Anton Szandor LaVey

Founder of the Church of Satan

Sep 18, 2018 · 9 min read

The original High Priest of the Church of Satan was Anton Szandor LaVey. He was born Howard Stanton Levey in April of 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. In his thirties, Reverand LaVey established the Church of Satan in California on Walpurgisnacht of 1966. Anton LaVey proclaimed that to be the “Year One”, Anno Satanas. Then, decades later, on April 30th of 2016, Satanists gathered together across the globe to conduct ritual anniversary celebrations ushering in “Year Fifty” in the “Age of Satan”. At the point, Anton LaVey had already been dead for nearly two decades but the church was and still is stronger than ever, in spite of his physical absence. Even with the rise of other Satanic organizations like the Order of Nine Angles (ONA) in the UK, or more recently the Satanic Temple (TST) in the US, the Church of Satan (COS) still stands strong.

Magus Anton LaVey

One of the reasons the Church of Satan has done as well as it has is because Anton LaVey was an accomplished occultist and author, among other things. He also attracted important and influential people toward him with his supernatural charm. Although I never actually got the chance to meet him myself, I have heard from more than one person that Anton LaVey was a very charismatic guy. As such, the “Black Pope” amassed a lot of followers over the years. For instance, Anton Szandor LaVey became romantically involved with Marilyn Monroe as well as Jayne Mansfield, at different points in his life. He was also friends with a number of famous musicians like Liberace, Sammy Davis Jr., Marilyn Manson, and King Dimond. Many of these were even card-carrying members of the Church of Satan. For instance, Sammy Davis Jr. was a Warlock and Jayne Mansfield even became a High Priestess.

Sammy Davis Jr. and Anton
Anton LaVey and Jayne Mansfield
Marylin Manson and Anton LaVey

In the late 1980’s and early 90’s, as a result of my teenage angst and the need to know what was really going on in the world around me, I was drawn to the writings of Anton LaVey, including The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, The Satanic Witch, The Devil’s Notebook, and Satan Speaks!. These are phenomenal works of philosophy, with obvious occult leanings toward the black magic of the “left hand path”, but still very much great works in their own right. His prose is quite humanistic and existentialistic with a highly cynical view of major religions, specifically criticizing the God of Abraham and the Christian faith itself. At the same time, the Magus Anton LaVey was also a master thaumaturgist. Satanism is much more than just the inversion of Western monotheism. All of this has made his written and spoken contributions to the world rather important in the modern age. There are countless quotes of his that I could and would love to share with you now, there are simply too many to post them all. So, I will just point out a few of the more interesting things that he said instead.


“In order to perform the supernatural, you must first be able to accomplish the supernormal.”


“A major determining factor by which a superior human can be isolated from his average counterparts is his very isolation — the degree to which he naturally removes himself from mass-media input and stimuli.”


“Blessed are the mighty-minded, for they shall ride the whirlwinds — Cursed are they who teach lies for truth and truth for lies, for they are an abomination!”


“Popular lies have ever been the most potent enemies of personal liberty. There is only one way to deal with them: Cut them out, to the very core, just as cancers.”


“You must lose consciousness of the medium or mechanics to do the impossible.”


“People ask me about what music to use in rituals — what is the best occult music. I’ve instructed people to go to the most uncrowded section of the music store and it’s a guarantee what you’ll find there will be occult music. That’s the power of long-lost trivia. I get irritated by people who turn up their noses and whine ‘Why would anyone want to know that?’ Because once upon a time, everyone in America knew it. Suppose there’s a repository of neglected energy, that’s been generated and forgotten. Maybe it’s like a pressure cooker all this time, just waiting for someone to trigger its release. ‘Here I am,’ it beckons, ‘I have all this energy stored up just waiting for you — all you have to do is unlock the door. Because of man’s stupidity, he’s neglected me to this state of somnambulism — dreaming the ancient dreams — even though I was once so important to him.’ Think about that. A song that was once on millions of lips now is only on your lips. Now what does that contain? Those vibrations of that particular tune, what do they evoke, call up? What do they unlock? The old gods lie dormant, waiting.”


“The rule of Satanism is: if it works for you, great.”


“No creed must be accepted upon authority of a “divine” nature. Religions must be put to the question.”


“Blessed are those that believe in what is best for them, for never shall their minds be terrorized — Cursed are the “lambs of God,” for they shall be bled whiter than snow!”


“Without a devil to point their fingers at, religionists of the right hand path would have nothing with which to threaten their followers.”


“There is a beast in man that should be exercised, not exorcised.”


“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!”


“We don’t worship Satan, we worship ourselves using the metaphorical representation of the qualities of Satan. Satan is the name used by Judeo-Christians for that force of individuality and pride within us. But the force itself has been called by many names.We embrace Christian myths of Satan and Lucifer, along with Satanic renderings in Greek, Roman, Islamic, Sumerian, Syrian, Phrygian, Egyptian, Chinese or Hindu mythologies, to name but a few. We are not limited to one deity, but encompass all the expressions of the accuser or the one who advocates free thought and rational alternatives by whatever name he is called in a particular time and land.”


“The earliest Christians believed that the Pagan deities were devils, and to employ them was to use “black magic.” Miraculous heavenly events they termed “white magic”; this was the sole distinction between the two. The old gods did not die, they fell into Hell and became devils.”


“Satan represents opposition to all religions which serve to frustrate and condemn man for his natural instincts. He has been given an evil role simply because he represents the carnal, earthly, and mundane aspects of life.”


“Anyone who thinks of Satan as evil should consider all the men, women, children, and animals who have died because it was “God’s will.”


“It is certainly true that ‘actions speak louder than words,’ but words become as monuments to thoughts.”


“It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable. Satanists must learn to see through the tricks and cannot afford to be stupid.”


“It is a terrifying thing when the animals laugh at the hunter. Take a tip from Harlequin and the Joker. If you imitate a fool well, you are not likely to be fooled by others.”


“Yeah, well, I’m crazy, but I’m not stupid, hopefully. And I think we’re all a bit crazy if we do anything that’s deviant. I’ve studied a great deal on deviance and aberrant behavior. Most of the interesting people I’ve ever met have been deviant in one form or another.”


“If you’re going to be a sinner, be the best sinner on the block.”


“I break away from all conventions that do not lead to my earthly success and happiness.”


“Satanists are encouraged to indulge in the seven deadly sins, as they need hurt no one; they were only invented by the Christian Church to ensure guilt on the part of its followers.”


“Love is one of the most intense feelings felt by man; another is hate. Forcing yourself to feel indiscriminate love is very unnatural. If you try to love everyone you only lessen your feelings for those who deserve your love. Repressed hatred can lead to many physical and emotional aliments. By learning to release your hatred towards those who deserve it, you cleanse yourself of these malignant emotions and need not take your pent-up hatred out on your loved ones.”


“You cannot love everyone; it is ridiculous to think you can.”


“Every religion in the world that has destroyed people is based on love.”


“Satanism advocates practicing a modified form of the Golden Rule. Our interpretation of this rule is: “Do unto others as they do unto you”; because if you “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and they, in turn, treat you badly, it goes against human nature to continue to treat them with consideration. You should do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but if your courtesy is not returned, they should be treated with the wrath they deserve.”


“I visualize a day when tridents and pentagrams are thrust into the sky from church roofs instead of crosses. I have a legacy to fulfill, and it will be fulfilled.”


“What good are friends if they can’t do you any good?”


“There are many who would like my time. I shun them. There are some who share my time. I am entertained by them. There are precious few who contribute to my time. I cherish them.”


“Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!”


Of course, being a great writer wasn’t the only thing that Anton LaVey was good at. He was also a musician, among other things. Even as a child his parents supported his musical interests. His favorite instrument became the keyboard, including the pipe organ and calliope. Anton even played for the circus at one point. He also paid the bills by giving lectures and workshops through the Church of Satan. Anton LaVey was an excellent public speaker with a calm yet demanding demeanor, who was interviewed a number of times throughout his life. He left behind a huge, albeit often misunderstood, legacy and library full of deeply meaningful content including a number of albums, books, movies, documentaries, and much more. Nowadays, there are endless articles and videos about him online, along with an array of amazing photos like these.

A Young Anton LaVey
The Magus Anton LaVey
The Black Pope with Satanic Witches and Warlocks
The High Priest and Priestess
A Satanic Funeral

In the end, from a purely esoteric point of view, one might say that Anton LaVey was born 19 days early on April 11th of 1930 and that he died 2 days early on October 29th of 1997. Oddly enough though, from what I’ve heard someone did make it look like Anton had died on Halloween, but I can’t imagine that anyone ever tried to falsify documents to show that he was born on Walpurgisnacht back in 1930. LaVey did however found the Church of Satan on that all-important inaugural day back in 1966. Since that time, the Council of Nine has seen a number of new Satanists who have joined up to help make the organization stronger than ever. At the moment, the Church of Satan is led by the current High Priest and Priestess, named Peter Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia. They took over COS in 2001 from Blanche Barton. In this way, and many others, the legacy of Anton still lives on.

Anton LaVey and Peter Gilmore
Anton LaVey the Legend

Joshua Hehe

Written by

A writer of books, articles, poems, discourses, esoterica, biographies, interviews, predictions, listicles, timelines, short stories, personal narratives, etc…

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade