Michael Aquino joined the U.S. Army in 1968 where he became an officer specializing in psychological warfare and, later, a Lieutenant colonel in military intelligence.
As Aquino climbed the ranks of the U.S. military, he also climbed the ranks of another organization: The Church of Satan.
“Michael Aquino began corresponding with Anton LaVey while a psychological operative for the U.S. Army, stationed in the jungles of Vietnam. Aquino returned to the States and was soon made a high-ranking priest and editor of the church’s Cloven Hoof newsletter. His distinctive appearance — he sported a prominent widow’s peak and darkly accented eyebrows — was further enhanced by a small 666 tattooed on his scalp.”
– Washington Post, A Devil of a Time
As years passed, the relationship between Aquino and LaVey deteriorated. The main reason: LaVey believed that Satan was a symbolic force while Aquino believed in the literal existence of Satan. In 1975, Aquino founded the Temple of Set – an occult order that revolved around an Egyptian deity on whom the Hebraic Satan was supposedly based.
Aquino’s occult activities did not interfere with his military career. In fact, he described politics and propaganda as forms of “lesser black magic”.
Aquino divided black magic into two forms: lesser black magic and greater black magic. He stated that lesser black magic entails “impelling” things that exist in the “objective universe” into doing a desired act by using “obscure physical or behavioral laws” and into this category he placed stage magic, psychodramas, politics, and propaganda.
– Jesper Aagaard, “The Seeds of Satan: Conceptions of Magic in Contemporary Satanism”
In 1980, as a “PSYOP Research & Analysis Team Leader”, Aquino c0-authored MindWar – an internal U.S. Army paper about the future of psychological operations. While this document was only intended for the eyes of government policymakers, it accidentally became public. And it caused quite a stir.