Wednesday, 6 April 2016
It feels like all the gods are dead. She looks to the sky, but she cannot find Father’s face. She knows there is so much darkness in the world. So much hate, so much slaughter. The chic negations. The gleeful desecration. The imperious dismissal of those most wounded, those most in need. It can break a girl. Especially a girl who can see things. It can shatter her heart into a million shards of light. Fragments of a broken sun that she now carries on sheer faith. Splinters of brilliance, now rapidly cooling in her palms. The sky darkens. She is alone. She knows that she is witnessing the death of a star. In blackness, in void, she cries out. To gods, to spirits, to Father. She thinks all the heroes are dead, that nothing in this abyss will hear her. But truth is a strange thing, and stars even stranger. Suddenly she recalls that she has walked among witches and kings. She has stood gazing as empires fell, as cities crumbled. She has seen things be reborn. In darkness, the angel reminds her. "There is fire in your veins, child. You are of royal blood. Love is not Lost…"
Thursday, 31 March 2016
So, I might be a little late to the party but I recently read an interdisciplinary masterwork by Gordon White, he of Rune Soup legend; a seminal new book called Star.Ships: A Prehistory of the Spirits. It’s an exquisite, scholarly and profound book, and gets my highest possible recommendation. Among other things Gordon applies his considerable intellectual and magical prowess to an exploration of star lore, genetics, geology, linguistics, Laurasian, Gondwanan and Pan-Gaean mythologies, and more specifically how they interrelate and why. He draws upon the work of Harvard Indologist E.J. Michael Witzel through that author’s book The Origins of the World’s Mythologies. Deepening Witzel’s research and contesting it where necessary Gordon presents a deeply compelling and nuanced case that the lineages and practices that shaped the Western Magical tradition are located at a time depth far, far earlier than has previously been understood.
Gordon covers a stunning array of sites and myths from all across the world, going back much further than one might imagine. He delves into the antediluvian antecedents of much of what we think we know about human culture and spirituality – and in doing so he presents us with far more nuanced understandings of both shamanism generally and also its practical application through culture-specific magical technologies. In my humble opinion Gordon has a very keen hold on how things bleed, blur and intermingle. Not only does he attempt to historicise all these threads more elegantly and effectively, he also succeeds in revitalising a far more interdisciplinary and sophisticated approach to research itself. It seems our current human pastimes and dominant stories – the Murdering of Monsters and the Mirroring of Heaven on Earth – goes back far earlier than we’ve been led to believe. Through Gordon’s work and the work of others like him we might be able to better contextualise our apparent belief in separation or a ‘Fall’, and thus our apparent concordant desire for unification. Such insights are useful not only magically, but culturally. This book has a staggeringly wide scope, and as such I suspect it will have a staggeringly wide array of subtle effects on those who read it. The following video is directly inspired by it. Any riffs, poetic licences or misinterpretations are my own. I’m not an Indologist, an archaeologist, an Egyptologist, or even a magician in the obvious sense of that term – but I do have my own Cathedral of Stars, my own ways of navigating and creating meaning. I speak with spirits too. Notes and aphorisms from my own Thief’s Journal are etched into the stone of this place. My own Cathedral predates my City, and it has been undeniably enriched and recontextualised through exposure to Gordon White’s seminal text. Which you can find here at Scarlet Imprint. Seriously, go read it. It is more than worth your time and money.
Not only is Star.Ships a powerful and lucid discussion about the magical, spiritual and cultural histories of the human race, to my eyes it’s also a keenly observed study on the nature and purposes of storytelling – how its vectors and contexts can affect and shape human consciousness, in ways that are both Seen and Unseen. The stars, and thus the spirits, are powerful. They communicate. Grandmother would be proud.
Tuesday, 1 March 2016
There are some people who see war as a useless spiritual metaphor. I’m not one of those people. I’m always trying to add nuance, context and sophistication to my understanding of this world. I’m always trying to peer with ever-deeper insight into the intricacies of human psychology, our soul and our spirit. But I make no apologies for my own subjectivity, my own interiority. After all, I can attempt to broaden and deepen it, but how could I ever escape such a thing? In my world the human race is at war both physically and spiritually. In my world dark forces covet our energies and dreams. They attempt to cloak themselves behind our fears, and walk amid the blind-spots of our cognition. I’ve been told that viewing human spirituality, divinity and creativity in terms of war is counter-productive, pessimistic even. Everyone perceives things through their own particular metaphoric lens, I’m aware of that. I’m aware that this world is coloured and inflected by the soul behind the eyes that is viewing it. Having such awareness, it would be dishonest of me to not recognise the potency I feel when viewing art, imagination and spirituality as war of a kind. Why is this metaphor so potent to me? Because it inspires me to action. It disinclines any latent passivity. If there is such a thing as a Good Fight, it encourages me to take up arms. I have said before here at Amid Night Suns that Art is the Oldest Magick. Well, the imagination – from where art is birthed – is the site of the Oldest War. For me, imagination is sorcery;a holy sepulchre filled with the dead, the unborn, and other things we dare to give names to.
The War of Imagination is the only war I’m interested in, the only war worth fighting. Why is this important? Because I believe that the human race has been colonised by sinister forces both banal and exotic. And I believe that the human imagination or soul was the site of this original colonisation. Archons, demons, dark angels, vampires, psychopathy, mental illness…all facets of the same gestalt. We tell each-other tales concerning those things that move through our shadowed inner temples. We create stories about how those temples fell, how we were manipulated, and the psychic scars we carry with us still. It doesn’t have to be ontologically real, but it is undeniably powerful. Like Love, or Hope. When I’m asked if dark entities actually exist, I don’t usually give the short answer. The short answer is yes. On the psychic, imaginal plane discrete boundaries become fluid and are harder to discern. But a wound is a scar that hasn’t healed, regardless of the ontological status of the thing that hurt you. Inspired by occult forces or not, the sheer depth of human depravity in our times staggers the imagination. The inner temples tremble, the stones fracture under the strain. The western world is a slave-economy. We only have these trinkets and charms because of hideous exploitation and abuse. Third-world economies that are forcibly maintained by first-world psychopaths, predator-elites who view this Earth as a slave market, a flesh-fair.
From my post entitled The Lost Knowledge:
Every single freedom, human right and protective legislation we have in society today was fought for by individuals and collectives who were brave enough to stand up against terrifying and overwhelming odds. Every positive social reform – be it for the rights of women, children, or sexual, social and racial minorities – was fought for by brave men and women putting consistent organised pressure on the existing power-structure.
Every freedom we have today is because of individuals throughout history bravely deciding to become soldiers of truth, of Innermost Light, and taking part in the Oldest War. People who found the vast schism between the powerful and the powerless utterly abhorrent. People who couldn’t shut their eyes to the indignities visited upon their fellow brothers and sisters. People who couldn’t pretend not to hear the liminal howling shriek of the voiceless, the defiled and desecrated. War, any war, is frightening stuff. It’s disturbing, unsettling. Most people want to close their eyes to it if they can. I understand that. I’m not insensitive to human anxieties. But I will not close my eyes to war, literal or otherwise. I will not turn away from the genocides, the death-camps, the sexual-slavery networks, the media entrainment, the chic negations, the corrosion of human will. But mostly, I won’t turn away from war as a useful personal metaphor for spirituality and creativity because I’m agonisingly aware that I’m at war with myself. I’m trying to transform, and that’s no easy task. I’m trying to engage in my own particular kind of shadow-work. I value the Shadow and what it might potentially teach us about the depths of our own consciousness. I am filled with monsters and gods. I am dark and light. I am ferocious; loving and tender and dangerous. I’m not perfect, in fact I’m deeply flawed. But I’m willing to fight for my freedom and the freedom of others. I can only do that with the humble tools I possess, and I’m always honing my tools. If I am War, then knowledge and art are my weapons.
Thursday, 18 February 2016
We stand among the stones like broken teeth in the mouths of buried gods. We hear alien melodies carried on the wind. Strange glyphs reflected in each other’s eyes. Geometries and evocations swirling like crossroads-dust all around this gathering. This gathering of Magi from every edge and hidden place. Some come with gilded tools, pages of living flame, others come with bone and fetish. Some of the Magi come with no language. Some of us are not even flesh.
But all of us are Ragged, bound by singular purpose. To heal, protect and defend. The human-kith will continue to write stories about such gatherings; fable and fairytale, to give and gain succour amid their private agonies. When the Carrion Angels, the fallen ones, try again to break the spirits of the human-kith their shamans will again tell tales of the Ragged Magi. And they will be quickened.
Shaping the howling void with flame and knife and whisper, a rebellion. A renaissance. We can make marks of great power. A billion angels on a thousand pins, push the spiral until it spins. And yet many will doubt their own imaginations and ask, “Are these stories real? Am I more than Carrion?”
Tuesday, 26 January 2016
I want to talk about the notion of Evil. It’s easy to see it as something of an abstraction, something nebulous, belonging to a medieval world of religion, superstition and folklore. It’s not something we take very seriously in this age of subservience to the State, this age of atheism and reductive materialism. We have very little patience for the Mysteries, the paranormal and high strangeness, let alone patience enough for serious meditations on the nature of evil. There is a thirteenth century Catholic hymn I’m fond of; Dies Irae. The Day of Wrath. An apocalyptic incantation that describes the Final Judgement. I’ve always found it interesting that the strange hymn, perhaps far older than the thirteenth century, came to be used as a key sequence in the Requiem Mass. Dies Irae, I would argue, is full of a kind of misunderstood necromantic power. For the uninitiated, necromancy in its broadest sense is death-magic – either communication with the spirits of the dead, or the manipulation of the very energies, materials and secrets of death itself. As any true practitioner or operator of magic will be well aware, death itself is not evil, and neither is magick. The truest magicians, the truest seekers and the truest scholars all exist in a realm of nuances, subtleties and occluded interrelationships. They discount nothing outright, and are always willing to be surprised or humbled by new knowledge and new experience. But evil – the capacity and desire for control, defilement, desecration and abuse – this is something that very few men and women are truly willing to comprehend. After all, if such a thing exists, either energetically or experientially, who in their right mind would willingly traffick with monsters?
Since I was a child I have been asking myself the same basic questions, before I even had the intellectual finesse to formulate these questions properly. I knew back then, as I know now, that something is very wrong with the world. I was a weird kid, but apparently very astute. Gifted, many adults called me. But what they didn’t realise was that my acuity came from a far deeper and stranger place than mere natural intellect. Many sensitives, intuitives and psychics will relate to this, I think. Childhood is usually not an easy time for us, especially considering we are not really supposed to exist in the eyes of the scientific mainstream. But I’m still asking myself the same questions, still trying to unravel and gain wisdom from a spectrum of very dark and very strange personal experiences.
I’ve encountered evil in my life, both physical and spiritual. It changes you forever. And yes, I’m fully aware that such labels are inexorably tied up with my own particular psychology and perception, my own private mythos. But at what point and through what mechanism does the chthonic become evil? Or to put it another way, at what point does the chthonic become something that could be resonantly if not ‘accurately’ described as evil? I would argue that when the chthonic interfaces with a particular kind of sentience, a dark intelligence utterly lacking in empathy, horrors can be born. I’m no expert on either the human mind or philosophy, but I studied psychology at university and I was particularly fascinated with psychopathy. Or what I later came to define as predator-psychology. But I’ve also personally encountered individuals and energies for which the term ‘evil’ is the most accurate and intellectually honest description I can think of. Forms of consciousness that don’t seem to be mentally ill in the classic sense of the term. Rather they seem to revel, burnish and exalt their own psychopathy, their appetite for the most deviant forms of abuse. Unless you’ve personally encountered such things, you could be forgiven for writing it all off as nonsense or mental illness. But I believe it’s more than that. Much more.
In a Gnostic sense there are those individuals who seem to imitate what we might define as an archonic consciousness. But there are also those – far fewer in number but exceptionally more dangerous – who seem to rather embody this archonic consciousness. From an energetic viewpoint there is no imitation involved. Most people commit evil because they are in spiritual, emotional or physical pain. Most people feel guilt, and empathy. But there are some among us who don’t, I would argue. They really don’t feel or experience human connection the way we do. For these individuals, especially among the ever-warring multinational predator-elites that rule this planet, deepening their perversity whilst attempting to maintain basic cognitive function is their highest thrill. The razor-edged thrill of the truly powerful. I understand that the notion of evil is really just a shorthand that arose out of religionist-thinking. A shorthand that’s been abused throughout history by the forces of the State to vilify and demonise both potential enemies and domestic minorities. But I also understand, as the oldest fairytales have tried to tell us, that sometimes you can be unfortunate enough to cross paths with a monster.
There’s something that many people don’t realise about monsters. They don’t just desecrate, defile and abuse. They covet. They covet all sorts of things. People, places, stories, energies and knowledge. These predator-elites, who for so long have had a stranglehold on this world – they see themselves as Collectors, as Carrion Angels. They feed, and pocket what remains. They believe they are the only ones powerful enough to hold an ouroboros of divine fire in their hands. They believe their desecration is the highest magick. They are wrong.
There are secrets we know, aren’t there? Things we’re not supposed to reveal, or even discuss with outsiders. The histories of ritual magick and indigenous shamanism are multidimensional, multifaceted. We know that recognition and comprehension of a thing can literally invoke that thing. We know that our reality is darker, brighter, stranger, and infinitely more complex and nuanced than we first believed. We know this now. We know there are entire vistas of lost and suppressed histories, concealed from our understanding by various predator-elites, many of them with agendas and appetites far more sinister than even our fictions will usually contemplate. We recognise that networks of meaning slide back and forth across thresholds of semantic drift. We understand that there are languages, energies and entities that speak laterally. We know there are beings and dreamscapes and strange thriving societies hidden within our various forms of art. Fiction is not just fiction. It’s the architecture of infinity. We know the power and sometimes unfortunate necessity of code. And we will not be vanquished by hate, intolerance, desecration, abuse, torture, slavery, or evil by any other name. Here’s something else most people don’t know about monsters. They are always afraid. They’re afraid of us, of you and me. They’re afraid of what we have within us. They’re afraid of fire.
Thursday, 17 December 2015
I love this city. London is a strange and haunted place. It’s terrifying and glorious. A city of unparalleled power. Once upon a time it was from here that the Earth was ruled. But not just the Earth, also the dreamscapes of those who lived upon the Earth. Perhaps, in ways occulted to us, it still is. For me, London is a city of dreams and nightmares. No matter how deeply its filth and macabre history is prettied by modernity and gentrification, the past still howls beneath it all. Closer to the surface than we think.
To paraphrase the visionary poet William Blake; harlots still curse at forced subsistence, and blood still runs down palace walls. The violence of former atrocities never really washes away, and in certain lights can still be seen. These chartered streets mark sigils, icons and ancient flows of harnessed power. The Highest in the Land, the predator-elites, they think they created this city, and every blackening church of dreams within it. Infurnum est ars. But London is far greater than they are. My city is irreducible; full of secrets, hidden places. And magick. London is magick. It’s an ancient and dangerous city, and I love it with all my heart. My soul is bound with London in various ways.
Like the saltire or X-shaped cross upon which St Andrew was crucified, an icon of which was placed by Christopher Wren above the south transept of St Paul’s Cathedral, London cannot die. Resurgam. I shall rise again.
Wednesday, 9 December 2015
There is an ancient Gnostic adage that states ‘Knowledge is Power.’ Of course, like everything, such a notion is multi-layered and multidimensional. But for the moment let’s look at power from a social, political and historical perspective. From these perspectives we can argue that true power concedes nothing. Every single freedom, human right and protective legislation we have in society today was fought for by individuals and collectives who were brave enough to stand up against terrifying and overwhelming odds. Every positive social reform – be it for the rights of women, children, or sexual, social and racial minorities – was fought for by brave men and women putting consistent organised pressure on the existing power-structure. Protests, decentralised collectives, new community alliances; multi-layered grassroots activism. Sometimes these warriors of freedom paid for such bravery with their lives. But today, I would suggest, the ruling predator-elites and power-broking oligarchs are attempting to purge such truths from history, or else repackage these truths as toothless confections largely nostalgic in nature.
Icons of Inequality
I have written elsewhere at Amid Night Suns about the predilections and machinations of the Victorian predator-elites in Britain that arose out of the industrial revolution, and how those elites set the blueprint for the rapacious elitism of today. We still have a ruling class, but it’s no longer a simple aristocracy in the Victorian sense of the term. The ruling class of the twenty-first century is a hybrid of Intelligence, military, occult, banking and corporate interests. It appears monolithic and singular only from the outside, but from within it is just like any other collection of interacting, infighting organised crime-networks. To the untrained eye it might seem as though these elites are all working in perfect concert. But the truth is that those who control us, and control the direction and flow of societies, are snared in a hideous mess of brutal, perverse and sociopathic realpolitik.
The world is horrifically complex. And so we simplify. We have no other choice. But we need to be incredibly mindful of how we simplify, mindful of the things we throw away in the process. Researchers in the alternative-media might quiver in the presence of an eye atop a pyramid, in fear or in thrill. But society isn’t actually a top-down, vertical hierarchy. Society is lateral, horizontal. Society is a vast web. Power, control, influence – they don’t flow the way we think they flow. Just ask any occultist or psychic. Like all things, the power behind social control is really just a form of oblique, lateral communication. And communication flows from mind to mind, it passes through individuated nexuses of the collective mind. Control, therefore, is a trick. But an incredibly powerful one. Hierarchy could be said to exist only as an icon or image of itself within the perception of an imagining sentience. Human culture is being conjured moment to moment, from mind to mind, imagination to imagination in a symphony of interconnection. The real question is how this lateral communication is manipulated to ensure the illusion of vertical power differentials, to ensure that some rule while others suffer. And I would argue the answer is the application of extreme violence under this profane icon of illusory hierarchy. If you are psychotic and predatory enough to truly want power and control over people on a massive scale – illusory vertical supremacy – eventually you will have to back up your rhetoric and venerate your icon with violence and the threat of spilled blood. And violence is nothing if not the manifestation of symbolic hierarchy, symbolic inequality. This is true on both a local and social level. “I do not want to co-exist. We are no longer equals. My story will conquer yours, and you will suffer.”
This kind of psychology is basically radical fundamentalism at its core, the kind of thinking behind Daesh and various other militant terrorist groups. It’s also the basic mind-set behind reductive materialism, behind many global power-elites, behind slavery in all its various forms. It’s a predatory, dehumanising psychology that is essentially vampiric in nature, and is made manifest through the use of brute force, violence and sinister propaganda. It’s the physics and politics of despair, of fear. A paradigm that tells you that injustice is like inclement weather, simply unavoidable. When the truth is that societal injustices are the emanations of a blood-soaked icon of hierarchy. Archons, demons, vampires and human predator-elites…all of them kneel and supplicate before this insatiable icon. After all, evil is utterly banal at its core. You can only slice a lust for power, violence and control a few different ways. The language it speaks is crude, dull and unimaginative. Which is exactly why it needs the blood and life of others to sustain itself.
Sigils of Divine Fire
This insight concerning blood-dimmed icons of hierarchy, and the control of lateral or horizontal communication to ensure vertical supremacy under the banner of such icons, is the dark heart of social control, of warfare, of modern slavery at its most naked. But I believe it’s more than that. I believe it’s also part of the occulted meaning behind the symbol of the cross. The cross isn’t just a Christian theological icon, the crucifix upon which Yeshua was placed between two thieves. It’s an extremely ancient magickal symbol, both an acknowledgement and refutation of polarity. I believe the symbol of the cross is the meeting point of two realms; a nexus, the alchemical furnace of creation. The cross is a doorway, a gate, a portal. Furthermore, I believe those who wield it would do well to learn something of its awesome power. This knowledge of the meeting place of the vertical and lateral, this kiss between heaven and earth, can enslave entire worlds when perverted. But when used truthfully, as a force for Gnosis and Innermost Light, it can offer us a way out of that same slavery. Because when you stand up and speak truth – and on a local and literal level when you fight for freedom, workers-rights, healthcare, anti-austerity measures, affordable housing and positive social reform – just as the generations before you did, you honour the dead. You actually become that meeting place between heaven and earth. You become that doorway.
So, if knowledge is indeed power, in a variety of contexts, then what kind of spiritual power and knowledge has been lost to us? I’m not talking about some imagined magickal wisdom tradition, some unproblematic and easily codified elite spellcraft. I’m talking about an experiential knowledge – a participatory relationship with the spiritual and numinous. It isn’t just some ad hoc ritualism, nor is it simply dry, empty scholarship. It’s more akin to a radical and steadfast dedication to your own private art and evolution. A gnosis that sacrifices neither its rigour or joy, and that incorporates intellect, evidence, trial and error – a relationship that also honours the sacrifices of your forebears and the nameless dead. This is the kind of knowledge that’s been lost. Purposeful re-enchantment. Or what Gordon White at the indomitable chaos magick website Rune Soup calls ‘the restoration of context.’ After all, there is a qualitative, contextual difference between raw data and knowledge, isn’t there? The former is information, perhaps lacking in any inherent utility, but the latter is information mediated and processed through the human soul – through praxis, nuance, context and acuity. It’s this acuity and lucidity that an active working relationship with the spiritual can recover – a passionate keenness of perception, an unconquerable creativity. But remember, a true working relationship with the divine can at times be both dangerous and disturbing. There are unseen shadowed realms around us, as well as realms of light. The true practitioner must have some working knowledge of both, and the continuities between them. There will be wondrous revelation, but also terrifying or unsettling encounters. Walking such a liminal path is not for everyone, and that’s ok. These notions can be applied in artistic, creative endeavours, and not just the explicitly magickal or spiritual. But if you sense some kind of deeper truth in these words, if you yearn to recover what has been lost – then you must discover your tools and prepare yourself to step into a world alive with energies, entities, resonant fictions and sublime truths. It is the very thing the monsters are afraid of; the Archons, vampires, demons and their human familiars. They are afraid of you, at your most dynamic and unfettered.