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On my expulsion

[from ]

   From: Mr. Scratch
   Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2000 10:21 PM
   To: Don Webb, High Priest of the Temple of Set
Subject: On my expulsion
   Mr. Don Webb,
   It has been two weeks since my expulsion from the Temple of Set, and I
   think I've had time to reflect on the matter to my satisfaction. Now
   begins the unpleasant task of tying up loose ends.
   I have shown the correspondence regarding my expulsion to a number of
   people, all of whom have expressed considerable shock that the
   circumstances described in those exchanges would have led to the hasty
   removal of a Priest who had faithfully served the Temple for over a
   decade. Without exception, they asked whom I had "pissed off'." I told
   them that I had not intentionally acted to arouse anyone's anger, but some
   of them drew attention to my comments to Lilith over the unnamed
   individual whom I had referred to as a liar. Once told whom this person
   was, some wry smiles were certainly to be found among my friends.
   This is a curious thing to consider. I had certainly hoped that you would
   have had enough experience of your wife's instabilities to consider the
   difficulties of my position, and the ethics to rise above it. However, I
   must admit it looks suspicious and I would be foolhardy not to consider
   the possibility that your relationship to your wife has clouded your
   vision and your judgment. It is one of a number of such possibilities that
   should be explored, I suppose.
   Obviously I cannot examine the details placed before yourself and the
   Council, and so I cannot say what influence this matter had on the
   judgment. Your ED was certainly not forthcoming in explaining matters;
   she issued me a one-sentence dismissal that amounted to "go away."
   However, whether this unpleasantness had an impact on my dismissal or not,
   I am finally going to speak up on this matter, regarding which I have been
   silent for so many years.
   As you know, I had a sexual and cohabitational relationship with the woman
   who would become your wife, Jennifer Curfman (aka Guineviere, or Guin),
   for approximately 2-3 years, mostly in Eugene, Oregon. It became apparent
   to me within a month or two of our moving in together that Guin was
   emotionally disturbed, as she would often have hysterical fits of violent
   anger. In time, the fits came to be directed toward me, and would usually
   consist of her screaming continual verbal abuse at me for hours on end,
   for reasons that do not appear remotely justifiable to sane people. During
   these outbursts, she was totally beyond reason; her face would turn a
   purple or scarlet color, and she would literally froth at the mouth, or
   long strings of saliva would hang from the corners of her mouth while she
   gibbered or screamed obscenities. Occasionally she would act out in a
   violent fashion, striking me in the face with her hands, or pulling my
   hair until she had ripped it from my scalp.
   Here is an example of one such incident: One night Guin and I returned
   home from the movies, where we had gone on a double date with some
   friends. Upon returning home we were in the library, where Guin checked
   her email on the computer. I also wanted to check my email, but was
   worried about doing so, as recently Guin had had lashed out at me with
   great fury over my use of the computer at a time she considered
   "inappropriate" (I didn't understand then that her rules were merely
   "excuses" to attack me, and thus I would actually try to anticipate the
   little things that would set her off). However, in light of the fact that
   she was using the computer for the same purpose at this time, I considered
   myself reasonably safe. So, when she logged off and stood up from the
   chair, I sat down in it and began to log on.
   She immediately erupted into an angry torrent of accusations, and I
   realized the trap I had fallen into. She began shouting and screaming,
   and after my usual effort to appeal to some sense of reason within her, or
   to appease her, I gave up talking to her. I told her I wasn't going to
   participate, and would rather read a book (choosing a book that I had
   bought that day, and sitting down to peruse it). More screaming and
   obscenities spewed forth, while I studiously ignored her and pretended to
   read. She presumably required my participation in the hysteria, so she
   snatched the book from my hand and began tearing out the pages by the
   fistful. Sensing that this was a prelude to violence (I learned from Guin
   that when destruction of my property began, her physically assaulting me
   was likely to follow), and knowing the tearing up of my book would occupy
   her for a moment, I ran from the library to the bedroom. She chased me
   through the house, and when I got into the bedroom, I slammed the door
   behind me, bracing it with my body. She began to hurl her body against
   the door, over and over, threatening me with unspecified harm if I didn't
   let her in. At one point she actually managed to force the door open a
   few inches and stuck her arm through, swinging it around while hitting me
   as I tried to force her back out (the bruises she sustained from the
   doorjamb she later told people were inflicted by me). After a time, it
   became apparent that the problem on the other side of the door was not
   going to just go away. The door had no lock, and I knew I couldn't keep
   this up all night, so I told her I was going to bed, and released the
   Guin came in, and shouted at me some more. She was enraged to the point
   of being nearly incoherent. I took off my clothes, climbed in bed, and
   pulled the blanket over my head. At this point she jumped up on the bed,
   picked up a heavy pillow and began beating me about the head with it while
   screaming "I'm not hitting you! I'm not hitting you!" over and over
   (presumably by hitting me with a pillow she could claim innocence of
   actually striking me in the head with her fists, as she had done on many
   other occasions). After a bit of this treatment, I finally angered,
   pushed her off the bed, shouted at her that she was crazy, and suggested
   that she ought to be locked up in an insane asylum. She stared at me a
   moment, said "I'll show you how crazy I am," retrieved a loaded 9mm
   handgun from the headboard, and menaced me with it. I waited for a moment
   for the shot to come, but she ran off to the library instead, taking the
   gun with her. She appeared to have calmed down, so I told her I'd had
   enough for the night, and she would have to sleep in the living room on
   the futon. I didn't want to confront her, she had a gun and I was
   exhausted. Early the next morning, I awoke to the sound of hysterical
   crying. I looked out and found Guin on her hands and knees, in a bout of
   frenzied grief the likes of which I had seen so many times I could
   scarcely begin to count them. I'd been through this so many times, and
   after the preceding night, I felt little impulse to console her anymore.
   She began to wail at the top of her lungs about all the times she had been
   raped, by the Golden Dawn and by her father. She told me that her parents
   had sold her into child prostitution, and had invited strange men to their
   house to have sex with her. The latter accusations were new ones to me,
   and I dismissed them as the ravings of a madwoman. I told her I wasn't
   inclined to hear any more lies, and I believe I asked her to leave. She
   jumped up, screamed at me, and struck me in the genitals hard enough to
   double me over. Then she left, and did not return for a week.
   Such incidents happened once every few weeks during the time I lived with
   her. Sometimes she could go as long as a month or so without such furious
   eruptions, but other times one incident would follow another within days.
   My life was a nightmare, but I did my best to persevere through it.
   During the time I was with Guin, I never acted out in anger toward her,
   physically or emotionally (with one exception, noted at the end of this
   paragraph). When she would initiate a physical assault upon me, the most
   I would do would be to restrain her to prevent her from hurting me. I
   did, on one occasion, push her to the ground one morning after I found her
   in bed with her methamphetamine dealer - I had been up all night without
   sleep looking for her, calling all the hospitals and police departments
   within 20 miles, and visiting her friends, terrified that she had been
   hurt or abducted. In consideration of this I do not consider the
   circumstances unjustified.
   People often ask me how I could put up with such an unbearable situation.
   The answer is that it was my own weakness that kept me there, though at
   the time I mistook that weakness for compassion. I knew she was severely
   emotionally disturbed, but given that her professed philosophy was one of
   Xeper, and that I myself had been through emotional rough spots during my
   growing up, but had matured beyond them, I thought I could help her
   change. I had a great deal invested in the relationship, and I thought if
   I could weather the storm and provide a force for stability, eventually it
   would pay off with her becoming sane. During her rational moments, she
   was quite nice to be with, and I looked forward to a future where she
   would be like that always. Such blatant and hopeless foolishness is the
   typical mark of a battered spouse, and today I know better.
   Today, I bear surprisingly little hostility toward Guin on the matter of
   her abuse. She was out of control. It was something akin to being
   attacked by a wild animal -- a painful and injurious incident, but the
   work of force that is beyond reason. So, having learned my lesson about
   the nature of intimate relationships with violent personalities, I put the
   abuse behind me and moved on with my life. I found a mate who is actually
   capable of expressing love and compassion toward me, and who is
   emotionally stable enough to not seek out ways to do me harm, and so in
   her capacity as an abuser, I couldn't care a whit if Guin lives happily or
   drops dead.
   What is not forgivable, however, is the character assassination that she
   began in the wake of our break-up at the Las Vegas Conclave. Not content
   to give up harming me physically, she actually had the nerve to spread
   rumors about me, claiming that I had physically abused her! She began to
   tell mutual friends and people in the Temple of Set extraordinary
   fabrications; that I had "gotten drunk and slapped her around." I can
   only presume that she grossly distorted stories I had told her myself of
   my own youth where I drank heavily, and had a stormy, booze-fueled
   relationship with a woman with whom I didn't get along (though I didn't
   ever strike her either, we did shout at each other a lot, and this
   sometimes gave way to shoving matches). I neither hit Guin, nor did I
   drink to socially unacceptable levels during the entirety of our
   relationship. She knew these stories she was telling were nothing more
   than bald-faced lies, and I'm told she was telling them to anyone who would
   listen, with particular attention to placing this poison in the ears of
   the Priesthood and Magistry. I had little recourse for this, beyond
   countering with my own gossiping, which I declined to do. Though I did
   tell my very closest friends about my relationship with her, I thought it
   unfitting for a (soon-to-be) Priest to go spreading unflattering stories,
   even if they were true. Besides, knowing Guin as I did, I figured she
   would not be able to control her anger, and would eventually come under
   more objective scrutiny from someone else; I wanted to be clear of her
   when she erupted.
   Unfortunately, her aberrant behavior (which I know you have been informed
   of, if you haven't experienced it yourself by now) has been overlooked.
   When I discovered you and she were in a romantic relationship, I redoubled
   my efforts to keep silent publicly, correctly supposing that talking about
   Guin's violent nature and mental illness would likely cost me my
   membership. When Guin was being considered for the Priesthood, however, I
   decided that it was more important for her evaluating Magisters to have
   the necessary information to make an informed decision about her potential
   Recognition than for me to keep silent and stay out of political hot
   water. I therefore approached Robert Menschel and Lilith Aquino with my
   concerns, as I considered these two to be discreet persons in a position
   to keep an eye on her behavior. Once this had, without my permission,
   been given over to the Council of Nine (though that body never deigned to
   seek further information or clarification from me), Rebecca Lance met with
   me privately and thanked me for keeping quiet on this delicate matter. I
   took the hint, and for the past couple of years have actually been
   protecting my abuser (and the husband who would eventually direct and
   participate in my expulsion) from having their reputations damaged by
   refusing to gossip, for the good of the Temple -- a courtesy Guin most
   pointedly did not extend to me. It was a disgraceful, unjust, and
   undignified set of circumstances, but I think I bore it well.
   Now, for making an error in judgment that came to no harm, I've been
   kicked out without so much as a tip of the hat. It is a possibility
   worthy of consideration that you might have been unsatisfied with my mere
   silence, and sought to remove me from any position of influence whatsoever
   -- or at least took the first presented opportunity to do so. But I
   suppose it doesn't matter... whether or not you considered my history with
   your wife (and my intimate knowledge of her dirty little secrets) while
   casting your vote and encouraging others to eliminate me and the work I
   had done, or whether you simply stepped aside while others on the council
   hurled their venom, the truth remains that I have sacrificed my dignity in
   silence for this organization, and you have repaid me by casting me aside
   at a moment's convenience.
   I have been a good man and a good Priest over this past decade. I have
   been devoted to the Prince of Darkness, and mistaking the Temple of Set
   for his representative, I have thus worked to preserve the Temple, by
   guiding her initiates and by presenting a noble face to the public. But
   now I must face the troubling question: how can the mandate of the Prince
   of Darkness fall to the hands of those obsessed with such petty and
   insufferably small-time politics? Whose guiding body is so wasteful and
   short-sighted, that in lieu of any ability to manipulate and influence the
   real world (which you so disdainfully and foolishly refer to as "the World
   of Horrors"), it cannot resist the ego-rush of kicking out its devoted
   members as an exercise of its miniscule power? (And to this end, I am far
   from the only one to have had his head unjustly forced on the block of
   late...and there will be more to follow.)
   So much talk of "honor" and "dignity" is spread about over the Temple as a
   veneer, to cover the ugly truth; only now do I discover for myself what is
   seething underneath. How regrettable that I have served such disreputable
   people for so long.
   Craig Hunt

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