I usually try not to defend LaVey, because I believe his lifestyle was that of a clown, rather than a serious philosopher, but I also know that his belief-system was much greater than the man himself. I also will not comment much on his magick rituals because I have never had the need to use any of them. Partly because I’m not a Satanist, and partly because I prefer using chaos and the ceremonial magick of the Golden Dawn. However, I will comment on his beliefs; and the belief or disbelief in an entity labelled Satan has nothing to do with the working of magick. He chose to use Satan to label and promote his beliefs for many reasons, like making money, to directly oppose Christian beliefs in an outlandish manner, and to gain public attention. It worked for him, but there is more to him than theatrics.
The Bible, and most of the public, attribute particular behaviours to Satan, such as not turning the other cheek, engaging in unbridled sexual activity, etc. ‘Satan’, it follows, then becomes a pretty accurate label for LaVey’s belief-system. It is only a label, and nothing more. For example, loving your neighbour does not require a belief in the Christian God, but it is still a rather ‘god-like’ behaviour and attitude. Engaging in premarital sex does not require a belief in Satan, either, but most Christians would label it as a “satanic-like’ behaviour. Looking at it from this perspective shows that the belief in Satan does not have any real connection to a satanic belief system.
Those who do believe in Satan, and follow him, are simply devil-worshippers, which is much different than being a Satanist. To a true Satanist, nothing should be worshipped other than the self, and rituals which seem to pay homage to Satan are ‘representative’ of a particular belief-system, not an actual entity named Satan. I hope this is making sense.
The vast majority of magicians, of any sort, follow either the “energy model”, or the “psychological model” in explaining how their magick works (see Prime Chaos by Phil Hine, and Liber Kaos by Peter Carroll). The Energy Model, ala Joseph Campbell, briefly, says that magick is all about harnessing the energy in the environment around you, and focusing that energy into ritual behaviour. The Psychological Model, ala Carl Jung, briefly, says that magick is a personification of basic human archetypes contained only within the magician himself. Note that neither of these models require the belief in any entities, be they demons or gods.
One can conclude from this that LaVey’s magick does not require the belief in Satan, and Wiccan magick/spells do not require the belief in a Goddess in order to be effective. So, it is obviously not correct to say that LaVey’s magick is not “real” because he doesn’t believe in the entity named Satan. The proof of the pudding lies in the effectiveness of the pudding’s ingredients, and there are plenty of Satanists around who make their pudding with Satanic rituals!
Love is the law,
The Satanic Lexicon