Concerning our Patron

by Don Webb
High Priest of Set

In a modern sophisticated age, it is surprising to come across any smart people who actually believe in a deity. In a greedy dog-eat-dog world, it is even more surprising that these seemingly smart and sane people would choose to believe in a deity that grants them no boons, and whose interest in them is a frankly Selfish one. As the High Priest of this Being, allow me to say a few things about the Patron of the Temple of Set, the god we honor as the Prince of Darkness. I will begin by looking at the words Darkness and Prince, and then at Set's Desires, and finally our Desires in Dealing with Him.


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The world is known to us through light. That is to say, we know the world, all that is the case, by our senses and those tools we have developed to make sense of our senses. Plain sensible people know that's a hill, that's the village, and that's the river. They were those things yesterday; they will be those things tomorrow. Their meanings are as clear to them as the continuity of their physical forms. But to some of our villagers there is another world: that of imagination and speculation. What if we built a bridge across the river, so that we could go trade with other villages? Their ideas are not things that can be seen in world of light; they exist in the matrix of Darkness, which is always larger than that of light. If they make their ideas real, they may be seen as great heroes (if the temper of the times is expansionist), or as great villains (if the times value staying at home). But in any case, their act of imagination projected into the world brought many possibilities -- many of which could never be Known -- such as when the grandson of one of the bridge-builders and one of the sons of another village put together their armies and forged an empire . . . Now that may be a good thing, because it created great art, or a bad thing because it brought great plagues as the germs of one small region passed to another. But it is a thing of Darkness -- of willfully letting that freest part of the Self out to Play in the world. Each novel human action brings more Darkness into the world without.

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The idea of a First, or Prince, of Darkness reflects our bridge-builder above. The first entity to act in a way not preordained or preconditioned by the physical laws of the universe brought the pattern of Freedom into the world. Various cultures have various "bad guy" gods that do this. Among the Dogon it was Ogo, which wasn't content to be a simple happy part of a greater whole. Among the Germanic people, Odhinn broke the law by killing his grandfather Ymir, and shaping the world from his corpse. Among the Egyptians, Set. The list can be made quite extensive, since the idea of one being that both introduced Chaos and then Ordered that Chaos in accordance with his will, is a fundamental human idea -- since we have all in our periods of rebelliousness, creativity, or courage had to do the same thing. But Setians view this as more than an archetypical figure seeking freedom, power, knowledge, and self-definition. We see the Prince of Darkness as the figure which set up the ripples of his action throughout the Cosmos from which that rarest of Cosmic substances, consciousness, comes from. We posit this figure, who in acting to be free causes others to be free, not because of the human need for something bigger than ourselves, but because we have experienced this action. I am sending ripples out right now.

Yes, that's right. I am writing this because I want to. It is helpful in defining my Understanding and Perception of the Prince of Darkness. I'll park this essay with my friend Balanone's Prince of Darkness page. Now you are reading it. Perhaps you get inspired to look at our documents; maybe you join. But you did this all of your free will. Then one night, talking with another Setian at one of Conclaves, maybe in Berlin, maybe New Orleans, maybe Sydney, you find that she joined too because of reading this little essay. Now who did the Work here -- Uncle Setnakt during his post-Halloween meditations in the Year XXXIII -- or you -- or the Prince of Darkness? I do not know where my ripple goes, but I know the ways of Magic -- it effects others. Yet they are also free. What I do this night for self-definition helps others do likewise, and sets up a "magical link" between them and me and the Prince of Darkness that defies the world of light. We put it thusly,

I Have Come Into Being, and by the Process of my Coming Into Being, the Process of Coming Into Being is Established.
or perhaps we use the Egyptian language, "Xepera Xeper Xeperu."

This is really a much better way to run a universe than being some sort of howling dictator -- because it brings the possibility of the new, of the Dark, of surprise and Joy.

Set has (at least) four uses for us. We provide self definition. We provide ideas that he could not have. We refine and expand darkness. We may in time Become suitable companions. Let us look at each of these notions in turn.

We provide self definition. If the only Free force in the Cosmos were one being, in the fullness of time, he would be the strongest force in the Cosmos -- but he would never decide who or what he was. There would be no examples of decisions being made, emotions tested, creativity unleashed. A god alone would become a moron god.

We provide ideas that he could not have. By allowing Freedom into the world, all ideas will eventually come into being. The process of self-evolution is fed by two things. One is self determination -- the Desire to Become greater than one is. The other is possibility, which requires more than one mind to produce. If you have ever profited from the notion of another, you have in a micro-cosmic way done what Set does with us.

We expand and refine Darkness. Hey, it was us that built that bridge, remember?

We may in time become suitable companions. This notion separates Setians from the rest of humanity. We are interested in the Prince of Darkness because we like to refine ourselves and change our world. We would like to do this on a greater basis than we currently have in the world. This desire can be expressed by simple means like getting more money and more education -- and by rather complex means of emotions and art -- and ultimately by Magic -- by learning to cause change by Will alone. This Quest -- which on the one hand is the most prideful, ridiculously arrogant path a person can take, since it violates the principle of the world of light (i.e., things shouldn't change) -- is also a very humbling notion when we consider how much self work we have to do to throw off the petty and disempowering notions of this world. But Setians thrive on paradox -- such internal paradoxes are essential to the Quest for Freedom, that we call the Left Hand Path.

'Tis not truth but doubt that shall set you free.

Now why would the Setian seek to act in accord with the Prince of Darkness' Will, other than the fact that he or she might want to drop in some day, so to speak?

The Setian does not seek to discover the Will of the Prince of Darkness out of fear, nor gratitude for his only gift -- the Desire to Become more than you are. The Setian looks to those ripples in history that speak of the Prince of Darkness' purpose of exporting Freedom into the objective universe. This is because such places and movements are already being conditioned in ways that accelerate the possibility of the Setian's own will. The place where the Prince of Darkness' Will is most strong in the world is within the Temple of Set. But any place where men and women work to better themselves, to create, to express themselves, is a sacred fane to the Prince of Darkness.

One's opportunity for Coming Into Being is greater in some venues than others, and one's ripples may spread farther if you toss your pebbles in a pond rather than in a puddle.

So in conclusion, my fellow villagers, I say we build the bridge, and name it Heropass, and we dedicate it to the Prince of Darkness. What say you?

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