In the 1970’s through 1997 I was the LaVey families personal representative in Southern California. So yes I am familiar with the philosophy and would have been considered a Satanist. I am not nor ever was their spokesperson unless it was upon request. My standpoint is that traditionally their spokesperson has been one of the Anton LaVey’s children. Karla Maritza LaVey was the first high priestess and Zeena [LaVey] Shreck was their second high priestess and spokesperson.
When Blanche Barton took over —Anton’s third significant partner—the church changed. She wanted her own family and her own stories and memories with Anton. It’s difficult (unethical) to describe the relationships but each relationship is with the individual first, then their partner and finally with the family. As far as I know Blanche never took the family name but took control of the corporate brand name and image. Unfortunately this negated a shared history of what the original private purpose and intention was agreed upon to be. This shared vision was slightly generationally different as well as different by virtue of location and participation. It’s still remarkably consistent if you know what the philosophy is and what the message is from the devils children.
The only people who could use the family name for publishing books were in the family. Anton’s legacy meant that they could use notes, materials and photos for new revised versions or write new material under their own names but to some of the fans that was anathema. There is a collector market and they collect every new version. There has always been an interest in what the philosophies of the children are as well as avid interest in what it was like to grow up in The Church of Satan.
Extraordinary Kindness and Extraordinary Hate
I think people do not realize how hurtful it was at times and how special it was at other times. As a child having book readers come up to you and loudly talk or yell at you about what Anton wrote was especially difficult as well as people turning their back to talk to you. Literally turning away and then talking to you. That’s hard to bear at times. It’s both respect and an insult at the same time. It hurts or is an insult if you know the person socially or are friends. It means they are recognizing the office of first which hurts. It shows respect when it’s a apology or delivering information. That’s one of the hardest things to get used to. The Office of Priest or Priestess in The Church. You are presented with multiple cultures (1) all the time and it became a personal challenge to maintain decorum and not take in every interaction as something that is done to hurt you.
It’s the human condition: One bad word hurts all day, and one kind word can save a life.
The transfer of respect between father to daughter or father to son is what this is all about.(2) It’s so very old world, but people still do it on occasion. It depends on the mood and you tear up a bit sometimes or “get harder to reach” and have to disassociate and “get famous for a minute” when that happens.
Graciousness helps but it takes time to get into that role and understand that you need to at least do that on the surface and attempt to be tactful and to not be thoughtless no matter what you are really feeling or thinking. The unfortunate part is when people turn away and you hear their comments to each other. Having a intimate understanding of public persona and private persona is important. Image is important to the general public which is why some people to this day call me “the gardener or the maintenance person” around the house. “If people just want to see what you look like, you might be a little famous.”
Shared Legends, Culture and Magic
The Impact of Ceremony
The transference of shared legends culture and magic is what I would call a motivator and a driver of society. What is difficult to understand without participating is the difference between a ceremony performed in traditional or cultural clothing and one performed in a 5 piece suit. They are the same ceremony but look vastly different. The participation also feels different depending on the level of belief and how people are emotionally treated. It feels funny to wear the different clothes but emotionally you can create a shared bond with the other participants.
A ceremony is an act of creation. Among other things it creates feelings of inclusion and exclusion depending on the ceremonial dress and where it is located, whether it is private or public. (3) We perform at a ceremony it is a ritualized set of actions that changes both the performers and the audience.
(1) Multiple cultures present a opening for conversation, unfortunately having someone call you evil puts a damper on the kind of responses available. “Chasing after them being nice” is a bit of a waste of time and is hard to get used to.
(2) Still to this day I find that a second and a third generation of people still respect Anton LaVey and show it to his children and members of The Church.
(3) When praying or meditating in the natural environment we used to ask if it was a private moment or could we show respect together.