Do You Have The Devil’s Backbone?

Do You Have The Devil’s Backbone?


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Two of the best books I have read in the last twelve months have been about the Devil.

Kinda.

Most recently, it was Peter Levenda’s The Dark Lord. And prior to that, it was Peter Grey’s Apocalyptic Witchcraft.

Pause to enjoy the sync that is two Peters offering the keys to an entirely different sort of kingdom.

(Throw in Pete Carroll and you have yourself a veritable janitor’s keychain of multi-dimensional possibility.)

I’ve gone in and out on where to begin with this post for a number of very good reasons.

  • I’m not a witch.
  • Baphomet is not quite the same thing as The Devil, but my summer of Baphomet has thrown up some interesting hypotheses.

We may as well begin with my preeminent observation of Apocalyptic Witchcraft.

Peter states in the book and repeatedly in various posts and social media that it was his and Alkistis’s intention that this book provoke a discussion and re-examination of witchcraft.

Now, like I said, not a witch. But I am a voracious blog reader and, as far as I can see, this hasn’t happened beyond a round-up of justifiably favourable book reviews. At least not publicly, anyway. In my own case, it certainly has on a private level and I can only presume that it is the same for you. (Much as the piece should be considered in its entirety, there may be some little upside to having the manifesto and the first chapter available on the blog? Food for thought, guys, if you’re reading this and feel like upsetting a few more ossified apple carts.)

The book’s overall thesis that we must update and radicalise our relationship to the world is very welcome here. You all know how I feel about seasonal festivals and the forces running our planet at the moment. We aren’t living in Disney’s Pocahontas. We are living in Mad Max.

And I can only attribute the thunderous silence with which this suggestion was met to cognitive dissonance. People just don’t want to think about it. (Welcome to my world, guys! Pull up a chair. There are many, many, many free chairs. I may have over-catered the tea, as well.)

But for the purposes of this post, I want to zero in on the Devil itself, the Black Man of the Sabbat. And its (rather than ‘his’) relationship to the ‘w’ word.

20120923Lucifer-choices

From chapter 1:

What is witchcraft?

The answer is simple. Witchcraft is the work of the enemy. Witchcraft is the sex that other people have, witchcraft the drug that other people take, witchcraft is the rite that other people perform…

…For the whole of recorded history witchcraft has been malefica, venefica, incest and murder. The next village, the next town, the next country, the old woman, the young woman, the Jew, the leper, the Cathar, the Templar, the Ophite, the Bogomil. They do it. Not us, you understand. Them. You will find the witch at the end of a pointed finger.

The end of the pointed finger. That’s certainly where I’d look, and, all too often, where I’m frequently found.

Now, it is an error to think that the loudest online voices represent the attitude of a wider group simply by virtue of their greater volume. But let me give you my honest opinion of the drift among some magical sectors toward this wishy-washy, inter-faith ecumenicalism.

I hate it.

It is some sad, student council bullshit that requires you to sit down with my enemy. To sit down with homophobes and transphobes and misogynists and child abusers. And for what? Legitimacy? Keep it. That won’t save you from the pointed finger when the crops fail or when the vicar’s daughter needs an abortion. From Terence McKenna: Culture is a simplification and a lie. It’s the currency by which fools navigate.

To sit at our accusers’ table, you must become, like Bret Easton Ellis’s gay man, a magical elf.

The Gay Man as Magical Elf has been such a tricky part of gay self-patronization in the media that you would by now expect the chill members of the LGBT community to respond with cool indifference. The Sweet and Sexually Unthreatening and Super-Successful Gay is supposed to be destined to transform The Hets into noble gay-loving protectors—as long as the gay in question isn’t messy or sexual or difficult.

The straight and gay sanctimoniousness that says everyone gay needs to be canonized when coming out still makes some of us who are already out feel like we’re on the sidelines. I’m all for coming out on one’s own terms, but heralding it as the most important news story of the week feels to me, as a gay man, well, kind of alienating. We are apart because of what we supposedly represent because of… our… boring… sexuality—oh man, do we have to go through this again? And it’s all about the upbeat press release, the kind of smiling mask assuring us everything is awesome. God help the gay man who comes out and doesn’t want to represent, who doesn’t want to teach, who doesn’t feel like part of the homogenized gay culture and rejects it. Where’s the gay dude who makes crude jokes about other gays in the media (as straight dudes do of each other constantly) or express their hopelessness in seeing Modern Family being rewarded for its depiction of gays, a show where a heterosexual plays the most simpering ka-ween on TV and Wins. Emmys. For. It? Why isn’t the gay dude I have always known and the gay dude I have always wanted to be not front and center in the media culture now?

I pray the Devil saves me from your fascist, beige, ecumenicalism and drops me in a polluted swamp filled with transvestites and circus dwarves! Back to Peter Grey:

When I say Apocalyptic Witchcraft it is deliberately antagonistic because I see witchcraft being used as an excuse for solipsistic escapism when it is the exact opposite…

…Witchcraft has a history of remembering its radical heritage whether through Michelet, Jack Parsons or feminism, and also of inventing itself anew. Montague Summers writes: Witches, satanists and the whole unhallowed crew were meddling with and mixing in politics from the first, and as their liege lord, the Devil, rebelled against God in heaven, so do they rebel against any legitimate form of government on earth.

A ‘legitimate form of government on earth’? Well shit, Monty. Find me one. The near-total absenting of the Devil in contemporary witchcraft is mistaking ‘the earth as sacred’ for ‘the earth as nice‘. And it’s a recent mistake. Our spiritual ancestors weren’t so deluded. From another Scarlet Imprint title, Serpent Songs:

The traditional witch’s nature is revealed in many of the facets of her Craft. The West Country witch was not entirely a pagan in the modern sense in which the word is popularly used, but more a dual observer, in which the Devil was the old one of the earth and the hidden world within nature. The witch made use of all that was of use, and simply employed Christian themes and practices in a way that suited her needs.

DEV

Previous witchly generations have eschewed the Devil for political reasons. “Oh, the Devil’s that Christian stuff. We’re Pagan.” Don’t believe it. As Baudelaire says, “the greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist”.

But it is also more than a little disingenuous. From Horns of Power: Manifestations of the Horned God.

The image of the horned figure on the Gundestrup Cauldron is the best known image attributed to Cernunnos, and also shows him with antlers. This silver cauldron dates to between fourth to first century BCE and was found in Denmark. It has been shown how this figure depicted on the cauldron is probably derived from the deity Pashupati (‘Lord of the Beasts’) or proto-Shiva. Pashupati was the main god of the Harappan culture of around 3000 BCE from the Indus Valley, and by this point he already had a huge amount in common with Cernunnos.

This point is reinforced by Alain Daniélou in his work Gods of Love and Ecstasy, where he points out that “All the symbols associated with the cult of Shiva – the erect phallus, the horned god, the bull, the snake, the ram, the Lady of the Mountain – are found in this cultural and agricultural complex which, starting from 6000 BC, spread westward to Europe and Africa and eastward to southern Asia.”

With or without direct historical connections -and the time distances are too great to rely on finding them- there is nevertheless a peculiar and potent resonance to these ‘shapes’; to the shape of a horned lord and a woman dancing with a serpent. Calling upon them, they ‘unpack’ inside you, like accidentally firing up a Pharaoh’s space ship.

It is a transgression but I am unrepentant. This is how magic works. And it is amazing what happens to your whole praxis when you restore the Devil to the Western European tradition. It’s like returning The Empire Strikes Back to the Star Wars trilogy.

From Levenda’s The Dark Lord:

DL1

 

DL2

And so we return to Apocalyptic Witchcraft, and Peter Grey’s invocation of the Devil of our times:

The Devil as the mask of wild nature and the Goddess, giving us the choice to control our bodies, minds and destiny. We have already seen Baphomet as a cipher for Mohammed, and Islam will not be the only bedevilled enemy. Ecologists, feminists, psychonauts, shamans, will continue to be decried in these terms….

The will of God is a clear understanding of and opposition to the designs of our enemy. This is not simply destroying the mythic structure of the Christian Church which gave man nature to despoil, just as it cut down the cedars of Lebanon, but the final ugly phase of Yahweh: corporate fascism.

One, two, three, four, I declare a Mind War!

room

Returning to Levenda’s The Dark Lord, its central contention hits me right where I live. If my heart could write theses they’re sound like these. Buy the damn book. He effectively threads a line through Lovecraft and the Necronomicon, Crowley and Kenneth Grant, making a fairly compelling case that they are aspects of the same current. You can see why I’d like it. Talk about a romp.

When you’re writing about Grant, of course, you’re also writing about Set.

Set 1

 

Set 2

Speaking of transgressive forces, there is the whole sex thing:

sex

A reviled, therianthropic sex god of chaos. Now we’re getting somewhere! And as for the origin of this being, according to Grant?

Grant final

The Black (Space)Man of The Sabbat? Somebody’s spinning somewhere. Indeed, this particular angle warrants further analysis. Consider Tituba’s testimony from the Salem witch trials (recounted in Sinister Forces).

In the final analysis, what we have here is probably the first recorded instance of what would become the satanic survivor craze of America in the 1980s. In fact, many of Tituba’s “memories”—as well as those of her “co­-conspirators”—were slow in coming, and memory disorders, real or imagined or feigned, were part of the Salem experience. Recovered memories, tortured children, witch covens, a satanic network spanning the Northeast… welcome to Geraldo Nation.

Add to this mixture the figure of the “man in black,” and we can tie all of this in nicely with the UFO phenomenon. Indeed, Tituba’s account of leaving her body at night and traveling to the meetings, and then returning again before dawn, sounds eerily similar to some accounts of alien abductions. The existence of witch marks—odd bruises on one’s body sug­gestive of pacts with the Devil, etc.—have their correlates with the stories of alien surgery and alien implants. In fact, Tituba first claimed that she flew to Boston through the air in both body and soul, but amended this fact later to state that she only appeared in Boston in the spirit.

luc

By the time the Devil reaches us here in the era of Apocalyptic Witchcraft, it has picked up and embodied the transgressive, animating force of all life in the universe, the face of a homosexual donkey, the tools for rebellion against the outgoing archonic regime, the blood of two Crusades, a role as Western Europe’s Trickster Spirit, some kind of extraterrestrial initiatory tech literally fallen from the stars, centuries of clandestine meetings in forgotten places and a decidedly Neighbourly hurricane of High Strangeness accompanying it down through the millennia to our sabbats… High Strangeness that persists to this day.

All of this puts me in mind of my favourite iteration of the Grail story: that the Grail is the Emerald Tablet, fallen from the Ajna Chakra of Lucifer as he was cast out of heaven, thus making the Quest truly cosmic in its scope and implications. Our enemies have given us a particularly useful construct in their hybridisation of these beings, exemplified by the torch glowing between the horns of Baphomet.

And so, I’d like to leave this visualisation exercise for those of you out there who -like me- are part of the magical current that has temporarily lost the Devil. (Just to head off any of you ATR or possibly Basque folks out there who say the Devil never went away. Fine. He did here.)

Well, I call it a visualisation exercise. You can tart this up with any extra layers of ritual that you like but it is quite potent just on its own. I tend to do this after some chakra work, sometimes with some Pan incense I picked up in Glastonbury.

It’s inspired by Chumbley’s ‘The Great Unbinding’, which in turn was inspired by reading Serpent Songs. (I hadn’t read any Chumbley for years before that.) These words:

By the Sigils of the Lock and the Key conjoined at the heart of the

High Sabbat of the Ages, I obtain release from Circumstance.

They remind me of the Pharaoh’s capacity to ‘come down into any sky’, which sounds to me like a release from ‘Circumstance’ (envisioned in Egypt as the power and position of the planets at your birth). This is the ultimate promise of the Devil, this is what the Loa asked of the Creator. To do whatever it is one wants. To do thy will. It is the gnostic sorcerer’s freedom to act independently of the conditions of archonic reality.

  • Perform chakra meditation or energy meditation of choice.
  • Invoke the Devil as Lucifer, with his emerald ajna chakra still in place.
  • Visualise Lucifer standing facing you, but also simultaneously visualise him forming inside your heart chakra.
  • Stay with that for a few moments and then visualise heart chakra Lucifer lifting his emerald stone from his forehead to your ajna chakra.

Hold these three visualisations for as long as you deem necessary. Given the potency of the various symbols involved, you are effectively Russian-dolling the tools for your own liberation, and the first few times are a little weird.

Close by feeling the sentiment expressed in the following words:

“I had forgotten how much light there is in the world, till you gave it back to me.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea.

Quite.

20 Comments

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  1. 1
    VI

    I think you’re right – he’s vanished from Neopaganism, but the Opposer/Adversary/Worker of Evil is staring them in the damn face. It’s even in Heathenry, if you look – Odin as Bolverk (Worker of Evil) when he nicks the mead of poetry. Add to that the Set-Shiva-Rudra-Odin paralells and bang you’ve got somewhere interesting. Add in the Aghori in the cremation ground, the terrible ‘bloodthirsty’ gods of Hinduism & Buddhism who are the wrathful folks who liberate you and scare the bejeezus out of those who would pull the maya-wool over your eyes. Then add Grantian speculations on Yezdi, Nameless Cults, and Nylarathotep as Black Man/Shub Niggurath as squamous Pangenitor/Panphage and you’ve got some seriously heavy duty weapons for doing violent buggery to perception and culture.

    I like AW, but I see it as a polemic designed to get people thinking. Those, I suspect who were moved to thinking by it, are probably the kind of people who would rather not talk about such things lest they be y’know, burnt – or ostracised for being too “Judaeo-Christian” in magickal/neopagan comm…commu….c…(nah, can’t even say the word in relation to that subculture)

    Whereas, us lot with with our squamous and eldritch love for spotting the sacred-not-nice-but-potent in all things, are perfectly happy to play with such things. Cause you see, that’s why wolves witches and giants have such a mythic resonance.

    We’re a bunch of baby eaters who can profane the seeming holy, and sanctify the profane. Cos, like…we play both sides, we work with both hands. Bunch of geezers. Yeah…

    Ahem.

    (Any wonder why we love John Constantine?)
    VI´s last blog post ..Drinking from a Deeper Well: The Perennial Weird

  2. 2
    Stacey

    Gordon,

    First, thanks for posting this. I needed the reminder about a couple of things, and hope this will kick off some crunchy discussions.

    Second, yes and yes about the Neopagan quest for legitimacy. (I assume that’s the group you’re thinking of, it certainly leaps to mind in this context.) I do sympathize with people who want to live openly and not have rocks thrown through their windows, or worse, but it’s also really annoying to see people trying to reframe witchcraft as something toothless and “life-affirming,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. Bunch of wannablessedbes.

    Third — since I know you work with hoodoo — have you ever delved into African/American history? I’m biased because reasons, but the parallels between black rebellion, the ways whites Other blacks and crack/ed down on revolt, and the tropes of witchcraft, werewolfery, and the Devil are there in weird and powerful ways. I lost my stomach for a lot of Pagan culture (esp. the persecution complex some folks have) when I went back to school and started reading this stuff. (Which makes me terribly popular at parties, let me tell you.)

  3. 3
    Raj

    Truly fantastic work as ever, Gordon. Rune Soup is one of the best occult blogs I’ve come across, but this post in particular resonates on a very personal level. Cheers!

  4. 4
    John Barghest

    We looooooove J.C. (John Constantine)

    Anyway, I rarely ever pop in anymore, so I’m popping in tonight to say, “I loved this thing!” I loved it so much, I think I might go start some trouble with it in my local “magickal/neopagan comm…commu….c…(nah, can’t even say the word in relation to that subculture).”

    ;)

    Just one of those times.
    John Barghest´s last blog post ..A Prelude to Polemics: The Need for Proper Research in the Pagan Community

  5. 5
    Dylan Goodluck

    Two things to add: One, they’ve recently done tests on the Egyptian Jackal, and found that it’s not actually a jackal at all. It’s a wolf. So, chalk up Anubis as the WOLF-headed god, and follow the wonderful breadcrumbs of European mythology and wolves in relation to the underworld.
    Two, Tituba’s literal race and origin is called into question, Puritans mixing African/Indian/Native/Slave as all-purpose labels. So, if she was indeed the progenitor of the occult teachings in Salem, it’s frustrating beyond belief for occultists to determine the source of her beliefs. The first chapter of Levenda’s excellent “Sinister Forces: The Nine” posits that she was originally of South American Native descent, which has enough folklore regarding “Black Men/Spirits” to merit a whole book on it.
    Everything’s apparently a little more connected than it seems…

  6. 6
    Rose

    Do you have the devil’s backbone? Do you have to ask that question? And I clicked on all the linkage. Twilight Language, indeed, my friend. Hehehe… You are amazing.

    That is all… at least for now. ;)
    Rose´s last blog post ..Wings

  7. 7
    Neener

    The first chapter of Levenda’s excellent “Sinister Forces: The Nine” posits that she was originally of South American Native descent, which has enough folklore regarding “Black Men/Spirits” to merit a whole book on it.

    Yeah the South and Central American Gods need some Runesoup-style comparisons with other traditions. Something I haven’t seen picked up before is the connection between John Dee’s scrying mirror and the Aztec gods. Apparently the mirror was from Aztec occult rituals. Consider Gordon’s linked post about Crowley activating the pyramid. Did Dee’s scrying mirror do the same? Compare when the Aztecs were starting to be wiped out by the Spanish (1519), and when Dee actually performed the rituals (the 1580s). It wasn’t that far apart. Also consider how apocalyptic the Enochian sessions were. Especially the line, “The 7 doores are opened. The 7 Governours have almoft ended their Government.” What has seven governments in Central America? Aztlan, the seven caves of Chicomoztoc, and the seven tribes that dwell in the caves. That is to say, the home of the Aztecs. The Aztec god Tezcatlipoca is a dead ringer for the typhonian tradition mentioned in Gordon’s OP. He was associated with night, wind, hurricanes, and strife. His name means smoking obsidian. He was also a trickster god.

  8. 8
    Stacey

    Wow, Neener, that’s a neat, neat idea. I saw a brilliant art exhibit a few years ago that made part of your point — the connection between Dee’s mirror and Aztec lenses — but skipped the occult implications to make some rather good points about representation and gazes in the post-Conquest world instead.

  9. 9
    Fireclown

    Nice one!

    I believe that we are living (and dying) in the Age of Assimilation. The apparent goal is for ‘What I Do to be OK’ regardless of the cultural norms or even physical reality. I should be able to eat toxins and allergens because, well, I want to, and there should be no consequences because, well, I don’t like them.

    There’s an aspect of the modern ‘open mind’ where people can no longer make judgements for fear of being judgmental, and can no longer make decisions, well, because they are broken. So we all talk shit and smile and nod at each other as if it smells fine, because, well, if I call you on your shit, then you might actually call me on mine! And that would be embarrassing…

    So if instead we decide to actually ‘make decisions’ based on observation and empirical gnosis (the gift of the serpent in the garden, Prometheus, Wotan, the Devil, or whoever yanks your particular crank- that dude) we have to agree not only to disagree, but to acknowledge that there is right and wrong, even if only on a personal or cultural level…and live accordingly.

    But that isn’t…compassionate. It’s judgmental. It is unkind, and as such is sort of like exposing your excess children to the elements. So we have people preaching that the head-hunting Celts were vegan, and that The Gods are generally kind and loving, and that all Orthodoxies and Overcultures as essentially OK regardless of their beliefs or actions…

    Or you can be a fucking Sorcerer or a Witch or a Magician or whatever you want to call yourself and you can live your truth with some integrity. You know what you want and you know what you intend. You understand that some of it won’t be super popular inside the Overculture or even inside the subculture, so you keep silent. And you do what makes sense to you.

    Because in the end Sorcery and Animism and Magick are the Ur-Culture. This practice, as Lee Morgan so aptly quotes Shakespeare, this “deed without a name” are how we as human-things have always got things done. We operate on symbols, ritual, dreams, and belief. We are designed for it. I think those that are actively involved in magickal praxis all understand this on some level. And it will never be the main road, the safe path, the ‘right thing to do’ in the minds of those who are served best by us believing we are powerless, that they know better, and that you can just put it all back in the box and get your ass back to work, anyway.

    Fireclown

  10. 10
    Ian

    This Lavenda sets my head a-spinnin’. One of these days, I’ll probably want to read him.

    Re: Tituba: yeah, there definitely seems to be a shift toward considering her Arawak. It persuades me.

    On the Meso-American end of things, the devil does take you some intriguing places. Several of the Tezcatlipoca analogues do seem to have a peg leg of sorts, which joins up to the iconography of the dark man with a single cloven hoof and a regular foot. In Mesoamerican material, it isn’t a hoof but a drill for starting fires (hence his association with smoking, too). Fire starting is pretty darned interesting, no?

    More interesting to me from a witchcraft angle, though, is Tlazolteotl. Her dual connection to filth and purification has always made me wonder if whatever she is may lie closer to the heart of what Parsons and Hubbard called Babalon.

    @Neener: I have often mused that there might be a tie between the American genocide of the Indians and the heating up of the occult scene. Because I run that way, I tend to think the spirits of the dead themselves might be driving the process, but ymmv.
    Ian´s last blog post ..Anagoge, or Burning Words

  11. 11
    Mel

    Thank you for this post, which is excellent in so many ways. Particular thanks for the quote and link to the article by Mr. Ellis, which I had read previously, but which made me happy to read again. Many gay men do not realize how lucky we are to have someone who will call “bullshit” on a culture which is being crafted by those who have put themselves in charge- who strive only for acceptance and assimilation, yet do not truly seek to empower us. They seek to hide and neuter the transgressive nature of queer sex behind the mantra: “We are just like you.”
    Speaking only for myself, I do NOT fucking want to be like the “you” they idolize. Integration and acceptance into a society that is a blatant and obvious, at least to me, lie? No thanks! I am an ancient and anarchic queer sorcerer and I am not about to change what has served me well to navigate through this vulgar wasteland called “reality”. I have zero desire to become a Stepford Faggot. I will accept the difficulty of thinking and making choices for myself.

    That out of the way, my experience in the “pagan” world has been much the same. Pagan, more often than not, is used as a cover word and the “community” is not really that inclusive or tolerant. What is generally meant by pagan, and here follows merely my opinion, is Wicca or some other reconstructed earth-based “faith”. Magick may be somewhat acceptable, if by that one means ceremonial magick, although an uneasy suspicion will linger. But tell people you practice sorcery or chaos magic or grimoire magick- these are not acceptable within their comfort zone, even though they may have little idea what such magickal techs entail. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s working for you go for it. And it’s ok if they think I’m crazy (because I probably am, by their definition), and it’s ok if they are afraid of me, because they probably should be. Not because I mean harm, but because thinking for yourself is scary. I am not afraid of my shadow, and it always walks with me. As does theirs, but they never seem curious enough to take a look at it and consider what it means.

  12. 13
    Scylla

    As I get older, and ornerier I see a pattern emerge. The pattern is: “We water it down until no one is afraid of it, and then we get angry that no one is afraid.” We all benefit (in a purely social and political degree) from the agreement that we’re not ‘really like that’ – but is it really a benefit? We’re gutting ourselves.

    My take is that no one was paying attention if/when they read Aradia – “Your God, Jesus and Mary are three devils!” – this is said by witches trained by the daughter of a Pagan Goddess and Lucifer himself. It is, at it’s heart, adversarial. It is, at it’s heart, ecological. It is, at it’s heart, wild. The attempt to tame can only be a surface attribute – stick the real thing behind oaths and blinds and dire promises of ligatures finding their way around someone’s neck in the night. Because if you successfully tame it, you’ve lost. You’ve lost it utterly. You’ve cut the heart out of the wild, the witch, the power is gone. There is no moment greater than divesting oneself of flesh, bone, body and rules and leaping out as a theriomorphic, ambiguously-gendered, angel-blooded, divine, monstrosity.

    That’s why there is this paradox of poison-makers, of knife-wielding, and of appropriation. They’ve broken the circuit, cut off the connection, and cannot understand why the beastly Old Ones don’t listen so they keep adding more castrated danger to the pile. It does nothing but hurt, because it can do nothing but hurt.

    I love the Necronomicon – it peels back the layer of gentrification, and exposes the atavistic underbelly. It’s had more than enough time to do it’s job, percolate, and ferment into a mead of inspiration. Setting down with it, with the film The Ninth Gate, with a bit of Storm Constantine and you’ve got the makings of a perfectly functional, useful, wonderful guidebook to busting the fetters from your members and rising up as the divine and secret fire to raze the crops of your enemies. Unfortunately, the social contract we have to “keep up appearances” means that resourcing “fiction” is unthinkable.

  13. 14
    Gordon

    @Scylla Holy shit! Best comment ever. Seriously. Weird sync, too, which I will circle back on imminently.

    @Mel Heh. Stepford fag. Imma steal that. Got a coupla gay besties who fit that perfectly. :)

    @Ian Levenda is gold. Weird, weird gold. Some days I think he’s still a spook. Other days I don’t care.

    @Fireclown Oh, totally, totally, TOTALLY, is magic the Ur-Culture. Totally. I hope you enjoy the imminent installments of the Whisky Rant.

    @Neener I look into Dee’s mirror about once every two weeks. You’re definitely onto something, but it feels to me like it was gaming the Aztecs as well. Very odd object.

    @Raj You back in London yet?

    @VI From personal correspondence, I think AW got a lot of people thinking, too… and your assessment that people would ‘rather not’ speak is probably accurate. And that annoys me. Hence this post. :)

  14. 16
    Aidan Wachter

    Scylla, you nailed it perfectly. Part of why I love Aradia, always.

    Dee’s mirror is much like some of Spare’s paintings in the flesh. I got the Aztec hit, too. INteresting!

  15. 17
    roh'nin

    Gordon, I’ve done the invocation twice now since this morning. I’m just planning on playing with it until something interesting happens.

    Question, I wasn’t raised Christian and never really got into Paganism, so phrases like “High Sabbat of the Ages” really don’t do mean anything to me. If you put it in for something more than headology, can you explain the phrase?

  16. 18
    Gordon

    @Roh’nin They aren’t my words, they’re Chumbley’s. So I didn’t put them in for ‘headology’. What they mean to you is your business… but if you ‘never really got into’ paganism then I wouldn’t bother finding out for yourself… which would otherwise be my immediate suggestion.

  17. 19
    WitchyRoots

    Yes, indeed!

    Why force oneself into a polite little box? There’s a genuine need within the human psyche to be accepted, but I sometimes wonder if that’s a “baser” (?) need.

    I am both a Witch (not Wiccan or Neopagan) and a homosexual, and frankly, have no earthly desire to be part of “the norm.” I find “the norm” to be boring, as it has no spiritual/energetic/whatever significance for me these days. I rather like being “on the outskirts,” as it were.

    I work with/honor/love/worship/whatever the deity Cernunnos. But, “he” is far from the usual Cernunnos promulgated by the modern Neopagan culture(?). He is dark. He is often grotesque. He eats the flesh of live babies. He is “the dark side” of Dionysus. He’s “The Devil” for all intents and purposes, and he enjoys ravaging gay sex. Modern Neopagan culture(?) has whitewashed who our Ancestors were and who we *should* currently be. That’s a problem.

  18. 20
    Dauphine Sb

    This is a great post. I haven’t read AW but I have some broader thoughts on Satan. There was a long while particularly in Jewish tradition when he wasn’t considered the personification of evil but rather the tester/the accuser (as in Job). In some ways this conforms much more to a trickster. Angelology was grafted onto Judaism around the time of the Babylonian captivity, and later when Judah became part of the Persian Empire. This is where Satan also began to pick up more of his, er, diabolical features. People like to imagine that the Judeo-Christian tradition was this “pristine” shiny jewel, when in fact they were absorbing influences from their neighbors just like any other Near East religion.

    The ascendance of the devil in the popular imagination was, at one time, a way for Christianity to creep as close to a Zoroastrian-style dualism as possible, without quite going over the edge.

    In terms of radicality, I’ve been taking some steps to use Lacan as a well-spring for a theory of ritual. Maybe it’s needlessly complicated but I’ve always been fascinated by his ideas. Working through how ritual becomes a way to deliberately seek out a barely controlled trauma (what Lacan would call “The Real.”) Anyway, still in the early stages. All the best.
    Dauphine Sb´s last blog post ..Lorine Niedecker: Wilderness Poet

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