Temple of Set FAQ
||May 4, 2003
|| 1997-2003 Temple of Set
This is one man's FAQ document concerning the Temple of Set. Its information
is drawn from a number of resources, including electronic discussions,
hard copy correspondence, internal Temple of Set documents, etc.
This FAQ's answers are intentionally brief and concise, sometimes excessively
so, to keep this document's size down. More detailed information is available
in the companion document, Balanone's Temple of
Different people like browsing the web in different ways. Some want a
document like this one to be several different web pages, each loading
quickly. Others want one long document they can save, print, or scan through.
Both should be satisfied here. This file contains the full document. You
can also follow this link to view the Table of
Contents and each section as a web page of its own.
Qualifications: Balanone has been an active member of the Temple of Set
since early 1976, and so is intimately familiar with Setian philosophy
and practice. While this document is just one person's statement, and
not an official statement from/by the organization, this person has the
depth of experience to be reasonably confident in his accuracy. Corrections,
additions, and differences of opinion from other members of the Temple
of Set are more than welcome, and within reason all such will be included
in this document.
Revision history: See Balanone's Temple
of Set FAQ/REF Changes.
Table of Contents
1.0 -- Introduction
The Temple of Set is probably best described as an initiatory magical
order of the Left Hand Path, a description which probably doesn't mean
much to those without occult backgrounds.
Initiatory means the ToS advocates self-advancement
through a series of levels of self-knowledge and similar attributes.
Magical means that the ToS openly works with
magic (non-scientific cause and effect), not stage magic.
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
A slightly more detailed introduction can be found in the REF.
2.0 -- Philosophy
2.1 -- Xeper
Perhaps the best discussion of Xeper available online is Magus Don Webb's,
found at: http://www.xeper.org/pub/tos/articles/xeper2.html.
See the REF document for additional discussion. [March 30, 1998: This
essay is now also available at http://www.balanone.info/xeper2.html.]
- What do those necklaces and medallions mean?
The Temple of Set is an initiatory organization, dedicated to the
initiation and growth of its members.
That dedication to initiation, to the philosophy of Xeper, and to
Set, is represented by our primary symbol, the Pentagram of Set (a
point-down pentagram within a circle). To help our members identify
each other so we can work together, and to help them identify which
level of initiation has been achieved by each other, we wear this
symbol on different colored medallions, normally worn on necklaces
of some kind, at formal gatherings.
There are six levels of initiation recognized
within the Temple of Set, each with its specific color medallion.
- The first degree member wears a white medallion. This is a period
of trial membership, in which the member begins to explore our philosophies,
our practices, and our society. The member can decide whether our
organization is one which will help the member's personal growth,
and if not he is welcome to leave at any time, with our good wishes.
Likewise, during this period we determine whether the member will
function well within our society, will benefit from our activity,
and will eventually be able to help others in the organization with
their personal growth. If not, then their membership is terminated,
hopefully with no hard feelings. We title this degree "Setian,"
which is also the generic name for all of our members. The term
stands for all who pursue their self deification while in contact
with the philosophical and magical stream of the Temple.
- The second degree wears a red medallion. This is a member who
has completed the trial membership and has been found to be compatible
with and a valued contributor to the Temple of Set, just as we have
been found to be useful to the member's own growth. More, through
hard work the individual has opened him- or herself to the forces
of Becoming within the body-soul complex. This is a place of great
excitement and achievement. We Recognize our Adepts by the quality
of their adventures and projects. This is where we differ form most
occult schools that would award degrees based on knowledge and memory
feats. These members are free to work with our philosophies and
to participate in our activities to the fullest. More members are
in the second degree than any other level of initiation. We title
this degree "Adept," declaring them able to pursue any
and all goals applicable to their personal growth.
- The third degree wears a black medallion. This is a member who
not only 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.
This member has demonstrated abilities in working with and representing
Set and the Temple of Set. We title this degree "Priest."
Another way of putting this: the Third Degree Setian has become
Resonate with the Work of Set. He or she is directly empowered by
Set and charged him to expand the Setian experience -- this includes
everything form running the Temple, which belongs to its Priesthood,
to a variety of scholarly, artistic, or (obviously) magical endeavors
to increase the Setian mindscape. Third Degrees can represent the
Temple in most matters. If you have any questions concerning the
Temple of Set (the organization, our activities, beliefs, or members),
these members are the best qualified to answer your questions.
- The fourth degree wears a blue medallion. The Fourth Degree Setian
is the founder of a school of thought in the Temple, which may effect
the general philosophical and magical actions of mankind as well.
These schools of thought are called Orders.
Some such as 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 job of the Fourth Degree is the
discovery and articulation of communicable methods of Initiation.
The Orders bear the same relationship to the Temple as departments
do to a University. They are places for the Adept to specialize
in pursuit of the specialized tools for their personal achievement.
- The fifth wears a purple medallion. The sixth wears a gold medallion.
The distinctions between these grades of initiation are very meaningful
within the Temple of Set, but for most purposes you can consider
them as variations upon the fourth degree.
- Why do you turn the pentagram upside down?
or as firstname.lastname@example.org stated on alt.pagan on Jan 10, 1996, and I responded:
ft> I know some satanists would like to THINK they are
pagan, but if this is the case, why the need to desacrate the Pentagram
as they did the Cross? I know the pentagram is not central to all
pagan beliefs, but there is still no need for this. All pagan faiths
that I know of respect the symbols of other religions.
Agreed. So why do you turn the holy and glorious Pentagram wrong
side up? It's a symbol of dynamic balance, resting actively on one
point. Why do you have to turn it over with its all-important balance
point pointing meaninglessly up into the air?
There is additional discussion of initiation and the Temple's degree
system in the REF document.
2.3 -- Satanism
Is the Temple of Set a Satanic organization?
The Temple of Set as an organization was founded in 1975 by Dr. Michael
Aquino, in San Francisco. Its initial membership came from the Church
of Satan (that infamous "Satanic" organization of the carny
Anton LaVey), composed of CoS members who felt there was something real
and important about the magic they were exploring, and felt that Anton
LaVey's antics of that year were in contradiction to their own experiences.
The Temple of Set has grown a lot in scope and maturity in those twenty
Because of this history, and because of the many antinomian pursuits
followed by Setians, many people will call the Temple of Set "Satanic."
Many Setians do, too, but not all.
"Satan" is a name given to the Prince of Darkness, just like
"Set" is a name given to the Prince of Darkness. However, "Set"
is a name given by a religion which found Setian principles attractive
and noble, and which honored the Prince of Darkness. "Satan"
is a name given to the Prince of Darkness by Christianity out of fear
and revulsion. The Christian Satan is a twisted bastardization of the
true Prince of Darkness.
"Satanism" is a term used by many to describe the Left
Hand Path in the West. We are a proud part of the tradition of spiritual
dissent, differing philosophically from the Church of Satan. Their take
on the Left Hand Path is the Immanent Path wherein godhood is achieved
by the worship of the carnal ego with no possibility of personal immortality
save in some vague connection to the organic stream. We are followers
of the Transcendental path, wherein personal immortality is achievable
by a strengthening of the idealized Self. In an increasingly post-Christian
world, the term "Satanism" will become irrelevant.
More discussion concerning the Temple of Set and Satanism can be found
in the REF document. You may also be interested in essays concerning the
Prince of Darkness provided by Balanone (The Prince
of Darkness) and High Priest Don Webb (Concerning
2.4 -- Left Hand Path
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.
2.5 -- Metaphysics
This section is included only in the REF document.
2.6 -- Dogma vs Doctrine
The Temple of Set has no dogma, but it does have teachings. We're sometimes
accused of having dogma because of these teachings.
The REF document includes some discussion detailing the distinction I
see between doctrine and dogma.
There is some disagreement on this issue, primarily I believe because
people use different definitions for dogma. For example, in reviewing
a draft of this FAQ, Magus Don Webb, the High Priest, suggested I erred
in my statement above:
DW> Actually the Temple of Set does have dogma:
DW> 1. Being and Becoming are Good.
DW> 2. Being and Becoming can be enhanced by consciously chosen activities
DW> 3. The Temple of Set, if properly maintained and used as a tool,
can be used to obtain Being and Becoming.
DW> That's about it.
3.0 -- Religion
3.1 -- The Temple of Set as a Religion
Is the Temple of Set a religion?
Yes, although belief in the religion is not required of I° or II°
members. See the REF document for some discussion why I consider the Temple
of Set to be a religion.
- Fr. Ignatius asked on the Xepera-L mailing list, May 22, 1999:
If ToS is a "legally recognized" entity, is it then tax-exempt?
And are ToS Priests able to perform legally binding marriage ceremonies?
I was wondering because I know that gov't recognition of one's path
as a *real* religion has been an issue in the neo-pagan community
for quite a while.
Yes, from its initial incorporation, the Temple of Set is a legal
religious corporation within the State of California, and it is fully
tax exempt. (I believe most of us would gladly do away with the tax
exemption of all religious organizations, losing our own if it meant
that all Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Scientologist, and other religions
also paid their fair taxes. But as long as they are tax exempt, we'll
save our money this way also.)
Yes, Setian Priests are able to perform legally binding marriage
3.2 -- Set
Set is the most ancient name for the Prince of Darkness, given to the
Prince of Darkness in ancient (pre-dynastic) Egypt. Whether Set exists
as an independent metaphysical being, or whether he's a symbol for man's
most individualistic attributes, is a topic always under discussion somewhere
in the Temple of Set.
You may also be interested in essays concerning the Prince of Darkness
provided by Balanone (The Prince of Darkness) and
High Priest Don Webb (Concerning our Patron).
3.3 -- The Gift of Set
The Gift of Set means so many different things depending upon whom you
speak to. To some it's the gift of Intelligence, to some it's Consciousness,
to some it's the ability to step back from the current moment/place to
see/think about what's happening. To some it's the ability to work (or
at least conceive of) magic. etc. The Gift of Set is whatever happens
to separate us (those with potential) from animals (those without quite
as much potential), which is one of the grey areas that haven't been clarified
very well (some of us not seeing very much difference between humans and
There is more discussion of the Gift of Set in the REF document.
4.0 -- Magic
4.1 -- Black Magic
What is Black Magic? How does the Temple of Set teach it?
Black Magic is consciously-directed alteration of one's environment through
obscure natural (Lesser Black Magic) or non-natural (Medial Black Magic)
means, or apprehension of the Forms/Principles of the natural/non-natural
universe (Greater Black Magic). Black Magic inverts the formula of religion
from "Thy will be done!" to "My will be done!"
The Temple of Set teaches both theory and practice of LBM/MBM/GBM, along
with individual and social ethical considerations to which the Initiate
must be sensitive in order to use such magical knowledge creatively, constructively,
and responsibly. [Descriptions of "Black Magic" as involving
human or animal sacrifice, rape, or other illegal or reprehensible practices
are merely Judaeo/Christian propaganda, and have no basis in truth whatever.]
4.2 -- Ritual Practices
Setian ritual practice is generally not discussed in public forums. However,
some specific questions seem to require answers.
4.3 -- Occult Studies
Discussion of other occult studies (such as Astrology, Thelema and Crowley),
are found in the REF document.
5.0 -- The Organization
5.1 -- Membership in the Temple
Note: Most of these sections are explored in more depth in the REF document.
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.
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
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 email@example.com
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
From: Balanone <Balanone@geocities.com>, Date: Sun, 20
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.
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
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.
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
- whether there are any delays in the mail (especially for overseas
- 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 http://www.xeper.org/pub/tos/pylons/pylons.htm
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
6.0 -- Setians and Setianism
Setian is the generic term which applies to each member of the
Temple of Set. Setians is the term which applies to two or more
members, and to the entire membership together.
Setianism is a term which can be applied to the Setian philosophy,
the Setian religion, and/or the Setian way of life. Some (many?) Setians
prefer the terms "Setian philosophy," "Setian religion,"
and "Setian way of life" over the term "Setianism."
I find "Setianism" a convenient term to use when I am referring
specifically to the Setian way of life, or to any combination of these
6.1 -- Activities
What do Setians do? This topic is covered in the REF document.
6.2 -- Setians
6.2.1 -- Specific Setians
- Executive Director -- can be contacted through the Temple's postal
address, or through email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- High Priest -- Dr. Michael Aquino, High Priest
and founder of the Temple of Set, can be contacted through the Temple's
postal address or through email.
- Magus Don Webb, High Priest until he stepped down from that office
in 2002, can be contacted through the Temple's postal
address, or through email (email@example.com).
- Balanone, an active long-time member (and author
of this document), can be contacted through the Temple's postal
address or through email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
[One frequently asked question is why Balanone signs his email and posts
with "PP" below his name. As stated in April, 1993 on the
Base of Set echo and many other times, "That's as close as I can
get with this keyboard to the Egyptian hieroglyph for Shuti (the double
Maat feather), symbolizing my personal dedication to Balance."]
- A few others are mentioned in the REF document.
6.2.2 -- Questions about Setians
Are Setians Pagans? That's a question which depends heavily upon your
definition of "pagan." See the REF document for this discussion.
6.2.3 -- Imposters
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then how should you look
at people who claim to be members of the Temple of Set and aren't? If
you encounter someone online (or offline) who claims to be Setian, how
do you know if they really are?
Our High Priest, Magus Don Webb, offers an excellent answer in his essay
How to Spot a Setian. My personal answer is less
meaningful, but they're techniques you might find useful.
- All members of the Temple of Set can be identified physically by their
colored cloisonne point-down medallion, and
by their membership card (with expiration date). If you have physical
contact with someone who claims to be Setian but who can't show you
the membership card or medallion, that person is not a member.
June 2001: Recently we've seen a couple of medallions being auctioned
on Ebay. If someone has our medallion, that is not proof they are
currently a member, and maybe not proof they ever were. But if they
do not have a medallion, then they aren't a current member.
- All online members of the Priesthood have a xeper.org email address.
(Example: Priest Thomas White's email address within our domain is email@example.com)
Anyone claiming online to be a member of the Priesthood should be able
to supply their firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com email address, and
should be able to respond to any email sent to that address. Anyone
online who cannot give you an email address @xeper.org, or who cannot
answer mail sent to that address, is not a member of the Priesthood.
- The Executive Director's staff will confirm the membership of any
Setian who asks to have that membership confirmed. The member should
send the email from their email address of record to firstname.lastname@example.org
-- this email will be validated, and the confirmation will be sent to
any email address desired. Any person claiming to be a member online
but not willing or able to provide this confirmation is not a member.
While the Temple of Set and its members normally will not reveal, confirm,
or deny anyone's present or past membership in the Temple of Set, there
- If members indicate it's OK, such as through the request method above,
we'll confirm their membership.
- Some members are very open and public about their membership. We'll
confirm those members' status.
- In our view, people who publicly claim to be members, and aren't,
are claiming to be part of that second group. We will therefore provide
the information that such people are not members.
There have been a few people who fall into that last group, as identified
by members of our Priesthood. These include:
- Ravenwrld@aol.com -- I am told he has claimed to be the High Priest
of the Temple, and that he offers to sell the Crystal Tablet.
The High Priest of the Temple of Set at the time this person came to
our attention was Don Webb. The current High Priest is Michael Aquino.
No member of the Temple may sell their Tablet. (Past members may sell
the copy they received from us -- it's their property. However, they
can sell only that one copy -- they are not permitted to make additional
copies for sale.)
- Reverend77x@aol.com -- I am told he has claimed to be a IV° member
of the Temple of Set. He is not a member.
- Lilithdarkmoon@aol.com and/or email@example.com -- I am told she claims
to be a former member. She is not.
- firstname.lastname@example.org -- I am told he claims to be a member of the
Priesthood in "German Chamber" and claims as well that email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org
is actually Lilith Aquino. He is not a member. There is no "German Chamber."
Lilith Aquino does not use either of those two aliases on AOL.
- Xeper879631179@aol.com -- While this person has not yet claimed to
be a member of the Temple of Set, he apparently has proclaimed himself
the Magus of Xem. Xem is an Aeonic Word within the Aeon of Set, and
the Magus of Xem was Magus Ronald K. Barrett. This is not Magus Barrett,
and this person has no membership nor recognition within the Temple
Finally, on reading Magus Webb's How to Spot a Setian,
one Adept mentioned,
Along those lines, I have encountered those who claim that they
have been approached by a Setian, which tried to "recruit" them. I find
this very funny. This right here shows that they have no idea what they
are talking about. I guess it makes them feel good to tell others that
such a wonderful organization as ours was wanting them to be a member.
Anyone who really knows anything about the Temple would know that does
not go on.
I've asked a few, "and why would they want you?" Maybe not the polite
thing to say, but I can only laugh at these people.
The Temple of Set does not recruit. Individual members who feel that
their friends might benefit from membership might mention this to their
friends, but we do not ever try to recruit anyone, and don't even approach
those people who have no ties of friendship to us.
6.2.4 -- Who is a Setian?
Various people continue to call themselves Setian even though they are
not members of the Temple of Set. The question as asked on the Xepera-L
mailing list in May, 1999 was:
If one can be a *Satanist* without being a member of CoS, can
one be a *Setian* without being a member of ToS?
- If you mean "Can someone believe in the Prince of Darkness as Set
without being a member of the Temple?" Then yes, they can.
- If you mean "Can someone actively seek and accomplish Xeper without
being a member of the Temple of Set?" Then yes, they can.
- If you mean "Can someone practice Setian forms of magic without being
a member of the Temple of Set?" Then yes, they can.
- If you mean "Can someone be recognized as and called a Setian by theTemple
of Set's administration, Priesthood, or general membership without being
a member of the Temple of Set?" Then no, they cannot.
This evoked the question "Why not?" I responded with the following two
- Setian (n)
- A member of the Temple of Set.
- setian (adj)
- 1. action, statement, or belief inspired by the philosophy of Xeper
and/or the being or idea of Set. 2. action, statement, or belief compatible
with inspiration by the philosophy of Xeper and/or the being or idea
6.3 -- Why are we here?
"Here" may be any digital forum -- you may be reading this
on a web site, a newsgroup, or FTP archive. I've tried to generalize the
answer to apply to most situations. For that matter, "here"
may also apply to Pagan gatherings, meetings in hotels, new age fairs,
etc. These questions are examined in the REF document.
6.4 -- Miscellaneous
There isn't much in this section, and it all resides in the REF document
at this time.
7.0 -- Contact and Information
7.1 -- Formal and Official Contact
7.2 -- Informal Contact
- "My name is ... and i wish find a Setian Priest in my area to inquire
as to joining the Temple."
Information on how to join the Temple of Set is readily available
at the Temple's web site, by following the General
Information and Admissions Policies links.
To ask the Executive Director if she can help you contact a Priest
of Set in your area, a) find her email address
above, b) send her your request, including your postal address and/or
phone, so our local Priesthood can contact you (they may not have
- Electronic Mail mailing list(s)
is the only public mailing list hosted by Setians. Moderation is minimal,
topics can be anything of interest to Setians, and participation is
open to all who are not openly hostile to the Temple or to Setians.
2002: We have indefinitely closed the Xepera-L mailing list. We may
reopen it in the future; that decision has not yet been made.
- Internet newsgroups
alt.satanism is a newsgroup for discussions of satanic philosophy,
religion, organizations, activities, etc. Most Setians avoid the
newsgroup because of the high level of juvenile behavior that
we run into there. However, there are a few Setians who can be
contacted through that newsgroup.
alt.pagan attracts several Setians who belong to that community.
We prefer to avoid discussing simply Setian philosophy and religion
or Satanism in alt.pagan, since those are more appropriate to
alt.satanism, but the relationships between Setian philosophy
and religion and other Pagan philosophies and religions are on-topic
and suitable for that newsgroup.
soc.religion.paganism is a well-moderated newsgroup in which
the same topics can readily be discussed. There are probably fewer
Setians on this newsgroup than on the other two, but there should
be enough visiting soc.religion.paganism to hold a meaningful
discussion when necessary.
- FIDO/PODS echoes
The Setian Discussions echo (tagname:
SET, and previously named "Base of Set") was the only FTN
(Fido Technology Network) echo hosted by Setians concerning Setian
philosophy or the Temple of Set. Moderation was minimal, and topics
could be anything of interest to Setians. Participation was open to
all who were not openly hostile to the Temple or to Setians. This
echo was carried on the FIDO North America backbone, and by most major
hubs within PODS. It was carried in Australia by both FIDO and PODS,
and in Germany (and perhaps other areas of Europe) by PODS. Unfortunately
that echo closed down in 1999, and is no longer operational.
- World Wide Web sites and pages
- The Temple of Set's "official" World Wide Web site is
http://www.xeper.org; most sites dealing with
the Temple of Set can be found through links from this site.
- The Order of the Trapezoid maintains its own web site at http://www.trapezoid.org/
- FIDO/PODS bulletin board systems: There used to be quite a few bulletin
board systems owned and run by Setians, but it seems that all have them
have disbanded or gone to mail-only operations.
7.3 -- Friendly and Neutral Others
Though I've often quoted from others' responses to frequently asked questions,
still this document is just one person's compilation concerning the Temple
of Set. Anyone who needs a more comprehensive view should contact one
or more of the other Setians (above, or better through Xepera-l), and
perhaps one or more people who aren't Setian. A few people who are active
online, whose independent views concerning the Temple of Set at this time
appear to be informed and reasonable, are listed in the REF document.
Please note that neither I nor the Temple of Set have much influence over
nor agree with everything these people say.
7.4 -- Unfriendly Others
The REF document identifies a few people whose messages, documents, or
web pages you're likely to run into on the Internet, and who are biased
against the Temple of Set for a variety of reasons.
7.5 -- Getting More Information
- General Information Letter
The current General Information letter (including membership information
and policies) is available upon request. Write to: Executive Director,
Temple of Set, Post Office Box 470307, San Francisco, CA 94147, USA.
Or provide a postal - not E-mail - mailing address
There are copies of that letter floating around cyberspace, available
on various FTP sites and on BBSs. Unfortunately, most of them are
out of date, since the introductory letter is updated semi-regularly,
and the files on these unrelated sites aren't. The primary site known
and guaranteed to maintain a current copy is the WWW site maintained
by a Priest of Set, http://www.xeper.org.
- Computerized archives
Over the years, a number of other files pertaining to the Temple
of Set were made available. These were generally intended for limited
distribution, but over time were archived on various Internet and
FTN sites along with material about the Temple of Set which
did not originate from the Temple of Set. Many of these files
contain dated information; the accuracy and authenticity of these
is doubtful. In future revisions of this document, comments about
these files may be added (if you bring the need for same to our attention).
- However, be warned that a lot of files of questionable value are
floating around the 'net. Check the source for each document, and
if you have questions about its value, ask about it on the Xepera-l
mailing list. The REF document discusses at least one such example
- Archives hosted by Setians
This is the only FTP site both managed by a Priest of the Temple
of Set and dedicated to the Temple of Set at this time to our
knowledge. The reliability of other FTP sites will be lower
-- they will not be as accurate nor current (though admittedly,
we do not expend much effort to keep this FTP site current either
-- instead we maintain the WWW pages at http://www.xeper.org
since we believe they are of more general interest to more people).
As other Setian sites are identified they will be listed at
- Other FTP sites
- Obsolete FTP sites (no longer useful)
7.6 -- Those Stories About Us
Despite our general policy of keeping a low profile, sometimes rumors
about us do get spread, generally by people who dislike or fear us for
some reason (perhaps because so little is known about us, or simply because
of our non-Christian belief system, or for other reasons). If anyone (perhaps
someone else at a location of one of our formal meetings, 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 to give them the correct answers.
7.6.1 -- A Cult?
"Is this a cult?" No. Some people may define "cult"
to mean any non-Christian religion, and then yes, we don't believe in
the Christian religion. But most people reserve the word "cult"
to you mean something dangerous to society or its members, and no, we're
not a cult since we are beneficial to our members, and we're not anti-social
by any means.
The REF document contains more discussion on this topic.
7.6.2 -- Satanists?
"Are you Satanists?" A lot of people say yes, and a lot of
people say no. A lot of Setians say yes, and a lot of Setians say no.
See the REF document for this discussion.
7.6.3 -- Naziism and Fascism
Are you fascists? Nazis? No. See http://www.balanone.info/nazitrap.html or http://www.necronomi.com/magic/satanism/fascist.set.txt
[as of July 6, 1998, the necronomi.com copy was not found
online] for one member's discussion of this question.
7.6.4 -- Presidio
What about the Presidio stories?
On August 14, 1987 CE the San Francisco home of Lilith and Dr. Aquino
was raided by San Francisco Police officer Glen Pamfiloff on a search
warrant obtained as a consequence of the accusations of Army chaplain
Lawrence Adams-Thompson that the Aquinos had kidnapped and sexually abused
his stepdaughter as part of the Presidio of San Francisco day-care witch-hunt.
These claims were investigated in depth by the SFPD, the FBI, and the
US Army CID. No charges were ever made in any jurisdiction, and the evidence
has shown Dr. Aquino and Lilith Aquino to be innocent of any such activity.
Full details can be read in the alt.pagan post, dated Sun Jun 02, 22:14,
From : email@example.com, Subj : Re: Curio courts the CAW.
7.6.5 -- Other Occultists
- Why should Wiccans, Druids, and other types of Pagans defend those
who call themselves "Satanists" against the Christian majority?
I've never understood why Wiccans, Druids, and others might think
we want their defending. There are ethical and social reasons to do
it, and that's why Setians generally defend other Pagans against discrimination
and other forms of attack, but Setians and Satanists don't need others
to defend them -- Setians and Satanists would be happy if other Pagans
would simply stop buying Christianity's lies and attacking the Setians
and Satanists as if allied with Christianity's blind bigots.
There's a little more discussion of this in the REF document.
- "Are you witches?" That depends upon your definition of
a "witch." We do explore activities which many people would
call "magic," such as telepathy, divination, and methods of
strengthening our souls and spirits through mental and spiritual discipline.
However, modern witches usually believe that their magical powers come
from one or more gods or goddesses, and many Christians believe these
powers come from the devil. We don't believe in any such gods or goddesses
or devils. Most modern witches claim we are not witches.
- Perhaps the most important point to know and remember about us is
that we believe a primary requirement of self-improvement and individual
Xeper is to be honorable and ethical. We do not tolerate any illegal
activity. We do not tolerate any illegal drugs, and we frown upon excessive
use of legal substances like tobacco and alcohol. We believe in individual
freedoms, and respect everyone else's desire to live life the way they
want to, asking in exchange only the freedom to be able to live 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 the
hotel lobby, and we'll just talk for hours, about almost anything.
Some of our people will even sometimes forget to go to sleep, being
so wrapped 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 spend
time with Setians, you'll find that most of us smile a lot, honest
smiles, reflecting the enjoyment we find in life.
- What about Magda Graham? This is discussed in the REF document.
7.6.6 -- The Setian Illuminati
These topics are explored in the REF document.
8.0 -- Miscellaneous
8.1 -- Miscellaneous Links
8.2 -- FAQ/REF Sources
- Setian Discussions echo FAQ. author: Balanone,
version: Dec 30, 1996
- "More About the Temple of Set" web page. author: Balanone, version: Nov 25, 1996
- The alt.satanism FAQ file. author/editor: Lupo the Butcher, Version
2.3, January 7, 1996
- Temple of Set alt.satanism FAQ. author: Dr. Michael
Aquino, version: Oct 10, 1995
- Misc email from Xepera-l mailing list
- Misc email from newsgroups and echos
- This site:
- The Temple of Set:
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