Submission Date

7-22-2016

Document Type

Paper

Department

Anthropology

Faculty Mentor

Katharine Davis

Comments

Presented during the 18th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 22, 2016 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

In 1966 Anton Szandor LaVey founded the Church of Satan (CoS) in California, and by 1969 published The Satanic Bible (1969). While many believe that the use of magic has declined in the Western world, LaVeyan Satanism according to The Satanic Bible actively includes magic while embracing rationalist philosophy. Satanism is an understudied New Religious Movement (NRM) and little is understood about its core tenets and practices. This paper uses content analysis of The Satanic Bible to understand how LaVey originally presents the workings of Satanic magic to his Western audience. Conclusions refer to the import of magic to the LaVeyan-Satanist Ideal Type, an ideal type described throughout the text. The text reveals that for the LaVeyan-Satanist Ideal Type, (1) Satanic magical practice requires Satanic belief, (2) doing Satanic magic provides the practitioner with meaning, and (3) that such meaning is experienced even with non-ritual magic. These findings show that magic can persist in an empirical society and may serve as the best means to fulfill certain needs of its practitioners.

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