, not unlike the rumbling in our hungry stomachs, to gather during certain events or times. Such as marriages and stressful emotional situations.Perhaps, one should examine the physical or autonomic reaction to a particularly attractive member of the opposite sex. Is this physical reaction equally unfashionable as the thought that we are drawn or compelled to ritualize portions of our life?The sex drive is primitive, about as primitive as it gets. My contention is that the ritual sense is primitive as well. It's not easily understood by the reasonable logic circuits of our modern brains. It doesn't understand the language that we are using now. Instead the symbolic lexicon is built on things like a full moon and a camp fire. You and I would prefer the mansion. Yet there are parts of us that understand the cave and the fire and the moon. It's unable to understand us, but we can speak to it, through ritual. Denying oneself the symbolic sense due to intellectual reasons is just as moronic as the funny sexual morals that some have for religious reasons.The hook that's buried in that worm is nothing more than intellectual pride. The real question is, "What good can it do?"Alas, I've rambled on too long already! But we may have begun to understand each other a bit better. I know that it took me a bit to see your question in the light you asked it rather than in my mode of thinking...Greg
Timothy Schoonover

Re: The Satanic Bible

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Insofar as ritual is justifiable rather than vestigial, that is as long as it serves a purpose, I have no problem with it. Your reponse suggests that you would view the phrase "useful ritual" as a pleonasm in that all rituals, regardless of their secondary benefits (or lack thereof), gratify the primary need for what might be called ritualistic supply. In other words, all ritual qua ritual is therapeutic. If this is in fact the case, and I cannot speak for or against such claims, it would seem important to establish the boundaries of ritual deficiency and excess. If it is like sex, or hunger, or whichever primal drive we choose to compare it to, it would seem that there must exist some threshhold, for the society in general and for the individual in particular, in which ritualistic supply is most gainfully satiate. In other words, is not ritual subject to the virtue of moderation, as a means between deficiency and excess, in the Aristotlelian sense? And if so, what is there to suggest that society, recalcitrant as it is, does not accomodate itself naturally to the appropriate level of ritualistic supply?My second concern is that ritual and ceremony are practices that seem dangerously succeptible to institutionalization--the agency of grand-scale oppression if ever there was any. Being ignorant of the customs within your organization, what restraints exist against the institutionalization of ritual and subsequent negation of its benefits. Institution, especially of the moral/ethical variety, is a gluttonous monster subjugating its constituency to rigid and repressive power structures. It knows no other law save that of self-preservation and the iron rule of oligarchy. Good intentions alone are inadequate to resist such a monster. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.TimPS - Please do not think that it is my intention to 'prove you wrong' or behave antagonistically toward you. The hook that I was refering to was the temptation to be lured into an indefensible attack on Greater Magic. I value diversity and welcome the opportunity to learn alternative viewpoints. = )
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Chris OConnor

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Re: The Satanic Bible

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I've been concentrating on a few other books lately, but last night I was reading some more of the Satanic Bible. I'm not sure how I want to comment on what I was reading about levitating different items, but I do think this is complete bullshit. Anton LaVey could not levitate anything and neither can any other human on this planet. Its hard to read a book like this and take it seriously when that type of stuff is in it.Chris "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."  -- Leonardo da Vinci
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