The Dark Arts of Tarantula

the dark arts of tarantulaThe Dark Arts of Tarantula – Tarantula
MolochSorcery – 2010

Do the people who write this crap believe in it themselves, or is it just a transparent attempt to take money from simpletons?

This 59 page, poorly formatted piece of garbage might be a contender for the worst drivel I’ve ever reviewed. This is seriously bottom-of-the-barrel stuff.

The physical book is hideous. This looks and reads like like a half-assed high-school project. The cover is ridiculous, and the text inside is an absolute mess. I thought that this was a result of the book being digitalized (as in book to .doc), but on closer inspection, the PDF copy I was reading was actually a scan (as in book to jpg). If I had paid the cost price of 25 dollars for a hard copy of this piece of utter shit, I would hang myself out of shame.

The lad who wrote this nonsense claims that he is able to put the spirits of demons into Dungeons and Dragons figurines. According to him, he keeps these little plastic toys in fancy boxes and feeds them his own cum in return for magical favours. I’m not making this up.

sigil of serylythThis is the sigil that Tarantula created for his demon. I didn’t edit this.

He claims that a member of his occult order ended up having his neck broken by some of these spirits because he wouldn’t feed them enough of his cum. The lad’s friends only found out that demons did it because they were able to chat with his spirit after he died.

Towards the end of the book, the author describes his experience of being bitten by a huge spider and soon thereafter meeting a spiderheaded woman in a crystal castle. The woman’s husband shows up later using a pair of crabs as jet-skis and gives the narrator the power to speak to insects.

The author claims that he has been involved with an occult order for more than 30 years, so it can be assumed that he is an adult. It’s not surprising that he uses a pseudonym.

dark arts of tarantula back

I again pose the question: do these authors actually believe their own rubbish? There’s no coherence or sense to any of this crap. The stuff in this book is so childish that the only adults capable of believing it are the kind that need to have their nappy changed three times a day.

The Infernal Texts: Nox and Liber Koth – Stephen Sennitt

the infernal texts nox and liber kothThe Infernal Texts: Nox and Liber Koth – Stephen Sennitt
New Falcon Publications – 2004 (Originally published 1997/1998)

This book is comprised of a collection of essays about different esoteric orders (Nox) and a grimoire for summoning Lovecraftian entities (Liber Koth). The essays, as far as I can tell, were taken from Stephen Sennit’s occult zine, Nox. These essays are split into three sections: one on the Order of the Nine Angles, one on Nikolas Schrek’s Werewolf Order, and one on mixed bag of weirdos that Sennitt Groups together and refers to as The Nameless Sodality.

I find the Order of The Nine Angles quite interesting. Some people know of them as the occult order that actually advocates human culling, and these people probably assume that it’s a hoax or an urban legend or something. I am not now, nor even have been, part of the O9A, but I was once in contact a person involved with the order who committed some truly reprehensible acts. He’s now in prison. (While some of these weirdos are actually quite dangerous, it is worth emphasizing that despite their delusions, they’re far more high-school shooter dangerous than Sauron dangerous.) Obviously the independent actions of a few weirdos shouldn’t necessarily tarnish the reputation of a whole group, but this group’s philosophy is rather sketchy and acts like a magnet for pieces of shit looking to justify their shittiness.

nox infernal texts

It’s hard to know how seriously the stuff on the Werewolf Order should be taken. I had read about this order before in relation to Radio Werewolf, the order’s musical faction. I enjoyed Radio Werewolf’s hilarious appearances on the Hot Seat with Wally George (part one, part two) so much that I wanted to like their music. (Schrek’s later, more serious, appearances on Bob Larson‘s talk show were less entertaining.) Unfortunately, Radio Werewolf’s songs are absolutely awful. Seriously atrocious shit. I have tried listening to their albums just for the sake of the lyrics, but the accompanying music is so lame that I don’t think I’ve ever made it through a full song.

This Order’s philosophy, as put forth in Nox, the same philosophy which Schrek founded Radio Werewolf to propagate, is cringeworthy. It’s just Church of Satanism edginess pushed half a step further. Members of the order are expected to be warriors, not worriers; Pagans, not pious; predators, not prey; and Beserkers, not Bankers. Lame. From Schrek’s lyrics and willingness to be interviewed by Wally George, it is apparent that he had a sense of humor, and if this the stuff in Nox was written as tongue-in-cheek promotional material to draw attention to Radio Werewolf’s awful music, fair enough, but from the interviews with Schrek that I’ve read, I get the sense that there is an underlying sincerity to his nonsense. Part of the act is clearly satire, but the ratio of satire and satanic sincerity is quite unclear. Read with that in mind, this stuff makes the Werewolf Order come across as a shower of plonkers, Schrek in particular coming across as an absolute arse. ( I chose the word “arse” instead of “ass” deliberately here. I’m not comparing him to a stubborn, uneducated donkey. I’m comparing him to two fleshy, hairy bumcheeks with a tinted brown anus nestled ‘tween.)

The essays from the “Nameless Sodality” are forgettable garbage, crap about Zombie Meat and other rubbish. Don’t waste your time.

cthulu nox koth

Liber Koth is a grimoire of Lovecraftian Chaos Magic. I’m not a magician, so I can’t speak to its efficacy. Just reading it might be moderately enjoyable if you were to imagine yourself as a character in one of Lovecraft’s stories who has stumbled upon some dark tome of eldritch secrets, but I didn’t have the pleasure of doing so because I read it while sitting on a crowded, smelly bus home from work. It was a pretty shit experience.

Most of this book was pretty crap, but at least it was short.

Daemonic Magick- Seleneicthon

daemonic magick seleneicthonDaemonic Magick – Seleneicthon
Mi-World Publishing 1987

I don’t buy many occult books anymore. They’re usually overpriced, silly and extremely boring. I have loads on my bookshelf that have never been read but are a little too big or a little too old for me to want to take them to work. (My commute is my only chance to read these days.) While I feel like I’m more sensible than I used to be with money, I still enjoy reviewing this crap. Fortunately for me (and you, my dear reader), there are countless occult texts available online in PDF form. I’m actually starting to prefer this format to real books. It’s cheaper, more convenient, and it takes up less space in my apartment.

The obvious downside to reading PDFs is that the selection, while large, is still considerably smaller than that of printed texts. Instead of hunting down a specific text, it’s more of a lucky dip situation. I download a bunch of stuff and then see what’s included. Some of it is truly fascinating or at least leads to other interesting discoveries, but plenty of it is boring, uninspired shite.

This text definitely falls in the latter category. It’s a grimoire of ceremonial magic, updated for the late 20th century mage. It tells you how to draw magic circles, burn candles and summon “Daemons” to bring you good luck.

Seleneicthon, the author, acknowledges that this crap is all imaginary but insists that it still works. Aside from the rhyming spells of evocation/invocation/banishing, the text is written in modern English. At one point it promises to make the magician feel like “a Magickal Badass”.

It’s called. “Daemonic Magick”, and there’s a picture of a rather devilish fiend on the front, but this book warns against black magic. I know all the old grimoires did that too, but this warning actually seems sincere. Fuck that. When I read a book with a picture of an evil looking Demon on the front, I want malicious, Satanic spells to destroy my enemies!

Whatever though, this was short. It’s a pamphlet rather than a book. Apparently the author wrote several others. I will not be seeking them out.

Nox Infernus: The Book of Black Amber – A. W. Dray

a.w. dray nox infernusNox Infernus – The Book of Black Amber – A. W. Dray
Dark Harvest Occult Publishers – 2011

Ever wanted to become a vampyric sorcerer but didn’t know where to start? Complete with instructions on self burials, self harm, feeding your shadow and choosing a spooky name, A.W. Dray’s Nox Infernus is the book for you!

Most of this book is about using your imagination to make yourself think you’re a vampire. Part of the central idea here is that if you dream about being a vampire, you will be a vampire. I thought people grew out of thinking like that at about 8 years old, but Dr. Dray claims to be well over one hundred. Hahaha.

Speaking of retarded mental development, A.W. Dray is self admittedly stuck in the anal phase. He prefers bum love over everything else, claiming that “Sexual union between a vampire and servant is best done through anal copulation and with the proper use of the corresponding qlipphottic tunnel energies.” I’m not one to judge people on their sexual proclivities, but Dray’s preference is a peculiar one. It’s not men’s anuses or women’s anuses that he’s after; by his own admission, it is the essence of anus itself. Without the risk of coming across as homophobic then, it can be stated that A.W. Dray is, in fact, an anal intruder. He is a bumbum man.

a.w. drayI likes to frown and my dick is brown.

Now if all A.W. Dray wanted to achieve with this book was getting dumb goth girls to go ass with him, I’d tip my fedora in his direction, but this book contains some far nastier ideas. I know this is supposed to be a book of black magic, but yikes, some of this is quite scary.

At one point, the author suggests making friends with a person who suffers from an addiction of some kind. Prospective vampires are then told to lead that poor individual back and forth to their addiction and to nourish themselves on the ensuing suffering and misery. A.W. Dray, what the hell is wrong with you bro?

Later on, when discussing ways to live on after death, the author suggests transferring the soul of a vampyric sorcerer into the body of an unborn baby. The baby is then to be raised where the vampire lived and exposed to all the conditions of their former life. When you picture the kind of low-life morons who could possibly swallow this nonsense and then seriously consider the results of these idiots heeding this advice, it is difficult to imagine a resulting scenario that does not involve serious child abuse. Bury yourself in a box and cut yourself up to your black heart’s desire, but don’t mess with kids, you delusional fucking creep.

This book is cringeworthy twoddle. Despite being a book of evil black magic, the single biggest influence on the ideas in here is Carlos Castaneda, the father of new-age, dream-voyaging, chakra-ass nonsense. This book reads like the result of a smelly hippy watching Twilight after being dumped by his girlfriend.

Books of Qliphothic Black Magic

thomas karlsson Qabalah, Qliphoth and Goetic MagicQabalah, Qliphoth and Goetic Magic – Thomas Karlsson
Ajna – 2009 (First published 2004)

Before picking this up, I had read an introductory book about Qabalah/Kabbalah/Cabala and encountered the topic in many more general books on the occult, but I had never fully got my head around the concept. Years ago, I heard somebody say that this was a good book on this stuff, and I was hoping that reading it would clear things up.

It didn’t. Honestly lads, this is rubbish.

Qabalah is a complicated way of trying to provide unintelligible answers to impossible questions. It’s based on the naive assumption that the human mind can grasp and comprehend the divine. Human beings, Kabalists and wizards included, are little more than machines that turn food into shit. To believe that they can comprehend the true nature of anything is pathetic. Our brains and mind are structured to ensure the survival of our species, that’s all. Just as a hamster’s mind is incapable of understanding the concept of dramatic irony, neither can the mind of a human being possibly comprehend the emanations of God. The arrogance required for a person to take this stuff seriously must be monumental.

There was a chapter on the nature of evil that I found a bit hard to stomach. There was also a bit on Goetia. Heap of shit if you ask me.
adam eve lilithPart of the appeal of this book was that it was written by a guy who is involved in heavy metal. Thomas Karlsson has been the lyricist for the symphonic metal band Therion for more than 20 years. Therion used to play death metal, but they have since put out some of the worst music that I’ve ever heard. Seriously, watching this makes me feel like doing a poo.

book sitra achraThe Book of Sitra Achra (A Grimoire of the Dragons of the Other Side) – N.A-A. 218
Ixaxaar – 2011
Jesus fucking Christ, this one was another slog. Written by the same individual who wrote Liber Falxifer, The Book of Sitra Achra is “the first complete and completely Qliphothic Grimoire”. What that means, I have no fucking idea.

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but this book was completely over my head. As a sensible explanation of an esoteric order’s set of beliefs, the Book of Sitra Achra is useless, but I suppose it might be enjoyable if you were to approach it as a book of abstract philosophic poetry. There’s lots of dark imagery in here, but none of it makes any bloody sense. The sentences are hilariously long and complicated, occasionally taking up entire pages, and I feel like I understand less about the Qliphoth than I did before reading it. Are they monsters or ghoulies what? Honestly lads, what is this bloody mumbo jumbo!?

You might read other reviews of this book that speak of how incredible it is. Let me tell you something though. There’s a few different editions of this book out there, and they currently go for anything between 1000 and 21,000 dollars. Anyone who spends that kind of money on a book is either going to write a glowing review of it or look and feel like a stupid tit. I feel embarrassed enough admitting I wasted my time reading a pdf of it.

So the lad who writes Therions lyrics wrote Qabalah, Qliphoth and Goetic Magic , and the lad who wrote lyrics for Dissection wrote The Book of Sitra Achra. I like Dissection a whole lot more than I like Therion, but one book was just as bad as the other. Qliphothic black magic is a load of wishy-washy rubbish. The only times these books will ever come in useful is as props for when you’re dressing up as Voldemort for your local cosplay convention.

Grimoires: A History of Magic Books – Owen Davies

grimoires owen daviesGrimoires: A History of Magic Books – Owen Davies
Oxford University Press – 2009

Normally, when I review an occult book or a book on occult books, I spend most of the review criticizing the book’s claims and/or the author. Grimoires by Owen Davies is a no bullshit history of magical books, and thankfully, I don’t have much to criticize. This book was clearly very well researched, and it never gets bogged down in speculations on the efficacy of the books its discussing. This is an academic work, but don’t let that scare you. The actual history of grimoires is almost as interesting as the ridiculous back stories that these books so often include.

I’ve read and researched a few of the books discussed in here (The Lesser Key of Solomon, The Grand Grimoire, the Abramelin text, the Faustian Grimoires, the Necronomicon, the Satanic Bible) so some of this was revision for me, but there’s also a tonne of stuff that I had never heard of. I added a few books to my to-read list while reading this.

I thought I’d have way more to say about this one, but I don’t. It’s pretty good though. I’m quite sure I’ll be referencing my copy again in the future. If you want to read a book about the history of books of magic, this is yer only man.

The Peculiar Legends of the Red Book of Appin

A few weeks ago, I wrote a review in which I claimed that all of the grimoires that I have thus read have been a little disappointing. The book in question, Liber Falxifer, had a good atmosphere to it, but while the ritual procedures were generally spooky enough, the end goals of the rituals themselves were just a little too similar to what I’ve seen before. In response to this complaint, V.K. Jehannum, infamous demonolater and black magician, kindly suggested that I check out a mysterious little book called The Red Book of Appin.

This “book” is, as far as I know, exclusively available in pdf form. I did a bit of research on it before reading, and the earliest mention I found of this specific text comes from 2003. However, a mysterious book titled ‘The Red Book of Appin‘ has been referenced in many works over the last 150+ years.

I decided to do a little research.

popular tales west highlands J.FPopular Tales of the West Highlands Volume II [1860] by J. F. Campbell
The first written mention of the Red Book of Appin can be found in what is basically a footnote to a story in J.F. Campell’s collection of Scottish folktales. The stories in this book were orally collected from Scottish peasants and the likes by the author and his accomplices during the mid-nineteenth century. Part XXX, The Two Shepherds, is the story of a lad getting assaulted by a very suspicious individual when making his way home one night. It is followed by another, very similar story, and it is in this tale, as told by “an old carter named John in Ardkinglas to Hector Urquhart, a friend of Campbell’s, in 1860, that the Red Book of Appin is first mentioned. The story goes a little something like this:

A man in Appin, a village in Scotland, adopted an orphan boy, and when this kid was old enough, he became a shepherd. One day, when he was out herding sheep, a mysterious stranger approached the boy and offered him a better job. The stranger told the kid that he’d make lots of money in his service; all he had to do was sign his name in the stranger’s little red book. The kid was interested, but he said that he’d have to talk it over with his adoptive father first. The stranger didn’t like this idea and tried to convince him to agree there and then. The kid was having none of it, so they arranged to meet up the next day after he had talked things through at home.

That night, the kid tells his dad what had happened, and this dad congratulates him for acting sensibly. He tells the kid to meet up with the stranger on the following evening, and he gives him instructions on how to make a protective circle around himself with the point of a sword so the stranger can’t touch him. (Note that this guy already seems to have some knowledge of folk magic.) He instructs the kid to accept and steal the book from the stranger only when he’s safely within the circle and to avoid signing it at all costs.

The kid manages to pull it off, much to the dismay of the stranger, who, at this stage, by transforming himself into many likenesses and blowing fire and brimstone, has cast off any doubts over his true identity. The kid waits till morning when the Devil disappears and then takes the book home to his dad.

(I’m by no means an expert on Gaelic mythology, but I have encountered similar stories of Scottish and Irish folk tricking the Devil (Divil). He seems to be a bit of an idiot when he’s in those parts.)

Urquhart notes that he had heard many tales of the Book of Appin from old people but that this particular story was the best. I’m sure that he chose the word “best” to suggest that this story was the most entertaining rather than the most accurate.

Apparently, Campell provided other origin tales for the Red Book of Appin (and other red books), but I haven’t been able to find their sources online. There’s an article by Hugh Cheape that gives these different stories and other information on the book. From both the quantity of accounts and their banality, it seems quite likely that there was an actual man in Appin who had a red book. Most of the stories are about villagers asking this man for advice when their cattle were sick. The actual Red Book was almost definitely just a collection of folk medicine recipes. These stories are too boring to presume that somebody made them up.

Ok, there you have it. The actual Red Book of Appin was a book of cow medicine.

red book of appin - ethan allen hitchcock

What’s this then? It looks fancy. This, my friends, is an 1863 book called The Red book of Appin : a story of the Middle Ages, with Other Hermetic Stories and Allegorical Tales by Ethan Allen Hitchcock. It’s a book in which the author takes folk tales and completely over-analyzes them.

It gives the account from Campell’s book, word for word, and then it goes into a bizarre analysis in which the author compares elements of the story with elements of the Bible. I gave up reading it after he says that the orphan in the story represents Melchisideck. Nothing of note here other than the fact that by 1863, the legend of the Red Book of Appin was already attracting lunatics.

Ok, so we have a quaint Scottish folktale and some historical traces of a curious little book about healing cows. Didn’t I start this post off discussing ultra-violent black magic?

Enter Montague Summers.

montague summers history witchcraft.jpg

Montague Summers, a man infamous for his anachronistic fear of black magic, includes the exact same paragraph on the book of Appin in both his History of Witchcraft and Demonology, 1926 (Chapter 3, p.86) and his Popular History of Witchcraft, 1937 (Chapter 2, p.76). It reads:

Such a volume was the Red Book of Appin known to have actually been in existence a hundred years ago. Tradition said it was stolen from the Devil by a trick. It was in manuscript, and contained a large number of magic runes and incantations for the cure of cattle diseases, the increase of flocks, the fertility of fields. This document, which must be of immense importance and interest, when last heard of was (I believe) in the possession of the now-extinct Stewarts of Invernahyle. This strange volume, so the story ran, conferred dark powers on the owner, who knew what inquiry would be made ere the question was poised ; and the tome was so confected with occult arts that he who read it must wear a circlet of iron around his brow as he turned those mystic pages.

The only part of what Monty wrote that didn’t come directly from the account in Campbell’s book is the line about the iron circlet, but the chapter in Campbell’s book that mentions the Red Book does specifically discuss the notion that “supernatural beings cannot withstand the power of iron”. I think it safe to assume that Campbell was Summers’ direct source for this paragraph.

Ok, so Summer’s paragraph doesn’t really add anything to what we already knew. However, I have little doubt that it was its mention in the works of Montague Summers that brought The Red Book of Appin to the attention of modern occultists.

Somewhere along the way, around 2003 it seems, somebody decided to write (or maybe just translate) a grimoire, but they knew that nobody would pay attention to it unless it had a cool name. On reading about the long-lost, mysterious Red Book of Appin in the works of Summers (or maybe one of Summers’ fans), the author/translator realized that his work would be a whole lot more mysterious (and hence popular with occultists) if it purported to be a resurfacing of that long lost work.

red book of appin scarabaeusThe Red Book of Appin – Translated by Scarabaeus
Year of composition and publication unknown

So here we go, the dodgiest book of black magic available for free download.

This grimoire supposedly contains the teachings of Vlad Tepes. That’s right; Vlad the Impaler is supposed to have dictated this malarky to a monk named Kirill. The text claims that “the devil-worshipping of the great romanian general is an unquestionable fact, which no serious black adept can deny.” This is a bit odd considering that we’re speaking of a (V)lad who once attacked the Ottoman Empire “for the preservation of Christianity and the strengthening of the Catholic faith”.

Authorship aside, what the Hell does a grimoire supposedly written by Count Dracula have to do with the Scottish Red Book of Appin that we’ve been talking about? Well, as it turns out, nothing at all; this grimoire is named after “Joseph Appin”, the English merchant who supposedly once owned the manuscript. The fact that the book was red is just another coincidence. Indeed, the only part of the pdf that’s actually red is the Times New Roman heading on the first page.

ritual red book appin scarabaeusOne of the book’s high quality illustrations.

This is definitely not the actual Red Book of Appin, but I suppose it could be a translation of a genuine grimoire to which the translator attached a name for which he knew there would be a market. Indeed there are signs that this is a translation. It reads a lot like the homework of a foreign student who has used Google Translate to change their writing into English. The grammar, spelling and punctuation are all absolutely horrible. I’ll be honest here, even if this is a translation, it’s a translation of absolute garbage. I find it very fitting that translator’s pseudonym literally means dung beetle.

There’s two main sections to the text. The first is a fairly standard list of demons, the same kind of thing that you find in the Goetia and the Grand Grimoire. The next section is on different rituals. These are absurd. The most entertaining was the one in which the wizard constructs a bell with a human corpse as the dingy bit in the middle. I can’t remember what this was supposed to achieve, but it was pretty funny. Most, if not all, of these rituals involve murderous sacrifices, including the killing of babies. I know that I complained that other grimoires weren’t nasty enough, but I found this pretty tasteless. There’s no atmosphere or cleverness here; it’s the kind of thing a teenage death metal fan would write. A load of shit.

sigil red book appinDoodles from a boring math class or the demonic seals of “Superior Creatures”?

There is another book, The True Red Book of Appin, written by Tarl Warwick, but this is an admitted fiction. This lad noticed the hullaballoo that this text was causing online and decided that he could write a much better version. Fair play to him. I haven’t read his book, but I am quite sure it’s more entertaining than the heap of trash by Scarabaeus.

So there you go, the legends of the Red Book of Appin. I somehow doubt that the original text, if it were ever to be found, would be as entertaining as the tales that have told about it.