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As is well known to those who follow my reconstructed Egyptian daemonic or demonic calendar, every 30 day lunar period is dominated by three entities, one for each ten day period or trimester, also known as a decan, from Latin for 10. Here they are, as depicted on the wall of the temple of Isis at Philae:
The new moon began on 23rd February with the left most image known simply as Akhw, which I have translated elsewhere as spirit entity, very like the later idea of the Djinn, which in many ways is a belief system in continuity with that of Pharaonic Egypt. The astrological month of Pisces also, as it happens, begins more or less now, and these seem very appropriate spirits for the Pisces type.
Now of course, I have argued that all of the 36 decanal demons are like the class of demonic things known in old Egypt as the Akhw, but this is not to say this term is here just a generic thing. There is something very special about this demon. Rather than being generic we could say it is the paradigm for the whole array of night spirits, In the ancient almanac from which some of these details are gleaned, a great deal of otherwise lost folklore and mythology is recorded, often in passing. In several places in the long text, special rites are prescribed for the Akhw, who maybe otherwise become troublesome. No surprise then that the group of three have a particularly demonic aspect, where as other images could simple be those of the common gods of Egypt.
Interesting too that whereas many other images of the demons have been mutilated in later times, these three survive intact. Here’s an example of one of the other images, although with the typical mutilation of the effective organs, the face & hands. The context of these mutilations is a subject in its own right and very interesting magick too:
The middlemost image shown earlier is very strange, quite monstrous really; a human headed entity, wearing the archaic skull cap similar to that worn by the god Ptah, but no arms! This absence of arms is intentional, nothing is left to chance in Egyptian art, although the meaning may be lost on us, but something like, he has no hands to take hold of you. His entire body tapers off into that of a crocodile. His or her name translated as “one who comes before or heralds the two souls (the Ba)” Now, as these entities are also groups of stars in the so-called decanal belt – he could be the herald in the sense of the group of stars that rises before the third and final demon, the one who rules the dark nights of the month, and the mysterious days before the next new moon when gods such as Horus arise from the body of their father Osiris. No surprise then that the entity that we are guided towards, is the strangest of the entire strange series of three. The image shows a snake with two heads, one at each end of his body. Monstrous but useful if you want to look in two directions, and in this case two levels, perhaps upper and lower. But troublesome if the two souls decide to pull in different directions. Perhaps they are meant to represent two snakes mating, their sensuous bodies molded together. Ancient mystery of the body is encoded here, one that emerged later in the Hindu tradition known as Tantra. Two souls are fine as long as they move in coordination and in the same direction. We tend to think that being single minded is the best way to get things done but perhaps here we can detect an equally old and valuable idea, that two heads are better than one.
The decans are discussed in greater detail in my books Supernatural Assault in Ancient Egypt and Phi-Neter: Power of the Egyptian gods. I’m currently working on a combined volume, devoted to the Egyptian Demonic Calendar. Look out for all these titles wherever good books are sold, but certainly on Amazon.
Oh, and my name is Mogg Morgan
The Eternal Moment
On the longest night of the year the tribe has gathered for the Winter Solstice ceremony.
The Spice is very strong and it doesn’t take long before the doors of perception have opened before us.
My ‘mission’ is to raise Babalon.
My Babalon working will be like a prayer to raise her power and energy in Everywoman.
I believe that Babalon is Everywoman, but many women deny her existence, some are afraid of her, some are so prudish they truly believe she’s an whore.
I embrace my Babalon, she is integrated within me, she is part of me and always was. There was time I didn’t know who she was or what is her name, so I called her “Everywoman”.
I’m Every Woman – A tribute to Whitney Houston
“Whatever you want, whatever you need, anything you want done baby, I’ll do it naturally.”
The ritual and ceremonial music is vibrating in the air but for some strange reason I can’t get out of my head the 80s anthem song by Chaka Khan – “I’m every woman”.
In the 90s Whitney Houston took Chaka Khan’s song and made it into an even bigger anthem, a classic that will never go out of fashion, a good party will always have this anthem at the peak of the night.
I remember the first time I heard it, the Chaka khan version, and how I thought to myself, what a great song, perfect for me. The song came out in 1978, I was only 10 years old.
In the 90s I was a party girl, The Ministry of Sound and The Zap club, Brighton, were like my second homes.
I remember one night at the club thinking to myself; if “God is a DJ”, “Everywoman ” must be his wife! I didn’t know anything about Babalon or the Scarlet Woman at that time, but an affinity with Everywoman, was always part of me.
Whitney Houston was born with the touch of the Red Goddess, she was beautiful, talented and charismatic. It didn’t take long before she became world famous, she was, and still is, the most awarded female artists, and remains one of the best–selling musicians of all time.
Whitney Houston was a goddess, flying high and far, but she couldn’t handle the fire of the Red Goddess, and soon those flames consumed her. After over a decade of meteoric success, she allowed her demons to take over, and she burnt out.
So I toast the first cup of Spice to you Whitney, and to Everywoman out there.
Here She Comes
My mind is racing. I really don’t understand where did all this stuff came from? I’m here at the ceremony and all I can hear is these 80s–90s club anthems playing in my head, and think of Whitney Houston. But then something at the corner of my eye catches my attention. I’m looking but not too sure what I am seeing.
It’s a crack in space/time, like in the Dr. Who episode “The Crack in the Wall”.
And I knew it’s her on the other side. I call her, come, enter, my beautiful goddess. Flames burst out of the crack, it can only be her, and there she is – Babalon!
She is shining like the sun at sunrise, and the only thing on my mind is the question – Who swallowed the sun? Now as I write it down, it’s a bit obvious, don’t you think? But at the time I just couldn’t see it.
The Library of Babel
As soon as she enters, I know – Babalon is the librarian of the Library of Babel. I am very pleased with myself, and move on to other things. The goddess NewMedia is here too, and she is loading me with information, I need to write all this stuff down, I need to remember it all.
I see the connections in everything I do, like synapses that pass electrical surges through a great spider’s web, or was it the WorldWideWeb? Marketing, advertising, books, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing … attention, attention! The system is overloaded. I’m stuck in a loop, thank god it’s time for the second cup.
Shiva is serving the second round of Spice. He has a special gift, he is a master of blessing the Spice, and this time he adds a special boon, a magickal journey.
As soon as I drink the second cup of Spice I’m back at the library of Babel. I’m lost in a maze, it’s HER maze, it’s HER LIBRARY!
She is not the librarian at all, it’s her library! At the very same moment I notice a little path that leads to a garden.
The Garden of The Forking Paths
The garden is strange, if anything, it looks like another maze, like the library. It’s kind of grey and dusty. I go down the path, thinking to myself “so who swallowed the sun?” At that time I didn’t have a clue. Then another thought crosses my mind – why is this garden is so “forked”? A garden should be light and green, soft and gentle, that word, Gentle, made me stop for a moment, and I rethink it all again.
Why is the garden so forked? A garden should be light and green and soft, like The Garden of Eden. The word EDEN in Hebrew means – Gentleness = עדן = EDEN. The path I chose in The Garden of The Forking Paths leads to The Garden of Eden!
This realization made me stop for a moment. I looked at the 9th Gate card that I had brought with me. In the card, which I painted a few days earlier, behind Babalon is the Ninth gate illuminated with the sun’s rays. I look at the card for a while, and as soon as I put it back in my bag, I’m back in The Library of Babel.
I look around me, books are floating in the air, staircases spiraling in all directions like some weird Michael Escher picture. Then BANG! The Ninth Gate materializes in front of me in all its glory, and at the same time, the shocking realization; SHE IS THE LIBRARY, SHE IS THE LIBRARY!
And another crack appears in space/time. The room is spinning, thunder and lightning, a cacophony of strange and very loud noises. The library has exploded and I’m being sucked into a black hole, what remains of it is spiraling around me; books, staircases, labyrinths, forking paths, gardens, all in a mad and chaotic dance, spiraling towards the black hole.
I’m going mad, am I going mad? I know I must look into the crack that grows with each moment, I know who’s coming, but I dare not look. I go down on my knees and try to pray. But only one word comes out of my mouth:
I forgot all the words to the prayer. I can hardly find my voice, all that comes out is a faint mumbling of just one word, the one that makes sense:
Each time I repeat this word, things getting clearer.
The room has stopped spinning.
I can breath again.
The books and the staircases are still spiraling around me but in a very slow motion.
Everything has stopped as it is, books and staircases frozen in mid spiral in the air. I can hear the beautiful ancient mantra, the sound of the sea, waves on a breezy sunny day, and I remember.
“I believe in one secret and ineffable LORD; and in one star in the company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name CHAOS, the sole viceregent of the Sun upon the Earth; and in one Air the nourisher of all that breathes.
And I believe in one Earth, the Mother of us all, and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten, and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name BABALON.
And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.”
At this moment the beautiful shamaness comes and crashes next to me, she knows nothing of Baphomet, but she understands Chaos. Together we are experiencing The Eternal Moment, we both know that the only time is now, and this now is for eternity. I hug her, whispering in her ear “open your eyes, and call Hir, Baphomet, sHe is already here” and she does and she sees what I see.
“And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.”
The tribes of the Spice are the tribes of the serpent and the lion. Some follow the serpent, some follow the lion, all are drinking the same Spice, both tribes sharing similar ceremonies but different rituals.
Baphomet walks among our tribes naturally – which takes me back to the beginning of the journey, when I heard Whitney Houston singing in my head the lines “Whatever you want, whatever you need, anything you want done baby, I’ll do it naturally”…
In the Thoth Tarot, the card Lust, ‘appears the legend of the woman and the lion, or rather lion–serpent’ (The Book of Thoth). Another realization of eternal moment, Babalon rides Baphomet just like the tantric Kali rides Shiva.
“And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.”
Baphomet is the serpent and the lion, Mystery of mystery; the Fifth Head of the serpent is The Raging Lion!
“The Desire and aspiration of the highest, most spiritual spark of your consciousness is to clothe itself in flesh and personality and to Come Into Being here and now. The purpose of Initiation is not to swap one for the other: it is to open the eyes of both, perceive what is Real, and empower the entire Self to its maximum potential…” (Michael Kelly, Dragonscales)
“The Fifth Head, that of the Raging Lion, is one specifically focused upon Desire, upon passion.” (Michael Kelly, Dragonscales)
With all this in mind, I hear the call for the third cup.
The Third Cup
The third cup is a meditation journey on the sounds and vibrations our Music Master has prepared for us.
The Music Master and I go back a long way. He was there the first time I took the Spice. He taught me how to listen to the vibrations and how to see with my ears. His journeys are my favourite part of these ceremonies, and after a night of illuminated Chaos, I am looking forward to lying down and chilling out on his magickal carpet.
The third cup is the cup of the Shamaness. I love this woman with all my heart. We look at each other and smile. I say: “only a little cup for me this time”, she looks at me, smiles back and pours the Spice, a full cup…
I drink the blood of the dragon and lie back on the cushions and fly.
The Seven Jewels of the Red Goddess
In the myth of Inanna she descends into the underworld, and meets the guardians of the seven gates, who will not let her pass through unless she leaves one of her jewels in each gate, only then can she proceed into the underworld.
The Seven Jewels are:
- The Great Crown
- The Wand of Lapis Lazuli
- The Jewel Around her Neck
- The Jewel On Her Breast
- The Belt of Jewels Around Her Hips
- The Jewels Around Her Wrists and Ankles
- The Jewelled Robes
In his book Dragonscales, Michael Kelly asks what these seven jewels are?
On page 125 of Dragonscales, he writes:
“As an exercise for further thought and meditation, I would like to throw out the suggestion that the seven jewels of Ishtar are resonant with the Seven Heads of Apep, but in reverse order, with the Jewelled Robes having an affinity with the Head of the Scorpion and the Great Crown having an affinity with the Head of the Typhon. This affinity and this inversion of ordering may be suggestive of one of the secret links between the Lady and the Serpent. Muse upon it…”
I’m flying the magickal journey the Music Master takes us on, and musing upon Michael’s riddle. It doesn’t take long and I’m back again at The Garden of the Forking Paths. Now there are new paths ahead of me, and I don’t know which one to follow. There’s a tiny voice in the back of my mind which whispers “Follow Me”… so I follow it down a very narrow and very old path.
I love the author Tom Robbins. Back in the 90s I read quite a few of his books which probably helped a lot to shape the way I think and perceive things. There is something in the myth of Ishtar’s seven jewels that reminds me of something he wrote, but what was it??
The song about Miriam the Prophetess is playing and I remember.
In his book ‘Skinny Legs and All’
Tom Robbins writes the story of Salome and The Dance of The Seven Veils.
The myth of the Seven Veils Dance, and the myth of The Seven Jewels probably are based on the same myth of Inanna/Ishtar. In the original dance of The Seven Veils, those veils come off in the same order as the seven Jewels:
- The Veil around Her Face
- The Veil around The Shoulders
- The Veil Around her Neck
- The Veil On Her Breast
- The Veil Around Her Hips
- The Veil Around Her Wrists and Ankle
- The Veil Around her Legs
In the book Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins actually does reverse the order in which the veils are coming off Salome:
I’ll try to explain:
The First Veil to come off is the veil around her legs, ‘The Jewelled Robes’, think again what the Jewelled robes might mean… she is dancing and her most precious jewel is unveiled.
“Because Veils of ignorance, disinformation, and illusion separate us from that which is imperative to our understanding of our evolutionary journey… The first of those veils conceals the repression of the Goddess, masks the sexual face of the planet…”
By taking her Jewelled Robes off first, our Red Goddess has awakened the Serpent, the Typhon, the Kundalini.
So, our Salome is dancing and the veils of illusions keep coming off, one by one, unveiling and, abandoning old patterns such as blindness to the wonders of nature, politics, religion, money, death, time.
The Seventh Veil:
The Veil around Her Face – The Great Crown – The Head of The Scorpion
“The illusion of the Seventh Veil was the illusion that you could get somebody else to do it for you.
To hang on your cross.
Everybody had to take control of their own life, define their own death, and construct their own salvation. And when you finished, you didn’t call the Messiah. He’d call you.” (Skinny Legs and All)
This is all very much in the spirit of the Scorpion Head…
For me the theories of Tom Robbins always make sense. And now it’s nearly the end of the journey and the sun is going to rise any minute. I can just see that at the end of the path I’m journeying, there’s another path to follow (it is the garden of the forking paths after all) but I’m too tired now, maybe next time…
The Great Crown – The Head of The Typhon – Spirituality and awakening.
What a Night !
Here Comes The Sun.
“Whatever you want, whatever you need, anything you want done baby, i’ll do it naturally”
Like in a dream I see you Coming out of the water Your wet hair a golden halo of liquid stars Pouring over your body Your soft skin smeared with red sandal paste, Shimmering Amrita on your thighs Reflecting rainbows Onto your temple A timeless vision of She Who is eternally Wet with love
Awake and embrace the void Your heart strong enough for its joys and its worries Leave, and when you awake to life You will feel young again on the new day Rest, lie down assured of long good health. “Good night, the gods protect you, their protection is before you each day No bad thing approaches The demon (Apep) is repelled from your bed chamber Ipet the Great protects you in your long and powerful life.” The day and night illumined, You shine forth For she guides your steps on the right path, And you know what is needed, The god Ptah provisions you, filling your storeroom, With food and drink aplenty, and in good measure. Your diary and records all in order and well-composed. The mistakes of the past forgotten, The staff in your hand well made and sustaining. Break bread with the wise, Your cares all behind you. Only reason lies before you, The best is yet to come. * Praise be to TAWERET, Bringing ‘perfection’ in her beautiful name. I praise her to the limits of the sky, I desire her Ka, calming day by day. Be merciful to me, May I behold your mercy, You, of perfect mercy! Extend your hand to me, Giving me life, And granting me offspring! Do not reproach me for my errors You, in perfect mercy! Even if my helpers slip up, My peers still reward me. I desire your great strength, None knows you as I do; I will say to the children and children’s children: Thee as guardian before her! Joy my heart should seize, Because on this day TAWERET is merciful, My house prospers with her blessings. May she give them day after day, And I never say ‘Oh I have regrets!’ May she continue to give me health, And my womb bear children safely, [Or the future be secure]. My heart is glad every day, for sure The good ones expel the evil, And I am blessed. Behold her people will live forever, My enemies are fearful before you TAWARET! Since your rage oppresses them more than a mountain of iron, Her mercy gives us life!
In NakedTantra, we documented the first ritual to Ipet the Hippo Goddess.
The insight we got was that Ipet helps one through the trauma of transitions.
Set kills his brother Osiris, with whom he has a secret bond, but they are part of each other. Now he has to deal with the fallout. Ipet is there to hold Set, or you, in place, to help you check your emotions, if you break the ties that bind you to her, you will lose control.
In Ritual year 2 ( work in progress) we had the insight that Set is not at all bind to Ipet but chose to stay contained within her center out of his own free will.
The Eye of The Storm
On the sandbanks of the river I am the Hippo out of the water Walking on dry soft-land. Making patterns in the sand Four pillars around the eye One for the north, one for the west, One for the south, and one for the east The four guardians of the centre Of the goddess within In the centre of her heart An eye, like a black hole, a vortex Spinning nearly out of control Thunder roar The binds are gone If you look into her eye You will see from all directions His reflection in her eye Typhon spin with a mighty will In the centre of our heart Free
I wonder what insight will have after this year’s ritual…
(From Mina to Miryam)
Running on empty Just fumes in the tank, Better stop, Fill up, with something from bank, the well, of inspiration, that never runs dry, So they say, but there again, sometimes it just does. So we meet in your bedroom, And do it all again, Sharing the breath of life, As Horus & Seth shared it, As Thoth & Horus shared it, Their feet resting on the lungs, The windpipe stretched up between them, Papyrus and lotus fronds weaving, A mysterious pattern, Around their bodies. The in & the out-breath, Mouths devouring each, Tongues gripped and searching, All our body’s parts melding together. The heart, the stomach, The sexual centre, Full of elixir now, Lingam and Yoni touching, Then over and in each, Floating, in mysterious lands, A plateau through the hours of darkness, Coming forth at daybreak, Refreshed & inspired, Well within us now.
I, Mogg Morgan continue my exploration.
So Crowley, lots of books written about him, biographies, lots of them done already, so not really much to say that hasn’t been said, though having said that, I can think of a few things that to my mind could still be explored, but that’s another story. John Moore managed to come up with a few new angles, lets start there. John Moore died a year or so back, so I thought I’d talk to his son Alistair about John’s research.
I asked Alistair to first tell me a little about himself, as I know people enjoy the personal touch, well I do anyway. Was he perhaps named after Crowley?
I’m John’s younger son (I have an older brother, Simon). I’m a freelance analyst and also a writer myself – I had a novel (The Release, Candy Jar Books) published in 2018. I grew up in London and studied Russian at Exeter University. As for being named after Crowley – people often ask, but my parents both assured me I wasn’t – my mother wanted to call me Alexander but finally they decided upon Alistair, the Scottish variant.
We are talking about your father whose untimely death robbed us of a chance to talk to him about his interesting books about Crowley. Before we get into would you like to share some personal reflections about your father.
With John being an intellectual I grew up surrounded by thousands of books. He introduced me to literature at a young age, so I read many of the Russian greats – Turgenev, Bulgakov, Dostoevsky. One of my favourite novels is Sanine, by a little-known writer called Artzibashev – my dad bought me an original hardback of this, I think dating back to when it was published in the early 20th century. Even Russian friends haven’t heard of the book or the writer, but it’s a fantastic novel, similar in some ways to Lermontov’s Hero of Our Time, with an antihero theme. John didn’t have any Russian ancestry btw, he was just a real fan of the literature.
Being exposed to all this led to me studying Russian, and definitely influenced me in my own path to becoming a writer. Dostoevsky was one of John’s favourite writers, and his favourite novel of Dostoevksy’s was The Devils. John was a philosopher, so he especially enjoyed novels dense with philosophical ideas, common with Dostoevsky.
John was a good father, perhaps not a typical dad, but then he wasn’t a typical person either. He could never have endured a life working in an office. Philosophy and ideas were central to his life, so it was inevitable I’d absorb these influences growing up, and I’m grateful for that. He left quite a legacy with his own writing, in print and online, much of which I am discovering now. His writing is packed with ideas, this is very apparent even in the accessible format of the graphic books on Crowley and Bulwer-Lytton.
We weren’t ready to lose him, and he certainly wasn’t ready to go – there was much more he wanted to do, to write, experience and live. I’m grateful I was able to play a part in the production of his two graphic books Crowley: A Beginners Guide and more recently Bulwer-Lytton: Occult Personality, helping get these ideas and visions of his into print – with your help, of course.
Tell us more about John and his interest in philosophy. One of his books is Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master so I’m guessing from this that he had some professional interest in the world of ideas, tell us something about that.
Definitely – philosophy was his world. As I mentioned he especially enjoyed philosophical novelists like Dostoevsky, and the world of ideas in general. His favourite philosopher was Nietzsche. He was a member of the Nietzsche Society and read several papers at their international conferences. In 2011, he published his own book on Nietzsche called Nietzsche – An Interpretation, which contains 10 of these papers. For many years he also ran and moderated an online Nietzsche discussion forum. He also admired Schopenhauer. One project he sadly never got to complete was a compendium of what he felt were the most significant philosophers, named A Trip Around Philosophy.
More specifically he was obviously interested in Crowley – do you know anything about how he got into that, was he a magician?
I don’t know too much about how and when he first got into Crowley, but he was an admirer of Crowley’s writings and personal philosophy, which as I understand it is tied into certain ideas like Nietzsche’s revolving around free will. To an extent I think it’s fair to say he subscribed to the creed of ‘Do What Thou Wilt’. As for being a practitioner – no, despite his interest in the occult and ideas relating to it, his interest and involvement there was intellectual only.
John’s Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master was his first book on the topic. How did this title come about ?
While a lot has been written about Crowley, I think John’s contributions to the field have been original. The reason for the title A Modern Master was that he felt Crowley’s ideas, rather than being only of their time, have relevance today in the modern age, perhaps more than ever. That’s one aim of the book – to explain how Crowley’s ideas are linked to modernity and current thought.
As for pitching previously – although he got very positive feedback both from Fontana for this book, and from Icon (graphic guide publishers) for Crowley: A Beginners Guide I know one barrier was that Crowley was seen as a bit of a risky subject, perhaps too controversial or unsavoury for some readers. John talks about the book in this video from 2009.
Can you summarise the book in a nutshell?
An argument for Crowley’s importance in the modern age, a defense of what has been criticised as the more contemptible side of Crowley’s character, an exploration of some of his creative achievements, and an attempt to render his ideas more accessible.
What do you think is the book’s essence ?
Without doubt John was one of Crowley’s biggest fans. While I’m sure he didn’t agree with everything Crowley said or did, he always felt Crowley deserved more recognition for his ideas and writings, so I think in large part the book is a defense of Crowley and his work.
Turning to John’s sequel to Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master, was Crowley: A Beginners Guide – very unusually in graphic book format, how did this project come about?
I believe the idea was originally suggested by a friend of John’s, a Sikh he worked with back in the eighties, who thought an illustrated graphic guide along the lines of Icon Books’ popular ‘Introducing’ series based on Crowley, could do well. It took John some time to get round to it, but when he got started on the text, I introduced him to John Higgins, an illustrator acquaintance of mine. John Higgins produced a great number of original ink drawings for the book, which I then combined with John’s text and some free-for-use imagery to produce formatted illustrated pages ready for publication by Mandrake.
It was an immensely fun project to work on, and I’m very proud of what we all created – a lovely little graphic guide filled with very entertaining artwork to accompany all the ideas inside it.
The format is unusual , why did he choose this, perhaps as an antidote to the normal heaviness of its topic?
Mainly accessibility. As you say there is a density of ideas there, but John wanted to open them up to as wide an audience as possible. That’s not to say it’s dumbed down – not at all. Although some Crowleyites might bristle at the ‘Beginners’ part of the title, it’s packed with content and exploration of his key ideas, influences and legacy. It just happens to be in a very novel and entertaining format. Beginners Guide has the potential to reach a wider audience than Modern Master, something like a primer.
John also wrote in similar format a book on Bulwer Lytton: Occult Personality – very unusual but neglected topic. There is a Crowley connection, I think I’m right that his esoteric novel Zanoni, made it onto Crowley’s reading list for all aspiring students of magick. But what’s the story behind this?
Again, the Bulwer book was something he’d been wanting to do for a while. John got to know Lytton’s great-great-great grandson Henry Lytton-Cobbold, and was an occasional guest at Knebworth House, the ancestral home of the Lyttons (and well known rock concert venue) after Henry came across an article on John’s website about Bulwer-Lytton.
John admired Bulwer-Lytton’s writing, feeling it was unfairly derided (I was myself surprised to hear that at one point, he was the best-known novelist in the English-speaking world). Again, with this book John aimed to explore and bring to a wider audience Bulwer-Lytton’s key role in esotericism, philosophy, and key cultural movements in the Victoria era, as well as showing the relevance of much of these ideas today. He talks about the book and the ideas in it here (filmed around late summer 2018 at the Canonbury pub in Islington).
The format of the book is similar to Beginners Guide, a graphic introduction. It contains a lot of artwork by John Higgins and another artist named Paul Campbell, a friend of my brother Simon.
John was already ill when he started work on this, so there was a little more urgency to the project. Happily he lived to see and enjoy the book’s publication.
Again, he opted for a very unusual, unique format – what do you think about that? Something I’ve noticed, I wonder if the magical people who mostly read this kind of stuff, are they open to this kind of graphic approach – they can be a bit serious, perhaps too much so?
I can’t claim to know these magical people well enough to know how serious they are, or they might feel about the approach! However, as with Crowley: A Beginners Guide I’d say that despite the format, designed to be accessible as well as original and entertaining, both books are packed with ideas and pretty rigorous explorations of both men and their ideas.
Even though I have no special interest in the occult or esotericism myself, I find Bulwer-Lytton: Occult Personality really educational, especially in regard to the Victorian era – religion, philosophy, antiquity, artistic movements and so on. It’s a bit like a springboard, making you want to go off and explore these topics in more depth.
As for humour, I think done properly it works well in these contexts as long as you don’t trivialise the subjects, and I think both the graphic guides get this balance right. A world without humour would be a depressing place indeed!
Thanks, you’ve been great, anything else you would like to add that you think I should have asked but forgot?
The last thing John published was this selection of his own poetry, 100 Poems, the earliest of which I think he wrote when he was 15. I recorded this interview with him talking about the book in April 2019, a couple of months before he died. Getting this collection out was important to him, and I know he’d be happy for it to get a mention here.
A lot more of John’s writing is online – his websites are here
http://www.mith.demon.co.uk (his main original site, up since the 90s)
Standing under moonlit sky and shining stars A Tallit of white and silver A canopy of lights You put Ganesha on my finger And whisper in my ear - Time to kneel by the altar My dear Kissing the feet of the Ancient priest Marking his knees with my lips I take Apep in my mouth His eye glistened and moist For a moment or two We are lost in the void You help me back To my feet Your eyes Your eyes Your eyes Like two shining scarabs Staring into my soul Sharing a secret I recall The moon priest Holds me tight in his arms While I kiss his chest and bless his heart Under the Tallit of silvery lights Our lips met A kiss and a breath
For me, the story of Aleister Crowley’s moment of truth in Cairo 1904 is one of the most interesting in a lifetime graced by perhaps a half dozen such experiences. 1904 was the pivotal year in Crowley’s career, he was 29 years old and therefore well into what is popularly known as the “Saturn Return”. Difficult as it is to believe, Crowley had more or less given up on magick at this point in his life and concentrated on having a good time with what remained of his inheritance. I think we can surmise that he was disillusioned by his experiences as an unwanted member of the famous Victorian occult society we know as the Golden Dawn. Like any hierarchical organisation, internal reveries often blow things apart and in this case, the conflicts had ended in litigation and even, so it is said, deadly magical battles. Its autocratic master Samuel Liddell Macgregor-Mathers said to be overwhelmed by megalomania, locked in conflict with other former friends but also wannabe masters and mistresses. Crowley, still a relatively young upstart, had taken his chances with the boss. Significantly he had cut short his magical retreat in Scotland, for which he had obviously made lavish preparations – this was the famous Abramelin practice.
In the version he was following, the practice began on Jewish Passover and continued for six months. From a more recent and complete published version, we now know this should actually be 18months. In the 15th century, Abraham began his retreat at Easter (Jewish Passover) itself a very important ancient feast connected with demons and angels of death. These myths make use of doorways of one kind or another, the ancient Hebrews supposedly inscribing magick signs on their lintels, a signal for the angel of death to pass over the house.
It terminated on the old feast of Tabernacles or “Booths”. The modern interpretation tells us this was originally a reminder of the temporary dwellings used by the early Hebrews during their flight from Egypt.
Crowley’s short gambit with the Golden Dawn did not go well and he was either expelled or left the sanctuary under a cloud. As for The Book of Abramelin, the magical moment had passed and there was no point in returning to his house at Boleskine until the following Easter. So Crowley travelled to Mexico and as often happens, did not return for several years. When he did he was again distracted by his future wife Rose Kelly.
He eloped with and married Rose Kelly. It was for her patrician family, an unsuitable match, though he was a former family friend. Perhaps to escape the bad family vibe, they set out together on a world tour as a honeymoon. Their cruise ship arrived in Alexandra, a short hop from Cairo, where they planned some sightseeing in the fascinating metropolis. They no doubt took in the sites and the nightlife. Crowley, who already knew the city, having visited a few years earlier, paying a little baksheesh to the local family for special access to the pyramids at night, where in the King’s chamber, he was able to show off some of his old tricks, with a handy copy of the Goetia, which has a preliminary invocation taken from ancient Egyptian magical papyri.
The results cannot fail to have impressed Rose Kelly, who later, back in their lavish hotel room, no doubt having imbibed perhaps a little too much of the local Omar Khayyam vintage, fell into a light trance and said: “They are waiting for you”. I’m paraphrasing really, more accurate accounts are available I’m sure. Some say Crowley had prepared for all this on his visit a few years earlier, why else did he have the right magical books to hand. But key perhaps is that is was Passover in Cairo, the full moon and exactly the right time to restart another Egyptian originated ritual, that of Abramelin, who according to his medieval account, was a supreme ritual of the adepts in Upper Egypt, which he got after his failed quest through Europe in search of illumination.
Already experienced with the Abramelin system, Crowley seems to have used it to put himself in touch with his guardian daemon – Aiwass, an entity which some say was his own psyche. There is a famous photograph of Crowley posed with a magick book, a pentagram emblazoned on the front cover. What’s in the book, nothing other than his complete collection of magick squares neatly drawn during his preparation for the Abramelin practice!
The name of his angel lends itself to a bit of wordplay. Aiwass or “I Was” does indeed have a split personality, dictating a book that proposes entirely contradictory solutions to humanity’s problems viz “The Law of the Jungle” versus “AL True Ism”?
Snoo Wilson takes up the story some years later when Crowley, now reconciled with his revelation in Cairo, makes an attempt to found an alternative community, dedicated to the tenets dictated to him by those Egyptian spirits in Cairo. It was a brave attempt that eventually foundered due to its own internal conflicts, and the events outside the communards control, such as the rise of a fascist government in Italy, which was hostile to such alternative lifestyles. The Sicilian locals apparently had come to enjoy the presence of their purple priest and his followers.
Snoo Wilson who carved out a successful career as a playwright specialising in the tricky genre of black comedy used all his talents on the Crowley story. The result was a successful stage play which is novelised as “I, Crowley, almost the last confession of the beast 666”. These days, Crowley people are not noted for their sense of humour and not everyone is able to see the funny side of some of our pretensions. Which is odd, given how fond Crowley himself was of a good joke or an extended tongue in cheek romp. I’m pretty sure he would have enjoyed Snoo’s retelling of the end of the commune as much as anyone should. Remembering that one must first entertain before getting too serious. In the end, “I, Crowley” does all that, though it starts with a refutation of the accusation common in my hometown, that Crowley killed much loved Oxford student Raoul Loveday with a magick spell. Arthur Calder Marshall wrote that a hit squad was even sent from the Student Union to avenge the crime that never happened. The whole story is set out in this great act of what Snoo once called the “lesser form of magick” although he was again being ironic, there is nothing lesser about writing a good novel.
Part II of this essay
is about Aleister Crowley: A Beginner’s Guide …
A few days ago an old friend that I haven’t heard from for a long while contacted me. She wants to know about Chaos Magick and handed me a list of questions.
I met L’ a few years ago on an ayahuasca retreat.
So “how is the plant medicine related to Chaos Magick”? She asked me
I must admit that I had to stop and think about her question, I found it surprising not to have a straight forward answer right there and then.
For the last ten years or so I’ve been journeying the parallel paths of ayahuasca and chaos magick. The more I drank ayahuasca I felt that my magick my craft, Chaos Craft, is evolving and becoming like second nature to me. I learned and practice as much as I could but the real teaching always came in the form of a very dark and bitter liquid – the ayahuasca tea, the pure essence of probably one of the most powerful and wise plants entities.
“So how did you start with Chaos Craft and how do you practice? And how are the results?”
L’ bombarded me with all those questions and all I could think at the time before I managed to say anything was, ‘wow, slow down woman!’ and while I was trying to get my head around all of this and taking a breather she drops the final question: “If nothing is true, and everything is permitted, then how do you choose?”
How do you really? And where do I start? I told L’ that I need some time to think and I’ll get back to her. And here I am, still thinking and not sure at all how it all started. It is funny how we journey on our paths for a long time thinking we know it all and everything is sorted and then we meet a neophyte, a beginner, along the way with all those questions and you find yourself sitting down and revising all you know, but thinking about all this stuff, “it’s cool, it’s like food for the soul”.
I met SteveD on the ‘Apophis Club’, an online forum for the discussion of Michael Kelly’s fantastic book Apophis. The Apophis Club was and still is a great virtual meeting place for magicians on the Draconian / Sethian current. It didn’t take long for me to notice Steve’s unique way of thinking and writing, and after a while of communicating on the forum, I asked Steve if he can be my mentor (I had to really twist his arm to agree) and once we establish the ways of mentoring communications (we were living in deferent countries at the time) I followed Steve’s guidance onto the most fantastic and magickal path – Chaos Craft.
I had many questions, and at certain times I probably overwhelmed SteveD with the intensity of my curious mind. But I was blessed with the most patient mentor and even at times when I was a pain in the ass he managed to see through all my bullshit and guide me through. I couldn’t be here without his mentoring and I feel blessed that our paths had crossed at that particular moment in my life, that he is still part of my life. Kheper!
Chaos Craft was the perfect way for me to weave together my shamanic and Sethian practices and progress in my own personal way and time. What appeals to me at the most was that I didn’t have to climb the usual system of magickal schools of collecting grades and titles but advised to focus on creativity and an open mind. Before you know it, I could see the magic everywhere and without any manuals or “how to do” books, I just knew what to do and how to attract the magic into my life.
So you asked me ‘how do you practice and where to start?’
The best way to start anything is by collecting information about it and nowadays it’s very easy, just google Chaos Magick and start reading.
You will find lots of stuff, it won’t take long to find the Chaos Magick classics and you probably should read through some of them but the most important in my opinion is to use your intuition and read what you find the most interesting for you. Anyway, a good place to start on the Chaos Craft path is Here and Here.
I find it very helpful in starting a personal journal to record your observations and dreams and maybe learn some divination technics, most popular are the Tarot or Astrology but there are lots of divination technics around so just pick the one you are most attracted to and start learning it.
Personally, I use dream divination and find the Tarot a great tool to learn about dream symbolism.
I think that it’s a very good idea to start and connect to the cycles of the year and the moon and to the rhythms of the earth.
Make an altar – an offering table to Baphomet, to focus and connect with Baphomet.
The next step is banishing, there are many ways and many rituals for that, my personal favourite is The Gnostic Pentagram Ritual Here
So, Get a notebook and turn it into your personal journal, start documenting your dreams, insights and observations.
Learn some form of divination.
Connect to the cycle of the moon and the rhythm of nature.
Invite Baphomet into your life – make an altar.
Start practising The Gnostic Pentagram Ritual
While you practising all of that, carry on reading and learning and if you can find a mentor to guide you through it ‘s even better.
And now for your final question “If nothing is true, and everything is permitted, then how do you choose?”
“لا شيء حقيقي وكل شيء مباح”
In the words of Hassan-i Sabbah
“Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted”
although we may no longer understand the exact context, these words seem relevant to our times as chaos magicians, where it is a kind of formula similar to, but I’d say better than Crowley’s “Do What Thou Wilt…” etc.
I found Erik’s words on that matter resonate with me and my understanding of the concept.
‘Nothing is true’ “means that truth can only be experienced by each individual for themselves- for me, it is a gnostic paradigm that tells me that only through experience can you come to know the true nature of things and ultimately reality itself.
‘Everything is permitted’ is in my interpretation literally that we are free to take responsibility for our own actions and that there is not one moral authority who can dictate to us.”
So, my dear L,
I hope I’ve answered some of your questions or at list gave you a few ideas of how and where to start.
I’m adding my personal favourite booklist but remember that what works for me not necessarily will work for you, there are many books out there so find what you like and start creating your own path.
Rhythms of vision by Lawrence Blair
The Sea Priestess by Dion Fortune
All of Julian Vayne’s books,
Getting Higher: The Manual of Psychadelic Ceremony
Seidways by Jan Fries
Liber Null & Psychonaut by Peter J. Carroll
Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine
SSOTBME Revised an essay on magic
Apophis by Michael Kelly
Chaotopia by Dave Lee
There are many books on how to do magick, but not so many with stories about actually doing it and what happens.
NakedTantra lays bare the inner states of the two brave souls involved in this extended magical work.
An experiment, two people, two countries, one mind, experimenting in tantra meta-magick, cosmic astral travel to the land of no boundaries, looking for the doors of perception.
Of necessity the contents of this grimoire might be considered erotic. And, with that thought in mind, it might also be that the reader is occasionally aroused by our story as it progresses. Some might find this an unwanted intrusion, into what is otherwise an exploration of a magical world. Others we surmise, will take this in good part, accepting that, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. To those who do not share these sensibilities, and are unmoved by what you are about to read, we offer our sincerest apologies.
Mogg Morgan talks to MIRYAMDEVI & MINANATH, pseudonymous authors of NAKEDTANTRA
About The Authors
These are not their real-world names but neither are they false, they emerged in the dialogue. In real life, they both have experience in eastern and western magical styles.
You obviously have chosen to write under names other than those of your birth, which is not uncommon in magical publishing. The story of how you came by your writerly names is told in the book so I won’t spoil the surprise now. Even so, can you introduce yourself and say a little about what you do, your aims and objectives with your writing?
When I first met Miryamdevi she called herself a simple “cowgirl”, which immediately brought to mind the Gopi-maidens who trail after Krishna. But then I discovered she really likes Tom Robbins who wrote Even Cowgirls get the Blues. So there’s something in that, but also, what she says about growing up on a farm; she has a certain earthiness and salt of the earth strength.
Another thing that came up when we got into working with the archetype Babalon – who we, or could be Miryamdevi, worked out, is not some rare breed but is in every woman, Miryamdevi is in a very real sense: “Everywoman”.
My name Minanath literally means (lord of) fish, and it seemed appropriate somehow. It is the name of a Hindu magician/mystic from old times. Also known as Matsyendra, Macchendra, and others. His biography can be seen as mythic or real, depending on who you read. I like the version that he worked in the sea, probably as a fisherman, a fairly taboo or lowly profession in India. But somehow he had a revelation and put together much of the spiritual system we know as Tantra. Perhaps it was because of his humble status people applied the story of his getting the wisdom from a secret scroll, written by the god Shiva, and hidden in the belly of one of the fish he caught. Sometimes it is he who ends up in the fish. But sometimes I just think he learned stuff from people he met on the harbour, maybe mariners from distant lands, like Egypt and Greece.
Anyway, my name Minanath is a reference to that guy who lived a long time ago, not thousands of years but long enough. I think magical tantra started or reemerged in India at the same time when things were getting difficult for magicians in Egypt, with the rise of Christianity. To put it romantically, when the light of knowledge was being extinguished in Egypt and the Near East, the torch passed over to India.
Miriam (מִרְיָם Mir-yām) is described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Amram and Jochebed and the sister of Moses and Aaron. She was a prophetess and first appears in the Book of Exodus.
It is all in the name actually, the name Miryam suggest the strong connection she had with the sea and water (Yam in Hebrew means sea and the very obvious Mer-Mir). In the Jewish tradition and culture, The Tambourine is widely associated with Miryam and her love for music. Within the circle of Jewish midwifery especially the Israeli ones, Miryam and her mom Jochbed were the first midwives of the Israelites. I relate to all of this as I was born near the sea, I love music and I’m a doula.
The name Miryam is very popular in my family but although all the Miryams’ are very strong women, most of them had very difficult and unhappy lives. When Minanath said that I have to choose a magickal name it didn’t take long for me to understand that I have the chance to take the name Miryam and turn it into a healing name that will heal a long ancestral line of ‘broken Miryams’. Miryam became MiryamDevi and as soon as I started to use it I felt the healing has begun.
Without giving too much away, are you able to say a little more about your family background, ie past and current – ie are you married, children, work – people like a little bit of personal stuff if you ok to share?
I was born in Israel and grew up on the family farm. My dad was a horse breeder so we had lots of horses, I love horses, I love all animals. In my early twenties, I moved to the UK. After my husband died I moved back to Israel. No children. When Mina and I met I was living in Israel. I’m an aromatherapist and a doula.
I always lived in the UK originally from Wales. Divorced with no children. I work in the world of books, selling and occasionally writing them.
Naked Tantra is rather a striking title – can you say that a bit more about that, what does it signify?
The word Naked in this particular connotation – NakedTantra, signifies the naked truth of our practices. NakedTantra is a very intimate and personal book that reveals some secrets about ourselves and the way we do things. When Mina came out with the name NakedTantra I thought it is the perfect name for the book which reveals so much about us. It feels like we are standing naked in front of the reader.
Miryamdevi said it really, although of course, in the first part of the book there is an account of Miryamdevi’s initiation, which like mine a few years back, and like many initiations, requires some nudity as an act of love and trust. There is a fair amount of nakedness in our book. But mostly really it’s what for us is the naked truth – revealing things as we see them. It may not be true for everyone but it is true for us. Perhaps like those energy bars that have no additives, that’s us, pure and honest, as much as it is possible for anyone to remove the mask and record what they did.
Well, that’s the Naked aspect covered. Can you explain something about the Tantrik aspect of the story? Most of our readers will have a general idea of what it means but I think, as there are so many misconceptions, it would be good if you could say what exactly you mean in this context?
Tantra, yes, a massive subject to talk about… The way I see it, it’s all about cycles within cycles, relationships, the balance between physicality and spirituality, SivaSakti and Lingam-Yoni, Yoni-Lingam, Lingam-Lingam, Yoni-Yoni, whatever.. you cannot do all this without some Serpent Power. I think Mina is the person to ask about Tantra for a clearer answer 🙂
What Miryam said is really good. Miryam always has a very down to earth way of expressing things, hopefully, you noticed that in the book. But technically, Tantra is a South Asian, Indian subcontinental esoteric tradition. Like the term Yoga, I think you could translate Tantra with the western term magic, but not everyone will agree and we probably need to argue that more.
In the book Naked Tantra, you list many songs and poems, some of which you wrote or translated yourselves. Are music and poetry very special to you, can you say a little bit about that, why it is so special?
I love music. Music is a big part of my life and there’s always something playing in the background especially when I cook or clean the house, I’ll have the radio on and will sing along and dance to my favourite tunes. I also make lots of playlists. I have playlists that will suit any mood at any time and any day, I’ve got a good ear for mixing tunes and songs and fancy myself as a secret DJ. Music helps me write. It took me ages to write chapter one, I knew what I wanted to say but the words didn’t come out. One day I was listening to the Ganesha mantra and immediately I knew what to write, so I sat down and wrote chapter one. If you read that chapter you’ll see that there are few mantras which are linked to each other, each mantra was like a key that when played the words just came out flowingly without stopping. Poetry is also very special, when Mina and I met we were living in different countries and as we both like to write as much as we like to talk we found ourselves corresponding on a daily basis via emails. Sometimes situations in life can be very lyrical and when I sit down to write about it the words flow out of me in a lyrical rhythm, a poem of sorts some may say. Separation, longing and Karessa can turn one into an enthusiastic poet.
Miryamdevi is the DJ. I like her style. I think we are a little part of a long tradition of mystics such as the troubadours, the Tamil Siddhas, the Bauls etc. Sometimes called courtly love, where the frisson created between two lovers, who are often separated, either by societal rules or physical distance and then their inner fantasies, their emotional energy is sublimated and channelled into poetry and storytelling. So one way or another we did a lot of writing, we still do. We do our magic, as described in the book, and we dream and write, and write and dream. We just hope our readers will enjoy the things we say, be entertained. As they say, first entertain, then educate.
Is the journey in your book, the kind of rituals you describe, would that be for everyone, a beginner or is it only for the expert?
The journey is for anyone that resonates with our story, and the way we practice and dream.
Aleister Crowley, who turned up in our narrative, wrote or channelled “The Law is for All.” So yes, it’s for all. His magick was quite complex but also simple. Some like to talk about elites and special secrets they have, but it’s all out there already really. If it was all so secret we wouldn’t be writing a book about it, and in the tradition, there are thousands of old tantric texts in libraries, why did they write them if not to be read? I suppose the only qualification is the ability to read, understand, dream, do, and become.
What do you think other explorers of this genre would make your work? There are a lot of books already out there, what is it you think you bring to the table that is new?
As I said earlier, the book is about very personal and intimate work. Some might like it and some won’t. Some might say that we lifted the veil of Isis too far … for those, I’ll say “perhaps, but there again, she gives us life”.
Well, we’re not too sure about that. We hope they are entertained. I hope, if there is any shock, it will be of recognition. Some will perhaps question that what we have written, whether we are entitled to say it and whether what we experienced is appropriate. Almost every book these days seems to have to dismiss the connection between western sexual magick and the obscure secrets of real tantra, to dismiss other magicians’ ideas as new age. But then, in the end, these same people will carry on writing about tantra much as we do. So I think we are on the safe ground really, we can argue our corner. And in the end, does it matter? We are part of the same international community of magic that existed in India and Egypt in the past and is with us now. Mystical traditions cannot really be judged, or if they can, it is only by the results, ie pragmatically. Success is becoming.
Ps: I have to say that in the work, Miryamdevi really has, in my opinion, revealed some amazing insights into Jewish magick, something I’ve not seen anywhere before. Or put it this way, although Miryamdevi always denies any formal knowledge of Kabbalah, it just seems to be in her blood, to flow from her naturally. Which is what she says in the book at one moment – women just naturally receive and know these things. I don’t know if this is all women but definitely her.
That’s a lot of questions – can you try and summarise, in a nutshell, the enduring message of this book?
Follow your dreams.
Magic is complex but also simple. It is sometimes said that the gods created the world as a game, remembering how to play, that’s the thing.
Naked Tantra ends on a bit of a cliff-edge – without giving too much away, can you say what happened next in terms of what you are working on now?
Well, it seemed like the right place to stop, although the narrative obviously continues somehow and there are obviously some difficult moments ahead. The story comes to a natural climax, in more ways than one, when we break through our self imposed purdah and come together at a place of obvious power. What happens on the other side of the cliff-edge, that’s in part down to the readers.
What are we doing now? More experiments in the hyperreal – a ritual year and surprise surprise, some angelic conversations, though something very common although at the same time, ignored. It’s the old old story, people look for complexity when what they really need is staring them in the face.
Song to Sekhmet:
Lioness Goddess of Ancient Egypt
Blaze through me
Seizing my soul
With Lightning claws
Blast me aflame
Broken bone in
I will not resist
Reach for me
Lift me in your gentle paws
Breath Warmth into
My quivering heart
Set me beside you
That I may share your strength
My I not fear love nor myself
Fill me with lust for life
Send me forth into this world
Armed with your wisdom
(attributed to Terence Duquesne,
was sorting through some old papers and found this – seems to be his style and handwriting but it is unsigned )