And the 3rd Angel sounded
And a star fell from heaven
Burning as it were a lamp
And it fell upon the 3rd part of the waters
I’m a ball of fire
Fire from heaven
Terror from nowhere
You’ll never shoot me down
Days turns to minutes
5 seconds till it hits us
3 seconds to ground
1 second to ….
Coming in from the void
On the bed of the ocean
Where history lies
Days turns to minutes
5 seconds till it hits us
3 seconds to ground
1 second to ….
Nature renewed by fire made whole
And I climb to the mountain
Light to dark
Behind time and space
A hole in your Ark
Days turns to minutes
5 seconds till it hits us
3 seconds to ground
1 second to ….
Asteroid – Killing Joke
It’s been interesting reading blogs over the past few days, and not least because it’s quite obvious how interconnected ideas can provide inspiration and comment. I always find it extremely intriguing that certain subjects appear to suddenly well up and and flow as currents through people’s thoughts and actions.
I say this because, just like physical currents, the currents of thought and idea can vary – some can be deceptively placid and yet exhibit a vicious undertow that leaves you struggling to break free. Others are powerful streams that move within larger bodies of work, of thought and memory, or gentle journeys that take you on meanderings into the vast sea of imagination and possibility.
Let’s take for example, three blogs that I’m fond of reading for their varying perspectives:
On Rune Soup Gordon’s put up two posts which I greatly enjoyed. In this one, he goes into detail on his thoughts regarding Holy Places, in particular a site associated with St. Nectan, down in my native Cornwall. The notion of landscape and environment as sacred, combined with a focal point of veneration has always struck me as peculiarly important. Gordon’s words reminded me of an article I occasionally return to for inspiration – THE EROTIC LANDSCAPE written by Mogg Morgan.
It has repeatedly struck me that the notion of embracing the landscape, the spaces we move through, is a spectacularly potent technique. Rather than viewing it as a thing to contour and control, if we view it with the range of emotion and action one would allow oneself when engaging with a loved one, we can be presented with a level of nuance and subtlety which goes beyond the level of appearance and into the realm of deep understanding.
Further, if we cultivate such an understanding deliberately, if we allow ourselves the pleasure of being within the environment, being open and accepting to it, as we would a lover, we engage in a communion and communication with that which lies beyond the confines of the civilized ‘human’ world.
“We who are about to partake of each other, shall walk past all amorous sickness and deaths, for we are within the magical equinox.
We who proudly make unto ourselves every graven image, shall have great copulations and are allowed to love our Gods, for we know the Sacred Alignments.
We who do not crucify – nothing shall hurt us that is of the ‘Nature’; neither our comings and goings from the womb, for we have the Key to all aesthetics.
In this sacred moment (here occurs the symbolic eating of flesh and blood) we forget our enemies: therefore let our dead children sleep. And let our dead loves arise, so they too may watch and enjoy our ecstasies. Let their animation be power to our memories and so resurge all ecstasy, for in this day there shall be no inhibitions.
Thou insatiable peripheral quadriga of sex.
Amen.” – THE PRAYER OF COMMUNION, Zoetic Grimoire of Zos
Above we see the words of Zos vel Thanatos – the sorcerer-artist Austin Osman Spare, honoured ancestor and geezer to a million chaos magicians, whether they know it or not. Spare’s erotic exploration of aesthesis has a great deal in common with the Cosmogonic Eros mentioned by Ludwig Klages, and for Spare, the highest principle is that of Self-Love.
Such a principle is not solely masturbatory; rather it is a recognition, through Eros, of the multitude and variety of beauties and grotesqueries which the individual is capable if containing and expressing innately! To engage with all things in a Sexuality which has only a tangental relationship to the act of copulation – an erotognosis as it were; enabling a knowing of the world in its totality, a knowing in the Biblical sense almost.
If we are speaking of flesh and blood forming a carnal gate to the soul as we have been, if we are suggesting that body and soul are, in fact, not at all separate, then Gordon’s second post quite neatly backs us up, doesn’t it?
Here, he recounts the conception of the blog – the incarnation of it, and his return to doing magic. I hope he won’t mind me quoting a portion:
“Then at the end of the tomb I arrived at St Peter himself.
It bowled me over. I almost cried. The energy emanating from this tiny gilded casket was like nothing I have ever felt. Something had happened to this man.
So I stood there and thought about what this something might have been.
- This man may have met something divine that we can still feel two thousand years later even after his bones have turned to dust.
- He was somehow raised up or elevated about normal human status by… Something.
- The faith of more than a billion people currently living on planet earth converging on this one tiny chamber have built something.
Whichever way you look at it, this was magic.
And this is what I love about chaos magic. The explanation doesn’t matter in the slightest. In fact, it’s probably speculating beyond the data. All you can know for certain is that something magical is happening.
The universe is magic. It didn’t matter that I currently had no ‘use’ for practical magic. Magic’s existence is too important to ignore. If magic exists -and it does- then that colours everything about your life.
That was it.
In that tomb I committed to pulling the sheets of the furniture in the wizard’s tower and firing up the octarine generator.”
The bones of St Peter, the flesh and blood focus of the Catholic Church, had an effect. A contact was made, and it wasn’t with some ethereal thing, but a very real and physical object. Now, we can argue for ages about whether it was directly the object, or something more subtle – that’s not the issue though.
The issue is that, by interaction with the physical, Gordon’s awareness shifted and he was spurred into becoming committed while he was in a tomb in the heart of the Roman Catholic Church. You know the one, the sprawling edifice of Empire which has millions committed to it. The same Church that had the pagan temples shut down and regularly used to execute people on grounds of heresy!
Think about that for a second, and as you do, as you ponder the strangeness of that fact, have a read of Jason Miller’s posts on the Strategic Sorcery blog and the comments they’ve engendered, here and here – also here.
Are you done yet? If so then, you’ll have no doubt noticed that a lot of strong feelings are engendered by the subject matter, and the way it’s quietly connected to Gordon’s posts too. Perhaps you’re not so sure what I’m alluding to, and if not then I suggest you take a look at this post, or this one from Frater R.O.
I’m sure you can see both the similarities and differences in all these perspectives, can’t you? After all, that is what blogs and the internet are about – communicating ideas as we surf the web by hyperlink, moving hither and yon in a veritable galaxy of information. Now, you might have worked out by now that I’m a polytheist – the world is full of gods and spirits and other wights.
Personally I have no problem with people choosing to be monotheists, henotheists, monolaters atheists, agnostics or just plain confused – that’s their look-out. All that matters to me is that possibility is allowed, that the sheer multiplicity and variety of ways of being is acknowledged.
In all the posts I’ve linked so far, what should become obvious is that there are icebergs in the current, that each of the ideas discussed, each opinion expressed, is somehow connected to each other by the web, by the people behind the keyboards. Many people see only the surface connections – the obvious contact points, the pins and holes as it were.
I say there are icebergs in the current precisely because the lion’s share of a given idea-stream occurs beneath the surface, just as the majority of an iceberg is said to dwell beneath the surface of the freezing waters. When I and the other chief contributors of The Sutra Of the Poison Buddha – say hello Jack and Ryan, there’s good bastards – wanted to take on new material, we’d look at our lives, our works, and our thoughts. Then we would literally free-associate without censure, following the maze of twisty passages as we rode the Synchronicity Highway at breakneck speed, laughing all the way before the shock of it would sober us up.
The same technique can be applied to enter a current from any of the tips of any of the icebergs, until suddenly one is washing up on strange shores which seemingly have no connection to where you were before. The key is to abandon any notion of cause and effect, and instead become aware that connections are multiple-way, that meaning may be manufactured, and to realize the ability to make connections is in actuality the fundamental Arte.
If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering what this has to do with the song lyrics I’ve used as an opener. I suppose it depends how much you trust me, doesn’t it? Ask yourself if I would waste time on such a thing without there being a purpose, given what you have previously known of me – and if you know little, then perhaps you should read the things I have already written with an eye on what’s between the lines, yes?
Once you’ve answered that question enough for your own satisfaction, I’d like you to re-read the lyrics and drink them in; think of them not as dry words, but things that are wet with salt water; with sweat and blood and burning fire borne from the celestial sphere down into the realm of men.
An incarnate ecstasy, alive with the fury of divinity, with the fellowship that comes from the fire and the sword brought to men, to reveal the Mysteries to those half asleep. drowsing in their rote definitions of existence. Read those words, and imagine how they might inflame you, how you can allow them in to ignite your heart and sear your soul. Can you see the look upon the faces of those who watch it fall from heaven, a burning thing with the body of a star descending to you across the ages?
Watch the way their features shift as its light washes over them how their bodies rock and sway in glorious anticipation and growling thunder announces the coming, how the electricity sizzles in your veins and your heat leaps. How the silence falls and the voice speaks, as the tension grows.
You know this.
And if these things are difficult to conjure and comprehend, then watch and see the video below. Embrace it as a living thing, watch it as many times as you like, so that with each run you become more aware of what lies behind the simplicity of a song…
Now, regardless of what your taste in music is, I am sure you saw that the crowd were extremely into the experience, and I’m absolutely sure you can appreciate the sense of theatre that Jaz Coleman and the boys have, and equally that you can begin to see the connection between that and what I’m saying, right?
Given that that’s true, I’m fairly certain that you can join me in following through on that and the other connections which I’ve illuminated earlier, in spite of the fact that they might not be obvious at first glance – after all, if they were, I’m sure each one of the posters would have written about it by now because well, duh.
If we’re going to take a dip in that stream, to dive off the icebergs and swim down to find the structures and connexions, then I’d ask you to pause a second and consider what all these things have in common; the shared figures and symbolism, the distinct notion of an esoteric gnosis which has been either lost, or hidden over the years.
There is definitely a division between the people who simply accept what they are told, and those who explore it for themselves, isn’t there?
There are those who delight in being guided, in having the yoke lifted from their shoulders, in giving themselves over to something larger then themselves, and of course, there is nothing wrong with doing so provided that the thing, person or group they submit to doesn’t abuse that trust.
There are also those who are drawn to experience directly, to seek out what lies behind the ideas themselves, searching, always searching. I’m sure you can tell which of the two I am, but what about you? Would you leave behind all you knew to seek the truth, and live the Life – knowing that you can never go home again?
Except, Simon the fisherman and his brother throw down their nets and follow, don’t they?
“Unless you want to believe the fairytale…”
The crucified serpent is alchemical symbolism for the operation known as fixing the volatile – transmuting mercury into a usable elixir. Add to this the revelation that nachash or serpent, in Hebrew Gematria has a value of 358, the same value as mashiach or messiah. So we have the image of a serpent that, according to Genesis, brings mankind to knowledge it wasn’t strictly supposed to have, elevated beyond its original design. As well of this, there is the erection of a brazen serpent on a pole by Moses in response to a punishment set upon the Israelites by YHVH, in the form of fiery serpents. The brazen serpent would cure all those bitten by the fiery wyrms if they looked upon it.
In terms of symbolism then, the notion of Jesus’ crucifixion may be squarely equated with fixing the volatile – the transmutation of a figure into a Saviour – that’s to say a healer and preserver. This fits in well when we consider the Christian Communion and the Catholic notion of literal transubstantiation, or the symbolic version of the same in other denominations. The congregation partake of the body and blood of the Saviour, consuming the elixir which gives them access to the Kingdom of Heaven.
But let’s consider the notion of a descent from that place a second – orthodox Christian Doctrine claims Jesus was sent from the Father, and the more Unorthodox versions have a great deal to say about who/what that Father is – be it the Logos or the Nous. The word asteroid is composed of roots aster and eidos – making it literally an object that has the form of a star.
Crowley said that ‘every man and a woman is a star.’ Might we then be able to suggest that Jesus-as-Saviour might have provided an intercessory method of finding the Kingdom of Heaven within mankind, instead of the standard exoteric notion of a post-Apocalyptic bliss-fest?
Let’s think back to the imagery of fire, the sensation of the electricity in your veins, remembering the ecstasy, the immanent otherworldliness as it crawls up your spine and seizes your lungs; as your skin crawls and something uncurls at the base of your spine, hotter than suns as it twines through your body, energizing and strengthening you, unlocking centres of excellence and terror you didn’t know you had.
It immerses you in the awareness of something beyond your skin, a billion eyes opening and looking right at you, and for a moment you think you might shrivel to nothing, be blasted to dust before that gaze, as the wings are removed from their places and you are struck by the Truth of the serpentine choir.
Can you survive such a transition, or are you clinging on like grim death to your humanity? Do you fall sick, your soul burned to naught by that fire, cast adrift and drifting towards the grave as the source of your identity is shattered?
Or do you exult, and join your voice with a thousand others, tongue dripping with glossolalia, eyes wide and unblinking, full of shining ophidian gnosis which whispers of the days in Eden? Does Moses’ Egyptian wisdom give you the way to survive, imbued as it is with ancient sorcery and power?
In a small room over Jerusalem, can you hear the rushing wind and see the flames leap from the crown of your brethren? Can you feel the urge to speak in a tongue like rain, to pass on the gnosis by sound alone, knowing full well that it lies beyond language – that the wisdom passes on like a contagion, from one person to another. The Master’s words echo in your ears:
“He who has ears, let him hear!”
Now you may begin to see what’s here – the notion of scriptural lore as a transmission method, an encoded symbolic language capable of altering someone’s thought processes to enable proper integration with a new way of being. Is it any wonder that this might become exoterically misinterpreted?
Just think about that – when consuming psychoactives, one of the important things to remember is set and setting – how things are framed dictates responses and that means a great deal.
Now, as a dirty heathen, I’m apparently a prime target for evangelizing – except in my case, I’m actually an apostate. As such, when I am evangelized at, I actually smile, because many of those who others find so irritating are wielding their words with no skill other than fervency. The heat of what they are saying is like a candle-flame when compared to the blazing roar of nature.
That’s not to say its without value – it’s prime setting material, a psycho-social grounding framework that enables them to function, and that’s right and good for them. Similarly, the hateful fundamentalists provide me with (g)no end of amusement – they’re waving around the equivalent of a twenty megatonne gnosis-bomb and clocking people on the head with it as if its’ a club.
(Mind you, a person with a club can still knock your brains out, so it’s best to keep an eye on them and either disarm them or find some way to avoid their attention!)
Then there are the honest ones, the ones who have faith and attempt to love their neighbours as themselves. Wait a second…Love one another – isn’t that what the Man said? Love thy neighbour as thyself!
I’d like you to see the grin on my face as I write this, bearded and evil-minded though I be. I’d like you to picture the gales of laughter that shook me as I realized the way this post was going, because you’re probably going to want to go back to the beginning of these words and look for it, stated as plain as day.
I couldn’t be that devious could I? That would require precision, hidden in all the verbosity, surely? To do that, to dive into the current and end up connecting things which supposedly have no connection at all, and hence start you thinking about the deep structure within it all. Because once you start seeing the deep structure,within any given current you can recognize it, and spot it, even though it’s cloaked in a form that bears no direct representation to what it reveals.
Go back if you like, with that new recognition, that texture in the dark, that scent on the wind, the string in the labyrinth that spirals on through infinite eternity. Go back over it all in your mind and let me tell you a bit about my past, and allow me to show you something…
I have priests and preachers in my family, missionaries, lecturers and political activists on both sides; this is a true fact. The drawing you are seeing is a depiction of the village church of which a close family member was Rector – an ordained Anglican priest. I spent much of my early life in a family where the symbolism of Christianity, and the twin poles of church and pub were central to the Cornish village in which we lived.
Imagine a Sunday if you will, the bellringers standing at the Lychgate – the gate to which corpses were brought – filing the air with fragrant blue pipe-smoke, the Cornish drawl and lined faces, the smell of the wild garlic growing greenly as it festooned the old stone wall. I used to pause there when I was young and pluck a few leaves to chew in the service. The moss on the gravestones seemed to bristle and flex as you made your way up the path through the graveyard and round the tower.
Pausing now, you take in the war memorial, the worn stone steps that lead up and further into the graveyard that’s been open for as long as the church has been here, way back in the 13th century. Feel the weight of eight hundred years of folk, of living and dying and praying and laughing.
It wraps around you, the green does, and if you were to move on, you might find the holy well said to be where the Celtic saint for whom the church and village are named began to preach when he first came to this vale. If you’re so inclined, you might fall to wondering if there’s another layer to the tale; whether that well might have held offerings to some pagan god or spirit long before the coming of Christ – and truth be told you would not be the first to wander along those paths of thought, I assure you.
For now though, you might open the heavy wooden door inside the porch and step inside the church, immediately struck by the scents of old wood and the faint tang of polish as you pass by the font where generations have been baptised , running your fingers over the intricate carvings on the pew ends, just like I did as a boy.
Stand in the nave then and look past the rood-screen to the altar, topped with slate and supported by weighty Cornish granite…
And now, we’ll shift and it’s not a Sunday but a Friday, a Good Friday – that day when a man-god died and descended into the grave to preach and pass the gnosis to the dead so that they might be liberated.
Picture the scene; that same church all unlit as the priest of your blood leads the way through the Stations of the Cross halting to read the tale of Christ’s death, mimicking the journey through ritual and meditation as the voice rings out and though it’s a spring day, the place feels hollow like a ribcage and the light is thinner somehow.
And as that familiar voice, the one you hear every day, speaks the words and weaves the way, you see all the falls, all the stumbling on that day in Jerusalem, so very long ago. You can smell the sweat and the blood and the roughness of wood against your skin, the gape and flex of broken flesh from the scourging. Your vision wavers in the painful heat, blood trickling into your eyes and mixing with the unshed tears as the thorns snag your scalp.
One foot. Then another. Then another. It seems endless, this path of sorrows. You are so very weary – all you want to do is rest, to flee the agony and the jeering. But you can’t, though you know there’s far worse to come yet, a terrible darkness as you are drawn to the place of Place of the Skull, as you stumble to your knees, and are almost immediately dragged onto the wood by the soldiers.
The cross tears at your skin, and you give it blood in return, staining the grain with your blood, the blood of a man and a god, son of your Father. It’s your lover now, that rood – it will be with you until death you do part; you are wedded together in pain.
Hoisted into the air then, part of a stand of trees, a grove of execution. Somewhere in the back of your mind, amidst the spiralling and narrowing of your vision, the painful pounding of your heart, you are aware they are nailing you to the wood. It might strike you as funny – how many times in your younger days did your carpenter’s hands drive nails into wood, loving as you did the crafting and making of things? Yet now, it is you who are being crafted, made holy by the sacrifice.
Some part of you, the part that was something other than flesh and blood, remembers that you are not alone, that you partake in all the sacrifices that have ever been made since the dawn of time. Bound and brought to death, all of you have done this, do this for others, be it willing or otherwise. Yet still you wonder, as it becomes harder to breathe and you can feel your lungs filling with fluid, feel something tear in the shattered remains off your palms:
“Why am I doing this?” You cry out, wondering if the Father has deserted you. “Why have you forsaken me?!”
The doubt tries to blossom, but it is choked like a weed by the agony – the blessing of flesh – until all of you burns and there is nothing at all but fire. You try to scream but your lips are dry, your breath weak.
The moments stretch on, until bitter vinegar is pressed to your lips. You suck without thinking, glorying in the bitterness and the sting as it spills into your cuts, knowing that it is merely a matter of faith and will – how else did you turn water into wine at Cana?
What’s left of your human mind embraces it, embraces the whole world, and with the strength of the rood at your back, with the power of your pain and suffering, you love them, you love the whole world because there is no other option. You love them with the fierceness that only a dying man may muster, you love them with the infinite, furious and all-encompassing love of the Divine.
You beg forgiveness on their behalf, you grant the thief a seat at the Father’s table, you forgive all their sins and secrets and their lies and their petty vindictiveness and all the horror that has been and is yet to come; to unborn generations and those gone before, you give the gift of your blood and the forgiveness that it buys.
Your last act as a mortal is to cease to be human, to commend yourself to that daimonic realm from whence you came. As the sky turns black and the force of the sacrifice ripples out through all there ever was, you descend into hell and open the way to heaven, your immortal form a way and a road, the cross an axis mundi to climb upward once more…
And now, back to that church back to the silent staring at the wooden cross which stands in the nave on this day, taller than a man. It stands there stark and empty as you realize its nature, not as an instrument of torture and execution, but rather as an icon, a key to unlock the deep Mystery of death and sacrifice.
As you sit there in the pew, surrounded by the accoutrements of exoteric Christianity, the fine work and hollow building, the silence of meditation all about you, notice something. Notice, as I did in those moments, year after year, that the gnosis of blood and love is combined with the gnosis of death and words.
Think on this deeply then, as I did – until I walked away, until I began to take the steps which ultimately led me to throw down my nets and never go home again. For though it has taken years and I no longer sit before that cross on Good Friday, I owe a great deal to the things it taught me.
Perhaps you know a little more now, and perhaps you can allow yourselves to navigate with your eyes closed and follow the streams, and see where you end up. Go on, have a wander – I’ll still be here.
Be seeing you.