For most of my existence I have been greatly influenced by the lives and ideas of two men: Aleister Crowley; the legendary English Magus known as The Beast 666, and Anton LaVey; founder of the world renowned Church of Satan. Crowley fashioned a "religion" called Thelema, a Greek word meaning Will, and LaVey established a church that expounds the philosophy of Satanism. I have always apprehended an intimate link between the philosophies of these two men, and have perceived that their core exoteric beliefs are essentially the same. While Crowley's work does concentrate on more esoteric matters--such as meditation, ritual, qabalah, yoga and visualization--the doctrines at the heart of both men are in agreement; and both closely align themselves with the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, whose ethos of an anti-egalitarian, elitist, aristocratic race of Supermen impacted both Crowley and LaVey in very important ways.
While LaVey saw very little that was good or useful in Crowley's work on magic and mysticism, he nonetheless had a deep interest in Analytical Psychologist Carl Jung's work. As I have shown in a previous essay ("Crowley, Sumeria and the Fallen Angels") the astral encounters and ritual magic of Crowley fit very neatly into the active imagination concepts and practices of Jung; namely, the ego sinking into the primordial images of the unconscious and experiencing the archetypes that reside there, thereby gaining power and insight for the individual. Despite this resonance, Crowley's Thelema and LaVey's Satanism (and their acolytes) have long been at odds with one another. But I believe that the seemingly irreconcilable can be conjoined.
One of the main objections that the creeds of Thelema and Satanism have raised against each other appears to rest on the subject of the ego and its importance, or lack thereof. The Crowley camp believes that LaVey put too much emphasis on the ego, and the LaVey camp believes that Crowley did not insist on the importance of the ego enough. Contrary to both views, I intend to illustrate that Crowley's own words demonstrate that he believed the individual ego was very important, provided that it represented the True Will of that individual (after the false beliefs of church, religion and society had been annihilated). LaVey believed the same.
Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey were both larger-than-life figures whose ideas have profoundly shaped many who have come in their wake. There is much to be said about both men's philosophies and about the proper balance between the two; but rather than merely comment upon these men's ideas, I shall let them speak for themselves. By using quotations from both thinkers, in the following passages I will demonstrate that the difference in the philosophies put forth by Crowley and LaVey is only a matter of degree; how much farther towards the esoteric or the exoteric one is willing to go. The following are a series of quotes intended to illustrate the abundant similarities within the philosophies of both men:
"These are dead, these fellows; they feel not. We are not for the poor and sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk.
Those who sorrow are not real people at all, not 'stars'-for the time being. The fact of their being 'poor and sad' proves them to be 'shadows,' who 'pass and are done.' The 'lords of the earth' are those who are doing their Will."
(The Law is for All, New Falcon, pg 101)
"We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world.
There is a good deal of the Nietzschean standpoint in this verse. It is the evolutionary and natural view. Of what use is it to perpetuate the misery of tuberculosis, and such diseases, as we now do? Nature's way is to weed out the weak. This is the merciful way, too. At present all the strong are being damaged, and their progress hindered by the dead weight of the weak limbs and the missing limbs, the diseased limbs and the atrophied limbs. The Christians to the Lions! Let the weak and wry productions go back into the melting pot, as is done with flawed steel casings."
(The Law is for All, pg 102)
"My eyes are as a pinnacle that views the scattered multitudes of fools who grope for things celestial; who bow and scrape to wan and sallow gods, the spawn of shallow minded men, forsaking life terrestrial while creeping to their graves. I gaze upon the massive hoards that suffocate, like Peter's fish pulled from the lake of life's sweet waters. To perish in Heaven's foul vapors shall be their doom! The fate of fools is justice!
"I am the tempter of life that lurks in every breast and belly; a vibrant, torpid cavern, nectar laden, with sweetest pleasures beckoning. I am a thrusting rod with head of iron, drawing to me myriad nymphs, tumescent in their craving! I am rampant carnal joy, an agent born of ecstasy's mad flailing."
(The Satanic Rituals, Avon, pg 146-147)
LaVey [quoting from Ragnar Redbeard's social Darwinist tome, Might Is Right]
"In this arid wilderness of steel and stone I raise up my voice that you may hear. To the East and to the West I beckon. To the North and to the South I show a sign proclaiming: Death to the weakling, wealth to the strong!"
(The Satanic Bible, Avon, pg 30)
"Mercy let be off: damn them who pity! Kill and torture; spare not; be upon them!
An end to the humanitarian mawkishness which is destroying the human race by the deliberate artificial protection of the unfit.
What has been the net result of our fine 'Christian' phrases? In the good old days there was some sort of natural selection; brains and stamina were necessary to survival. The race, as such, consequently improved. But we thought we knew oh! so much better, and we had 'Christ's Law' and other slush. So the unfit crowded and contaminated the fit, until the Earth herself grew nauseated with the mess.
Should we not rather breed humanity for quality by killing off any tainted stock, as we do with other cattle, and exterminating the vermin which infect it?"
(The Law is for All, pg 15)
"Now it is the higher man's role to produce the children of the future. Quality is now more important than quantity. One cherished child who can create will be more important then ten who can produce-or fifty who can believe.
(The Secret Life of a Satanist, Feral House, pg 212)
"People don't realize they take their lives in their hands when they talk to me about 'helping' the starving and the downtrodden and homeless-my fellow man!" says LaVey. "I consider that a most ignoble endeavor. The only way I would like to 'help' the great majority of people is the same way Carl Panzram 'reformed' people who tried to reform him. It would be most merciful to help them by relieving them of the life they seem to hate so much. People should be happy I'm not a humanitarian-or I'd probably be the most diabolical mass murderer the world has ever known."
(The Secret Life of a Satanist, pg 133)
"We have here a picture of the average man, of a fool. He has no will of his own, is all things to all men, is void, a repeater of words of whose sense he knows nought, a drifter, both idle and violent, compact partly of fierce passions that burn up both himself and the other, but mostly of inert and characterless nonentity, with a little heaviness, dullness, and stupefaction for his only positive qualities.
Such are the 'fools' whom we despise. The man of Thelema is vertebrate, organized, purposeful, steady, self-controlled, virile; he uses the air as the food of his blood; so also, were he deprived of fools he could not live. We need our atmosphere, after all; it is only when the fools become violent madmen that we need our cloak of silence to wrap us, and our staff to stay us as we ascend our mountain-ridge; and it is only if we go down into the darkness of mines to dig us treasure of the earth that we need fear to choke on their poisonous breath."
(The Law is for All, pg 183)
"The whole concept, the entire concept of equality is simply one of wishful thinking or flight of fancy that, very much like the concept of reincarnation, will allow the lowest to feel that they are equal to the highest. And the concept of equality, with that in mind, is designed to keep the lowest satisfied, to serve as pap, or to serve as a kind of cosmetic indulgence or enticement to the lowest so that they, too, can feel that they are of the same stuff as the highest."
(ANSWER Me! The First Three, AK Press, pg 9)
But the keen and the proud, the royal and the lofty; ye are brothers! 'the keen': these are the men whose Will is as a sword sharp and straight, tempered and ground and polished its flawless steel; with a Wrist and an Eye behind it.
'the proud': these are the men who know themselves to be stars, and bend the knee to none. True pride prevents a man from doing aught unworthy of himself.
'the royal': these are the men whose nature is kingly, the men who 'can.' They know themselves born rulers, whether their halidom be Art, or Science, or aught else so ever."
'the lofty': these are the men who, being themselves high-hearted, endure not any baseness."
(The Law is for All, pg 183-184)
"The twilight is done. A glow of new light is borne out of the night and Lucifer is risen, once more to proclaim: 'This is the age of Satan! Satan rules the earth!' The gods of the unjust are dead. This is the morning of magic, and undefiled wisdom. The flesh prevaileth and a great Church shall be builded, consecrated in its name. No longer shall man's salvation be dependent on his self-denial. And it will be known that the world of the flesh and the living shall be the greatest preparation for any and all eternal delights!"
(The Satanic Bible, pg 23-24)
"As brothers fight ye!
Fight! Fight like gentlemen, without malice, because fighting is the best game in the world, and love the second best."
(The Law is for All, pg 184)
"Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek!"
(The Satanic Bible, pg 25)
"Despise all cowards; professional soldiers who dare not to fight, but play; all fools despise!
To fight is the right and duty of every male, as of every woman to rejoice in his strength and to honour and perpetuate it by her love. My primary objection to Christianity is 'gentle Jesus, meek and mild,' the pacifist, the conscientious objector, the Tolstoyan, the 'passive resister.' When the Kaiser fled, and the Germans surrendered their fleet, they abandoned Nietzsche for Jesus."
(The Law is for All, pg 181)
"The man who denounces life merely defines himself as the man who is unequal to it. The brave man rejoices in giving and taking hard knocks, and the brave man is joyous. The Scandinavian idea of Valhalla may be primitive, but it is manly. A heaven of popular concert, like the Christian; of unconscious repose, like the Buddhist; or even of sensual enjoyment, like the Moslem, excites his nausea and contempt. He understands that the only joy worth while is the joy of continual victory, and victory itself would become as tame as croquet if it were not spiced by equally continual defeat."
(Magick Without Tears, pg 78)
LaVey (quoting Redbeard):
"'Love one another' it has been said is the supreme law, but what power made it so? Upon what rational authority does the gospel of love rest? Why should I not hate mine enemies-if I 'love' them does that not place me at their mercy? Is it natural for enemies to do good unto each other-and what is good? Can the torn and bloody victim 'love' the blood-splashed jaws that rend him limb from limb? Are we not all predatory animals by instinct? If humans ceased wholly from preying upon each other, could they continue to exist?
Love your enemies and do good to them that hate and use you-is this not the despicable philosophy of the spaniel that rolls upon its back when kicked? Hate your enemies with a whole heart, and if a man smite you on one cheek, smash him on the other!; smite him hip and thigh, for self-preservation is the highest law! He who turns the other cheek is a cowardly dog!"
(The Satanic Bible, pg 32-33)
"Now a curse upon Because and his kin! May Because be accursed for ever! If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought. If power asks why, then is power weakness.
This is against these intellectuals aforesaid. There are no 'standards of right.' Ethics are balderdash. Each star must go on its own orbit. To hell with 'moral principal', there is no such thing; that is herd delusion, and makes men cattle. Do not listen to the rational explanation of How Right It All Is, in the newspapers."
(The Law is for All, pg 199-200)
LaVey (quoting Redbeard):
"No creed must be accepted upon authority of a 'divine' nature. Religions must be put to the question. No moral dogma must be taken for granted-no standard of measurement deified. There is nothing inherently sacred about moral codes. Like the wooden idols of long ago, they are the work of human hands, and what man has made, man can destroy!"
(The Satanic Bible, pg 31)
"My slant is that I'm afraid I just have to parrot Nietzsche and go beyond good and evil. I mean, only a fool is going to believe in absolute good or absolute evil. There are intrinsically rotten things that people can do that violate the Darwinian law of survival, where they're just crying out to be destroyed; but that doesn't mean it's good and evil."
(Seconds, Anton LaVey interview by Boyd Rice, #45, pg 66)
"We should recognize the fact that the vast majority of human beings have no ambition in life beyond mere ease and animal happiness. We should allow these people to fulfill their destinies without interference. We should give every opportunity to the ambitious, and thereby establish a class of morally and intellectually superior men and women. We should have no compunction in utilizing the natural qualities of the bulk of mankind. We do not insist on trying to train sheep to hunt foxes or lecture on history; we look after their physical well being, and enjoy their wool and mutton. In this way we will have a contented class of slaves who will accept the conditions of existence as they really are, and enjoy life with the quiet wisdom of cattle. It is our duty to see to it that this class of people lack for nothing."
(The Law is for All, pg 131)
"Stratification is the point on which all the others ultimately rest. There can be no more 'equality' for all-it only translates to 'mediocrity' and supports the weak at the expense of the strong. Water must be allowed to seek its own level without interference from apologists. No one should be protected from the effects of his own stupidity.
(The Secret Life of a Satanist, pg 210)
"That's the strength of a forum like Satanism. We aren't against Jews, Blacks, Whites…We refuse to compromise our standards to allow for stupidity and laziness! They have to be expected to come up to our standards rather then us lowering hurdles to suit them. If they can't, they should be told, probably for the first time in their lives, 'You know what? You're stupid! You're inferior!' instead of being protected from the effects of their incompetence."
(The Secret Life of a Satanist, pg 214)
"It has been said by some that the Law of Thelema appeals only to the elite of humanity. No doubt there is much in that assertion, that only the highest can take full advantage of the extraordinary opportunities which it offers. At the same time, 'the Law is for all.' Each in his degree, every man may learn to realize the nature of his own being, and to develop it in freedom."
(Magick Without Tears, New Falcon, pg 89)
"One thing stands sure: the standards, philosophy and practices set forth on these pages are those employed by the most self-realized and powerful humans on earth. In the secret thoughts of each man and woman, still motivated by sound and unclouded minds, resides the potential of the Satanist, as always has been."
(The Satanic Bible, pg 104-105)
"The Book (Crowley's Book of the Law) announces a new dichotomy in human society; there is the master and there is the slave; the noble and the serf; the 'lone wolf' and the herd. The 'Master' roughly denotes the able, the adventurous, welcoming responsibility. The 'slave': his motto is "Safety first," with all that this implies. Race, birth, breeding, etc. are important but not absolutely essential factors. Nietzsche may be regarded as one of our prophets; to a much less extent, deGobineau. Hitler's 'Herrenvolk' is a not too dissimilar idea; but there is no volk about it; and if there were, it would certainly not be the routine-loving, uniform-obsessed, law abiding, refuge-seeking German; the Briton, especially the Celt, a natural anarchist, is much nearer the mark."
(Magick Without Tears, pg 303)
"There is only one solution: to pick out the diamonds from the clay, cut them, polish them, and set them as they deserve. Attempt no idiotic experiments with the muck of the mine! You will observe that I am advocating an aristocratic revolution. And so I am!"
(Magick Without Tears, pg 438)
"I entirely agree with Nietzsche that Christianity is the formula of the servile state; true aristocracy and true democracy are equally its enemies. In my ideal state everyone is respected for what he is. There will always be slaves, and the slave is defined as he who acquiesces in being a slave."
(The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, Penguin, pg 539)
"Crowley explained that 'the revival of true Aristocracy' had been 'my deepest idea all my life…We must first of all have a sound physical stock to pick out rulers from.'"
(Do What Thou Wilt by L. Sutin, pg 393)
"There are supermen and supermen-some are more superior than others. That's why there's no way Satanism can be egalitarian. That's what bothers people who come into it. If I make someone a priest it's because of them; they impress me as being qualified. It's not what they've studied; it's what they've accomplished in the real world." ( From Book of Lies, "Anton LaVey: A Fireside Chat with the Black Pope," Disinformation, pg 280)
"I am alone: there is no God where I am.
This refers to the spiritual experience of identity. When one realizes one's Truth there is no room for any other conception. It also means that the God-idea must go with other relics of the Fear born of Ignorance into the limbo of savagery. I speak of the Idea of God as generally understood, God being 'something not ourselves, that makes for righteousness.' Why this ingrained conviction that self is unrighteous? It is the heritage of the whip, the brand of the born slave. Incidentally, we cannot allow people who believe in this 'God;' they are troglodytes, as dangerous to society as any other thieves and murderers. The Christians to the Lions!"
(The Law is for All, pg 112-113)
LaVey (quoting Redbeard):
"Say unto thine own heart, 'I am mine own redeemer."
(The Satanic Bible, pg 33)
"I have already indicated the philosophical scope of The Book of the Law… it reconciles an impersonal and infinite interpretation of the Cosmos with an Egocentric and practical view."
(Magick, Weiser, pg 701)
"Selfishness? I am glad to find you worrying that bone, for it has plenty of meat, none of your Chilled Argentine or Canterbury lamb. It is a pelvis, what's more; for in a way the whole structure of the ethics of Thelema is founded upon it."
(Magick Without Tears, pg 292)
"I thought it also a point of honesty not to pretend to be 'better' then I was. I would avoid concealing my faults and foibles. I would have no one accept me on false pretences. I would not compromise with conventionality; even in cases where as an ordinary man of the world, it would have been natural to do so."
(The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, pg 582)
"I always felt that if you sleep on the floor, you never have to worry about falling out of bed. And when you get yourself in this exalted position of self-righteousness, then it's very easy to drop down a notch into what could be called degradation or disfavor."
(ANSWER Me! The First Three, pg 15)
"In this connection there was also the point that I was anxious to prove that spiritual progress did not depend on religious or moral codes, but was like any other science. Magick would yield its secrets to the infidel and the libertine, just as one does not have to be a churchwarden in order to discover a new kind of orchid."
(The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, pg 583)
"Now we're getting into Rasputin's concept that the best way to deal with temptation is to yield to it, and that the highest form of spirituality is the carnal, and this is the seat of all spirituality. I believe that too. I believe that in yoga, the kundalini concepts, the whole idea of the sensual or the carnal, is the closest to a foundation of what, in an ephemeral or abstract state, would be spirituality; and if it can simply be defined as bedrock or a foundation in carnality, or through carnality, then it can surface in a much purer form."
(The Birth of Tragedy, "The God Issue, Anton LaVey interview" by Eugene Robinson)
"When you have proved that God is merely a name for the sex instinct, it appears to me not far to the perception that the sex instinct is God."
(The Eye in the Triangle, Falcon, pg 417)
"Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will!"
(The Law is for All, pg 48)
"We are tired of denying ourselves the pleasures of life which we deserve. Today, as always, man needs to enjoy himself here and now, instead of waiting for his rewards in heaven. So why not have a religion based on indulgence? Certainly it is consistent with the nature of the beast. We are no longer supplicating weaklings trembling before an unmerciful 'God' who cares not whether we live or die. We are self-respecting, prideful people-we are Satanists!
(The Satanic Bible, pg 54)
LaVey (quoting Redbeard):
"Life is the great indulgence-death the great abstinence. Therefore, make the most of life-HERE AND NOW!"
(The Satanic Bible, pg 33)
"Satanism encourages its followers to indulge in their natural desires. Only by so doing can you be a completely satisfied person with no frustrations which can be harmful to yourself and others around you. Therefore, the most simplistic description of the Satanic belief is: INDULGENCE INSTEAD OF ABSTINANCE."
(The Satanic Bible, pg 810)
"What is more brutal than to stunt natural growth or to deform it? What is more absurd than to seek to interpret this (sexuality) holy instinct as a gross animal act, to separate it from the spiritual enthusiasm without which it is so stupid as not even satisfactory to the persons concerned?
The sexual act is a sacrament of Will. To profane it is the great offense. All true expression of it is lawful; all suppression or distortion is contrary to the Law of Liberty."
(The Law is for All, pg 42)
Healthy human beings who innocently obey instinct are no more liable to cause trouble than other animals; sex-calamities are artificial creations of savage superstition. Chained mastiffs become dangerous; repressive laws breed revolutionaries.
Sex is the sacred song of the soul; sex is the sanctuary of Self.
The sexual nature of a man is his most intense expression of himself; his sub-consciousness endeavors thereby to inform his consciousness of his Will. Sex is thus rarely intelligible to its possessor, save in very partial and ambiguous terms. It is supremely sacred to him, and to interfere with its expression, or try to edit it, is an abominable crime."
(The Revival of Magick, New Falcon, pg 131, 132, 133, 134)
"Satanism condones any type of sexual activity which properly satisfies your individual desires-be it heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or even asexual, if you choose. Satanism also sanctions any fetish or deviation which will enhance your sex-life, so long as involves no one who does not wish to be involved.
Unless we emancipate ourselves from the ridiculous sexual standards of our present society, including the so-called sexual revolution, the neuroses caused by those stifling regulations will persist. Adherence to the sensible and humanistic new morality of Satanism can-and will-evolve society in which our children can grow up healthy and without the devastating moral encumbrances of our existing sick society."
(The Satanic Bible, pg 67, 74)
"Contemplate your nature. Consider every element thereof both separately and in relation to all the rest, so as to judge accurately the true purpose of the totality of your Being. Find the formula of this purpose, or 'True Will,' in an expression as simple as possible. Learn to understand clearly how best to manipulate the energies which you control to obtain the results most favorable to it from its relations with the part of the universe which you do not yet control. Extend the dominion of your consciousness, and its control of all forces alien to it, to the utmost. Do this by the ever stronger and more skillful application of your faculties to the finer, clearer, fuller, and more accurate perception, the better understanding, and the more wisely ordered government, of that external Universe. Do not repress or restrict any true instinct of your Nature; but devote all in perfection to the sole service of your one True Will."
(The Revival of Magick, 136-137)
"Therefore, after intellectually evaluating your problems through common sense and drawing on what psychiatry has taught us, if you still cannot emotionally release yourself from unwarranted guilt, and put your theories into action, then you should learn to make your guilt work for you. You should act upon your natural instincts, and then, if you cannot perform without feeling guilty, revel in your guilt…Adults would do well to take a lesson from children. Children often take great delight in doing something they know they are not supposed to."
(The Satanic Bible, pg 53)
"Curse them! Curse them! Curse them! With my Hawks head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross. I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed and blind him. With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol, and Din. Let Mary inviolate be torn upon wheels: for her sake let all chaste women be utterly despised among you!"
(The Law is for All, pg 215)
"Furies from Hell are diving down!
'Lex Talionis!' is their cry!
Even though tricksters make the law,
Justice is served by fang and claw!
With their beaks of steel, see them slash askew
Righteous Christian, Buddhist, Moslem, Jew;
They've become a plague, so let's start anew…
We don't need them anymore!"
(The Church of Satan, Feral House, pg 90)
© Vadge Moore / DISCRIMINATE MEDIA, 2008