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Re: Thanks for the acceptance. Welcome!
March 30, 2017, 01:24:07 pm
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Re: Discussion on Thelema: RHP or LHP? I think that there are two inherently different yet equally valid forms of Thelema. The most common is more appropriately called Crowleyanism, because it follows Crowley and his interpretation of the Law of Thelema, rather than what AL actually says. This is obvious because Crowley brought about a very solar based religion, yet the Book of the Law goes to great lengths and imagery to show it is stellar based. Crowley, despite his imagery, very much sought do dissolve himself into the All, losing his isolate consciousness in favor of the will of Nature/God. AL, on the other hand, is an elitist text that draws heavily on the symbolism of the Pyramid Texts. The individual is elevated to godhood, the gods bow before them, the focus is on the night sky, and so forth. So while Crowley seems to have interpreted things as RHP, Thelema can equally be seen as LHP.
April 06, 2017, 10:44:40 pm
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Re: Discussion on Thelema: RHP or LHP?
If the gods bow to you, how is that any different than humans bowing to the gods, except that the roles are reversed? (collectivism centered) Isn't elitism just glorifying those who are the best at following and embodying the collective ideal?  (collectivism dependent)

I guess gods bowing before man is a poor illustration. I'd say the LHP is more about gods accepting a man or woman as one of their own.

April 07, 2017, 06:56:31 pm
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Re: Setian Arcanum What is a Setian, and Why Set?

A Setian is a henotheist who focuses on gods of consciousness over gods of order. Set is the main focus as the god of isolate consciousness, the Platonic Form of the individual, self-aware Self. H Te Velde gives three roles for the god Set in Seth: God of Confusion: a trickster type god of confusion, of god of isolation and separation, and a god of intoxication. By look at these 3 faces of Set we can see why Set is a good representative for this isolate consciousness. To our knowledge the vast majority of life and matter goes about what it does unthinkingly, like a planet on its orbit, a plant growing towards the sun, or an animal hunting for food and making shelter. It is only with isolate consciousness that humans come to experience the confusion of question like purpose and meaning. We do not go about like a star in orbit, but have reason and doubt much to the terror of the Hermeticists. Isolation and separation is rather self explanatory, and is the way I most commonly see Set. Human-like consciousness is something cut off from the rest of the world, from other conscious beings. At any given moment what one is consciously aware of may be anything from every day moments to unimaginable, unrealistic vistas only imaginable by that single individual. And intoxication, well, there's a reason most of us would not give drugs to children, or even most animals. It's a way to effect consciousness, and something for consenting, informed individuals to engage in.

What is Xeper and What is Remanifestation?

Xeper is a type of personal evolution. It is a static verb basically, something english does not have. Xeper is something always happening, whether you control it or not, whether you recognize it or not, and all things undergo some form of Xeper. The goal in Setianism is to control the Xeper willfully and recognize it, but this is a henotheistic preference, and not some monotheistic dogma. People are welcome to do what they want and focus on what they want. Remanifestation is a word for what Xeper occurs that had occurred previously, comparable to what happens when you rediscover a band you used to love.

What are Black Magic and the Black Flame?

These are the terms used by Dr. Michael Aquino to describe certain universal ideas. The black flame is comparable to the kundalini serpent, the Ka of Egypt, a divine spark of any sort, and so one. Black magic is self-directed self-evolution, not being swept up in the flow of deterministic and mechanistic nature, but separating and isolating yourself from that and directing your own path.

April 07, 2017, 07:22:21 pm
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The Three Faces of Set
        This, like many posts, is an early version of one of the chapters in my upcoming book. I’ve been studying the works of H. Te Velde, the ultimate academic source on the God Set, quite in depth recently. Te Velde gives three aspects of Set: that of a trickster god, a god of isolation/separation, and a god of intoxication. Let us look at these three aspects, the defense and evidence behind them, and how they can apply to modern day Setianism and esoteric occultism. For now this is not cited as it is kind of “stream-of-consciousness,” but expect a reference list in a near-future version. The vast majority of this information is from H. Te Velde himself.

Set the Trickster God

         A trickster God is one who seems to be above or opposed to the Natural Order of the universe, the order of the Gods in general. In many cases what they do may be seen as purely evil, yet in the end turns out to be something necessary and positive. It is also common that the trickster god is the only one capable of fighting monsters, often specifically serpents, precisely because the serpent in this context is of Chaos, and the trickster themselves, though bound to Order, is Chaotic Itself to some extent.

         These are all characteristics that well match the God Set. Set came into this universe unnaturally in several ways. One is that all previous births in the Ennead of Heliopolis had been pairs of brothers and sisters. Shu and Tefnut, Geb and Nut, then Osiris and Isis, but Set and Nephthys then were the second pair born to Geb and Nut. There are also two main tellings of how Set came into existence. The most common is that Set tore himself out of his mother’s womb, while the other is that Nut spit Set out because Set was already unnatural. Like other trickster gods, Set is clearly something that is at odds with the Natural Order.
Set also is seen to do seemingly evil things which, behind the scenes and with proper knowledge, turn out to be positive and necessary.

         The main example is obviously tricking Osiris and murdering him, then chopping up his body. Especially among civilians and later Egyptian times, Set was generally seen as an evil monster for this. Yet within the priesthoods, and now with the benefit of hindsight, it is known that Set was more of an initiator, without whom Osiris could never have become god of the Duat. We also know that is was Set himself, in the form of a bull, who carried Osiris on his back into the Duat. Osiris is a static god who never acts on his own accord, and Set’s disruption as a trickster god was needed for Osiris to become deified and Horus to rule.

           As for fighting monsters, it was only Set who could defend the boat of Ra from the serpent Apep. After being abandoned by his family, Set was adopted by Ra for Set’s ability to fend off the hypnotizing stare of Apep. The singular desire of Apep was to return all the Ordered cosmos back to a state of Chaos and Non-Existence. For some reason Set had a foundational relationship with this being, unlike the gods born of pure Order, and so was able to resist and fight off the serpent. In this case Set was almost a solar savior!


Set the God of Isolation and Separation

   
        The second role of Set was that of the Isolator and Separator. Set represented that which was separate from the gods and Natural Order. Whereas all Egyptians from peasant to king were expected to uphold Ma’at, a proper form of Order, Set was not bound to Ma’at, something which terrified the Egyptians. Set was also the god of foreigners, all those from outside Egypt, those who were separated from their culture.

         In the Pyramid Texts, Set is a psychopomp who leads the dead into the Imperishable Stars, putting them above the gods of the Natural Order, and allowing them eternal, isolate existence rather than a loss of self. In the Coffin Texts, a single symbol was often used to name Set that was neither the full name of Set nor the Set Animal (Sha Animal). This symbol directly translates to “Separator” or “Isolator.” This symbol was a sign quite similar to the “fishhead lance”, used to sever the umbilical which was associated with Apep. This was envisioned as Separating the newborn from the primordial Chaos within the womb. It was also symbolized in many ways by the tail of Set itself, split to represent this tool of Separation.

Set the God of Intoxication

   Set seems to be associated with intoxication mostly through a connection with the Goddess Hathor. Intoxication disrupts the Order of the mind, which could be one reason it was associated with Set. Behavior is inhibited, leading to improper social actions, sexual encounters, and all around mischief, each of with were attributes of Set throughout Egyptian history.

Modern Day Setianism

   In modern day Setianism, Set is understood of the Platonic Form of Isolate Consciousness. This relates to these three historical faces of Set in many ways. The trickster aspect of Set really brings to mind the “Satanic,” Western Left-Hand Path imagery tied deeply with Setianism in the modern day. The symbolism alone actively and often openly sets the individual apart from society, and can often cause disturbances in the proper context. While the WLHP is generally seen as evil, oppressive, and opposed to all things good, anyone who takes the slightest time to investigate openly will find this to be incorrect, much like the views of Set. One of the main goals of Setianism is to stave of Chaos and Non-Existence, much like Set battles Apep. The very respect and love for the Form of Individuality, along with the desire for continuity of consciousness after death, clearly show the opposition to non-existence in Setianism.

   Central to Setianism is the desire to Separate the individual Self from the mindless, mechanical flow of deterministic Nature. Set’s role as Separator and Isolator are perhaps the most important to modern day Setianism, as it best summarized the idea of self-directed self-evolution, the recognition and willful control of one’s Xeper.

   As for intoxication, as the god of one’s consciousness it makes sense that Set is associated with intoxication. Set can be seen as more of a balance to the intoxication of Hathor, as such intoxication leads to a loss of self-control and self-regulation. One should also have a developed mind capable of metacognition before they are allowed to choose whether or not the wish to intoxicate themselves. From a Setian perspective, to allow children to take intoxicants, or intoxicate children, animals or any other thing which cannot consent, is entirely unethical.

April 11, 2017, 01:18:24 am
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Re: Order of the Serpent introductory statement This differs from our main page, we need to fix one or the other. I like this one.
April 15, 2017, 09:14:08 pm
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Consciousness as the Field that Connects Brain to Form So I have been studying Dr. Aquino's Mindstar, which is basically his entire metaphysical foundation in a book. In it Dr. A seems to suggest that consciousness is the field that connects the brain to the personal Form/higher self, similar to the L-Fields proven by Dr. Harold Saxton Burr, and used by him to argue against materialism. This idea blew my mind, to say the least. I'm still pondering this idea and its implications.
April 19, 2017, 10:38:29 am
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Re: Music thread Great idea. This is one of my favorite LHP songs.

Sweet Blasphemy - Black Veil Brides


April 22, 2017, 01:30:52 am
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The Comprehensive Argument for Set The Argument for Set

1.   The conscious Self axiomatically exists, it cannot be denied.

2.   The objective, material world also exists, and even if it does not we should act as though it does.

3.   The brain/objective material world and the mind have different properties, and are therefore not identical or reducible to one another. Even if the mind emerges from the brain it is something separate.

4.   The Theory of Forms is the best way to gain objective knowledge, and seems to be a logically sound, and therefore objectively true argument. It best explains how the mind and brain can exist as they seem to (#3).

5.   A Form of consciousness must exist if the Theory of Forms is true, the attributes of which match with polytheistic Gods (immaterial, non-temporal, perfect, self-aware, desirous, etc.)

6.   The best God to represent this Form of consciousness is the Egyptian God Set.

7.   Therefore, Set Exists.


Premise 1: the Axiomatic Self

We must begin with what we can know with absolute certainty, if there is anything at all. In our case, the one thing we seem capable of knowing is that we, ourselves, exist. We cannot even be certain that others exist, but when a human being makes the statement “I exist,” they are stating an axiomatic fact. An axiom is “an irreducible primary. It doesn't rest upon anything in order to be valid, and it cannot be proven by any "more basic" premises. A true axiom cannot be refuted because the act of trying to refute it requires that very axiom as a premise. An attempt to contradict an axiom can only end in a contradiction” (Importance of Philosophy, n.d.). The Law of Identity is one such example of this. For the mind-body problem, that the self exists is also such an axiom, as is easily demonstrated. For example, there are no premises more simply than “I exist”, because all those premises are known to and created by that self in the first place. You cannot argue that “I do not exist”, because you are the one doing the denying, the reasoning, and the claiming. If the claim were to be true, then you do not exist to do the denying, the argument is not made, and we enter a paradox. It also is not possible to be false, as the self is what understands and distinguishes between truth and falsehood. Best of all, if this is not axiomatic, it would be very easy to show. All one would need to do is attempt to claim the self does not exist without relying on the self in the first place. But much like trying to argue A as Non-A, this seems like it simply cannot be done. If the self is axiomatic, it raises a major problem for material monism, because matter is only known through the mind/self. Materialism has to essentially eliminate an axiom in order to be valid, a rather tall order for any position.

Premise 2: the Material, External Universe


While it cannot be known directly, it seems quite likely that the objective world of matter exists as well. Even if positions like solipsism or brain-in-a-vat were true, these positions are useless to us, and there is no reason to act as if our experience is not real. One reason to believe this is that science itself implies the existence of the objective universe and matter. If it did not exist, we would expect everybody to act unpredictably in all situations. In other words, when people are all looking at the same image, they tend to see the same thing. When people on the other side of the world recreate a successful experiment, they should expect to get the same results. Further, while we know the mind directly, it is also quite likely that matter impacts the mind just as the mind impacts matter. Brain damage (MSKTC, n.d.), drug use (Husain and Mehta, 2011), prescription medication (Mayo Clinic, n.d.), even the gut (Foster and Neufeld, n.d.) can have an impact on one’s cognition. So not only is there no reason to act as if the universe of matter does not exist, but there are many reasons to believe it does, in fact, exist.

Premise 3: Property Dualism

Property Dualism comes into play because the mind and brain seem to have different characteristics, in other words the two have different properties, properties meaning attributes, qualities, characteristics, features, types, etc. (Properties, 2016). Dualism in this case does not necessarily mean the dualism of Descartes, but simply that the properties suggest the mind and brain are two separate things. This is a problem for monistic positions, as they require all things to be reducible into one substance, from matter to some sort of spiritual mind of God depending on the individual belief. If property dualism exists, monism is not possible because two non-identical things, by definition and the Law of Identity, cannot be identical, and therefore are not reducible into each other. Again, this does not imply the dualism of Descartes. Rather, it implies a type of emergent pluralism, the position that substances can rise out of other substances, but become something separate. In other words, just because the mind may have arisen from matter does not imply that they are identical and reducible, but one emerges from the other. This can be compared to a mother and her child. In the beginning the latter is entirely reliant on the former, but over time they become completely separate, distinct, non-identical and non-reducible beings.

So what are the characteristics of a brain and how do they differ from a mind? For one, a brain is physical but a mind is not physical. To illustrate the difference, realize that we can see a brain and its contents, but not a mind and its contents. While an fMRI can show the physical activity occurring in the brain (University of San Diego School of Medicine, n.d.), it is not the same as seeing what is occurring in the mind and especially not even close to shared experience (Nagel, 1974). The brain, along with all of the material world, is bound to physical determinism. It follows specific laws at all times. This is well illustrated by things like the cycles of depression and of abuse, as well as things like the trip induced by taking a drug. Like a storm rolling in, the brain does not have any method of fighting off a cloud of depression, or supernaturally overcoming trauma from the past, and one with limited self-control can be seriously carried away in a psychedelic trip. Yet the conscious mind is able to become aware of (Cook, 2014) and overcome (Oakley, n.d.) such deterministic cycles. We can even use placebos effectively without deception (Kaptchuk, Friedlander, Kelley, Sanchez, Kokkotou, Singer, Kowalcykowski, Miller, Kirsch, and Lembo, 2010). The mind is also capable of imagining things that could never occur in nature, things from the fantasy Dreamlands of Lovecraft to the computer or phone we have actually brought into being – things that cannot grow in a garden no matter how hard we try. This is further illustrated by the fact that that one can even control their own dreams with lucid dreaming, in which one can engage in all sorts of activities that contradict the objective, external world. As these few examples show, the mind and brain have very different properties, and based in the logic above, cannot be identical or reducible. While the mind may emerge from the brain, it is still something separate and different from the brain, like a child to its mother. But as we have seen, not only does the mind differ from the brain, it seems to differ from the natural laws of the objective, material world. How is this possible?

Premise 4: Introduction to the Theory of Forms

This question is answered by the Theory of Forms, or rather this evolved version I will share here. A Form is the essence of a thing, the immaterial, unchanging characteristics that all things are rooted in. It should not be thought that this essence precedes substance, nor the reverse, but that the two rely on each other. When X comes to exist, the Form of X comes to exist. One way to illustrate this is with geometry. If we draw 10 different, unique triangles, we can still recognize them all as triangles because of the characteristics they share, in other words, because of their Form. An equilateral, isosceles, or scalene triangle are all recognized as similar because of the Form of the triangle, the three sides and three points that make the shape, yet “three-pointedness” is not a material thing.. This Form of triangles is not something that can be directly, physically accessed – it is something immaterial. Another example to illustrate this are ideas like beauty or justice. Certainly beauty exists, most people experience beauty, and yet what we find beautiful can differ greatly. So how do we recognize the concept of beauty when no interpretation of beauty is objective? By the Form of beauty. It is a certain objective experience individuals can gain access too, despite us being unable to objectively define what makes something “beautiful.” It is empathetic, not material in nature. This all makes Forms more objective than material manifestations. For example, a specific chair or specific experience of love my fade with time. Even in the body cells are constantly dying and being replaced, the entire universe is forever in a state of entropy and decay. Yet we recognize what a chair is at all times, what love is, who an individual looks like, and what the universe as a whole entails. This is because, unlike the world of matter, Forms do not change or deteriorate. The Form of a chair endures no matter what chairs exist, what they look like, what they made of, etc. and so on.

Premise 5: the Form of Consciousness

As discussed above, if X comes to exist then the Form of X comes to exist. As shown above, individual consciousness is something we know for certain came to exist. This forces us to logically conclude (if we accept Forms, which seems highly logical) that there is a Form of individual, higher cognitive consciousness. Like the Forms of triangles or beauty, we can know this Form by the characteristics share by beings with individual consciousness like that of high-cognition humans. It would be independent, bound to nature and the material world, yet distinct and separate from is as discussed above. It would be self-aware and introspective, as well as abstract and containing desires. Yet unlike conscious human beings, it would be fully immaterial, and it would not live and die as physical beings do, but exist so long as consciousness exists. What does an immaterial, mostly-immortal being with self-awareness, and desires most resemble? It is very close to the ancient, common conception of “Gods.” One could technically debate if this Form of consciousness is worth calling a God, but this would be hopeless as the characteristics match exactly what Gods are defined as. No it is not an omni-God, but it is identical with most polytheistic conceptions of Gods throughout history.

Premise 6: Set

To myself, the Ancient Egyptians, and many on the Left Hand Path, this God of consciousness is known as Set. Set is one of, if not the oldest Gods of humanity (even if not in his Egyptian form). The Egyptian form is simply the most complete, accurate picture of this Form in human mythology, the closest God it matches. Set’s name literally means “Separator” or “Isolator” (Te Velde, 1967), like the separation or isolation of the individual consciousness from the material world. The symbol of Set was used to cut the umbilical cord, quite metaphorical for my mother/child illustration of emergence. He was portrayed as a fantastical animal unlike all the other Gods (Te Velde, 1967; Budge, 1969; Aquino, 2014), as like the conscious mind he was something separate from the physical, natural world (which was comprised of most other Gods). Set was known for having been unnatural, forcibly tearing himself from the womb in an act of separation (Budge, 1969). It should not be thought, however, that Set is “just a symbol.” He is one interpretation, the most accurate interpretation in history, of the objectively existent Form of isolate consciousness, and nearly every culture has a similar interpretation: Prometheus, Lucifer, Satan, Tiamat, Ahriman, and many, many more . Being associated with the northern circumpolar stars, Set was also greatly associated with the serpent, an attribute that has lasted all the way down into modern Christianity as an evil force.

What about other Gods? On one hand, all conscious things are rooted in Set, so any other conscious Form, such as that of knowledge, experience, emotion, etc. are rooted in and an aspect of Set, though still very existent. An example of this is the God Thoth, Form of knowledge and intelligence. On the other hand, a Form may be defined as a God for its sheer power, like the Form of order which underlies all nature (Horus the Elder). These Forms have been interpreted differently by all cultures, as with most things, which is why there is such a large amount of Gods – one interpretation for each group, that’s crazy! It’s not that Set is the “one true God” or some dictator, I am simply a henotheist, and have a greater respect for individual consciousness than other Forms, though certainly one’s like knowledge are up there.

April 22, 2017, 01:56:48 am
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The Mysteries of Horus and Set The story of Horus and Set is very well known, perhaps the best known story of the Egyptians. These entities and their story are extremely important to understanding religion, and especially for understanding occultism. Yet all most of us see are a single, perverted version of the story that originated long after the beings in question, and have been lost and twisted repeatedly over millennium. Having looked into these topics in extreme depth, I would like to discuss these famous Neteru.

Stellar v. Solar

It is commonly understood that Set was the brother and murder of Osiris, who sexually assaulted then battled Osiris’ child Horus, Horus eventually winning kingship over Egypt (Budge, 1969). One of the most basic reasons this is appealing is because it fits snuggly with Christian culture and morality, clear lines being drawn between “good” and “evil”, with Osiris/Horus being an obvious precursor of Christ. These similarities should be more than enough reason for the occultist to doubt this version of the story. The Cult of Osiris played a role so massive it is hard to conceive, from Egypt all the way to modern religion. It gave us our first heaven-like afterlife, our first true villain god, the original Solar religion, our first savior god. But this story needs to be disregarded specifically because it is so blatantly distorted. At the end of the New Kingdom period, Set became fully demonized due to the foreign rulers who the xenophobic Egyptians despised (Te Velde, 1967). The Coptics only took this farther, though many of their rituals do make reference to Set under other names (Webb, 2011). Prior to this massive downfall, the religion of Osiris had dominated Egyptian thought since the early dynasties, and we can even see where the Pyramid Texts have been altered in order to make them more Osirian (The Pyramid Texts Online, n.d.). As Egypt grew, this very early and useful religious philosophy spread throughout and became dominate, forever changing Egyptian from their Stellar to Solar religions.

The stellar religion was based on a separation of the Self from the Divine, in which the dead individual would rise even above the level of the Gods (The Pyramid Texts Online, n.d.; Te Velde, 1967; Aquino, 2014). This is what we see in the Setian Pyramid Texts, which the dead rising above even the gods of creation.. Further, the physical body was vastly less important, with mummification not even being part of the earlier burials at Nubt, both the original location for the Cult of Set, and the birthplace of things such as written human language (Morgan, 2005). Material goods were not shunned though, and we find grave goods even in these proto-Egyptian graves. Interestingly, broken pots in early burials contain some of the first examples we have of isolated, point down pentagrams. Acts in life were what led to one being accepted amongst the ranks of the Gods after death, their virtues and what they achieved. A choice was also given between Horus and Set, leading to essentially separate afterlives (Pyramid Texts, n.d.). The circumpolar stars were associated with Set, especially Ursa Major (Te Velde, 1967; Aquino, 2014; Levenda, 2008; Webb, 2011; Flowers, 2012, Gordon, 2001).The circumpolar, “imperishable” stars were the focus of afterlife thought, as they were separate from the cycles of earth, the sun, and even the stars, as they never sank below the horizon (Webb, 2011; Levenda, 2008). This is much closer to the Eastern idea of being free from the cycles of reincarnation than the obeying of rules and “heaven” found in the West.

The original Egyptian death cults were based around the circumpolar, or imperishable, stars and so was the domain of Set (Te Velde, 1967; Aquino, 2014; Levenda, 2008; Webb, 2011; Flowers, 2012). Horus and Set, together, created a path, ladder, or stairway for the initiated dead from earth to the imperishable stars (Te Velde, 1967, Pyramid Texts Online, n.d.). Some of this can still be seen in the earlier pyramid texts, where Set is still so crucial to the ascension of the dead. Throughout even the Osirian texts we see traces of the original Set, who demands of the gods to deify the dead. “Set and Nephthys speak to the gods: N has become like an imperishable star: if he wishes you shall live you shall live, if he wishes you shall die you shall die”. The pharaoh “howls like Set howls” and the gates of heaven open before him. The dead is “like Set when he lifts himself and ascends to the heavens” (Pyramid Texts Online, n.d.). The importance of Set to deification of the Self is immense and obvious. This only changes with the coming of the Osiris cult. Horus is also referred to often, working with Set. Rather than a savior god of some sort, Horus is shown as the equal to Set, powerful in all the ways he is not, helping the dead ascend (Te Velde, 1967). There is no evidence of Horus relying on Osiris or Isis in many of the texts, except the obviously Osirian ones.

Solar religion, on the other hand, was based on uniting the Self with the Divine, in which after death an individual would either become identified with a Neter, such as Osiris, or would live a very similar life in a land still ruled by the gods (Budge, 1898). The physical body slowly becomes more and more important, as it was created by the gods and had to remain pure. It was required for life after death. Obeying the rules (such as with the negative confessions) is how one received acceptance into the afterlife, being judged by the Gods in the end to see if the dead is worthy (Budge, 1898). There was no choice of what came next, it was either nonexistence or unity/submission to Horus (originally) or Osiris (after interfering with the original relationship of Horus and Set). The focus of thought was on the sun’s cycle through the sky and the cycles of nature that affected daily Egyptian life (Levenda, 2008). Rather than striving for heroic like immortality, Egyptians simply wanted a predictable and constant life where they did not have to worry about things, such as if the Nile would not flood because they had gone against the rules of the Gods. Darkness became a threat, later to be demonized and shunned, and representative of all that went against the Solar theology. This is where Western religion stems from, obeying the rules for postmortem rewards and hoping to not upset the Gods.

To many these differences may seem insignificant, but the occultist and magician can see the vast significance between these two points of view. Horus and Set were originally seen as equals, where Horus represented things most relative to this life, and Set was the God of the afterlife. As many know, the image of Set is actually based off of a fantastic animal, it is something not real unlike most other deities (Te Velde, 1967; Budge, 1969; Aquino, 2014). What most don’t know is that in early Egyptian history the Set animal was often seen next to a winged, hawk headed Griffin (Te Velde, 1967). These two fabricated creatures were seen as two sides of the same coin, their design representing their traits, such as the forked, serpent like tail of Set and its close association with “Darkness”, as well as the obvious serpentine symbolism of the circumpolar stars especially at the time of early Egypt (where alpha draconis was the pole star) (Levenda, 2013). It is only with the rise of solar religion in Egypt that the dark side of the coin became “evil”.

Where did this Solar religion come from? It makes sense that in pre-dynastic Egypt a storm God would be given the same respect as a solar god, as the nomadic Egyptians would have relied on rain water before the Nile (Te Velde, 1967). We also know that other local religions, such as the Sumerians, already had pantheons where human beings were crushed below the weight the Gods. It is more than possible that Osiris was an imported God from foreign lands. This is not to be confused with the fact that Set was a god of foreigners (Budge, 1969). There was a massive mixing of tribes in the land of Egypt, and there is no reason to think that all of these were “native” Egyptians (Grimal, 1994). The fact that we recognize many of these gods or their forms as imported certainly helps. It also explains why Osiris is supposed to have claimed ancient rulership over Egypt, and why the Osiris had to repurpose Horus to validate their religion – they were outsiders. It also explains why it took so long, and why Set also had to be demonized. In other words, stellar religion was actual Egyptian religion, and solar religion was imported and aided by the changes to Egyptian societies.

Another interesting aspect of all this is that the original Egyptian burials in Nubt (whose main deity was Set) had very different burials that did not rely on the preservation of the physical body. Bodies were buried in the fetal position, rather exposed to the elements, with their head cut off facing the opposite direction of the body (Te Velde, 1967). Ascension was earned in life, and then one became deified, a rather straight forward process that fits well in dualistic systems. It also seems that the original deification given by Horus and Set was much different then later afterlives. The dead was truly deified, they became like a Neteru, a god or Form, a manifestation of either their lord Horus or Set. It is interesting to stop here and look at the Egyptian conceptions of the soul.

Tangent: Aspects of the Egyptian Soul

The Khat or Body: this could be considered the physical body, but it is more comparable to that which holds the body together, that which causes cells to recreate near-perfectly, the natural energy generated by the body. It is comparable to bodies of light, astral bodies, things of that nature, but is more or less identified with the physical self. So your body, nervous system, organs, physical brain, skeleton.

The Ren or Name: This is what a thing is called, from inanimate objects and forces to people’s or location’s names. Think of Ren as if everyone you know in professional life suddenly knew all your user names for online forums. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably shared plenty of ideas on your ideology that does not need to be known by everyone and their mothers. Maybe not if you have well accepted beliefs, but with something like occultism I would never want all my coworkers and clients to have direct access to all my beliefs. So I have a “secret” or “magical” name that give me the power to keep this one side secret while still openly discussing it. Even a regular name has power though. Just call someone to summon them, to connect deeper with them, even to show them how angry you are depending on context. When we consider names as “what things are called” we are almost taking all language into account.

The Sheut or Shadow: To the Egyptians the shadow was literally the shadow cast by the body. It was considered to contain aspects of the individual, which is actually entirely true. I find this one the most difficult to integrate (the rest actually are rather easy to understand), because a shadow is pretty understandable. But even when I hear the word “shadow” I have to think of Carl Jung and his archetype of the shadow. The shadow is the completely dark, obscured part of an individual, which they themselves often do not understand. An example of this is when someone else’s actions annoy us, but in reality it’s because we hate the very same trait in ourselves.

The Ib or “Heart-Soul” or Ego: I think “heart soul” is an awesome primitive term for what we now refer to as the ego. It has the best and worst of us locked away in there, it’s driven by primal urges and emotion rather that rational thought. It is the ego that opposes the shadow, hides it away so our pride is not hurt. It was the heart, or in this case the ego, that was weighed in afterlife ceremonies to decide whether the individual was worthy or not. Why? The ego/heart has no filter and helps us understand who we truly are deep down.

The Ba or Consciousness or Soul: The Ba is the actual individual, the consciousness itself, or isolate intelligence, or psyche, there are plenty words for it. The Ba relies on the Khat to have a place to grow, connected through the Ib, which itself arises from the Khat. If the Ba is worked in the proper ways throughout life, it can become more powerful than the Khat and Ib and thus survive physical death.

The Ka or Higher Self: The Egyptian Gods, known as Neteru (Neter for one), were quite similar to and likely the inspiration for Platonic Forms, perfect but abstract aspects of nature that then manifest in different ways. When a human being is born, a perfect Form of them comes into existence as well – the Ka. If an individual can get in touch with and align themselves (the Ba) with the Ka they will essentially be living the perfect life for them.

Akh or Deified Individual: If the Ba lines up with the Ka and survives physical death, it is possible for it to itself become a Neter. To the Egyptians these beings would be indistinguishable from other Neteru. Basically this is “self-deification”, the individual becoming a god through their own efforts.

Hours the Younger v. Horus the Elder

There is also the issue of Horus the Younger vs. Horus the Elder. Horus the Younger is the son of Osiris and Isis, and considered to be the 10th deity to come out of the Ennead (Budge, 1969). Horus the Younger is essentially the same as Osiris, but reborn and ruling the world of Life as opposed to Osiris ruling the world of Death. This may seem confusing, and it is important to pause to discuss the Egyptian understanding of the gods, the Neteru. The Egyptians did not believe in physical beings who had dramas in the ways of other religions. Rather, the Neteru are similar to, and likely the inspiration of, Platonic Forms (Aquino, 2015). So to say Horus the Younger is a lower manifestation of Osiris is not as nonsensical as it seems. Think of gnostic Aeons, for comparison. Horus the Younger represents a less pure version of what Osiris does, from ruler-ship to stasis. Understanding the Neteru also helps us understand that Horus the Younger is a perversion of Horus the Elder, the original Horus. Much like Christianity adopting religious dates or saviors from other religions to make it more accessible, the Osirians repurposed Horus the Elder to promote their own religion, where this timeless and ancient god was actually the son of Osiris. The idea of Horus the Younger must also be discarded with the rest of the Osirian interpretation of the myth.

So what was Horus the Elder, and what was Its relationship to Set? The Cults of Horus and Set are the two oldest known cults in human history - far predating Egypt, we find the two cults already established in pre-historical Egypt (Te Velde, 1967; Aquino, 2015). The ancients did not see Horus and Set as eternal enemies, but rather Horus and Set represented the fundamental duality that the Egyptians saw in all things. Horus and Set were, themselves, the foundation of all Egyptian religion. It is true that Horus and Set were seen as light and dark, day and night, stability and chaos, tradition and confusion, but there was no concept of them being “good” or “evil”. They were both necessary. There was also a unity between them, rather than the division commonly represented (Te Velde, 1967). Again, the Osirian myth must be discarded. This clears up many of the issues, such as how Egypt didn’t view any Neteru as evil, or how there was no prolonged combat or anything close between any of the other gods (Aquino, 2015). In fact, it’s likely that Horus and Set never were originally fighting until the Osirian religion wrote it as such. Rather, studies of the myth suggest that the relationship between Horus and Set was originally a romantic, consensual one (Te Velde, 1967). Mertz (2008) even points out that the story may have been seen as epic and humorous, similar to the tales of other culture. As we will see, this is likely the case on the outside, but initiated understanding of the stories will show things were different for those on the inside. The original myth actually promotes the idea of a union of Horus and Set, which produces Thoth. Horus fills Set with his sperm through trickery, which in the end brings about Thoth, who rises from Set’s forehead. Further, the eye represented the power of Horus, where the testicles were the power of Set. Set attained power from Horus, the power of Order, and Horus attained power from Set, the power of Creation and Change (Te Velde, 1967). This is similar to the Ying-Yang, where the white side contains a black dot and visa versa. Together these two forces create Thoth, he who writes the universe into existence.

Remember how the Neteru are similar to Platonic Forms? It should not be thought that two beings were conceived as literally having sex to create another. Rather than a myth similar to that of Christianity and Solar religions, we see that the story of Horus and Set is much more Egyptian in nature, perhaps somewhat anticlimactically. So to sum up thus far, Horus and Set, un-perverted, were the foundational polarity of the universe, which unites to create all the cosmos. As Neteru/Forms, all other Neteru should be understood as manifestations of the two. Anubis, for example, is a lesser manifestation of Set, which explains why Set is understood as his “father” and the two are sometimes used interchangeably in texts. It is also why Ra has the same head as Horus, for Solar religion is a worship of Order/Horus, which the Egyptian state publically promoted.
When Osiris absorbed Horus he absorbed the Solar aspects of Egyptian religion. With the demonization of Set, a morality arose and a higher value placed on the Solar over the Stellar. Now deification was rewarded by the gods directly for proper behavior, though there were obviously loopholes for the high class. The material world became increasingly important, and with it the body, starting the first move from Egyptian esotericism to exotericism. These effects are still felt today in the on-going fight between the Solar Abrahamic religions and the Solar materialistic philosophies, and even in occultism which remains mostly Solar in nature.

A large part of the history of Horus and Set is the idea that Horus is better, more virtuous, more important, superior, etc. to Set in some way. But it seems quite possible that originally, Set was actually seen as the superior Neter. One of the main reasons for this is that Set was known as the “Son of Nut”, the Egyptian Neter representing the skies in their entirety (Te Velde, 1967). The “Son of Nut” referenced Set in all cases, nobody else was considered the son or daughter of Nut directly (Te Velde, 1967). This is likely a carry-over from the time when Set was seen as the head of the Neteru. There are, in fact, references that have Set as the one and only Neter holding the latter to heaven, whereas we do not see this with Horus. That Horus as the sun (later Ra) could be defeated by Apep, whereas Set could not and was actually the main defender, further shows the importance and power of Set. Even in the Pyramid Texts we see that Horus makes the Earth quake, but Set makes the Sky shake (Pyramid Texts Online, n.d.). Another interesting thing to notice is that there are cases, such as in the texts of Unas, where the king is referred to as **a** Horus, rather than a specific entity named Horus. It may be that Horus has always been associated with the actual ruler of the nome or country, who we know was viewed as a literal demigod. To become a “Horus” can be seen as becoming a king over the Earth and/or over the Neteru, which matches exactly with the stellar afterlife ideals of the early Egyptians. This could also explain why only the Horus name was generally preferred for the Pharaoh name, despite the two Neteru clearly being viewed as equally important.

In the end, however, it does not really matter if one viewed Horus and Set as somehow better. Most likely it can down to preference, which is why Unas was allowed to choose between Horus and Set upon reaching the Imperishable Stars (Pyramid Texts Online, n.d.). Following a balanced path between the two, or picking one over the other, is up to the individual. But what can we know about the nature of this choice between Horus and Set? For one thing, we know that Horus was a pharaoh-like role, where the dead became identified even with Atum (who preceded Horus and Set in mythology), king over the Neteru. Set, on the other hand, was known as “the separator”, being drawn as a fantastic animal and represented even in the earliest myths as an outsider (Te Velde, 1967).

The Osiris Myth

One thing to clear up is that I do not think we should reject the Osiris myth all together, as in ignore it. Rather, it does not describe the original understanding of the Neteru Set and Horus. It can, however, be used to understand modern religion and how it varies with ancient religion. The Egyptians saw the skies as the literal heavens, with the stars representing a physical form of the Neteru, or being where the Neter was supposed to live or exist. (Clark, 2000). This matches closely with the Hermetic understanding of “as above, so below”, where the physical heavens helped to understand the divine world. Horus, the god of Light, represented the daytime and the sun. Horus was the ruler of the earth, surrounded by other gods of the zodiac or starts. Set, as the god of Dark, was represented by nighttime, and explicitly the circumpolar northern starts (Te Velde, 1967; Aquino, 2014; Levenda, 2008). This means either Set or Horus was in the sky *at all times*. It is interesting to note that Set, as being “higher” then Horus, can possibly be seen as “more divine”, but I do not personally know if the Egyptians understood that the stars were still “up” when the sun was, or that they were farther away. More likely is that Horus and Set were seen as equals.

In the Osiris myth, Set and Osiris are brothers and Osiris is the ruler of Egypt (Budge, 1969). Set, jealous of Osiris’ power, murders him. Throughout the story Isis impregnates herself using the body of Osiris, giving birth to Horus. Horus and Set battle, with Horus eventually winning rulership over Egypt. This is obviously extremely simplified! In the Osiris myth cycle, Set is an archetypal villain, a clear precursor to the modern Satan/Devil. He is jealous, violent, a heavy handed ruler, a rapist and pedophile, and hated by everyone including his wife. We know, of course, that this was a twisting of the original Set by the followers of Osiris in early dynastic Egypt, especially starting around Dynasty IV-VI. Yet this was the version that became one of the most well-known and well preserved myths of Egyptian – and human – history. There are many interesting mysteries to Horus and Set here though, and we will start by looking at the more mysterious Set.

One of the big things that jumps right out is that Set is the initiator of Osiris. Osiris needed to die in order to become ruler of the Duat (afterlife) (Te Velde, 1967). While this seems obvious at face value, we see that it was not publically acknowledged by the Egyptians, and only known to the priesthoods. This increases Set’s importance for the initiated, and his malevolence for the uninitiated. It was also Set, in the form of a bull, who carries the body of Osiris into the Duat (Te Velde, 1967). This is a holdover from Set’s original role as a guide into the next world, formerly the circumpolar stars, and now a mostly ethereal, “divine” location. Without Set Osiris would never die, and never make it to the underworld. Further, the Opening of the Mouth ceremony was crucial to both the Neteru and the dead (Te Velde, 1967; Levenda, 2008; Webb, 2011). This is what brought the spirit of a Neter into a statue, or allowed you to talk in the afterlife. Like everyone, this ritual was necessary for Osiris. The key to the opening of the mouth ceremony was a tool known as the Adze, which literally opened the mouth. This tool was shaped as the constellation Ursa Major, one of the constellations most associated with Set, and made from materials believed to be sacred to Set (Te Velde, 1967; Levenda, 2008; Webb, 2011; Flowers, 2012). Obviously it was still realized, even if only behind closed doors, that Set was extremely necessary to the Osiris cycle.

As for Horus, he is seen as the son of Osiris, nephew of Set. It is in this tale where we see Set gouging out Horus’ eye, and Horus ripping off Set’s testicles, as well as Set attempting to rape Horus, and the endlessly hysterical “tainted lettuce” incident (Budge, 1969). Horus had to be hidden from Set as a child because he was not nearly powerful enough to challenge Set. He loses many times before finally becoming victorious over Set. As touched upon, Horus the Child is a manifestation of Osiris himself, Osiris reborn almost, a lesser Form. Horus was the power of the Pharaoh (same as the Elder), Osiris on Earth. Again we see an obvious precursor to Christianity, without all the utter bullshit of trying to directly compare Christ to Horus. Horus had to actively fight back against the chaos of Set, actively attempt to uphold Ma’at, same as the pharaoh. This puts Horus the Child as the center of the universal struggle between order and chaos. It’s interesting to note that later gnostic sects held the concept of Horos, “the limit”, which was the division between the Upper and Fallen Aeons. As the sun, Horus also represents the entity between the world of humans and the world of the Neteru.

A Brief Word on Apep

The story of Apep and Set holding him back is also important. It goes that after his family disowned him, Set was adopted by Ra. Set would ride on the sun boat of Ra, and at night he would have to fight back the serpent Apep. It was thought that every night Apep would try to stop the sun in its course by hypnotizing it was a stare. When facing Apep, all the Neteru in the boat would faint, except Set, who pushed the snake back. Apep can be seen to represent absolute chaos, non-existence, delusion, and so forth. It seems that Set was the only Neter not swayed by Apep, likely because Set was understood to be Dark and Chaotic as well. It has been theorized that Apep was understood as a more eldritch form of Set, almost a kind of dark Gnosticism except Set is the actual good guy. Either way, Set was absolutely necessary again, which correlates to his resurgence in the second intermediate period and new kingdom (Te Velde, 1967; Webb, 2011).

Consorts

Finally there is the question of consorts, as Egyptian Neteru are always paired with a female aspect (Budge, 1969; Te Velde, 1967). Horus is difficult, as he is commonly considered either a child of Osiris and Isis, or the fifth sibling of the Ennead that did not have a consort. This is in keeping with the Osirian mythos though. We can see either Isis or Hathor as the consort of Horus, though it can also be argued that these two Neteru are inherently the same. They represent the earth, material pleasure, drunkness and celebration, the harvest and agriculture, domestication, nurturing motherhood and the wrath of an angry parent. This is the classic fertility goddess, associated with Life in line with Horus.

Many sources recognize Taweret as the wife or concubine of Set (Morgan, 2005; Gordon, 2001; Wilkinson, 2003; Ancient Egypt Online, n.d.; Seawright, n.d.). Te Velde (1967) suggests that the Sa symbol, associated with Taweret, is grammatically related to the Sha animal, the dog form of Set. This would be in keeping with the wordplay used in early Egyptian language. During the early times of the language, word-play and puns were one of the main ways in which Egypt-created their language. In many instances it was seen that Taweret was responsible for keeping Set separated from the Gods in the Northern skies, whether to “retain his evil” or, earlier on, literally to be the Separation between Set in the Gods (Morgan, 2005; Seawright, n.d.; Ancient Egypt Online, n.d.). Set’s name itself, in early Egypt, was often a single symbol representing “Separator” or “Isolator” (Te Velde, 1967). Another way she was connected with Set was that they were both related to the northern circumpolar stars (Te Velde, 1967; Aquino, 2014; Levenda, 2008; Webb, 2011; Flowers, 2012). Taweret was seen as the constellation Draco, which may have been envisioned as much larger to the Egyptians (Morgan, 2005; Gordon, 2001; Ancient Egypt Online, n.d.; Seawright, n.d.). It is possible that she was seen as a mother to the gods. Ursa Minor was seen as Sobek riding on Taweret’s back in some situations, or part of Taweret herself (Gordon, 2001; Ancient Egypt Online, n.d.; Seawright, n.d.). However, in the Dendera zodiac, Ursa Minor is seen as the Jackle of Set (Gordon, 2001).

References

Aquino, M., PhD. (2015). MindStar. United States, 2015: CreateSpace Independent Publishing   Pr.

Aquino, M. (2014). The Temple of Set I. United States: CreateSpace Independent Publishing   Platform. 

Budge, E. W. (1898). The Chapters of Coming Forth By Day. London: Kegan Paul, Trench,   Trubner &.

Budge, E. W. (1969). The Gods of the Egyptians. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

Clark, R. (2000). The Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

Flowers, S., PhD. (2012). Lord of the Left Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies.   Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Grimal, N. (1994). A History of Ancient Egypt. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Levenda, P. (2013). The Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition   in Magic. Lakeworth, FL: Ibis Press.

Levenda, P. (2008). Stairway to Heaven: Chinese Alchemists, Jewish Kabbalists, and the Art of   Spiritual Transformation. United Kingdom: Bllomsbury Academic.

Mertz, B. (2008). Red Land Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt. New York, NY:   HarperCollins   Publisher.

Morgan, M. (2005). The Bull of Ombos: Seth and Egyptian Magick II. Oxford, UK: Mandrake of   Oxford.

The Pyramid Texts Online. (n.d.). Retrieved September 06, 2016, from pyramidtextsonline.com
Rielly, C. A. (2011). Taweret: An Untraditional Egyptian Goddess. Retrieved February 8, 2017,   from https://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/556/taweret-an-untraditional-egyptian   goddess

Seawright, C. (n.d.). Taweret, Goddess Demoness of Birth, Rebirth, and the Northern Sky.   Retrieved February 8, 2017, from   http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/taweret.html

Taweret. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from   http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/taweret.html

Te Velde, H. (1967). Seth, God of Confusion. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishing.

Webb, D. (2011). Seven Faces of Darkness. Lodestar.

April 22, 2017, 02:13:01 am
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