Two years ago, Augustus Sol Invictus walked from central Florida to the Mojave Desert and spent a week fasting and praying, at times thinking he wouldn't survive. In a pagan ritual to give thanks when he returned home, he killed a goat and drank its blood.
Now that he's a candidate for U.S. Senate, the story is coming back to bite him.
The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida has resigned to call attention to Invictus' candidacy in hopes that other party leaders will denounce him. Adrian Wyllie, who was the Libertarian candidate for governor last year, says Invictus wants to lead a civil war, is trying to recruit neo-Nazis to the party and brutally and sadistically dismembered a goat.
It's an awkward situation for the small party that's trying to gain clout.
"He is the absolute exact opposite of a Libertarian. He's a self-proclaimed fascist. He's promoting a second civil war," Wyllie said. "It's absolute insanity. We must explain to people this is the opposite of Libertarians. This guy has no place in the Libertarian Party."
Invictus, a 32-year-old lawyer who changed his given name — which he declines to reveal — to a Latin phrase that means "majestic unconquered sun," says Wyllie is just running a smear campaign and is twisting his words into lies. No, he says, he's not a white supremacist, pointing out his four children are Hispanic — though he acknowledges that some white supremacists support his campaign. No, he says he isn't trying to start a civil war, but he says the government already is at war with its citizens and that it's certain to escalate.
"The only question is when are the citizens going to start fighting back?" he said in a phone interview Friday. "I don't think I'm the only person who sees a cataclysm coming, but I think I'm the only person saying it, and I think that scares people."
Sacrifice? Yes. Brutal and sadistic? Not according to Invictus.
"I did sacrifice a goat. I know that's probably a quibble in the mind of most Americans," he said. "I sacrificed an animal to the god of the wilderness ... Yes, I drank the goat's blood."
He admits he's been investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement. He is confident they're still watching him, in part for a series of YouTube videos and other writings in which he discusses government. He renounced his citizenship in one paper, and in another he prophesied a great war, saying he would wander into the wilderness and return bearing revolution.
"I guess it makes me feel flattered that they think I am a threat to the stability of the system. It makes me think one man can make a difference," Invictus said.
He insists, though, that he doesn't advocate violence.
"You do not initiate force," he said. "If the government is waging war on citizens, we as citizens have the right to self-defense on government."
Invictus knows running as a Libertarian is a longshot — Wyllie was easily Florida's most well-received Libertarian candidate and he only received 3.8 percent of the vote — and he acknowledges that being a pagan will hurt him with an electorate that tends to support Christians. But he said he is running with the hope of speaking on the Senate floor.
"If not elected, I still think there is a purpose for all of this and that is to get a message out there, waking them up," he said. "They are the ones that control the government and not the other way around."