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5.0 -- The Organization

5.1 -- Membership in the Temple

Note: Most of these sections are explored in more depth in the REF document.

  • Exploration

    Joining the Temple of Set is a serious decision. Anyone who is attracted to the Temple of Set through the things you see and hear should investigate thoroughly before applying for membership.

  • Affiliation

    Application to the Temple of Set may be made to the Executive Director or to any Priest of Set. Information about this procedure is provided in the introductory letter.

    • Assuming you're approved for membership (the Executive Director has indicated that the majority of applicants are denied), you as a I° Setian you will receive 1) the current edition of the Crystal Tablet of Set, which includes all of the basic philosophical, magical, and initiatory material any Setian would need to begin and accomplish his initiation to the II°, 2) a I° Pentagram of Set medallion, and 3) a year's subscription to the Scroll of Set newsletter.

    • You will have two years in which to achieve the II°, using the information and inspiration provided by the Crystal Tablet, by correspondence and other contact with Setians, and through your own work towards Initiation.

    • Following from our choice to avoid all practices that would create a barrier between us and our self-created divinity, the Setian can not in good faith hold membership in any other religious organization after he has become an Adept. Membership in organizations that advocate illegal action are likewise incompatible with Setian affiliation. One cannot be for one's own Xeper, and be working to restrict the Xeper of another.

    • The application and its approval.

      Though some applications are approved and acted upon quickly, other applications for membership in the Temple of Set seem to take a very long time. Our "staff" are all volunteers, and their administrative activities within the Temple of Set are given appropriate priorities, behind personal initiation, family, and career. Therefore, be prepared for some delay in the processing of your application. If the delay seems overly long, it's always helpful to send a friendly query to the Executive Director asking about its status.

      One applicant asked on Xepera-l: "I sent off my letter of application about three weeks ago now- and I still haven't heard a word. Any idea how long it takes to get a response?"

      • Adept Foster answered:

        Once you've submitted your letter of application, it can take anywhere from one to three months before you hear anything. I know it sucks to have to wait that long without knowing, but these things take time- especially when you consider exactly HOW BUSY the Temple's Executive Director is (and that being the E.D. is a full time job, ON TOP of a normal, *paying* full time job- and then add in some time for family, other official Temple matters and their own personal Initiatory work!) All told, I'm surprised it happens as quickly as it does.

        Just consider this a lesson in patience, and enjoy the anticipation. :)

      • My answer was:

        It's highly variable, depending on how busy our volunteer Executive Director is, and how busy her staff is, and how much difficulty she has finding an available Priest for the interview process. Then the question becomes how busy that Priest is, whether he has email capabilities, etc.

        You can send a quick email to her at and verify that she at least received your letter of application.

    • Lewis Cawthorne asked on Xepera-l, Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998, Subject: TOS & Recognition
      Not to put the cart before the horse, but I do have one minor concern, how would an Initiate in a small town in North Carolina with some resources at his disposal for traveling to other places for contact with other Setians but probably without adequate resources to be able to make it to a normal pylon meeting should one be within a reasonable distance of his location (which there probably isn't) ever manage to have enough contact with a Priest of the temple to be reconized as an Adept?

      From: "Koyote", Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998

      (All of this is from the p.o.v. of a first degree Setian with little face to face contact due to where I am and my job hours- I work most on weekends.)

      Recognition, you should remember, is just that- Recognition. The work must be done by you. Communicating that can take many forms other than direct F2F. Publishing articles in the various newsletters, communicating with other Initiates via direct email, phone conversations, and attending larger gatherings (which occur in the continental US many times each year) are all adequate.

      From: "fun fear", Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998,

      As an isolated Setian, I had similiar concerns, but I must agree with Koyote. The Internet is a wonderful tool for contacting Priests and Priestesses, and as Koyote suggested, writing articles for _The Scroll of Set_ is equally rewarding. Also, there are several correspondence Pylons available.

      Beyond this, I have realized that one should _embrace_ one's isolation. Just look to Set as an example: the apotheosis of the different and isolate! You have _two years_ to get Recognized--plenty of time to explore, make contacts with the Priesthood, and, if worthy, become Recognized. You don't need a group to hold your hand to do it, I hope! Embrace the isolation, ebrace the Darkness!

      From: Balanone <>, Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998

      It's a challenge. That hypothetical Initiate would have to Work at it -- corresponding with as many Setians as possible at the I* and II* levels (for breadth of perspective) and with several members of the Priesthood. He would have to take responsibility for maintaining correspondences, for establishing new ones to replace old ones that move on, and for demonstrating to the Priesthood his level of knowledge, his activity and study, and his advancement, along Setian lines.

      It's a job. It's not easy. Magister L. was the only Setian in Finland, and he had to work to overcome the difficulties inherent in demonstrating his Xeper into the II*. Magister W. faced the same challenges in Germany some years earlier. Magister K and Magister A in the British Isles had it almost as bad, but at least English was their native language (though they had to deal with many curve balls tossed by our writing most Setian materials in American English rather than British English).

      It's not easy, as Priestess N, Adept B, Priest C, Adept D, Magistra H, Priest R, Priest W, and several others can report (several were the only Setians in their state, and a couple were the only Setians in their country).

      It's not easy, but it can be done, as these have shown. Only you can tell whether you're up to the task.

      From: Christopher Merwin, Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998

      As a Temple Initiate from a small town in North Carolina I think perhaps I can help you with some of your queries. Due to the widespread distribution of Temple members many Pylons are organized based around correspondence, with email and Pylon newsletters as the primary form of communication. In fact, due to the highly private and individualistic nature of most Setians this is our prefered means of communication. ... The ability for you to meet face to face with other Initiates is left completely up to you and the other Initiates involved. The largest obstacle to being a Setian in the Carolinas is the local attitudes toward other non-christian religions, which any intelligent and sensitive individual should be more than capable of handeling.
  • Departure

    You may choose to resign from the Temple of Set at any time for any reason. The great majority of people who leave the Temple of Set do so simply by not paying their annual dues, and letting their memberships expire. Many others send a simple and courteous resignation letter to the Executive Director or any Priest.

    A few members are automatically expelled upon the completion of two years of membership during which they did not achieve the II°. There are surprisingly few of these to my mind, probably because the Executive Director and Priesthood do such a good job of screening applicants.

    Fewer members resign because they encounter something within the Temple of Set which they don't like, and fewer still are expelled because they prove to be incompatible with Setian philosophy or life.

  • Rejoining

    Despite the claims of a few who state otherwise, the Temple of Set does not pursue those who leave the Temple of Set. Whether that separation was friendly, unfriendly, or automatic and impersonal, we feel anyone and everyone should be allowed to go their own way, as long as they don't interfere with our Xeper or the organization.

    A few people who leave the Temple of Set do apply to rejoin the Temple. Setians who have left the Temple of their own accord may be allowed to rejoin on a case-by-case basis. The Temple is not designed as a revolving door, but we do realize that may not have entered the Temple at a time conducive to their development. Those that left impersonally or on an amicable basis are usually welcomed back without hesitation. Those who caused problems during their earlier membership or after their departure are carefully examined before they are welcomed back into the Temple of Set.

  • How long does the application process to the ToS usually take?

    The application process time is highly variable, depending strongly on

    • whether there are any delays in the mail (especially for overseas applicants)
    • the time availability of our volunteer staff (expect longer delays during conclaves and gatherings)
    • whether your application is sponsored by a member of the Priesthood (which generally speeds up the process greatly)
    • whether there is a local Priest readily available to contact you for an interview
    • whether there are copies of the Crystal Tablet available to be mailed out immediately or whether they need to be printed first
    • whether you are accepted or rejected (rejections tend to process faster than acceptances)

    Though some membership applications are processed in as little as two weeks, it's not uncommon for incidental delays to extend the process to two months. If you are concerned about the delay, you may send a polite email or postal mail query to the Executive Director, who should be able to tell you how far the application process has gone.

    As James F Foster wrote on Xepera-l:

    General rule of thumb- before complaining about something, ask yourself: "What am I doing to fix it?" If you aren't doing much on your behalf, why would anyone else?

    Second general rule of thumb: Before complaining about someone else's (lack of) performance, ask if there's a problem with the paperwork and if there's anything you can do to help.

5.2 -- Relations with Other Organizations

By its bylaws, the Temple of Set as an organization can have no formal relationships or ties with any other organization. Individual Setians, however, can work with or have dealings with other organizations and its members. There are two limitations: 1) an Adept II° of the Temple of Set cannot also be a member of another religious organization, and 2) no Setian may be a member of an organization which condones or takes part in the violation of society's laws to the detriment of society.

That first limitation has often been a subject for discussion by people who don't understand it or who want clarification. One clarification I posted to alt.pagan in 1996 was,

"The Temple of Set wouldn't care if a Setian chooses to participate in a Buddhist retreat, an Indian sweat lodge, a Thelemic Gnostic Mass, a Passover Seder, a Pagan circle, or whatever. Part of being an Adept Magician is being able to see and mesh with whatever magic is taking place, understanding the causes of the ceremony and participating in those causes as appropriate to our own Will.

"However, if someone claimed to seriously believe in the wheel of karma, and that Xeper is valueless because until we can learn to avoid all participation in this world we're doomed to ride that wheel cycle after cycle, then yes, that religious belief would be opposed to the Setian principles of Xeper, and that person would not be able to remain a member of the Temple of Set. The two philosophies are simply incompatible."

The REF document includes sections which examine our history regarding specific other organizations.

5.3 -- Why the Temple of Set?

The REF document examines the question "What does the Temple of Set have to offer?"

5.4 -- Our Reputation(s)

Lupo the Butcher, in his "alt.satanism FAQ file", states/stated: "The most vocal of groups which border upon Satanism, is the Temple of Set of Michael Aquino and friends, which splintered away from the Church of Satan in a disagreement over monetary policy. They have a number of nasty habits, including the public publishing of names, addresses and workplaces of former members as a harassment tactic, disinformation regarding Satanic and occult groups, including their own, and a good deal of "we are the one true way" posturing."

See the section on Satanism for a summary of the schism with the Church of Satan.

We do not normally publish the name, addresses, or any other information concerning former members. We do not harass former members. Thousands of exmembers have left the Temple of Set for many different reasons, without any activity such as Lupo complains about.

See the REF document for more information.

5.5 -- Pylons and Orders

5.5.1 -- Pylons of the Temple of Set

Setians who live in the same area sometimes organize a local pylon in which they can meet together regularly for discussions, study, ritual work, and other activities. See for a good discussion of local pylons within the Temple of Set.

In addition to local pylons, there are correspondence pylons which support the Xeper of Setians who wish to participate in group discussions and activities by correspondence.

5.5.2 -- Orders of the Temple of Set

IV° Setians, Masters of the Temple, may found Orders within the Temple of Set. If you were to think of the Temple of Set as a college of higher learning, the Orders could be seen as departments within the school, each concentrating on specific flavors of exploration. They are places for the Adept to specialize in pursuit of the specialized tools for their personal achievement. Some Orders, like the Order of the Vampyre or the Order of the Trapezoid, are well known beyond the boundaries of the Temple walls, while others have lower profiles.

The REF document includes more information, specifically concerning the Order of the Trapezoid.

5.6 -- The High Priest

  • The High Priest of the Temple of Set at this time is Ipsissimus Michael Aquino.
  • The High Priest is chosen by the Chairman of the Council of Nine, and serves indefinitely until he vacates the position or is removed from office by the Chairman.
  • The High Priest serves as the President of the corporation.

See the REF document for more information concerning the High Priest of Set

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