TEMPLE OF SET Michael A. Aquino High Priest of Set September 6, 1991 CE To whom it may con

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TEMPLE OF SET Michael A. Aquino High Priest of Set September 6, 1991 CE To whom it may concern: Issue #XXIV-93 of the magazine _Green Egg_ included an article by Mr. Isaac Bonewits highly critical of Satanism. On 7/4/91 I sent a response [Glinda file "Bonewits"] to Mr. Tim Zell, _Green Egg_ Editor, with a request that it be published in the subsequent issue. We have just received a copy of issue #94. While Mr. Zell published portions of my letter, he censored out other portions that are material to Mr. Bonewits' personal bias against the Satanic religion. Clearly, once Mr. Bonewits' personal motives as an expelled and dishonored Satanist are taken into account, his vendetta against our religion can be appreciated in a somewhat different context. It seems to me that the editorial bias and prejudice of _Green Egg_ are also demonstrated by Mr. Zell's efforts to conceal the details of Bonewits' Satanic past from the readership. Zell, it may be added, has personally contributed to the hate-propaganda against Satanism via his publication and circulation to law-enforcement of a highly distorted and defamatory booklet entitled _Witchcraft, Satanism, and Ritual Crime_. In this booklet "Satanism" and its magical practices were prejudicially defined in the most destructive, alarmist, and anti-Christian terminology - with the evident intent of steering the anti-occultism mania of the late 1980s toward a non-Wiccan, but equally-undeserving scapegoat. _WS&RC_ will remain a most disgraceful and cowardly act in the modern history of Wicca and neopaganism. Following the censored extract of my 7/4/91 letter in _GE_ #94 are responses from Bonewits and one of Zell's personal associates, a Mr. Tom Williams. Again I think that the tone and content of these responses are meaningful only if my letter to GE is presented in its entirety. Enclosed is an uncensored copy of my 7/4/91 letter to Green Egg, together with my letter of today's date answering the Bonewits & Williams printed responses to me. Please feel welcome to further circulate all of these documents to other _GE_ readers who have seen only the censored version. As before, I invite Mr. Zell to publish - uncensored this time and with no inserted typographical errors if you please - the text of this answering letter. * * * Comments concerning: Letters on Satanism by Isaac Bonewits and Tom Williams _Green Egg_ #XXIV-94, Mabon 1991 Mr. Bonewits' letter, like his "Enemies" article, abounds with fireworks. I am sure he is a very impressive Archdruid whenever he is doing whatever Archdruids are supposed to do. I find him less impressive when he is trying to explain why Satanism isn't what Satanists define it as being, and why neopagans should close their ears to statements about our religion unless they are issued by our avowed enemies. Dr. Jeffrey Russell's books on "Satanism" are not the most authoritative documents for Isaac to wave in my face. Russell, a passionate Catholic, grotesquely misrepresented our religion in general and the Temple of Set in particular in his Mephistopheles, for which I called him to task before the University of California, Santa Barbara Chancellor and the History Department. He had not the grace to respond, nor to correct his non-research. Since then the Temple of Set has simply provided a corrective statement to all who have contacted us concerning it - with never a peep from Russell. Bonewits proposes that the term "Satanism" belongs not just to the Temple of Set and original Church of Satan, but to medieval hysterics and modern "Devil-worshipping" cranks as well - in short, to anyone who wants to use the term for anything. Very well. According to this standard, "witchcraft" is actually: "(1) an act or instance of employing sorcery, especially with malevolent intent; (2) alleged intercourse with the Devil or with a familiar" (_Webster's Third International Dictionary_). And "pagan"? "One that has little or no religion and that is marked by a frank delight in and uninhibited seeking after sensual pleasures and material goods; the earthly acceptance of life in all its sensual vulgarity". Isn't this fun? Let's continue: "Witches eat human flesh, especially the flesh of children and publicly drink their blood. But if they cannot procure children, they exhume human corpses from the grave or take off from gibbets the bodies of hanged men." (Jean Bodin, _De Magorum Daemonomania_, 1580). So if Isaac thinks that we should all go by historic definitions of words, methinks that what's good for our gander ought to be just as good to goose him with. On the other hand, if today's witches and pagans feel that they should be able to design and explain their religion by something other than such historic/original/contemporary-social definitions - and reject bigots' attempts to smear their religion by invoking such obsolete hate-propaganda - I submit that a similar courtesy should be extended to Satanists. Isaac observes that Anton LaVey condemns several "Big Nosed Pagans", including Bonewits himself. This is news to me. I never knew Anton to have a thing about noses; indeed he's got a fair-sized honker himself. From photos of Bonewits his nose doesn't appear to be unduly large, but then again that's not the part of his anatomy that Anton LaVey endowed with a growth spell either. It is also news to me that I am supposed to "hate Anton LaVey more than anyone else in the world". During the years that I associated with him personally (1969-1975), I admired and respected him profoundly. Since then I can only regret the changes in him, but that certainly does not translate into "hatred". Suffice it to say that I prefer to think of Anton LaVey as the great man and magician I once knew, and to think as little as possible about his post-1975 persona. Bonewits goes on to say that Buddhists, Unitarians, and most pagan faiths don't consider all others "unethical, immoral, and evil". Actually, despite its Western image as a rather blissful, meditative religion, Buddhism has enjoyed a pretty ferocious history in its native orient. Unitarianism indeed believes in religious tolerance - but officially only within Christianity, as it is a Christian denomination. ["Unitarianism" is also a term applied to non- Christian monotheism, such as Islam or Judaism, also not exactly famous for their tolerance.] As for paganism, I am somewhat at a loss to understand how Isaac Bonewits champions its tolerance of other religions when in the same breath he insists it burn Satanists at the stake. With a snort of indignation, Bonewits conjures up my visit to the Wewelsburg Castle as though it proves something here. Since Bonewits obviously has no idea what occurred at the Wewelsburg [else he wouldn't misapply that Working to this discussion], I am unimpressed. Does he mean to suggest that any contemporary investigation into the areas of occultism significant to Nazi Germany, or exploration of magical techniques it developed, brands the modern magician as a goose-stepping stormtrooper? Well then, don your jackboots, neopagans, because whenever you cast the Runes, invoke "sacred geometry", attempt homoeopathic healing, or even indulge in a bit of radiesthesia (dowsing), you are utilizing techniques developed, analyzed, and correlated by the Ahnenerbe-SS, whose span of occult research embraced virtually every European and Asian pre-Christian religious and magical system - with a bit of pre-Columbian America on the side. And what, pray tell, is "fascistic" about the Temple of Set? Fascism, says Dr. Aquino the Political Science professor, involves glorification of the secular political state and indifference to the individual. The Temple of Set, on the other hand, glorifies the individual and is indifferent to the state. [That's what happens when you major in "Magic" instead of Political Science, Isaac.] In a final blaze of glory, Bonewits insists that "neopagans are perfectly capable of critiquing themselves without any assistance from a fundamentalist Christian like Aquino". He really lost me there somewhere. I thought I was a Buddhist. CAWing loudly from Isaac's shoulder is Tom Williams, a priest in Zell's entourage. He too is obsessed with the Wewelsburg. Well, go there and have a look around for yourself. Don't forget your boots. And watch out for the Thing in the Hexenkeller ... "Please go off and practice your religion in peace," I am admonished. "Now go away and peace be between us," he adds, thinking that perhaps I wasn't paying attention the first time around. Sounds fine to me. But who was it who ambushed whom here? I don't recall the Temple of Set paying any attention whatever to Bonewits, or to _Green Egg_ for that matter, until Archdruid Isaac suddenly sank his athame into our back in _GE_ #93. And then the essence of his criticism was indignation that Setians should actually be cooperating with persons of other religions in AMER's campaign against religious discrimination and persecution. Good thinking, Mr. Williams. Tell it to Isaac of the Big, um, Nose.


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