People often misunderstand words, especially if the words are loaded or have some otherwise context by a large population. In such cases, often people resonate with their own reality, dismissive of any intention.
The word Satanism is a great example of this. I don’t care for the term today, as it tends to represent a philosophy that I’m not compatible with. The reason I’m not drawn to that word, is that the word is embraced today, by a people who seem to believe in nothing. Either they are political groups trying to incur the rage of the Christian right, or they are atheists who see Satan in symbolic form only.
Either way, the word Satan holds one to the Christian paradigm. One source of information on this subject is a letter written by Lilith Aquino (co-founder of the Temple of Set.)
The link above is the full letter.
“If you consider Satanism to be anti-Christian Devil worship, the answer is no. The Temple of Set practices a completely non-Christianized, positive ‘high Satanism’.”Lilith Aquino – https://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos618.htm
Set-Hen and Satan
The history of Set is of course ancient Egyptian. Set was at one time a revered God of the Egyptians – in time however this was changed. There were other cults that revered the dying God Osiris and the Goddess Isis instead, and as these took dominance in Egypt, Set was reframed as an evil God.
Some might be surprised by this next fact, but the word Satan comes from the Egyptian form “Set-Hen.” This was a title of Set. As the Hebrews were influenced by Egypt (during their stay there), they took this title “Set-Hen” to become their form of the adversary… that is, “Satan.”
“The Satanic religion proposes to raise the individual to personal godhood, fre from enslavement to any other ‘God’ (or gods). However this is a question not just of power, but also of ethics, morality, and psychological maturity. The parameters of philosophy and metaphysics extend far beyond the conceptual and symbolic limits of the Judaic/Christian tradition. The Temple of Set explores the ‘human equation’ and the metaphysical and psychological roots of the great Satanic/psyche-centered philosophies of history. The appeal of occultism is much the same as that of conventional religion: Logical positivism and scientific materialism, though they have made great strides towards explaining the ‘how’ of existence, have failed entirely to explain the why.”Lilith Aquino – https://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos618.htm
The explanation of “why” is beyond the scope of most science. Yet the “why” is an incredible depth to explore. It is the very nature of self, selfhood and godhood. As many a scientist will say, the why is the realm of philosophers.
But it is important to interject right here and note that the Temple of Set is not just a place of philosophical debate. These are not just a bunch of arm-chair philosophers. In my peek into the membership, public talks and books I’ve seen not only great thinkers, but occult magicians as well.
First Premise of the Temple of Set
“Conventional religions, with their colorful mythologies analyzed in terms of underlying philosophical principals, represent simply the primitive longing of man to feel ‘at one’ with the Universal harmony he perceives about him. The Black Magician rejects both the desirability of union with the Universe and any self-deceptive actions designed to create such an illusion. He/she has considered the existence of the individual psyche – the ‘core you’ of your conscious intelligence – and has taken satisfaction from its existence as something unlike anything else. The Black Magician desires this psyche to live, to experience, to continue. He/she does not wish to die – or to lose consciousness and identity in a larger, Universal consciousness (assuming that such exists). He/she wants to BE. This decision in favor of individual exisence is the first premise of the Temple of Set.”
I struggle sometimes with this notion, as I’ve come from a unity driven belief system for some time. Although, lately I’ve started to think that the force I’ve “felt” behind all paths I’ve been in, might not have been the sam “God,” but rather my own higher self.
When I read Lilith Aquino’s letter, I felt the need to express something and get it off my chest… the following letter is from me to a Temple of Set group regarding a cognition I had:
I started researching the LHP after reading something Mark wrote on FB. It inspired me, and I thought I’d take a deeper dive myself of the ToS and other LHP groups, to see what this is about.(me)
What has been interesting in my search, is that I have had to confront many ideas I’ve previously held…
One of the hardest walls I’ve had, is that when I left Christianity in 2004, I became a Buddhist, after that I was in a bunch of Hermetic orders, then I followed a dead Hindu guru, then a follower of some other paths. At one point I took stock of everything I touched, and thought, “why do I feel the same vibe…. same presence in all of it? Why does the magic work in all the systems?”
About 7 years ago, I thought the answer to that question, was there had to be a “single presence” behind it all. One computer, and each spiritual path a language to program it, so to speak. It didn’t quite explain Buddhism, since it had no concept of “God” and yet I felt that same presence there too.
It is recently, while contemplating, meditating and studying this material today that I started to wonder if it wasn’t “God” behind all those religions and spiritual movements… but perhaps it was me. Maybe I was feeling an extended form of “me” and that was empowering me to do the work and get a result… It also explained how mysticism/magic was working in all those ideologies (even Buddhism), not because a God was behind it all, but because my belief, intent and will was empowering it – and I was tapping into that extended form of “me” like everyone else in the groups, thinking it was an outside influence.
I don’t know if this is in alignment with the philosophy here… but it felt to me like the 4 levels of self described by Don Webb… and I have to say it’s an isolating feeling. Sometimes I feel great that I’ve had this cognition, and other times I feel like I woke out of a dream to find myself completely isolated from what I took comfort in.
There’s no real question here… but I have no one else to talk to about this. I thought I’d post the feelings here and see if it resonated with anyone, or if others have had similar cognitions.
I quoted myself above to show where I am coming from, and what I feel. This can be an isolating experience.
Second Premise of the Temple of Set
“The second premise of the Temple is that the psychecentric consciousness can evolve towards its own divinity through deliberate exercise of the intelligence and Will, a process of BECOMING or COMING INTO BEING (XEPER), whose roots may be found in the dialectic method expounded by Plato and the conscious exaltation of the Will proposed by Nietzsche.”Lilith Aquino – https://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos618.htm
This is a great excerpt above, as it gives the reader context for where the Temple of Set sources some of its influence. Directly here, we see that the dialectic method of Nietzsche is something for any aspiring Setian to investigate…. as is the concept of will espoused by Plato.
I suppose a common misunderstanding would be in those who assume that the Satanist or Setian is worshiping some external being. As I’ve found most Left-Hand-Path traditions expounding on this subject to object to this idea… that no worship of an external being is intended – even if they are theistic in nature. The external being is a template, a guide and sometimes offers assistance or guidance, but is not seeking the worship of its followers.
Desires and Destruction
A concern of mine has been the hedonist view of many occultists, especially those on the Left-Hand-Path. Yet it was a post by Mark Luskin from the Temple of Set that inspired me to research the LHP a bit closer. He wrote about the use of drugs and alcohol in ritual is strictly forbidden. I admired that stance.
Indeed, this sentiment is reflected by Lilith Aquino:
“In the Church of Satan this was taken to mean indulgence in all (legal) desires of the body and ego. Since many such desires are impulsive and destruc- tive, the COS found itself in an awkward position, which accelerated its eventual crisis and demise in 1975. The Temple of Set determined to preserve the principle of individualism, but to add to it the evolution- ary “higher self” aspirations of Aleister Crowley’s pre-OTO philosophy of Thelema. Glorification of the ego is not enough; it is the COMPLETE psyche, the entire Self or soul, which must be recognized, appreciated, and actualized. Dogma, – to include fixed ideology in any form – is repugnant to Setians. We strive rather towards an atmosphere of “best possible premises”, which are always subject to constructive, intel- ligent examination and criticism. Foolish, pretentious, or destructive egotism under the guise of exploration is neither respected nor endured.Lilith Aquino – https://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos618.htm
The Temple of Set seeks individualism, tempered with the expression of the Higher Self (HGA, expansive self, or whatever name it may fall under.)
In that way, one isn’t becoming a god, as their personality renders out in flesh… but instead the true nature of the soul is expanded beyond all of this – and that expansive self is what is being sought in its individuality.