Written in 1969 by Anton LaVey and published by Avon Books after several refusals from other publishing houses due to nature of its content, the Satanic Bible is revered as the central doctrine of Satanism, and is a required read for any person looking to understand the religion in general or for their own purposes. The book itself is not written as other religious texts are, but presents more as a philosophical manifesto that includes everything from commentary in essays on critical concepts that make up the religion to occult resources dating back as early the 17th century.
A lot has been said about what this controversial novel says, but you can only know for yourself if you read it yourself, and rest assured, you won’t be summoning dark forces to your bedside in the process… So rather than taking anyone else’s word for it, I recommend that you get your hands on a copy and see for yourself (since there is no authorized audiobook or digital version in circulation). The book is about $9 MSRP from Avon Publishing, and there is no available hard copy in English aside from a special 50th Edition copy which was published in a short print run for the 50th Anniversary of Satanism. This copy includes a copy of The Satanic Rituals, and can probably be found on Ebay. The Satanic Bible has been translated into several different languages, some of which do offer a hardcover copy.Here’s some of what’s in store for you once you do!
In my edition, the first thing you see when you open the cover is an introduction by Magus Gilmore, written in 2005. I’ve always felt like it’s important to know a bit of the history of books published in the past, and this is no exception! Knowing about the life of Anton LaVey (author) is helpful to put some of his words into perspective and to understand what he’s commenting on. When you’re reading something over fifty years after it being published, you have to reconcile modern perspective with that of the past. For me, the Satanic Bible wouldn’t have been the same without this introduction. It goes into explaining that Anton LaVey was employed as a police officer as well as a carnie in his life, and through this he was exposed to many different people. Sharp minded individual as he appeared to be, it was inevitable that his philosophy would heavily lean on his own experiences. If your edition doesn’t have this introduction, never fear. Though, I do appreciate the one in my own.
The book continues with a preface, a prologue, and then the Nine Satanic Statements, crowned at the top with the symbol for sulfur, or as it is better known in my religion, “The Leviathan Cross.” The Nine Satanic Statements listed below was the only doctrine list included in the Satanic Bible because the others were either not yet completed or were seen as a bit too controversial to include with the publication. Those not included are: 11 Satanic Rules of the Earth and the 9 Satanic Sins. Far later, successor Magus Peter Gilmore released a fourth list called “The Satanic Assertions.” This was also not included in the Satanic Bible, but all mentioned here are considered to be the cornerstone of the philosophy and dogma.
Fire: The Book of Satan
The Book of Satan to me aims to give the metaphor of Satan a platform from which to respond to the status quo. Said another way, the Book of Satan communicates an adversarial perspective which makes up the Satanist’s spirit. It is heavily influenced by concepts found the 1890s’ piece by Radgar Redbeard (a pseudonym. His suspected true identity is Arthur Desmond, British poet, writer, and politician), “Might is Right” a work which promotes a strong sense of self, a resistance to religious propaganda, hedonism, among other things.
I’m not a rabid fan of Might is Right. The way it is written is certainly poetic, and I do find it a work of art even though the concepts written in it stray a little too far for my appreciation politically and culturally speaking. Of course, this blog isn’t about “Might is Right,” it’s about the Satanic Bible, but “Might is Right” was a key influencer for the Book of Satan, it’s plain to see, once you have read both books. I do appreciate that Anton LaVey was inspired by these ideas but that he interpreted them in a way which made sense to him, much in the way we all do when we read the words in the Satanic Bible.
It is from Redbeard’s inspiration in this part of the Satanic Bible where readers choose to interpret undertones of Social Darwinism, a term which in itself is often misunderstood and mistakenly used. It was fathered by philosopher Herbert Spencer in the late 1800s when he applied Charles Darwin's "Theory of Evolution" improperly against society's social dynamic resulting in a catastrophic excuse for racist atrocity in the years to come. Where Satanism advocates for individualism and meritocracy, it is easy to see the reality that Satanism does not condone bigoted racist behavior such as that which Spencer's Social Darwinism enables.
The Book of Satan is split into four chapters which are not named, but after the prologue, “The Infernal Diatribe,” subjects that seem to be addressed are: the conventions of the Satanist, an advisory from Satan (hypothetical) against subscribing to falsehoods, Lex Talionis, how to be your own savior, as well as dispositional health and fitness. Again, this is where I think people decide that the Satanic Bible echoes the concept of Social Darwinism, but I would recommend that these misguided individuals research what Darwinism really is, as well as the period and history of Herbert Spencer. History may never repeat itself, but it does echo, and the researcher may be able to better understand what hysteria was infecting the minds of citizens after indulging their intellect—what a perfect segway to the Book of Lucifer!
Air: The Book of Lucifer
The Book of Lucifer is made up of a variety of short yet critical essays that comment on the true way of the world via the various chapters. Even in the layout of the Book of Air, Anton LaVey takes concepts which are traditionally thought of in a certain way and “enlightens” the reader as to the true and actual Satanist perspective on the matter.
I love this book in particular. Where the Book of Satan seemed to be about introducing the reader to the fiery passion imbued within the Satanist, and about making “an arrival” for that power and passion, I could connect more with this book because this book is what shattered the misunderstandings and misconceptions that I had about the religion. For instance, when LaVey opened with the way that Satanists view gods, I was a bit goldfish-wide-eyed. I remember thinking, “Whoa, wait, what? Someone else thinks this way?” It was the first inclination that I had that maybe this would be something I could connect with. I remember the way my heart pounded and my hesitation to read onward, if only so that I could have more time with the words that had reached me so directly. Read onward I did though, since like the satisfaction of enjoying the forbidden fruit, I needed to know just how similar the perspective of ‘this guy’ and my own were similar. He didn’t let me down!
This book needs to be read a few times in order to fully appreciate the depth of what is being said. This stands in contrast to the Book of Satan which was extraordinarily straight forward, and throughout the experience you may feel a bit like a philosopher stooped on your pedestal. The words are easy to understand, but the depth to them will be what inspires you to crack the spine again and again. In periods where I’m weary from the relentless endlessness of the herd, I have in the past restored my energy here.
Overall, I can’t decide which chapter would be my favorite. I think the most meaningful to me was the first, “Wanted! God—Dead or Alive” though the chapter on “Love and Hate” was just as much a breath of fresh air. The chapter titled “Indulgence….NOT Compulsion,” is highly reflective of the Satanic spirit, and of course, everything in between earned more than a few nods from my smiling eyes. The titles are very clearly a type of literary clickbait, and the words inked beneath them are very clearly worth something more—though just like the name of our religion, “Satanism,” there just simply isn’t anything better that chapters like, “On the Choice of Human Sacrifice” or “Hell, the Devil, and How to Sell Your Soul” could be named.
Earth: The Book of Belial
The Book of Belial is all about Satanic magic, its two forms (Lesser Magic and Greater Magic), and everything that it is not. It goes into what it is, how to do it, the point, ingredients, etc, and is considered a definitive chapter on magic in Satanism. There have been expansions on this book in later publications by members of the Church of Satan clergy, including Anton LaVey himself, (Look for: The Satanic Witch, The Satanic Warlock for Lesser Magic topics, and at the Satanic Rituals for Greater Magic topics). It is said that a full understanding of the Book of Belial is required before any magic practice is performed, and I have to agree…with a few caveats.
I believe it’s within “The Satanic Witch” that Anton LaVey states that Lesser Magic cannot be taught, and I have to say that to a degree, the same can be said for ritual. The Satanic Bible explains that Satanic rituals (Greater Magic) is a mere psychodrama for the actor, but in a religion that is as individualistic as this, I found it surprising that it was communicated so concretely the way that rituals are to be performed. On one hand, I do understand that rituals have to do with ceremony and tradition, but on the other I recognize that if Greater Magic is truly about the practitioner, it needs to be their own concept of tradition and ceremony for fullest impact to be had. Frankly, I find some of the script to be cringey. It may be personal aim to prevent the delusion of self, but when it comes to ritualizing, we need to enter an emotional and subjective state for it to be effective. If I could provide a picture for you of what the sentiment is like, consider the famous photographs of Anton LaVey in the ritual chamber with companions wearing latex animal masks. It was theatrical, but it was obviously theatrical. It was silly, pretending to be serious, and that’s really what ritual is, but for me the jarring silliness is well, jarring, and I can’t sink myself into it. For that reason, as you have seen me share, I write my own invocations and perform my own ceremonies of personal importance, though I do more or less design my rituals to be aware of the “Thirteen Steps” (even if out of order) as described in the Book of Belial. LaVey goes into describing the “Intellectual Decompression Chamber” in its appropriately named chapter, as well as the basic recipe for successful deliverance of Satanic Lesser Magic and Greater Magic in this book. If you’re interested in magic, don’t skip ahead. Read the Book of Satan first, followed by the Book of Lucifer, and then tackle the Book of Belial. Otherwise, you will misunderstand the metaphors and will probably mess up in a way that will haunt you for longer than you’d prefer.
Water: The Book of Leviathan
The Book of Leviathan includes straightforward resources for the use in ritual psychodrama. Information found in the Book of Leviathan can be used in personal rituals as well as in traditional rituals and ceremonies. It includes references from 17th century publications regarding occultist John Dee’s transcription and transliteration of what he called the Enochian language, or “language of the angels.” Specifically, Anton LaVey assures us that the material provided in the Book of Leviathan is “Satanically accurate,” which suggests that it is adapted from John Dee’s original works, and Anton LaVey later asserts and assures the reader that the translation within the Satanic Bible is derived from the world-renowned occult organization: the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a hermetic order founded in 1877 which has been credited with being a major influencer in religions such as Wicca and Thelema.
Within the Book of Leviathan you will find such things as an “Invocation to Satan,” as well as other resources that can be used toward rituals specified in the Book of Belial, including the names of those who would be invoked.
In the end, I would recommend giving this book a read if you haven’t already, and if you have, you would certainly already understand why it is that I recommend to others that they do so. Even if you don’t believe you’ll agree with what’s within the pages you should still expose yourself to the way “the other side thinks.” It’s about time that “the other side” got a platform to voice their opinion anyway, but this book is well written, it’s intriguing, and it’s bold. It’s inexpensive, obtainable, and it’s short. There is no reason not to read it, and I hope in short time that you do.
"The Satanic Scriptures," Peter Gilmore
"The Satanic Warlock," Robert Johnson
"The Satanic Rituals," Anton LaVey
"The Satanic Witch," Anton LaVey
"Might is Right," Ragnar Redbeard
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Who is the Witch?
I'm just another successful Satanist who happens to be kinda good at the whole Lesser Magic thing. This blog is about my personal experiences and perspective in Satanism and does not speak for others nor their experiences. For more information please click here and learn more.