In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

LV-426 Tradition

Not everyone who walks with Seth-Typhon is the same, but many Companions of Seth fall into one of two general categories. First there are the occultists who interact with Seth in one way or another, including groups like the Temple of Set and the Typhonian Order. Not all occultists are the same, either, but you might say they’re people who try to answer their own prayers by paranormal means. Instead of making humble supplications to Gods, they use magic to act as Gods. Typhonian occultists often think Seth doesn’t want our worship but prefers that we worship our higher selves instead. (This is comparable to how Buddhists view the Buddha as a spiritual teacher to be emulated, not as a God to be worshiped.) They also don’t see themselves as reviving or reconstructing an ancient faith but as creating something new.

Then there are the Kemetics or Egyptian reconstructionists, who try to practice ancient Egyptian polytheism as it was actually practiced by real historical people like Imhotep, Tutankhamun and Ramses II. (The word “Kemetic” is taken from Kemet or “Black Land,” which is the name that ancient Egyptians used for their own civilization.) Different Kemetics are devoted to different Deities, and some are devoted to Seth (whom they often call Set or Sutekh). These people pray and make offerings to Him according to the Egyptian customs, for they believe people should interact with Egyptian Deities in the traditional manner (and understandably so). Seth enthusiasts of this variety are often members of groups like the House of Netjer, which practices a form of Kemetism that its members call Kemetic Orthodoxy. They see themselves as reviving an ancient religion and adapting it to the modern world as faithfully as they can.

I’ve met Kemetic Sethians who think their occultist counterparts are total quacks, and I’ve met Typhonian occultists who think the Kemetics are just a bunch of primitive stuffed-shirts. The truth of the matter (as I see it) is that both groups are valid, and that Seth-Typhon interacts with His chosen people in different ways. He regards some of us as His adopted children, and He enjoys listening to our prayers and receiving our devotional offerings. Yet He also regards some of His chosen ones as “just friends” or “partners in crime,” and listening to their prayers or receiving their offerings might seem inappropriate to Him for some reason. It’s never made sense to me why a Deity would want all people to interact with Him or Her in the exact same way. I interact with my friends and family quite differently than I do with my acquaintances at work; why then should it be any different with Gods? I don’t presume to know the standards Seth-Typhon might have for other people; I can only try to fulfill what I think He expects from me.

That being said, some of us don’t fit so neatly into either of the categories I’ve described above, and this is especially true of me. I resemble the Kemetics in that I actually pray to Seth, make offerings to Him and praise Him above anyone and everything else in the universe. But when it comes to my rituals, I’m much closer to the occultists. I don’t practice historically accurate reconstructions of ancient Egyptian rites; I’ve instead borrowed ideas from many different traditions – including Quakerism of all things – and synthesized them into an entirely new tradition of my very own. I began developing this tradition when I was first called to walk with Seth in 1997, but it was further developed when I formally initiated three other individuals – my spirit siblings Tony, Patrick and Tina – into this tradition in 2003, 2010 and 2015, respectively. Since Tony’s initiation, we’ve referred to our unique path as the LV-426 Tradition (or just LV-426 for short).

In contemporary Western polytheism (and especially in what’s often called Neopagan witchcraft), the word tradition is sometimes used to describe a body of unique customs and beliefs that can be traced back to a particular founder or founders. This concept is called initiatory descent, and while Pagan traditions are much the same thing as Christian denominations, initiatory descent is not unlike the Christian idea of apostolic succession. The Gardnerian Tradition of Wicca, for instance, traces its line of initiatory descent to Gerald Gardner, and it follows the beliefs and customs that he imparted to his first initiates. The Dianic Tradition, in contrast, goes back to Zsuzsanna Budapest and adheres to the practices in which her students were instructed. My sublings and I don’t consider ourselves to be Wiccans, but we’re using the word “tradition” here in much the same way that it’s used in that context. We follow our own unique beliefs and customs, and anyone who ever becomes an initiate of our faith will be able to trace their initiatory descent right back to me.

lv426sigil

The LV-426 Sigil

Like other Pagan traditions, we recognize a wide variety of Gods and valid spiritual paths (including Yahweh and the Abrahamic faiths), and we observe the equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarter days as holidays. But unlike most other traditions, LV-426 emphasizes the worship of a single male Deity, not of a God and Goddess duo (or even just a Goddess). We’re free to engage any other Deities we like, but Typhon is and will always be the most important God in our hearts. Everything about us – our festivals, myths, rites and symbols – is centered on Him in some way. We also observe Friday night as our weekly Sabbath and Friday the 13th as another important holiday.

For us, worship is simply a deep emotional commitment to a Deity, and it can be expressed physically and verbally in the form of prayers and offerings, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Each of us has gone through periods in which we were forced or otherwise compelled to worship Seth in our hearts alone. We define prayer as any form of communication with a Deity, which can be done vocally, symbolically, or even silently. We usually vocalize our thoughts and feelings to Typhon directly, but sometimes we also pray silently in a way that resembles meditation. When we pray aloud, we do so informally, speaking to Big Red in much the same way that we do with our human friends and family. Our rituals are really more like informal prayer meetings (with the offering of votive red candles) than ceremonial psychodramas.

We don’t claim to be 100% certain of what happens to animals and people when they die (like some religious people do), but we do believe in ghosts (both animal and human), and since an ancient Egyptian God has ostensibly chosen us to worship Him for the rest of eternity, we think it’s quite likely that the Egyptian version of the afterlife is at least partially correct. We hope to be led to safety in Duat (i.e., the Otherworld) by Anubis, where we’ll undergo the Weighing of the Heart and be judged by Osiris. Should we be found worthy of becoming blessed ancestor spirits (as opposed to being erased from existence for being too wicked), we hope to join Seth in the northern heavens. But aside from trying to be good people, we generally don’t concern ourselves with the afterlife too much. (The way we see it, there’ll be time enough for that in the grave!) Furthermore, mummification isn’t really an option for us (being a rather expensive procedure), so it’s left for each LV-426 initiate to choose their own funerary preferences.

As of this writing, there are only four LV-426 initiates in the world. It may be that LV-426 will never be practiced by more than just two or three people at any given time. We’re perfectly fine with this; we all agree that the smaller LV-426 remains, the better. This is because we prefer to do things democratically in our sect, and it’s generally easiest for direct democracy to exist among very small groups of people. The larger a population becomes, the more it needs a special subpopulation to make decisions for it (e.g., a representative democracy). In LV-426, we prefer to let all initiated members have an equal and direct say in how we do things. Therefore, we’re not in any hurry to proselytize or expand our numbers. And while I might be the founder of LV-426, I’m not its “leader” in any way shape or form. We decide everything together as equals and siblings in Big Red.

lv426sigil

Eat shit and DIE, Apophis!

Finally, fans of classic horror and science fiction films might have already noticed that LV-426 is named after the fictional planet in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), where Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) first encounters the titular monster. For us, Alien is an allegory for the war between Typhon and Apophis, with Seth being represented by Ripley and Apophis being represented by the Alien. This isn’t the only film that we interpret in this way, either; we feel much the same way about Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975), John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and several other movies. These films are sacred to us because we believe that Seth is “in” them somehow, and we also feel that He’s “in” certain music. I elaborate on these statements in the Horror and Metal sections.

In closing, I’d like to reiterate that LV-426 isn’t exactly a “phenomenon,” and we don’t care to become one. We’re infinitesimally small in comparison to other Egyptian-based faiths, and it shouldn’t be assumed that we agree with them (or that they agree with us) just because we all take our cues from Egypt. In fact, there’s really no reason why anyone else should care about our opinions or our way of doing things. That’s A-OK with us; this website isn’t here to win us any converts or to make us famous. It’s really only here for my own personal enjoyment, and discussing my faith just happens to be one of the many things I enjoy. Take from this what you will – and if you feel like you’ve been called to walk with Big Red in a way that’s similar to ours, feel free to take our ideas and tinker with them as you see fit. (In fact, send me a comment and tell me about it; perhaps I might learn something from you!). Just keep in mind that we’re a minority within a minority within a minority, and that we don’t represent anyone else but ourselves.

3 responses to “LV-426 Tradition

  1. Gregory Peters April 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    You might enjoy the Ib n Suti (Heart of Set), I ritual invocation I have worked with for sometime. http://newaeontantra.com/2011/11/08/the-heart-of-set/

    Like

  2. Rev. Dragon's Eye February 8, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    A very thoughtful essay.

    I may be interested in learning more about the “LV-426 Tradition” myself. There again, our spiritual paths should naturally be unique to one another.

    Thank you for taking the time to share this.

    – Rev. Dragon’s Eye

    Like

  3. Pingback: Sabbath Songs #7 – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Double Feature | In The Desert Of Seth

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