In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

The Companions of Seth

Seth-Typhon is a very busy God. When He isn’t defending Ra, the Prime Mover, from the dragon of chaos, He’s boring cosmic tunnels into qliphothic realms, slaying or domesticating the monsters He finds out there accordingly. He isn’t too concerned with what most mortals think or do; He doesn’t even care if the masses believe He exists or not. He’s just there to ensure that the universe will still be here tomorrow morning (even if the human race isn’t). And in my opinion, this is a much more daunting concern than legislating human morality. There are already more than enough Gods out there who are perfectly willing to micromanage people’s lives (and I believe such Gods are not quite as important in the grand scheme of things as They would have us think). Big Red, on the other hand, has much bigger fish to fry.

But for reasons known only to Him, Seth does help certain people in their struggles. Throughout history, most of these people have not been powerful politicians or glamorous celebrities with perfect hair and teeth. (There are a few exceptions to this, such as the Ramesside Pharaohs; but even they probably weren’t perfectly groomed.) Most have been “little people” who lived on the fringes of society (either literally or metaphorically): desert nomads, maligned foreigners, political rebels, feared minorities, and other social underdogs. Typhon favors those who are “out of step” with the privileged social elites, and it makes sense when you think about it. He knows better than anyone what it feels like to be alienated, to be spat upon from the moment of one’s birth. And it’s a pretty big deal when He deems someone worthy of His time and attention. You might not be a Brad or an Angelina, and you might not be a Schwarzenegger; but if Seth cares about you (for whatever reason), then you must be a very special person indeed.

Reminds me of some other cosmic nomad who draws unusual people to himself…

Together, we are the Companions of Seth (a term that was coined by Zeena and Nikolas Schreck). And while we are a very small population indeed (amounting to less than .01% of the global population, I’m sure), there seem to be at least six different kinds of us by my reckoning. Please note that the following categories are not intended to be viewed as a vertical hierarchy or an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are other kinds of Companions I haven’t encountered yet, and none of these categories should be considered “better” than the rest.

Priests of Seth: In ancient Egypt, priesthood was defined in terms of what one did for one’s Deities, not in terms of what one did for other people. A priest’s job was to worship, make offerings, and pray to the same specific Deity (or group of Deities) each and every day, as well as to maintain that Deity’s temple and shrines. To my mind, things like officiating wedding ceremonies are more properly understood as ministerial roles that do not necessarily have to be administered by a religious priest. (You can be a priest and a minister at the same time, but you can also be just one or the other.) My point here is that I consider anyone who worships Seth-Typhon on a daily basis to be one of His priests, whether they are also a legally-ordained minister or not.

Laity of Seth: Not everyone who worships Seth will interact with Him every day, and some will even worship Him in a secondary context, placing one or more Divinities above Him in their personal pantheon. I consider these Companions of Seth to be His laity or laypeople, and a good example would be my wife. Most of her spiritual life is centered on her relationship with Ishtar, whom she serves as a priestess; but she also believes in Seth and occasionally participates in prayers and rituals to Him. In much the same way, I am a layperson of Ishtar; I only interact with the Goddess on certain occasions, and my relationship with Seth takes precedence.

Friends of Seth: I’ve met several people who believe in Seth’s existence, and who even believe they’ve personally encountered Him once or twice. But while they might respect Him, they don’t actually worship or interact with Him that much; they’re just friendly with Him from across a distance, you might say. I consider these Companions to be Seth’s friends or “causal acquaintances.” The funny thing is that I’ve met at least two or three people who fall into this category and who also happen to be Christians or Christopagans.

Allies of Seth: These are the Companions of Seth who interact with Seth-Typhon in ritual, but not in any devotional sense. They might invoke Him during magical rituals and draw strength or inspiration from Him, but they don’t actually worship Him. Usually, they’re ceremonial magicians who worship their own higher selves and who regard Seth as more of a mentor or spirit guide (similar to how Buddhists regard the Buddha). Unlike Seth’s priests, laity and friends, His allies don’t have to agree that He’s actually real. Some believe that He is, while others might think He’s simply an aspect of their higher selves, an egregore that was created by the ancient Egyptians, or a symbol (in the same way that “Uncle Sam” is a symbol for the United States of America). Most of the Companions in this category are practitioners of the Western left-hand path, including Typhonian Thelemites and Temple of Set members.

Prodigies of Seth: There are certain people whom Typhon has chosen for His own, but who have no idea that He intervenes in their lives (or that He even exists). Most of these people are either atheists, agnostics, other Pagans, or even born-again evangelical Christians. Whatever they might be, they possess some innate quality that draws Typhon’s attention to them for whatever reason. They might also do or create things that successfully channel His energy, containing hidden omens or messages that only other Companions of Seth will notice. I think of these people as Seth’s prodigies, and I include artists like Alice Cooper and John Carpenter in this category.

Saints of Seth: These are deceased Companions who are now with Seth-Typhon in Setheus, which is His domain in the Otherworld (situated in the Northern Sky). They might have been priests, laity, friends, allies, or even prodigies of Seth while they were alive. As with Typhonian prodigies, it’s virtually impossible to prove or disprove that anyone has become one of Big Red’s saints. But I personally believe that Kenneth Grant, H.R. Giger, and David Bowie are all up there (or that they at least have backstage passes).

I believe there is also great social mobility among Seth’s Companions (both living and deceased). A priest may not always be a priest; he or she may later become a layperson, friend, ally, or even a prodigy. Let’s say you worship Seth for several years, but then you eventually lose your faith and become an agnostic or an atheist. It could very well be that Seth is still with you and that He just needs you to not believe in Him for some reason. This may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes He works better with people who don’t believe in Him. The point here is that social mobility among Seth’s companions is strictly horizontal and never vertical. If a priest becomes a layperson, for example, it should never be viewed as a “step backwards”; it’s simply a change in how that person relates to Big Red. One’s standing with Seth is not necessarily static and must be allowed to ebb and flow accordingly. It’s even feasible that some of Typhon’s saints don’t stay with Him in the Northern Sky forever; perhaps some of them choose to be reincarnated, and perhaps some choose to join other Gods in any of Their various heavens.

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4 responses to “The Companions of Seth

  1. mikhaeleast January 11, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    This is an interesting post, and echoes my own preponderances about how the Egyptian Netjeru manifest today.

    I wonder about Set’s worship / cult in ancient times, and my sense is that we currently understand only a fraction of what it was, and just how He was truly regarded. Perhaps this is why there are a myriad of “groups” that have sprung up in relation to Him?

    I am currently reading the Temple Of Set V1; whilst I am not a TOS member, I am not entirely sure that it can be said that they don’t think that He is real. (I think it is accurate to suggest that they don’t worship Him).

    “Questions of dogma, authority, legitimacy and heteronormativity don’t even occur to Him”: I could not agree more. I think that Netjer / Deity is a concept so massive and beyond our understanding (now, but perhaps not in Ancient Kemet) that it is moronic to suggest that where we put our dicks and our own petty life grievances even makes the radar for a God. (I do think how we treat each other matters though and I think that also matters to many Netjeru).

    Love the Dr. Who pic. And happy new (Gregorian) year!

    Like

    • G. B. Marian January 12, 2015 at 7:15 am

      The Temple of Set actually has a pretty wide discursive space when it comes to just what Seth actually is. The members of their priesthood all seem to think He’s real enough, but first and second degree members aren’t required to agree. (Considering their roots in the Church of Satan, I can sort of see where they’re coming from on this.) As for people in the Typhonian Thelema school, many of them don’t seem to think of Him as a literal being either (which isn’t a judgment against them). I think the issue of whether He’s real or not is probably less important for people who worship themselves as their own Gods.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments; I’m glad this post has sparked some discussion! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ekunyi January 12, 2015 at 8:41 am

      ” ‘Questions of dogma, authority, legitimacy and heteronormativity don’t even occur to Him’: I could not agree more. I think that Netjer / Deity is a concept so massive and beyond our understanding (now, but perhaps not in Ancient Kemet) that it is moronic to suggest that where we put our dicks and our own petty life grievances even makes the radar for a God.”

      I predominantly agree with both of your thoughts on this as well, though I would perhaps add that when it comes to Set (at least in my experience, for whatever such may be worth) I’ve found that there seems to be a higher degree of understanding, or perhaps simply higher tolerance, for what we might consider very “human” concerns. Certainly I would not think of Him taking much time to worry over issues like sexuality or gender identity by themselves, for it is humanity — not the gods — which has developed the culture of intolerance that ostracizes those of us not living within a perceived “normative” paradigm, but perhaps He has a greater awareness of what the resultant ostracization and rejection means to us. How much strength it takes to survive it.

      Existing as the god who was cast out and away, who has known extreme anger, loss and defeat (even if that defeat was necessary — some what even argue deliberate — for the maintenance of ma’at, be it via challenging the strength and readiness of Heru/Horus or making sure that the dead had a king in the underworld by dispatching Wesir/Osiris) it seems to me that He’s just that slight bit closer to understanding us in a way, if still a vast entity far, far beyond our day-to-day trials. Hopefully that all makes sense.

      Happy Gregorian New Year to you both! I’m enjoying this conversation quite a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • G. B. Marian January 12, 2015 at 4:25 pm

        Existing as the god who was cast out and away, who has known extreme anger, loss and defeat (even if that defeat was necessary — some what even argue deliberate — for the maintenance of ma’at, be it via challenging the strength and readiness of Heru/Horus or making sure that the dead had a king in the underworld by dispatching Wesir/Osiris) it seems to me that He’s just that slight bit closer to understanding us in a way, if still a vast entity far, far beyond our day-to-day trials. Hopefully that all makes sense.

        Absolutely! And I agree. I would also point out the story of Nephthys leaving Seth for Osiris (which I interpret as being the root of Seth’s “beef” with Osiris). I see Seth and Nephthys as being the first divorced couple in history, and while some people might think that’s a “bad” thing, I think there’s a good message to be found in it. It tells me, at least, that divorce can sometimes be a good thing; after all, if They had never separated, Anubis would never have been born (according to the version of the story I prefer, at least)…And then who would be there to care for the recently deceased? Of course, this won’t fit some people’s ideas about so-called “traditional marriage,” but for me, that’s part of the point. Many cultures have had some kind of prejudice against divorce, single parenting, so-called “illegitimate” children, etc….But Seth, Nephthys and Anubis are partly there to challenge such prejudices.

        I’m glad you are enjoying this conversation! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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