Little Baphomet and this cutie Cthulhu are both 7.5 inches high and will run you $19.99 (which if you flip the nines around is $16.66, nice one Middle of Beyond). There are also a few other notable and refreshingly evil Christmas ornaments in MOB’s shop such as a variety of Krampus designs and a glass-blown homage to Room 237, the mythical room at the Overlook Hotel in Stanely Kubrick’s The Shining that gave the fascinating 2012 documentary film, Room 237 its title.
The headline above came straight from the press release because it made me laugh. Can’t think of what to buy your favorite magus for Christmas? [Or Noel Fielding, wait, he’s already got one.] Yes that’s right, Kenneth Anger, avant garde underground filmmaker is now in the fashion business. Back in September Kenneth Anger “signature” tees went on sale, and now you can keep warm this winter with an “official” Lucifer Rising baseball jacket available only at his website.
Hollywood, CA November 23, 2015 – The story behind Kenneth Anger’s undisputed masterpiece, Lucifer Rising, is as exciting and bizarre as the film itself. Featuring such pop icons as Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithfull, Donald Cammell (co-director of the film Performance) and Bobby Beausoleil (member of the Charles Manson family and convicted murderer), the production was plagued with bizarre coincidences and sinister backlashes. After thirteen years of filming Kenneth Anger was determined to complete the film despite the almost surreal obstacles that materialized every step of the way.
A recognized master of avant garde film, Kenneth Anger’s influence can be seen in filmmakers as diverse as Martin Scorsese (who calls him “without a doubt, one of our greatest artists”), Roger Corman, George Lucas, Gus Van Sant, Guy Maddin, and David Lynch, not to mention the pop art of Andy Warhol, and almost every music video. He also gained notoriety as the author of the bestseller, Hollywood Babylon, a tell-all book revealing scandals and controversies in Hollywood among the rich and famous. The interest in Anger’s work shows no sign of abating in 21st century. The objects seen in his films, such as Anger’s custom made ‘Lucifer’ and Scorpio Rising jackets have now become cult icons in themselves.
I’ve been told that the Lucifer Rising jackets are already selling like the proverbial hotcakes and they aren’t planning a second run of these puppies, so if you want one you might not want to hesitate. The production run was described to me as “just a handful.”
In addition, there’s a second newly listed Lucifer Rising item for sale on kennethanger.org, a signed reproduction of “The Magick Lantern Cycle” poster, as originally painted by Page Wood.
Each poster will be signed in the area with the negative space by Kenneth Anger personally. Can an official Scorpio Rising motorcycle jacket be far behind?
Below, a clip from Brian Butler’s Raising Lucifer documentary:
“I predicted terrorism because I can feel it,” Donald Trump announced this week (exacting publicity and self-praise—who would have predicted that—from the massacre in Paris). “I can feel it like I feel a good location,” he continued, tastefully contrasting mass murder with picking a winning spot for a casino-hotel complex. “I really believe I have an instinct for this kind of thing.”
“Ha ha ha”, said everybody about Trump’s “superpower” of sniffing out terrorism (at least on the rational side of the American electoral brain). But not this writer! On the contrary, when Trump made this declaration, I was in the midst of writing an essay (about two thirds of which follows), on the very subject matter of the Republican front runner’s uncanny, alarmingly accurate instinct.
No shit, I’d even used the word “instinct” seven times (the very seven times that proceed) without having heard Trump use it once himself.
Instinct, then, is an interesting, mysterious quality, and one possessed by most of history’s biggest players. By “biggest players,” I mean those that took advantage of circumstances to seize radical power (as opposed to boring old figurehead-of-the-establishment-type power): the likes of Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Adolf Hitler. Typically, such figures consider themselves possessed of some sort of second sight, a phantom patron (or perhaps “daemon” is the word I’m looking for?) that whispers in their ear (and theirs alone). Hitler, for instance, once told a journalist about how as he stood having a smoke one day behind the trenches during WWI, he heard a voice telling him to move: he did so, and then, having taken a couple of steps, a shell landed right where he’d been standing.
Many of Hitler’s associates remarked upon his incessant monologuing. Indeed, Hitler referred to himself as the “messenger from nothingness.” Neither did Hitler ever write his speeches down—he was winging it, ever loyal to his instincts, which led him from being considered a national laughing stock with shit hair to a position of absolute power.
“I go on my way,” he declared, en route to turning the world inside out, “with the ease of a somnambulist.”
When Trump first lashed out at Megyn Kelly, recall that his chief adviser Roger Stone instantly resigned in dismay, because the billionaire wouldn’t listen to “reason.” And indeed, who doubted that, with his misogynistic and absurd smear against a Fox New personality, Trump hadn’t pitched his campaign off a cliff? Trump’s instinct, however, whispered something else in his ear: that he could get his revenge on Kelly (no small matter to such a tumescent ego) without risking his popularity. This flew in the face of all received wisdom – and yet once again, Trump was absolutely on the money.
It’s happened time and time again.
Trump’s pious regard for his instincts is further evidenced in his approach to speeches. He improvises (just like Hitler did in his speeches, the ones Trump’s ex-wife said he liked to keep near the bed). When he attacked Carson last week, at the tail end of a ninety-minute unscripted speech, Trump clearly hadn’t given it any more forethought than a note written in ink on the palm of his hand to “remember to attack Carson.” In the immediate wake of the speech, commentators—slow to learn—were quick to call it the “beginning of the end” for TRUMP 2016. The latest polls show him now pulling well clear of his nearest Republican rival, the soft spoken, befuddled brain surgeon.
What else is improvisation but the purest possible adherence to instinct? “You don’t want a scripted president!” Trump told an Iowa audience a few months back. “Look at all the cameras blazing there. This is live, all over the place. We’re on Fox, CNN,” he went on, before brandishing an invisible script. “Look, there’s nothing” (Another messenger from nothingness?)
There is, I would suggest, a kind of theology at the heart of all this, that of any improviser—from Lenny Bruce to Charlie Parker to Adolf Hitler—the belief that the best decisions are made in the moment. Excessive premeditation, or consultation, these only blunt the cutting edge of genius, which expresses itself (in certain select souls) via instinct and cunning.
Yes, a vote for Trump is a vote for divination – for this is precisely what he is alluding to what he spoke of “good locations” and having a “feel” for the timing of significant global events. Here is a man convinced of the magical acumen of his intuition. It has after all already made him billions upon billions of dollars, and it is this intuition—this abnormal winning faculty, as he would have it—that Trump offers in lieu of policy, political affiliation, character, or any of the other usual ingredients that go into a presidential pie. He might be out of his depth, sure, but he’s got his instincts!
When Trump holds his invisible script, he is mocking the existing political alternative—everyone else—a Washington made up of lobbyists, focus groups, special advisors, academics, public relations… a kind of collective antithesis of instinct: premeditation, forethought, rationalization, logic. In dominating the Republican race as he has, furthermore (doing so, indeed, at minimal expense to himself), Trump is explicitly offering the voter an example of his ability to make successful moves which are invisible to everyone but him.
What’s for good for Trump, of course, is by no means what’s good for the rest of us, but the thing is, his instincts really are impressive, and you don’t have to think he would make (as he might put it) the winningest president ev-er, to concede as much.
Yes, Trump is doing a disconcertingly effective job—thus far—of improvising his way from being considered a laughing stock with appalling hair to the most powerful man in the world.
From Mein Kampf to The Art of the Deal? Such a phenomenon would not be entirely without precedent. It’s just like Karl Marx predicted “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
A few lessons in French maybe required if you want to seriously study the Dictionnaire Infernal (Infernal Dictionary)—an A-Z on demonology and the occult—though Google translate may offer an easier option to access the histories of such demonic figures as the Azazel, Bael or Zabulon. Written and compiled by French occultist, demonologist and author Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy, the Dictionnaire Infernal was first published in 1818 to considerable success, and was reprinted several times before its most incarnation in 1863 in an edition that contained 69 illustrations by artist Louis Le Breton.
Breton’s illustrations became the main source for nearly all future representations of demons, monsters and fantastical beasts. De Plancy filled his dictionary with detailed histories of the hierarchy of demons—-from lowly pot boilers (Ukobach) to the Seven Princes of Hell, the Demon Regent Asmodeus, Astaroth and Lucifer. He also included historical figures associated with the occult or free thought—from various kings and queens to Napoleon and Nostradamus and even the renowned author Sir Walter Scott. A title page from the 1826 edition described the book thus:
Infernal Dictionary, or, a Universal Library on the beings, characters, books, deeds, and causes which pertain to the manifestations and magic of trafficking with Hell; divinations, occult sciences, grimoires, marvels, errors, prejudices, traditions, folktales, the various superstitions, and generally all manner of marvellous, surprising, mysterious, and supernatural beliefs.
Though originally a free thinker—he had been greatly influenced by Voltaire in his youth—De Plancy eventually became a Roman Catholic and parts of the Infernal Dictionary show his vacillation from skeptic to devout believer. Unsurprisingly therefore, later editions were edited to fit in with Catholic theology. However, the Infernal Dictionary is still a highly important compendium of demonology and the occult—in particular the 1863 edition with its fabulous illustrations by Le Breton.
An edition of the Infernal Dictionnaire has been scanned by the Internet Archive and can be viewed here.
One of the Seven Princes of Hell: The demon Bael with his three heads.
In October 1893, members of the Chit Chat Society gathered in rooms at the University of Cambridge to share and discuss academic papers. But this particular evening, towards Halloween, the society had gathered to hear fellow and Dean of King’s College, M.R. James present something very different from the traditional academic fare—the first reading of his ghost stories.
Montague Rhodes James was a respected academic whose reputation would now be forgotten if it were not for his ghost stories. James’s chilling tales set the template for the genre which other writers have since studiously followed. Inspired by the success of his reading, James organized a small gathering every Christmas Eve in order to read his latest ghostly tales to a small group of friends.
James was following a tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas that harked back to pagan times when people believed the dead and the living communed during the long, dark nights of the winter in the lead up to the winter solstice—the shortest day of the year. It was a literary tradition set as far back as Shakespeare, and recently by Washington Irving (The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.) and Charles Dickens—whose A Christmas Carol contained many of the genre’s dearest tropes.
M. R. James and the classic volume of his supernatural tales.
However, unlike Dickens, M.R. James had no truck with benign spirits sent to do good—his ghost stories were filled with “malevolence and terror”:
...the glare of evil faces, ‘the stony grin of unearthly malice’, pursuing forms in darkness, and ‘long-drawn, distant screams’....
His stories were set in realistic and seemingly ordinary worlds where central characters are suddenly thrust into the most extraordinary of situations—a seaside holiday brings forth an evil wraith; a rose garden hides a brutal past; a hotel is host to a grim haunting.
James believed his ghost stories should…
...put the reader into the position of saying to himself, ‘If I’m not very careful, something of this kind may happen to me!’
Most of James’ tales follow a simple formula: reticent hero, usually a scholar, arrives at strange yet alluring location where he discovers some cursed ancient artifact that damages his life. His message—those who fail to learn from their history are doomed and will be punished for their ignorance. Such chilling warnings are wrapped in beautifully written tales of terror.
Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen, Sherlock, etc.) is a splendid host in this documentary M.R. James: Ghost Writer, in which he examines the clues in the life of the author of some of the greatest tales of terror. Beginning with James reading to the Chit Chat Society, he examines the influences that inspired the ghost stories, including one particular incident during his childhood when James saw a monstrous apparition—an event he later recorded in his tale “A Vignette.” If you enjoy supernatural tales and ghost stories, then this little documentary is for you.
Apparently, this Halloween while you’re out trick or treating, TPing houses or getting diabetes from all that free candy, Satan will be chowing down on all the freshly prepared “Christian meat” served up by his faithful acolytes on Earth. Which, let’s be honest, is certainly some feat considering the number of his alleged followers in the USA alone. I mean, Old Nick’s waistline must be XXXXL and his cholesterol thru the roof if all he does is feast on those freshly grilled human patties and barbecued spare ribs—no wonder he only dines out once a year.
Thankfully, not all so very long ago, a Christian church in Chicago decided to help Satan with his dietary issues by warning off unsuspecting Christians from ending up in a well-roasted burger bun in Hades from celebrating Halloween. Through a character called Sam Hain (boy that’s original…) the ad was supposed to shock young, innocent (feeble-minded?) boys and girls about the hidden dangers of Halloween—that this was not a time of fun and games but the Devil’s party night, when he comes a-looking for “Christian meat.”
As any fule no, Samhain is the Gaelic festival marking the end of summer and the start of the “dark half” of the year, when harvest was finished and yon cattle brought down from pasture to shelter from the long, cold winter. What this has to with a kooky Christian anti-Halloween advertisement, I’m not quite sure, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of good giggle at the devil’s expense…
Grey Aliens are commonly described by ufological, paranormal, and New Age communities as slender, sexless, large-eyed, grey-colored beings who routinely visit Earth from extra-terrestrial worlds. Greys are known to sometimes abduct human beings to perform medical experiments and probe their bodies.
The idea of of these creatures is most commonly traced to the 1947 Roswell UFO incident and the alleged 1961 alien abduction of Betty and Barney Hill. Ufologists believe there are at least two different types of Greys. Some claim that “taller Greys, with their reported increased authority and apparently more complex psychology, may be the only Grey type to be biologically alive and that the shorter form could be their artificially constructed robot or cyborg servants.”
The illustrations in this text bear a striking resemblance to Greys described by countless UFO close encounter and abductee claimants. Is it merely a coincidence? Do aliens really exist? Are they, as some theorize, actually a form of sleep paralysis? Did an 1800s Swedish gynecologist know something about visitors to our planet? Has Giorgio A. Tsoukalos weighed in on this yet?
We don’t have the answers here, but nevertheless, these illustrations of freakazoid Grey Alien type humanoids practicing some sort of gynecological yoga are pretty creepy:
We’ve cycled through cultural periods where zombies were the big entertainment draw, and other times when it was all vampires… or pirates. Is it finally the mummies’ turn? After all, The Mummy from 1999 barely scratched the surface of a genre that was sparked by the 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamun‘s tomb. If so, perhaps history will trace the impending mummy craze to popular discussion of the burial rites of Tana Toraja because this is ripe for a horror film!
The Toraja are a people who live in mountainous South Sulawesi in Indonesia, and their society rests on a sturdy foundation of animism, the belief that a spiritual essence pervades all things, living and unliving, including animals, plants, trees, and rocks. Tana Toraja means “the land of Toraja.” One of the most noteworthy aspects of the Toraja are their funeral rites, which last several days and often occur many weeks after the star of the show has shuffled off his or her mortal coil. The rituals include tree burials for infants who died before teething as well as the parading of actual mummies.
Since funerals are such an elaborate affair for the Toraja, the bereaved family members very often lack the funds for the ritual at the appropriate time, so sometimes the funeral has to wait months or even years until the requisite capital is accrued. In the meantime, the deceased is embalmed and stored in the same house as his or her family. Here’s the amazing bit: Until the funeral ceremonies are completed, the person is not considered to be dead but merely suffering an illness.
Toraja tribe members are rarely buried in the ground. They are either placed in caves dug out in the rocky side of a mountain, or in wooden coffins that are hung on a cliff. The grave is usually expensive and takes a few months to complete. A wood-carved effigy, called Tau tau, representing the deceased is usually placed in the cave looking out over the land. The coffins are beautifully decorated, but over time the wood begins to rot and the bleached bones of the deceased often drop to the bottom of the suspended burial ground.
Babies are not buried in caves or hung from cliffs but buried inside the hollow of living trees. If a child dies before he has started teething, the baby is wrapped in cloth and placed inside a hollowed out space within the trunk of a growing tree, and covered over with a palm fibre door. The hole is then sealed and as the tree begins to heal, the child is believed to be absorbed. Dozens of babies may be interred within a single tree.
The burials are completed, the guests have feasted and returned to their homes, but the rituals are not over. Every few years, in August, a ritual called Ma’Nene takes place in which the bodies of the deceased are exhumed to be washed, groomed and dressed in new clothes. The mummies are then walked around the village like zombies.
Without further ado, here are several stunning pictures of infant tree graves, wooden effigies of the deceased, hanging coffins, and mummies taking part in a Ma’Nene celebration.
Happy Crowleymass, everyone! Aleister Crowley, thee Great Beast 666 was hatched from a dragon’s egg on October 12, 1875. The eccentric English mage, poet, painter and gourmet rice chef would be 140 years old today if, um, he could like live forever or something…
As somewhat of a noted Crowley buff, I’m often asked “Where is a good place to start reading Aleister Crowley?” and this is a difficult question to answer because, in truth, you have to read, pretty much, all of it to make sense of any of it. Going down the Crowley rabbit hole is comparable, I think, to being a scholar of James Joyce because achieving a proper understanding of the subject takes years of study, decades even (and then what are you going to DO with all that arcane knowledge, anyway, smartass?). But one source that I will point curious folk to is the late Tim Maroney’s excellent “Introduction to Crowley (in Five Voices)” which I published in my Book of Lies anthology back in 2004.
Below, I discuss Uncle AL on the History Channel TV series, How Sex Changed The World. I had fun doing this show and I got to explain a general concept of sex magick to middle America! Good times! The Crowley segments starts around 19:30.
I know how it is: you read the trilogy of sci-fi novels, saw the play, listened to the audiobook, even picked up the card game, but you still can’t get enough of Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s conspiracy epic, Illuminatus! Where is the balm that will soothe your hurt?
Back in 1987, underground comix publishers Rip Off Press—the persons responsible for the fourth edition of the related sacred text Principia Discordia, not to mention The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers—put out Eye-n-Apple Productions’ comic book adaptation of Illuminatus! A few months ago, Eye-n-Apple (which seems to be identical with one Mark Philip Steele) announced plans for a digital reprint on its Facebook page:
Good news, folks, the ILLUMINATUS! comic I published back in 1987 is now in e-comic format, including text commentary. It’s a zip file available for download, and may end up at other sites in other formats. If you’re interested, download the comic and contact me about it. Some of the comments MAY be posted in further editions. There was one self-published issue, then 3 with Rip Off Press, and an unpublished 4th issue. Plans are for us to release one a month from now till we’re done.
No word yet on subsequent numbers, but you can download a free PDF of the first issue here, and it seems this is the space to watch for updates. Below, Robert Anton Wilson and Rev. Ivan Stang of the Church of the Subgenius discuss the consolations of the Discordian faith on Hour of Slack.