Purism is anathema to occultism. The occult is soley concerned with results, whatever the cost, literally and figuratively, even if it means hanging one’s life in the balance.
This has always been the way magick works, using as disparate elements as novels ( think of the Cthulhu-mythos in the Nu-Isis Lodge and Chaos Magic, but also the Vril-Gesellschaft in nazi-Germany having build an entire occult system around Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel ).
Aleister Crowley’s own mash-up of Egyptian gods with yoga, western ceremonial magic and the spiritual enemies of the Judeo-Christian world as prime deities, is a nightmare for academics, but most applicable for magicians if they find themselves resonating with it. The bricolage-tendency in spirituality today isn’t postmodern, but perennial. Surely, the consumerist ‘enlightenment-in-2-hours’ attitude is new, but to combine a wide variety traditions into one system isn’t.
What do skull caps, books of the dead and yidam-worship have to do with the Pali-canon of Buddhist philosophy? Would anyone think Tibetan Buddhists would be ‘better’ Buddhists if they purged these arbitrary cultural elements from their system?
Review of Peter Levenda’s “The Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic”
Peter Levenda’s known for applying temperate erudition to the history of the occult. His own meddlings are kept from the reader, though it’s clear as day the author is more than just a dilettante. With “Dark Lord” he plunges into the darkest pits of the occult, shunned even by disciples of the Great Beast himself as being a one-way ticket to schizophrenic insanity. Yet these feral grounds are really where the magic happens, all else is merely taking peaks into the Abyss, the real deal is a Dantesque journey through hell, Levenda tells us.
Levenda identifies the Dark Lord with Set ( and subsequently his equivalents outside of ancient Egypt as Shiva, Shaitan, Typhon etc.). Set is the archetypical Other. And as such, he is incalculable.
Every perversity is his and that which breaks down structures echoes his name.
Set is identified with the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, the North Pole, and therefore with a tradition far older than civilization, beyond recorded time into the nebulous netherworld of prehistory. Perhaps not only the time of the colloquial caveman, but of epochs long forgotten, now reemerging such as the recently discovered ruins of Gobekli Tepe and Gunung Padang. Remnants of cults that indicate a preoccupation with the stars.
The stellar tradition is the forgotten tradition. Familiar as we are with the solar and lunar, the nocturnal firmament constituted the axis mundi of man in olden days. Levenda does not go in-depth and that will give the reader the impression that the author is merely tipping the veil in this book.
This is what I got throughout the whole book. This is not an exhaustive study on the Typhonian Tradition ( is that even possible one might ask ? ), but an invitation to rethink what happened to Lovecraft and Crowley, and how much Grant might be right in theorizing that art and magic are dealing with the same source. Levenda also knows how to give us the creepers when discussing the incursions from the Trans-Plutonian and how this relates to the Typhonian tradition.
Again, he desires us to look further and do our own homework on the subject, but firstly giving us the toolkit to connect more and more dots.
Levenda also makes a good case for the often heavily critiqued, mostly among post-colonial scholars, bricolage-tendency in western spirituality. Bertiaux’s voudon gnosis is one of the latest to receive some backlash over the fact that his system has little to do with ‘authentic’ voudon.
Levenda argues, and correctly, that historical and anthropological correctness have little function in magick. In fact, post-colonial theory forgets that this is how the occult works, worldwide, and not just in the occident. This carelesness is exactly what characterizes the Dark Lord himself. A total disregard for theology or doctrinal consistency, but a feverish search for techniques with empirically verifiable results of terrifying magnitude ( yes, terrifying ).
Occultism and purism are anathema to one another. Occultism is soley concerned with results, whatever the cost, literally and figuratively, even if it means hanging one’s life in the balance.
So much so that Crowley would have loved the emergence of pastiche esotericism in our post-modern times as it would further prove his case that the New Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child is indeed upon us. That we rebel against the parental Aeons of Isis and Osiris without fully cutting the roots, but defining ourselves individually in relation to it.
Lastly, Levenda offers a short but interesting appendix on the “kalas”, a subject Kenneth Grant often deals with in his trilogies, but never really extended upon in detail. These few pages will be of great use to both aspiring and experienced Typhonians desiring to delve into this topic more.
- By Pieter-Jan Beyul
Western civilization began its adult life in the abbeys, hermitages and priories. Cluny was the axis mundi of the new Christianized Gothic-Roman civilization. It’s therefore not surprising that Cluny didn’t survive the French Revolution’s tumult. The West reached its autumn and so the very world tree retracted its life juices from its leaves.
But the Scriptoria of these monasteries contained more than Biblical texts, theological studies, books of the Classics and some scholary works of the Arab world. Most historians only briefly mention the mystical, and more specifically and importantly alchemical interests, of these clergymen when discussing the monastic lifestyle. Yet as any student of estoricism will know, it’s hard to not become obsessed when studying it. The divine becomes tangible and renders palpable the very Platonic forms for the disciple.
When Spengler describes the Christian West as “Faustian”, this contradiction is only understood when we delve deep into the intellectual interests of many clergymen at the time.
The Pentateuch played an obvious pivotal role in the spiritual development of the West, but one of its main characters, King Solomon, clouded the minds of the priesthood by offering the keys to commanding the very angels casted down from the heavens. Enticing whispers from the Abyss promising godhood and the unravelling of the arcane wonders, appealed to the monastic mystic, devoted to these very subjects. Some could no longer withstand a passive role towards the divine. The old pagan soul, even though it had undergone a pseudo-morphosis with Christianity, still desired manifestation, rebelled against the youth it was denied. It birthed through the Gothic cathedral, polyphonya and the crusades ( the yearning for Valhalla ). Those who were meant to guide the flocks of Christ, would end up quenching their insatiable thirst for knowledge and power, like the All-Father before them.
Mephistoteles would never leave the West’s side.
When John Dee lead Elizabethan England to world domination with the aid of the dubious Enochian angels, extending upon the century-old grimoire tradition, Solomon’s brazen vessel started to crack and the point of no return was reached. The ceaseless accumulative desire of the Faustian wanted to free all the demons of hell in search for more power and knowledge. The myth of progress was a legitimizing idea to continue on the working with all means necessary.
The class war that brought about the bourgeois world of capitalism, an unseen inversion of class composition in the history of man, was inevitable, as it would continue to unleash all the titanic forces of Tartarus, crisis upon crisis would follow.
No wonder Marx’s favorite mythological figure was Prometheus, the Luciferian archetype. Either the West will combust in an inferno the likes of the domain from which it purged its life force, or reach the apotheosis it was promised.
- By Pieter-Jan Beyul
The new Rariteitenkabinet album “Zeven Zegels" is now available on Bandcamp! The 7-track album is accompanied by an automatic writing by Antediluvian Current author, Pieter-Jan Beyul.
Get the album HERE!
13x18cm, pencil on paper