You’d be surprised how much of your happiness has to do with little problems.
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
“I’ve prepared a PowerPoint presentation that will cover the basics of what I wish to discuss with you,” Lucifer begins, opening up the ThinkPad. “Stop,” Billy says. “PowerPoint?” “It’s my preferred medium,” says Lucifer. “No,” Billy says. “Just no. You want to talk? We can talk. But I’m hungover, I’m annoyed, I’m still kind of losing my shit, I’m not watching a freaking PowerPoint presentation.” “PowerPoint is actually quite unfairly maligned,” Lucifer says.