TRAPS AND TRAPEZOIDS PART I
– THE ONA AND THE TEMPLE OF SET –
As a witness to the long-standing enmity between ONA and The Temple of Set – I have taken it upon myself to delve into a parallel study of both in several veins – the first of which is merely a form-based comparison of the ideology of the two groups. I have always felt that both groups share far more in common than they seem to admit or notice – due to being constructed on the same traditional esoteric and exoteric principles of form that all groups and currents share as the source of their being.
In Part I my particular interest lies in examining/discussing the similarities between Xeper and the Acausal – the organizational structure of both groups, commonly shared views, and the advantages of adoption of forms by either group.
To my knowledge, there are only a handful of documents comparing the ONA to the TOS – comprising the selection of letters written by Anton Long and replied to by Dr. Michael Aquino that became The Satanic Letters of Stephen Brown as well as a treatise of the different Satanic currents, attitudes and groups and a direct comparison by Anton Long of the differences between ONA and the TOS called The Temple of Set: A Brief Satanic Analysis.
Whilst a Nexion of the ONA – THEM are not interested in championing one group over another and are detached from the outcome of this study. We, as inspired by the ONA, are interested only in dissolving the façade of forms to get to the bones beneath. That is the Only authentic way forward.
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding historical account of the divergent current of the TOS:]
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
+O+ In a similar fashion, the unity of three Temples in the 1960’s of Camlad, Temple of the Sun and the Noctulians – a previously underground sect of specialized knowledge of the Dark Gods Mythos, Sinister Tradition and Septenary Way became the Order of Nine Angles headed by AL, who codified and expanded the garbled records and smatterings of the Way into a coherent practical elucidation supplying over time the majority of the pre-fayen corpus of essays rituals and materials. Working underground until the late nineties the decision to take the ONA public and make its teachings available lead to a similar 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 complexity of this thriving movement would come to be the Living Sinister Tradition which presenced the Sinister through its initiates and Adepts as a symbiosis of Change that did not stay static but re-wrote itself as each initiate added their own insights, changes and wisdom to the collective pool of ONA resources. Like the TOS, the ONA attracts and suits promethean types striving to increase the collective evolution of humanity by creating a new individual through self-becoming. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding the Initiatory Elect standards of the TOS:] 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.
+O+ Likewise does the ONA make these demands of intellectual and metaphysical capacity ogf its prospective adherents and champions Elitism. Hostia, Naos, the Deofel Quintet – standard texts of the ONA were less apologetic than Aquino – though they also sought to break the complexity of their materials down into introductions and steps in as many cases – often the material presented was given no explanation or hinted at further mysteries that could be grasped only by the sagacious. The ONA does not welcome, or uses as it sees fit, those who do not possess this faculty of the Initiatory Elect as tools, mundane or means to and end. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding the non-finality or Ad Accumulum Infinitum of the TOS:] [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.
+O+ Here again does the ONA follow suit emphasizing its current as a ‘Living’ nexion or kollective of nexions which thrive and change as initiates travel the Way – learning, growing, overcoming – and updating, revising, continuously the exoteric and esoteric magic, method, form and mythos of the Order through its consequent nexions. Like the TOS the ONA spurns the trappings of dogma, aiming for a malleable, flexible current that allows changes to be made reflecting the journey of life and its ever-changing flux through individual achievements and realizations which (hopefully) culminate in wisdom. Great pains are taken to point out this ever-change – and that something written long ago or even yesterday may no longer be viewed as valid by the always changing/learning initiate even as footprints they leave in the sand may appear to be fresh and living statements by those who chance for the first time upon them – without a date to mark its timeline. Neither the TOS nor the ONA like the idea of things to be seen as set in stone.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding the Initiatory Elect standards of the TOS:]
As is detailed in The Church of Satan, three tensions and dilemmæ inherent in that institution came to a boiling point by early 1975. Among these: (1) Was the Church of Satan theistic or atheistic?
+O+ Because each individual is expected to discern the answers to this and in fact all other questions for themselves – the ONA’s current leaves room for both, either or neither pending the whim/geometry of the Initiate and the relevance of any belief to the aim of the Initiates dynamic sinister path. S/he may even leave room for all three to co-habit.+O+
(a) Did it believe in Satan and his fellow dæmons as actual intelligent, active, willful entities extent in time and space? Or did it disbelieve in the existence of such beings [along
with the Judæo-Christian God], and just use them for spooky window-dressing in rituals that were merely imaginative psychodramas?
+O+ Because each individual is expected to discern the answers to this and in fact all other questions for themselves – the ONA’s current leaves room for both, either or neither or more pending the whim/geometry of the Initiate and the relevance of any belief to the aim of the Initiates dynamic sinister path. +O+
(b) In this same vein, was there perhaps a “two-tiered” attitude within the Church, whereby its High Priest and Priesthood indeed privately believed in Satan and other dæmons, while at the same time presenting to the public an attitude of atheistic satire? Per this interpretation, ordinary members of the Church were initially/generally treated much as the public, yet selectively introduced to the deeper, true metaphysics as they might show themselves capable of understanding and accepting it.
+O+ Because each individual is expected to discern the answers to this and in fact all other questions for themselves – the ONA’s current leaves room for both, either or neither or more pending the whim/geometry of the Initiate and the relevance of any belief to the aim of the Initiates dynamic sinister path. +O+
(2) The original Church of Satan in San Francisco had been inaugurated, part seriously, part whimsically, by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1966 as largely a personal vehicle for advertisement and profit, based upon his colorful personality, extensive knowledge of the Black Arts and occultism generally, and atmospheric house in which to give lectures, hold meetings, and perform rituals. However, as over the years the Church expanded beyond San Francisco, through individuals and groups having little or no direct exposure to these specific original allures, it began to become more of an impersonal institution united by common beliefs and ideas. Its focus was indeed Satan; Anton was revered as his High Priest and Earthly deputy only. Correspondingly the decentralized Church behaved more like a nonprofit organization than a profitable business.
+O+ The same distaste or consternation that Aquino relates is shared by AL – who cites these factors as amongst those that prompted the ONA to surface into the limelight in the late 90’s to ‘reveal the pseuds’ for who they are and share the genuine tradition of the Sinister publicly in what he seemed to think was fast becoming a sycophantic circus. In both cases – the present state of a form (Satanism) prompted both Aquino and Long to take actions of their own to rectify the course as they saw fit. +O+
(3) The more the Church grew, and the more Anton himself became a well-known popular icon, the more withdrawn and private he became. In part this was understandably a reaction to years of being iconized, lionized, media-exploited, and sometimes threatened. He simply became weary of it, exhausted by the demands of having to constantly keep up his Mephistophelian glamor-image. Unfortunately this reclusiveness also extended to the Church of Satan itself beyond his old, familiar entourage in San Francisco. He gradually avoided direct contact with the more distant membership, which had the dual consequence of forcing them to rely more on their initiative and increasing his suspicion of their uncontrolled independence accordingly.
+O+ The ONA has always been very reclusive and secretive, with only the most determined of initiates making it to Shropshire to gain access to then-acting nexions, and later on only through diligence, showing promise and being contacted privately online by ONA associates and/or members. Long avoids direct contact with almost all internet based communicators and for the reasons cited in ONA: Organization and Structure maintains arms length distance, communicating through go-betweens and elected representatives or via one way posts on the Internets SONAK (Sinister ONA Kollective) points. The ONA could care less about creating suspicion or causing others to rely on their initiative with the desired aim that they would become uncontrolled independants, acting as cells in a mode of leaderless resistance.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding the reasons for the schism of the TOS from the COS:] These factors culminated first in Anton’s “Phase IV” policy paper to the Church, in which the formal standing and authority of non-entourage Church officials and groups were weakened in favor of an informal “Movement” whose preferential membership and influence would once again be Anton’s sole decision.3 His next, and as it turned out explosive action was to attempt to destroy the independent significance and structure of the Church’s initiatory degree system, by also making both the definition and the bestowal of such titles merely his personal whim.4
+O+ One can appreciate Aquino’s concern here over the guru mentality if indeed that is what Szandor began to exhibit. The conferring of titles within ONA is not performed by the Master (which title is not descriptive of this role) and there are no external ceremonies or celebrations of passing these milestones one sets for oneself.. The premise is that one either does – or they do not. If they do – then they will know if they have reached the respective level described – and perhaps more importantly, whether that title still matters to them.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding Aquino’s movements against the COS:] In terms of my personal involvement, The Church of Satan culminated with my June 10, 1975 letter to Anton and Diane LaVey rejecting what I regarded as their critical corruption of the Church of Satan, and simultaneous letter to the Church membership announcing my disavowal of the organization controlled by them. These were followed by many other Satanists’ resignations, either immediately or after days/weeks/months of waiting to see if Anton LaVey could or would explain and/or correct his startling policy decisions and announcements.
+O+ Whilst the particulars may be different it is worth noting that just as Aquino found fault with the model of the COS and moved to assert the independant position and foundation of the TOS to correct those faults – so too did the ONA find fault with the model of the TOS and moved to assert the independent position of the ONA to correct those faults – as did the TOT (Temple of THEM) find fault with the model of the ONA and moved to assert its independent position as THEM to correct those faults as no doubt the cycle will continue when somebody finds fault with one or more of the listed groups and moves to assert an independent position of their own… This story is not new, it is often just forgotten.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding Aquino’s movements against the COS:] Nevertheless I had to begin thinking about some sort of “reformed Church of Satan” to replace the corrupted one.
+O+ Here again the wheel turns back to its original position – just as Aquino saw his duty to correct the wayward direction of Satanism from the COS – so did AL see it as his duty to correct the wayward direction of Satanism from the TOS – here though – the chain is broken, wherein THEM and WSA352, both formed groups that did not abandon or disown the ONA but formed independent supports that made a new, stronger Satanic tripod. Though the cycle jostled through many changes and directions as it was stopped from taking its usual course – Ultimately, there was none of the previous attitude of revolution and a throwing away of the prevailing current – but instead a reformation that used the prevailing current in symbiosis. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding Aquinos inspiration and method for divining the Book of Coming Forth by Night:] I chose the night of June 21-22, X/1975 as an appropriate occasion for the working. The time/events following my June 10th letter to Anton and Diane had suggested to me that an ordinary solution was increasingly improbable, and that evening – as the Summer Solstice and anniversary of my own ordination to the Priesthood five years previously – seemed “traditionally” respectful. I cannot recall the date having any other significance to me at the time than this.
At midnight I was alone in my home at 302 East Calle Laureles, Santa Barbara – save only for my beloved Irish Setter, Brandy. As was my habit with GBM workings, I put a phonograph record on the turntable and set it to endlessly repeat. I chose a selection which I had never used before [and, out of personal regard for the result, have never used since]: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. My altar was located in the living room of the house. I opened the working in the traditional Satanic Mass, then spoke aloud the First Part of the Word of Set.10 I felt an impulse to enter my study – “the Sanctum” as I nicknamed it – and with Brandy curled up at my feet, sat down at my desk and took up pen and paper. Then, over the next four hours, I wrote down the words of The Book of Coming Forth by Night. The experience was neither one of “dictation” [as in Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law working] or of “automatic writing” after the spiritualist fashion. The thoughts, words, phrases seemed to me indistinct from my own, yet impressed me as both unique and necessary, as though no other sequence would do.
+O+ The manner in which Aquino describes his inspiration for the Book of Coming Forth By Night is perhaps one of the most contentious sticking points between the ONA and the TOS. What appears as a difference of opinion forms the fulcrum of change where new groups, ideas and ideologies are spawned. Without this Sinister Dialectic of agreement/disagreement there is no divergence from the Same – forms however all create shadows, Aquino’s confession of receiving his message from Set paved the way for the ONA to set up its counter-claim against divine intervention and emphasize its views that all such things arise from Man and that man should take responsibility for such interventions as his own. This amounts to a further denial of the concept of crediting ones achievements to God, by denying the credit of achievements to Satan – or any other entity. In this manner, using Aquinos Book as a tension, did they provide an opposite tension and their foundation for the promethean satanic spirit directly attributable to each individual not a god, of any kind. The paradox however for those who have examined this meeting of origin is that since ONA expects others to find their own answer in regards to who/what or if Satan, or indeed, Anything is – then they effectively lay no objective boundaries down on how this discovery may occur – depending on which statements of their manuscripts you accept are the more valid where contradiction occurs. Therefore Aquino’s experience of manifestation through Set cannot be questioned or challenged as inauthentic. Ultimately, it is with the ONA’s few objective accounts of what and how Satan is found that decry Aquino’s manifestation as inauthentic that the contradiction lies. Since this contradiction occurs – it is reasonable to assume that Long’s 23 syndrome clashed with Aquino’s 23 syndrome in a classic bifurcation of forms which requires various meeting-points where disagreements are found on certain matters in order to springboard off in its own direction. The majority of this perpetual movement is unconscious to many writers – who, due to being determined to plant and water a form or opinion, often fail to see the wood for the trees. It is difficult to determine whether this brief but occasionally re-flaring matter between ONA and the TOS on the authenticity of eachs currents was consciously foreseen as a necessity of growth for a new form or was completely missed in the engrossed engagement of wills to certify what Satanism is or isn’t.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding Aquinos thoughts on the inspiration and method for divining the Book of Coming Forth by Night:] In Chapter #1 I said that there was nothing overtly sensational, supernatural, or melodramatic about the Book of Coming Forth by Night working. I simply sat down and wrote it. It was not dictated to me by a materialized Egyptian god, nor did the words burn themselves into the pages like the fabled Hebrew Ten Commandments. The thoughts were “comfortable” ones, comprehensible to me within my preexisting frames of reference.
What, then, distinguished the Book of Coming Forth by Night from a mere meditation or exercise in creative writing? No more and no less than a sensation I had then, and conviction ever since, that something beyond Michael Aquino was generating it. In his excellent work The Psychology of Anomalous Experience, Graham Reed (Professor of Psychology at York University, Canada) surveys the many types of human thought-experiences beyond the ordinary emotional or rational. “Anamolous,” he begins, “means irregular, distorted, or unusual”.11 He goes on to note that these classifications may be in the individual’s own opinion, or in that of parts or the whole of his surrounding society. While some such experiences may indeed be symptoms of various forms of mental illness, others are quite routinely a function of healthy thinking and are not at all pathological. [further down] …The Book of Coming Forth by Night fits Reed’s definition of an “experience of self/second type/revelation anomaly”, but does not exhibit or depend upon the two sub- features described above. It has been extensively and exhaustively examined, and compared to other perspectives on reality, by many Setians [and nonSetians] over the decades – and again here in Appendix #3. Also it has apparently passed well the test of time as a stand-alone document, requiring neither sequel nor supplement to retain its usefulness and relevance to Setian philosophy. Now perhaps I may productively return to my own sensation, reaction, and opinion the morning of June 22, 1975.
+O+ No exact definition or source is ever given by Aquino as to the origin of the Book of Coming Forth by Night, rather he traverses several options and leave the question open Routinely, as with Long and also with Myatt, do both authors continuously pause in their assertions to pass judgement on their own perspicacity and the source of their expressions. Briefly, Aquino touches on such subjects as Anomalous Experiences and muses on various parallel experiences cited by other authors and records as to what he himself went through to narrow down or at least explicate the vague manner in which his realizations came to him but does not categorically state how. So too do Long and Myatt continuously ruminate on the source and wonder of the ‘Numinous’ and the ‘Acausal’ as something that speaks/spoke through them in a myriad of ways to express the Sinister and the Pathei-Mathos of Life. Both men leave the source of their inspiration open though one professes his faith in the Numinous the other in Set – the action is the same in that they believe in an supranatural force that acts to speak through them. Each of the men remain convinced that their path is the authentic one and where the forms tensioned in opposites meet of their respective creations, I.e. human sacrifice for and against, they clash in an effort to dominate a phantom objective sphere. What is effectively occurring between the ONA and the TOS on an esoteric level is not merely disagreement – it only appears as disagreement in its outer personal manifestation – but is in fact a secret symbiosis with the ONA and TOS using one another to champion themselves in a tension of opposites.
As is the case with all groups that are built with forms – and only through forms can a group exist or be tangible or visible through those forms to others – each of those forms has a corresponding shadow. When you begin using forms you suddenly become aware of the limitations they bring with them and the duality built into the nature of language and communication. Often, you cannot champion one thing without excluding another. And you cannot exclude something, without championing another. Some forms are destined to fight with their shadow – as is the case in regards to the matter of human sacrifice. But what you champion depends on your 23 syndrome. +O+
Extract from TOSd8 regarding Aquinos thoughts on the inspiration and method for divining the Book of Coming Forth by Night:] I did, however, have two immediate impressions: one, that it was authentic – what it claimed to be – a communication from the Egyptian god Set; two, that I myself must take it wholly and sincerely to heart. Even today, after all these years of examination of and reflection upon the Book of Coming Forth by Night, I cannot explain or defend these convictions, but simply recall them.
In his “Preliminary Remarks” to his Book 4, Part I, Aleister Crowley discussed at some length the ecstatic vision which each founder of a religion seemed at one point in his life to experience:
+O+ The ONA’s criticism of the TOS was largely in what they saw as Aquino’s acceptance of his role as a chosen one, ordained by Set and what they refer to as his pronouncement of an ‘infernal mandate’. Many, many years have passed since the Satanic Letters of Stephen Brown holding these allegations were written – but it is worth noting that the ONA still maintains and publishes the occasional manuscript that criticizes Aquino for the same and other aspects of his Setian Empire. Why?
The reasons that might be given by either side are irrelevant in the study of form. The fact of the matter is that the ONA and TOS are still locked in a symbiosis, struggling for that same coveted objective space of the authentic. If the ONA changes it mind regarding the TOS it loses the tension it gains and has gained by pushing against certain forms of the TOS. And vice-versa. Having enemies is often seen as a moral happening and is caused by a struggle for space on a perceived objective stage – and rarely understood as a necessary alchemical ingredient for overcoming or creating stability for a new or counter form. This principle is actively used by the United States which has a long list of power-words from Witches, to Communists/Reds, Terorrists, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Al Qaeda and so on to create the necessary tension to empower its opposing forms. Alchemy is often dismissed as an ancient nonsense or back-hand complimented as the precursor of medicine but it is no less relevant or powerful than it was when its use was at its height – because it is so close to the truth.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding Aquinos opening a Door:] As mentioned at the beginning of Chapter #1, the Church of Satan had struggled for the entire decade of its existence with the central, inevitable issue of the reality of the supernatural, or more precisely the metaphysical. The puerile myths and images of the world’s conventional religions we had long since dismissed as worthless nonsense – indeed, as pertaining to their devils and demons, the stuff for amusing, spooky psychodrama, sarcastic lampoon, and occasionally Lesser Black Magical control of gullible minds still psychologically enslaved to superstition.
Yet within carefully-crafted magical ritual environments, some Satanists had also sensed a reality beyond that apparent to the ordinary senses.
+O+ Here, as in ONA manuscripts, Aquino matches the negative form using marked language of disdain to abstract the approach of the COS, against a new positive form he subtly suggests to be more exciting and authentic. This is the same tension of opposites that re-occurs in the creation of all forms, and without which, new forms cannot emerge. The switch between individual and collective validation, I.e. between individual assertions or -I- and group assertions such as -we- or in this case -some- is very often used so that the authors claims are more likely to be accepted as coming from a wider source than simply themselves. This is a curious habit of all (occult) authors putting forth views, that I have read.. This clue led me to the assumption that I speak alternately for my sense of the Collective and the Individual in a mostly unconscious secret language that betrays the authors subconscious intent. It should be apparent that this is not isolated to Aquino, Long or the Occult – reading just a few text books reveals it to be a common practice by almost anyone who writes with something to prove. Since it is questionable whether one person Can speak for the collective – I merely wonder whether this switch has another purpose. My theory is on-going. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding Aquinos on “Gods“:] This was an entirely new and positive form of “Satanism” that had almost nothing in common with traditional “Devil worship” except the preliminary seriousness of formal atmospheres. It was a chill that went up one’s spine when commencing, then culminating a Black Magical working. We were not just play-acting; we had really opened, or at least begun to open a door which profane humanity had only vaguely imagined to exist. What we would see when we got it fully open we did not know; we only sensed that, for all of its faults and failings, the Church of Satan had somehow managed to discover its key.
For me, the Book of Coming Forth by Night was the event that flung that door wide open. I now knew of a certainty that there was a reality beyond the four-dimensional, and that within it existed the actual centers of consciousness which mankind had dimly imagined as “gods”. Pythagoras and Plato had come closer to them as Forms or Principles, and the ancient Egyptians closest of all as neteru.
+O+ The obvious parallels between Aquinos realization of opening a door are matched very closely with ONA’s explication of the phenomena of the connection or gates formed by the meeting place of causal and acausal space to form nexions. Both seek to explain a problem in the present perception of time and space in their work. Aquino marks Gods in “ “ to indicate a reclassification may be in order following his experiences – just as the ONA goes to great pains to elucidate the inexact nature of acausal beings and Dark Gods. In effect both TOS and ONA see something markedly Wrong with the statement and understanding of Gods in relation to their occult/esoteric findings and act to re-classify the meaning.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 regarding Aquinos core being affected:]
This realization forever transformed the core of my own consciousness, of course, as I’m sure it would that of anyone else undergoing the same shock. I knew now that physical extension in time/space was merely part of a much greater whole whose Mysteries awaited beyond.
+O+ Both Long under ONA mythos and Myatt under Numinous mythos relate this same transformation – as do I in my own experiences. We can see by the few passages I have extracted already – that in esoteric and even exoteric terms both men are very similar in their Archetypal Energy and Experiences. we may even assume as a temporary speculation that it is this Archetype that will be embodied in those destined to make contact with them to continue the turning of the wheel. Szandor possessed this Archetypal resonance too as did many of those whom inspired him to ground and found the COS. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquinos thoughts on The Book of Coming Forth by Night and the similarity of NAOS:] I simultaneously realized that, as Crowley had observed in Book 4 above, such an illumination – there is no better word for it – cannot possibly be described or explained to intellects as yet within the purely-material realm of consciousness. It would be futile, even dangerous to try, as in H.G. Wells’ famous parable of The Country of the Blind.
There was, however, another aspect of the Book of Coming Forth by Night which was both communicable and practical. It pointed the way to a unique path of self-realization and ennoblement that any suitably-intelligent individual could decide to pursue. It was not necessary to comprehend its origin or ultimate implication – just its existence and availability. The Grail was now there to be grasped and drunk from, for any with the awareness, courage, and resolve to do so.
+O+ An identical attitude, is possessed by the ONA in regards to those with the right stuff being able to make something of themselves via the Septenary Way if they so choose now that the Way is available to all. It is in fact expressed throughout the decades long array of treatises written by the ONA including its former core guide – NAOS. It is related that those with the sagacity determination and arete as explained in the Introductions to Satanism will survive, thrive and succeed – those that do not, will not and are irrelevant. Just as Aquino calls his book a grail now there to be grasped and drunk from, so to do the ONA state exactly the same about the Septenary Way. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 on Aquinos apprehensions of the Book as a grail anyone can try to use“:] And so it has been these thirty years hence. Many thousands of humans have undertaken the adventure invited by the Book of Coming Forth by Night – some with more success than others, but all, I think, awakened and energized by their encounter. There is, unfortunately, a less-pleasant side to this phenomenon. Some aspirants have found themselves unprepared to step beyond a purely-conventional frame of intellectual existence. In such cases the strengthening of consciousness can evoke, as in the science-fiction film Forbidden Planet, “monsters of the id” capable of psychological harm to themselves or others. As it has learned more about such dangers over the years, the Temple of Set has endeavored to dissuade such personalities from seeking initiation, or shortstopping an effort that seems to be miscarrying in ominous directions. I daresay this will remain one of the Temple’s more important and compassionate responsibilities as long as it exists.
+O+ Again, remarkable similarity if viewed as a separate occurrence, remarkable insight if viewed as actions stemming from the same archetype possessing both men. The ONA has always exhorted the necessity of practical learning and challenges as opposed to mere speculative theory and academia. The slight difference, and only a matter of degree here, is in the paint – whilst the TOS explains that it wishes to let down those who don’t make the grade gently by suggesting its important compassionate duty is to carefully weed out the weak – the ONA expresses hard disdain and scorn for those who cannot keep up their tread on the Sinister Path. Yet, the ONA does in fact provide such cushions, by writing about its attitude of scorn and making it accessible to any who might wish to enter it, beforehand, it forewarns people that it will not tolerate weaklings or dilettantes much the same way TOS warns the same.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 on Aquinos reaction to his Book and the structure it provided for his work] This text was so meaningful to me that I have since ordered my life and philosophy by its principles. The other founders of the Temple of Set accorded it a similar trust and respect. Even though they had not participated in the working itself, many remarked, they felt that the text itself carried its own aura of authenticity and conviction. In the years that followed, countless others have been moved by it in a similar fashion.
+O+ The same can be said here of Long being inspired by Greek Literature and Mythology, or Myatt by the behaviour, culture and demeanour of the Greeks, which principles and virtues characterize dozens of ONA manuscripts from the earliest known writings to the most recent. Here the 23 syndrome that captures one expresses it remarkable power – for it is largely irrelevant how authentic a form is considered to be by outsiders and only by its adoptee – for that syndrome will, carried through to its conclusions and extremity, causes that form to pool in its greatest possible concentration – through which, and only through which, can new forms be sufficiently anchored in symbiosis by pushing hard against it. The more Rigid a form is, the harder one can push against it and develop a form of equal strength. That is why the ONA and TOS utilize each other esoterically – but despise one another exoterically. Should be apparent though, that this is not the only form ONA pushes against, or that TOS pushes against but that there are hundreds of thousands comprising the Matrix that form this invisible but crucial cyclical intricate hierosgamos of Change.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquinos resignation to the authenticity of the Book] As for the text itself, I am content to comment upon it as best I can, then let others judge it as they will. For me it is now, as then, a simple, beautiful, and purposeful statement from the sentient being whom mankind has loved, hated, worshipped, cursed, praised, and reviled as the Prince of Darkness. To echo the words of G.B. Shaw in The Devil’s Disciple: “I promised him my soul, and swore an oath that I would stand up for him in this world and stand by him in the next.”This remains my oath today.
+O+ Yet again Long and Myatt and ONA express at various stages and degree these same sentiments of being unable to ascertain the origin of the source of their genius, creation or inspiration for their resulting exoteric forms and the feeble attempts by each author to capture the true numen of their forms – leaving it open for others to judge. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquinos attempt to move away from Judaeo Christianity via Egyptian Iconography] A focus upon ancient Egyptian philosophy, religion, and culture, however, presented the fledgling Temple of Set with a different, and equally formidable array of problems. The topic of ancient Egypt generally has been one of both exhaustive examination by and contentious debate between conventional Egyptologists and independent investigators. The former group generally agree that Egypt was simply an agricultural society comparable to that of other Mediterranean/Near-Eastern cultures of the time-period. It was notable for its enigmatic hieroglyphic writing system, odd-looking formalized art, peculiar massive building projects, and morbid, animal-totem religious cultism. The latter group, while differing in the details, see Egypt rather as a remarkable, indeed startling exception to its primitive neighbors. It was uniquely a civilization and repository of great sophistication and wisdom – in some respects so much so, indeed, that the very ability of the Egyptians themselves to have generated such utopian wonders is called into question in favor of Atlanteans, extraterrestial visitors, and/or incarnated gods. Each camp routinely ridicules the other. The conventionalists denounce the independents as unscientific dreamers and “pyramidiots”. The latter are equally contemptuous of the former, considering them as merely a brittle academic self-protectorate afraid to violate modern taboos. And there are two taboos in particular which institutional academia does not dare to transgress – or even openly acknowledge as taboos.
+O+ What is interesting here is that, both TOS and ONA attempted to move away from Judaeo Christianity – one moved over as far as they felt would give them the distance they need – the other mocked the former for not moving over far enough. This is repeated by THEM’s criticisms of Satanism in all its veins using Magi tools to present itself, I.e. Forms, Duality, Morality and so on, so moving over further, is not enough for Us unless you can move right through to the other side and devise new tools – or psycho-social collapse of the Matrix to allow the evolution of new tools. What is also interesting is that both ONA and TOS speak in Aeonics -that is to say, the both take notice of civilizations and long spans of years as meaningful representations and indications of collective existence – or to put it another way, they both appreciate that these chunks of time have a story to tell that can be used as a tension to modern times. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquino tensions the COS against the TOS] The Church of Satan had been accused by its critics of championing the worship of evil. Not so: What it actually did, as exemplified in the Diabolicon, was to maintain that “God” was in fact evil and “Satan”, as a repudiation of that evil, was truly good. This was a new interpretation of “evil” as human denial of personal responsibility for moral decisions, as well as hypocrisy in the executing of such moral decisions as were ventured. True goodness was accordingly to be found in genuine personal responsibility and full acceptance of the consequences of one’s decisions. This is what made the Church of Satan, despite its bizarre facade, feel so refreshingly virtuous next to the repulsive, corrupt Hebraic monotheism it rejected.
+O+ Here we find Aquinos comments that the COS inverted Christian morality to reverse the roles of the Devil and Satan in an attempt to reject Hebraic Monotheism and the first step of Aquino to tension the essential breakthrough of the COS against his TOS. He is in my opinion right in recognizing the evolutionary contribution of the COS to the overall Satanic Strata in its move to invert Christianity as a means to escape it. He also foresees that this is not enough – without this step in the ladder he could not have tensioned the TOS and mapped its geometry. Though there are flashes of the disdain, perhaps more subtle after re-writes and time, that comes with the unconscious thrall of being affected by such forces and that require such a thrall if there is to be evolution (wherein passion of love or hatred propels one in the needed direction by gaining a boost from kicking off from a dying form) .Note, that this passion is diminished by peeling off the exoteric skeleton of this process and making it conscious to others. It is the unconscious factors that act to make us kick-off in the tensioned direction and give us the arrogance or confidence to believe in our respective Forms, Our Truth and Manifest it. It is the innate drive that makes us feel justified and Right to do what we believe it is our duty to do. Thus both TOS and ONA may deny this process occurred, since it is not a conscious one -despite the trail in their memes.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquino tensions the TOS against the COS] Now the Temple of Set was challenged to take one step beyond. The entire Hebraic monotheism, to include even its Satanic reinterpretation as the actual benchmark for evil, would be thrown into the dustbin. JHVH, Satan, Moses, Christ, Mohammed – collectively discarded in all of their social, physical, or metaphysical contexts and pretensions. In their stead would arise not a mere revival of polytheism per se, but a polyfaceted divine individualism, in which the energy of each such personal consciousness is realized to derive from a Universal inspiration: Set. This was a Set far more subtle and complex than the superficial character described by the Egyptologists. Just how much so it would take the Temple of Set many years to discover; in many regards it is still doing so.
+O+ Here, Aquino reclassifies Satan altogether, seeking to move so far over away from its connotations that he is prompted to adopt a blank page and re-write the whole thing. He moved, quite far over, away from mere inversion to ‘polyfaceted divine individualism‘ in which each such personal consciousness is realized to derive from a universal inspiration: Set. And here again, the ONA was doing the same moving over, jettisoning off the COS with an even harder kick wherein Satan was also reclassified or rather, re-discovered with critical re-examinations of the meaning of Satan priming the way for a whole different strain of assertion. Yet, the connection Aquino describes may as well be the same connexion the ONA expound under the term Acausal and Nexions. The nomenclature may differ but the action is the same. Each man reclassified Satan and sought to evolve the present understanding of it. ONA’s ciriticism naturally arises of the TOS because the TOS did not move far enough over out of the reigning paradigm to escape what ONA felt were still Magi/Christian trappings. TOS believed it was the rightful heir to the throne and refused to acknowledge the ONA. ONA did it right back. Yet its all a question of extremes – in the eyes of THEM both groups are not far enough over to escape the Magi trappings we perceive innate in the building blocks they have used, merely by using Forms. And so it will go. Hopefully, what people are beginning to realize here, is that there is something very different, some exchange and symbiosis very separate going on underneath all the fighting and disagreements that points to the quintessence of Forces responsible for Life. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquino redfines the ‘Gods‘ ]The other Egyptian “gods” were also reperceived. In conventional Egyptology they too, like Set, were merely two-dimensional dolls in a hodge-podge of folktales and parables. Now the individual human consciousness, each as energized by Set, was seen to be capable of seeing past the physical surface of natural phenomena, into the living essence underlying each. These are the Forms described by Plato in his Dialogues, and more originally the true neteru comprehended by the priesthoods of ancient Egypt. To the extent it has been noticed by conventional society over the years since its [re]founding, the Temple of Set has occasionally been maligned and attacked on various alarmist pretexts: “Satanism”, “cult”, “political extremism”, “mind control”, etc. All such nonsense serves merely to illustrate how ignorant such critics are of the actual distinction and significance of the Temple as summarized here. It is nothing less than an entirely new way of looking not just at self-conscious humanity, but at the physical and metaphysical realities beyond that humanity,
+O+ In similar fashion, the ONA took the existing Chthulhu Mythos and crafted (some say restored) a very different approximation of the Dark Gods these myths were supposed to describe. Yet it scorned the TOS for its Egyptian adoption, citing it as old aeon. We know now that such reactions are exactly that – alchemical reactions in the process of forms tensioning themselves. THEM believe what we are describing and how, fit’s the definition of Neteru; pulling off not just the skin of the form, but extracting the bones on which it is built and seeking for the whisper of life that imbues it with sentience…
Aquino again shares a common bond with Long et al by anticipating the simplifications and conclusions others will jump to in their inability to appreciate the subtle essence of Form and its Formative processes and writing that others will not See. Without the COS to invert Christianity, the TOS to move further over into a new paradigm, the ONA to see the TOS and COS and pour its scorn upon the degree to which TOS extracted itself from the reigning paradigm, and THEMs insight through this Satanic Triangle (for convenience, but really, nothing is that simple that it has only 3 components) allowed this new strain of Form-Based Analysis or ‘Mvimaedivm’ to arise as a tension to existing trends. We are also aware that this particular strain of ours, our tendency to tear things apart so completely strikes a chord with a rather large number of people. We believe this may have something to do with our conscious recognition of what have been occult/hidden processes beneath form and the synchronicity this dis-covery is generating as a new evolutionary form and catalyst for Satanic practice, spreads it wings. Moving on.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquino re-emphasizes the Egpytians] To understand the attitude of the Egyptians, it is necessary to emphasize the striking contrast between their view of the world and ours. We live in a universe which we know is in perpetual movement; each new problem demands a new solution. But for the Egyptians this notion of time which modifies the current knowledge of the world, of an alteration of factors which forces a change in methods, had no place. In the beginning the divinity created a stable world, fixed, definitive; this world functions as a motor well oiled and well fed. If there are “misfires” – if the motor fades, if one of the parts making it up is worn out or broken – it is replaced and everything starts off again better than before. But this motor would always remain the same; its mechanism, its appearance, its output would always be identical.
+O+ Remarkably, Aquino devotes as much time explicating the Egyptian Culture and Mythos as Long and Myatt spend on examining and explaining the Greek. It is perhaps attributable to their archetype to be enamoured with past cultures and want to revive them or restore the various virtues and principles of each – and potentially attributable to the publication of Spengler and Toynbees various treatises and volumes on the precursor of Aeonics and the importance of such large scale cycles being popular, fascinating, and available to both at the time of their formative youth. Where Aquino explains the principles of Neteru at length, so to do Long and Myatt expend volumes relating the principles and ideology of National Socialism, Islaam or Greek Philosophy. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquino acknowledges exact definition is difficult] The information concerning these cults which is available to modern Egyptologists is both sparse and confusing. Since a given neter could be portrayed in a number of different ways, identifying the “core neter” is difficult. The images and inscriptions concerning a neter were often altered or appropriated by cultists of rival neteru. In Christian and Islamic times all “old gods” were considered blasphemous, and monuments to them were regularly defaced and destroyed. By the end of the fifth century CE, knowledge of hieroglyphics had died out, not to reappear until the nineteenth century; meanwhile many “useless” records perished through neglect.
+O+ Relying on the causation/history of available records to put forward their various forms, whether Neteru or Arete, or Satan – both Aquino and ONA reveal an awareness of the incomplete nature of many surviving texts dealing with various metaphysical or difficult subjects. Various ONA manuscripts relating to the Dark Gods become more and more lucid as you move from the 80’s into the years 2000-2011 indicating an early lack of such records on which to rely – with earlier manuscripts presenting several possible translations or vaguely felt out assumptions based on the available evidence; but both ONA and TOS leave their key concepts open to translation as well as surround their own explanations with a myriad of alternatives. It is not just a mark of being thorough, well-researched and confident in ones subsequent assertions – but the very nature of Mythos itself. Mythos is by nature, incomplete.+O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquino acknowledges Sets definition is often faulty] (2) Set was the neter who was “different” from all of the others. Too often this is simplified into his being the “evil” slayer of Osiris, hence the personification of “evil”; yet any but the most cursory study of Egyptian religious symbolism is sufficient to dispel this caricature. He was rather a neter “against the neteru”: the entity who symbolized that which is not of nature.
+O+ Here too the ONA has quite a few manuscripts that re-examine the assumptions made about various aspects of its Tradition including Satan, Baphomet, Evil, the Sinister, the Causal, and goes to great lengths to set people straight or at least to make an effort to determine and restore the correct meaning of a term. Both Aquino and the ONA realize the duality that threatens to drown the subtlety of their Set/Satan and move to anticipate the problem – but also, with difficulty to extract their current from the simplicity of morality and simple Evil. Both realize the complexity of the issue in explaining the beyond good and evil nature of many of the early approximations of perception – but expend hundreds of pages trying to explain it to those who cannot make this distinction or rather make the distinction Between Good and Evil because they cannot escape the tension of opposites. Here is the realization often explained best that many of us are imprisoned by this inability to perceive without tensions. Anyway, it should be apparent by now that both Aquino and Long have trod a similar path – and even as they have disagreed – the outcome is undeniably mutual benefit. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 The concept of Egyptian Adoption Solidified in Stages] In the first few years of the young Temple of Set, we weren’t quite so clear about this. We duly plunged into many works of conventional Egyptology, some of the more useful of which are still included in the Egypt/Historical and Egypt/Philosophical categories of our Reading List. Various Setians contributed some research articles of this genre to the Scroll, Ruby Tablet, and Order & Element publications. But it soon became clear to us that, absent an empathy for Egypt – a sensation of its innate soul, as it were – all such studies were sterile and lifeless exercises. The greatest breakthrough for us came in our encounter with the writings of René Schwaller de Lubicz and his wife Isha. Indeed the lion’s – I should say lioness’ – share of the credit goes to her, because much of René’s work is highly technical. Isha was able to synthesize its elemental themes into her highly-readable “novel” Her-Bak, being the story of a young Egyptian’s journey from ordinary peasant to initiated priest.33 For many Setians, once they were exposed to the basic structure of René’s thought through Her-Bak, his more complex works were soon unlocked. And suddenly ancient Egypt came wonderfully, vibrantly to life before us. Now, knowing what to look for and what to do with it once we found it, the Temple of Set discovered no end of wonders over the years, as of course we continue to do today. René’s initial realization came from his study of hieroglyphs: that in addition to their convenience for mere alphabetics, they embodied symbolic principles apprehensible to both the rational and the suprarational intelligence. [His methodology is thus often termed “Symbolism”.] Gradually he extended his awareness of this key to Egyptian culture into its architecture (as in his magnum opus examination of the Luxor temple complex, Le Temple de L’Homme) and pre-Pythagoreanism. You will suddenly understand the Pyramids. You will suddenly understand the Temples. And of course you will meet the neteru. Not the two-dimensional, comic-book simpletons cherished by profane Egyptologists, enmeshed in tawdry tales of sex, violence, and meaningless ritual. But the beautiful, wonderful weavers of the most delicate webs of the Objective Universe itself. In their presence, severally and collectively, the awakened Initiate will confront an eternity of discovery and synthetic creativity. And yet the most difficult neter to meet is Set. Because to apprehend all of the others one need only look outward, through the lenses you have learned to fashion for your enlightened vision. But where are you going to place your lever, direct your lens, focus your attention, to see into the nucleus, the central fire, of the thing that is your own conscious self?
+O+ May I be permitted a personal, well more indulgent personal comment here? The differences between the TOS and the ONA on some levels seem intractable – it is not beyond us how people fail to miss the exact nature of the exchange occurring – that is why we are THEM – but the Temple of Set, regardless of any other considerations or comparisons is as much a Nexion in its own right as others, and the ONA comprehends the nature and meaning that is Neteru. The two groups differ in terminology and their exoteric forms clash on occasion as part of a necessary alchemy seemingly ill-understood even by the majority of today’s magicians – but the two men of both groups are sharing an identical source and expressing an identical archetype. Strangely, though they are at the forefront of Satanism, Self-Becoming, the Acausal and Nexions and Neteru – they appear to require the Temple of THEM to perceive the underlying mesh that binds them. More strangely, is that without the Temple of Set which happened to send me to the ONA we could not provide the tension to make visible what is invisible nor could we have achieved what we just did. Aquino’s heuristic explorations and insights are no less poignant or passionately and carefully related or useful or important than those of Long or Myatt. +O+
[Extract from TOSd8 Aquino announces himself an Ipsissimus] On the Ides of March 1979 I came into being as an Ipsissimus VI°. This chapter discusses the rationale and significance of that initiation & formalized degree, as well as the changes to my interest in, attitude towards, participation within, and obligations to the Temple & Æon of Set subsequently and consequently.
– 28 –
+O+ Another thorny point of contention by the ONA is the self awarding of the title of Ipsissimus by Aquino – wherein the ONA fiercely emphasize that no master can confer awards or call oneself a Master without doing a set of proscribed things… There are multiple contradictions here… but the underlying reason for ONA’s annoyance must be part of its unconscious reaction and necessity for a tension to its own view on the matter of earning titles. Aquino’s action helps illustrate nicely what the ONA believe is not how you do it opening the way for them to explain How you do it. Yet more than a few of the ONA’s manuscripts create loopholes and in fact justify Aquinos decision and action to call himself whatever he likes and further whatever aim it is he desires to further. The issue comes down to the degree of movement away from an existing paradigm – where Aquino moved the Temple of Set far away from the Church in some respects – others he did not move so far from, such as the idea of structure, leadership and levels of attainment. Subsequently, ONA disagrees because it moved its Order in different degrees creating more or less tension between the two opposing ideas. We can see though, by viewing the ONA and TOS as energetic creatures whose behaviour does in fact have a logical system of processes, why ONA fiercely defends its own system of leaderless self-attainment and attacks the system of the TOS – its how forms behave. Whatever a person chooses to call themselves or not call themselves is still just an abstraction like all the rest of the abstractions we make – if they are successful in giving themselves a form that does in fact cause a specific reaction such as calling oneself a Master, Grand Master, Ipsissimus or what have you does – then they are clearly on another level above those that react in thrall to that form and do deserve an elevation in energetic understanding (read. Magical prowess). How you do it or what you believe is necessary to achieve such a title, whether you aspire to such a title, is entirely up to that individual or group. If others cannot see it for what it is, or determine whether that title is deserved, then more fool them. If they invest that form with validity of faith then that indicates their level of prowess – and subsequently does Set (excuse the pun) apart the one from the other. As I have said before, the name of the game is the delivery of forms – whatever the means. Personally I see no reason to believe Aquino is not set apart – loyalty to my Order is secondary to not being blinded to the messages of my own eyes – and indeed set very far apart from the other. By that token though, so to is Long or Myatt set far apart from the other – whatever claims either group make about the legitimacy of what needs be done to deserve their rank or any rank – is completely irrelevant to me. I judge for myself through the language of Geometry. To hell with the tension of opposites.+O+
[From tosd8 much further down Aquino questions the TOSs existence and purpose] Epilogue: Sic Itur Ad Astra After its “long, strange trip” of 30 years “and counting”, what shall we say of the Temple of Set? What has it meant to the thousands of persons whose lives have touched upon it over the years? Is it beneficial to external society? To itself internally? Has it successfully avoided the trap of becoming “a bureaucracy for its own sake” and managed instead to focus on the enhancement of each individual Initiate’s experience? Where best has it succeeded and why? Where has it failed and why, and has it learned from those failures? Can it survive amidst the world’s current and apparent future social climates? To what if any extent can it, and should it, attempt to compensate for failings in society, as for instance inadequate education, courtesy, etc. of individuals who approach it? What are valid reasons and qualifications for persons coming to the Temple? Why should others not be? What should we envision for the Æon of Set? Should we see it as finite, and if so with what theoretical boundaries or eventualities? Will there be a subsequent æon, and how might we [or others] conceptualize it? What of the eventuality of the Order of Horus becoming a Temple of Horus, and a new sam-taui of Set and Horus returning to Earth? What? Who? When? How? Why? To what beginning?
– 41 –
+O+ Yet again we meet that curious parallel energy where both groups take causal breaths over the decades to summarize and re-examine the purpose and history, achievements and point of their forms. One manuscript that springs immediately to mind is Beyond the Adept by the ONA where answers are given to an Adept concerning the -is-ness of the Order of Nine Angles, perception relating to it and a host of other considerations, questioned assumptions, and mental challenges given. This is the shared mentality of both men to provide and foster a living changing Tradition – and so again we must ask, how different are the men behind the Temple of Set and the Order of Nine Angles? Their forms may paint a picture of conflict – but so what? That’s like looking at a picture drawn with crayons and doubting the artists were capable of so much more. How many more manuscripts and urges and examples will it take to push people beyond their archaic reliance on what they see and dutifully process with their traditional inheritance of knowledge and the sloppy tools of form to really See what lays beneath all the currents of the world and its weary matrix? +O+
[Extracted from TOSd8 Aquinos text from the Book of Coming Forth By Night.] And now, having looked upon the past with affection and reverence, we shall turn our gaze to the times before us. Think carefully of the Word of Set, for it is given in witness to my Bond. Behold, O West, I have established my Aeon. I punish the enemies who are in it, placed in the Place of Destruction. I deliver them to the examiners from whose guard there is no escape. Lo, I pass near to thee, I pass near to thee! Affix now my image as it was given to you, so that all who read of these matters may now look upon the likeness of Set. The Word of the Aeon of Set is
+O+ Both ONA and TOS work with the concept of Aeons and base their groups around the importance of Aeons. One names the Aeon Xeper, the other names it Chaos. But they both name it. Both were affected at a similar time in a similar manner by the idea of Aeons – perhaps a logical consequence of a shared bounty of magical lore they inherited – both anticipate a new Age and relate their unique interpretations of the Aeon to come. The TOS and the ONA are archetypally identical – whatever is acting through them, if anything, has seen fit to place these two men side by side as tensions for one another and provide them both with an almost mythical journey that is exactly the same at its esoteric essence. Such suggests an underlying and as yet unidentified magical archetype that takes possession of such individuals… +O+