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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 ideas.

6.1  Activities

What do Setians do?

  • The central Setian philosophy is Xeper. Much of our attention is therefore directed at finding and exploring ways of increasing our Xeper, of achieving various forms and amounts of Xeper.

    Several important methods of doing this involve communication, communication between Setians, and communications with others. Our public web sites are examples of communication with others, as is the Xepera-l mailing list we host.

    Other opportunities for Xeper include meetings, from informal get-togethers to local Pylon meetings, Order meetings, regional conclaves, and the annual International Conclave.

    Activities at such meetings include seminars, lectures, discussions, etc. Many such meetings are designed for or aimed at all members, and some of them will include only a handful of members, depending upon their interests.

    Like any organization, we also have organizational meetings, where we discuss the administrative workings and the future of the organization itself. We also enjoy chatting with each other informally, and spend a lot of unscheduled time doing just that at our organized gatherings.

    We've found that in addition to our meetings, one tool which is very helpful to our Xeper is that of ritual and psychodrama, the acting out of something symbolic of our progress and our goals. We therefore schedule several dramatic activities, again with varying sizes of participants. Many of these can be thought of as traditional rituals as found in many magical traditions, while others bear little resemblance to traditional magical rituals.

    We "dress up" in costume for these dramatic activities, and during those times we can look very strange indeed. If you happen to be at the site of one of our gatherings, and should happen to see a few dozen or so people in black robes, or a couple costumed as if they were ancient Egyptians, Vikings, Indians, or whatever, don't worry -- we're either going to or coming from one of those activities.

  • alt.satanism, May 23 '95, 21:14, From : Balanone, Subj : Adept Leaves Temple of Set

    On May 18, 1995, Peggy Nadramia wrote to All re: Re: Adept Leaves Temple of Set

    P > I have a question of Mr Scratch. It is asked out of
    P > curiosity, not hostility.

    P > A person joins the ToS and gains the degree of Adept. He now
    P > considers himself all the things you describe of that
    P > degree, Black magician, free, seeker after mysteries, etc.,
    P > but his interest in the organization flags. He stops
    P > writing to his Priest/mentor; he responds when others write
    P > to him, but only in brief. He attends no Conclaves, joins
    P > no Orders.

    P > How long does he get to remain in the Temple?

    My feed from internet seems to have delays, so Mr. Scratch may have already answered this. But if not...

    The not-so-hypothetical Adept described above can stay in the Temple of Set indefinitely, provided 1) he pays his annual dues, 2) he doesn't demonstrate any qualities (take any visible actions) which provoke a negative review.

    I've remained visible and active all my 19+ years, but I know of several Adepts who've been inactive for many years who are not visible, hopefully working away on their own, pursuing their Xeper, and just not telling anyone what they're doing. That's OK by me, and apparently also OK by the Temple's administration (though I believe we all hope that if they make any very significant discoveries that we can benefit from that they'll let us in on them).

  • Egyptian Studies

    • alt.satanism, Oct 24 '94, 09:10, From : Michael Aquino, Subj : Re: ToS question

      BS> I'm an egyptophile, I want as much information on egyptian
      BS> mythology as i can get. Is ToS a good source?

      Egyptology is just one of a number of Temple of Set interests, and you should not apply to the Temple if that is your sole focus. For a copy of the Temple's current General Information Letter, which explains what the Temple is and is not, write to: Executive Director, Temple of Set, P.O. Box 470307, San Francisco, CA 94147.

      Two sections of our reading list are entitled "Egyptian History" and "Egyptian Mythology", and contain a selection of works we have found most helpful and pertinent to our particular interests. This should not be confused with a general bibliography on Egyptology, which would be vast indeed. If you would like a copy of these two sections, drop a note to the ED.

      In general: Head for a good university library and help yourself to the "E"-box of the card catalogue. You should find a wealth of material. After you've done some reading, you will gradually develop a sense of what is reasonably objective and current.

      You might be interested in subscribing to _KMT_ magazine, which focuses on ancient Egypt. Write for info to: _KMT_, 1531 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94115.

    • Xepera-l, From: Setnakt, Wed Dec 04, '96, 08:04, Subj : Sources for Setian thought

      My favorite quick reference book for Egyptian gods and goddesses is:

      Hart, George. _A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses._ London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.

      A great book!

      I am going to abuse the list this once, and make a product recommendation.

      As far as books showing Setian thought, I will timidly recommend my latest book, _The Seven Faces of Darkness: Practical Typhonian Magic_ from Runa-Raven Press. It is analysis of the figure of Set-Typhon in the magical papyri and curse tablets of Late Antiquity with an explantion of Set, the Xeper formula from the Bremner-Rhind Papyrus and remarks on the Egyptian occult revival. It has an introduction form Michael A. Aquino.

      The cover says,

      "This book penetrates to the core of the Typhonian current active in the world today -- and does so by returning to the very fountainheads of Setian philosophy. Never before has anyone made the true Typhonian current more plain and objective, in practice or theory, than Don Webb does in _The Seven Faces of Darkness_."

      It's $16.00 + $1.50 P&H. It's published by Runa Raven Books, POB 557, Smithville, TX 78957.

    • Xepera-l, From: xina@netins.net, Fri Dec 13, '96, 10:00, responding to Sekhmet, Subj : Re: The Original Temple of Set

      >Does anyone know where I can find some information on the *original*
      >Priesthood of Set? Magus Webb?

      If you want information about Set's worship in the Ancient World, see "Set God of Confusion" by TeVelde. Set's worship centered around the city of Naqada in Egypt.

      See also the "Dictionary of Ancient Egypt" by Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson, in association with the British Museum, page 195-196, under 'Naqada', and page 264 under "Seth".

6.2  Setians

6.2.1  Specific Setians

  • Executive Director -- can be contacted through the Temple's postal address, or through email (balfaq.ed@xeper.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 (balfaq.dw@xeper.org).

  • Balanone -- this long-time member (and author of this document) can be contacted through the Temple's postal address or through email (balfaq@xeper.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."

  • Stephen Flowers / Edred Thorsson: Stephen Flowers, author of books on several topics within the occult, most notably the Runes and northern traditions, and now a publisher of books on the occult, discovered and joined the Temple of Set in the mid- 1980's. He was Recognized to the V° within the Temple of Set for his exploration and exposition of the Runes and Runa. He can be contacted at Post Office Box 7622; Austin, TX 78713.

    Because of his emphasis on northern traditions, and because of disagreements between various groups of Asatruar, Magus Flowers has been specifically targeted by rumors of Naziism.

  • What about....

    Sorry, but excepting a few very public members, most Setians are private individuals, and I respect that privacy. I don't reveal, confirm, or deny peoples' present or past membership in the Temple of Set unless a) they indicate that it's OK, or b) they attack the Temple of Set and their past membership and often the conditions of their departure seem to help explain their antagonism.

6.2.2  Questions about Setians

  • Are Setians Pagans?

    • alt.pagan, Jul 25 '95, 20:13, From : Balanone, Subj : Are Satanists welcome at pagan gatherings?

      On Jul 25, 1995,
      holzman@tezcat.com asked a good question during a discussion
      Re: Are Satanists welcome at pagan gatherings?

      hm> I agree, and would extend this to include nonPagans of any stripe
      hm> (including atheists). While anyone unfamiliar with your tradition
      hm> will be lost and potentially disruptive in a *formal* setting,
      hm> barring nonPagans of any sort from *informal* events should be
      hm> avoided unless there's a specific reason for it (i.e. creating a
      hm> particular flavor of "safe space.") Else we come off looking like
      hm> we've got something to hide.
      ht> By what definition of the word "Pagan" is a worshipper of
      ht> Set not one???

      Dan, having discussed this matter with pagans of all stripes for several years, I've encountered many, many different definitions of "pagan," and indeed Setians are not Pagans by a few of those definitions.

      For instance, if "Pagan" is defined as "someone who worships Gaia, the Earth, as a conscious, living being, a Goddess caring about the various life forms upon it," then Setians aren't Pagan by that definition.

      Obviously, very few Pagans define Paganism so narrowly, and by the majority of definitions Setians are Pagans (provided those definitions aren't intentionally limited to exclude Setians and others like them).

      Hold a gathering of "Gaia Worship" and Setians and others like them won't come -- there's no mutual benefit or interest. But hold a general Pagan gathering and there's almost always a very large and significant overlap of interest and mutual benefit. That's just the way our occult subculture is.

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 twhite @xeper.org) Anyone claiming online to be a member of the Priesthood should be able to supply their name@xeper.org or alias@xeper.org 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 confirm@xeper.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 are exceptions:

  • 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.
  • People who publicly claim to be members and aren't (in our view) 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 lilithvmp@aol.com -- I am told she claims to be a former member. She is not.
  • magussatanicus@aol.com -- I am told he claims to be a member of the Priesthood in "German Chamber" and claims as well that lilithdarkmoon@aol.com/lilithvmp@aol.com 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 of Set.

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?

My answer:

  • 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 definitions:

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 of Set

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.

  • The Temple of Set and all individual Setians focus our attention on various methods of self-improvement, on the creation of a better self. The primary goal of all Setian gatherings is to give us an opportunity to share our knowledge with each other.

    One of the many activities of self-improvement available to us today is the use of computer and network technology for improved communication between like-minded people. A goodly number of Setians take advantage of this technology, and participate in private (internal to the Temple of Set) and public newsgroups and mailing lists.

  • The World Wide Web:

    Much of our information shared is in the form of working documents, drafts, and other items which aren't "ready" to be shared with the world at large yet. Other of the information is heavily dependent upon language and symbolism which we've developed within the Temple of Set, and documents using such language and symbolism would be largely unintelligible outside the Temple. These documents are shared strictly within the Temple of Set.

    However, we also have some documentation which is suitable to be shared more broadly, and those of us interested in doing so are collecting or preparing such documents for display on the WWW.

    We tend to be a fairly proud group of people, and enjoy displaying what we think we know. One benefit to this is that others of intelligence can show us additional items of knowledge to advance our understandings, or can show us mistakes that we've made. We therefore welcome feedback on any documents which are included on this web site.

  • Newsgroups and Echoes -- See the discussions of newsgroups (alt.satanism, alt.pagan, and soc.religion.paganism, and the Setian Discussions echo.

  • Pagan Gatherings

    Many Setians consider themselves part of the larger Pagan community, and often participate in Pagan festivals and gatherings. Some Pagans have been uncomfortable with this.

    • The best answer I've seen to this discomfort was posted by donal@brewich.com in alt.pagan on July 24, 1995 (Subj: Re: Are Satanists welcome at pagan gatherings?):

      Now, getting to the subject at hand. Ellen brought up this subject over in tx.religion.pagan with a post if the "unsubstantiated rumor" that she had heard was true, that "Temple of Set members and other Satanists" had attended or were planning to attend CMA (Council of Magickal Arts) gatherings.

      She was told, rather immediately, that not only were they, as are any who would 'call themselves' Pagan, but that a few had been attending for years, either solitaire or as members of other groups. I, personally, evinced suprise that she would find this unusual or undesirable.

      The CoS crowd I regard with amusement, but as for the Temple of Set, I have known a few and count them my friends. They are welcome to any circle, or event, of mine.

    • Another post on this topic from the same time period: alt.pagan, Jul 27 '95, 13:01, From : Balanone, Subj : Are Satanists welcome at pagan gatherings?

      On Jul 26, 1995,
      pp003060@interramp.com wrote to All
      re: Re: Are Satanists welcome at pagan gatherings?

      pi> Remember that Satanism is a creation of 12- 13 century
      pi> Catholics. It is a perversion of Catholicism of the time,
      pi> and has nothing to do with Tradtional or Neo Paganism. So a
      pi> Satinist has no place in any pagan gathering.
      pi> I belive that most all pagans believe in some form of the
      pi> balance. So coming to terms with our darker natures is part
      pi> of respecing the balance.

      The "term" Satanism is a creation of 12-13 century Catholics. That term was applied to all sorts of people, including *all* people who today you would call traditional or neo-Pagan. By that definition a Satanist belongs in pagan gatherings, because by the 12-13 century definition they are Satanic gatherings.

      As for "most all pagans believe in some form of balance," most people would call me Satanist, due to my membership in the Temple of Set and my personal work dedicated to the Prince of Darkness. Within the Temple of Set I'm a member of the Order of Shuti, named after and inspired by the twin lion gods Shu and Tefnut, balance personified. Balance and all aspects of balance and imbalance are critically important to me. Therefore I'm Pagan to at least that degree.

      The answer therefore is yes, at least some Satanists should be welcome at Pagan gatherings. Again, it's a matter of which people would be welcome, not what labels they wear.

      Tell the truth: There are some hideous Pagans, those who claim and seem to worship pagan gods, who are so atrocious in behavior and impression that they'd not be welcome to a gathering because of their disruptive nature, yes? There are bound to be such, because that's the way people are. There are Satanists like that too. But there are others within Satanism that fit in well with Pagan activity.

      Invite or disinvite people based on who they are and what they do, not on which labels apply to them.

    • This then brings us to the frequently asked question, Are Setians Pagans?

6.4  Miscellaneous

  • What exactly is the policy concerning homosexuality in the Tos, I've heard rumors but I would like to clarify it with members if I may. (quoted in alt.satanism, in a response dated 10 Jun 94 17:32:39, From: Michael Aquino, responding to Kena@world.std.com, Subj: RE: Tos policy on homosexuals

    The Temple of Set's only policy is that sex involve only consenting adults. Beyond that we consider the entire subject a personal and private matter for each individual to resolve as he or she sees fit.

     

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