Therion Rising, Part II: Rocket Men and Magickal Battles

Aleister Crowley himself inspired other luminaries in the occult underground, some of which went on to become as famous/infamous as their mentor. There were also other pioneers in the esoteric arts contemporary with the Beast who took a more benign or enlightened path.

Paul Weston's new book Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus covers them all. He rounds up all of the myths and stories that have come to form a litany, or lore, of 20th Century occultism. Whether you agree with his worldview or not, the book is an invaluable contribution to the ongoing study of the persistence of the esoteric mindset. So just in time for the holiday, here's part two of my interview with Paul, and it's chock-full of his trademarked blend of erudition and die-hard contrarianism.


You and I agree that Jung and Crowley are conjoined in a way, particularly through Crowley's visionary experiences (the Aeon) and Jung's (the Aion). But somehow they took very different paths. How would you boil down their essential differences?

Temperament and function. Jung understood that he was the keeper of some Arcanum but was careful not to let the Seven Sermons to the Dead leak out very far. This had too much of the flavor of occultism. Crowley, perhaps imitating his lay preacher father, took on the prophet role and publicized his Book of the Law and the story of its reception to the max.

The magician is unlikely to be fully integrated into modern society in the way a therapist and thinker might be. Jung needed an aura of scientific respectability. He also seemed to be able to handle marriage and family life despite various affairs. His closest female companions including his wife did not tend to self destruct or be cast aside but to be strong figures that left their own body of work behind. All of this worked very well for him. It put him into a position for example where he could help the publication process of the Nag Hammadi stash and write a book on Flying Saucers right in the middle of the crank-heavy fifties that could be respected.


The Magical Battle of Britain is a fascinating chapter in history. How would you rate Dion Fortune as an occultist, a writer and as an historical figure?


Dion Fortune is probably the most well-loved, respected, and influential female occultist. A recent book by her biographer Alan Richardson that compares her with Crowley suggests that she could be considered as the Shakti of the Age alongside the Beast’s Logos of the Aeon. That’s high praise indeed and grants her global status. I’m not sure I can place her alongside some of the Hindu divine mother types such as Meera and Amma in terms of the voltage being pumped out, or even Blavatsky, but it’s a measure of the respect in which she’s held by her admirers.

Perhaps her most interesting and important idea was that it’s possible to work magic with archetypes that literally changes their potency in the collective unconscious. The best example is that of the figure of the Priestess. Numerous models have existed for the male magician. From the Middle Ages to Crowley, there was a certain way of being, a particular style that the would-be adept could take on board. For women it was different. The burning times had left unfavorable archetypes associated with witches. If the figure of the Priestess was to return, somehow she needed to be rehabilitated, restored to the fullness of her functions. People had to have an idea in their heads of what such a figure would be like and how she might feel and behave in the modern world.

Fortune was interested in finding Qabalistic attributions to Arthurian names and locations. This took on greater urgency in 1940. Acting on her own inspiration, she arranged for synchronized group visualizations focused on Glastonbury Tor and featuring Arthur and Merlin with the intention of somehow stirring up those forces to help protect Britain against the Nazis. In this, she really took on the function of Morgan in Avalon. Her belief was this work went beyond the war situation and was concerned with the regeneration of the national psyche after the war in the coming new age. I’ve made my own connections with it in modern times and I believe it remains switched on to this day.

I feel that the return of the Priestess witch figure and the revival of the Glastonbury Arthurian mythos owe major debts to her. Add to this the Magical Battle of Britain workings and you have quite a numinous legacy.


You confess you don't see L Ron Hubbard as the villain most others seem to. What do you see in him that others don't?


Firstly, the man’s ability to press people’s buttons is extraordinary. There are those who can discuss Hitler and serial killers quite calmly and then start shouting and foaming at the mouth the moment LRH is mentioned. This is very interesting. When it comes to his interaction with Jack Parsons and role in the Babalon Working he tends to be portrayed as a pantomime villain who we are encouraged to heartily boo and throw tomatoes at.

While our understanding and appreciation of Jack has steadily grown, the LRH scenario remains undeveloped. If the Babalon Working ripped a hole in the fabric of reality and helped usher in the UFO era and suchlike, it was due to the extraordinary alchemy of the cast of characters, not just Jack. You couldn’t have Enochian without Edward Kelley. The Parsons Hubbard interaction was crucial to the intensity of what occurred.

In my twenties I worked for a Hypnosis and Parapsychology institute. I recognized a lot of the training material and had a quiet word with the chief. He had been in Scientology for fifteen years during the East Grinstead phase and claimed to have been very close to Ron. During the turbulent sixties he had left under a cloud and had the full force of the controversial disconnection procedures used against him, being declared “fair game”. Despite this, he was now peddling LRH material, including a few OT drills, and I was getting it on the cheap. I was satisfied that it was potent stuff. What I was most interested in was what was Ron actually like? My boss told me he was an utterly astounding man, a massively charismatic total genius. I was hearing this during the same period that Ron Jr was sounding forth on dad as deranged drug crazed, wife beating, baby aborting, black magician megalomaniac.

This rather large diversity of opinion utterly fascinated me and gave me the sense that the whole story had yet to be told. Russell Miller’s Bare Faced Messiah still left me with that feeling. We have what appears to be a thorough demolition of Ron’s alleged war record and yet the controversial Fletcher Prouty, a man with an apparent deep background in military intelligence and author of books on CIA black ops and suchlike waded in with an extensive rebuttal, claiming that Ron was indeed a high-level operative.

We can’t effectively evaluate the source material but we can see something pretty clearly and I’m surprised people miss this point. LRH set up what was effectively an espionage dept within his church. He also created his own navy and ran an international organization from it, dodging and dealing with all kinds of problems with other governments and intelligence agencies. This got pretty heavy. His wife was jailed. He survived. Indeed he continued to play this game whilst in total seclusion during the last years of his life and left meticulous instructions behind enabling the continued growth and survival of his creation. Isn’t it pretty obvious that he had some talent for this? He played a game no other mystic, magus, guru type has ever engaged in to that level.

The man has been portrayed as a psychotic fantasist and his OT III material as preposterous. Gerald Suster said of Crowley that debauched degenerates don’t set world mountaineering records. Well, psychotic sci-fi fantasists don’t handle hassle from intelligence agencies, massive press vilification etc very well either.

The idea that maybe some of our past lives have been on other planets and that we have been involved in an aeons old space opera whereby our incredible capacities have been enslaved without our conscious knowledge is a powerful piece of modern Gnosticism. Even if it’s not true in the way that last weekends football results are true it gets you thinking in what Ouspensky used to call “other categories” It stirs for me that poignant idea of some huge mysterious secret life that we all have and are so often consciously unaware of. I am willing to cut LRH some slack. That at least gives me a chance of spotting some useful ideas amidst the controversies.

NOTE: Paul elucidates his opinions of LRH on his blog. Click here.

I would argue that Jack Parsons is a crucial figure in the evolution of genre entertainment because of his connections to the sci-fi and pulp stars of his day. How do you rate him otherwise?

I think Parsons is the second greatest figure in Thelema behind Crowley. I believe he was and is a profound magickal force. That’s a bit contentious as the Beast himself wrote Jack off as a failure. What’s so compelling about him is he is a recognisably modern figure. It’s possible to imaginatively enter into his world. He was clearly at the cutting edge and the cast of characters he interacted with was quite astonishing. Crowley, although a man demonstrating a twenty-first century Quantum Psychology, seems more distant as his prime was in the Edwardian era.

There are occultists who consider the Babalon Working to have been a failure. I feel it has sent major ripples out ever since and the real purpose of it may have been something that none of the participants were entirely consciously aware of. We now have the internet truism that it ripped a hole in the fabric of reality and ushered in the UFO era. It is true that Majorie Cameron did see a UFO before the 1947 eruption. I do feel that the Project Diana timescale you have uncovered is an important one. There’s no getting away from the sci-fi mentality of Jack and Ron.

It soon became clear that the sci-fi pulp thing is intimately connected with occultism. The UFO scene and the contactees of the fifties demonstrate that. Sci-fi was often the vehicle for a new Gnosticism. Sometimes the authors were conscious of this. Indeed, the UFO phenomenon itself was a vehicle for the re-emergence of all kinds of old ideas. To me it’s a wider spread of the Nag Hammadi plasmate thing. This includes Jack’s major passions for Gnosticism and witchcraft. I have tried in my book to bring together a whole bunch of stuff that was going down at the same time that I feel partakes of a greater unity. Parsons was stage center.

He seems like another one of those cases like Crowley of a perfectly prepared vehicle. His life likewise appears to make a mockery of the idea of random unfolding. The timing involved in a man of such sensibilities being available to act as the meeting point of so many potent influences is notable. I would certainly consider him to be a candidate for the title of coolest man of the twentieth century. What lingers more than anything for me, beyond the power and mystique of the Babalon Working and his explosive departure, are his passionate libertarian writings. Speaking on the cusp of the Cold War McCarthyite fifties, he issued a call to arms that was later heard clearly in the sixties. What’s intriguing is that those writings were not known during that time but what was expressed in them hung in the airwaves. It’s like the witchcraft and Gnostic interests as well. Parsons was plugged into the zeitgeist so much he was practically a living embodiment of it.


Parsons' favorite novel was
Darker Than You Think, a book that author Jack Williamson claimed emerged from dream therapy. But the book is packed with 'Thelemic' ideas and themes. How do you account for the parallels?

I read “Darker” during the writing of my Parsons material. I have often sought out a book on the basis of its influence on a person of interest to me. I have never had such a strong sense of reading over someone’s shoulder as I did there. Jack was brooding over every page. Crowley was a name known to many but the level of “exposure” is another thing altogether.

I think with Williamson we may be seeing a combination of archetypal stirrings informed by the cultural climate featured in books such as those by William Seabrook, movies like Curse of the Cat People, and general film noir sensibilities. I don’t think he necessarily had to be familiar with Crowley’s Babalon, have read The Vision and the Voice or seen the Thoth tarot.

Maybe some discovery might one day prove otherwise but I think the passion and talent of a writer stirring his own depths are enough to explain it. We need a great movie or mini-series of this book!




What is it in the AngloSaxon psyche that is drawn to these extremes of the occult or hyper-reductive Fundamentalism? And which would you say is the operating theme in England today?

The need for certainty sits uncomfortably against fear of the unknown and potentially destabilizing. This tension is a fundamental dynamic in societies everywhere. In nations where there has been a long established habit of power and influence that has been deemed to be a natural birthright, any signs of uncertainty, decline, and fall, can exaggerate those tensions and lead to big outbreaks of non-rationality. Such manifestations may produce creativity and freedom or Holy Wars and doomsday cultism.

On the streets of Britain you are likely to encounter varieties of the same bog-standard Kali Yuga nightmare visible in any western country. The operating theme is mediocre gratification through junk food, booze, reality TV, special effects movies, skunkweed, boy bands, slut pop, and the pornographication of the mass imagination. As the Sex Pistols said, “your future dream is a shopping scheme.” And this is worth protecting through a progressive erosion of our civil liberties.

Some sensitive souls are repelled and resist in accordance with whether they are frightened of change or inspired by it. We don’t have the equivalent of the Bible Belt but we are cultivating a Koran Belt that has already proved problematical and fertile ground for inspiring fledgling Nazis to preach their sermons in response. The best have lacked all conviction and the worst are filled with passionate intensity.

Our rich heritage of ancient sites such as Stonehenge, Avebury, and Glastonbury, along with our deeply rooted national mythos of Arthur and Robin Hood cannot be suppressed however. The modern myth of 1940 and the Finest Hour still carry resonance. Like the US, we do have a very strong belief in the importance of freedom and will resist all obvious attempts at enslavement. There is a revulsion against Fundamentalism. The ancient archetypes come to the surface when help is needed.
One wonders if Crowley understood that the ones who truly heard the siren call of Aiwass were entrenched in power long before he was even born. The bankers and the boards of directors, the politicians and the preachers were already putting the commandments of the Liber Al into practice, and they've only become incalculably more 'wilful' since Crowley's death.

Their genius has been to mouth the pabulum and the platitudes of Western liberal democracy while taking a daily jackhammer to its foundations. They work literally around the clock to destroy nationhood, personhood and autonomy, while throwing us off the scent with the mewling drivel of their babbling witch doctors, their televised talking heads and their postmodern puppets in the Professoriate.

A lot of people think Crowley was evil incarnate- I'd say he didn't even know where to begin.

But the historical record will see Crowley and his contemporaries as important figures in the rediscovery of the ancient wisdom- and ancient history- that was stolen from us seventeen centuries ago. Crowley and Parsons were victims in a way, and accepted the role of villain that a cowardly and hypocritical post-Victorian society laid out for free thinkers, and succumbed to the excesses that they mistakenly believed led to the palace of wisdom.

17 comments:

  1. This reminds me of the newspapers collected on the doorstep while I was away for a time and to the end of time. The headliners or favorites stand out while the band plays on. Every one of your characters above was anterior to a predesessor that "only the shadow knowles".

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous7:20 PM

    "There were also other pioneers in the esoteric arts contemporary with the Beast who took a more benign or enlightened path."

    As presumably unenlightened beings, how are we to judge whether the other pioneer's path was more enlightened? It seems like you would have to be enlightened in the first place to make that call. For that matter, how can we even truly say it was more benign?

    ReplyDelete
  3. These have been a pair of fascinating interviews, great job Chris. Personally, I do have a real problem with L. Ron Hubbard, and his crusade against psychoanalysis and psycho therapy, otherwise I can care less if Scientologists want to believe the sky is purple, but when contemporary Scientologists are opposed to the use of any medication, for those rare cases of legitimate psychological problems, meaning chemical imbalances in the brain, then, sorry, but I find that irresponsible. Having said that, I am against the over medication of our society for every problem, but their across the board position, is just something I can't abide by. Other than that, they can believe what they want to believe, but I have never gotten it myself.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Paul Weston said:

    "On the streets of Britain you are likely to encounter varieties of the same bog-standard Kali Yuga nightmare visible in any western country. The operating theme is mediocre gratification through junk food, booze, reality TV, special effects movies, skunkweed, boy bands, slut pop, and the pornographication of the mass imagination. As the Sex Pistols said, “your future dream is a shopping scheme.” And this is worth protecting through a progressive erosion of our civil liberties."

    Exactly that, yes. The phrase "...pornigraphication of the mass imagination" is a vivid and concise summation of the current state of mind. Or rather, the lack of it.

    Relating to your Twitter posting of two days ago Chris:

    "When did America begin its decline? When people stopped reading for pleasure, particularly men. Everything that followed was inevitable."

    Quite synchronous as I read the following article on the very same topic just before going to your blog:

    The premature obituary of the book - Mario Vargas Llosa

    Llosa laments, largely, that men no longer read, but having moved on some years from the publication date of the article I'm sure that female representation is very probably more severely on the decline.
    Cynically marketed soap opera histrionics with tawdry, banal narratives rule.
    And for the men, any violent pornographic fantasy will do. UFC, American Football, Rugby, Football (Soccer). Really though, soap operatics have oozed into the back pages of the tabloid rags, in which the revolving door of rough & ready indiscretions featuring so many icons of "the beautiful game" (the term is so fundamentally obsolete that it I find no way for it be applied even in irony) are splattered claret and blue in some fourth estate feeding frenzy, and has ensured that the hack pages are the virtual gallows spectacle for the modern era.

    Quote from the Llosa essay:

    " But literature has been, and will continue to be, as long as it exists, one of the common denominators of human experience through which human beings may recognize themselves and converse with each other, no matter how different their professions, their life plans, their geographical and cultural locations, their personal circumstances. It has enabled individuals, in all the particularities of their lives, to transcend history: as readers of Cervantes, Shakespeare, Dante, and Tolstoy, we understand each other across space and time, and we feel ourselves to be members of the same species because, in the works that these writers created, we learn what we share as human beings, what remains common in all of us under the broad range of differences that separate us. Nothing better protects a human being against the stupidity of prejudice, racism, religious or political sectarianism, and exclusivist nationalism than this truth that invariably appears in great literature: that men and women of all nations and places are essentially equal, and that only injustice sows among them discrimination, fear, and exploitation.

    Nothing teaches us better than literature to see, in ethnic and cultural differences, the richness of the human patrimony, and to prize those differences as a manifestation of humanity's multi-faceted creativity. Reading good literature is an experience of pleasure, of course; but it is also an experience of learning what and how we are, in our human integrity and our human imperfection, with our actions, our dreams, and our ghosts, alone and in relationships that link us to others, in our public image and in the secret recesses of our consciousness."


    Cont. in following comment post:

    ReplyDelete
  5. Quote from the Llosa essay:

    "Literature does not begin to exist through the work of a single individual. It exists only when it is adopted by others and becomes a part of social life--when it becomes, thanks to reading, a shared experience.

    One of its first beneficial effects takes place at the level of language. A community without a written literature expresses itself with less precision, with less richness of nuance, and with less clarity than a community whose principal instrument of communication, the word, has been cultivated and perfected by means of literary texts. A humanity without reading. untouched by literature, would resemble a community of deaf-mutes and aphasics, afflicted by tremendous problems of communication due to its crude and rudimentary language. This is true for individuals, too. A person who does not read, or reads little, or reads only trash, is a person with an impediment: he can speak much but he will say little, because his vocabulary is deficient in the means for self-expression.

    This is not only a verbal limitation. It represents also a limitation in intellect and in imagination. It is a poverty of thought, for the simple reason that ideas, the concepts through which we grasp the secrets of our condition, do not exist apart from words. We learn how to speak correctly--and deeply, rigorously, and subtly--from good literature, and only from good literature. No other discipline or branch of the arts can substitute for literature in crafting the language that people need to communicate. To speak well, to have at one's disposal a rich and diverse language, to be able to find the appropriate expression for every idea and every emotion that we want to communicate, is to be better prepared to think, to teach, to learn, to converse, and also to fantasize, to dream, to feel. In a surreptitious way, words reverberate in all our actions, even in those actions that seem far removed from language. And as language evolved, thanks to literature, and reached high levels of refinement and manners, it increased the possibility of human enjoyment.
    "

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great interview.Sounds like a fantastic book. Is LRH that man with the white cat that I was talking about? I think he might be.

    ReplyDelete
  7. great work guys, Im looking forward to this book! cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great interview, Chris

    Your comments near the end of the post were interesting, as were the questions you asked Paul.

    Crowley and Parsons and Hubbard have always come up again and again in my study of the occult, and indirectly in my reading about psychology, sociology and culture.

    I see so many interconnected themes that it makes me asks some pertinent questions.

    What does the force of synchronicity do the perceptual mechanism? Anyone who has studied the occult or metaphysics in any great depth must be aware of the powerful role that synchronicity and 'co-incidence' starts to play in their lives once such areas have been broached.

    I tend to think it is the influence of spirt or the unbound self (or some such thing)presenting the experiencer with acausal and non-temporal effects in a similar manner to which writers and producers of movies thread a narrative with acausal details, motifs and poetic allusions.

    What does the awareness of this force do to ANY percieving mind, especially a mind like Crowley's in the straight-jacketed mileu of his times? I suspect it would foster a considerable intelligence/appetite for many areas, a sizable ego perhaps, but also a personality of contrasts and paradox.

    We should be careful not to pigeon-hole somone as resonant and tricky as Crowley, but we should also not ignore things that appear to make sense to us personally - for it seems the mytho-poetic substratum of experience, or magic, appears to be capable of being all things to all people, depending on who is looking.

    Peace

    ReplyDelete
  9. After reading up on the Golden Dawn stuff, Crowley & co. strike me as precursors to modern day celebutantes; i.e. privileged narcissists hyping their own personality cult.

    Taking a “Divine Right of Kings” approach, Crowley bastardized ancient religious texts to validate his ego.

    I'm sure there's some truth in the Golden Dawn mythos; however, sitting in a séance circle humming “abracadabra” certainly isn't the path to enlightenment. That's just silliness.



    It's kinda like when Madonna proclaimed herself to be some Kabbalah Guru yet her "divine wisdom" condensed the entire teachings to a red string bracelet good luck charm.

    I mean, what kind of person determines their religion because it's stylish?




    PS:

    Thanks for comparing Crowley to Lex Luthor in your previous post. It certainly adds a frightening new dimension to Superfriends reruns.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great interview. Darker Than You Think is on my to-read list.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Eric- "Only the Shadow Knowles" - I may make that the official tagline for this blog.

    720- By their works shall ye know them.

    Matt- I'm not a fan of L Ron or the CoS myself. But contrarian views are always worth exploring on topics as loaded as this. Paul is an extremely well-read fellow with a unusual point of view on many issues and it's worth hearing all sides of an issue before we come to a conclusion. But maybe Hubbard has some valuable tools to incorporate into your work. That by no means says you need to follow him or even admire him, it means that we should be flexible enough to take whatever we may find useful and discard the rest.

    Justin- I think literature is always going to be a minority concern. But all you have to do is look at at any magazine from 30 years ago to grasp just how dumbed down we've become. Look at the snakehandlers- they wouldn't even exist in the first place if you still had a serious religious tradition in this country, of studying the Bible as well as the works of the great theologians, which every serious Christian was essentially required to do once upon a time. We have a situation where people can't think in abstract terms for any extended period of time, where they can't animate words into narrative. It's a total disaster and you can ultimately trace every single problem we face in this country to the militant stupidity that has become epidemic.

    Wotie- Pass it on to Paul. He's got a very interesting podcast too.

    Indras- It's a great addition to your reference library.

    Raj- Crowley is hard to avoid out there in the noosphere, but he's never been my cup of tea. it took me ages to figure out what the hell he was even about, to be frank. I see Crowley very much as an eternal adolescent - that aspect of rebellion and contrarianism. Some see the Crowley archetype as permission to break out of their programming. At least past a general kind of casting down false idols phase of the evolutionary process.

    However, Paul's work really hooked me with a brilliant lecture in which compared and contrasted Jung and Crowley. To use a musical metaphor, Crowley was the Sex Pistols and Jung was the Clash. The Pistols were the demolishers and the Clash were the rebuilders. It's a very blunt kind of metaphor but I think you get my point. But even Jung is a step in the process. For me Jung is the guy who provides the basic tools, but I think it's a huge mistake to get trapped in Jungian orthodoxy. In many ways I see Parsons as more interesting than Crowley since he crossed over in science and pop culture.

    レベッカ Well put- I said the exact same thing in a recent interview.

    Tommy- It's an awesome read. Very much an exploration of the deepest corners of the Unconscious.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous1:26 AM

    It's always strange, when I see or read about Crowley, Blavatsky, and countless others who have been instrumental in the foundation of modern occult practice. Chris, I think there are many more people in history that might be overlooked, but that's natural, like Yoganonda and Christoper Knight, Weishaupt.
    Even the Ancient Egyptian information was borrowed and shared,
    Blavatsky, Yung and others have literally taken information that was ancient Tibetan or Middle Eastern and this had been mostly oral tradition written down, and these seekers learned some of it from other like minded beatnix from Europe, and they mixed and matched information all up and came up with their own stylized versions of their own truth. I like you Chris, but this is about how we all contribute to the big picture. And to say that Crowley was even that much of an influence to the point of historical magic, is a very bold statement indeed. Crowley made some very bad mistakes & Crowley himself had been known for instructing people to go West, when they should had been facing another direction, This causing possession and countless other mistakes he has made, not closing rituals properly on the shores of Lake Lockness, and others. Blavatsky had her own troubles, she was that times Sylvia Brown, and she borrowed heavily form the Tao and other Tibetan writings, Everyone borrows information from someone else. I have borrowed your insightful information and shared it with people I personally know, its the way we communicate today. The internet has made it possible for all of us to share ideas, and had Crowley been around today, his contribution as a writer and blogger may have been seen as typical, but 100 years from now, people will be looking at how the whole of society used the ancient information that was available to them, and how we all used our will & that information to change the world...The problem we all must face is our ego, and in these types of studies, that is the core teaching is learning to combat and tame the ego Crowley and HPB were ego maniacs, who were very powerful since that behavior would cause effects in will but they all succumb to destruction since they were walking in doorways they felt they were ready to walk threw....Without the ego in check, there is no magick...

    F

    ReplyDelete
  13. You make a lot of excellent points but I totally disagree about looking to the East. The West is where the future lies in any kind of spiritual pursuit. Look here for a symbolic truth in action:

    http://www.chinahush.com/2009/10/21/amazing-pictures-pollution-in-china/

    ReplyDelete
  14. I totally understand where you're coming from with regards to Crowley and share most of your views - and i can see how his works/myth might be useful to certain types of individuals.

    But I'm more of a do-it-yourself kinda guy, and frankly the kind of elitism, trickiness and ritualism in that kind of stuff just turns me off. But that's my own personal thing.

    Raj (on my girl's account)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Chris,

    Minus your snakehandlers comment, Llosa shares your primary concern here. He is, of course, in defense of an art form he is heavily invested in, something else I think he shares with you. That form merely differs in the medium and its application.
    In the end it comes down, as you say, to the narrative, and if we can take the term literature as shorthand for any overarching narrative that enters the collective nous, then Llosa laments almost the very same descent into an atomised, fractured cultural swamp, the scope of expression bereft of richness.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "I'm sure there's some truth in the Golden Dawn mythos; however, sitting in a séance circle humming “abracadabra” certainly isn't the path to enlightenment. That's just silliness.

    It's kinda like when Madonna proclaimed herself to be some Kabbalah Guru yet her "divine wisdom" condensed the entire teachings to a red string bracelet good luck charm."

    No offense, but though you may have "read up" on the Golden Dawn, you obviously haven't read their actual instructional material. It's anything but oversimplified, and in fact is regarded by many later occultists as overcomplicated and overly formalized. I've read hundreds of pages of GD rituals, lectures, and reference material and I've never come across anything close to a seance. In fact, both the GD and Crowley were quite hostile to Spiritualism, to a fault imho.

    As for Crowley himself, he'll always be something of an enigma, but anyone the mere mention of whose name elicits blustery outrage from such a wide range of people- religious fundamentalists, secular humanists, new agers, reconstructionist neo-pagans- must have been doing something right, or at the very least, something notable. His system is even more complex than that of the Golden Dawn, of which it's largely a modification, with the addition of some Eastern meditational practices he learned from a friend who was a Buddhist monk.

    Both systems draw heavily and explicitly on the works of Agrippa, Athanasius Kircher, John Dee, etc.

    Were Mathers and Crowley flawed individuals whose sanity can be called into question? Sure, but dilettantes and dabblers they were not.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "One wonders if Crowley understood that the ones who truly heard the siren call of Aiwass were entrenched in power long before he was even born. The bankers and the boards of directors, the politicians and the preachers were already putting the commandments of the Liber Al into practice, and they've only become incalculably more 'wilful' since Crowley's death.

    Their genius has been to mouth the pabulum and the platitudes of Western liberal democracy while taking a daily jackhammer to its foundations. They work literally around the clock to destroy nationhood, personhood and autonomy, while throwing us off the scent with the mewling drivel of their babbling witch doctors, their televised talking heads and their postmodern puppets in the Professoriate."

    "On the streets of Britain you are likely to encounter varieties of the same bog-standard Kali Yuga nightmare visible in any western country. The operating theme is mediocre gratification through junk food, booze, reality TV, special effects movies, skunkweed, boy bands, slut pop, and the pornographication of the mass imagination. As the Sex Pistols said, “your future dream is a shopping scheme.” And this is worth protecting through a progressive erosion of our civil liberties."

    I have a hard time understanding how someone can recognize the Law of Thelema being put into practice by the elites and the masses, the moral degeneracy of the willful exploiters and the willfully exploited, and yet make this statement:

    "But the historical record will see Crowley and his contemporaries as important figures in the rediscovery of the ancient wisdom- and ancient history- that was stolen from us seventeen centuries ago."

    Crowley rediscovered ancient wisdom? Aiwass gave a blueprint for the actions of the bankers and politicians who seek to wear rich robes, and the commoner who seeks the booze and "pornographication".

    "Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will! But always unto me.

    Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices; ye shall wear rich jewels; ye shall exceed the nations of the earth in spendour & pride; but always in the love of me, and so shall ye come to my joy.

    I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof! They shall not harm ye at all. It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this."

    That's not wisdom in my opinion. But to deny the Law of Thelema is to embark on a path of moral objectivity and that necessitates that one choose a specific fundamentalism.

    Choose wisely.

    ReplyDelete

Off-topic info, links are always welcome if kept brief, but please refrain from unrelated data dumps and off-topic lectures.

As always, I reserve the right to delete comments that I consider to be inflammatory or overly off-topic

If your comment doesn't show up, please email.

Please be aware that Blogger often dumps comments with hyperlinks into the Spam folder. Please try to avoid them, since it makes more work for me to read through the spam folder for your comments.