Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Occult Experience (1985)

Frank Heimans

"This is an Australian documentary on various forms of Paganism. It shows some of the major players and different factions of a world most people don't know much about.

Things get underway by going into the "dark side" of groups such as San Fransisco's Church of Satan and Temple of Set. The "Church" was started by huckster Anton LaVey who sold his Nietzsche-lite beliefs as a greedy form of self-worship. The clips of LaVey are from the 1968 documentary 'SATANIS'. Temple of Set founder Michael Aquino and his wife Lilith Sinclair are interviewed. Aquino shows off an authentic Nazi dagger he owns and explains that National Socialists such as Himmler also had a deep interest in the occult. Aquino is a former Green Beret Colnel who broke away from the Church of Satan to start his own group. Col. Aquino's name was circulated in the media during the 1980s "Satanic ritual abuse" scare. He was accused of molestation at the Presidio Army day care and later in various books such as 'THE NEW SATANISTS' and 'PAINTED BLACK'. All cases involving Aquino were either settled or thrown out of court.

Next we move to the American Midwest to drop in on Selena Fox, who started a place for nature paganism called "Circle Sanctuary". The language used by Fox is more New Age sounding ("love consciousness", "Jesus was a witch", etc.). Her group is shown doing an incantation.

From here we go to Mr. Alex Sanders, the "King of Witches". His "legendary" reputation is mentioned but we don't really hear why he's so significant. He summons an Aztec spirit by wearing a mask and doing a dance in his underwear. He also says that his grandmother gave him degrees in ritual sex. Then we go to Ireland to check in on one of his followers, who initiates a young man by taking his clothes off and having him run naked through the woods, braving each of the four elements.

There is a segment with Christians performing exorcisms. This is to show that some mainstream religions have practices that resemble pagan religions.

Also covered is the "Goddess Movement" where a woman named "Z. Budapest" practices what she calls "Dianic Wicca". It is theorized in this video that the popularity of Goddess religions is due to the feminist movement and women's desire to be a god. This is similar to what Lilith Sinclair says about her Satanic religion earlier on the tape.

For art lovers, there are segments on two artists from different time periods. Australian artist Rosaleen Norton worshipped Pan and was lambasted for it. A few of her paintings are shown. Swiss artist H.R. Giger (famous for designing the creatures from the 'ALIENS' and 'SPECIES' movies) lets us go inside his studio. He says that women have hurt him so that is why he paints them so often. However he doesn't really mention how paganism or satanism relates to his paintings.

This documentary is lacking references to two individuals who had a lot to do with the renewed interest in the occult: Theosophist H.P. Blavatsky and Aleister Crowley. The influence of these two doesn't only extend to the occult groups mentioned in this video but also to the so-called "New Age" movement. In any case it is useful in identifying some of the different people involved and the reasons the occult appeals to them."

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