The CoS Files

Dr. Aquino of the TOS is MA from previous responses. The Gidneys are JOB. All other responses are Dr. Aquino's. More of what the Gidneys had to say about the Barton COS.

Subject: Re: First "Hello" to Dr. Aquino from JoB
From: (Dr. Michael A. Aquino)
Date: 2000/11/11
Newsgroups: alt.satanism


In article <20001111005020.27808.00000623 , (William Gidney) wrote:

JOB: I will simply address issues given my experiences, the information I have collected from both sides of the CoS/ToS "debate" over the last 15 years, my personal maturation, and other relevant facts.

MA: If your experience with Anton's group extends only back to 1985, then you've simply swallowed the post-1975 party line - which you regurgitated very well in your previous post. You, Densley, Gilmore (who also parroted it to me after I gave him the bum's rush), et al. can belch it as much as you like; the only thing it demonstrates to me is the ignorance and gullibility of the source - unless of course he knows better and is being deliberately deceptive to try to fool more uninformed bystanders.

I don't recall whether you picked up a copy of my _Church of Satan_ during your year as a Setian I*, but if you did, then you abrogate the excuse of ignorance where the Church's design, doctrines, and culture of 1966-75 are concerned.

JOB: You should pick your adversaries better. I would never have insinuated myself into your business, but you obviously couldn't refrain from insinuating yourself in mine.

MA: For someone who "never insinuated himself", you have a remarkably short memory:

"You speak of her as though she had a "mandate" from the Infernal Monarch himself...much like Aquino's acolytes refer to him. As for Aquino, so long as he doesn't pretend to be the "CoS II," and enjoys his merry little dark occultism known as Setianism and not Satanism, we have no problem with him." -W. Gidney, alt.satanism, 11/6/2000

And then again:

"Not all pseudo-Satanists are of the Mershon/Egan variety. Some are rather industrious, such as the Temple of Set. We welcome these types, such as yourself, as a clearing house for fools we do not want polluting our ranks." - -W.G., a.s, 11/10/2000

I didn't notice any Setian, myself included, "provoking" you into either of these mud-throws ... which I might add are a tad inconsistent with your Temple of Set application letter of 12/6/95, in which you wrote:

"I also applaud the Temple's more respectful, ethical, & healthy attitude towards the evolution of the whole person, & your doctrinal & organizational honesty. Unlike most LaVeyans, I have never uttered a single venomous word against you or the TS."

Frankly I am surprised that, despite your expulsion from the Temple of Set, you would become a Densley/Gilmore stooge. I thought you and Ygraine more intelligent and sophisticated than that, your racial convictions aside.

If I did not overestimate you, then I predict it's just a question of time before either the two of you get disgusted with the shoddy, degrading facade you're trying to pump up, or D/G include you in their constantly-growing list of persons to be purged because you know just a bit too much, and think just a bit too independently, for their comfort.

"I long to tell the group about the Gift of Set. I want to tell them there is an organization that allows and encourages all manner of philosophical and magical study, and which positively revels in the individual intellect. I want to tell them that I am not on the equivalent of a magical 'dry drunk' or 'in denial' [although that joke about it not being just a river in Egypt has all sorts of interesting possibilities], but am awake, fully cognizant, and free from the shackles of a magical system that was destined to fail due to its lack of comprehension. The 12-Step Program is not a surprising social phenomenon, as we live in an age where personal responsibility is anathema. Likewise the advent of Wicca and other RHP religions growing in leaps and bounds, no doubt as a result of people wanting to explore magic and paganism in 'safe' confines that require few ethical questions. Allowing God, or allowing nature (as Goddess), to control oneā€(tm)s actions is the road being much traveled. If it doesnā€(tm)t provide oneā€(tm)s desire, hey, trade it in for another 'surrender-required' deity. The Temple of Set is the only organization that puts responsibility where it belongs, without negating the suprarational. Set, the ultimate god of our intellect, is not a 'surrender-required' deity. He may appreciate some recognition, but in doing so we ennoble ourselves." - - Ygraine Gidney, Setian I*, _Scroll of Set_ June 1996

Time for you two to get back up off your knees and take off the blinders, don't you think? If you apply this same quality of thinking to the original, authentic premises of the Church of Satan, you'll dignify the memory and legacy of Anton LaVey as they deserve to be.

Michael A. Aquino

Subject: Re: First "Hello" to Dr. Aquino from JoB
From: (Dr. Michael A. Aquino)
Date: 2000/11/12
Newsgroups: alt.satanism


In article <20001111141054.18326.00000719 , (Ygraine Gidney) wrote:

JOB: Isn't writing a tome enough? ...

MA: _The Church of Satan_ is a detailed history which is intentionally not available to the public, but only to Initiates of the Temple of Set, whom I trust to have a responsible and sincere interest in the "pre-history" of the Temple.

Where the public is concerned, I am under no illusions that I can repair the damage done by Anton and his groupies over the last 25 years. And perhaps it is just as well that the more serious doors into the Black Arts that the original Church had just begun to open by 1975 remain closed outside the Temple of Set. If the public believes the Church of Satan to be nothing more than _Satan Speaks_ fans, it won't look any deeper into its original raison d'etre. Remember, however, that for its first nine years the Church was a significantly different and sincere institution, whose growth and success resulted from the efforts of a great many dedicated pioneers. As the senior Initiate of that era, when I see it misrepresented and dragged down into the post-1975 degeneracy, yes, I do speak up to set that part of the record straight. Before I became High Priest of Set, I was ordained to the Priesthood of Mendes on the North Solstice 1970 by Anton, and I took that office both literally and seriously.

MA had said: It surprises me all the more to see you as a D/G lackey, frankly.

JOB: No doubt they would say the same thing if I had remained in the Temple.

MA: - From what you and your husband recounted in your letters of application to the Temple, he had been expelled from the "Church of Satan" for what you described as "Anton LaVey wannabeism" on Densley's initiative, after first having your Infernal Grotto denied the use of the "Church of Satan" name as well as use of the Baphomet. Doesn't sound to me like Densley or her entourage was shedding any tears over your departure.

As for the Temple of Set, anyone with the least familiarity with it knows that it is not and never has been a personality-cult environment, but indeed is characterized by its focus on *each individual Initiate*, not any centralized icon. This is, after all, the very core of its philosophy. Anton LaVey knew that from the beginning, of course, and so did the Gilmores a decade later, and so, from your own application letters, did you and Bill.

JOB: I always agreed with your statement Dr., that there are no multiple truths, but I alway also felt that for every truth there are multiple perspectives.

MA: I would agree with that.

JOB: btw: when I was in the ToS and enjoyed social occasions with the Gilmores, unlike you, they never felt the need to degrade my choice and label it with the term "lackey".

MA: Under the circumstances it would have been ludicrous for them to have done so. They are not fools, and are every bit as aware of the integrity of the Temple of Set as you are.

JOB: Your post, displaying my work of fiction in such a way as to imply it was an 100% endorsement was, frankly, beneath you---or so I thought.

MA: You wrote an account of a hypothetical personal encounter with a group of disillusioned occultists, but the point of the article was, as quoted, your personal position that in the Setian philosophy you *had* found bedrock. So that is no misrepresentation of you at all.

Nevertheless my point in quoting that brief extract was simply to illustrate your intellectual powers when you choose to use them.

MA had said: MA When you graciously resigned, shortly after William's MA expulsion, the Temple understood your predicament MA and gesture of loyalty to him.

JOB: Loyalty was only 50% of the equation. The rest was my growing realization that no matter what name I tried to put to it--Satan, Set, Aradia, or Herne, there was no interested external deity...and no amount of rationalizing could fix that philosophical problem for me.

According to your applications, you both spent a year prior to deciding to join the Temple of Set reading its literature, to include my _Black Magic_ section of the _Crystal Tablet of Set_. And you discussed it with sufficient sophistication that I'm quite sure you did not fail to understand the metaphysics. Set, as _neter_ of the isolate self-consciousness, is a general Form, or First Principle, of your own conscious uniqueness. Apprehension of Set is no more - and no less! - than apprehension of this great Principle of which you are a unique physical/metaphysical (that's where the soul, _psyche_, or _ba_ comes in) particularization and manifestation.

In short, you know, and knew then, quite well that the Temple of Set was not comic book dial-a-god. Ding-dongs with that expectation aren't admitted to the Temple of Set in the first place.

JOB: I also was none too pleased that a white man could be labelled a racist for his external (non-ToS) works, but a black woman in the ToS was free to be as racist and insulting, within the ToS, as she saw fit.

When you're talking in terms of sincere religion and initiation, it doesn't make any difference whether Bill just reads White-supremacy stuff under the bedclothes with a flashlight. The point is the premise itself, which - if sincerely held - indicates a focus on a group (by race, nationality, economic class, etc.) rather than on each individual *as an individual*.

The Temple of Set is emphatically *individual as individual*-oriented. Bill has a right to his opinions, but not to hold the title of Setian if he is fundamentally in disagreement with this central premise and dedication of the Temple. Magistra Hardy's pointing this out was not racist at all, but rather attentive to this principle, which is above and beyond all group- stereotypes.

JOB: Furthermore, you were well aware of William's beliefs prior to accepting his membership...why playing so coy now?

MA: What we were aware of in this regard were the following three lines in his 8-page letter of application:

"I espouse 'rational racism' and 'racial/cultural loyalty' as opposed to 'prejudicial discrimination' based solely upon ethnocentric intolerance (see Dinesh d'Sousa's new and pioneering book _The End of Racism_)."

That came across as interest and pride in one's own [and not necessarily Caucasian] ethnicity without disparaging others - and indeed as a stand *against* antagonistic prejudice. While I was not personally involved in the dialogue leading up to William's expulsion a year later [by then I had retired from the High Priesthood], I gather that beneath the surface of this statement William's actual position came across as not exactly that lofty.

JOB: Your perceptions, while you are welcome to them, are based on a mixture of sour grapes, sheer ignorance, and the need to deify a man who changed your life.

MA: Not in the least. (1) There is nothing that Anton became after 1975 that I admired or envied. And as for the original Church that we all built, we continued that very nicely into the Temple of Set. (2) I learned a great deal from the pre-75 Anton, and also saw quite enough of his output post-75 to know that there was nothing else to learn - except how betrayal of his greater self slowly but inevtiably destroyed him. (3) For "deification" of Anton you need look no further than _SLOAS_ and its post-75 brothers-in-syrup. As for my _Church of Satan_, it discusses both Anton's virtues and his vices, as it were. As Aristotle remarked, "There is no genius without a mixture of madness."

JOB: Your need to demonize those who enjoyed the pleasure of his company long after you left is not.

MA: That Anton had friends and followers after 1975 does not bother me in the least. What does bother me is misrepresentation of the Temple of Set, of the pre-75 Church, and, of course, myself.

JOB: I genuinely love where I am now. I know these people quite well on a personal level, and we have had major ups and downs, and come out aligned and content. I do not see why that threatens you or your version of CoS events.

MA: Again, whom you and William socialize with is absolutely your own affair. But in his post to which I responded, he misrepresented several historical and doctrinal features of the original Church, which I corrected as noted. So either he was simply babbling the Sharon Densley party line - which, given your ample exposure to the real world, seems excessively naive - or he was just so anxious to stomp on Ms. Jantsang, Mr. Vad, or whomever, that he lied deliberately. Take your pick.

MA had said: The problem with you two is simply that you know too much - and are, ultimately, not controllable.

JOB: Tell it to Tani! She'll clear that myth up right away.

MA: Actually, after a re-read of your Temple of Set correspondence, I'll stick with my forecast that your dalliance with the D/G enterprise will also go poof just the way theirs did. On your side of the fence, both of you have been around the block too many times to be comfortable as snake-oil stooges. On the D/G side, you're loose cannons - useful _pro tem_, that's all. That's the Densley concerning whom William has commented:

"Towards the end of my second and final evening with [Anton LaVey], we got down to 'business'. 'Business' was Blanche [Sharon Densley] insulting my wife all night long and attempting to convince me that I was some sort of 'fame thief' after her prized commodity, LaVey."

Michael A. Aquino