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Since movements dedicated to the Prince of Darkness have been so
ill-tolerated by the masses of humanity wherever and whenever they
have appeared, why have they survived at all? Why do they continue
to exercise such uncanny attraction, and why now should you consider
approaching this particular one?

The appeal of occultism is much the same as that of conventional
religion: Logical positivism and scientific materialism, though they
have made great strides towards explaining the "how" of existence,
have failed entirely to explain the "why". Hence the curious seek
answers in metaphysical philosophy or religion. Metaphysical
philosophy requires a logical base from which various suprarational
principles are induced. Conventional religion is the simplification
of such a philosophy into a crude ideology, which adherents need not
understand, but only accept as an act of blind faith.

Conventional religions, with their colorful mythologies analyzed in
terms of the underlying philosophical principles, represent simply
the primitive longing of mankind to feel "at one" with the Universal
harmony he perceives about him. "White" magic, as practiced by
primitive pagan and modern institutional religions, offers devotees
the illusion of "re-inclusion" in the Universal scheme of things
through various ritualistic devotions and superstitions.

The Black Magician, on the other hand, rejects both the desirability
of union with the Universe and any self-deceptive antics designed to
create such an illusion. He has considered the existence of the
individual psyche - the "real you" of your conscious intelligence -
and has taken satisfaction from its existence as something unlike
anything else in the Universe. The Black Magician desires this
psyche to live, to experience, and to continue. He does not wish to
die - or to lose his consciousness and identity in a larger,
Universal consciousness [assuming that such a Universal
consciousness exists]. He wants to _be_. This decision in favor of
individual existence is the first premise of the Temple of Set.

The second premise of the Temple is that the psychecentric
consciousness can evolve towards its own divinity through deliberate
exercise of the intelligence and Will, a process of _becoming_ or
_coming into being_ whose roots may be found in the dialectic method
expounded by Plato and the conscious exaltation of the Will proposed
by Nietzsche.

Ironically it is the very ease with which any individual can
apprehend and appreciate his or her personal psyche that has
frightened the many religions of the world which deny and oppose the
power of that psyche. Clothed though they may be in riches, ritual,
and respectability, they always have been and remain obsessed with
the suppressed knowledge of their own essential insubstantiality.
They endeavor to distract attention from this by sponsoring shows of
mind-numbing drugs, mantras, masses, privations, entertainments, and
penances to coax or cow their flocks of adherents into a confused,
apprehensive, but trusting state of faith and automatic obedience.
They shudder with horror at the psyche; they paint it red and add
horns, cloven hooves, and a forked tail to dramatize how "dangerous"
it is. Yet they can never escape it or defeat it, because they have
never really succeeded in opposing themselves to it - merely in
distorting and perverting it. How could they destroy something
which, in the final analysis, is the _conscious self_ of every human

The "worship" of Set is thus the "worship" of individualism. In the
Church of Satan this was taken to mean _indulgence_ in all [legal]
desires of the body and ego. Since many such desires are impulsive
and destructive, the Church found itself in the awkward position of
de facto endorsing many practices which were degrading rather than
exalting, and which simply accelerated the tensions resulting in the
eventual crisis of 1975. The Temple of Set determined to preserve
the principle of individualism, but to add to it the "higher self"
aspirations of Aleister Crowley's pre-O.T.O. philosophy of
_Thelema_. Glorification of the ego is not enough; it is the
_complete_ psyche - the entire self or soul - which must be
recognized, appreciated, and actualized. The process by which this
exaltation of the psyche is sought is called by the name _Xeper_
[pronounced "Kheffer"; it is the Egyptian hieroglyphic term for "to
become" or "to come into being"].

The means by which Setians seek to _Xeper_ are many. As a matter of
principle the Temple declines to standardize its approach to
Initiates. Each may pursue topics of greatest personal interest with
whatever emphasis and at whatever rate desired. The Temple seeks
merely to be a forum for Setians to communicate and cooperate with
one another constructively and courteously. Many ideas and
philosophies are discussed within it, but such discussion does not
constitute the dictation of dogma. Indeed dogma - to include fixed
ideology in any form - is repugnant to the Temple. We strive rather
towards an atmosphere of "best possible premises", which are always
subject to constructive, intelligent examination and criticism. That
same atmosphere is Socratic, however, in that foolish, pretentious,
or destructive egotism under the guise of exploration is neither
respected nor endured.

While it is obvious that Setians have more than enough interests to
occupy an organization with many times our membership and resources
on a full-time basis, the Temple of Set is not intended to consume
the energies or lifestyles of its Initiates. Since a truly Adept
magician must interact constructively and comfortably with
conventional society, encouragement of monastic isolation within
Temple circles would be counterproductive to personal development
and even constrictive of the flexibility necessary to the entire
Temple. Setians are accordingly advised to pursue as wide a variety
of secular interests as possible, and to let Setian philosophy apply
to them only as appropriate.


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.

Supreme 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, based
upon Western magical tradition and incorporating features from many
Black Magical societies: Setian I*, Adept II*, Priest or Priestess
of Set III*, Magister/Magistra Templi IV*, Magus/Maga V*, &
Ipsissimus/Ipsissima VI*. Recognition as an Adept constitutes
certification by the Temple that one has in fact mastered and
successfully applied the essential principles of Black Magic. The
Priesthood and higher degrees are conferred by Set alone, and
Recognized by the Temple according to his Will.

The design, care, and operation of the Temple are entrusted by Set
to the 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 moral

The knowledge of the Temple of Set is made available through four
principal avenues: an extensive, annually-updated reading list of
published works in over twenty specialized fields; the newsletter
_Scroll of Set_, the newsletters of the Temple's various specialized
Orders; and the series of loose-leaf encyclopaedias entitled the
_Jeweled Tablets of Set_. The contents of the _Scroll_ and the Order
newsletters are time-dated, of course, but the contents 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 to preclude excessive membership
expenditure for frequently-revised publications.

In the old Church of Satan and in the present-day Temple of Set,
most Initiates have been geographically distant from one another.
This has necessitated organizational services geared more towards
the individual than to local groups [though the Temple has provision
for "Pylons" just as the old Church did for "Grottos"]. It has also
meant that Setians supervise the Temple and interact with one
another largely by correspondence. If you affiliate with the Temple,
you should anticipate this aspect of its design. [Official Temple
mailings to overseas Setians are all sent via Air Mail.]

Setians tend to form friendships and to meet with one another on an
individual or group basis [the larger gatherings are called
"Conclaves"], but there is no requirement for either group activity
or regularly-scheduled "devotions" of any sort. Affiliation is kept
confidential; your admission is known only to the Priesthood unless
you desire to meet other Setians. In summary, 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


As noted above, much of the vicious propaganda concerning medieval
Satanism became self-fulfilling prophecy as ignorant would-be
witches and sorcerers superstitiously experimented with cannibalism,
drugs, grave-robbing, church desecration, and sexual violence.
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 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 organizations and orders which have preceded us. Some of
these groups were socially acceptable by contemporary or modern
standards; others were not. Some individuals or groups made
brilliant discoveries in one field of interest while blighting their
reputations with shocking excesses in others. In examining the
secret and suppressed corners of history for valuable and useful
material, the Temple must be at pains to insist upon its 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 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, or 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


In the Church of Satan we learned that there were many people who
wished to "visit", to "study", and to "observe" without the least
intention of a personal commitment. For many years the Church
endeavored to accommodate such dilettantes on the assumption that,
upon exposure to the philosophy, they would appreciate its essential
requirement for such a commitment. We were wrong. Once being in the
position to enjoy the "accessories" of the philosophy without having
to confront its core principle, they continued to vampirize the
Church indefinitely. They contributed as little as they could, took
as much as they could, and ultimately constituted the single most
destructive influence leading to the Church's corruption in 1975.

The Temple of Set has determined that it will not make the same
mistake. 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 that
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 his satisfaction

Aspirants to the Temple should understand that it is not a club or
fraternal society whose principles may be collected along with those
of other social affiliations, occult or otherwise. Membership in the
Temple of Set 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 already 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 or money order for US
$55 (US $65 for overseas applicants), payable to _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.] If
Priesthood sponsorship is verified, approval of your application
will be 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 check
should be for the amount of US $95 to cover the extra air mail

(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. 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 include:
(1) Your full legal name [no pseudonyms] and sex.
(2) Your complete mailing address.
(3) Daytime and evening telephone numbers.
(4) Date of birth.
(5) Present organizational affiliations.

Annual renewal fee for all Initiates is US $50 (US $55 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,
_The Book of Coming Forth by Night: Analysis & Commentary_, and
other key magical documents pertinent to the AEon and Temple of
Set], most recent issues of the _Scroll of Set_ and Order
publications [as determined by the Order Grand Masters], and Setian
I* pendant medallion.

Then 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 factually accurate. But, as helpful 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.


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