Salutations! Let me start by saying that until today, I actually believed that Satanists worshipped the Judeo-Christian devil. I now know that this is quite laughable. However, my misconception was due to both media portrayal and vestiges of my own enforced "Holy Roller" roots, so I hope you can forgive my ignorance.
Anyways, I was quite surprised by what I've read about the COS on Wikipedia and several other places. The general philosophy doesn't appear to differ much from my own, and I love the unabashed stance on stupidity. Making it the #1 cardinal sin was truly a stroke of genius. Also I love the dark and gritty vibe that the religion (more of a philosophy?) gives off as a whole, it's much darker than Atheism or even Nihilism.
My research has been admitedly quite limited though, and I had some questions. I figured it'd be best to ask actual practicing Satanists to see if I'm compatible with Satanism before I invested too much time and money into books and whatnot. I apologize in advance if any of my questions are ignorant or offensive, I truly do want to learn more about Satanism though.
1. About the whole magic aspect, what is the general belief as to its efficacy? I mean, I can completely understand the value of ritual, and the curses seem like they'd be a great way to let hatred run its course or even revel in it without breaking any laws. I simply cannot bring myself to believe that it actually has supernatural reprecussions though. I'm totally on board with what little I know of "lesser magic", it's just the "greater magic" that troubles me.
2. Exactly how many Satanist's are there? I apologize if this is general information that I didn't bother to look up, but I'm just trying to get an idea of how lonely I'd be. Being the only one in my area sounds like a rather depressing experience.
3. What would my monetary compulsions be (if any?). I was a Christian for most of my life, and their standard is 10% as well as guilt induced offerings. However, from what little I understand about Satanists, it seems to me that if someone demanded 10%+ percent of their income said person would be promptly bitchslapped
4. Is LaVey pronounced Lah-vey or Lay-vee, I only ask because my last name is spelled the same but pronounced in the second way. Every time someone googles me they always get pictures of Anton!
Thank you in advance for the help!