Temple of Set Reading List: Category 6
Reprinted from: "The Crystal Tablet of Set" (c) Temple of Set 1989 CE Weirdbase file version
by TS permission by Michael A. Aquino, Ipsissimus VI* Temple of Set
Satanism is the "Blackest" of the Black Arts and until the North Solstice X encompassed the most advanced - and the most dangerous - school of religion and magical knowledge. Because its doctrines are intensely personal, hence asocial, conventional societies have tended to regard it as a threat to the docile, cooperative obedience of the citizenry. This bias against Satanism as something "necessarily criminal" will be evident in some of the following accounts, and it frequently resulted in persecution that drove Satanists even farther from the social mainstream. In 1966 CE (the year I of the ~on of Set) Anton Szandor LaVey founded the Church of Satan, an institution designed to translate the philosophy of Satanism into a socially- acceptable form.
In X A.S. the Church of Satan evolved into the Temple of Set, at which time the philosophical inconsistencies and anti-Judaic/Christian orientation of the older organization were eliminated. The Black Art has now been raised to its highest form. 6A. "La-Bas" ("Down There") by J.K. Huysmans. NY: Dover Publications, 1972. (TS-3)
MA: "This is the classic of late 19th-century French Satanism. It contains detailed accounts of the old 17th-century Black Mass as later practiced in 'underground' Paris. The book evidences a strong Christian moral bias; hence it is historically unreliable. Nevertheless it became a model for subsequent efforts at anti-Christian ceremonies.
'Devil-worship' sequences from most contemporary films, for example, can be recognized as variations on the "La-Bas" account. [Appendix 64 of #6N reprints the Black Mass sequence from "La-Bas".]" 6B. "The Satanic Mass" by H.T.F. Rhodes. London: Jarrold's Publishers Ltd, 1968 [available in the U.S. from Citadel Publishers]. (CS-3) (TS-3) AL: "A non-hysterical account by a criminologist who has researched his subject well."
MA: "This book, whose emphasis is criminological, traces Satanism from an underground French revolutionary movement to organized crime to decadent burlesque to modern cultural offshoots and influences [short of the Church of Satan, which had not yet been founded when the research for this book was completed]. Principal emphasis is on the French tradition and the Dashwood Hell-Fire Club.
This was one of the basic sourcebooks for the Church of Satan during its formative years." 6C. "A Razor for a Goat" by Elliot Rose. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962. (TS-3)
MA: "This book was begun as a good-humored effort to debunk the neo-witchcraft theories of Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner [which it does rather conclusively]. Rose went a good deal further and straightened out many misconceptions concerning medieval witchcraft accounts as well. Yet he argues for the essential value of the concepts of 'pure' Satanism.
This was another book of prime importance to the original design of the Church of Satan, and it helps to explain the strong anti- neopagan/Wiccan attitude of that institution. It says something for popular tastes [and the memory of P.T. Barnum] that Wiccan literature continues to flourish while #6C is usually found only in university libraries." 6D. "Seven Footprints to Satan" by A. Merritt. NY: Avon Books #28209, 1942 [reprinted 1976]. (TS-5)
MA: "Written ca. 1928, this novel contains many passages describing the central philosophies of Satanism, as well as many episodes exemplifying them. Since the book was ostensibly fiction, Merritt did not have to mince words.
Harmless to non-Initiates, it is a Satanic manifesto for Adepts of the Left-Hand Path. And the character of 'Satan' in the story bears a remarkable resemblance to Anton Szandor LaVey ~ in more than one way." 6E. "Asimov's Annotated Paradise Lost" by John Milton and Isaac Asimov. NY: Doubleday, 1974. (TS-4)
MA: "The creative aspects of Satanism are beautifully portrayed in "Paradise Lost", and this edition has the added attraction of extensive notes by the brilliant and witty Asimov. [Missing, sadly, are the famous Dore illustrations, which enthusiasts will have to seek in other editions.] Milton, who lived and wrote during the Cromwellian Commonwealth, observed due subtlety in his portrayal of the virtues of Satan and the vices of YHVH.
Asimov is under no such constraint, and he overlooks no opportunities to identify and explain the hidden material." 6F. "The Unholy Bible" by June K. Singer. NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1970 [Harper & Row paperback edition available]. (TS-4)
MA: "This is a psychological interpretation of the Satanism of William Blake, prepared for the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology. Included are plates, quotes, and detailed commentary on "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" and "The Bible of Hell", as well as a short biography and psychological profile of Blake himself." 6G. "The Hell-Fire Club" by Daniel P. Mannix. NY: Ballantine Books #01625, 1959. (TS-3)
MA: "This is an extensive, sensationalistic account of 18th- century England's notorious Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe, a Satanic society organized by Sir Francis Dashwood and including such prominent personalities as the Prime Minister and the First Lord of the Admiralty.
Benjamin Franklin was a noted visitor from the Colonies. [The Dashwood estate is open to visitors.] See also #6T & #6AC, which are progressively less colorful but probably more accurate." 6H. "Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today" by William Seabrook. NY: Lancer Books #78656, 1968. (CS-3) (TS-3) AL: "Witchcraft discussed in terms of suggestive psychology."
MA: "Originally published in 1940, this book was the forerunner of the occult revival of the 1950s. Although personally a skeptic, Seabrook admitted the psychological effectiveness of witchcraft.
He was among the close friends of Aleister Crowley at the time of the latter's attainment of the grade of Magus. This book is now somewhat dated, but it may be acquired for its scholarship and its value as a classic." 6I. "The Magus" by John Fowles. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1965 [revised edition 1977]. (TS-4)
MA: "A novel of an arrogant/selfish/sensitive/ intellectual British schoolteacher who becomes enmeshed in the schemes of a modern magician. An excellent illustration of the use of psychological magic as a control device [as opposed to a mere research tool]. The characters of Nicholas (the schoolteacher) and Conchis (the magus) exemplify aspects of the "Nemo" and "Aristos", principles in Fowles' own brand of existentialism as set forth in his incisive theoretical work "The Aristos" (NY: Signet Books #Q4280, 1964). Fowles describes the revised edition of "The Magus" as less fantastic/more realistic than the original edition, but after several readings of comparing the two I am inclined to favor the revised edition as a richer experience from which the magic has definitely not been excised. "The Magus" is one of those books whose every re-reading brings new impressions and adventures.
I was strongly tempted to rate it TS-1, but feel that greatest benefit will be derived from a reading of it when the Setian has first mastered the basics of the included philosophical concepts and of Lesser Black Magic." 6J. "The Powers of Evil" by Richard Cavendish. NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1975. (TS-3)
MA: "While preparing #4C and editing #4E, Cavendish was intrigued by certain recurring themes relative to the notion of 'evil' in cross-cultural contexts involving death, darkness, sex, disorder, etc. This book is his effort, as an acknowledged skeptic and agnostic, to deal with these themes. The result is not a full survey of the philosophy and theology of 'evil', but it is a good introduction. The book's defect is that Cavendish, as a consequence of his detachment, is forced to rely upon second-hand sources for his data and so can only report others' direct impressions [which can be somewhat less than objective].
Much of the book's 300 pages are weighted down with the usual, tiresome collection of occult anecdotes and mythological stories." 6K. "The Satanic Bible" by Anton Szandor LaVey. NY: Avon Books #NS44, 1969 [hardcover edition from University Books, 1972]. (CS-1) (OT-1) (TS-3)
MA: "This book summarizes the social and magical philosophy of the Church of Satan at the time of its writing, but it is not a compendium of all C/S doctrines of subsequent years. LaVey was the founder and High Priest of the C/S and Magus V* of the Age of Satan (1966-1975 CE). Included are instructions for a 'basic' Satanic ritual, as well as LaVey's 'Satanic' version of the Enochian Keys of John Dee [see category 11]. Introduction to the hardcover edition by M.A. Aquino, then IV* C/S. Introduction to the most recent Avon edition by Burton Wolfe, author of #6M. Chapter 4 of #6N reviews #6K in detail." 6L. "The Satanic Rituals" by Anton Szandor LaVey. NY: Avon Books #W359, 1972 [hardcover edition from University Books, 1972]. (CS-1) (OT-1) (TS-3)
MA: "Companion volume to #6K, this book contains a discussion of ritual theory and a selection of rituals (French, German, Russian, Persian, and Church of Satan) adapted and/or written by LaVey for the Church.
The historical claims for the texts are improbable, although each text does incorporate ethnic and/or historical images of interest to the magician. A theoretical essay on H.P. Lovecraft and two accompanying Lovecraftian rituals were contributed by M.A. Aquino. Chapter 21 of #6N reviews #6L in detail, and #6N also contains uncensored/original/authentic versions of some of the rituals published in #6L. Performances of early (ca. III/1968) versions of a C/S Black Mass, the Stifling Air, and other ritual sequences may be seen in the film "Satanis" [see comments under #6M]. See also #6AA & #6AB." 6M. "The Devil's Avenger" by Burton H. Wolfe. NY: Pyramid Books, 1974. (CS- 1) (TS-3)
MA: "A biography of LaVey and an account of the Church of Satan's San Francisco operations from I/1966 to III/1968, including profiles of some early C/S members. The book brings out the impressive scope of LaVey's exposure to the art, history, and institutions of occultism and to many colorful personalities on the fringe of contemporary society.
Unfortunately the book is also extremely propagandistic, advancing many 'facts' which are either questionable or known to be false - for example the chapter recounting a supposed LaVey/Marilyn Monroe affair, and the final chapter with several distortions concerning the post-III Church of Satan. Moreover the personality profiles are unrepresentative of the mainstream of post-III Satanists both within and without the San Francisco area. Specific details may be checked with III*+ officials, or with any II*+ Setian owning a copy of #6N. An interesting photo section is included in #6M. [See also "Satanis: The Devil's Mass", a commercial film of the I-III era available for mail- rental from Budget Films, 4590 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90029. This film is a documentary of the Church in its earliest years and includes ritual sequences, interviews with Anton, Diane, and Karla LaVey, and footage of the premises of the original Central Grotto house on California Street in San Francisco.] Burton Wolfe also wrote another book which is of interest, if only as a curiosity, to collectors of C/S memorabilia: "The Devil and Dr. Noxin" (San Francisco: Wild West Publishing House, 1973).
This paperback is a political-satire play picking generally on Richard Nixon but incidentally on several other political personalities of that time. Ritual sequences and philosophical principles from the I-III Church of Satan are included as a running theme throughout the play, and are favorably/seriously treated. Oddly enough "The Devil and Dr. Noxin" was not publicized nor promoted by LaVey at the time of its publication or, as far as I know, thereafter." 6N. "The Church of Satan" by Michael A. Aquino. San Francisco: Temple of Set, 1983. (TS-3) (OT-1)
MA: "A detailed analytical and documentary history of the Church of Satan from I/1966 to X/1975. 34 chapters, black/white and color photograph section, 140 appendices, and topical index, all totalling approximately one million words [about 3/4 the length of the unabridged Crowley Equinox (#9G)]. In order to strictly conform with copyright law covering published material, this volume is not for sale to the public.
It is available within the Temple of Set and to legitimate research & academic institutions only. For further information, write to: Temple of Set, Post Office Box 4507, St. Louis, MO 63108." 6O. "Houses That Kill" by Roger de Lafforest. NY: Berkley Medallion Books #425-02620-125, 1972. (TS-5) (OT-5)
MA: "Anton LaVey originally intended to follow #6L with a collection of essays entitled "From the Devil's Notebook". Among these was to be an essay on Satanic architecture in general and the Law of the Trapezoid in particular [discussed in #6N]. Mention of #6O was censored from the Church of Satan's newsletter by LaVey because it appeared to preempt the planned FTDN essay. #6O suffers from a certain amount of sensationalism, but it is a first step into the unexplored region of 'negative architecture'.
Chapters on open/closed air, types of afflictions, cancer, waves and currents, walls, retention of memories ('haunted houses'), and remedies & precautions. Certain infamous case studies are offered." 6P. "Hollywood Babylon" (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1975) and "Hollywood Babylon II" (NY: New American Library, 1984) by Kenneth Anger. (CS-1) (TS-3)
MA: "Anger is an 'underground film maker' [whose style anticipated today's 'music videos' by about 20 years] who became fascinated with Aleister Crowley and with Anton LaVey during the early days of the Church of Satan. [Anger's films "Scorpio Rising" and "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome" contain Crowley themes, while "Invocation of my Demon Brother" includes a cameo appearance by Anton LaVey.
The most recent version of "Lucifer Rising", despite its title, includes no C/S themes.] Anger's view of Hollywood is characterized by savage, decadent nostalgia - captured to perfection in "Hollywood Babylon I/II". Anton LaVey was gripped by many of the same emotions in the VIII-X period, with a resultant influence on the Church of Satan as discussed in #6N. [For a 'tourist guidebook' to many of the sites discussed in HBI/II, see Richard Lamparski's "Lamparski's Hidden Hollywood" (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1981). It contains capsule biographies, addresses, and photos of the various stars of HB vintage, among which is a misleading account of Marilyn Monroe derived in part from Anton LaVey.] [See also "The Movie Lover's Guide to Hollywood" by Richard Alleman (NY: Harper & Row/Harper Colophon Books #CN1262, 1985) for an excellent on-site guidebook complete with addresses, descriptions, photos, and maps.
Another good guide is Ken Schessler's "This Is Hollywood" (Los Angeles: Southern California Book Company, 1984): 'Hundreds of exciting and unusual places to visit, including historical sites, landmarks, murders, suicides, graves.']" 6Q. "The Second Coming: Satanism in America" by Arthur Lyons. NY: Dodd, Mead, 1970. (CS-3) (TS-3) AL: "Discusses our Church from an objective standpoint, shows how the media have maligned our Order, and gives concise comparisons with the beliefs of some of the 'Satanic cults'."
MA: "A 'lightweight' historical survey of Satanism, concluding with 'magazine- story' coverage of the Church of Satan. Lyons was a I* C/S whose active participation in the Church was limited to San Francisco ca. IV. Lyons has recently published an updated version of this book entitled "Satan Wants You", to be discussed in the next update of this list." 6R. "Rasputin" by Colin Wilson. London: Panther Books, 1966. (CS-3) AL: "An insight into the workings of a truly Satanic magician."
MA: "Anton LaVey was strongly impressed by Rasputin both as an individual and as a social influence. This is most evident from the 'Russian' section of #6L." 6S. "Pedlar of Death: The Life of Sir Basil Zaharoff" by Donald McCormick. London: Macdonald & Co., 1965. (TS-3)
MA: "Zaharoff [see photo, category 16] was a European munitions agent from 1877 to his death in 1936. He was also a behind-the-scenes manipulator of politics [towards war] and a British knight. Though never included on a Church of Satan reading list, this book was the primary source of Anton LaVey's fascination with Zaharoff as a skilled, Machiavellian Lesser Magician. LaVey also admired Zaharoff's Howard Hughes-like avoidance of public scrutiny - to the point of deliberate sabotage of records concerning him. McCormick's research is careful, exhaustive, and convincing, making this book the definitive one on the subject. McCormick is also the author of #6T." 6T. "The Hell-Fire Club" by Donald McCormick. London: Jarrolds Publishers Ltd, 1958. (TS-3)
MA: "McCormick (also author of #6S) argues that the long- standing image of the Hellfire Club as an elite Satanic [in the strict, theological sense] society is erroneous. His research leads him to the position that the club was neither diabolist nor decadent, but simply an example of 'rakemanship' common among British clubs of the day. His evidence and argument are [regrettably] convincing.
This thesis is explored in greater depth in #6AC." 6U. "The Family" by Ed Sanders. NY: E.P. Dutton, 1971. (TS-3)
MA: "The definitive study of the Manson Family, with extensive treatment of its alleged exposure to such occult organizations as the Process Church of the Final Judgment [see also #6AD] and the Solar Lodge of the O.T.O. While the public was quick to brand Charles Manson a 'Satanist', his own Family considered him Jesus Christ. To prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, Manson's 'evil' was easy to identify & condemn. This book is by no means an apology for Manson; if anything, it paints him in even more horrific colors than "Helter Skelter". But the picture also emerges of a far more complex individual than generally seen by the public. For Manson's own version of his life and the development of the Family, see Nuel Emmons, "Manson in his Own Words" (NY: Grove Press, 1986).
In this narrative Manson downplays the legends that grew up around him and rationalizes his actions in terms of his personal alienation from and antagonism towards society in general. [See also 'Distant Echoes of Helter Skelter' in "Runes" #III-3.]" 6V. "Rosemary's Baby" by Ira Levin. NY: Random House, 1967. (TS-3)
MA: "In the words of Roman Castevet: 'To 1966 - the Year One!'" 6W. "The Circus of Dr. Lao" by Charles G. Finney. NY: Viking Press, 1935 [reprinted paperback: Avon #19190, 1974]. (CS-1) (TS-3) AL: "A tale that tells it all; every human foible is dissected. It is the epic of man's desire and futility: Zarathustra under canvas - an excursion to the highest Llamasery of the Red Monks for those who can read it."
MA: "This is the story of a traveling circus which arrives suddenly in a small town in the Arizona desert. It is a very unusual circus, including among its attractions a satyr, Apollonius of Tyana, a Gorgon, a mermaid, a roc, a chim~ra, a sea- serpent, and a werewolf. Its main show includes such exotica as a witches' sabbath, complete with personal appearance by Satan.
Dr. Lao, the enigmatic Chinaman who ringmasters this show, is one minute a bumpkin, the next an intellectual, and always a magician - in short, a kind of Chinese ASLV. No turn back on him preeze!" [See also the film "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao", available on VHS cassette.] 6X. "The Omen" by David Seltzer. NY: New American Library, 1976. (TS-5)
MA: "Revelation 13:18." 6Y. "Damien - Omen II" by Joseph Howard. NY: New American Library, 1978. (TS-5)
MA: "I John 4:3." 6Z. "The Final Conflict" by Gordon McGill. NY: New American Library, 1980. (TS-5)
MA: "Revelation 13:11." 6AA. "Devil Worship: The Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz" by Isya Joseph. Boston: Richard G. Badger/The Gorham Press, 1919. (TS-3)
MA: "This rare little book was Anton LaVey's source for the Yezidi section of #6L, including the ritual texts quoted. As noted in #6N, Joseph bases these rituals and his own conclusions upon an 'Arabic manuscript presented to me by my friend Daud as-Saig ~ a man of culture, in sympathy with western thought, etc.' When Joseph's book was assessed in 1967 by Royal Asiatic Society anthropologist C.J. Edmonds, he noted that it remained unauthenticated.
Fellow R.A.S. scholar Alphonso Mingana considered the ritual texts offered by Joseph as simple forgeries, based upon Mingana's analysis of their grammar & syntax. These evaluations and objections were apparently unknown to [or ignored by] Anton LaVey when he included the Joseph material in #6L. The Temple of Set's texts of the Yezidi rituals in question are included as appendices to #6N, and are based upon current doctoral papers at the University of California, Los Angeles, obtained through the Anthropology Library at the University's Berkeley campus. At the very least, the UCLA papers reveal Joseph's account and analysis to be significantly incomplete and factually suspect. If you are curious about Yezidi culture, your best starting point is #6AB." 6AB. "A Pilgrimage to Lalish" by C.J. Edmonds. London: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1967. (TS-3)
MA: "This small, concisely- written book remains the most coherent and reliable published book concerning Yezidi culture to date. It does not contain any of the Yezidi religious or magical texts, however. The authentic text of the Yezidi Book of the Revelation [corrected and expanded from the Joseph version contained in #6L] is reprinted as Appendix 65 of #6N.
The other principal Yezidi text, the "Mashaf-a Resh" (Black Scripture), is not reprinted in #6N because of its length, but a copy is available in the archives of the Temple of Set." 6AC. "Dashwood: The Man and the Myth" by Eric Towers. London: Crucible (Aquarian Press/Thorsons Publishing Group, 1986. (TS-4)
MA: "This is the definitive account of Sir Francis Dashwood and his Medmenham Abbey, complete with extensive photo sections. This continues and reinforces the thesis of #6T, offering evidence that Dashwood's 'occult' activities consisted largely of revels in honor of Apollo and Bacchus in West Wycombe Park, with the only possible Satanic element being hearsay rumors about a 'closed room/chapel' in Dashwood's Abbey. This room was reputed to be accessible only to the 'monks' of Dashwood's group, and to be decorated with obscene/blasphemous pictures.
If, so, the decor was removed later, for the Abbey today shows no trace of it in any room. An interesting side-note is that the Dashwood group never called itself the 'Hellfire Club'. That name actually belonged to a club of libertines formed in London many years earlier (1719) by the Duke of Wharton, which became so scandalous that the crown shut it down with a proclamation denouncing 'certain scandalous clubs or societies of young persons who meet together, and in the most impious and blasphemous manner insult the most sacred principles of our Holy Religion, affront Almighty God himself, and corrupt the minds and morals of one another'.
By contrast the frolics at West Wycombe seem to have been rather less extreme. Towers' book includes an interesting discussion of how rumors about Dashwood's doings multiplied over the centuries until it was taken for granted that he presided over every kind of depravity at Medmenham, to include Dennis Wheatley-style Black Masses. Over the main entrance to Medmenham can still be seen the inscription FAY CE QUE VOUDRAS from Dr. Francois Rabelais' 'Abbey of Theleme' in his novel "Gargantua", which Aleister Crowley would later borrow for his 'Do What Thou Wilt' Law and for his own Abbey in Sicily." 6AD. "Satan's Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult" by William Sims Bainbridge. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. (TS-4)
MA: "The definitive account of the 'Process Church of the Final Judgment', a quasi- Satanic movement that existed in the late 1960s-early 1970s.
It was more the product of the 'Jesus Freak' atmosphere of the time than of authentic Satanism, as it was a 'hippie' religion that acknowledged four deities - Jehovah, Christ, Satan, and Lucifer - in a complementary relationship. Predictably it was the 'Satanic' component of the Process that attracted the most attention - from aspirants and external critics alike - and the Process proved unable to come to grips with this symbolism and its implications. Bainbridge shows how the organization was erroneously linked to the Manson Family in Sanders "The Family" (#6U), and how its failure to successfully dispute and reject this linkage resulted in the breakdown and eventual dissolution of the group. Theologically/philosophically the Process was ignorant of Satanism, so the primary value of this account is as an account of the dangers faced by an unskilled group perceived by society as 'Satanic' in the conventional/evil sense. [Principal name disguises: Process = 'Power'. Processean = 'Powerite'. DeGrimston = 'de Forest Jones'.] Bainbridge is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington."