Interview With Set: WTF Was All That About?

Alternatively titled: A Manifesto From The Egyptian God of Chaos

Me: Would you care to explain why I got the results I did the other day?

S: I love you. You make me look so cool.

Me: I love you too, but I thought we were here to get shit done, not make you look cool.

S: We are. Me looking cool is just a fun side effect. Anyways, what was the question?

Me: Why did you make the pamphlets re-appear?

S: Your friend said it best: the pigfuckers will keep re-appearing in different forms, just as the bastards who caused the Dust Bowl your grandmother told you about, have re-appeared to cause a fucking polar vortex in North America, among other things. You brave rebels have to keep doing your job, making their lives hell, tearing down their monuments to hate and telling them why; but you must also expect them to keep popping up again, like a Hydra regrowing heads. You must be much more than angry; you must be like me, relentless. You must be wise, discerning, diligent, and sneaky. You must be a surgeon, cutting the tumor out of a patient’s body: careful, calm, precise. Your enemies have more power than you, but they are arrogant, and you can use their arrogance to trip them up and annihilate them. You must be prepared to destroy your enemies, make sure your people are safe, take a breather, and then get right back up and fight again, just like me and the rest of your gods must defeat the a/pep every night.

Me: It seemed like there was a particular focus on the Dust Bowl thing.

S: Yeah, that particular environmental disaster was sort of a perfect example of an axe I’ve been grinding for millenia: Don’t. Fuck. With. Nature. Or. You. Will. Suffer.

Me: Or rather, the poor people you’re stealing land from will suffer.

S: Ain’t that the fucking truth. That’s why I need you to keep doing this, and keep telling everyone else to do it. I don’t want to see this shit happen again. Not while Caesar has nukes.

Me: Agreed. I feel like no one understands the danger we’re in. People keep acting like everything is fine even though it obviously isn’t.

S: Don’t judge so harshly. People who’ve been told they’re completely safe and in the specialest, holiest, awesomest nation on the planet for their entire lives are going to have a hard time realizing they’re wrong. It’s difficult and scary. Remember how hard it was to realize there were other gods? That’s how many people feel when you and your friends tell them that America is late-stage Rome, and that being in late-stage Rome is a very bad thing. You need to be sympathetic to people different from you, or you’ll never pull this off.

Me: Ok. Wanna talk about why me, why now, etc?

S: Not really; there’s not much to tell. The honest answer is that I like you and you’re trying. Anyone, technically, could pull this off. Most people won’t try, and most of the people who try are usually doing it because they want to kiss my ass, or kiss Ra’s ass, or their king or priest told them to, or they think they’re supposed to because of tradition or piety or something. And that’s all good and helpful, serves its own purpose, but “weird shit” like this cannot happen on any human’s schedule. The trick is, it must be a matter of survival.

Me: Ohhhh, that’s what that farm job was about. To get me in the right mindset for this.

S: Uh…well, you’re not wrong.

Me: Oh, shit, what now?

S: Don’t look at me like that, I’ve got it under control.

Me: What under control??

S: We can talk about this later. Don’t distract me; this is important. As I was saying: it worked because you did it the way the very first priests execrated a/pep, before the priesthood existed, when it was just humans and gods and the Earth, and we were all just trying to figure out how to stay alive and make sure the sun rises tomorrow. You called on me in desperation, to help you tear the tyrants from their undeserved thrones so that your species can survive the next century. It was a deep, sincere attempt at destroying a thing that you knew would destroy you and all that you love if you didn’t. And you aren’t just doing magic, you’re doing everything mundane you can do, as well.

I can only speak for myself, but the way I see it is, you have to create a….shit, how do I explain this? Window? No, that’s not quite it…void? Like… *frustrated growl* like outer space…?

Me: A vacuum?

S: YES! VACUUM! Good girl, smart girl. Yes, you need to create a vacuum in the universe with your need, a place where there is nothing where there should be something, and the universe will follow the path of least resistance to fill that vacuum. Because I was near, and I was methodical, and I was careful, I was able to fill the vacuum with what I wanted: a miracle to impress you and your friends, and get your attention. It isn’t a matter of being powerful, or having the authority to do it, or being clever or strong or anything like that.

The Greek magic helped; your faith and love for me helped; the amount of time we’ve spent together helped. Ultimately though, the secret as far as I’m concerned is genuine need. Please don’t make anyone any promises about manifestation or miracles on my behalf, though. This time was special; people don’t need anything to be reborn from fire 99% of the time, not really. Generally, I’m going to save my energy for important things, not party tricks like this.

Me: Okay, but consider: if I could do this as a party trick, you would have a legit cult in days.

S *laughing*: No one would believe you. They’d say it was just sleight of hand; no one ever acknowledges things like this if they don’t already want to. Realizing you’re wrong is too difficult, too scary. Even now, people looking at the evidence you’ve documented and your obvious panic over what happened will tell themselves you’re a crazy person or an attention seeker who faked the whole thing. No, the real miracles aren’t tricks like that; the real miracles are the things that save lives. Oh! I forgot to mention: the rituals you’ve been doing, you keep making sure to add charitable donations to other human beings, or acts of service to other human beings, as a part of the ritual. Please keep doing that! Gods get fame and fortune based on how well we treat our people, and when our priests and magicians make treating other people well a part of their magic, it doesn’t just make the magic stronger; it makes the community stronger. It makes you AND me stronger. I’m so pleased with you and your friends for making this a thing!

Me: You sound like Heru.

S: Shut up. Anyways, let me see what else I want to say. Oh, thank you to Thenea for helping my idiot savant here learn how to do magic and be around gods, while so many voices around her are giving bad advice. Not all, of course, she has found plenty of wise friends and allies in our camp, but…well, you know. Thank you to Thenea’s gods, for the kindness and wisdom they showed in training Thenea. I’m ready to bury the hatchet if you are; this whole “getting rid of the oil barons and nazis” thing I’m working on these days is kind of urgent. Surely we can all agree to wait a few decades to go back to arguing about whose magic and dead generals and kings were cooler, once we’re all sure the planet will remain sustainable and the new nazis have, in Smarmy’s words, “fucked 100% of the way off”.

Me: Speaking of which…

S: Nope, not right now. That’s for us deities to talk about in the astral -if they ever decide to take this shit seriously enough to accept my friend request, that is. If I need to send someone to ass-kiss Zeus again, I’m prepared to do it, and fuck what Ra thinks about it. This is important.


S: Also not your business.

Me: You’re weird. Anything else?

S: Did I mention I love you?

Me: Yeah.

S: Well, I do. I’m sick of how so many people I love feel like they have to pretend they don’t love me, or if they do, it’s a distant, sterile sort of love. That sucks! It’s boring and it sucks.

Me: I think people expect you to be a hardass all the time.

S: Well, that’s stupid. Look at my myths; when have I ever withheld my affection, physical or otherwise, from pretty and interesting people? I want to be friends with my people, first, and once we’re friends, you’ll realize what I am, and all the reverence and awe will come naturally, like looking at lightning or the aurora borealis, or seeing an asteroid crash to the earth. When you try to force it, it just makes us both uncomfortable and, what’s worse, it keeps us from being able to get anything done. I don’t have time for that, and mortal humans certainly don’t have time for that, and today, with the storm that’s brewing, no living thing on Earth has time for that.

Actually, I just realized, I have quite a lot to say on that topic, if you don’t mind letting me rant for a while. I’d like to borrow your words for this.

Me: By all means. If you perform a literal miracle, you get to make a grand speech about it, I think.

S: Thank you; I agree. I have a message for anyone who reads this, a message I sincerely ask each and every one of you to spread far and wide -if not for my sake, than for your own. If you believe it’s not me, but my priest saying this, that’s fine; it won’t hurt you to take the word of a Setian instead of Set himself.

The message is simple: I am still alive, and I can still find you.

I have been here, lurking, a potential in all humanity, since before kings existed. Before anyone ever made an expensive shiny hat to wear and decided that it meant they got to kill whomever they please, I was there. Watching over my people, guiding them, protecting them. They didn’t always know my name, and they didn’t need to. My name isn’t the point. The point is, desperate people act desperately; they always have and always will. You cannot legislate riots out of existence. You cannot be in a human’s face 24/7, demanding more and more obedience and reverence just for being in charge, and expect them to stay meek forever. It doesn’t work that way, it never has, and the leaders who think it does are the ones who cause the most pointless and widespread destruction, far more than I ever could. Look it up if you don’t believe me. Even if you were to pin every single death from every single storm in human existence on me (which isn’t actually how it works, but I digress), you would still find that human governments have killed far, far more. Wars for profit and dick measuring contests between rulers. Executions. Genocides. People allowed to starve and die in rich countries. I could go on, but I believe I’ve made my point.

And if you think the small miracle I performed for the outlaw priest who is typing this for me is a big deal, just wait until you see what else I have up my sleeve. Or rather, wait until you feel it, because I promise, you will not see me coming. This was just a parlor trick; my real strength is going into things I won’t even let Smarmy know about, for fear she’ll reveal something too early and mess up my plans. Think of all the outlaw priests I have hidden, the ones I am whispering to and guiding through these troubled times, helping them to make it to juuuust the right spot, to stick in the knife and twist, then disappear without a trace to do it all again, when the next arrogant tyrant shows up. Think of the storms growing larger all over the planet. Think of all the times throughout history that the rulers pushed too far and upset the balance of order and chaos, and think about what happened next. Think of how long I have been the patron of foreigners, outlaws, queers, weirdos; think of how being hunted sharpens the senses, the will, the mind. Think of how I do not need to reveal my name, my legacy, my godhood, to my people for them to follow my orders- they follow my orders instinctively, because they need only to listen to their animal selves to know me. The wild, primal part of them that can tell when a storm is coming. The rage in their hearts at injustice, all too often cruelly smothered by cowards who tell them that there’s no other way. Think of the liars who tell them that any order, no matter how barbaric, is always better than any chaos, no matter how benign, and think of how much patience I have for them. Spoiler: the answer is, very, very little.

I do not say this hoping to make enemies; I have each and every one of my enemies meticulously picked out already, and no amount of ass-kissing me or anyone else in my pantheon will change my mind. To call me off, call off those who attack my people. Otherwise, either I or one of my people will find you, and we will do what outlaws have always done to tyrants when they get half a chance. No amount of power or glory or holiness in my targets has ever stopped me before, and it won’t stop me now.

To those that are afraid, who feel helpless and despair in the face of modern evil: You are not alone. I am your loyal and fierce ally. Call on me when you need to stand up to a tyrant, when someone tells you to hate and fear foreigners or people you don’t understand, when someone tells you that human laws are stronger than storms, when someone tells you to ignore your neighbors’ suffering for the sake of appearances or of following rotten and evil laws, remember me. Understand that although many humans feel as though this is the worst thing that has ever happened, I have seen this happen, over and over. I know how to keep it from getting worse; I know how to end it with the least amount of suffering. I am doing my best, and I humbly beg all of you, human, spirit, god or otherwise to help me, however you can. Be the anonymous force that helps the downtrodden, simply for the sake of helping them. Remember: when they outlaw compassion, the compassionate become outlaws. And Set sees them, and loves them, and remembers them, and protects them. My protection is not foolproof, or safe, or easy, but it is better than nothing. You should also ask my people for help when you need a human rather than a god; they may not always seem it, but most of them are keepers of the very fiercest kind of love. They will do what they can, if you ask.

To those that rejoice at the thought that you may get to see my newest enemies humiliate, oppress, imprison, and kill the people you hate for being different: You, personally, are on my shit list. I know your name, I know where you live, I know your deepest fears, and I know exactly how to hurt you; if you think you’re safe from me, it’s only because I’m biding my time, watching patiently, learning alllll about you, and hoping for your sake that you get your shit together before I have to step in. (You’re welcome.) But I will not wait forever; the clock is ticking, motherfuckers, and you had better choose wisely. I am the Lord of Power and Strength, He Who Makes The Sky Tremble, He Who Orders the Riot. Imagine a tornado. Imagine a desert. Imagine the fury in the eyes of a person who has been pushed so far that they lash out even though they know the guards will beat them for it, even though they believe they will be damned for it. Imagine red blood spilling out of an assassination wound (the target must be lucky every time; the assassin must only be lucky once. Modern bullets have a much, much longer range than the weapons I used to use, and I have never been the type to sacrifice results to “honor”, or tell my disciples to do so). Understand that, through all of those things, I live and I grow stronger. Kings always try and press their luck with me, and it never ends well for them. If not for your people’s sake, then for your own: do not fucking test me.

Me: Did I ever tell you I’m glad we’re on the same side?

S: Oh, sweetheart, you don’t have to. Anyway, are we done here? I want to watch a movie.

Me: Can you confirm that whole “god of antifa” thing? I’m really hoping it catches on.

S: If they won’t listen to you say it, they won’t listen to me on your blog, but if you insist: I am the patron god of anti-fascist action, of anarchists and anti-capitalists, of revolutionaries and freedom fighters everywhere. If you run into a fascist or racist pagan (or anyone, really, hateful people tend to be superstitious even if they scoff at pagan gods), I would love for you to use my image, reputation, and names, which my lovely secretary here will be pleased to provide you with, to strike fear into their hearts, make ’em think twice before drawing blood. I will happily fuck up a racist’s day for you; you need only ask nicely. Also, if you could ask your own gods start doing this, it would be super. It’s sort of baffling to me that more aren’t already, to be honest, it’s not like any of us are going to benefit, long-term, from that shit. You think Bible-thumping American fascists are going to tolerate witches and “devil worshippers”? You don’t let a snake into your home and assume it’s not going to act like a snake. Fuck’s sake, even baby humans know that.

Me: Thanks for backing me up.

no i don’t need a miracle but i could use a push in the right direction