Book Review: The Satanic Bible

30 Mar

Relies on Shock Value, then De-Mystifies All Shock Value

The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey

The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVeySo, I read this when I was about sixteen and liked to see the looks on people’s faces when they saw me reading it. Look at that big inverted pentacle. OoooOOOooooh. It wasn’t completely without merit as I then went out and read its even more tired sister book The Satanic Witch, but the fact that I was reading a book called The Satanic Bible – and pissing off people around me as I read it on public transport – was worth far more to me than anything I was actually reading in it.

The one bit I found interesting was about ‘psychic vampires’ also known as people who use you up. This phrase does seem to have been adopted more widely. One point to Mr. LaVey.

However, for the majority, this book is part gibberish, part self-aggrandisement and part nihilism. Takeaway morals were pretty much ‘do what you want, but don’t be an idiot: the police will still come after you if you do a murder.’ It’s also disappointingly thin on magic. It claims pheromones are magic, acting sexy is magic, ‘psychodrama’ is magic, and that any kind of big satanic ritual thing has power if the people involved are getting off on it – but that’s where it begins and ends. So… no magic then?

While this is probably true, if you’re sceptical about the existence of any occult powers then why bother with all the occult imagery? If you don’t believe Satan even exists then why call yourselves ‘Satanists’? It’s some unpleasant philosophy paired up with some shock value images and a smugness that anyone who is shocked just doesn’t understand you ’cause they were too stoooopid to read the disclaimer.

Mazel tov, you little scamps. And what will you be doing for your A-levels?

Meh. If you’re a teenager in the suburbs then by all means consider having this on your bookshelf to shock & annoy, but for the intellectually curious there are better books you could read on just about any topic this touches on: philosophy, sociology, psychology, the history of the occult, magic, Christ – even read Marilyn Manson’s autobiography if you have to.

This book is the textual equivalent of those 1950s B-movie posters that promised so much and delivered so little.

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