Love directs our lives in equal proportion to our hate and anger.
- The Grand Book of the Sith
…Food for thought.
Love directs our lives in equal proportion to our hate and anger.
- The Grand Book of the Sith
…Food for thought.
Many occult teachers pontificate on the dangers of the “Left Hand Path” and “Black Magic.” They caution and warn, planting seeds of fear and contempt. They teach that to step onto the shadowy network of trails that constitute the Left Hand Path will lead to corruption of the individual, a fall from grace, or an abandonment of The Light. Many believe the truth of their words with the strongest of convictions, but I speculate that many of them have a nagging suspicion in the back of their minds, one they are afraid to face and admit… there is a Darkness within all of us already that hungers for a release, for feeding, and for growth. – All of us.
Stepping onto The Path does not lead to Darkness. The Darkness from within is what leads one to The Path. Do not fear those first steps. Embrace them and allow the black Flame to kindle and metamorphosis into True Passion. Rejection of our Darkness is an unforgivable suppression of the Self.
mxkgz ruxj bgyygmu
o hkykkin znkk; mxgtz zne yomnz zu zne bgyygr,
utk cuxzne zu yvxkgj zne cuxj gtj zne corr.
hruuj o mobk znkk,
uvkt se keky zu cngz oy nojjkt; mobk sk znk yzxktmzn zu lotj znuyk cnu ykkq uax rklz ngtj vgzn, zu ksvuckx znks zu zxare ykk.
uvkt se nkgxz zu xkikobk gtj otzkxvxkz zne ykixkzy.
varr juct znk bkor zngz znk romnz sge hk ykkt.
yu suzk oz hk.
Speak little, listen much… A trait many who walk our winding ways rarely have the gift for. Clarity of immense proportion can be gleaned from silence. To capture brief glimpses of The Light from The Darkness we should suppress and avoid the urge to speak as authorities, to preach to the masses, to profess a true path or right way. When asked, state what you believe… do not seek to convert. Share with no expectation of reward or quid pro quo. Teach if you find one worthy, but do not do so with pride and hubris. The path of the missionary is not of The Left Hand Path, and those who act in that capacity are often charlatans. The greatest teacher one can find is simply the silence around us. Silence is a whetstone…
“..The apprentice must learn how to be confident in silence, and learn the hidden secrets in the madness of the quiet. When he no longer fights the need to fill it, he can think clearly. He can plan and apply proper strategy to any situation, and he can hear his own heart. Noise is merely distraction. It traps us into complacency so that we can ignore our heart and live in the dumb and deaf world that most are contented with…”
From an interesting source…
“Yea, in heart we work iniquity; measure out in the earth the violence of our hands.
Malevolent and estranged from the womb; orators of lies from birth gone to and fro.
Our venom is like the venom of a serpent; we are like the deaf asp which stoppeth her ear;
Which hearkeneth not to the voice of magi, or the most cunning binder of spells.
Niknikin stoic, brandish the rod which showers coals and fire. A serpent’s eyes,
claws of shole, culters nam ungues, no worldly name honors Niknikin.
Eyes as deep chalice, hands of lead, your grip unforgiving as the sickle amid harvest.
Niknikin your justice true, eyes darkened mendicant, hair an obsidian silk.
May all devout fathom the face of evil.”
- Ad Astra Perversum (26)
Paimon is a great Fomori King. He is more deferential to the great Goat God of the Witches than other Fomori Kings. His estate and domain lie in a northwestern branch of the Great Oak, and your thaumaturgic circle should point in that direction when summoning him forth. He commands 200 legions of his brethren. This Demon has been worshiped as a god by many ancient peoples, and he expects nothing less from those who are intrepid enough to conjure him forth. He is said to be one of the better tempered demons to deal with. Paimon has a great voice and roars in a deafening cacophony when he first appears, and will continue in this manner until the conjurer compels him to do otherwise. He will then answer clearly any questions he is asked… whether truthful or deceitful is another matter though. Paimon usually appears in the form of a man with a feminine face and figure. He wears a crown encrusted with gems and precious metals, and often appears while riding a black dromedary, also known as a camel. Paimon is usually accompanied by a host of other demons, some sources quoting 25 legions… a potentially deadly situation. He has also been known to appear with two other great Fomori Kings that serve him, Labal and Abali. These two Demon Kings have no known seals.
Paimon’s summoning requires that some offering or sacrifice must be performed. Something of high value must be given up if something of high value is to be obtained. A key interaction with this demon also requires the conjurer to answer truthfully a question asked by Paimon in order to obtain the same from him. The answer to this question will often determine if the conjurer is worthy of this demon’s attention. Paimon teaches all arts, philosophy, sciences, and secret things. He can reveal all mysteries of the Great Oak, wind, water, what the mind is, and everything the conjurer wants to know. He provides good familiars when requested. He can also bind mortal men to the conjurer’s will, an often sought out service. (24)
Is not continually scrutinizing and searching for chains to break a chain in itself? Live life, breathe, kill, love, destroy… enjoy the moment and all of the carnal pleasures The Path has to offer. It is amazing to me how mortal man continually devises ways to imprison himself… even as he utters flaccid rationalizations to convince himself otherwise.
If a chain is found and realized along the way though, break it and cast it aside… for we are on the path to godhood.
Barbatos, is a great Fomori Lord. He commands 30 legions of his brethren, and when conjured forth often appears with other companion demons. This can make summoning him a dangerous proposition, and is recommended only for those with the knowledge and will to confront and overcome multiple entities if things go awry. Barbatos is prone to using numbers to his advantage.
Barbatos appears as a horned archer or hunter, and his arrows always strike true. He is often “bearded”, which his given Latin name suggests. He understands the singing of birds, the barking of dogs, the lowing of bullocks, the voice of all living creatures, and can bestow this gift upon a conjurer. It is said that he can also speak through animals.
This demon has the power to find treasures that are protected by enchantments or hidden with magic, and this is the skill he is most often conjured forth to perform. Also of significant value is his ability to tell of things past and future. He has been known to appear unbidden in animal form to those he favors. (24)
Quite some time ago, a gentleman by the name of Eric Jeffords at the WordPress Blog “By Blood and Bone, By Staff and Stone” posted the following piece forwarded to him by a friend. His entire Blog was compelling and interesting. I often found myself there grazing on his thoughts. Inexplicably though, one day he posted what could be characterized as a retraction of his entire philosophy and belief in witchcraft… an intent to cast all of it aside. Sometimes I wonder what befell him… what caused such a radical change. Did he convert or return to the embrace of Christianity? Did he have a life altering event that changed his ontological views irrevocably? None know probably except for him and those he holds close…
As I often do though, I will copy and paste interesting pieces I harvest from my rabbit-holing into a document where I go to find inspiration for writing or food for thought. It’s hovering at about 63 pages long these days. Luckily I grabbed this snippet and it was not lost to the ether… His Blog has been taken down and he has departed into the mists, which is truly a loss.
“To Hell with their father, hiding in heaven
I spit on every letter of his name.
His Kingdom is ashes.
His will is bile,
as it rises in my throat.
I have worked in the fields to earn my bread,
and need no forgiveness, but from him that I’ve wronged.
And to hell with him that wronged me.
I’ll take all my temptation,
And judge my own what’s Evil.
For this is the kingdom of the Old-Horn,
And the Goatfoot, and the One-eyed,
forever, and ever.
Where do your demons hide? I’m interested in your answer…
Every time that song plays, it strikes a chord with me.
Brothers and Sisters, I wish you a glorious Samhain. May your summoning and spell weaving be to great effect. May the Gods, spirits, and demons you cavort with on this holy night embrace you and infuse you with power and purpose. May the Goat God of the Witches whisper to you from the shadows and impart dark and terrible secrets. May those we love and hold dear make their way safely down The Low Road to the Morrígan’s Cauldron.
Walking the Left Hand Path in Darkness,
“I am often thought of as being remarkably bright, and yet my brains, more often than not, are busily devising new and interesting ways of bringing my enemies to sudden, gagging, writhing, agonizing death.”
― Alan Bradley, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag
Human nature succinctly stated… Come now, do not lie to yourself. Often times a mirror is the best net to catch a monster. This quote made me giggle a little when I read it.. and I thought I would share it.
Amon the Devourer, also known as Ammon, Amaimon, Amoymon, Amaymon, and Aamon, is a great Fomori Lord. Similar to Bael, this demon has been worshiped as a god by many ancient peoples. He commands 40 legions of his brethren. When conjured, Amon is said to appear as a wolf with a serpent’s tail, vomiting flames and sulfurous fumes. To protect oneself from this foul breath, the conjurer must be in possession of a Silver Ring, duly consecrated and worn on the middle finger of the left hand as a form of protection. When the ring is presented and he is commanded, the demon will cease spewing forth the poisonous fumes. An outdoor conjuring is recommended for Amon. Sometimes when evoked, he will appear as a human with the head of a raven. He can also be compelled by a conjurer to take this second form, if appearing in the first. He is stern in countenance and not one prone to humor or gentle words.
It is rumored that Amon is in service to the demon Astaroth, but details regarding this are ephemeral at best. Some sources also state that he has power over the demon Asmodai, and viceversa. In the summoning of Asmodai, if one does not stand upright and remove their hat or cowl in a sign of respect upon completion of the evocation, the gate will bring forth Amon instead, and he will doom their work… and possibly put their mortal form in danger if they are not strong of will and knowledgeable of exorcism.
Amon is often linked to the sin of Wrath, a state of uncontrolled hatred and anger which frequently culminates in violence and self-destructive behavior. He tells of all things past and future, therefore he has strong links to powers of divination. He is also said to procure or ignite feuds and reconcile controversies between friends and foes. What most do not elaborate on is that reconciliations are often in a way that is final… utter destruction fed by Wrath. If you are looking for a peaceful resolution to a feud or controversy, this demon is not one you will want to solicit assistance from. (24)
Valefor is a great Fomori Lord. Other names he has been known by are Malaphar, Malephar, Valafar, and Valefar. This demon initially appears in the form of a lion with the head of a man, or a lion with the head of an ass, but when compelled to take on an appearance more conducive to negotiating a pact, he will comply. Like most demons, he is not bound to one physical form. He commands 10 legions of his brethren. He is a patron of thieves and is often called upon to assist in the successful execution of thefts. He is a master of temptation… using greed, avarice, and pride to great effect. He is an incarnation of materialism. He tests the abilities of a thief… pushing boundaries, sharpening skills… both the mental and the physical.
Unlike most demons of the Ars Goetia, this demon can be persuaded to stay with the conjurer for a period of time, assisting in the planning and execution of thefts that are worthy of his name and stature. Use great caution though, as there have been whispered rumors among thieves that he has been known to convince a conjurer to steal items with his assistance that are actually property the demon himself wishes to obtain, and those poor souls have been abandoned to authorities to take the fall, and often ended up hanging from the gallows or languishing in prison. He takes a perverse enjoyment from this. (24)
Marbas is a great Fomori Lord, also known as Barbas. This demon initially appears in the form of a great lion, but when compelled to take on an appearance more conducive to negotiating a pact, he will change into the form of a man. There is no specific race, gender, or description used more often than another on record. He commands 36 legions of his brethren. He will disclose, or direct his subordinates to seek out and disclose, the secrets of another or the location of that which is hidden. Be cautioned… although he is bound to answer truthfully, his servants are not. His touch and his breath can bring disease, and he is able to cure the same. This demon is often sought out to be a patron for those engaged in the mechanical and engineering professions. The technical wisdom he can impart to those in these fields is vast. He frowns upon those with little or no technical knowledge, and can be more difficult to negotiate with for those without the base prerequisite skills. He is also partial to those who earn a living with handcrafts.
Marbas also has the power to change mortal men into other shapes. Ensure that any pact asking for this benefit also contains a clause requiring him to change you back… otherwise an animal form may be the last one you inhabit before your feet touch the Low Road and you begin your journey back to the cauldron. If you are seeking the gift of lycanthropy, you would be better served with an appropriate ritual. Asking for the aid of this demon would not hurt though. Many who have set their feet upon that path carry his mark. (24)
“The quest for balance is an excuse to play on the shadowy edge of Darkness.”
Ah, yes… so beautifully and poignantly stated. An excuse to take a sip from a forbidden cup we of the Left Hand regularly quaff. An excuse to dabble… and still be able to claim the “mantle of gray.” To truly seek a state of balance or equilibrium is nothing more than a quest for stagnation and decay.
We adherents of the dark winding ways, where the whispers of the Goat God can be heard, should not be too quick to cast a stone though. A sip gives an opportunity to taste, and a taste gives rise to developing a fondness, and a fondness can lead to an addiction… and none can argue with the power of an addiction. Whenever I hear dogma from those who claim to be “Gray” or “Seeking Balance”, it always makes me chuckle a little. I know that someday I may be welcoming them into the fold… if they have courage and develop an addiction for Darkness.
Samigina is a great Fomori Lord, and also one that will respond favorably to a daytime conjuring. Other names this demon has been known to answer to include Gamygin and Gamigm. He commands 30 legions of his brethren. Like many of his kind, he is prone to taking multiple shapes when appearing to mortal man. Some even say his true form is female in gender. He often appears initially as a small horse, and when compelled by the conjurer will take upon a new form better conducive to interaction, the most common of which is that of a small, gruff, wizened man. It is said that he speaks with a hoarse voice, likened to gravel scraping upon stone. He can be bound to teach languages, literature, history, philosophy, mathematics, and science. In fact, many present and past great minds, and fathers of invention owed debts to Samigina for knowledge gained.
The assistance and power that this demon is most often sought out for is necromantic in nature. He has the power to command the souls of those who have died in sin, or drowned at sea, to manifest in incorporeal form to answer to interrogatories at the conjurer’s whim. He has no power over others. The definition of what constitutes “sin” is open for debate. I suppose if he hauls your spirit from the Low Road, or the Underworld… you’ll know for sure. He is also said to stay with the conjurer until he, or she, is satisfied. (24)
Vassago is a great Fomori Prince. He is not in service to another Demon King, but his counsel is often sought out by his own kind. He commands 26 legions of his brethren. Vassago is one of the less dangerous demons of the Ars Goetia to interact with… yet one should always exercise caution. He most often appears as a man, but his eye sockets are empty, containing orbs of utter darkness. He has also been known to appear as a blood-red serpentine dragon, or as a diminutive red scaled devil with cloven hooves and a forked tail. His sight pierces into all branches of the Great Oak, and he has a keen ability to see into the future and divine possibilities… tangents of past and present time. He is known for explaining his visions in minute detail, and does not often cloak what he sees in allegory or metaphor. He has the power to make what is hidden visible, both the physical and otherwise. He can also find what is lost. He is often called the “Prince of Prophecy” among those who transact with demon-kind. Vassago is often invoked to discover the most deep and dark secrets of women.
Vassago is a prime demon to summon for assistance with scrying and other forms of divination. The power he can channel into these endeavors is boundless. Remember though, the truth can hurt… beware what you ask this demon to reveal to you. He revels in causing pain, hate, and distress with the simple truth of a matter. If you dread the answer… don’t ask. (24)
Agares is a great Fomori Lord, and hails from the eastern branches of the Great Oak. He is in service to Bael and commands 31 legions of his brethren. This demon is exceptionally willing to answer a summoning. Although he usually appears as an older human male, he is very feminine, some even argue seductive… more than capable of coaxing an erection by innuendos, double talk, and body language. He has also been known to appear in female form. He is usually depicted as an old man carrying a hawk on his fist while riding a great crocodile. Be wary of the hawk, as it is a demon that hungers for the human soul, and the crocodile is a great consumer of flesh, sinew, and blood.
Agares has the power to destroy dignities, both temporal and supernatural. Love, respect, and veneration being but a few of the temporal dignities he can extinguish, thereby strangling the good and wisdom they are capable of giving birth to. Supernatural dignities are developed through the participation by a lower being in the natural perfection of one that is higher, arguably Faith being one that is a primary target of this demon… if he is so inclined. He has the power to make one who runs away to return, and one who seeks to escape to fail in their attempt. He can instill such feelings of fear and dread in one who is strong of heart and stout of soul that they can do naught but run if he so commands it. He teaches languages, causes earthquakes, and finds great pleasure in providing knowledge of carnal and immoral deeds, actions, and thoughts.
Exercise caution with this demon if you are not strong of will, or suffer from depression or bi-polar disorder… as it is whispered that he has a fondness for convincing those who summon him to commit suicide. (24, 25)
Bael is a great Fomori King. His estate and domain lie in an eastern branch of the Great Oak, and your thaumaturgic circle should point in that direction when summoning him forth. He commands 66 legions of his brethren. He often appears in the form of a man, cat, toad, or any combinations thereof. His voice is loud and rough, but articulate, intelligent, and well versed. To spread his name and influence holds much value to him. His power waxes strong in the fall. He teaches the art of invisibility when asked, can make one wise, satisfies all cravings, and can convey special powers with a handful of ash he keeps in his pocket. His hatred of the Sidhe runs deep. This Demon has been worshiped as a god by many ancient peoples, and he relishes the attention and devotion of his followers and acolytes. He is tricky to negotiate with, often seeking to make a servant of the master. His schemes and plans are often grand in scale, and can span decades or centuries. A pact with this demon must be equally farsighted, and the value presented to him very great. (24)
The Demons of the Ars Goetia are Fomori, First Children of the Great Goddess… not unlike many devils and other diabolic beings from our world’s mythology. See Creation Myth. They are an embodiment of chaos, exiled to other worlds, bound in shadow, fire, and darkness. They seek toeholds into our world, harboring a desire to one day regain all they have lost. To this end, they are more than willing to answer a summoning and enter into pacts with the Third Children… mortal men. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend.)
They can give much, but they often require much. Only the foolish will attempt to summon them without something of value to give in return. Aleister Nacht stated it simply and beautifully: “Success comes from win-win situations and your ability to align yourself with the wants of others.” This legal concept of quid pro quo is “truth” when it comes to working with Lesser Powers, and will contribute to unimaginable success in your workings. Be prepared to till the fields and sow great quantities of seed if you wish to reap a great harvest though. If you are lazy, unimaginative, and are unwilling to put some hard work into your craft, more likely than not all you will end up with is a handful of weeds.
Various sources will prescribe certain observations or requirements for rituals specific to certain demons or classification of demons. I find very few of these hold value. I agree with observation of the age of the moon, primarily 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 14 days old being the best nights to summon. The requirements for the seals to be cast in metals have no inherent value. Beautifully crafted drawings are equally effective. The old seals themselves are very powerful. Colors used for inscriptions should be to the taste of the witch, don’t get hung up on this. Ensure you wear a pentagram around your neck. A simple necklace will suffice. Have a wet towel with you inside your circle, to be used to cover your face as protection against the sulfurous and flaming breath of the demon you summon. Have a brass vessel and lead plug available if you intend on containing a demon. I do not recommend attempting this… particularly with one of these 72 demons. Additional seals and incantations are required, which will not be explained at this time. You have been warned. Some profess a need to fast or practice abstinence for a period of time before attempting one of these rituals. Garbage… Go screw, lick, and eat to your heart’s content beforehand. Indulge… it will give you power and you will be less distracted. A final note in this regard is the old curses for demons that will not come forth and obey. Do not engage in them. If the subject of your summoning does not appear, try again another night. If your pact is not accepted, come back another time with a better offer. Honey catches many more flies…
A word of caution; Summoning or invoking these demons can put one at odds with the Sidhe, particularly the Seelie court. They are vigilant against the return of the Fomori… and their servants. Remember, these demons hold no love for mankind. Their gifts come at a price… and their desire is destruction of all we know. Use caution and think with a level head. The power you can potentially gain does not have words to describe adequately.
Familiarize yourself with Evoking and Summoning. Insure that the seal of the demon you are summoning is inscribed, along with your other arcane formulas, within all three open spaces in your thaumaturgic triangle. I will post a picture of each seal for your use.
“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
This is going to serve as an introduction of sorts to approximately 72 posts, along with a couple more to lay some groundwork, which will be uploaded in fairly close succession over an unknown period of time. These posts will expand upon each individual demon in the Ars Goetia. There will probably be other miscellaneous writings dropped here or there while this venture is underway, but for the most part I’d like to keep this project both on track and in a fairly cohesive presentation. In my Left Hand Path demons are referred to as “Lesser Powers” only because they are not the Gods I have chosen to worship. It is in no way a reflection of their ability, stature, or actual power to manifest and affect change in our world. Some border on godhood in ability, and are worshiped by many practitioners of the darker paths as such.
The first question an aspiring adept will probably field is: “What value do demons have to me?” This is not an easy question to answer. Summoning demons and interacting with them can be very dangerous and trying, but through adversity, danger, and pushing the envelope in our self-development we are able to obtain tools and knowledge we would otherwise be deprived of. Through pacts with these lesser powers we are able to exchange services and grow in power and understanding while also facilitating allies who have a peculiar interest in our world and the human race.
The next likely question is probably: Why the demons of the Ars Goetia specifically? This answer is more simple and straightforward. These specific demons have been conjured, worked with, and have for the most part been parties to productive pacts for centuries. They are more of a “known factor.” This does not make them safe though. They are akin to a bladed weapon in that they are just as likely to cut you as they are to cut an enemy if you do not respect them and interact with them in a cautious manner. Demons can possess living creatures, both human and animal, therefore it is unwise to open a gate and summon anything willing to step through it. The known danger is much preferred to the unknown.
In my presentations you are going to see that I am going to attempt to strip out a lot of the Christian garbage that has been attributed to them over the centuries. The old medieval titles are going to be missing as they are not relevant and merely a way to classify these beings in a way that fit within the paradigms of the period in which the grimoires were compiled. The rituals will be adapted to my Left Hand Path. It will have more of an ancient Greek feel to it, as the hellfire and brimstone will be noticeably absent, and they will be regarded as they truly are.
I may tie this little post into Left Hand Path philosophy… or I may not. I’m not really sure as these words drip into the Blog via my fingers and keyboard. These thoughts have been floating around my mind for a couple of days when I began considering whether there can be good and value in bad people. I’m not entirely confident I know why either. I’m not even really sure they mean anything, or have any useful substance. This post is not going to be one of my usual mythical stories, philosophical points, cryptic Left Hand Path messages, or conversations on the arcane or ritual. I’m going to throw the proverbial plate of spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. This is probably going to seem a little disjointed or rambling… but then again it may make sense to some of my readers. I think I may do a couple of similar posts because there are several other topics I want to write about as well.
Anyway, I’m not widely known for my compassion, empathy, or happy demeanor beyond my immediate family and a few friends. I’m a straightforward and to the point person most of the time. I like to go into a store knowing what I want to purchase before hand, and get out as soon as possible. I’m not keen on large social gatherings. I like to stay below the radar and am not ostentatious by any stretch of the imagination. My two story house in an upper middle-class suburban neighborhood with a homeowners association is neatly kept, freshly painted, and has gorgeous landscaping that I enjoy maintaining myself. If you wave at me when you pass by, I will wave back and smile… possibly even dabble in some polite gibberish. That is all a mask though… I am a chameleon of sorts, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A monster. But aren’t we all though? If you answer no, you are probably lying to yourself. You may raise many arguments to counter my assertion… but they are probably all fallacious at heart. It is possible my tours in the Marine Corps and Army shaped me. It is equally possible that the many years in my current career field have contributed to making me. My occult studies over the years have definitely had a hand in the result that sits in front of this monitor. It is amazing what affects the environment and an open mind can have on the social development of the individual.
What makes me a monster? I have many responses to that question, a sample of which follow… First and foremost, I embrace darkness. It is who, and what I am. If I do not like you and come across you in a car crash, and you beg me for assistance, I will walk away and let you die. If you break into my house, I will kill you… and then sit down to eat a bowl of cereal while I await the police department to arrive to remove your cold, dead, cadaver. I routinely curse… both types. I summon demons and cavort with devils. I enjoy debaucheries of many, many, many types. I disdain Christianity. I hate with a fervor and heat that can rival the sun. I am vengeful. I cannot stand people in general, and view most simply as tools… a means to an end. If you are a dumb-ass and I’m interacting with you, all will appear pleasant, but inside I’m probably wanting to rip your face off with a pair of pliers. I live my life as I choose and am not bound by the moral platitudes of a society shaped by religions and dogma. Ascension and seeking The Light are always foremost in my mind. Regardless of what I really am though under the thin veneer of conformity that I preserve, I am a high functioning individual by societal standards. I hold two college degrees, have managed very large organizations, am routinely required to do public speaking, and have been a member of a fraternal order and mystery school for approximately 18 years. I have never been convicted or charged with a major criminal offense. But where am I going with this tangent of thought…? Let me continue…
There are balancing qualities within me as well… Not strong… or enough to tip the scales into a state of equilibrium, but they are there. Those I love, I love with a passion and intensity to rival my hatred. I honor my word when I give it. I will fight to the last breath and put my life on the line for those I care about. Occasionally, on a whim, I have been known to act mercifully and with great caring toward strangers I do not consider absolute ass-hats. I value the rule of law and the benefits it provides.
Again, where am I going with this?
Essentially, people are usually not what they appear to be. We are complex, beautiful creations and contain both Darkness and Light. This applies equally to those who walk The Right, those that travel The Left, and those that cling to the Middle. Whatever road you walk, it is likely you’ve have qualities from the other two. Also… even a monster is capable of some good. Therefore, beware hunters of monsters… in addition to the obvious dangers of the hunter becoming the hunted, you risk snuffing out the possibility of some good. It must be thrown into the equation before placing anyone in your sights.
“Frodo: It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.”
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. (23)
- John Donne, 1624
We are mortal, and we suffer the lot of all mortals – bound by destiny and chained by fate… yet we hold the key within ourselves to ascension, immortality, and godhood. A key dropped into the clay forms of the first of Danu’s Third Children by The Goat God at creation, a flame that quickened the potential within.
This potential is beyond good and evil… beyond light and darkness. Neither polar opposite is a prerequisite. We are what we choose to be, what we are most comfortable with, and we do not need to conform to reach our true potential… our birthright. What is the key though? What form does it take? What is that mysterious, invisible, intangible thing that can move us beyond the cycle of life and death? I think Crowley got it right…
“For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.”
-Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law
We must simply be strong enough and focused enough to will it. Open to the Gnosis, eyes turned upward to The Morning Star, ears open to the whispers from the shadows…
This post is a tangent from a previous post “What is Darkness?” I think that from time to time I will expand that contemplation a little further by discussing how different concepts, or elements, are shaped by my beliefs… or perhaps how my beliefs are shaped by them. Occasionally I stumble across something that makes me pause a moment to consider its effect on My Darkness, or vice versa. Introspection is a tool for personal growth, and it seems an appropriate application to use in conjunction with composing these posts. A concept like “Darkness” is something worthy of unlimited dissection and microscopic examination.
My Left Hand Path adheres to certain inherent patterns of belief as it relates to Darkness and Evil. Others do too… and others don’t. I really do not care much what other belief systems and individuals adhere to. I am more concerned with myself. Something you will discover about Left Hand Path philosophy is that for the most part we are very individualistic in nature, and this translates directly into how we practice our Religion and Craft. As I have mentioned before, I have embraced My Darkness, and for me this term is indeed one synonymous with Evil. Hatred and Anger are both effective tools in attaining power… and useful. Good actions and emotions can be equally effective in furthering The Darkness within ourselves though… few initiates reach a level where they recognize this truth. (By the way… that is one piece of advice I recommend scribbling down in your little black book.)
On to the more germane part of this post… There is an old Cherokee story about two wolves. How old? I really cannot say for sure. It has some relevant concepts applicable to this post though… mainly because I use it in a way I’m sure was not intended by the author to underline a few of my points. I don’t know who the author is, so I am unable to give credit where credit is due. It goes something like this:
An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”
This story is a very vanilla way of looking at hate, anger, good, and balance. Cute and simplistic… Faint aromas of Christianity and new age fluffiness sprinkled all over the top… It makes me want to puke. I strongly doubt it has any true roots in ancient Native American culture or myth, and it overlooks the pure power and unlimited potential that Hate and Anger can bring to the table. As a practitioner of a Left Hand Path we should not choose to feed one wolf over the other…. thereby seeking to amputate ourselves from primordial predispositions that have enabled us to survive and thrive in this brutal and unforgiving world. We should feed them both… and beat them into submission with a big stick. Turn them into Canis Domesticus and make them serve us. There is some wisdom to the parable though. Hate and Anger can both wear one down and act like the poison alluded to… but this is only if we feed that wolf and give it no room to grow, no ability to become action… if we fail to shape and use our Hate and Anger it can curdle and spoil like old milk.
Darkness has a use for most tools, and all emotions and feelings are valued utensils.
“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”
― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man
Muirne sat in the tavern shadows, resting from a long day on the road. Smoke tendrils were thick and created a haze around the fire in a nearby stone hearth and the tallow candles on the half dozen or so wooden tables spread throughout the common area. The smell of roasted pork and potatoes permeated the room. She had been looking intently at the skinny and nearly emaciated man seated at a nearby table. He was working on his fourth platter of food, stuffing his face as fast as he could. He had the look of a desperate and haunted man. The inn keeper was also watching him, and was muttering to his portly wife while casting furtive glances towards the ravenous man.
Murine got up from her comfortable spot and glided over to where the man was eating. He barely glanced at her when she sat down next to him. She smiled and leaned in towards his ear and whispered “You are being consumed by greed… but not your own. Do you wish to be free from this curse?” He dropped his fork, nodded, and a tear dribbled down his cheek, to his chin, and then dripped onto his worn shirt. He whispered back, “I cannot live like this any longer.” With this Murine motioned the inn keeper over and ordered a quarter slab of salted beef. He raised an eyebrow, but quickly scooped up the handful of long cross coins she laid on the table and hurried off to do her bidding.
After the dried and salty meat was placed on the table she instructed the skinny man to eat it. He did so… tearing into it like a starving dog. After a few minutes he reached for his mead tankard, but Murine deftly moved it out of his reach and commanded him to eat more. He ate the salted meat until his tongue began to swell and he begged her for drink. She cast his mead to the floor, stood up, and commanded him to follow her outside. He obeyed her without question and followed as instructed. She led him down the dirt road running in front of the inn, but veered off near a stream that passed under a small stone bridge. After they were out of sight from the road she turned to the man and said “Lay on your back near the water and look to the sky. Open your mouth wide, keep it open, and do not close it until the time is right… and you will know when that time comes. Under no circumstances are you to drink of the water from the stream.”
The skinny man nodded and did as he was told, the sound of the running water nearly driving him mad with desire to slake his thirst. After a few minutes of laying on the ground in the feeble light of a half moon, his eyes widened and filled with a look of horror. Two thin, gangly, arms shot out of his open mouth and a creature began to pull itself free from between his crooked teeth. Its flesh was pale, like a dead bloated fish. The man’s lips were stretched further, and the corners of his mouth split with a slight pop as his jaws were distended. His eyes bulged and his skin began to turn blue from lack of air as his mouth gave birth to a spindly little humanoid with large round black eyes containing no whites. The creature wailed, cursing vehemently as it struggled to pull itself free from the man’s mouth. Finally, with great effort it dragged itself out and leapt for the water, drinking it fast like an animal deprived of water for days. The skinny man scrambled to his feet and ran to where Murine leaned against a tree, yelling “What the Hells!?” She merely shrugged and said, “It is called Alp-luachra, of the Sidhe, a fairy creature and a follower of the Unseelie Court. It consumes your sustenance as you eat it, depriving you of nourishment until you either take your own life… or die of starvation” The man then ran toward the road, casting fearful glances behind him, and was never seen in those parts again. He grew old in another county… and told this story often to any willing to listen. (22)
“The Gods of the Deep return at times to join with their kin in convocation, to relive the old rites, on the desolate, wind-wracked beaches, deep within dank caverns, at the midnight crossroads, upon the damp disturbed earth; old, forgotten places. It’s a reclaiming of souls that have walked this familiar path before, a chaining to Oaths that were made millennia ago; unfinished business.”
Sarah-Jayne Farrer, Di Inferi – The Gods Below: Of Contact, Dream and Memory
Gods… her writing is so delicious it makes me want to do carnal things to myself.
Old and simple forms of Craftwork, these constructions are used for a variety of purposes, such as hexes, curses, counter-magical devices, and many others. Witch Bottles have been dug up and dated back to the 16th century. You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to a Witch Bottle. Their use spans many different traditions and geographic areas, so regardless of what your Left Hand Path inclinations are… it should be fairly easy to find inspiration.
Older Witch Bottles tended to be made from glazed stoneware. The best type of modern glass to use in my opinion is a champagne bottle because the glass is thick, dark colored, and they are designed to withstand pressure. Most Witch Bottles contain large amounts of organic material and over time the contents can decompose or ferment, resulting in a build-up of gases that can break the glass and destroy the spell or containment. A current favorite among many witches are the small cobalt blue bottles. They can easily be incorporated into interior decor and thus hide protective charms and spells in plain sight within the home without raising suspicions. Personally, I tend to cling to the old methods of burying them, or concealing them outdoors… particularly with spirit traps. The last thing I want in my home is an angry spirit trapped in a little glass bottle. When broken, the containments do fail.
Counter-magical Witch Bottles are used to absorb and contain incoming curses and hexes from other hostile practitioners. They are often hidden on one’s own property, under door thresholds, or buried at the furthest edge of the property. Any hidden location close to the person seeking protection will suffice though. The most common components are urine from the casting witch, iron or steel nails, bent stick pins, shards of glass, and other sharp objects. The sharp objects catch or impale the curse, and the urine binds and nullifies it. A short chant or prayer is whispered over the burial spot.
Witch Bottles containing curses are equally prevalent. We can be amazingly malevolent beings, and there is never a shortage of hatred, jealousy, and rage among the Third Children. Sometimes it seems our thirst for vengeance can be unquenchable. I have already outlined one example of a curse-bearing Witch Bottle HERE… and it tends to be one of my favorites.
Another interesting type of Witch Bottle called a “Break-up Bottle” can be used to ruin relationships and separate lovers, usually for the sole benefit of the casting witch. The usual construction components consist of the names of the two lovers written on a piece of paper which is then then ripped apart into two separate pieces, the hair of a dog, and the hair of a cat. The bottle is then filled with a red wine and corked. Before it is buried on property where one, or both, of the lovers live it is shaken vigorously and a short chant or prayer muttered over the spot.
The polar opposite of the Break-up Bottle is the “Honey Bottle.” This one usually contains 3 parts water to 1 part honey and a variety of herbs suited for the purpose. The names of the witch and the object of the spell are written onto one piece of paper and incorporated into the mixture. It can be used to facilitate feelings of love, attraction, or good will. It should also be buried on the property of the object of your affection… or obsession, with a suitable chant or prayer.
Witch Bottles remain active as long as the item is hidden and unbroken. The occasional Spell cast to empower it further never hurts either…
I have heard exhortations from both sides of the fence… some touting the necessity for initiation into The Craft, and others relegating it to either a footnote, or totally eliminating any significance and value it may hold. My personal philosophy places great importance on Initiation for a variety of reasons. It fulfills essential functions within a Left Hand Path, and arguably any religious or mystery system. With that being said though, I do not prescribe the notion that initiations must follow any type of genealogical line, or that a practitioner is for some reason “illegitimate” because another has not performed certain rites or rituals to welcome them into The Craft. That is utter garbage. The individual has as much capacity and right as any group or coven to properly carry out an initiation… possibly to even greater effect.
The purpose of Initiation is to experience a ritualistic death of the old life, and a spiritual re-birth onto a path few are brave or competent enough to tread. It shows a high level of resolve on the part of the initiate, and lays the soul bare for shaping and the mind open and receptive for the acceptance of sacred truth. It begins a fundamental process of change that is found in most religious gnostic traditions. A change within self… Care should be exercised though, particularly when performed by a single individual, because an Initiation carries great symbolic importance. It should not be cheap, easy, or hastily constructed and executed. It should create an atmosphere of awe, power, and profound introspection. It must prepare the individual for a lifelong quest to reach, grasp, understand, and use The Light we all seek. Initiation does not have to be long and drawn out… but it can be. It does not have to be full of props and actors… but it can be. It just has to be effective. To further this end, it should contain snippets of a tradition’s core tenants and lore… little tastes of the flavors and aromas the tradition offers the initiate if there is dedication, a willingness to perform hard work, and a deep thirst for knowledge.
“The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without.”
― Aleister Crowley
For all of those who follow my Blog, or just happen to pop in from time to time for a peek, I wish you a joyous Beltain, and I will think of you as the witching hours approach and I place a lit candle in the window sill. May the Goat God of the Witches incite you to lust, eroticism, and fill your heart with ecstasy, his phallus a rod of iron. May Bridgit tempt you with her luscious round hips, and beckon you inside. May your garden prosper and grow green as the light of our Sun God Lugh gains in strength. May The Mother Danu embrace you in her protecting arms. May Morrígan leave your thread uncut for another cycle, as you continue to learn and grow in this mortal world. May Manannán mac Lir provide you with luck and prosperity from the mist.
Dance around the Bonfire until you are exhausted. Embrace the darkness, look to the moon with reverence, and listen for secrets whispered from the shadows.
Most posts or articles in our community tend to deal with the horror of witch burnings, and I do not intend to take away from them because we should never forget the terror experienced by our fellow pagans, innocents wrongly accused, minority Christian sects, mystery schools, and others deprived of life, liberty, and personal wealth by the unstoppable machine that the various inquisitions had become. What I would like to do though is explore a little more how these entities flourished and were used. Touch upon some thoughts that might prompt others to dig a little more and post thoughts on their own Blogs… something beyond the simple act of re-blogging. I firmly believe this is an important exercise because not only understanding what something is, but learning why it comes into existence and continues to live provides weapons to counter it in the future.
When we think about Inquisitions we often imagine small groups of fanatical inquisitors running around with sponsorship from the church and local government, perpetuating the horrible torture sessions, hangings, and burnings of heretics we look sadly upon today. This is a very simplistic way of looking at it though. The inquisitions were actually great ponderous mechanisms with many intricate cogs, gears, and wheels. They were complex bureaucracies with huge support infrastructures behind them providing logistics and funding. There are piles of records that can be looked at as a testament to the effort it took to maintain the tribunals. Monarchies, particular Spain often shaped or influenced the direction and focus of the inquisitions through financial manipulation, both in the Old World and the New. Peru keenly felt the scourge of the inquisition, and the unfortunate truth is there can be no clear reckoning of how many lives it destroyed. This is a reality I did not even consider until I began doing a little more in depth research. In fact, I was surprised there had been debate on whether a new Inquisitorial Office would be opened in the South American colony of Buenos Aires in 1636.
It would be nice to think the Inquisitions were shut down because we as human beings had begun to evolve to a higher level and were moving beyond such senseless and petty bloodshed, but the sad truth of the matter is it just boiled down to money. “Whether conducting full-fledged heresy trials or merely issuing warning edicts and indulgences, inquisitions incurred expenses and required sources of income. The question of inquisitorial finance has long interested scholars, and the extensive haciend records at the Archivo Histórico Nacional in Madrid have been subjected to preliminary surveys though much work still remains to be done.6 It is now generally agreed that while confiscations of prisoners’ goods and estates may have brought important revenues (particularly in the early days of the Spanish tribunals, and in special cases such as mass arrests of New Christian merchants in the seventeenth century), inquisitions were rarely profitable money making ventures.7 Day to day expenses could be met thanks to income from church benefices set aside for the purpose, so inquisitors had to be knowledgeable about the state of ecclesiastical resources in the regions to which they were assigned [INQ 5]. As time went on, revenues from seizures, royal grants or other sources were also regularly invested in real estate as a means of producing censo income.8 Yet spiraling personnel costs and extravagant auto de fe ceremonies ensured that many tribunals were perpetually short of cash or in debt.” (21.)
When the funds dried up, so did the inquisitions. This is the main point I want everyone to take from this post. In modern times we think something like this could never happen, but the reality is that wherever there is intolerance, religious zealotry, and large amounts of money the volatile mix is there waiting for a spark to ignite it. Imagine if the income sources had not begun drying up, if they had not been directed towards fighting new wars, or clinging to rebelling colonies… some of us might not be here now. When we see the religious right in whatever form it takes becoming vocal and more powerful… we should also be looking at the health of their bank accounts.
A question was recently asked of me, which made me examine something in a little more detail… something I have taken for granted I think. The question was fairly simple on its face, but also very complex; “What is Darkness to you?” I think the most difficult questions that can be asked of another person fall into this classification. They are like a fine wine with different hints of flavors and aromas; lost to you if you gulp them down all at once… but intense and enjoyed if you can discern their presence. Also, it is a very relevant question for me on a personal level because Darkness is something germane to the Left Hand Path I walk, and who I am as a person.
I think Darkness is not absolute, is very personal, and for me is intricately intertwined into my religion and existence. People claim we are born innocent, not touched by good or evil, but for some this is not necessarily true. Old Souls returning from The Morrígan’s Cauldron are predisposed to The Light or The Darkness because of experiences in prior incarnations. For most though, Darkness starts out as an outside influence that seeks to find a way inside, and once it slips inside it is either welcomed with open arms, or battled with an uncertain outcome. I think the man who states he has never had this battle or welcoming embrace with Darkness is either a liar or a fool. Is Darkness equated with Evil? I would say yes. They are the same side of the coin. Darkness is not a static thing, it grows, it evolves, and no two types of Darkness are exactly the same. It is unique to the individual, but has the ability to shape and direct the Darkness in others. Darkness feeds Darkness, and can give birth to new forms of Darkness.
Darkness for me is the conscious decision to seek enlightenment for myself without seeking to save mankind in the process. Darkness is the fulfilling of carnal desires without thought to societal taboos and organized religion’s doctrine. Darkness is the unleashing of my passions, directed by an iron will to affect change beneficial for myself without high regard towards others. It is putting myself above the other base animals around me crudely mimicking the ideal of “human kind.” This life is merely a pathway towards my own ultimate ascension at the end of The Low Road, if not this upcoming time, perhaps the next. Darkness is power. The key aspect of this realization though is that there are varying degrees of Darkness within the individual. Although I hate, I also love. Although I want to kill, I also want to nurture. Although I want to injure, I also want to heal. Darkness in others may be skewed slightly one way or another, or be totally off the scale. I also recognize that to function in society I have to have a hand firmly in place on the reins of my Darkness. I recognize both the good and the evil inside myself, and accept the consequences of my actions… as all actions do have consequences. I am comfortable with who I am. I have embraced Darkness and am evolving with it. We have a symbiotic relationship…
Self-examination like this is not as simple as I have made it out to be though. I’m sure my thoughts and philosophy will change over time as my Darkness evolves and the balance shifts. From time to time I may make further comments on my thoughts concerning Darkness.
What is it that makes the stars shine at night? It is the darkness…
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