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#27163 - 07/16/09 01:47 AM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: bluj666]
The Zebu Offline
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Registered: 08/08/08
Posts: 1647
Loc: Orlando, FL
LaVey certainly didn't believe in a literal "Satan", although I suspect that he was much more open to ideas about magic and the supernatural, ie, believing that spells actually created a sort of powerful energy that could influence the physical world. (I'll give him a break on that one, it was the 60's after all). He might have had some kind of an abstract deistic view of Satan like Michael Aquino posited, but there's not much that can actually be proven aside from hearsay.

Karla LaVey's chief bone of contention with the CoS was mostly the way the Church was being run. In philosophy, they are essentially the same- as other users have pointed out.
_________________________
«Recibe, ¡oh Lucifer! la sangre de esta víctima que sacrifico en tu honor.»

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#27165 - 07/16/09 01:59 AM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: bluj666]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
I can tell you for a fact, as a member of LaVey's (and THAT is the correct spelling of the name) personal staff at the Black House...did not believe in an anthropomorphic "Satan." I was in direct contact with him over a number of years... direct as in next to him personally. In all of the conversations I have ever had with him, not once did he EVER suggest such a thing. The whole idea of a physical manifestation of Satan to him was silly.
_________________________
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.


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#27328 - 07/21/09 07:48 PM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: bluj666]
god.over.djinn Offline
pledge


Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 75
Loc: Melbourne
 Originally Posted By: bluj666
several of the Orginal members of LaVeys satanic church claim that in private practices and meetings that LeVay beleived in a literal satan... Former members such as the ones that started the Temple of Set.


Hi Bluj666,

Perhaps the people who started the Temple of Set are not really the final arbiters of truth on all things Satanic. After all, they are theistic (which puts their ability to think clearly in question), and if I understand correctly, their theism is not even concerned with Satan, but rather that Egyptian god who had a similar name.

The people who founded the ToS knew Anton intimately? That does not prevent them from misrepresenting him out of confusion or malice or both.

Even without the testimony of Jake, we still have the actual writings of LaVey, as well as videos (Googlable) of him discoursing on things. The general vibe is that he was quite sincere about his Atheism.

He was just an interesting dude who wrote some inspiring stuff, not some Hubbardian religious engineer and master con.

G.O.D.
_________________________
SATAN, a recursive acronym invented by GOD: "SATAN: Advocating The Adversarial Nihilist"

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#27330 - 07/21/09 08:06 PM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: god.over.djinn]
Meq Offline
Banned
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
 Originally Posted By: god.over.djinn
Perhaps the people who started the Temple of Set are not really the final arbiters of truth on all things Satanic. After all, they are theistic (which puts their ability to think clearly in question)

While I'm not really a huge fan of Setian metaphysics, the form of theism espoused by Michael Aquino (who happens to be a member here) seems to be more subtle than an anthropomorphic Egyptian deity.

I might be mistaken but to my eyes it looks somewhat like a form of Neoplatonic panentheism with a Jungian individualistic twist. Aquino uses terms such as neter (Platonic Form, also akin to Jungian archetype), and his infamous 'xeper'.

Aquino's first informative forum post is here, and there you may find links to his personal website, containing his lengthy tome on the Church of Satan, and his work-in-progress (and also lengthy) companion piece on the Temple of Set. I believe he has directed members to the latter work who are interested in his theology, and the question of whether or not he is actually a theist.

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#27352 - 07/22/09 01:35 AM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: TornadoCreator]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
stalker


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
Interesting thread. During 1966-1975 there was absolutely no question whatever that Anton and the rest of the Priesthood of Mendes believed in the literal, sentient existence of Satan. I repeat: No question whatever. This was precisely what gave the Church its presence and energy beyond being merely some sort of Halloween-party social club. Download my Church of Satan ebook here for a glimpse of that experience.

After the crisis of 1975 both Anton and his latter-day disciples leaned over backward to deny Satan except as "symbol", "metaphor", etc. Bluntly, at that point there was no other option open to him, and of course there were plenty of people who were quite happy to affect "Satanism" for its cocktail-party and rock-concert glamor as long as they didn't have to take that real, soul-ravishing step of swearing their soul to the Prince of Darkness. I don't condemn them for being what they are; I only affirm that they remain only that.

After 1975 the "Church of Satan" was simply an Anton LaVey fan club, and remains so after his death. Join it with that idea in mind and you won't be disappointed. Join it thinking that it's a Church of Satan and you will find nothing of either therein.

Karla's First Satanic Church is a relative newcomer, e.g. following Anton's death and her & Zeena's clash with Sharon Densley over who would control the "Church of Satan" name and assets henceforth. Densley won, and Karla was apparently sufficiently repelled to start the FSC.

While I have not talked with Karla about it, nor visited any of its functions, my impression [also from its website] is that it is an effort to recapture something of the spontaneity and innocence of the original Church in its founding years. That was a Church of Satan which "let its name speak for itself" and simply felt no need to argue on behalf of its beliefs. Miles Davis' comment comes to mind: "I'll play it for you and tell you what it is later."

During all the years I knew her as a good friend, I always felt that Karla was an entirely sincere and honest person. She would always tell you frankly what she thought [of you, of anything else]. What she believes in right now, I daresay, is the magnificence of her father's personality and legacy at their zenith, and that's what the FSC is really all about, and all that it needs to be about.

So the original question of this thread - "Which one should I join?" - comes around again to the worn but pertinent answer: "What are you looking for?" Social glitter? Nostalgia? A toast to a hero? Or do you actually want to take, as Obi-wan Kenobi observed of Luke Skywalker, "your first step into a larger universe"?
_________________________
Michael A. Aquino

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#27358 - 07/22/09 06:16 AM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Jake999 Offline
senior member


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino

After the crisis of 1975 both Anton and his latter-day disciples leaned over backward to deny Satan except as "symbol", "metaphor", etc. Bluntly, at that point there was no other option open to him, and of course there were plenty of people who were quite happy to affect "Satanism" for its cocktail-party and rock-concert glamor as long as they didn't have to take that real, soul-ravishing step of swearing their soul to the Prince of Darkness. I don't condemn them for being what they are; I only affirm that they remain only that.



Sorry, but that was NOT my experience, either as a lay member of The Church of Satan, an Administrator of the Church of Satan, or as a current Satanist whose only agenda is in being what I am today, and in recalling, as accurately as I can, what has happened in my life.

I won't sit here and tell anyone that LaVey was a universally loved character, because he wasn't. I joined the Church in the early 70's, while I was in Incirlik, Turkey, became active after 1980, when I returned to the CONUS after a tour at Rhein Main, Germany, and after being an Agent, hosting the Melek Taus Chapel, and a long correspondence with Central before being called to a meeting at the Grosvenor Hotel on Van Ness in San Francisco. In all of that time, before and after, not once did I EVER hear anything even approaching acceptance of an anthropomorphic "Satan," other that in the flowery language and rhetoric used when writing in the Cloven Hoof, and then it was quite easy to see the basis in allegory and symbolism.

Was there an "Anton LaVey fan club?" Well, sure. We had people all the time calling in and writing letters and wanting to be Anton LaVey's "BFF." What figure in popular culture DOESN'T generate fans based on simple over-identification with some conception or personal kinship? But was it something courted? Never saw that myself, and one of my details was to open, read and file the mail that came in, back in the little office behind the "kitchen." LaVey usually gave a cursory glance at the ones with the "SATEN wunts me to be yer sex slayve" or "You are so much to me in my life" letters. In my time there, he did occasionally, respond to a lucid request for information or when someone might write something that had meaning to him, but that was rare... I also would have typed that letter on the nights I was at the Black House. I did very few.

And while those I saw at the Black House were usually pretty much "pro LaVey" (DUH), it would be wrong for me to categorize the Black House as some kind of Satanic Oberamergau, or plgrimage site. While I was there, LaVey actively discouraged visitors and fans from coming to San Francisco, hoping for a sit down with "the Boss."

I know the past of much of the history of The Church of Satan and other groups has been an endless point, counterpoint debate in letters back and forth with detractors and supporters. After I stopped being an Administrator, I pretty much assumed that there was some conspiracy between the Church of Satan and its detractors to support a failing US Postal Service with their multitudinous mailings. I don't do that. I can only relate my personal experience such as it was. People can take it or leave it.

I long ago stopped being a "Church of Satan" member and am simply one who believed in what I read in The Satanic Bible enough to support it and to get personally involved. I don't have an agenda or an axe to grind with Mr. Aquino or any real feelings about the "schism" that eventually formed The Temple of Set. Hell... a church without a schism of some kind IS a fan club. Am I a friend or supporter of the CURRENT Church of Satan leadership and what the Church of Satan has presented itself as today? Hardly. And I can pretty much pinpoint that to the emergence of people who were coming into the Church of Satan at the time I left the Administration, some of whom, like Peter Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia, I processed membership paperwork for, and Blanche Barton, who was a "rising star" at the time.

So, all of that said, I can only relate my personal experience to the best of my recollection, from a period in the early 1980s to the mid 1980s, when I was in the Administration. If it differs from that of others, it differs from that of others. I make no judgements on their personal experience or whatever agenda that might bring to the table.

Not my problem and I have no dog in the fight.


Edited by Jake999 (07/22/09 06:18 AM)
_________________________
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.


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#27359 - 07/22/09 06:17 AM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Meq Offline
Banned
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
With all due respect - and I mean that sincerely - a universe based around a "literal, sentient" deity is no larger than one without such an anthropomorphic figurehead.

To me it is quite smaller, for while sentience is demonstrable in humans, and possibly may exist in extraterrestrial lifeforms (an as yet unanswered question), it is an anthropomorphism to attribute such sentience (and we only have experience of human sentience) to a metaphysical entity of cosmic significance such as a deity.

All of human experience testifies to the indifference of the universe to human life, and the same may be said towards our cherished notion of sentience.

A larger universe, as the philosopher John N. Gray put it, involves a shift from human solipsism.
Or, in the words of Albert Camus, to open oneself to the benign indifference of the universe.

For, as David Hume succinctly put it, the life of man is of no more importance to the universe than that of an oyster.

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#27367 - 07/22/09 02:55 PM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: Jake999]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
stalker


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: Jake999
Sorry, but that was NOT my experience, either as a lay member of The Church of Satan, an Administrator of the Church of Satan, or as a current Satanist whose only agenda is in being what I am today, and in recalling, as accurately as I can, what has happened in my life.

There is no reason it should have been your experience unless you were ordained to the Priesthood of Mendes III°+ prior to 1975, which you weren't. That experience and consecration took the apprehension of Satan, and his Church, to an entirely different order of perception. This completely disintegrated post-75, subsequent to which not just the "priesthood" but all of the old initiatory degrees evaporated into mere gestures of Anton's favoritism.

It is just as true that at the I°/II° levels of Church membership pre-75 it was perfectly possible to be an "intellectual" Satanist only. Most were, particularly in America where literal belief in a real/sentient deity has been conveniently absent from mainstream religion since the deism of the Enlightenment [and the Founding Fathers]. We are socialized to give lip service, to go through the rituals & functions, of course, but never to really pierce the veil, so to speak. The only exceptions are the extremely stupid, for whom Judæo/Christianity is a living comic book, and the extraordinarily nœtic, from whom the experience is consuming. The church institutions consider the former profitable, hence churn out comic book pageants to milk and manipulate them. They consider the latter dangerous and eliminate/unperson them.

This inheritance is basic Rousseau. He, like many other Enlightenment philosophers, postulated an impersonal God more-or-less identical to the “divine natural law”. He saw no connection between the actual essence of God and conventional religious institutions; they distort and pervert. They are valuable only insofar as they contribute to society as reflections of the general will. As a popular ordering device he would rather cynically propose the institution of a “civil religion” requiring belief in God, immortality, happiness of the just, punishment of the wicked, and sanctity of the social contract and the laws. Subordinate to the civil religion, religious creeds would be tolerated if they themselves are tolerant.

So yes, most people who came to the Church of Satan expected the same superficiality, just now in Halloween drag. It wasn't until some of them actually undertook Greater Black Magical workings that they began to sense this was something completely different. Which made some back away from that Abyss and others continue into it [which is not always the safest thing to do, as illustrated in Forbidden Planet].

Anton LaVey, like the rest of us, began with socialized insincerity. He quickly transcended this, as he frequently discussed with me, but he also was very much aware of the danger of such an image, both within and without the Church. Hence his calculated and deliberate public statements, which permitted him, in the words of Oliver Stone, to walk between the raindrops.

Now, as then, it is certainly possible to be an "intellectual Satanist" and play safely in the sandbox of symbolism and metaphor. This is also the most comfortable and unthreatening way to fit into society; everyone else assumes your religion is just as superficial and optional as theirs, just with different decorations. If they really believed in God/Jesus, and thought that you really were a disciple of the Devil, they'd exorcise you like Regan. If unsuccessful at that, they'd kill you.

So once again the topic of this thread comes around to each reader: What kind/extent of Satanist do you want to be? If what Peter Gilmore or Karla LaVey offers punches that ticket, you're home. If not, you can look for some other kind of compatible/validating/reinforcing environment, or you can undertake your own, unique, personal quest (which is what authentic initiation is all about).
_________________________
Michael A. Aquino

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#27369 - 07/22/09 03:23 PM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: Meq]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
stalker


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: Meq
a universe based around a "literal, sentient" deity is no larger than one without such an anthropomorphic figurehead.

Quite true, if all you're doing is "personifying" the universe [which is essentially what the Enlightenment Deists did]. That changes nothing.

The significance of isolate self consciousness (of which Setians comprehend Set the neter, and of which Satan is the derivative reflection within J/C mythology) is that it is distinct from the universe, a discretionary actor upon it. The greater your realization of this in your own being, the greater your understanding of the other/natural neteru (collectively the ectropy of the universe - what J/C cartoons as "God"), the more you evolve from an active/reactive meat machine into a divine consciousness in which universal supports & reinforcements are as unnecessary as training wheels on a bicycle.

By the way, this is not a cakewalk, and many who open this door regret doing so. As long as I'm doing movie allusions, here I'll cite Altered States, in which the good Dr. Jessup initially observed [following a few glasses of wine]:

 Quote:
I’m a man in search of his true self. How archetypically American can you get?

Everybody’s looking for his true self. We’re all trying to fulfill ourselves, understand ourselves, get in touch with ourselves, get ahold of ourselves, face the reality of ourselves, explore ourselves, expand ourselves.

Ever since we dispensed with God, we’ve got nothing but ourselves to explain this meaningless horror of life. We’re all weekending at est or meditating for forty minutes a day or squatting on floors in a communal OM or locking arms in quasi-Sufi dances or stripping off the deceptions of civilized life and jumping naked into a swimming pool filled with other naked searchers for self.

Well, I think that true self, that original self, that first self, is a real, mensurate, quantifiable thing, tangible and incarnate. And I’m going to find the fucker!

He found it all right, but absent initiation was almost destroyed, rather than fulfilled by it.
_________________________
Michael A. Aquino

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#27403 - 07/23/09 02:27 AM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
The Zebu Offline
senior member


Registered: 08/08/08
Posts: 1647
Loc: Orlando, FL
OLD PEOPLE FIGHT!!!


Sorry, couldn't help myself.


Edited by The Zebu (07/23/09 02:27 AM)
_________________________
«Recibe, ¡oh Lucifer! la sangre de esta víctima que sacrifico en tu honor.»

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#27407 - 07/23/09 03:16 AM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: The Zebu]
Bacchae Offline
Satan's White Trash Neighbor
member


Registered: 05/13/08
Posts: 438
Loc: los angeles
did you actually stop whatever it was you were doing, just to make this cute little graphic so that you could chime in and mock respected members of the community in the middle of a discussion??
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#27413 - 07/23/09 05:31 AM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Meq Offline
Banned
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
Dr Aquino,

From what I read of your "Temple of Set" ebook, the schism with the Church of Satan was largely due to the question of, and I quote, "Did it believe in Satan and his fellow dæmons as actual intelligent, active, willful entities extant in time and space?"

Intelligence and will when applied to metaphysical entities are an anthropomorphization. This entails an anthropomorphic worldview, projecting our humanity where it isn't so. As such, the universe becomes smaller, not larger.

 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
The significance of isolate self consciousness (of which Setians comprehend Set the neter, and of which Satan is the derivative reflection within J/C mythology) is that it is distinct from the universe, a discretionary actor upon it. The greater your realization of this in your own being, the greater your understanding of the other/natural neteru (collectively the ectropy of the universe - what J/C cartoons as "God"), the more you evolve from an active/reactive meat machine into a divine consciousness in which universal supports & reinforcements are as unnecessary as training wheels on a bicycle.

That sounds a lot like a crypto-Gnostic notion of 'god above god'. We have a spark from the divine beyond the limitations of our worldly flesh with which we can escape the causal reality of the universe.

Fine for those who despise our natural and carnal nature, but in contrast, the upshot of the work of thinkers like Spinoza is that we cannot escape from the causal nature of the universe. We can only hope to understand and appreciate our place in it, and find freedom from the tyranny of unhealthy emotion by understanding how the laws of nature guide all our physical and mental life.

We can, in short, become a more adapted meat machine. We cannot transcend our fleshly nature and rise to a truly metaphysical divine state.

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#27431 - 07/23/09 12:33 PM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: The Zebu]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
stalker


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: The Zebu
OLD PEOPLE FIGHT!!! Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Cute cartoon; I like the Set slippers. However I still hit the gym several times/week and fill in the gaps with martial arts, so no walker just yet.

Incidentally I do not see Jake and myself as "fighting" over the question of Anton's personal beliefs. Anton was quite adroit at projecting different personalities to different audiences, and of course he did this to me too, particularly before we became close friends. Here, as in my ebook, I simply relate my impression of him underneath the situational personæ.

As for the 1966-75 Church of Satan, it welcomed all sorts of Satanists, from the casual to the literal, and this was really not a big deal. We were quite capable of conducting extremely serious workings, then spoofing the same workings. Serious workings sometimes accidentally turned into slapstick ones. Anton could look very dignified and regal, but if some pompous critic visited him, he might welcome him wearing a cheap Halloween-costume red cape and carrying a plastic red trident, maintaining, of course, a grave & serious manner.

As for Jake, while we've not met, he certainly comes across to me here as a sensible, reliable, and thoughtful person, and I daresay we would hit it off well over a cup of coffee. In many ways, the time that he spent around 6114 was much more "complicated" than mine, because, as peculiar as it might sound, in 1966-75 the Church was a very innocent adventure.
_________________________
Michael A. Aquino

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#27432 - 07/23/09 01:22 PM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Jake999 Offline
senior member


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Don't see myself as "fighting" with Mr. Aquino either. His intellectual bonafides are well established, and it would be unfair of me to disparage his experiences within the framework of The Church of Satan and his recollections as anything less than genuine. I can tell you quite truthfully, that while there WERE differences that were probably insurmountable between him and Dr. LaVey, there was still a respect (although sometimes grudgingly so) for his intellect and his ability.

As for "old men" fighting... we are similar in age. He is three years and eleven days my senior. And I would wager that there are few who would be stupid enough to think that either of us couldn't hold our own intellectually or physically. Also agreed is that we would probably enjoy each other's company over a cup of coffee. Gentlemen of good will can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

I certainly agree. The "pre-schism" Church of Satan and "post-schism" Church of Satan were two very different animals and this was reflected in the way that Dr. LaVey projected himself to the public and the membership at large. He was sometimes cynical of what he saw Satanists who would "sew their wild oats" on Saturday and be in church on Sunday, praying for a crop failure.

Administrators knew that there was fun to be had, but woe be unto those who were not on point and professional when it came to the business end of The Order. Rituals were performed, to be sure, but there was always a "world view" of the Church of Satan, when we considered what we were then trying to do. So there wasn't nearly as much of the type of tounge-in-cheek creative blasphemies that marked the earlier period of the Church, although we did have our moments.

And I can see where the reality of the "schism" changed LaVey's outlook on Satanism and Satanists, as well. People tend to think that the Church of Satan just took anybody, and I suppose on some level, it's a valid assumption. People like to belong, and collect validation stickers. A base-level Church of Satan ID card filled that need for many. They knew it. We knew it. People would join to get the ID card and we would never hear from them again, and that was OK, because active participation in was never a prerequisite for affiliation.

So, the Church of Satan at Central as I knew it was quite different than the one that would have existed when Mr. Aquino was present. There were times when I felt like the "gate keeper" in The Wizard of OZ, telling people, "NOBODY SEES THE WIZARD, NOT NO WAY, NOT NO HOW!" It wasn't an open door policy by any means. And there were people we screened carefully before allowing access to Dr. LaVey, either at the Black House or any other meeting place. He did receive death threats, as I'm sure Mr. Aquino can appreciate as well, so it was not uncommon for me to be armed when I answered the door, and I have frisked one or two people in my time just based on what I jokingly call "my spidey sense" that something didn't feel right.

There also was a more deliberate sense of "this is our one chance" to get things done, so we might as well do them well. And we often worked our asses off to do what needed to be done, from writing and rewriting things for The Cloven Hoof and other articles for public consumption or to prepare for an interview or a visitation by some of the many notables that one might see there from time to time. LaVey's philosophy for his staff was often, "Be a slave in here, so you can be a Master OUT THERE."

But there were definitely some "slapstick moments" as well! I don't know how well it's known, but Dr. LaVey loved his catalogs of "gags" and "props," so you would never know what the hell he would come up with, from false teeth (you see him using them in one of his videos currently on YouTube), to of all things, rubber snot. Many a serious conversation disolved into gales of laughter and grown men reduced to tears because someone might decide that it was time to activate the "cosmic whoopie cushion."

As for who LaVey drew around him at that point in time to be part of the Admin, well... that depended on what was needed. Back then, Priests and Magisters were nowhere near as common as they are today. I've often said that if you spoke to a Priest, you were fortunate, and speaking to a Magister was an event. When you were called to work at Central (volunteer were rarely used), you pretty much lost your "rank." You did what needed to be done. For example, I arrived as a Warlock (II°). I know that others "outranked" me, but the egos were sublimated to get the job done. Promotions happened, but it wasn't a big thing.
_________________________
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.


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#27434 - 07/23/09 03:11 PM Re: First Satanic Church vs. The Church Of Satan [Re: Jake999]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
stalker


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: Jake999
I can tell you quite truthfully, that while there WERE differences that were probably insurmountable between him and Dr. LaVey, there was still a respect (although sometimes grudgingly so) for his intellect and his ability.

I think that Anton and I hit it off as well as we did, as long as we did, in no small part because we were so diametrically different except in our allegiance to the Prince of Darkness. I felt admiration and affection for him, but no need to imitate or bootlick. Correspondingly he felt no need to play Ming the Merciless to me, either in his home or when a houseguest at mine. Had anyone suggested that this was going to wind up like Ben-Hur and Messala, I think we'd both have thought it crazy.

 Quote:
Also agreed is that we would probably enjoy each other's company over a cup of coffee. Gentlemen of good will can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

If you're still around SF, email me sometime and we'll do it - before all of the city's ancient restaurants disappear. Blum's, Zim's, the Hippo, Joe's, Maye's ... all gone. \:\( The Lost Weekend is now Rick's; it's ghostly to see the ceiling outlines of the old organ platform still there.

 Quote:
... So there wasn't nearly as much of the type of tounge-in-cheek creative blasphemies that marked the earlier period of the Church, although we did have our moments.

Well, one advantage of you and me both being, ahem, Old Farts is that we lived through the '60s and the whole Haight scene, hence know just how carefree and experimental so many things were back then. By the 1980s everyone had a rod up his ass and a short fuse attached to it. When I got back from Vietnam in '70 and started the Nineveh Grotto in Louisville (which was about as BibleBeltsy as you could get), the Church of Satan was the instant darling of the town; we were invited to local media, high school & university talks, had local divinity students over to our rituals, and everyone had a blast. During one of Anton's visits, I took him down to Fort Knox where he got a VIP welcome. Hard to imagine today, isn't it?

 Quote:
He did receive death threats, as I'm sure Mr. Aquino can appreciate as well ...

That began to get serious in the early '70s as I recall. Before then there was no fence at 6114, and Anton parked out front with no fear of vandalism. All of San Francisco dug him, right along with Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, Bill Graham [well, probably more than Graham!].

 Quote:
I've often said that if you spoke to a Priest, you were fortunate, and speaking to a Magister was an event.

Not the case pre-75, because the initiatory degree system was evolving, finding its own meaning and identity, right along with the Church proper. I think accurate to say that the designations "came after the individuals" as reflections of a certain common-level of grok, if you will, as to what this adventure was ultimately all about. An individual was formalized as a Priest or Priestess because he or she was compellingly seen to be and do that emanation. I can't tell you how utterly alien this was to the clergy of the mainstream religions with whom we came into contact.

Getting rather off-thread here; apologies.
_________________________
Michael A. Aquino

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