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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 form "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.

  • Do you sacrifice animals (or children)?

    Sacrifice, like prayer, assumes a gap between the divine and the human. Setians shun activities which keep them further from their own godhood. Those who seek energy outside of their minds and wills, are too weak for the practice of Black Magic.

    Apr 27, 1996, Alan Cabal: I cannot overemphasize my personal abhorrence of animal sacrifice. I do not think that it is the most efficient method of producing the energy necessary for such a rite. I would further submit that there are numerous hazards associated with such practices that outweigh any possible benefits of that type of technique. Esthetically, animal sacrifice is very crude and unrefined. Magickally, it is simply outdated.

    May 01, 1996, Black Wulf: Ritual methods that do not use animal sacrifice are well promoted within and without the Temple of Set. We have never engaged in animal sacrifice of any kind so there's no image to change. Any claims that we do any form of animal or blood sacrifice is fabricated by those trying to make a name for themselves.

  • Miscellaneous questions about ritual: asked a number of good questions in netmail and on alt.pagan in late '95 and early '96. One exchange included:

    gw> Do you use a circle for protection (and to hold in what you
    gw> want held in) when you're working?

    >No. There's nothing in the occult arena as powerful as I am
    >in my own space, so there's no need for protection.

    gw> So is that space protected? Do you use any sort of permanent
    gw> protection? IOW - You feel your space has been cleared of
    gw> negative influence permanently? How large is this space?

    Yes, I protect my space. Whether that protection is permanent or not is subject to debate -- I do strengthen that protection from time to time. How large? Large enough to contain me and mine.

    >> Do you invoke entities to help you?

    >Yes, I'll invoke/evoke entities when appropriate.

    gw> Is there someone you invoke regularly besides the Prince
    gw> of Darkness? Why do you invoke these other entities?

    I evoke Ma'at and Xepera quite regularly, and several other Egyptian neteru more frequently than others. My evocations tend to be Egyptian more than from other cultures, though I have worked with some European gods, and sometimes Cyote.

    gw> Do you ever invoke the Prince of Darkness?


    gw> When you invoke him, how do you know it's him? I'm not being
    gw> sarcastic at all with any of this, so don't ever be thinking that.
    gw> To explain, I think maybe it'd be best if I tell
    gw> you what I believe as a pantheist magician. I believe the
    gw> Universe is God (not the Xtian "God" in any way), who is not "out
    gw> there" waiting for us to pray to it, but contains all
    gw> the energies anyone could ever hope for, including all the
    gw> spirits. As one of these spirits, I am a god (note that I
    gw> hang in there with what I was taught in English classes and don't
    gw> care much if I'm PC on gender). I don't worship the
    gw> gods of any pantheons, since I believe they are of human
    gw> construction, but I do recognize that some entities may
    gw> choose to play god for anyone who wants them to. Therefore, I am
    gw> careful *not* to invoke anybody. On occasion I use
    gw> circles and ritual to raise and hold and discharge energy with
    gw> willed intent.. I have permanently protected my space.

    It's a fair question. If there is a powerful Prince of Darkness that I invoke and who answers my invocations, he's powerful enough to fool me in a wide variety of ways. If there's one like that, there could be several. So how do I know who/what I'm dealing with?

    I don't. Based upon the teachings within my tradition (Setianism), based upon my experiences with him, and based upon discussions with and feedback from others whom I respect in this area, I make the best determination I can.

    Occult/spiritual evidence that I've gathered indicates a consistency which supports the theory that I deal with one major being. The attitudes of that being are consistent with the Prince of Darkness as I know and understand him. I use this information and perspective as a working theory at least until something better comes along.

    gw> Would you call yourself a ceremonial magician?

    >Yes, though I'm less restricted in my ceremonies than most.

    gw> Could you, please, explain what you mean by this? In what
    gw> way are they restricted or are you not?

    Most ceremonial magicians are tied to specific forms of ritual, traditions of ritual. My tradition insists on originality, personal meaning, and to an extent eclecticism in ritual. I hardly ever repeat any ritual, and I'm always developing new concepts and techniques, though I do enjoy carrying forward some themes from one ritual to another related ritual.

  • Can any Setian invoke Set?

    From: Balanone, To: Diane Vera, Aug 06 '95, 10:51, private mailing list, Subj : Re: Spiritual goals

    >In most GBM rituals, you invoke contructs of
    >your own subjective universe into objective reality. Kind of like
    >shades or shadows of your own being. In some rare instants it might
    >indeed be possible to come into contact with an intelligence other
    >than yourself. I've never personally had that happen. Aquino claims
    >he has, but that is his own subjective experience.

    Dn> Mowry has told me that people within the Temple hold that
    Dn> nobody below the rank of Priest has the ability to "invoke"
    Dn> (which may or may not be the same thing as "come into
    Dn> contact with") Set. Can you comment on whether this is an
    Dn> accurate statement?

    All Setians are able to "invoke" Set, a term normally used to refer to formal ritual invocation. The invocation of Set is part of the sample ritual offered to all I* Setians in the _Crystal Tablet_, giving them text they can work from, a) for use in their own rituals whenever they wish, b) from which they can develop different invocations to Set if they wish.

    It's been the practice in every Pylon I've ever been a member of to have different Setians invoke Set on some sort of a flexible rotation basis, so everyone does it eventually. Priests of Set because of their advanced Initiation, Xeper, and experience do it "better" on average, and because of that they probably do it more often in the group setting, but II* and I* Setians can (and IMO should) invoke Set in group and private ritual.

    In one Pylon I remember, it was unofficial policy that whenever a new member joined the Pylon the first meeting's invocation would be done by a Priest. The next couple of invocations would be done by Adepts (at the next few meetings). Then perhaps one or more I* Setians would do the invocation, until the new member (now with four months or more of membership, having had the opportunity to read the _Crystal Tablet_, and having seen various types or methods of invocation with different texts) would invoke Set during the pylon ritual. IMO this "demonstration and involvement" method worked very well, and made all Setians in that pylon very comfortable and confident in their invocations of Set.

    Every international Conclave (any many regional Conclaves as well) include a I* & II* ritual, which III*+ Setians simply do not attend. These rituals invoke Set just like any other ritual will, and these invocations have been very successful and powerful indeed.

4.3  Occult Studies

4.3.1    Astrology

  • Base of Set echo, From: Balanone, To: Blaise, 23 Feb 93 20:01:09, Subj: Re: Astrology and ToS

    On 19 Feb 93 19:37:04, Blaise posted a message to Balanone concerning "Astrology and ToS"...

    B> Perhaps you might be able to satisfy my query as to the apparent
    B> dislike of astrology on the part of ToS. ...

    I'd not go so far as to say that the Temple of Set is anti-astrology itself, rather that Setians in general are anti-divination, in that the future can not be foretold with accuracy by any means other than examining the present and its trends.

    There have been and continue to be astrologers within the Temple of Set. Magistra W. (a founding member, currently on leave of absence from the Temple) is very much interested in astrology, modern and ancient. Priestess N. is also very dedicated to her pursuit of knowledge through astrology. There have been others, though these are the only two I know of within the Priesthood.

    The Executive Director and the entire central staff know of these, and don't have any bias against astrology as practiced by these two. Astrology is one of those occult arts which is very easily practiced from the RHP point of view, where the stars and planet "tell" the astrologer what's up, or what's going to be happening in the future.

    Instead, the approach taken by Setian astrologers is that astrology is a study of relationships, trends, and symbols. They use astrology's hints similarly to the way I use tarot, as a mechanism for unlocking the barriers to my own knowledge and action.

    My guess from your description is that you sounded very much like the common astrologer who reads the stars, consults the books, and makes pronouncements. That type of blind faith in astrology is not Setian.

    B> As astrology is the
    B> oldest of all occult studies and inspired the study of mathematics to
    B> the invention of calculus it amazes me that any occult organization
    B> would not only decide not to study it but to declare it unsound.

    How was astrology involved in the invention of calculus? I don't think Newton had any interest at all in astrology (though in astronomy, yes).

    And just because astrology may have been useful in the past, why should that mean we need to recognize it as being sound now? It appears that all directly useful information is now found within astronomy, which has left the superstition of astrology behind.

    Likewise, a flat-earth point of view was very useful, and without it we'd very likely not have the knowledge or techniques of surveying which are critical to today's society, but that doesn't mean we need to pay any attention to the flat-earth point of view today.

    If you find value in astrology, where is that value? What do you get out of it? How do you use it? Those are the questions you'd need to answer in order to show Setians that there is any value to your approach to astrology.

    In January, 2001, Tom Ace pointed me to which includes the paragraph (apparently quoted from Carl Sagan's Cosmos):

    Like Kepler, he was not immune to the superstitions of his day and had many encounters with mysticism, At the Stourbridge Fair in 1663, at age of twenty, he purchased a book on astrology, "out of a curiosity to see what there was in it." He read it until he came to an illustration which he could not understand, because he was ignorant of trigonometry. So he purchased a book on trigonometry but soon found himself unable to follow the geometric arguments. So he found a copy of Euclid's Elements of Geometry and began to read. Two years later he invented the differential calculus.
    Assuming the quote is accurate, and that Carl Sagan was correct, then yes, Newton had a short curiosity in astrology. That curiosity seems to have launched him in his mathematical work. But a) I don't see any justification for saying Newton was interested in astrology over any significant period of time, b) I don't see justification for saying that astrology inspired the study of mathematics in general, c) nor that astrology inspired the invention of calculus.

4.3.2    Thelema and Crowley

  • Setian Discussions echo, Mon Nov 25, 20:50, From : Alan Cabal, To : Patrick, Subj : Re: Aleister Crowley

    Pa> 1. I have been reading the posts put up here with interest, and noticed
    Pa> that whenever Aleister Crowley is mentioned, it is usually in a
    Pa> "disapproving" light. Is there a reason for this? I was under the
    Pa> assumption that he was a respected occultist. Is the Setian line in
    Pa> general against the works of Crowely, or is it like all Setian things... a
    Pa> matter for the individual to decide.
    Pa> 2. It has been mentioned that this is the "Aeon of Horus". Is this
    Pa> Correct? How does set fit into this Aeon? What is the Setian view of the
    Pa> concept of Horus? On Set and Horus's relationship. Is he viewed more as
    Pa> an individualistic force or deified or what? Is all of this really just up
    Pa> to the individualistic interpretaions of each Setite?

    Speaking strictly for myself, a recognized Adept of the Temple Of Set and one well-versed in Crowley's Work, I'd like to try to address part of that.

    Horus1. Crowley was ahead of his time, but very much trapped in it. It was necessary to "shake the world" to shatter the existing paradigm and unseal the books and secrets. He was unquestionably the William shakespeare of the "occult": prolific, brilliant, and unhesitatingly revealing. He was also (in modern psychiatric jargon) histrionic, grandiose, manipulative, infantile, and a malignant narcissist, incapable of forming and maintaining lasting relationships and hopelessly addicted to multiple substance abuse and overstimulation in general. So, like many great creative minds, he was something of a paradox. I love Picasso's work, too, but I wouldn't want him as a roommate.

    2. It is my impression that the Temple Of set views Aeonic structure as a series of paradigms to be transcended, as opposed to the Orthodox Thelemite view that the Aeons are part of a linear time scheme not unlike the Mayan Calendar. The Aeons would seem to be coterminous in Setian cosmology, with the Initiate flowing through them. Set's relationship to the Aeon Of Horus is interesting and complex. Crowley is quite ambiguous about it, but seems to imply that Set is the guiding force behind Aiwass, the messenger or voice behind the transmission of Liber AL. Certain revisionists (mainly Kenneth Grant) have gone off the deep end with this idea. The Temple Of set is somewhat more restrained in its approach, and while I know quite a bit about Crowley, I'm remarkably ignorant of scholarly Egyptology. There are others here who can better address the remainder of your query regarding the relationship between Horus and Set.


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