Ec forsacho allum dioboles uuercum and uuordum, Thunaer ende Uuöden ende Saxnote ende allum them unholdum the hira genötas sint
(I renounce all the words and works of the devil, Thunear, Wōden and Saxnōt, and all those fiends that are their associates.)
– Old Saxon Baptismal Vow, circa 8-9th century
Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Nail the Devil to the post,
Thrice I strike with holy crook,
One for God, one for Wod, And one for Lok!
The English crossroads are a crooked place to work; for though a millennium of Christianity stands on this rocky isle, sending desert roots into dark soil and green fields thick with the memory of wildwood, the old gods are never far away.
Buried in the names of places, they wait, hiding in plain sight. If the colonists of the New World razed the serpent mounds and pulled down the temples of peoples who spoke in a language like rain, then surely they learned their lessons from those first missionaries so very long ago.
Indeed, perhaps they were better at it it than their ancestors, or perhaps this isle is more accustomed to the invasion of peoples from across the sea. Even the Romans marked this as the edge of their world, this Ghostland of barrows and windswept stone circles and rocky coasts. Underneath it all, beneath even the faded dreams of a lost Empire and concrete, the land remembers. There are places you can go, stepping sideways, tasting old magic on the wind – and though they be few and far between, they still remain.
There is a strangeness then, an enchantment if you will, in ubiquity. I have leaned against stones erected five thousand years ago and eaten my lunch at a latitude farther north than the usual limits of the United States. Here, though the old ways were forsworn, they remained, almost as if playing dead.
Yet the Old Saxon Baptism vow shows clearly that they were seen as the work of the Devil Himself – fiends and spirits leading mankind down the crooked path to Hell; while the Lincolnshire Charm hedges its bets and calls on the Trinity, Wod(en) and Lok(i), seemingly as equals!
If the New World was adept at syncretism, what of the Old? Is this simply a difference between religion and magic, or something deeper? Do the ways of the folk hint at subtler, hidden things – perhaps the Bondye of Voudoun is not the only God who seems unreachable to His people?
If Hoodoo runs strong in North America, what runs here, upon this island, with its weight of legend and magic; what arises, for those who would be called bokor in lands far away? To whom are our pacts made at the crossroads, we who have ancestors that walked in colder lands; what of our mighty dead?
As Master Valentine elucidated in the previous post, at the Hoodoo Factory, the Devil at the Crossroads, the Black Man – these are Kalfou, Carrefour – Legba’s shadowy twin. It is no accident that Carfax is the name the author has taken in this work, no accident indeed, since Carfax is an anglicization of Carrefour.
Standing at the centre of the four wentz ways, we too have a dark figure or two that men call the Devil.
There is power in many things, in walking backward and transgression being the simplest. We walk backwards, not in terms of direction, but in terms of movement. In this sense, we may look like a man, but what man moves backward while walking forward, what creature faces unflinchingly the strange and terrible atavisms buried in our ancestry?
A sorcerer has eyes in the back of its head. There is a Mystery in that, for those who wish to contemplate such things – the Roman god Janus was said to have two faces; this god of doors, beginnings and endings.
Just as Legba must be called upon before every service as Opener of the Ways, hidden in the clothing of St Peter with his cross-keys, so must it be done here. By cross-keys and black cock – the latter symbolizing the denial of Christ in the night hours -we arrive at a symbolic retroversion powered by Christianity itself.
Just as Jesus warned Peter of his denial, yet according to Roman Catholicism, granted him the authority of first Pope with the keys to Heaven, we recognise the apostasy of Peter as doorway to the realms of sorcery. Such apostasy by definition renders one in opposition to those forces seeking conversion – and by this denial we are cast amongst the ranks of those who would oppose the rightful order, a ‘black’ Pope as it were.
Here it must be recalled that those who converted the heathen peoples of this island, and even their Celtic Christian brothers, were Roman Catholics. Many saints have their roots in old gods also, lurking underneath their pristine skins. We touch these hermenuetics precisely because the ways backward are already there, ready to spring to life.
Thus, as the Pope is seen as God’s representative on Earth, the ‘black’ Pope becomes representative of the Opposer. Yet the sorcerer proceeds further, beyond simple representation, beyond simple anti-popery; it is not enough to become a functionary or mere hierophant. Here is where we see the daimonic reality underneath the religiosity – the keys given to the sorcerer are not the Keys to Heaven, but the Keys to Hell.
Yet this is not the Hell of the Christians. No, this Hell is the Underworld, the realm of the Dead and Mighty Spirits. This is the grave, which is both womb and tomb; the Keys open a door to the Abyss itself, to the Labyrinth and the road to Hel.
And there, upon the crossroads, what was once a man dies. There the cold creeps into his bones and the shadows thicken. There his light dims and winks out, until darkness pulses in his heart, burning bright and blackly. There yawns the mouth of an ever hungry wolf, the grin of a skull.
But in that death, he becomes as the dead-themselves – and they come to welcome him. It is hubris to imagine an isolate nature which is not transmissible; that sorcerers are not made but born is something of a mistake, as it is in the in-between of birth and death that they are made.
Just as the Graeco-Roman magicians sought to become sons of gods, so sorcerers are admitted to a Family, a bloodline if you will. This is the secret of the witch-blood, boldly revealed yet dismissed by those lacking in understanding.
With a grim smile, we too are with them, with Thunaer ende Uuöden ende Saxnote ende allum them unholdum the hira genötas sint. What others call fiends, we call brothers and kin. What others call ghosts, we call ancestors and Mighty Dead.
I, [who has been] Joshua Carfax bear this name, for I am of the line of the dweller at the crossroads, the unhallowed wandering dead.
I am of them, and they are of me. My blood is their blood, without them, I could not be; my ancestry is a thing of mist and bone, of cries in the night and frost in blood. Old gods come calling, and it is I that remember them.
How is this so, this thing of strangeness? Am I not a thousand years removed from the wild wood, from the clear stars, howling wind and blood on snow?
Time means nothing to sorcery; this must be understood as truth. It is not an article of faith, but rather one of fact. It is in violation of the world. So it is perhaps understandable when one begins to discuss the Familae Carfax that certain things must remain obscure. For this reason I am limited in what I may discuss publicly – not out of fear of revelation, but rather of lack of comprehension.
The Familae Carfax is a band of wights of the in-between. By band, it is meant quite simply that with one come all – they are inextricably linked. Thus, if one is to converse with one, one can be said to have conversed with all, though despite this, they are individuals.
One may say that there are certain qualities present in all members – these qualities are the essence of Carfax expressed in unique ways through the personality of the individual, indeed it is the essential Carfaxian nature that vitalizes that personality and gives it its power.
As with certain families of lwa, the spirits in question are presided over by twin individuals – Grandfather and Mother Carfax. These two are both sole members of the clan and progenitors of numberless children.
It is said that Grandfather Carfax sits atop his high seat, immovable as a mountain and drinks without ever being drunk. From his mouth proceed half the children, who range about the worlds as his eyes and ears – when a Carfax speaks with a drink in their hand and says words over the cup, such words come from the mouth of their Grandfather. It is also said that they often return to him to be consumed, the wisdom they have gained boiling in his belly until he spits them up and sends them walking again.
Mother Carfax is at once punishingly beautiful and terribly, awfully old. Her half of the children emerge from her voluminous skirts of skins and clamber all over her as she spins upon a giant loom. Her Daughters share her love of blood and sharp wit, and they are beautiful, cunning and as hungry as their father. Woe betide a man who seeks such a Daughter, for they shall be brought home to Mother and disappear amidst her bloody skirts, and a new fold appears.
It is said that the only way to win a Daughter is to become one yourself, the removal of manhood necessitating other powers mighty enough to claim Mother’s Daughter as a wife.
In previous articles, the author has spoken of the dual principle of Black Sun and Red Moon, conjunctions between heavenly bodies which reveal Mysteries of the twin current. These themselves are inextricably linked with the aforementioned band of crossroads spirits. An examination of the sigil of the Familae Carfax will reveal certain similarities between the veve for the lwa Kalfou, and also other, older symbols, such as the swastika.
Initial contact with these spirits was made, and upon request for a sigil to aid a deeper connection, the presented glyph resembled a version of the mosaic on the floor of Wewelsburg castle known as the Schwarzesonne. After ‘explaining’ certain connotations, the current sigil was presented, though not without some reservation.
It is here that we must examine the nature of ancestry once again – both physical and spiritual – for as a Northern European the weight of history and the backward way must, by definition, accept that certain resurgent symbols and atavisms were misused solely for the power they provide in times past. Certainly, while the author considers this work part of a cultus connected intimately to the lands and dreams in which he dwells, it has little to do with the political and nationalistic aims of a dictator driven mad by neuroses and hatred.
In fact, the sorcerer has no use for society at large, being as it is largely populated with those who are content with comfortable mediocrity – these are the same folk who submit to rote-ritual and vicarious salvation, be they members of the Nazi party, or those who decry the old ways as somehow ‘evil’.
However, the mystery surrounding so-called Nazi occultism speaks volumes – that such things still incite dark wonderment beyond your average foolish racist should be noted.
Central to the symbolism of the Black Sun is its inward, Tellurian nature – the notion of a Hollow Earth – that is to say a source of great power within, as opposed to external to, the earthly sphere. Qabbalistic lore states that the man-god occurs at the sixth sphere on the Tree of Life – the sephiroth known as Tiphareth. Often associated with the Unconquered Sun, and Christ, Tiphareth is the point at which the powers of the Supernal meet with the sephira of the lower Tree, providing a manifestation of Kether capable of revealing the true nature of Malkuth.
Whereas the Yellow Sun radiates, so the Black Sun draws inward. As such, the power already exists within the flesh and blood of the sorcerer. Ceasing to reach outward and upward to Heaven, he draws inward and backward to achieve his ends.
In the darkness of the underworld, he is presented as the descending figure. Lucifer has turned his back on Heaven, and reigns in Hell, so the story goes. Yet in truth the sorcerer is more like a tree, drawing nourishment from the deep below, by root and branch and darkened earth.
The truth of Kalfou and Carfax is that their roads, being the journeys undertaken, are at angles to the simple geometric formula of the crossroads – the cross is not the way for those who work with both hands; rather it serves as simple reference point, a tool which is used indirectly. If the cross were not there, a tool would be found, drawn from the blood and breath and song of the one who sits out in the middle of the night.
For one thing is certain – there were sorcerers before there was a Devil.