The Jantsang files
Before We go exploring the Jantsang files, allow me to explain exactly who Tani Jantsang is or was. Tani Jantsang was a Magistra in the Church of Satan in the late 90s. She had assisted in several bits of Gilmores writings and was quite influential in CoS.
Jantsang would eventually leave the CoS and formulate her own organization called "Satanic Reds." Yes folks she created probably the first Communist based Satanic organization. It didn't go very far, and is now all but defunct with only a ghost of an out dated website still up.
Jantsang formed a small cabal of loyal followers who set out fervently to prove LaVey was not an atheist. The following is mostly her groups findings. I have added to their work where appropriate to give it greater credence and validity.
First Hand Sources
Let's first look at what Anton LaVey says himself in his earliest published material.
In the 1970 documentary film “Satanis: The Devils Mass”:
“I'm in league with the Devil as much as any mortal can possibly be.”
Satanic Bible page 17 introduction by Burton H. Wolfe:
“In LaVey’s view, the Devil was much more than that Satan represented a dark, hidden force in nature that was responsible for the workings of earthly affairs for which science and religion had no explanation and no control.”
On the same page page 17:
“For one thing,” LaVey explains, “calling it a church enabled me to follow the magic formula of nine parts outrage to one part social respectability that is needed for success. But the main purpose was to gather a group of like‐minded individuals together for the use of their combined energies in calling up the dark force in nature that is called Satan.”
Satanic Bible pages 51- 52:
"During white magical ceremonies, the practitioners stand within a pentagram to protect themselves from the "evil" forces which they call upon for help. To the Satanist, it seems a bit two-faced to call on these forces for help, while at the same time protecting yourself from the very powers you have asked for assistance. The Satanist realizes that only by putting himself in league with these forces can he fully and un-hypocritically utilize the Powers of Darkness to his best advantage.
Satanic Bible page 57:
"The Satanist does not furtively call upon these 'lesser' devils, but brazenly invokes those who people that infernal army of long standing outrage - the Devil's themselves!" (He goes on to name the 4 crown princes of hell.)
Satanic Bible page 62:
"He (Satan) merely represents a force of nature, the powers of darkness which have been named just that because no religion has taken these forces out of the darkness. Nor has science been able to apply technical terminology to this force. It is an up tapped reservoir that few can make use of because they lack the ability to use a tool without having to first break down and label all the parts which make it run. It is this incessant need to analyze which prohibits most people from taking advantage of this many faceted key to the unknown, which the Satanist chooses to call 'Satan.'" (This clearly indicates that the overly cerebral types that try to analyze these things, eg, with science or psychology, are not going to be able to do it or understand it.)
Satanic Bible page 110:
“The definition of magic, as used in this book is: “The change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable.” This admittedly leaves a large area for personal interpretation. It will be said, by some, that these instructions and procedures are nothing more than applied psychology, or scientific fact, called by “magical” terminology - until they arrive at a passage in the text that is “based on no known scientific finding.” It is for this reason that no attempt has been made to limit the explanations set forth to a set nomenclature. Magic is never totally scientifically explainable, but science has always been, at one time or another, considered magic.”
Satanic Bible page 115:
"One of the greatest of all fallacies about the practice of ritual magic is the notion that one must believe in the powers of magic before one can be harmed or destroyed by them. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as the most receptive victims of curses have always been the greatest scoffers."
Church of Satan by Barton, quoting LaVey on page 109
“In speaking directly to Satan himself, you may discover what is in your subconscious that you can't quite bring to the surface. Express appreciation for the direction you have received from the Dark Lord and ask that he continue to guide you to further increase your Earthly power - you might want to write out part of your Dedication ahead of time, to spur your thoughts once you're in the chamber. Ask that He bestow ever-increasing wisdom and perspective so that you can carry out your Dark Will on the Earth. Instruct the demons you name to manifest themselves to you by increasing your earthly pleasures.”
The Cloven Hoof
Volume VI, Number 4m July/August IX A.S., Copyright 1974 C.E. by the Church of Satan, Quo Vadis?
Among our mail we find a significant number of comments something like this: "When I joined the Church of Satan, I thought that I was becoming a member of a religious organization dedicated to the worship of the Devil. At least the Satanic Bible left me with this impression. But, while the Cloven Hoof is all very interesting from a philosophical and materialistic standpoint, it seems to regard 'devil-worship' as little more than a convenient allegory. Is this a church? Does Satan really exist? If so, where and in what form? And why are the leaders of the Church of Satan so reluctant to discuss questions of literal demonology?"
Before we respond to this, a brief preface is in order. During the days of the original Magic Circle in San Francisco, and for the first few years of the Church itself, little effort was made to disguise the literal core of our doctrines. At that time there were no Wiccans, pseudo-Satanists, journalistic "occult authorities," or dime-a-dozen "Dark Shadows" films reducing the Prince of Darkness to soap-opera status. There was only The Church of Satan.
We are all familiar with what happened next. "Rosemary's Baby," produced with the Church of Satan's guidance, touched off an international fad greater than goldfish-swallowing, phone-booth-stuffing, hula hoops, and Zoot suits all together. Suddenly everyone was "into" the occult. If one was swashbuckling, one was a Satanist. If timid, a Wiccan. If fuddy-duddy, a theosophist or a Rosicrucian. If sexually obsessed, a sado-masochist. If altruistic, a Jesus freak. If chicken, a reporter or observer. But always "an authority."
Satan himself became a tennis-ball. Prior to 1966 he was allegorical. Suddenly it was de rigueur that he was very, very literal - much more so than God (Do you remember that old Time cover: IS GOD DEAD?) Then someone made the profound discovery that "Satan" was a Hebrew term, and there were one or two religions on this planet besides Judaism and Christianity. Immediately Satan was passé. The thing to do now was to revive the worship of the primeval fertility gods and goddesses that the Neanderthals grunted over. Finally some enthusiasts actually managed regress past the Neanderthal stage to Krishna-Consciousness, Scientology, and Guru Maharaj-Ji.
Is it really any wonder, then, that the Church of Satan withdrew "literal Satanism" from the public arena? In our pronouncements, publications, and press-releases the Devil became an allegory for materialism and the unchained human ego. Speaking in such terms we could continue to gain the ear of the people who really mattered - the de facto Satanists of the world. Had we continued to champion a literal Devil, media distortion would have lumped us together with nut elements, and our access to serious channels of communication would have been seriously impaired.
Now we have reached the end of the boom. "The Exorcist" was the Last Gasp. A few of the occult flower-children still remain, but they have become relics, throwbacks within their own subculture. No one listens to them; they have nothing new to say. One by one, rats deserting a sinking ship, they quietly lay aside their capes, swords, and amulets. It is all over. Time to find a new toy.
And so it is that Satan awakes. To his disciples who, after long years of frustration, are minded to leave Rome, he appears echoing God's admonishment to Saint Peter: Whither goest thou? Having seen so much, having partaken of my knowledge, having known me for what I truly am, abuse not my trust and confidence. Return to Rome, and together we shall begin the building of our new empire.
Indeed Satan exists. Not as just a myth, nor as a mere psychological archetype, nor as only a colorful figure of speech - but as an essential, intelligent entity.
"You knew this, Winston. Don't deceive yourself. You did know it - you have always known it." The tongue in which his name is voiced is unimportant, just as the shapes and substances of his manifestation are unimportant. "God" is an automatic, non-conscious, dispassionate cosmos - in which man, yearning to be rid of the burden of his identity, seeks to immerse himself. Satan is That which has infused man with that identity, thus endowing him with the key to turn the inertia of the cosmos to his amusement - to make of man a god. Would it surprise you to discover that the true Prince of Darkness is not the Devil of Judaic/Christian legend? That figure is a simple caricature. Rather Satan is the true intelligence manipulating the "God" of the Bible and other "divine" personages weaning man from subservience to all gods by making their demands increasingly intolerable.
This is the truth behind all religious institutions throughout history: gradual deification of man despite his most determined efforts to regress to the status of a non-thinking beast. While bowing before the Cross, man has actually been succumbing to a Diabolical Double-Cross of such ingenuity and complexity that it staggers the comprehension. Call it, if you like, The Greatest Practical Joke Ever Pulled. Or, to put it another way, humanity has been had!
Does it suddenly ring true to you, Satanist? Do you begin to see what it's really "all about"? Do the peculiarities of human evolution now fall into place? Yet, if your mental block remains fixed, it is appropriate; the shock of "awakening" may drive unprepared individuals quite mad. This "awakening" is the actual Abyss whose existence is dimly sensed by traditional occultists. Yet they have always failed to perceive its true function, and have failed miserably in their efforts to challenge it. For those who cross the Abyss, there is no return.
Second Hand Sources
The Church of Satan's Grotto Master application requires prospective Grotto Masters, who are individuals that lead a local chapter of COS followers to perform a self-initiation ritual:
"Before you complete this application - when you sense the time is right - perform a ritual (using the basic elements described in the Satanic Bible) to petition Satan and the Dark Legions to accept you as a Grotto Master. Write down the ritual you performed and the results, if any."
It should be noted, that all Satanic Rituals reference Satan as a literal being. Satan is often referenced as such in many Church of Satan sources, including quite notably in the Groto Masters hand book by Blanch Barton.
“Be warned that when you enter a ritual with a posture of arrogance, like a demanding, challenging child, your Master will not be pleased and will slap you down hard. Satan expects you to be respectful, not groveling; prideful, but not arrogant in front of him. He expects you to be useful to him, and he will support you as long as you amuse him. He richly rewards sincere dedication and steadfast loyalty. Do not fear that you can't pronounce the Enochian Keys right, or you didn't speak the invocation exactly as you had written it out ahead of time. He'll understand, as long as you feel the passionate dedication you claim, and you continue the ritual in a way that entertains him and compels him to stay in your presence. Certain ritual elements are absolutely necessary to set the stage that invites Satan and his minions to join you. But he will know the difference between a sincere dedication softly whispered and a pompous sham no matter how loudly declared.
Remember well. Demons will enter you. If you are an unworthy Host, if you harbor secret fears or residual Christianity in any form, if you are frivolous in your intentions toward the Dark Side, they will scent it like a pack of wolves and bring you down mercilessly. Many a sorcerer or sorceress before you has fallen to ruin and destruction in this way, even after years of intimate contact with the Infernal Ones.”
Blanch Barton to the San Francisco chronicle after LaVey's death, on November 8, 1997,
“Anton LaVey believed in the Devil.”
She was later criticized by Ole Wolf, his main criticism being that what Barton had said was agreeing with Michael Aquino, Barton wrote to Tani Jantsang, in a letter dated January 23, 1998, “As for saying Dr. LaVey believes in the Devil, I think it's fairly obvious from his philosophy, from the books he's written, the interviews he's given and the organization he founded. How he defines Satan and how he uses the concept of the metaphor of the Devil, is also fairly obvious, but I would be lying if, when asked the direct question, 'Did Mr. LaVey believe in the Devil?' I were to answer, 'No, he didn't.'"...."He (Ole Wolf) apparently objected to my answering such a question with a forthright "yes" when I was faced with national television cameras and speaking to an audience of American dunderheads - and I won't cop out by saying I was grieving - I was.".... "If I was a Satanist out there, weeping and despondent, I would rather hear a voice clearly saying, “You're damned right, he believed in the Devil, you assholes - whether you want to take the watts to understand it or not.” That's really the way he felt about that whole issue.”
“The Dark Ones guide us.” letter from Lavey to Dawn LaSalle and the group here. Sept. 23, 1992.
“May the Dark Ones give you strength and clarity, and may you prosper as you so richly deserve.” BB to Chris Bray, 4/30/1993, cc sent to Gilmore and Jantsang.
Zeena, in her letter to MAA took supreme issue with her father's newly found Atheism and took issue with the specific Atheists around her father at the time, namely the Gilmores and Barton. Keep in mind that she grew up with LaVeyan Satanism and was baptized into it.
Letter from Zeena LaVey Schreck to MAA, 12/30/90
“My unfather should never have carelessly tampered with the authentic forces of darkness that he now idiotically believes are his own creation.”
Burton Wolfe's account in "The Devil's Avenger," states that Lavey sensed the Powers of Darkness (that he felt compelled to formalize into a church) only vaguely as a "dark force in nature" as stated by LaVey himself in the Satanic Bible. Wolfe claims that LaVey thought these powers of darkness could be activated through ceremonial and personal magic to fulfill individuals' needs and desires. LaVey identified this Dark Force as Satan.
Ed Webber and others suggested the idea of making a Satanic Church to Anton Lavey in early 1966. This business with Webber and others is documented in meticulous detail in Michael Aquino's book, "The COS" page 27. Michael Aquino interviewed Ed Webber later on:
Aquino: "Since 1975, LaVey has insisted that he never believed in the existence of an actual Devil or Satan that "Satan" was only a symbol or metaphor. Was this true when you knew him?"
Webber: "Not at all. He was quite definite that he did believe in the existence of Satan. This was exactly what made the concept of a Church of Satan so fascinating."
On page 28 of Michael Aquino's "The COS" he recounts that he found out that when LaVey formed the Church of Satan in 1966, LaVey privately handwrote and signed a personal Pact with Satan titled, “My Pact.” LaVey showed Aquino a locked metal strongbox with his personal copy of a book. The only other item in the strongbox was the Pact.
Belief in a literal Devil was automatic in all communications that Michael Aquino had with Anton LaVey. He was the second highest person in the Church of Satan, next to LaVey.