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More About the Temple of Set

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Subject: More About the Temple of Set

What is the Temple of Set?
   The Temple of Set
   is today's leading religious and philosophical
   initiatoryorganization of the left hand path. (At least we think
   it is.)
   The Temple of Set is a philosophical organization. Its
   activitiesrevolve around the philosophies represented by the
   ancient Egyptianprinciple of Xeper(roughly translated as
   "self-improvement" or "self-creation"), and theideals represented
   by our modern understanding of the being named Set,once called a
   god by the ancient Egyptians.
   The Temple of Set is an initiatory organization, dedicated to
   thegrowth and development of its members. We recognize several
   levels ordegrees of initiation, and identify our members by their
   degree. Thishelps our members recognize and work with their
   relative peers. It alsohelps our less experienced members
   identify the more senior initiateswhen they have difficult
   questions with which they need help.
   The Temple of Set is a religion, incorporated in and recognized
   as areligion by the state of California and the federal
   government of theU.S.A. Its priesthood represents not only the
   Temple and itsorganization, but they also represent the being we
   call Set. We are anunusual religion in several ways:
    1. We have no permanent building or church, believing that each
       of ourmembers can follow the religion on their own, wherever
       they happen tobe.
    2. We do not "worship" Set (or anything else) as most religions
       woulduse that word. As a religion we believe in Set and work
       with Set, but doso more as if he were a father, elder
       brother, or close friend, ratherthan a god. (We believe in no
       god of any sort.)
    3. We don't require religious belief of our junior members.
       Thephilosophy of Xeper and the process of initiation are more
       important tous than the religion.
   The term "left hand path" suggests a philosophical orientation
   whichfeels that the individual is extremely important. The
   individualinitiate pursuing Xeper is more important than our
   society in general,any peer group, and any organization
   (including even the Temple of Setitself). Responsible
   individualism and freedom are goals to which theorganization
   lends its energies.
What are Setians doing here?

   ("Setians" is the generic term which applies to all members of
   theTemple of Set.)
   The Temple of Set and all individual Setians focus our attention
   onvarious methods of self-improvement, on the creation of a
   better self.The primary goal of all Setian gatherings is to give
   us an opportunityto share our knowledge with each other.
   One of the many activities of self-improvement available to us
   todayis the use of computer and network technology for improved
   communicationbetween like-minded people. A goodly number of
   Setians take advantage ofthis technology, and participate in
   private (internal to the Temple ofSet) and public newsgroups and
   mailing lists.
   Much of our information shared is in the form of working
   documents,drafts, and other items which aren't "ready" to be
   shared with the worldat large yet. Other of the information is
   heavily dependent uponlanguage and symbolism which we've
   developed within the Temple of Set,and documents using such
   language and symbolism would be largelyunintelligible outside the
   Temple. These documents are shared strictlywithin the Temple of
   However, we also have some documentation which is suitable to
   beshared more broadly, and those of us interested in doing so
   arecollecting or preparing such documents for display on the WWW.
   We tend to be a fairly proud group of people, and enjoy
   displayingwhat we think we know. One benefit to this is that
   others ofintelligence can show us additional items of knowledge
   to advance ourunderstandings, or can show us mistakes that we've
   made. We thereforewelcome feedback on any documents which are
   included on this web site.
What do Setians do?

   The central philosophy of Setianism is Xeper. Much of our
   attentionis therefore directed at finding and exploring ways of
   increasing ourXeper, of achieving various forms and amounts of
   Several important methods of doing this involve
   communication,communication between Setians, and communications
   with others. This website is an example of communication with
   others, as is the Xepera-lmailing list we host.
   Other opportunities for Xeper include meetings, from
   informalget-togethers to local Pylon(1) meetings,Order(2)
   meetings, regional conclaves, and the annualInternational
   Activities at such meetings include seminars, lectures,
   discussions,etc. Many such meetings are designed for or aimed at
   all members, andsome of them will include only a handful of
   members, depending upontheir interests.
   Like any organization, we also have organizational meetings,
   where wediscuss the administrative workings and the future of the
   organizationitself. We also enjoy chatting with each other
   informally, and spend alot of unscheduled time doing just that at
   our organized gatherings.
   We've found that in addition to our meetings, one tool which is
   veryhelpful to our Xeper is that of ritual and psychodrama, the
   acting outof something symbolic of our progress and our goals. We
   thereforeschedule several dramatic activities, again with varying
   sizes ofparticipants. Many of these can be thought of as
   traditional rituals asfound in many magical traditions, while
   others bear little resemblanceto traditional magical rituals.
   We "dress up" in costume for these dramatic activities, and
   duringthose times we can look very strange indeed. If you happen
   to be at thesite of one of our gatherings, and should happen to
   see a few dozen orso people in black robes, or a couple costumed
   as if they were ancientEgyptians, Vikings, Indians, or whatever,
   don't worry -- we're eithergoing to or coming from one of those
What do those necklaces and medallions mean?

   The Temple of Set is an initiatory organization, dedicated to
   theinitiation and growth of its members.
   That dedication to initiation, to the philosophy of Xeper, and
   toSet, is represented by our primary symbol, the Pentagram of Set
   (apoint-down pentagram within a circle). To help our members
   identify eachother so we can work together, and to help them
   identify which level ofinitiation has been achieved by each
   other, at formal gatherings we wearthis symbol on different
   colored medallions, normally worn on necklacesof some kind.
   There are six levels of initiation recognized within the Temple
   ofSet, each with its specific color medallion.
   The first degree member wears a white medallion. This is a period
   oftrial membership, in which the member begins to explore
   ourphilosophies, our practices, and our society. The member can
   decidewhether our organization is one which will help the
   member's personalgrowth, and if not he is welcome to leave at any
   time, with our goodwishes. Likewise, during this period we
   determine whether the memberwill function well within our
   society, will benefit from our activity,and will eventually be
   able to help others in the organization withtheir personal
   growth. If not, then their membership is terminated,hopefully
   with no hard feelings. We title this degree "Setian," which
   isalso the generic name for all of our members.
   The second degree wears a red medallion. This is a member who
   hascompleted the trial membership and has been found to be
   compatible withand a valued contributor to the Temple of Set,
   just as we have beenfound to be useful to the member's own
   growth. These members are free towork with our philosophies and
   to participate in our activities to thefullest. More members are
   in the second degree than any other level ofinitiation. We title
   this degree "Adept," declaring them able to pursueany and all
   goals applicable to their personal growth.
   The third degree wears a black medallion. This is a member who
   notonly has shown all of the qualities of an advanced second
   degree member,but who has also been chosen by Set to serve in his
   priesthood. Thismember has demonstrated abilities in working with
   and representing Setand the Temple of Set. We title this degree
   "Priest." If you have anyquestions concerning the Temple of Set
   (the organization, ouractivities, beliefs, or members), these
   members are the best qualifiedto answer your questions.
   The fourth degree wears a blue medallion. The fifth wears a
   purplemedallion. The sixth wears a gold medallion. The
   distinctions betweenthese grades of initiation are very
   meaningful within the Temple of Set,but for most purposes you can
   consider them as variations upon the thirddegree.
What about ...

   Despite our general policy of keeping a low profile, sometimes
   rumorsabout us do get spread, generally by people who dislike or
   fear us forsome reason (perhaps because so little is known about
   us, or simplybecause of our non-Christian belief system, or for
   other reasons). Ifanyone (perhaps someone else at a location of
   one of our formalmeetings, or someone you meet on the 'net, or
   some other acquaintance)should ask you any of the following
   questions, it's good to be able togive them the correct answers.
   "Is this a cult?" No. Some people may define "cult" to mean
   anynon-Christian religion, and then yes, we don't believe in the
   Christianreligion. But most people reserve the word "cult" to you
   mean somethingdangerous to society or its members, and no, we're
   not a cult since weare beneficial to our members, and we're not
   anti-social by any means.
   "Are you Satanists?" Probably not. Some of our people were
   members ofthe Church of Satan in the early 1970's, but we feel
   our practices andphilosophies have evolved so much past that
   point that we have little incommon with modern Satanism. Many
   modern Satanists say we are notSatanists. If by "satanism" you
   mean the worship of a Satan, oranti-Christian belief, then most
   definitely we are not, since we do notbelieve in the Christian
   god, Jesus, nor devil, and we have littlereason to be
   "anti-Christian." If by Satanism you mean an antinomianfreedom
   from the unreasoning limitations of various elements of
   society,then by that definition we would qualify.
   "Are you witches?" That depends upon your definition of a
   "witch." Wedo explore activities which many people would call
   "magic," such astelepathy, divination, and methods of
   strengthening our souls andspirits through mental and spiritual
   discipline. However, modern witchesusually believe that their
   magical powers come from one or more gods orgoddesses, and many
   Christians believe these powers come from the devil.We don't
   believe in any such gods or goddesses or devils. Most
   modernwitches claim we are not witches.
   Perhaps the most important point to know and remember about us
   isthat we believe a primary requirement of self-improvement and
   individualXeper is to be honorable and ethical. We do not
   tolerate any illegalactivity. We do not tolerate any illegal
   drugs, and we frown uponexcessive use of legal substances like
   tobacco and alcohol. We believein individual freedoms, and
   respect everyone else's desire to live lifethe way they want to,
   asking in exchange only the freedom to be able tolive life the
   way we want to.
   We do enjoy companionship and camaraderie. At our various
   conclaves,many of us will gather in private rooms, local
   restaurants, and thehotel lobby, and we'll just talk for hours,
   about almost anything. Someof our people will even sometimes
   forget to go to sleep, being sowrapped up in talking to people
   they see only once or twice a year.
   We enjoy life, we enjoy growth, and we enjoy each other. If you
   spendtime with Setians, you'll find that most of us smile a lot,
   honestsmiles, reflecting the enjoyment we find in life.
   More information about the Temple of Set can be obtained
   byclicking here,or a hard-copy can be obtained by sending a
   self-addressed stampedenvelope to the Executive Director, Temple
   of Set, P.O.B. 470307, SanFrancisco, CA 94147, USA.
   Serious students of the occult who wish to join our
   onlinediscussions may subscribe to theXepera-l mailinglist.

    1. Pylon: Setians who live in the same areasometimes organize a
       local pylon in which they can meet togetherregularly for
       discussions, study, ritual work, and other activities.
     Order: IV° Setians, Masters of theTemple, may found Orders
       within the Temple of Set. If you were to thinkof the Temple
       of Set as a college of higher learning, the Orders couldbe
       seen as departments within the school, each concentrating on
       specificflavors of exploration.

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