The Temple of Set's Reading List
from the Crystal Tablet of Set
Reprinted from: "The Crystal Tablet of Set"
(c) Temple of Set, January 1, 1989 CE
Weirdbase file version by TS permission
by Michael A. Aquino, Ipsissimus VI*
"Temple of Set Reading List - Introduction"
The magical and philosophical interests of the Temple of Set span a wide range of disciplines. Use of commercially-published reference works, despite their respective drawbacks, is thus both essential and economical. It enables the Temple to concentrate its internal publications in areas in which critical information is either seriously substandard or altogether lacking. When using this reading list, keep in mind that the Temple is not a book club, but rather a religious institution in which Initiates are expected to be practicing magicians.
These books are recommended not merely to entertain [though many of them are good at that too!], but more importantly to impart principles which may be applied and to provide facts which are helpful or essential to an understanding of these principles. Ideally this list should contain only those works which are currently in print or which are generally available through libraries. Unfortunately the unusual and exotic directions of our interests frequently necessitate titles which are neglected, suppressed, and/or out-of-print. Some of these works are available only at excessive prices through rare-book dealers; others seem to have vanished altogether. If you keep your eyes open while browsing through new/used bookstores, however, and if you make maximum use of library and inter-library-loan services, you should be able to track down the materials of greatest interest to you.
In earlier editions of this list, notations were made as to whether a given book were in or out of print, including foreign editions. Experience has shown that this information, as well as pricing, changes so frequently as to be unreliable. Setians seeking a particular book should check with libraries, bookstores, or book-search services for current availability. Lending-library options are particularly to be recommended, as prices for many of these works - particularly the out-of-print ones in "collector's" fields - may be excessively high.
If you have doubts as to the worth of a given book at a price quoted to you, check with the source recommending the book. The reading list is not intended to be doctrinal or dogmatic. The inclusion of a book in it should not be taken to mean that all or even most of its premises and conclusions are endorsed by the Temple of Set. Most have been written by very wise people. A few have been written by flakes who just happened to blunder into something that we want to know about. Hence your own discernment is critical.
Bear in mind that few if any books are written for the disinterested transmission of facts. Every author necessarily writes with a motive [besides the profit one] and from a point of personal perspective and/or bias. The reading list is selective but not exclusive. For each book on the list, many alternatives may have been considered and rejected for one reason or another over the last two decades.
On your own you may - and probably will, if you pursue your initiation aggressively and conscientiously - discover works which appear preferable to some of those on the list, or which you think should be added to it. In such cases you are invited to send particulars. If the book is or has previously been rejected, we will tell you why. If your recommendation is adopted, however, the book will be added to next year's edition of the list. Each January any category of the list to which changes have been made is sent out to all Setians with the rest of the Crystal Tablet updates.
We have dated each category, so that you can know at a glance whether you've got the most current update. After each book title you will see one or more letter codes, which identify the book as relevant to a particular initiatory system currently embraced by the Temple of Set.
"TS" = Temple of Set generally.
"CS" = Church of Satan (1966-1975CE).
"OT" = Order of the Trapezoid.
"OV" = Order of the Vampyre.
Other codes may be added at any time to identify works pertinent to specific orders of the Temple. Before the comments to each book are either my initials, Michael A. Aquino (MA), the initials of Anton LaVey (AL), or the name of whoever else wrote the comments. If you have questions concerning a particular book, and the annotator is not Anton or myself, send your questions to that person. Anton LaVey is unlikely to respond to queries, and constraints on my time make it difficult for me to respond as promptly or thoroughly as I would like, so in "MA" or "AL" cases you should use the IMC roster and consult one of the Initiates whose reading-list interests include that category as a high priority.
Research Level Numbers: You will see a research level number attached to each letter code. These numbers are explained as follows:
-1: The specific information contained in this book is generally essential to Initiates of all degrees. The book's treatment is unique, and substitution of another book on the same subject is not recommended.
-2: The topical information contained in this book is generally essential to Initiates of all degrees. The book's treatment is not unique, and other books covering approximately the same material may be substituted.
-3: This book should be considered supplementary to -1/-2 books in the same category. It is not essential, but is recommended rather for those who have a special interest in the topic.
-4: This book is suitable primarily for highly-specialized, technical research and is liable to be confusing or misleading to readers without previously- acquired, basic knowledge of the field in question. It should be considered supplementary to any -1/-2/-3 books in the same category.
-5: The contents of this book may be dangerous if applied by inexperienced magicians. Priesthood of Set consultation and guidance strongly recommended.
CATEGORIES (most current update)
1. Ancient Egyptian History - 3/1/86CE
2. Ancient Egyptian Philosophy - 1/24/87CE
3. Religion and Daemonology in Historical Perspective - 7/1/87CE
4. Occultism in Contemporary Perspective - 6/1/88CE
5. Atlantis - 3/1/86CE
6. Satanism - 6/1/88CE
7. H.P. Lovecraft - 3/1/86CE
8. Vampirism and Lycanthropy - 1/24/87CE
9. The AEon of Horus - 7/1/87CE
10. The Golden Dawn and its Predecessors - 3/1/87CE
11. John Dee and the Enochian System - 3/1/87CE
12. The Pythagoreans - 3/1/87CE
13. Sex in Religion and Magic - 3/1/87CE
14. Fascism, Totalitarianism, and Magic - 1/24/88CE
15. Cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence - 3/1/87CE
16. Good and Evil - 1/24/87CE
17. The Gift of Set - 3/1/87CE
18. Life and Death - 3/1/87CE
19. The Metamind - 1/24/88CE
20. The Four (?) Dimensions - 7/1/88CE
21. The Future - 1/24/88CE
22. Toward the Unknown Region - 1/24/88CE
23. Lesser Black Magic - 1/24/88CE
24. Runic Arts and Sciences - 4/1/90CE