The Temple of Set | WIKIPEDIA | APR 29, 2017
The Temple of Set is an occult initiatory order founded in 1975. A new religious movement and form of Western esotericism, the Temple espouses a religion known as Setianism, whose practitioners are called Setians. This is sometimes identified as a form of Satanism, although this term is not often embraced by Setians and is contested by some academics.
The Temple was established in the United States in 1975 by Michael Aquino, an American political scientist, military officer, and a high-ranking member of Anton LaVey‘s Church of Satan. Dissatisfied with the direction in which LaVey was taking the Church, Aquino resigned and – according to his own claim – embarked on a ritual to invoke Satan, who revealed to him a sacred text called The Book of Coming Forth by Night. According to Aquino, in this work Satan revealed his true name to be Set, which had been the name used by his followers in ancient Egypt. Aquino was joined in establishing the Temple by a number of other dissatisfied members of LaVey’s Church, and soon various Setian groups were established across the United States.
Setians believe that Set is the one real god and that he has aided humanity by giving them a questioning intellect, the “Black Flame”, which distinguishes them from other animal species. Set is held in high esteem as a teacher whose example is to be emulated but he is not worshipped as a deity. Highly individualistic in basis, the Temple promotes the idea that practitioners should seek self-deification and thus attain an immortality of consciousness. Setians believe in the existence of magic as a force which can be manipulated through ritual, however the nature of these rituals is not prescribed by the Temple. Specifically, Aquino described Setian practices as “black magic“, a term which he defines idiosyncratically.
Following initiation into the Temple, a Setian can proceed along a series of six degrees, each of which requires greater responsibilities to the group; as a result, most members remain in the first two degrees. Governed by a high priest or high priestess and a wider Council of Nine, the Temple is also divided into groups known as pylons, through which Setians can meet or correspond in order to advance their magical work in a particular area. Pylons of the Temple are now present in the United States, Australia, and Europe, with estimates placing the Temple’s membership between 200 and 500.