The Satanic Bible

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Cover of The Satanic Bible

The Satanic Bible is a collection of essays, observations, and rituals published by Anton LaVey in 1969. It is the central religious text of LaVeyan Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. It has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism.

Though The Satanic Bible is not considered to be sacred scripture in the way that the Christian Bible is to Christianity, LaVeyan Satanists regard it as an authoritative text as it is a contemporary text that has attained for them scriptural status. It extols the virtues of exploring one's own nature and instincts. Believers have been described as "atheistic Satanists" because they believe that God and Satan are not external entities, but rather projections of an individual's own personality—benevolent and stabilizing forces in their life.

There have been thirty printings of The Satanic Bible, selling over a million copies.


The Satanic Bible is composed of four books:

  • The Book of Satan - challenges the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, and promotes Epicureanism.
  • The Book of Lucifer - discusses topics such as indulgence, love, hate, and sex. Dispels rumors surrounding the religion.
  • The Book of Belial - details rituals and magic. Discusses the required mindset and focus for performing a ritual, and provides instructions for three rituals: those for sex, compassion, or destruction.
  • The Book of Leviathan - provides four invocations for Satan, lust, compassion, and destruction. Also lists the nineteen Enochian Keys (adapted from John Dee's Enochian keys.


LaVey describes Satanism as "a religion based on the universal traits of man," and humans are described throughout as inherently carnal and animalistic.

Many of the ideas in The Satanic Bible suggest a secular, scientific view of the world. However, some of these ideas continue beyond present-day secularism by implying that various occult forces are not supernatural, but rather thus far undiscovered by science. These forces are said to be manipulable by the practitioner of LaVeyan Satanism, a trait of the religion that has been compared with Christian Science and Scientology.

Satan is used as a metaphor for the ideas connected with the early Christian view of Satan or the serpent: wise, defiant, questioning, and free-thinking. LaVey discusses this extensively in The Book of Lucifer, explaining that the gods worshipped by other religions are also projections of man's true self. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship.

Because the Satanist is considered their own god, birthdays are celebrated as the most important holidays. Following one's birthday in importance are Walpurgisnacht and Halloween. Solstices and equinoxes are also celebrated.


There have been both positive and negative reactions to The Satanic Bible. It has been described as "razor-sharp" and "influential." Criticism of The Satanic Bible stems both from qualms over LaVey's writing and disapproval of the content itself. LaVey has been criticized for plagiarizing sections, and accusations have been made that his philosophies are largely borrowed, although this is a common practice in many magical grimoires.

Attempts have been made to ban the book in schools, public libraries, and prisons, although these attempts are rare.


Originally published in paperback by Avon in 1969, The Satanic Bible has had thirty printings and has never gone out of print. A hardcover edition was published by University Books that same year but has now been out of print for decades.

In 2015, William Morrow published a new hardcover edition of the book combined in a single volume with its companion work, The Satanic Rituals, and marketed under a special arrangement by Rabid Crow Arts and Graphics. The main content has not changed throughout the editions, although the dedication was removed after several printings and the introduction has changed several times. The sigil of Baphomet has been printed on the cover since the original publication.

It has been translated into Danish, Swedish, German, Spanish, Finnish and Turkish.

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