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Book of Wamphyri and Shadows
by Coven Nachttoter
The Black Dragon Arises
Vampyrism, Through the archetypical symbols which have existed since the Sumerian period, such as one of the first known cult of Vampyrism, HEKAL TIAMAT, to Vampyrism in Transylvania as in the reality of the original Order of the Dragon, in which European hero Vlad Draculae was a member of, to current Vampyric covens through the centuries, to current period covens have always, intentionally, blinded the masses.
It must first be known that vampyrism is NOT at all a simple, or relatively quick path for everyone. Vampyres are more or less born dark, those who have been in touch with their darkside or shadowside since their childhood.
Vampyres do not view themselves as humans do, because we are NOT human in all tearms. Humans are sheep to our kind, we do not hold any place for compassion, tolerance or love for sheep. They are our prey, and lifeforce. Vampyres look upon their personal being as GODS, the humanistic concepts of mortals do not guide us in anyway either. To become vampyre, the individual must tear away all strains and weaknesses they have picked up since their first birth.
Do take note, this is not any easy thing to do, however, observe, this is only the beginning. The individual proceeding down this path must push his/her physical body to the limits, as well as testing mental and developing psychic strength. Psychic strength is highly important for developing the Vampyric will. Through a period of several years, the individual will slowly build the character needed for the individual to immolate his/her essence with the crimson of the dragon.
For most involved with BOTD, a parallel with traditional Satanism should be observed. If traditional Satanism defines pushing limits, going beyond what is morally “right” and “wrong”, “good” and “evil”, as well as implementing Aeonic, acasual and casual transference (ie. the Nine Angles), building a superior, elite occult fascist character then Vampyrism can be seen as an extension of the path of traditional Satanism.
That which does not progress, perishes! This is very true and realistic. Any initiate interested in the BOTD will be introduced into a very harsh will training and Alchemical change process. Most of this is done in Hermetic rituals, seperated from all comrades, friends, and lovers. This the ONLY way which will build material for a GOD or GODDESS.
While actual human blood (not animal) holds psychic energies obtained in advanced vampyric rituals, BLOOD ESSENCE (Astral lifeforce) holds the highest significance for such, incorporated through many different levels, is the path or partial key for immortality. The initiate vampyre will learn to set his/her mind from the individual human and realize ALL progressive change and evolution is caused by him/her ALONE! The Vampyre IS god itself. The Vampyre realizes that ALL other humans who are not amoung his/her rank or kin are prey and pawns.
Lifeforce is drained from humans through astral contact, as well as clairvoyance amoung others. The powers of astral hunting through dream and drinking the purest lifeforce is ONLY best described through the experience itself. The symbol of the vampyre who drinks blood from sleeping humans (Opfers) is not far removed from the astral vampyre predator – Known as Varcolaci – who drains lifeforce from the sleeping humans astral body.
Through the nightside, the vampyre through will and practice, can shiftshape, to hunt amoung the shadows. The forms can be several, Varcolaci (a form of demonic bat-wolf and dragon resemblance), to wolf and bat. This is all based on general and simple scientific law.
Vampyric communion is an essential part of vampyric survival and renewal. Secrets of Vampyric communion are first described in “ART OF WAMPHYRI” and further in “CTHULU”.
BOTD is currently guided by Clan Nachttoter, of Germanic blood, under guidance of acasual Vampyres, our goals are quite the numerous. Time will tell the significance. Our sigils to invoke the essence are two : The Wamphyri Pentagram, through the sphere, lifeforce is transfered, godhead is achieved. Nefarious shadows haunt any human uninitiated. The other symbol is the Nachttoter seal, the symbol of the Nachttoter Vampyre Family, descended from Germanic and Celtic blood. Members of Clan Nachttoter currently offer guidance concerning BLACK ORDER OF THE DRAGON trials and paths.
Circle of the Red Dragon
– Transcend the flesh in the form of Varcolaci –
This is the rite of dying and being reborn. The sigil is of our coven, our family – The Red Dragon, Tiamat. Of Nachttoter….
Those of royal vampyric blood. The altar should be located on the west wall if at all possible. Upon the altar should rest a human skull or well crafted model. The human skull represents the death of the human condition and rebirth. If the skull is authentic then some essence of the individual may be connected already – thus representing the risen essence – Beyond Godhead towards the black cloak of Azrael. A crystal should be implemented as well as soil from a graveyard enclosed within a cloth pouch. A virgin dagger.
RITE OF THE RED DRAGON
With the Sword of the chamber, shape the inverted pentagram, focus upon the fire which be arise from each point as a result chant: ALL THAT IS BORN OF FIRE LIVES IN FIRE.
Through shaping the pentagram the sphere of Satan is opened – the true self is revealed. The Triangle of LAYLAH is to be drawn upon the wind, to inaugurate the symbol of night and death – equaling 77, the tract of rising-GODHEAD. An inverted Triangle should be inverted, focus upon the blood red eye which will glow as much as your desire allows.
Hold the Virgin Dagger and the pouch of grave soil, focus upon the sigils of the Vampyre and repeat: I have lived as Moroii, transfering the lifeforce into the jaws of the undead gods, I now seek to ascend into the condition of Vampyre-Varcolaci, to die a mortal death and be reborn to the blood of the dragon! I spill my blood into the grave soil and transfer a part of my essence and being into this – My life-immortal-My WILL STRONG!!! TO BE REBORN INTO THE NIGHT! – Cut yourself deeply enough to stream blood into the soil-while doing so chant and visualize TIAMAT – A burning sphere with a blood red dragon – UNDEAD GODS – Witness the deication of the burning spheres, within I have absorbed the WILL of Nachttoter, those shadows demons of TIAMAT – I have died and been reborn into the WILL of the Red Dragon.
-Hold the crystal and focus upon the Chaos that your WILL has evoked and invoked upon the casual realm – Focus and inject your new being, VARCOLACI.
-Begin a sacrifice of Life force into the Wamphyri-Varcolaci Pentagram, once your astral eyes are opened you can see strains of lifeforce entering the pentagram. After the sacrifice, you may feel a stronger Life Force known as the Blood of Tiamat given back to your being – The Undead Gods give such a sacrifice to you.
I AM VARCOLACI – MY WILL IS LAW AND LOVE IS TRIUMPH! THE GATES ARE ALLIGNED AND I HAVE RISEN! SO IT IS DONE!
Night Shadows and Varcolaci
Astral travel and the rising of the Varcolaci is an important step within the awakening of the Vampyric condition. In recent years there have been many books and articles by the so-called “Magick/occult society” who claim to have the secrets and system of astral travel. they call astral vampyrism “wrong” and unnatural. Is it unnatural for the wolf to devour its prey? Is it unnatural for man to kill cattle and other animals for food? An absurd notion for an individual to deny her/his true nature.
The Vampyre looks upon astral travel as a time of meeting with other Varcolaci who have taken to ascending the human condition. Varcolaci will roam the night and brain lifefore from sleeping (i.e.. unaware) humans.
It is, during these times that the Vampyre may shape shift into any form according to Will. The Varcolaci form is always usually different from vampyre to vampyre. Some often resemble the demonic shadows of the Varcolaci – Wamphyri pentagram, while some are more wolf-like. The form is according to will and can change when desired. Some will travel and feed from prey in desired beautiful forms, as white and flowing beings or as ghastly wraiths.
Astral projection is a several step system of meditation and control. To properly meditate and enter the mindset of astral projections, one must prepare the home or place of this practice in a quiet manner. Take the phone off the hook, turn the TV off, and make sure distractions will be to a minimum.
You will need to find a comfortable place to lay – a bed or couch. Incense should be burnt, either Frankincense of Jasmine will do. A red and black candle may be burnt, of course totally optional and rather unimportant.
Once you lay yourself down to begin, you will want and need to clear All worries and thoughts in general from your mind. Be relaxed and slow your breathing and heart rate.
From your feet up, tell yourself as you relax each part of your body. do this until your entire body is relaxed. Once this is done, concentrate on causing your astral to extend and take the form of your desire – it is All according to your will. Once finished, focus your mind’s eye toward extending and rising from your body. You will feel a strike of excitement but you will need to control this emotion and remain calm, nay very calm. The result if not followed will be failure.
Once you rise as Varcolaci observe your chamber and surroundings, look upon your sleeping body and absorb the feeling of pride of watching the sleeping human form in which you walk the earth in.
It is now time to rise and fly the night sky.
The Black Wraiths Ascend
Now that you have risen, you may pass through doors and windows. Float beyond your chamber through a door or window into the night. As you float through you will feel the power that is within the self and only begin to realize your possibilities of being Vampyr.
Once you enter the night, take some time to observe the surroundings, remember your astral eyes are now open and only now can you truly see. things may be a bit different now and you might see things you normally do not ever notice.
A word of caution however, once you have risen as Varcolaci it should be aware that you have practiced a path of inner strength and will to power. The reason is once you enter the state of dream and rise as varcolaci then are you open to the spirits and outer beings and energies within the nightside as well. You are only as safe as you will it. If you travel and float with fear, the predators, others as you may take scent of it… Wolves Smell Fear… a lovely scent for hunting the spirit.
Fly with joy into the night sky and travel where ever you wish to go. You will want to feed upon a sleeping human, for the life force in this state is so pure. Enter their home, float to their sleeping chambers ad watch them with your astral eyes… notice the life force, the astral body which lays with the sleeping opfer.
Float beside them and smell the life force flow through their veins. It is now time to feast and taste the blood which is the life. With your will, send forth a vampyric tendril and make contact with the life force. Once you do so, begin to draw it in deeply, enjoy each slow drain until you are satisfied.
Once you finish draining the opfer, detach yourself and once again enter the night. you will feel much stronger, more invigorated than before. Fly as the bat within the night and enjoy all that is being Vampyr. You are predator and it is your natural duty to feed from humans.
For those advanced into the black arts of wamphyri, there are certain keys to entering other dimensions… however this is only for the inner circle of Coven Nachttoter and is a mystery of the coven. When this is obtained, many strange things will be seen and be sure it is mystery for a good reason. One must be prepared when entering a predatory state… or else he/she becomes prey.
Once you have haunted the night and you are ready to return to your human form let your instincts guide you back to your dwelling… you metaphoric tomb/grave. once you have entered your body then open thy eyes! Behold, you are as god itself. Now open the gates to further realms of Darkness.
The Wake of the Red Death
A Ritual of Destruction
“The Masque of the Red Death” is a very powerful tale by Edgar Allen Poe, the late poet and writer who raised the level of literature during his time which has changed the field of writing and those interested in the macabre for all time. Poe used a great deal of symbolism in his works, a manifestation of death incarnated into the archetypical Red Death, the tall and gaunt figure of blood reds cloaked in the shrouds of the dead. The Red Death is implemented in this destruction rite as the plague bearer, an extention of Azrael – the Angel of Death as a messanger of Will.
This ritual is to be done during the night, past midnight for then the powers of the astral waves are yours to manipulte and man is vunerable at night, more of a chance o success if they are not of strong mind and spirit. If they are as an equal, then there are several secrets in the destruction not listed in these pages. this is either a hermetic rite or could be ceremonial as well.
The Sorceror is to be clothed in a blood red cloak and/or robe. The Sorceror should also be clothed in a white grave shroud which would be placed under the robe or cloak. The face should be streaked in blood red paint or blood, same with any bare skin shown. A personal item of the inteded opfer must be present, be it either a cloth, photograph, paper, etc. A crystal should also be present as well as bones, dagger, above the altar the Wamphyri – Varcolaci Pentagram and the Sigil of Nachttoter – The Red Dragon.
This night you shall become vengence and anger – The law of Abraxas is implemented – The spirit of Kali is invoked. Love love and love causing destruction to those who have crossed you.
The Red Death Awakes
Shrouded in the habliments of the grave, take in your hands the grave soil in which you have blessed as your own, in the other the crystal which you store within your acausal energy.
Face the sigil of the Red Dragon and the Wampyre – Varcolaci Pentagram and visualize fire and blood entering yuour being, filling you with violent and destructive energy – Demonic shapes for within your mind, shaping according to your desire. The Red Death you become this night – Chant:
(A Raven and Serpent Masquerade excerpt by Peter Nachtgeist and Michael Nachttoter)
The wolf represents the moon and the strength which flows from it’s light. The feelings and emotions awakened in the heart of the predator by the glowing and enveloping fullmoon, are in nature similar to the dark, mysterious moods that the sound of howling wolves inspires.
We, Vampyres, predators of humans – visualize ourselves as the darkness of nature, nature unveiled. Strong, pure and beautiful. – When the night cloaks my thoughts, and by darkness I’m embraced, when the mist is colored red, and the moon drips of blood, when the chill bites my skin, and I ride the winds of Death, when the shadows haunt the night I lust for my nightly sip.. (Moonthirst)
Nocturnals do not fear death, as death only means returning to the infinite darkness, the Dragon’s Womb – as well as for the risen ones – Varcolaci – Vampyres who have achieved Immortality.
The scorpion symbolizes the starts and the drape of cold and dark infinity in which they lay in wait. The scorpion is strength and honor – love and life – It is also the harvester of Death.
From the lands of Transylvania and what is now Romania and Hungary comes the Astral vampire known as Varcolaci. The Varcolaci is said to during the night hours, rise from their physical form and under the cover of shadows, ascend towards the nocturnal sky and drink blood from the moon.
Varcolaci is known to appear as a wolf with many mouths, a small dragon or a blackened shape of a demonic winged ghost, filled with an aura of death and lust. In the folklore of Transylvania Varcolaci can travel in several ways: When a woman spins thread alone in the darkness, she may create an astral thread in which the Varcolaci may rise into the sky to devour the moon. Often, the thread would be spun from the accumulated dust and dirt towards the sun and moon, the woman would be covered in blood and continue to spin. She would then have completed the bridge for Varcolaci, therein to wander the dark portals of the cosmos to attack the heavenly bodies.
The reality of Varcolaci is so very true. A Vampire is also in fact Varcolaci, once the discipline of Astral Traveling is Achieved, then Varcolaci is able to develop and rise as a demon of great power. This is the path of immortality, of predator and prey.
While our kind does not exercise just the rising of Varcolaci as it’s primary discipline of vampyrism, the condition and exercise of Astral hunting is very important towards the developing of the Vampyric Godhead, in which under the control of 77 all is possible within Will.
Varcolaci is usually soil based, during the waking hours the Vampyr will walk the earth. When the time for physical rest comes, the Vampyr will then leave his physical body. During this the vampyr is able to shape shift at will.
The Varcolaci will rise especially when the moon turns a blood red or copper color. The dark spirits will then drink astral blood from either the moon, stars, or the sleeping opfer. Remember, the dream is reality and all is formed within the dream.
It is to be known the astral wars are not yet over, that there is to be two rivers of human blood and astral blood poured from the cosmos, that our harvest will come and we shall take heed of the powers in which we sustain as being the Vammpyric Godhead.
Folklore and Reality of the Germanic Vampire Races
In this section we will investigate the folklore and reality of the German Vampire races. Each differs in some way or another depending on the location. Common in folklore is that vampires eat from their own corpse before they rise from their coffins to prey upon human opfers. They would often lure opfers to their graves and by fog and funeral dust they rise to drink the blood which is the life. German vampires are often viewed as spreading plagues, like a cold wave their will calls upon rats and the army of the night to do their bidding. Below is the truth and lie of the vampire.
A german Vampirelike spirit associated with the Incubus and the Succubus, tormenting the nights and dreams of man and woman, driving them toward sexual extasy and then terror. The physical manifestation can be quite dangerous, long connected with the nightmare, the alp is aid to dwell as a demon within a tomb. Some forms include the werewolf or a demonic man-bat-wolf manifestation. (All of which is quite true and accurate as all is possible to those who have utilized magick and the dream. )
During some periods and times, the Alp, in the form of Varcolaci, may enter it’s opfer to command the body. The ghost would enter through the opfer’s mouth in the form of smoke and a serpent.
The alp will often drink blood from the breast of a woman (or any other place in which major vessels are.). The incubus/succubus are in most cases astral vampires, probably in 90% of all encounters. Although it is said that some demonic spirits who are not vampires can haunt sleeping humans.
It is this race in which one of ours is marked from, the Nachzehrer is long known in Germany and surrounding places in Germany. The Nachzehrer is said to be distinguishable in it’s coffin by odd custom of holding the thumb of one hand and keeping it’s left eye open. The Vampyr is said to chew upon his own limbs within it’s tomb. The coffin in which the Vampyr sleeps is said to be filled with blood and soil of it’s grave and or/ homeland. The Nachzehrer can also eat flesh of the dead and is quite active with Necromancy, the art of the Vampyr.
A blood line from Saxony, traditionally the great carrier of plagues, usually seen during grim and severe epidemics. The Neuntoter (Nine Killer) comes from the belief that it takes nine full days for the vampire to develop in it’s coffin.
This German race of Vampires is currently active in the United States, primarily in Indiana and Houston, a coven which is the control base behind the Black Order of the Dragon. Nachttoter translates “Night Killer – or Killer in the Night” being the power of this vampire as a predator within the casual realm, Varcolaci obtained. Members of this race may be summoned in Varcolaci forms on some nights, beware through, what is obtained comes with a price.
From the seed of Belial
– The Inauguration of the Devil –
Before one seeks to master the shadows of his/her astral one must reach a state of completion and strength within the flesh itself. One must never deny the pleasures of the flesh but one must always be aware to practice self-control and inner strength. This is the law of our kind.
Vampyres are masters of the flesh, we indulge fully in that fact. However, we understand that the flesh is not forever and that even though some of us are fully capable of floating from body to body, that eventually the flesh dies.
We are essentially to be as ghosts, vampyre spirits who have achieved immortality through the Blood of the Red Dragon. We do not fear death, as the spirit is immortal according to our will. However, we enjoy the pleasures of life. The devil is lord of the earth.
Vampyres do now bow to any anthropomorphic being, in fact we only view the archetypal “Satan” as a power… the power within the cosmos and earth, the power within us. Those who embrace this power and all that it is and utilize it in fact become the devil itself – Satan Ascend, Lucifer Rising. This is the law of Satan. Bow before no other gods but yourself.
Belial is viewed as a master of the earth. This is the key of understanding the mastery of the earth – Satan incarnate. The following rite is for those who seek the path of Vampyr, those who would stand strong in the face of a world for their own taking.
This rite can be used either as a hermetic rite or as a ceremonial rite. the primary design was for a hermetic rite.
Awaken the archetype of Pan, balance and joy is the key to rising.
The Inauguration of the Devil
To take place within the chosen ritual chamber. The Wamphyri – Varcolaci Pentagram to be above the altar as well as a Baphomet and the Sabbatic Goat aka the Goat of Mendes. The candles should be black and red. Upon the altar should be an inverted pentagram with some human bones or if possible a human and/or animal skull, to represent the power and lust of the flesh. Clad in black or crimson robes with dagger and chalice. A sword should be used as well.
This is the night you shall become as Satan…..
Face the Altar and point the sword first to the image of the Varcolaci/Wamphyri Pentagram, visualize what you are and what you shall become… lust upon these symbols for they are to be representations of your essence.
“In nomini dei nostri Satanas Luciferi excelsi, I call forth the dark lord of the earth… Belial, I am of your seed, a demon of the flesh to shape the world as I see fit. This is the law of the Strong. My will incarnate.”
With the Sword, face the South, point the sword towards the baphomet pentagram:
Face now the East:
Face now the North:
Face now the West:
Take now the Dagger and recite:
Take the chalice and recite:
Meditate now upon the sigils and all that you have recited. Become as Satan. stand proud and push the self towards the heaven of ecstasy.
“Heil! Heil! Heil! O, great Wolf Spirit Heil! Mighty shadow within the circle enter the space of time – Make unto me a werewolf, strong and brave as my Will”
The connection of Werewolves and Vampires are quite parallel, in fact in the reality of the Vampire, it is indeed possible for a Living Vampyr to be a Werewolf. Transformation can be in two possible ways, a mental transformation, Lycanthropy as well as astral shape shifting.
When alone in a forest or secluded area is a prime location for a lycanthropic ritual. A skin of the wolf may be worn, a mask or other articles representing the transformation from the human shape into a 7 – 8 foot demonic gray man-wolf, burning blood red eyes of yellow gleams from large, sharp and cruel teeth. Those who seek to master shadows and sorcery may become a lord of Werewolves, in command of the shadow demons which may become as one with the WILL and the SELF.
When in a forest practice a Werewolf rite and feel the transformation, revel in the pleasure, in the hunger, in the burning glow which permeates the senses. When astral traveling, your human shape may shape shift to any desirable form, take pleasure in becoming the Demonic wolf. hunt your sleeping prey with stealth, feasting on astral blood as they sleep.
Below is some teachings of the Werewolf, ending with a rite of Lycanthropic power. Remember, no spell nor word can alter change which has not lit within the WILL. The misanthrope has risen and the age of the wolf is upon us! Feast!
Lord of the Woods
In the year 1502 there was a peasant named Pierre Burgot who was tending sheep while a large and fierce storm broke out. From seemingly out of nowhere rode three men dressed in black riding upon three black horses. One of the men called himself Moyset, tall and pale, sunken eyes with long black hair. Moyset told Pierre he would let his hands watch over his herd and give him great fortune if he would obey him, Pierre agreed. In the next meeting, Moyset stated his commands, to reject a so called “god”, the false virgin, the baptism and confirmation. Burgot accepted the demands and swore loyalty by kissing the hand of the Moyset, which was as cold as the hand of the dead.
The years past and the black rider returned. Moyset demanded that he should grease himself in an ointment he gave him. Verdun, another villager did so as well. soon after as their hearts and will was as Sinister, they turned into werewolves.
These wolves of Magick attacked a seven year old boy, tearing him to shreds, killing a woman and a four year old child and they only left an arm to be found intact. In time they were caught and killed by villagers.
One hundred years ago a fourteen year old boy named Jean Grenier was in a deep forest where they met a man upon a black horse who called himself Herren or Lord of the Forest. With his cold dead lips he kissed Grenier and with his long and sharp nails he cut a mark in their thighs. Herren gave Jean a wolfskin and an ointment. after donning the wolfskin and rubbing the ointment, Jean killed in his werewolf form over fifty opfers.
In france they are called by the humankind the “Meneurs de Loup” which were said to lead wolves by the use of a bonepipe, creating the orchestra of the night. The Wolfcharmer is a total misanthrope who in his heart hates the human race. The wolfcharmer is the leader of the wolfpack, and can by the use of the bones pipe, command the wolves to attack human prey.
The Wolfgirdle is commonly made from the skin of the wolf, mixed and sewn together with the skin of a dead witch or an executed murderer. Don the wolf girdle before the lycanthropic ritual.
The Rite of the Werewolf
– Mental Lycanthropy and the summoning of Shadows –
The altar can be either within a home or in the woods. Upon the altar should rest bones of the dead and two black candles and two red candles, above the Wamphyri – Varcolaci Pentagram (A Sigil of the Black Order of the Dragon).
With your mind focus upon the transformation. Feel each muscle as it stretches, grows stronger, more beastlike. Rough gray hair grows through the skin as the flesh itself turns ghost white and the face blackens. The bones stretch and begin to form a beast between a man and wolf. The face warps into a long snout which holds many razor sharp fangs. The fingers stretch and fold into Talons, cruel to the flesh they Shred..
Feel now the pleasure of the Werewolf, go out into the night and taste the pleasures of the Will.
SO IT IS DONE
(c) Church of Vampiria
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The Art of the Law: Aleister Crowley’s Use of Ritual and Drama
Justin Scott Van Kleeck
Although Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) has been the subject of numerous biographies, criticisms, and works of homage, his legacy has largely been defined by his personality. This fact is, of course, no surprise. Calling himself the “Beast 666” and labeled the “Wickedest Man in the World,” Crowley vociferously proclaimed a “new Law” of liberation and human empowerment (Thelema, Gk. “will”; Crowley’s “Do what thou wilt”) that required throwing most social and moral conventions to the wind. Those writers who try to “explain” the Beast and his Law often feel compelled to defend or to deride his lifestyle and his magical system based on their own acceptance of occult doctrines. Kenneth Grant and Hymenaeus Beta, both occult practitioners and Crowley editors, exemplify the sympathetic camp, while John Symonds, also a Crowley editor, speaks for the critical camp. Caught in the shadow of the Beast, these writers and the wide body of Crowley readers have greatly overlooked the other side of his career: his prolific work as a poet, playwright, artist, and essayist. J. F. C. Fuller’s The Star in the West, Charles R. Cammell’s Aleister Crowley: The Man, the Mage, the Poet, and J. F. Brown’s “Aleister Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis” are notable exceptions in their treatment of Crowley’s writings. However, they often tend toward panegyric (Fuller, later a disciple of Crowley’s) or negative judgment (Cammell, his friend late in life) of Crowley the man as well. As a result of Crowley’s cultic status and, admittedly, his almost nugatory influence on later literature, his artistic techniques have gone mostly uninvestigated, both on their own and in relation to his magical/prophetic efforts.
When Crowley states that “All Art is Magick,” he essentially defines the aesthetic sentiments lying at the core of his system of magic.1 Thus, the body of Crowley’s writings provides an equal wealth of material for those interested in esoteric traditions, cultural studies, and literary criticism—not to mention psychology. A particularly important development in Crowley’s overall work is his marriage of “traditional” ritual and drama; by drama, I refer to plays blending scripted action with poetry, music, dances, and so forth, usually intended for performance. After taking part in magic rituals as a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and writing occult-influenced dramas, Crowley eventually came to see the usefulness of integrating the two genres or forms more explicitly as a means of personal work and of communicating his message—of preaching the Law and teaching magical wisdom. Although The Rites of Eleusis is the only theatrical production of what he came to call “dramatic ritual” aimed at the general public, this mixed method permeates much of his subsequent theory and practice. By combining the two genres into a single “dramatic ritual,” Crowley sought to create the enthusiasm necessary for magic—which drama did most effectively for nearly all personality types—and, through that liberated ecstasy, to prove the validity of Thelemic principles.
The relationship between ritual, myth, and drama was not a new topic in the Victorian England of Crowley’s adolescence, even in the banal circles of scholarship and literature not attached to occult groups like H. P. Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society and the Golden Dawn. The most significant work of this time is J. G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough, which first appeared in two volumes in1890 and, over the course of more than twenty years, grew to twelve in its third edition (1911-5). Frazer’s work on magic, myth, and ritual is a watershed in the study of mythology and society, filled with countless examples of ritual actions, taboos, and cultural practices from around the world. He specifically articulated the importance of seasonal and vegetative cycles, which diverse cultures had “celebrated with dramatic rites” since the origins of society.2 Frazer is well aware of the sympathy that myth and magic have with drama, for he continues, “But if the celebration was in form dramatic, it was in substance [and desired effect] magical.”3 The Golden Bough brought to the fore such prominent mythological concepts as the “Dying God” (used by Eliot in The Waste Land) and the “Corn-Spirit.” Crowley certainly knew Frazer’s work intimately: not only does he quote Frazer in the opening of Magick part III and persistently use the dying-god myth, but he also launched an attack on Christian orthodoxy based on Frazer in The Gospel According to Bernard Shaw (collected for The Equinox III.2 in 1919 but unpublished until 1974 in Francis King’s Crowley on Christ4). Crowley also wrote a collection of short stories based on The Golden Bough entitled Golden Twigs (several of which were published in 1917-8; the entire collection was first published in 1988). Further, his play “The God-Eater” (1903) may be a nod toward Frazer’s chapter on “Eating the God,” and he may have drawn partly on Frazer when promising to “choose” and “test” and “instruct” the world in “the Mysteries of Eleusis” in his scathing essay “Eleusis.”5
The Golden Bough also influenced the Cambridge Ritualists—Jane Harrison, Gilbert Murray, Francis Cornford, and Arthur Cook. This group of scholars further developed the study of ancient ritual and its intimate tie to drama (specifically in Greece) in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Jane Harrison’s Ancient Art and Ritual, in which she claims that art and ritual “have a common root, and that neither can be understood without the other,” is a good example of the group’s interests.6 Harrison also states, “It is at the outset one and the same principle that sends a man to church and to the theatre.” As we shall see, Crowley expressed and developed nearly the same view and during the same time, the first two decades of the twentieth century, though he does not specifically cite any of the Cambridge Ritualists. The social context of Crowley’s early years, then, was one in which ritual and drama were by no means occult, hidden subjects of debate.
Despite this rich scholarly context, the roots of Crowley’s approach to dramatic ritual ultimately lie in his experience with the Golden Dawn, into which he was initiated on 18 November 1898. Briefly stated, the Golden Dawn was (and is) an occult group with ties to Freemasonry, H. P. Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, and other similar groups active in the mid nineteenth-century. Unlike Blavatsky’s group, the Golden Dawn was largely western in its magical inclinations: Christianity, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and alchemy shaped much of its teachings, though blended with Egyptian and (originally) Jewish Qabalistic elements. The group initiation rituals that the Golden Dawn employed were particularly crucial to shaping the principles of its members. Besides Crowley, W. B. Yeats drew heavily on Golden Dawn knowledge in his poetry and plays, though with far-different goals than the Beast came to do.7 Also, interestingly enough, Samuel Lidell MacGregor Mathers, long-time head of the Order, put on his own “drama” in March 1899 called the Rite of Isis. The show involved recitations from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and a dance to invoke the goddess.8 Thanks to Crowley breaking his oath and publishing the Golden Dawn rituals in his journal The Equinox (Vol. I, Nos. 2 and 3), as I will discuss further below, we can see just how theatrical the Golden Dawn initiation ceremonies were.9 For instance, the initiation ritual for the first grade of Neophyte, one of if not the most important of the rituals, incorporates props and scenery (banners, scepters, lighting, etc.), characters (various officers like Hierophant and Kerux), and scripted dialogue and actions that instruct, purify, and initiate the candidate.10 Some essential elements of this ritual that later appear in Crowley’s own works—ritualistic and dramatic—include the initial purification of the temple, officers/actors explaining the symbolic meanings of their roles, and a “rebirth” of the candidate as he/she is given a new magical name and brought closer to the “Light” of the “Higher Self.”11 Missing from these rites, however, were poetry (the speeches were prose of the headiest “occult wisdom”), music, and a general exploitation of more familiar dramatic conventions. Still, it is clear that Crowley felt the impact that these rituals had, for he would venture on in his way to “search for the Quintessence; the Stone of the Philosophers; the true Wisdom and Perfect Happiness, and the Summum Bonum” alluded to at the closing of the Neophyte ritual.12
But for Crowley, that search would also take on a public dimension that both flew in the face of occult rules of secrecy and made him the simultaneously famous and infamous representative of modern magic. The event: Crowley’s “reception” of The Book of the Law; the result: Crowley turning from lone magician to prophet of Thelema, the Beast 666.13 The details surrounding this event are too complex to discuss fully here, but the basic information can be summed up as follows.14 According to Crowley, The Book of the Law was delivered to him by a being named Aiwass or Aiwaz on 8, 9, and 10 April 1904 in Cairo. The three chapters of the work are the dictated speeches of three (symbolic?) Egyptian deities: Nuit (infinite space), Hadit (the central point of each individual self), and Ra-Hoor-Khuit (or Horus, their “Crowned and Conquering Child” who is the lord of the New Aeon, a sort of “spirit of the age” symbolizing creative energy).15
While questions of authorship, validity, and so forth inevitably come up with regards to The Book of the Law, I want to focus on the role Crowley believed he had been given and the central doctrines that he was compelled to teach. Nuit names the chief officer of Thelema “the chosen priest & apostle of infinite space […] the prince-priest the Beast,” who is accompanied by his consort “the Scarlet Woman”; later, in verse 32 and subsequent chapters, the Beast is specifically called “prophet.”16 Like any good prophet, the Beast (Crowley) needs a message to prophesy. Thus, Nuit gives him “The word of the Law,” Thelema, and explains that it means liberation under the aegis of true Will: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” for “The word of Sin is Restriction.”17 Moral, sexual, and social freedom to be what you truly are is humanity’s new raison d’etre, though with a maintained respect of others as equally independent and free beings. Also like any good prophet, the Beast has a task set upon him by the god(s) for whom he speaks: “He must teach” the new arts of magic in accord with the new Law, which are laid out in each chapter by the particular god.18 But Nuit gives one crucial statement about those rituals, the Law, and the Beast’s task: “the rituals shall be half known and half concealed: the Law is for all.”19 That is, Crowley was not chosen to hide the Law of Thelema within a tiny group of initiates only; he was, by express order of the gods, to promulgate the Law to all of humanity in “half concealed” rituals, to free them from “Sin” in accordance with the rule of the liberated child ruling the world. The only stipulation was that each individual had to pass through the various “ordeals” that would prove their rejection of the old law and bring them to know their true will.20 This is an important point, especially when we see the shocking amoral and violent content of chapters II and III—“Therefore strike hard & low, and to hell with them, master!”21 To find freedom, to come into the realm of the gods (i.e., humans become gods), each individual had to actually work through the difficult process of finding his/her true will through the necessary ordeals. These ordeals (of initiation) were the responsibility of the Beast.
Fulfilling this prophetic task eventually became, for Crowley, a twofold endeavor. First, as he had been told in the days leading up to The Book of the Law, the Golden Dawn was “to be destroyed, i.e., publish its history & its papers.”22 But as an initiated member of the Order, he knew that “The slightest breach of my oath meant that I should incur ‘a deadly and hostile current of will, set in motion by the Greatly Honoured Chiefs of the Second Order, by which I should fall slain or paralysed, as if blasted by the lightning flash.’”23 Luckily for Crowley, the Secret Chiefs “released me from my obligation of secrecy” and, partly because of his “literary ability,” made his “chief duty […] to publish the Secret Wisdom of the Ages.”24 Crowley thus set about publishing the grade rituals and other important papers in The Equinox in 1909, though he had to first undergo and ultimately win a lawsuit by Mathers to halt publication. Added to the earlier schism in the Golden Dawn, the publication of its secrets was a serious blow to its operations at the time.
The second part of Crowley’s task was to teach. But what, exactly, would the Beast teach to humanity? Asking himself this question in a series of meditation/visionary exercises in early 1906, Crowley discovered the answer: “THE KNOWLEDGE AND CONVERSATION OF THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGEL.”25 The “Holy Guardian Angel,” a term for the higher self used by the Golden Dawn (and taken from The Sacred Book of Abramelin the Mage as translated by Mathers c. 1898), is essentially the true self of every individual. It is only by “conversing” with that self that a person can know his/her true will. Thus, in order for a person to “Do what thou wilt” in accordance with the Law of Thelema, he/she had to first discover his/her true will by conversing with his/her Holy Guardian Angel—which was an act of magic, an ordeal. However odd Crowley’s occult and spiritual terminology may be to skeptics and laypersons, his system of first finding the true will and then doing it is consistent. And, lest we forget, it is a system open to all who are willing to embrace it and to work within it: “Every man and every woman is a star.”26
Having received the Law and its concomitant demands on him as the Beast, Crowley at first struggled with the shocking ethics that Ra-Hoor-Khuit brought with him. In Confessions, Crowley recounts his difficult years of coming to terms with The Book of the Law and how he “tried to forget the whole business.”27 Besides the harshness of Thelemic ethics to stubborn “non-believers,” Crowley could not accept the idea of opening up the secret wisdom to the world at large: “I was still obsessed by the idea that secrecy was necessary to a magical document, that publication would destroy its importance.”28 Thus, he determined to publish it out of pure spite—except that “the manuscript had been lost!”29 Crowley’s complete conversion, his acceptance of the Law and of his role as prophet, came in 1909 with the “miraculous” (as he recounts it) rediscovery of the manuscript at his home in Scotland, after which point he dutifully began preaching the word in every way that he could.30 “I further resolved uphold the dignity of Magick by pressing into its service science and philosophy, as well as the noblest English that I could command, and to present it in such a form as would itself command respect and attention.”31 In September of that year, number one of The Equinox (1909-1913)—a variorum of occult poetry, plays, fiction, essays, teachings, etc.—came out to serve as his major vehicle for this endeavor. The diversity of the contents, as Lawrence Sutin comments, reflected “Crowley’s view of magic [that] held that artistic expression was one measure—a fitting one—of true attainment.”32 However, Crowley also recognized that actual work, not just publishing on his end and reading/studying on the public’s end, was required for individuals to thus attain in their own ways. Consequently, he co-founded and oversaw a new magical order, the Argenteum Astrum (“Silver Star” or A.A.), to initiate and instruct those who desired to “seek the light” of true freedom and true will. But Crowley’s task was also a public one, we must remember, and closed-door societies were not enough for the prophet of the New Aeon.
It was during a ritual with other A.A. members to evoke the spirit Bartzabel on 9 May 1910 that Crowley realized firsthand the power and efficacy of looking beyond the conventions of traditional magic rituals. Although the form of the ritual (published later in The Equinox I.9, pp. 117-36) is ostensibly conventional in its actions, symbolism, speeches, and multiple participants—following the pattern of Golden Dawn rituals—the content is unique. Besides being updated to reflect the new Thelemic context for magic (now that he was the willing Beast, that is), Crowley remarks:
Here [in the use of a person as a “material basis” to evoke the spirit] was a startling innovation in tradition. I wrote, moreover, a ritual on entirely new principles. I retained the Cabbalistic names and formulae, but wrote most of the invocation in poetry. The idea was to work up the magical enthusiasm through the exhilaration induced by music.33
The success of this ritual in manifesting the spirit and “conversing” with it for divinatory purposes proved to Crowley that turning to other artistic forms could add to a magical working by stirring the “magical enthusiasm” necessary to success. As he would later write, “There is no more potent means than Art of calling forth true Gods to visible appearance.”34
Crowley’s insight coming from the Bartzabel ritual and his resulting innovation led to further technical development—and thoughts of actually staging, as a sort of play, a ritual in order to create a group “enthusiasm” later in 1910. Indeed, he wrote a ritual for public performance to invoke the moon that involved a violinist—Leila Waddell, a member of the A.A. and Crowley’s lover—and poetry written for the occasion. The event, with tickets and all, took place in August. As Francis King describes (paraphrasing the account by Ethel Archer, an attendant and friend of Crowley’s), Crowley used tried-and-true staging techniques like lighting effects, curtains/veils, and costumes along with the music, poetry, and dancing.35 Further, in a shrewd move to help include the audience, the attendants “sat on cushions scattered around the circumference of the room, all its usual furniture having been removed.”36 Apparently, Crowley’s new methods were not based on unsound opinions, as an attendant from the Sketch testifies: “We were thrilled to our very bones. […] in very deed most of us experienced that ecstasy which Crowley so earnestly seeks.”37 The writer may not “understand the ritual that runs like a thread through these meetings of the A.·. A.·.,” but he admits “that the whole ceremony was impressive” and “artistic.” We should note, of course, that the audience and performers partook of a “Cup of Libation” containing alcohol, fruit juice, and likely peyote beforehand—all in accord with Thelemic principles.38 Regardless, and as the Sketch review supports, it was apparent that magic rituals, presented in particular ways, in theatrical ways, could affect more than just the participants within the circle. They could initiate the audience, as it were. For Crowley, toiling to spread the Law and to liberate humanity from self-imposed restrictions, the ability to create such an extended effect was obviously astounding.
In the wake of these experiences and their apparent public and private success, Crowley seems to have been struck in his magical, artistic, and prophetic senses, for he soon began to marry ritual and drama very deliberately. He created “new methods of Magick.”39 The culmination of Crowley’s theatrical approach to magic, in terms of staged dramatic rituals for the general public, is The Rites of Eleusis. The Rites consist of seven rituals—six original and the seventh derived from the ritual put on in August—following Crowley’s new method of ritual composition. This method, he explains, was based on the ancient custom of invoking gods “by a dramatic presentation or commemoration of their legends” that he had “brought up to date” and supplemented with passages “whose sublimity would help to arouse the necessary enthusiasm.”40 And, brimming with optimism after the August staging, Crowley put the on the Rites for a general audience in Caxton Hall over the course of seven Wednesdays in October-November 1910. First, in respect to their formal techniques, Crowley again blended conventional ritual with other artistic forms for effect. Thus, hearkening back to Golden Dawn standards, in each ritual there is an opening “Banishing Ritual” to purify the workspace; speeches of (rather banal and even melodramatic) explanation and setting by the officers; props such as shrines and altars; and symbolic movements such as circumambulations.41 But there are also violin pieces by Waddell and composers such as Beethoven; dances by Victor Neuberg to “dance down” the gods; and a great deal of poetry by Crowley and a few passages from Swinburne. Crowley seems to have placed a great emphasis on the aesthetic quality of the Rites, for he includes some of his most powerful and affective verse, such as this passage in “The Rite of Jupiter” taken from the song of Dionysus in his epic poem Orpheus:
For I am of force to shatter
The cast that hideth—Pan!
I lead you, lord of the maze,
In the darkness free of the sun;
In spite of the spite that is day’s
We are wed, we are wild, we are one!42
Along with these artistic elements, the Rites also involve the audience as “the officers circumambulate the temple [in “The Rite of Saturn”] and the audience are [sic] picked at random, one by one, to join the procession, the last to do so being reminded, ‘Thou also must die!’”43 (Notably absent from the performance at Caxton Hall, for the audience at least, is the “Cup of Libation.”) That is, they are—in content, if not in quality—much like a play. Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, for instance, incorporates prose, verse, and a dance at the end, and may have thus used music as well; T. S. Eliot’s Sweeney Agonistes, a more modern example, includes verse and songs usually accompanied with music when staged.
J. F. Brown is one of the few critics to make a close examination of the Rites in dramatic terms, including the relationship between art and ritual, how Crowley approached “a theatre of altered consciousness,” and in the similarity between Crowley’s staging and that of Symbolist drama.44 When he remarks, “Crowley felt his drama also must have a myth, to serve as the vehicle of initiation,” he points out the second element of the Rites: their instructional intent and content.45 Crowley gives a useful summary of the cognitive framework—not particularly lucid in the rituals themselves—behind what Crowley calls “seven acts of one play”:
Man, unable to solve the Riddle of Existence, takes counsel of Saturn, extreme old age. Such answers as he can get is the one word “Despair”.
Is there more hope in the dignity and wisdom of Jupiter? No; for the noble senior lacks the vigour of Mars the warrior. Counsel is in vain without determination to carry it out.
Mars, thus invoked, is indeed capable of victory: but he has already lost the controlled wisdom of age; in a moment of conquest he wastes the fruits of it, in the arms of luxury.
It is through this weakness that the perfected man, the Sun, is of dual nature, and his evil twin slays him in his glory. […] and who shall mourn him but his Mother Nature, Venus, the lady of love and sorrow[?] […]
But even Venus owes all her charm to the swift messenger of the gods, Mercury, the joyous and ambiguous boy whose tricks first scandalize and then delight Olympus.
But Mercury, too, is found wanting. Now in him alone is the secret cure for all the woe of the human race. Swift as ever, he passes, and gives place to the youngest of the gods, to the Virginal Moon.
But Artemis is still barren of hope until the spirit of the Infinite All, great Pan, tears asunder the veil and displays the hope of humanity, the Crowned Child of the Future.46
When we read Crowley’s summary and the Rites themselves, it is at first obvious that these rituals have virtually nothing to do with accounts of the Greek Rites of Eleusis based on the myth of Demeter and Persephone.47 Still, Crowley’s modern version is not completely disconnected from its classical namesake. The original Mysteries were rites of initiation, and they answered a “riddle” (in the revelation of vegetative cycles as symbolic of personal rebirth), like Crowley’s Rites. Also, we should recall Crowley’s reference to the Mysteries as part of his teaching and instructing in his essay “Eleusis,” which shows that he (like virtually every occultist) connected initiation with a tradition of which the Eleusinian Mysteries were a part. And he likely expected his audience to do the same. This fact speaks to the importance of the underlying “myth” of Crowley’s Thelemic system as they appear in his Rites. What we have is a revelation/initiation progressing from a god of death (the “Dying God” and empty shrine of the previous aeon) to a “death” of the lower self (the crucifixion) to a descent of “occult” wisdom (Mercury) and at last to the enthronement of a “Crowned Child” (cp. Ra-Hoor-Khuit).48 And, in the ultimate Thelemic move, that child is barren and virginal until the earthly, lusty, libidinous Pan asks, “Of what worth is the gold in the mine?” and finally tears down the veil—removing the hiding “restriction” of the old law to show forth the naked, available youthful energy of the new Law.49 The importance of this act to the “initiation” of humanity into its new (rightful) place of “divinity” is particularly clear in Pan’s song to Luna at the conclusion of the Rite just before he tears down the veil:
O virgin in armour
Thine arrows unsling
In the brilliant resilient
First rays of the spring!
No Godhead could charm her,
But manhood awoke—
O fiery Valkyrie,
I invoke, I invoke!50
The final vision of the Rites is of powerless gods replaced by empowered “manhood,” with Pan bridging the gap between the virginal goddess and the earthly participants in the Rite by his song and his removal of the obscuring veil.
Unfortunately for Crowley, the Rites, as a prophetic and artistic event, were almost a complete flop. Even Crowley, not known for his humility, admits that they failed, but for telling reasons: “I diminished the importance of the dramatic elements; the dialogue and action were little more than a setting for the soloists.”51 Although he goes on to blame the surroundings and his refusal to “condescend to theatricalism,” it is interesting that he locates the problems in the ineffective artistry, not the basic method and message of the work.52 Indeed, despite a slew of biting reviews in papers like The Looking Glass (which also made innuendoes of sexual misconduct), Crowley deems the dramatic-ritual technique “a stupendous idea.”53 Thus, when Brown says that “Crowley the playwright came into conflict with Crowley the magician,” he is not far off the mark.54 As the Rites show, and as Sutin intelligently articulates, Crowley avoided overt Thelemic language and “conveyed the teachings of Thelema without expressly announcing the Book [of the Law] or his vocation as its prophet. In this sense, Crowley was most cautious in his approach to his intended public.”55 Again, initiation and ordeals are important here: Crowley certainly dramatized the teachings in a veiled manner in the hope that the effect would serve as ecstatic propaganda to bring more “uninitiated” candidates to him for initiation and further teaching. With their bones still thrilling, the audience might surely desire to know and experience more. Whatever their theatricality, or lack thereof, the Rites were certainly intended to be a part of Crowley’s task as the prophet of Thelema.
Despite Crowley’s caution with the Rites and his failed proselytizing via the theatre, when critics treat the Rites as a mere episode in a beastly life or, like Brown, leave them as an embarrassing exhibition by “a bad 19th-century romantic poet,” they impose a sense of utter failure on Crowley’s work with dramatic rituals.56 In fact, Crowley clearly took the “stupendous idea” of the mixed-genre method he used in the dramatic-ritualistic Rites and made it a fundamental principle in his subsequent work as a poet/playwright and a magician—though generally aimed at a more sympathetic and initiated audience.57 With respect to his plays published after 1910, there is a striking new integration of ritual form, best exemplified by Adonis: An Allegory and The Ship: A Mystery Play (a Mystery!).
Crowley identifies Adonis (published in The Equinox I.7, March 1912) as “a dramatic ritual in the modern style,” which is interesting for tying drama and ritual together with contemporary movements in art.58 The play hearkens back to Frazer and his extended treatment of the myth and rituals of Adonis as a dying vegetation god. It also incorporates some important thematic elements of Crowley’s Rites, though the ritual aspect is not as overt in this more traditional play. The plot of Adonis involves Adonis (at first named Esarhaddon) having forgotten his “divinity” and his true wife Psyche because of the seduction of Astarte. That is, as Crowley explains in the later Argument, “Esharaddon is a man ignorant of his high destiny, lost in love of the body (Astarte) […]. The soul (Psyche) appeals to him in vain, but awakes his dread of the King of Babylon (the material plane), who is Death.”59 This part of the storyline seems to be very close to the “Riddle of Existence” and “Despair” of Saturn in the Rites, the wasted vigor of Mars in the arms of Venus, and to the subjection/death of the perfected man because of his dual nature respectively. Further, just as in the Rites, Hermes (Mercury) plays an integral role in Adonis as a Greek physician and magician who, as “the wisdom of God, leads the man to recollection of his true nature.”60 As Hermes promises in the play, “as from eclipse the sun’s / Supernal splendour springs, [Adonis’s] sight / Shall leap to light” if Psyche follows his instructions.61 And, when at last Adonis awakens from his amnesiac state, he is aware of his spiritual power—but far from chaste or otherworldly! He sings to Psyche, “I am myself, knowing I am thou,” and this “Truth […] / […] / Sets the God within the shrine / And my mouth on thine, on thine.”62 And much like Crowley has the earthly Pan tear down the veil of chaste Artemis/Luna in the Rites, Adonis and Psyche embrace rather than reject Astarte at Psyche’s insistence: “We need thee / To serve us.”63 Adonis, then, incorporates a cyclic “death” and rebirth, as in ancient rituals explained by Frazer, as its dramatic vehicle, though Crowley focuses much more on the triumphant rebirth and creative-life elements of that cycle. But it is also very close in plot and theme—liberated, spiritual, and initiated love that regenerates the material nature of humanity—to Crowley’s Rites and his essential Thelemic message.
The Ship (published in The Equinox I.10, September 1913) is a second example of Crowley’s dramatic-ritual technique as applied to plays rather than magic rituals. The Ship, “a magical ritual in dramatic form, commemorating the return of Spring,” is almost stunningly ritualistic in form; when reading it, one actually gets the sense of a magical working rather than a play.64 It is clearly a dramatic rendering of traditional ritual, using all of the Golden Dawn standards. To point out some of the most noticeable instances, the characters are all robed; the set includes symbolic scenery and veils; and the characters all use secret signs and words.65 Even closer to the form of the Rites, The Ship is in rhymed couplets and includes dances and music played by the character Julia.66 Also like the Rites, the crux of The Ship is the “crucifixion” of the key male character John, the ritual death from which he is reborn as “the youth John […] dressed in the crown and robes of his father.”67 Further, this child, reinvigorating the trappings of his father as “the author of the aeon,” is reborn after being carried in the ark of the “Moon of our love, most wondrous womb.”68 With the emergence of the child, as with the return of spring, a lifeless shrine becomes fruitful with “corn” and “wine.”69
It is surprising and important that the plot of The Ship, written by the Beast 666, is disturbingly Christian in its finale, with loaded references to “I am that I am” and “the Father” and “Son” and “Holy Spirit.”70 But Crowley’s use of this language is appropriate in two ways. First, The Ship is his expression “in dramatic form” “of the central mystery of freemasonry,” and freemasonry is essentially a Christian movement.71 Second, Crowley often adopts Christian language in an ironic fashion, as is surely the case here in his drama of the return of spring. By tying the Christ myth to the ancient vegetation-god myth, Crowley seeks to expose the former as a version of the latter (much like Frazer’s evidence tacitly does). And, truth be told, Crowley never escaped the Christianity of his youth, no matter how hard he tried to rebel against it; it appears constantly in his artistic and other writings. Combining all of these elements, The Ship is a strikingly ritualistic drama—or dramatic ritual—that exemplifies Crowley’s post-Rites approach to magic. At the same time, like Adonis, it also exemplifies how this approach was harmonious with his prophetic task, for it expresses some of the key principles of Thelema: passing through an initiating ordeal or ritual “death” to be reborn as the perfected child of creative energy.
Alongside these more artistic endeavors after 1910, Crowley also continued to follow the technique he used in the Rites by marrying ritual and drama in his strictly (in intention) magical rituals, both for individual and group work. Liber XLIV: The Mass of the Phoenix, first published in 1913 as part of Crowley’s The Book of Lies, is a Thelemic ritual again celebrating the renewal of the perfected individual after consuming his/her own material nature—the mythical phoenix rising from its own ashes.72 What is worth noting in this ritual is that, along with the use of signs, magical instruments, and even a bell, Crowley sets the speech in rhymed couplets. “There is no grace: there is no guilt: / This is the Law: Do What Thou Wilt!” the magician states; then, after striking the bell eleven times for emphasis, he/she cries “I entered in with woe; with mirth / I now go forth, and with thanksgiving, / To do my pleasure on the earth.”73 Liber V vel Reguli, written c. 1921, uses other, more dramatic forms in a different way.74 This ritual, an interesting Thelemic adaptation of older Golden Dawn rituals, includes a “Spiral Dance” to arouse the enthusiasm of the magician, though it “may be omitted” depending on the aim of the working.75 Liber V is also significant because Crowley originally used it for group working at his Abbey of Thelema in Cefàlu, Sicily, later applying it to individual work as well.76 In The Mass of the Phoenix and Liber V, then, we see Crowley continuing to mix genres/forms in his magic—ritual and poetry in the former, ritual and dancing in the latter—in accordance with his belief in the efficacy of that approach and its usefulness in a Thelemic system of magic.
Probably the most outstanding dramatic ritual that Crowley ever composed is Liber XV. O.T.O. Ecclesiæ Gnosticæ Catholicæ Canon Missæ or the “Gnostic Catholic Mass,” written in 1913 and first published in 1918. Crowley wrote the Gnostic Catholic Mass after he became involved with (and later headed) the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), a magical Order that is much more communal in its workings than was Crowley’s A.A. Further, Crowley directed the majority of his energies to the O.T.O. after 1912 as he grew more convinced of the powers of sexual magic, which the O.T.O. practiced.77
This new shift in Crowley’s magical direction is crucial to his later work and reputation (as a drug-crazed sexomaniac), so a little background for the Gnostic Catholic Mass may be helpful here. As Crowley recounts in his Confessions, he was put in charge of rewriting the rituals of the O.T.O., which he calls “dramatically worthless” when naming their faults.78 But, to Crowley, the heart of the Order’s teachings was of great value, and (with a little revision) harmonious with Thelema. The Gnostic Catholic Mass is just one of the many O.T.O. rituals that Crowley wrote in the years after he took over the order (under the name Baphomet), and it is still performed by various O.T.O. offshoots. Crowley speaks to the communal nature of the Gnostic Catholic Mass, a ceremony to satisfy “the religious instinct,” and explains that in it he aimed “to construct a ritual through which people might enter into ecstasy as they have always done under the influence of appropriate ritual.”79 Much like its orthodox Catholic counterpart, even including a sacrament of wine and “Cakes of Light,” the Gnostic Catholic Mass is truly remarkable even on paper with the elaborate decorations of the temple, the rich attire of the participants, the accompanying music, and the multi-lingual speeches and aves punctuating the ceremony.80 However, Crowley incorporates verse at key points in the ritual, such as during the “Consecration of the Elements” (section VI) when the priest makes the blessing/transubstantiation of the Cakes (“By the virtue of the Rod / Be this bread the Body of God!”) and the wine (“By the virtue of the Rod / Be this wine the Blood of God!”).81 And for the poetic “Anthem” that closes the ceremony in a flourish of poetic exaltation, Crowley used the final lines of his play The Ship, that dramatic ritual celebrating the return of spring and the creative rebirth of life. The Gnostic Catholic Mass thus seems to serve as the success that Crowley sought but failed to find in The Rites of Eleusis. It is his grandest work of dramatic ritual, a ceremony of community in which the officiating “actors” lead the audience through a musical and poetic experience to equally induce and celebrate the ecstasy of liberated life—of life under the Law of Thelema, whose yoke, Crowley proclaims, is hard won but light.
One final example of Crowley’s use of ritual and drama in terms of magical work worth looking at is his Magick, an encyclopedia of occultism that is impressive in its scope and depth. The book consists of four parts: “Mysticism,” “Magick (Elementary Theory),” “Magick in Theory and Practice,” and “ΘΕΛΗΜΑ: The Law” (which includes the text of The Book of the Law). Part III is of particular interest here, for in it Crowley first lays out his definition of “MAGICK” as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will” and then gives its theoretical and practical principles.82 Now, Crowley began writing part III with Leila Waddell (the violinist in the Rites) as amanuensis c. 1912, he advertised it in 1913 in The Equinox, he made the first typescript of it in 1921 while at his Abbey, and he finally published it in 1929-30.83 As we can see, Crowley’s work on this part of Magick began shortly after his staging of the Rites and coincided with his involvement with the O.T.O. Thus, in writing his Thelemic-magical “textbook” for the world of interested students of the Mysteries, Crowley codifies the theories of dramatic ritual that he had been practicing since 1910. In chapter 1, “The Principles of Ritual,” he defines “the object of all magical ritual” as “the uniting of the Microcosm with the Macrocosm. The Supreme and Complete Ritual is therefore the Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel.”84 That is, the ultimate aim of all proper rituals is the very thing that he made it his task to teach in the wake of The Book of the Law. Also in this chapter, he gives the “Third Method” of invoking a deity as “the dramatic, perhaps the most attractive of all” in its ability to create “sympathy” (i.e., identity) with the deity.85 Besides his equation of art with magic quoted above (from chapter 10, “Of the Gestures”), Crowley devotes chapter 19 to “Dramatic Rituals.” Here, he again speaks to the force obtained from harmonious group work (which dramatic rituals best provide), the necessity of a “well-skilled poet” to compose the “story,” a ritual climax, and then a final “impromptu” that has as its “most satisfactory form” a dance.86 Although this chapter is only two pages long, it is a virtual summary of the principles that Crowley had developed, practiced, and found successful since 1910. Clearly, if he feels confident enough to make the married dramatic-ritual technique that we have been examining part of his most scientific, delineated, and serious treatment of magic, then he must have been convinced that the singular failure of the Rites did not nullify his “stupendous idea.” Indeed, he seems to have been otherwise convinced of its efficacy for the remainder of his life: he continued to write, act, and publish as poet, magician, prophet, and Beast.
Whether or not one accepts Crowley’s system of Thelemic Magick, with its gods and doctrines of liberated ecstasy, or Crowley himself as the self-convinced prophet of a new Law, it is irrefutable that he was prolific in his efforts to operate in accordance with that system. Moreover, he continued to work in the public’s often-critical eye as the Beast 666, engaging his talents as writer, magician, and eccentric in order to make the Law available to all. Crowley was convinced that human perfection requires liberating the self from restriction and entering a state of child-like energy, and that such perfected energy was in its essence ecstatic and artistic. Consequently, he developed and applied a technique of dramatic ritual, almost a genre in itself, which married all the conventions of magic and all the conventions of drama in order to unite the microcosm and the macrocosm, the higher and the lower self, through an experience engaging all of the faculties. Through his early success with his dramatic-ritual form, his failure with the public Rites of Eleusis, and his continued reworking of his “new methods of Magick,” Crowley enacts his basic prophetic creed that “All Art is Magick,” that all magic is liberating, and that liberation is the right of all humankind.
1 Aleister Crowley, with Mary Desti and Leila Waddell, Magick: Liber ABA. Book Four. Parts I-IV, ed. Hymanaeus Beta, rev. ed. (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1997) 197; Crowley’s boldface.
2 James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, abridged ed. (New York: Collier Books-Macmillan Publishing Company, 1963) 448.
3 Ibid. In addition to this mythical-magical relationship, Frazer also recognized the development and succession of science out of the “superstitions” of the past (see the final chapter of The Golden Bough, “Farewell to Nemi”). Crowley presents a similar view with his system of “Scientific Illuminism,” mysticism practiced along scientific lines.
4 See Crowley, Magick 793 and 795.
5 Aleister Crowley, “Eleusis,” The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley, vol. 3 (Foyers, UK: Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, 1907; Des Plaines, Ill.: Yogi Publication Society, n.d.) 230.
6 Qtd. in Robert Ackerman, The Myth and Ritual School: J. G. Frazer and the Cambridge Ritualists, Theorists of Myth, ed. Robert A. Segal (New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1991) 153.
7 For instance, Yeats’s Rosa Alchemica contains a ritual climax relying heavily on the Golden Dawn. However, Yeats’s works are not meant to be rituals themselves, nor do they support a system and cosmology, as Crowley’s do.
8 See J. F. Brown, “Aleister Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis,” Drama Review 22.2 (1978): 11-2.
9 See also Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn for a more complete edition of Golden Dawn rituals and teachings.
10 See J. F. C. Fuller, with Allen Bennett, “The Temple of Solomon the King. Part II,” The Equinox 1.2 (Sept. 1909), in vol. 1 (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1998) 244-61.
11 Fuller 257 and passim.
12 Ibid. 261.
13 Originally titled Liber L. vel Legis, the title changed to Liber AL vel Legis c. 1919. It is conventionally referred to by its English title, The Book of the Law.
14 See Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, eds. John Symonds and Kenneth Grant, 2nd ed., (1929; London and New York: Arkana-Penguin Books, 1989), and Magick part IV, passim, for detailed discussions of the reception of The Book of the Law, the gods and beings it describes, and the principles of Thelema it contains.
15 Crowley’s remark on the progression of human civilization underlying this cosmology evidences the importance of the Golden Dawn to his later work: “The Neophyte ceremony of the Golden Dawn prepared me for the New Aeon [of Ra-Hoor-Khuit]; for, at the Equinox, the officer who represented Horus in the West took the throne of Osiris [the “Dying God” of the previous aeon ending with The Book of the Law] in the East” (Crowley, Confessions 399).
16 Aleister Crowley, “Liber L. vel Legis svb figura CCXX as delivered by LXXVIII vnto DCLXVI” [The Book of the Law], The Equinox 1.10 (Sept. 1913), in vol. 2 (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1998) I:15, p.12.
17 Ibid. I:39, I:40, I:41, p.14.
18 Ibid. I:38, p.14.
19 Ibid. I.34, p. 14; emphasis added.
20 Ibid. I:38, p.14 and passim.
21 Ibid., II:60, p.23. As I will discuss further below, Crowley was so troubled by this part of The Book of the Law that he shirked and even rejected his office as its prophet for many years; his final acceptance of it in 1909 is both significant and timely.
22 Qtd. in Crowley, Magick xxxviii.
23 Crowley, Confessions 177.
24 Ibid. 404.
25 Qtd. in Crowley, Confessions 516.
26 Crowley, The Book of the Law I:3, p.11.
27 Crowley, Confessions 451.
28 Ibid. 541.
29 Ibid. 541-42.
30 See ibid. 595-96.
31 Ibid. 582.
32 Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000) 193.
33 Crowley, Confessions 630; emphasis added.
34 Crowley, Magick 197; Crowley’s boldface.
35 Francis King, The Magical World of Aleister Crowley (London: Wedenfield and Nicolson, 1977) 62-4.
36 Ibid. 63.
37 Qtd. in Crowley, Confessions 32. The writer, Raymond Radclyffe, was “an admirer of Crowley’s poetry” (Sutin 210) but apparently not Crowley’s disciple.
38 See Sutin 210 and King 63.
39 Crowley, Confessions 632.
40 Ibid. 633. Although Crowley bases this claim on the content of the “masonic rituals” he was using at the time, his opinion of ancient customs virtually echoes the entirety of Frazer’s The Golden Bough. Jane Harrison’s works (Themis and Ancient Art and Ritual) and those of the other Cambridge Ritualists, published after the Rites were performed, also lend credence to Crowley’s statement.
41 See Aleister Crowley, et al., “The Rites of Eleusis,” The Equinox I.6 (Sept. 1911), Special Supplement, in vol. 2 (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1998) p.5 and passim. (My future references to poetry and plays from The Equinox will indicate page numbers, “p.,” as line numbers are not given.)
42 Ibid. p.42.
43 Crowley, Confessions 636-37.
44 Brown 26, 12-3.
45 Ibid. 12.
46 Crowley, Confessions 635-36.
47 See Frazer 456ff. for a discussion of the Greek Rites.
48 See Crowley et al., The Rites of Eleusis pp.14 and passim.
49 Ibid. p.120.
50 Ibid. p. 124.
51 Crowley, Confessions 636.
52 Ibid. 637.
53 Ibid. 638. Crowley’s friend George Cecil Jones sued The Looking Glass for libel, as Crowley’s other acquaintances urged him to do, but lost the case (see ibid. 635 et al.).
54 Brown 12.
55 Sutin 210. Some of the most direct references to Thelemic principles come in “The Rite of Mars,” with lines such as, “Crowned child and conquering Lord! / Horus, avenger!” (p.51); though not overt, the Thelemic system is still pervasive.
56 Brown 26.
57 For purely “secular” theatre, Crowley took Waddell and other women performers on tour in England and Russia as “The Ragged Ragtime Girls.” See Crowley, Confessions 690 and 711, and Will Ryan, “The Great Beast in Russia: Aleister Crowley’s Theatrical Tour in 1913 and his Beastly Writings in Russia,” Symbolism and After: Essays on Russian Poetry in Honour of Georgette Donchin, ed. Arnold McMillin (London: Bristol Classical Press-Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 1992), passim.
58 Crowley, Magick 450.
59 Aleister Crowley, “Notes and Corrections,” The Equinox 1.10 (Sept. 1913), in vol. 2 (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1998) 30.
61 Aleister Crowley, “Adonis: An Allegory,” The Equinox I.7 (March 1912), in vol. 2 (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1998) p.147.
62 Ibid. p.155.
63 Ibid. p.156.
64 Crowley, Magick 450.
65 Aleister Crowley, “The Ship: A Mystery Play,” The Equinox I.10 (Sept. 1913), in vol. 2 (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1998) pp.59-60, 61-3.
66 See ibid. pp.70, 73-4.
67 Ibid. pp.63, 75.
68 Ibid. pp.76, 73.
69 Ibid. p.77.
70 Ibid. pp.76, 78.
71 Crowley, Confessions 714.
72 E.g., its “Cakes of Light” follow the recipe given in The Book of the Law III:24: “meal & honey & thick leavings of red wine: then oil of Abramelin and olive oil, and afterward soften & smooth down with rich fresh blood” (Crowley, The Book of the Law p.27).
73 Aleister Crowley, “Liber XLIV: The Mass of the Phoenix,” in Magick (op. cit.) 572.
74 See Crowley, Magick 772-73.
75 Aleister Crowley, “Liber V vel Reguli,” in Magick (op. cit.) 575.
76 See Crowley, Magick lxi.
77 Although Crowley began announcing the O.T.O. as early as 1912 in The Equinox I.8 and again in I.9, he was reticent to reveal the “wisdom,” sexual in nature, which the Order taught and practiced. Crowley offers tantalizing hints of the secrets in Confessions. He states, “I am always ready to communicate them to inquiring Brothers” (706), and he admits that he could give them and appropriate rules “without doing much harm” (709), but he never does so. Perhaps the efficacy of sexual magic, having impressed Crowley so deeply, and combined with the attacks on his character growing out of his staging of The Rites of Eleusis, led him to focus more on the “ordeals” and “half concealed” rituals of The Book of the Law as necessary preparations. Whatever his motivations for this secrecy, Crowley continued to publish his magical works and to remain in the public sphere as the prophet of Thelema, preaching the Law to all, up until his death in 1947.
78 Crowley, Confessions 701.
79 Ibid. 714.
80 See Aleister Crowley, “Liber XV: O.T. O. Ecclesiæ Gnosticæ Catholicæ Canon Missæ” [The Gnostic Catholic Mass], in Magick (op. cit.) 584, 593-94).
81 Ibid. p.593; admittedly, these couplets are less than “ecstatic” poetry.
82 Crowley, Magick 126; Crowley’s boldface hereafter unless otherwise noted.
83 See ibid. 725-26.
84 Ibid. 144.
85 Ibid. 145, 147.
86 Ibid. 265.
The Book of Philosophies
And as the night drew itself upon Cain and the Fallen Angel, Satan shared His philosophies with His disciple.“Listen to these words, for they come from all the souls which comprise my being. The words are simple, yet they hold power. Abide by them and they shall serve thee well.”
And so Cain listened…
Do unto others as ye wish to do unto them. For this is thy right as a being of free will. Thou may treat thy neighbor good or ill, as per thy will. But remember this: He also is free to respond according to his will; and it would do thee well to temper thine action with judgment.
Thou shalt not kill out of anger, lust or evil. Yet to protect that which is important—self, family, liberty—kill swiftly and without mercy. If thou art not willing to do this, ye shall lose all that matters to thee.
Worry not of covetousness, for thoughts are free and difficult to rein. Work, rather, on restraint in thine actions.
Worship not idols, symbols, gods nor men. Worship only knowledge, freedom and thine own self.
A man may do all that he wishes to do. Yet it may not always be wise for him to do so.
Listen to the opinions of others and weigh their merits, for others may see options ye have not. Yet follow thine own heart for the final decision. If thou art not willing to do this, then take heed: Thou hast delivered thy destiny into the hands of strangers.
Truth is beauty, yet beauty is not truth. Knowledge is power, but power is not knowledge. Keep thy logic in its proper sequence.
Faith is the greatest force within this universe. With it, ye may do all that is possible, and even that which is not. Yet ye must channel this energy within thine own soul: keep faith in thy hopes, faith in thy dreams, faith in thyself.
Within thee lies the power of the gods. To gain it, strive for understanding: of the firmament, of thine earth, of others, and most importantly, of thyself.
Seek the philosophy within thy soul, for others cannot reveal it nor dictate it to thee. Neither god nor man may lead thee to thyself, for only the individual soul knows its own path.
No one may control thee or manipulate thee unless ye allow it to be. Thee and thee alone art thy destiny’s master.
Thy path in life must be thine own, let not others choose it for thee. If ye wish a chance at greatness, follow thine own path. If it should lead to misery, so be it. At least is it a misery of thine own choosing. And remember, ye may always try again.
Curse not others if thy life is disordered, for the choice of direction rests ultimately with thee. If ye must curse, then curse thine own self for allowing it. Yet this degradation serves no purpose. If thou art wrong, state it plainly, then work toward its correction.
He who liveth without purpose liveth without life. If thou art without goals, then ye shall accomplish nothing. Know what ye would like in life, then seek it out. It is that simple.
Death comes to all, bidden or unbidden. Accept this, then live as if it were untrue.
Thou shalt always have choices in life. But this does not guarantee that they shall be favorable choices, and, at times, the best ye may do is choose the lesser evil.
Nothing is impossible. Thy limits are without limit. However, if ye do not believe this, ye shall find thou art correct.
If thou findest an inequity, ye must correct it. If thou art witnesses to injustice, ye must not stand idle. If ye come upon pain, then give relief. For if the lot of Man is to improve, the seer must be the doer.
Judge and let thyself be judged. For it is thy right as a being of free will. Yet live a goodly life so that ye may judge fairly. And, should ye be falsely judged by others, it shall matter not.
Hear the instruction of thy mother and father, for experience was their teacher. Start with these teachings, then add thine own learning, and change that which must be changed.
If thou followest the philosophy of others and add nothing of thine own, then thou art no more than a beast of the field and have wasted thy soul.
Carry not the sins of thy father with thee, for thou art thine own person and accountable only for thine own actions—not the actions of thy father, thy brother, thy tribe or thy race.
Allow thy children to live, think and feel freely, for the mother and father know not all things.
Believe in thine own self, and serve no other, for others know nothing of what is best for thee. Yet do not shut out opposing philosophies, for at times their teachings may be clearer than thine own.
There is no sin. Do that which is right for thee, for only in this shall ye find happiness. Yet remember always: thine earth is a shared space.
Let morality guide thee, but not out of fear. Rather, follow it for thine own sake.
Trust thy judgment with all thy heart. If ye can do this thing, then, truly, ye shall not be forsaken.
Believe in thine own free will. Listen to its dictates and not to the dictates of others. In this and this alone shall true happiness be found.
Blessed is he who findeth wisdom and seeketh knowledge, for these are more precious than gold; and the gain thereof shall be the immortal universe itself.
Friends are precious; keep them near. But thy family is sacred. One may treat them ill, slander them and do them evil. Yet when thy need is greatest, they shall always be with thee.
History is not a fixed thing. Although the event may remain constant, the interpretation is ever fluid. And the interpretation is all: for a grown man will look back upon a childhood act and see his guilt, where earlier he saw only vindication. Change the mind and change the past—and with it, the present and future.
Be not the hedonist, seize not the day without an eye to the morrow. Yet enjoy the flesh, for it is thy legacy.
Thou hast within thee gifts without measure and powers beyond comprehension. Ye need but use them. Take pride in thy gifts, pride in thy power, and pride in thy accomplishments.
Seek not the praise of others and heed not their condemnation—for within thee and thee alone lies the power of self-fulfillment.
Thou art neither better nor worse than thy neighbor, no matter how much more righteous or evil he may be.
Hope maketh the heart stronger, where desire unfulfilled maketh the heart ill. Hope for fulfillment and work toward its achievement. And if thy goals go unmet, ye shall still find peace, for within the journey does the true goal lie.
Error and forgiveness are the traits of humanity, fear and condemnation the traits of gods. Strive to be human; strive not to be gods.
Subjugate thyself not to God nor man, for subjugation knows no honor. Why should the Father wish His children to kneel in fear before him? Better to die free than to live as sheep.
There are those who understand reason and those who understand violence. Reason is wasted on the violent man and violence is wasted on the reasonable man. If thou wishest one to hear thee, speak in his language or speak not at all.
Ye may speak truth or deception, according to thine own free will. But to thine own self, know the difference.
If a man wrongs thee, look to thyself to see why thou hast allowed the transgression. Learn from it, then seek vindication or reconciliation, as ye see fit.
Others may lead thee to temptation, but only by thine own hand can ye partake of it. If thou later seekest to lay blame, seek thyself.
In life, some have more and some have less. Yet what matter? Peace and happiness stem from within, not without.
Do what ye will with thy life. Give freely, love freely and expect nothing. In this shall ye find true happiness, and there will be no reason for disappointment.
If thou desires an action to come about then bring it about. Ye may fail, but, then, ye may not.
There is knowledge in all things, in all actions, in all places. Learn from all things. It may come from the mouth of a child as easily as from the wisest of men. Always listen, always learn: Knowledge is all around thee.
Knowledge is a painful thing, for it always bears a price. Accept the risk and pain, for life without risk or pain is not life.
Look not to the Lord God for direction; look not to Satan. Look, instead, to thine own self.
Live each day as if it were thy last day. Yet live it also as if it were not.
If thou wishest to die, then thou art dead already.
Thou art stronger than ye can ever know, search for the strength that wells within. It is there. It is waiting. And somewhere out there, someone needs you more than you can ever imagine.
Life and hope are one. Seek thy gifts and share them. It is for this reason that thou art truly here.
If thou wishest life in death, then ye must live in life.
That which ye can touch and hold and lose is of little importance. The greatest thing in life cannot be taken.
It comes to this: by design, the Race of Man is half man and half beast. Thou art not beings of reason, but, rather, beings capable of reason. There is much difference between the two. Exercise thy capabilities.
Thou art a being of free will. Ye may follow the instincts of the beast or the reason of the man. The choice has been forever yours. Yet know this: a life ruled by the beast shall lead thee to subjugation and destruction, for it is the beast that is in thrall to the Lord God.
For everything there is a time: a time to live, a time to die; a time for peace, a time for war; a time to create and a time to destroy. Learn to tell time.
The flesh is a vessel, a conduit to the immortal. If thou learnest from thy travels, the destination is assured.
It is in thy nature to take the familiar for granted. Strive against this. Question always, question often, in this shall ye keep what is most important. The price for thine immortal soul is constant vigilance.
Seek to understand the unknown. Expand thy thoughts and seek out knowledge, for in this shall ye become as One in death.
The answers to all things are always within thy grasp. Ye carry within thee all that is needed to comprehend the infinite. And it is waiting for thee to find it.
He who knows himself knows others, for a piece of ourselves dwells within every other.
If ye have not known hate, pain, greed and cowardice then thou hast not known love, pleasure, generosity and courage—for they are all degrees of the same ideal. Accept both the good and the bad within thee, for there is no separating the two. Without one, the other has no meaning.
Until life has given thee its worst, thou hast not been at thy best.
All has been brought to bear against thee. Thine instincts were bred into thee; thy laws created for they could not be kept. Question all, for this is the path to Oneness. Heed not the beliefs, laws and actions of others unless they suit thee. And be prepared to die for this.
Fear of the Lord is the end of Knowledge and of Reason, and these two pursuits are the keys that shall free thy soul. If ye sacrifice these philosophies, then ye shall cease to grow in spirit. And there shall be no life in death.
And so it ended, for it was enough.
“Remember what has been said here,” Satan concluded. “For the salvation of the earth is contained within the simple words thou hast heard here this night.” And Satan said, “For one with no soul, Cain, ye art wiser than many. Take the life ye have been given and make it purposeful, regardless of what hast befallen thee. We are remembered for what we do and how we live: make yours a goodly remembrance.”
“I say again to thee, Cain, take what I have given thee this night. Thou art a tiller of soil: take the seeds of wisdom I have placed within thee, plant them, tend them, see that they take root.”
“Remember this always.”
And Cain did remember. Always.
Such is the wisdom given to Cain by our Lord Lucifer. And such is the wisdom we at The Church of the Fallen live by and build upon to prepare for the End Times. For if you don’t add some of your own knowledge and experience to that which is passed to you, you are nothing more than a beast of the field. “Yes, I see the truth in what Ye say, Teacher,” Cain replied. “And of all things, one must learn to recognize the truth.”
Solitary Black Mass
Black Mass for the Solitary Practitioner Written and compiled by: Rev. Diabolicus I. Order of the Four Horsemen, Church of the Fallen Copyright © 2003 Rev. David L. Litts
Many of us do not have a group to work with due to living situations, and location. The Order of the Four Horsemen feel that each member should be included in special events, and have the right to the rituals of the Church of the fallen
This right is for the Solitary Practitioner. It can be used for workings of magick, or just celebrating major rites of the Luciferian faith.
Some Practitioners have a room that they can dedicate as a Temple, or just a small piece of their apartment. Either way it is important that you take the time to worship.
Here are some supplies that you will need in order to get started.
1.An Alter. This can be a small coffee table or one that it made. The size and dimensions are up to you. 2.An alter cloth. This cloth should be black, and can be made from any fabric you wish. 3.A bell or gong 4.Candles for illumination, these candles should be black. 5.One black and one white candle for the alter, the white candle is used for casting spells of destruction, and the black candle is used for spells of blessing 6.An incense burner and a good supply of incense. 7.A chalice, of any type, and wine 8.A pitcher holding water, which symbolizes the waters of life. 9.A Bowl and an aspergian. 10.A Patent, holding the wafer and black bread 11.A black cloth which covers the Patent
The Practitioner sets up his or her Alter, and makes sure that all materials are present for the ritual about to begin. All candles and incense are lit, and wine is poured into the chalice. The lights are turned out and the Practitioner makes sure that there will be no disturbances during the ritual. This may including making sure no one comes over, or the phone is unplugged, and cell phones are turned off.
It is very important that each Practitioner take a few moments in quiet contemplation. This is the stage where each Practitioner thinks about the reasons for holding the mass, and how they hope Lucifer will change their lives. If you are going to perform a magickal act you must be sure you are ready for the outcome, no matter what it will be, and that you are ready to suffer the consequences if your magick is not just.
Approach the Alter and make the sign of the inverted Cross, while saying:
In the name of Lucifer, his Daemons, and Legions
Now trace an inverted pentagram before you, while saying:
May the Blessings of Darkness be with me this night/day.
Stand with your arms out in front of you with your palms down toward the Alter, with bowed head, and say:
In the Name of Lucifer I will go to the altar of the Infernal Lord. To Him who gives me joy. My help is the Name of the Infernal Lord. Who reigns on Earth.
Before the mighty and ineffable Prince of Darkness, and his Daemons and Legions, who dwell in the fires of Perdition, who fought the first battle of heaven for our sake and the sake of freedom. I acknowledge and confess my past error, Renouncing all past allegiances to He Who Is Three, and his Angelica, I proclaim that Satan-Lucifer rules the Earth, and I ratify and renew my promise to recognize and honor Him in all things, without reservation, desiring in return His manifold assistance in the successful completion of my endeavors and the fulfillment of my desires. Keep me, Lord Lucifer, from the hands of the wicked, and from unjust men deliver me. Lord Lucifer, Thou shalt rise again & quicken me. and I shall rejoice in Thee. Show me Thy power, and grant me Thy bounty. Hear me, and let my cry come unto Thee. Make the sign of the inverse cross. Glory to Lucifer the Infernal Lord, & on earth life & strength to man. I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I adore Thee, I glorify Thee, I give thanks to Thee for Thy great power; Lord Lucifer, Infernal King, Almighty Emperor.
Make the sign of the inverse cross.
Offertory The chalice & paten, upon which rests the wafer, are uncovered. Take the paten in both hands & raise it breast-high in an attitude of offering, then speak the following words: Lord Lucifer, receive this host which I, Thy worthy servant, offer to Thee, my True and Living God, that it may avail for my rejoicing in this life. So be it. Replacing the paten and the wafer raise the chalice in like manner, saying: Lord Lucifer, I offer to Thee the chalice of Desire, that it may arise in the sight of Thy majesty for my use & gratification & be pleasing unto Thee. So be it. Replace the chalice upon the altar, then extend your hands, the palms downwards, and say: Come Lucifer, Emperor of the World that I may profit by this sacrifice. Take the incense burner and sprinkle incense onto the burning coals, while saying: May this incense rise before Thee, Infernal Lord, & may Thy blessing descend upon me. Take the incense burner & cense the altar & gifts. First cense the chalice & wafer with three swings widdershins and bow. Then raise the censer three times towards the Image of Satan, bow again. Lastly cense the top & sides of the altar three times, by circumambulation if the appointments of the temple be convenient. Replace the Incense burner upon the Alter, and say: I lift up my heart to thee, Lucifer my Infernal Lord and give thanks, at all times & in all places I give Thee thanks: Lord, Infernal King, Emperor of the World, Jubilantly all the infernals praise Thee, & with them I join my own voice, saying: Salve, Salve, Salve. Strike the gong or ring the bell three times. Lord Lucifer, God of Power, Earth & Infernus are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the depths. Make the sign of the Inverted Cross. Cannon Therefore Lord Lucifer, I entreat that you receive and accept this Sacrifice, which I offer. You have set your mark upon me, that you may make me proper in fullness and length of life, under thy protection, may cause the inhabitants of The Fires of Perdition to go forth and give me their blessings and strength in the fulfillment of my desires, and the destruction of my enemies. In concert this day/night I ask Thy unfailing assistance in this particular need. At this point in the ritual, the specific purpose is mentioned for holding the Mass, or Magickal acts are preformed. In the unity of unholy fellowship I praise and honor first Thee, Lucifer, Morning Star, Teacher of Philosophies, Beelzebub, Bringer of Peace, and Lord of Regeneration, and Baal, Ruler of the Physical, Shield of the Faithful; Abaddon, Knower of theories, and bringer of arcane knowledge, and Asmodeus, Seer of integration, Lord of Creativity. I call upon the nameless and formless ones, the mighty innumerable hosts of Hell, by whose assistance I may be strengthened in mind, Body, and Will. I therefore beseech Thee, Lord Lucifer, to accept this offering of my bounden duty as also of Thine whole household; order my days in joy & count me within the fold of Thine elect. Shamhemforash! Take the pitcher from the alter, and pure the water into the bowl while saying: After the one who called himself God put his mark upon the flesh of Cain, Cain wandered through the desert of Nodd. As Cain approached death from the desert heat, he said, “It is better I die then to live a life void of dreams and hope and knowing, far better, for the bitter God of my father to have spared His wretched mercy.” And with these words, the ground parted. And water sprang thereof. And Cain partook of its sweetness. And the mystical water filled and expanded his shriveled flesh. Now dip the aspergeant into the bowl, turn to each compass pint, shaking the aspergeant thrice at each point saying: (Facing South) In the name of Lucifer, I bless thee with the waters of life (Facing East) In the name of Lucifer, I bless thee with the waters of life. (Facing North) In the name of Lucifer, I bless thee with the waters of life. (Facing West) In the name of Lucifer, I bless thee with the waters of Life. Replace bowl, pitcher, and aspergean upon alter.
The Consecration Take the wafer into your hand, bending low over it, whisper the following words into it. Here is the body of Jesus Christ. Raise the wafer before the image of Lucifer. Replace the wafer on the patent, which rests on the Alter. Take the Chalice into your hands and bend low over it; as with the wafer, whisper the following words into it. Here is the Chalice of Desire. Raises the Chalice above your head before the image of Satan. The Chalice is then replaced, The gong is struck or the bell is rung, and the following is recited. To me, thy faithful child, O Infernal Lord, who glory in my iniquity and trust in your boundless power and might, grant that I may be numbered among Thy chosen. It is ever through you that all gifts come to me; knowledge, power, freedom, and wealth are yours to bestow. Renouncing the false spiritual rewards that are offered by He Who Is Three, the one who calls himself God, I place my trust in Thee, the Lord of this world, and teacher of Philosophies, looking to the satisfaction of all of my desires, and the petitioning all fulfillment in the land of the living.
Shemhemforash! The following prayer can be used at this point, or the Prayer of the Light Bringer, which can be found in the Book of Power in John De Vito’s The Devils Apocrypha.
Prompted by the precepts of the earth and the inclinations of desire, I am bold to say; Our Father who art in Hell, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom is come, Thy will is done; on earth as it is in Hell! I take the day/night my rightful due, and trespass not on paths of pain. Lead me unto temptation, and deliver me from false piety, for Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory for ever! Let reason and freedom rule the earth! Deliver me, O Mighty Lucifer, from all past error and delusion, that, having set my feet upon the path of Darkness and having vowed myself to Thy Service, I may not weaken in my resolve, but with Thy assistance, grow in wisdom and strength. The Repudiation and the Denunciation Take the wafer into your hands, extend it before you, and say the following: Behold the body of Jesus Christ, Lord of the humble & King of the slaves. Now hold the wafer up before the image of Lucifer, while saying: I invoke thee into this wafer. You who came to earth to enslave the race of man. You were sent by He Who Is Three, to strengthen the chains of bondage. You were sent to increase faith which feeds the one who calls himself God, and the host of the heavens. I invoke you in order to brake the chains of bondage and kindle the fires of freedom. I will push the crown of thorns deep into your head, and drive the nails deeper into your hands, which hold you upon the cross, I shall once again pierce your side and show all that you are nothing, but the true father of lies, and your words and deeds are false. You would have men and women live their lives in poverty, just so they can give more faith. Yes, you have gained many followers and sheep for your fold, but now the tide is turning and your flock is learning the truth. In the name of Lucifer, his Daemons, and Legions. I condemn thee to the abyss, and free the souls of all you have taken. Raise the wafer, dash it to the ground, and crush it under foot. Strike the gong or ring the bell nine times. Then take up the Chalice into your hands, and before drinking say: Behold the Chalice of Desire which gives joy and meaning to my life. I Accept the Chalice of Desire in the name of our Infernal Lord. Drink from the Chalice, and when the Chalice is empty, make the sign of the Inverted Cross, and replace the Chalice upon the Alter. Place the patent on top of the Chalice, and cover it with the veil. Say the following:
I have received the Blessings of our Lord Lucifer, may his protection and grace be with me in all of my endeavors. My rite is at an end, and I shall go forth into the world spreading the word of our Infernal Lord to all who care to listen. I shall stand tall and bring comfort to the faithful when needed. For the end time are nearly upon us. I will stand with the faithful and fight. Our freedom is at hand. Make the sign of the Inverted Cross, and trace the Inverted Pentagram before you and say: Hail Lucifer!
Make sure that you extinguish all candles. Some practicioners will have a small snack to help them ground after the ritual.
A Newuser’s Guide by Fireclown
The Gnostic Pentagram Ritual (GPR) was created by Peter J.Carroll, and is printed in his book Liber Kaos. This is my take on the Rite, and modifications thereof.
Ok, so you want to learn to banish. But perhaps you don’t like JHVH, or Hebrew, or Greek, or the usual symbol systems used by the Golden Dawn and subsidiaries. Then, my friend, the GPR is for you!
Pope Pete describes the process:
1)Standing facing any direction.
2)Inhale fully. Exhale slowly sustaining the sound ‘I'(a high pitched ieeee! sound) whilst visualizing a radiance of energy in the head area.
3)Inhale fully. Exhale slowly sustaining the sound ‘E'(a lower pitched eeeeh! sound) whilst visualizing a radiance of energy in the throat area.
4)Inhale fully. Exhale slowly sustaining the sound ‘A'(a deep aaaah! sound) whilst visualizing a radiance of energy in the heart
and lungs, which spreads to the muscles of the limbs.
5)As in 2, but the sound ‘O'(ooooh!) in the belly area.
6)As in 2, but the sound ‘U'(a very deep uuuur!) in the genital /anal area.
7)Repeat 6. Then 5,4,3,2, working back toward the head.
8)Inhale fully. Exhale slowly forming each of the IEAOU sounds in turn whilst with the left arm drawing a pentagram in the air which is also visualized strongly.
9)Make a quarter turn to the left and repeat 8, then continue to turn and draw the remaining pentagrams with mantra and visualization until returning to the starting position.
10)Repeat steps 2-7 inclusive.
My commentary: Ok, for those with NO magickal backgrounds, you are drawing FOUR pentagrams. Traditionally, with the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, you call in various names of God, and later the Archangels. You also start in the East. Thus you embed a system of Elements wed to the Directions, Traditionally Air/East, Earth/ North, Water/West, Fire/South. For the Southern Hemisphere, two of these change. Figure it out. Also, you don’t have to use your left hand.
The idea with the vowel sounds, is to create the noise that ACTUALLY vibrates the related part of the body. This can take time, and experimentation. Work at it in different ways. I suggest doing the Rite EXTREMELY loud. Shake the windows. Make the walls reverberate with the sounds. This builds up confidence, and is good for the bodymind, especially for the introverted. Different tones are aided by changing the position of the head, again, play with it and see what works. On the low tones, go for that Tibetan Monk effect, you can get harmonic tones going with practice. This is fun, treat it as such!!!
The pentagrams, saith the IOT, can be drawn in any direction, staring from any point. I worked with this for several months, and discovered that for me this didn’t quite work. I had no desire to go back to the Golden Dawn battery of pents**, so I can up with this:
(Note to the Novice, this may make no sense. Ignore it, it isn’t important.)
I needed something sensible, and based in my reality, to differentiate between Invoking and Banishing(hereafter called Devoking). I used the Wall Clock. Invoking deals with manifestation: manifestation works by bringing something IN to present Time. (Note: the Fireclown considers Aethyr, in the Chaoist sense, to be, for all intents and porpises, to be Time. ‘Time is that which Emits’-Genesis P-Orridge). Therefore, to Invoke (bring into NOW) I start the Pentagrams at 12, draw Clockwise to about 4:30 to 10 to 2 to about 7:30 to 12. To Devoke, start at 12, draw Counterclockwise to 7:30 etc etc…
In a sense, you are making Unmanifest, denying the obstruction its place in Your Time. Works for me.
One can modify the GPR to any aim desirable. For Sleep and Dreams, I Invoke Hypnos and Morpheus by vibrating their names in the quarters.
I Devoke Fear, Complacency, Self-hate, and Boredom. I replace them with Courage, Will, Self-love, and Passion. The list goes on and on.
It is probably best to start simple. Pick something and work with it for a couple of months, then start to modify. I strongly suggest getting Devokation down pat before you start Invoking.
The vowel sounds are good mantras for meditation and trance induction. They can shake out old ghosts that lurk in the bodymind, and they do an amazing job of vitalizing the system. When I feel like shit, I can drastically change my state by going up and down for a few minutes.
Any feedback is appreciated, as well as permutations of the Rite.
In Chaos, Fireclown
Note: I recommend working with the classical inv/ban. pentagrams but thats merely my preference.
The following comes from the Notes on the Demonic Orders (Adverse Sephiroth) in Magical Correspondences by Bill Heidrick.
[ edit] Thamiel
Thamiel: Duality in God
“Thamiel represents duality whereas Kether represents unity. Thus Thamiel is the division of that which is perfect only in unity. As a demonic order name, the Thamiel were before their ‘revolt’. This signifies ‘Perfection of God’. These angels sought to become more powerful by adding an Aleph to their name. They then became the ‘Duality of God,’ an order of the lesser demons. In the lowest state of their ‘fall’, they become the ‘the Polluted of God.’ The cortex or outer form of the Thamiel is called Cathariel, ‘the Broken’ or ‘Fearful Light of God’.”
Satan : Adversary and King
[ edit] Chaigidel
Chaigidel : Confusion of the Power of God
“These are the confusion of that great power which, as Chokmah, goes forth at the beginning to give the vital energy of creation to the processes of Binah. The cortex of the Chaigidel is called Ghogiel, ‘Those Who Go Forth into the Place Empty of God’.”
Beelzebub: Lord of the Flies and Adam Belial: Wicked Man
To Chaigidel, “both Satan and Beelzebub are attributed as well as Adam Belial. The name Belial is often used separately as a demonic name.”
[ edit] Sathariel
Sathariel : Concealment of God
“Even as Binah is the great revealing one who bestows the structure of the Absolute onto the created, its opposite, the Sathariel, conceal the nature of The Perfect. The cortex or outer form of the Sathariel is called the order of Sheireil, ‘The Hairy Ones of God’.”
Lucifuge: One Who Flees Light