Aquino, Michael A. (1946– )
Michael A. Aquino, U.S. Army officer and founder of the
Temple of Set, is a graduate of the University of California,
Santa Barbara (B.A., 1968; Ph.D., 1980). In 1968 he joined the
army as a specialist in psychological warfare. The next year he
joined the Church of Satan. His career in the church was put
on hold while he served a tour of duty in Vietnam, but shortly
after his return to the United States in 1971, he was ordained
as a Satanic priest and organized a group (termed a grotto) that
met at his home.
Aquino rose to a position of prominence in the Church of
Satan, but became dissatisfied with the leadership of church
founder Anton LaVey. He opposed LaVey’s arbitrary leadership
and atheistic approach to religion. LaVey actually denied
the existence of Satan. In 1972 Aquino resigned and was joined
in his revolt by Lilith Sinclair, another prominent leader on the
East Coast. In 1975 he sought a new mandate to operate by invoking
the devil. Satan responded by appearing as Set, the ancient
Egyptian deity, and gave Aquino a document, The Book of
Coming Forth by Night. He authorized Aquino to found the Temple
of Set to supersede the Church of Satan. Aquino created a
new religious society built around the worship of Set, of whom
Satan is one derivation.
During the 1980s Aquino gained some degree of fame when
the media became aware that an army officer led a Satanic
group. The temple became the subject of criticism, and Aquino
was charged with fabricated tales of Satanic child abuse.
Aquino, an officer who has an exemplary record, was investigated
and found innocent of any wrongdoing. The molestations
he was accused of perpetrating were traced to a fellow officer.
Meanwhile, he continues his professional career and his
leadership in the temple.
Aquarian Foundation Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Aquino, Michael A. The Church of Satan. N.p. The Author,
Lyons, Arthur. Satan Wants You. New York Mysterious
Press, 1988.

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