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Worth Reading

To: alt.satanism
From: (Dr. Michael A. Aquino)
Subject: Re: Worth Reading (Again)
Date: 29 Jul 2001 23:08:59 GMT

Hash: SHA1

In article <3b639e99$>,
"Circe"  wrote:

>For anyone who wishes to see a different, non-Christian
>perspective on the Church of Satan (and its breakaway
>organization, the Temple of Set), I suggest that you read
>Isaac Bonewits' "My Satanic Adventure"

- - by Michael A. Aquno
June 12, 1994

In 1992, updated 1994, Isaac Bonewits published a
BBS essay entitled "My Satanic Adventure", describing
and commenting upon his experiences with Anton LaVey
and the Church of Satan ca. 1968. The 1994-update of
this essay appends the following paragraph:

"I said back in 1974 that people desperate to smear me
would inevitably bring up those months with LaVey,
for lack of anything better to use, and that prophesy has
come true several times. The printing of 'The Enemies
of our Enemies' in _DP_#7 and _Green Egg_, however,
really brought them out of the woodwork. Michael Aquino,
the neo-nazi head of the Temple of Set, has been especially
active in spreading carefully crafted lies (he's a career
military intelligence officer, after all) about my time
with LaVey. His professionally written disinformation
is precisely targeted to make feminists, civil libertarians
and Neopagans disgusted with me, especially if they are
unfamiliar with propaganda techniques. Various other
Satanic crackpots, some of whom were denouncing me
fifteen years ago, are joining in with equally ludicrous
accusations and sophomoric insults."

As I did not join the Church of Satan until 1969, a year
after the arrival & departure of Bonewits, I had no contact
with him at that time. Nor did his name ever came up
in casual conversation at the Central Grotto. The Church
was growing and developing very swiftly at that time,
and conversation inclined towards national expansion &
organization, refinement of the theology & philosophy
of Satanism, and the ever-present task of public relations.

I first heard of Bonewits in 1972, when he published his
_Real Magic_ book and included in it a number of slurs
concerning Anton LaVey and the early Church of Satan.
In answer to my query, Anton said that Bonewits had
joined the Church in its early days and had shortly
thereafter been expelled for being boorish and obnoxious.
Neither the LaVeys nor I had any particular interest in
Bonewits, so that's where the dialogue ended.

- From 1972 to 1975 the Church of Satan paid no attention
to Bonewits, and from 1975 to 1993 the Temple of Set
paid no attention to him. He was dismissed as just one
more loose cannon in the American occult subculture.
His name was not mentioned once in the newsletters of
either the Church nor the Temple in that 21-year period
[and still has not been since].

Bonewits came to the Temple of Set's attention in 1993,
when he wrote an article denouncing Satanism for Tim
Zell's _Green Egg_ neopagan magazine. Since this article
contained a great deal of factual misinformation, seriously
defamed our religion, and omitted any mention of Bonewits'
own bias deriving from his past Satanic involvement and
disgrace, I wrote a correction to it. My response was heavily
censored by Zell in the next _Green Egg_, whereupon the
Temple of Set simply made the complete, uncensored text
available gratis to anyone who might inquire about
Bonewits' _Green Egg_ article.

Now in this 1994 "Satanic Adventure" paper, Bonewits
accuses me of "telling lies" and "spreading disinformation"
about him. As I review my _GE_-response, I find no
comments of mine concerning him that weren't supported
by documented history, or by logical analysis of his own
statements. Accordingly, while Bonewits spends a lot of
time complaining in "SA" about how maliciously I have
distorted the truth about him, he never actually identifies
even a single "lie" that I am supposed to have told about
him. In any case I am quite content for my _GE_-response
to be judged on its own merits for objectivity and reliability.

As noted above, Bonewits came to & went from the Church
of Satan before my time, so I cannot personally testify to
whether he is or is not telling the truth about his experiences
in the Church. I will simply say that when Anton & Diane
LaVey discussed Bonewits with me in 1972, I considered
them fair and trustworthy; and today I would place more
credence in their 1972 account than in this latter-day
version offered by Bonewits himself - as in his _GE_ essay
he has amply demonstrated his own disregard for the truth.

I will, however, comment on a few specifics:

(1) Bonewits claims that he was appointed a "Satanic Minister".
In 1969 the term "Satanic Minister" was briefly used, to
describe an official function in the Church lesser than that
of the formal Satanic Priesthood, but I have never seen
any evidence that Bonewits was appointed such a Minister
- - nor do I recall his claiming it in _Real Magic_. As all
such positions were formalized via a signed certificate
from Anton LaVey as High Priest, I discount Bonewits'
claim unless he produces such a certificate. [The title
of "Satanic Minister" was discontinued in 1970 to be
replaced by the non-Priesthood Regional Agent system
in the Church's national organization.]

(2) Bonewits says that LaVey was angry with him for
ad-libbing some pseudo-Enochian during a ritual, and
that this somehow proves that Anton really didn't
know anything about Enochian ceremonial magic.
Bonewits' logic here escapes me, because it would seem
perfectly reasonable to me for Anton to disapprove of
Bonewits' corruption or lampoon of a seriously-regarded
ceremony. As for Anton's own Enochian background in
1968, it came from his complete set of the original
edition of Crowley's _Equinox_, as well as Regardie's
_Golden Dawn_. This is by no means as complete and
accurate an exposure as would subsequently become
possible via the major 1970s' and 80s' publications on
Dee and Enochiana, but it was substantial for the
mid-60s. Anton had the highest regard and respect
for the Enochian Keys, and his "Satanic" version of
them in the _Satanic Bible_ - which so irked traditional
occultists such as Regardie - conveyed a special power
and terror of its own unapproached by the Judaeo/
Christian versions in the _Equinox_ and _Golden Dawn_
[which would later be revealed as substantially modified
from Dee's original papers].

(3) Bonewits next alleges that he was asked to "play
various silly parts" in "faked-up rituals" for documentary
films, such as one in which he climbed into a coffin with
a naked woman, stabbed a voodoo doll with a knife, and
asked Anton for blessings.

- -- (a) In the "Ceremony of the Stifling Air", a Masonic-
theme ritual contained in Anton's _The Satanic Rituals_,
a participant in the role of the Pope responsible for the
persecution of the Knights Templar enters a coffin with
a naked woman, with whom he has sex after being
whipped on his own naked buttocks by another woman.
[The title of the ritual refers to the atmosphere of the
coffin after the lid is lowered on the two inhabitants.]
While there is a "CSA" sequence in the 1968 documentary
film _Satanis: The Devil's Mass_, the Pope is clearly not
Bonewits. If Bonewits did assume the role of the Pope in
other "CSA" rituals, however, the _Satanis_ sequence
at least illustrates his sequence of actions. Bonewits does
appear in _Satanis_ - in a ritual wherein he asks Anton
to increase the size and power of his penis. [In this 1994
"Satanic Adventure" essay Bonewits accuses Anton of not
knowing how to actually do magic. I suppose that means
the spell didn't work after all. Tough luck.]

- -- (b) Attacking a voodoo doll with a knife, pins, etc. is a
fairly ordinary type of curse ritual, used at that time in
the Church of Satan as well in many other branches of
occultism. The important point here is that such rituals
were taken seriously in the Church, and no one was ever
asked to perform one insincerely. Accordingly I expect
that Bonewits stabbed the doll with a knife wishing similar
harm to an actual person, and it would be instructive to
know who that person was, what if anything subsequently
happened to him/her, and what he/she did to "justify"
such a knife attack by Bonewits.

- -- (c) As noted above, Bonewits did indeed ask Anton for a
blessing during a ritual sequence in _Satanis_. If he
"can't remember the dialogue" in the film, here is a

* * * * *

ANTON LaVEY: "And what is your desire?"

ISAAC BONEWITS: "I desire the Prince of Darkness to
bestow upon a certain section of my anatomy - a tribute
that will enable it to perform its duties better to my
satisfaction and its own. I desire the power of Satan
and the searing lust of Lucifer, the erectness of Belial,
the glistening moistness of Leviathan, that these
demons should grant to me the ability to satisfy
myself and as many of those as I choose to do so."

ANTON LaVEY: "So it has been stated, and so this
virile member shall prosper and shall ride forth as
the Beast of Abominations, and shall come forth as
the Behemoth and shall enjoy itself and all the carnal
pleasures of the flesh and its minions. So you shall
reap the rewards of desire, and all your lustful
thoughts will bear fruition."

* * * * *

Bonewits speaks of "several documentaries", but as far
as I know there was only the one (_Satanis_). Bonewits
excuses his participation by saying that he was only
17 at the time [Anton says he was 19]. Either age was
sufficient for a young man to know how to behave
responsibly and decently - if Bonewits is now insisting
that he did not.

In the earliest days of the Church of Satan, Anton
and some of his student witches posed for a variety
of ceremonial-setting photos in which they were naked.
No sexual activity was shown, and it would be quite
clear to anyone without a sex-obsessed mind that the
photos were merely dramatic and prankish. If
Bonewits found such filming all so frightfully
"pornographic", one wonders why he thrust himself
so energetically into it, so to speak, at the time.

Bonewits next asserts that Anton had "read only a
tiny fraction of his huge library of occult books".
This is simply absurd, as anyone who has known
Anton at all personally can attest. Although not
college-degreed, he was impressively self-educated -
and well-familiar with his library - which was
noteworthy for *not* being exclusively or even
predominantly "occult", but contained a wide range
of texts in such fields as sociology, philosophy, history,
entertainment, and psychology. A good sampling of
the books on the shelves of his "Purple Room" is given
in the bibliography to his _The Compleat Witch_
(later republished as _The Satanic Witch_).

Next Bonewits asserts the misgivings he felt about the
ominous presence of neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen
in the 1968 Church of Satan. If so, they must all have
departed within the next year, because when I joined
in 1969 I never saw a single jackboot or white sheet.
Yes, Satanists held some strong and radical personal
opinions on social issues - but these were from *all*
points of the political spectrum. Anton's own contempt
for neo-Nazism is a matter of historic record per his
[later published] 1970s letters to me on the subject,
and he counted among his friends people of all races
and colors. As his true name (Howard Levey) indicates,
of course, he himself came from a Jewish family.

At least by 1969 there was no "orgy room" at LaVey's
California Street home. There was a recreation room
downstairs well-known as the "Den of Iniquity", but its
only furniture were consisted of a bar, tables, and chairs.
There was no bed or mattress. Adjoining it was the
"Council Chamber", a solemn black ritual chamber in
which the Council of Nine met. It indeed contained a
stylized coffin serving as a council-table, surrounded
by 10 chairs (one for LaVey as High Priest). A chair
was also provided for anyone being interviewed. As a
member of the Council in 1970, I - wearing black robes
& ominous hood - participated in meetings and
interviews of prospective members. From the 4/13/70
issue of _Newsweek_ magazine:

"San Francisco's Church of Satan has a reputation for
orgy and mad perversity in the middle-class
neighborhood where it is located. It shows interested
outsiders a film called _Satanis_ which purportedly
reflects the Church's rituals - black-robed men and
women conducting a Black Mass (a mocking inversion
of the Christian Mass) with a nude woman for an altar.
Members proclaim their hate and lust, and leader
Anton LaVey blesses them: 'May all your lustful
thoughts reach fruition. Hail, Satan!' A trouserless man
is flagellated on a coffin lid; then the coffin opens to
reveal a nude girl, the man descends into the coffin,
and it is closed - or almost closed, for it is now a bit

"So things go in the film. But a few weeks ago
_Newsweek_'s Nick Kazan was screened for
membership in the Church of Satan by seven black-
hooded members in a candlelit basement decorated
with human skulls. He found the whole ritual 'not
only unfrightening but comically reminiscent of
fraternity initiations'. Then he attended the mass
itself. The service, he reported, 'contained very
little of the film's drama or nudity and in fact was
a highly stylized, arcane bore'. The flagellant in
this mass not only wore trousers but had placed a
copy of _Playboy_ inside them for padding."

[A grumpy Anton LaVey wrote to _Newsweek_:
"If one cannot see the sardonic element implied by
the placing of the _Playboy_ magazine inside the
seat of the flagellant's trousers, then I suppose the
viewer would consider just about anything an 'arcane
bore' short of a Doris Day or John Wayne movie."]

So it would have been a delicate individual indeed
to "faint" from a Council interview, as Bonewits insists
that he convincingly feigned. As for the Nine "hauling
him upstairs" to "revive", there were no stairs. The
basement was accessible from the main floor only by
two concealed trapdoors - one behind the mummy-case
in the main ritual chamber, the other in the Purple
Room's fireplace. [Yes, quite a house!] One's credibility
is strained by the picture of the Council of Nine
floundering to haul a possum-playing Isaac Bonewits
straight up a narrow ladder through the overhead

Well, Bonewits does conclude the account of his Satanic
days, both within and without the Church of Satan,
by admitting that he was "foolish". However this is
justified by his being only 17, he insists, and is to be
equated to the similar foolishness of other famous
pagans and witches as teenagers. "For that matter,
what were LaVey, Aquino, and Thorsson doing
during their teenaged years? This could be an
entertaining research project."

O.K., Isaac, since you asked, I'll be happy to tell you
what I was doing ages 17-21:

* Honor Graduate, Santa Barbara High School 1964.
* Gold Sealbearer/Life Membership Award, California
Scholarship Federation 1964.
* SBHS delegate, American Legion California Boys State
* Community Service Awards, Santa Barbara Lions &
Exchange Clubs 1964.
* National Councillor, Eagle Scout Honor Society, Boy
Scouts of America 1964-65.
* National Commander, Eagle Scout Honor Society,
BSA 1965-66.
* Distinguished Service Award, Eagle Scout Honor Society,
BSA 1967.
* Vigil Honor Award, Order of the Arrow, BSA 1967.
* Lt.Colonel, National Society of Pershing Rifles (College
ROTC fraternity) 1966-68.
* Department of the Army scholarship, University of
California 1966-68.
* Lifetime Membership Award, National Society of
Scabbard & Blade (college ROTC fraternity) 1966-68.
* Chapter Charter President, Regional Conference
Chairman, Distinguished Service Key recipient, Alpha
Phi Omega fraternity, 1965-68.
* National Sojourners Scholarship Award, University
of California 1968.
* Distinguished Service Award, Department of
California, Reserve Officers Association of the United
States 1968.
* Distinguished Military Graduate, Department of
the Army, University of California 1968.
* B.A. Political Science, University of California,
Santa Barbara 1968.
* Psychological Operations Extension Course, John F.
Kennedy Special Warfare Center, U.S. Army 1968.
* Additional memberships in the World Future Society,
L5 Society, Commonwealth Club of California, World
Affairs Council of Northern California, Cousteau
Society, American Military Institute, American
Political Science Association, and the Smithsonian

At age 21 I graduated from the University of California,
was simultaneously commissioned a Second Lieutenant
in the Regular Army, and was assigned first to the
82nd Airborne Division and then to the JFK Special
Warfare Center for Special Forces and Psychological
Operations training before a tour in Vietnam. So much
for that.

Bonewits closes his "Satanic Adventure" paper with a
passionate proclamation that he is really/truly a serious
occult scholar who has been tragically maligned, that
all Satanists are indeed Orcs, and that any neopagan
who tolerates, much less cooperates with such heinous
creatures is betraying Gondor to Mordor. Ringwraiths
such as Michael Aquino are especially to be feared and
avoided. "As I have said before, the enemies of our enemies
are our enemies' enemies," concludes Isaac thunderously -
to which I can only respond, "Huh?"

In a postscript [shortly after righteously denouncing
Jimmy Swaggart and Oral Roberts] Bonewits asks you
to send him some money if you liked his essay and want
him to write more like it. Well, that's your business - but
please don't send *me* any money in the hopes that I'll
write more essays like this one, because I would really
rather not. I find Isaac Bonewits tiresome.

Version: PGP Personal Security 7.0.3


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