Alchemy, Memory, and Archetypes

 

When we read literature or poetry especially, where the use of symbolism is blatantly on display, we conjure images in our minds; our own individual illustration of the words we are absorbing. I think this is what the Art of writing is about, as opposed to the act of writing, and its more literal purpose. The Art of writing is utilizing and weaving together words which are capable of conjuring images in others. Conjuration of these images occurs the  moment the words hit the human mind. Same as it does in the Art of storytelling.

Just like in the tarot, the Art is the card of Alchemy.

ThothArtXIV

And I personally think that magickally speaking, this is also the moment in which our Archetypes are born.

Of course the Archetypes then evolve and in a sense, take on a life of their own from this point of conjuration. This moment is only the beginning of a process of evolution, which can be illustrated in humanity’s art. Whether it be longstanding artistic pursuits like music, literature, or painting, or more modern, and technologically advanced pursuits such as videos, or graphic design, the always present influence of myth, symbols, and our Archetypes cannot be denied.

I’m coming to the realization that spiritually “connecting the dots” is a bit like playing a constant game of Memory in the back of my mind.

Memory

In case anyone is unfamiliar with what I’m referring to; it’s a simple card game, one I happened to play with my grandparents as a kid. A deck of playing cards, often designed with child-friendly pictures of  animals, symbols, or fairy tale characters was laid face down on the table. Each person playing would then flip two cards over on their turn. The goal being to choose a matching pair. If they did not match, they were replaced face down again and your turn was over. The person who held the most pairs when there were no more cards to choose from was considered the winner. I’m sure there are variations, but that’s the one I happened to learn.

So then, what I mean when I say that this path becomes like the game Memory, is that often when I get these spiritual “aha!” moments that confirm theories or connect dots I already have floating around in my mind, I seem to get a flash of whatever mental image connects them, just like the location of the matching playing card would spring to mind in the game.  I do not know if this is something everyone experiences, but I have a feeling others likely know what I’m referring to.

For example, when I thought of this,  of the moment when our mind first creates these images and archetypes, the picture of the Baphomet initially came to mind. baphomet

 

Following this was the phrase Solve et Coagula which is of course engraved on Baphomet’s arms. This phrase then called forth the image of the Art card above, and the concept of Alchemy which is a science I initially discovered when researching what the phrase meant. This brought my thoughts full circle. The myths, or  the “above”, combine with us, the “below”, and are transmuted into our own individual Archetypes. This is the conjuration which brings the images to mind in the first place.

Artistic endeavors are in turn where humanity fleshes out the myths, and by thus doing so, we have been placing the influence of the myths and also the influence of the Archetypes, into the material world.  Again combining the Above and the Below, by literally taking an intangible spark of mythical illumination and placing it into the tangible clay of matter. Once it is in matter, once it is capable of existing outside ourselves, it then holds its own influence, in accord with each individual mind which perceives it.

The myths seem to spark the images and Archetypes which are born in our minds, and we then make them tangible through creation and the Art of alchemy. It seems also that this connection echos in the ever evolving creation of our spiritual paths through those “aha!” moments which resonate.

 

Devil Worshiper

Very few phrases can cause such a visceral reaction in people. Even today, in 2015, where the world in general is quite secular. Atheism, at least in the west is viewed by many as the philosophy of logical people. Theism is a dying perspective, primarily due to the utter failing of the mainstream religions to be of much use whatsoever. But even so, the accusation of being a devil worshiper is still the first thing people distance themselves from.

When someone comes out of the “broom closet” and announces themselves as a Wiccan, Pagan, or any other fringe religious group, what do they almost always follow that statement up with? “But…I DO NOT WORSHIP THE DEVIL!”

I find myself laughing along in agreement with Keith Nicholson’s sentiment in “Above Below Within: Planetary Magick and the Greek Gods” (pg.35);

Neo-pagans will fight their way to the head of the trough for any possible information that removes validity to Christianity. Such examples might be: Jesus was a pagan construct; Horus was a predecessor; and so forth. However, when their own gods are examined, they cry in unison, “Foul!” More importantly, they’ll proclaim defiantly that Satan (and the devil) does not exist in their pantheons of gods. However, they’ll call on any other god-form they desire, even if not in their own pantheon, except of course, Satan or the devil. Hypocrisy!

Fundamentalist churches often preach that atheists are actually devil worshipers, which of course is utterly idiotic and laughable. But they preach it regularly. It is stated as a matter of fact. I know this because I was raised in a very fundamentalist minded Pentacostal church and I heard it frequently. They still hold to the monotheistic ideas so strongly that anything not in agreement with their god is of the Devil. Period. And this, of course is said to discredit atheists and to try and paint them as incapable. “Well, Jane Doe can’t know what she’s talking about, and she certainly can’t be trusted. We can’t vote her into office, she’s an atheist, clearly she’s being influenced by Satan.” You might think I’m joking, but sadly I’m not.

In a youth group I was made to attend as a teen, there were a few times where the leaders would “lay hands” on an atheist minded kid, and they would pray to cast out the devils and demons who they thought were causing the person’s doubt and skepticism. It was less dramatic, but very similar to the more intense versions of this practice which they do to those who might be plagued with addiction, depression, or illness, on those silly Televangelist shows. (To give this church some credit, they saved all that stuff for the adult services at least.) There were actually deacons who were designated to stand around with sheets, ready to rush over and cover women who might have a “wardrobe malfunction” when they would collapse, or “fall out” in the “holy-spirit” while having demons cast out of them in their Sunday dresses.

This is how I came to originally align myself with Satanism. It was my breaking away from the Christian perspective in the only way I knew how at the time. So at thirteen, while following Faust’s lead, I wrote up a pact, lit a candle, drew a bit of blood, and called on the Devil. It was not scholarly or well informed. It was honestly that simple.  And to this day, as someone who has now studied, at least to some degree, most of the worlds various religions, spiritualities, and magickal practices,  I will still stand here and say;

I worship the Devil, and I stand in league with Satan. 

pactwiththedevil

The funny thing is, this statement is controversial even among the majority of Satanists and Left Hand Path practitioners as well. Which, I can understand to a point. The archetype of Satan is the one who does not bow. And Satanism in general is a philosophy that respects free will, self determination, and strength. So to many “worship” appears as an anti-thesis of these ideas.

I disagree.

At the risk of sounding like a grade-schooler, I think this is a term that the definition is worth taking another look at. So according to Webster there is a simple definition as well as a full definition;

Simple Definition of worship

  • the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God or a god

  • : excessive admiration for someone

Full Definition of worship

  1. chiefly British :  a person of importance —used as a title for various officials (as magistrates and some mayors)

  2.   reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also :  an act of expressing such reverence

It seems clear to me that the simple definition is nothing more than the connotations conjured up by this word. Excessive admiration is not a smart move, ever. To place anyone, human or divine, on a pedestal is dangerous, and often a mistake. That is not what I mean when I say worship.

I hold to the full definition above. I see the Deity I worship as a being of importance. I see Him as both a natural and divine being, as well as a supernatural power (or essence). I express my reverence and veneration to this Deity through my rituals, and by having the utmost respect for Him, until/unless such respect is no longer warranted or deserved. As of today that has not occurred. In fact what began as respect has turned more into a profound awe. But even still, I do not bow, I do not grovel, and I do not beg. Such acts would be disrespectful to everything Satan or Satanism represents. I fully expect that if I went to my altar, got on my knees, and pleaded tearfully for favors that I’d get a well deserved anti-cosmic kick in the ass, and told to get some damn respect for myself before wasting His time again.

My worship is an alignment with Him, a working with the Deity, not standing below Him. I seek enlightenment. I seek strength. I seek self-evolution,  and I seek empowerment. So who better to respect as a teacher? Who better to apprentice with? Who better to turn to as my guide while navigating the abyss? He is like the Virgil to my Dante, and I will not deny that I do indeed worship the Devil.

V0025816 Satan sits on his throne at the centre of a witches' sabbath
Satan sits on his throne at the centre of a witches’ sabbath Credit: Welcome Library, London.

A Mythicist and a Theist

The term “mythicist” was a new one for me. I came across it a few weeks ago while listening to an episode of Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio on YouTube (though, for the life of me, I can’t remember which episode exactly). The term apparently applies to the Christ Myth Theory, which holds that there is no proof of a historical Jesus, and even if there were by chance a historical Jesus, he would have little to do with the archetype he became, and even less so with the church that spawned. It is often now extended and used as a term for those who view all supernatural aspects of the worlds various religions as pure mythology.

I feel that I should be acquainted with the Judeo-Christian stories out of necessity so this is the exact approach I take when looking into them. And even to take it that one step further; I also think it is a healthy approach to take when looking into any mythology or belief system. When we start off by seeing these archetypes as flesh and blood we run the risk of becoming almost dogmatic in our perceptions of them. Or, even worse, we run the risk of projecting our own human baggage onto them. When first delving into a new mythology I find that viewing things with the widest lens possible tends to help me avoid putting these Archetypes into boxes which often limit their potential, at least magickally speaking.

But at the same time, I am a theistic practitioner. This puts me in a different boat than most mythicists because I do not believe that the supernatural (or maybe more appropriately supra-natural) is impossible. I hold the opinion that the essence we know as Satan or Lucifer (or any of the endless names that have been used) is very real and can be tangible in various ways through practice.

I see no issue with holding both views at once because I do not believe any single culture, text, or belief system holds the “truth” (if such a thing even exists). The Deity I venerate is, in my opinion, something vast, chaotic, and primordial, which could not possibly be known in It’s entirety by any one person, coven, or church. Similar to how no single person in my life sees all aspects of me. Who I appear to be to my mother is not the same person I appear to be to my significant other. Who I appear to be to my significant other is not who I appear to be to my coworkers, etc. And if for some reason you wanted to understand me by asking these individuals to define me, you would get very different descriptions of who I am as a person. All of these descriptions would show aspects of me, but none of them would properly define me as a whole. This, I think is what happens when we try and understand our Deities and Archetypes by taking the literal word of the myths. Each myth is just a snapshot frozen in a specific time and culture, and is then further eroded by translation, politics, and unfortunately even literal erosion.

I was told  a short while back that “God is man writ large, and man is God writ small”. (The capital G here is denoting the concept of Deity, rather than a specific god.) If this holds true, and I am of the opinion that it may, then I’d say the myths and their subsequent religions can define Deities only as well as a coworker or an ex might be able to define you or I. So I think the myths themselves actually hold very little weight. But, they can certainly form a foundation for our understanding, especially when viewed comparatively.

156 – Babalon and the Beast

Chaos-Star,-Symbol

I’m not a poet by any means, but sometimes I find it easiest to get my thoughts and theories out onto paper in a poetic format, free formed and all. (Edited: 8.24.17)

 

BABALON!

Daughter of Fortitude

And bride of Chaos

You are indeed a living flame

The blackened embers

Ever burning in His eyes

 

Lawless blood is the pulse of His machine

This war engine which was promised

Now reaches forth in all directions

As a spiders web

In clear echo of She

Who inspires Him

 

As Inanna on Her ascent

She comes forth

And Hell comes with Her

We are many tribes under one banner:

156

And we are Legion

 

John’s revelation

Was not of the worlds end,

But of our return

We are the wild hunting party of the dead

The many-headed Hydra

Born of shining blood

As it was declared:

Your time is NOW!

Our time is NOW!

 

As Man and Lady

As Whore and Devil

As God and Goddess

You both preside over this frenzied Sabbath

Of witches and warriors

Of all who spat in the face of the tyrannical archon

And his poisonous church

 

As Esther have I been

Heeding the secret words of Marduk

To wrap the noose of my King

Around the traitorous neck of Haman

And so as Salome you dance

Those mysterious seven veils

To harvest the head of the Baptist

With Qalmana’s holy sickle

 

This is indeed a new Aeon

And we,

The Crowned and Conquering children

Are lighting the path as Lucifer’s

With the flames of wicker men burning

Parallels between Azazel and Cain

 

AzazelSigil5
Sigil of Azazel

Though I have never previously worked with him, Azazel has been on my mind lately. I’ve even begun to invite him into my practice a little here and there so I have been going back through the textual sources of him to try and gain a better understanding. He is broad and varied, and could take up multiple posts to really analyze, but one thing that stuck out to me is a parallel I see between Azazel in the Day of Atonement ritual of Judaism, outlined in Leviticus 16, and Cain’s tale in Genesis 4.

To quickly paraphrase Leviticus, there are two goats brought forth. Lots are cast so that one goat is for “god” (YHWH/Jehova) and the other is for Azazel. The goat for YHWH is killed as a sacrifice, whereas the goat for Azazel survives. The priest places all the blame of the communities’ sins onto it, making it a literal scapegoat, then it is lead into the wilderness and released.

Azazel
Azazel – Dictionnaire Infernal (Paris,1825).

This calls to mind Cain, who was marked and cast off to wander the wilderness east of Eden. In this tale, Abel is beloved of the Hebrew god, he is the favored son as it were, and he is slain by his brother. When this transgression is discovered, YHWH does not kill Cain, but rather marks him so that none shall kill him, and then sends Cain away bearing his sin. It is almost as if Abel is filling the shoes of the goat for YHWH and Cain is filling the shoes (hooves?) of the goat for Azazel.

cain_abel_grt
Cain and Abel – Tintoretto

I don’t see any direct connections between these two characters though. Cain and Abel are hardly the first tale of feuding brothers, and purely a mythical story, whereas the Day of Atonement is still a literal holiday in modern Judaism. From a Left Hand Path perspective, the archetypes of Cain and Azazel embody similar traits however.

In Islamic mythology Azazel (Iblis) is a djinn. He is first born of smokeless fire, and is the one called Shaytan/Shaitan/Satan; the one who refused gods command to bow to Adam. Whether he is a scapegoat or djinn, Azazel seems to have no problem standing his ground in contrast with god. And it’s this trait which I also see echoed in Cain’s tale. When confronted by god regarding Abel’s disappearance he spits back “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Both Azazel and Cain seem to represent strength, independence, and opposition to the ways of the Judeo “god” and so I’m finding both to be potent archetypes of the very essence of Satanism.

A call to the left hand (personal opinion)

serpentpent

Hello all,

Forgive me for the delay, I have been plagued with real life issues lately. But I am back and do not intend to stay away that long again. Today’s blog will be a bit different. In a moment of clarity an old essay that I wrote popped into my mind. I reread it and spruced it up a bit and realized that it would fit very nicely here.

***

In today’s modern world, I, like many others assume that life revolves around work, bills and when the time is available, family and friends. From the bustling people I see around me, this is the conclusion I have drawn. But still, in this age of less time, but more technology and education there are social and cultural wars being fought around us daily. And I don’t mean the big wars in the Middle East or the gang wars in the large cities. I mean the stigma wars that take place in so called religious societies. In the eighties this country had a shameful and childish “Satanic scare” that was a media circus version of the Salem witch trials. And now in the new millennia there are conspiracy theories infiltrating the minds of the general population. Some are silly and laughable but some have lead normal suburban type people to hatred and violence.

Those who consider themselves Right Hand Path followers have the luxury of a bigoted point of view. They are surrounded by a like-minded culture where they can pick and choose who they decide to treat as a peer. Not to say in any way that everyone who follows the right hand path is bigoted, that would be an unfair generalization that I in no way intend to make. There are many who are educated, civil and loving people who feel that is the path they belong on, and I salute them for being shining examples of humanity. But they are all too often surrounded by people who are uneducated and far from civil and who feel nothing but fear and hatred. These people have become far too abundant. Their strength lies in their numbers not in their message.

Now my opinion may be biased, but, as a solitary follower of the Left Hand Path I do not have the option of only associating with those who share my views. And I think this is a good thing, I think that such isolation would lead to closed minded thinking, it would cause a halt to my personal evolution and it would make it far too easy to view “outsiders” as enemies or as something to be fearful of. Rather, I think it is better to immerse myself in a culture of multiple viewpoints. Not only does it give me opportunities to learn and experience another way of viewing the world but it allows me to see my own belief system through different perspectives. Doing so keeps me honest. It builds my personal faith; it does not destroy or weaken it. I do not fear that understanding another person’s idea of god is going to weaken my faith in my own, but rather it helps me to see my gods and my faith as a whole in a way that I may not have looked at it otherwise.

To be fearful of another belief or of another’s god would mean that I believed there was a weakness in my faith, or a weakness in my god that would give them access and allow them to “lead me astray”. What these bigoted right hand path followers don’t understand is that their actions show that their personal faith is weak. They believe that they as humans need to protect their “omnipotent” god from outside ideas that could weaken and destroy him. It is as if they don’t even realize that they are disrespecting their god more than any outsider ever could.

I believe Lucifer is strong, I believe he was born out of chaos and that his adversarial ways give him an inner strength that he wouldn’t have had he the option of sitting back and basking in the worship of his followers. I know that living my life as a quiet adversary to the culture around me has made me a better person. It has made me look at my morals from every angle. It has allowed me to play devil’s advocate with my faith (excuse the awful pun). Through doing so, I have found my personal weaknesses and have had no choice but to rectify them. Those of the Right Hand Path have condemned themselves to a culture where they are never questioned. When questioning stops, learning stops, evolution stops and humanities advancement is utterly halted. People become compliant and fearful of losing their comfortable place in the safe center of the social ladder, where all of their misunderstood regurgitated words allow them to be accepted within a culture of spiritual stagnation. But acceptance is acceptance I suppose.

Now, though I am thankful that I do not have the option of becoming stalled and compliant it does not mean that ignorant violence is to be tolerated under any circumstances. This stagnated culture wants a shock; it wants the adrenaline rush that it’s primal instincts need and it will create monsters to fight even when such monsters do not exist. Now those of us who stand as adversaries know that we are possible candidates to become their new monsters. In their minds we are far more fearful than ever logically possible. Some of the Left Hand Path relishes this position, but all of us must understand that such misunderstood thinking is infectious. The more we hear of small random acts of violence the more we must come to realize that there is a chance, always a chance of organized violence against those of us who choose to walk another path. Such behavior calls to mind images of the stake.

As much as many on the left hand path may enjoy playing the part of the adversary, it is essential to know when and where to allow such behavior to take over your personality. Do not fall victim to the mistakes that many make in allowing themselves to become aloof or to feel invincible. Be yourself while also being members of society on some level. I say this as a plea to all on the left hand path, I do not wish to see anyone victimized by hatred or misunderstanding. I in no way mean back down or hide your beliefs. Stand for them until the end. My intent is to say that you must on occasion field the questions of those on the right hand path; do not play mind games, answer them honestly. For everyone on this path who has said some idiotic comment to terrify an already frightened mind, another of our path has likely been persecuted.

We as followers of the left hand path will never be fully understood by the mass population, and we would have it no other way, but, we can save ourselves and others from unnecessary violence if we make an attempt to be educated and civil. Many of this path know this already and to them I owe my gratitude, but there are, unfortunately, many more who feel that it is necessary to play the part and speak theatrically to the “sheep” they see around them. They think that it is a way of rebelling; an amusing game. But, it drags everyone’s name down. It gives fuel to the fires of such intolerant bigotry. I do not respect the sheep mentality but I understand that we on the left hand path must choose our individual battles while still respecting the others of our path, even if we have never met them.

 

everymanisastar
This quote by Aleister Crowley can be found in “The Book of the Law”, and is a main tenant of his belief system; Thelema.

Thank you all for stopping by again =) As always, comments and feedback are most welcome!

Satanism for social equality

Good evening all,

social equality

I know we have all been bombarded with recent news stories surrounding certain satanic groups and their involvement in social politics and free speech. Some support it, some hate it, some think they have clever ways of proving a point, others are disgusted and think satanic groups are too ridiculous to even give attention to. That got me thinking that many people may have no idea where the LHP in general stands on certain issues.

sillydoctrin
I don’t know who said this, but it made me giggle

Most LHP organizations are very supportive of social equality, for race, gender, orientation, religion (obviously), or anything else. Often in pagan circles you will hear people talking of “coming out”. Now, I don’t mention this to be disrespectful the the hardships that most LGBT people face when coming out to family and friends. Obviously my rather controversial beliefs are a choice that I had the option to make, which makes my situation quite different. But, in one aspect we are the sameWe have a fear of being rejected, often a fear of abuse or being disowned, we too have a need to keep this part of ourselves “quiet” in the workplace. (Would my fundamentalist boss still consider me for that raise if she knew I was “satanic”)?

helpwanted

Many member’s of the LHP community have been physically, verbally, and mentally abused by family members who discovered their beliefs, kicked out and cut off while they were still a minor, or disowned as an adult (for never growing up into a “normal” church going person). I myself spent most of my teen years getting severely abused for my beliefs (whipped, punched, choked,), and forced into “church counseling” where I was repeatedly told that I was evil, and that I could only rationalize my beliefs because I was possessed (I wish I was kidding). I have been lucky enough to remove myself from that situation, but it took me into adulthood before I could do so.

marygardenquote

I say all this to say, anyone that has heard that satanist are skinheads, or homophobic, or misogynistic has been ill informed.  (The Baphomet is made of both genders…) We are all quite aware of how terrible social “witch hunts” can be (I mean obviously..shudder). Now, do LHP “denominations” or temples exist with those beliefs? Unfortunately I have come across one or two, but they are very small and mocked by the larger LHP community as a whole for having such utterly backward beliefs.
(Kind of like how most Christians might view the Westboro Baptist Church lol)

witches
Equality and understanding is the only thing that will keep horrors like this from occurring to any group of people.

Again, I don’t speak for any specific group, I can only speak from what I have seen first hand. The LHP as a whole believes in individuality above all else, never let anything or anyone stop you from being who you truly are.