The Eternal Word of Set
Don Webb V°, High Priest
I am the Magus of the Word Xeper (pronounced Khefer), an English language coinage expressing an Egyptian verb written as a stylized scarab and meaning "I Have Come Into Being." This Word generates the Aeon of Set, and is the current form of the Eternal Word of the Prince of Darkness. To Know this Word is to know that the ultimate responsibility for the evolution of your psyche is in your hands. It is the Word of freedom, ecstasy, fearful responsibility, and the root of all Magic.
An Aeon is a world. As human beings we are familiar with many "worlds." We can talk about the "world of Thomas Jefferson" or the "world of Newton." Magical worlds are created by Words -- by the verbal power of mankind to express a divine principle -- which through the effect of that Utterance on the objective universe brings about the creation of the world. The Word serves as a gateway for the mind seeking to enter the world it defines, and the effect of an Utterance of a Word will cause many worlds to be reconfigured in order to Hear it. The Aeon of Set is Created by the Word "Xeper." Xeper is an Egyptian verb meaning "I Have Come Into Being." Xeper is the experience of an individual psyche becoming aware of its own existence and deciding to expand and evolve that existence through its own actions. Xeper has been experienced by anyone who has decided to seek after his or her own development.
Awareness of Xeper usually begins with a moment of rebellion against the spiritual status quo. In this sense Xeper is a "Satanic" word, and the condition that led to its re-emergence on this Earth began in the Working called the Church of Satan. Its properties transcend and are in some ways opposed to that matrix. It is the nature of Self-Creation that it continually Re-creates its matrix in the objective universe so that the subjective universe can evolve and expand. To experience that moment of Xeper, of emergent self-divinity one must Love two things with all of one's heart. The first of these is Freedom, because only in Freedom can one take the steps (if initially only mentally) that create and limit the Self. The second thing one must Love is Knowledge. This isn't the same thing as information; this a transformative Understanding of those things within us and beyond us that determine who we are.
The symbols of Xeper are the scarab beetle and the dawning sun. The beetle is symbolic of self trust and hard work. The beetle goes through very different stages from egg to larva to pupa to beetle. Each stage has its own Work, a particular way of gathering energy and materials, particular ways of transforming them. It senses its own evolution and works toward it -- even though the momentum of that evolution will change its shape radically -- taking it at the appropriate time into unknown worlds and new modes of Being. The dawn is symbolic of the way the world is perceived. Unlike the followers of conventional religion who posses guidebooks that explain the world away, the Seeker after Xeper is looking for an intensification of his or her own Being so that the world may be made intelligible in his or her own light. In this darkling universe there are no lights save for those you create through your hard work, your spiritual rebellion, your seeking after the mysteries of your own choosing. When that light dawns, it will by its very nature not only give you moments of clarity about the things in your life closest to you, it will likewise show you new horizons -- horizons for you and you alone to explore. This Secret was known symbolically to the Egyptians -- they identified their god Xepera, the Self-Created One with Hrumachis, the god of the Horizon. This Secret was also known (at a divine level) by Aleister Crowley, who predicted that the Aeon of Hrumachis would surpass his own.
Set, the Egyptian god of Darkness, is the Divine origin of the Word. Set's name ultimately means the "Separator" or "Isolator." His chief enemies are the gods of Stasis and Mindlessness. The first of these is Osiris, Death himself. Set's slaying of Osiris has a twofold significance for the seeker of Xeper. Firstly this represents the slaying of old thought patterns, the dethroning of those internal gods that we have received from society. On a second level this was the act by which Set, alone of all the gods of ancient Egypt, became deathless. The Left Hand Path is a quest to Become an immortal, potent, and powerful Essence. Set's other enemy is the demon of mindless chaos, Apep. Set is said to slay this creature every night just before dawn. This symbolizes overcoming self doubt and delusion, of acting at the times of greatest despair, or not being lulled to sleep by the powerful self-hypnotizing engines of mankind. Set achieves (on a divine level) this isolation from the universe so that he may say, "Xeper" = "I Have Come Into Being." Each of these breaks -- the break from the dead past (by slaying Osiris) and the break from the confused present (by slaying Apep) -- is done for the sake of a self-determined future. One of Set's cult titles, Set-Heh, means God of Unending Futurity.
Set did not receive the aid of other gods in his two quests, nor does Set give aid to those who seek to emulate these quests on a human level. Those who struggle (like Set) with the principle of Xeper are of his Essence. Their actions are essentially the same. Those who want to share their quests and pool their knowledge seek after Set's chief tool of His Aeon, the Temple of Set. It is the most concentrated environment for the study of Xeper, both as noun and verb. Xeper can not be studied as an abstract intellectual idea, it must be experienced. One can read about Justice, or one can hope for it, but to truly Know Justice you must bring it into Being. One can read about Xeper, as your interest in secret things has brought you to do. You can hope for it. Or you can seek the solitary self-transformation that will cause you to experience it. The Temple of Set represents a concentration of the Aeon; like Set himself, it does not answer prayers, and by its very Being provides challenges for those who would seek after the Word of Xeper. It is the embodiment of the Emerald Dawn enVisioned by the Fraternitas Saturni. We are not necessarily a "Satanic" order, other than we Understand that for Initiation on the Left Hand Path to be effective for those who have just begun Work on that path, the antinomian aspect of the Work does Need to be fulfilled by some means. The imagery of the Black Arts provides that Need for many, but it likewise can be limiting as it is mastered. Our predecessor was caught by this trap, and we hope by exploring the manifestations of the principle of Xeper in many cultures and times and in our own creations to have much further horizons. Diabolical imagery is useful only in a culturally bound antinomian sense; beyond this it represents a new stasis to be discarded.
Xeper. Now an Egyptian verb, like an English verb, can have several forms depending on its number, tense, voice, and mood. (Unlike an English verb, Egyptian verbs also have gender.) You can have a verb such as run which can be conjugated (I run; you run; he, she or it runs; we run -- I am running -- I ran -- etc.). There are about 140 forms for an English verb (I remember this because my Junior High School Latin teacher often made us write the full conjugation of English verbs when he was mad at us). We happen to know the tense and person of the verb Xeper from the sentence Xepera Xeper Xeperu. It is first person, stative. Now while you're trying to remember your High School grammar as to what tense "stative" is -- you won't. We don't have the tense in English. It refers to a past event that modifies a current state. We do have first person, of course; that means that "I" did it.
The proper translation of the verb Xeper is "I Have Come Into Being." Now there are some implications of this that we in the Temple have not yet considered. Firstly the verb refers to a moment that has happened that explains why we are here. When you write or speak or think the word "Xeper" you are talking about something that has taken place. You are not talking about something taking place at the moment of the speech act. Xeper is not a continuous process. It is a series of events, whose presence we sense either through reason, or through divine apprehensions. We are aware that something has occurred to give the particular Being we have at any moment. We are aware that whatever the great shaping potential of that something we don't have that potential at this moment. In short we are aware that we have had a moment wherein we acted as gods. We did something divine -- we had some peak experience -- we made some life-altering choice -- and it has produced the creatures we are now. Now this produces two great realizations. First, we are aware that we have a capacity beyond wherever and whenever we are right now to both Limit and Create ourselves. All moments of Xeper both Limit and Create ourselves -- or to use both of those ideas at the same time, all moments of Xeper Isolate ourselves from the Cosmos. Second, we want to do this again. Humankind wants the Divine. In erroneous religions this desire is a return to the Divine in one way or another (either by union or by being in the divine presence in some place with far too much harp music). Well that doesn't work -- you can't go back to the state where Xeper last occurred. You can't go back to a previous divine state any more than you can fold an oak back into an acorn. You can only go forward to another divine state. If you want to both achieve and experience your godhood, you've got to go forward. In our Earthly incarnation we never fully experience the divine moment, only through magical introspection do we discover that we have passed through them, and can therefore say (with both happiness and terror) "I Have Come Into Being." In the Bremmer-Rhind papyrus this idea is reflected in the fact that Xepera's first two children are Shu (Reason) and Tefnut (Peak Emotions). Through these two Human experiences we can detect the divine, and having detected it learn to Work with it to have more divine experiences.
Now the first question is -- how do I have more divine experiences? Xeper happens to every sapient being (note I didn't say every intelligent being, I'll return to that point in a future article). Most humans (and most of us most of the time) stumble across those experiences that would set up the conditions so that they could later say, "Xeper" if they had a large enough brain to hold the concept. The experience might be going into a drugstore to buy a malted milk and meeting the person that becomes your spouse for the next fifty years. Well that was divine moment, it both Limited and Created your Life. A Christian would say it was the hand of God, a Hindu would invoke Karma. But we know who did it -- that man or woman we face in the mirror everyday. The scary thing for all humans -- and in fact the reason they/we invented religion in the first place -- is that most divine experiences occur blindly. So most humans either ask some fairy tale on bended knee not to give them bad experiences, or if they're a little braver try to influence them with magic, or try to deny them by exerting the meaningless nature of the Cosmos. But the Setian, knowing that only through such experiences can he or she find the metamorphosis that our philosophy finds both achievable and desirable, seeks out the divine experience. I can't tell you where to find yours. If you did what I did, you would mainly find that it didn't work. That is because of the individualistic nature of Xeper (remember? -- First Person verb).
This tells you many things about Xeper, the verb. It is not continuous. All events do not feed it equally. It is not fully under conscious control, rather consciousness and emotion arise from it; but can and must be used to seek more of it. This means that Xeper is not simple self-development or self-improvement, but that those things chosen rationally can put us in the place where Xeper can occur. All sapient beings experience Xeper, but those who can name it and Understand its purpose have a much better chance of achieving it. The paths to it are absolutely personal, but some of its properties (such as being fed/triggered by peak experiences) lead to certain group functions as facilitators. It Limits you -- Divine decisions always involve a road not taken. It Creates you -- Divine decisions always lead to much more than can be rationally deduced. When you can say "Xeper" you are in some way a different person.
The noun "Xeper" -- that thing we speak of us as our "Xeper" -- is likewise an Egyptian noun. It is usually translated into English as manifestation. Or "The thing that happened." The plural of the noun is Xeperu. When we talk about our "Xeper" we are talking about a very large thing indeed -- and we usually (in our normal sluglike mode) give very little thought to it. Yet if we simply Become aware of Xeper -- our personal magical and philosophical horizons greatly expand. Many magicians in the Temple of Set take justifiable pride in the magical items they create. It's easy to see one's magic in a necklace one makes. However as magicians what we do is a make a very large magical object, existing on many levels of reality. Our entire lives considered at any moment is a Xeper, a manifestation. If you can think of all the things that you've wrought -- changes in your mind/body complex, your recognition, your reputation -- all of those things that represent what you have brought to this Earth -- as a giant talisman -- then you've got a handle on Xeper, the noun. Many of you may have written a Rune to pull something -- gold or love -- out of the Unmanifest. That Rune is a tiny, tiny version of the great talisman your Xeper is. The creation of Xeper is the Working whereby we attract what we're going to get in this life, and the divine memory we will have of this life.
Xeper, the noun, is the extension of existence to a further level of Being. These extensions can be a thought that you've pulled to a developed conscious level from an intuition -- which would represent two levels of being in your Subjective Universe. These extensions can be what others think of you. The extensions are particularity evident in actions that represent a first or personal best effort at some thing. Hence if you really want to Xeper, conquer fear by doing something you didn't think you could. Or find a mystery and bring it to the surface of your understanding -- or better yet the understanding of others. Or create something new (the last would be an example of the verb for Create, S'Xeper). Since Xeper exists as a noun, you can interact with the Xeper of others -- you are effected (usually blindly) by the Work of past magicians, or if you have learned the art of Shaping and Seeking your own Xeper first you can consciously Work with other's products -- an excellent example of this would the Wewelsburg Working.
I'll leave you with one other word for your word-hoard -- the dual noun Xeperi. Egyptian nouns can be singular (one cat), dual (two cats) or plural (too many cats). The noun Xeperi can best be translated by synchronicity; although the standard translation is miracle. The Egyptians knew the Sign of something Coming Into Being was the meaningful co-incidence. We know too -- either bu Shu ("What were the odds of that happening?") or by Tefnut ("It sent shivers down my spine."). The noun Xeperi shows that manifestations are not continuous, but discrete -- actions at a distance -- or more simply, magic. Xeper has occurred when two discrete systems resonate with one another. Another form of Xeperi is that moment of communication of wordless magical information with one another. The most familiar form of this is through our interactions with the Aeon, and as before the more adept you are at Seeking and Shaping your own Xeper, the more you can positively interact with the Xeper of the Aeon, and help fulfill her purpose of exporting Xeper into the Objective Universe.
Think about these things. Think about them till that shiver runs down your back. Then put this aside for awhile and come back to it. Then, after the most personal and individual of experimentation you too can Know and Heed the Law: Xepera Xeper Xeperu = I Have Come Into Being, and by the Process of my Coming Into Being, the Process of Coming Into Being is Established.
I will speak on the Word's history, and I will ask you all to think on this Evolution in the objective universe, and then upon the Evolution of your own subjective universe -- how you, the reader, has experienced Xeper. With each evolution of the Word, note how it doesn't lose meaning, but gains through each historical test -- just as Xeper in your self gains as you gain new being.
The formula Xepera Xeper Xeperu has been traced by French Egyptologists back to the First Intermediate period. There it was a formula of power for finding meaning when the Divine Kingship, the most important source of order, had collapsed. This was probably the birth of the Left Hand Path -- the idea that meaning can only come from the individual. "Xeper" was the last fortress -- the mind and body of the individual. "Xeper" was the word of anyone who would not let the divine principle of Isolation and Evolution fail.
The second appearance was in Ramses III's time. The formula was used to empower travelers through the desert. "Xeper" was a touchstone for those who extend existence by passing boundaries. "Xeper" was the word of the extender of Egypt -- of the Known Order.
The third appearance was at the beginning of the Hermetic tradition. "Xeper" became the word of the individual magician seeking two types of power: power to see through the illusions of this world, and power for a coherent afterlife. These practitioners began a magical practice that went beyond the state goals of Egypt or Greece or Rome.
The fourth appearance -- connected with the purchase of Budge's Egyptian Language by a Priest of Mendes -- was very different. The Left Hand Path was up and running. The Word Worked on a matrix of its own making. Michael Aquino had to find the word (cast in Roman and Greek letters) in a translation from its last appearance. He didn't write the Rhind papyrus, any more than its author came up with the spell of Continuous Re-Creation. But his Utterance of that Word -- in a matrix conditioned by its last appearance -- produced a new access to energy and power beyond any previous utterances. Aquino's Utterance in 1975 e.v. was the Utterance of the Word of Aeons, defining the process that each sapient being must experience in order to change him- or herself. Xeper is the concept upon which the cycles of manifestation are actualized (in both the noumenological and phenomenological worlds). The actual activity of cyclical dynamism is generated by the formula of Xepera Xeper Xeperu, and my Remanifestation of the Word with my own Utterance of Xeper on the Spring Equinox of 1996 e.v. will raise and attune the imagination of the world to a new and permanent understanding of the principle.
My Utterance of the Word is in the tradition of Michael Aquino's. I am Uttering the Word into a Matrix of its own conditioning. The results should be stronger and further reaching than Michael Aquino's Utterance -- just as he or she that follows me will extend the Word further.
Each Pharaoh attempted to extend the borders of the country further than his predecessor. I am extending the possibilities for Xeper further than Michael Aquino. My accomplishments will be less, the time of seeing an Aeon being born is very rare. My job will be to find and articulate more of the properties of Xeper, so that each student of the Black Arts will have new types of tools for their collaboration with Set.
If I manage to extend the boundaries and make there my Oath of Truth, then I will be seen as a successful Magus. If I fail, others will Utter "Xeper," just as mankind has been doing for the last four thousand years. It is the job of the Temple to keep the connections of the Word alive, so that long periods of ignorance come not again. In fact, if we fail utterly then the Word will not be heard on this earth again.
To those that dare the Black Magic, that will take up the uniquely personal challenge of Xeper, both as a spiritual quest for Self-deification and a psychological exploration of antinomianism, I send greetings, and the sure Knowledge that when you think of Set, He thinks of you.
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