Wicca termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a contemporary Pagan new religious movement. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th-century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices. Wicca has no central authority figure, its traditional core beliefs and practices were outlined in the 1940s and 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente, both in published books as well as in secret written and oral teachings passed along to their initiates. There are many variations on the core structure, the religion grows and evolves over time, it is divided into a number of diverse lineages and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature, there is some disagreement over what constitutes Wicca; some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to similar traditions, but not to newer, eclectic traditions.
Wicca is duotheistic, worshipping a Goddess and a God. These are traditionally viewed as the Horned God, respectively; these deities may be regarded in a henotheistic way, as having many different divine aspects which can in turn be identified with many diverse pagan deities from different historical pantheons. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as the "Great Goddess" and the "Great Horned God", with the adjective "great" connoting a deity that contains many other deities within their own nature; these two deities are sometimes viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic divinity, regarded as an impersonal force or process rather than a personal deity. While duotheism or bitheism is traditional in Wicca, broader Wiccan beliefs range from polytheism to pantheism or monism to Goddess monotheism. Wiccan celebrations encompass both the cycles of the Moon, known as Esbats and associated with the Goddess, the cycles of the Sun, seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats and associated with the Horned God.
An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is a popular expression of Wiccan morality, although it is not universally accepted by Wiccans. Wicca involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary. Scholars of religious studies classify Wicca as a new religious movement, more as a form of modern Paganism. Cited as the largest, best known, most influential, most extensively academically studied form of Paganism, within the movement it has been identified as sitting on the former end of the eclectic to reconstructionist spectrum. Several academics have categorised Wicca as a form of nature religion, a term, embraced by many of its practitioners. However, given that Wicca incorporates the practice of magic, several scholars have referred to it as a "magico-religion". Wicca is a form of Western esotericism, more a part of the esoteric current known as occultism. Although recognised as a religion by academics, some evangelical Christians have attempted to deny it legal recognition as such, while some Wiccan practitioners themselves eschew the term "religion" – associating the latter purely with organised religion – instead favouring "spirituality" or "way of life".
Although Wicca as a religion is distinct from other forms of contemporary Paganism, there has been much "cross-fertilization" between these different Pagan faiths. The terms wizard and warlock are discouraged in the community. In Wicca, denominations are referred to as traditions, while non-Wiccans are termed cowans; when the religion first came to public attention, it was called "Witchcraft". For instance, Gerald Gardner—the man regarded as the "Father of Wicca"—referred to it as the "Craft of the Wise", "witchcraft", "the witch-cult" during the 1950s. There is no evidence that he called it "Wicca", although he did refer to the collective community of Pagan Witches as "the Wica"; as a name for the religion, "Wicca" developed in Britain during the 1960s. It is not known who invented the term "Wicca" in reference to the religion, although one possibility is that it might have been Gardner's rival Charles Cardell, referring to it as the "Craft of the Wiccens" by 1958; the first recorded use of the word "Wicca" appears in 1962, it had been popularised to the extent that several British practitioners founded a newsletter called The Wiccan in 1968.
Although pronounced differently, the Modern English term "Wicca" is derived from the Old English wicca and wicce, the masculine and feminine term for witch, used in Anglo-Saxon England. By adopting it for modern usage, Wiccans were both symbolically cementing their connection to the ancient, pre-Christian past, adopting a self-designation that would be less controversial than "Witchcraft". In early sources "Wicca" referred to the entirety of the religion rather than specific traditions. In ensuing decades, members of certain traditions – those known as British Traditional Wicca – began claiming that only they should be termed "Wiccan", that other forms of the religion must not use it. From the late 1980s onwards various books propagating Wicca were published that again used the former, broader definition of the word. Thus, by the 1980s, there were two competing de
Thealogy views divine matters with feminine perspectives including but not only feminism. Valerie Saiving, Isaac Bonewits and Naomi Goldenberg introduced the concept as a neologism in feminist terms, its use widened to mean all feminine ideas of the sacred, which Charlotte Caron usefully explained in 1993: "reflection on the divine in feminine or feminist terms". By 1996, when Melissa Raphael published Thealogy and Embodiment, the term was well established; as a neologism, the term derives from two Greek words: thea, θεά, meaning "goddess", the feminine equivalent of theos, "god". Thealogy has areas in common with feminist theology, the study of God from a feminist perspective emphasising monotheism, thus the relation is an overlap. The term's origin and initial use is open to continuing debate. Patricia'Iolana traces the early use of the neologism to 1976 crediting both Valerie Saiving and Isaac Bonewits for its initial use; the coinage of'thealogian' on record by Bonewits in 1976 has been promoted,In the 1979 book Changing of the Gods, Naomi Goldenberg introduces the term as a future possibility with respect to a distinct discourse, highlighting the masculine nature of theology.
In 1979, in the first revised edition of "Real Magic", Bonewits defined "thealogy" in his Glossary as "Intellectual speculations concerning the nature of the Goddess and Her relations to the world in general and humans in particular. In the same glossary, he defined "theology" with nearly identical words, changing the feminine pronouns with masculine pronouns appropriately. Carol P. Christ used the term in "Laughter of Aphrodite", claiming that those creating thealogy could not avoid being influenced by the categories and questions posed in Christian and Jewish theologies, she further defined thealogy in her 2002 essay, "Feminist theology as post-traditional thealogy," as "the reflection on the meaning of the Goddess". In her 1989 essay "On Mirrors and Murmurs: Toward an Asian American Thealogy", Rita Nakashima Brock defined thealogy as "the work of women reflecting on their experiences of and beliefs about divine reality". In 1989, Ursula King notes thealogy's growing usage as a fundamental departure from traditional male-oriented theology, characterized by its privileging of symbols over rational explanation.
In 1993, Charlotte Caron's inclusive and clear definition of thealogy as "reflection on the divine in feminine and feminist terms" appeared in "To Make and Make Again". By this time, the concept had gained considerable status among Goddess adherents. Situated in relationship to the fields of theology and religious studies, thealogy is a discourse that critically engages the beliefs, practices and values of the Goddess community, both past and present. Similar to theology, thealogy grapples with questions of meaning, include reflecting on the nature of the divine, the relationship of humanity to the environment, the relationship between the spiritual and sexual self, the nature of belief. However, in contrast to theology, which focuses on an logical and empirical discourse, thealogy embraces a postmodern discourse of personal experience and complexity; the term suggests a feminist approach to theism and the context of God and gender within Paganism, Goddess Spirituality and various nature-based religions.
However, thealogy can be described as religiously pluralistic, as thealogians come from various religious backgrounds that are hybrid in nature. In addition to Pagans and Goddess-centred faith traditions, they are Christian, Buddhist, Quakers, etc. or define themselves as Spiritual Feminists. As such, the term thealogy has been used by feminists within mainstream monotheistic religions to describe in more detail the feminine aspect of a monotheistic deity or trinity, such as God/dess Herself, or the Heavenly Mother of the Latter Day Saint movement. In 2000, Melissa Raphael wrote the text Introducing Thealogy: Discourse on the Goddess for the series Introductions in Feminist Theology. Written for an academic audience, it purports to introduce the main elements of thealogy within the context of Goddess feminism, she situates thealogy as a discourse that can be engaged with by Goddess feminists—those who are feminist adherents of the Goddess who may have left their church, synagogue, or mosque—or those who may still belong to their established religion.
In the book, Raphael contrasts thealogy with the Goddess movement. In 2007, Paul Reid-Bowen wrote the text "Goddess as Nature: Towards a Philosophical Thealogy", which can be regarded as another systematic approach to thealogy, but which integrates philosophical discourse. In the past decade, other thealogians like Patricia'Iolana and D'vorah Grenn have generated discourses that bridge thealogy with other academic disciplines.'Iolana's Jungian thealogy bridges analytical psychology with thealogy, Grenn's metaformic thealogy is a bridge between matriarchal studies and thealogy. Contemporary Thealogians include Carol P. Christ, Melissa Raphael, Asphodel Long, Beverly Clack, Charlotte Caron, Naomi Goldenberg, Paul Reid-Bowen, Rita Nakashima Brock, Patricia'Iolana. At least one Christian theologist dismisses thealogy as the creation of
The occult is "knowledge of the hidden" or "knowledge of the paranormal", as opposed to facts and "knowledge of the measurable" referred to as science. The term is sometimes taken to mean knowledge that "is meant only for certain people" or that "must be kept hidden", but for most practicing occultists it is the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends pure reason and the physical sciences; the terms esoteric and arcane can be used to describe the occult, in addition to their meanings unrelated to the supernatural. The term occult sciences was used in the 16th century to refer to astrology and natural magic; the term occultism emerged in 19th-century France, where it came to be associated with various French esoteric groups connected to Éliphas Lévi and Papus, in 1875 was introduced into the English language by the esotericist Helena Blavatsky. Throughout the 20th century, the term was used idiosyncratically by a range of different authors, but by the 21st century was employed – including by academic scholars of esotericism – to refer to a range of esoteric currents that developed in the mid-19th century and their descendants.
Occultism is thus used to categorise such esoteric traditions as Spiritualism, Anthroposophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, New Age. Since the late twentieth century, various authors have used the occult as a substantivized adjective. In this usage, "the occult" is a category into which varied beliefs and practices are placed if they are considered to fit into neither religion nor science. "The occult" in this sense is broad, encompassing such phenomenon as beliefs in vampires or fairies and movements like Ufology and parapsychology. In that same period and culture were combined to form the neologism occulture. Used in the industrial music scene, it was given scholarly applications; the idea of "occult sciences" developed in the sixteenth century. The term encompassed three practices—astrology and natural magic—although sometimes various forms of divination were included rather than being subsumed under natural magic; these were grouped together because, according to the historian of religion Wouter Hanegraaff, "each one of them engaged in a systematic investigation of nature and natural processes, in the context of theoretical frameworks that relied on a belief in occult qualities, virtues or forces."
Although there are areas of overlap between these different occult sciences, they are separate and in some cases practitioners of one would reject the others as being illegitimate. During the Enlightenment, the term "occult" came to be seen as intrinsically incompatible with the concept of "science". From that point on, use of the term "occult science" implied a conscious polemic against mainstream science. In his 1871 book Primitive Culture, the anthropologist Edward Tylor used the term "occult science" as a synonym for "magic". Occult qualities are properties. Aether is another such element. Newton's contemporaries criticized his theory that gravity was effected through "action at a distance", as occult. In the English-speaking world, prominent figures in the development of occultism included Helena Blavatsky and other figures associated with her Theosophical Society, senior figures in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn like William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell Mathers, as well as other individuals such as Paschal Beverly Randolph, Emma Hardinge Britten, Arthur Edward Waite, and—in the early twentieth century—Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie.
By the end of the nineteenth century, occultist ideas had spread into other parts of Europe, such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy. Unlike older forms of esotericism, occultism does not reject "scientific progress or modernity". Lévi had stressed the need to solve the conflict between science and religion, something that he believed could be achieved by turning to what he thought was the ancient wisdom found in magic; the scholar of esotericism Antoine Faivre noted that rather than outright accepting "the triumph of scientism", occultists sought "an alternative solution", trying to integrate "scientific progress or modernity" with "a global vision that will serve to make the vacuousness of materialism more apparent". Hanegraaff remarked that occultism was "essentially an attempt to adapt esotericism" to the "disenchanted world", a post-Enlightenment society in which growing scientific discovery had eradicated the "dimension of irreducible mystery" present. In doing so, he noted, occultism distanced itself from the "traditional esotericism" which accepted the premise of an "enchanted" world.
According to historian of esotericism Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, occultist groups seek "proofs and demonstrations by recourse to scientific tests or terminology". In his work about Lévi, the German historian Julian Strube has argued that the occultist wish for a "synthesis" of religion and philosophy directly resulted from the context of contemporary socialism and progressive Catholicism. Similar to spiritualism, but in declared opposition to it, the emergence of occultism should thus be seen within the context of radical social reform, concerned with establishing new forms of "scientific religion" while at the same time propagating the revival of an ancient tradition of "true religion". Indeed, the emergence of both modern esotericism and socialism in July Monarchy France have been inherently intertwined. Another feature of occultists is that—unlike earlier esotericists—they openly dis
Delaware is one of the 50 states of the United States, in the South-Atlantic or Southern region. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, north by Pennsylvania, east by New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean; the state takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and Virginia's first colonial governor. Delaware occupies the northeastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. It's the sixth most densely populated. Delaware's largest city is Wilmington; the state is divided into the lowest number of any state. From north to south, they are New Castle County, Kent County, Sussex County. While the southern two counties have been predominantly agricultural, New Castle County is more industrialized. Before its coastline was explored by Europeans in the 16th century, Delaware was inhabited by several groups of Native Americans, including the Lenape in the north and Nanticoke in the south, it was colonized by Dutch traders at Zwaanendael, near the present town of Lewes, in 1631.
Delaware was one of the 13 colonies participating in the American Revolution. On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, has since been known as "The First State"; the state was named after the Delaware River, which in turn derived its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, the ruling governor of the Colony of Virginia at the time Europeans first explored the river. The Delaware Indians, a name used by Europeans for Lenape people indigenous to the Delaware Valley derive their name from the same source; the surname de La Warr is of Anglo-Norman origin. It came from a Norman lieu-dit La Guerre; this toponymic could derive from the Latin word ager, from the Breton gwern or from the Late Latin varectum. The toponyms Gara, Gaire appear in old texts cited by Lucien Musset, where the word gara means gore, it could be linked with a patronymic from the Old Norse verr. Delaware is 96 miles long and ranges from 9 miles to 35 miles across, totaling 1,954 square miles, making it the second-smallest state in the United States after Rhode Island.
Delaware is bounded to the north by Pennsylvania. Small portions of Delaware are situated on the eastern side of the Delaware River sharing land boundaries with New Jersey; the state of Delaware, together with the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and two counties of Virginia, form the Delmarva Peninsula, which stretches down the Mid-Atlantic Coast. The definition of the northern boundary of the state is unusual. Most of the boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania was defined by an arc extending 12 miles from the cupola of the courthouse in the city of New Castle; this boundary is referred to as the Twelve-Mile Circle. Although the Twelve-Mile Circle is claimed to be the only territorial boundary in the United States, a true arc, the Mexican boundary with Texas includes several arcs, many cities in the South have circular boundaries; this border extends all the way east to the low-tide mark on the New Jersey shore continues south along the shoreline until it again reaches the 12-mile arc in the south.
To the west, a portion of the arc extends past the easternmost edge of Maryland. The remaining western border runs east of due south from its intersection with the arc; the Wedge of land between the northwest part of the arc and the Maryland border was claimed by both Delaware and Pennsylvania until 1921, when Delaware's claim was confirmed. Delaware is with the lowest mean elevation of any state in the nation, its highest elevation, located at Ebright Azimuth, near Concord High School, is less than 450 feet above sea level. The northernmost part of the state is part of the Piedmont Plateau with rolling surfaces; the Atlantic Seaboard fall line follows the Robert Kirkwood Highway between Newark and Wilmington. A ridge about 75 to 80 feet in elevation extends along the western boundary of the state and separates the watersheds that feed Delaware River and Bay to the east and the Chesapeake Bay to the west. Since all of Delaware is a part of the Atlantic coastal plain, the effects of the ocean moderate its climate.
The state lies in the humid subtropical climate zone. Despite its small size, there is significant variation in mean temperature and amount of snowfall between Sussex County and New Castle County. Moderated by the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, the southern portion of the state has a milder climate and a longer growing season than the northern portion of the state. Delaware's all-time record high of 110 °F was recorded at Millsboro on July 21, 1930; the all-time record low of −17 °F was recorded at Millsboro on January 17, 1893. The transitional climate of Delaware supports a wide variety of vegetation. In the northern third of the state are found Northeastern coastal forests and mixed oak forests typical of the northeastern United States. In the southern two-thirds of the state are found Middle Atlantic coastal forests. Trap Pond State Park, along with areas in other parts of Sussex County, for example, support
A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They have the authority or power to administer religious rites, their office or position is the priesthood, a term which may apply to such persons collectively. According to the trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society, priests have existed since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies, most as a result of agricultural surplus and consequent social stratification; the necessity to read sacred texts and keep temple or church records helped foster literacy in many early societies. Priests exist in many religions today, such as all or some branches of Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, they are regarded as having privileged contact with the deity or deities of the religion to which they subscribe interpreting the meaning of events and performing the rituals of the religion. There is no common definition of the duties of priesthood between faiths.
These include blessing worshipers with prayers of joy at marriages, after a birth, at consecrations, teaching the wisdom and dogma of the faith at any regular worship service, mediating and easing the experience of grief and death at funerals – maintaining a spiritual connection to the afterlife in faiths where such a concept exists. Administering religious building grounds and office affairs and papers, including any religious library or collection of sacred texts, is commonly a responsibility – for example, the modern term for clerical duties in a secular office refers to the duties of a cleric; the question of which religions have a "priest" depends on how the titles of leaders are used or translated into English. In some cases, leaders are more like those that other believers will turn to for advice on spiritual matters, less of a "person authorized to perform the sacred rituals." For example, clergy in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are priests, but in Protestant Christianity they are minister and pastor.
The terms priest and priestess are sufficiently generic that they may be used in an anthropological sense to describe the religious mediators of an unknown or otherwise unspecified religion. In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time position, ruling out any other career. Many Christian priests and pastors choose or are mandated to dedicate themselves to their churches and receive their living directly from their churches. In other cases it is a part-time role. For example, in the early history of Iceland the chieftains were titled goði, a word meaning "priest"; as seen in the saga of Hrafnkell Freysgoði, being a priest consisted of offering periodic sacrifices to the Norse gods and goddesses. In some religions, being a priest or priestess is by human election or human choice. In Judaism the priesthood is inherited in familial lines. In a theocracy, a society is governed by its priesthood; the word "priest", is derived from Greek via Latin presbyter, the term for "elder" elders of Jewish or Christian communities in late antiquity.
The Latin presbyter represents Greek πρεσβύτερος presbúteros, the regular Latin word for "priest" being sacerdos, corresponding to ἱερεύς hiereús. It is possible that the Latin word was loaned into Old English, only from Old English reached other Germanic languages via the Anglo-Saxon mission to the continent, giving Old Icelandic prestr, Old Swedish präster, Old High German priast. Old High German has the disyllabic priester, priestar derived from Latin independently via Old French presbtre. Αn alternative theory makes priest cognate with Old High German priast, from Vulgar Latin *prevost "one put over others", from Latin praepositus "person placed in charge". That English should have only the single term priest to translate presbyter and sacerdos came to be seen as a problem in English Bible translations; the presbyter is the minister who both presides and instructs a Christian congregation, while the sacerdos, offerer of sacrifices, or in a Christian context the eucharist, performs "mediatorial offices between God and man".
The feminine English noun, was coined in the 17th century, to refer to female priests of the pre-Christian religions of classical antiquity. In the 20th century, the word was used in controversies surrounding the women ordained in the Anglican communion, who are referred to as "priests", irrespective of gender, the term priestess is considered archaic in Christianity. In historical polytheism, a priest administers the sacrifice to a deity in elaborate ritual. In the Ancient Near East, the priesthood acted on behalf of the deities in managing their property. Priestesses in antiquity performed sacred prostitution, in Ancient Greece, some priestesses such as Pythia, priestess at Delphi, acted as oracles. Sumerian en were top-ranking priestesses who were distinguished with special ceremonial attire and held equal status to high priests, they owned property, transacted business, initiated the hieros gamos with priests and kings. Enheduanna was the first known holder of the title en. Nadītu served as priestesses in the temples of Inanna in the city of Uruk.
They were recruited from the highest families in the land and were supposed to remain childless, own
Claremont is a city on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, United States, 30.3 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It is in the Pomona Valley, at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, has a population, as of the 2015 United States Census estimate, of 36,283 people. Claremont is known as the home of the Claremont Colleges and other educational institutions, for its tree-lined streets with numerous historic buildings. In July 2007, it was rated by CNN/Money magazine as the fifth best place to live in the United States, was the highest rated place in California on the list, it was named the best suburb in the West by Sunset Magazine in 2016, which described it as a "small city that blends worldly sophistication with small-town appeal." In 2018, Niche rated Claremont as the 17th best place to live in the Los Angeles area out of 658 communities it evaluated, based on crime, cost of living, job opportunities, local amenities. Due to its large number of trees and residents with doctoral degrees, as well as its proximity to the renowned Claremont Colleges, it is sometimes referred to as "The City of Trees and PhDs."The city is residential, with a significant portion of its commercial activity located in "The Village," a popular collection of street-front small stores, art galleries and restaurants adjacent to and west of the Claremont Colleges.
The Village was expanded in 2007, adding a controversial multi-use development that includes a cinema, a boutique hotel, retail space, a parking structure on the site of an old citrus packing plant west of Indian Hill Boulevard. Claremont has been a winner of the National Arbor Day Association's Tree City USA award for 22 consecutive years; when the city incorporated in 1907, local citizens started what has become the city's tree-planting tradition. Claremont is one of the few remaining places in North America with American Elm trees that have not been exposed to Dutch elm disease; the stately trees line Indian Hill Boulevard in the vicinity of the city's Memorial Park. The Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank, is located in nearby Upland, CA; the city hosts several large retirement communities, among them Pilgrim Place, the Claremont Manor and Mt. San Antonio Gardens; the citrus groves and open space which once dominated the northern portion of the city have been replaced by residential developments of large homes.
Construction of Stone Canyon Preserve, one of the final residential tract developments in the north of the city, commenced in 2003 as part of a complicated agreement between Pomona College and the City of Claremont which resulted in the creation of the 1,740-acre Wilderness Park. The foothill area includes the Padua Hills Theatre, a historic site constructed in 1930 and the Claraboya residential area. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.35 square miles, of which 13.3 square miles is land and 0.05 square miles is water. Claremont is located at the eastern end of Los Angeles County and borders the cities of Upland and Montclair in San Bernardino County, as well as the cities of Pomona and La Verne in Los Angeles County, it is geographically located in the San Gabriel Valley. Claremont is 24 miles east of Pasadena and 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Claremont has a Mediterranean climate. In the summer months, temperatures can rise above 100 °F. In the autumn months, Claremont can receive gusty winds known as the "Santa Ana Winds", which can bring fire danger to nearby foothills.
In the winter, most of its annual rainfall occurs. Snow is rare but can be viewed in the nearby San Gabriel Mountains. In early summer, Claremont can receive overcast weather due to its strong onshore flow from the ocean known as "May Gray" or "June Gloom"; the 2010 United States Census reported that Claremont had a population of 34,926. The population density was 2,589.7 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Claremont was 24,666 White, 1,651 African American, 172 Native American, 4,564 Asian, 38 Pacific Islander, 2,015 from other races, 1,820 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6,919 persons; the Census reported that 29,802 people lived in households, 4,926 lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, 198 were institutionalized. There were 11,608 households, out of which 3,576 had children under the age of 18 living in them, 6,305 were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,223 had a female householder with no husband present, 397 had a male householder with no wife present.
There were 429 unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, 138 same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,957 households were made up of individuals and 1,556 had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57. There were 7,925 families; the population was spread out with 6,459 people under the age of 18, 6,778 people aged 18 to 24, 6,940 people aged 25 to 44, 8,979 people aged 45 to 64, 5,770 people who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males. There were 12,156 housing units at an average density of 901.3 per square mile, of which 7,700 were owner-occupied, 3,908 were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.9%. 21
Church of Satan
The Church of Satan is a religious organization dedicated to Satanism as codified in The Satanic Bible. The Church of Satan was established at the Black House in San Francisco, California, on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey, the Church's High Priest until his death in 1997. In 2001, Peter H. Gilmore was appointed to the position of High Priest, the church's headquarters were moved to Hell's Kitchen, New York City; the church does not believe in the Devil, nor a Islamic notion of Satan. Peter H. Gilmore describes its members as "skeptical atheists", embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary"; the church views Satan as a positive archetype who represents pride and enlightenment, as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts. The Church of Satan describes its structural basis as a cabal, "an underground cell-system of individuals who share the basis of philosophy".
Membership in the Church of Satan is available on two levels: registered membership and active membership. Registered members are those who choose to affiliate on a formal level by filling out the required information and sending a one time registration fee. Active membership is available for those who wish to take a more active role in the organization, is subject to the completion of a more comprehensive application; the organization does not disclose official membership numbers. The church provides wedding and baptismal services to members; such ceremonies are performed by a member of the church's priesthood. The Church maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey, rejecting the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists. Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan, it was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public visible, long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse".
The Church does not espouse a belief in Satan as an entity who exists, LaVey did not encourage the worship of Satan as a deity. In an interview with David Shankbone, High Priest Peter H. Gilmore stated "My real feeling is that anybody who believes in supernatural entities on some level is insane. Whether they believe in the Devil or God, they are abdicating reason". Gilmore defines the word "Satan" as "a model or a mode of behavior", noting that in Hebrew the word means "adversary" or "opposer", which can be regarded as "one who questions". Gilmore describes Satanism as beginning with atheism, taking the view that the universe is indifferent: "There's no God, there's no Devil. No one cares!" LaVey sought to cement his belief system within the secularist world-view that derived from natural science, thus providing him with an anti-theistic basis with which to criticize Christianity and other supernaturalist beliefs. He legitimized his religion by highlighting what he claimed was its rational nature, contrasting this with what he saw as the supernaturalist irrationality of established religions.
Church members may participate in a system of magic which LaVey defined as greater and lesser magic. Greater magic is a form of ritual practice and is meant as psychodramatic catharsis to focus one's emotional energy for a specific purpose. Although many of LaVey's ideas are shaped around a secular and scientific world-view, others express the belief that there are various magical forces in existence, he believed that the successful use of magic involved the magician manipulating these natural forces using the force of their own willpower, a trait of the religion, compared with Christian Science and Scientology. Outlined in The Satanic Bible, LaVey defined magic as "the change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using accepted methods, be unchangeable."The term "Theistic Satanism" has been described as "oxymoronic" by the church and its High Priest. The Church of Satan rejects the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists, atheistic or otherwise, dubbing them reverse-Christians, pseudo-Satanists or Devil worshipers.
Prominent Church leader Blanche Barton described Satanism as "an alignment, a lifestyle". LaVey and the Church espoused the view that "Satanists are born, not made". Adherents to the philosophy have described Satanism as a non-spiritual religion of the flesh, or "...the world's first carnal religion". The "central convictions" of the Church are formulated in the Nine Satanic Statements, Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth, Nine Satanic Sins, Pentagonal Revisionism, which are reproduced within the Church of Satan's written material. In 1956, LaVey purchased a Victorian house in the Richmond District of San Francisco, which he painted black. During the late 1950s, LaVey hosted Friday night lectures on occult subjects at his house; the process of writing his lectures led him to distill his philosophy based on his earlier research into topics considered bizarre and arcane, exper