It's been a pretty good week thus far. I am back at work (that's not the good part) and cursing my new task management app 'Todoist' for working way to well. I think I liked it better when I lost track of all the coding and librarianing I had to do. The best part of the week (the work portion of it anyway, obv spending time with my insane and awesome wife and kids is the best best) is happening right now! The St. Cyprian feast week starts tomorrow and St Barabara's feast day is coming up so I trucked a few minutes into Milwaukee's South Side (the Hispano/Latino District) to El Rey Mercado to grab myself some novena's and new San Cyprian y San Barbara candles. As an added benefit, I grabbed a couple of tacos de boyo tradicional, because, when in Rome! (Like tacos need an excuse). A mariachi just walked in and there is a game show called 'Mas Pelotas?' On the flatscreen that consists of the contestant in a protective but Velcro suit dodging wildly flung tennis balls. It looks like the aim is to stick as many balls as possible on the main in the suit. I love this town.
I have read some rumors, but have not yet found any evidence, that Mark Frost, Twin Peak’s co-creator is a bit of a Crowleyian or otherwise interested in or involved in Thelema and Theosophy. I have yet to read ‘The Secret History of Twin Peaks’ but I am leaning a bit more towards picking it up now that 'Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier' has been announced and is available for pre-order. The rumors of what is in the second, post ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ book has my inner armchair magician’s mouth watering.
Whether you’ve seen The Return all the way through or not, it won’t hurt you to know that there are a few bits in there that touch on the subject of ‘tulpas’, which brings me to the below quote from The Dark Lord:
"As we have seen, the Valentinians [1st c. Gnostics] concentrated on the Divine during sex so that they would produce Divine offspring. The method seems strangely similar. Old Whateley was concentrating on incarnating one of the Old Ones on earth. Crowley’s quasi-fictional magicians in his most famous novel were pretending to create a Moonchild. Magic is the creation of forms, of illusions, of whole new realities. In Tibetan shamanism, this is known as creating tulpas: homunculi designed for specific purposes..."
Creating magical beings to accomplish specific purposes. The tulpa, or the idea of the tulpa, imbricates on top of, or underneath, the magical practices of both sigilmancy and shamanic journeying. This is a road that, I think, holds a lot of wisdom for a future investigation.
On to the videos!
The first is a short rendition of Lovecraft's 'From Beyond' by 'Dangerous Puppets'.
The second are a double of videos from the coffin rock jam band 'The Cosmic Dead', which are essentially some expertly time vintage films put to gothic doom guitar and drum. This trinity of videoart adds layers of sonic truths to the ambience that a life lived breaking through the barriers of the Lovecraft Grimoire naturally has.
Check em out!
On Rogue Planets and Hair Metal
This week we will focus on our second king from 'Whisperer in the Darkness', the educated rustic, Henry Wentworth Akeley. Before we look too closely at Akeley, let’s wake the thought-tentacles born of our multi-species anthropologist - Donna Haraway. The context of the below quote is Akeley framing an alternate path towards biology and anthropology, one that incorporates art into, and as the reason for, the science. From ‘Staying with the Trouble’:
"The data were intended to provoke, motivate, amplify, inspire, and illustrate, not to substitute or surface professional... science and monitoring. These were data produced to generate further imaginative and knowing action in many domains of practice... multi species art in action for mundane worlds in need of - and capable of - recuperation across consequential differences."
I personally think that this is a good approach to recording and working with spirit contact data. It is not meant to be hard science, and cannot be due to its subjectivity. We can see the difference between a materialist view and what amounts to an animist view (although Haraway has yet to utter the term). Our first king, Professor Wilmarth is our materialist. He is supremely skeptical of all the accounts of the ‘pinking things’ dredged up by the Vermont Flood, until he meets with the argument of Henry Akeley. Akeley is a believer because he is also a seer, but not just a witness, a witness who has collected data on the phenomenon of contact with these entities. The animist carries with her subjective proof of spirit contact. This proof, when extended into a material framing, ultimately breaks down under its harsh fluorescence. What Haraway is suggesting is that, instead of using the data collection, visualization, and analysis tools of the materialist on their own, that cross-species (in her case) or spirit (in our case) contact is expressed as information art. This is another imbrication, but one that I have certainly placed in a jar on my shelf of animal skulls and cursework for later examination. For an excellent introduction to this genre of expression, you can get a head start by checking out “Information: Documents as Contemporary Art”. We can circle around later and compare notes.
Our second king is the perfect fit for a lot of Haraway’s blistering science poetry. The first, let’s call it a case study, that she offers as an example of cross-species cooperation and co-habitation is the ongoing and quite ancient relationship that humans (of guman’s, to use her term) have with the pigeon. She speaks of towers (a favorite archetype of mine) dedicated to the pigeon:
“The pigeon loft… commissioned by La Defense, the association of pigeon fanciers in Beauvoir en Cambresis [had an] interior space… functionally organized like a tree, a kind of axis of the world, and the exterior shape echoes old Egyptian designs for pigeon lofts. Historical, mythical, and material worlds are in play here…”
Lot’s to play with there, right? She continues describing another pigeon tower, this one used in permaculture operations:
"Another pigeon loft in the shape of a tower imposes itself on my memory; another proposal for multi species recuperation for creatures of empire is held out to those of whatever species who might grasp it. This time we are in Melbourne in Australia, in Batman Park along the Yarra River, part of the Wurundjeri people's territory prior to European settlement. This colonized area along the Yarra became a wasteland, sewage dump, and site for cargo and rail transport, destroying the wetlands (Anglo scientific term) and destroying country (Anglo-Aboriginal term for multidimensional and storied place)."
“Whisperer in the Darkness” hands us hints of protecting wild spaces and coexisting with them. Akeley fights hard to protect his place in a land that is being mined to exhaustion by secretive xenomorphs. This, for me, correlates with the recent Ojibwe protests of corporate mining on their land and on land upriver for their homes. This correlation, and Henry Akeley’s actions in Whisperer, could reveal some interesting and heretofore unearthed wrinkles in the Tower archetype. Perhaps taking a look at the Batman Park pigeon loft more closely would be valuable. Are there correlations to the Tower Trump, to Saint Barbara, and permaculture? Are the warning of the Tower ecological in addition to religion-spiritual? How does our second king fit in, is he an occupier or a protector of the woods climbing up the face of Dark Mountain? Can you be both a colonist and an indigenist? These are questions for another day.
Let’s turn our attention back to the dance floor. The invisible band has ceased in their death feet jazz corpse stylings and have moved from a slow dance to a faster hair metal tune. This, of course, has our dancers pulling apart, tentacles and snakes begin to flail, and even the acolytes crowding around them start to writhe with the new rhythm.
I have to make an admission, even though the subtitle of Haraway’s book is spelled a certain way and that spelling is used throughout the introduction, I completely looked past the extremely subtle difference between what the author was meaning to say and what I thought she was saying with her word ‘Chthulu’, to the point where I missed quoted this word as ‘Cthulhu’ in those bits I’ve already pulled from her book. I found my error when she detailed her reasoning for her subtitle:
“"The eight-legged tentacular arachnid [Pimoa cthulhu] that I appeal to gets her generic name from the language of the Goshute people of Utah and her specific name from denizens of the depths, from the abyssal and elemental entities, called chthonic. The chthonic powers of Terra infuse its tissues everywhere despite the civilizing effort soft the agents of sky gods to astralize them and set up chief Singletons and their tame committees of multiples of subgods, the One and the Many. Making a small change in the biologist's taxonomic spelling, from Cthulhu to Chthulucene, with renamed Pimoa chthulu I propose a name for an elsewhere and elsewhen that was, still is, and might yet be: the Chthulucene... Myriad tentacles will be needed to tell the story of the Chthulucene.”
Both Chthulu and Cthulhu are powerful words, and both lead downhill towards the abyss and its secrets. When I used to sketch all the time, in my youth, I had a practice of drawing in pen and just rolling with the mistakes. I do this when writing long hand too. I’m going to hold to my tradition and stick with my mistake through the rest of my arguments. As Haraway takes her theories away from the spiritual and into the material world, Terre, earthed, as do I tear her theory from her hands and re-apply it to the spiritual, renaming her Chthulucene to the more appropriate Cthulhucene - The Age of Cthulhu the High Priest of Cosmic Horror and the salting of the material earth of mankind. The huge majority of Haraway's theory is sound and can be easily and without pulling too far away from her original context, re-adapted to a world as populated with spirit as it is with her 'tentacular ones'.
“The tentacular ones are not disembodied figures; they are cnidarians, spiders, fingers beings like humans and raccoons, squid, jellyfish, neural extravaganzas, fibrous entities, flagellated beings, myofibril braids, matted and felted microbial and fungal tangles, probing creepers, swelling roots, reaching and climbing ten drilled ones. The tentacular are also nets and networks, IT critters, in and out of clouds. Tentacularity is about life lived along lines - and such a wealth of lines - not at points, not in spheres… Sympoiesis... 'collectively-produced systems that do not have self-defined spatial or temporal boundaries. Information and control are distributed among components. The systems are evolutionary and have the potential for surprising change.”
This is niche construction, or the systemic equivalent, systems as entities carving system-sized niches out of each other's hides. Why is looking at the world in this way relevant though? And how does it connect to our second King? To find that out, let’s step out of the world of cross-species bio-science-poetry into some more familiar territory, The Arbatel. Take for example, this quote, from the Digital Ambler’s most recent article on the Arbatel:
“If the greatest secrets [from the Arbatel] are those that can be learned “without any offense unto God”, while the medium and lesser secrets are more tempting to lead away from and offend God, then the unmentioned secrets are those that are most likely to veer too close or outright into what the Arbatel considers cacomagy or “evil magic”, which are doomed to offend God and should be avoided to the point where they are not even listed in the text.”
This is an excellent example of the Anthropocene trying to limit the potential of the Cthulhucene. The magician that recorded the Arbatul attempts to disguise or obscure the ‘destructive’ secrets, labelling destruction, in the context of magic, is restricted due to a moral code. Morality is an ecologically destructive force endemic to the Anthropocene, but as we see in Whisperer, there is no such animal as morality in the Cthulhucene. Wilmarth’s interaction with Akeley as the liminal object between the two epochs makes the distinction more plain. To exacerbate this point, take this short quote from the Arbatel offered by the Digital Ambler:
“We are therefore to exercise our selves about spiritual things, with fear and trembling, and with great reverence towards God, and to be conversant in spiritual essences with gravity and justice. And he which medleth with such things, let him beware of all levity, pride, covetousness, vanity, envy and ungodliness, unless he will miserably perish.”
Haraway instead iterates and reiterates that we ’Stay With The Trouble’ in her multi-species anthropological context. I assert that we should do the same in our xenological and pnuemalogical contexts. Instead of ‘bewaring of all levity… and ungodliness’, approaching the spirit world as if they operate or even recognize man’s moral tendencies, we should instead treat the spirit world as we do the natural world, recognizing the moral ambivalence of hurricanes and floods. We should, as Haraway suggests, pull from our interactions with the spirit world in such a way that, as she phrases it,:
“data produced to generate further imaginative and knowing action in many domains of practice… multi species art in action for mundane worlds"
agic should follow the path of art, but not a free form dancing barefoot at the jam band concert type of art, carefully considered art with heavily detailed constraints, the type of art that considered research and data analysis can produce. In this way it is closer to science and allows plenty of room for the correct practice of Solomonic magic or similar constraints, but it also allows for a criticism of that practice and, most importantly of all, experimentation.
Niche-constructing animals and man derive their systemic improvements (or destruction) of the environment by capitalizing on successful experimentation. The mistake we make is considering that our free will and quote/unquote intelligence places us above this process.
Recounting the words from the beginning in the Imbrications section of the post from Levenda’s Dark Lord:
"Magic is the creation of forms, of illusions, of whole new realities. In Tibetan shamanism, this is known as creating tulpas… and in Jewish mysticism, we have the Golem."
The first tulpa was not created from a formula, it was an accident. The first Golem was an experimentation with combinations of the spirit world and the material. If we are to obtain our vision of making the human species one of spacefaring witches, we need to recognize the ambivalence of both the natural and the spirit world, and not limit ourselves by very human conventions when experimenting with both.
As I close in on the final paragraphs of Levenda’s Dark Lord, he begins to make so many connections to my current practice, I feel a little like that boy in the Neverending Story.
Take the below quote:
"In the later volumes of the Typhonian Trilogies, Grant reprises the second-magical rituals we have already described and demonstrates how they can be used to penetrate the veils that conceal from our sight the vast reaches of deep space and deep time. In fact, he cites other magicians who - he claims - have already penetrated those veils and opened a hole in the earth's protective atmosphere allowing the entry of the Old Ones. In other words, they have opened a Gate"
This maps back to the Soot Men in the Fireman in the Twin Peaks: The Return. That is a fictional meditative summoning of the same spirits and inter-dimensional entities that 'rode' Lovecraft, Crowley, and Grant - getting a greater foothold through the imaginations and journeying of earthbound magicians. Levenda continues:
"This dangerous process certainly was begun by Crowley, but later was amplified by his American follower Jack Parsons. Grant claims that the atomic explosions of 1945 disturbed the delicate psychic membrane covering our planet to the extent that other forces began massing at the rent in the veil and by 1947 began pouring through in greater and greater numbers. This, of course, was the UFO phenomenon which Grant links directly to the type of magical operations begun by Crowley and continued by his followers. This is a scenario straight out of HP Lovecraft and especially, 'The Call of Cthulhu… Any glance at medieval grimoirs would certainly reveal magic rituals depend as much on correct timing as they do on the preparation of the magician and the occult implements to be employed. It is this emphasis on timing - in Tantra, in Daoist magic, in alchemy, and in Western magic - that reveals the deeper character of occultism in its dependence on the interrelationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm. What casual observers may not realize, however, is that the macrocosm can be just as dangerous as the microcosm. After all, Cthulhu can only be summoned 'when the starts are right'.“
Wilmarth’s astral terror is described as emanating from the then recent discovery by the astronomer Clyde Tombaugh of the planet Pluto in 1930.
Wilmarth makes the connection that Pluto is the planet-gate of Yuggoth, the entry into our solar system by the Winged Ones. I assert that now, after our intimate look at the planet (shut up, Pluto will always be a planet to me), that it can no longer be considered in the same way as Lovecraft / Wilmarth did. We have a new focus for our astronomical inquiries however, and that is the mysterious Planet X.
Levenda, in his explanation of some of Kenneth Grant’s ideas and the qlippot or the dark nodes behind the sephiroth in the qabalah, also takes us in this direction:
"In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Daath was the subject of much speculation and it was Jacob Frank - a messianic figure of the eighteenth century who combined Jewish, Islamic and Christian concept in his movement - who emphasized the importance of Daath to his own system. To Grant, Daath is the 'Outer Gateway'..."
I assert that Daath / Yuggoth is Planet X.
Levenda then returns us back to our haunted prom, pulling everything together for that little boy in this much darker and dangerous version of the Neverending Story:
“Cthulhu, as 'dead but dreaming' seems to refer to a realm between 'death' - dreamless sleep - and dreams: in other words, the Mauve Zone. Kundalini is also a Serpent, an amphibious creature that could be linked with Cthulhu. A serpent, an amphibious creature that could be linked with Cthulhu. A Serpent in her cave beneath the earth; Cthulhu in his house beneath the sea. Both raised by magicians and occult practice and, when they do, they change our world forever."
This is the dance of Cthulhu and Medusa. Medusa is the serpent but not a goddess or a force, a mortal Gorgon, a representation of the bridge between the extra-dimensional or interstellar Cthulhu and us, and Cthulhu is in turn a bridge between her and the gate on Yuggoth / Daath / Planet X that leads to realms beyond.
Lovecraft is a system of barriers and gates. Cthulhu is alien, our experience with him is young, but Medusa is of the earth (and also the mother of fairies in her death - a path to be tread later), a mortal being of magic with the power to do away with her (mortal) obstacles with ease. The space between these two as they dance now, in a frenzy, rending their garments and stoking the religious ecstasy of the crowd, of us, That space is the bridge. An unseeable space between two doors.
Our second king, Henry Wentworth Akeley, the most clearly visualized in the photograph that he sends Wilmarth sitting with his shotgun in front of his ancestral house on the edge of Dark Mountain, surrounded by large, vicious, and obedient German Shepherds (the dogs in Whisperer are an archetype yet unexplored, I think), his grizzled beard and Einsteinian hair, Akeley represents the real gate in Whisperer. He is the gate through which Wilmarth, the skeptic, the materialist, is coerced through. The other side of which, is revealed the beginnings of the elitist occult tendrils that is our third king, Mr. Noyes.
Our exploration of the third king of Whisperer will have to wait, however. Tonight is the Feast of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, beginning the nine days of ritual and prayer leading up to the feast day of Saint Cyprian of the mythical drowned city of Antioch. Next week we will have a intermission to discuss all things Cyprian, as a further act of prostration to the sorcerer’s saint. We will pick up our current discussion the week following.