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3.0  Religion

3.1  The Temple of Set as a Religion

Is the Temple of Set a religion?

  • The Temple of Set is a tax-exempt religious corporation.
  • On Jun 9, 1994, John Machate posted in the PODS ADF echo, and I responded:

    JM> As Coordinator of the Military Pagan Network, I have Classified
    JM> the Church of Satan as a Judeo-Christian Religion, and are not
    JM> listed in the MPN data base of groups. Temple of Set is listed as
    JM> an occult lodge since I have not seen any evidence that it is a
    JM> religion.


    What evidence would you wish to see to determine whether Setianism is a religion? (To many it's not -- it's primarily a philosophy and a way of life, but it is a religion to its priesthood and quite a few others. I am a member of that religion.)

    Have you seen the Institute for the Study of American Religion's _Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains_, published for the U.S Department of the Army?

    In the Temple of Set's entry, under the section "Basic Beliefs", we find:

    > The Temple considers itself to be consecrated by and dedicated to Set, originally an ancient Egyptian deity. One rival cult, that of Osiris whose myths were erroneously assumed to be "pan-Egyptian" by later civilizations portrayed Set as the god of evil. Setians themselves, however, did not then and do not now consider Set an evil figure, nor consider the Setian religion merely a refutation of conventional religion.

    Setians perceive the universe as a non-conscious but ordered environment within which Set has, over a period of millennia, altered the genetic development of at least one form of life to create a species humanity possessing an enhanced, self-conscious intelligence. The techniques and teachings of the Temple are designed to identify and develop this higher evolutionary potential in appropriate individuals.

    In my opinion, those two paragraphs describe a religion. Would you agree? Also in my opinion, while those two paragraphs are necessarily an over-simplification of the religion, they are accurate.

  • 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 ceremonies.

3.2  Set

  • SetSet 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 "higher" animals).

  • alt.satanism, 19 Mar 94 17:33:19, From:, Subj: Our Selves, our selves

    I've just been reading some fascinating documents from the Temple of Set, and have a few questions I'd be interested to hear from others about (Setians and non-Setians alike). If Set is the Platonic Form of Consciousness, is He the idea human? Will all fully Realized and Remanifested Setians become like Set? Wouldn't that be the case if Set is Perfected consciousness, all other beings whose consciousness is different be by definition imperfect? Wouldn't this then contradict the idea of the non-surrender of the Self, as two Selves be in essence the same Being? And is our consciousness, which is the Gift of Set, the same as our individuality? If so did Set make me in some primal era? Or was there a me with a sliver of Setian consciousness implanted in it?

  • alt.satanism, 24 Mar 94 21:05:19, From:, Subj: Re: Our Selves, our selves

    I haven't read much on the TOS, but I determine that the epitomy, that is the highest qualities of man are at the root of it. To not only aspire, but to acheive perfection is the setian ideal. Thus, SET is that which is most admirable in man/woman. I have the same question you have. Does a setian believe in lux or nox incarnata? What is the idea on reincarnation? How about another spiritual body pulling the strings on an earthly body? What about a ladder to the higher <G> or lower? Who cares?

  • alt.satanism, 27 Mar 94 11:37:57, From: Michael Aquino, Subj: RE: Our Selves, our selves

    (1) Unfamiliar with the terms "lux/nox incarnata".

    (2) Set is not "that which is most admirable in man/woman". Set is a _neter_ [or Platonic Form] distinct from any man/woman. The Gift of Set - individual, psychecentric consciousness, is itself neither "good" nor "evil".

    (3) Reincarnation does not occur, but the initiated psyche may continue its self-aware existence past the need for a body (which initially serves as a crutch with which to define itself in time/space).

    (4) Inherent in the Gift of Set is that it constitutes perfect discretion on the part of the recipient. Free will is necessarily non-string-pulled, as it were.

    (5) Who cares? True initiation is of significance only to the individual [and to Set].

  • alt.satanism, Tue, 29 Mar 94 07:56:41 -0500, From:, Subject: Re: Our Selves, our selves

    I have been re-reading Temple documents which have shed some light on my first question, as well as hearing helpful replies from other quarters. It appears to me that each Self is not necessarily identical to all other Selves, like all atman identical to other atman in Hindu thought. The Self, like the self, is a unique combination of events that happen to it _in_ timespace. 'Even reaching it's perfection, it still remains unique.

    The Gift of Set, as I understand it, is not our individual consciousness per se (Set didn't make me in some primal era), but the quality of consciousness. This is simply the tool by which the Dennis which already exists come to his full potential. There would have been a Dennis without the Gift, but a non-sentient Dennis.

3.4  Religious Setianism

On October 21, 1996, Magister Roger Whitaker sent an email to the internal Setian mailing list discussing religious Setianism. In April of 1998 I found that he published a copy on one of his web sites. I've copied that, edited it just a little, and placed it on my web site as


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