Process Founder and Prophet
Robert Moore De Grimston
Apocalypse was in the air; an impending feeling of doom. The multi-colored dreams of psychedelia had begun to fade, and for those of us who had crossed it's rainbow bridge, there would be no turning back. The world as we had known and experienced it would never quite seem the same again.
The prevailing order of things; the sterile dogmas of organized religion; the Protestant work ethic; the open-ended pursuit of material things, these and a host of other similar assumptions, formerly taken for granted with simple- minded acceptance, now came into question, were scrutinized, dissected and exposed for the " frauds" we felt them to be.
But what were these mainstays of our civilization to be replaced with? The music of sixties had served as a simplistic prop for the newly emergent " counter-culture" and it's ill-defined aspirations. But what had gone wrong? We had all sung along with 'All you need is love - love - love,' and joined the chorus
of ' Strawberry Fields Forever' in joyful
defiance. We had turned on, tuned in and dropped out - but where would we
go from there?
The much lauded creativity and freedom of this counter-culture; from it's hedonistic sex, it's drug induced visions, day-glow posters, tye-dye clothing, massive musical gatherings and a ' do your own thing' philosophy, had run it's meteoric course and had burned itself out.
The early 1970s were to be it's anti-climax, as run-away inflation, growing corruption and cynicism began to penetrate most segments of society.
American boys were still fighting and dying in this nation's second no-win-war in Asia; the secret police by-way of their COINTELPRO operations ( infiltration, agent provocatuers, frames-ups, armed raids and assasinations ) had been successful in rendering any revolutionary activity, right or left, ineffective and null. Tricky-Dick was our chief administrator and about to live-up to his bad name. Psychedelics had begun to be replaced by other addictive drugs such as heroine, morphine, and cocaine. The recording industry was about to experience it's lowest margin of profits in decades. The Psychedelic head-shops began to fold up business. The so-called ' Age of Aquarius' had grinded to a halt, and along with it and entire generation was left floundering in it's confusion and despair.
Into this void came the cults. Ready and eager to fill the existing spiritual vacuum with new visions, new perimeters, new rules and directions. And they were many and they were varied.
Zen Buddhism had already made it's debut in the West in the preceding decade by way of the writings of Suzuki and popular writings of Kerouac and Watts. It was further enhanced by a growing interest in various Oriental martial arts. But it did not have the makings of a mass-style movement, and so remained relatively small in numbers and defused.
But the late sixties and early seventies saw a proliferation of odd sects and cults; Christian salvation groups such as the 'Children Of God' and ' The Jesus People'; Hari-Krishnas and transcendental mediators, Baba Lovers, and other Guru-cults; home-grown psycho-analytical methods such as Scientology and EST, all of which alluded to some sort of rational and scientific methods; long-time dormant fringe sects and elitist occult societies began to revive, expand and attract new adherents.
By the early 1970s a virtual smorgasbord of religious persuasions could be found on the spiritual menu, ready to to be served-up piping-hot for the lost, the lonely and confused.
The guru-cults appealed principally to the burned-out post-hippie remnants, who suffering psychological displacement and a diminished sense of self, wished only to bury their frayed minds and psyches in some balmy cloud of mysticism, thereby loosing themselves in a vision of the aglamorous Godhead.
Conversely, the psychoanalytical cults appealed to that group of youth and young adults with an in-born predilection for entrepreneurship. They were most often the ones who had but recently been small-time drug dealers who " only sold a little to their good friends". They were the ones who wanted all the success and material baubles of the preceding generation, but didn't want to work too hard or wait too long in fulfilling these aspirations. Their personal quest was in pursuit of finding 'sure-fire' methods for realizing these goals of romance, money and social status. The cult leaders of these groups understood the mind-set and aspirations of these types only to well, and knew just how to play these marks for all they were worth. The wheels of their system were to be well oiled with the capital of ambitious, but naive aspirants. Cost for initiate-hood didn't come cheaply. It was measured out in dollars and cents. The aspirant could, however, defray a large portion of these daunting costs by recruiting other fodder for the cult, who would in turn help to make-up the deficit of their own tuitions and costs. All of this was just another variant of the pyramid- scam, a scam that seems to have an almost unflagging and magical appeal to America's middle-class.
These psycho-analytical cults usually worked out of an almost corporate setting. No beards, no bare-feet or other anti-social trappings. Theirs was instead a professional front intended to appeal to and to generate confidence in the eager and ambitious near-do-wells which they attracted.
- 2 - " The Malicious have a dark Happiness." - Victor Hugo
But not all who passed through the proverbial " doors of perception " were of the same disposition. Not all were the jaded children of middle-class affluence, not all lacked a will to power. There were also others of the post-sixties generation whose existence was made less visible in the media or the public eye.This segment of disaffected beings were not thinking the same thoughts or seeing the same visions, nor were they intent upon the same goals as their lost and listless counter-parts were. These were the outsiders. During the preceding decade they had no more upheld the statism and status quo of the conservative-right any more than they had joined in the contagion of the New-Left. These were the metaphysical rebels, Anarchs, Anarchists, occultists and nihilists, who wished a plague on all house!
Their visions were not those of Utopia or Nirvana, but were instead those of Apocalypse and ' End Time.' For them it was not the golden-age of Aquarius, but the dark-age of the Kali-Yuga. Most preferred Buck-knives and revolvers to that of beads and flowers. Initially they were scattered individuals, lacking a leader or an organizational structure, a coherent philosophy or plan of action.
Within the ranks of these disaffected 'outsiders ' were several distinct types best described as Anarcho / individualist and Romantic/Nihilists. Often individuals would share a combination of these basic traits.
The Anarcho / individualists seemed most concerned with their personal liberty and freedoms which might allow them the freedom to ' do their own thing ', unimpeded by restrictive laws imposed by the state. Laws which they felt repressive to their lives and liberty. Theirs was a distrust for authority in particular and a disdain for civilization and it's decadence and complexities in general. Most shared a concern for survival in the not so distant future; nuclear war; revolution; civil or racial strife or domestic tyranny. Most felt by-way of acquired skills and preparations that they would one day crawl out from their survival compounds and retreats as survivors of a new day under the sun. Many of them stock-piled weapons and supplies, trained with firearms and cultivated other military and survival skills and awaited " The Day " of civilizations eminent demise, and it's post-apocalyptic aftermath.
Drawn primarily from urban and rural working class segments of the population, they envisioned a life more basic and less complex. Most viewed the federal government as corrupt and meddling at best. Others believed and proffered conspiratorial theories concerning Mason. Jews, International Bankers or Trilateralist One- Worlders, who they saw as a hidden-hand behind all that was wrong with life as they perceived and experienced it.
Over the next several decades the majority of those of this persuasion would be content to plan, train and prepare. A smaller number would grow impatient and more strident, and move on to more militant, and sometimes revolutionary activity.
The other grouping, the Romantic / Nihilists, would be attracted to the a- morality of occultism, the so-called black arts, and Satanism. This predilection differed little from what many prominent poets, artists and other creative romantics of the previous century had done.
Satanism and occultism have often served as a proverbial loadstone for creative genius, ( i.e.); Charles Baudelaire, J.K. Huysman, William Butler Yeats, August Strindberg, Antonin Artaud, to mention just a few, who have succumbed to it's dark siren call. Reasons for this attraction can be largely found in the diminished or absence of true spirituality in organized religion, as well as a striving for something in closer proximity to the Western Zeitgeist. Add to these factors the sexual and emotional suppression and it is not difficult to understand the allure of such " underground " religion.
One can already detect in the late romantics a growing disposition toward nihilism. Little is left of the soothing melancholia of Keats, or the visionary soaring of Shelley, and it is not difficult to understand why.
If romantics of the past age had felt estrangement and antagonism to the prevailing reality in which they lived, how then might the romantic of this our present age of dialectical materialism and compulsive consumerism react?
The logical outcome of such contraries, of ones inner ideal as opposed to the outer-reality we live in, can hardly lead to anything short of rebellion, world hatred and nihilism. Culminating in an inversion of feelings and thought, in which evil becomes good, power, hatred and resentment supplant faith, hope and charity, and all the attributes of the bourgoise-democratic existence; comfort, conformity, selfishness and cowardice, are viewed with disdain and addressed with invective. This then becomes the world of the outsider and confirmed elitist.
However, this antagonism and eilitist mentality manifests itself in rebellion, not revolution. The true revolutionary has a creed and a program that generates and guides his actions. He wishes to catharize the malignancies he perceives, and proceeds to find the tactics and strategies for attaining power. For he realizes that only through the attainment of power will he be able to reshape or revitalize society or the world in accordance with his visions and beliefs.
Satanism, on the contrary, is largely a personal rebellion. It is an anti- theology. Antithetical to the tenets and beliefs of it's antagonist,Christianity. In it's original form, it would not exist save for the existence of Christianity. In this regard it is reactionary to the utmost. It shares similar prophecies and revelations, an identical time table of linear progression of events all culminating in some grand finale of Apocalypse!
The historical roots of Satanism are largely traceable to the later half of the last century. As a theology or philosophy, Satanism does not draw upon any long-standing tradition or ties with antiquity in the same sense as neo- heathen & pagan beliefs do. Prior to the existence of any organized Satanic sects, many hapless individuals no doubt were the victims of being labeled " Satanic " or in league with the Devil, by the ruling Christian establishment. But such accusations should not be taken seriously, for these sort of labels served as all purpose catch-phrases directed to anyone who threatened or challenged Christianitie's parochial views or secular power. It was a ready epithet of derision and approbation for one's enemies and competitors.
Most modern-day Satanists know all of this well enough. So why Satanism as an alternative to Christianity? Why not a return to a more natural healthy heathenism, one totally divorced from the framework of Christian thinking? Because the classic Satanist is not a healthy pagan, Nietzche's proverbial " yea sayer to life ", but is instead an inverted Christian whose innocence has been wounded, whose romanticism has been betrayed; asceticism degraded, saintliness gone sour, idealism made cynicism. It is not difficult to recognize resentment at the root of this metaphysical rebellion. A resentment born of the realization of 'ones" own singularity and rights as an inviolable individual. This same realization is of course at the root of all rebellion as well as revolution. But in the case of the Satanist this rebellion is born of a realization of 'ones' own impotence in doing anything to actively alleviate whatever inequities or injustices which are felt to exist.
Resentment was perhaps best defined by Fredrich Schiller as an auto- intoxication; the evil secretions in a sealed vessel of prolonged impotence. It is resentment of this type which usually leads to the types of excesses witnessed in the French, Bolshevik and National Socialist Revolutions. Shiller goes on to say further, that resentment always turns into either unscrupulous ambition or bitterness, depending on whether it is implanted in a strong person or a weak one.
It is the nature of the resentful to take delight ( in advance ) of the hoped for pain that it would inflict upon the object of it's hatred. Torture and cruelty have always been the violence of the impotent and cowardly.
This impotence is most apparent in the working of curses against one's enemies. It is a safe substitute for really doing anything actively, directly or boldly. To a certain degree it no doubt serves as a purgative or safety valve for this " vessel of sealed resentment and hatred ", which might otherwise manifest itself in destructive or suicidal acts.
And who is it that best personifies this resentful actor who fights his enemies from the make-believe battle-field of his ritual chamber, who arrogantly endeavors to command Gods and fate to to do his bidding an fulfill his desires? It is usually the artistic dandy, that narcissistic play-actor who chooses for his command performance that ultimate of all stages - real life!
To live and die before a mirror - that according to The French Poet Baudelaire, is the slogan of the Dandy, For he can only exist by defiance and opposition. And like all who exist without a measure of standards, lacking rules or ethics, he can only be coherent to himself, as well as to others, in some role he has chosen to act out. And that role can only be played before an audience for which to applaud or decry his performance. For his own existence and sense of being or self, can only be established in the expression on other peoples faces. Others must serve as his mirror, a mirror that quickly grows clouded. Therefore he is constantly compelled to astonish and to shock. Singularity his vocation, excess, his road to perfection.
Prominent in his ranks is to be found that seminal figure of the Satanic, the Marquis de Sade, who has commanded so great an influence upon most subsequent Satanists. If ever there was an archetypal personification of the " vessel of sealed resentment" which Shiller so eloquently described, De Sade was it.
De Sades epic maturbatory novels may at first seem intended for little more than his own, as well as his readers, sexual titillation. Upon closer inspection, however, one quickly realizes that for every couple of pages of lurid sexual escapades, there are a dozen or more other pages devoted to outlining his Satanic philosophy and invective toward society. It becomes apparent that de Sades novels are primarily a lure for the reader to be indoctrinated into his nihilism and world hatred.
Even after de Sade, the literati continue to dominate the Satanic scene. The rebellion of the man of letters is singular in it's preference for evil, and forbidden things above all else! When rebellion reaches this junction it is often at the expense of forgetting all positive content. Since God reigns over a world full of death, injustice and inequity, thinks the Satanist, it certainly vindicates, if not the exercise of evil, then certainly the applauding of evil and murder.
It is between Satan and death, in John Milton's Paradise Lost ( That favorite poem of the Romantics ) that symbolizes this struggle. In order to combat the evil of existence, the metaphysical rebel renounces good and once more gives birth to evil. In this way the Satanic hero brings about a religious blending of good and evil. He becomes that most attractive figure ( to the individualistic West ) The fatal hero.
Fate leaves no room for value judgements - it instead replaces any responsibility for them by simply declaring something to the effect of " It is so ", and being so, it becomes a moot point, ethically and morally, thereby excusing everything - everything except of course the creator who from the very start is responsible for the mess that life and the state the world are perceived to be in.
The romantic artist and literati cry-out with Mliton's Satan: " So farewell hope, farewell fear, farewell remorse...evil be thou my good." The final cry of outraged innocence. Since violence and injustice are seen as the ultimate root of all creation - violence and injustice shall be it's answer. Ad here at last, once and for all, any distinction between good and evil is laid to rest.
With these moralistic questions resolved and disposed of, no longer can one derive any intellectual, spiritual or emotional stimulation toying with such abstractions as good and evil. Thus is nihilism born out of this psychological vacuum; thus is murder and mayhem authorized as a necessary vehicle for attaining that frenetic state of mind, which alone can alleviate this boredom born of a-morality.
Frenzy is the reverse of boredom. Exquisite sensibilities evoke the fury of the beast! Exaltation takes the place of truth, and so the Apocalypse becomes an absolute value in which all things are confounded: love, death,conscience and culpability. In a chaotic universe no other life exists than that of the abyss.
At this stage the Satanic rebel has by logical extension chosen the metaphysic of inevitable evil. All is drawn toward the void. Terror and torture, murder and catastrophe become collector's items to be savored vicariously and exalted to the status of revolutionary acts in some vague and defuse revolt against society and God. The serial-killer, the sexual outlaw, the mass-murderer and an endless procession and sociopaths and psychotics become cult-heroes and heroines of the Satanic rebel. Until recent times such thinking was restricted to a small segment of isolated individuals, and was employed primarily for the subject matter of art, drama and literature.
But it was to come to pass in these lesser days of the late Twentieth-Century, that a movement would begin to bring this scattered and disparate force into a semblance of order and action.
- 3 - " Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." - Aleister Crowley
The groundwork for the present day Occult / Satanic movement had been laid many decades ago. Though there does not appear to exist anything like an unbroken line of descent, there has been a noticeable and consistent process of cross- fertilization. As Schisms and rivalries occur often ( due, no doubt, to the unstable nature of many of those involved and attracted to Satanism and Occultism in general ) new or existent groups will pick-up the remnants of a dissolving group, and continue on with them till the next schism or power struggle occurs. The links between individual personalities is far more pronounced and apparent.
The late 1930s saw a minor occult revival in the U. S.. This revival was focused primarily in that incubator of the absurd and eccentric, southern California. Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical Society, the Rosicrucians and other similar meta[physical and mystical groups became high profile during this period. Most relevant to modern occultism and Satanism was the founding of the Agape Lodge of The Ordo Templis Orientis ( The Temple Of The East ). The OTO was originally founded sometime between 1895 and 1900, by two high ranking German Freemasons, Karl Kellner and Theodor Ruess. The OTO had formed from the Masonic Rites Of memphis and the Miraim, which had in turn been founded by one John Yarker. Yarker had authorized the foundation of a German lodge of this Masonic Rite by contact with Kellner, Ruess and one Dr. Franz Hartman. Hartman was a prominent occultist who had started the german Theosophical Society in 1896, and was linked with various neo-Rosicrucian orders.
The official OTO history claimed that's it's Tantric, or sexual magic practices had been given to it's founders by three eastern adepts. Furthermore that these doctrines were the key which opens all the secrets of Freemasonry, as well as all other religions. Kellner died in 1905 leaving the leadership in the hands of Ruess. Within a short time branches of the order were founded outside of Germany in France, England and Scandinavia. What is known about the background of Ruess is almost archetypal of the many personalities who become leaders of such occult societies.
As a young man he was reputed to have worked as a spy for the Prussian Secret Service. He relocated to London where his mission was to spy on socialist German exiles. He became a member of the Socialist League, whose members included Fredrich Engels and Utopian socialist William Morris. He was eventually exposed and forced to resign from the group.
There were also some connections between the OTO and the Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn, whose members included such notables as W.B. Yeats, Macgregor Mathers and other notable personages. One other member of The Golden Dawn was Aleister Crowley, who was to become the OTO leader in England. Crowley however reputedly revealed the inner secrets of the OTO in his writings in ' The Book Of Lies ', which Ruess claimed were coded descriptions of various magico / mystical sexual- rites Crowley replied to Ruess's charges by claiming that the rituals he had described in his book had originated in documents which had once belonged to Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Bavarian Illuminati. Ruess accepted Crowley's defense, and all was apparently forgiven.
Crowley's checkered career has been exhaustively chronicled in many books and articles, as well as by Crowley himself in " The Confessions Of Aleister Crowley ", a 900-plus page volume of vanity, arrogance, exaggeration and Satanic philosophy.
Crowley was given to exploiting weak-willed and troubled individuals for his financial aggrandizement and sexual gratification. His last years were spent in a seedy-English boarding house, and as a victim of a double addiction to heroin and morphine. An odd fate for one who had dubbed himself " The Great Beast 666 " and had entertained aristocratic and elitist pretensions throughout his life. Crowley was however not without talents; as a writer, a mountaineer,a poet and investigator of the arcane - but despite his various aptitudes the totality of his life seemed an ignoble and tragic waste.
The full Chronicle of Crowley is beyond the scope of this article, but sometime after the turn of the century he founded several lodges of the OTO group in the U.S.. Leadership was initially sporadic and changed often. Eventually John Whitesides Parsons, a physical scientist who played a major role in founding the aero-space department at Cal Tech University, was conferred with the leadership of the California OTO lodge.
Eventually, John Whiteside Parsons,a physical scientist who played a major role in founding the Aero-Space Department at Cal-Tech University, was conferred the leadership of the California Lodge of the OTO. Parsons, a native of California, born in 1914, became connected with a fledgling young Sci-Fi writer, L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard moved in with Parsons, eventually absconding with his wife Maggie. L.. Ron, with Maggies complicity used a large portion of Parsons savings account in purchasing a new yacht. Though understandably angered and upset, Parsons somehow forgave them both their transgressions.
Hubbard himself went on to become a fairly successful Sci-Fi writer and eventually founded the psychoanalytical cult know as Scientology. After Crowley's death, california remained the mecca of his followers activities. Parson continued on with the Agape Lodge until his rather dramatic death in 1952, when he was blown-up in his garage laboratory after accidentally fumbling a case of mercuric fulminate while in the process of hose moving. An interesting side note is that Parsons had a leading role in perfecting the rocket fuel which lead to the first successful lunar landing, and much of the other space exploration of our age. In tribute to his contribution, a lunar crater ( appropriately situated on the dark side of the moon ) was named after him. It can be found approximately at a longitude of 168 degrees, and a latitude of 370 degrees.
Following Parsons abrupt exit, another Crowley stalwart, Karl Germer, became the international head of the OTO, as well as inheriting the copyrights to Crowley's numerous books. Germer was responsible for publishing many of Crowley's out of print and unpublished books. Along with the publishing rights came the inheritance of Crowley's ashes. Eventually leadership of the OTO went to another German national, Herr Metzger.
Another Crowley follower was gerald Gardner, the man most responsible for the modern emergence of Witchcraft or Wicca ( as many of it's present day adherents prefer to call it. Gardner himself had been a fourth-degree initiate of the OTO.
Still another Crowleyan organization ( that was not regarded as orthodox by the official OTO ) was " The Great Brotherhood Of God ", and occult fraternity which owed it's existence to the activities of C.F. Russel, an ex-naval officer who had once resided at Crowley's Thelema Abbey in Cefalu, Italy. This group had originally begun as the Coronzon Club, a society whose advertisements had begun to appear in the occult press as early as the 1930s.
The Choronzon club, named after one of Crowley's devils whom he had invoked in the Algerian desert, changed it's name to the Great Brotherhood of God in the 1930s. They combined a melding of Oto and Golden Dawn rituals, many which were inverted by Russell. Russell was reputed to have been a dabbler in Satanism. Most of the groups teachings and practices were concerned with sexual magik, similar to tantrik practices. Louis T. Culling, a former astrologer and performer on the electric organ published the techniques and practices of he group in two books ' The complete Magik Curriculum of the Secret Order G.B.G." and in ' A manual Of Sex Magik '. Both books had a surprisingly wide sale and influenced other groups and individuals, most them young, who organized under Mr. Culling's leadership, or formed their own groups to study Sex-Magik'. Between 1969 and 1971 the G.B. G. enjoyed a resurgence in activity.
Also during this same period another un-orthodox Crowleyan group became active in the U.S. This was the so-called ' Solar-Lodge of the OTO '. A group led by Georgiana ( jean ) Brayton, the wife of a University of California professor of philosophy. Jean Brayton was born in 1921, and had a long-lasting interest in the occult. At about forty-years old she discovered the writings of Crowley and fell under their influence to such an extent that she began to practice his rituals with a particular fixation upon their darker aspects, which she began to emulate.
The leadership of the Solar-Lodge was apparently eager to gain recruits among the young. In pursuit of that goal they opened ' The Eye Of Horus' bookstore at 947 West Jefferson Boulevard, in close proximity to the university of Southern California campus. It was a small shop, but it's decoration in red and yellow, and it's stylized Egyptian eye in a triangle painted on the outside, attracted a brisk walk-in trade. Some who frequented the store were eventually recruited into the lodge. Before too long the group grew to about fifty members, the majority young and impressionable, but also some older people with respectable professions and jobs. These included Jerry Kay, the art director of the popular cult-film "easy Rider'. and others connected with the arts and entertainment world.
Brayton was reputed to cultivate relationships with dental students, making money off of them through loan-sharking; lending small amounts of cash at exorbitant interest rates and using their easy accessibility to drugs Ed Saunders, former member of the rock band 'The Fugs ' and author of ' The Family' , a book which chronicles the Manson Family and Tate La Bianca murders, claims to have carried out extensive investigation into the activities of the Solar Lodge. Among is alleged charges were the groups use of almost every known form of psychedelic drugs in an effort to expand the consciousness of the initiates. These included marijuana, LSD, demerol, scopolamine, datura, jimson weed, ether and belladonna. Aside from their conscious expanding properties, Brayton allegedly used many of these drugs to gain dominance over them and programming them. Further, for the sake of extracting information for possible blackmail purposes.
The stories of self-mutilation, child abuse, chicken sacrifices, and drug use abound. At one of her properties at 1251 West Thirteenth street in L.A., Charles Manson and his family were reputed to have been frequent visitors.
The lodge also owned a ranch about four miles from the Colorado River where it conducted it's more secret rituals. On june 10th, 1969 a fire broke out on the ranch. This single event was to prove the demise of the Solar Lodge.
The fire was supposedly started by a six year old son of one of the lodges members Beverly Gibbons. In addition to the main building being burned down a number of animals where also burnt alive in the fire, as well as a number of rare Crowley manuscripts. The boy had his finger-tips burnt with matches and was afterwards placed in a wooden crate in the blistering summer sun of 110 degrees.
Two men who had visited the ranch with the intention of purchasing some horses noticed the child lying in the crate, and outraged telephoned the police. Police raided the ranch and eleven of the lodge members were arrested. Further investigation uncovered the body of a man at first believed to have been murdered, but forensic exams conducted later proved he had died from an overdose of drugs, most probably jimson-weed tea imbibed not doubt, during a cult ritual.
By November 1969 all eleven members of the lodge arrested that June were convicted of felony child abuse charges. Warrants were issued for Jean Brayton and several other high-ranking members of the group who had not been present at the ranch. They fled prosecution and were thought to be hiding-out in Mexico where the lodge supposedly owned property.
Crowley's legacy also began to find it's way into popular culture and entertainment as well. In Robert Heinlein's ' Stranger In A Strange Land ' and in other si-fi and fantasy fiction. The beattles put his photo among the collage of famous on their 'Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band' ' LP cover, as " one of the people we like ". Jimmy Page, lead guitarist of the popular Led Zeppelin rock-band bought a Scottish manor, Buskin House, where Crowley had once lived, which overlooks the brooding waters of Loch Ness. Page also purchased Crowley's ceremonial robe as well. Much of Led Zepplin's early music was infused with occult and Satanic subject matter. During this same period various rock groups such as H.P. Lovecraft, King Crimson and Funkadelic used music with occult and Satanic subject matter.
Do what thou wilt - is the whole of the law " Crowley's famous adage, found ready acceptance in a growing atmosphere of a-morality and nihilism. The evil Crowley had spent most of his life promoting had begun to bear it's poisoned fruit.
4 - " Lex Talionis " - Anton LaVey
On April 30th ( Wulpurgisnacht - 1966, Anton LaVey, the father of modern Satanism, founded his Church Of Satan in San Francisco, California. The Church of Satan was the outgrowth of a small grouping of friends and students with an interest in the occult and paranormal, who formed around LaVey. Among this group were underground filmaker Kenneth Anger and novelist Steven Schneck. So, in 1966 LaVey declared the dawn of the Satanic age and set-up shop in his ' Black House ' ( a Victorian building which had formerly been a speakeasy and brothel.) Thus, the church of Satan became a legally incorporated religious organization, with LeVay as it's high priest and his, then, wife, Diane as high priestess.
Through a series of astute public relations moves The Church Of Satan became Internationally known almost overnight. It began to draw celebrity status in the attraction LaVey and his organization seemed to elicit from such show-biz personalities as singer Barbara McNair and Sammy Davis Jr.. Around this time LaVey conferred an honorary priesthood upon actor Keenan Wynn. Most the Hollywood notables,however, wished to keep their affiliations with the Church secret. Buxom blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield felt no such reluctance.
Most of the activities, personalities and the chronicling of events of this period of LaVey's church have been covered adequately in numerous books and articles. Likewise with LaVey's own background as a organist, circus performer and so forth. I will instead attempt to deal with the theology or philosophy of LaVey and his creation.
Many of the early applicants were logically attracted to COS based upon the prospects of sex, naughtiness and an abundance of females in the group. Such however was not the modus operandi of the Church. Aside from the nude woman employed as an altar-piece, all else was in the minds eye of the aspirant.
Not only was The Church Of Satan not a vehicle for personal lusts, LaVey went so far as to state that the ' Devil ' or ' Satan ', was not a literal deity, but merely a symbolic metaphor for that which the Christian religion called sin, and which were in LaVey's estimation, nothing more than the healthy and instinctual urges of mankind.
LaVey's teachings can be more accurately described as philosophic and psychological rather than religious. The outward trappings and rituals can be somewhat misleading, in so much as they are not some simple reversal of Christian practices, as was described earlier in this article in reference to classic Satanism. The Church Of satan, explains LaVey, was designed to fill the void between religion and psychiatry, meeting man's inherent need to ritualize, while at the same time providing an honest and rational set of beliefs upon which to base one's life. Likewise his basic approach to magik is not really of the Crowleyite vintage. He has never engaged in extravagant claims on a par with Crowley. His is essentially the magic of knowing and awareness. Knowing how to manipulate one's enviormental factors by way of analyzing people, places and things; saying the right thing at the right time. Techniques, as it were, for gaining ones material and emotional goals.
Satan in the LaVey philosophy is commensurate with man's primal instincts and urges, rather than in a super-natural sense. It is more a philosophy of Social Darwinism coupled with various dictums of taste in music, cinema, and art.
Throughout the early 1970s LaVey's church continued to grow. By 1973 many Grottoes ( as local chapters were called ) were active in many cities in the U.S. and Canada. Most of those attracted to the Church of Satan were no doubt little different form those attracted to elitist and occult societies in general. For those who find their worth within such groups, it often becomes a surrogate reality that supplants th larger mundane world around them. Achievements become based upon titles and pecking order games and controversies create a rich emotional and social life.. These things in turn set the stage for rivalries, animosities and schisms with the larger body or group. Lavey's Church of Satan was to be no exception to this human all too human factor.
Two former Detroit Michigan members, Michael Grumbowski and John Amend founded two splinter groups out of the Church of satan. The Order of the Black Ram ( OBR ) and The Shrine Of The Little Mother. Both endeavored to combine Satanism with quasi-mystical ideas of Aryan racial superiority. The " Shrine " took a more radical departure from it's parent groups doctrines. They employed sacrifices of chickens as a part of their rituals. It is alleged that the late James Madole, founder and leader of the neo-fascist National Renaissance Party attempted to establish ties with the OBR. He also used Church Of satan materials in his occult study units adjacent to his political objectives.
Other politically extreme rightists have seen an ally in LaVey and his Church. LaVey however has distanced himself from most of them and blunted their advances with sarcasm and invective for the most part.
Other schisms have occurred over the years, but few of them have had much longevity. One of the few exceptions has been that of the temple of Set founded and led by Michael Aquino and his wife Lillith Sinclair.
After returning from military duty in Vietnam in 1971, Aquino was ordained into the priesthood of the Church of Satan. Aquino first met LaVey while attending one of LaVey's lectures. He was a U.S. Army intelligence officer specializing in psychological warfare. Shortly after encountering LaVey he and his first wife both joined the Church Of satan. He organized a Grotto in Kentucky, where he was stationed at the time. He proceeded to give lectures on Satanism at the University of Louisville and eventually built up his group to about a dozen followers who regularly attended rituals at his home.
Being a prolific writer, Aquino became a major contributor to the church's official publication of the time, The Cloven Hoof. LaVey was obviously so impressed with Aquino that he promoted him to the rank of Magister IV, one rank below LaVey himself. LaVey commissioned Aquino to author a series of rituals based on the works of horror story writer H.P. Lovecraft. Traditionalist elements criticized these and other rituals invoking gods that did not exist. LaVey countered this by saying that " The purpose of ritual is to invoke emotion. Because there are virtually no satanic rites over one- hundred years old that elicit sufficient response from today's practitioners, if the rites are presented in their original form. LaVey stated further that these critics had missed the point" All gods are fictitious."
Other rituals with similar t sources of inspiration were authored by La Vey from H.G. Wells " The Island Of Dr. Moreau " and Fritz Lang's " Metropolis ".But, in the final analysis, this is not Satanism in the classic Miltonian or Biblical sense, it is instead performance art, intended to create an atmosphere or to entertain. Add to this LaVey's essentially Libertarian philosophy and we are left with something like Aynn Rand's Virtue of Selfishness clothed in Gothic costumes and stage props.LaVey continues to be a personality of sorts doing occasional interviews articles and recordings. Perhaps his greatest significance has been in the overall effect his writings and pronouncements have had upon more independent and obscure individuals and groups who have borrowed from him in organizing their own thoughts and activities.
By 1972, a personal and philosophical rift had occurred between LaVey and his understudy Michael Aquino.
On the eve of the North Solstice, June 21st, 1975, Aquino performed a " magical working " and claimed that Satan appeared to him in the guise of Set, the oryx-headed god of death and destruction, of which Aquino claims is the earliest manifestation of the Christian devil, dating back to 3400 B,C.E..
The outcome, of course, was a document " The Book Of The Coming Forth By Night ", in which Set, according to Aquino, declared " The Aeon Of Set ". The beginning of this Aeon is then traced to 1904, when Set appeared to Aleister Crowley in Cairo, Egypt, in the image of his guardian angel, Aiwass, who declared Crowley the herald of the dawning of the age of Horus. LaVey, according to Aquino, ushered in the the age of Satan, which was but an intermediate stage symbolizing indulgence and was for the purpose of preparing the way for the Aeon of Set, which would become a age of enlightenment.
In true megalomaniac fashion, Aquino was anointed worldwide leader for the new age, as well as being consecrated by Set, as the second incarnation of the Beast 666 ( as prophecised by Crowley in The Book Of The Law.
Aquino accepted this heavy burden from the God ( obviously feeling it was an offer he couldn't refuse.) As a token of his intentions he cut his hair into a widows peak, plucked out his eye-brows and had the numerals 666 tattooed under his scalp An inverted pentagram ( originally a Pythagorian symbol for Phi or the golden ratio ) became the groups symbol. Grottoes became Pylons and degrees similar to the Golden Dawn were adopted. Aquino became Ipssimus, and Lilith Sinclair became Magus. A committee of nine composed of former Church Of Satan Priests was given the power of administrative affairs. The primary difference between The temple of set and The Church Of satan, was that Set, or Satan, was believed in as a literal reality. Absent from this new world leader was any taint of humor. Aquinos adventures in wonderland had begun.
Aquino and the Temple of Set mark a new shift in emphasis in Satanic theology. The appropriation of a deity completely divorced from the Judeo-Christian complex. Instead of the classic Devil or Satan we are now introduced to the Egyptian God of the underworld, Set. others, in time, would appropriate the dark deities of other mythos. For many Loki, the trickster of the Norse pantheon has supplanted Satan. This is of course a further move away from the Biblical "bad guy " Satan. And Ragnorok elbows out the Apocalypse. At this stage the lines between Teutonic tribal religion and Satanism begin to blur. But this is neither the Satan of the Bible or Milton' Paradise Lost. This is no longer the Satan of the French Decadents, which we discussed and dissected earlier in this article.
But there was one group that did fulfill all the attributes of a true Satanic metaphysical rebellion. It was largely independent of these other groups, and it did formulate a truly Satanic theology coupled with a true apocalyptian vision. It was The Process, Church Of The Final Judgement. It is within the corpus of their beliefs that we must look to find a true compounding and melding of Christian / Satanic theology.
Article first appeared
in EsoTerra #6, 1996