MODERN NEO-PAGANISM & THE OCCULT
A Guide to Alternative Religions
And Their Opponents (Vers. 2.0)
About The Temple of Set
TEMPLE OF SET
POST OFFICE BOX 470307
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94147
GENERAL INFORMATION STATEMENT REVISED 2/XXII AS-
**WebMaster's Note: Originally this presentation contained an outdated version of the succeeding section, the Temple of Set Introduction Letter.
The outdated material has been replaced at the request of the Temple of Set**
Dear Sir . Madam,
I noticed your section on the Temple of Set at http://slvrsplsh.freeservers.com/pagan101/page16.html contains an old version of the Temple of Set information letter, with no capitalization (probably from transmission dropout).
Here is the updated current letter. (appended).
The Temple of Set has an official website at http://www.xeper.org
Leon D. Wild
Member, Temple of Set.
Temple of Set
Post Office Box 470307
San Francisco, California 94147, U.S.A.
World Wide Web Site: http://www.xeper.org/
- Updated January 1, 1997 - 1999
This document is subject to periodic updating. If this copy is over a year old, please request a current one.
Thank you for your inquiry. The Temple of Set is an institution unlike any you have previously encountered. The Temple is designed as a tool for personal empowerment and self cultivation. To decide whether such a tool is a valuable one for you, you should consider the philosophy of the Temple, the concept of Set, the obligations and responsibilities which a Setian assumes, and what the Temple looks for in a candidate.
All schools of introspective inquiry [as opposed to those of faith] address the one difference that distinguishes mankind from the rest of the cosmos: the feature of being, of conscious willful existence. This self-awareness makes possible all of our arts, our sciences, our notions of "good" and "evil". It necessitates free will and each individual's ability to assign meaning to thoughts, statements, and actions.
Various religions confront this phenomenon of individual consciousness in various ways. Some - for example, the Buddhist quest for nirvana - endeavor to extinguish it outright. Others choose to label it the soul and hope that somebody else will take care of it - such as IHVH or Christ. Still others deny it altogether, relegating man to the same status as an animal. Nevertheless there have also been consciousness-worshiping (or -respecting) religions throughout all historical civilizations and cultures.
Historically consciousness-worshiping religions have been more intellectually demanding than their nature-worshiping counterparts, since it is more difficult to reason a path through one's span of conscious existence than it is to be swept along by a current of semi-rational stimulus and response. Such schools were admired in certain societies, such as ancient Egypt and Greece, but generally their exclusive elitism and "supernatural" activities made them objects of resentment and persecution.
Temple of Set seeks above all to honor and enshrine consciousness. We wish to apprehend what makes us each individually unique and use this gift to make ourselves stronger in all facets of our being. To do this we preserve and improve the tradition of spiritual distinction from the natural universe, which in the Judaeo/Christian West has been called Satanism, but which is more generally known as the Left-Hand Path.
The Left-Hand Path is a process for creating an individual, powerful essence that exists above and beyond animal life. It is thus the true vehicle for personal immortality. It has certain components:
Initiation begins with denial and rejection of the herd-mentality. The cultural and social values of the masses, whether propounded by conventional religions or by mass media, are recognized as obstacles to individual spiritual development. Human society values predictability, stability, or stasis above all things. The Initiate, by contrast, seeks continuous, positive self-evolution.
Objective understanding and evaluation of the host society's values are necessary in order to intelligently formulate one's own. In Western conventional religions such independence is called "Satanism". [It was in a 1960's antinomian experiment, the Church of Satan, that contemporary principles foreshadowing the Temple of Set were explored and evaluated, resulting in the more sophisticated formulation of the Temple of Set in 1975. We remain the only legally recognized "Satanic" institution in the world.] But the Initiate is rebelling against more than the idea of an external "god": In secular life he seeks freedom from such external controlling forces as propaganda, custom, and habit as well.
To work magic that evolves the self, the magician's will must prevail in the subjective universe as the massed wills of others do in the objective one. Once such strength of individual will is obtained, it can be extended into objective environments as well. But as long as an individual allows himself to be governed by animal emotions such as shame, fear, or the desire for social acceptance, he cannot become an Adept of Black Magic.
Conventional society instinctively fears and often hates what it cannot easily understand. If you seek out the Temple, you may find yourself senselessly accused of popular conventional evils of the day: racism, sexism, anti-this or pro-that. When you can look around with your own eyes and see that the Temple embodies and promotes none of these things, you will realize a great deal about the suspicion and antipathy with which conventional social/religious cultures regard any manifestation of intellectual independence of consciousness.
No one can do the work of self-change for you. The intensity and pace of your own initiation will be up to you, not the Temple of Set. Nor can the Temple dictate your personal goals. You yourself must do so, again with wisdom rather than emotion or impulse.
The world is a chaotic environment characterized by the masses' lack of intelligent goals and the discipline necessary for their attainment. The Initiate must have a strong sense of personal discipline before embarking on any adventure. The ability to recognize, start, and complete great quests distinguishes the Initiate from the "occultnik" who seeks to parody greatness by mindlessly muttering a few incoherent "spells".
Followers of the Left-Hand Path practice what, in a very specially-defined sense, we term "Black Magic". Black Magic focuses on self-determined goals. Its formula is "my will be done", as opposed to the White Magic of the Right-Hand Path, whose formula is "thy will be done".
Black Magic is shunned and feared because to do Black Magic is to take full responsibility for one's actions, evolution, and effectiveness.
Since magic enables you to influence or change events in ways not understood nor anticipated by society, you must first develop a sound and sophisticated appreciation for the ethics governing your own motives, decisions, and actions before you put it to use. Merely using magic for impulsive, trivial, or egoistic desires is not Setian. It must become second-nature to you to carefully pre-evaluate the consequences of what you wish to do, then choose the course of wisdom, justice, and creative improvement.
The Temple of Set utilizes a wide cultural and conceptual spectrum of magical tools, far beyond just the "Egyptian", and is always seeking new approaches and techniques.
Magic may either be operative - to cure your mother's illness, get a better job, strengthen your memory, etc. - or illustrative/initiatory. The latter magical workings seek to enable and enact the lifetime process of Initiation. They are like the "rites of passage" of many primitive cultures and conventional religions, but they are distinguished from these by an important factor: They represent individual rather than social change. Initiatory workings thus represent the actualization of self-deification, while social "rites of passage" integrate an individual into society. A "rite of passage" communicating passage into adulthood establishes that the individual involved is now possessed of certain dignity and responsibilities. An initiatory working awakens oneself to certain individual powers [and responsibilities], which may or may not be used in a social context.
Initiatory magic, which is necessarily individual, places the practitioner at a conceptual distance from society. Initiation does not occur within a ritual chamber, but it is illustrated there.
Black Magic is the means by which Initiates of the Left-Hand Path experience being gods, rather than praying to imaginary images of gods.
The oldest known form of the Prince of Darkness, the archetype of isolate self-consciousness, is the Egyptian god Set, whose Priesthood can be traced to predynastic times. Images of Set have been dated to ca. 3200 BCE, with astronomically-based estimates of inscriptions dating to 5000 BCE.
Set is a more complex, less stereotypical metaphysical image than that of the Judaeo/Christian Satan. Satan, the archetype of rebellion against cosmic order and stasis, may be the symbol for many people's initial commitment to initiation, but this symbol is too tied to conventional religions and their moral codes to be an effective representation of the richness, subtlety, and complexity of the Left-Hand Path.
In ancient Egyptian culture Set went through periods of immense popularity alternating with total denunciation. Set in the Predynastic and Archaic periods was an essentially positive deity introduced from the east as a god of the extension of existence. He is therefore god of expanding borders and radical changes of being - particularly birth, circumcision/initiation, death in battle, and rebirth through the Opening of the Mouth ceremony.
Popular among easterners - his first cult site being Pelusium in the eastern Nile Delta - Set's worship quickly spread to border areas, where he was identified with local gods of initiation. Two examples of such cult sites are Kharga in the south, which has always been primarily a Nilotic culture area, and the Libyan settlement of Ombos, wherein Set was identified with the local god Ash in the II Dynasty.
Set's original worship as a circumpolar/stellar deity suffered a decline with the rise of solar worship in the IV Dynasty. The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the last early monuments connected with the idea of a Setian afterlife as well as a solar one. The Great Pyramid had a special air shaft for the king's akh to fly to the star Alpha Draconis, which is the star of Set in the Constellation of the Thigh (today's "Big Dipper").
During the Middle Kingdom Set was reduced to a symbol of Upper Egypt and apparently seen only during the Setian festival of heb-sed ("tying together"). It was during this time that Set was first blamed for the murder of Osiris, a Semitic corn god who had arrived in the III Dynasty. Previously Osiris had died of drowning.
No matter how "evil" Osirians might now portray Set as being, his essential function of going out and expanding the borders of existence and then returning that Chaotic energy to the center always continued. It is the darkness that binds together the Egyptian light. The murder of Osiris is the destruction of the fetters of society, of accepting self-change and cultivation over the forces that lead to self-stagnation.
The Hyksos, foreigners who invaded and ruled Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period (Dynasties XIII-XVII, roughly 1785-1580 BCE) actively identified themselves with Set and established their capital at an ancient Setian site, Avaris. Very little is known about their religious or magical practices, though excavations going on at the time of this writing may prove informative. The Hyksos were great horsemen, and the horse (like the ass) had became identified with Set. Indeed not until the Hyksos dynasties was the horse, which had been known in Egypt for at least the prior two centuries, permitted to be portrayed in Egyptian art.
The second native blooming of Setian thinking may have begun in the XVIII Dynasty, but certainly it reached its peak in the XIX and XX Dynasties, when a family of Setian Priests from Tanis became the pharaonic line. During this time of expanding borders, Set was extraordinarily popular, as can be seen from pharaohs' names such as Seti ("Set's man") and Setnakt ("Set is Mighty").
Two important Setian texts were produced: First, the Tale of Two Brothers tells how Set (identified with the god Bata) undergoes a series of metamorphoses (Xeperu) that change him from a farmhand to a star in the Constellation of the Thigh. Thus Set represents the individual who through his own hard work, magical skill, and the use of the resistance of the world Becomes divine.
The second text is the Book of Knowing the Spiral Force of Ra and the Felling of Apep. This protective formula, which Rameses III, son of Setnakt, inscribed on certain border monuments, shows two Setian particularities. First, it recounts how an unnamed god comes into being in the psychic (subjective) realm as the god Xepera. Second, the spell gives the magician one of the powers of Set, which is to slay Apep, the dragon of delusion. Set again serves as a role model, in that each Setian seeks to end delusions in life.
With the coming of the XXII Dynasty, Egypt entered its long decline. Set became a tremendously unpopular deity. His worship ceased everywhere except the oases and the city of Thebes, where his cult was absorbed into the cult of Montu, the warlord of Thebes. The negative aspects of isolation and destruction were emphasized. As Egypt turned more to an idealized past, Set-heh, the god of the void called the future, came more to resemble what the eventual Judaeo/Christian Satan.
The third blooming came with the coming of the Greeks to Egypt. It is from this period that the Hellenic notions of independence and self-worth began to revive both the operant and initiatory aspects of the New Kingdom Set cult. The success of Graeco-Egyptian magic, despite Roman persecution, saw an expansion of both the philosophical and magical aspects of this tradition as far north as Britain.
The Third Century of the Common Era was the height of Setian Hermeticism. But with the imposition of Christianity as the Roman imperial religion, individualism was again despised. Egyptian (Coptic) Christianity identified Set with Satan, and he almost disappeared as a figure in Egyptian magic.
The fourth blooming of Setian thought began in the nineteenth century with certain archaeological discoveries, but it reached an explicit stage with the reconsecration and founding of the Temple of Set in 1975, accompanied by the Word of the AEon of Set Xeper ("kheffer"), an Egyptian verb which means I Have Come Into Being. This word, which is the eternal Word of Set, reflects the consciousness-worshiping nature of our religion and the source of ultimate responsibility in all things - the self.
STRUCTURE AND OPERATION OF THE TEMPLE
The deliberately individualistic atmosphere of the Temple of Set is not easily conducive to group activities on a routine or programmed basis. There are no congregations of docile "followers" - only cooperative philosophers and magicians.
Executive authority in the Temple is held by the Council of Nine, which appoints both the High Priest of Set and the Executive Director. Initiates are Recognized according to six degrees: Setian I*, Adept II*, Priest/Priestess of Set III*, Magister/Magistra Templi IV*, Magus/Maga V*, and Ipsissimus/Ipsissima VI*.
Recognition as an Adept II* constitutes certification by the Temple that one has in fact mastered and successfully applied the essential principles of Black Magic. The bulk of Temple systems are geared to attainment of and subsequent support for the II*, and that is the level of affiliation which most Setians will maintain. It is understood that this is an organizational point of reference, as each Adept's magical and philosophical evolution will certainly continue as he or she continues to energize and actualize it. The III*-VI* are properly seen not as further benchmarks of individual attainment, but as specialized religious offices conferred by Set alone, and Recognized within the Temple according to his Will.
The design, care, and operation of the Temple are entrusted by Set to his Priesthood. All Initiates of the Priesthood are originally highly-qualified Adepts in the Black Arts. Most of your contact with them will be in this context. Because they are responsible for the integrity of the Temple as a whole, however, they have the authority both to evaluate and Recognize Initiates' competence and, if necessary, to suspend or expel individuals who have proven themselves incapable of maintaining Setian standards of dignity and excellence.
The Priesthood takes all of these responsibilities extremely seriously, since it regards its name literally and its trust as sacred. In this respect it stands significantly apart from conventional religious clergy, who de facto consider their "priesthoods" as social professions and their deities as mere symbols and metaphors for their institutional or personal exploitation.
The knowledge of the Temple of Set is made available through four principal avenues: an extensive reading list of published works in twenty-four specialized fields, the newsletter Scroll of Set, the publications of the Temple's various specialized Orders, and the series of encyclopaedias entitled the Jeweled Tablets of Set. The contents of the Scroll and the Order periodicals are time-dated, of course, but those of the Tablets change periodically as ideas are advanced, improved, or disproved; or as they become more or less relevant to the Temple's areas of concern. The Scroll, Order newsletters, and Tablets are reproduced simply and inexpensively [similar to this letter] to preclude excessive membership expenditure for frequently-revised publications.
Many Initiates are geographically distant from one another. This necessitates an organizational design geared more towards services to the individual than to localized congregations. Recognizing the value and fellowship of a seminar environment, however, the Temple provides for "Pylons" (named after the unique gates of ancient Egyptian temples). Pylons are often geographically localized, but some are "correspondence" Pylons with global membership and interaction. While each Pylon is under the trust and responsibility of a II*+ Sentinel, they are emphatically not "leader/follower congregations", but rather cooperative and interactive forums for individual Initiates.
Each new Setian is expected to affiliate with at least one Pylon within a year of admission to the Temple, and Recognition to the II* will normally be recommended and/or formalized by that Pylon. Recognitions to the II* generally occur after the first year of membership.
Individuals admitted to the Temple are provided with a personal copy of the Crystal Tablet of Set, which contains a wide range of organizational, philosophical, and magical information pertinent to qualification as an Adept. There is a two-year time-limit for each new Setian to qualify for Adept Recognition. If such Recognition is not received by that time, affiliation is canceled.
The Orders of the Temple are entirely different in concept and operation from its Pylons. Each Order specializes in one or more particular fields of the magical arts and sciences. Such a specialization may be transcultural or oriented to a specific geographic area, time-period, or conceptual tradition. Within one year after II* Recognition, each Adept is expected to affiliate with an Order reflective of his or her personal interests and aptitudes. The collective knowledge of all of the Orders is available to the Temple membership generally.
Setians are encouraged to communicate with one another by means of a regularly-updated InterCommunication Roster, contained in the Crystal Tablet, and periodic Conclaves are scheduled on a regional, national, and international basis. A recent addition to the Temple's structure is Glinda, a computer database and bulletin-board system accessible by Setians only. Besides offering a means for electronic mail and conferencing, Glinda serves as a repository for a constantly growing library of Temple documents which Setians can download at their convenience.
Personal affiliation with the Temple is kept confidential; your admission is known only to the Priesthood. You may apply the services and systems of the Temple as you wish, and as you deem most complementary to your Xeper; otherwise they will not intrude upon you.
AN IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION
Regretfully there still exist some individuals whose idea of "Satanism" is largely a simple-minded synthesis of Christian propaganda and Hollywood horror movies. The Temple of Set enjoys the colorful legacy of the Black Arts, and we use many forms of historical Satanic imagery for our artistic stimulation and pleasure. But we have not found that any interest or activity which an enlightened, mature intellect would regard as undignified, sadistic, criminal, or depraved is desirable, much less essential to our work.
The Temple of Set is an evolutionary product of human experience. Such experience includes the magical and philosophical work of many occult individuals and organizations which have preceded us. Some of these were socially acceptable by contemporary or modern standards; others were not. Some made brilliant discoveries in one field of interest while blighting their reputations with shocking excesses or tragic failures in others. In examining the secret and suppressed corners of history for valuable and useful material, the Temple insists upon ethical presentation and use of such discoveries as it makes. Setians who are in any doubt as to the ethics involved in any of the fields which we explore should seek counsel from the Priesthood. All Setians are further expected to display a high measure of maturity and common sense in this area.
The Black Arts are dangerous in the same way that working with volatile chemicals is dangerous. This is most emphatically not a field for unstable, immature, or otherwise emotionally or intellectually weak-minded people. Such are a hazard to themselves and to others with whom they come into contact. The Temple endeavors to not admit them to begin with. If such an individual should gain admittance and later be exposed, he will be summarily expelled. In cases of doubt the Temple may be expected to place the burden of proof on the individual, for the sake of all Setians and the Temple's integrity.
The Temple of Set evaluates conventional religions as erroneous in principle and therefore unworthy of peer status. We feel no need to concern ourselves with their activities, nor for that matter to maintain any sort of "diplomatic relations" with them [as in councils of churches]. Our position is that they may serve a useful social function as purveyors of soothing myths and fantasies to humans unable to attain Setian levels of self-consciousness. Hence we ignore conventional religious organizations unless they intrude upon our affairs.
These warnings are not intended to be oppressive or intimidating, but they should be taken seriously. The Temple is a forum for the investigation of many subjects which conventional society finds odd, mysterious, and even extremely frightening. The Temple will be tolerated only to the extent that it is known to be pursuing its interests carefully, expertly, and responsibly. It occupies a delicate position in a world which is largely unhappy with itself, and which is ceaselessly searching for scapegoats. Hence the Temple must take care to maintain its social balance with prudence and dignity.
The key to philosophy is not reading about it, it is practicing it. Abstract ideas are not enough; it is only through lived experience that Initiation occurs. Such experience is the mediator between the realm of consciousness and the world.
Therefore the Temple of Set does not provide services to the casually interested. Its activities, publications, knowledge, and services are reserved for those who affiliate with it - or on an individual-case basis for non-Setians who request assistance from the Temple which we deem to be in our interests or in the interests of the community as a whole.
The First Degree (I*) of Temple affiliation is regarded as a "status of mutual evaluation" wherein the Initiate and the Temple can assess one another's merit from the standpoint of minimum investment and involvement. If a I* Initiate should decide that the Temple is not, after all, appropriate to his wants or needs, he is welcome to depart with our good wishes for satisfaction elsewhere.
Aspirants to the Temple should understand that it is not a club or fraternal society whose tokens may be "collected" along with those of other social affiliations, occult or otherwise. Membership in the Temple of Set beyond the I* precludes membership in any other religious organization.
Members or former members of non-religious occult organizations should understand that within the Temple of Set they will be expected to respect and observe the Temple's protocol, and that literature and other information from the Temple is not to be passed to non-Temple individuals or organizations without prior approval of the Priesthood.
If the Temple of Set can assist other deserving organizations or individuals on occasion, it will be pleased to do so. But it must exercise reasonable care over the Temple materials that are made available - both so that our own Initiates may enjoy the fruits of their honest labor [and that of their predecessors] and so that the Temple of Set may continue to enjoy its exclusive reputation for excellence in the disciplines it has pioneered.
Should you have questions which are reasonably pertinent to your serious consideration whether or not to apply for admission to the Temple, you are welcome to address them to the Executive Director of the Temple.
If you wish to apply for admission as a Setian I*, there are two avenues of approach available to you:
(1) If you are in contact with a Priest or Priestess of Set, you may request him or her to sponsor your application. In that case you may send a letter to the Executive Director mentioning this sponsorship. With your letter enclose a check, money order, or credit card authorization for US$65 (US$75 for overseas applicants), payable to the Temple of Set. [Please note that this amount must be in U.S. dollars, either drawn on a U.S. bank or as an international money order only. Or it may be charged to a Visa or MasterCard only.] If Priesthood sponsorship is verified, approval is automatic.
Important note: If you are admitted, and if you are an overseas resident, your admission packet will be sent to you by surface mail. Depending upon the destination, this can take as long as two months. If you wish the packet sent via air mail, your application fee should be for the amount of US$105 to cover the extra air mail postage.
(2) If you are not known to a member of the Priesthood, write a letter to the Executive Director introducing yourself, summarizing whatever aspects of your background you feel to be relevant, and stating your reasons for deciding to seek entrance into the Temple. Enclose the admission fee/card authorization. The Temple will make a decision and respond to you accordingly. If necessary you will be asked for additional information. Should your application not be approved for any reason, the fee will be refunded. Persons applying for admission via this procedure should be as objective and candid as possible in their self-assessment. There is no point in misleading the Temple concerning one's suitability for admission, which will only result sooner or later in the truth coming to light - with the consequent waste of both the individual's and the Temple's time. If there are crucial areas of possible incompatibility, it is incumbent on the applicant to identify them before affiliation so that they may be addressed and, if possible, resolved.
Whichever method you apply through, please be certain to
(1) Your full legal name [no pseudonyms] and sex.
(2) Your complete mailing address.
(3) Internet (electronic mail) address if you have one.
(4) Daytime and evening telephone numbers.
(5) A photocopy of an identity card (such as a driver's license) that shows your date of birth.
(6) Present organizational affiliations.
(7) Visa/Mastercard authorization below if you use either card.
Annual renewal fee for all Initiates is US$60 (US$65 overseas). [The first year is pro-rated from the month of your entry.] These fees are designed, as is the admissions fee, to cover the cost of mailings to you and the administration of the Temple.
As a matter of policy the Temple is not designed to make a profit on its operations, and its assets are used exclusively for benefits to its Initiates as a whole. There are no other regular or recurring fees, save that Orders and Pylons may set reasonable charges for their newsletters or other time/effort services. Special publications of the Temple and events scheduled by the Temple are customarily made available on a non-profit basis to Initiates who are interested.
The only physical requirement for admission is that the aspirant be at least 18 years of age. Those below the age of 18 may not visit Temple functions, ceremonial or otherwise, whether or not they are relatives of Initiates. The Temple has no programs for children. It is our position that children and adolescents should not be indoctrinated into the assumptions and prescriptions of any suprarational system, whether it be our own philosophy or the faiths and superstitions of conventional religions. Rather their youthful years should be a time of exclusively rational training and education, giving them a sound and meaningful basis by which, as adults, they may consider and choose whatever philosophy or faith seems most meaningful to them.
If your application is approved, you will receive notification from the Executive Director's office, together with membership identification, certificate, copy of the Crystal Tablet of Set [including the current reading list intercommunication roster], most recent issues of the Scroll of Set and Setian I* pendant medallion.
WHAT THE TEMPLE LOOKS FOR
Every Initiate of the Temple is unique, but there are certain qualities that distinguish a potential Setian from religious or secular followers of stasis-oriented cults/ideologies.
* A realization that the world isn't fair or loving. Only if you've been shocked by the unfairness of the world can you be awakened. The shock must tell you that you are on your own, that things are tough, and that if you want the world around you to be better, you've got to work for it.
* A sense of wonder at one's own being. You must be convinced that there is more to you - to your sense of ultimate identity - than the materialist world says there is. This will awaken the magical curiosity which will impel you on your quest.
* A willingness to learn, to go to school. If you are accustomed to having everything you want spoon-fed to you, or doled out just because you wait around long enough, the Temple of Set is not for you. You must want to learn, to listen to other Initiates, to weigh and apply both their advice and the good sense of your own higher self.
* A desire to make yourself into something better. You must be dissatisfied with your current state of self-awareness and presence, both privately and insofar as you interact with society. If you intend to use the teachings of the Temple to strengthen only your social-influence skills, however, you will find the internally-oriented concepts of Setian philosophy irritating and disturbing, and ultimately painful to any "hollow shell" you have built up to deny or conceal your true self. Correspondingly, if you focus only on your personal individuality without attempting to express it in beyond-personal environments, you also will experience frustration. Change in yourself is manifested in part by your ability to cause change elsewhere.
* Intellectual ability as well as access to the best scholarly data you are capable of handling. Just as not everyone who admires a champion martial artist can emulate such physical prowess, not everyone who admires "philosophy" can "do" that either. If you do not possess high intelligence, the exercises of initiation will simply be beyond your capacity, and you must have the common sense and honesty to recognize that and seek personal happiness elsewhere.
* Magical ability. When learning to ride a bicycle, One needs a sense of balance to keep one upright when the training-wheels are eventually taken away. The test of your magical ability will be not your absorption and recitation of principles, but your skill and wisdom in applying them.
* A sense of humor.
* An ability to privately acknowledge your fears, prejudices, and problems, as well as to forgive your honest mistakes.
* A willingness to share with others what you have found, in the right place and time - and to be silent when it is not the right place and time.
The initiative is yours. The Temple of Set is designed to assist you in the ways we have found to be the most practical, productive, and factual. But, as versatile as the Temple may be, and as proud of it as we are, it is nevertheless properly understood as a tool. You are the one who must put that tool to use in a way that will enable you to Xeper. Such is the Word of the AEon of Set.
To: The Temple of Set
I hereby authorize my application fee of US$______ to be charged
Visa [ ] or MasterCard [ ]
Card Number: _________________________ Expiration date: ____________
Signature: _________________________ Application date: ___________
Post Office Box 723
Baxley, Georgia 31513 U.S.A.
The Order of Leviathan began as an avenue for the exploration of the concepts and paths of immortality of the being, and as a framework for the comprehension of the "Statement of Leviathan" from the DIABOLICON. It has developed into the foundation from which the Word REMANIFEST was Uttered, and as such has its own raison d'etre within the Aeon of Set. It is devoted to the accumulation of individual and collective wisdom for the benefit of all who aspire to the knowledge of Set.
The Order of Leviathan pledges its loyalty to the Temple of Set as the gem from which it operates and through which it can achieve maximum use for its Initiates. The OL is not designed to be competitive with the Temple's other Orders. It instead recognizes the presence and place of each as necessary to the path of the Aeon. All Orders are related in the search for knowledge specific to their areas of interest, and the OL draws from Ð and adds to Ð their banks of information.
The field dealing with the questions of life and eternity is broad and not yet completely grasped by mankind. As a result the Order often may take unexpected turns in its explorations. The aims and goals of the Order of Leviathan have been defined as those of endless continuity and the exploration of true immortality, a concept which has been seen only faintly through the ages. Those objectives cannot be easily confined to one certain area and therefore the Order frequently finds itself faced with multifaceted possible answers ranging from the easily-overlooked basics to those requiring a forum setting which end with answers marked by exacting precision. The Temple's Reading List will be accessed and augmented by those volumes recommended by the Order as a part of the BOOK OF LEVIATHAN. One of the greatest hindrances to the translation of gathered knowledge into dynamics is the presence of the flaws and fictions the questing mind will so frequently encounter. The OL keeps a Setian [and Satanic] eye out for such useless lumber, and endeavors to extract the gems for the use of ourselves and those future Setians who will come after us.
The knowledge available for the taking, even at the First Degree level, is staggering once put to the test and proven viable to the Initiate's satisfaction. Those Initiates who express and then demonstrate an interest in the Order of Leviathan may expect the Grand Master's attention and cooperation in gaining as much knowledge and understanding as they Will to gather unto themselves. The topics seekers may expect to find available will range from LBM [Lesser Black Magic] to GBM [Greater Black Magic] techniques along with any number of topics and points in between.
The Word of the Magus who emerged from the Order of Leviathan is REMANIFEST, a further explanation of the Word Xeper, itself the first Word of the Aeon of Set. Papers dealing with the Word Remanifest can be found in the RUBY and ONYX TABLETS OF SET, but First Degree Initiates should not feel the subject is forbidden to them. A Word, once Uttered, is for all, and First Degree members will find the time spent in gathering knowledge of Remanifest's nuances and implications an excellent tool both for understanding something as simple as the actions of others and for grasping Lesser and Greater Black Magical Works. Remanifest is defined as THE EMERGING OF A NEW STATE OF BEING RESULTING FROM WORD WITH PAST AND PRESENT AEONIC WORDS. Stated simply, it is the emergence of a newly aware individual presence made stronger and more acutely aware of itself, its powers, and the cosmos as a direct result of its own efforts. Originally felt to be an answer to the question of Being extending beyond the limits of the biological envelope known as the body, Remanifest has shown itself to have more immediate intimations for those who make the deliberate choice to separate themselves from the lowest common denominator pull of the cosmos. The Word, Uttered in November of XXI and coming from the second kind of Magus described in "One Star in Sight," was brought forth by Set that his Elect might Xeper to a greater extent and receive more of the essence spoken of in the BOOK OF COMING FORTH BY NIGHT. The Order of Leviathan acknowledges and affirms Xeper as the Aeonic Word of our time, and works to emphasize it rather than conflict with it. Promoting the knowledge and understanding of the combined effects of Xeper and Remanifest is another priority of the Order and it welcomes questions and comments regarding them.
A certain amount of time and attention is given to the study of the "Statement of Leviathan" in the DIABOLICON. That Statement, the last of the document, presents difficulties in understanding and is easily misinterpreted. The Grand Master's own Understanding of the passages causes the development of an inner urge to Work with the meanings, and to discover the applicabilities of the Statement for others who feel similar stirrings deep within themselves.
The Order of Leviathan is open to Second and Third Degree members of the Temple of Set. Entry is by application to the Grand Master and a period of dialogue between the applicant and the Grand Master may be required before entry is approved. The Temple asks that First Degree Initiates concentrate their efforts in the direction of attaining the skill and knowledge which are the hallmark of the Adept before considering affiliation with any of the Orders. The Fourth Degree plus are considered members of the OL by virtue of their Understanding and Tasks. The Order of Leviathan underwent a time when it was not accepting members due to reconfiguration and new approaches to its goals. That time has now passed and interested Initiates may apply to the Grand Master for further information about the Order and affiliation with it.
The Order publishes a monthly newsletter, THE TRAIL OF THE SERPENT, which is made available to Order members at no charge. Non-affiliates of the Order may request a limited subscription to allow becoming familiar with the philosophy of the Order of Leviathan. Requests for TRAIL OF THE SERPENT subscriptions should be sent to the Order's secretary, James C. Joyner, at Post Office Box 723, Baxley, Georgia, 31513, U.S.A.. Requests for subscriptions can also be submitted through electronic mail on MCI Mail, CompuServe, and American PeopleLink. The TRAIL OF THE SERPENT is restricted to Intra-Temple distribution only. The Order of Leviathan has also produced the BOOK OF LEVIATHAN, a survival manual in the true sense of the word. Carrying written works specific to the Order, the BOOK OF LEVIATHAN is issued only to members of the Order, although its contents can be seen in the RUBY TABLET Table of Contents.
Those interested in information regarding the Order of Leviathan may contact the Grand Master through the Post Office Box 723 address if using conventional mail. Initiates with electronic mail access may contact the Grand Master through the following electronic addresses:
MCI Mail: 336-6615
American PeopleLink: IPSISSIMUS
The Word of the Aeon of Set is Xeper, to Come Into Being. Its result and further concretization is that the Initiate of the Black Arts will Remanifest.
Revised September 13, XXIV A.S. Prepared for IllumiNet January 6, XXVI A.S.
NOTE TO ILLUMINET USERS:
The Order of Leviathan can be contacted through those electronic sources above. The Grand Master is on CompuServe and MCI Mail. The Secretary is on American PeopleLink and IllumiNet. The Statement of the Order appears in the CRYSTAL TABLET OF SET, the introductory volume sent to all new Initiates of the Temple of Set. We extend to sysop Ron Bonds our appreciation for his open minded [and refreshingly non-hysterical] approach to the Temple and its members. The Order's Secretary and its Grand Master will be happy to answer any questions users might have about the Temple of Set and its approach to and use of Black Magic. The Grand Master's European address is BM Box 4793, London WC1N-3XX, England. He can be contacted on the west coast at Post Office Box 470307, San Francisco, CA 94147, USA.
"Orders of the Temple of Set"
Reprinted from: _The Crystal Tablet of Set_
(c) Temple of Set, January 1, 1990 CE
Weirdbase file version by TS permission
by Michael A. Aquino, Ipsissimus VI* Temple of Set
Electronic mail: MCI-Mail 278-4041
Within the Temple of Set there exist a number of specialized Orders, each supervised by a IV*+ Initiate as Grand Master of that Order. Perhaps the best way to visualize the Temple of Set's concept of Orders is to think of the Temple as a university, with the Orders as the various academic departments. Students at the university, in the course of their general education, may sample subjects at appropriate introductory levels in various departments. Upon completing their general education, students with an interest in or aptitude for a particular department may "major" in that department and possibly go on to graduate work in that field. Nonetheless all the departments cooperate in the operation of the university as a whole, and its general academic environment lends a sense of perspective to the various departments - so that their faculty and students can relate to a world beyond their field of specialization. General guidelines concerning the Temple of Set's Orders are as follows:
1. Only a IV* Initiate may establish an Order within the Temple. This has been the traditional prerogative of this degree since the time of the G.'.D.'. and the A.'.A.'.
2. An Order is characterized by special interests and emphases, which may be formalized by special introductory and ritual procedures within that Order. Such interests and emphases may not clash with those of the Temple of Set as a whole, and an Order's initiatory system must be subordinate to and supportive of the system of the Temple as a whole.
3. The Grand Master (presiding IV*+) of each Order exercises complete authority over that Order, subject to the review of the High Priest of Set.
4. Subject to exemptions approved by the High Priest, Orders will accept only II*+ Setians as Initiates. This is based on the premise that I* Setians should concentrate on their "general magical education" prior to specializing within a particular Order.
5. While an Adept II* may specialize indefinitely, a Priest or Priestess of Set III* must possess a high level of general knowledge. IV*+s who are Grand Masters of Orders will not Recognize new III*s solely on the basis of their competence within a particular Order, but rather according to their broader skills and State of Being within the Temple of Set and the AEon.
6. The fruits of an Order's work must actively extend beyond the Initiates of that Order to the Temple of Set as a whole. The only exception to this is that initiatory ceremonies within an Order may be private to that Order, per the magical principle that uninvolved observers at such ceremonies can impair their effectiveness.
7. A Setian may belong to only one Order [in addition to the Order of the Trapezoid] within the Temple of Set, on the premise that personal efforts would otherwise be diluted. On the same premise, personal movement between various Orders will be discouraged. Aspirants are advised to interview and correspond with various Orders before making a personal commitment to any one in particular.
8. It is not necessary for a Setian to affiliate with any Order. Setians of all degrees may freely visit activities of all Orders, except as noted in #6 above.
9. There is no required or standard internal design for an Order, save that each be headed by a IV*+ with the formal title of Grand Master.
10. Order insignia may be worn either together with Temple of Set insignia or alone. When it is worn with Temple insignia, it must not conflict with, cover, or displace it.
11. The Order of the Trapezoid (O.Tr.) will be accorded the distinction of "first among equals" as an Order, due to its legacy in the Church of Satan and Temple of Set. This is an honorary distinction alone and infers no "rank above" any other Order. The O.Tr. incurs a special responsibility to "set the example" for other Orders, and to creditably represent the institution of Orders within the Temple of Set.
12. Priests and Priestesses of Set III* will be encouraged to involve themselves with specialized concerns of an Order only after their Priestly affairs are amply in hand. In all cases this means active involvement with potential Setians and I*/II* Setians who are working to become fully Adept at the Black Arts at a personal level. In many cases it further means the establishment and leadership of a Pylon of the Temple. [The effect of this provision is that an enthusiastic II* member of a particular Order will have to resolve to put Order-specific interests on the back burner should he or she be Recognized to the Priesthood of Set. Active work within Orders will be done mostly by II* and IV* Initiates, with III*s contributing only after their more general responsibilities within the Temple are fulfilled. Hence II*s who are intensely interested in a particular Order should consider this provision before aspiring to the III*.]
13. Orders' areas of focus may be historic, philosophical, geographic, psychological, or almost anything else that does not conflict with the Temple of Set's basic ethical guidelines.
"Order of the Trapezoid - Statement"
Reprinted from: _The Crystal Tablet of Set_
(c) Temple of Set, January 1, 1990 CE
Weirdbase file version by TS permission
Stephen E. Flowers Magister Templi IV* Temple of Set
Grand Master, Order of the Trapezoid
Electronic mail: MCI-Mail 319-0074
Statement author: M.A. Aquino
Ipsissimus VI* Temple of Set Grand Master Emeritus, O.Tr.
Electronic mail: MCI-Mail 278-4041
"When once the restraining talisman of the Christian cross is broken in Germany, then the fury of the ancient warriors, the berserk rage of which the Nordic poets sang, will surge up again. The old stone gods will rise from long-forgotten ruins and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes; and Thor with his giant hammer will leap up and smash the Gothic cathedrals. And when that crash comes, it will be like nothing heard before in history." - Heinrich Heine, 1834
The "mainstream" of the Western magical tradition may be said to have a Mediterranean origin: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome - and the later syntheses of these ancient cultures through the Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment eras.
In marked contrast to the Mediterranean tradition is the school of thought which originated in the northern areas of Europe and Scandinavia: the Nordic or Germanic tradition. Most notable in this tradition, of course, is its lack of features either derivative of Judaeo/Christianity or prior to and prototypical of it. The Germanic metaphysics developed in an alien environment, remained largely isolated from the Mediterranean influence during the Roman Empire, and were suppressed rather than assimilated during the Christian centuries which followed.
It was in the late 19th century CE that this ancient Germanic tradition returned to play more than a mere mythological part in European affairs. It is perhaps not surprising that it surfaced during the Second Reich of Kaiser Wilhelm I and Otto von Bismarck. Until their unification by Prussia, the Germanic states had been weak and unstable in comparison to the larger nation-states of the continent. Periodically ravaged by foreign armies, Germany had earned the unenviable title of the "battleground of Europe". The 19th century heralded the onset of a new movement in European culture: Romanticism. It was a reaction to and a rejection of the methodical, practical - but just as often frustrating and stifling - scientific materialism which had resulted from the industrial revolution. In its original, more transcultural sense, Romanticism implied uninhibited individualism. In German, however, it gripped the imagination to a somewhat deeper degree. Gustau Pauli, in Dehio's _Geschichte der deutschen Kunst_ (1919-1934), states:
"Romanticism is Germanic and reached its purest expression in those territories which are most free from Roman colonization. Everything that is regarded as an essential aspect of the romantic spirit: irrationalism, the mystic welding-together of subject and object, the tendency to intermingle the arts, the longing for the far-away and the strange, the feeling for the infinite and the continuity of historic development - all these are characteristic of German Romanticism, and so much so that their union remains unintelligible to the Latins. What is known as Romanticism in France has only its name in common with German Romanticism."
Crucial also to German Romanticism were the concepts of _dynamism_ and _life- worship_. The former term represents an urge towards constant movement and evolution, whether intellectual, artistic, or social. It differs from the Setian concept of _Xeper_ in that Romantic dynamism is non-Platonic; it is supra-rational rather than guided by logic, ethics, and Noetic apprehension.
German Romantic life-worship was not love and respect for the phenomenon of life per se, but rather a compulsion to exercise one's _own_ life - to "really live" rather than to simply exist. Again this is commendable, but as with dynamism it can be dangerous in excess - when one's "rage to live" interrupts and consumes the lives of others.
The uncanny attraction of the Third Reich - Nazi Germany - lies in the fact that it endorsed and practiced both dynamism and life-worship without restraint and to a world-shaking degree of success. In _The Revolution of Nihilism_ (1939), Herman Rauschning said:
"This irrational element in National Socialism is the actual source of its strength. It is the reliance on it that accounts for its 'sleepwalker's immunity' in the face of one practical problem after another. It explains why it was possible for National Socialism to attain power almost without the slightest tangible idea of what it was going to do. The movement was without even vague general ideas on the subject; all it had was boundless confidence: things would smooth themselves out one way or another ... Its strength lay in incessant activity and in embarking on anything so long as it kept things moving ... National Socialism is action pure and simple, dynamics _in vacuo_, revolution at a variable tempo, ready to be changed at any moment."
Similarly the life-worship of the Third Reich was not what the "Mediterranean" mind understands by this term. The "life" is the life of the state, or more precisely the _Volk_ (perhaps best translated as the "soul of the people"). The individual achieves self-realization as, through his efforts, he contributes to the strengthening of this "soul".
Just as the Third Reich's dynamism got out of hand, leading it to embark on irrational and destructive foreign invasions, so its life-worship - which could have been a truly evolutionary synthesis of the most sublime concepts of Hegel and Nietzsche - became perverted into crude xenophobia, hatreds built upon superficial notions of "race", and ultimately a maddened stampede towards a Wagnerian _Goetterdaemmerung_ in defiance of a return to rationalism. Said Heinrich Himmler on April 21, 1945:
"We have made serious mistakes. If I could have a fresh start, I would do many things differently now. But it is too late. We wanted greatness and security for Germany, and we are leaving behind us a pile of ruins, a fallen world ..."
The Order of the Trapezoid (O.Tr.) extracts the positive, the constructive, the exalted, and the Romantic from the Germanic magical tradition - and just as carefully avoids and rejects those excesses, distortions, and cruelties which have made this tradition an object of the most extraordinary fear, condemnation, and suppression in the postwar period. The Germanic tradition is also part of the legacy of the Prince of Darkness, hence is appropriate to an Order within the Temple of Set, which embraces all manifestations of the Powers of Darkness in the world.
Nevertheless the care required in any investigation into this tradition cannot be overemphasized. Magical and research ability are not enough; ethical sensitivity and social discretion are just as important. The prospects for new and wondrous perspectives on the Black Art are exhilarating, but success will come only if the Order conducts its affairs with the same dedication and nobility that have made the Temple of Set a legend in its time.
LINEAGE OF THE ORDER
The O.Tr. was founded as an informal Order within the Church of Satan by the authority of Anton Szandor LaVey as High Priest. Its existence was first announced in the December V/1970 _Cloven Hoof_:
The O.Tr. is the "board of directors" and security staff of the Church. Its functions are many, and its members are chosen by appointment, according to the special abilities and attributes of each. All Priests and Priestesses are automatically admitted into the Order, although the identities of most members of the Order are unknown even to each other. Members of the Governing or Grand Council of the Trapezoid are known only to the High Priest, who solicits their aid when required.
There was a strong Germanic element in the rituals of the early Church of Satan, deriving from the musical imagery of Richard Wagner and from the visual imagery of Weimar-era Expressionism (Max Reinhardt, Hans Poelzig). The significance of the trapezoid itself came from its suggestion of perspective and the distortion of that perspective in such UFA films as _The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari_ and _The Golem_. From ritual use of similar angles and planes in such ceremonies as "Die Elektrischen Vorspiele" [in _The Satanic Rituals_], Anton LaVey made observations culminating in his "Law of the Trapezoid":
"All obtuse angles are magically harmful to those unaware of this property. The same angles are beneficial, stimulating, and energizing to those who are magically sensitive to them."
In the December V/1970 _Cloven Hoof_ article, five literary sources for this principle were identified: William Mortensen's _The Command to Look_, Louis McCarty's _The Great Pyramid Jeezeh_, Sheila Ostrander & Lynn Schroeder's _Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain_ (Chapter 27), Frank Belknap Long's _The Hounds of Tindalos_, and H.P. Lovecraft's _The Haunter of the Dark_. The Council of the Trapezoid, alternatively identified as the Council of Nine, was in fact an informal, unofficial cabinet without fixed membership, terms, or functions - and with no binding decision-making power. In X/1975 it attained formal status as the corporate board of directors and supreme executive body of the Temple of Set.
Apart from early Council meetings, which ceased ca. late V, no Order meetings or functions distinct from those of the Priesthood were held in the Church of Satan. In VI the Order was officially defined as comprising the III*-V* initiates within the Church, i.e. the collective Satanic Priesthood. In VIII Anton LaVey again re-constituted the Order, this time to identify significant contributors to and representatives of the Satanic tradition, within or without the formal Church and Priesthood. Again there were no meetings, functions, or publications of this Order.
From X to XIV the Order was again used as an alternate designation for all degrees within the Priesthood of Set, and at the Set-I Conclave in XIV the Council of Nine replaced the Satanic trident in its emblem with the _Tcham_ sceptre of Set. At the Set-III Conclave in XVI the Order was once again reconstituted, this time as an honorary designation for all present and past members of the Council of Nine, and its emblem was condensed to a pentagram within a trapezoid.
In the _Walhalla_ or "Hall of the Dead" at Castle Wewelsburg, Westphalia - the subterranean sanctum sanctorum of the German castle which Heinrich Himmler had reconstructed for his own Workings in the Black Art - Michael A. Aquino, High Priest of Set, conducted a Working on October 19, XVII. One of the results of this Working was the reconstitution of the O.Tr. as a truly functioning Order under the authority of the Temple of Set.
The O.Tr. is an Order of knighthood characterized by strict personal honor and faithfulness to the quest for the Grail. The Order is a knighthood in that its members are pledged to the traditional chivalric virtues as appropriate to each situation encountered. By honor is meant a sense of justice, ethics, and responsibility prior to personal comfort, convenience, or advantage. This honor is known by one's faithfulness to the Quest for the Grail, which is the self, soul, or psyche made perfect through conscious refinement and exercise of the Will. Attainment of the Grail results in transformation of the individual into a state of dynamic existence energized by the psyche, not by the physical body derived from the objective universe. Hence the O.Tr. is the gate to psychecentric immortality beyond physical death.
The insignia of the O.Tr. is an inverse pentagram whose four upper points define the limits and angles of a _phi_-trapezoid. From the nethermost point of the pentagram radiates the Black Flame of Set, whose nine tongues signify the Council of Nine and complete the angular relationships of the pentagram and trapezoid. Rising from the Black Flame is a _Tcham_ sceptre, symbol of Pharaonic authority in ancient Egypt, bearing the head and forked tail of Set. The sceptre faces to the left, symbolic of the Left-Hand Path of Black Magic. The space between the Black Flame and the _Tcham_ sceptre forms the letter "W", signifying _Walhalla_. This is both the name of the chamber in the Wewelsburg, Westphalia wherein the Order was consecrated; and the famous hall of eternal life to which ancient Teutonic heroes were brought by the Walkyries and admitted by Wotan. Thus the letter "W" has a fivefold meaning (including the Motto of the Order) in addition to its primary reference. In the topmost three gaps between the pentagram and the trapezoid are the numbers 666, symbolic of the Prince of Darkness and of the First and Second Beasts revealed of him. The three sixes add to XVIII, the first Working Year following the creation of the Church of Satan, and the year in which the O.Tr. was returned to life. In the entire emblem there are no curved lines, signifying the Black Magical power of angular relationships and the Law of the Trapezoid. The emblem is further mathematically keyed to the _phi_-ratio.
Admission to the O.Tr. is by invitation only. To be considered, one must first achieve the degree of Adept II* in the Temple of Set, and evidence a sufficiently comprehensive involvement in the Temple as a whole to preclude over-concentration in the magical philosophy of the Order.
_Runes_ is the newsletter of the O.Tr. It is named in honor of the _Runen_ newsletter of the _Germanen Orden_, an esoteric society in pre- and post- World War I Germany. The Fenris Wolf on its masthead comes from ancient north European mythology. Fenris was one of the daemonic offspring of Loki, and the brother of Hel and of the Midgard Serpent. Growing up in Asgard among the gods, he eventually became so huge and fierce that the gods decided to bind him. The only cord which could hold Fenris was made of the elements of the Earth by the dwarves. It was said that at _Ragnaroek_, the end of times, Fenris would break free. According to the _Voeluspa_ (ca. 9th century CE), a text from Norway and Iceland:
"The chains that hold the Fenris Wolf are rent asunder, and the Wolf courses about. Brothers shall fight and slay one another; sisters' sons shall break the bonds of kinship. It shall fare hard with the world: great whoredom, an axe-age, a sword-age, shields shall be cloven, a wind-age, a wolf-age, ere the world sinks in ruin. No man shall spare the other."
Fenris as _Runes_' masthead thus symbolizes the Powers of Darkness temporarily constrained by the objective universe. It is also a reminder that the price of loosing the Wolf - to energize evolutionary consciousness in humanity - is to risk chaos in the natural order by lesser humanity's misuse of its power over nature. This is the AEon of Set, when the human psyche can soar free of its animalistic fetters; but it is also a wolf-age in which much of the planet suffers through human carelessness and callousness - the result of corruption of the powers of high intelligence. The O.Tr. seeks to allow Fenris to run free in his magnificence - as the Prince of Darkness created him - but further to show that his freedom through initiation of the Will will exalt, not debase mankind.
The artistic rendition of Fenris is reproduced from the cover of the August 1941 issue of _Germanien_, official journal of the _Ahnenerbe_, the elite section of the SS concerned with the theory and practice of the Black Arts.
"Let none who fears The spear of Wotan Adventure across this fire!" - Richard Wagner, _Die Walkuere
TEMPLE OF SET
STATEMENT FOR THE U.S. ARMED FORCES
as of February 17, XXVI/1991CE
The U.S. Army publishes a book entitled _DA Pamphlet 165-13: Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups - A Handbook for Chaplains_. This book was contracted to/prepared by the Institute for the Study of American Religion (ISAR), publishers of the _Encyclopaedia of American Religion_. The first edition of 165-13 was published in 1978, and it is presently being revised and updated by ISAR. Following is the Temple of Set's information as provided to ISAR for the new edition:
1. NAME OF GROUP:
Temple of Set
2. OTHER NAMES OR DESIGNATIONS BY WHICH THE GROUP IS KNOWN:
Within this religion its principles are termed "Setian", and individual affiliates are termed "Setians". As the original god Set was later caricatured as the "Satan" of Judaeo-Christianity, Christians often interpret this religion as "Satanism" and its affiliates as "Satanists". Setians accept such labels only to the extent that the Christian Satan represents certain qualities of individualism and independence. Setians reject any interpretation of Satanism that glorifies or promotes evil or destructiveness.
International & United States Office:
Temple of Set
Post Office Box 470307
San Francisco, CA 94147
Telephone: (415) 771-9155
Electronic Mail: MCI-Mail 314-3953
Temple offices & officials in other countries may be contacted in care of the International Office.
4. NAME/TITLE OF CURRENT INTERNATIONAL LEADER:
Michael A. Aquino High Priest of Set
5. NAME/TITLE OF CURRENT UNITED STATES LEADER:
7. HISTORICAL ORIGINS:
Together with the Priesthood of Horus, the original Priesthood of Set was the most ancient of the Egyptian religious orders, dating (by surviving predynastic images of Set) to at least 3200 BCE and by the Egyptians' own astronomically-based records to approximately 5000 BCE. The Setian religion played a prominent role in Egyptian society throughout its development, to include being the state religion of the XIX-XX dynasties of the New Empire. It appears to have been eclipsed approximately 1000 BCE.
Thereafter what may be termed the "Satanic tradition" survived in successive Western civilizations in the form of philosophies and/or god-figures focusing on "awareness and activity beyond the natural order". Such range from the Prometheus of the Hellenes and the Lucifer of Christianity to the individualistic philosophies of Pythagoras, Plato, and Nietzsche. The Romantic movement of the 1800s dramatized the Christian Devil as a heroic, Miltonian symbol, thus setting the stage for the eventual formation of the Church of Satan in 1966.
The Temple of Set was founded in 1975 by the international Priesthood of the Church of Satan to supersede that institution (whose founder, Anton LaVey, had announced intentions to commercialize it). Simultaneously the anti- Christian mythology and orientation of the Church of Satan were discarded in favor of the completely distinct character of the original Egyptian Priesthood of Set. The Temple of Set was incorporated as a non-profit church in California in 1975, and qualified for U.S. federal and state tax-exempt status that same year.
8. BASIC BELIEFS:
The Temple considers itself to be consecrated by and dedicated to Set, originally an ancient Egyptian deity. One rival cult, that of Osiris - whose myths were erroneously assumed to be "pan-Egyptian" by later civilizations - portrayed Set as the god of evil. Setians themselves, however, did not then and do not now consider Set an evil figure, nor consider the Setian religion merely a refutation of conventional religion.
Setians perceive the universe as a non-conscious but ordered environment within which Set has, over a period of millennia, altered the genetic development of at least one form of life to create a species - humanity - possessing an enhanced, self-conscious intelligence. The techniques and teachings of the Temple are designed to identify and develop this higher evolutionary potential in appropriate individuals.
9. COMMON PRACTICES AND BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS:
While Setians focus on their own individual capabilities, they are also expected to have an appreciation of and respect for ethical behavior, to include the ideals of whatever social group - or political state - they have chosen to identify themselves with.
In addition to conventional means of influencing the environment about them, Setians also employ "magic", by which they mean universal forces and psychological influences generally unknown to or unrecognized by society. Setian magic is referred to as "Black Magic" to distinguish it from "White Magic" (invocation of non-existent forces/influences for purposes of self- delusion). The term "Black Magic" carries no connotation of evil or destructive intentions or ends.
10. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE:
The individual initiate is the conceptual focus of the Temple, as it is a device for the interaction of individuals as such. It is not a "mass" organization. Such structures as it incorporates are merely to enhance personal opportunities.
The Temple as a California corporation is the property of the international Priesthood of Set, which delegates governing authority to the Council of Nine (board of directors). The Council in turn appoints the High Priest of Set, the Executive Director, and other officers of the Temple.
The Temple includes a number of Orders, each supervised by a Grand Master. These Orders may be somewhat likened to the academic departments of a university, being vehicles for concentration and cooperation in specialized fields of philosophy and magic.
Setians may also interact in Pylons, which are normally under the guidance of a Priest or Priestess of Set. Pylons are normally geographically localized, but also may extend over international distances.
11. NATURE AND ROLE OF THE MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP:
The Priesthood of Set is not understood to be a "leadership" or "pastoral" function in a structural or organizational sense. It is rather the direct, specific, and willful consecration of a particular individual by Set himself, formally recognized as such by the Temple of Set. Each Priest or Priestess of Set thus exercises the full religious authority of the entire Temple, subject only to the guidance of the Masters of the Temple. One member of the Priesthood is determined by the Council of Nine to serve as High Priest or High Priestess of Set.
The Priesthood of Set is responsible to Set for the care of his Temple, and for reasonable guidance of and assistance to individuals who enter the Temple. The Priesthood is also responsible for dismissing from the Temple any person who cannot or will not uphold its initiatory or ethical standards.
There are no regularly-scheduled, group "services" in the Temple. Nor would individual Setians be comfortable with the term "worship" - conveying as it does admiration of or devotion to a god or gods based on fear and faith. What the Setian performs instead are Workings of "Greater Black Magic" (as distinct from LBM discussed above), in which the personal consciousness is raised to direct association with that of Set. Collective GBM Workings involving any number of Setians may take place over great distances, or at gatherings called Conclaves.
13. DIETARY STANDARDS:
It is the individual consciousness that is sacred within each Setian. Therefore any substance which impairs or distorts the consciousness, such as hallucinogenic drugs or excessive alcohol, is disapproved of by the Temple. Other than this there are no dietary guidelines.
14. FUNERAL OR BURIAL PRACTICES:
The center of self-consciousness of each initiated Setian - the _ba_ of the ancient Egyptians - is perceived to separate from the physical body when that body ceases to be serviceable to it. The bodily remains themselves are then not considered to be sacred in any sense, though they may be cared for in any memorial way desired by the individual and his or her relatives.
The _ba_ itself does not separate from the consciousness of Set, nor from those of other Setians via GBM Workings. Therefore no ritualized mourning is necessary. Nor are non-initiates of the Temple, whether officials of conventional religions or not, able or expected to perform any ceremony affecting the _ba_.
15. MEDICAL PRACTICES:
The Temple has no prohibitions concerning medical practices save those that would be offensive to the ethics of the individual Setian.
16. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:
--- a. BELIEFS OR PRACTICES WHICH MIGHT CONFLICT WITH A MEMBER OF THE GROUP SERVING IN THE MILITARY OR OBEYING AN ORDER OF A DULY-APPOINTED SUPERIOR:
As an institution the Temple of Set has no policies which in themselves prohibit or inhibit an individual Setian's national military service. Mention should again be made, however, of the Temple's strong emphasis upon individual and social ethics. If a Setian in the military of any country were given an order which he or she determined to be unacceptably unethical (not merely unpleasant or dangerous), the Temple would endorse that Setian's decision not to comply. The Setian would, of course, be expected to explain precisely upon what ethical grounds such a refusal appeared necessary.
This expectation that any ethical refusal be explained is essential. Merely citing affiliation with the Temple of Set would not suffice. On the other hand, the mere fact that the Temple of Set did not have a written prohibition against some specific act would not prevent the Temple from endorsing a Setian's refusal to perform it if that refusal were precisely and conscientiously articulated.
--- b. ATTITUDE TOWARDS PACIFISM:
The Temple of Set deplores violence or harm to any living being unless necessary for personal self-protection or preservation. Where an individual Setian's service in a national armed force is concerned, the Temple accepts this as a device for the security of political states which humanity has not yet outgrown. If a Setian accepts citizenship in a particular state, then along with that social contract come certain obligations of citizenship, military service perhaps among them.
--- c. RECRUITMENT OF NEW MEMBERS:
The Temple of Set considers a metaphysical philosophy to be an intensely personal decision, and that the Setian state of awareness and being cannot be "advertised" or "merchandised" in any way. An individual either inclines to this state or does not. Therefore the Temple does not "recruit"; rather it simply makes the fact of its existence known and explains enough about itself when approached to interest persons with Setian potential and disinterest those without it.
17. AUTHORIZED CONTACT PERSON:
The Temple of Set does not participate in, or accept representation by the Corps of Chaplains in any branch of the armed forces of any nation. Inquiries may be addressed to the Executive Director at the Temple's office, and will be forwarded as appropriate.
18. BOOK-LENGTH WORKS CONTAINING AN ACCEPTABLE DESCRIPTION OF THE GROUP:
Annotated reading lists of published works in many categories relevant to the Temple of Set may be obtained through the Temple office.