Prior to LaVey forming the Church of Satan, LaVey in the early to mid sixties would hold Midnight Masses at his Victorian home in San Francisco’s Richmond District. It would attract many high profile figures from the San Francisco area, which made LaVey somewhat of a local legend. This is what caused LaVey to start the “Satanic Church” later renamed the “Church of Satan” (often referred to “CoS” for short).
In 1969 LaVey wrote the Satanic Bible, which would prove to be the bedrock for modern Satanism. To date it has sold nearly 1,000,000 copies worldwide and has been translated into several languages.
The Church of Satan thrived vigorously in the late sixties and early seventies attracting many celebrities including Sammy Davis Jr., and Jayne Mansfield to name a couple.
In 1975 many changes occurred within the CoS, LaVey had done away with the Grotto system. A network of sub-churches setup across the country. Some structural re-organization had also been done.
It was at this time that Michael Aquino, member of the Church of Satan, broke away from the Church and formed his “Temple of Set.” Aquino maintained that LaVey had changed his stance from believing in an actual Satan to referring to it as more of a relative term. LaVey claimed that he had always referred to Satan as a “Dark force of Nature” rather than an actual deity.
Between 1970 and 1992 LaVey had written three other books. The Compleat Witch (Re-released as “The Satanic Witch”), The Satanic Rituals, and The Devil’s Notebook.
During this period in the ’80’s there was a wave of Satanic panic as many talk shows, news media, and various papers across the country began reporting on Satanic Serial Killers, and Groups of Satanists that were opening day care centers, molesting, and sacrificing children. This sparked an FBI investigation, which concluded that there was no such activity taking place.
Just after the release of the Devil’s Notebook in 1992 LaVey made a film entitled “Speak of the Devil” It was a documentary about the Anton LaVey, the history of Satanism, and the Church of Satan. It seemed to revive the Satanic movement a little but not nearly as much as would be seen in 1996.
A musician by the name of Marilyn Manson release an album entitled “Antichrist Superstar” which fueled a pop-culture trend of Goth teenagers proclaiming to be Satanists. Many of these children were nothing more than alienated teens that were simply rebelling against religion, and their parents.
This created a surge of attention for LaVey and the Church of Satan. A revitalized church had sky rocketing membership applications and a renewed interest in Satanism. Ironically in the midst of the Goth culture phenomenon LaVey would die of heart failure in his home on the night of Oct. 27, 1997.
The Aftermath of LaVey’s Death
Not surprisingly the death of LaVey created a frenzy in and outside of the Satanic community. Detractors came out from rocks to demystify, or debunk nearly all parts of LaVey’s personal and private life, and of course the Church of Satan itself.
Karla LaVey (Anton’s eldest daughter) and Blanche Barton (LaVey’s Biographer, and mother of his Son) had agreed to run the Church together as co-High Priestess’s. It was just after this agreement that Blanche produced a handwritten will and claimed that the Church, LaVey’s personal property, and all rights to LaVey’s writings were the sole property of Blanche, and LaVey’s youngest Son Xerxes.
Karla had contested the will citing a Doctors statement that LaVey was heavily medicated and had just come out of a death experience when he was coerced to write the Will. The Will was later invalidated and an agreement was made.
Feeling that her fathers personal items were more important than the organization itself Karla agreed to let Blanche have the “Organization known as Church of Satan” in return LaVey’s three children (Karla, Zeena, and Xerxes) were to equally divide his personal belongings, and the rights to his works.
During this time Blanche and clergy of the Church had begun a vicious campaign against Karla claiming she was not qualified to run the Church, had not contributed to the Church, and went through long periods of not speaking to her father.
In reality Karla LaVey had gone on numerous lecture tours at University’s regarding Satanism. Appeared on countless television talk shows and radio interviews, promoting the Church, her father’s work, and the philosophy itself. She was even featured on the Cover of Brazil’s most popular magazine giving an interview on the Satanism, and the Occult.
Karla then decided to form the “First Satanic Church” in 1999, an identical organization to her father’s old Church in order to carry on the family tradition. Her church is operating out of San Francisco just as her father had run the Church of Satan.
Blanche currently resides in San Diego, California and has no longer handles CoS administration. The Church of Satan is now run mostly online, based out of New York where memberships are processed, while still maintaining the P.O. Box in San Francisco for personal correspondence to Blanche.
A large number of new Satanic Churches have popped up since the death of LaVey in 1997. Most of them Internet based and lacking any real substance. That just seems to be par for the course these days.
A Word about Satanism Today
Satanism has always been about being an individual; it therefore makes sense that regardless of organizational politics the primary focus should be on the individual. It has become a bit clich yet it still holds true that you do not have to join any organization to be a Satanist. Only you can determine where you want to go in life.
In closing I would like to say that Satanism is the Bedrock philosophy of human existence. It is the philosophy that is your primer paint before you put several layers of other paints on the wall. It is the first stepping-stone in life’s journey for infinite knowledge. In the long run it’s really what keeps you grounded and your head out of the clouds.
I would encourage you to do your own research and studying on the subjects of Satanism & the Occult Sciences. Click below to learn a few basic tennets of Satanism.
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