The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Why did I buy The Satanic Bible way back when I was a teenager? Well, it's like this...
Rock music has always been seen by some as a source of evil and there's a history of musicians who supposedly sold their souls to the devil.
There were rock & roll "gods" like my hero Jimmy Page, who it is rumored followed occultist Aleister Crowley. As a guitar playing teen I idolized them and wanted to be them to the point of buying a book like this. I wondered, was there magic within? Would the devil make me a rock god, too? Or just getting me laid would be cool...
I expected sex, blood, magic, horror, demons, and more sex and way more magic.
Then I read it and what I got was more like...
(Just to the left of the clock I believe is George Bush #2 and that's pretty satanic in and of itself.)
Honestly, this book is just not as exciting as I'd hoped. I'm sure it would scandalize a churchy type, but it didn't do much for me.
It didn't start well. Right up front you learn that Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, was a carny. A carny who gets his panties in a bunch because he sees men being pious hypocrites, so he shaves himself bald and starts a cult, no sir, that is not a good start to a new religion.
There's a foreword by a journalist, who describes meeting and getting to know LaVey. I thought this was a nice touch. It showed a more human side to the story. I'm one of those people that believe journalists should be unbiased, people who you can rely on to give you the facts, just the facts. But then you learn this particular journalist became a high priest in the Church of Satan, and well, that kind of crushed his unbiased credibility.
Moving on to LaVey's theories and ideas, we see some ridiculousness and some common sense. On the one hand, I very much doubt LaVey would want to live in the world of chaos that his vision would create. "Do whatever you want" sounds fun, and certainly some people do need to lighten up, but when you live in a world of chaos (I spent sometime living in a house run by anarchist punks, so I got a taste of what that'd be like) you learn the value of a few basic societal rules. LaVey's militant eye-for-an-eye-and-then-some (Meaning he believes you strike down those who offend you with even greater force) outlook coupled with a world of chaos would've put LaVey himself in harm's way very quickly.
The first half of the book expounds upon his theories. This section is much more relaxed than I expected. He speaks off the cuff, using slang and humor. It's an interesting approach to the writing of a religious text. Definitely a relief from the stuffy Holy Bible. By the way, any Satanists reading this can relax. Yes, I'm bagging on your boy a bit here, but I also think Christians are ridiculous, too. I'm one of those people who has faith in themselves, that they will do the right thing. So far I'm doing all right. Haven't murdered any one yet!
Later The Satanic Bible gets into the whole "spell casting" thing, the reason I bought the damned book in the first place. Much is made of sex, blood essence, speaking accursed names aloud and none of it was as cool as I'd hoped. I did like that LaVey calls out the people who sacrifice animals as cowards for not having the balls to draw their own blood for these rituals.
The last half of the book is a very short, quick read. There's barely more than a dozen lines on some of the last hundred or so pages. Sometimes it's just a title page or one simple sentence and blank space on the back side. This was done for aesthetics and it's a big waste of paper. The book would be a lot smaller otherwise.
All in all, I think Christians get their panties in a bunch over nothing much here. And as LaVey says, they need Satan. It's the Yin and Yang. God, Jesus and the other goodie goodies have to have a counter point. The good guys need the bad guys.
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