I first read “The Satanic bible” when I was nineteen. I was living in the suburbs of Santa Rosa, in the shadow of San Francisco, the same city where Anton LaVey first started the Church of Satan. When I first obtained the unassuming black tome, I had no idea what I would find inside.
I had been, and still am, a huge fan of heavy metal music. Anything that people call “the Devil’s Music” is likely going to be among my favorites. The imagery and occult laden lyrics always spoke to me in ways I never really understood. Marilyn Manson, is likely to be the most recognizable name. A self affirmed Satanist (at least at the time) and the self appointed “Antichrist Superstar”, he has always been the boogeyman of american pop-culture. Of course other more obscure, heavier, and much darker tones also played, Slayer, Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem… all bands doused in blood, both real and fake, with reputations that chill the heart and soul of the “normal folks”.
So imagine my surprise when I opened “The Satanic Bible” and found, not hate filled rantings of a gore obsessed mad man. Instead only the blunt, honest, and visceral observations of a man, who as far as I could tell from his writings, was very sane, very collected, and very reasonable in his proclamations.
I admit there was a large part of me hoping for scrawled blood runes and some infernal diatribe that evoked imagery of Sodom and Gomorrah or the Marquis de Sade. I was actually a bit disappointed with the apparent lack of sensationalized devil worship. Though the words made sense, and the rituals appealed to me, I shelved the book for a great many years, oddly enough, until I had children.
My own works and accomplishments are that of a very personal nature. Overcoming addiction, building a stable functional life, marrying the love of my life, all crowned, thus far, with the rearing of two beautiful daughters. They are trouble, but any worthwhile endeavor is. With them in my life, there is a great confidence I had felt returned. The bull growing its horns so to speak, ready to defend its herd.
We moved to a very rural town in western Washington. The only people that know it are the people that live nearby, or the people that drive through on their way to bigger, more populous metropolitan hubs.
As with most rural towns, there are more Christian (based) churches than gas stations. Door to door solicitors are near constant, Latter-day Saints, Mormons, and any other denomination that felt it appropriate to stir up the community with their praise and offerings. It was obnoxious. As a joke we started telling them “We’re Satanists” just to see the reaction. Usually a wide eyed stare and apology before they backed away slowly.
It was a good laugh.
The intrusion and war for our spirituality didn’t stop with simple door knockers. State wide, the zealots and small minds continue to push their agendas, attempting to overturn the right to marry, right for people to use the bathroom they feel most comfortable in, the right to smoke pot.
We couldn’t turn a corner in our street without some sign waving, leaflet peddling, shit-smiling community activist trying to push their God further into our lives. It was almost as if Atheism or Agnosticism wasn’t enough for us anymore. They made it clear they were drawing a line in the sand, stand with them, or stand against them
They invited The Adversary. As a result I pulled the book back off the shelf. Tempered with eleven years of real world experience, the words rang truer than ever before. It made more sense than ever before.
I had been, and have been a Satanist, I just never knew what to call it. I believed many things Anton LaVey wrote about, not all of them, but enough that I can fully subscribe. My wife took her turn between the pages and now, we wear our pendants with pride, in the open, when able.
When people ask to speak to us about the Lord in our own home. We still tell them “We’re Satanists”, this time though, we’re not laughing.