More info on the correspondences: The Seven Spheres & Alchemy by Acausality.
Von S, 127 yf
More info on the correspondences: The Seven Spheres & Alchemy by Acausality.
Von S, 127 yf
She felt her crystal, many miles distant, begin to respond and draw power from the Abyss beyond. The power came to her, slowly, through the gate in the fabric of space-time, a chaos of energies from the dimensions of darkness. (Deofel Quartet, ONA)
She let this power build within her before trying to transfer it by an act of will to her crystal but even she was surprised at the ease of this and the extent of the power she had stored. The crystal began to glow, and in her orgasm she felt possessed of the power of a goddess. (Deofel Quartet, ONA)
It was as he stood up that he remembered that she was the Masters’ daughter. She led him
from the chamber into the dimness of the Temple. There were no candles on the altar, no
naked priestess, no congregation gathered to greet them, indeed nothing magickal except the crystal tetrahedron, glowing as it stood on a plinth. Only the Master and Tanith awaited them. “The season and time being right,” intoned the Master, “the stars being aligned as it is written they be aligned, this Temple conforming to the precepts of our Dark Gods, let us heed the angles of the nine!” He gestured toward the crystal, chanting “Nythra Kthunae Atazoth!” as he did so. The light that seemed to emanate from within it darkened and then began to slowly change colour until only a dim blue glow remained. (Deofel Quartet, ONA)
The beautiful painting by Christos Beest (R. Moult) was specifically created for the Sinister Tarot. It depicts the Mistress of the Earth with two crystals next to her. The left one is clearly a tethrahedron. This particulary shaped crystal is an important ritual ‘tool’ within the Sinister Tradition and more specifically for the Order of the Nine Angles. Underneath the explanation you can find some excerpts from the Deofel Quartet manuscript (fictional content) of the ONA in which you can find important elements of the Sinister Tradition. As you can see the crystal is indispensable to the Tradition’s specific rituals.
I will not go into the specific symbolism yet, but I will get back to it. First I would like to focus on the occult significance of crystal with a specific emphasis on the alchemical tradition and the crystal’s application in the Sinister Tradition. But instead of providing a summary of various Wikipedia-posts of several occult traditions, I will focus on the arts and more specifically on literature, namely two important representatives of American romantic literature, namelijk Emerson and Thoreau.
The Sublime – being at the heart of Romantic (and my personal) aesthetics – is actually what has driven me to write down my thoughts on the esoteric nature of crystal. The white frozen landscape has always inspired me to meditate, to create, to read, to listen to Black Metal because I experience this as the most sublime of all types of landscapes. I must say that we do not enjoy these that much in Belgium, but when we do experience such weather I am overwhelmed by its sheer beauty, its mysticism, and also the cruelty of its cold temperatures. I remember the frozen peaks when I was young and my parents and I visited Switserland and this year I witnessed the magical white landscape of the North, namely Finland. The beauty of winter is something grand, and its Sublime natures denotes that it cannot be grasped or put into words. Confronted with the Sublime, man becomes humble and speechless. For instance the wonderful paintings of the Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich:
Caspar David Friedrich: Wanderer above the Sea Fog (1818)
That is exactly the reason why I enjoyed Eric Wilson’s book ‘The Spiritual History of Ice – Romanticism, Science and the Imagination‘ – that much. In the preface the author admits that he used to be a deep ecologist by seeing our current Being-in-the-World as unadapted to Nature; a non-anthropocentric point of view by which one admits being ashamed of human hubris and the human’s apparent goal to destroy, corrupt and drain Eorthe (a critique already articulated by Spengler and Heidegger). Of course, deep ecology takes the matter a lot further and they see mankind’s utilitarian needs as subservient to Nature and the planet’s equilibrium. I do share its radical antihumanism and also recognize the urgent need to honour Eorthe again instead of our precious vanity, our blind faith in human progress regardless the environmental consequences. As a Being-in-the-World we desperately need to restore an ontological Empathy, not just with our surroundings but also with the Cosmic as whole. We need to re-connect with the Cosmic as a most Sublime Order. The recognition of the crystal and its cosmic importance is, in my view, an important step to restore this ontological Empathy. The Sinister Tradition has been very important in this respect, and I want to highlight its occult and ritual practice with the crystal tethrahedron.
One important aspect is to regain respect for the sheer strength and beauty of our planet. We cannot feel superior and should be most humble. The frozen landscapes of the North should find their way back in the acausal connection with our ancenstor’s Wyrd, our being-part-of-Tradition. We need to become ‘nothing’, become ‘meaningless’ instead of overestimating our individual importance. Each of us must play his part in the Cosmic game.
Of all the landscapes in nature, those that are frozen are perhaps the most sublime. The reason: the blankness of ice. When we gaze into the semi-transparent crystal of frost or scan the unending paleness of the polar floe or stare at the blanched undulations of the glacier, we undergo the vertiginious tension between meaningless void and significant plenitude. On the one hand, the whiteness is pure emptiness, a bland, monotone space featuring no distinctions at all, no break in the engulfing sameness. To brood over such a region […] is to lose any sense of seperate identity, to become nothing, only an indistinct cipher of the vacuum. Such is the horror of the ice […] (Wilson, p. XIII)
Beautiful, poetic words which make my seperate identity disappear. The horror exists because of the whiteness of the ice which reduces all differences, but as Wilson explains: this whiteness is “a realm of fecund potential where nothing has yet become anything, a reservoir of pure possibility.” This is exactly the exhilaration of ice because it captures endless and ever changing forms (the ice and its cyrstals live!) and enormous vistas that demand our silent gaze and utmost humility. The Cosmos, which we look up to, is actually reflected deep within the ice’s core, namely the crystal: as above, as below. The Sublime nature of such imperial vistas is utterly horrifying and stupendous, for they sweep away our human characteristics, our rational ‘heads’ and through this symbolic decapitation, and thus becoming acephalous, we can operate without boundaries and we are projected towards a far greater Destiny.
In his book Wilson tracks the exoteric and esoteric importance of the spiritual history of ice. For the sake of our subject we will focus on the esoteric perspective exhibiting “internal depths, invisible mysteries, and individual experiences.” This mode of vision is shared by hermetic thinkers, alchemical adepts and Romantic visionaries such as Emerson and Thoreau who delved through their poetry into crystallography which exhibits the acausal nature of the crystal.
The word crystal is derived from the Greek verb krustaimein, which means to freeze, and its cognate noun, krustallos, being ice. Therefore in Magian prophetic book crystal is given an optical meaning. The prophet can perceive esoteric destinies and divine mysteries like a scryer. Swedenborg, the Swedish mystic, was interested in “how crystals of ice reveal the inner laws of the universe”. He posited a hypothesis how “the minute geometries of crystals are portals to the essential monads of the cosmos and the modes by which these monads combine.” Thoreau, being a scientist and prophet, embraces the crystal “as a microcosmic revelation of both reassuring law and unsettling mystery.” As he stared into the stone he encountered colours, images through the various reflections and refractions and thus creating an unsettling vision devoid of geometry. Thoreau therefore concluded that the cosmos is double: “lawful and enigmatic, organized yet abysmal”. The pyramids seem simple for a point of view, yet they are holding “kaleidoscopes, complex flickering in their core”. This is a most important observation and shows us the importance of the crystal as being simple and straightforward but mysterious and disturbing at the same time. In the crystal we can therefore find the alchemical secret of the union of the most fundamental opposites: Matter and Geist.
Thoreau regards the crystal a “numinous disclosure of matters that deeply occupied his soul: the mysteries of transparency, the curious laws of organic formation, the irreducible extravagence of the world.” And this by the way preoccupies us as well. This actually reveals the inner workings of the crystal, and the crystal as a causal means to bring forth the mysteries of the acausal. This opens up the art of scrying which is also practised in the Sinister Tradition.
The divinatory arts have been developed through the different civilizations and it elevated mankind from a fear of a randomn universe to a fascination with the Cosmos, to live according to its laws and to see how it affected our Destiny. There were various methods of divination, but divining the stars in earthly prism or crystallomancy has survived through the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Enlightenment. This of course according to official historic resources for there are various traditions, such as the Sinister Tradition (causally manifested by the ONA), which has always stayed beyond the surface mainly because of it being an oral tradition. The Art of scrying as described in the Deofel Quartet. The crystal tetrahedron not only brings esoteric knowledge, it functions as a way of communicating:
For weeks after the gift of the crystal should shut herself away in the small house she then shared with Lois. The crystal brought knowledge and she had learned how to use it to travel among the hidden dimensions were the Dark Gods slept, waiting for someone to break the seal that bound them in sleep. She learned of Earth’s past, of how the Dark Gods had come bringing terror and much that was strange. Of how her Prince was their Guardian, given the earth as his domain. Her shape-changing Prince was her guide to the Abyss beyond, and she explored the Abyss without fear, trembling or dread. She would be ready, she knew, when the stars were a aligned aright, to call and summon the Dark Gods from sleep. (Deofel Quartet)
The Alchemical Wedding
The alchemist Paracelsus, who introduced the alchemical principle of Salt (Sal), valued the crystal for its virtues and found it “a wedding of unseen and seen, soul and body.” He saw the crystal as a tool to see things as they really are. As a figure of the air it functions as an instrument of optical technology capable of showing invisible forces. In his book L’Homme et l’invisible (1964) Jean Sevier (referred to by Wilson) notes that the crystal traditionally represented “a level intermediate between the visible and invisible”. In alchemical terminology the crystal represents and captures a mystical marriage between translucent matter and spirit.
Paracelsus at work
The magician John Dee also used a crystal to conjure spirits of things unseen. Following E. Wilson we can sum up the most important values of the crystal as follows:
It is clear that the crystal reveals a secrete conjunction, the coniunctio, between beholder and beheld: an esoteric marriage of opposites as shown here below:
Coniunctio of the two opposites
The coniunctio (Latin for connection, commitment, marriage) takes places in at a symbolic arthetypical level beyond logical concepts (acephalically speak: beyond the head) and is a pivatol moment of inner fertilization and transformation which as you can see, is depticted by the holy union, the hierosgamos, of the Mother-Queen (Luna) and the Father-King (Sol). Within the Sinister Tradition the sexual union of the Priestess (Luna) and the Priest (Sol) has a similar meaning and the same esoteric purpose for it is an important stage in the Alchemical Work:
The invokation begins with the Priest vibrating seven times the phrase ‘Nythra kthunae Atazoth’ while the Priestess holds the tetrahedron in her hands, palms upward. When the vibration is complete the Priest places his hands on the tetrahedron and both vibrate ‘Binan ath ga wath am’ until the ritual is complete. After the vibration, the Priestess – still holding the crystal – should lie on the ground, her head North, the Priest arousing her with his tongue, The sexual union then begins, with both visualizing the Star Gate opening and the primal form of Atazoth coming forth. Atazoth may be visualized as a dark nebulous chaos – a rend in the fabric of star-studded space which changes into a Dagon like/dragon entity. After her sexual climax, the Priestess buries the crystal within the earth of the hill. When this is done, she vibrates over the spot ‘Aperiatur terra, et germinet CHAOS!’ She then signals to the congregation who cease their chanting. All the participants then depart from the hill.
Note: The tetrahedron should be well-buried in a spot prepared by the Priest and Priestess before the rite. If the invokation is done again, the rite begins with the Priestess unearthing the tetrahedron. It should be cleaned before the ritual begins – and must be buried without any covering whatever. (Invokation to the Dark Gods)
The Double Tetrahedron
In the MS The Nine Angles – esoteric meanings it is explained that there is a double tetrahedron at work during this Sacred Marriage of Opposites:
The nine also represents the tetrahedron (for example, the crystal one used in the Rite of the Nine Angles) which is itself symbolic of the nexion described by the Tree of Wyrd. Thus, for instance, in the Nine Angles Rite, the crystal represents one aspect of the nexion, the Priest and Priestess the other: together (ie. the bringing together in the ritual) they enable the nexion to be opened. In this sense, the Priest and Priestess (when conjoined) form a tetrahedron which, joined with the crystal one, enables acausal energy to become manifest in the causal (the ‘world’) – this is the secret hinted at in many historical alchemical MSS (for example the ‘Rosarium Philosophorum’: “Make a round circle of the man and woman …”) and occasionally depicted in drawings. This ‘double tetrahedron’ is a magickal form of the double described above in the first paragraph (the causal geometric one). (The Nine Angles – esoteric meanings)
We can find the double tetrahedron being formed in Atu VI – the Lovers:
Atu VI: The double tetrahedron a nexion created via the union of balancing forces. The sowing of the seed of Change that which may transform and carry evolution beyond the Abyss, and thus beyond ‘self-image’ – or that coerce to create something beyond ‘self.’
The union indeed of balancings forces and the creation of a nexion. This is what Paracelsus described as a wedding of the seen and the unseen. Within the Sinister Tradition one uses the nouns ‘causal’ and ‘acausal’. The nexion as a means to presence the Sinister and this nexion is a double tetrahedron. This specific combination of two tetrahedrons is known as a Star Tetrahedron in Sacred Geometry. This type of tetrahedron, also known as the Merkaba, indicates the inseparable relationship between the complementary halves: the positive and negative, the manifest and the unmanifest, the causal and the acasual – and at the moment of coniunction (the coniunctio oppositorum) they form a continuum, an equilibrium.
Another manifestation of this Sacred Marriage is this one:
As described in Naos (DC edition):
This three-dimensional structure is considered to lie enclosed within a double tetrahedron: the sphere of the sun being in the centre of the base where the tetrahedrons join. The uppermost tetrahedron signifies the acausal aspect, the lower, the causal aspect, and the three angles of each side are symbolized by the nine combinations of the three alchemical forms; that is, by the symbols of the pieces of the Star Game. As in the Star Game, the acausal aspects are an exact reflection of the acausal – the latter being shown in the diagram below. (Naos – DC edition)
As mentioned in the meditation for the Atu VI the seed of Change is being sowed during this Sacred Marriage.The connection leads to the ‘birth’ of a new element that combines the characteristics of both elements in order to transcend them. This is the sowing of Change, of evolution towards a new stage, a new aeon, a new civilization, a new type of Man.
By the way, if you want to know more about the hermetic background of Sinister Tradition, I am glad to refer you to the most excellent text written by Acausality: The Seven Spheres & Alchemy.
Change and energy
Now, the fact that change can be brought about, is due to the fact that there is an inifite energy at work. Emmanuel Swedenborg (1668 – 1772) was a respected metallurgist, chemist and mining engineer and he was skilled in interpreting the physical world, the causal, as much as the spiritual (acausal). He had specific visions about the relationship between the micro- and macrocosm, namely a universal connection, grand rhymes which he saw everywhere. He developed his crystallography based on an infinite energy originating in and sustaining the Cosmic while the crystal functions as a window for and a mirror to this energetic flow. He saw an infinite flow of energy, a spirit crystallizing into regular structures, which he called “crustals”. In his view the birth of the cosmos was due to this boundless energy being condensed into a single, transparant, spiraling point, and this becoming the first crustal: “a vortex comprised of inner motion and a highly tenuous, transparent crust.” The enormous force of the energy exploded the outer crust and thus other particles were formed. Swedenborg’s vision is quite fascinating, as his universe is “comprised of motion (huge vortexes at the start) organized in geometrical forms.”
In Swedenborg’s universe everything is a geometrical form of infinite motion, but the crystal reveals cosmic processes which otherwise remain hidden. It becomes a window so to speak showing the interiors of matter itself because of its translucence. As was shown by science later, of which the foundations were laid by Swedenborg, matter was a dynamic force; “a rich revelation of polarized power”. Things were taken further by thinkers such as Goethe and Schelling in the direction of biology by discussing theories on the fact that the crystal could grow. The crystal becomes a “a snapshot of motion, a static translucence of holistic dynamism similar in kind to leaves, feathers, and stars […].” These panpsychical ideas were further elaborated on in the 20th century and also Bataille ‘s (occult) theory on Base Matter as being energetic is clearly derived from this. Of course, we cannot go into this, but it shows that over a number of centuries, romantic, scientific ideas and theories have been developed showing us the fascination with and the importance of the crystal in several fields.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Snowstorm
Emerson (1803 – 1882) studied the works of Swedenborg, Goethe, Schelling and others and he introduced “the poetics of crystal” through his poem “The Snow-Storm”(1841). After witnessing a snowstorm Emmerson wrote the following poem:
Come see the north wind’s masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnish with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion
He refers to a fierce articifer and his wild work which demonstrates that there is an invisible force, a demiurg so to speak, at work. For Emerson the ice is alive and there is a mysterious energy at work. “The snow crystal are polar: chaotic and calm” and there are “centripetal and centrifugal energies” at work. The Sublime is present as well for the boundless energy amazes the artist and it escapes intellectual category. It goes beyond ‘the head’ and one could say that it “riddles like a Sphinx”. These Emersonian meditations bring us to unfathomable (or acausal) energies which are simply beyond a “significant representation”.
What the crystal here shows, is “that the cosmos is indeed as agitated as it is calm, as confusing as it is intelligible”:
Powerful ‘floods of life stream around and through’ the universe; ostensibly tranquil things are ‘fluid’ and ‘volatile’; things are polarized symbols of the living flows; events, both deeds and words, cannot fully reveal the enigmatic fluxes that animate them. (Emerson)
Emerson goes even further in his book Nature where he identifies himself with a crystal (and thus I could refer to my blog post Zazenexion):
Standing on the bare ground, – my head bathed by the blithe aire, and uplifted into infinite space, – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. (Emerson)
Emerson sees himself a an emanation of a greater force and he feels the currents of the Universal Being circulate through him. As described in my blog post on Zen meditation the practitioner feels the currents between the causal and the acausal flow through his body and thus becoming a Nexion, another living crystal. We are all made up out of crystals and by taking the shape of a Tetrahedron one strengthens this flux, this dynamic between the causal and the acausal. Here you can find a description of this transformation within the Sinister Tradition:
Susan tightened her grip on Conrad’s hands and he suddenly felt the primal power of theAbyss within him. He was not Conrad, but a vortex of energy. Then he was in the darkness of space again, sensing other presences around him. There was an echo of the sadness he had felt before, and then the vistas of stars and alien worlds, world upon world upon world. He became, briefly, the crystal upon the altar, the Master standing beside it. But there were other forces present and around him, trying to send him back into his earthly body and seal the rent that had appeared and which joined the causal universe to the acausal where his Dark Gods waited. (Deofel Quartet)
As Emerson describes: all mean egotism disappears. This is an act of humility: one becomes nothing (instead of wishing to be an all-powerful and most evil black magician). True Black Magic is beyond the Ego, beyond one’s own desires. You become headless, acéphalic as you turn into a “transparent eye-ball”. The eye becomes disconnected from the head as the head is one’s ratio, one’s humanity. Emerson discovers that “he is not distinct and seperate but a discrete pattern of distributed energy – a polarized point, an agitated orb, of infinity.”
Meditate therefore on the image below, hold your crystal and feel its specific structure, feel your body melting and ‘becoming’ this crystal orb.
Orb – Picture taken from Youtube video tutorial on After Effects by Adobe.
One’s autonomous “ego” is in effect an illusion. Later in his book Nature Emerson admits “that this crystalline vision is difficult to achieve” but his point of view is that of a writer. Emerson did not embark on meditation and ritual practice to subvert this rational approach. However…
“…, in rare moments, during walks across icy fields in twilight, one’s worries and wants fall away. He feels part of immeasurable energies coursing through the grass, his heart, the stars. He realizes that he is a transpicious form of distributed flow. His “I” and the All mutually interpenetrate. He is something (a cogent structure) and nothing (an infinite abyss). Not simply a translucent window, not merely an impervious mirror, he, crystalline, is both. Somewhat opague, he reflects the world, merges with it, and relinquishes his ego. Mostly transparent, he refracts the universe, stands separate from it, turns it to suit his discrete disposition.” (Wilson)
This is such a beautiful passage for this is the essence of working one’s magick, working with a crystal. Of course, Wilson does not have the Sinister Tradition in mind, but this working is exactly the interplay between the causal, the acausal and the relationship between the adept and his crystal. This is a very advanced state of reaching this alchemical marriage by expulsing the Ego and recognizing the infinite Abyss within. Emerson in his book “Experience” (1844) situates the consciousness of man on a sliding scale from identification with the lubricious flesh to the outermost, namely what Emerson called the First Cause (the Acausal). By his poetic ability to dissolve everything to spirit, Emerson sees that “within the form of every creature is a force impelling it to ascend into a higher form.” (Wilson). This kind of transparency is so much more than just a pure transparency, a pristine clarity which would be easy. Emerson hints at the kind of transparency which involves transcending matter and rising to “unseen worlds of unhindered lucidity”. Wilson here refers to the vision of Plotinus’s ideal intelligence which is described in the Enneads (ca. 270 AD):
There … all is transparent, nothing dark, nothing resistant; every being is lucid to every other, in breadth and depth; light runs through light. (Plotinus)
As Wilson notes: pure transparency would be blinding as it reveals only total light. That would mean looking straight into the Sun. Besides “lucidity there is some obscurity, besides abstraction there is concretion” and this takes us back to … matter and spirit. When you gaze into your crystal, you do not expect to have a clear sight for that would be the same as looking through a piece of glass. The crystal offers far more, and scrying does not mean seeing situations as clear as they would happen in front of you. You end up seeing vague images, diffuses colours, which connect with your Spirit, your humble attitude to open yourself for the Acausal.
In the alchemical Work this is called the process of Mercury as you are transforming that which is Base, Material into the Spiritual, the immaterial, the etherial. Mercury also symbolizes this mystical experience which you go through as you are becoming one with your Alchemical Work. The Tria Prima (Sulphur, Salt and Mercury) comes together in the crystallization proces. The crystal is not a soulless matter, nor is it an immaterial Soul, and it is not devoid of a Universal Spirit. As Mercury is the changing substance itself and as it implies various contradictions and forms, we cannot see but one primal or first element, namely the crystal. This brings us to the Prima Materia, the Grail of which it has been said that it consisted out of crystal:
As has been mentioned in other MSS, the ‘Grail’ was a crystal (“lapsit ex coeli”) of quartz according to most. It did not have a perfect geometrical shape, but was similar in shape to a tetrahedron. It was guarded by several ‘keepers’ and was said to possess real magickal powers – prophecy, divination and so on. It was also said to be necessary for prosperity. Legend recounts it as being used to inaugurate the Western Aeon and thus civilization, at the time of Arthur. As stated, the legends that have come down regarding Arthur are mostly Nazarene distortions. (ONA, Arthurian Legend)
With regard to Mercury the Sinister Tradition also refers to its transformative aspect:
Thus, a tetrahedron shaped ‘inner sanctum’ would be for Mercury workings: i.e. workings concerned with ‘indulgence and transformations’ [qv. the tables in ‘Naos’ and elsewhere]. The Form may be constructed in the material (see table I) on a small scale and this itself may be used in two ways: a) As a focus for vibration/chant – using the appropriate chant for the sphere concerned (qv. ‘Naos’]. Thus, for Mercury, the tetrahedron would be associated with the “Agios Lucifer” chant*. The vibration appropriate to this sphere would be “Satan”/”Satanas”. (ONA, Notes on Rituals II)
I would like to conclude this research by briefly referring to Thoreau. Emerson was a friend and mentor of Thoreau and he had studied the works of Emerson. Being an observer of nature he was known as the Poet-Naturalist. He studied the crystal to find the destiny of the cosmos, and he was also an optical theorist. But above all he is a poet: “a scribbling magus, a scientist armed with tropes – transforming seeings into sayings, cosmos into logos, ice crystals into crystalline symbols.” The young Thoreau, as an observer, however did not look with his eyes, but he looked through them, and in this way he transcends corporeal sight and opens himself to “the striking revelation of intuitive vision”. This explains the way he looks at crystal shapes because he is in search of the primal force of life.
To Thoreau the crystals are “portals for holistic powers” and they “reveal mergings of form and energy”. When he looks at crystals,
they make his ‘I’ disappear and they show him “beyond his discrete ego, he is a ubiquitous current: His ‘I’ is really ‘nothing’ – not this or that – but also ‘all’ – a power gathering all thises, all thats. (Wilson)
Both Emerson and Thoreau hinted at “holistic” powers that were both familiar and unfamiliar; “primordial currents” distributed through all beings. Currents hidden for the mundane, ‘felt’ by poets; alien because they are hidden and only revealed to those who wish to embark the Alchemical Work. Wilson uses the term ‘uncanny’. Heidegger regards being as ‘uncanny’ for it is disturbing but also transforming … and this brings us back to the Sublime. Just like the Ouroboros biting its own tail.
Within the Sinister Tradition the uncanny power of the crystal is highly valued and it is far more than an instrument. It is a Nexion, a magickal resource itself to channel those forces, the Dark Gods, from the Acausal.
To open a Star Gate and return the Dark Gods to our causal universe a crystal tetrahedron made of quartz is required. This should be as large as possible – and made from a natural shape by a skilled operator. (Invokation to the Dark Gods)
It should be noted that Esoteric Chant, combined with a quartz tetrahedron, is one of the most effective ways of opening a nexion.] The chosen rite is conducted on the chosen site. It is often necessary to conduct a second or third rite within the space of a few weeks to fully open a new nexion. The new nexion, once open, needs to be kept open and this requires regular rites on the chosen site for many years – a specific rite [which does not necessarily involve sacrifice] should be constructed to do this. This specific rite needs to be undertaken at the very least twice yearly for the first five years, and then once yearly for at least ten years. One of the best methods to use for this specific rite is Esoteric Chant using a quartz tetrahedron. (Aeons, Civilizations and Archetypes)
Emerson and Thoreau, being romantic poets, intuitively knew that the crystal was a “transparant portal through which one might discern invisible powers criss-crossing the cosmos”. They viewed the world and the cosmos through a crystal lens and as such they penetrated “the hidden law by which the one becomes the many, energy turns to form”. They went for an alchemical search. Within the Sinister Tradition adepts actually take the next step: from poetry to magick to aeonics. All these individual steps are necessary if we want man to evolve, to transform and take up Authentic living.
The Abyss was within her, within Claudia, within all those in the Temple and all those outside it. It was primal awe, terror and intoxication and she entered it she felt its energies forming into shapes ready to ascend to Earth through her crystal and Temple. (Deofel Quartet)
The crystal gave power to and magnified her thoughts and when she released him he stared at it for several minutes. (Deofel Quartet)
She did not speak, or move, but slowly raised her hands as, many miles away, the crystal within her secret temple began to glow. “Atazoth! Atazoth!”, the dancing dancers hissed. The sky above and around them was clear, speckled by stars but a ragged darkness came to cover a part of the sky as a putrid stench filled the air and a circle of cold fell around the worshipers. No one moved, chanted or spoke but all stared up at the sky. The darkness grew slowly before withdrawing into a sphere that darted across sky. And it was gone. (Deofel Quartet)
After the festivities have begun in earnest, the Mistress should she so desire, directs the forces of the ritual by concentrating the energies upon the tetrahedron and invoking through a gate, the powers of the Dark Gods into the participants to spread
outwards upon the Earth.)
Ga Wath Am!
Von S, 127yf
Von S, 127yf
I summon you, Headless One,
who created Earth and Heaven
who created Night and Day / you who created light and darkness;
you are OSORONNOPHRIS, whom none has ever seen; you are IABAS, you are IAPOS,
you have distinguished the just and the unjust; you have made female and male
you have revealed seed and fruits; you have made men love each other and hate each other.
These are the first enigmatic sentences of the Rite of the Headless One which was found in the Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist in the Greek Magical Papyri, dating from approx. 350 CE. In this post we will be looking at some of the different uses of the term ‘headless’ in mythology and the occult, in order to situate Bataille’s specific use of headless or acéphale. Besides that we will also pay attention to Bataille’s emphasis on certain aspects of this term, namely the Gnostic origin and its overtly Numinous nature.
The Rite of the Headless One
This exorcism rite might have remained unknown were it not that A. Crowley was quite taken by the power of the Rite, and it became his favourite ritual for invoking the Holy Guardian Angel. Crowley used an adaptation (probably written by A. Bennett) and entitled it: The Invocation of the Heart Girt with a Serpent, or The Bornless Ritual.
Remark: interestingly the term ‘bornless’ was used in Crowley’s version instead of the original ‘headless’. In my research and in the excellent blog post ‘Akephalos – The Rite of the Headless One‘ (here you will find more details on the Rite, its history, the etymology and so) it is said that Israel Regardie made a go of suggesting “In many primitive languages, the word ‘head’ is often used as an equivalent of ‘beginning’ . . .Therefore headless and bornless can be seen as synonyms referring to a deity without beginning.
You may ask yourself the question why did they refer to this Deity as being Headless? How was the term headless used in mythology and the occult?
A Blemmyae from Schedel’sNuremberg Chronicle (1493).
Agios O Baphomet, our Mistress of Blood
Isis and Nephtys with Re-Osiris. Tomb of Nefertari. XIX Dynasty.
The Headless God as being Gnostic: Bataille’s AcéphaleThis brings us to the very core of our Acephalic mysticism: why did Bataille choose a Headless monster (as he himself described it) and headlessness as his main mystical principle. How did he come up with this?
The Acéphale (2013). New version byDenis Forkas(his copyright!) for Behemoth’s The Satanist
You should know that Bataille was a librarian and had access to a vast amount of books and research. In his never-ending quest he encountered old amulets with depictions of Gnostic deities and the Headless One. Being an iconoclast and an anti-modernist he was immediately attracted to the Gnostic Weltanschauung. Bataille’s view is also determined by a profound dualism: the Profane versus the Sacred. Just like Heidegger, Spengler and Evola, Bataille was highly critical towards the ‘modern’ evolution and the profound lack of connectedness: modern man lived in a discontinuum obsessed with their identity and mundane projects. Bataille however regarded the contact with the Continuum/Sacred (Numinous if you will) as a fundamental Being-present-in-the-World, but it was being denied and suppressed in the name of ‘progress’. Unlike the magian beliefs Bataille did not choose to ‘escape’ to another and morally better world, Bataille saw the Sacred as imminent, as ever-present in matter.
Georges Bataille (10.09.1897 – 09.07.1962)
While Bataille liked the antinomian, heretical stance of the Gnostic currents his interpretation was itself one of the most radical: while many Gnostic sects cursed matter as being the creation of Jahwe, the Demiurg, Bataille favoured matter and looked for the Sacred within matter itself:
“the severed ass’s head of the acephalic personification of the sun undoubtedly represents, even if imperfectly, one of materialism’s most virulent manifestions”. (Base Materialism and Gnosticism)Bataille here refers to one of the presentations of ancient deities on the amulets and he regards the acephalic God as a virulent manifestation of materialism. Bataille recognizes the Gnostic’s principle of matter as being active and having “its own autonomous existence as darkness and as evil” and evil as a creative action. Bataille actually recognizes his own point of view in the antinomianism of the Gnostics. They were heretical because they did not see matter and evil as “degradations of superior principles” (magian point of view). Bataille realized that not all Gnostics did agree on this as a majority saw matter as a creation of the Demiurg and matter was seen as a prison from which gnosis or insight should free them. There were however antinomian cults that practised evil rituals (sodomy for instance) in order to show that they were liberated from the enslavement by matter.
Bataille however did not see matter as a sin (magian belief) or a prison (gnostic), but he actually located the Sacred in matter. As a practitioner of Tantric sexuality the flesh and matter were something Sacred and therefore Bataille regarded transgressions as a portal towards the Continuum. Nevertheless, Gnosticism did appeal to Bataille:
“it is difficult to believe that on the whole Gnosticism does not manifest above all a sinister love for darkness, a monstrous taste for the obscene and lawless archontes, for the head of the solar ass […]. The existence of a sect of licentious Gnostics and of certain sexual rites fulfils this obscure demand for a baseness that would not be reducible which would be owed the most decent respect: black magic has continued this tradition to the present day.” (Base Materialism and Gnosticism)Despite the fact that the Gnostic in the end aimed for something good and perfected (liberation from matter), Gnosticism questioned monotheistic idealism and its practice of submitting matter to the spirit. Through their licentiousness the Gnostics aimed at disconcerting the human spirit and idealism. In the illustrious footsteps of the Gnostics Bataille refused to submit himself and his reason
“to whatever is more elevated, to whatever can give a borrowed authority to that being [he is], and to the reason that arms this being.” (Base Materialism and Gnosticism)
Therefore he submits himself to matter or what he calls base matter:
“base matter is external and foreign to ideal human aspirations, and it refuses to allow itself to be reduced to the great ontological machines resulting from these aspirations.” (Base Materialism and Gnosticism)
Base matter is an important concept in Bataille’s Weltanschauung and indicates clearly that the mystic has no wish to serve any ontological machine. Non Serviam is the central message here. It also shows that, just like the Gnostics, Bataille does not advocate anthropocentrism. In his view matter and energy go hand in hand, and actually the human Geist does not rule them. We can refer to Myatt’s vision about humility, compassion and empathy. Just like base matter the Acausal cannot be judged from a causal point of view. They may coincide, for instance a Nexion, but the Acausal cannot be reduced to anything rational.
I have already describedthe drawing by Breton. Bataille explains his choice for the Acephalic ‘monster’ as follows:
“Man has escaped from his head just as the condemned man has escaped from his prison. He has found beyond himself not God, who is the prohibition against crime, but a being who is unaware of prohibition. Beyond what I am, I meet a being who makes me laugh because he is headless; this fills me with dread because he is made of innocence and crime; He holds a steel weapon in his left hand, flames like those of a Sacred Heart in his right. He reunites in the same eruption Birth and Death. He is not a man. He is not a god either. He is not me but he is more than me: his belly is the labyrinth in which he has lost himself, loses me with him, and in which I discover myself as him, in other words as a monster.” (The Sacred Conspiracy)
The Acephalic Monster is not here to serve or establish for that reason any hierarchy, nor does it aim at laying down new laws. It headlessness sets him free from the prison of calculated reason, if only momentary because Bataille is well aware that a society does need order and laws. However in order to reconnect with the Sacred, one must be able to escape from one’s head. This is what Bataille calls transgression. The Acephalic One is neither God nor man; he is a monster which can be compared to the Minotaur that roams the labyrinth. Although Bataille’s will to transgress may seem as a “call for chaos”, Bataille re-introduces the Acephalic One, following the example of the Gnostics, to question the ruling majority, the ontological machines at work crafting ‘our’ reality. The Gnostics challenged the dominant religions with their patriarchy and absolute hierarchies based on reason and logic.
The Acephalic One however cannot be approached through reason as he resides beyond the Causal, beyond the seven spheres. In the post Azal and the Nine Angles V.K. Jehannum refers to Azal, a concept in Arabic theology and it is derived from Pahlavi a-sar meaning “without head”. As we have already discussed “without head” could also mean bornless, or without beginning, therefore Azal refers “to an absolute past, an eternity with no beginning. Ergo, Azal would be a suitable descriptor for the realm of Ogdoadic physis which lies beyond the planetary spheres.” Bataille did not put it down in these words, but his interest in ancient practices such as human sacrifice, decapitation, torture with a specific focus on the history of the Aztecs, Gnosticism, Christianity, Satanism and Tantrism shows his anti-modernist stance, and the fact that the past meant much more to him. It is a Continuum beyond Time which he called the Sacred realm, and perhaps we could say that this is what we find in the ONA, namely the realm of Ogdoadic physis beyond the Seven Spheres, beyond the Causal.
Bataille also earthened The Acephalic One by introducing Base Matter. In alchemical terms we could compare this to the Prima Materia which offers the energy to channel and presence the Sacred (or Numinous) in one Causal form or another. The Adept of Acephalic Mysticism searches within the labyrinth of the Prima Materia, and during this search he encounters the Acephalic Monster which has always been present within him, in-the-world, in the Abyss and the Cosmos.
Adam as Prima Materia
Afterthought: Causal, Acausal, bornless…
We can conclude that the Acephalic One must be understood as a formula, a portal which introduces the Acausal within the Causal. It is not a man nor a god, but an entity which cannot be conceived, named, grasped by us, for we stand outside its realm. The Rite of the Headless One was an instrument to Crowley to invoke his Holy Guardian Angel, but would have been useless to Bataille’s Cosmic interests. Bataille utterly despite the instrumental. In the Rite the Headless One is being described as a God being able to undertake causal actions and this makes him a Creator God or a God of Work. The Acephalic One for Bataille is Omnipresent and Absent (deus absconditus) and does not undertake actions: a most sovereign UR-power whose gnosis can only be felt or communicated acausally.
Bataille clearly wanted to avoid a new ‘human’ construct, a new ‘god’ to be worshipped, for he was well aware of the inherent dangers and limitations. For such a God is only the mirror of man’s Ego. Bataille wanted to be ferociously religious: religare; to connect through presencing the Numinous without human intervention and without the trappings of time. I would like to point at Myatt’s textPersonal reflections on Some Metaphysical questions(Brought to my attention through one of the posts of the Misanthropic Nexion). Myatt asked some important metaphysical question with regard to the causal/acausal, the Born-less and our human position. He concludes:
What, therefore, is the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal? It is the knowing manifest in our human culture of pathei-mathos. The knowing communicated to us, for example, by art, music, literature, and manifest in the lives of those who presenced, in their living, compassion, love, and honour. Germane to this knowing is that – unlike a form or an abstraction – it is always personal (limited in its applicability) and can only be embodied in and presenced by some-thing or by some-one which or who lives. That is, it cannot be abstracted out of the living, the personal, moment of its presencing by someone or abstracted out from its living apprehension by others in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and thus cannot become ‘an ideal’ or form the foundation for some dogma or ideology or supra-personal faith. (Myatt, Personal reflections on Some Metaphysical questions)
In my humble opinion communication is the very keyword here: a wordless knowing which is an understanding beyond reason, an understanding with the heart and without the head. Myatt mentions art, music, literature, a modus vivendi (friendship, love) and operandi (honourful living, Sinister practice- as a means of communicating the Acausal and thus becoming a living Nexion. Furthermore Myatt defends a wordless and timeless (without beginning) knowing (ref. Azal, Dhar & Zamal as concepts of time within Islamic Alchemy) that cannot become the foundation for some dogma or supra-personal faith. Bataille’s quest was different, but he ended up with the same insights.
In this respect Myatt and Bataille agree with each other. They both call upon an acephalic knowing and taking part in the imminent. Both their rites are wordless ones.
All that remains is Silence
Which was and will always be Eternal and Ever-Present
Sources (hyperlinks provided in the text):
Von S, 127yf
Addendum: the complete text of the Rite of the Headless One (source: Whollybooks)
I summon you, Headless One,
who created Earth and Heaven
who created Night and Day / you who created light and darkness;
you are OSORONNOPHRIS, whom none has ever seen; you are IABAS, you are IAPOS,
you have distinguished the just and the unjust; you have made female and male
you have revealed seed and fruits; you have made men love each other and hate each other.
I am Moses your prophet, to whom you have transmitted your mysteries celebrated by Israel; you have revealed the moist and the dry and all nourishment; hear me!
I am the messenger of Pharoh OSORONNOPHRIS; this is your true name which has been transmitted to the Prophets of Israel.
Hear me, ARBATHIAO REIBET ATHELEBERSETH [ARA] BLATHA ALBEU EBENPHCHI CHITASGOE IBAOTH IAO; listen to me and turn away this daimon.
I call upon you, awesome and invisible god with an empty spirit,
AROGOGROROBRAO SOCHOU MODORIO PHALARCHAO OOO
Holy Headless One, deliver me, (your name), from the daimon which restrains me,
ROUBRIAO MARI ODAM BAABNAOTH ASS ADONAI APHNIAO ITHOLETH ABRASAX AEOOY
Mighty Headless One, deliver me, (your name), from the daimon which restrains me,
MABARRAIO IOEL KOTHA ATHOREBALO ABRAOTH
deliver me, (your name),
AOTH ABRAOTH BASYM ISAK SABAOTH IAO
He is the Lord of the gods; He is the Lord of the inhabited world
He is the one whom the winds fear; He is the one who made all things by the command of his voice.
Lord, King, Master, Helper,
Deliver this Soul
IEOU PYR IOU PYR IAOT IAEO IOOW ABRASAX SABRIAM OO YY AY OO YY ADONAIE
quickly, quickly, good Messenger of God!
ANLALA LAI GAIA APA DIACHANNA CHORYN
I am the Headless daimon with my sight in my feet; I am the mighty one who possesses the immortal fire;
I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world; I am the one who makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll;
I am the one whose sweat is the heavy rain which falls upon the earth that it might be inseminated; I am the one whose mouth burns completely; I am the one who begets and destroys;
I am the Grace of the Aion; My name is a heart encircled by a serpent; Come Forth and Follow.
Today, November 2nd, is All Soul’s Day. A Christian holiday on which the Christians are expected to commemorate their loved ones that passed away. A day on which time stands still as it were and one is asked to remember relatives, family & friends who haved died. An sich a beautiful Christian practice which Christianity of course inheritated and stole from our pagan ancestors. But that is not my main focus.
Togehter with my family I visited the cemeteries to greet the graves of those dear ones that passed away, and as such I obliged myself to reflect Life & Death, this Being-in-the-World, the interconnectedness with fellow humans, Nature and the Cosmos. Sadly enough this practice has almost become unknown. I am only 42 and I noticed that at the cemetery I was one of the youngest, because besides me there were mainly elderly people. Of course, most of them devout Christians, nevertheless they paid their respect to their loved one. They at least showed some honour, while those absent took advantage of this holiday, and went to the sea, took a plane to some horrid tourist hotspot in order to carry on their meaningless, mundane life. The kind of life Heidegger would have called ‘inauthentic’ as being out of touch with Destiny, out of touch with Culture, out of touch with the Greatness that surrounds us and should make us humble. Commercialism such as Halloween, plebeian life styles have taken over here in the West, and Tradition and Honour have been dethroned.
I have read the passages on Death and Being-towards-Death in Heidegger’s Being & Time (Zein und Zeit) and albeit being quite complicated, they are refreshing and the slowliness with which I read them, offered me time to reflect and meditate upon them. Heidegger saw the Decline of the West happening and reacted against that by offering a most spiritual vision which sadly has been covered and dissected by academics. Perhaps my reading makes it a bit more ‘simple’, but I am not interested in an academic debate on Heidegger. His vision on Fate was not just an academic theory, he wanted it to become reality.He wanted to discover the source of the West’s Decline and re-animate it and guide it to a new World to come. He aimed for an Event that would re-establish Dasein in honour and in empathy (Myatt) with Being itself.
Heidegger asked the question: “In what sense must Death be conceived as the ending of Dasein?”. When do we see a human’s life as ‘finished’? In Dasein there is a constant ‘lack of totality’ and this finds an end with someone’s physical Death. After Death that person is no longer considered as Being-in-the-World. Does this mean however that this person has reached a form of completion, a form of wholeness? And with this kind of wholeness, Heidegger refers to a fulfilment of life? Is Death a fulfilment of Life or should it be seen as a loss?
Now, Death should be seen as an integral part of Life, of Being-in-the-World, for our whole life is itself a Being-towards-the-End of life, A Being-towards-Death. Dasein, states Heidegger, is a way, a mode of Living and should not be ignored. By no longer taking up ancient tradidtions, by no longer paying honour to those traditions, one trivializes important moments of Life, of Being itself. That is exactly what is happening with ‘Das Man’: those meaningless humans living their everyday life and having their idle talks. These mundanes are no longer interested in these capital moment of life because trivial things such as sensation and fun is what drives them. ‘They’ believe that death has nothing to do with them. When someone dies, they seem to cry but in reality they are not touched at all. There is no empathy with the Way of Being, the Way of the Cosmos. Heidegger describes this as tranquillized everydayness. They are tranquillized: they feel nothing substantial because they have become numb and stupid.
I do fear Death, I do feel anxiety when I am confronted with Death but Death is a stimulus to reach that fulfilment, to find that fulfilment. Through love, walks in the woods, enjoying the cold wind, meditation, reflection and philosphy, inspiration through the likes of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Splenger, Evola, Bataille, Myatt, … I do not claim to have the answer to the question: what is Life’s most authentic fulfilment? But I do know that I have to find and search it outside of myself, it is something that stands out (Heidegger), it is something that strenghtens me as a human Being. It is also the spiritual mission and vision of the Order of Nine Angles and the representatives I have met online, in real life, sharing my vision with theirs knowing that we all believe in, namely the realisation of a Destiny of the West, a Galactic Destiny.
This is what drives each one towards one’s ownmost potentiality-for-Being (Heidegger). And may we all remember those who have done that before us, those who inspired us to become the unique being we are or want to become. I raise my glass! Cheers! Hail this Being-towards-Death! I salute Destiny!
Being and Time (Heidegger)
Von S, 127yf