Conjuring Spirits – Michael Osiris Snuffin

conjuring spirits a manual of goetic and enochian sorcery michael osiris snuffin.jpgConjuring Spirits: A Manual of Goetic and Enochian Sorcery
Michael Osiris Snuffin
Concrescent Press – 2010

Here’s a book about communicating with demons.

There are two parts to this text. The first is a modern guide to Goetic evocation. It simplifies some of the steps that you’ll find listed in older manuals. This part was fine. I don’t practice Goetia, but I’ve read enough about it to have been able to follow along. Everything here seems to make sense in the context of modern ceremonial magic.

The second part of the book looks at the author’s system of Enochian magic. Enochian magic, for those of you who don’t know, originated in the scrying experiments of John Dee and Edward Kelley. I found it very difficult to bother with this section for a few reasons. First of all, Enochian magic is a system of communicating with angels. I’m more of a demon guy myself. Next up, Enochian magic is a load of bollocks – from what I’ve read, it seems that Edward Kelley was a just conman who strung John Dee along so that he could fuck his wife.

On top of this, the author has his facts mixed up about Dee and Kelley. He says in the opening paragraph of this section, “Between 1851 and 1859 , Elizabethan Magus Dr. John Dee and his seer Edward Kelly (sic) received one of the most powerful systems of magick in Western Occultism.” The problem here is that John Dee died in 1608, roughly 250 years prior to these dates. Queen Elizabeth reigned from 1558 until 1603.

Kelley’s relationship with Dee was actually confined to the 1580s, and I thought that the dates given by Snuffin might just have been a typo, getting the 1580s mixed up with the 1850s, but Snuffin later says that it has been more than 250 years since Dee and Kelley did their experiments. This is technically more accurate than his original dates, but Snuffins book was published in 2010, so this number places Dee and Kelley’s work together somewhere in the mid 1700s.

I know that historical accuracy isn’t entirely necessary for a functioning magical system, but I was quite surprised by this lack of attention to detail. I’ve read that Snuffin is going to release a second edition of this book, so hopefully these errors will be corrected there.

Gilles De Rais, the Perverted Son

trial of gilles de rais george batailleThe Trial of Gilles De Rais – George Bataille
Amok Books – 1991 (Originally published 1965)

Gilles de rais is the kind of person that makes the belief in Heaven and Hell extremely appealing. There is no satisfaction to be derived from the fact that he was executed for his crimes. Those crimes were so hideous that their perpetrator deserves an eternity of agonizing torment – a quick execution is no payback for the brutal torture, rape and murder of countless children.

Gilles was an extremely powerful and ludicrously wealthy nobleman in 15th century France. For roughly 10 years, the Baron De Rais had his servants abduct poor children to satiate his hideous desires. He would slowly torture and murder them, usually stabbing them in the neck, sometimes severing their heads completely. As they perished, he would sit on their stomachs, peer into their dying faces and laugh. These victims would be raped at various stages during this process. After decapitating them, the Baron would kiss the children’s severed heads.

Oh, and while these horrendous acts were doubtlessly the result of de Rais’ depraved sexual impulses, he performed them in the name of the Devil. He employed several black magicians to help him communicate with demons. These sorcerers took De Rais for a fool. They would attempt to raise demons in front of him and after a while of nothing happening, they’d send him out of the room and lock the door. Then they’d start screaming in terror, and when Gilles would come back they’d tell him that the Devil told them to ask for some more money. Gilles would grant this request immediately. At other times, they would ask the Baron to provide them with the limbs and organs of dead children. These same sickos would also be present when Gilles was torturing kids. It seems that they were part of an abhorrently disgusting necro-paedophile ring. These scum were worst of the worst.

Gilles De Rais was eventually brought to trial for kidnapping a priest, and when the authorities started investigating the Baron, they heard the terrible rumours that had spread about him.

During a relatively painless trial (no torture on record), Gilles de Rais confessed his guilt and repented. He was excommunicated, but he was soon thereafter re-communicated by the Catholic Church because he had willingly confessed. The Church took the allegations of kidnapping a priest and being an alchemist more seriously than the rape and murder of countless children. Gilles was executed quickly, and the locals in his area were given a 3 day holiday to grieve for their master.

I don’t know guys. This is remarkably unsatisfying. I wanted to read about this lad dying slowly in unspeakable agony. His crimes are so gruesome that my initial response (and the response of many others) was to assume that the charges against him were false – they’re just a bit too extreme to imagine them really happening. That being said, the best evidence that is available to us, the court documents of his trial, provide a very cohesive and damning account.

It is these documents that make up most of the text of George Bataille’s The Trial of Gilles De Rais.

This is a very repetitive book. The first section is comprised of Bataille’s philosophical ramblings on the case. The second part is a very, very detailed timeline of Gilles De Rais’ life, much of which was already covered in the previous section. The last section is made up of the court documents of the trial. There is very little information in these documents that has not been discussed previously in the book. Also, court documents are fairly repetitive by their nature, so this book ends up delivering the same story about 5 times. I do appreciate the comprehensive nature of this book, but I think it would have been more effective to put the timeline first and Bataille’s thoughts after it.

The content of this book makes its repetitive nature remarkably depressing. You get to read about poor parents searching for their murdered children over and over again. This is fucking harrowing stuff. Bataille was a bit of a weirdo though, and I guess this was intentional. I read his Story of the Eye years ago, but I remember very little of it.

I’ve already mentioned that some people think that Gilles De Rais was the innocent victim of a conspiracy. He was a wealthy politician with plenty of enemies, and it is likely that many other people would profit from his downfall. My old friend Aleister Crowley was one of the individuals to proclaim the innocence of the Baron de Rais.

In an infamous lecture that was never delivered, Crowley argues that it was very likely that De Rais was framed. He argues that the claims against de Rais are too ridiculous to be taken seriously – they sound too similar to rumours spread to villainise the Jews throughout history. Crowley seems to have read a very different account of the trial of De Rais to the one presented in Bataille’s book though. Aleister claims that De Rais only confessed to his crimes when tortured, but the court documents presented by Bataille show that De Rais actually managed to avoid being tortured by confessing. Also, while the number of victims in Bataille’s text ranged from 35-140, Crowley gives the number of victims as 800 on the authority of Montague Summers. Summers, as we all know, was either very gullible individual or just prone to sensational exaggerations, and Crowley, an acquaintance of Summers, had to have known this. The swarmy, sarcastic and provocative tone that Crowley uses throughout the lecture make it seem all the less convincing.

I’ve encoutered De Rais a couple of times in fiction. The protagonist in Huysman’s Là-bas spends his time researching the evil Baron, and Gilles himself comes back from the dead to appear in Philip José Farmer’s Image of the Beast. And Ough! – he’s obviously a heavy metal hero too. I have a tshirt with a picture of him on it. I don’t wear it to work.

gilles de rais macabre shirt.jpgIt’s for this rather silly but historically detailed song.

I’d like to believe that De Rais was innocent, but the testimonies collected in Bataille’s book are very cohesive. It would be far more comfortable to believe that Gilles De Rais died an innocent man than to accept the horrendous deaths his victims suffered at his hands. This guy seems to have been a real piece of shit.

 

Taking Control of a Group, Organization, Society, etc., through Occult Manipulation – Nathan Elkana

Taking Control of a Group, Organization, Society through Occult Manipulation - Nathan ElkanaTaking Control of a Group, Organization, Society, etc., through Occult Manipulation
Nathan Elkana
Finbarr International – 2008

Jesus Christ, the world is home to some seriously pathetic human beings. I read this piece of garbage on the bus today. It’s awful shit, but it’s only 9 pages long. Here’s what the cretinous author has to say for himself:

There must be an unseeable world because existence is dualistic – there is no black without white, so if there is something that physically exists, it follows that there must also be something that does not physically exist. The author doesn’t mean that there are things that don’t exist though; he means that there are things that don’t exist physically. That which spiritually exists is obviously this. (Whoever believes this is a Grade-A moron. It doesn’t make any sense, but the rest of the book is based on this idea, so let’s just get on with it.)

Every place, company and type of worker is influenced by its sign and planet. This idiotic statement is followed by long lists of professions and places that are influenced by the different signs of the zodiac. These lists take up about one third of the entire text, but they’re followed by the claim that the influence of the stars doesn’t really matter all that much.

Ok, now to the most important part of the book. This is how to influence a group of people that you’re not part of. Imagine the group you want to influence as an individual human being on the astral plane. Picture a person who looks like what this group stands for. Imagine bossing this person around and telling them what you want to do. This figure will soon appear to the group’s members in their dreams and convince them to do what you want.

If the astral being resists, threaten to chain them up. If they continue, imagine them in chains. They’ll soon learn their lesson.

This method will work to influence any group, but it’s a bad idea to do it to a coven because they’ll figure out whats going on and send the entity back to attack you.

That’s it.

So, if you want to become a millionaire, all you have to do is imagine a lad named Sam with a computer for a head. Tell him to convince the executives at Microsoft to give you a percentage of their profits. If your new imaginary friend refuses, imagine him tied up. Then, a little later, imagine untying him and then wait for him to go and work his magic. Pretty soon you’ll be rich.

Some people probably paid to read this book…

There’s very little information online about the author of this text. He also published a book called The Master Grimoire of Magickal Rites & Ceremonies in which it is mentioned that he has published under many other names. Some people believe that Nathan Elkana is actually a pseudonym for Basil Crouch. It could be – both Elkana and Crouch are stupid cunts.

The Doctor Orient Series, Books 5-8

doctor orient
I published a post on the first 4 Doctor Orient novels at the beginning of last year. If you’re not familiar with this series, you might want to read that post before reading this one.

the priestess frank lauriaThe Priestess – Frank Lauria
Bantam Books – 1978

This one sees the Doctor getting involved in a voodoo cult in Florida while he’s on the run from a government agency. Owen Orient is alone in this book; his friends from the previous novels are entirely absent here. This is pretty much what you’d expect, lots of sexy ladies, cocaine and snakes. Pretty good. The previous owner of my copy seems to have been very knowledgeable on the subject of Cuban witchcraft; my book is filled with notes on Lecumi.

seth papers frank lauriaThe Seth Papers – Frank Lauria
Ballantine Books – 1979

The Seth Papers is both the shortest Doctor Orient novel and the only epistolary novel in the series. I quite enjoyed the book, but it’s based around a rather strange idea. It’s about an Italian neofascist secret society that is attempting to retrieve the mythological Hand of Seth to take control of the Vatican. It was published in 1979, a good 2 years before the general public was made aware of P2, the Italian neofascist secret society that close ties with the Vatican and the Mafia. Did Frank Lauria come up with a plot that resembled reality by coincidence? If not, how did he know about this strange secret society? How did he publish a book about it and live? Those P2 lads hung a lad from a bridge for less!

blue limbo frank lauriaBlue Limbo – Frank Lauria
Frog, Ltd. – 2001 (Originally published 1991)

Doctor Orient’s 1991 return sees him in Jamaica battling another High Priest of Voodoo. As usual, the plot involves the main character falling for an evil woman and getting himself into serious trouble. There’s a nuclear submarine, some zombies, a psychic albino and some Cuban agents thrown into the mix too. The plot of this one was overly complicated. There was also a character who only spoke in rhymes. That really pissed me off. It didn’t make him sound mystical or profound; it made him sound like an annoying little cunt. This was my least favourite entry in the series.

frank lauria demon pope
Demon Pope – Frank Lauria
Rothco Press – 2014

More than 2 decades after his last outing, the doctor returns to New York. Unfortunately for him, he gets involved with a group of Satanic immortal Nazi clones who are have stolen the Spear of Destiny and are planning to use it to take control of the Vatican.

Unlike other occult detectives, Doctor Orient is a powerful psychic, and at times throughout the series, this gives him opportunities to solve impossible problems. He’ll topple over a candlestick into a curtain, causing a distraction that allows him escape from a guarded room. He can also talk to people on the astral plane, and this allows him to track his friends and enemies down without GPS. The first Orient novel was published in 1970, and he uses these powers throughout all of his adventures. In Demon Pope, a novel published 44 years into Owen Orient’s career as a hero, he acquires a new skill. Now he is able to transform into a panther. Honestly, this was a bit hard to swallow.

Demon Pope is a bit of a mess to be honest. It’s very unclear as to why the stuff that is happening is happening. There’s a part at the beginning where a teenage girl is sacrificed that is never explained. Also, the text is full of typos. You’d have thought that somebody at Rothco Press would have read over Frank’s manuscript before printing it. That being said, this was still a fairly enjoyable read.

doctor orient complete The Complete Collection

The first 6 Doctor Orient novels were published in the 70s. After The Seth Papers, Doctor Orient kept his head down for over a decade. After returning in 1991’s Blue Limbo, he would take another two decades off before coming back for Demon Pope. Why such long waits? I’ve actually discovered the answer to this seldom asked question. In 1982, Doctor Orient made a brief appearance in comic book form. He was given several pages in both editions of Steve Englehart’s 1983 Scorpio Rose comics. This was supposed to have at least one more part, but the series was cancelled because it wasn’t very popular. The 3rd edition of Scorpio Rose was eventually published in a collection of Englehart’s work, but this did not contain a 3rd installment of Doctor Orient’s adventures.

scorpio rose doctor orient

So what happens in the Doctor Orient comics? Not as much as I’d have liked – they’re really short. The Doctor exorcises a young girl and ends up going back in time to fight with a Nazi called Von Speer. Sound familiar? It will to anyone who has read Demon Pope. It seems as though Demon Pope is the novelisation of the story Frank Lauria wrote or at least started writing in the early 80s for the Orient comics. While Demon Pope wasn’t published until 2014, Lauria had actually come up with the plot for it only a few years after finishing The Seth Papers.

 

Well, that’s that. It took me more than 3 years to collect and read the entire Doctor Orient series, but now it’s done. It’s a bit of  push to classify these as horror novels; they’d be more accurately described as adventure books about occult phenomena. While Doctor Orient probably isn’t the greatest Occult Detective out there, these novels were very entertaining, and if there’s ever another published, you know I’ll be reading it. As of now, Raga Six (#2) was my favourite. I’ve also reviewed Frank Lauria’s The Foundling if you’re interested.

Wiccan Sex-Magic – Inga Steddinger

wiccan sex-magic inga steddinger.jpgWiccan Sex-Magic – Inga Steddinger
Runa Raven – 1999

The image that pops in my head when I hear the word Wicca is of a middle-aged white woman with a nose ring and a well stocked spice-rack. It’s that flowery witch bullshit for Rennaisance fair geeks, right? Well, apparently there’s more too it.

In an introduction by Stephen E Flowers, it is made clear that the word Wiccan in the title of this book means “that of the sorcerer”, so the title really means “Sex Magic of the Sorcerer”. I assume this is pointed out early on so that people know that this work isn’t tying itself to the Mommy-with-a-moon-tattoo sect of witches that we all think of when we hear the word Wiccan.

Gerald Gardner, the father of Wicca, was friends with Aleister Crowley, and while Gardner’s Wiccan tradition did involve the use of sex in its practice, it seems that many Wiccans today shy away from the kinky stuff, at least publically. This book goes the other way and embraces it.

The main idea here is that sex magic is effective because when performed correctly it corresponds with the actions of the Gods of Norse Mythology as told in the Eddas. It’s all about power. There’s always a submissive and dominant, and this power imbalance and the flow of power it entails ensure that the rituals are highly charged. When the magician gives his girlfriend a passionate rimjob, he is worshipping her as the fearless Warrior Gröd worshipped the Goddess Holfurnbjorn. By becoming an avatar of the hero in this manner, he activates that hero’s powers. I’m being a bit silly here, but I’m confident that I’ve made the idea clear.

It wasn’t just the intro to this book that reminded me of Stephen E. Flowers; it’s also full of talk about bondage and birching. When I reviewed Carnal Alchemy, the book on Sado-Magical techniques that Flowers wrote with his wife, I noted that it had a  self-aggrandizing “We do S&M. We’re magicians. We’re so cool” vibe to it. Wiccan Sex Magic is similar. Then again, I suppose that most magicians are bound to bring their other interests into their practice, and if Inga Steddinger wants to incorporate her love of going to orgies and having her bum slapped into her magical practice, good for her.

This is a short review, but Steddinger’s book is only about 40 pages long. I have some cool stuff lined up for the next few weeks, so check in again soon.

 

Crawling Chaos Magic – Lovecraft’s Legacy, Part 3

pseudonomicon phil hine.jpgThe Pseudonomicon – Phil Hine
New Falcon Publications – 2007 (Originally published in 1994)

I’ve read quite a few books of Lovecraftian occultism at this stage, and this was the best one yet. It’s a book of chaos magic. Chaos magic, as far as I understand it, is a very open form of magic. It is to free verse as goetia is to writing sonnets. The focus here is on results rather than rules and rituals.

While other books of Lovecraftian magic attempt to mix Lovecraft’s mythos with traditional forms of occultism, the Pseudonomicon encourages experimentation. A true Cthulhu druid should follow their intuition rather than the steps of a ritual. This disregard for traditional sequence fits in with Lovecraft’s tendency to use non-Euclidean mathematics as a method of evoking a weird atmosphere in his tales.

cthulhu.jpg

From the perspective of the layman, the behaviour that this book describes and encourages will seem ridiculous, and a skeptic might fairly describe this as a book on how to pretend that a collection of fantastic stories by a dead lad are based in reality. Neither view would be incorrect, but so what?

The book acknowledges that reading it might lead one to madness, and anyone who takes its advice and smears themselves in shit while dancing around a graveyard at night might well be seen as insane. On the other hand, who am I to act as though my take on reality is any more accurate than that of the Cemetery Scat Man. The more I think about it, the more I believe that what a person perceives IS their reality. If the Pooey Ghoul believes his actions are allowing him to speak to the Great Old Ones, I can’t disagree. Reality, existence and their links to perception are too inherently unknowable for anyone to assume that their take on these concepts is any more sensible than another’s.

This book does get pretty weird. In an appendix near the end, the author describes his experience of being possessed by Tsathoggua, Clark Ashton Smith‘s giant toad god who features in Lovecraft’s Whisperer in the Darkness. Cool.

This book does a pretty good job of balancing the Mythos stuff with a practical way of incorporating it into magical workings. If i was ever going to practice magic, i think i’d go for something like this.

haunter of the dark lovecraft.jpg
The Haunter of the Dark – H.P. Lovecraft

Wordsworth – 2011

This is the second and biggest entry of the Wordsworth Lovecraft editions. It contains the following stories:
Celephaïs, Herbert West – Reanimator, Pickman’s Model, Polaris, The Cats of Ulthar, The Colour Out of Space, The Doom That Came to Sarnath, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Haunter of the Dark, The History of the Necronomicon, The Horror at Red Hook, The Other Gods, The Shadow out of Time, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Shunned House, The Silver Key, The Statement of Randolph Carter, The Strange High House in the Mist, The Thing on the Doorstep, The Unnamable, the essay Supernatural Horror in Literature and Fungi from Yuggoth, a collection of weird sonnets.

The items listed in blue are not contained in the Penguin editions of Lovecraft’s work. I’m not going to say much about this collection other than that I really enjoyed reading most of these stories again. The Thing on the Doorstep and The Dreams in the Witch House are so deadly. Also, I’m pretty sure The Shadow Over Innsmouth is tied with Whisperer in Darkness as my favourite Lovecraft story. I’m not mad about all of the Dream Cycle stuff, but parts of it (The Other Gods) are awesome.

At this stage I’ve finished rereading all of the stories that Lovecraft wrote by/for himself that were included in the Penguin editions. It has been very enjoyable, and I feel that I’m now in a much better position to understand a lot of the occult texts that are based on his works. I can now sensibly distinguish a Shoggoth, Yuggoth and Yog-Sothoth. I still have one more entry in the Wordsworth series to read, but that one is comprised of collaborations that Lovecraft worked on. I’m quite excited about that as I’ve only read one of the stories it contains before. After I review that, I’m going to do a post on all of the stories that are not collected in the Wordsworth series. Both posts will also include an obscure work of Lovecraftian occultism. Stay tuned.

Man Into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism and Lycanthropy – Robert Eisler

man into wolf eislerMan Into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism and Lycanthropy
Robert Eisler
Spring Books – 1951

While this book may not look as interesting as the stuff I reviewed in last week’s post, it is more original, more suited to this blog and infinitely more interesting. Don’t let that pale blue cover fool you; this is mental.

The collective unconsciousness, as far as I understand it, is a postulated pool of ancestral memories to which each human being has limited access.  This theory is supposed to explain some of the strange ways in which we act. For example, it suggests that modern humans are afraid of the dark because a part of our unconscious mind remembers our distant ancestors being attacked by wild animals in the dark of night. I see the reasoning behind the idea, but I think it’s mostly understood to be pseudoscience at this stage.

Why the discussion of outdated psychology? Well, the theory of the collective unconsciousness is central to the claims of Man into Wolf by Robert Eisler, a 1948 lecture that was turned into a book. I can’t remember where I first read about this strange text, but I remember spending a lot of time tracking down an affordable copy. (This was during the stage of my life when I preferred physical books to digital copies.) Once I found a copy, it lay on my shelf for 5 years.

man into wolf sadism masochism lycanthropy eisler

Eisler claims that human beings originally lived in a Rousseauian state of harmony. Our primitive ancestors were pygmys that lived in small tribes, eating only fruits and vegetables, having sex with everyone and generally having a great time.

Unfortunately, these peaceful tribes were very vulnerable to attacks from predators, and early humans were often attacked and killed by wolves and lions. Eisler claims that in order to defend themselves from these attacks, the primitive humans started to emulate the behavior of the wolves. They started wearing wolf skins and began to eat meat themselves. This is where things started to go wrong for us. This was the real fall from grace behind the Genesis story. Once we developed a taste for blood, when we became wolf men, we started attacking other tribes and stealing their women. We thus created war and expelled ourselves from the garden of Eden.

As naive as this theory sounds, parts of it are true. The diets of large apes are largely vegetarian, and early humans were the same. Ancient hunters and warriors from around the world also wore the skins of wolves in an attempt to harness their predatory powers. Despite the inclusion of these historical truths, Eisler’s narrative remains unconvincing.

He claims that our ancestor’s change of diet and wolf skin clothes are to blame for recent acts of sadism, masochism and lycanthropy. The sadist and lycanthrope are responding to the desires of the wolf man that remain in our collective unconscious. By whipping or eating their sex partner, they are responding to the desire to inflict suffering on their peaceful vegetarian ancestors.

The masochist harbours, at a deep unconscious level, the memories of the peaceful pygmies who looked on as the savage wolf-skin clad warriors invaded their territory and raped and kidnapped any viable mates. While they may fear the sadist’s brutality, they are also drawn to it. They know that they may win approval if they submit to the wolfman’s every desire. It’s no coincidence that the most famous work of masochism is titled Venus in Furs!

Eisler concludes this work with a call to return to the peaceful ways of our ancestors. He claims that if men had always been murderous savages, we would have no chance for redemption, but since our ancient ancestors were peace loving monkey-men that changed only due to extreme conditions, we can, through massive social change, return to our former state of harmony.

The central idea of this lecture is utterly ridiculous. Fortunately the text of the lecture makes up only a small portion of this book. The rest consists of detailed notes and appendices. After perusing these, the reader will be forced to admit that while Eisler’s argument is unconvincing, his book was at least well researched. While I’m not sure that I’ll ever read the lecture again, I will be keeping this book for the information it contains on De Sade, Masoch, mass murderers, ancient blood rituals, perverts and werewolves.