Introduction to the Temple of Set
The Temple of Set is a religious organization founded in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and several other members who left the Church of Satan. It is based on the worship of the ancient Egyptian deity Set, who was traditionally viewed as a god of chaos, desert, storm, and foreigners. The Temple of Set describes itself as a left-hand path tradition, emphasizing individualism, self-deification, and personal development.
Philosophical and Theological Foundations
The central tenet of the Temple of Set is the worship and understanding of Set as the embodiment of isolate consciousness, which the organization considers to be the actual essence of each individual. This idea posits that every individual is a unique being with the potential for self-deification and that they are separated from the natural universe because of this divine essence.
Rituals and Practices
Like other esoteric organizations, the Temple of Set incorporates ritualistic practices into its belief system. These rituals are intended to refine one’s understanding of Set and to elevate the practitioner’s personal power and self-deification process. Initiates progress through varying degrees of involvement, each with its own set of teachings, rituals, and responsibilities.
Controversies and Criticisms
The Temple of Set, like many other new religious movements and occult organizations, has faced its share of controversies. Michael A. Aquino, its founder, was a public figure due to his military career and was involved in several investigations and accusations, though he was never formally charged or convicted. Some critics view the Temple of Set as an offshoot or even a competitor to the Church of Satan, leading to tensions between the two groups over the years.
Since its founding, the Temple of Set has evolved and splintered, with various individuals departing to form their own Setian or left-hand path organizations. The temple remains active, although it is secretive about its membership numbers and internal operations. Those interested in the Temple are encouraged to study its literature and, if they feel a genuine connection, to seek initiation.
The Temple of Set represents one of the many new religious movements of the 20th century that drew upon ancient religious symbols and deities to construct a modern spiritual path. Emphasizing individualism, personal empowerment, and the quest for self-deification, the Temple of Set provides its adherents with a distinct philosophical and ritualistic framework. Like all religious movements, it has been met with skepticism, criticism, and controversy but remains a significant part of the modern occult landscape.