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Understanding Laveyanism

Contrary to what some scholars or CoS members may say Laveyan Satanism has over the years spawned and inspired many different forms of Satanic Practice. In the coming years after it's founding in 1966, various members of the Church of Satan would leave it to establish their own organizations, also following, or based on LaVeyan Satanism, among them Michael Aquino's Temple of Set, John Dewey Allee's First Church of Satan and Karla LaVey's First Satanic Church. But what is Laveyanism?

LaVeyan Satanism was founded in 1966 by the American occultist and author Anton Szandor LaVey. Scholars of religion have classified it as a new religious movement and a form of Western esotericism. It is one of several different movements that describe themselves as forms of Satanism.

LaVey established LaVeyan Satanism in the U.S. state of California through the founding of his Church of Satan on Walpurgisnacht of 1966, which he proclaimed to be "the Year One", Anno Satanas—the first year of the "Age of Satan". His ideas were heavily influenced by the ideas and writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand. The church grew under LaVey's leadership, with regional grottos being founded across the United States. A number of these seceded from the church to form independent Satanic organizations during the early 1970s. In 1975, LaVey abolished the grotto system, after which LaVeyan Satanism became a far less organized movement, although it remained greatly influenced by LaVey's writings.


The religion's doctrines are codified in LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible, and his subsequent writings. It propagates a naturalistic worldview, seeing mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe. It promotes a philosophy based on individualism and egoism, coupled with Social Darwinism and anti-egalitarianism. Some practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him, while others seemingly do.


Satan at times is viewed as a positive archetype representing pride, carnality, and enlightenment. He is also embraced as a symbol of defiance against Abrahamic religions which LaVeyans criticize for suppressing humanity's natural instincts and encouraging irrationality. He is also seen by some as a strange undercurrent of energy in the universe both conscience and real, but also seen as and outward manifestation of the human ID. 


LaVeyan Satanism involves the practice of magic, which encompasses two distinct forms; greater and lesser magic. Greater magic is a form of ritual practice and is meant as psychodramatic catharsis to focus one's emotional energy for a specific purpose. These rites are based on three major psycho-emotive themes: Compassion (love), Destruction (hate), and Lust (sex). Lesser magic is the practice of manipulation by means of applied psychology and glamour (or "wile and guile") to bend an individual or situation to one's will.

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