A MAGICAL ceremony may be performed by oneself or in a group, but the advantages of each should be made clear.

A group ritual is certainly much more of a reinforcement of faith, and an instillation of power, than is a private ceremony. The massing together of persons who are dedicated to a common philosophy is bound to insure a renewal of confidence in the power of magic. The pageantry of religion consistently becomes a solitary situation it reaches into that realm of self-denail which runs concurrent with anti-social behavior.

It is for this reason that the Satanist should attempt to seek out others with whom to engage in these ceremonies.

In the case of a curse or destruction ritual, it sometimes helps the magician if his desires are intensified by other members of the group. There is nothing in this type of ceremony which would lead to embarrassment on the part of those conducting a ritual of this sort, since anger and the symbolic destruction of the intended victim are the essential ingredients.

On the other hand, a compassion ritual, with its unashamed shedding of tears, or a sex ritual, with its masturbatory and orgasmic overtones, would most likely succeed best if privately performed.

There is no place for self-consciousness in the ritual chamber, unless that very self-consciousness is an integral part of the role being played, and can be used to good advantage - i.e.: the shame felt by a prudent woman serving as an altar, who, through her embarrassment, feels sexual stimulation.

Even in a totally personalized ritual, however, the standardized preliminary invocations and devices should be employed before the intimate fantasies and acting out occur. The formal part of the ritual can be performed in the same room or chamber as the personalized working - or, the formal ceremony in one place, the personal in another. The beginning and end of the ritual must be conducted within the confines of the ritual chamber containing the symbolic devices (altar, chalice, etc.).

The formalized beginning and end of the ceremony acts as a dogmatic, anti-intellectual device, the purpose of which is to disassociate the activities and frame of reference of the outside world from that of the ritual chamber, where the whole will must be employed. This facet of the ceremony is most important to the intellectual, as he especially requires the "decompression chamber" effect of the chants, bells, candles, and other trappings, before he can put his pure and willful desires to work for himself, in the projection and utilization of his imagery.

The "intellectual decompression chamber" of the Satanic temple might be considered a training school for temporary ignorance, as are ALL religious services! The difference is that the Satanist KNOWS he is practicing a form of contrived ignorance in order to expand his will, whereas another religionist doesn't - or if he does know, he practices that form of self-deceit which forbids such recognition. His ego is already too shaky from his religious inculcation to allow himself to admit to such a thing as self-imposed ignorance!

Copyright ©1969 by Anton Szandor LaVey - All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this material or portions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law. For information address Avon Books, Inc.