Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Black Magic, Art and Symbolism: Persephone Unleashed

I saw the tiger in the ruin'd fane 
Spring from his fallen God, but trace of thee 
I saw not; and far on, and, following out 
A league of labyrinthine darkness, came 
On three gray heads beneath a gleaming rift. 

   -- 'Demeter and Persephone', Alfred Tennyson

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned

   --'The Second Coming', William Butler Yeats

Averting royal embarrassment is but the fraction of my work that’s visible above the waterline.  The greater part’s an iceberg of significance that lurks below.  Great works have many purposes.  To aid her majesty’s but one.  The rest are mine alone.

   --Sir William Gull, to his Coachman, in From Hell by Alan Moore.

This post is intended as a continuation of the themes explored in my 2013 post entitled Black Magic, Art and Symbolism: Icons of the Predator-Class.  That essay discussed the nature of predatory psychology, Art as a form of Social Magic, and went into considerable detail exploring the mythic significance of the infamous Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper -- as a kind of icon and shorthand for a dominating, controlling elite that is almost vampiric in nature. The second half of that essay also featured an analysis of the unexpected Ripper symbolism encoded into the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, written and directed by James Cameron.  I will do my best to make this essay self-contained and comprehensible, but an initial reading of my earlier essay will make for a fuller context and appreciation of what I will be discussing here, as I will be referencing details, ideas and insights covered in that first post, as well as revisiting the Ripper symbolism found within Titanic.


In my first 'Black Magic, Art and Symbolism' post entitled 'Icons of the Predator-Class' I discuss the actual historical context of the elusive serial killer who would pass into infamy, known to the world as Jack the Ripper.  I also go into detail regarding the genesis of Jack as a pop-culture icon:

Most mainstream scholars assume that the popular image of the Ripper – a well-dressed Gentleman in a black opera cape, top-hat and white gloves, carrying a Gladstone bag, owes its longevity to the 1959 film directed by Monty Berman and Robert S. Baker, in which the Ripper is depicted as an avenging  surgeon.  It is noted by film historians that Berman and Baker borrowed much of the Ripper’s look from the 1931 version of Dracula, staring Bela Lugosi.  The infamous Count is depicted in a top-hat, opera cape and white gloves, passing himself off as a fashionable London gentleman of the late nineteenth century.

This is where I want the current post to have a much sharper metaphysical focus, expanding on themes only touched upon or implied in the first essay.  For most of us regular working-class folk, especially here in Britain, the Ripper legend serves as a kind of historical, political and economic shorthand; a salient reminder and cautionary tale concerning the nature of what might be termed the Predatory Aristocrat.  It is a pop-culture vessel that reminds us to never forget the vast inequalities in wealth and class and opportunities that existed between society’s rich and poor, and still continue to exist today.  It is a reminder that those in the ivory towers have always seen those beneath them as disposable resources.  Again, as I argue in Icons of the Predator-Class:

Regardless of the truth behind the actual Ripper killings, the icon of Jack himself – a faceless but well-dressed Victorian Gentleman, bloody knife in hand as he moves through the darkness and preys on the poorest and most vulnerable – this image is so powerful because it is true.  It is a pop-culture vessel encapsulating a symbolic truth about a very important period of history. 

But there is more to the icon of the Ripper than what I have outlined here.  To these predatory elites that control corporations, financial institutions and global politics the Ripper is a hero.  But more than this, he is a midwife and a messiah.  It is this aspect of the Ripper legend that I wish to explore with you now, dear reader.  It is something that the writer and ritual-magician Alan Moore understood so deeply and explored with great nuance and subtlety in his epic graphic novel, From Hell, which tackles the Ripper legend as a kind of apocalyptic fin-de-siecle of the Victorian Age.  But Alan Moore did not invent this idea of the Ripper as a harbinger of Apocalypse.  This idea is implicit in every cinematic or literary exploration of the Whitechapel Murders of 1888 going back to the actual crimes.  Back then, on the cusp of the twentieth century, there was dissent and anger and the threat of socialist revolution in the air.  Especially in London. Christian ideology had fermented with popular Theosophist literature of the time, in turn fuelled – I would argue – by an irrepressible and ever-present pagan impulse to create resonant symbols, to engineer gods and demigods from the materials of culture both high and low.  This cauldron of mixed belief and perceptions lent a certain apocalypticism to the end of the nineteenth century; the sense that now anything could happen, that some great change might be coming.

It is this creation of useful demigods that today’s modern predator-class takes so seriously.  As the old adage goes, 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'  In this sense, the Ripper is an icon of absolute corruption, but corruption possessed of purpose.  As I argued in my first 'Black Magic, Art and Symbolism' post:

In essence, those predators who are genuinely cognizant of magick have found a way to stage-manage, shape and mobilize their own devastating mental illness – directing and manifesting it into the material realm in various ways.  This is the largest part of what true black magic is. 

And I later go on to suggest:

The predators of our world are interested in art and symbolism for one simple reason – because they have grasped that Art is the Oldest Magick.  Considered, creative perception IS the act of transforming material reality, often in ways that are not immediately obvious.

To these predatory inner-circle elites the icon of the Ripper is ultimately symbolic of a vampiric Antichrist; a tremendously powerful black magician who absorbs the powers of the Divine Feminine by ritually murdering her, in a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle ways.  This vampiric aspect of the Ripper cuts right to the heart of what these people are all about – they are obsessed with desecration, domination, theft of power and the manipulation of consciousness.  For them the Ripper is symbolic of a Cannibal God who feasts on the flesh and energy of the Goddess in order to increase his own sovereignty.


If we were to give this act of social magic a name, this murdering of the feminine to ensure the ascendancy of  the  masculine, we might call it ‘Bleeding the Moon’.  It is, among other things, the figurative slaying of the Roman goddesses Luna and Venus.  Luna is a Latin epithet for the divine feminine principle that embodies the moon, along with the goddesses Diana and Juno.  And Venus is, in part, the Roman version of the Greek Goddess Aphrodite – a deity of love and sex, beauty and fertility.  Venus was often referred to in the ancient world as the Morning Star.  This is deeply significant and bears further scrutiny.  From a mythic perspective, Venus was once considered so powerful and fascinating that she was given the honorary title of a star.  In most western pantheons the star is considered the harsh brilliance of the masculine principle, whereas the moon is considered the softer feminine reflector of that solar light.  So for Venus to be referred to as a distant sun, therefore symbolically equal to Sol himself – we can easily imagine that this might have angered the more misogynist scholars and thinkers of the Roman Empire.  And today, I would argue, the icon of the Ripper is considered a hero; a midwife of the perpetuation of elitist ideology and the continuation of their power structure.  The Ripper symbolically consumes the Moon, and Beauty, and Love, thereby slaying the Divine Feminine in an act of ritual-murder.  Hence, the Morning Star of femininity is slaughtered and her powers absorbed by a vampiric messiah.  In essence Venus the Morning Star is murdered and consumed, reborn as Lucifer the Morning Star – or, more pointedly, the Mourning Star; Luctus Stellam.  The Star of Lamentation. 

There is more resonance and meaning here than might appear at first glance. Venus is eaten by Lucifer, Luna is enchained within Sol…the loving Moon is swallowed by a hateful Sun.  As Sir William Gull tells his Coachman in Alan Moore’s From Hell:

"Why consciousness itself is naught but symbols, metaphors, which  build upon themselves and thus extend their metaphysical domain.  With symbols did male warlocks conquer women, first destroying or discrediting the goddesses that stood for women’s power. The Mother Goddess Tiamat, demoted, was made devil first, then lowly Chimera."

And then, speaking of the Dionysiac Architects, Gull references the seven liberal arts; often divided into two parts – the Trivium and the Quadrivium:

"Yet they knew the unconscious was the inspiration whence their towers of reason sprang.  Thus, HARNESSING its power symbolically was their sublime accomplishment.  Their symbol was the dreaming moon enclosed by seven stars that represent Arithmetic, Music, Astronomy, Rhetoric, Grammar, Logic and Geometry, the pillars of Masonic thought.  That symbol also signifies the female power within humanity, enfettered by its ring of stars that are but distant suns and therefore masculine."

It is my belief that in the ancient world the two most powerful colours, and thus metaphysical forces, were the colours Red and Black.  Among other things Red symbolized menstruation; the principle and continuation of human life.  Black symbolized the totality and fecundity of the womb; where human life itself is generated.  But the icon of the Ripper -- the role of the vampiric Antichrist -- is to wield those powers in a way that somehow transforms them into their opposites. In this way the Holy Red of menstruation and the Holy Black of the womb becomes the Unholy Red of spilled blood, of ritualized slaughter, and the Unholy Black of psychological perdition; a conscienceless state devoid of all warmth and empathy, that the predatory elites controlling our world equate with spiritual freedom.  For a human predator in the vein I have described, psychological perdition is interchangeable with the highest metaphysical truth.



Before the figurative ritual-murder of the Divine Feminine the Red is the sacred free-flowing blood of the female menstrual cycle (the Rose), and the Black is the sanctity and growth-chamber of her womb.  But the symbol that is being continually immortalized in the Ripper legend, especially among the elites who know of its deeper significance, is one concerned with stealing and desecrating the magic that it takes to create life. To create something from nothing is an act of literal magic; it is a generative principle.  But the black magician seeks to create a corrupted womb and to ‘generate’ a form of life – or fire -- that is non-fecund and essentially a form of living death; a vampiric form of un-life.

So, the Red and the Black of the goddess is twisted into the red and the black of the vampire, the anti-god or antichrist.  You can see evidence of this in virtually every film that features satanic or vampiric imagery; the colours red and black will always feature prominently.  They are the pre-ancient colours of union and co-operation transformed into colours of war and violence.  This is partially why the Nazis featured red and black so prominently in their regalia and the banners for their swastikas, to influence the fire of human consciousness through the power of such associations and energies.  Indeed, the Nazi swastika is simply a perverted Hindu solar symbol that is thousands of years old.  The icon of Jack the Ripper as an emblem of this elite vampiric consciousness that seeks to generate a cold fire, a form of un-life, is partially resonant with the Rakshasa and Asura of Hindu legends, and also the Hungry Ghosts of Chinese legends and the Nephilim of biblical lore.

We have been wading in extremely dark waters here, dear readers, and I thank you if you have stuck with me thus far.  So, the Ripper is emblematic of a powerful elitist that is essentially practising a form of predatory pseudo-theistic nihilism, or more accurately what they perceive as a kind of Aesthetic of Negation and Desecration.  It is a kind of ‘artistic’ philosophy that sees perversion, ruination and defilement of all kinds as 'holy' or 'beautiful'.  It is, for want of a better term, Pathology as Art.  It is a belief system and concordant power-structure that perceives Sociopaths and Psychopaths as an enlightened form of human being. Intuitively speaking, I believe there is a long-standing tension among the elites and oligarchs that control our world, above and beyond the regular war-mongering and infighting you might expect – and that is an old debate concerning whether full-blown psychopathology is literally the next step in human evolution, or simply the domain of an enlightened clique and should be protected as such.  It is my belief that there are groups among the elites who genuinely believe that pathology is the highest art, and that deepening their perversity whilst maintaining basic cognitive function is the razor-edged thrill of the truly powerful.  And there are others who see widespread psychopathology as the next inevitable, apocalyptic step for the human race, in part ushered by natural forces and partially encouraged by their own machinations and forms of oppression.  Indeed, this is how insular, indulgent and staggeringly inhuman these people have allowed themselves to become.  

So while the Illuminati-style occult conspiracies we hear about are largely erroneous fallacies – a kind of alt-media mythology – there is truth in the notion that these deviant power-brokers are driven by a kind of more sublimated or diffuse pagan/atavistic impulse – to enchant their own worldview even as they reject the ‘occultism’ that fascinates lesser men and women.  To the most experienced predators standard occultism is akin to an exoteric bread-and-circuses lie for the masses to swallow.  And the real esoteric truth is this idea that I have been trying to outline, that psyche is all, or Art is all – regardless of how deviant and pathological that psyche or its forms of art have become.  In this way they wield real magick to absolutely devastating effect.  And yet they are also not half as powerful or cunning as they think they are, because they have to create icons like the Vampiric Antichrist for their own personal and cultural-clique edification.  In this sense they are just as banal and pathetic as any predatory criminal.  They have dark, cathedral-like minds perhaps, but no salient connection to the heart-source of Creation -- that ultimately compassionate, lucid force within most of us that makes life worth living.



In my original post, 'Icons of the Predator-Class', I present a detailed analysis of the 1997 film Titanic written and directed by James Cameron, and its connections to the Ripper legend.  From that post:

I think it will be useful to explore the idea that the film Titanic is in fact an encoded retelling of aspects of the Jack the Ripper mythology.  This might seem bizarre or unlikely at first glance, but I will endeavor to present enough evidence to suggest that James Cameron was knowingly exploring elements of the Ripper mythology within the subtext of his screenplay. To the discerning viewer Cameron presents the film as a symbolic meditation on the slaughter of an enchained goddess – a kind of pagan ritual-sacrifice, with the famous ill-fated ship and the lead female character having blurred, interlinked identities. 

Later I go on to suggest an intentional Christlike resonance to the lead male protagonist:

Jack Dawson, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a homeless but talented artist travelling wherever inspiration and adventure takes him, who along with his best friend manages to win a ticket on Titanic’s maiden voyage. The character’s surname is Dawson, meaning Son of David.  In biblical tradition David was a young shepherd who became the King of Israel, and a direct descendant of the Davidic line is said to become the future messiah.  This is interesting in that one of the film’s most famous lines of dialogue is Jack on the prow of the ship, in a vaguely Christlike pose, declaring himself “the King of the World.” 

There are further connected insights regarding this film that I wish to explore.  As I have outlined earlier in this post, the Ripper icon is emblematic of a kind of elite vampiric antichrist; a predator demigod.  In Titanic the lead characters Jack and Rose are figured as a union of God and Goddess, or a Christ and his Magdalene. So although the other characters in the film are simply aspects and fragments of the identities of the lead couple, as I argued in the original essay, the symbolism goes far deeper than it might appear on the surface.  James Cameron figures his male hero as a character that is loaded with all kinds of complex symbolism.  In Titanic Jack Dawson is the Divine Masculine, both Dark and Light.  He is an embodiment of the legend of the Ripper; an Antichrist.  But he is also equally a Christ figure.  On top of this he is also Hades of ancient Greek mythology.  By the same token Kate Winslet's character Rose DeWitt Bukater is the Divine Feminine.  She is the totality of the Ripper's five canonical victims -- Heiros Gamos -- a flame-haired joy maiden intended for her elitist fiance, but who later gives her maidenhead to Jack instead.  In this sense we can see why she seems to identify with the five prostitutes in Pablo Picasso's painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, a copy of which she has taken aboard the ship. 

What we witness in the film is the war between the Light and Dark aspects of the Divine Masculine; the war between Christ and Antichrist, between defiler and liberator of the Divine Feminine.  We can argue that the Christ aspect of Jack manages to save Rose’s soul from the ritual-slaughter enacted upon her body by his own Antichrist aspect (symbolized by Spicer Lovejoy, Rose's fiance Cal Hockley and the general hubris and cruelty of the first-class passengers).  As I stated earlier in this post, the Ripper icon symbolizes the ritual-murder and consuming of a goddess, thereby acquiring the totality of her powers.  The goddess in question is the ship itself, but it is also equally Rose herself -- seeing as how Cameron has ensured that Rose and Titanic have interlinked identities and are often talked about in an identical manner by the other characters in the film.  But this deity set for ritual-slaughter is a triple-goddess, a true goddess of the Underworld.  As such she is composed of three interconnected aspects: Maiden, Mother and Crone.  

The Maiden is young Rose, the Mother is Molly Brown, played by Kathy Bates, and the Crone is old Rose, played by Gloria Stuart.  This is why when Rose attempts suicide at the rear of the ship there is a red notice beside her that states 'THIS VESSEL HAS TRIPLE SCREWS. KEEP CLEAR OF BLADES'.   This is a clever inclusion of a sex/death innuendo by Cameron regarding the intended murdering of the triple-goddess.

All three aspects of the goddess must survive in some way to counteract the elite ritual.  Jack sacrifices himself to save Rose, becoming a kind of analogue of Virgil's hero Aeneas from The Aenid; a more pagan or Orphic worldview than the later version of Virgil from Dante’s Divine Comedy, where Virgil himself becomes Dante’s guide through the Christian Hell.  And yet the destruction of Titanic was intended to be a virgin sacrifice – akin to the Rape of Persephone by Hades in ancient Greek mythology.  This was later turned into the tale of Proserpina and Pluto, or Dis Pater, by the Romans.  The intended culling of Rose’s innocence, highlighted by her cruel fiance's desire to deflower her, was an integral part of the act of social magic that her ritual murder/rape was intended to bring about, within the mythical subtext of the film's narrative.  In this sense Rose must be viewed as a child, an innocent, trembling at that potent cusp between girlhood and womanhood.  So although Jack Dawson represents the similar inner child of the Ripper, or Hades to Rose’s Persephone – it is Rose who pre-consciously senses that an act of love between them might be enough to destabilize the intended power of the ritual.  By mating with the innocent part of the Ripper, with the inner child/youth of an Antichrist and Underworld God, she healthily transmutes the energy of pure innocence into something more worldly – putting that energy/desecration forever beyond the reach of the darkest, most unholy aspect of the Divine Masculine. She turns her own innocence into creativity and strength.

Symbolically, the character in Titanic who most consciously embodies the Ripper legend is Spicer Lovejoy, Cal's manservant played by David Warner.   He is an actor who happens to be famous for playing Jack the Ripper in the cult sci-fi film Time After Time.  All this is completely intentional from a screenwriting standpoint.  James Cameron knew exactly what he was doing in creating this story and casting its actors. At a textual level Spicer Lovejoy is just doing Cal's bidding in an attempt to humiliate Jack Dawson and to retrieve the Heart of the Ocean that Rose is unwittingly carrying.  But at the subtextual, mythic level of the film Lovejoy is the Ripper and knows that Jack and Rose have the potential to destroy his plans for the ritual-murder of the goddess if they are allowed to fall in love and to consummate that love.  This is why he gives chase and attempts to hunt them down immediately before they finally make love in the cargo hold. Shortly after their union Titanic hits the fateful iceberg.  Symbolically they have angered the Antichrist, the Ripper, the darkest part of Hades – and he angrily plunges his ritual dagger, the iceberg, into Titanic’s side, slicing her open.  This is why Jack and Rose are on deck the moment the ship hits the iceberg.  It’s as though Hades wanted them both to see the moment the dagger fell.  He wants to finally claim Persephone as his own.  To restate the From Hell quote at the beginning of this post, Sir William Gull, also known as Jack the Ripper, says these following words to his Coachman:  “Averting royal embarrassment is but the fraction of my work that’s visible above the waterline.  The greater part’s an iceberg of significance that lurks below.  Great works have MANY purposes.  To aid her majesty’s but ONE.  The rest are mine alone.”

Interestingly, in a deleted scene from Titanic Jack Dawson is attacked by Spicer Lovejoy and is forced to engage in a brutal fistfight, in which Jack's youth and speed has Lovejoy coming out worse for wear.  It's interesting because this scene is symbolic of a direct confrontation between the Christ and Antichrist aspects of an Underworld God.  It is Redeemer versus Ripper, and the Redeemer finally wins.  This is why Spicer Lovejoy's face is badly cut when we see him on the deck of the ship, as she rises up out of the sea like a leviathan just moments before splitting in two and crashing back down.  Lovejoy falls into the gaping wound left in the ship's hull at that very moment.  In essence he is symbolically cast into the Abyss and locked away there, as is befitting of such a deeply satanic figure.  Titanic then proceeds to wrench herself completely apart and eventually sinks, almost taking Jack and Rose with her into the Underworld through the sheer physical force of the dying ship. 

In the end Jack Dawson gives his own life to ensure that his beloved Rose survives.  The ship itself is destroyed, ritually-murdered...the body of the goddess is slain, but through an act of love her soul lives on in the form of Rose.  As the character of Thomas Andrews, Titanic's designer and engineer, lament's powerlessly, "I'm sorry that I didn't build you a stronger ship, young Rose."  Rose’s survival and new identity is intended by James Cameron to be analogous to Alan Moore’s ending of From Hell.  When Sir William Gull as Jack the Ripper finally ascends and realizes that his ritual-murder of the prostitutes has indeed been an act of social magic that shapes an entire century, he also discovers that his ritual was still not entirely successful.  Mary Kelly didn’t die.  He accidentally murdered some other poor unfortunate in her place, but Mary herself lives on -- giving birth to four girls who act as analogues or perhaps reincarnations of her murdered friends, and who share their names.  It is here that Gull has the intimation that there is something higher than his dark magick, some loving force that denied him the full completion of his awful task.  His goal to completely enslave female divinity beneath the yoke of patriarchy is ultimately a failure.  Not only this, but Mary Kelly is aware of his disembodied presence, given a kind of psychic sight because of her experiences, and basically tells him unceremoniously to fuck off.  This is part of the reason why in Titanic the character of Rose is a redhead like Mary Kelly in From Hell.  It is also why Old Rose has a granddaughter named Lizzy, for Long Liz, Elizabeth Stride; the third canonical victim of the Ripper.  We can be sure that if Cameron had put in a reference to Rose’s hypothetical daughter in the screenplay -- an unbroken lineage of female empowerment --  she would have been called Annie, Polly or Kate, in honor of the other three victims of the Ripper.     

So, in conclusion I want to suggest to you that James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic is a multi-layered work of art, and is not merely an exploitative take on the story of Jack the Ripper for some quirk of personal interest.  Cameron seems to have immersed himself in the most arcane and esoteric aspects of the Ripper legend and its wider connections to mythology, philosophy and metaphysics.  His subtextual symbolism is fairly complex and his characters are multidimensional.  His cinematic vision of love and death and blood and sex is surprisingly mature and sophisticated, hidden behind a typical love-story and blockbuster action movie -- and his insights are ultimately hopeful, I would argue.  Luna is a source of her own Light. Venus is a Morning Star unto herself, full of beauty and wisdom.  Rose-Persephone is not ultimately defiled and consumed by a vampiric antichrist, by the worst possible face of masculinity, as the elites of our world so often desire and intend.  Instead she achieves a strange form of ascension, of transcendence, and is ultimately reunited with the most compassionate and loving aspect of the Divine Masculine.  Instead of being raped by a monster Rose-Persephone finds love with a hero, instead of fear she finds courage and ingenuity, and in the end she takes her place in a balanced cosmic marriage that honors the inter-necessity of a healthy male and female polarity -- that which is needed for true divinity, liberation and Gnosis.         


  1. Loved Part 1 and this surpassed sequel expectations!!! Great use of symbols in the video!!! I think you should send these essays to be published in a film buff magazine, or any popular publication. Amazing work!

  2. Brilliant insights. I noticed the same dark art at work in the Black Dahlia murder.

    Consider the significance of "Titanic" dismemberment in the Orphic tradition as well.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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