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. 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 within the Temple of Set.


The Order of Anubis

 The Order of Anubis comes forth from the Order of Anubis , an Order within ToS that was created by Magus of Xem Barett to further the Xem Work within the ToS, before he became the High Priest of ToS in 1979 CE. After RKB’s departure from ToS, the legacy of Xem was guarded in a second ToS Order, the Order of Anpu. 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 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 Initiation into Xem, the Order of Anubis provides a compendium of Order of Anubis documents called “The Book of the Living” that is available only to Probationers and members of the Order. The Book of Opening the Way, the original title for the Keys of Xem by Magus of Xem Barrett, has been incorporated into the Book of the Living. The Book of Opening the Way has been extended with three additional Keys, bringing the total to 8 Keys.  


In the Order of Anubis we work with the Word Xem. We consider Xem as the Apex of the Words that the Æonic Precession has brought forth. The Word does not belong to any Æon, but was first Uttered within the Temple of Set – and thus within the Æon of Set – by the First Magus of Xem, Ronald Keith Barrett. Xem is the ultimate goal of LHP Initiation. In the context of other Æons and their Words, the Word Xem relates to them as follows:

  • The impetus for your personal Quest for Xem is Indulgence.
  • Thelema is your roadmap.
  • Xeper is your Journey.
  • Remanifestation is each milestone in your Journey.
  • Xem is your Destiny.

As you can see, the road map for Xem encompasses all the LHP Æons and is based on the Æon of Horus’ Word Thelema (“Will” in Greek), the Age of Satan’s Word “Indulgence” and the Æon of Set’s Word “Xeper” (Become/Come into Being). The Word “Remanifest” stems from the Æon of Set and is considered a “bridge” between the Æon of Set and Xem as the First Magus of Xem stepped down as High Priest of the Temple of Set and abandoned the organization once he realized that Xem cannot be Worked within the boundaries of an Æonic setting. It would take two decades before the second Magus of Xem would come into Being. During this time, the legacy of Xem and Magus of Xem Barrett was guarded in the ToS Order the Order of Anpu. Xem is a trans-Æonic word, meaning that in Xem the Truths of all existing previous Æons are condensed into a single, coherent Understanding. Therefore Xem is the Apex of the Words brought forth by the Precession of the Æons and the Æon of Set is the last Æon that will ever exist. We consider that the singular glimpse of the Book of Coming Forth by Night that started the Æon of Set was not meant for us to be frozen to it forever and we consider it a prelude for the Uttering of Xem. Once Xem had been Uttered and sufficiently understood by a few individuals that attained the State of Being of a Magus of Xem, the Æon of Set and its’ Temple have fulfilled their function. The notion of “Xeper” was already hinted at in the IAM Manuscript. The IAM Manuscript was “received” and written down by Magus of Xem Barrett in 1966CE when he was just a Satanist Iº in the Church of Satan, precisely 9 years before the beginning of the Æon of Set. He would Utter the Word “Xem” in 1979CE and become Recognized as a Magus Vº in the Temple of Set. The Formula for Initiation into Xem is “Xeper ir Xem”, “Come into Being towards Xem”.  

Xem is the Word that has been given to mankind for Initiation into the Truths of Life, Death and Divinity. The Order of Anubis has been created for those who “hear” the Word Xem – meaning that they sense an impetus to Work with the Word Xem in order to further their Initiation. 

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The pictures of Ronald Keith Barrett are used under the ‘fair use’ provision of this copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law and are extracted from “Temple of Set” Version 11 by Dr. Michael A. Aquino available here

Original Stele of Xem by Magus of Xem Barrett

Stele of Xem, original version

Modern Stele of Xem by Magus of Xem Lopez

Stele of Xem, original version