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Temple of Set Reference

Subject: Temple of Set Reference

The Temple of Set is based upon the watchword Xeper (pronounced 
"Khefer").  This is an Egyptian verb meaning "Become."  Perhaps you 
are familiar with the scarab in Egyptian art -- the symbol of the 
self-created god, Khephra.  The Temple views life as the time when
the psyche can be aware of itself and then reach out towards the 
limitlessness of its conscious existence.  There are several methods
by which this awareness can be obtained.  In the Temple of Set
this spiritual self-actualizing draws on various historic
and philosophical methods -- including the legacy of Plato,
Nietzsche, Fichte, and the Church of Satan.  Of course,
these tools only produce results when used by the
individual.  Our three principal methods are Socratic
reductionism, the formulation of correct understandings by
logic, and noetic intuition....

_Socratic reductionism_.  The act of questioning and
testing beliefs to eliminate falsehoods is an important tool 
for arriving at the truth.  As we mature all of us ask
ourselves, "What beliefs are mine and which have society
programmed into me?"  Setians, in particular, seek to
distance themselves from the vast roar of cultural
propaganda.  Whereas some groups break from society by
merely picking a different prepackaged belief system, the
Setian is left with the tough day-to-day struggle of self
knowledge and moral relativism.  Eventually we each have to
become philosophers rather than consumers.  One notion of
the Temple of Set which sets us apart from our predecessor
the Church of Satan is our realization of the non-natural
force in man.  Whether this is called the _logos_, the _ba_, 
or the psyche, there is clearly something different about
mankind.  This awareness is set apart from the natural
order.  Picture for an instant a Mobius strip or a Klein
bottle.  The fact that your mind can conceive of a
non-natural occurrence - in this case a three-dimensional
surface with only one surface -- shows that your mind is not 
one with nor constrained by the natural order.  In the
Temple we exalt this non-natural self, which can be
discovered by logical processes.  This finding enables us to 
reach a different ethic than the practitioners of the
Right-Hand Path.  We neither seek nor believe in the
possibility of a union with the universe.  We revel in our
separateness, which enables us to fully enjoy our carnality, 
but also causes us to use that enjoyment in the goal of
energizing and articulating the psyche. Having established
the existence of the psyche, we have a basis for our
explorations and ethics.

_Formulations of correct understandings by logic_.
Having discarded the untrue and the inessential, we are left 
with the building blocks for creating a model of the
universe.  These notions may have been gained from science,
personal experience, from other philosophical/psychological
belief systems, or from findings of other Initiates with
whom we've chosen to Work.  Creative synthesis of ideas -- 
a self-managed dialectic, if you will -- has been a major
source of human knowledge.  Setians begin a creation of a
model of the universe in order to understand it (and when
necessary, exert control of it through magic and other
means).  One of the aims of Xeper is to understand the
relationship of yourself to the universe.  Again this is a
tough road.  We are placed in the position of Socrates, the
wisest man of Greece, who said, "I know nothing."  We look
upon the universe as an exciting place to study -- rather
than as a dull and finished product.

Since the active human mind is a bringer of disorder to the 
static authoritarian models of the universe (consider
Copernicus or Einstein) -- those who bring about the new are 
seen as agents of chaos, champions of darkness.  We gladly
accept these titles and know that our movement through the
world achieves a greater level of activity, creation, and
beauty.  Set, the Egyptian deity which is our ultimate model of 
Initiation, was called "Bringer of Confusion," as well as 
"Majestic" and "Eternal."  By actively becoming
philosophers, we exert an influence (often times invisible)
of rejuvenation on the corpse-like world around us.

We are _not_ interested in Judeo-Christian dualism.
Our attraction to historic evil and our roots in the Church
of Satan allow us to use the name of Satanist with pride.
We choose Set rather than a Hebrew fiend for our model
because this is the most ancient (historically verifiable)
understanding of the Prince of Darkness.  Set is mankind's
first model for the hero who rebels against cosmic

The third technique, _noetic inspiration_, takes you to the 
discovery of your own divinity and the edge of Black
Magic.  We take the term _noesis_ from Plato.  Plato defined 
three types of knowing.  The lowest is _pistis_ (faith).
This means believing something because someone in authority
tells you so.  The Pope tells you that birth control is
wrong, so you know it's wrong.  Society is controlled by
this level.  The next higher way of knowing is _dianoia_
(reasoning).  This is the test of reason and logic referred
to above.  The elites work in this level.  The highest
knowing is _noesis_ -- direct knowledge.  This is the
knowing that comes from the divine Self.  Examples of it may be 
found in your personal life -- when you've come up with a 
solution to a problem that was wholly new or novel to you.
Or you may have written poetry or music.  This flash of
inspiration is your psyche becoming aware of its own
existence.  You may have recognized this sacred quality
in something you've seen -- the buildings of Gaudi --
or reading _Ulysses_ -- or any of a thousand thousand things. 
When you encountered this thing and knew, "This is
something special.  This isn't the product of a meat
machine!" then you have experienced this sense.  The
Temple of Set attempts to create an environment
where these experiences may be consciously sought and
entered into again and again....

This application of _noesis_ is the most non-natural
aspect of the Temple's make-up.  It is to be stressed that
our "non-natural" rhetoric does not mean we advocate a
wholesale destruction of nature; nothing could be further
from the truth.  The aim of a non-natural religion is to
understand the conscious development of the Self, which in
turn may have an effect on the objective and subjective
universes.  Seeking self development will cause the Temple
to always be an elitist group.  Xeper leads to an
individually determined freedom. Society is best maintained
by natural religions which emphasize the maintenance of
natural structures in society.  Plato, afterall did not
recommend the wide scale training of philosopher-kings. The
Temple does not view nonSetians with contempt.  By
exercising our divine right of Self-creation, we often come
to enjoy and respect (rather than judge and condemn) the
human beings around us as the unique and fascinating
creatures they are. Just because we seek to exalt the
non-natural does not mean that we have in any way given up
having sex, eating, driving, etc. -- it merely means that we 
seek to transform these states into thought provoking
experiences.  We find, perhaps, that the practice of Black
Magic to be the most thought provoking of all.

One of the primary methods of experiencing _noesis_ is
through ritual magic.  Through careful manipulation of our
environments we can encourage a rising up of the divine
within us.  We most definitely do *not* worship Set -- we
become as Set in our rituals.  We scorn prayer, sacrifice,
and the bended knee.  Although ritual magic has a strongly
practical side -- and we encourage getting money and power
because they give you the leisure to explore yourself --
magic can bring us into direct contact with our divinity.
We can control and direct our growth and Becoming in
accordance with our Will -- as well as gaining that
knowledge of ourselves and the universe necessary to make
these sacred decisions.  In the practice of magic, we usurp
the power of the gods that mankind has created for itself.
We're not rebelling against a particular fiction -- whether
it's Jehovah, "The Goddess," or Zeus.

All of this leads to the question of, why Set?
Although the majority of the Temple has come to believe in
the existence of this entity, such belief is not required of a 
member.  Set is regarded as the best model of initiation
-- a vast powerful but finite being.  If an entity were
all-powerful, it would be identical with the universe and
have no knowledge of its own awareness.  In our mythology we 
see Set as the Giver of Self-Awareness.  Our thanks to Set
for this flame of self-awareness is shown by our using it.
The majority of mankind will hate him and revile him with
names like Satan, Loki, Lucifer.  They would rather have
never been kicked out of the trees.

Let's look at the structure of the Temple and the
practices these techniques have led us to.  The Temple of
Set Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation based in California 
with an international membership.  The Temple is governed by a 
Council of Nine which determines long-term policies and
goals.  The Council names and can remove the High Priest,
who runs the day-to-day business of the Temple.  The High
Priest cannot sit on the Council.  The current High Priest
is Dr. Michael A. Aquino.  The Temple is owned by its
Priesthood.  Individual Priests or Priestesses may run local 
groups of Setians called Pylons....

The Temple is only useful for those people who would find
some of the secrets regtool for those
within, they should leave....

The Third Degree -- that of Priest or Priestess of Set -- is
characterized by responsibility and divinity.
Here the Initiate seeks the touch of Set himself.  This is
not a unification with Set, but an alignmentdividual.  The three Initiatory Degrees
beyond Priest -- Magister, Magus, and Ipsissimus -- may be
thought of as further refinements of this initial alignment.  
There is a great deal more to these, but that is discovered
better through personal interactioblack hearts.  We are drawn
to those figures of historical evil who achieved the
transcendental good (and often the immortality of fame).
Evil men like Galileo, who was denounced by the Church;
Washington, a traitor to the British; Pythagoras, and
Socratesart the
world so a stronger, freer, smarter, and more darkly
resplendent world comes into Being....

The Temple of Set

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