Satan’s Chaplain, a regular reader of my blog, provided me with some really interesting insights and comments on my last post (Reply To Questions About LaVey). I am replying to these comments here in this post, perhaps adding to the conversation in a meaningful way. I am open to discussion on these subjects, so I welcome any replies that are thoughtful.
There are many leadership issues within Satanism in general, but how can we resolve this, or come to an understanding? It is difficult to do with Satanism, because of the diversity that Satanism encompasses. But, I believe that open and thoughtful discussion helps others to be able to understand these issues, and this may eventually lead to intelligent solutions.
Satan’s Chaplain contributed to my blog in comments, and he made some interesting points. His contribution to my blog comments are much appreciated. His words are in italics, below them my response.
“Thank you Venus Satanas for a great response. Kudos for your recognition of the true intent of the questioner. A typical nonsensical strategy employed by weak-minded critics. By attempting to denigrate the Satanic woman or man (in this case LaVey), they think it successfully denigrates the great ideology/philosophy/spirituality that is Satanism and all who call herself or himself a Satanist. Pure bunk. But I’m sure you’ve come to accept and expect the constant attempts to dismiss or ridicule. ”
Of course, I could see his intention from a mile away. Perhaps he was a former Satanist burned out on the ideologies of LaVeyan Satanism. Maybe he is an atheist that has a bone to pick with all other ‘alternative’ belief systems.
No matter. His letter was generic enough that I was able to use it to point out some very common misconceptions about Satanism – effectively turning his ignorance of the subject into useful knowledge for all.
He hasn’t written me back yet. meh..
” “I wont demonize him, but i wont make him a saint either. He was human and he had problems like all the rest of us do.” ~Venus
Very poignant. Yes, LaVey did some things that some Satanists and non-Satanists wouldn’t do, but as you said well, “So what? He had to deal with his own consequences.” I think following your example and learning everything one can about LaVey is key. The critic wanted to show LaVey as a hypocrite. From what I’ve learned, LaVey never pretended to be something he wasn’t to any kind of extent even remotely close to the throngs of hypocritical, self-righteous monotheistic “leaders” and “advisers.” He did practice what he preached. More importantly, didn’t he rightfully challenge the hypocrisy of Judeo-Christian ethos and mores while never claiming his alternative was anything to him but a freer and more honest recognition of man’s carnal nature, and not of a “higher” morality? “
You are right, and so was he.
Did LaVey live up to the standards that he professed? I don’t believe that he did. It seems as if a lot of what he preached or taught were suggestions, never meant to be taken as a law.
In fact, his whole life has been exposed as being a series of untruths that he used to promote his ideals and to promote his image within Satanism.(please read about these in Aquino’s Church of Satan) Does that make him a liar? Yes. On the other hand, it seems that within his method he encouraged the use of deception and appearance as a type of low, psychological magic. But perhaps that is reading a little to much into the situation. There is the real LaVey, and then there is the public’s interpretation of him. Two different personas.
“I think it’s correct to say that Satanists are and have always been skeptics. And one can be skeptical of the skeptic and LaVey was not infallible. Personally, I am comfortable with my strong appreciation for his contribution to modern Satanism. But you made an excellent point that we’ve had 3 generations of Satanists and that things are bound to change for the better and you are a perfect example of that with your ideas on Satanic spirituality and independence (not being invested in Satanism as a religion). Satanism isn’t static and we can always improve ourselves as Satanists. And that would include changing our stance on ideas that were once held by LaVey. ”
Skeptical, or Rational? I would say that Satanism is a rational practice. I reserve the use of Skeptic to define someone who doubts, but a Rationalist will use their intelligence to come to a solution. It seems that within (laVeyan) satanism we are asked to think for ourselves in a rational way to end the fantasy of christian ideals.
And yes, The one thing that i can respect LaVey for, is for ‘opening the floodgates’ for Satanists all over the world. The world is not the same as it was back then and things are changing very quickly thanks to our technologies. it seems that human nature takes a long time to evolve, though as many satanists are still willing to argue like religionists over who is the ‘most Satanic’, ‘most evil’, who is the ‘true’ Satanist, etc. There is also a clear dividing line between LaVeyans who do not want to be associated with the spiritual aspects of Satanism, and at the other end are the hardcore religious Satanists who despise the rational ways of the LaVeyans.
I choose not to take sides, and that is why I am interested in all of Satanism. This is why I am independent. I care about Satanism in general, and i do not see a need to take sides. I see benefits in the rational and the spiritual. You could say that I am a spiritual Satanist who is also interested in the Material..I prefer not to single myself out as one or the other. Besides that, Satanism interests me, and I would like to see some positive changes.
You are right. Satanism isn’t static. it is ever flowing and changing and we are a part of its current, directing its flow..
“Could one say, that as an independent Satanist: (1) no person in Satanism is recognized as an authority, only a contributor of certain degree? (2) one is logically precluded from revering any other person but one’s self firstly, and then only others that one recognizes within our close circle? This would certainly qualify LaVey as a great contributor only. One could still acknowledge disagreement with some of his ideas and personal behavior.”
This is why i really enjoyed Satan’s Chaplain’s commentary. He brings up some interesting points.
re. Authority vs. Contributors. – Why not accept it as *both* instead of one or the other or consider the possibility that we are creators as well.
However, I don’t see, at least not since LaVey’s time, that there will be one singular doctrine, idea or belief that all of Satanism can agree with (or should agree with!). The only thing that could unite us is our understanding of Self. You say that in the second half of your comment above, that the Self is the source of experience and expression. According to what you are saying, LaVey was not a leader but a contributor to a new understanding of Satan and Satanism – agreed.
There are a lot of political figures that are known for their scandals yet still are able to maintain an image of popularity. Knowing those private things about his life do not disappoint me, they empower me. He is a good example of how not to be. Regardless, his ideas allowed many people to come to their own experience and realization of Satanism and the self. He was then, perhaps only the messenger of something much greater than himself.
Thank you for posting to my blog, Satan’s Chaplain.