Welcome back! Today will be my last Witchy Wednesday post for a while. We’ve come to a natural ending point; aside from the specifics of the ceremony itself, such as scripts and directions for performing the rituals (which I won’t share or cover), we’ve arrived at the last bit of what could be considered background info that is covered in The Satanic Bible. This is not the end of the information that exists about these rituals! I’ll highlight some additional reading towards the end of this post.
For this final (for now) post, I’ll be covering the devices used in a Satanic ritual. These devices are recommended for performing ritual ceremonies, but none are required.
Black robes and sexy clothes are the name of the game here. Traditionally, men are the ones wearing the black robes, which can be hooded or cowled to cover their face. The face should be covered to allow the participant to feel free in expressing whatever emotion they need to, without concern of being seen or judged by other participants. It also removes the element of distraction. “Black is chosen for the attire in the ritual chamber because it is symbolic of the Powers of Darkness” (p. 135).
Women participating in the ritual ceremonies traditionally wear sexually suggestive clothing, “…or all black clothing for older women” (p. 135). LaVey states that the purpose of this is for “…stimulating the emotions of male participants, and thereby intensifying the outpouring of adrenal or bio-electrical energy which will insure a more powerful working” (p. 135).
This whole concept is certainly iffy to me, and if I was performing a ritual ceremony, I would want it to be more balanced. Satanism is a religion based on carnality, so it certainly makes sense that sexual energy is stirred up in these ceremonies. But the idea that a woman needs to be the only one providing that stimulation is an outdated concept. We now know that the spectrum of sexuality occurs across many, if not all, species, so the ‘man-woman stimulation loop’ that is described in The Satanic Bible is certainly outdated. The Church of Satan supports all forms of gender and consensual sexual expression, so substituting the gender of the person in sexy clothing in a ritual would certainly be allowed in order to stir up as much energy as possible.
The topic of sexy clothes is a great segway into the next device, the altar. Satanism grabbed a lot of attention in the late 1960s when LaVey started inviting the press to his ritual ceremonies; the nude female altars became one of the most talked-about and photographed elements.
“Man’s earliest altars were living flesh and blood…later religions, in making man’s natural inclinations sinful, perverted his living altars into slabs of stone and lumps of metal…Satanism is a religion of the flesh, rather than of the spirit; therefore, an altar of flesh is used in Satanic ceremonies” (p. 135).
The altar is a focal point during the ceremony, where the participants can direct their attention. Generally a nude woman is used because, in nature, “…woman is the natural passive receptor, and represents the earth mother” (p. 135). I understand the point here, but I don’t think the gender of the person serving as the altar is super important as long as it works for everyone involved.
If nudity is not practical, partial coverings can be used as needed. If a human altar is not used, any elevated plane will work. This will be where the other devices for the ceremony will be placed.
It’s important to add here that anyone serving as an altar would do so consensually – no one is required to serve in that role if they do not want to.
Symbol of Baphomet
The symbol of Baphomet should be placed on the wall above the altar, in clear view. LaVey does not specify exactly which representation of Baphomet should be used, however he does discuss (very briefly) the different representations and their origins. For more detailed info, check out the article The History of the Origin of the Sigil of Baphomet and its Use in the Church of Satan.
Have you ever tried to find a black candle at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc? It’s very tough. They’re all actually very dark purple. But I digress.
“The candles used in Satanic ritual represent the light of Lucifer – the bearer of light, enlightenment, the living flame, burning desire, and the Flames of the Pit” (p. 136). Black candles can be used to illuminate the ritual chamber (as many as needed), however only one white candle is to be used, and that is meant for the altar.
“At least one black candle is placed to the left of the altar, representing the Powers of Darkness and the left-hand path…one white candle is placed to the right of the altar, representing the hypocrisy of white light ‘magicians’ and the followers of the right-hand path” (p. 137).
The black and white candles have other purposes too. The black candles represent power and success, are used to burn any blessings requested by ritual participants. The white candle is used for destruction of enemies, and burns the parchment containing curses or hexes.
A bell is a powerful tool, and in my opinion, should not be overlooked for these ceremonies. “…the bell is used to mark both the beginning and the end of the ritual…once at the beginning of the ritual to clear and purify the air…and once again at the end of the ritual to intensify the working act as a pollutionary indicating finality” (p. 137).
Consider the overall purpose of these ceremonies – to leave all intellectual activity outside of the room, and channel emotional energy towards a goal. The bell, in clearing the air in the beginning of the ceremony, provides a distinct start to that time period. If someone is distracted or having stray thoughts before the ceremony begins, the sound of the bell provides a focus point for the mind to begin clearing all thoughts. And at the end of the ceremony, the bell has sort of a ‘hey wake up, back to reality’ quality to it.
Having a lot of experience in my past with yoga and meditation, I know that the bell serves the same purpose; to start those practices, it’s a focal point for clearing the mind, and at the end, it brings you back to the surface of your senses. So I’ll say it again, don’t sleep on the bell! A singing bowl or any other device that has a loud, penetrating quality of sound will suffice.
The chalice should be made of silver, but if silver is not available, any other material will do, so long as it’s not gold or cold-colored (“Gold has always been associated with white-light religions and the Heavenly Realm” (p. 137)). In a group ritual, the priest drinks from the chalice first, followed by one assistant. In a solo ceremony, the person conducting the ritual drains the chalice.
Now you may be wondering, what goes in the chalice?
The concept of using wine in religious ceremonies goes back to, unsurprisingly, Pagans, who used what was called the Elixir of Life. Christians later corrupted this concept into sacramental wine. Regardless, the intended effect of this elixir was to relax the participants to a place where they can freely express the emotions involved in the ritual.
Since Satanists don’t believe in god, and certainly not in the concept of cannibalism as expressed by Christians in the drinking of their savior’s blood, we return the elixir to its original purpose. If wine or liquor aren’t available or appropriate for the participants, “…whatever drink is most stimulating and pleasing to the palate is in order” (p. 138).
I’ll reiterate that none of the devices here are actually required to perform Satanic rituals. But if you don’t have a sword, and would like one, what a great excuse!
“The Sword of Power is symbolic of aggressive force, and acts as an extension and intensifier of the arm with which the priest uses to gesture and point” (p. 138). Consider it like a magic wand.
If a sword cannot be obtained for the ceremony, “…a long knife, cane, or similar staff may be used” (p. 138). The sword is used specifically for:
- pointing to the symbol of Baphomet during the invocation
- calling forth the four Princes of Hell
- slicing through parchment and holding it into the candles for destruction
- placing on the heads of participants as they read their requests (in ‘knighting’ fashion)
“The phallus is a Pagan fertility symbol which represents generation, virility, and aggression” (p. 139).
LaVey points out that this is an other Pagan symbol that has been taken over by the Christian church and bastardized in a blasphemous, guilt-ridden way. In actuality, “…the phallus is a non-hypocritical version of the aspergillim [sic], or ‘holy water sprinkler’ used in Catholicism” (p. 139).
The phallus is used by the priest of the ceremony, and is pointed in all of the cardinal directions, for benediction of the house. This is only required in a group ceremony, not a private ritual.
Like the phallus, the gong is only required for group ceremonies. It is used to call upon the forces of darkness, and is struck after the participants repeat the priest’s chant of “Hail Satan.”
“Parchment is used because its organic properties are compatible with the elements of nature. In keeping with the Satanic views on sacrifice, the parchment used would be made from the skin of a sheep that was, by necessity, killed for food. An animal is never slaughtered for the purpose of using all or a part of that animal in a Satanic ritual” (p. 139).
As a vegan, I imagine my views on using parchment are pretty clear. I would never use it, no matter the circumstances. LaVey suggests that if parchment with the above qualities cannot be obtained, plain paper is fine. So save yourself the trouble and just use paper made from good old trees.
The parchment/paper serves as a vehicle for the participants’ requests for the ceremony. These requests will be read aloud by the priest, then consumed by the candle flame to be sent into the ether. Hexes and curses are burned in the white candle, and blessings and charms are burned in the black candle.
Thanks for joining me during this Witchy Wednesday series. I may bring it back in the future, but for now, I’ve gotten everything I wanted out of it. If you are interested in delving deeper into greater magic, I very highly suggest you purchase and read (several times) The Satanic Bible, which provides the background, foundation, and explicit information required to perform these ceremonies. Further, more advanced content is also available in The Satanic Rituals.
It’s time to move on to new and exciting things – stay tuned for an announcement shortly about my new Wednesday content series!
All quoted material comes directly from The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey, unless otherwise linked or noted.
Interpretations and opinions are my own; I am not a spokesperson for, nor endorsed by, the Church of Satan or any other entity.