Temple of Set
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|Temple of Set|
The Temple of Set is an occultist organization following the left-hand path. Setians practice a religious philosophy of Self Initiation that involves the progressive refinement and improvement of themselves through the theoretical study and practical application of the Black Arts. This philosophy is summarized in the word Xeper, which is Egyptian and means "I have come into being."
The Temple of Set was reconsecrated in Santa Barbara, California during the summer solstice night of 21 – 22 June 1975, by Michael A. Aquino, in a "greater black magic" ritual that resulted in what believers regard as an inspired text titled The Book of Coming Forth by Night. Aquino later stated that the name of the text is an "evident negation" of the name of the Ancient Egyptian Book of Coming Forth by Day, also known as the Book of the Dead.
This Working became necessary when many Satanists, along with the majority of the Priesthood of the Church of Satan, left that organization because of administrative and philosophical disagreements with its founder Anton Szandor LaVey. The Temple of Set was incorporated in California that same year as a nonprofit church.
The Temple of Set holds an annual conclave where members of the Temple can come together to meet and exchange ideas. Workshops are held in which members discuss a wide variety of topics and activities. The conclave usually lasts about a week and is held in various global locations, though it usually takes place within the USA. There are also occasional regional gatherings, organized and attended by interested Setians, at their own initiative.
In addition to the international organization, the Temple sponsors initiatory Orders and local groups called Pylons. Pylons generally explore a wide range of metaphysical topics and exercises, since their members are determined largely by the accident of residence. Order members share specific interests, and Order activities therefore focus more deeply on these selected interests.
The Temple also makes available to members a variety of informational resources for individual reference as desired. The central of these resources is the Jewelled Tablets of Set which contain information relevant to the Degrees of the Organization. The very core of their teaching can be found within the material provided to the I* of the Temple, The Crystal Tablet of Set. All further volume in the series are built upon this document's foundation.
The Temple adheres to selective membership policies; fewer than half of all applicants are accepted for membership with the two year recognition period. The Temple's membership does have a fairly large turnover rate; most members leave eventually for a wide variety of reasons. Only a minority of members remain with the Temple more than a decade. Members pay a membership fee. The Temple admits members on all continents except Antarctica, though it is largely a U.S.-based organization.
All officers and workers within the Temple of Set are volunteers. Some receive reimbursement for expenses incurred for the Temple; none receive a salary. All officers are selected from within the Priesthood.
The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism": enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment, and initiation. This process, necessarily different and distinctive for each individual, is referred to within the Temple by the Egyptian hieroglyphic term Kheper[pronunciation?], or "Xeper" (a phonetic of _Xpr_), as the Temple of Set prefers to write it. Xeper is symbolized by the scarab beetle, significant of personal rebirth and immortality within the Temple of Set. The term is deemed central to Setian philosophy and practice, having been introduced at the founding of the Temple of Set in 1975, when Aquino made the claim that the Egyptian god Set communicated the word Xeper in the sense of "become" to him during the "North Solstice X Working" aka "The Santa Barbara Working." The Word was re-uttered in 1996 by Don Webb in the more focused translation "I have come into being."
Setians recognize several levels or degrees of initiation, and identify their members by their degree. These degrees are:
- Setian (First Degree)
- Adept (Second Degree)
- Priest / Priestess of Set (Third Degree)
- Magister / Magistra Templi (Fourth Degree)
- Magus / Maga (Fifth Degree)
- Ipsissimus / Ipsissima (Sixth Degree)
The Priesthood of the Temple of Set is restricted to members holding the Third Degree or higher. Full membership comes about on recognition to the second degree, which has a time frame of around two years. Recognition is performed by members of the priesthood, though it is up to the individual to find a priest to work with towards this end. However, there is no set criteria for recognition and no obligation for the priesthood to work with new initiates towards recognition.
- Aquino, Michael A. The Temple of Set, pp. 13–14, 178
- Aquino, Michael (2009). Church of Satan (PDF) (6th ed.). San Francisco: Temple of Set.
- "California Secretary of State - California Business Search - Corporation Search Results". Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- url = http://www.xeper.org/pub/gil/xp_FS_gil.htm
- KHPR 001: So you're thinking about joining the Temple of Set?
- "Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground". October 22, 1988.
- Webb, Don. Xeper: The Eternal Word of Set
- Aquino, Michael A. The Temple of Set
- Webb, Don (1996) The Seven Faces of Darkness: Practical Typhonian Magic. Runa Raven Press. ISBN 1-885972-07-5
- Flowers, Stephen Edred (1997). Lords of the Left Hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent. Runa Raven Press. ISBN 1-885972-08-3
- Webb, Don (1999). Uncle Setnakt's Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path. Runa Raven Press. ISBN 1-885972-10-5
- U.S. Department of the Army (ed.) (2002). "Temple of Set" in Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains. University Press of the Pacific. ISBN 0-89875-607-3
- Webb, Don (2004). Mysteries of the Temple of Set: Inner Teachings of the Left Hand Path. Runa Raven Press. ISBN 1-885972-27-X