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Temple of Set
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- Not to be confused with temple of Seti I in Abydos, Egypt, in which you may find inscriptions known as the Abydos helicopter
The Temple of Set is an occult organization founded in 1975 by Michael Aquino. It has its roots in Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which Aquino and several other founders left over "philosophical differences". What this meant was that they felt that the Church of Satan was a circus sideshow, that LaVey was a huckster who was using the Church to line his own pockets, and that they wanted to practice serious occultism rather than the pseudo-Nietzschean philosophy of LaVey and the Church of Satan. For this reason and others, they distance themselves from the term "Satanism", using the term "Setian" instead, in reference to the Egyptian god Set.
The Temple of Set is an "initiatory" organization, meaning they have several degrees of membership, from I to VI. First degree (new) members are given the Crystal Tablet of Set, which contains their beliefs. The Temple of Set places emphasis on the concept of "Xeper" (an Egyptian-derived word) roughly meaning willed self-evolution. They see themselves as contrasting established Western religion's emphasis on doing God's will.
“”From our point of view, it really makes no difference whether you pray to father god or to a mother goddess or to an entire gaggle of gods and goddesses. You're still wishing the same thing, you're still wishing to be included, you're still wishing for their acceptance. You're waiting for them to put their arm or arms around you and say, "you belong, you are a part of us, you can relax, we will take care of you". The Satanists, the black magicians, […] do not seek to have our decisions and our morality approved or validated by any higher god or being. We take responsibility unto ourselves.
|—Michael Aquino, founder|
In Egyptian mythology, Set (also spelled Seth) was the god of the desert and of storms. He was in conflict with Osiris, Horus, and Isis. Osiris was seen as a bringer of civilization, and Set, his younger brother, murdered Osiris out of jealousy.
In the Temple of Set's interpretation, Set is seen as the original and most authentic archetype of the "dark" deities found in all religions, and Set's rebellion against Osiris is thus analogous to that of Satan against God and so on.
The Temple of Set draws heavily on works of Aleister Crowley and promotes the use of black magic. The Temple holds that black magic is not an inherently evil practice, just form of magic following the esoteric Left-Hand Path ("my will be done" rather than "thy will be done"). This ties into their emphasis on personal responsibility for spirituality.
The Temple of Set occasionally comes up in conspiracy theories regarding Aquino, who was also a Lt. Colonel in US Army intelligence and co-wrote a paper on psychological warfare called MindWar. This is often cited among the Satanic panic crowd as evidence of Satanist infiltration of the military, although since he was completely open about his beliefs, "infiltration" is probably the wrong word.