Belial means “without a master,” and symbolizes true independence, self-sufficiency, and personal accomplishment. Belial represents the earth element, and herein will be found magic with both feet on the ground – real, hard-core, magical procedure – not mystical platitudes devoid of objective reason.p. 109
Welcome to the first installment of #WitchyWednesday. Each week, I will delve into some of the literature on Satanic ritual and magic. It’s a subject I know a little about, but not as much as I would like. I hope you enjoy joining me on this journey down the left hand path.
To begin, I’ll be covering the first section in The Book of Belial from The Satanic Bible, titled “The Theory and Practice of Satanic Magic.”
LaVey starts this book with the definition of magic, as used in Satanism:
The change in situations or events in accordance with one’s will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable.p. 110
This definition certainly leaves a lot open to interpretation. Some may see Satanic magic as not much more than applied psychology (more so in the case of lesser magic), until they come across something that is beyond scientific explanation. “Magic is never totally scientifically explainable, but science has always been, at one time or another, considered magic” (p. 110).
LaVey continues on to describe the difference between so-called white and black magic. He unsurprisingly describes white magic as being filled with “…smug hypocrisy, guilt-ridden righteousness, and self-deceit” (p. 110). This is because white magic has traditionally been considered altruistic and generally good, while black magic has been considered evil and self-serving. But LaVey quickly and easily points out the problem with those definitions – ALL magic is self-serving! No practitioner embarks on magical endeavors without some self-serving (ultimately egotistical) purpose in mind. White magicians may claim altruism, but a Satanist sees these acts for what they really are – fulfillment of the ego!
Satanic magic falls into two categories: ritual/ceremonial and nonritual/manipulative.
Ritual, or greater, magic involves the performance of a formal ritual ceremony. These rituals take place in the ‘intellectual decompression’ chamber (a.k.a. the space where you set up your altar). Rituals must take place at a specific time and be performed for a specific purpose, based on what you’re trying to achieve. More on that later.
Non-ritual, or lesser, magic “…consists of the wile and guile obtained through various devices and contrived situations, which when utilized, can create ‘change, in accordance with one’s will’” (p. 111). These techniques have been referred to as ‘glamour’ (think True Blood) or ‘fascination.’ As an example, LaVey discusses how, during the Salem Witch Trials, most of those who were executed were not the real witches. The real witches were sleeping with the inquisitors and executioners. These witches were proficient in their crafts, so much so that they were never even brought to trial.
He continues on to describe the three ways that witches (and warlocks) can command attention to manipulate their targets. The commanding of attention is incredibly important, as one cannot manipulate a situation to one’s will without their target’s attention.
The three methods of commanding attention are sex, sentiment, and wonder, or some combination of the three.
- Sex – LaVey says that naturally attractive people fall into this category. Those who have sex appeal should use it to their advantage! If a person can grab their target’s attention by using their sex appeal, they should. Once you have their attention, you can manipulate the target in any way you see fit.
- Sentiment – According to LaVey, older men and women generally fall into these categories. He uses the example of “…the ‘cookie lady’ type witch, who might live in a little cottage, and be thought of by people as being a bit eccentric” (p. 112). Someone falling into the sentiment category can use nostalgic ideas and “sage-like advice” to capture a target’s attention.
- Wonder – LaVey says that someone with a “strange or awesome” appearance would fit into this category. One can use their appearance to dazzle others into being “fearful of the consequences should they not do as [a witch or warlock] asks” (p. 112).
To be successful, a witch or warlock must honestly decide which category they most naturally fall into. One must evaluate themselves and their assets in an authentic way to determine the result.
LaVey continues on to discuss two important aspects of lesser magic.
First, visual imagery and appearance are very important in creating an initial emotional reaction. As an example, consider your own self – as you’re going on about your day, and you see an advertisement that’s visually striking (whether in a good or bad way), you have an emotional reaction, even if just a small one. This is an important factor in lesser magic – stirring up emotional energy.
The second important factor is odor. There are many times that LaVey mentions natural body odors throughout his different texts, this is simply one instance. As Satanists, we believe that man is the same as any other animal, and animals have strong responses to scents and odors. “Remember, animals fear and distrust anyone or anything that doesn’t smell!” (p. 113). Well animals must be really confused by us humans, who use a multitude of products to eliminate, cover up, or change our scents!
LaVey is a big proponent of allowing natural body odors to exist in their natural state, without covering them up. By doing so, you allow others to be naturally motivated by your scent. Even as humans have taken extreme measures to mask our natural scents, we still react instinctually to them. LaVey recommends that witches and warlocks allow their natural scents to “…pervade the atmosphere immediately around [them], and work in animalistic contrast to the vestments of social politeness” (p. 113). By doing so, you allow your body’s natural sexual stimulants to exist, and you can use it to your advantage.
I’m not planning to quit deodorant just yet, but it’s certainly food for thought!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next week when I will be covering the three types of Satanic ritual.
All quoted material comes directly from The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey.
Interpretations and opinions are my own; I am not a spokesperson for, nor endorsed by, the Church of Satan or any other entity.