Augustus Sol Invictus and the Libertarian Party of Florida

Cara Schulz —  October 6, 2015 — 57 Comments

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“We expect a candidate to be bland, uninteresting … We pretend we want politicians who are honest or unconventional, someone who has not sold his soul to special interests. But as soon as that person arrives, we crucify him. Trying to understand him is the last thing on anyone’s mind.”  – U.S. Senate candidate Augustus Sol Invictus

Florida attorney Augustus Invictus is garnering national headlines in his run to replace Sen. Marco Rubio. Most of those headlines focus on or include sensationalized reports about him drinking the blood of a sacrificed goat. Mr. Invictus’ attempt to run as a Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF) candidate has also resulted in the resignation of the party’s chair and vice chair, both of whom protest the lack of LPF Executive Committee opposition to the possible candidate prior to the primary vote

In his resignation letter, former LPF Chair Adrian Wyllie alledged that Invitcus’ Thelema-inspired religious views, his name, and his stance on eugenics and future civil war make him an unfit Libertarian candidate. He wrote, “My strong opposition to him has put me in conflict with the LPF Executive Committee.”

The mainstream press is having a field day with some of the allegations and reader comments tend toward either mocking or open hostility. Is this a case of non-Pagans misunderstanding Pagan views and religious practices? Does religious bigotry play a role in some of these reactions? Or, are these allegations true?

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The Wild Hunt takes a closer, interviewing Mr. Invictus and others involved. First, we’ll break down the allegations from Mr. Wyllie’s resignation letter.

Animal Sacrifice
This is the allegation which has captured the most reporter and reader attention. Wyllie states, “I would never disparage anyone on the basis of their religion. But, since Mr. Invictus cites his religion as the motivation for his violent intentions, I believe it must be scrutinized. Mr. Invictus practices Thelema, an occult pagan religion based on the teachings of Aleister Crowley. Mr. Invictus was ejected from Ordo Templi Orientis for brutally and sadistically dismembering a goat in a ritualistic sacrifice.”

While Invictus disputes he dismembered a goat he readily admits to sacrificing a goat in a ritual of thanksgiving, “What actually happened is that I undertook a religious Pilgrimage in the Spring of 2013, walking from Orlando, Florida to the Mojave Desert in California. I did not expect to survive the journey or the desert, and so I sacrificed a goat to the God of the Wilderness in thanksgiving some time later, after my return to Florida. But that does not grab the headlines quite as well as ‘Chairman resigns to protest animal sacrifice by Senate candidate,’ which is how this is being spun.”

As of publication date over 140 news articles have been published in the last 72 hours focusing on Invictus’ sacrifice of the goat. There are a number of religions that practice some form of ritual animal killing, slaughter or sacrifice. However, the mainstream press regularly treats all forms of ritual sacrifice as outlandish and barbaric. Many comments claim Invictus’ ritual killing of an animal makes him unfit to hold office, while others point out the hypocrisy of being horrified by animal sacrifice while dining on factory meat.

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Some people have condemned the act as “Satanic witchcraft,” while others call for Invictus to be killed. If Invictus was a Muslim sacrificing a lamb during Hajj or a Jewish person sacrificng a rooster the day before Yom Kippur would the media coverage and reader reaction be different?

The Wild Hunt has covered the controversy surrounding animal sacrifice many times and even Pagans disagree about the ethics of the practice.

Many modern Pagans and Heathens shy away from — or are downright horrified by — the idea of animal sacrifice. Arguments against the practice generally come from a place of concern for the animals involved, or a fear that it would result in an “othering” by mainstream society. On the other hand, the sacrificial priests say that the practice is rooted in compassion and community, and that criticisms of their work reveal a fundamental disconnect with the food system, and perhaps a smoldering of racism as well.

Jeff Billman, a Libertarian Pagan, definitely believes that religious bigoty is in play here, both within the media coverage and in the allegations by Wyllie. In a Facebook post, Billman wrote:

 All the reasons that Adrian Wyllie tried to convince the Libertarian Party of Florida to take action against Augustus Invictus went unreported. Instead, Bay News 9 (the 24 hour cable news channel on Bright House Networks in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida) insinuated that Wyllie resigned because Invictus practices animal sacrifice. Despite the continued denials of his supporters, Adrian Wyllie is conducting a witch hunt against Pagan Libertarians, and this report proves it. I demand that the Libertarian Party of Florida take steps to censure Adrian Wyllie, and to make a statement that the Libertarian Party of Florida respects the religious beliefs of all, including Pagans. I will be making a formal motion to that effect with the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Florida, once I ascertain Mr. Wyllie’s current membership status.

Wyllie has not only resigned as LPF Chair, but has also left the LPF Party. In a written interview, he told The Wild Hunt, “I was not familiar with Thelema specifically before this, but I am familiar with Paganism. I’m probably most familiar with Wicca, because I have some close friends that practice it. I have other friends who identify as Pagans, but not any specific order. I think a candidate’s religion is absolutely irrelevant. The only reason it became at all relevant with Mr. Invictus was because he used it as his justification for violence and starting a civil war. I strongly believe that his view of Paganism is completely warped, and that the overwhelming majority of Pagans are good, peaceful people who don’t share his apocalyptic visions. He doesn’t represent Pagans any more than a violent Jihadist represents Muslims.”

Ejection from Ordo Templi Orientis
Invictus posted a video of himself performing the sacrifice and said that he was expelled by the OTO shortly after for what he said were political reasons. The OTO Public Information Officer would only confirm that Augustus Sol Invictus has not been a member of Ordo Templi Orientis since November 9, 2013, and that the circumstances surrounding his expulsion are confidential.

Thelema is a religion based on the teachings of Aleister Crowley and has as its two main tenets: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” and “Love is the law, love under will.” The goal of Thelemites is to discover their True Will, which is defined as “what they were meant to do on this earth.” Initiations of violence are generally frowned on in Thelema, while physical defense of individual rights is allowed. This is similar to the Non-Aggression Principle in Libertarian philosophy.

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We spoke with author and Occultist James Wasserman about Invictus’ run for Senate and his alleged expulsion from OTO. Wasserman has been a member of OTO since 1976 and knows Invictus.” It is difficult to comment on this individual without understanding that he suffers from mental illness. We are repeatedly warned in the mystic teachings of the dangers of madness: ‘The mystic swims in the same waters in which the psychotic drowns.’ ”

Wasserman goes on to explain, “The unrestrained plunge into the Abyss comes through attachment to the Ego. In the Star Wars story, Luke hears Obi-Wan calling upon him to trust “The Force.” Such ancient myths, translated into modern cinema, can retain their truth when skillfully told. Augustus Sol Invictus pursues his fantasy life on YouTube with phony accents, unbalanced rants, and even despicable acts of violence. Anyone contemplating taking him seriously should first ask him to remove the password protection from his YouTube video of a goat sacrifice. If you find him acceptable after that, go in peace. While some of his written political philosophy may contain some coherence, we would expect no less from one who was once sane enough to earn a law degree. To pretend that the teachings of the Law of Thelema justify his behavior or his opinions besmirches Truth with the tarnish of delusion, egomania, and narcissism. I am sorry to witness his fall. At one point, I believed he might have had some potential.”

Changing His Name
Wyllie said that “Even the legally-changed name he chose for himself is revealing. August Sol Invictus is Latin, and translates to ‘The Unconquerable Sun God’ ” He sites this as another reason that Invictus is unfit to be a Libertarian candidate. His name was also joked about in reader comments attached to articles.

Although Invictus primarily calls himself Pagan, those close to him say he is a Roman Reconstructionist, or a person looking to revive the religion of ancient Rome. Similar to how Pagans may have a Craft name, converts to other religions will sometimes change their name to reflect their new religious identity. For example, it’s not an uncommon for those converting to Islam, and it is not considered egotistical to change that name to that of their Prophet, Mohammed. Changing your name to Augustus Sol Invictus may be an indicator of an inflated self worth and a desire to rule over others, or it may be a sincere sign of devotion to a specific God.

Advocating Violence and Civil War
One of the more troubling allegations for many within the Libertarian Party is Invictus’ interest in inciting a second civil war. Wyllie said, “Mr. Invictus has repeatedly vowed that it is his destiny to start a second civil war in America. In a 2013 memo to his colleagues, he wrote, ‘I have prophesied for years that I was born for a Great War; that if I did not witness the coming of the Second American Civil War, I would begin it myself.’ ”  This memo was published by Above the Law in 2013.

Wyllie also has claimed that, in a private, face-to-face meeting, he asked Invictus directly, “Do you actually intend to kill millions of people and start a civil war?” Wyllie said that his answer was, “It’s my religion.” Invictus remembers the conversation differently. He said that they were talking about transhumanism and Nietzsche and the idea that mankind must be overcome.

In our interview, Wyllie directed us to a video created by Invictus titled Give Me A War. Wyllie cites this as an example of Invictus intentions. When we asked Invictus about the video, he said that it was a poem made several years ago. He explained, “This is in reference to the poem Seven Seals, which Wyllie has taken upon himself to rename to Give Me a War, in keeping with his dishonest tactics. Seven Seals is a poem and an Enochian invocation, not a call for a civil war. The original recitation can be found here.” He added that these videos are poetry readings and have nothing to do with his stance as a political candidate.

[invictusforsenate.com]

[invictusforsenate.com]

Eugenics
This is the allegation which appears to disturb the LPF Executive Committee the most. Wyllie claims that Invictus supports a return to a government supported eugenics program, which would sterilize, euthanize or forcibly abort ‘the weakest, the least intelligent, and the most diseased.’

This particular allegation also appears to strike the strongest nerve among Thelemites, many of whom expressed private outrage while refusing to make comments on the record.

When we asked Invictus directly if he supports eugenics, as alleged by Wyllie, he said, “I do not support a eugenics program, and this is a bold faced lie by Wyllie. This was addressed in one of my first Fireside Chats. Wyllie has heard me say a hundred times that I do not support a eugenics program, and he knows all the reasons why; but he also knows that in ceaselessly repeating this allegation he does not need to argue about it. It reminds me of a statement attributed to Joseph Goebbels: ‘If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.’ ”

However, Invictus’ Senate campaign website contains conflicting information on this subject. In a blog post titled “A Declaration on the Failings of the Federal Government,” bullet point number 25 states:

It has abandoned its eugenics program & elitist mindset in favor of decadent ideology that rejects the beauty of strength and demands the exponential growth of the weakest, least intelligent, and the most diseased.

Yet in the site’s FAQ section, Invictus notes that, while he wrote a paper in support of eugenics during law school, he has since changed his mind and regrets writing it. He asserts that a portion of the U.S.eugenics program is still legal today and that “no ruler or group of bureaucrats should have that sort of power over another person” and calls forced sterilization an “abuse of power.”

General Policy Positions
In looking at Invictus’ campaign website, his actual policy positions are much less controversial. He is against the drug war, constant war, government bans on same sex marriage, firearms, and marijuana. He departs from typical Libertarian policies on supporting government protection of the environment and for FDA regulations.

Other portions of his website reveal a candidate who is far from the “bland” or “uninteresting ,” as Invictus says voters expect. Many of his fireside chats have him affecting an accent that is difficult to place. He describes himself as a poet, artist, and a scholar. In one featured video, Invictus says that he wants “you to revolt…I want you to be dangerous…I want each and every one of you to be a legitimate threat…I don’t want you to vote so much as I want you to wake up, drop out and tune in, I want you to take LSD and practice sorcery.”

 *   *   *

On Sunday, the LPF took action, considering two motions concerning Invictus. The first motion proposed expelling him from the party. That motion failed. The second motion called for the LPF to formally condemn Invictus for violating the Non-Aggression Principle. That motion carried.

The LPF put out this statement on Monday. It reads, in part: 

During yesterday’s meeting of its Executive Committee, the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF) voted to condemn platform issues associated with U.S. Senate candidate, Augustus Invictus. The LPF finds the initiation of violence through his call for civil war and state-sponsored murder abhorrent. These platform issues are diametrically opposed to the principles of the LPF.

Char-Lez Braden, chair of the LPF said this morning, “Legally, the LPF has no control over a candidate’s political affiliation. Florida election laws allow anyone, with any ideology, to run as a candidate in the party they declared when registering to vote. The LPF has not endorsed Augustus Invictus and has not provided him with any support. Under the law, we cannot prevent him from running as a Libertarian and he is not required to enter our certification process.”

Currently, Invictus is the only candidate seeking to run as a Libertarian for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat. Even though Florida election law allows anyone to run, as noted in the statement, his inclusion on the ballot as a third party candidate is not assured. To be listed on the ballot itself, Invictus needs to gather 100,000 signatures or pay $10,000.

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At this point, Florida voters and LPF members will have to decide for themselves if Invictus is a candidate worthy of support, or if his views, past or present, are problematic. At the same time it appears that the ways in which much of the media are covering the story, with a focus on animal sacrifice to near exclusion of many of the other allegations and concerns, demonstrates unexamined religious bias. In addition, the general public’s reaction to these reports, as seen in various comments, suggests the same stark religious bigotry – one that could cause tension and problems for any Pagan politician in a run for public office.

We will continue to follow the story and update our readers as it develops.

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Cara Schulz

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Cara Schulz is a journalist and author living in Minnesota with her husband and cat. She has previously written for PAGAN+politics, PNC-Minnesota, and Patheos. Her work has appeared in several books by Bibliotheca Alexandrina and she's the author of Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping and (Almost) Foolproof Mead Making. She loves red wine, camping, and has no tattoos.
  • For all the folks conflating him with Satanism, I think they’d do well to trust in Mr. Invictus’s preferred title, Pagan. Satanists are atheists, so sacrifices to imaginary friends are totally pointless because.

    My opinion is that it would have been more honest if Mr. Invictus had said that he wanted to slaughter a goat to celebrate the spirit of wilderness or the savage qualities within himself, instead of doing so to appease a make-believe entity that represents the same.

    Still, there’s zero point in killing an animal if you aren’t going to eat it. Assuming that Mr. Invictus ate the body of said goat (and not just drank its blood), then I don’t think there’s anything of value in the story.

    As for the lurid references to neo-Nazis, I think it’s been pretty well established that racism is a herd-mentality unfit for free-thinking individuals. Mr. Invictus doesn’t hide that he’s supported by neo-Nazis – and why not? Support “from” doesn’t automatically imply support “for” – but if his awareness is limited by such shallow paradigms as race or tribe, then he’s really missing the point.

    • Brian Smith

      You have a very uneducated understanding of sacrifice. It isn’t always about communion, sometimes the offerings aren’t eaten. Ever hear of Expiation? Propitiation? Funerary sacrifices?

      • Satanists don’t believe in sacrifices, so I’m quite aware of what I’m talking about. If you come from a tradition that finds purpose or satisfaction in the ritual destruction of innocent animals or potentially useful materials, property, etc., then it’s your prerogative to make those sacrifices, but I’ll still think it’s silly.

        • Brian Smith

          I didn’t mention Satanism at all. I said your knowledge of sacrifice was uneducated and unsophisticated. you are working from the presumption that all forms of animal sacrifice require the consumption of the animals carcass and that is simply not the case. Acts of expiation and propitiation usually do not involve any consumption. That you regard it as “silly” is your problem. The historical record as well as current practice conflicts with your assumptions.

          • Slavery has a well established precedent in history and – despite what some people say – is still in full force today (recent reports about fishing trawlers comes to mind, to name one example), but just because slavery has been around for a long time and is still practiced today doesn’t mean I have to respect it.

            I know perfectly well that for some people various forms of sacrifice have held deep significance, but that doesn’t mean that I have to bow to that sacred cow (pun intended.) I contributed to this comment thread because Mr. Invictus has been repeatedly conflated with Satanism, and that’s why I’m speaking from my perspective – which applies only to me.

            I happen to think sacrifice (whatever form it takes) is a silly tradition, which is why I don’t practice it – and occasionally feel the need to talk about it.

          • Brian Smith

            Ah the “x was once done…” attempt at a false equivalency. I would have expected better from a Satanist.

            You’re also operating on the assumption that all forms of Satanism are atheistic, and that is not an accurate statement either.

          • Well, no, it’s not a false equivalency because both animal sacrifice and slavery are generally repugnant, both have historic precedents, both come in many types and forms, and both are still practiced today.

            But since you’ve decided to abandon the argument in favor of ad hominem attacks, I see that we’re finished here. Happy trails.

          • Brian Smith

            It is absolutely a false equivalence. Your statement that they are repugnant has no objectivity it is purely a subjective statement. it fails to take into account differing worldviews, and is ethnocentric in the extreme.

          • Fushta

          • Brian Smith

            “…Satanism and slavery are generally repugnant, both have historic precedents, both come in many types and forms, and both are still practiced today.”

            See how easy it is? There is no connection between the two subjects other than subjective “feels” and historicity.

          • No, it really isn’t a false equivalency. Slavery and animal sacrifice both deny the life of the victim; both are performed for the betterment of another person; assuming that the animal isn’t eaten as part of the sacrifice, and both waste the victim’s potential.

            Contrary to your other claims, I don’t have any problem with people slaughtering their own animals. I lived on a farm when I was younger and I know where pork, chicken, and beef come from. My opposition to animal sacrifice isn’t toward the slaughter of the animal for consumption, but toward the senseless destruction of life. As I’ve stated several times before, I happen to think animal cruelty, or sacrificing animals without consuming the carcass, is wrong.

            I agree with you that there are historical precedents for animal sacrifice, but I won’t agree with you that because something’s been happening for a long time, or is an accepted practice elsewhere in the world, that makes it okay.

          • Brian Smith

            And I stand by my claim that you have an uneducated and unsophisticated understanding of animal sacrifice.

            That you can’t understand the nuanced differences between an act of communion (do et des) and an act of expiation, and the theological reasons why you *don’t* consume an expiatory sacrifice, perfectly illustrates my statement. This is not an ad hominem statement; you simply don’t *get it* and as such your opinion on the matter doesn’t warrant consideration.

          • And you’re clearly not reading what I’m writing. I’ve stated multiple times that I understand and accept that many forms of animal sacrifice have been and currently are practiced. I’ve stated that if *you* find purpose in animal sacrifice, then *you* should do it, but that doesn’t change *my* opinion about it.

            And, as I’ve stated multiple times, I’m speaking my perspective as a Satanist (which also means that I don’t believe in any external deities), so therefore I cannot and will not agree with you about the validity of sacrifice for the purpose of communing with an imaginary friend.

          • I don’t see anywhere in these comments where Mr. Bulls says HE is a Satanist. Merely knowing about some practices and beliefs does not make one a Satanist, any more than one swallow making a summer.

            And yes, I agree, you *are* making ad hominem attacks on him.

          • Northern_Light_27

            He has repeatedly designated himself as a LeVayan Satanist in many of his comments here and on Patheos. A commenter doesn’t have to say it every single time to be remembered.

          • Obviously, I don’t read all the right blog posts.

          • Brian Smith

            Obviously. How did that crow taste?

          • Brian Smith

            No, I said I expected more from a Satanist. Expressing disappointment is far from an attack.

          • I appreciate the logical approach, but yes, I am a Satanist.

          • Northern_Light_27

            His knowledge of Satanism is as unsophisticated as his knowledge of sacrifice. He can’t see beyond his prophet LaVey.

    • I love the image I get of sacrificing to “imaginary friends”.

      Killing an animal in a hunt for sport, one of two body parts for profit, or for trophy is repugnant to me. They all deny the inherent worth of an animal’s life–and factory farming is not far below that.

      I’m relying on memory here, but sacrificial killing of animals in many cultures was supposed to be done reverently and with as little pain as possible. Sacrifices were eaten by the priests/sibyls/whomever as representatives of deity: while I seem to recall that animals in cages were sacrificed in fire, I don’t recall whether that was to cook them, or a different form of sacrifice. Deborah, I could use your scholarship here.

      • Brian Smith

        You’re imposing your modernist notions onto an ancient practice. While I would agree in the idea that an animal should be sacrificed in what we would consider a humane way, the historic record dies not always agree with this idea. Some animal sacrifices were performed in, what we would describe, a brutal fashion. The Bacchinal Mystery Cult rites would sometimes involve the participants ripping an animal apart. It is not for us to pass judgement on these ancient ways, nut to try and understand why these things were done in the that manner.

        • Brian Smith

          And as stated earlier, not all forms of sacrifice involved consumption of the animal.

      • Factory farming is repugnant. I do enjoy eating animal products, but my family follows a mostly-vegetarian and somewhat-vegan diet. We eat about as much meat in a month as some families eat in a day.

    • MadGastronomer

      Hate to break it to you, but there are theistic Satanists. La Vey’s flavor Satanism is not the only one that exists. If you can’t even get that right, I guess we can’t really expect you to bother to attempt to understand anything at all about anyone else’s beliefs.

      • That’s actually a really great point. The best example I can make for the (neo)Pagan community is the contrast between Gardnerian Wiccans and (other) Wiccans. Many Gardnerians take the position that Gardnerian Wicca is the only Wicca because it didn’t exist until Gerald Gardner started the practice.

        Or in other words, until Gardner, there was no Wicca or contemporary witchcraft codified into the what we know as an initiatory, oath-bound tradition marked by gender-dichotomous gods, the four elements, circle casting, and formal coven structure.

        Since then, Wicca has gone on to become its own thing in the eyes of many others, but Gardnerian Wicca is still rockin’ on with its bad self and many Gardnerians still have the audacity to say what is Wicca and what is not – and all originating from their lineage back to the Gerald Gardner who was the first one to give that coin any value.

        Similarly, before Anton LaVey codified Satanism into a definite philosophy that was defined outside of context from Christianity, that coin had no value. “Satanist” was a pejorative (and judging by some of the comments in this thread it still is), but after 1966, Satanist attained clear meaning and definition. Satanism as codified for the first time in history by Anton LaVey is a sub-sect of atheism and, unlike inverted-Christians who worship the fallen angel of the Bible and devil-worshipers who put their locus of identity on an external (and probably imaginary) entity, Satanists worship only themselves.

        So for those reasons, yes – you’re right – I don’t acknowledge the meaning of Satanism as you think I should. I acknowledge that there are other people who call themselves Satanists, but for the reasons I explained above, I consider them either inverted Christians or devil-worshippers unworthy of the name.

        • Brian Smith

          The word witch predates Wicca. Wiccans don’t have any exclusive claim to the word.

          The word Satanist predates LaVey. Philosophical Satanists don’t have any exclusive claim to the word.

          Some schools of Satanism do indeed believe in a primordial PoD, an isolate intelligence that does indeed guide mankind towards whatever “godhood” they seek.

          Once again, your uneducated opinion is not warranted or worthy of consideration.

          • Let’s stay on topic.

            I’m not talking about the word “Witch,” but the word “Wiccan.”

            I agreed with you before – and stated in my own words – that the word Satanist existed before LaVey, but it also had zero worth. A great example of this is the Satanic Temple which has been appearing in headlines lately. In the words of the Temple’s founders, they started their organization as a joke to get the goat (pun intended) of Christians who abuse the separation between church and state. They are clearly humanist and rationalist, and they too have made the argument for what Satanism “really” is.

            Of course, this doesn’t mean that their own members care about that. A great example of what I mean is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5124BHSJVQk The guy who made this video is the head of a large online social networking site – Satanic International Network – and at one time was a chapter head for the Satanic Temple. If you watch the entire video, you’ll see him lamenting how because of rapid growth the Satanic Temple rushed into appointing unqualified chapter heads who – in his words – “have not even read the Satanic Bible.”

            This is particularly striking because the Satanic Temple goes to some effort to demonstrate that the Satanic Bible and the philosophy codified by Anton LaVey are fundamentally incompatible with the egalitarian vision of Satanic Temple.

            Satanists of many stripes have flocked to the Satanic Temple for affiliation, such as this man who hosts the SIN, but the Satanic Temple doesn’t even recognize their forms of Satanism. How’s that for a practical joke?

            And yet, despite all these things, the Satanic Bible is being touted by a former chapter head as a prerequisite for practicing Satanism. That is the legacy of Anton LaVey and the continuing value of the Church of Satan as it has been guided by Blanche Barton and now Peter Gilmore: the Church of Satan has defined Satanism, and even those who disagree still give lip service to the Satanic Bible (or in the case of the SIN, lip service to illegal digital copies.)

            Your retreat into acronyms without specifying what the acronym means is a deliberate effort to use niche vocabulary thus identifying yourself as part of something I “just couldn’t understand.”

            You probably assume that I always-have-been-always-will-be a Satanist, but my years in the LDS Church probably count nothing for you. My years as a neo-Platonist and New Thought practitioner probably also count nothing for you. But you didn’t ask about my background – you assumed who I was, what I know, and what I feel.

            I truly do understand your perspective of having a personal deity or mentor relationship with an external entity. When I was a member of the LDS Church, I sincerely believed and regularly testified that I, too, had a personal relationship with a deity and – at least until I didn’t believe – I sincerely believed that God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost actively communicated with me and were intimately involved in my day to day life. I was passionately involved in local mission efforts, volunteered tremendous amounts of my time at the church, tithed like my salvation depended on it, and received both the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. I blessed the sacrament, led prayers in the men’s group, and eagerly did my home-teaching assignments.

            In my years as a New Thought practitioner and follower of neo-Platonism, I had plenty of other experiences that I thought were genuine spiritual communications – especially with an entity that I called the Librarian – and right up until I no longer accepted the reality of that situation, I sincerely believed that I was communicating with a spiritual entity.

            So yes, I know what it means to believe in a deity. And I understand that there are people who call themselves Satanists, Pagans, Christians, and whatever-else you care to name who sincerely believe they’re communicating with some other entity.

            But that doesn’t mean I have to accept their beliefs as valid. I take responsibility for myself and accept both my gains and my losses as products of my own effort (or lack thereof) and I neither desire nor seek the favors of imaginary friends. I won’t interfere with other people’s choice to live in an imaginary-friend zone, but I will think (and occasionally say) that I think it’s silly. And I’m absolutely going to say that I think animal cruelty – such as killing an animal and not even eating it – no matter why it’s done or in which imaginary friend’s name the sacrifice is being made.

            The reason I stopped believing isn’t worth discussing in this particular thread, but I say it to point out that you don’t know what you don’t know about me. And again, your ad hominem attacks testify to that because you prefer to defeat my character instead of my argument.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    If Invictus was a Moslem sacrificing a lamb during Hajj or a Jewish person sacrificng a rooster the day before Yom Kippur would the media coverage and reader reaction be different? Alas, probably not.What would put me off any candidate is advocacy of a Civil War II. The country today is so divided that, if this is a joke, ’tain’t funny.

  • happydog

    Hopefully, after this project of his fails, this will be the last we will ever hear from this insane gasbag.

  • When I first heard about this guy, I thought it might be Jonathan Sharkey under a new name. But no… seems like there are two whackaloons out there. I’m sure this guy will become a perennial candidate as well.

  • Do you have any source for the notion that he’s a practitioner of the Religio Romana? Seems a rather bold statement to be made without attribution. I’m sure there are plenty of Religio practitioners who wouldn’t want to be associated, even tangentially, with this guy.

    • Cara Schulz

      Several of his personal friends stated to me he is a Roman Reconstructionist.

      • Not exactly an attributable source. “Trust me, his friends told me” isn’t enough to associate him with an entire religion.

        • Brian Smith

          “entire religion”… Religio Romana hasn’t been an entire religion in about fifteen centuries.

          • Neither has Germanic Tribal belief, but there you are.

    • Friday

      That’s all I’ve heard, all we know is he got the boot from the OTO, no particular indication he’s gotten anywhere with his idea of Roman Reconstruction except he apparently thinks he should be a central figure in it. 🙂

  • Segomâros Widugeni

    There are a lot of threads to this story: religious bias in the media, the conflicted Pagan attitude toward animal sacrifice, internal Libertarian Party politics, the question of what constitutes acceptable practice in both Thelema and Religio Romana, mental illness and our attitudes toward it, some pretty shocking political views, and the question of where to draw the line when an individual’s behavior and views seem threatening to us.

    I commend you for taking the time to sort it all out. In doing so, you’ve done better than any mainstream media source.

    As far as animal sacrifice goes: I don’t practice it myself, but support those who do, provided it is done traditionally and humanely. I have no idea if this individual was either traditional or humane in his sacrificial rites. I will leave the question of correct practice in Thelema and Religio Romana to those who walk each path. I have no qualification to decide for them. As to when a given person’s mental illness, political views, or behavior makes us uncomfortable, that if for each of us to decide based on our own values and life experience.

    I can say, however, that I am not comfortable with Augustus Sol Invictus representing either Pagans or Reconstructionists in the public eye.

    • Segomâros Widugeni

      Postscript : I looked at some of his FAQ and other documents. The charge of renouncing his citizenship appears to be true, though he didn’t do it in a legally binding way, which also speaks poorly of his character. Likewise that of making statements against both democracy and the participation of women and minorities (his words) in government. He is indeed watched by the authorities and proud of it. The charge of associating with neo-Nazis could be read as being a dedicated civil rights lawyer, but these other statements lead me to doubt it. The paper supporting eugenics was written five years back. That isn’t all that long ago.

      Altogether a theatrical, unstable, and dangerous person, a racist and sexist to at least some extent.

      As I posted further down the list, in ten years in the Central Florida Pagan Community, I have never heard of him before now.

    • regarding the animal sacrifice issue only:

      “Although the practice of animal sacrifice may seem abhorrent to some,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the 1993 decision of a 1st Amendment case, Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection.” It involved a Santería church, Lukumi Babalu Aye, and its priest, Ernesto Pichardo, against the city of Hialeah, Florida. Many mainstream religious and civil-rights groups lined up with the church, while animal-rights proponents sided with the city.

      I gather there aren’t many in the LPF who are aware of this fact–but if indeed the goat was killed in a brutal or unnecessarily cruel (some consider the killing of a sacrifical animal cruel to begin with), then I would condemn it as well, for the cruelty to the animal involved.

  • Brian Smith

    I’d like to know the professional credentials of the Floridian Thelemite who stated that this man had mental health issues. What are his qualifications, and if he has them, did he ever see this man as a patient? Most credible journalist outfits would not seek such inflammatory statements from an unlicensed mental health practitioner, and usually add caveats like “Dr. X, a licensed mental health provider, who has never seen the subject of this article…”

    • Marco Visconti

      the Floridan Thelemite who stated it is one of the leaders of the Order and as such privy to many informations not available to the general public.

      • Brian Smith

        That statement opens up a myriad of ethical issues. Is it proper, as clergy, to discuss the confidential medical and mental health issues of one’s congregation, past or present, especially to the Press?

        • kenofken

          That’s an interesting question. If they’re clergy in the role of counseling or anything semi-equivalent to the hearing of confession, I would say that’s a definite ethical red line. Being “one of the leaders of the Order” may or may not fall under that. Many such positions are ceremonial or administrative posts which don’t involve pastoral care in any traditional sense.

  • ihateswine

    It’s disturbing that the scare tactic used as click bait is the animal sacrifice angle, not the fascist angle. People should be more scared and revolted by far-right extremism than goofy pseudo rituals.

    • Marco Visconti

      I noticed that too. No one cares about the violent stance of this buffoon. Even if the problem with his sacrifice was indeed the violent and sadistic way he carried it.

  • Speaking as a libertarian (small “l”), anyone who advocates force and denies others choice is dangerous.

    All the more if no force has been used against them.

  • TisSheilah

    Thank you for the article and the research. I am finding myself considering changing my party affiliation after many years of being an active Libertarian. I suspect religious discrimination because my concerns are addressed with more outlandish accusations against the candidate. Sure, his writing is bizarre and non-libertarian. What does that have to do with his religion? Didn’t the party leadership even consider that there are other pagans in our party who would be offended by the focus on their religion?

    I took an oath to defend the non-aggression principal. It has been stated that my attempts to support this person are causing me to violate my oath. Sadly, some Libertarians do not understand that bullying or bigotry can be aggressive, too – especially if it reaches the press.

    I hope my party changes course and tells Pagans that they are welcome in the party. Otherwise, I will change my affiliation.

  • Segomâros Widugeni

    For what it’s worth: I live 50-some miles north of Orlando. I’ve participated in the Central Florida Pagan Community for a decade. And I’ve never heard of this guy, had no idea who he was until he was on the news. Maybe he stayed in Thelemic circles, where I have fewer local friends, though I do have some. But I keep an eye out for local Reconstructionists, hoping to meet new friends, and he never came onto my radar.

  • kenofken

    As far as I’m concerned, the Pagan movement needs another freak show fringe candidate about as much as an aortic aneurysm. I don’t doubt there may be an element of religious discrimination at play. The Libertarian movement has a certain overlap with the Christian right and Tea Party, which is chock full of dominionists. I don’t have a problem with animal sacrifice if done humanely. It’s too bad people seized on this because it’s the very least thing wrong with this guy as a candidate for office. I spent some time around the OTO and did my Minerval a few years ago. Thelema is the consummate Libertarian religion. It values non-conformism and individual self-realization more than most other religions, probably even Satanism in some ways. You have to be a five-star loon or have the social grace of a cow chip to get thrown out of the OTO (and the order draws its share of both).

    I’m not giving any candidate my endorsement or even a benefit of the doubt because they happen to be Pagan. I’m also not going in for the endless chain of “outsiders” and demagogues who promise to sweep into Washington or state legislatures with easy solutions to everything. We need some adult leaders up to the unsexy job of real governance. The GOP has absolutely no one up to that task. The Democrats are teetering on the brink, and guys like Sol Invictus help render third parties completely impotent as a source of leverage to change any of that.

  • Edward G. Rickey

    This is interesting to me since I’m 1. a pagan polytheist 2. a small “l” libertarian and 3. live in the Orlando area and am a lifelong Floridian. This guy has not appeared on my radar.

    I do think that this is much ado about nothing. The LP in Florida has very little traction, and Wyllie himself did respectably for a third party candidate in the gubernatorial election, but nobody is taking this Invictus guy seriously. I think in the bright light of day, Invictus will disappear back quickly, Wyllie will have made some political hay, and life will go on.

    In the reading of it, I don’t think this has anything to do with his faith, the OTO, or anything other than the miasma of calling for a civil war and some quasi-national socialist statements. The blood drinking is just extra frill on the already frightening ball gown.

    What the whole thing does confess is how terribly cynical and what a sham politics have become, and how deeply frightened we are that nut jobs like Invictus have a chance at political power. In a world that feels more and more like it’s going of the rails, we look to leaders and see no real option but more of the same, be it Democrat or Republican. People are attracted to outsiders, be it Sanders or Trump, because they feel they are the only *real* alternative. We’re staggering out of an economic depression, no substantive recovery, our enemies are emboldened, and our leaders lack spine.

    Deep down, we’re scared as a nation. Which is why we know, I won’t vote for Invictus, but my neighbors, looking for anything resembling confidence in a leader, might.

    Invictus is one of what promises to be many whackjobs that will appear as we stumble through the twilight of American imperialism.

    • Marco Visconti

      thankfully, since he will never gather the 10.000 signatures nor be able to source the 10.000 dollars needed, no one will vote for him.

      I’m curious to see what will be his next incarnation. Snake oil vendor?

    • Macha NightMare

      Bernie Sanders is not an outsider. He has spent his entire adult life serving in an elected governmental office.

      • Edward G. Rickey

        That may be true, but he’s *ideologically* an outsider as a public socialist.

        My point is that the fringe attracts more attention during times like these where people feel a loss of direction, and the real fear is that men like Invictus will gain votes and possibly power not because they make sense, but they represent a departure from that policy of business as usual.

    • Should you wish to attend an Invictus event in Orlando.
      Monday, October 19 at 7:00pm – 8:00pm in EDT
      Doc’s Streetside Grille
      1315 S Orange Ave, Orlando, Florida 32806
      https://www.facebook.com/events/489386461223047/

  • he took just about every nickel of his shtick from my first exhusband, schreck [Not His Real Name]. every crumb, i swear, except this one’s apparent focus is politics in the u.s. of a., and the other one, long ago, was sadder and smarter.

    edited to add: and make no mistake, every nickel & crumb of all of the above is shtick. it’s a game that you get to, i suppose, when all everything else has been swept away.