Tag Archives: excerpt

Omnium Gatherum: July 20th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 30th, 2014

Afterlife with Archie issue 6
“Afterlife With Archie” Issue 6 is a comic every Lovecraft fan will enjoy — Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine


Here are some top gatherum posts from the BBS this week:

  • The Baphomet Sculpture Hidden in Brooklyn — Jena Cumbo, Village Voice

    “Lucien Greaves (a.k.a. Doug Mesner), one of the people who commissioned the sculpture, that now sits in a warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, asked the sculptor — we’ll call him “Jack” — to forgo the breasts. This Baphomet is smooth-chested and muscular, with thin, shapely lips and rectangular pupils. The sculptor based his physique on a blend of Michelangelo’s David and Iggy Pop.”

  • ‘Join us in our ritual,’ beckons Cthulhu-based cryptocurrency — Adrianne Jeffries, The Verge

    “Written in the voodoo cultspeak of futurist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, ‘The Call of Cthulhu,’ the creepy Cthulhu Offerings may be the most confusing digital currency yet.

    ‘The time draws near, the return of The Great Old One is upon us,’ writes the developer. ‘Join us in our ritual.'”

  • 70,000 Year-Old African Settlement Unearthed — Past Horizons

    “During ongoing excavations in northern Sudan, Polish archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznań, have discovered the remains of a settlement estimated to 70,000 years old. This find, according to the researchers, seems to contradict the previously held belief that the construction of permanent structures was associated with the so-called Great Exodus from Africa and occupation of the colder regions of Europe and Asia.”

  • The Occult Knowledge – Strategies of Epistemology in La Société Voudon Gnostique — Maria Liberg, a Bachelor thesis in Religious Studies at University of Gothenburg, supervised by Henrik Bogdan

    “The academic research on Western esotericism in general and contemporary occultism in particular has been largely neglected in earlier scholarship and has only recently gained serious academic attention. This thesis examines how the contemporary occult group, La Société Voudon Gnostique, headed by David Beth and an organization under the general current Voudon Gnosis, legitimate their claims to knowledge, mainly through three discursive strategies of epistemology offered by Olav Hammer, namely: the appeal to (1) tradition; (2) scientism as a language of faith; and narratives of (3) experience. Since Hammer argues that these strategies can be found in esoteric currents in general, but only examines theosophy, anthroposophy and New Age as well as only examining “esoteric spokespersons” this thesis aims at examine them in relation to contemporary occultism as well as in relation to both the spokesperson and to “ordinary adherents”. In order do this, La Société Voudon Gnostique works as a case study in qualification of being a contemporary occult group that has gained no academic attention before.

    The conclusions of this thesis are that the strategies are all prevalent, to a more or less extent, in La Société Voudon Gnostique and they are also used by the adherents. Besides the strategies proposed by Hammer, this thesis argues that the secrecy and elitist approach, which can be found in the texts, also can be seen as a discursive strategy of epistemology.”

  • Christian Persecution: The Movie! — Scott Stenwick, Augoeides; about the forthcoming movie Persecuted

    “Persecuted, is based on a laughably impossible premise that the audience is supposed to find threatening. In this case, it’s the government attempting to legislate religion, something Poor Oppressed Christians are totally for until they realize that religious freedom also applies to non-Christians. Then they go off the rails about how wrong and unfair it is that they aren’t treated as special and given more privileges than everyone else.”

  • The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda — Mark Ames, NSFWCORP at Alternet

    “Pull up libertarianism’s floorboards, look beneath the surface into the big business PR campaign’s early years, and there you’ll start to get a sense of its purpose, its funders, and the PR hucksters who brought the peculiar political strain of American libertarianism into being — beginning with the libertarian movement’s founding father, Milton Friedman.”

    “That is how libertarianism in America started: As an arm of big business lobbying.”

  • Aldous Huxley quoted at Reversed Alchemy — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “Certain authors possess the secret of a kind of reversed alchemy; they know how to turn the richest gold into lead. The most interesting subjects become in their hands so tedious that we can hardly bear to read about them.”

  • Ian Clark quoted at The Limits of “Unlimited” — Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed

    “By speaking up, we are not only defending public libraries but the entire notion of public services. Silence is not how we defend ourselves against an ideological battle, it is how we surrender.”

  • More Songs for the Witch Woman — John Coulthart, feuilleton

    “It’s been a great pleasure in recent years seeing the welling of interest in Cameron’s work. In 2001 when I was compiling notes for an abandoned study of occult cinema, Cameron as artist, witch or mere human being was a shadowy presence about whom nothing substantial seemed to have been written; her art was impossible to see anywhere, all one had were fleeting references in books”

  • Love Spells — Sarah Anne Lawless

    “Love spells are black magic. Love spells to manipulate the body, heart, and soul. Love spells to dominate, to bind, to cause destruction and madness and pain.

    Love spells are not about love, they are about the lustful eye and the selfish heart. Be honest with yourself about it and then move on to the work at hand.”

  • Bible Stories for Newly Formed and Young Corporations — Tom the Dancing Bug, Boing Boing

    Tom the Dancing Bug Bible-stories for Young Corporations detail


  • Stick-Gods — Inonibird

    “‘Stick-Gods’ is the culmination of over a dozen years of fascination with Ancient Egypt—particularly, its mythology and deities. Whether you’re studying Egyptology, a practicing Kemetic or just a fan of myths, there should be something in there for you! I’m doing my best to balance informed content with a fair bit of silliness. …And puns. Lots of puns.”

    Inonibird Stick-Gods


  • William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard — Gesigewigu’s, Spiral Nature; a review of William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision from Inner Traditions

    “Reading William Blake one cannot help but realize this is a man who is both religious and spiritually active, especially his poems known as the prophecies. The question is what was the nature of his spiritual life? What inspired Blake to create works that are both heavily Christian and at the same time antagonistic to many Christian ideals? The surprising answer is laid out as Schuchard leads us back into the complex religious web of mystical Christianity of the 17th and 18th century.”

  • A Victim of Drunken Channeling — Scott Stenwick, Augoeides

    “Aleister Crowley criticized spiritism as ‘a sort of indiscriminate necromancy’ because of a complete lack of formal magical procedures and protections, in which many mediums simply opened themselves up to whatever spiritual force happened to be present. Modern channelers such as Knight still employ essentially the same methods that Crowley was talking about. As such, there’s a real possibility that any channeling attempt could reach just about any spirit, like some sort of metaphysical Chatroulette.”

  • Mary Magdalene and the Gospel according to Mary — Kate Cooper; an edited excerpt from Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women from Overlook Press

    “The argument between the four disciples seems to be our anonymous writer’s way of exploring the different positions being taken by the men and women of his own day on the question of an alternative tradition being handed down by women. But he is also expressing his concern that the Church is changing, and not for the better. In his eyes, Peter seems to represent the voice of a faction in the community which wants to ‘make rules or lay down laws other than the Saviour gave’ – in other words, a group that wants to develop an institutional structure to replace the more fluid and informal movement of the early decades. This was clearly a topical warning after the death of the disciples who had known Jesus. Levi thinks that the new rules are a way of drawing the community away from fulfilling its task of preaching the gospel. The anonymous writer seems to be using Levi to suggest that too much emphasis on authority from the ‘Peter faction’ is stifling the Church.”

  • “Afterlife With Archie” Issue 6 is a comic every Lovecraft fan will enjoy — Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine

    “As the story begins, our heroine Sabrina Spellman is relating one of her eldritch dreams to her psychiatrist, Dr. Lovecraft. Sabrina has apparently been committed to an institution because after her aunts died in a house fire, she had a breakdown and couldn’t deal with the reality of their death.

    But is that really what happened?”


If you’d like to participate in the Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS. You can check out all the other gatherum posts, like posts you enjoy, and even add your own posts with links to other things of interest, related to the subject matter of the library, from elsewhere around the Internet.

Omnium Gatherum: July 11th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 11th, 2014

VirtuaLUG's Odyssey: Pictures of the Odyssey display by VirtuaLUG at Brickworld 2014
VirtuaLUG’s Odyssey: Pictures of the Odyssey display by VirtuaLUG at Brickworld 2014 [HT Archie McPhee’s]


  • Nostalgia back in fashion — Gail Rosenblum, Star Tribune [HT Robert Murch]

    “Those who embrace nostalgia excel at maintaining personal relationships and choose healthy social ways of coping with their troubles. When they feel stressed, for example, they tap into previously successful strategies, such as turning to a trusted teacher or parent. If I overcame adversity before, they tell themselves, I can do it again.

    When they feel a lack of self-confidence, they remember when they felt valued and loved for who they were and not for what they achieved or earned.

    And when they feel uncertain about the future, they wipe the cobwebs off their Ouija board.”

  • Aleister Crowley and The OTO — Tobias Churton, disinformation; an excerpt from Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin: Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic from Inner Traditions

    “Crowley had little concern with Reuss’s treasured image of spiritual descendants of an imaginary body of medieval male Templars sharing secrets of a yogic sexual magic (transmitted from late antiquity) manifesting in the twentieth century as a new Gnostic Catholic Church. For Reuss the Oriental Templars’ great secret was that Jesus Christ and his ‘Beloved Disciple’ had been practicing adepts; Jesus’s semen being held to manifest magical, sacramental power: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him’ (John 6:56). Reuss consolidated the doctrine that consecrated sexual fluids constituted effective agents of magical, spiritual transformation through contacts established in Paris with French Gnostic Catholic Church clergy Jean Bricaud, Gérard Encausse and other Martinists when Reuss issued Encausse and his associates (including René Guénon) with a patent to administer the Rites of Memphis and Misraïm in 1908; it is believed that in return Reuss received ‘authority’ as a legate or bishop of the Église Catholique Gnostique in Germany. Reuss’s belief that the OTO’s originators were Christian Gnostics did not sit altogether well with his rather general approval of The Book of the Law. Despite this potential disparity of outlook, all might have progressed quite nicely were it not for the inconvenient interruption of World War One.”

    “After the war Reuss described the OTO as a body of New Gnostic Christians who rejected the anti-German, that is anti-brotherhood, betrayal of the Versailles Conference and looked for a transnational movement. Crowley did not attend Reuss’s international Freemasonry conference organized in Basle in 1920 for kindred fringe-Masonic representatives worldwide. Thinking about the invitation while in retirement in Cefalù, Sicily, the Beast wondered if he had it in him to combine such a collection of what he considered nonentities into a force.

    But what really got Crowley’s goat was that while paying lip service to aspects of The Book of the Law, Reuss was obviously putting distance between himself and his supposed colleague. The reasons for this soon became apparent. Reuss was seeking financial support from AMORC-founder Harvey Spencer Lewis; Reuss offered Lewis an OTO diploma as an inducement to affiliation.”

  • Pope Francis’s dance with the devil: For all his modernising, the Catholic church’s leader has enlisted a very old enemy in his battle against secularism — Sophia Deboick, The Guardian [HT Erik Davis]

    “The devil continues to be as useful for the modern church as he has been in the past, when he bolstered the case for the burning of heretics. The concept now provides a dramatic way to underscore the dangers of a godless society. The organiser of last week’s course, Dr Giuseppe Ferrari, argues that a rise in the number of people abandoning religion and dabbling in the occult has increased Satan’s power. As head of the Gruppo di Ricerca e Informazione Socio-Religiosa, a Catholic organisation concerned with the threat posed by cults and sects, Ferrari says good exorcists are needed more than ever, since: ‘We live in a disenchanted society, a secularised world that thought it was being emancipated, but where religion is being thrown out, the window is being opened to superstition and irrationality.’

    This seems like an extreme position, but it is in perfect alignment with Francis’s views, which go further than his brief mentions of the devil last week suggest. In his very first homily as pope, delivered in the Sistine Chapel on the day after his election, Francis bluntly quoted the French author and Catholic convert Léon Bloy: ‘Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.'”

  • Iran Cleric: Jews Use Sorcery to Spy: A mullah at Tehran University told Iranians on official TV that Jews use jinns, or genies, for espionage. Young Iranians laugh, and cry, when they hear such things. — Azadeh Moaveni, The Daily Beast; from the well-it-worked-for-john-007-dee dept.

    “Iran’s state broadcaster, known as Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, has never been the country’s most dignified institution. But even by its own standards, the network plunged into a fresh abyss of superstition and fear-mongering with a recent broadcast in which Valiollah Naghipourfar, a cleric and professor at Tehran University, discusses the use of jinns, or genies, in public life.

    ‘Can jinns be put to use in intelligence gathering?’ the presenter asks ingenuously, as though dragons can also serve as defense ministers and we’ve all entered the realm of the Hobbit.

    The cleric nods, as though speaking about a species of exotic elf: ‘The Jew is very practiced in sorcery. Indeed most sorcerers are Jews.'”

    “Such paranoia and fear of the other, of course, is typical among the ultra-orthodox of any religion.”

  • Cult Rush Week: Pretzels and Wine With Peaches Geldof’s Sex Cult — Cat Ferguson, Gawker

    “When I first told friends I was going to a meeting of the New York Ordo Templi Orientis branch, called Tahuti Lodge, the general consensus was that I should try not to die, and I should avoid sexual contact. […] As it turned out, neither of my friends’ concerns proved necessary.”

  • Reply to Sandy Robertson’s review of Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World — Gary Lachman

    “One of the key questions I explore in the book is why Crowley remained a pop ‘icon’ – apologies for using a much abused and emptied-out term – long after other esoteric figures taken up by the 60s counter culture, like Jung and Madame Blavatsky, no longer were. The answer to that is that Crowley’s philosophy of excess – ‘excess in all directions’, as his friend Louis Wilkinson called it – is purpose built for rock and roll and the pop aesthetics that followed it.”

  • rstevens 3.0, tweet


  • When Beliefs and Facts Collide — Brendan Nyhan, The Upshot, The New York Times

    “In a new study, a Yale Law School professor, Dan Kahan, finds that the divide over belief in evolution between more and less religious people is wider among people who otherwise show familiarity with math and science, which suggests that the problem isn’t a lack of information. When he instead tested whether respondents knew the theory of evolution, omitting mention of belief, there was virtually no difference between more and less religious people with high scientific familiarity. In other words, religious people knew the science; they just weren’t willing to say that they believed in it.”

  • Interview: Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold — Second Heart Magazine

    “My arrival to a neo Platonic stance on this issue came initially through my interest for behaviourism and the realization of how an organism can be conditioned to nearly whatever and how inconstant and changeable the human mind and heart is which grew these ideas of dualism solely being a heuristic and not a reality. Later when I studied Advaita philosophy and Renaissance philosophers both from the European and Arabic renaissance a qualified monism took shape and got over the years sharper and sharper. Quite simply if we view everything in terms of polarities we also become more inclined to understand the tension within the fields of being and find the bridges of understanding that widens our horizon and in this the tension between the poles are also experienced less severe. For instance in the thoughts of Ibn Al Arabi we find the concept of Iblis being the limit of divine enfolding – and thus our experience of this concept is one of resistance and opposition, but in truth it serves a quite different function in defining the field of possibility for unfolding.”

  • The Persecution of Witches, 21st-Century Style — Mitch Horowitz, The Opinion Pages, The New York Times

    “Most people believe that the persecution of ‘witches’ reached its height in the early 1690s with the trials in Salem, Mass., but it is a grim paradox of 21st-century life that violence against people accused of sorcery is very much still with us. Far from fading away, thanks to digital interconnectedness and economic development, witch hunting has become a growing, global problem.”

  • Tell Me There Is No Magic — Rue, Rue and Hyssop [HT Sarah Anne Lawless]

    “We are walking into the heat scorched arms of summer this weekend, and as some of us keep our heads toward the earth, watching for signs and faerie rings, others are looking skyward again to that opulent display of rocket-fuelled magic.”

  • Rewilding Witchcraft: Speaking from the Swamp, Part 1 — Oldidio, The Arrival and the Reunion; a response to Rewilding Witchcraft

    “The background setting is chiefly about the decline of humanity’s ability to survive as a species over the coming 100 years or so. The matter is doleful, sobering and utterly important.”

  • The Witch and the Wild — Sarah Anne Lawless; a response to Rewilding Witchcraft

    “Our witchcraft, nay, our very being must become more wild, more intuitive, and more accepting of nature’s amorality and our inevitable demise if we are to make any difference at all. If we are to preserve what we’ve left behind of the earth in our destructive wake, and if we are to survive in any number as a species, we must rewild ourselves and learn how to live outside of civilization. We must lose our faiths, our religions, our meaningless attachment to nitpicketity details only we as individuals and not a whole care about. We who are importers of foreign magics and alien gods. We must become a different kind of witch. Something that needs no definitions, no boundaries, and no expectations. Something more primal and raw than our current incarnation. Something small, something just outside your door…”

  • The Hammer of Thor — Past Horizons

    “A small hammer dating to the 10th century was found recently on the Danish Island of Lolland. Over 1000 of these amulets have been found across Northern Europe but the pendant from Lolland is the only one with a runic inscription.”

    Past Horizons The Hammer of Thor


  • A Peek Into The Mystical Lives And Rituals Of Urban Peruvian Shamans — Justina Bakutyte, Beautiful/Decay

    “Italy-based photographer Andrea Frazzetta gives us a little glimpse into the lives and rituals of modern healers from Lima, Peru. His project called ‘Urban Shamans’ peeks behind the doors of the rear private shops where shamans, or the so called curanderos, perform their traditional mystical rituals which are not subject to the laws and orders of today’s world.”

    Beautiful/Decay A Peek Into The Mystical Lives And Rituals Of Urban Peruvian Shamans


  • Hannah Kunkle’s Controversial Project Turns Kim Kardashian Into The Devil, The Virgin Mary And Even Jesus — Victoria Casal-Data, Beautiful/Decay

    “Brooklyn-based artist Hannah Kunkle puts Kim Kardashian on the altar, literally. Kunkle delivers Kardashian as the Virgin Mary, Medusa, the devil and even Kleopatra. With a flashy net-art inspired aesthetic, the artist takes Kim’s iconic, worshiped image and puts it to work, naturally, with religious/cultish iconography. The controversial juxtaposition is rather riveting as its subtle insights perfectly captures the absurdity of our nation’s obsession with Kardashian and celeb idolatry in general. ‘We have accepted her into our lives via television screens, memes, and Instagram feeds’, she says. ‘If Jay Z is the father and Yeezus is the son, then she is the ever-present holy ghost of pop culture.'”

    Beautiful/Decay Hannah Kunkle's Controversial Project Turns Kim Kardashian Into The Devil


  • Quantum state may be a real thing: Physicists summon up their courage and go after the nature of reality — Chris Lee, Ars Technica [HT disinformation]

    “At the very heart of quantum mechanics lies a monster waiting to consume unwary minds. This monster goes by the name The Nature of Reality™. The greatest of physicists have taken one look into its mouth, saw the size of its teeth, and were consumed. Niels Bohr denied the existence of the monster after he nonchalantly (and very quietly) exited the monster’s lair muttering ‘shut up and calculate.’ Einstein caught a glimpse of the teeth and fainted. He was reportedly rescued by Erwin Schrödinger at great personal risk, but neither really recovered from their encounter with the beast.”

  • Satanic Feminism – A Soundtrack to Per Faxneld’s Book with Music by Christian von H, Patrik Hultin, Tondurakar, Jesper Erwik Johansson and Kristian Pettersson discussed at Per Faxneld’s Satanic Feminism: A New Approach to the Dissertation? — Sarah Veale, Invocatio

    “This is a really creative presentation of the dissertation, one which certainly challenges new scholars to consider the life of their work beyond the written page. It is great to see how this topic has been re-imagined into a totally different context, one which allows the audience to experience the milieu researched by Faxneld in an accessible and immediate way.”

  • Fantastically Wrong: Why the Egyptians Worshiped Beetles That Eat Poop for a Living — Matt Simon, WIRED

    “And this makes it all the more incredible that humans once revered the dung beetle, from the ancient Egyptians to a 17th-century Jesuit who compared Christ to the bug. These folks got a whole lot wrong about the dung beetle and made some pretty fantastical assumptions, but it turns out that their reverence was totally justified. The dung beetle may live its life in crap, but it’s actually a far more remarkable creature than you think.”


If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

Kara meets the Librarian from Martin Cosgrove’s KARA

This is the first public extract from Martin Cosgrove‘s upcoming second esoteric novel, KARA (named changed from The Legacy of Kara Reyne). This is a scene in which Kara meets the mysterious character known only as The Librarian which is, you must admit, perfectly and amusingly appropriate. You may recall Martin as the author of The Destiny of Ethan King which has been featured before and is part of the collection at the Reading Room. KARA should be available as an ebook in August and paperback shortly thereafter.

Martin Cosgrove KARA cover


Excerpt from the upcoming esoteric novel KARA

by Martin Cosgrove

Her mind numb, Kara found herself standing in the middle of the library. She didn’t remember climbing the stairs to get there. Her feet began to move again; one in front of the other. They stopped outside the secret entrance to the Perception Section and then it was her hand’s turn to take on a life of its own as it twisted the handle and pulled open the door.

The warping effect of the portal was still disorientating, as blobs of reality bulged out at her as if squeezed in the middle by a giant hand. Seconds later, Kara again stepped out into the small white room of what was officially named the Life Purpose Section.

“Oh, it’s you again.” The glum voice of the Librarian echoed in the sparsely furnished room.

“It’s great to see you too,” said Kara, not quick enough to catch her sarcasm before it left her mouth.

The Librarian humphed and proceeded to polish his spectacles whilst muttering something about young people these days.

A pang of guilt prompted Kara to add: “I’m sorry. I’m going through a lot and I shouldn’t take it out on you.”

The Librarian stopped what he was doing, still holding one lens of his glasses between folds of his baggy cardigan, and squinted at Kara.

“It’s quite all right,” he muttered. “I’m actually rather used to it. People don’t usually come here unless they have something on their minds. Folks who are already happy don’t go seeking out potentially life-altering information as a rule.”

She hadn’t thought of it like that, but it made sense. Why upturn the applecart if you are enjoying munching on apples all day long?

Kara stepped a little closer to the Librarian.

“I don’t think I introduced myself last time. I’m Kara.” She held out her hand, but the

Librarian just glanced at it then proceeded to perch his glasses on the end of his sharp nose.

“I know who you are,” he said with a wave of his hand. Kara pulled back her hand awkwardly.

“Everyone seems to be saying that to me lately,” she mumbled. “How do you know who I am?”

A look of utter incredulity crossed the man’s face. “Because I’m the Librarian. Knowing things is my job.” Kara pursed her lips to speak, but the Librarian continued. “I’ve seen references to your various incarnations in many volumes from countless cultures throughout the ages. If I remember correctly…” He tapped the back of his long hand on his lap. “Yes. I first saw mention of you in an inscription on a stone tablet inscribed by the Harappan civilisation of modern day Pakistan over four and a half thousand years ago.”

Kara’s eyes narrowed. “Exactly how old are you?”

The Librarian took off his spectacles and waved them casually as he spoke. “As old as words. Not as old as you.”

“What does that mean?”

The old man craned his neck to look around the room. “I’ve probably said too much already. Do you wish to look at your books?”

Kara took a deep breath. “Yes. I suppose that’s why I’m here. For answers.”

The man nodded knowingly and extended one arm towards the bookcases. “Be my guest.”

“Thank you.” Kara turned towards the books and then something occurred to her and she turned back to face the Librarian. “How rude of me. I didn’t ask you your name.”

The Librarian shuffled a little in his chair. “I’ve had many throughout the ages, but I tend to stick with Librarian these days. Keeps things simple and neat.”

“Pleased to meet you, Librarian,” she said with an apprehensive smile. “How do I know which one to look at first? Am I supposed to read them all?”

The Librarian smiled, making his loose cheeks wobble at little. It was the first time Kara had seen his otherwise sullen expression brighten.

“The books will show you what you need to see, don’t you worry about that.”

Kara just nodded and sloped off towards the middle bookcase, her stomach doing somersaults.

She picked a slim leather-bound volume off a shelf. Embossed on the front in gold leaf lettering was the title: Tao Te Ching. Kara had never heard of it. The words looked like a romanised version of Chinese and most Chinese books (along with books on spirituality, philosophy and so-called ‘radical’ politics) were outlawed by the Council.

As Kara opened the book, the brittle yellow pages exuded the distinctive musty smell of knowledge blended with history. The pages were a little tattered and well-thumbed and the spine had been cracked in such a way that it opened on one specific page of its own accord.

The Universe has a beginning;
That is the mother of creation.
He who quests after the mother
will know the sons;
he who knows the sons
and returns to the mother:
he will be safe his whole life long.

Kara read it three times, attempting to decipher its meaning and how it applied to her situation. The phrase quest after the mother rang through her head as she flicked back a few pages and read:

The soul of the vale never dies.
It is named the feminine.
The portal of the dark mother
is the source of Heaven and Earth.
Unceasing in its persistence
it is powerful without effort.

This one made even less sense to her. She closed the book carefully and was about to give up when another book farther along the same shelf caught her eye. The cover along the spine had fallen off, leaving the glue and string binding exposed. Something about it fascinated Kara — it was like looking inside a wound: tattered flesh and exposed blood vessels.

She placed her index finger on top of the sad-looking volume and eased it off the shelf to discover that the front cover was also missing. The title page read: Words from the Void: An Anthology of Poetry.

Again, the book wanted to open at one specific page and Kara didn’t stop it. She sat cross-legged on the floor, her back resting against the shelves and read a poem whose author was listed simply as anon.


Her boundless blackness swallows me whole;
an endless ocean engulfing my soul.
She stands strong, her sceptre poised with power,
ready to strike out and to devour
the impure, the degenerate, the soulless,
stripping them bare with her maternal prowess.
She laps at the shadowy shores of Malkuth;
‘ever ready to enter and to transmute
the lifeless into Life; the lead into gold;
begetting her daughter for us to enfold.
By men’s eyes she is unimpassioned and distant.
yet she moves with a Higher Love much more persistent.

Oh, Dark Mother: tear us down to make us stronger!
Sift the chaff from the corn so we are poor no longer.
In your feminine hands we entrust our souls,
so we may strive onwards to achieve sacred goals.
And in your expansive stillness and silence
lies hope for an end to this earthly violence.


Something greater than the words themselves struck Kara as she finished reading the poem. The mother, the female mentioned in the pages she had read was referring to a universal energy, a divine essence. Some of the words, however, were unfamiliar to her. The title of the poem, Binah, for example. And also Malkuth. She made a mental note to ask Abra about those terms and then a thought occurred to her. She placed her finger inside the book and closed it over, then wandered back over to the Librarian.

“Excuse me. Is it possible to take a book out of here?” she asked.

The Librarian’s brows knitted closer together. “Why ever would you need to do that?”

His reply caught Kara off guard. “Well, so I can study the texts in more detail.”

He chuckled — a phlegmy rasp which caught in his throat. “My dear, you will not forget the essence of anything that you read in here for the rest of your life. Or lives. But books may not be removed. Those are the rules.”

“I see.”

“Besides, these books do not exist out there. They only exist in here.”

It was Kara’s turn to frown. “And where is here, precisely?”

“Aha!” he exclaimed, sitting up a little straighter in his chair. “Now you’ve hit on an interesting question. This realm is a little below the one through that portal,” he said, indicating the door through which she had come, “and twice that distance above the world you’ve left behind.”

“What on earth is that supposed to mean?” Kara flicked her hair out of her face. “Your answers are even worse than Abra’s.”

“Taught her everything she knows,” replied the old man, not missing a beat.
Kara couldn’t tell if he was joking or not, but decided it wasn’t worth pressing the issue.
The man, seemingly picking up on Kara’s frustration, leant forward in his chair.

“Listen. Things will be revealed when the time is right. Stop fretting and just continue on your journey. One foot in front of the other — that’s all that is required. And don’t hurry to your destination either, you may end up wishing you’d savoured the journey a little more once you finally get there.”

He winked and gestured towards the door.

“Now get out of here. It’s closing time. A man’s got to nap, you know. This job isn’t as easy as it may look.”

More questions than answers. Again, thought Kara as she headed for the door.

“Ah, ah, ah,” the Librarian called after her. “Haven’t you forgotten something?” he asked, looking pointedly at the book in her hand.

“Oh!” Kara slapped her head with her palm. “I’m sorry. Silly me.”

“Silly, indeed,” mumbled the man as Kara returned the book to its home on the shelf and left the Perception Section for a second time.

Martin Cosgrove KARA

Practice excerpt from Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 1, “Practice,” from Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons: The Islamic Teachings at the Heart of Alchemy by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff, introduction and commentary by Stephen E Flowers [also], which is offered at the Reading Room courtesy of Inner Traditions.

Baron von Sebottendorff and Stephen E Flowers' Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons from Inner Traditions



Islam means “submission,” that is, submission to the will of God. The believer can just commend himself to the will of God simply because it is the will of God. He feels secure and does not ask why this is so and that is different—he fulfills the divine law simply because it is the revealed law of God. He accepts his fate as being immutable and, at the most, attempts by means of prayer to implore for mercy from God when the burden becomes too great for him. But the sign of the true believer will consistently be that he does not ask for release from the burden, but rather for the strength to be able to bear it. “Lead us in the way of those who do not err,” the Prophet prescribes to those who pray.

This faithful condition is what is most worthy to strive after, according to all religious systems. Actually he is also the most happy, it is he who the Prophet values most highly, and he represents this as his only goal–and therefore his religion is called Islam.

Now beside the belief there is something else that makes it equally possible for a person to yield to his fate; it is no longer faith but knowledge—knowledge of the divine laws. The one who knows no longer fulfills this law blindly but rather knowingly. The truly wise one is very near to the believer, but he is superior to the believer.

The Prophet created a very wise institution to open the way to knowledge for everyone who truly seeks it. According to this system in the Qur’an he provided explicit signs, which point the way to knowledge, and which have to reveal the law of creation to someone who gains knowledge from within his own being. The highest form of knowledge will always lead the wise to yield to Divine Providence without complaint—that is, to Islam through knowledge.

In what follows we will concern ourselves with this path. How the Prophet himself came into possession of this knowledge is recounted in the form of the following legend.

Not far from Mecca there lived at the time of Mohammed an aged hermit, Ben Chasi, who was teaching the Prophet. When the lesson was over the hermit gave him a metallic plate upon which were engraved formulas, the meaning of which the then thirty-year-old Prophet had just learned. Soon thereafter the hermit died, but Mohammed kept on teaching the secret of these formulas in the most intimate circles. Abu Bekr, the first calif, inherited the plate and the knowledge, which only spread within a small circle after the death of the Prophet: this is the secret knowledge of the oriental Freemasons.

In order to ensure against the loss of the formulas the Prophet distributed them throughout the Qur’an according to a precise key. The key is known, and the formulas are preserved in the Qur’an, such that the possibility remains for reconstructing the system at any time.

The formulas are preserved in the so-called abbreviated letters, the meaning of which is debated among orientalists as well as different commentators. Some are of the opinion that these letters are signatures. Individual Suras certainly originated under highly variable conditions: the Prophet dictated some, others he recited while friends wrote them down, still others were recorded later from memory. When the Suras were collected, the letters, which indicated the originator of the Sura, would have remained, but now without their meaning.

Some European scholars are of the view that these letters represent notes by the scribe. Thus ALM is supposed to mean: amara li muhamed—“Mohammed commanded me to write.”

Arabic commentators view these letters as holy abbreviations. Thus ALM means: allah latif madshid—“God is good.” Or, as another thinks: ana lahu alamu—“I am the God who knows.”

For others the letters are to be interpreted in a kabalistic sense. Certainly all the Suras in which these letters occur contain definite indications that they have something special to say.

The Arabic language, like all the Semitic languages, does not write the vowels. If one does not read these letters as such, but rather as words, they yield no meaning. For this reason people have been scratching their heads over the meaning of these letters. But in actuality these are the secret formulas concealed in the letters that someone who knows the truth can now easily read and pronounce. All of these formulas are compounds of the vowel A with one or several consonants. 

Number of the sura Name of the sura Formula
2 The Cow alam 

3 Amran’s Family alam 

7 El Araf alamas 

10 Jonah alar 

11 Houd alar

12 Joseph alar

13 Thunder alamar 

14 Abraham alar
15 A-hijr alar 

19 Mary kaha ya as

20 Ta ha ta ha 

26 The Poet tasam

27 The Ant tas

28 The Narration tasam 

29 The Spider alam 

30 The Greeks alam

31 The Wise alam 

32 Adoration alam 

36 Ya sin yas 

38 Sad sa

40 The Believer cham

41 Revelations Well Expounded cham 

42 Consultation cham asak

43 Gold Adornments cham

44 Smoke cham

45 Kneeling cham

46 Al ahqaf cham

50 Qaf ka

68 The Feather na 

822 days   14 different formulas

The formulas are present in twenty-nine Suras. The number of days results in twenty-five lunar months in which three days are missing. On these three days the one who was dedicating himself to these exercises was occupied doing something else, to which we will return later.



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.

Excerpt from The Destiny of Ethan King

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 3 from The Destiny of Ethan King by Martin Cosgrove which is offered at the Reading Room with permission from the author.

Martin Cosgrove's The Destiny of Ethan King


Elroy Stark shuffled up the steps to the Eternal Flame Christian Spiritualist Church one wet Monday afternoon. He was late again. His manager always managed to persuade him to stay for ‘just a few minutes’ to finish off some important document or other.

He shook his umbrella several times in quick succession when he reached the top step, folded it down and smoothed back his wet, greasy hair into an overly-slick Dracula style before entering the hall.

The meeting, as usual, was already under way and the spirit medium, Frederick Wallas, was sitting perfectly still and upright in a wooden chair at the front. His monotone voice bounced off the stone walls of the former Freemasons’ building.

Elroy’s scuffed leather shoes squeaked on the highly polished floorboards as he approached the back row of seats. He tried to shift his weight to prevent the squeaking, but ended up making it worse. A few heads spun around to look at him as he squelched his way towards them. One woman in her sixties saw it was Elroy, shook her head and turned back to face the medium. A red-headed, pale man sitting in the front row narrowed his eyes and glared at Elroy as if trying to kill him with his thoughts. That was ‘Bonny’ Benny, the Church’s founder.

Elroy sat on a chair right at the end of the back row, next to a lady he’d noticed at the last three meetings but had not spoken to. Her greying auburn hair was wavy and although it was fixed up tightly in a bun, a couple of wild strands frizzed out in a rebellious act totally at odds with her perfect posture. She sat with her hands folded neatly in her lap and looked to be in her early forties; at least ten years older than Elroy, but there was something about her lips and her flawless Snow White skin.

He wriggled in his seat, attempting to remove his arms from the sleeves of his sodden raincoat. He should have taken it off before he sat down, but the glaring had been too much. As he managed to extract his left arm, he elbowed Posture Lady, who shot him a sharp sideways look and cleared her throat before returning her attention to the medium.

“Damnit,” he muttered. “Sorry.” The other arm flew out as if controlled by some external force and he shoved the coat in a ball under his chair.

As he settled down to listen to Fred, he made a mental note to catch the earlier bus next week. He’d made that same mental note each week for the past six months, but this time he really meant it.

“The time is approaching when mankind will achieve its full potential.” Fred paused. He always paused for an uncomfortably long time between sentences when he was channelling the Vegans (or whoever it was this week), “When all will be made aware of Spirit,” he continued, his voice wheezy and slightly wrong – almost robotic. “But we are afraid that humanity must first pass through a terrible era of war, starvation and disease.”

Sounds great, Elroy thought. Fred said more or less the same thing each Monday as he channelled messages from the beings of the star Vega, or the planet Saturn or the unicorns from Never Never Land. They never gave specifics or a plan of action, just endless warnings of death and destruction. He could have stayed at home and watched BBC News for that.

But he didn’t stay at home. Something about the place fascinated him. Six months ago, after he’d been overlooked for the third time for promotion to supervisor at his insurance firm, Elroy had plunged head-first into a mid-life crisis. He preferred to think of it as a mid-life crisis and not a nervous breakdown; mid-life crises were more socially acceptable. He was 33 years old, single, stuck in a job he despised with no more opportunities for promotion in the foreseeable future and, worst of all, he suffered from clinical depression. He’d needed a change; something new. Something that would provide some answers.

The Eternal Flame Christian Spiritualist Church in Dagenham hadn’t provided any answers yet, but Elroy returned each week because it gave him a glimmer of hope that there was something more. More than offices and taxes and pensions. More than TV soaps and ironing shirts. Something beyond supermarket promotions and sofa company sales.

Elroy Stark needed to believe that there was more to human life than the concrete buildings and the endless stupidity that surrounded him day in, day out. He was desperately searching for the escape hatch out of his mundane, colourless life.

His parents, if he had still been in contact with them, would have reminded him how he was given every opportunity to make something of his life; to become somebody. They had sent him to one of the most prestigious public schools in the country, but the young Elroy hadn’t been interested. His barrister father was eager for his son to follow in his footsteps, but Elroy had been more interested in girls and art… and girls. When he failed all of his exams after they had spent thousands on his education, his parents practically disowned him.

When the meeting was over twenty minutes later, Elroy thought about introducing himself to the lady next to him, but instead he squeaked back out of the hall and went home to his microwavable lasagne.


That evening Elroy fell asleep on his sofa with a heavy philosophy book splayed open on his chest and an empty plastic microwave carton on the coffee table beside him.

Wake up, Elroy.

Elroy rolled over onto his side, the book thumped to the floor and he sat bolt upright.

Listen to me, Elroy.

Elroy rubbed his eyes hard in an attempt to shake off the dream.

Are you listening, Elroy?

Huh? He looked around the room. The television was switched off, so was the stereo. The voice wasn’t loud, but it was perfectly clear, as if someone else were in the room with him.

It’s okay. Don’t panic. Just listen to me.

“Who’s there?” Elroy jumped up off the sofa and stood on the book which went skidding out from under his foot, sending him flying back onto the sofa.

Just stay sitting down. It’s probably safer.

“Is someone playing a joke on me? Seriously – this isn’t funny now. Who’s here with me?”

Be quiet.

“I mean it, I –“

Well if we really must do this the hard way.

Elroy found himself unable to speak. His mouth and tongue were still moving to form words, but no sound came out. He began to panic and then, a few seconds later, he realised that he must still be dreaming which led him to recall a book about lucid dreaming he’d read a few months back and how it was best to try to relax into the dream and learn as much from it as possible. He sat back on the sofa and waited.

That’s much better. I have some important work to do with you. I am going to give you certain abilities that you will go on to use as tools in my greater plan. These abilities will set you apart, make you special. Powerful. Do I have your attention now?

A pause. Oh! You can talk again now.

“What’s your name?” Elroy asked, almost casually.

You can call me God if you like.

“Um, okay… God. What abilities are you going to give me?” He was addressing the light bulb on the ceiling just so he had some kind of point of reference for this disembodied voice.

The ability to see certain events that will occur in the future, the ability to influence other people’s minds and manipulate the four elements. You will also have control over a powerful force called cosmic energy. Stuff like that.

“That all sounds wonderful, God, but how will I know how to use these powers?” Elroy was settling into this dream now, enjoying it a little more.

Just do what feels right and things will work out fine.

“Will I be able to fly?”

No. Don’t be stupid, Elroy.

“Sorry.” Elroy looked at his shoes.

There is a boy called Ethan King. He too has certain abilities and he has the potential to destroy human civilisation as you now know it. Your job will be to prevent that from happening.

Elroy nodded slowly. “Right. But you say he has the potential… you’re God, don’t you already know for sure if he will or not?”

Don’t make me lecture you on the whole Free Will thing. A lot depends on the choices that Ethan makes in his life, which in turn will be influenced by the experiences he has. Let me show you the potential consequences of Ethan King’s actions; what he is capable of.

Instantly a barrage of images flooded Elroy’s mind. He saw a young, slender, fair-haired man standing opposite the Houses of Parliament; his eyes wild and inhuman. He saw a pyramid-shaped artifact with a globe on the top, he saw entire cities and government buildings exploding and disintegrating and finally, he saw the young man once more standing in the centre of a vast area of now barren land that was once London, his arms outstretched, a self-satisfied smile on his face.

The image focused in on the youngster’s left hand. He was holding something – some kind of pendent or talisman. Suddenly, and without trying, Elroy was able to see an enlarged image of the amulet – just like zooming in on a picture on the computer – and could make out that the sphere in the middle contained tiny crystals, amber in colour. They were glowing intensely, radiating some kind of raw, throbbing energy.

“What were those crystal things?” Elroy asked as the vision faded.

It is known as Universal Matter and, in the wrong hands, it has the power to destroy human civilisation.

“But how? What can it do? Where does it come from?”

Only Ethan King has the ability to create this mystical substance. And only he can destroy it. It generates unlimited energy and has the potential to solve all of humanity’s problems.

“That’s a good thing, right?”

Humanity is still too immature to handle such an infinitely powerful tool. It would be used to create weapons, to destroy, to further subdue billions of people.


Ethan King must be prevented from creating the Universal Matter, or at the very least, from sharing it with the world.

“If this is such an important task, if the survival of the human race is at stake, why are you asking me to help?” Elroy shifted on the couch.

Because you have a strong connection with this boy, one that may become clear in the near future. For now, just understand that Ethan King has to be stopped. I will leave it for you to decide how best to do that. Go back to sleep now, Elroy. Things will become clearer over the next few days.

And with that, God left and Elroy found himself going back to sleep. Or was he already asleep? He wasn’t sure and somehow didn’t really care.



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 Crossing excerpt from The Sacred Rite of Magical Love

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 6, “The Crossing,” from The Sacred Rite of Magical Love: A Ceremony of Word and Flesh by Maria de Naglowska, translated by Donald Traxler, which is offered at the Reading Room with permission from Inner Traditions.


Maria de Naglowska's The Sacred Rite of Magical Love from Inner Traditions


The Crossing

We set out, hand in hand. Misha had said:

“Come, Xenia, it’s time.”

And I followed him without saying a word. We knew the path well, he and I. Misha held the lantern in his right hand, its red light spread a weak glow around us, and in the thick night it was as if we were going through a tunnel.

At the same time, as we advanced, the space gained closed again behind us, like a black wall.

When we arrived at the end of the great walk on the grounds that surrounded my ancestral home, after which it would be a matter of dealing with unkept paths, Misha stopped and said to me:

“Rest a little, my friend. I’ll take advantage of it to tell you certain things.”

The manifest change in Misha’s whole attitude did not surprise me, since I knew the reason for it, but what seemed astonishing to me was my completely new feeling with regard to my companion.

This feeling was very different from the mystical love that I had felt for the Unknown: he effaced me more in my own eyes and was spread through me, as an overwhelming influence.

When I was seated upon the trunk of an overturned pine, well wrapped in my big, black cloak, elbows resting on my knees and forehead in palms, Misha, who had remained standing, said to me:

“Xenia, I know now that he who is waiting for us in the forest is neither a rival nor an adversary. He is a friend, and the teaching that He shall give us bears upon a sacred mystery. That is why it is appropriate for us to prepare in a worthy fashion for the solemn meeting.”

He stopped talking and gathered himself into a deep meditation.

He was truly superb, illuminated by the red glow against the black background of the night. His eyes seemed enormous and powerful, and his tall, vigorous Cossack’s stature reflected an indomitable will.

I looked at him, and I didn’t think about anything. I waited for everything from him now.

“Xenia,” he said at last, “have you anything to reproach me about?”

If the earth had opened and swallowed me up, if the Kasbek had bowed down in front of the sea, I would have been less shaken in my being: I, reproaching anything in this man!

In a single bound I was on my feet, with my arms around Misha’s neck, like a mad woman. I pressed against his body, hard as granite, I wrapped my legs around his; I ruined my clothes in rubbing against his daggers.

From time to time I threw my head back to see if he was smiling.

Misha allowed me to continue for a few moments. He took me into his arms then and hugged me tenderly.

I wish I could express the happiness I felt, feeling his strength and rigidity turn to tenderness for me.

I was aware, I felt the need to sacrifice myself. Oh! The voluptuousness of the sacrifice!

“You are right,” Misha whispered, lightly caressing my ear with his lips, “you are right: you can’t reproach me for it … Xenia is mine, because I have won her. Xenia belongs to no one else … the Other is not an enemy … we shall see Him soon … together … kiss me again, my little bluebird … give me the kiss that I need now … I’m not the same person that I was this morning … we shall see Him together, soon.”

Saying that, he lifted me like a child, without effort, as if I had no weight, and, when my head was at the level of his, our lips united in a marvelous kiss, which seemed to unite heaven and earth.

There was no hell in that kiss, for hell had already been crossed.

Hell’s kiss is humid, because it is the beginning of the great crossing of the Sea. Heaven’s kiss is airy and radiant, because it is the first step taken on the new shore.

But one does not cross over the Sea, if one does not reach the limit of the first land … and the man will not pass over the region of the waves, if the waves do not make way for him … The woman is the wave and the man is the land.

“Yes, I’m yours, Misha, yours alone …”

I was elated and without strength.

Misha plunged a caressing look into my eyes and said to me:

“It’s true.”

He placed another kiss on my forehead, between my eyebrows, a kiss charged with thoughts, and slowly, as if I were a fragile and precious object, he put me back on the trunk of the pine.

“Now, rest peacefully and don’t move, no matter what happens. What I have to do now is for me and because of me. Don’t be concerned, stay completely calm.”

Without effort, I obeyed. I found it sweet to obey him. I crossed my hands on my knees, and I waited.

Misha backed up a few steps. He extended his arms before him, presenting his palms to the sky, as the priest does in front of the altar, when he implores the divine powers, for Christ to descend into the bread and wine of the Mystery.

He immediately brought about a concentration of spirit and of formidable forces.

He resembled a red statue of transparent stone. The light lost itself around him in the immense darkness, but the force that was in him seemed still more immense. It was the center that dominated the night.



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.

Anton Szandor LaVey and the Church of Satan excerpt from Lords of the Left-Hand Path

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 9, “Anton Szandor LaVey and the Church of Satan,” from Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies by Stephen E Flowers [also] which is offered at the Reading Room with permission from Inner Traditions.




Or The World According to the Abominable Dr. LaVey

Anton LaVey was not, nor did he intend to be, a systematic philosopher. He was more a weaver of images—a sorcerous philosopher—a performance artist working in the social and imagistic media of the latter twentieth century. As such, it requires some work and, I hope, some sympathetic understanding to illicit from his written works the essence of his worldview. In many ways LaVey poses some new questions for the would-be follower of the left-hand path. The role of society and of the interaction with other human beings (or the lack of same) become essential to his satanic philosophy. But equipped with the analytical questions I have put to all the earlier schools of the left-hand path, the encounter with LaVey’s Church of Satan yields a great harvest of new ideas about the nature and scope of the path of the left-hand. LaVey’s satanic cosmology will be seen to be materialistic, cyclical, dualistic, and limited. The problem of the position of the will of the satanic magician within this cosmos remains, however.

LaVey’s system of thought was based on a uniquely magical form of materialism. For him all things that exist do so in a material form. There is no such thing as “spirit,” “god,” or “heaven” as commonly believed in and taught by orthodox religions or held by popular superstition. This theoretical idea is the proverbial forest of LaVey’s system, which the trees of individual manifestations of this concept sometimes obscure. It is easier to see the materialism in his understanding of mankind or the workings of magic than in the impersonal abstraction of cosmology. LaVey always begins and ends with concrete things that can be sensed. This approach rarely led him off into abstract speculation.

For LaVey “God” (i.e., the ultimate power in the universe) is Nature and Satan is the embodiment of Nature. This is not to reduce LaVey’s philosophy to pure objectivistic positivism. There is indeed, and perhaps somewhat paradoxically, a definite metaphysics embedded in LaVey’s materialism. The world may be a material reality only, but its functions can be so mysterious that vast amounts of its true character and structure remain hidden from normal mankind’s view and understanding.

For the most part man brings this ignorance upon himself—it is simply more comfortable to be ignorant for most people.

LaVey’s metaphysical materialism is not entirely original. He derived much of it from a number of sources that seem to include the Epicureans (whom he sometimes invoked), de Sade (ultimately de la Metterie), Marx, and Freud (whom he admired). It is this long-standing tradition of philosophical materialism, which more than anything else LaVey identifies as the Satanic philosophy or tradition. Here he is very much in keeping with the attitudes of the Slavs, both ancient and modern, who in their dualistic folk religion identified God with the spiritual world and the Devil with the material one. 



The clearest statements made by LaVey concerning the abstract order of the cosmos are concerned with cycles or rhythms. In the Satanic Rituals he wrote two pages (219-20) under the heading “The Unknown Known.” Here he outlines a theory of the successive Ages of the world that cycle or oscillate between Ages of Ice in which “God” rules and man (= Satan) is suppressed and Ages of Fire in which man rules and “God is beneath.” These cycles are governed by the Law of Nine.

First there is a nine-year period characterized by action, then a subsequent nine-year period characterized by reaction to that original impetus. Taken together the eighteen-year span of time is called a “Working.” Nine Workings equal an Era (162 years), and nine Eras add up to an Age (1,458 years), and nine Ages equal an Epoch (13,122 years).

The last Age of Ice came to an end in 1966. This pattern of oscillation between extremes is the clearest abstract model for another leitmotif in LaVey’s thought: dualism. Dualism will be discussed at length in the next section, but another aspect of the cyclical pattern must not be overlooked: that of rhythm. Perhaps welling up from LaVey’s obvious native musical nature and talent is an inherent sense of rhythm. He often writes of the importance of music to magic and even concerning the primacy of rhythm over the actual meanings of words in magical incantations.

The role of rhythms in ordering the world is specifically addressed in a Cloven Hoof article in 1980 titled “Mega-rhythms.” Here LaVey claims to be able to chart future public likes and dislikes “based on one simple rule: the attraction of opposites.” If it’s in today, it’s destined by this mega-rhythmic law to be out tomorrow. The timing of these shifts is presumably somehow coordinated with the oscillation process within the Working eighteen-year period.

“Angles” form another abstract construct that gives shape to LaVey’s cosmology. These “angles”—geometrical models, which seem to have the power to create certain effects in the objective and subjective universes—are most precisely discussed in a Cloven Hoof article titled “The Law of the Trapezoid.” This Law states that figures or spaces made up of obtuse or acute angles (those less or more than 90 degrees) have an unsettling effect on the mind unless they are recognized as such—whereupon they can be empowering and energizing.



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.