Profile: The Church of Satan

Founded:   on April 30th, 1966, by Anton Lavey (d. 1997) in San Francisco, California.

Current Organization:   Headed by High Priestess Blanche Barton, Lavey's former lover. Beneath her is the "the Council of Nine and the Order of the Trapezoid" which assist in governing the individual assemblies, called "grottos" in various cities.

Description:  Lavey spent much of his life as a organist, playing for circuses, carnivals, and theaters. He apparently always had a fascination with occultism. However, what is not understood by most is that Lavey's writings, and by extension, the Church of Satan, do not espouse belief in an individual named "Satan". Rather, they teach that "Satan" is merely the personification of the carnal self, which has been unduly repressed by religion for thousands of years. Thus, Satanism is about the unfettering of one's base desires, and gratifying all of them guilt-free. The ritual and spells typically are merely symbolic, in their opinion, of each individual achieving this new liberation. After Lavey's death in 1997, a number of grotto's spun off to form independent networks of Satanists, including the Temple of Set, and First Church of Satan.

Official Website:  www.churchofsatan.com . An offshoot from the original church (First Church of Satan, Salem, MA) can be found at www.churchofsatan.org . Their primary scriptures are Lavey's "Satanic Bible".

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