četvrtak, 27. svibnja 2010.

Aquino, M. A. - Temple of Set (6th Draft)

In The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) L. Frank Baum had his imperiled hero Tip (the future Princess Ozma) tie together two sofas, palm branches, and the stuffed head of a gump (in Oz an elk-like creature) with rope and clothesline, sprinkle it with magic powder to bring it to life, and then use it to fly away to safety.1 Nevertheless, as evident from the improvised haste of its assembly, the gump was sorely wanting in ærodynamics, and only barely brought its passengers to a landing before falling apart. Tip granted its wish to be disassembled, though the stuffed head remained alive and continued to startle bypassers with comments throughout, presumably, the rest of the thirteen original Oz books. The Church of Satan, founded in 1966, was a bit like Baum’s gump. It was also thrown together in improvised haste from a variety of vaguely- or un-related concepts and then used to transport its riders on an unpredictably soaring, plunging, and haphazard journey throughout the next nine years until its own catastrophic crash in 1975. Like the gump, it did complete the journey; also like the gump, it is something of an amazement that it got off the ground at all, much less flew as long and as far as it did.2 The story of this “long, strange trip” is told in The Church of Satan, my companion history to The Temple of Set.
I make this point because the Temple of Set, when it was founded in 1975, was an entirely different phenomenon. Organizationally it had the benefit of the entire experience of the Church of Satan upon which to draw: to improve in part, to discard in part, and of course to disregard when building anew. Even more crucially the Temple had from its inception a crystal-clear definition and understanding of its metaphysical authenticity and license. Its evolution over the next quarter-century would see refinements in the organization and increasing exploration and enhancement of the philosophy, but the original bases of both would never change. The differences between the two organizations will also be mirrored in the contrast between The Church of Satan and The Temple of Set. The former is a roller-coaster ride of alternately serious, philosophical, humorous, tragic, ironic, heroic, embarrassing, frightening, and startling personalities, concepts, and events. “If I hadn’t lived through it myself,” more than one old Satanist has remarked to me upon reading The Church of Satan, “I would have found it almost too bizarre to believe.” The Temple of Set will not be such a rollicking reading experience, though I daresay it will be a substantially more searching and informative one. Its purpose is first to explain what the Temple is and how it came into being, then to show how its many Initiates have all contributed to the strengthening and refinement of that vision over subsequent years.
Certainly it has not all been a smooth, steady, unified climb to the stars. Both senior and junior Setians have had their flaws and failings as well as their talents and strengths, and as a consequence the Temple has had its share of failures along with its successes. But without exception each difficulty has been honestly confronted as a learning experience; the result has consequently been an institution that much more substantial and resilient. An additional distinction between the two books is that while the former can indeed claim to embrace the entire history of the Church of Satan, this book could never hope to fulfill a similar goal with regard to the Temple of Set. The Church of Satan was a fairly simple, linear story, to which a relatively small number of individuals made specialized contributions over a brief period of time. The Temple of Set may be more likened to an explosion within the heads of a great many individuals of rich and diverse backgrounds, yielding a mix of ideas that would constantly be shared, reconsidered, and compounded. The extent of this corpus of knowledge is already staggering, and of course still continues its exponential growth throughout a variety of communications and records systems. Among these are the Jeweled Tablets of Set standing reference volumes; the archives and continuing issues of the Scroll of Set newsletter; the Temple’s Internet public website and private “Intranet”; the documents and periodicals of the Temple’s many Orders, Elements, and Pylons; Temple and specialized reading lists, international  regional local conclave events, and the overwhelming amount of personal and interpersonal workings and dialogues involving individual Setians. When I undertook to write this Temple of Set, therefore, I knew immediately that its focus would need to be more a personal perspective, more an overview of what during the adventure of the Temple to date has seemed to me to be particularly notable: not just because of drama or colorfulness, but because it played some necessary or significant part in the unfolding of the adventure. It will, I think, also be my initiatory testament. As a comprehensive history, The Church of Satan can be read by anyone - Setian, Satanist, or profane - and be expected to reasonably communicate its story in proportion to the intelligence of each such reader. The Temple of Set presents a somewhat different problem. While I intend that this book be as direct and unambiguous as possible, Setian philosophy requires “initiatory consciousness” - not only an interest in the subject matter but both the intellectual and metaphysical capacity to comprehend it in its ultimate sense. Within the Temple, persons possessing such capacity are referred to as “Elect” and are deemed to have potential for
initiation. Those lacking it, best intentions notwithstanding, would find the initiatory experience bewildering, frustrating, and meaningless. Accordingly the Temple endeavors to not admit them, or to disaffiliate them as soon as possible if accidentally admitted. It is much the same with this book. There are aspects of it that may either enter your mind like flame or just leave you confused and annoyed. My pleasure in the former case;
my apologies in the latter. [Non]finally, The Temple of Set, like The Church of Satan for many years/editions, will be a “living book”, subject to any number of changes, additions, corrections, and updates as various knowledgeable readers comment upon it and/or I refine my own information and opinions. Check “www.xeper.org/maquino” occasionally for updated drafts/editions. The Church of Satan was not made available as a printed/.pdf ebook until it was a completed project [which took several years]. I have decided to handle The Temple of Set a bit differently. It will be uploaded to my webpage in .pdf format in successive piecemeal drafts until the whole thing is finally there. Along the way I will probably be updating, correcting, and revising earlier parts as appropriate. Accordingly I welcome readers’ questions, suggestions, and comments - though I must plead in advance that I may not be able to answer each personally. I can promise that each will be carefully read, and if appropriate used to improve the next update

394 Pages

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