Tag Archives: stephen e flowers

Carnal Alchemy

Phil Hine reviews Carnal Alchemy: A Sado-Magical Exploration of Pleasure, Pain and Self-Transformation by Crystal Dawn and Stephen E Flowers in the Bkwyrm archive.

Like many other occultists, my first introduction to group magical work was through my local Wiccan group. A curious blend of “traditions”, they nevertheless gave much prominence to scourging, “knots and cords”, blindfolded initiations and other elements which of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with s-e-x. If only the High Priestess had access to a book like Carnal Alchemy – who knows, I might just have retained my enthusiasm for Wicca!

Given the current vogue for S&M, body play and “modern primitivism”, this is a very timely release. Good books dealing with sexual magic generally are rare enough, which makes this one all the more interesting. Printed under the imprimatur of “The Order of the Triskelion,” Carnal Alchemy explores the magical implications of sadomasochistic sexuality with both boldness and directness. Eschewing the symbolism which some magical authors use to gloss over sex-magic “secrets”, Dawn & Flowers have produced a very practical guide to S-M techniques and relationships. Included in Carnal Alchemy is a historical overview of notable examples of the pleasure-pain gnosis; sado-magic themes in the works of famous magi (Crowley, LaVey, Gardner); useful tips on creating the ambience of one’s chamber/dungeon, and an extensive bibliography of Sadean works. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a serious interest in sexual magic or personal transformation. Or, if you want to be kind – buy a copy for your local neighbourhood neo-Wiccans!

Find it at Amazon, Abebooks, or Powell’s.

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

 

Practice

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.

Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons

Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons: The Islamic Teachings at the Heart of Alchemy by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff, a translation of the 1924 Die Praxis der alten türkischen Freimauerei: Der Schulüssel zum Verstä der Alchemie (written by Baron von Sebottendorff under the pseudonym Theosophisches Verlagshaus) with substantial introduction and commentary by Stephen E Flowers [also] has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of Inner Traditions.

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

“Reveals the secret spiritual exercises of the Bektashi Order of Sufis

· Shows how this order, also known as Oriental Freemasonry, preserves the ancient spiritual doctrines forgotten by modern Freemasonry

· Explains how to transform the soul into the alchemical Magnum Opus by combining Masonic grips and the abbreviated letters of the Qur’an

· Includes a detailed biography of Baron von Sebottendorff

Originally published in Germany in 1924, this rare book by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff reveals the secret spiritual exercises of the Bektashi Order of Sufis as well as how this order, also known as Oriental Freemasonry, preserves the ancient spiritual doctrines forgotten by modern Freemasonry. Sebottendorff explains how the mysterious abbreviated letters found in the Qur’an represent formulas for perfecting the spirit of the individual. When combined with Masonic hand signs and grips and conducted accordingly to a precise schedule, these formulas incorporate spiritual power into the body and transform the soul from its base state into a noble, godlike state: the Magnum Opus of the medieval alchemists.

Laying out the complete program of spiritual exercises, Sebottendorff explains each abbreviated word-formula in the Qur’an, the hand gestures that go with them, and the exact order and duration for each exercise. Including a detailed biography of Sebottendorff and an examination of alchemy’s Islamic heritage, this book shows how the traditions of Oriental Freemasonry can ennoble the self and lead to higher knowledge.” [via]

 

 

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.

Carnal Alchemy

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Carnal Alchemy: A Sado-Magical Exploration of Pleasure, Pain and Self-Transformation by Crystal Dawn and Stephen E Flowers [also] from the closed Runa-Raven Press:

Crystal Dawn and Stephen E Flowers' Carnal Alchemy from Runa-Raven Press

 

What a title! That truly exquisite pairing of words raised expectations in this reader that would not be easily fulfilled. The more specific promise of the cover blurb is the treatment of “Sadomasochistic sexuality…combined with spiritual or magical aims.” The authors claim to be the first to offer a book-length study of the topic, and so far as I know, they did indeed break some new ground on the publishing side.

But perhaps there is a reason that this particular soil had been untilled. As the authors must frequently admit in various cautions to the reader, such experiences and techniques are best transmitted in the flesh, not on paper. So this text is happily devoid of cookbook ritual instructions. What it does attempt to convey are 1) an historical survey, 2) a magical theory; 3) a notion of the range of possible practice, and 4) leads for further study and practice.

The historical survey, while fascinating, is not a pinnacle of scholarship. Statements like, “The A∴A∴ did not fulfill its function as Crowley had envisioned it,” cast a shadow of doubt over other information presented by the authors. The theory and practice sections are in the manner of a primer, and will best serve those who are new to either magical theory or S/M practice. In general, the authors do not seem to be suggesting any departures from existing techniques of S/M, but simply stressing the addition of a magical sensibility to the work. The leads for further investigation include a couple of helpful bibliographies and listings of addresses for various groups and suppliers.

Running throughout the text is a thread of shameless self-promotion for the author’s own magical order, the Order of the Triskelion. This firmly traditional feature of magical writing culminates in a full manifesto appended to the book.

Overall, Carnal Alchemy seems to fall a little short of its goal of boldly defining a new field within current sex-magical practice. It could certainly be an eye-opener for those ignorant of such technologies, and it remains an intriguing curiosity for those already working with them. [via]

 

 

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.

 

 

THE SATANIC COSMOLOGY

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. 



 

CYCLES OF FIRE AND ICE 


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.

Lords of the Left-Hand Path

Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies by Stephen E Flowers [also] has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of Inner Traditions.

 

 

“Examines the left-hand path and reveals the masters of the tradition

• Explores the practices and beliefs of many left-hand path groups, including the Cult of Set, the Hell-Fire Club, and heretical Sufi, Zoroastrian, Christian, and Muslim sects

• Investigates many infamous occult personalities, including Helena Blavatsky, Aleister Crowley, the Marquis de Sade, and Anton LaVey

• Explains the true difference between the right-hand path and the left-hand path—union with and dependence on God versus individual freedom and self-empowerment

From black magic and Satanism to Gnostic sects and Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way, the left-hand path has been linked to many practices, cults, and individuals across the ages. Stephen Flowers, Ph.D., examines the methods, teachings, and historical role of the left-hand path, from its origins in Indian tantric philosophy to its underlying influence in current world affairs, and reveals which philosophers, magicians, and occult figures throughout history can truly be called “Lords of the Left-Hand Path.”

Flowers explains that while the right-hand path seeks union with and thus dependence on God, the left-hand path seeks a “higher law” based on knowledge and power. It is the way of self-empowerment and true freedom. Beginning with ancient Hindu and Buddhist sects and moving Westward, he examines many alleged left-hand path groups, including the Cult of Set, the Yezidi Devil Worshippers, the Assassins, the Neoplatonists, the Hell-Fire Club, the Bolsheviks, the occult Nazis, and several heretical Sufi, Zoroastrian, Christian, and Muslim sects. Following a carefully crafted definition of a true adherent of the left-hand path based on two main principles—self-deification and challenge to the conventions of “good” and “evil”—the author analyzes many famous and infamous personalities, including H. P. Blavatsky, Faust, the Marquis de Sade, Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley, Gerald Gardner, Anton LaVey, and Michael Aquino, and reveals which occult masters were Lords of the Left-Hand Path.

Flowers shows that the left-hand path is not inherently evil but part of our heritage and our deep-seated desire to be free, independent, and in control of our destinies.” [via]

 

 

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.

Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons

Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons: The Islamic Teachings at the Heart of Alchemy by Baron Rudolph von Sebottendorff, from Inner Traditions, translated by Stephen E Flowers, is due to be available Jan 2013.

von Sebottendorff Flowers Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons

 

“Originally published in Germany in 1924, this rare book by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff reveals the secret spiritual exercises of the Bektashi Order of Sufis as well as how this order, also known as Oriental Freemasonry, preserves the ancient spiritual doctrines forgotten by modern Freemasonry. Sebottendorff explains how the mysterious abbreviated letters found in the Qur’an represent formulas for perfecting the spirit of the individual. When combined with Masonic hand signs and grips and conducted accordingly to a precise schedule, these formulas incorporate spiritual power into the body and transform the soul from its base state into a noble, godlike state: the Magnum Opus of the medieval alchemists.

Laying out the complete program of spiritual exercises, Sebottendorff explains each abbreviated word-formula in the Qur’an, the hand gestures that go with them, and the exact order and duration for each exercise. Including a detailed biography of Sebottendorff and an examination of alchemy’s Islamic heritage, this book shows how the traditions of Oriental Freemasonry can ennoble the self and lead to higher knowledge.”

 


 

Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies

Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies by Stephen E Flowers, from Inner Traditions, was published back in June, recently went into reprint, but I haven’t mentioned it previously. The book covers quite a few topics that may be of interest and are related to the subject matter in the library.

 

“From black magic and Satanism to Gnostic sects and Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way, the left-hand path has been linked to many practices, cults, and individuals across the ages. Stephen Flowers, Ph.D., examines the methods, teachings, and historical role of the left-hand path, from its origins in Indian tantric philosophy to its underlying influence in current world affairs, and reveals which philosophers, magicians, and occult figures throughout history can truly be called “Lords of the Left-Hand Path.”

Flowers explains that while the right-hand path seeks union with and thus dependence on God, the left-hand path seeks a “higher law” based on knowledge and power. Following a carefully crafted definition of a true adherent of the left-hand path based on two main principles—self-deification and challenge to the conventions of “good” and “evil”—the author analyzes many famous and infamous personalities, including H. P. Blavatsky, Faust, the Marquis de Sade, Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley, Gerald Gardner, Anton LaVey, and Michael Aquino, and reveals which occult masters were Lords of the Left-Hand Path.

Flowers shows that the left-hand path is not inherently evil but part of our heritage and our deep-seated desire to be free, independent, and in control of our destinies.”

 

Rûna-Raven Press is going out of business

Rûna-Raven Press, which provided works and services related to “Germanic lore and magic as well as left-hand path studies” especially those by Edred Thorsson / Stephen E Flowers and the Rune-Gild, is going out of business, but will be taking final book orders through Sep 20th.

“Unfortunately Runa-Raven will be going out of business as of September 20, 2012. We will honor all orders that have already been made and we still encourage everyone to buy the books still available before September 20. They are bound to be collectors items in the future.

Because we can print on-demand, we can still get most of our titles right up to the end. Custom orders of larger quantities of certain titles at a discount can be arranged by email (runa@texas.net). In the end we were unable to overcome the damage done to the business in 2011.” [link redacted for safety]