Balanone's FAQ --
One Critique and its Responses

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On October 14, 1997, wolf@slip.net posted to alt.satanism a "critique" by Hr Vad of my Temple of Set FAQ document. This is my response. [May, 2002: To make it easier to differentiate the original critique from my response, I'm setting the color of the original text to blue, and the text of my response to blank. Note that while I'm coloring the "HV>" quotation mark blue, this mark is not in the original posting -- I'm leaving it here only to provide guidance to those who print out this article in black and white, losing the blue color coding. Also note: I see that Hr. Vad has republished this critique at http://apodion.com/vad/satanism/toslhp.shtml. It appears this article was updated by Hr. Vad, possibly in 2000. I see nothing new in the revision at that URL that needs additional comment.]

wolf@slip.net (- wolf -) posted on behalf of Hr. Vad, to alt.satanism,
Subject: Critique of Balanones FAQ
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 04:44:32 GMT
Message-ID: <3442e805.1011180@news.slip.net>

HV> On alt.satanism Balanone, long time member of the Temple of Set (ToS) posted his own personal FAQ, and I thought a few comments would be fitting. I am Hr. Vad, Priest of the Church of Satan. You're welcome to visit my homepage at: <http://www.slip.net/~wolf/vad/index.shtml>. [Hr. Vad's home page later moved to http://www.image.dk/~vad/, and then http://apodion.com/vad/satanism/.]

(Not that it matters, but Hr. Vad used to be a regular contributor to alt.satanism. He vanished some time after people started making fun of him because he seemed to become a Tani Jantsang mirror/stooge (perhaps for unrelated reasons). He apparently does still have Internet access since he seems to maintain his own web pages, and therefore he should have access to the newsgroup, either directly or through DejaNews. Why was it necessary to forward this message for him? Why couldn't Hr. Vad post it himself?)

On June 12, 1998, Hr. Vad answered this question:

Answers are simple, but then again you'd have to carefully follow the timeline and know significant events along it.
  • I had email at my school.
  • I installed my own software there and then gained Usenet access.
  • At this time I became known to Balanone and others.
  • Then changes happen at my school and they don't control none of their identification processes anymore. Result: I can't access Usenet due to authentification reasons, but I STILL have email and www; at this time I could _read_ alt.satanism from the web only.
  • At this particular time I used Wolf as a messenger (it was convenient). Hence his posting of my article.
  • I then get my own private email account in winter 1997. Now you're up-to-date. So bottomline is: there is no mystery.

As I told Hr. Vad, I'm glad to include this information on this web page. It leaves open the question of why these answers weren't given when I first asked them in October of 1997, but that's relatively unimportant.)

HV> I'm sure I am to be found on Balanone's list of people "who are biased against the Temple of Set for a variety of reasons." However, this is just a cheap rethorical trick employed to summarily dismiss anything critics have to say. Bias designates a systematic tendency to "go in one direction," e.g. pro or con an issue, but "bias" is often used to give the reader the impression that the "biased person" is UNREASONABLY for or against the issue. I'm sure Balanone feels this way regarding me and others, but DO consider if our unfavorable attitude towards the ToS isn't justified.

Well, yes, Hr. Vad is one of those people with an anti-Setian bias. That's been the case as long as I've known him online. For several years, though, his commentary was insightful, intelligent, rational, and very worth listening to. No, not all people who are biased against the Temple or against Setians are summarily dismissed, and for years Hr. Vad was a good example of someone who was biased and still appreciated for this commentary and insight. It's only been in the last year or so that Hr. Vad's commentary has degenerated. Even so, when he's not ranting, Hr. Vad does have intelligent things to say; he's often worth listening to, and his words are often worth thinking about. I hope this doesn't change.

HV> Among other things, Balanone wrote:

B>"Left Hand Path" indicates that the path followed by Setians is one of
B>concentration and refinement of the self, leading toward more and more
B>individuality and more and more individualism, as opposed to the Right Hand
B>Path goals of growing toward some outwardly determined standard.
[...]
B>The Left Hand Path is the tradition of spiritual dissent. It is a process
B>of using the ideas and actions of the Seeker to create or realize an
B>immortal, individual, potent, and powerful essence that will survive death.
B>The Left Hand Path is the quest for personal immortality, won by hard
B>effort without grace of gods, even of our role model, Set.

HV> Examining sources like _Hindu Polytheism_ by Alain Danielou, 1964, (re-issued as _The Myths and Gods of India_ in the nineties by Bollinger Book Foundation) one must conclude that the Temple of Set's definition of LHP and RHP is highly idiomatic, or put bluntly: it's wrong. In its original meaning, and as the Church of Satan uses the term, Left Hand Path (LHP) is strictly "The CARNAL Path" (or "Tao"), and it refers to enlightenment coming from indulging in worldly, physical pleasure, utilizing even "eroticism and drunkenness as means of spiritual acheivement" as Danielou puts it. Right Hand Path (RHP) is spiritual advancement by means of the mind alone, ie. by supressing/ignoring our carnal desires in favor of "spiritual" or "psychic" powers. Thus in every meaning of the word, the ToS qualifies as RIGHT HAND PATH ONLY! To see the ToS INVENTING new meanings of the expression LHP should not fool anyone: what the ToS is doing is CLINGING to a doctrine that never was and never shall be theirs. ToS is NOT LHP!

HV> Both LHP and RHP seeks a kind of "spiritual enlightenment", but the paths to this end are very different and that is what is important, because it is the PATH above anything else which determines what is Left or Right. The LHP is also known as the Tantric way, as opposed to the RHP Vedic way, according to the expert Danielou.

As is frequently the case, Dr. Aquino is able to answer this type of statement much more eloquently than I. In addition to this response, you may also want to review the alt.satanism message From: James Foster <konchog@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>, Subject: Re: Critique of Balanones FAQ, Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 13:26:06 PDT, Message-ID: <Pine.PMDF. 3.95.971014131443. 543186628D-100000 @ OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>).

From: xeper@aol.com (Xeper)
Subject: Re: Critique of Balanones FAQ
Date: 15 Oct 1997 00:57:23 GMT
Message-ID: <19971015005701.uaa27438@ladder01.news.aol.com>)

...

>Among other things, Balanone wrote:
>
>[...]
>>"Left Hand Path" indicates that the path followed by Setians is one of
>>concentration and refinement of the self, leading toward more and more
>>individuality and more and more individualism, as opposed to the Right Hand
>>Path goals of growing toward some outwardly determined standard.
>[...]
>>The Left Hand Path is the tradition of spiritual dissent. It is a process
>>of using the ideas and actions of the Seeker to create or realize an
>>immortal, individual, potent, and powerful essence that will survive death.
>>The Left Hand Path is the quest for personal immortality, won by hard
>>effort without grace of gods, even of our role model, Set.
>
>Examining sources like _Hindu Polytheism_ by Alain Danielou, 1964, (re-issued
>as _The Myths and Gods of India_ in the nineties by Bollinger Book
>Foundation) one must conclude that the Temple of Set's definition of LHP and
>RHP is highly idiomatic, or put bluntly: it's wrong.

From the _Crystal Tablet of Set_ ((c) 1975+: the introductory volume of the _Jeweled Tablets of Set_ series issued to new Setians I*) [The #s in the text identify more detailed background sources on the Temple's reading list]:

"The terms 'LHP' and 'RHP' are used in different and often incompatible ways by various occultists. Reportedly the terms originated in Tantrism, a school of Mahayana Buddhism in northern India which taught that Buddhahood can be realized through various theurgic practices. For mantra and mudra ceremonies the female was positioned on the right of the male; for erotic rites she was positioned on the left. (#13C). Theosophy's H.P. Blavatsky felt sex-magic to be immoral and perverse, so she subsequently employed the term LHP to characterize the magical systems she didn't like, and the term RHP to characterize the ones she did, i.e. Theosophy. Post-HPB the terms have been expanded through popular usage to refer generally to what the Temple of Set defines as White Magic (RHP) and Black Magic (LHP).

"Most popular occult organizations, to be sure, use the terms simply to identify their moral biases. What they consider 'good' is RHP, 'evil' LHP. After Aleister Crowley left the Golden Dawn, he portrayed it as a 'Black Lodge' and his own A.'.A.'. as 'the Great White Brotherhood' (#9A, #9C); while on the other side of the fence W.B. Yeats and other G.'.D.'. leaders considered *Crowley* to be the Black Magician (#10F, #10G).

"To further complicate the matter, there have been some deliberately criminal 'Satanic' organizations which have avowedly followed the LHP *as defined by those who consider it synonymous with degenerate and destructive practices* (#6A, #6B). Such episodes have of course served to reinforce the conventional religious image of Satanism and the Black Arts as nefarious practices.

"So enduring was this stereotype that the Church of Satan found it very difficult to break free from it during the entire decade of its existence. All sorts of creeps, crackpots, criminals, and cranks pounded on the door of the Church, assuming that it would excuse and encourage whatever social shortcomings they embraced. The Temple of Set has avoided this problem, presumably because 'Satan' is popularly associated with 'evil' while 'Set' is largely unknown outside of Egyptological circles.

"The Temple of Set's LHP orientation is, as noted above, a function of its definition of Black Magic. No moral or ethical stances are implied by the terms LHP/RHP _per se_, since they refer to *techniques* and *systems* rather than to the ends for which they are applied. As defined within the Temple:

" - The Left-Hand Path involves the conscious attempt to preserve and strengthen one's isolate, psychecentric existence against the objective universe (OU) while apprehending, comprehending, and influencing a varying number of subjective universes.

" - The Right-Hand Path involves the conscious attempt to dissolve or merge the self with the OU."

[This section of the _CT_ continues on, and is part of a chapter dealing with the concept of "initiation" generally.]

HV> Actually, there are very good reasons to compare Setianism to fundamentalist Xtianity rather than Satanism. Xtianity is also blatantly RHP. Anyone interested in a lengthy argument are advised to visit: <http://www.slip.net/~wolf/vad/satan/tani/cos-tos.txt>1

Please do. Some of you might actually be able to get through it all. I've already commented on most of the topics in that argument, and the sophistic games found there can be enjoyable reading, if you can wade through the rest of it. I haven't yet known the arguments in that piece to convince anyone who didn't want/need to be convinced of its "truth." Most people readily see through its sophistry and realize that the argument doesn't accomplish anything.

HV> Also, LHP has not really anything to do with "dissenting spirituality", though in a predominantly Xtian world LHP will be understood as "rebellious" (per default, because, in dualist eyes, LHP is the antagonistic opposite of RHP). However, sticking to the "rebellious" aspects of LHP simply "because it pisses Xtians off" is completely missing the point. ESSENTIALLY the LHP is just: a PATH. It is not SPIRITUAL in nature, rather it emphasizes the worldly, physical and materialistic aspects of existence. The emphasis found in the ToS is, on the contrary, spiritual and this identifies it as a RHP religion. It doesn't matter if you dress yourself in black robes, wear pentagrams and shout Satan or Set from the rooftops: that is not what makes Satanism!

Dr. Aquino's presentation answers the main thrust of the multiple definitions of LHP/RHP. I'd like to focus on the question of whether the Temple of Set is, as Hr. Vad complains/proclaims, spiritual. "Spiritual" is a complex word; according to my dictionary:

spir-i-tu-al (adj) 1: of, relating to, or consisting of spirit : INCORPOREAL <man's ~ needs> 2a: of or relating to sacred matters <~ songs> b: ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal <~ authority> 3: concerned with religious values 4: spiritually akin or related <our ~ home> <his ~ heir> 5a: of or relating to supernatural beings orphenomena b: of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : SPIRITUALISTIC.

Relating to spirit, not related to the physical -- guilty as charged. Setians are (or aim to be) strong of spirit, willful, and intelligent people. The primary focus of Setian philosophy is Xeper, self-improvement, the self-creation of something more than pure animal. This is definitely a spiritual, nonmaterial goal.

Related to sacred matters, or ecclesiastical -- My first inclination was to claim that this was not applicable. "Sacred" is a term which conventional religion has allowed to degenerate to apply to altar trinkets, wafers, books, the Pope, etc. In this type of meaning, it does not apply to Setian philosophy or religion, since no object or person is sacred to a Setian.

However, when we look at the ideals of the Temple of Set, and apply a better meaning of "sacred," then yes it can apply. The primary example of this would be the very principle of Xeper, which is an ideal sacred to most Setians (similar in the way which materialism and carnality appear to be sacred to today's CoS members).

Concerned with religious values -- not applicable. There are no religious values within the Temple of Set -- we determine our values through the application of philosophy and rationality.

Spiritually akin or related -- if we're talking about people who are related by a shared interest in Xeper, then yes.

Relating to supernatural beings or phenomena -- this one is questionable; the Priesthood does believe in the existence of a supernatural being called Set. Many/most other Setians do not. Belief in the supernatural is not required nor expected of Setians.

Involving spiritualism -- not applicable -- I've never seen a seance within any Temple of Set gathering.

Given this mix of answers, and the complexity of Hr. Vad's claim that "The emphasis found in the ToS is, on the contrary, spiritual ..." I leave it to you to determine whether the above supports his argument or not. Of course, even if we are spiritually oriented, the question of RHP/LHP isn't dealt with as easily or readily as Hr. Vad would like, especially not in the direction he wants it to go.

HV> I wouldn't be surprised if some readers out there were to think "come on, Hr. Vad, you can't be serious, what you're saying is basically that EVERYTHING Balanone has said is utterly wrong, if not a lie?" This may be hard to believe, because Balanone has a "noble and respectable appearance" that you've all learned to admire. But the FACTS of the case are: Balanone is WRONG, and if it is an indication of general ToS attitude -- and a twenty-years-plus member of the ToS would know -- the ToS doesn't know SHIT! They are LYING to you, because they should KNOW BETTER. Don't mistake their philosophy for anything NEAR Satanism. Black robes and medallions of Set won't do it.

Thank you, Hr. Vad, for the compliment. I work hard to maintain the "noble and respectable appearance," believing firmly that maintaining the appearance is critically important to maintaining the more important noble and respectable features within. Part of that nobility to me means that when I don't know something, I admit it. When I'm shown to be wrong, I accept that and learn what I need.

B>Is the Temple of Set a Satanic organization?
B>
B>The Temple of Set as an organization was founded in 1975 by Dr. Michael
B>Aquino, in San Francisco. Its initial membership came from the Church of
B>Satan (that infamous "Satanic" organization of the carny Anton LaVey),
B>composed of CoS members who felt there was something real and important
B>about the magic they were exploring, and felt that Anton LaVey's antics of
B>that year were in contradiction to their own experiences.

HV> What happened was an inevitable break due to philosophical differences, but that is probably what you get when you have some half-Satanic, half-Xtians trying to make SATANISM. Looking back it is clear that the ToS chose to fully embrace the XTOID aspects of the philosophy brewing in their minds, namely in Michael Aquino's mind and the egyptoid Grotto Lilith ran at the time. That they've continued to call themselves Satanists and their god The Prince of Darkness is an INSULT to those who know and represent the Dark Doctrine. That the ToS have chosen "psyche worship" and "spirituality" over the dark, carnal truths of flesh, which Church of Satan LHP philosophy emphasizes, is testimony to the fact that they're in no way Satanic -- despite efforts to appear Satanic. In truth, some Setians do NOT consider themselves Satanists. To them I say: "Right on folks! You got it RIGHT!"

Hr. Vad's opinions would be taken more seriously if he could avoid the the near-random capitalization and the need to scream "XTOID" which he's adopted from Tani.

If Hr. Vad's and Tani's definition of Satanism is the one and only correct one, then the Temple of Set is not Satanic. If Dr. Aquino's definition of Satanism (in the FAQ he published to alt.satanism a year or two ago) is the one and only correct one, then today's Chuch of Satan is not Satanic. If both definitions and others are correct, then both organizations are Satanic. If neither definition is correct, then neither organization is Satanic. Since there is no consistency of definition on alt.satanism, much less Usenet, no consistency within the U.S.A., much less across national boundaries, I'll choose not to make such claims at this time. My personal opinion depends on definitions (as does Hr. Vad's) which are very much questioned by people whose questions are intelligent and carefully considered. I therefore choose not to yell and scream my opinions while the definitions they're based on are still being worked out.

Hr. Vad's history is faulty. Example: "the egyptoid Grotto Lilith ran at the time" -- From the information I've received from those who were members of and visitors to the Lilith Grotto, it was not significantly involved with any Egyptian philosophy, religion, or symbolism, but was simply and purely oriented toward classical Satanism as was popular with the Church of Satan at that time. There was a grotto where a) many members joined the Temple, and b) they were, I believe, interested in the Egyptian mythos before that time, but they were well over 1,000 miles away.

Errors like that, added to the stridence of his message, are indicators that he seems to be speaking more from his bias than from objective observation and logic.

HV> The truth is that the Temple of Set has established its name and mandate by riding on the coattails of the Church of Satan, .and now that it is dawning upon them that they may in fact NOT be a Satanic organization after all, it is of course difficult to just forget the whole business of Satanism, because that would expose them as liars and hypocrites Michael Aquino's claim to fame is solely through his claim that "Set, the prime intelligence in the Universe, spoke directly to him in a revelation." Aquino furthermore claimed Set was the REAL Prince of Darkness, and that Set had told him to take over the Church of Satan from old, burned out Anton LaVey. Thus he tried to coup the Church of Satan. The coup eventually failed and he left to start his own religion, hence: The Temple of Set.

I've never seen any evidence that Dr. Aquino ever tried to take control of the Church of Satan. I've never even seen such a claim made by anyone. (Of course, the Church of Satan recently has been very unimportant to me, so I haven't been paying that much attention.) Does anyone have any contemporaneous evidence to support Hr. Vad's claim? Lacking such, I consider the claims "that Set had told him to take over the Church of Satan from old, burned out Anton LaVey. Thus he tried to coup the Church of Satan" to be fantasy.

Meanwhile, I have serious problems with Hr. Vad's statement, "and now that it is dawning upon them that they may in fact NOT be a Satanic organization after all, it is of course difficult to just forget the whole business of Satanism, because that would expose them as liars and hypocrites." I don't see that logic.

If for the past 20+ years, the Temple of Set considered itself a Satanic organization, and is now reconsidering that opinion, then they are a) honest about their beliefs, b) intelligent enough to question their beliefs, c) sincere in their expressions, and d) open about their questions. That would indicate the opposite of what Hr. Vad claims. I don't think this irony was intentional.

That just indicates that Hr. Vad's claims of hypocrisy are wrong. Equally important, Hr. Vad's claims themself are false. As Priest Youril reminded me in private email on this topic,

Y> The Temple has been actively and openly considering this for years (certainly long before Tani et al were around). We've also been discussing it publically for years (I have addressed this issue directly in numerous usenet posts, again, long before Tani was around). This has been an internal process, based on the development of our own thinking, rather than a response to the CoS, Tani, or anyone/anything else.

The Usenet echoes of this process have simply been the honest discussion of the various reasons why this topic is being explored within the Temple of Set.

Dr. Aquino also had some words concerning Hr. Vad's statements above which I believe are worth repeating:

The events leading up to the 1975 disintegration of the original Church of Satan and the founding of the Temple of Set are detailed extensively, and supported by full documentation of personal correspondence and Church papers, in my _The Church of Satan_, a book available only to Setians and persons deemed serious and responsible researchers by the Temple of Set. Anton LaVey has a personal hardcover copy of the Second Edition of the book, so his present-day followers can presumably ask to see it when visiting him. [I would not recommend relying on bootlegged "extracts" or "copies" for reliability.]

In a nutshell, Anton and I understood and interpreted the evolution of Satanism similarly, if not identically, from 1970 to 1975. The destruction of the Church in that year came from a sudden decision of his to sell its initiatory degrees, including the Priesthood of Mendes - not from any theoretical or theological differences. Again, _COS_ documents this series of events extensively.

>That they've continued to call themselves Satanists and their god The Prince of
>Darkness is an INSULT to those who know and represent the Dark Doctrine.

Since 1975 we have referred to ourselves as Setians, and have routinely clarified this point when responding to interviews or inquiries stereotyping us as "Satanists".

Set used the title "Prince of Darkness" in the Book of Coming Forth by Night with reference to himself; thus we continue it as well. As he was a god of the night sky and the circumpolar stars, as opposed to Horus of the daylight and Sun, this is not an inappropriate honorific.

As is well-known, the Temple considers "Satan" as a Judaeo/Christian perversion and corruption of Set and his original (not Osirian) symbolism, so we would scarcely want to promote the J/C iconography.

As is also well-known, the original Church of Satan regarded Satan as a living entity and held him in deep reverence, much as the hero of Milton's _Paradise Lost_ or Anatole France's _The Angels_. We consider the use of his name, and that of his Church, by Anton and his followers post-1975 as misrepresentative of a social ideology that is simply atheistic hedonism.

>Michael Aquino's claim to fame is solely through his claim that "Set, the prime
>intelligence in the Universe, spoke directly to him in a revelation."

Again from the _Crystal Tablet_:

"The result of the North Solstice Working was a document entitled _The Book of Coming Forth by Night_, professing to be a communication from the Prince of Darkness in his original semblance as the Egyptian god Set. The AEon of Horus and the intermediary Age of Satan were at an end; the AEon of Set had now Come Into Being as a catalyst for a new evolution of the Elect of mankind. We were charged to form a Temple of Set to replace the Church of Satan, and I - like Anton LaVey before me - was Recognized to the degree of magus and directed to assume the High Priesthood.

"As with any Greater Black Magic (GBM) working, the _Book of Coming Forth by Night_ will assume different significance to different people. Skeptics might consider it a work of fantasy or self-delusion; religious fanatics a message from the Judaeo/Christian Devil; old-time occultists an imitation of Aleister Crowley's _Book of the Law_.

"There is nothing to gain by debating such points of view. As is discussed later in _Black Magic_, any GBM working is necessarily a supra-rational experience, not a logical, scientific, or artistic exercise. It will be most meaningful to its celebrant, and it may or may not be meaningful or even intelligible to others.

"What I *will* assert is that, as far as I *myself* am concerned, the _Book of Coming Forth by Night_ was and remains authentic: the noetic apprehension of an intelligence 'not myself' which reduced certain statements, judgments, principles, and symbols to a text.

"This text was so meaningful to me that I have since ordered my life and philosophy by its principles. The other founders of the Temple of Set accorded it a similar trust and respect. Even though they had not participated in the working itself, many remarked, they felt that the text itself carried its own aura of authenticity and conviction. In the years that followed, countless others have been moved by it in a similar fashion.

"When I accepted the _Book of Coming Forth by Night_, it was in a deliberate, reflective way - with a resolve to undertake the creation and care of the Temple proper, and to patiently allow history to validate or disprove any principles that the Temple might propose or practice. This has remained my attitude ever since that serene and sublime experience. As for the text itself, I am content to comment upon it as best I can [extensively in the _Ruby Tablet of Set_], then let others judge it as they will. For me it is now, as then, a simple, beautiful, and purposeful statement from the sentient being whom mankind has loved, hated, worshipped, cursed, praised, and reviled as the Prince of Darkness. To echo the words of G.B. Shaw in _The Devil's Disciple_: 'I promised him my soul, and swore an oath that I would stand up for him in this world and stand by him in the next.'"

B>Set is the most ancient name for the Prince of Darkness, given to the
B>Prince of Darkness in ancient (pre-dynastic) Egypt. Whether Set exists as
B>an independent metaphysical being, or whether he's a symbol for man's most
B>individualistic attributes, is a topic always under discussion somewhere in
B>the Temple of Set.

HV> For a lengthy discussion of this I refer you to: <http://www.slip.net/~wolf/vad/satan/tani/neter.txt>

Where you will no doubt find the final word of TRUTH. smiley IMO, Tani's neter.txt is even more hilarious than her cos-tos.txt1 -- do view that page and see what I mean.
[This web page later moved to http://www.image.dk/~vad/satan/tani/neter.txt. In March, 1999 I was no longer able to find this web page anywhere. May 2002: Found at http://apodion.com/vad/dark/neter.shtml. According to email from Tani Jantsang, this latest copy is "not the edited version that was on there that James Foster noticed. Had Foster not mentioned this, I'd never have known. The article is not about the ToS at all as it was written. It got turned into that. So if you refer to that, it's not related to ToS at all." (This web page does mention the ToS and our supposed beliefs in several places; but apparently this is done without intending to say anything condemning about us.)]

B>The Gift of Set means so many different things depending upon whom you
B>speak to. To some it's the gift of Intelligence, to some it's
B>Consciousness, to some it's the ability to step back from the current
B>moment/place to see/think about what's happening. To some it's the ability
B>to work (or at least conceive of) magic. etc. The Gift of Set is whatever
B>happens to separate us (those with potential) from animals (those without
B>quite as much potential), which is one of the grey areas that haven't been
B>clarified very well (some of us not seeing very much difference between
B>humans and "higher" animals).

HV> 1) That "some people in the ToS" are NOW "not seeing very much difference between humans and higher animals" can only be attributted as so much revisionistic hogwash. If there are such feelings stirring in the ToS it is SINGULARLY because of ONE historic occurrence: The entry of Tani Jantsang on alt.satanism. NO ONE came to the front BACK THEN defending any other animals as being anywhere NEAR humans. But the ensuing DEVASTATING articles from Tani Jantsang had the Setians scurry away in embarrasment. SO *NOW* THEY'RE SUDDENLY INCLUDING ANIMALS AMONG THEIR RANKS. Rest assured this was NOT the case before Tani got to them. Imagine that, the twenty years of growth and maturation of the Temple of Set (as Balanone puts it elsewhere in his FAQ) didn't accomplish what one Church of Satan Magistra did. What's next? Setians talking favorably about ENTROPY? I'll BET it comes one day. Maybe even DARWIN will get his heyday somewhere in the future.

??? Hr. Vad's views have been singularly limited. I've been participating in such discussions within the Temple of Set for 15-20 years, probably a decade before I had ever seen anything written by or attributed to Tani, or even heard her name. But then, despite my 20 years with the organization, Hr. Vad and Tani seem to claim to know a lot more about the Temple of Set without ever having attending any of our gatherings, so his presentation isn't very surprising after all.

HV> 2) Secondly, isn't the Gift of Set a result of "Set tampering with monkey DNA" as Aquino put it? The ToS have spouted lots of CREATIONIST teaching during the years, arguing that humans MUST be the result of someone's DESIGN. See Philip Marsh's _Evolution, Christians, and Setians_ essay on my homepage for further information on this embarrasing event. Before Tani and Phil had the Setians reduced to a state of embarrasment the idea was more along the lines that "Set bestowed SENTIENCE on humans" -- as if there was such a thing as "sentience" -- and I've heard my share of high ranking Setians claim and imply this sentience did NOT extend to "lower animals" -- but listen up chaps, NOW the story is changing.

I have never heard Dr. Aquino mention "Set tampering with monkey DNA," nor have I ever read that in anything he's written. I expect there isn't a single long-term Setian who seriously holds such a view.

Actually, I believe I am probably the original source of such speculation, probably in a PODS or BeastNet discussion forum, some years back. It would have been a light-hearted speculation as to one method whereby the Gift of Set might have been given. I believe the only people who take that speculation seriously are those who need to ridicule Setians.

HV> 3) Thirdly, one of the greatest fallacies of Setian "thinking" is their insistence on their "separation from nature". They really believe themselves SEPARATE from Nature. How can you even BE THAT? Firstly it is of course not theoretically possible to be "outside nature", however, secondly we must contemplate where on earth the Setians GET this acute feeling of separation and alienation from. Normal, healthy, animals DO NOT feel alienated as they are immersed in vital existence, actually if they began to feel enstranged of life itself they would surely perish or become unhappy. So why do Setians FEEL ALIENATED/SEPARATE from nature? Well, as a scientific Satanist my guess would be to look at how their feeling centers -- neurologically -- are wired up, or just what centers they USE when thinking. Xtians, incidentally, provide a clue to this problem: like Setians they feel a SPLIT between "emotions/carnality/flesh" and their "minds, logic and souls". Also, both camps can be heard saying the same things about "separate from nature" and "how humans were designated by God/Set to rule the animals". ...

Again, Hr. Vad is obviously so knowledgeable about what we really believe, that it's probably meaningless and worthless for me to hint he may be stretching the truth. "Firstly it is of course not theoretically possible to be 'outside nature,'" and since it's not theoretically possible (nor physically, as this aging body keeps reminding me each time I need a new eyeglass prescription), it's not a belief we carry. I may enjoy believing in the impossible from time to time, but I find no value in believing in falsehoods.

In the material I've snipped, Hr. Vad again suggests you read articles on his web site. If you haven't by now suffered enough from reading Tani's rants, please feel free to follow his suggestion. But if you've begun to understand how/if Tani thinks about things, then you probably won't gain any additional insights from these pages.

HV> I could continue at length with this subject, but as a closing remark I have to mention that a lot of what you're seeing now is nothing but simple, historical revisionism. I've talked about these in the above and I hope you'll not fall prey to such blatant "psy-op" tactics. Hard as it may be to believe -- mostly because Balanone and his ilk seem such "courteous and nice people" -- you are dealing with an organization of theistic fruitcakes. They are peddling a crackpot religion that's no better than Xtianity, and Setianism SHARES a lot of things in common with that religion. The "flame war" -- which was actually full of information -- with Tani Jantsang proved that NO ONE in the Temple of Set knew squat about science or the REAL world, ...

Dr. Aquino held several important positions within the U.S. Army, both active service and reserves. He has held a teaching position at a good university. I'm a successful D.P. Manager in a multi-store retail chain. Setians include successful artists, teachers, accountants, business people, military professionals, medical professionals, civil servants, etc. I wonder how so many people became so successful in so many different fields if they didn't know or understand anything about the REAL world...

Balanone
PP

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cos-tos.txt -- This article disappeared from the web for a while. In March, 2002, Tani Jantsang sent me an updated URL for the article, now at http://apodion.com/vad/satanism/cos-tos.shtml. That article is no longer as violently anti-Temple of Set as the original posted to alt.satanism and HR Vad's original web site.

 

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