The Thirty Year CycleEssay 12
On of the tasks of the Order of Setne Khamuast will be to maintain the Thirty–Year Cycle of renewal that bridges the Aeon of Set and the Aeon of Horus. It is up to each of you to do this in your own way, but here, more then anywhere else in the Order, can you Touch eternity. You must also look for and celebrate thirty–year cycles in your own lives.
We live in age of very rapid change. This was ushered in 1966 e.v. by Set's increasing the amount of Essence available to us. What this means is that things can happen now at a much faster pace. This is a very important idea, so I'll repeat it: things can happen now at a much faster pace. We literally live in a time where the social and technological innovations that took a lifetime can take a decade. Magus Ronald K. Barrett glimpsed this and decided very foolishly that “the Curse of the Magus was lifted.” He was wrong. World–change is still very, very hard—but we can actually live to see the changes we start by the work of our lives beginning to Come Into Being. This makes this world–age the most exciting time of all for Black Magicians.
It also means the Thirty Year Cycle spans three ages. We will be tying up a great deal each time.
Now the Thirty Year doesn't “belong” to the Order of Setne Khamuast, it belongs to the twin Aeons. We don't run it for the Temple of Set and the Temple of Horus, we make sure that is remembered and well researched. And we seek to understand its secrets and apply them to our lives and to such Instrumentality of the Temple (Pylons, Phyles, Gilds, etc) that we happen to run.
Heb–Sed means “Festival” (Heb—literally “turning”) of Sed, a jackal god related to Wepwauwet. This god is possibly a form of Set.
The Heb–Sed is a ancient ritual commemorating the Sam–Taui, or the “tying together” of Two Lands. It is a recapitulation of the creation of Egypt by Narmer. It was a very stressful rite for the Pharaoh who had to run a naked race around buildings that symbolically represented the Nomes. The successful Pharaoh was greatly honored. The Archaic Period tombs emphasize the great ability of the king that has united the Two–Lands— Upper and Lower Egypt.
By the time of the Old Kingdom—Dynasty IV—the Heb–Sed began to be replaced by the cult of the dead king. Some scholars believe in ancient times this was proof that the Pharaoh who could not complete the race was killed.
The rite went in and out of popularity—but the depictions of it stretch from the time of Den to Osorkon II. One of the great popularizers of the Rite was Prince Setne Khamuast, the fourth son of Ramses II. (I would suggest that you look for Journal of Near Eastern Studies, No. 24 (1965), E. Underhill, The Egyptian Sed Festival Rites, pp. 365–383)
The Temple of Set draws its origins from the Eternal Nine Year Cycle. This is a Cycle linked to the Mystery of Evolution, rediscovered by the Magus of Reconsecration. This Mystery is the way things come into being, pass away, and are reborn in a stronger and more concentrated form. The Work of the Magus LaVey made this system transpersonally valid, and reunited the eternally discarnate Aeon of Set with certain historical (and biological) forces.
The Cycle of Nine was known to the Egyptians as well as to the Greeks and the people of the North—time itself did not begin until the birth of the last members of the Ennead. The Eternal Nine Year Cycle is mainly a useful tool for those at the helm of the Temple; although comprehension of it can allow each of us to facilitate our own world–changing projects.
The Thirty–Year Cycle is linked to an Equatorial Mystery. It is not evolutionary but, like Set himself, eternal. The festival of Set celebrates a new youth.
Now, the earliest recorded Festival of Set happened somewhere around 3100 B.C.E. when Narmer, the first Pharaoh, celebrated his first thirty years of reign over two disparate groups of people—a Nilotic people who had come up from Central Africa, about 5,000 years before (the Sudanese black pot culture. They went West, which is why the Dogon, and other West African folk have so many "Egyptian" elements in their religion. The other was the Fertile Crescent folk, who had invented the New Stone Age about 6,000 years before. His synthesis of the Two–Lands into one is the first time culture went beyond bloodlines.
The first Heb–Sed was a magical ceremony involving Set and Har–Wer that celebrated ideas being freed from a particular cultural matrix. Indeed, this is the keystone to the Southern Mysteries, which is why they can Remanifest in anyone intellectually prepared for them.
The Heb–Seds were a kind of physical fitness test. The Pharaoh had to prove he was still strong enough to run the race around representatives of the northern and southern groups. If he wasn't, it was time for the Pharaoh to “visit his ka.” Narmer did survive the Festival, and his descendants got rid of the human sacrifice aspect by introducing the “designated runner”.
From the East came the griffin/dragon figure called HkeHke, the "Monster of Darkness" or “Animating Spirit of Darkness”. When the elect Egyptian mind was able to synthesize these two figures, the Third Ordering began. The concept of Set as some force that differentiated things as they came out of the darkness is the key, then as now, for the Setian trying to both define herself as she emerges from her own inner darkness to control/explore the world as it comes from the great dark called the Unmanifest. That resonance in concept, coupled with the phonetic key to the name of the Prince of Darkness, enables us to Work with the Third Ordering across the expanse of Time.
Now, two questions are before us. One, why did Setnakt introduce the Thirty Year Cycle? Second, to what use can the individual Setian make of it for her or his Xeper? I will answer the first and give some hints for the second, but like any Initiatory activity, the individual must win the technique for him– or herself. If enough of the truly dedicated seize this tool, the results we achieve in XXX will be small in comparison to those achieved in LX.
The following words were written during the Temple’s first Heb-Sed:
• The Word Indulgence, which opened the way for the Aeon's temporal manifestation, refers to all that with which we can obtain Union. Now in the LHP, we don't seek Union with the All, but we do seek Union with those moods that arise from certain experiences that allow each of us to not only feel most intensely alive, but make us aware of that process within us that allows us to feel. Once that experience is captured by the magician, he or she may revisit and use its mood as a part of the elements to create inner work. The Festival Year is not only an excuse for a good time, but a time–proven formula for having a good time as a path to Eternity. And, of course, because of the "Binding" aspect of the Word of Indulgence, the more the Aeon is "tied" to the Flesh, the more permanent it Becomes. (This will eventually aid in the extension of personal power and pleasure of the dwellers in the Aeon).
• The Word Xeper, which wears the garment of the Gift, was Uttered by Re–En–Set in the Year X. Now it so happens that when Magister Aquino first read the word in Budge's Egyptian Language, Budge had "luckily" used a Greek Chi (X) to symbolize the KH sound that begins Xeper. This coincidence linked up with the Year X and the number Aquino would have in Crowley's Magi list (the Tenth). These "coincidences" helped Magus Aquino change his Word from a personally valid system into a transpersonally valid system. Now we can each magically exploit the coincidence even further, as we each explore the formula of the Aeon, Xepera Xeper Xeperu, so that we can gain an Understanding of our Coming Into Being and prepare to each Create those Works that will empower our Individual and Temple selves as much as that formula empowered Michael Aquino.
• The Word Remanifestation, the emerging of a new state of being resulting from Work with past and present Aeonic Words, points to the present and future potentials of the festival of Set. We in the Temple are not a neo–Egyptian religion looking backward and longing for fatted hyenas on New Year's day. We realize that all of the Cycles that the concept of Set has gone through have been Necessary, just as our own Cycles of remanifestations have been Necessary. Thus, we seize the chance for a current celebration to adjust our current chemistry with the current matrix of the eternal Word of Set (Xeper). We can study how the concept has changed, growing more isolate and stronger through periods of Dismanifestation, and how, when it was a ruling paradigm, set up those conditions for its Remanifestation. As we observe how the concepts that rule our life have changed, grown purer and stronger after periods of dormancy, we can observe our kinship with Set. A simple revelation perhaps, but like the dropping of a pin which disturbs the entire universe, our subjective universes can use this Festival year to tune up for immortality.
• The Word Runa, which is the Science of making the Unknown Known and thereby causing the object of the Knowing to alter one's subjective universe, has an operative effect that when we discover a Truth Hidden from the rest of mankind, we gain in power. One of the clearest examples is the Law of the Trapezoid. The magician who knows this law is able to draw magical strengths from certain environments that are baleful to the forces of naturalization. The Thirty–Year Cycle, now that it is Known through the Work of the Order of Setne Khamuast, will have an effect on the Setian mind. It will provide certain inspiration—you want to protect the Temple because of fond memories you've had this year, or you'll explain the Cycle to a new Setian and become a transmitter of the true magical lore that can only pass from mouth to ear, or you'll become aware of being part of a magical Working that goes beyond the time of your physical body. Thus, you begin to be aware of those energies that go beyond the focus of your body. Notably, in the OSK we often use the Egyptian phrase, “Ir Shti Shta–tu!”, which is the best translation I've come up with for “Reyn Til Runa!” The Egyptian phrase has two secondary meanings of “Consult the magical writings!” with the determinative of a scroll for Shta–tu, or “Cross through rough territory!” with the crossed sticks determinative. In all cases, Shta–t is feminine like Runa, and like the phrase “Reyn Til Runa!” the verb and noun have the same root. Ir, which makes infinitives into imperatives, literally means “See that it is done.” (The First Beast listed the Egyptian word of Amen, which means Secret, claiming it as the Word of Thoth. Here is wisdom concerning writing and Initiatory lore.)
Initiation, as we know intellectually but often fail to Know, is a lifetime pursuit. The Eternal Nine–Year Cycle is an organizational process with effects on the Church of Satan, the Temple of Set, the Rune Gild and other organizations. The Thirty–Year Cycle, which may come to have an organizational status, exists to broaden the Initiate's Understanding. Where were you in Year I? Where will you be in Year LX? This will hopefully make the wise decide not to rush the development of the their Temple selves, and to spend more time on their selves outside of the Temple. Better to go to school and get that degree than spending time getting that medallion. The Temple will be here when you're done, and you might just be a person of more substance to contribute to it then. Likewise your practical magics may change from weekly concerns to decade concerns. The Thirty–Year Cycle can help those who look upon it with a little dread to know what they Need.
The numerology of this first Heb-Sed of the Aeon of Set (which is a way for the left hemisphere of your brain to buy into a magic) is suggestive. The Heb–Sed, which for a while was lost to the Egyptians, was re–introduced by Prince Setne Khamuast, who performed it to ensure the rejuvenation of his father, Ramses II, the second-longest lived of all the Pharaohs over their three thousand years. That Prince, whose name means "Set–Is–Beautiful", died in 1225 BCE, exactly 105 Thirty–Year Cycles from this year (1997 CE). Thirty Symbolized a time of completion to the Egyptians, whose months were three periods of ten days. Ten represented a totality of time and space, three times ten the totality of time and space in all worlds—the Island of Fire, where all neteru lived and died (save for Set), the earth and the Duat.
The repeatability of the Festival is a mark in its favor. After the Pharaoh's fist Heb–Sed, he could repeat them whenever he felt the need to rejuvenate himself and the Two Lands. He didn't have to wait for thirty years to pass. Ramses II celebrated fourteen festivals. Although the Temple should only celebrate the Heb–Sed every thirty years, each Setian may consider the idea of a year–long gathering together of forces as a new magical tool after passing through this Festival. Remember where you learned this Secret, so that you may pay back some of the magical and other energies your own rebirths bring you. This can be one of the personal links between the Setian and Festival.
The Thirty–Year Cycle is a time Cycle fed by a Setian aesthetic which does not derive from our evolutionary predecessor, the Church of Satan. In fact, the sun never rises on the Temple of Set. We now claim time in a manner of our own choosing. We do not abandon the Working formulas of the Church of Satan—for those difficult-to-discover laws of consciousness belong to the Prince of Darkness—but we now lay claim to time and space in ways uniquely our own.
The Cycle proves that we—like Narmer, the first Pharaoh—are fit rulers. We have seen, and will continue to see, great warfare from the forces of naturalization. The small-minded will loathe us and misunderstand us. Narmer's new idea changed the world. Aquino's idea changed the world. Now we—each of us—must resolve to do the same. From this place and time of Festival we must be reborn not as dependent babes, but as Independent Warriors having tasted of new powers that are only now being brought to this Earth by our words and deeds!