Moore on Aleister Crowley

I, Mogg Morgan continue my exploration.

Photoshop Crowley by Richard Cole

So Crowley, lots of books written about him, biographies, lots of them done already, so not really much to say that hasn’t been said, though having said that, I can think of a few things that to my mind could still be explored, but that’s another story. John Moore managed to come up with a few new angles, lets start there. John Moore died a year or so back, so I thought I’d talk to his son Alistair about John’s research.

I asked Alistair to first tell me a little about himself, as I know people enjoy the personal touch, well I do anyway. Was he perhaps named after Crowley? 

I’m John’s younger son (I have an older brother, Simon). I’m a freelance analyst and also a writer myself – I had a novel (The Release, Candy Jar Books) published in 2018. I grew up in London and studied Russian at Exeter University. As for being named after Crowley – people often ask, but my parents both assured me I wasn’t – my mother wanted to call me Alexander but finally they decided upon Alistair, the Scottish variant.

We are talking about your father whose untimely death robbed us of a chance to talk to him about his interesting books about Crowley. Before we get into would you like to share some personal reflections about your father. 

With John being an intellectual I grew up surrounded by thousands of books. He introduced me to literature at a young age, so I read many of the Russian greats – Turgenev, Bulgakov, Dostoevsky. One of my favourite novels is Sanine, by a little-known writer called Artzibashev – my dad bought me an original hardback of this, I think dating back to when it was published in the early 20th century. Even Russian friends haven’t heard of the book or the writer, but it’s a fantastic novel, similar in some ways to Lermontov’s Hero of Our Time, with an antihero theme. John didn’t have any Russian ancestry btw, he was just a real fan of the literature.

Being exposed to all this led to me studying Russian, and definitely influenced me in my own path to becoming a writer. Dostoevsky was one of John’s favourite writers, and his favourite novel of Dostoevksy’s was The Devils. John was a philosopher, so he especially enjoyed novels dense with philosophical ideas, common with Dostoevsky. 

John was a good father, perhaps not a typical dad, but then he wasn’t a typical person either. He could never have endured a life working in an office. Philosophy and ideas were central to his life, so it was inevitable I’d absorb these influences growing up, and I’m grateful for that. He left quite a legacy with his own writing, in print and online, much of which I am discovering now. His writing is packed with ideas, this is very apparent even in the accessible format of the graphic books on Crowley and Bulwer-Lytton.

We weren’t ready to lose him, and he certainly wasn’t ready to go – there was much more he wanted to do, to write, experience and live. I’m grateful I was able to play a part in the production of his two graphic books Crowley: A Beginners Guide and more recently Bulwer-Lytton: Occult Personality, helping get these ideas and visions of his into print – with your help, of course.

Tell us more about John and his interest in philosophy. One of his books is Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master so I’m guessing from this that he had some professional interest in the world of ideas, tell us something about that. 



Definitely – philosophy was his world. As I mentioned he especially enjoyed philosophical novelists like Dostoevsky, and the world of ideas in general. His favourite philosopher was Nietzsche. He was a member of the Nietzsche Society and read several papers at their international conferences. In 2011, he published his own book on Nietzsche called Nietzsche – An Interpretation, which contains 10 of these papers. For many years he also ran and moderated an online Nietzsche discussion forum. He also admired Schopenhauer. One project he sadly never got to complete was a compendium of what he felt were the most significant philosophers, named A Trip Around Philosophy

More specifically he was obviously interested in Crowley – do you know anything about how he got into that, was he a magician? 

I don’t know too much about how and when he first got into Crowley, but he was an admirer of Crowley’s writings and personal philosophy, which as I understand it is tied into certain ideas like Nietzsche’s revolving around free will. To an extent I think it’s fair to say he subscribed to the creed of ‘Do What Thou Wilt’. As for being a practitioner – no, despite his interest in the occult and ideas relating to it, his interest and involvement there was intellectual only. 

John’s Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master was his first book on the topic. How did this title come about ?

While a lot has been written about Crowley, I think John’s contributions to the field have been original. The reason for the title A Modern Master was that he felt Crowley’s ideas, rather than being only of their time, have relevance today in the modern age, perhaps more than ever. That’s one aim of the book – to explain how Crowley’s ideas are linked to modernity and current thought.

As for pitching previously – although he got very positive feedback both from Fontana for this book, and from Icon (graphic guide publishers) for Crowley: A Beginners Guide I know one barrier was that Crowley was seen as a bit of a risky subject, perhaps too controversial or unsavoury for some readers. John talks about the book in this video from 2009.

Can you summarise the book in a nutshell? 

An argument for Crowley’s importance in the modern age, a defense of what has been criticised as the more contemptible side of Crowley’s character, an exploration of some of his creative achievements, and an attempt to render his ideas more accessible. 

What do you think is the book’s essence ? 

Without doubt John was one of Crowley’s biggest fans. While I’m sure he didn’t agree with everything Crowley said or did, he always felt Crowley deserved more recognition for his ideas and writings, so I think in large part the book is a defense of Crowley and his work.

Turning to John’s sequel to Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master, was Crowley: A Beginners Guide – very unusually in graphic book format, how did this project come about? 

I believe the idea was originally suggested by a friend of John’s, a Sikh he worked with back in the eighties, who thought an illustrated graphic guide along the lines of Icon Books’ popular ‘Introducing’ series based on Crowley, could do well. It took John some time to get round to it, but when he got started on the text, I introduced him to John Higgins, an illustrator acquaintance of mine. John Higgins produced a great number of original ink drawings for the book, which I then combined with John’s text and some free-for-use imagery to produce formatted illustrated pages ready for publication by Mandrake.

It was an immensely fun project to work on, and I’m very proud of what we all created – a lovely little graphic guide filled with very entertaining artwork to accompany all the ideas inside it.

The format is unusual , why did he choose this, perhaps as an antidote to the normal heaviness of its topic?

Mainly accessibility. As you say there is a density of ideas there, but John wanted to open them up to as wide an audience as possible. That’s not to say it’s dumbed down – not at all. Although some Crowleyites might bristle at the ‘Beginners’ part of the title, it’s packed with content and exploration of his key ideas, influences and legacy. It just happens to be in a very novel and entertaining format. Beginners Guide has the potential to reach a wider audience than Modern Master, something like a primer.

John also wrote in similar format a book on Bulwer Lytton: Occult Personality – very unusual but neglected topic. There is a Crowley connection, I think I’m right that his esoteric novel Zanoni, made it onto Crowley’s reading list for all aspiring students of magick. But what’s the story behind this? 

Again, the Bulwer book was something he’d been wanting to do for a while. John got to know Lytton’s great-great-great grandson Henry Lytton-Cobbold, and was an occasional guest at Knebworth House, the ancestral home of the Lyttons (and well known rock concert venue) after Henry came across an article on John’s website about Bulwer-Lytton

John admired Bulwer-Lytton’s writing, feeling it was unfairly derided (I was myself surprised to hear that at one point, he was the best-known novelist in the English-speaking world). Again, with this book John aimed to explore and bring to a wider audience Bulwer-Lytton’s key role in esotericism, philosophy, and key cultural movements in the Victoria era, as well as showing the relevance of much of these ideas today. He talks about the book and the ideas in it here (filmed around late summer 2018 at the Canonbury pub in Islington). 

The format of the book is similar to Beginners Guide, a graphic introduction. It contains a lot of artwork by John Higgins and another artist named Paul Campbell, a friend of my brother Simon. 

John was already ill when he started work on this, so there was a little more urgency to the project. Happily he lived to see and enjoy the book’s publication.

Again, he opted for a very unusual, unique format – what do you think about that? Something I’ve noticed, I wonder if the magical people who mostly read this kind of stuff, are they open to this kind of graphic approach – they can be a bit serious, perhaps too much so? 

I can’t claim to know these magical people well enough to know how serious they are, or they might feel about the approach! However, as with Crowley: A Beginners Guide I’d say that despite the format, designed to be accessible as well as original and entertaining, both books are packed with ideas and pretty rigorous explorations of both men and their ideas.

Even though I have no special interest in the occult or esotericism myself, I find Bulwer-Lytton: Occult Personality really educational, especially in regard to the Victorian era – religion, philosophy, antiquity, artistic movements and so on. It’s a bit like a springboard, making you want to go off and explore these topics in more depth.

As for humour, I think done properly it works well in these contexts as long as you don’t trivialise the subjects, and I think both the graphic guides get this balance right. A world without humour would be a depressing place indeed!

Thanks, you’ve been great, anything else you would like to add that you think I should have asked but forgot?

The last thing John published was this selection of his own poetry, 100 Poems, the earliest of which I think he wrote when he was 15. I recorded this interview with him talking about the book in April 2019, a couple of months before he died. Getting this collection out was important to him, and I know he’d be happy for it to get a mention here.

A lot more of John’s writing is online – his websites are here
http://www.mith.demon.co.uk (his main original site, up since the 90s)
http://john-jsm.wikidot.com/
http://johnsmoore.co.uk/




Crowley peak moments

 

 

 

 

For me, the story of Aleister Crowley’s moment of truth in Cairo 1904 is one of the most interesting in a lifetime graced by perhaps a half dozen such experiences. 1904 was the pivotal year in Crowley’s career, he was 29 years old and therefore well into what is popularly known as the “Saturn Return”. Difficult as it is to believe, Crowley had more or less given up on magick at this point in his life and concentrated on having a good time with what remained of his inheritance. I think we can surmise that he was disillusioned by his experiences as an unwanted member of the famous Victorian occult society we know as the Golden Dawn. Like any hierarchical organisation, internal reveries often blow things apart and in this case, the conflicts had ended in litigation and even, so it is said, deadly magical battles. Its autocratic master Samuel Liddell Macgregor-Mathers said to be overwhelmed by megalomania, locked in conflict with other former friends but also wannabe masters and mistresses. Crowley, still a relatively young upstart, had taken his chances with the boss. Significantly he had cut short his magical retreat in Scotland, for which he had obviously made lavish preparations – this was the famous Abramelin practice. 

In the version he was following, the practice began on Jewish Passover and continued for six months. From a more recent and complete published version, we now know this should actually be 18months. In the 15th century, Abraham began his retreat at Easter (Jewish Passover) itself a very important ancient feast connected with demons and angels of death. These myths make use of doorways of one kind or another, the ancient Hebrews supposedly inscribing magick signs on their lintels, a signal for the angel of death to pass over the house.

It terminated on the old feast of Tabernacles or “Booths”. The modern interpretation tells us this was originally a reminder of the temporary dwellings used by the early Hebrews during their flight from Egypt.  

Crowley’s short gambit with the Golden Dawn did not go well and he was either expelled or left the sanctuary under a cloud. As for The Book of Abramelin, the magical moment had passed and there was no point in returning to his house at Boleskine until the following Easter. So Crowley travelled to Mexico and as often happens, did not return for several years. When he did he was again distracted by his future wife Rose Kelly. 

He eloped with and married Rose Kelly. It was for her patrician family, an unsuitable match, though he was a former family friend. Perhaps to escape the bad family vibe, they set out together on a world tour as a honeymoon. Their cruise ship arrived in Alexandra, a short hop from Cairo, where they planned some sightseeing in the fascinating metropolis. They no doubt took in the sites and the nightlife. Crowley, who already knew the city, having visited a few years earlier, paying a little baksheesh to the local family for special access to the pyramids at night, where in the King’s chamber, he was able to show off some of his old tricks, with a handy copy of the Goetia, which has a preliminary invocation taken from ancient Egyptian magical papyri. 

The results cannot fail to have impressed Rose Kelly, who later, back in their lavish hotel room, no doubt having imbibed perhaps a little too much of the local Omar Khayyam vintage, fell into a light trance and said: “They are waiting for you”. I’m paraphrasing really, more accurate accounts are available I’m sure. Some say Crowley had prepared for all this on his visit a few years earlier, why else did he have the right magical books to hand. But key perhaps is that is was Passover in Cairo, the full moon and exactly the right time to restart another Egyptian originated ritual, that of Abramelin, who according to his medieval account, was a supreme ritual of the adepts in Upper Egypt, which he got after his failed quest through Europe in search of illumination. 

Already experienced with the Abramelin system, Crowley seems to have used it to put himself in touch with his guardian daemon – Aiwass, an entity which some say was his own psyche. There is a famous photograph of Crowley posed with a magick book, a pentagram emblazoned on the front cover. What’s in the book, nothing other than his complete collection of magick squares neatly drawn during his preparation for the Abramelin practice!

The name of his angel lends itself to a bit of wordplay. Aiwass or “I Was” does indeed have a split personality, dictating a book that proposes entirely contradictory solutions to humanity’s problems viz “The Law of the Jungle” versus  “AL True Ism”?  

Snoo Wilson takes up the story some years later when Crowley, now reconciled with his revelation in Cairo, makes an attempt to found an alternative community, dedicated to the tenets dictated to him by those Egyptian spirits in Cairo. It was a brave attempt that eventually foundered due to its own internal conflicts, and the events outside the communards control, such as the rise of a fascist government in Italy, which was hostile to such alternative lifestyles. The Sicilian locals apparently had come to enjoy the presence of their purple priest and his followers. 

Snoo Wilson who carved out a successful career as a playwright specialising in the tricky genre of black comedy used all his talents on the Crowley story. The result was a successful stage play which is novelised as “I, Crowley, almost the last confession of the beast 666”. These days, Crowley people are not noted for their sense of humour and not everyone is able to see the funny side of some of our pretensions. Which is odd, given how fond Crowley himself was of a good joke or an extended tongue in cheek romp.   I’m pretty sure he would have enjoyed Snoo’s retelling of the end of the commune as much as anyone should. Remembering that one must first entertain before getting too serious. In the end, “I, Crowley” does all that, though it starts with a refutation of the accusation common in my hometown, that Crowley killed much loved Oxford student Raoul Loveday with a magick spell. Arthur Calder Marshall wrote that a hit squad was even sent from the Student Union to avenge the crime that never happened. The whole story is set out in this great act of what Snoo once called the “lesser form of magick” although he was again being ironic, there is nothing lesser about writing a good novel.

Part II of this essay
is about Aleister Crowley: A Beginner’s Guide

 

Song to Sekhmet: Lioness Goddess of Ancient Egypt

Sekhmet from her shrine in the immense Karnak temple (photograph by Mogg Morgan

Song to Sekhmet:
Lioness Goddess of Ancient Egypt

Black Sekhmet

Magnificent Darkness

Blaze through me

Thunderous Sun

Seizing my soul

With Lightning claws

Blast me aflame

Broken bone in

Seething blood

I will not resist

Bright Sekhmet

Reach for me

Lift me in your gentle paws

Breath Warmth into

My quivering heart

Set me beside you

That I may share your strength

My I not fear love nor myself

Fill me with lust for life

Send me forth into this world

Armed with your wisdom

Beloved lioness

(attributed to Terence Duquesne,
was sorting through some old papers and found this – seems to be his style and handwriting but it is unsigned )

The Sugar Lady of Luxor

Was “Unusual votive offerings of Medinet Habu/Luxor”

The Sugar Lady of Luxor and the Lady of Spring. Now she dissolves into the earth, many years after she was brought from Luxor


The Story of the Sugar Lady
The 19th century excavation at Medinet Habu in its obsession with the monumental, stone architecture of the Ramesside period destroyed a great deal of the archaeology of later periods.(1) Libyan, Roman, Coptic and Islamic material was removed from the site and dumped, largely unrecorded. What we have lost in terms of knowledge of these later periods is incalculable. I am particularly interested in some of the inexpensive, votive offerings from all periods, as they reflect the personal piety of non elite local people. Medinet Habu continues to be a focus for local folk practices, especially connected with fertility. It’s interesting that locals continue to offer some of the same objects, including the votive beds, in connection with the birthday of the Muslim saint – Abu al-Hajjaj. It is a good example of “archaeological memory”, ultimately of the ancient Egyptian cult of Amun-Min, his consort Mut and their offspring, Khonsu.

Many of Amun-Min’s ithyphallic images escaped the chisels of later prudish iconoclasts. In ancient times, the god’s wife Mut came to visit Amun from her temple a few miles north of here at Karnak. This was the famous festival of Opet, a “hierosgamos” or “mystical marriage”. The tradition is very much alive amongst the Sufi and Ismailis of this part of Egypt. Every year the shops are full of little sugar statues, dyed pink or red with rose water, showing either the prophet or a local saint and his wife, although these days far less “rampant”. A friend explains: “‘Mawlid’ (moulid, مولد) means birthday, ‘al-nabi’ means the prophet, i.e. Muhammad. However, in many places there will also be mawlids celebrating the birthdays of various local Sufi saints such as the mawlid for Sidi Abu al-Hajjaj . Mawlid traditions go back more than a millenia, but a lot of Salafis regard them as a heretical innovation, so they’re controversial these days in some places. Nonetheless, throughout much of the Muslim world mawlids define the local ritual calendar, much as saints’ days do in strongly-Catholic parts of Europe.

Sugar figures on sale in Luxor

[Further reading: Elizabeth Wickert, (2009) “Archaeological Memory the Leitmotifs of Ancient Egyptian Festival Tradition and Cultural Legacy in the Festival Tradition of Luxor: the mulid of Sidi Abu’l Hajjaj al-Uqsori and the Ancient ‘Feast of Opet’” JARCE 45]

Votive beds

“Such objects consists of small boxes of baked clay, usually about 22cm long, 12-14 cm wide ad 18-20 cm hight, but sometimes smaller. They are closed at the top and open at the bottom. Occasionally a latticework pattern is scratched or painted on the top, an indication that such objects are bed models. The front has short legs, and its lower edge is scalloped, obviously to represent fabric hanging down. It is ornamented with low relief, which was pressed in a mold and occasionally colored. Usually a bes figure is represented at either end and between them a nude woman in a boat. The representation on most of the specimens found in our excavations are of to different types. On type (fig 13 and Pl 6 G 1-2 [Cairo J 59845 and Chicago 14779]) show the nude woman seated on a cushion and playing a stringed instrument. In the bow, which is ornamented with a goose head and neck with necklace, stands a girl rowing with her arms stretched forward; the in the stern stands another girl, pushing with a pole which she holds pressed against her armpit. Between the figures are superimposed papyrus umbels. The other type :figure 14 and Pl 6G 3 [Chicago 14780} and 4) shows a simpler scene. The nude woman stands in the centre of the boat facing forward and holding a papyrus stalk at either side. Smaller fragments with similar scenes are shown in Plat 6 G 5 [Chicago 14827 & 6)” p12

Votive figures
These are nude female figures, usually lying on a bed, often with a pillow under the wigged head, occasionally with a child at the breast (eg Pl 6H ] Chicago 14603]). Obviously they were in some way associated with the marital relationship. As a rule the figure itself was pressed out of clay in a mold, and the rest was modelled by hand. These objects are from 12 – 22cm long and often decorated with red and white lines. Two limestone specimens are shown in Figure 12. That at the right, with a child alongside, is 25cm long; the fragments at the right, with a child at the breast, is 16.5cm wide. These figures were all found in debris of poor dwellings of the period 11th-8th centuries bc.

votive_habu
votivepot_habu

For more erotic magic from Egypt see Mogg Morgan, Seth and the Two Ways

Note
(1) Uvo Holscher, The Excavation of Medinet Habu Vol V Post-Ramesside Remains Chicago 1954

Three Demon Daemons for Pisces

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As is well known to those who follow my reconstructed Egyptian daemonic or demonic calendar, every 30 day lunar period is dominated by three entities, one for each ten day period or trimester, also known as a decan, from Latin for 10. Here they are, as depicted on the wall of the temple of Isis at Philae:

The new moon began on 23rd February with the left most image known simply as Akhw, which I have translated elsewhere as spirit entity, very like the later idea of the Djinn, which in many ways is a belief system in continuity with that of Pharaonic Egypt. The astrological month of Pisces also, as it happens, begins more or less now, and these seem very appropriate spirits for the Pisces type.

Now of course, I have argued that all of the 36 decanal demons are like the class of demonic things known in old Egypt as the Akhw, but this is not to say this term is here just a generic thing. There is something very special about this demon. Rather than being generic we could say it is the paradigm for the whole array of night spirits, In the ancient almanac from which some of these details are gleaned, a great deal of otherwise lost folklore and mythology is recorded, often in passing. In several places in the long text, special rites are prescribed for the Akhw, who maybe otherwise become troublesome. No surprise then that the group of three have a particularly demonic aspect, where as other images could simple be those of the common gods of Egypt.

Interesting too that whereas many other images of the demons have been mutilated in later times, these three survive intact. Here’s an example of one of the other images, although with the typical mutilation of the effective organs, the face & hands. The context of these mutilations is a subject in its own right and very interesting magick too:

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The middlemost image shown earlier is very strange, quite monstrous really; a human headed entity, wearing the archaic skull cap similar to that worn by the god Ptah, but no arms! This absence of arms is intentional, nothing is left to chance in Egyptian art, although the meaning may be lost on us, but something like, he has no hands to take hold of you. His entire body tapers off into that of a crocodile. His or her name translated as “one who comes before or heralds the two souls (the Ba)” Now, as these entities are also groups of stars in the so-called decanal belt – he could be the herald in the sense of the group of stars that rises before the third and final demon, the one who rules the dark nights of the month, and the mysterious days before the next new moon when gods such as Horus arise from the body of their father Osiris. No surprise then that the entity that we are guided towards, is the strangest of the entire strange series of three. The image shows a snake with two heads, one at each end of his body. Monstrous but useful if you want to look in two directions, and in this case two levels, perhaps upper and lower. But troublesome if the two souls decide to pull in different directions. Perhaps they are meant to represent two snakes mating, their sensuous bodies molded together. Ancient mystery of the body is encoded here, one that emerged later in the Hindu tradition known as Tantra. Two souls are fine as long as they move in coordination and in the same direction. We tend to think that being single minded is the best way to get things done but perhaps here we can detect an equally old and valuable idea, that two heads are better than one.

The decans are discussed in greater detail in my books Supernatural Assault in Ancient Egypt and Phi-Neter: Power of the Egyptian gods. I’m currently working on a combined volume, devoted to the Egyptian Demonic Calendar. Look out for all these titles wherever good books are sold, but certainly on Amazon.

Oh, and my name is Mogg Morgan

 

 

Morgan Witches – who are they?

 

 

Morgan is a name of illustrious pedigree, that means “born of the sea”. There is a legend in these parts that the inhabitants of a particular historic county in Wales (Cymri), were descendants of mer-people who moved inland from the nearby sea. Witchcraft has always had this strong connection with the sea, and something of the ocean’s undercurrents are strong among all the Cymri. The Morgan witches emerged in the ocean of story, as two new members of the ancient clan of witches began to weave their spell of words, and found they needed an authoritative author for the ideas that arose unbid in their souls.* Thus the Grimoire of the Morgan Witches drew its first breath. Less preposterous, lets just say they are two members of a little clan of witches who feel compelled to share their lesser magick here on this blog. * see NakedTantra: grimoire of a magical year.

The Eternal Moment

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The Eternal Moment

On the longest night of the year, the tribe has gathered for the Winter Solstice ceremony.  The Spice is very strong and it doesn’t take long before the doors of perception have opened before us. My ‘mission’ is to raise Babalon. My Babalon working will be like a prayer to raise her power and energy in Everywoman.

I believe that Babalon is Everywoman, but many women deny her existence, some are afraid of her, some are so prudish they truly believe she’s an whore. I embrace my Babalon, she is integrated within me, she is part of me and always was. There was time I didn’t know who she was or what is her name, so I called her “Everywoman”.

I’m Every Woman –  A tribute to Whitney Houston 

“Whatever you want, whatever you need, anything you want done baby, I’ll do it naturally.”

The ritual and ceremonial music are vibrating in the air but for some strange reason I can’t get out of my head the 80s anthem song by Chaka Khan – “I’m every woman”.

I remember the first time I heard it, the Chaka khan version, and how I thought to myself, what a great song, perfect for me. The song came out in 1978, I was only 10 years old.

In the 90s Whitney Houston took Chaka Khan’s song and made it into an even bigger anthem, a classic that will never go out of fashion, a good party will always have this anthem at the peak of the night.  I was a party girl back then, The Ministry of Sound and The Zap Club, were like my second homes. One night at the club, I recall thinking to myself; if “God is a DJ”, “Everywoman ” must be his wife! I didn’t know anything about Babalon or the Scarlet Woman at that time, but an affinity with Everywoman was always part of me.

Whitney Houston was born with the touch of the Red Goddess, she was beautiful, talented and charismatic. It didn’t take long before she became world-famous, she was, and still is, the most awarded female artists, and remains one of the best–selling musicians of all time. Whitney Houston was a goddess, flying high and far, but she couldn’t handle the fire of the Red Goddess, and soon those flames consumed her. After over a decade of meteoric success, she allowed her demons to take over, and she burnt out.

So I toast the first cup of Spice to you Whitney, and to Everywoman out there.

Here She Comes

My mind is racing. I really don’t understand where did all this stuff come from? I’m here at the ceremony and all I can hear is these 80s–90s club anthems playing in my head, and think of Whitney Houston. But then something at the corner of my eye catches my attention. I’m looking but not too sure what I am seeing. It’s a crack in space/time, like in the Dr Who episode “The Crack in the Wall”.  I knew it’s her on the other side. I call her, come, enter, my beautiful goddess. Flames burst out of the crack, it can only be her, and there she is – Babalon!                                            She is shining like the sun at sunrise, and the only thing on my mind is the question – Who swallowed the sun? Now as I write it down, it’s a bit obvious, don’t you think? But at the time I just couldn’t see it. 

The Library of Babel

As soon as she enters, I know – Babalon is the librarian of the Library of Babel. I am very pleased with myself and move on to other things. The goddess NewMedia is here too, and she is loading me with information, I need to write all this stuff down, I need to remember it all. I see the connections in everything I do, like synapses that pass electrical surges through a great spider’s web, or was it the WorldWideWeb? Marketing, advertising, books, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing … attention, attention! The system is overloaded. I’m stuck in a loop, thank god it’s time for the second cup.

Shiva is serving the second round of Spice. He has a special gift, he is a master of blessing the Spice, and this time he adds a special boon, a magickal journey.  As soon as I drink the second cup of Spice I’m back at the library of Babel. I’m lost in a maze, it’s HER maze, it’s HER LIBRARY! She is not the librarian at all,  it’s her library! At the very same moment, I notice a little path that leads to a garden.

The Garden of The Forking Paths 

The garden is strange, if anything, it looks like another maze, like the library. It’s kind of grey and dusty. I go down the path, thinking to myself “so who swallowed the sun?” At that time I didn’t have a clue. Then another thought crosses my mind – why is this garden is so “forked”? A garden should be light and green, soft and gentle, that word, Gentle, made me stop for a moment, and I rethink it all again.  Why is the garden so forked? A garden should be light and green and soft, like The Garden of Eden. The word EDEN in Hebrew means – Gentleness = עדן = EDEN. The path I chose in The Garden of The Forking Paths leads to The Garden of Eden!

This realization made me stop for a moment. I looked at the 9th Gate card that I had brought with me. In the card, which I painted a few days earlier, behind Babalon is the Ninth gate illuminated with the sun’s rays. I look at the card for a while, and as soon as I put it back in my bag, I’m back in The Library of Babel. I look around me, books are floating in the air, staircases spiralling in all directions like some weird Michael Escher picture. Then BANG! The Ninth Gate materializes in front of me in all its glory, and at the same time, the shocking realization; SHE IS THE LIBRARY, SHE IS THE LIBRARY.  Another crack appears in space/time. The room is spinning, thunder and lightning, a cacophony of strange and very loud noises. The library has exploded and I’m being sucked into a black hole, what remains of it is spinning around me; books, staircases, labyrinths, forking paths, gardens, all in a mad and chaotic dance, spiralling towards the black hole.

I’m going mad, am I going mad? I know I must look into the crack that grows with each moment, I know who’s coming, but I dare not look. I go down on my knees and try to pray. But only one word comes out of my mouth:

Baphomet 

I forgot all the words to the prayer. I can hardly find my voice, all  that comes out is a faint mumbling of just one word, the one that makes sense:

Baphomet

Baphomet

Baphomet

Each time I repeat this word, things getting clearer.

Baphomet. 

The room has stopped spinning.

Baphomet.

I can breathe again.

Baphomet. 

The books and the staircases are still spiralling around me but in very slow motion.

Baphomet.

Quiet. 

Everything has stopped as it is, books and staircases frozen in a mid spiral in the air. I can hear the beautiful ancient mantra, the sound of the sea, waves on a breezy sunny day, and I remember.

“I believe in one secret and ineffable LORD; and in one star in the company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name CHAOS, the sole viceregent of the Sun upon the Earth; and in one Air the nourisher of all that breathes.                                                                                                    And I believe in one Earth, the Mother of us all, and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten, and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name BABALON.                                                                                    And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.”

At this moment the beautiful shamaness comes and crashes on the mattress next to me, she knows nothing of Baphomet, but she understands Chaos. Together we are experiencing The Eternal Moment, we both know that the only time is now, and this now is for eternity. I hug her, whispering in her ear “open your eyes, and call Hir, Baphomet, sHe is already here” and she does and she sees what I see. 

And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.”

The tribes of the Spice are the tribes of the serpent and the lion (well, the Jaguar really…) Some follow the serpent, some follow the Jaguar, all are drinking the same Spice, both tribes sharing similar ceremonies but different rituals.  Baphomet walks among our tribes naturally – which takes me back to the beginning of the journey when I heard Whitney Houston singing in my head the lines “Whatever you want, whatever you need, anything you want done baby, I’ll do it naturally”…  Sooo Baphomet…

In the Thoth Tarot, the card Lust, ‘appears the legend of the woman and the lion, or rather lion–serpent’ (The Book of Thoth). Another realization of eternal moment, Babalon rides Baphomet just like the tantric Kali rides Shiva.

“And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.”

Baphomet is the serpent and the lion, Mystery of mystery; the Fifth Head of the serpent is The Raging Lion!

“The Desire and aspiration of the highest, most spiritual spark of your consciousness is to clothe itself in flesh and personality and to Come Into Being here and now. The purpose of Initiation is not to swap one for the other: it is to open the eyes of both, perceive what is Real, and empower the entire Self to its maximum potential…” (Michael Kelly, Dragonscales)

“The Fifth Head, that of the Raging Lion, is one specifically focused upon Desire, upon passion.” (Michael Kelly, Dragonscales)

With all this in mind, I hear the call for the third cup.

The Third Cup

The third cup is a meditation journey on the sounds and vibrations our Music Master has prepared for us.

The Music Master and I go back a long way. He was there the first time I took the Spice. He taught me how to listen to the vibrations and how to see with my ears. His journeys are my favourite part of these ceremonies, and after a night of illuminated Chaos, I am looking forward to lying down and chilling out on his magickal carpet.  The third cup is the cup of the Shamaness. I love this woman with all my heart. We look at each other and smile. I say: “only a little cup for me this time”, she looks at me, smiles back and pours the Spice, a full cup… I drink the blood of the dragon and lie back on the cushions and fly.

The Seven Jewels of the Red Goddess

In the myth of Inanna she descends into the underworld, and meets the guardians of the seven gates, who will not let her pass through unless she leaves one of her jewels in each gate, only then can she proceed into the underworld.

The Seven Jewels are:

  1. The Great Crown
  1. The Wand of Lapis Lazuli
  1. The Jewel Around her Neck
  1. The Jewel On Her Breast
  1. The Belt of Jewels Around Her Hips
  1. The Jewels Around Her Wrists and Ankles
  1. The Jewelled Robes

In his book Dragonscales, Michael Kelly asks what these seven jewels are? On page 125 of Dragonscales, he writes:  “As an exercise for further thought and meditation, I would like to throw out the suggestion that the seven jewels of Ishtar are resonant with the Seven Heads of Apep, but in reverse order, with the Jewelled Robes having an affinity with the Head of the Scorpion and the Great Crown having an affinity with the Head of the Typhon. This affinity and this inversion of ordering may be suggestive of one of the secret links between the Lady and the Serpent.  Muse upon it…”

I’m flying the magickal journey the Music Master takes us on and musing upon Michael’s riddle. It doesn’t take long and I’m back again at The Garden of the Forking Paths. Now there are new paths ahead of me, and I don’t know which one to follow.  There’s a tiny voice in the back of my mind which whispers “Follow Me”… so I follow it down a very narrow and very old path.                                                                                                                I love the author Tom Robbins. Back in the 90s, I read quite a few of his books which probably helped a lot to shape the way I think and perceive things. There is something in the myth of Ishtar’s seven jewels that reminds me of something he wrote, but what was it??

The song about Miriam the Prophetess is playing and I remember. In his book ‘Skinny Legs and All’  Tom Robbins writes the story of Salome and The Dance of The Seven Veils. The myth of the Seven Veils Dance and the myth of The Seven Jewels probably are based on the same myth of Inanna/Ishtar. In the original dance of The Seven Veils, those veils come off in the same order as the seven Jewels:

  1. The Veil around Her Face
  2. The Veil around The Shoulders                                                   
  3. The Veil Around her Neck                                                                  4.
  4. The Veil On Her Breast
  5. The Veil Around Her Hips
  6. The Veil Around Her Wrists and Ankle
  7. The Veil Around her Legs

In the book Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins actually does reverse the order in which the veils are coming off Salome:

I’ll try to explain:

The First Veil to come off is the veil around her legs, ‘The Jewelled Robes’, think again what the Jewelled robes might mean… she is dancing and her most precious jewel is unveiled. “Because Veils of ignorance, disinformation, and illusion separate us from that which is imperative to our understanding of our evolutionary journey… The first of those veils conceal the repression of the Goddess, masks the sexual face of the planet…” By taking her Jewelled Robes off first, our Red Goddess has awakened the Serpent, the Typhon, the Kundalini.  So, our  Salome is dancing and the veils of illusions keep coming off, one by one, unveiling and, abandoning old patterns such as blindness to the wonders of nature, politics, religion, money, death, time.

The Seventh Veil:  The Veil around Her Face – The Great Crown – The Head of The Scorpion;

“The illusion of the Seventh Veil was the illusion that you could get somebody else to do it for you. To hang on your cross.  Everybody had to take control of their own life, define their own death, and construct their own salvation. And when you finished, you didn’t call the Messiah. He’d call you.” (Skinny Legs and All)

This is all very much in the spirit of the Scorpion Head…

For me the theories of Tom Robbins always make sense. And now it’s nearly the end of the journey and the sun is going to rise any minute. I can just see that at the end of the path I’m journeying, there’s another path to follow (it is the garden of the forking paths after all) but I’m too tired now, maybe next time…

The Great Crown – The Head of The Typhon – Spirituality and awakening.  What a Night!

Here Comes The Sun.

“Whatever you want, whatever you need, anything you want done baby, i’ll do it naturally”

IO BAPHOMET