Overview: LaVey's Satanic Witch. Satanic Feminism Today. Stereotypical Roles of Women as Witches. "The Satanic Witch" Compared to Satanic Witchcraft.
LaVey's Satanic Witch
A version of Satanic witchery was made popular by Anton LaVey, and his book, The Compleat Witch: or What to do When Virtue Falls, published in 1971. This same book was re-published in 2004 under the title of The Satanic Witch.1 This book was written as a method of instruction to satanic women and how they could apply their powers of seduction. It is a guide on how to think like a witch, how to dress, how to act and various other advices that LaVey felt characterized the behaviours and natures of women.
LaVey's method is a guide to enchantment by using the appearance and personality in such a way that men will fall prey the witch. This ability to entice men is a measure of personal power. Of course, he offers little practical advice on the esoteric or magical aspects of satanic witchcraft; his book is a treatise on how he envisioned the Satanic witch to be - as as a fantasy of seduction.
In a published essay titled Satanic Witchery, Abby Brimstone reviews the concepts of The Satanic Witch, agreeing with LaVey's stereotypical views of women. Brimstone writes that women live in a "male dominated society", and "All she really needs is to understand how to maneuver her looks, curves, and intelligence to acquire success and happiness".2 Brimstone believes that a woman has to use her appearance and feminine wiles to survive and to dominate over men.
Satanic Feminism Today
It surprises me that even to this day some women are willing to fall into the timeless role as the fairer [or weaker] sex, as a method of personal power. This is an imbalanced formula founded upon a timeless stereotype, and based on desire, ego and manipulation. It is not the same as love or self-respect, and the respect that is gained from others, a true personal power more enduring than either beauty or riches.
Blanche Barton, Magistra of the Church of Satan, wrote about her views of women and satanic witchcraft in her essay, Satanic Feminism. She acknowledged that LaVey tried to promote a kind of feminism that was based on the perceived notions of Christianity, and its "blasphemous philosophical roots", where women, and lust were considered to be evil.3
In her view the real satanic witch is compleat because she is the dominant force in her own life, independent, willful and strong. The satanic witch, according to her, should be "..in constant, intimate spiritual and sexual contact with her strongest Demonic archetype, Satan Himself".4 Barton's insight on the matter is interesting, and I like her spirit of Satanic idealism, but LaVey's agenda seemed to be more about stereotyping women and their role in society, instead of discussing the art of witchcraft. And, the 'philosophical roots' of Satanism, as she discusses in her essay, were the subversive ideologies of the Church.
Stereotypical Roles of Women as Witches
LaVey's definitions of witchcraft allude to his belief that only women could be witches, and they were mysterious and magical with a supernatural ability to seduce men. This is a very shallow perception on the part of LaVey that he promoted because of his desire to objectify women. His categorization of women in The Satanic Witch is based on the Lavey Synthesizer clock, a systematic method of associating body types with temperament.5
LaVey borrowed these ideas from William Sheldon's system of somatotype,6 a method of determining personality according to a person's body type and shape. The theories of Sheldon have been disregarded as false by modern psychologists. Nietzsche also had a belief in three major body types which embodied certain qualities of the personality,7 which some have regarded as a philosophy of racial stereotyping or eugenics. LaVey had tried to effectively characterize women by their looks in the Satanic Witch. My speculation is that his controlling attitude about women seems to show that he was insecure and perhaps feared the power of the female mind.
He portrayed the roles of women as the source of all evil, when he created his version of the Black Mass by having a naked woman on the Satanic Altar, an act that glorified the sexuality of women and nothing more. I believe that LaVey's categorization of women as the source of 'evil' perhaps was an attempt to negate the movement of feminist [Wiccan] witchcraft. It also served to shock and outrage the public and give them something that they wanted at the same time - entertainment. But, magic and witchcraft is not a form of entertainment, especially for those who study and practice it, and use it successfully in every day life.
"The Satanic Witch" Compared to Satanic Witchcraft
Magic can be used by anyone willing to learn the craft. If you are looking for practical advice using satanic witchcraft, you will not find it within LaVey's book, The Satanic Witch because he did not include practical advice about witchcraft, or spellcasting methods. I do not believe that Satanic Witchcraft is only for women, or that sexuality is the only and greatest power that a woman is capable of achieving. It certainly plays a role in seduction, but real Witchcraft is a method of magic that anyone can use. It's origins are from many sources and the techniques of spellmaking are a craft, the craft of the witch.
The dictionary of witchcraft terms states that witchcraft is a family of pagan and magico-religious traditions deriving from the myths of pre-christian Europe. It is also "..the craft used by witches, known as magic, especially that [which is utilized] for personal power with the energies of natural objects".8 It is related to the practice of folk magic and other simple forms of magic. This is a traditional type of definition from the religion of witchcraft, known as Wicca, created in the 1950's by leaders such as Gerald Gardener and Margaret Murray. The foundations of this type of magic were based on the past traditions of Hermeticism, and The Golden Dawn. Wicca is a religion, and their use of magic is a part of their religious expression. Regardless of this, there are methods of witchcraft that are independent of the Wiccan path.
Satanic witchcraft is different in that it is not a religion, it is a method of magic which is eclectic in style, created from the philosophies of Satanism, and the methods of witchcraft. Some of these methods are candle magic, herbs and oil magic, and sigil magic. The ritual tools are the Satanic Dagger, the cup, the pentagram, and the candle. Because magic is dependent on symbolism these tools and methods are the symbolic means by which magic is manifested.
© 2009, Venus Satanas
1. Anton LaVey. 1971. The Compleat Witch: or What to do When Virtue Falls. Dodd, Mead and Company.
2. Abby Brimstone. 2003. Satanic Witchery. The Trident, Issue 10.
3. Blanche Barton. 1997. The Black Flame, Volume 6, #1 & #2. Satanic Feminism. Accessed 6/19/09, from: http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/Satfem.html
5. Anton LaVey, fwd by Zeena LaVey. 1989. The Satanic Witch. Feral House Publishing.
6. Somatotypes. Wikipedia. Accessed 12/16/08, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatotype
7. Friedrich Nietzsche. The Antichrist. 1999. See Sharp Press.
8. Athena Gardner. Witchcraft, Dictionary of Craft Terms. 2000. Star Rising Publications.