Like so many eastern concepts that have migrated to the west, the notion of twilight language has undergone some small semantic drift.
From a possibly spurious western analysis, it has fallen into sync holes around the web.
It refers to a symbolic language, a method of numinous communication, a less-dickish version of Crowley's exhortation to treat every experience as a dialogue between your soul and the universe.
('Every' is ambitious. Sometimes you just want to say shaddup shaddup shaddup! And that's what wine is for.)
Twilight language is when something is communicated with symbols, rather than through them... like a psychedelic spell to summon the Annunaki back to earth in a Nick Minaj video, released on the deathversary of an obscure terrorist folk magician, during the year of the apocalypse and just a few months before an interdimensional lizard 'illuminated' the entire world with a giant diamond. (Man, last year was weird.)
In twilight language, the medium is the message. The sheer act of communication, of transmission, is what is important. Taken individually, or even taken by somebody else, the symbols are incomprehensible. If synchronicity is when the universe notices you noticing it, twilight language is how it says "hello, there!" immediately after. It is the sound of the wheel when somebody spins somewhere.
I like this:
Intuition and synchronicity are interconnected in such a way that it is hard to distinguish where one stops and the other begins. The more synchronicities one notices the more intuitive one becomes; the more intuitive one is the more synchronicities they are likely to recognize. The more awareness one has of his intuition and the synchronistic occurrences happening around him, the stronger his connection to universal energy and knowledge becomes.
Sometimes I wonder if this isn't the secret of kabbalistic apotheosis. Hearing the language behind the words, connecting the things that aren't connected... a mystical framework for exploring and encouraging synchronicity. On that topic, let's have a wavy excerpt from Karen Armstrong's fantastic The Bible, on the context and origins of kabbalah:
After abandoning the conception of God that the philosophies of the time left them with, this bunch of amateurs looked back at the holy books, seeking 'plain meaning' and instead found a 'numinous significance that entirely translated the literal text.' That's a dictionary definition of twilight language. Do you wonder what kind of synchronicities people might have had in thirteenth century Spain? I mean, Nicki Minaj probably wasn't even around then!
What did they do with it?
"Even though God could not be known, he could be experienced in the symbols of scripture." The symbols. This is a chaos magic blog so you can probably tell what's coming next.
You're expecting me to say you can do this with any text, not just holy texts. Bob Wilson in Cosmic Trigger famously popularised the first year psych experiment where the pupils are instructed to look for quarters on the ground and subsequently find loads of quarters.
And yes, that's technically true, just as it is apparently technically true that you can achieve enlightenment by drawing water from a well, but some texts seem to work better than others.
Twilight language thrives where it can use complexity, contradiction, mystery, falsehood and scope. It needs moving parts that can spin off or break. It needs lots of little lights rather than a monolithic floodlight. The Necronomicon, for instance, as I interpret it, could be considered a twilight language phrasebook. Because it is, for lack of a more mature term, a "space book". It also appears to exist in our realm in incomplete extensions of a non-physical whole.
We'll come back to this idea, but here's something I learned in facestalk's bestest ever group, The Secret Sun. In one of Lovecraft's minor short stories, From Beyond, a scientist creates a machine that sends out rays or vibrations to stimulate the pineal gland, thus awakening a latent sense that enables people to see monstrous extra-dimensional creatures that always exist in a kind of hyperspace around us. Unfortunately, the machine also allows those creatures to see us. Huh. Another piece of the crashed spaceship, eh?
Watch the full movie here, which was also shared through the Secret Sun group. (Have I mentioned enough how awesome this group is? It's the one thing about facestalk that doesn't make me want to throw up in my mouth.)
Let's take a more ridiculous example with videos gleaned from this neat blog by a fellow Australian. (Although he's a Queenslander so, you know... you've been warned.) Everyone knows the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything is 42:
In his own words, the sole reason Douglas Adams picked this number was because it "sounds funny". That was it. He was as adamant as Lovecraft that it was all entirely fiction. Here are some exciting things about 42:
But look what we can do with the ultimate meaning from this space book.
- 42 is a pronic number, achieved by multiplying, in this case, 6x7. Six being the number of the Divine Hexagram and seven being the original astrological planets. Thus we can say that the 'answer' is that the Supreme Architect brings forth and sustains the universe by manifesting through the Seven Powers.
- 42 is a primary pseudoperfect number, meaning the sum of its inverse prime numbers and itself is 1. Thus, 42 tells use here that the 'answer' is that the reflection or inverse of the upper world ("as above, so below") is 1. All is One.
- 42 in binary is 101010. I'm sure there's something here to do with three and the ten sephiroth but it's beyond my skills. To me this looks like a representation of the interplay of yin and yang just before it brings forth "the ten thousand things".
Non-wizards wouldn't pick up the significance in this "funny" number. So is the significance "in" there, or is it in the transmission?
One of the final points in the video, which like all good nerds I already knew, is that Fox Mulder's apartment number is 42. Which brings us neatly to the Seeker After Knowledge.
Sometime in the 1930s, Heinrich Himmler installed a round table in Wewelsburg Castle. One of the study rooms was named Gral. Another König Artus. He envisioned it as the literal esoteric centre of the thousand year reich, with SS officers as knights of the round table. Underneath this table was to be the holy grail. According to wikipedia, there is "no proof" Himmler wanted a grail castle.
That's not strictly true.
Enter Otto Rahn, an impoverished scholar obsessed with the Parzifal story. After receiving a classical education, he spent five years wandering Europe investigating myths and following heroic storylines to blasted, isolated places. Eventually, like many before him, he lighted on the Cathar territory of Languedoc in 1931 and became an innkeeper so he could stay and pursue his grail studies. He believed that the "great treasure" that escaped with the last Cathar from the total destruction of Montségur was the holy grail itself.
As an innkeeper, he made a great academic, and was quickly bankrupt. He reemerged in Germany and put his researches to good use, writing Kreuzzug gegen den Graal, "Crusade Against The Grail". This made him about as much money as trying to sell German beer to French farmers. But it did attract the attention of Himmler. And the opportunity for the ultimate academic devil's bargain. From Levenda's Unholy Alliance:
According to one version of the story, the Reichsführer-SS personally invited the author in his Prinz Albrechstrasse headquarters in Berlin. There, he offered Rahn a commission in the SS and virtually unlimited resources for which Himmler expected Rahn to continue his research into the grail, Cathars, and related subjects of Aryan interest.
According to another version, Rahn was a personal friend of völkish "channeler" Karl Maria Wiligut -also known as SS-Oberführer Weisthor- a gentleman who had once been certified insane but who nonetheless claimed that he had perfect recall of the entire ancient history of the Teuton peoples going back over 200,000 years, a kind of ancient racial memory upon which he could call at any time. This was, of course, a very handy ability to possess and Himmler considered himself fortunate to have access to the services of a man who could fill in those great gaps of Teutonic history that result when a master race proves rather lax in developing a written language... Wiligut... held salon-type meetings at his home on arcane Aryan topics at which Himmler and the young Otto Rahn were said to be frequent guests.
Rahn joined the SS and set off journeying all over Germany, France, Iceland and greater western Europe on the hunt for Cathar and grail mysterious. Whatever he may have found will never be known as it didn't appear in his later book. But he would write regular letters back to Wiligut and Himmler, marked secret; for Reichsführer-SS eyes only. We'll come back to him.
These are images from the Grail Tarot by John Matthews, which I bought last week in a particularly geographically appropriate place. The manifestation of the grail that holds the most fascination for me is that of the green stone or emerald.
It's story is told by a thirteenth century poet, Wolfram von Eschenbach, who said he received it from a man named Kyot of Provence (Cathar-adjacent), who had in turn received it from a mysterious -in some accounts Jewish- man named Flegitanis, who had "great knowledge of the starry mysteries". Flegitanis told the story of a war in heaven, a war between the angels, with Lucifer -the Light Bringer- as its hero. During his defeat and fall from heaven, the stone fell from either his crown or his forehead (third eye) and became the grail.
With Lucifer as the hero, this is clearly a gnostic tale against the Demiurge, Yahweh. But it is also obviously alchemical, as we're about to see. Here's some wavy quoting from the fantastic Paul Weston's highly-recommended Avalonian Aeon. (Paul, if you're reading this, this is the bit I mentioned on facebook I was looking for. Blew the top off my head the first time around.)
A Jew from Toledo? We've been here, haven't we? It's a town that, at the time, was at the very crossroads of the whole western esoteric tradition. Now let's dig a little deeper into the name of that stone:
Lapis exillis is Latin for nothing. Like the Necronomicon, it's not an actual word in that language. But it just might be a word in twilight language. A gnostic stone that is the third eye of the light bringer fallen to earth, the possession of which grants immortality and the true vision of this realm. An hermetic cup "descended to earth" for the same purpose.
And, after all, what stone is Hermes's Tablet made from? Emerald.
The end of the quest
To call the grail "a pagan survival of the cauldron" is glib. It's lazy. It's only seeing 42 as a "funny number". It's only seeing the Necronomicon as a weirdo racist's made-up word that some guy smooshed into a faux-Sumerian grimoire in the 1970s.
Yes, the grail is Cerridwen's cauldron. Yes, the grail is the Cup that caught the blood of Christ. Yes, the grail is the cup from the Last Supper. Yes, the grail is the wisdom of the Light Bringer who fell from the stars and sought to free us from the Papal archon. Yes, the grail is the Medicine of Metals. Yes, the grail is the Emerald Tablet of Hermes.
When I read paedo-apologist Zimmer-Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, one of the parts that struck me the most was toward the end where, during the appearance of the grail in Camelot, everyone saw something different. Christians saw the Cup of Christ, pagans saw the Goddess, and so on. This is a reasonable description of how fragments or extensions of a single, non-physical thing can appear in the physical realm across multiple cultures and time periods. The grail could appear to you as music.
It is equally glib to say that the grail is anything, that it is simply a metaphor for the spiritual journey's ultimate destination. Because it is clearly something. It doesn't just come bundled in with enlightenment like a sleeping mask on a long flight. This thing that it is... well, if you want to know, you should probably go look for it. Like Otto Rahm did.
Did he find it?
Well, by 1936, Himmler had grown increasingly frustrated with his minions' inability to find physical proof -for obvious reasons- of his various bullshit occult theories like how "true" Christianity was actually German, as were the Tibetans, etc. The story is he gave Rahm until Oct 31 (!), 1936, to finish his next book or else. Rahm did this. It was called Luzifers Hofgesind or Lucifer's Servants. According to Levenda, it's a remarkable departure from his earlier book, in some places filled with blatant propaganda. The underlying thesis is that the Cathars and other Aryan-approved groups actually worshipped Lucifer as the true God of Love, rather than the Jewish God and his son, but only because he represents earlier pagan gods. Some of it reads alarmingly like the underpinning early texts of modern paganism. (We'll come to this anon.) Again from Unholy Alliance:
There is much more [Light] than in the houses of God -cathedrals and churches- where Lucifer is neither able nor wishes to enter due to all the somber, stained glass windows whereon are painted Jewish prophets an apostles, the Roman gods and saints. The forest, that, that was free!
Perhaps tellingly, he resigned only a year after the end of his four months of SS military training at Dachau, where he was also assigned guard duty as punishment for his homosexuality. Less than a month later, he was found dead in the mountains. By this time, of course, the Nazis had developed something of a knack for using occultists and mystics and then killing them. But... I don't know. What if he found the secret of the grail? Would you give it to Himmler after what you had seen? Could you? As one of his friends points out, it is very difficult for a skilled mountaineer and trained soldier to die at less than 2,000 metres only two weeks from Spring. It might take one or two weeks. Whatever the story, Rahm's end certainly wasn't accidental.
The exact date of his death was March 13th, the anniversary of the fall of the last Cathar stronghold of Montségur and last known location of their "great treasure".
Happy questing, kids.