I’ll tell you one thing. All of you. As far as I’m concerned, you’re here to make the world a smarter, shinier, braver place. If you start making the world a dumb, frightened place, I will end your contract and burn you up like a fucking marshmallow, body and soul both. So watch your ass, you hear me?
“The Devil” is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes. This has led to so much confusion of thought that THE BEAST 666 has preferred to let names stand as they are, and to proclaim simply that AIWAZ — the solar-phallic-hermetic “Lucifer” is His own Holy Guardian Angel, and “The Devil” SATAN or HADIT of our particular unit of the Starry Universe. This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of Man, but He who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil; He bade “Know Thyself!” and taught Initiation. He is “the Devil” of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is BAPHOMET, the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection. The number of His Atu is XV, which is Yod He, the Monogram of the Eternal, the Father one with the Mother, the Virgin Seed one with all-containing Space. He is therefore Life, and Love. But moreover his letter is Ayin, the Eye; he is Light, and his Zodiacal image is Capricornus, that leaping goat whose attribute is Liberty. (Note that the “Jehovah” of the Hebrews is etymologically connected with these. The classical example of such antinomy, one which has led to such disastrous misunderstandings, is that between NU and HAD, North and South, Jesus and John. The subject is too abstruse and complicated to be discussed in detail here. The student should consult the writings of Sir R. Payne Knight, General Forlong, Gerald Massey, Fabre d’Olivet; etc. etc., for the data on which these considerations are ultimately based.)
The Devil does not exist. It is a false name invented by the Black Brothers to imply a Unity in their ignorant muddle of dispersions. A devil who had unity would be a God.
Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Deals with the Devil (Abridged): Twelve Terrifying Tales About Men Who Made Pacts With the Devil [Amazon, Abebooks, Local Library] ed Basil Davenport, with stories from, I had trouble finding the list, so this may include sombunall from this abridged volume and may include some from the prior unabridged edition, in no particular order: J Sheridan LeFanu, Max Beerbohm, Lord Dunsany, Anthony Boucher, John Collier , John Masefield , Henry Kuttner, Theodore R Cogswell, Ford McCormack, Arthur Porges, Isaac Asimov, Guy Maupassant, Stephen Vincent Benét, and L Sprague De Camp.
The abridgment of this volume consists in the omission of some stories from a larger earlier edition; the remaining stories are intact. Davenport’s chatty introduction is an admirable overview of the history of diablerie, given its brevity. The tales are an entertaining assortment, more given to the topics of riddles, trickery, gambles, and bargains, than to matters of metaphysics, demonology, or diabolism. I was especially interested in the Dunsany story “A Deal with the Devil,” and while I did enjoy it, it was far out of the orbit of the high-fanastic Dunsany that I relish. Two selections are preoccupied with betting on horse races, and many involve a three-wishes mechanism little different than yarns that might feature djinni or leprauchans. On the other hand, a few do emphasize gruesome punishments which the central characters want to avoid, or — in more than one case — to administer. Some of the later stories in the book tend toward the science-fictionally satirical, and remind me a little of the work of James Morrow.
Abraham Merritt’s Seven Footprints to Satan was first serialized in 1927 and issued as a complete novel in 1928, but it’s been through a whole stack of paperback reprintings. It’s a pulpy action tale with no real theological pretenses, and it is entirely light reading. Seven Footprints has a cinematic feel, and was made into a movie in 1929.
l took a perverse amusement in imagining the protagonist James Kirkham with the appearance of a young William Shatner. And in fact the pacing of the book and its contrived dilemmas are somewhat reminiscent of the original Star Trek and other TV adventure dramas of that vintage. Kirkham is a “famous explorer,” i.e. a sort of generic resourceful man of action. He is recruited — conscripted, rather — by an arch-criminal who styles himself as Satan. For most of the book, Kirkham tries to escape Satan’s domination, eventually determining to rescue others as well. There’s an obligatory romantic plot vector and some irksome orientalist racism.
Although the author had a longstanding interest in the occult and amassed a considerable esoteric library, such studies are not evident in this book.
They listened, and they believed him. They had always believed him. It scared him, the way they believed, almost as if they were half asleep, or some part of them were missing. Truth be told, he, too, felt as if he were half asleep or half real.
This war is as ancient as the world; the Greeks figured it under the symbols of Eros and Anteros, and the Hebrews by the antagonism of Cain and Abel. It is the war of the Titans and the Gods. The two armies are everywhere invisible, disciplined and always ready for attack or counterattack. Simple-minded folk on both sides, astonished at the instant and unanimous resistance that they meet, begin to believe in vast plots cleverly organized, in hidden, all-powerful societies. Eugène Sue invents Rodin; churchmen talk of the Illuminati and of the Freemasons; Wronski dreams of his bands of mystics, and there is nothing true and serious beneath all that but the necessary struggle of order and disorder, of the instincts and of thought; the result of that struggle is balance in progress, and the devil always contributes, despite himself, to the glory of St. Michael.
Éliphas Lévi, trans Aleister Crowley, Liber XLVI The Key of the Mysteries
The Man-Who-Dies is the Tester or Questioner, the one who does not accept what is normally taken as truth without testing it himself. As such he is an object of fear to most people, who are happier with comfortable lies than uncomfortable truths, and is characterized as a devil, rebel, or dangerous heretic of one sort or another. His testing of accepted norms usually brings him into a position where he finds himself working to bring about change in the status quo so that new growth can occur, or to resist the excesses of an entrenched power. Traditionally he ends up being killed, imprisoned or otherwise punished by the guardians of the status quo, but with the advent of the anti-hero in modern literature, he often ends up conquering.
Benjamin Rowe, Tables of Correspondences for the INRI / IRNI Formulas