Varieties of Magical Experience, 7.7-7.8



Dark Magic


pp. 146-7 Anton LaVey

p. 146

"Anton LaVey (1930-97). LaVey chose Walpurgisnacht -- April 30 -- as the date for establishing his Church. LaVey

shaved his head

{like, e.g., membres of the Sthavira-vada order of bhiks.u-s}

and declared 1966 {"66" repraesenting "666" in Crowley's symbolism} to be Year One ... .

p. 147

Prior to establishing the Church, LaVey had begun holding weekly classes in his tightly shuttered house at 6114 California Street, San Francisco. ... LaVey also lampooned the Roman Catholic Church with a "Black Mass," which involved desecrating the Host,

using an inverted cross

{Though seldom used by the Catholic Church in recent centuries, it is officially regarded as the form of cross peculiar to saint Peter (hagios Petros).}

and black candles, and reciting Christian prayers backward. ... LaVey's ritual altar room was completely black with

an inverted pentagram

{the usual emblem of S.ufi religious orders}

mounted on the wall above the fireplace : LaVey believed ...

Baphomet, ...

{(according to Idries Shah) />aBu FiHaMat/ ('Father of Understanding') : /fahm/ 'understanding' (DMWA, p. 855a)}

allegedly adopted from the Knights Templars".

DMWA = J. M. Cowan : Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. 4th edn.

{LaVey was an ignoramus who execrably misspelled (and mispronounced) the name of his own god (perhaps intendedly, as a foolish joke!) : considering such a reputedly severe deity, La Vey (along with his equally ignorant followers!) would be worthy, on such account, of supernatural punishment by his own deity whom he was thus mightily offending. The correct spelling (and pronunciation) of Strong's 7854 is /S`AT.AN/.}

p. 147 [quoted from Lyons 1970, pp. 183-4] a typical religious service

"The leopard-skin cover

{cf. "leopard skin" regalia in Sierra Leone (HL), the "leopard skin" worn with gbeni/gbini masks of the Mende ("SLG")}

is removed from the mantlepiece, revealing the nude body of the female volunteer altar for the evening. ... LaVey then ... invokes ... cardinal manfestations.

[S` {'adversary'}], in the South, represents Fire.

{cf. the Chinese assignment of elemental fire to the south}

Lucifer [He^lel {'self-commending'}], in the East, is symbolic of Air.

[Bliya<al {'wickedness'}], in the North, represents Earth; and

[Liwya-tan {'ornamented dragon'}], in the West, is ... watery ... .

The officiating priest then drinks from the chalice ... . The chalice is then placed on the pubic area of the girl-altar".

Lyons 1970 = A. Lyons : The Second Coming. NY : Dodd & Mead.

K. J. Beatty : Human Leopards. London : Hugh Rees Ltd, 1915.

"SLG" = "Sierra Leone Glossary".

p. 148 LaVey's disapproval of some actions advocated by religious scriptures {some of which are likely somewhat misinterpreted by LaVey (though misinterpreted even worse in conventional misunderstandings)}

"... instead of turning the other cheek."

{Because "cheeky" is a (slang) synonym for 'impudent', this Gospel injunction is thought to advocate "an act of nonviolent defiance" (N-VR, p. 89, fn. 2).}

"... instead of concern for psychic vampires."

{It is normally the case that psychical vampires are quite well-intended, politely-behaved, and mild-mannered, as in the book The Ethical Psychic Vampire.}

N-VR = Charles McCollough : The Non-Violent Radical : Seeing and Living the Wisdom of Jesus. Wipf & Stock, Eugene (OR), 2012. Also :- Crossan, The Essential Jesus, p. 164; Carter, Matthew and Empire, p. 142.

Raven Kaldera : The Ethical Psychic Vampire. Xlibris Corp., 2005. OCLC 73482453.

p. 148 mercilessness of Christian God

"LaVey did ... regard ... that Christianity was irrelevant because it ... placed its devotees in a position of dependence on "an unmerciful God who cares not whether we live or die."" (Lyons 1970, p. 184)

pp. 149-50 secession of the Church of SWTH from the Church of S`

p. 149

"On the evening of June 21, 1975, in a ritual magic ceremony, Aquino summoned the Prince of Darkness ... . The result ... was an act of automatic writing, "a communication from a god to a human being."

In a document titled The Book of Coming Forth by Night, ...

{The TL-MRJ Book of Coming Forth by Day is so-named because souls, after sleeping in their mummies at night, were believed to go forth from their mummies and tombs on pilgrimage-tours through the country during the daytime. There is no known antient Book of Coming Forth by Night, though it could be perhaps be supposed that some other of the multiple souls might sleep during the daytime and tour the country at night.}

the ancient Egyptian god {SWTH} ... named Michael Aquino as LaVey's replacement. ... There were also other instructions for the new magical epoch :

... that the pentagram of {SWTH} may shine forth."

{Never in antiquity was the pentagram used in TL-MRJ (Aiguptos), and certainly not for SWTH!}

p. 150

"In our research we discovered that the initial identity of {SWTH}

{The original form of the name /SWTH/ had been /STS^/.}

had been that of the god of night, of the darkness, as opposed to the god of the day, the sun."

{Similarly, Rosaleen "Norton was unquestionably drawn to the "night" side ... and she described her art in those terms." ("AO", p. 247)} {"The vision of Rosaleen Norton is one of Night" ("AO", p. 252, n. 49).}

"AO" = Nevill Drury : "An Australian Original". In :- Henrik Bogdan & Gordan Djurdjevic (edd.) : Occultism in a Global Perspective. Acumen Publ Ltd, Durham (UK), 2013. pp. 231-54.

p. 150 scarab-god H^PR

"The Word of the Aeon of {SWTH} is Xeper -- "become."" "Xeper is the experience becoming aware of its own existence through its own actions."

{Nay! The meaning of the name /H^PR/ ('Become') would imply changing the shape of one's body into another shape, the feat of a shape-shifter. Shape-shifting is described throughout antient TL-MRJ religious scriptures, and it was carried into Coptic Christianity, wherein Jesus "does not have a single shape but his appearance changes." ("Sh-ShJDAET").}

"Sh-ShJDAET" = "Shape-Shifting Jesus Described in Ancient Egyptian Text".

pp. 151-2 Crystal Tablet of SWTH

p. 151

"Aquino's principal text on the nature of magical consciousness is a lengthy essay titled "The Black Magic Theory of the Universe," which is included in a collection of writings assembled in The Crystal Tablet of {SWTH} (1983, revised 1986).

Here Aquino distinguishes between what he calls "Lesser Black Magic" and "Greater Black Magic." ... Greater Black Magic, however, involves what Aquino refers to as [Aquino 1983, extract #18]"the theory and practice of non-natural interaction with the subjective universe" and is based on ...

the Magical Link between the subjective and objective universes. ... .

{Because the so-called "objective universe" is simply the totality of all other [interactive] "subjective universes" (i.e., of the diverse points-of-view of of all other atman-s/selves, therefore this "Magical Link" is simply the relationship between one particular self and all other selves (persons, beings, entities, divinities, etc.) : it is purely of the nature of intersubjectivity.}

p. 152

... Aquino maintains that the "concentrated energies" of the ego can be used to bring about changes in the "non-ego" part of the "... objective universe.""

{More truthfully, Rosaleen Norton stated that there are divine "entities who would grace her with their presence only if it pleased them, and not as a consequence of her own personal will or intent." ("AOMC", p. 244)}

Aquino 1983 = Michael Aquino : "Black Magic in Theory and Practice". The Crystal Tablet of Set. San Francisco : Temple of Set.

"AOMC" = Nevill Drury : "An Australian-Original Magical Cosmology". In :- Henrik Bogdan & Gordan Djurdjevic (edd.) : Occultism in a Global Perspective. Acumen Publ Ltd, Durham (UK), 2013. pp. 231-54.

{In his arrogant and perhaps fraudulent apparent claims that he can control the deities, Michael Aquino is likely almost as pertinacious a humbug as was Anton LaVey.} {The authentic "black magic" is that of Siberian soul-redemptive black shamanry, wherein by way of supplication the black shaman is humbly offering forthcoming religious rites in honor of an Underworld deity in exchange for release of a mortal's soul from its being confined in the Netherworld.}

p. 152 "mental essence" : cosmic mind etc.

Johann Fichte (1762-1814) [quoted from Aquino 1983, extract #15 :] "postulated the original existence of a mental essence divided into the ego (the sensation of the self) and the non-ego (sensations of things not perceived as the self).

{This persistent distinction between an active "knower" (one's so-called "self") and a passive "known" (one's so-called "not-self") is the slightly paradoxical status required by the process of knowing, but as a distinction is rather more flexible than rigid, rather more variable than constant. However, there is very little of such thing as any "sensation of the self", because the self is a knower, not a known (except in mannerisms of illusions). Essentially all sensations of things are actually sensations of what might be reckoned as not-self : as, e.g., sensations of seeing or touching one's body, for the body very definitely not the self, but rather is little more the origin (focus) of a polar-co-ordinate-system for mensuration of the not-self.}

This mental essence is ... a sort of "supermind" which transcends all particular ego and non-ego manifestations."

{This may be regarded (as per Neo-Platonic metaphysics) as in 3 components : the cosmic soul, the cosmic mind, and the cosmic intellect.}

p. 152 separate from the universe?!!

"According to Aquino every individual is essentially separate from the universe, and it therefore follows that "any conscious act relative to that universe ... is an exercise in that separateness."'

{Unreasonable! For, if the universe were actually utterly "separate" from any particular portion thereof (i.e., from some particular so-called "individual's") consciousness, then that consciousness could not even detect the existence of the detached universe, let alone affect, or be affected by, it in any way.} [written Oct 9 2014]

{In s`uddha-vidya-tattva, "The distinction between 'I' {self} and 'This' {universe} is no longer present." (M&NPh, p. 90)}

M&NPh = Michael Talbot : Mysticism and the New Physics. revised edn. Arkana, 1992.

p. 152 energies, changes, etc.

"Aquino maintains [1983, extract #19] that the "concentrated energies" of the ego can be use to bring about changes in the "non-ego" part of the "mental essence ... which defines and binds together the laws of consistency in the objective universe."

{There are various ways in which the term "laws of consistency" could be taken. Use of this term to signify, e.g., "axioms of logic", could allow no "change" whatsoever -- certainly not by any "energies" of any sort. If the term "laws of consistency" be used to refer to free interaction amongst the totality of entities, then no particular "ego" (self) could at all diminish such freedom by forcing any changes which might be in violation of the unanimity of such totality.}

{The illusion of a "self" (which is essentially a mere observer, as in a dream of not having a body) is devoid of actionable "energy" and is incapable of action. Only the divine portion of the not-self (i.e., the collectivity of divinities) is at all in possession of energy, will, or action; and it is the intercoo:peration amongst networked hierarchy of divinities which is reponsible for defining and binding together the universe (which universe, however, is no more "objective" than it is "subjective" -- subjugated, as it is, to the collective will of the organized totality of deities).}

p. 152 unable to conceive of oneself apart from the universe?

[quoted from Aquino 1983, #16] "to enter Heaven, one must ... have ... passion for the harmony of the Universe; he would be unable to conceive of himself as apart from it".

{This was already adequately qualified supra p. 124 : "The form of the soul thus ... is nevertheless distinguishable from the all-embracing Spirit".}

(Then Aquino continued, to label this situation an "irony" (not so much a paradox as an absurdity, in his facile or insincere treatment of it), and to [quite impractically] to deny it altogether [and too emphatically].)

{In quite some actuality, howbeit, one is not able to characterize one's own self (or any other particular self, object, or whatever), without in some way relating it to something (or to some things) outside itself; and in the sense that those things outside one's self (or outside whatsoever else may be under consideration) may be described as part of the "Universe", this inconceivability would hold true [despite Aquino's emphatic rejection of it in the next sentence].}

p. 152 "soul remains as it is"?

[quoted from Aquino 1983, #16] "beneath ... all affectations, the actual state of the soul remains as it is : ... either asleep and ignorant or awake and all too aware."

{Essentially untrue. All 3 components (soul, mind, intellect) of the illusion of a "self" are ceaselessly changing throughout all processes of perceiving, thinking, etc. Without ongoing change there can be, indeed, no consciousness, which is necessarily self-defined in terms of [its own perception of progression-of-time as] change. One's mind is quite incapable of remaining permanently asleep or awake, and must be constant shifting between them; cannot remain at any particular state of understanding of anything, but must constantly be shifting as one is in the process of ceaselessly learning and forgetting.}

{Or would Aquino describe all learning and forgetting as "mere affectations"? The writings of Aquino himself would appear to be very much full of artificial "affectations" (insincere mental posturings); and perhaps his aside about "affectations" is intended as a hint that his own writings are not intended seriously, but merely as ribald jestings to amuse readers.}

p. 153 "submergence of the self within the natural universe"?

"All conventional religions, including the pagan ones are simply a variation on the theme of reunion and submergence of the self within the natural universe."

{Wrong! Instead of being common to "All conventional religions", it is characteristic of no religion, but instead only of a few artificial philosophies, especially Stoicism (where the individual soul is expected to blend into the cosmic pneuma).}

{Altogether too much contemporary philosophy hath a Stoic bent (or twist) to it, so much so to be rather obnoxious; but the religions of remote antiquity were different. The main ill effect of Stoicism hath been to impart too much vagueness to philosophy, so that along with such vagueness it must become unclear or undefined as to what is related and interactive in what ways with what, until it would appear (incorrectly) that the totality is amorphously indistinguishable.}

p. 153 "moves back and forth"

"the ... Magician ... exists wholly in neither the subjective universe (like the mystic) nor the objective universe (like a materialist) ... . He moves back and forth between the two with increasing ease and expertise, influencing the Magical Links between them and thus causing changes in accordance with his Will".

{The "subjective" universe could be [defined as] that which the mortal "subject" is able to control; this may be the mere material world, which can be [slightly!] "controlled" (influenced, affected) by even the crassest of materialists. The "objective universe" could well be defined (in one among many available definitions, variously describing distinct and different cirmcumstances) as the universe which is outside of the range of ready control by mortal human "subject"; this is the divine universe of the planes-of-existence beyond the material-plane.}

{Because Crowley and his followers have reversed true control-patterns among the "universes" (thus inverting the true hierarchy among planes-of-existence), they are thereby automatically disabled from travelling between them without grossly misunderstanding each of these realms.

pp. 154-5 isolationism (kaivalya)

p. 154

[quoted from Webb 2004] "We choose as our role model the ancient Egyptian god Set, the archetype of Isolate Intelligence".

{Kaivalya ('isolation, solitude') is especially attained by the arahan in the Jaina religion.}

{Actual self-isolation (eremitic residence, hermitage) is a most ascetic existence. The rather flippant inventors of the so-called "Temple of Set" do not, however, intend this, but instead, a playful verbal praetense of seeking isolation, while in actuality living a very gregarious existence.} {The only author mentioned in this book who habitually "lived alone" (infra p. 195) was Austin Osman Spare, and his solitude was more due to his neighbors' perception of ostensible eccentricity in him than to any wish on his part for solitude.}



Variations within the Left-Hand Path


p. 259, n. 7:99 sexual magic

"the Temple of Set ... concerning sexual magic ... prefers to allow

individual initiates

{or rather, couples?}

to experiment with this method privately ... ." See K. Scar, "Sado-Magic ...: An Interview with Zeena Schreck," ... Schreck was briefly High Priestess of the Temple of Set in 2002 and was succeeded by Michael Aquino".

Scar 1998 = Kiki Scar : "Sado-Magic ... ."

p. 155 is "self-expansion" really compatible with "self-isolation"?

"the Temple of Set ... directs its spiritual focus specifically toward the ancient Egyptian figure of Set, who is perceived as the [Webb 2004] "Principle of Isolate Intelligence ... through expansion"".

{"Expansion of consciousness" always must entail (as hippies have universally discovered) a harmonization with all forms of life, and a sense of unity with the divine Cosmic Intelligence, without any "isolate" component.}

Webb 2004 = Don Webb : "The Black Beyond Black".

pp. 155-6 alleged "Kun.d.alini Yoga" of the Dragon Rouge

p. 155

"the Dragon Rouge and Kenneth Grant's Thelemic practitioners emphasize the significance of the so-called Draconian current in which sexual energies are awakened through Tantra and Kundalini Yoga".

p. 156

[quoted from Grant 1975, pp. 169-70 :] "In order to reify this state in Malkuth

(i.e., to "earth" magical consciousness)

{praesumably the realm of the Gnomes}

the process has to be reversed and the Tree descended via the back of

the Middle Pillar ... . ... It is the formula of Prometheus, who brought down fire from heaven".

{So, is this "Middle Pillar" aequated with the "giant fennel-stalk" (GM 39.g) wherein Prometheus transported fire from Olumpos?}

Grant 1975 = Kenneth Grant : Cults of the Shadow. London : Mu:ller.


Lynne Hume & Nevill Drury : The Varieties of Magical Experience : Indigenous, Medieval, and Modern Magic. Praeger (an imprint of ABC-CLIO), Santa Barbara (CA), 2013.