Tag Archives: 666

The Devil Is Dead

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus has his 666th review on LibraryThing posted, rather amusingly, for The Devil Is Dead by R A Lafferty.

R A Lafferty The Devil Is Dead

“The devil has the broadest perspectives for God; therefore he keeps so far away from God—the devil being the most ancient friend of wisdom.” (Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, aphorism 129)

I first read The Devil Is Dead over three decades ago, getting it through a suburban Chicago library where I had requested it by inter-library loan; the owner of that volume was the library of Fort Benning, Georgia. I think I requested it solely because I had enjoyed some Lafferty stories that I had read in SF magazines and in collections like Orbit, and I was intrigued by the title when I explored the author’s bibliography. So, as a high school student, I read this book and loved it.

Of course, I didn’t understand it. Given its cryptic attitude, few would on a first reading in any case. I adored the style, and I was fascinated by its profusion of enigmas. Looking back, I see myself as having been woefully unequipped to appreciate both the exoteric and esoteric dimensions of the book, but I could somehow smell them, and they smelled good. In particular, I had not yet visited any of the places in the long itinerary of the protagonist’s journey. I was inexperienced in sex and drink. I had not yet studied Roman Catholicism. (Lafferty was a rather devout Catholic.) And perhaps most importantly, I had not yet read Nietzsche.

The very title of this novel is a mirroring of the declaration made by Nietzsche (in The Gay Science and Thus Spake Zarathustra) that “God is dead.” But the dialogue between the Catholic Lafferty and the anti-Christian Nietzsche is not so clearly antagonistic as might be assumed. At one point, I paused in my rereading of The Devil Is Dead to look up a reference in Beyond Good & Evil, and I felt as if I were still reading the same book—a tone persisted: jocular, allusive, profound, and riddling, an epigrammatic approach that juxtaposes a garrulous leisure with a laconic urgency. The narrative in The Devil Is Dead is no more naturalistic than the one in Thus Spake Zarathustra, and almost as prone to indulgence in poetry.

Nietzsche refers to the advocatus dei as “honorable” (BG&E 34), and protests, after supposing himself vulgarly accused of disposing of God only to keep the devil, “On the contrary! On the contrary, my friends. And, the devil—who forces you to speak with the vulgar?” (BG&E 37). Lafferty’s book is clearly not addressed to the facile enjoyment of “the vulgar.” He could say with Nietzsche, “I obviously do everything to be ‘hard to understand’ myself!” (BG&E 27).

Lafferty’s novel concerns “several who are disinclined to stay dead” (9) and “those of a different flesh; and may not you yourself be of that different flesh?” (10) By the book’s end, that different flesh has been variously explained as the progeny of the devil, the descendants of Nephilim, or “the old race throwing angry primordials” (212) rather than Nietzsche’s anticipated overman, but the essential distinction is that of an “ugly” elite that defines itself over against an insipid mass, and the conflicts among that elite regarding the application of their powers. Lafferty’s literary genius was such that his presentation of this “people before the people” echoes both the giants of Rabelais and the “little people” of Arthur Machen, savoring equally of Fortean parapsychological speculation and Platonic political philosophy. They bear on the pulse of their left wrists the mark of the false octopus, which I cannot help but see as a seven-headed beast.

The Devil Is Dead protagonist John “Finnegan” Solli is of the “mixed blood,” and for all the emphasis on the distinction of types both in the novel and by Nietzsche, it remains an open question whether any individual is “pure”—regardless of whether this divide is genealogical or “spiritual” in its nature. And it may be this conflict within the people—and behind each person—that propels human effort and accomplishment.

To rewrite Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, aphorism 125, with the substitution indicated in Lafferty’s title: “The Devil is dead. The Devil remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? … Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become devils simply to appear worthy of it?”

“Ye are against the people, o my chosen!” [via]

The Rule of Colel and Manuscript 2344

Walter C Cambra has sent “The Rule of Colel and Manuscript 2344” which is now in the collection at the Reading Room. This essay explores the topic of a manuscript with the number of the beast from Revelation 13:18 as 665 and since the “rule of colel” offers “one unit can be added to, or subtracted from. the gematria value of a word” that there is a simple equivalency resolution to the apparent difference from the “better attested and well-known ‘666’”.

Walter C Cambra The Rule of Colel and Manuscript 2344

In conversation with JJ Brine about Vector Gallery

You may recognize the name JJ Brine as a contributor to the Hermetic Library audio pool, with the tracks Innovation and Paradise featured on this blog back in 2011.

You may also be interested in checking out The Presidents of Mozambique, The LaBiancas, and some of his videos.

JJ Brine is also the artist-in-residence at and proprietor of Vector Gallery, 40 Clinton St, NYC, which I’ve also mentioned before. Vector Gallery is billed as the “Official Art Gallery of SATAN”, and is described, in a feature by the New York Professional Outreach Program, as a “new conceptual art destination on the Lower East Side, VECTOR Gallery is the most interesting phenomenon in New York.” I had the opportunity to have a conversation about this project with JJ.

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John Griogair Bell, Librarian: First off, thanks for taking the time to talk with me about your current project. Obviously, you’ve participated in the Hermetic Library audio pool in the past, but can you describe how and where your current project fits with your other works?

JJ Brine: VECTOR is the culmination of all of my personal projects to date.

L: What are some of your previous projects that led to this current gallery and show?

JJ: How many times do I have to come back? I put the AELON inside of the Manger, on the Cross, and at the center of the Theater of the past 2,000 years. I arranged for my birth as a means of dying, so that I might rise up and embody life and death for all things, always.

L: So this current project sounds like an invitation for the viewer to be a witness to your personal progress. It also seems to be an ongoing personal performance which is more reciprocal. One of the places for performance art, versus, say, a gallery show on one hand and theatre on the other, is the immediacy and exchange of mutual feedback between artist and audience on a more equalitarian setting. What sort of relationship do you hope to create with the audience here?

JJ: I tempt people to unabashedly be themselves. It is always a pleasure to acquire new souls for my marketplace.

L: It seems to me that in the promotional material and other interviews about this project there seems a heavy degree of performance art taking place, but I assume this is a serious endeavour for you. Can you describe your intent for this space and this project?

JJ: It is a serious endeavor that involves a heavy degree of performance art. Generally speaking — and specificity is the vice least favored by Devil and Lord alike — my intention for the project is to reprogram the mass mind, one thought at a time.

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L: When I’ve gandered at some of the other interviews you’ve done, it seems to me that those interviewers are driven to locate you in the realm of surreal Outsider art, such as comparing you to Warhol, for example. But, I wonder about that as a mechanism of apologetics. What I mean is that by locating you on the outside of everyday norms, other interviewers are giving people an easy way to dismiss things about your work and statement that might be uncomfortable or feel dangerous. How do you feel about how you’ve been portrayed? Do those stories about you seem to you to reflect the story you are attempting to tell? How has your work been received by the public?

JJ: I set an example by living my life in the afterlife. Every reaction across the spectrum serves to advance the goals of the Project. I have been portrayed as an agent of this world’s end, naturally, as it finally begins.

L: You’ve taken on the culturally overloaded labels “Satan” and “Satanic” for your project, but I wonder which Satan are you talking about and signifying? For example, is this the adversarial Satan of Judaism, the old-school anthropomorphic embodiment from Catholicism, the abstract and facile label for anything unfamiliar and uncomfortable of modern Evangelical Christianity, the boogyman of the Satanic panics, the Classical Promethean or Luciferian force, the stage satanism of Death Metal … something else? Or is this overloaded term useful here specifically because it is so?

JJ: We have been all of those forms and many more, for our numbers attest to our many names. We cannot lie, and so we have known many truths in many ways. But one breath is all we need to give and take; so together let us breathe.

L: On the Vector Galley page you talk about secession from the political structure of the United States as a new independent nation, and you also talk about a temporal shift while within the space changing the current secular calendar year to 2018. These seem intentionally to mark the space as a liminal environment, a place outside of normal time and space, which is what one might expect from ritual experience. Some of the performative restrictions you’ve suggested for events, such as no verbal communication, echo the self-discipline exercises of Liber E, specifically Dharana, and so forth. Does this project have other ritual practice dimensions as well as presentational and performative aspects? Can you talk about the ceremonial and ritual elements one might experience?

JJ: People naturally look to the space to inform them of their own beliefs, which is one reason why I won’t interpret it for them. They have to come to their own conclusions in order for this to manifest correctly. 2019 is coming any day now.

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L: Some of the iconography in your current project seems specifically intended to be triggering for some people, a bit confrontational. For example you include pentagrams, the number 666. keywords such as “legion”, a photograph of Charles Manson, and so forth. These are all clearly laden with cultural baggage, and in that sense are a kind of table of cultural correspondences, that is evoked in the viewer, but what else is going on here? What is the intentionality of using these signs, these symbols? What is the similarity and the parallax between common perception of these and the message you are trying to communicate here?

JJ: Those things which are perceived to be diabolical are an integral part of the divine and vice-versa. There is no need to divide reality from itself. For me, such things are only triggers of serenity and aesthetic comfort. Perhaps that is because I am The Devil. “Needless to say.”

L: Well, there is certainly a long history of around identity and inversion of the nature of diabolical symbolic entities. Do you approach this as something you are commenting on, about which people are already aware, or as something you are revealing for the audience?

JJ: My commentary modifies the extant awareness via revelation. And my Lights are the commentary, and the Frequency is awareness.

L: One of the connections that I noticed right away, but which I don’t recall being mentioned on your site or in other interviews, is that your Vector Gallery logo seems to be a direct visual reference to the Process Church, about which I personally don’t know a whole lot, but that does seem to be an influence on the particular mix of Christ, Satan and Manson imagery in your work, I assume. Could you tell me about that and what that connection is and what it means to you? Are you an adherent, admirer, or something else?

JJ: I will address this issue at length in 2021.

L: Is that 2021 in VECTOR standard time, or on the common secular year count?

JJ: What is to “the” left? What is to “the” right? All but from where I am standing, and I always tell my own time. It’s always right now, always will be and always was, but the numbers change with the nows and so we count the days.

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L: What are some of your other influences, both for your art but also your esoteric and occult interests?

JJ: The most powerful magic is intrinsic. If you want to learn a trick, now’s the time to teach yourself. If you want to bind yourself to the dimming powers of charmed obsolescence, nothing does that trick quite like a book of some stranger’s magic spells.

L: As one of the simplest ritual structures might be: 1) leave normal time and space, 2) engage in practical operations within a liminal environment, 3) return to normal time and space changed; what is the change intended for the participant, the public viewer, as they return to the world from within the Gallery?

JJ: Enlightenment as to nature of self, the nature of ALAN, and the relation of self to ALAN.

L: You mention ALAN, which seems like a surrogate for where one might perhaps expect you to use the word “man” as in humanity, but I’m not sure what this term means to you. Could you tell me more about that? When you use uppercase like that for ALAN and VECTOR, are these notariqon, initialisms or acronyms, or simply calling attention to the terms? Some other creative terminology you use is in lowercase, so I’m curious what the difference and significance is for you with these expressions.

JJ: ALAN divided Itself for the sake of multiplicity. Our experience as distinct sentient beings is the experience of Externality from ALAN; we came from ALAN and to ALAN we shall return. It will not be the same as the ALAN that was; when we return to ALAN we contribute the essence of our experience with the Externality. And so ALAN is reconstituted, fragment by fragment.

L: Any last words for our readers?

JJ: I’ll let them speak for me.

L: Your last words or the readers?

JJ: Both.

The Numbers of the Beast and the House of Yeshua

The Numbers of the Beast and the House of Yeshua by Walter C Cambra is a 2013 monograph, which proposes Nero Caesar of 1st C c.e. as the referent for 666 in Revelation 13:18. which arrived courtesy of the author and is now part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Walter C Cambra The Numbers of the Beast and the House of Yesua

The Confessions of Aleister Crowley

The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography, edited by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant, the 1971 paperback from Bantam Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

John Symonds Kenneth Grant Aleister The Confessions of Aleister Crowley from  Bantam Books

This is the first paperback edition of the single volume redaction of the multivolume The Spirit of Solitude, “re-Antichristianed” The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, which still has not been published beyond the first two volumes, and, in spite of the ad copy, this is, indeed, still an abridgement of the sourcework. Publication of the complete Confessions might, maybe, finally begin with volume 1 available sometime in 2013.

“Complete and Unabridged—The Profane and Uninhibited Memoirs of the Most Notorious Magician, Satanist and Drug Cultist of the 20th Century.”

“Aleister Crowley called himself ‘Beast 666’ and was a self-proclaimed saint of the Gnostic Church. He became a ‘god’ in his own temple at the age of forty-five. By that time, he was infamous in several countries as a writer, poet, painter, chess expert, master magician, mountaineer, drug addict and satyr.

Born in England in 1875, the sone of a wealthy brewer, Crowley totally rejected the Victorian hypocrisy of his day and dedicated himself to a life of debauchery, evil, Satanic spells and writing, especially on such topics as sex, magic and occultism.

A notorious pleasure-seeker, Crowley truly was the hippie of his age, ‘doing his thing.’ He was banned from Italy and was forced to leave other countries, always under mysterious circumstances. Crowley was a constant user of heroin, cocaine, opium, hashish and peyote, and early in his life earned a reputation for indulging in wild sex and drug orgies which he combined with his so-called religious rites.

his reputation followed him everywhere as he traveled from country to country, practicing witchcraft and black magic with his strange group of mistresses and eccentrics.

Colourful, feared, despised and admired, Crowley brought excitement and evil with him wherever he went. He was the author of several books, treatises and poems, many of which are widely read and appreciated today.”

“Aleister Crowley was poet, painter, writer, master chess player, lecher, drug addict and magician. his contemporary press called him ‘the wickedest man in the world.’ The most bizarre and notorious figure of his age, Crowley’s own story is now available in paperback from the first time.

But The Confessions of Aleister Crowley is more than just the autobiography of a man. It is also the portrait of an age. Everything is set down just as Crowley experienced it.

In addition to being a famed magician, Crowley also had a well-deserved reputation as a writer. his flair for literature and his gusto for life elevate this books several levels above the ordinary ‘confession’ type of literature prevalent in his day.

His writing is crisp, witty and amusing and always fascinating. Crowley believed that he could do anything he set his mind to. And he’ll make a believer out of you.”

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The Fenris Wolf No 6

The Fenris Wolf No 6, edited by Carl Abrahamsson, cover art by Fredrik Söderberg, published by Edda Publications, Sweden, is available directly or, in the US, from Weiser Antiquarian

The Fenris Wolf No 6 from Edda Publications

“Edited by Carl Abrahamsson. Cover art by Fredrik Söderberg. The sixth issue of The Fenris Wolf touches upon topics as diverse as occult London, Tantric quests, rune magic and neurology, Cannabis, LSD, entheogenic influences on culture, the Mega Golem, Aleister Crowley in China, Bogomil Gnostics, decadent French author Josephin Péladan, the birth and death horoscopes of the Great Beast 666, Liber AL vel Legis, the psycho-sexual surrealism of Hans Bellmer, healing, death, the extraterrestrial origins of language, Ernst Jünger’s psychedelic approaches, recent Satanic cinema, the occult potential of contemporary physics, “Babalon” as a magical formula, the mystical art of Sulamith Wülfing and a never before published poem, The Litany of Ra, by Charles Stansfeld Jones a.k.a. Frater Achad. And more…

Contents

Carl Abrahamsson – Editor’s Introduction
Frater Achad – A Litany of Ra
Kendell Geers – Tripping over Darwin’s Hangover
Vera Nikolich – Eastern Connections
Carl Abrahamsson – Babalon
Freya Aswynn – On the Influence of Odin
Marita – Runic Magic through the Odinic Dialectic
Aki Cederberg – Afterword: The River of Story
Shri Gurudev Mahendranath – The Londinium Temple Strain
Gary Dickinson – An Orient Pearl
Derek Seagrief – Aleister Crowley’s Birth & Death Horoscopes
Tim O’Neill – Shades of Void
Nema – Magickal Healing
Nema – A Greater Feast
Philip Farber – Sacred Smoke
Robert Taylor – Death & the Psychedelic Experience
Michael Horowitz – LSD: the Antidote to Everything
Alexander Nym – Transcendence as an Operative Category…
Carl Abrahamsson – Approaching the Approaching
Renata Wieczorek – The Secret Book of the Tatra Mountains
Sasha Chaitow – Legends of the Fall Retold
Sara George & Carl Abrahamsson – Sulamith Wülfing
Robert C Morgan – Hans Bellmer
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge – Tagged for Life
Carl Abrahamsson – Go Forth and Let Your Brain-halves Procreate
Anders Lundgren – Satanic Cinema is Alive and Well
Anton LaVey – Appendices” [via]

The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley

The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923 edited, with additional material, by Stephen Skinner, the 1996 paperback from Weiser Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Stephen Skinner's The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley from Weiser Books

“The complete diaries of Aleister Crowley cover his entire career in magic, from his initiation into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898, to his death in 1947. These diaries record the development of Crowley’s synthesis of traditional Western ritual magic with Eastern yoga, tantra and sexual magic—culminating in the creation of Crowley’s ‘Thelemic Magick.’ The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923 show one year in Crowley’s life. This particular year was a major turning point in his life—he and his followers has just been banished by Mussolini from their beloved Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily. It marks a time of introspection for Crowley. In it he fully records his magical acts, the internal and external influences surrounding these acts, and their results. Also included are references to the commentaries on the Book of the Law, passages detailing drug use, the practice of sexual magic, descriptions of how he derived Qabalistic meaning from his works and life, interpretations of ‘Yi King’ (I Ching) divination, and other thoughts of a philosophic, religious, and magical nature. In these candid glimpses into Crowley’s mind the reader can see both the egocentric, self-aggrandizing ‘Beast 666’ and the doubts and misgivings of a man dedicated to the spiritual path.”


 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

In Nomine Babalon, CXXIII

CXXIII

The Aeon of Mars is the aeon of war,

Given birth by the Beast 666 and his whore

And the stele that they call abomination!

I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

In Nomine Babalon: 156 Adorations to the Scarlet Goddess

 

The Hermetic Library arts and letters pool is a project to publish poetry, prose and art that is inspired by or manifests the Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to submit your work for consideration as part of the Arts and Letters pool, contact the librarian.