Below are my personal reflections on a series of questions given to me in a course I’m taking to increase my competency in the field of Neurolinguistic Programming. I had a fantastic time answering these. Feel free to answer them for yourself! You might be surprised what you discover about your style of thinking and beliefs.
Disclaimer: The answers to all of these questions are subject to change based on my current life experiences, stage in Process etc. Additionally, the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view or any official stance taken by the Temple of Set.
1. Will I exist after my death?
I am always in the process of dying. Who I am in this moment will be dead tomorrow because the experiences I endured today have changed me (no matter how subtle) from the person I was when I woke up. Is there a difference between the daily process of dying and the precise moment in which my physical body fails as a conduit to five senses I perceive to be the owner of? Is Death a state of existence akin to Life, or is Death an experience that I must live though? What does it mean to experience my Death? Living in a reality without access to five senses does not mean I cease to exist. It merely means the existence I perceive has changed the experience in which I am currently aware or unaware of living within.
2. Do infinities exist?
If infinities don’t exist it’s only because the concept of infinity is something so vast that it goes beyond what I can conceivably process as a being who has lived within the scope of human experience. Infinity is a value that goes beyond the reach of my five senses. If I were to consider infinity in terms of the biggest number I can think of and then multiply that number by ten, I can continue that process indefinitely. Does that mean that any number that I came up with through this process is equal to the value of infinity? Absolutely not. That number has a value. Infinity has no value. Infinity is a term used to try and classify a never ending sequence of objective values I know exist through subjective deletion of value.
3. Is time physical or subjective?
Time is a subjective measurement between two processes. Time, in terms of daily life, is a collectively agreed upon subjective metric used to measure objective and natural processes that occur to the Earth and in our physical bodies.
4. What is the purpose of my existence?
The purpose of my existence is to engage with whatever it is that presently provides me with a sense of fulfillment, joy, or happiness. To do what makes me happy.
5. What is true in my life?
On a superficial level, I am overly optimistic and naive. I can tangibly feel the potential I have boiling up inside of me, and I desperately want to share it with the World. I am blessed, because I have lived a life that has been more privileged than most of the humans who have ever been born into this World. I love to learn. And I love learning at my own pace. I am not where I want to be, and I don’t think that I will ever be, because whenever I actually get to where I want to go, I will always want to go somewhere else. Enough is never enough. I will never get “there.” I am endless Process.
6. What is my relationship to God?
My logical robot answer to this question goes a little like this:
A relationship is defined the state of being connected to something. Having a relationship to God and having a relationship with God are two entirely different things. What am I capable of? Conceivably anything is achievable. Even the things that seem impossible. Things that seem impossible are like that only because I lack the knowledge to be able to bring that possibility into being. Because it takes knowledge to do the impossible, including seemingly “godly” deeds from an objective standpoint, there must be a method or roadmap unto which that knowledge can be attained. Am I God? To anyone outside of me absolutely not. But to me, I am the most important thing in my life. Whether I choose to ascribe that importance to something I perceive to be outside of mySelf or not is my prerogative. By choosing to treat God as an external influential force that I am connected to, I am taking away both my agency and the decisions I potentially can create for mySelf in the name of mySelf. Believing in a God outside of me is like trying to blame another driver for speeding in a school zone. It’s like trying to make a justification for my faults in order to make me appear innocent, when I was clearly the one driving. In a sense, all humans are “God” because we are all capable of being that force in our own lives, it only takes the realization that in order to be “God” one must be take inventory and responsibility for the things one does.
In addition to this first answer I am going to present an additional extended reflection to this question by permitting mySelf to intuitively reflect on what I “feel” about this question.
God is complicated. In my heart, I feel nothing for God. And that isn’t just because God feels nothing for me. It is impossible for me to hold resentment or lack thereof for something I can’t possibly understand.
From the time I was three years old I always have felt that there was something else, some “other” that has been present in my life. My father was a severe man. He was a Marine Corps drill instructor, a car enthusiast, a biker, a police officer, a solider. In my eyes as a young child, my father was God. Until he wasn’t.
The idea of the Devil was introduced to me, one evening in 1988 when I offered my father some mistruth, and he tried to explain what a lie was in a way I understand. He prefixed his explanation with a faulty presupposition. He told me that: “Every time you lie, the Devil laughs.” Being that I was three, the first thing I thought of was the cartoon Devil on a can of Underwood deviled ham. Deviled ham was delicious. And I very much liked to laugh. It felt good. Evidently, the Devil also enjoyed to laugh, and I had evidence to prove it! After all, he was smiling and having a great time on the side of that can of deviled ham!
The “magical lie” has—perhaps been the greatest source of power throughout the course of my entire life. For example, I spent a few years lying about my ability to read tarot, until I actually started doing it. When I lie about something I want to be, over and over again there is a magical quality to bringing what started as a complete fabrication into a reality as truth incarnate.
I remember authentically both feeling and loving the Devil’s presence in music I listened to before I even turned five. James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” are good examples of songs that have the energy I’m talking about.
To me, I felt connected to the Devil because he represented freedom of expression. He wasn’t the type to hold anything in. The Devil was release.
I have reflected on it before, in a previous post, but this all came to a head in 1997 when I got to “meet” the Devil in the passenger’s seat of a 1971 Camaro RS. To me, it was a no brainer to strike a deal with him: I only had to continue telling magical lies to get what I wanted.
A little after that point, the Devil came to me again through music. I had obtained a bootleg copies of Cradle of Filth’s “Cruelty and the Beast” and “Dusk and Her Embrace” from this stoner who was four years my senior. To me, those two albums represented a realization of everything I had felt for the majority of my life up until that point and I still deeply resonate with them today.
It was around this time, 1998, that I began to strongly associate the same feelings I had towards the Devil to the blood countess Elizabeth Bathory, and in turn the mythological first wife of Adam, the “demon goddess” Lilith. I began painting (watercolor) a lot. I was lucky enough to have an entire studio to myself, and I would spend my evenings listening to black metal and painting until 4am in the morning, even during the school week. I produced countless depictions of how I viewed Lilith. On one hand she was aesthetically perfect. Clean–in a “no rough edges” sort of way. But there was a grotesque aspect to her which I would often paint in my pictures through Lovecraftian-type appendages and tentacles. I almost always depicted her with horns of some type.
For whatever reason, I have almost always kept a diary of some kind which has doubled as a personal holy book of sorts. This habit has continued into the present and my process of record keeping has been drastically refined. It’s fascinating to re-read and revisit old beliefs, even if some of what I wrote were the insane ramblings of a fourteen year old trying to make sense of the world. There is a magical quality to those old writings that simultaneously feel dirty and innocent at the same time. I would scrawl countess lies in those journals and in the future, they almost always came true.
Through my obsession with black metal, I was able to discover the Church of Satan and in turn the Temple of Set through the Internet. I did not resonate with the Church of Satan in the slightest. After all, the Church of Satan website didn’t have the same flair that the old red ToS website had. I remember becoming overcome with curiosity the first time I laid eyes on the golden seal of Set the site had at the time. Reading the General Information letter felt like a goddamn adventure to my fourteen year old self. I just remember thinking—“WOW THERE ARE REAL BLACK MAGICIANS?!” I wanted to apply badly. I had to wait until I was eighteen though. In the meantime, I spent a few years reading literally everything I could get my hands on with regards to the Temple. This included all of the free Don Webb articles, pylon information, anything I could find on the Hyperborea site, so on and so forth. If I could print it, I would read it. I remember spending my lunch hours in high school printing off on some occasions reams of information, images, and thoughts I found valuable creating my own tome of magical knowledge to hold onto for many years to come. (I believe much of this still lives with my mother somewhere in the Midwest).
By the time I was eighteen, I had taught mySelf how to play guitar and became involved in the national black metal scene. It was during this time I produced a respectable body of music meant to celebrate the “Principle of Isolate Intelligence.” I had fun. And then I didn’t. I was young, I spent a lot of time working, and spent almost no time exploring who I was as an individual. My band mates and I grew apart. I began exploring my sexuality and gender identity. I was confused. And because I was confused I tried to justify my feelings through rejection. That rejection eventually led me down a dark path that began the next phase of my life on April 1st, 2005.
My band broke up following the completion of one final tour circuit in 2006. After that, I spent several years in extreme isolation walled up in a small room with nothing but my bed, my computer, and a window. I had damned myself to being confined until death from the world I once knew. This period of my life was my “dark night of the soul.” I didn’t have God to lead me out of it though. I had to lead myself out of it.
I moved to New England on a whim following the death of my childhood dog in 2009 for a change of scenery. The Devil manifested once again in my life the following year when I got my first proper theatre gig with the Amherst Renaissance Center in a production of Marlowe’s Faust. The director of the production, very intelligently cast a talented woman as Mephistopheles. This was the first time, my interaction with the Devil took on a physical form. What was even more surprising, was that this Devil embodied all of the physical aspects I had encountered during the course of my life in one convenient package. I made contact with the Temple of Set later that year, but got spooked, since I wasn’t sure that I was equipped for the experience. Over the next few years, I became very active in New England’s theatre community. I worked my ass off too, and made my own lunch by meeting a long time goal of mine to pay for facial feminization surgery before I turned 30. When that became a reality for me I decided the time was right to finally to apply to the Temple as I had manifested a long term lie into tangible reality.
I’ve spent a lot of this reflection on my relationship to God on the Devil. So what about Set? I haven’t mentioned him at all yet. Well, in comparison to what I felt for the various manifestations of the Devil I have encountered since I was a child, Set is different. I feel nothing for Set. Set is not my God. I don’t look up to Set, and he doesn’t look down upon me. Where I have “felt” the presence of the Devil in the past, with Set there is nothing. But the paradox of feeling nothing for Set is that feeling nothing is still a feeling.
I look back to my dark night of the soul and distinctly remember experiencing a feeling of nothingness towards mySelf. The very same feeling of nothingness I feel towards Set. When I was nothing, or rather felt nothing towards mySelf, I had two choices:
A.) I could continue to feel like, perceive, and decide that I was nothing.
B.) I could decide to empower mySelf by becoming something.
I become through the act of doing. By doing, I physically become my Process. The word Process is defined as a series of actions or steps to achieve a certain end. An action is something that I can decide to do or not. Taking steps suggests that I am able to measure the distance between the state or step I am currently on and compare it to step that came before it as well as to the step that will come after it should I choose to continue the act of doing. It is impossible for me to understand the things I do not know through experience. The only thing I can do when faced with the unknown is to A.) speculate or B.) try to understand the things I know to be true about that thing I do not know.
I don’t know what it means to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can speculate that he’s lived an extraordinary lifestyle, but he might view it differently, as the world he perceives varies wildly to the one I perceive him living.
I have subjectively experienced in a “physical” way, the being I perceive to be Set in ONE dream and ONE magical working. But if I feel nothing for Set, what was he doing in my dream and during that working? Hanging out? I have no way of knowing. I can’t even say that he somehow “took an interest” in something occurring at the two places I experienced him because I can’t perceive what Set perceives. Additionally, those two occasions could’ve been complete fabrications created by my mind to exist in those moments. And while the Egyptian concept of Neter works that way: “a thing created by the mind therefore exists,” the truth of the matter is that I alone experienced Set in the way I saw him in during those moments. I cannot corroborate what I saw as irrefutable truth. Objectively, I can’t physically see, hear, touch, smell, or even taste Set. I can only use speculation to fill in what I don’t know about him or I can decide to simply accept that I cannot explain what I don’t know.
So to answer the original question in this exercise–what is my relationship to “God?”
I can relegate this question down to one statement:
I relate to my patron in that he is a magical lie.