Ronald Keith Barrett

Ronald K. Barrett (September 29, 1944 – June 27, 1998) was the High Priest of the Temple of Set from March 15, 1979, until his resignation in May, 1982. He lived in Potter Valley, California.

Barrett made several changes to the Temple of Set, including instituting exams for advancement from one degree to another. His chief contribution to the Temple was his use of the word “Xem”. “Xem” is a modern rendition of the Ancient Egyptian word “Khem” which was the word used by the Ancient Egyptians themselves for the Nation that today is known as “Egypt”. Some possible interpretations for the Word Xem by outsiders range from “state of being” to “Fire” (derived from “sekhem”). Xem Magus Barrett stated that “Xem” was the progressive aim of “Xeper”, the Ancient Egyptian word meaning “to become”, which is the central concept of the Temple of Set (Flowers, Stephen E. Lords of the Left Hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent). Barrett resigned from the Temple amid controversy and was followed by Michael A. Aquino, who reclaimed the rank of High Priest of Set. Ronald Keith Barrett expired in 1998 after a short illness.

Among Xem Magus Barrett’s Legacy are his Keys of Xem, 5 in total, plus the Stele of Xem. Xem Magus Barrett also wrote also a lot of other essays during his stint in the Temple of Set. The Order of Anubis considers the additional Work of Magus Barrett within the Temple of Set (“ToS”) beyond the scope of our interests. A feature of Xem Work is the fact that Xem is a trans-Aeonic Word, meaning that Working with Xem cannot and should not be done within the boundaries of  Aeon-based organizations like ToS. In fact, Xem destroys the notion of Aeons and it was precisely this consideration that led Xem Magus Barrett to leave the Temple of Set in 1982 CE altogether. The Work of Xem Magus Barrett remains controversial to this day, especially within ToS where it is shunned to this day.  ToS initiates like to refer to Initiates of the Order of Anubis as “RKB cronies”. The Truth, however, could not be further from that rather simplistic definition.


The Order of Anubis comes forth from the Order of Anpu, an Order within ToS that was created by Xem Magus Barett to further the Xem Work within the ToS, before he became the High Priest of ToS in 1979 CE. A part of the current senior Initiates of the Order of Anubis are ex-members of the Order of Anpu, one of them being a former Master of the Order of Anpu.  The Order of Anpu sort of conserved the Legacy of Xem Magus Barrett, until the Xem Work of a few individuals led to the Coming into Being of several “second generation” Xem Magi that extended the Work of Magus Barrett beyond ToS itself and the Aeon of Set in particular. Xem Magus Barrett literally destroyed himself in the attempt to teach “Xem” to others. The current Xem Magi, however, have discovered though their own hard and long Initiatory Journeys that Xem cannot and may not be taught. Henceforth the coming into being of the Order of Anubis, that does the only thing that can be done: Provide a Space and Environment where Initiates may pursue their own Xem Work along with the Guidance of the current Xem Magi Collective.

In order to establish a starting point for Initiates that seek to Initiate into Xem, the Order of Anubis will provide the following documents:


  • The 5 Original Keys of Xem as written by Xem Magus Barrett. These Keys were a product of the attempt by Xem Magus Barrett to Teach Xem to ToS Initiates. They are quite sectary and deeply steeped in the terminology  of ToS, and that of Dr. Michael A. Aquino in particular.
  • An updated, reviewed and heavily commented version of Magus Barrett’s 5 Keys of Xem, more suitable for Xem Work than the  original, heavily sectary Keys.
  • New additional Keys of Xem written by current Xem Magi that delve into the notion of Working with Personal Words.

The reader will be able to find these sections in sub-menus under the main Xem menu entry of the Order of Anubis website. This will allow individuals who prefer Working on their own with little or no interaction at all with other Xem Initiates, or even the Order of Anubis itself, to access all the relevant documents and information that is available concerning Initiation into Xem. The Order of Anubis exists to further the Xem Work, we are not interested in monetary gains nor in an extensive number of Initiates affiliated with the Order of Anubis, and for this reason we have chosen this particular approach.

If you have questions or a desire to talk to our Priesthood, contact us via the Contact Form and we will get back to you.

Original Stele of Xem by Xem Magus Barrett

Stele of Xem, original version

Modern Stele of Xem by Xem Magus Lopez

Stele of Xem, original version