Temple of Set
The Temple of Set emerged during the period of internal
discord that almost destroyed the Church of Satan in the early
1970s. In 1972, Michael Aquino, an officer in the U.S. Army
and a priest in the church, critiqued the authoritarian leadership
of church founder Anton LaVey as well as his understanding
of Satanism. Claiming LaVey to be an atheist who did not
believe in the literal existence of Satan, Aquino left the church.
Three years later, in response to Aquino’s invocation, Satan appeared
under the guise of Set, the ancient Egyptian deity. Set
gave Aquino a mandate in the form of a book, The Book of Coming
Forth by Night, which authorized Aquino to found the Temple
of Set as the Church of Satan’s successor. The temple is
dedicated to Set, the corrupted legends of whom became the
basis of the Christian devil.
The temple teaches that the universe is a nonconscious environment
possessed of mechanical consequences. However, the
deity Set can on occasion violate the laws. Over the millennia,
Set has altered the genetic makeup of human beings in order
to produce an enhanced nonnatural intelligence. The temple
works to identify and develop this enhanced ability in selected
individuals. It is governed by a Council of Nine, which appoints
the high priest of Set. Members are organized into six initiatory
degrees Setian, Adept, Priest(ess) of Set, Master of the Temple,
Magus, and Ipsissimis.
The Temple of Set may be contacted at P.O. Box 470307,
San Francisco, CA 94147. It publishes the newsletter Scroll of
Set. While the work occurs primarily on the individual level, the
temple provides a variety of resources for the individual to develop
as a Setian.
Aquino, Michael A. The Crystal Tablet of Set. San Francisco
Temple of Set, 1985.
———. Temple of Set Reading List XIX. San Francisco Temple
of Set, 1984.
Scott, Gini Graham. The Magicians. New York Irvington
Publishers, 1983.