When it comes to Satanists, Anton LaVey is a well-known figure that influenced Satanic worship in the United States. LaVey was an occultist, author of the Satanic Bible, and founder of both the Satanic Church (later renamed the Church of Satan), and a branch of worship known as LaVeyan Satanism. In his day, he forged the way for a new religion centered on the occult and rituals that included Satanic wedding ceremonies and Satanic baptisms. Today, it is his daughter, Karla LaVey who is carrying on the memory of her late father, which includes hosting an annual “First Satanic Church Black X-Mas” gathering.
For more than 15 years, LaVey’s daughter has played host to festivities centered on Satanic worship held on Christmas Day. As leader of her own congregation, she allows the public to join in and experience “rituals, spells, and incantations” for $10, despite membership being required to become a part of her religious organization. Bands and other forms of live entertainment help create the mood, which usually includes the sounds of death metal and punk rock n’ roll.
Following the death of her father, Karla saw the Church of Satan ran by a new administration in 1997, with the headquarters being moved to New York City. Displeased with the changes, she re-founded the Satanic Church on October 31, 1999, and continued to run it in San Francisco – much like in the same manner as her father when he was living.
Ever since, Karla has made sure that the presence of her congregation remains quite visible.
Throughout the city, Karla’s church holds various events, which has included a Walpurgisnacht Show in 2005 and a pre-Halloween benefit show that same year in an effort to raise funds for the hurricane victims left behind by Katrina and Rita. Every December, the Satanic Church also holds the Annual Black X-Mass Show, which is now in its 16th year.
Every week, Karla LaVey also hosts a Satanic radio show based in San Francisco, where she talks about and plays the kind of music she listened to while growing up with Anton LaVey as a father.
Karla’s father not only wrote the Satanic Bible, in which he described Satan as a “motivating and balancing dark force in nature,” but also founded the Satanic Church in 1966. The day on which LaVey founded the religious group is also quite significant – Walpurgisnacht – a springtime festival that is observed exactly six months away from All Hallows’ Eve (better known as Halloween).
Before founding the eventual Church of Satan, LaVey gave paid lectures out of his home (dubbed ‘Black House’). Along with his closest associates, they created a group known as the ‘Magic Circle,’ and in time, it was brought to his attention that he could very well start an organized religion with all of the background and material he had developed over the years. The Church of Satan would quickly gain a great deal of attention with its rituals and activities (such as using nude women as altars), as well as with LaVey’s persona – a distinct-looking man with shaved head who sometimes donned a pair of Devil horns.