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The Devil in the Mirror:

Why Satanists Love Nazis

On the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula stands the Presidio, a former US Army base overlooking the Pacific Ocean. First established as a fort by Spanish colonizers in 1776, the structure would live through over 200 years of military use before being stripped of its status as an active military installation in 1989. Today it's a park boasting a habitat restoration program and military history displays. But what you won't find in the visitor center is the wild and sinister history of how a Nazi-obsessed psy-op agent went to war with the Church of Satan, summoned an Egyptian god, and founded a religion all about it.

That religion was the Temple of Set, and I was determined to catfish it.

It wasn't my proudest ethical moment, and fortunately I had friends to talk me out of my half-baked plan to use a fake ID and dummy address to trick an organization literally founded by a fed. But what I did learn about the Temple was way more fascinating (and a bit more unsettling) than the legend of its origin.

Before continuing, I want to make absolutely clear what this essay is and isn't about. If you're here for a shocking exposé about how everyone in the Temple is a crypto-Nazi, you've come to the wrong place. I don't believe that all or even most Setians (or Satanists in general) are Nazis. A 1995 survey of Temple of Set members showed that their political views, at least at the time, were pretty mainstream (Harvey 1995:285). Furthermore, I have no evidence tying anyone in the Temple of Set to Nazi violence. Unlike Satanist groups that are explicitly pro-Nazi, like the Order of Nine Angles, there have been, to the best of my knowledge, no acts of racist violence directly attributable to the Temple of Set. This essay is about some Satanists' preoccupation with Nazism, regardless of the political views and actions they personally endorse. I focus on the Temple of Set not to single it out for special condemnation, but because it's relatively familiar and interesting to me despite being obscure outside of certain occultist circles.


Harvey, Graham. "Satanism in Britain Today." Journal of Contemporary Religion 10, no. 3 (1995): 283-296.