July 4, 2022



MIND WAR by Colonel Michael Aquino

To understand how we are being manipulated we must look to the past and what was planned at that time for the future.  Our future.  Today.  MIND WAR is an illuminating look at the spell many if not most are under from the psychological warfare we are subjected to on a daily basis   –   HN

MIND WAR full document PDF

Michael Aquino was a military intelligence officer specializing in psychological warfare. In 1969 he joined Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan and rose rapidly through the group’s ranks. In 1970, while he was serving with the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, Aquino was stationed in Bến Cát in South Vietnam when he wrote a tract titled “Diabolicon” in which he reflected upon his growing divergence from the Church of Satan’s doctrines. In this tract, teachings about the creation of the world, God, and humanity are presented, as is the dualistic idea that Satan complements God. The character of Lucifer is presented as bringing insight to human society, a depiction of Lucifer that was inherited from John Milton’s seventeenth-century epic poem Paradise Lost.

By 1971 Aquino was ranked as a Magister Caverns of the IV° within the Church’s hierarchy, was editor of its publication The Cloven Hoof, and sat on its governing Council of Nine.  In 1973 he rose to the previously unattained rank of Magister Templi of IV°.  According to the scholars of Satanism Per Faxneld and Jesper Petersen, Aquino had become LaVey’s “right-hand man”.     There were nonetheless things that Aquino disliked about the Church of Satan; he thought that it had attracted many “fad-followers, egomaniacs, and assorted oddballs, whose primary interest in becoming Satanists was to flash their membership cards for cocktail-party notoriety”.     When, in 1975, LaVey abolished the system of regional groups, or grottos, and declared that in the future all degrees would be given in exchange for financial or other contributions to the Church, Aquino became increasingly disaffected; he resigned from the organization on June 10, 1975.

While LaVey seems to have held a pragmatic and practical view of the degrees and of the Satanic priesthood, intending them to reflect the social role of the degree holder within the organization, Aquino and his supporters viewed the priesthood as being spiritual, sacred and irrevocable.     Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen describe Aquino as, in effect, accusing LaVey of the sacrilege of simony.     

Aquino then provided what has been described as a “foundation myth” for his Setian religion.     Having departed the Church, he embarked on a ritual intent on asking Satan for advice on what to do next.     According to his account, at Midsummer 1975, Satan appeared and revealed that he wanted to be known by his true name, Set, which had been the name used by his worshippers in ancient Egypt.     Aquino produced a religious text, The Book of Coming Forth by Night, which he alleged had been revealed to him by Set through a process of automatic writing. 

According to Aquino, “there was nothing overtly sensational, supernatural, or melodramatic about The Book of Coming Forth By Night working. I simply sat down and wrote it.”     The book proclaimed Aquino to be the Magus of the new Aeon of Set and the heir to LaVey’s “infernal mandate”.     Aquino later stated that the revelation that Satan was Set necessitated his own exploration of Egyptology, a subject about which he had previously known comparatively little.    

“The meeting with the Prince of Darkness marked a point of departure between LaVey and Aquino. LaVey was basically a materialist to whom Satan was a personification of the forces of nature. Aquino is an idealist, basing his theology on Plato and the Gnostic/Hermetic tradition.”

Aquino’s The Book of Coming Forth by Night makes reference to The Book of the Law, a similarly ‘revealed’ text produced by the Satanist Aleister Crowley in 1904 which provided the basis for Crowley’s religion of Thelema. 

In Aquino’s book, The Book of the Law was presented as a genuine spiritual text given to Crowley by preternatural sources, but it was also declared that Crowley had misunderstood both its origin and message.     In making reference to The Book of the Law, Aquino presented himself as being as much Crowley’s heir as LaVey’s, and Aquino’s work would engage with Crowley’s writings and beliefs to a far greater extent than LaVey ever did.   

In establishing the Temple, Aquino was joined by other ex-members of LaVey’s Church, and soon Setian groups, or pylons, were established in various parts of the United States.   The structure of the Temple was based largely on those of the ceremonial magical orders of the late nineteenth century, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Ordo Templi Orientis.  Aquino has stated that he believed LaVey not to be merely a charismatic leader but to have been actually appointed by Satan himself (referring to this charismatic authority as the “Infernal Mandate”) to found the Church.

After the split of 1975, Aquino believed LaVey had lost the mandate, which the “Prince of Darkness” then transferred to Aquino and a new organization, the Temple of Set.   According to both the historian of religion Mattias Gardell and journalist Gavin Baddeley, Aquino displayed an “obsession” with LaVey after his departure from the Church, for instance by publicly releasing court documents that reflected negatively on his former mentor, among them restraining orders, divorce proceedings, and a bankruptcy filing.   In turn, LaVey lampooned the new Temple as “Laurel and Hardy’s Sons of the Desert”.    In 1975, the Temple incorporated as a non-profit Church in California, receiving state and federal recognition and tax-exemption later that year.

Aquino established his Order of the Trapezoid at Wewelsburg castle in Germany.  Many members of the Temple had voiced their opposition to Aquino’s position of power within it.     Aquino relinquished his office of High Priest in 1979 to Ronald Keith Barrett,  who produced an inspired text of his own, titled The Book of Opening the Way.  Barrett’s approach was later criticized as “more mystical than magical” by Temple members.   Barrett’s leadership was also criticized as authoritarian, resulting in a decline in the Temple’s membership.  Barrett resigned his office and severed ties with the organization in May 1982. He subsequently established his own Temple of Anubis, which he led until his 1998 death; it survived until the early 2010s.   After Barrett’s departure, Aquino retook leadership of the Temple of Set.  During this period, the sociologist Gini Graham Scott clandestinely participated in the Temple, using her observations as the basis for her 1983 book The Magicians: A Study of the Use of Power in a Black Magic Group. 

After receiving his PhD in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1980, Aquino worked as an adjunct professor at Golden Gate University until 1986 while continuing to serve in the United States Army as an Active Guard Reserve officer at the Presidio of San Francisco.     He was fascinated with the connections between occultism and Nazism,  resulting in some accusations that he was sympathetic to Nazi ideology.   In 1983, he performed a solitary rite at Walhalla, the subterranean section of the Wewelsburg castle in Germany that was utilized as a ceremonial space by the Schutzstaffel’s Ahnenerbe group during the Nazi period. This resulted in his formation of the Order of the Trapezoid, a Setian group whose members understood themselves as a chivalric order of knights.   

From 1987 through to 1995, the Grand Master of the Order of the Trapezoid was Edred Thorsson, who had joined the Temple of Set in 1984 and risen to the Fifth Degree in 1990. Thorsson exerted a “discernible influence” over the Setian community through his books, in which he combined aspects of Satanic philosophy with the modern Pagan religion of Heathenry.  In 1980 he founded the Texas-based Rune-Gild, which shared many of the Temple’s key philosophical tenets but with a focus on the study of runes and their applications in magical practice.

In the 1980s, Aquino attracted greater publicity for his Temple through appearances on television talk shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and Geraldo.   In 1987, the three-year-old daughter of a Christian clergyman accused Aquino of sexually abusing her during Satanic rites held at his Russian Hill home. Responding to the allegations, police raided Aquino’s home, however—after no evidence was found to substantiate the allegation and it was revealed that Aquino was living in Washington D.C. at the time of the alleged abuse—the police decided not to charge him with any felony.     Aquino attempted to bring formal charges against the chaplain and psychiatrist who had encouraged the girl’s claims, although he was more successful in bringing legal action against two books—Carl A. Raschke’s Painted Black and Linda Blood’s The New Satanists—that had suggested that he was guilty. He then left the Presidio and was transferred to St. Louis.     In 1994, Aquino retired from active service in the Army, being honorably transferred to the Retired Reserve and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.    

In the United Kingdom during this same period, tabloids like the News of the World and Sunday Mirror published sensationalist articles about the Temple.     In the mid-1990s a group of British Setians approached the religious studies scholar Graham Harvey and encouraged him to conduct research into the group so as to combat misconceptions about them.     The Temple first registered a website in 1997, the same year as the Church of Satan.     It would also establish its own intranet, allowing for communication between Setians in different parts of the world.   How nice.  Their own “dark” web. 

One member of the Temple was the New Zealander Kerry Bolton, who split to form his own Order of the Left Hand Path in 1990.     In 1995, another couple who joined were LaVey’s daughter Zeena Schreck and her husband Nikolas Schreck, both of whom were vocal critics of Zeena’s father.     In 1996, Don Webb became the high priest of the Temple, a position that he held until 2002.     He was replaced by Zeena Schreck, but she resigned after six weeks and was replaced by Aquino, who took charge once more.     In that year, Zeena led a schism within the organization, establishing her own Berlin-based group, The Storm, which she later renamed the Sethian Liberation Movement.     Aquino stood down as Supreme Priest again in 2004, to be replaced by Patricia Hardy, who was elected to the position of Supreme Priestess.     Although no longer in charge of the organization, he nevertheless remained its most visible spokesperson.    

The Temple of Set is an occult initiatory order founded in 1975. A new religious movement and form of Western esotericism, the Temple espouses a religion known as Setianism, whose practitioners are called Setians. This is sometimes identified as a form of Satanism, although this term is not often embraced by Setians and is contested by some academics.

The Temple was established in the United States in 1975 by Michael Aquino, an American political scientist, military officer, and a high-ranking member of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. Dissatisfied with the direction in which LaVey was taking the Church, Aquino resigned and – according to his own claim – embarked on a ritual to invoke Satan, who revealed to him a sacred text called The Book of Coming Forth by Night. According to Aquino, in this work Satan revealed his true name to be that of Set, which had been the name used by his followers in ancient Egypt. Aquino was joined in establishing the Temple by a number of other dissatisfied members of LaVey’s Church, and soon various Setian groups were established across the United States.

Setians believe that Set is the one real god and that he has aided humanity by giving them a questioning intellect, the “Black Flame”, which distinguishes them from other animal species. Set is held in high esteem as a teacher whose example is to be emulated but he is not worshipped as a deity. Highly individualistic in basis, the Temple promotes the idea that practitioners should seek self-deification and thus attain an immortality of consciousness. Setians believe in the existence of magic as a force which can be manipulated through ritual, however the nature of these rituals is not prescribed by the Temple. Specifically, Aquino described Setian practices as “black magic”, a term which he defines idiosyncratically.

Following initiation into the Temple, a Setian can proceed along a series of six degrees, each of which requires greater responsibilities to the group; as a result, most members remain in the first two degrees. Governed by a high priest or high priestess and a wider Council of Nine, the Temple is also divided into groups known as pylons, through which Setians can meet or correspond in order to advance their magical work in a particular area. Pylons of the Temple are now present in the United States, Australia, and Europe, with estimates placing the Temple’s membership between 200 and 500.



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