The birth of the Age of Fire

Reverend Ray shares the history of the often misunderstood Church of Satan, and how its founder went

Anton Szandor LaVey founded The Church Of Satan on April 30th (Walpurgisnacht) 1966. He had neither planned or even expected to be the founder of a new religion but he had, since the beginning of the 1950s, been an iconoclastic explorer of the left-hand path and having worked (amongst other things) as a police scenes of crime photographer, circus lion tamer and paranormal investigator LaVey became somewhat of a character on the San Francisco social scene. He began holding “Witches Workshops” at his infamous Black House on California Street. These soirées became events that attracted a number of notables of the time, including Baroness Carin de Plessen, Dr. Cecil Nixon and underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger. These gatherings threw together business tycoons, writers, artists and even the grandson of a U.S President and formed what became known as The Magic Circle. Symbolising the Circle’s investigations into the psychological effects of demonic geometry, the group evolved into what became known as The Order Of The Trapezoid, which endures to this day as the governing body within The Church Of Satan.

It may come as a surprise for most to discover that prior to the founding of The Church Of Satan in 1966, Satanism as a codified and established religion did not exist. In the middle ages there had indeed been Christian heretics who, rebelling against the powerful authoritarianism wielded by the churches of the time, held black masses as a means of denouncing their faith. But outside of Hollywood studios and the active imaginations of horror genre writers we, The Church Of Satan, are the first above ground organisation openly dedicated to the acceptance of man’s true nature – that of a carnal beast living in a world that offers a plenitude of delights for those of us who denounce the hogwash of spiritual, faith based religions that have made it their avowed aim to permeate civilisation with repressive morals and ethics, serving only to thwart and denigrate the fountainhead of creativity that flows naturally and purely within the human animal.

In Blanche Barton's book The Church Of Satan, Anton LaVey espouses how he saw that there needed to be a new representative of justice. Not some ethereal, mystic, white bearded deity shrouded in divinity but a true human advocate who would stand as a proud archetype symbolising the God-hood of man. In 1969 LaVey solidified and presented the fundamental bedrock of Satanism in The Satanic Bible - still widely available today, it remains the cornerstone and primary text of Satanism. Additionally, LaVey authored a companion to his bible entitled The Satanic Rituals, two books of essays - The Devil's Notebook and Satan Speaks - and his notorious The Satanic Witch.

Anton LaVey died on 29th October 1997, leaving The Church Of Satan under the auspices of his long time partner and then High Priestess, Blanche Barton and the many individuals appointed to the Priesthood Of Mendes. On Walpurgisnacht 2001 Blanche Barton appointed a new High Priest – a long time member of the priesthood and personal comrade of Anton LaVey, Peter H. Gilmore. The following year Blanche appointed Peter Gilmore’s wife, Peggy Nadramia as High Priestess so that she herself could remain in an administrative capacity within the church but also devote more time to raising her son (by Anton LaVey) Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey.

Now in our 42nd year and with our epicurean members all around the world, we continue to forward the tenets and philosophies established by Anton LaVey. Having said that, you will neither see nor hear any pulpit harangues from any of us. We do not preach. Rather, we lead by example through the examples we set. The chances are you have already run into our members and not even known it! The Church Of Satan is indeed a threat to the established (and often pious) mores that govern society. But the threat does not come in the shape or form they expect. The iconoclastic individuals who make up our ranks include members of the police force, those serving in the military, professional sportsmen and even government officials. In addition, a great number of Satanists work in the arts as writers, film directors, painters and musicians and over the course of our history some people of note who are, or who have at some point, been affiliated with us include the Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield, Sammy Davis Jnr, Marilyn Manson and Marc Almond.

True to our maxim that “you can’t nail custard to a wall”, we remain a loosely knit cabal of individuals often staying out of sight and pulling the strings from the shadows.

Umberto Ray is predominantly known as a poet and his work has appeared in magazines and anthologies around the world. His first book, The Blood In My Veins, was published in 2005. He has been a CoS member for several years and was ordained into its priesthood on Walpurgisnacht, 2007.
Getty
Show Hide image

The economics of outrage: Why you haven't seen the end of Katie Hopkins

Her distasteful tweet may have cost her a job at LBC, but this isn't the last we've seen of Britain's biggest troll. 

Another atrocity, other surge of grief and fear, and there like clockwork was the UK’s biggest troll. Hours after the explosion at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 mostly young and female concert goers, Katie Hopkins weighed in with a very on-brand tweet calling for a “final solution” to the complex issue of terrorism.

She quickly deleted it, replacing the offending phrase with the words “true solution”, but did not tone down the essentially fascist message. Few thought it had been an innocent mistake on the part of someone unaware of the historical connotations of those two words.  And no matter how many urged their fellow web users not to give Hopkins the attention she craved, it still sparked angry tweets, condemnatory news articles and even reports to the police.

Hopkins has lost her presenting job at LBC radio, but she is yet to lose her column at Mail Online, and it’s quite likely she won’t.

Mail Online and its print counterpart The Daily Mail have regularly shown they are prepared to go down the deliberately divisive path Hopkins was signposting. But even if the site's managing editor Martin Clarke was secretly a liberal sandal-wearer, there are also very good economic reasons for Mail Online to stick with her. The extreme and outrageous is great at gaining attention, and attention is what makes money for Mail Online.

It is ironic that Hopkins’s career was initially helped by TV’s attempts to provide balance. Producers could rely on her to provide a counterweight to even the most committed and rational bleeding-heart liberal.

As Patrick Smith, a former media specialist who is currently a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News points out: “It’s very difficult for producers who are legally bound to be balanced, they will sometimes literally have lawyers in the room.”

“That in a way is why some people who are skirting very close or beyond the bounds of taste and decency get on air.”

But while TV may have made Hopkins, it is online where her extreme views perform best.  As digital publishers have learned, the best way to get the shares, clicks and page views that make them money is to provoke an emotional response. And there are few things as good at provoking an emotional response as extreme and outrageous political views.

And in many ways it doesn’t matter whether that response is negative or positive. Those who complain about what Hopkins says are also the ones who draw attention to it – many will read what she writes in order to know exactly why they should hate her.

Of course using outrageous views as a sales tactic is not confined to the web – The Daily Mail prints columns by Sarah Vine for a reason - but the risks of pushing the boundaries of taste and decency are greater in a linear, analogue world. Cancelling a newspaper subscription or changing radio station is a simpler and often longer-lasting act than pledging to never click on a tempting link on Twitter or Facebook. LBC may have had far more to lose from sticking with Hopkins than Mail Online does, and much less to gain. Someone prepared to say what Hopkins says will not be out of work for long. 

0800 7318496