“On the altar of the Devil up is down, pleasure is pain, darkness is light, slavery is freedom, and madness is sanity. The Satanic ritual chamber is the ideal setting for the entertainment of unspoken thoughts or a veritable palace of perversity” (Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Rituals, Avon Books, 1972, p. 1).
Jesus once said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Mt. 12:30) (All quotations are taken from the New King James Version, Nashville:
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982). Thus, whoever is not in the kingdom of God, serving God faithfully, is in actuality serving Satan in his kingdom. However, I think all would agree that there is a vast difference in one who unwittingly is a servant of Satan due to misunderstanding or deception and one who unashamedly declares his allegiance to Satan.
Satanism is not a new phenomenon. Components of modern day Satanism have existed since biblical times in the form of occultism, witchcraft, divination, necromancy and astrology. However, in the past one hundred years, Satanism has been popularized, largely due to the writings and influence of Aleister Crowley, whose motto was, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” and Anton LaVey, who wrote The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals.
Fundamental Dogmas Of Satanism
Since Satanism is a religion of “self”, then it should come as no surprise that there are nearly as many varieties of practice as there are practitioners. While Satanism cannot be considered a monolithic, rigid, religious system, one may observe several underlying beliefs and practices held in common by most Satanists. They are as follows:
The God of Self. The ultimate goal of Satanism is the indulgence, satisfaction, and fulfillment of the practitioner. This is clearly detected in Anton LaVey’s Nine Satanic Statements (Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible, Avon Books, 1969, p. 25.) which are a parody of the ten commandments.
1. Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence!
2. Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams!
3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates!
5. Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek!
6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic
7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than
those that walk on all fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual
development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!
8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or
9. Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business
all these years!
Moral Relativism. Satanism blurs the distinction between good and evil, between right and wrong. To the Satanist, there are no moral absolutes. Right and wrong must be determined by each individual. This explains how many acts that we would deem unconscionable are committed by the Satanist without the least bit of contrition.
A Rejection Of Christianity. To the Satanist who is committed to self-indulgence,
Christianity is abhorrent because it represents a life of self denial. Many of the Satanic rituals and symbols are nothing more than a mockery of the Christian religion. The inverted cross is a common Satanic symbol and the recital of the Lord’s prayer backwards occurs often during Satanic rituals.
According to Anton LaVey, the vehement attacks upon Christianity by Satanists are “not an attempt to blaspheme as much as it is a statement of what might be termed ‘diabolical indignation.’” (Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible, Avon Books, 1969, p. 29).
Rituals. Satanic rituals play a very important role in the life of a Satanists. While these rituals vary from group to group, some seeming to be rather harmless while others involve killing and mutilation. The following is an overview of a Satanic ritual calendar (Jerry Johnston, The Edge Of Evil, Word Publishing, 1989, p. 179.):
Satanic Ritual Calendar
January 7 St. Winebald Day Blood Rituals
January 17 Satanic Revels Sexual Rituals
February 2 Satanic Revels Sexual Rituals
February 25 St. Walpurgis Day Blood Rituals
March 1 St. Eichatadt Day Blood Rituals
March 20 Equinox Feast Day Sexual Rituals
April 26 - May 1 Grand Climax Blood Rituals
June 21 Solstice Feast Day Sexual Rituals
July 1 Demon Revels Blood Rituals
August 3 Satanic Revels Sexual Rituals
September 7 Marriage To The Beast Sexual Rituals
September 20 Midnight Host Blood Rituals
September 22 Equinox Feast Day Sexual Rituals
October 29 All Hallow Eve Blood Rituals
November 1 Halloween Sexual Rituals
November 4 Satanic Revels Sexual Rituals
December 22 Solstice Feast Day Sexual Rituals
December 24 High Grand Climax Blood Rituals
Spells. Most Satanists borrow or learn their spells from the Satanic Bible and its companion, The Satanic Rituals. There are basically three types of spells:
1) Spells of love which are intended to create a desire within any person whom you desire,
2) Spells of compassion which are performed to help someone in situations regarding health, finances, happiness, or material success, and
3) Spells or hexes that are used to destroy or harm.
Sacrifices. There are four types of Satanic ritual sacrifices: 1) Sacrifices of self, 2) Sacrifices of pain (self mutilation), 3) Sacrifices of body parts, and 4) Sacrifices of living things. A question that frequently is asked when discussing Satanism is in regard to human sacrifices.
According to The Satanic Bible, human sacrifice is condoned with a carefully worded qualification. LaVey speaks of “symbolically” destroying the victim through the working of a hex or curse, but insists that under no circumstances would a Satanist sacrifice any animal or baby.
LaVey continues by describing the “ideal sacrifice” and says that the Satanist has every right to (symbolically) destroy any person who gets in their way, and if by your curse you provoke a person’s actual annihilation, rejoice that you have been instrumental in ridding the world of a pest. (Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible, Avon Books, 1969, pp. 89-90). The problem with such disclaimers is that they are ineffective in a religion that preaches hatred, self-indulgence, and moral relativism.
Satanic Symptoms To Be Aware Of When young people, or anyone for that matter, begins to flirt with Satanism, there are several signs that knowledgeable people can pick up on. A working knowledge of Satanism and its trappings is the first step toward positive intervention for those who may be involved. Several things to watch for are:
Ideas. Ideologies that emphasize power, destruction, self-interest, anarchy, indulgence, and vengeance are central to Satanism. Symbols. There are quite literally hundreds of symbols associated with Satanism. But many of the more common symbols that are easily recognizable are the inverted pentacle, the baphomet (a ram’s head inside an upside down star), the mark of the beast—666, word reversals, the inverted cross, and the sign of anarchy (an “A” inside a circle).
Books. Nearly all Satanist have a copy of or have read The Satanic Bible, The Satanic
Rituals written by Anton LaVey, the high priest of the church of Satan. Several other books authored by Aleister Crowley are popular as well, such as: 777, The Book Of The Law, The Black Arts, and The Satanic Mass. One other book that needs to be mentioned, which is unique to its owner is called the Book Of Shadows. This book is the Satanist’s private diary, recording rituals and spells. Most are handwritten and some are written in blood. This book is believed to have magical powers and is guarded very closely.
Tools. There are several tools or items necessary if one is to participate in Satanic rituals. Some of these items are black robes, preferably hooded, jewelry containing Satanic symbolism, a Satanic altar, black candles, a bell, a chalice or wine goblet, a sword or staff, incense, and oil.
How To Combat Satanism
The way to combat Satanism is the same as combating any philosophy that is opposed to God and His will. Because of the very nature of Satanism, many who are involved in it are probably unreachable. They have seared their consciences as with a hot iron (1 Tim. 4:2), and are past the point of feeling (Eph. 4:19). But I am also sure that there are many who have not gone that far.
Some are dabbling and experimenting with something they do not fully understand.
To these people, we must reach out to them with the power of God unto salvation—the
gospel (Rm. 1:16). We can do nothing greater for the world as well as for ourselves than to spread the good news of God’s matchless love. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rm. 2:4).
I am convinced that what the Satanist needs is to come in contact with the transforming power of the gospel. Its power has transformed the lives of millions of sinners, and it will do the same for the Satanist.
Steve Higginbotham is a 1984 graduate of Freed-Hardeman University.
He married the former Kim Pierce.
They have two children, Kelli (6) and Michael (2).
He writes for several brotherhood periodicals and edits a monthly paper entitled, “Biblical Studies.”
He preaches for the South Green Street congregation in Glasgow, KY