Tuesday, 23 September 2008

(reviews 20) GOTHICK,PERMAFROST,SKY OF YUGGOTH


GOTHICK (Uk)
“Invocation Ov Nuit” Cd 2008
(Amduscias Recs)
“Now, therefore, I am known to ye by my name Nuit, and to him by a secret name which I will give him when at last he knoweth me. Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus. Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.” Liber AL I: 22Sean Woodward is the spiritual alchemist behind the project called GOTHICK, which offer us a piece of musical awakening, of enlightenment with “Invocation Ov Nuit”. Through the infinite space, Nuit dances, she’s the star burning in your heart… its a distinctly Thelemic album developed with thin musical pieces and attractive elements mixed with deep beautiful chants through 5 compositions. All the compositions have sticking melodies, and sounds floating in atmospheres with very interesting bass and vocal parts. At moments it reminds me of David Tibet and Current 93. When hearing the first two tracks. “Made In Darkness” and “Alchemical Heirlooms’ Ov Aiwas”, with both vocal and bass lines and such gothic, blues influences, they generate sensations of melancholy and sublimity all the time. So, the next track is “Aleister’s Amazing Bookcase”, a more dark ambient composition built through acoustic guitar, synthezisers and a kind of western atmospheres which surrounds the whole structure of this track. Also the inclusion of some vociferations and some percussive, electric guitars with the pass of minutes makes of this track one of my favorites here. With “Templer Road” we experience a more rhythmic based track ,with an old school blues sound and the always interesting vocals which is similar to the American thelemic band Illumine Naught, but with its own identity and musical character. Finally is “Bardo becoming Reality” a melancholic opus with so depressive elements of music, and with some elements as bells and percussive sounds which fit perfectly with the musical structure in general. This album is an amazing voyage to the starry sky, where nuit is reflected through the dance of the stars…this release is the first one of a three album concept (NU-HAD-RA) dealing with the Book Of Law. So,GOTHICK soon will release its new album called “Evocation Ov Hadit”.so just keep your eyes open for such especial release at www. gothick. co. uk“I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.”Liber AL II: 6
PERMAFROST (Ita)
“Cold Void” CDr 2008
(Invisible Eye Prods)
PERMAFROST is the vision, reflection of Marco Grosso, the Italian occultist/musician who works in the esoteric ambient act Ouroboros.and this time he arrives with his debut release which includes three compositions focusing themselves into dense drone musical patterns which floats through the well use of vibrational distortions and resonance elements. With such dark atmospheres crawling from the frozen structures developed here. Opening with “Permafrost Movement” through dense vaporous voyages with cold atmospheres and glacial drone ambient sounds capturing the essence of this project which was born in spring 2008. “Cold Vision I” is built into reverberating transformations created through oscillators and echoed noises which works in a proper way, due the captivating atmosphere through the whole track in its own essence. This track is just like a trip to the most desolated places where only cold darkness emerges to penetrate your sences. With the third track “Slow Blind” everything turns so more dark and dense.such deeply atmospheres with the resonance of bells and subliminal sounds reflecting the dark desolated nature behinds PERMAFROST.also, this album includes a bonus track called “Sadness And Solitude” which is only in the tape limited edition. Such track includes such frozen atmospheres and ambient passages running through the drones generated. This release has such great moments of isolationism transforming yourself to cold frozen horizon where the darkness and enigmatic environments are gathered to give birth to PERMAFROST, an act transcending the nature itself through sonic elements. The cover shows us some cold, desert landscapes.

SKY OF JUGGOTH (Malta)
“Three Seals Of Masshu” Ep 2008
(Web Ep Release)
From Malta emerges the enigmatic ritualistic dark ambient project known as SKY OF JUGGOTH.and in perspective we must say we have a dark star shinning at horizon. the mastermind behinds SKY OF JUGGOTH is J(K) who also is working in another project such as MJ.5,who back in time year 2000 under several explorations of chthonian currents decided to reveal part of his knowledge through diverse drone sounds, percussive elements and ethereal, eerie atmospheres which were put together under the name “Three Seals Of Masshu”. Musically the whole track through 18 minutes is like an in deep voyage through ancient Sumerian where the old gods were worshipped with blood rituals.
One important aspect to mention here is the way as the whole structure of the composition is handled, having impressive arrangements and elements which encaptures the essence of what J.(K) wants to focus through “Three Seals Of Masshu” .
This Ep is a transcendental 18 minutes epic of ritual dark ambient with a cloud of ethereal gloom, ever shifting and introducing new elements, to music. This really is a fine piece of work that explores some unique territory for the dark ambient realm it resides in. at moments reminds me to Equimanthorn due enigmatic structure evoking distant Sumerian elder gods.

SKY OF YUGGOTH (Malta)
“Transmissions From The Cthonian Deep” Cd 2008
(Web Cd Release)
SKY OF YUGGOTH reveals us its second work which was erupted under so almost different patterns compared with last work. This album is more drone/industrial ambient with no so much ethnic structures as for example, the percussive elements generated on “Three Seals Of Masshu”. You can feel the abysmal abstract portals congregating through 4 compositions, each one of them combining different elements and rigid structures dissolution into visionary spectral sounds which reveals in part a hidden knowledge only perceived by sensitive spirits. At moments music sounds so similar to Lustmord, but with its own musical identity and developed with structures of high quality. Again the main inspirations are the Lovecraftian writings. And from such reality SKY OF YUGGOTH creates a very interesting album, full of Cthonian darkness floating through each one of 4 convergences created here. “Abysmal Laments Of The Forgotten”,” transmissions Of The Forgotten”,” Forth The Deep Dweller”,”De Profundis -Plane Of Dreams”,are the tracks included here, and you must be sure to find interesting elements as industrial passages, drone ,metal sounds, strange vociferations, all of them working as unity to create this piece of ritualistic music. We admire this project because the latent potential hidden behinds such chthonian explorations. For more info just visit The yuggothian’s dimension.

Monday, 15 September 2008

(reviews 19) SAMARKANDE,SUBLIMATUS,BLEIBURG,MIEL NOIRE/B-MACHINA

SAMARKANDE (Can)
“3 Synapses” Cd 2008
( Samarkande)
Again SAMARKANDE surprise us with such a perfect conjunction of sounds, and dynamic electronic improvisations, always going expanded into all directions, and spontaneity generating experimental currents which seems to emerge from the most in depth levels of subconscious of both musicians Eric Filion and Sylvain Lamirande,which are the creative spirits behinds SAMARKANDE.
Filion’s and Lamirande has been developing its skills as musicians from a long time ago. The first one with his high perceptions on synthesizers and classical piano defragmentations. Whilst Lamirande through his enigmatic saxophone passages.so,both of them formed SAMARKANDE in 1999 and since then have released 4 albums, all of them with high peaks due the creativity they handles.
With “3 Synapses” they have walked a more artistic and evolutive path, with a perfect balance and equilibrium through live synthesizers or acoustic improvisations, which are processed and connected with concrete sound sources to create a release with such interesting touch from start to finish.
Each one of the three compositions generated through “3 Synapses” seems to exploit in a estasiastic euphoria when you experience the different fusion of instruments such as: saxophone, Chinese balls, clarinet, autoharp, tenorinette,vox effects…and lot of different electronic devices, to increase the suggestive elements generated through this release. Also the drone passages wrapped through mellotronic sounds and such captivating sequence of elements mutating all the time, creating an excellent release. So, we just hope in future to have the opportunity to explore again the dynamism of SAMARKANDE and introduce us in its universe, where converges the most eclectic realities still to discover.
SUBLIMATUS (Can)
“School Of Sorcery” Cd 2008
(Cybernet Music)
With this album titled “School Of Sorcery” SUBLIMATUS evokes pure beautiful rhythmic sounds and exalts in perspective the essence of its own desires, and sublime aspects of music. And more knowing each musical expressionism has the occult/esoteric/magickal concepts, revealing in part the sensations generated through such high quality music.
SUBLIMATUS comes from Hamilton Ontario, Canada, under the shapes of Zena Hagerty and Andras Hoynic. And such combination creates a perfect harmony which is developed in each one of the 11 tracks developed in “School Of Sorcery” with so fascinating moments in the whole tracks. Just to name a few you can experience “Going Down”,”Abrahadabra”,”Precious Little Angel”, “My Return” containing such downtempo rhythmic patterns and trip-hop elements which got so much our attention.
The music here is well structured and handles interesting synthesizer’s parts and indescribable vocalization of Zena, which gives the music such beauty and erotic sensuality from this living representation of goddess Babalon.
Music is exquisite and played with heart with a dedication which reflects perfectly in which how the music seems to touch your heart.melancholic, sweet and with such enigmatic beauty veiled through the whole 11 compositions. So, SUBLIMATUS is one of such acts which surely you will love, due its essence and beauty nature.
BLEIBURG (Ger)
“Open Wound” Cdr 2008
(The Eastern Front)
The legendary German-Croatian act BLIBURG returns with an album which unleash all its aggressive dynamism at stage, here Stefan Rukavina and W.S. Schroeder develops through 13 tracks from live In Kassel 23/06/2007 and what more impressive release including a collection of the best compositions and more developed as live performances.
Here, BLEIBURG surprise us more time with the dynamism expressionism and strong structures through the whole tracks. And more captivating it’s the opening track “Good –Bye Gulag” it’s programmed beats. The live experience continues through free and its emotive,envolving vocals and atmospheres penetrating the atmosphere penetrating the audience.so, we can imagine how the show was. full of rhythmic patterns and the necessary energy to energy to hypnotize audience through such diverse sounds from dark electronics, to old industrial, to aggressive dance. Is great to have the opportunity to experience an act as BLEIBURG in live, due the way as all the tracks are evolving from the first one to the last.”Izobrazba”, “Velebitski Vokovi” wrapped us to the floor with such sticking electro-rhythms, vocals and sounds, excellent dance compositions.
BLEIBURG’s capability to encaptures the audience through the whole release is palpable just look also tracks as “Godbroke” and transgressive musicalisationship through dense sounds, percussive elements and harsh vocals. Moving the audience through different states is what BLEIBURG’s focus when developing its music live. Also, you shall find classic tracks as “Na Rad!”,”Good Evening Zagreb” and ”Nezdabra Tvorba”,so do you need more? Can you experience BLIBURG from another perspective? Then, just check this great album released by the israelian label The Eastern Front.Cd comes on six panel oversized gatefold sleeve limited to 300 copies.

MIEL NOIR(Bul)/B-MACHINA ( Austria )
“Weiss” Cdr 2008
(The Eastern Front)
Igor & Tania, the minds behind The Eastern Front offer us a very interesting release through this split cd. Why? Because they have selected two acts with enough arguments to reveal us through the musical identity created by both acts. So,MIEL NOIR spreads its apocalyptic drone industrialish compositions into 6 chapters from “Miel I to VI”converging all the time into a sole concrete force,varyng from slow dense dis-harmonic structures full of corrosive guitar tunes and mid tempo, percussive sounds unleashing a sensation of vacuity. You can smell the stench honey around the melodies and arrangements here.
Also we just mention the distortioned vocal samples; at moments guitars has such Old Norwegian black metal sounds, but increasing generated by such a creative shape of Dimo Dimov, known by his industrial folk band Svarrogh.
With B-MACHINA, everything turns a bit more dense and dark. This Austrian act arrives with 3 compositions carving into noise industrial ambient experimentations which you can explore through “The Colours Of My Innocence” reverberating industrial defragmentations can be heard through the second track “Fahne Empor” comes 14 tracks of total silence,coz this Cd contains 22 compositions. The silence is a reflection of void in which inhabits B-Machina and after such minutes of silence comes the last track “Wald Aus Stein & Frost” with melancholic tunes created by classic guitars, and ambient, industrial atmospheres surrounding everything. The principal point of this release is how each act develops its own sounds creating a concrete identity in each one of the tracks presented here. This release comes in a six panel oversized gatefold sleeve. For more info just contact The Eastern Front.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

(Reviews 18) NIKO SCORPIO,OVRO,METAORGANISM

NIKO SCORPIO (Fin)
“Escape From Heaven” Cd 2006
(Some Place Else)
Experimenting with music, sounds and different magickal structures, NIKO SCORPIO emerges from cold crypts of northern Finland, with an album which took him so long periods of time due to hard work and dedication to create abstract sounds and transgressive atmospheres. The whole album was composed between 2000-2005.
The opening track is “Dawn The Gathering Of Vultures” built by dense atmospheres encrypted under a massive use of somber and dark sounds, bringing new realities to this world through ethereal expressions. Coming next is “Fall From Fame” through repetitive vociferations penetrating the whole structure of the track, which is an industrial machine full of power and twisted sounds.


“Escape From Heaven” is not the exeption; here Niko has included aggressive guitar chords which remind me the American metal band slayer, but this time incorporating effects and vocals which fit perfectly through the composition in general. The dynamism and creative potential developed by Niko Scorpio is unlimited, and this is reflected through “Downfall Of The Absolute” and its enigmatic drone industrial elementals twisting all the time to create dark complex structures, revealing just a part of the potential developed here. Fifth composition representing by the symbol of infinite, the intermediality between musical and visual side of “Escape From Heaven” mirroring own personal visions focusing Babalon as primal connector between us and the feminine current latent in each one of us.

“No Longer Exist” is a representation of eclectic nature of Niko Scorpio, this time adapting vocals in an insane way, as poetic expressions and as background some minimalism elements, effects. So, a short track, but effective in its own essence. “Shugal” one the best tracks here. Its music is penetrating and abrasive, as walking in black, humid corridors searching for something which is invisible, but you must visualize entering yourself. Lyrically it’s very interesting, a magickal trip to the desert of our mind, entering to such regions still to discover. As Niko says”…the night side of Eden” with its qliphotic energies surrounding the whole picture of the track. An opus to god Seth, waiting you in the desert of your own perceptions. A dense track with percussive elements and vocals, piano is complementing perfectly the album.

The 8th track is “dudael”this composition is divided into 3 parts. 1-“opus Desolation”, 2-“A Chasm In The Desert”, 3-The Psychogeometry Of Dispersion. And we find enough arguments and lyrical elements to consider this as another highlights from this album. Music mutating all the time and converging itself through ritualistic sounds, and percussive elements, with an eastern atmosphere inspired to the kali-ma kult.another facet explored here. Worth to mention.chorus, atmospheres all gathered into a solid structure. closing this release is “Towards Distant 93” an ambient composition with drone elements and heavy atmospheres, so transgressive, strong and dense, with so dark parallel sounds well handled, generating an eerie music and lethal expressive compositions’ comes in a 8 pages booklet including images and lyrics of mostly tracks.really, I am so very surprising by the creativity and eclectic nature revealed by Niko.

METAORGANISM (Fin)
“I: Baphomet” Cdr 2008
(Some Place Else)
Here is another project from the eclectic creative mental organism known as Niko Scorpio, but this time he arrives with a surreal structure known as METAORGANISM.a living organism manifested unconsciously through different experiments in the fields of digital music working with sinewaves, oscillators and feedback.METAORGANISM is like an entity mutating through digital sonic paradigms and revealing its most in depth nature, through drone, ambient atmospheres. “I:Baphomet” includes 5 compositions and a hidden track for a total of six, wrapping into repetitive sinister structures, always moving in all directions. Music seems to collapse all the time giving birth to new organisms through reververations, and oscillators giving sensations of trance state.
“I:Baphomet” is the first in what is being planned as a series of METAORGANISMS audio documents and through each series of experiments is where you can give form to unanimated shapes and abstract forms from your subconscious. Its better to experience METAORGANISM in total darkness just in a comfortable position, preferable with a strong purple light in front of your eyes, and you can experience some shapes emerging from the lights, so such experiment works fine to me. Just be able to enter this digital world, mesmerizing through dark dis-harmonic defragmentation of sounds which are always under improvisations, with any predetermined plane. An element METAORGANISM, A core BAPHOMET, and two words REAL and UNREAL, to chanalize the transmission generated by this project. Where the manifestation occurs through sounds and your mind to materialize METAORGANISM…the transmission has just begun.

NIKO SCORPIO (Fin)
“Half Born In Half Light” Cd 2008
(Some Place Else)
The enigmatic voyage to intelstellar qliphotic zenith of NIKO SCORPIO continues with its triumphant march towards the inner light of darkness. And with “Half Born In Half Light”, he has reached a highest peak in his career as alchemic musician,fusioning and adapting different psychedelic ambient soundscapes and darkly majestic bass drone elements. The album includes 7 visionary evocations bringing to explore the diverse magickal reality into audial shapes crawling as shadows behind you, as gathering through ethereal labyrinths of dense sounds manipulated in a in depth proper way and effects complementing it. Lyrically, the concept exploits from diverse perceptions handling atavisms, aethyrs, primal structures and cosmic elements emerging from within the sonic mantras developed here. Without a doubt one of the best albums this year.

Tracks as “Worm In The Foundation” with dense guitar bass passages surrounded by effects, ostrich bass and sounds converging into strong structures with dynamism and character in the way as its used. Or the long track “through The Ribcage” and its vaporous atmospheres twisting all the time” ,emerging again and again… “No Longer Exists “the burning light in itself carving the presence of its own shinning through hypnotic drone sounds and effusive elements. Or coming back to the first track “monogram” veiled in cosmic atavisms coming from the other side.
The music through the whole album is so, amazing enigmatic and ritualistic which obviously increase the interest to those of us involved on magickal currents and explorations.also,we must mention two more aspects which penetrates our senses in all dimensions.first,the magickal vocal incantations built into diverse forms and techniques showing us more the dynamism and creativity developed and a second aspect, the amazing visual side,coz the cd comes with a 12 panel leaflet with the art,photos,liner notes and more. Each picture, each linear structure, each abstract form reveal us a hidden paradigm for a determinate track, which must be explored by yourself to understand what is beyond the light…remember this is hermetic fusion musik. A non-conventional musical piece with magickal abstractions dissolving and burning once again. For more info just contact him.
info@someplaceelse.com

OVRO (Fin)
“Mosaik The Serpent/Vipera Aurea” Cd 2007
(Some Place Else)
Some Place Else recs, blind us again with its most vaporous stench, and yes…its corrosive and transgressor art developed here by OVRO. This is our first experience under such Finnish female artist. And this experience is a long 16 musical expressions which must be explored via many channels of consiusness, because it’s an inner reality divided into two concrete forms. “Mosaik The Serpent” and “Vipera Aurea” into a concrete universe OVRO.

The first part “Mosaik The serpent” is developed through 6 compositions in which you can lunch psychic tranformations, painful noises and disturbing vocals from time to time. The music here goes from experimental ambient to electro industrial. Different states of mind veiled through minimal, surreal sounds and scratches, noises, cracks, and other elements surrounding the whole tracks. The visual side reflects the serpent shape emanating from OVRO´s figure naked under several seductive postures, in a marvelous 12 pages leaflet.
The second part “Vipera Aurea” includes another 6 tracks, from high context such as musical, visual, and lyrical. Tracks such as “Vorpal Angel” apocalyptic dark drone with twisted vocals and sounds generating madness and ecstasies. Or “Serpent calls” with always impressive vocals of Massimo from Black Sun Productions. The music at “Vipers Aurea” is more chaotic and aggressive than first part. So, the solve “mosaic The Serpent” and coagula “Vipera Aurea”so, the creation and dissolution and everything seems to reduce to nothing due the extreme music developed here. Mixing the intensity of sounds with moments of minimalistic calm, also this includes a 12 pages booklet with always impressive photographs taken by Niko Scorpio, a soul behind the void in which inhabits OVRO. A great release here worth to check now.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

AUSTIN OSMAN SPARE AND THE ZOS KIA CULTUS(article)

Austin Osman Spare and the Zos Kia
Cultus
H.P. Lovecraft, in one of his tales of terror, alludes to certain entities which have their being "not in the spaces known to us, but between them. They walk calm and primal, of no dimensions, and to us unseen."
This aptly describes Austin Osman Spare. The circumstances of his birth emphasize the element of ambivalence and inbetweeness which forms the theme of his magic. He told me he was not sure whether he was born on the last day of December 1888, or on New Year's Day, 1889; whether, as he put it, he was Janus backward-turning, or Janus forward-facing. But whichever aspect of the deity he more closely represented, it is a fact that his life was a curious blend of past and future. Despite his inability to remember quite when he was born, the place was certainly Snowhill, London: he was the only son of a City of London policeman.
When barely twenty years of age he began writing The Book of Pleasure, in which he used art and sex to explore the subconscious mind. The Book of Pleasure reeks of diabolism to such an extent that Mario Praz in The Romantic Agony (Oxford, 1933) refers to Spare as an English "satanic occultist", and he places him in the same category as Aleister Crowley.
Spare's intense interest in the more obscure aspects of sorcery sprang from his early friendship with an old colonial woman who claimed descent from a line of Salem witches that Cotton Mather had failed to exterminate. Spare always alluded to her as Mrs. Paterson, and called her his "second mother". She had an extremely limited vocabulary composed mainly of the fortune-teller's argot, yet she was able to define and explain the most abstract ideas much more clearly than could Spare with his large and unusual vocabulary.
Although penniless, she would accept no payment for her fortune-telling, but insisted on the odd symbolic coin traditionally exacted as a sacrifice fee. Apart from her skill in divining, she was the only person Spare ever met who could materialize thoughts to visible appearance. Aleister Crowley- who met and attracted all kinds of psychically active individuals-met two only in the course of his life who had this particular siddhi (Allan Bennett was one; the other, Crowley did not name).
Mrs. Paterson, when visited for purposes of fortune-telling, would read a person's character immediately as a matter of course before going into details about the future. If she prophesied an event she was unable to describe verbally, she would objectivize the event in a visual image and the querent would see, in some dark corner of her room, a clearly defined if fleeting image of the prophesied event. And this never failed to follow at the appointed time.
It was undoubtedly Mrs. Paterson's influence that stimulated Spare's innate interest in the occult, which, allied to his remarkable skill as a draughtsman enabled him to reproduce through his art the strange entities he encountered in transmundane spheres. He drew several portraits of Mrs. Paterson, one of which appeared in The Focus of Life, published by the Morland Press in 1921. Another drawing of her by Spare recently appeared (1971) in the part-work encyclopaedia Man, Myth and Magic, where she is shown after having "exteriorized" herself in the form of a nubile girl.
Spare too was able occasionally to conjure thought-forms to visible appearance, but whereas in the old witch's case it was an unfailing power, in his own case it was erratic and uncertain. On one occasion it worked only too effectively, as two unfortunate persons learnt to their cost. They were of the dilettante kind, mere dabblers in the occult. They wanted Spare to conjure an Elemental to visible appearance. They had seen materialized spirits of the dead in the seance room, but had never seen an Elemental. Spare tried to dissuade them, explaining that such creatures were subconscious automata inhabiting the human psyche at levels normally inaccessible to the conscious mind. As they almost always embodied atavistic urges and propensities, it was an act of folly to evoke them as their intrusion into waking life could be extremely dangerous. But the smatterers did not take him seriously.
Using his own method of elemental evocation, Spare set to work. Nothing happened for some time, then a greenish vapour, resembling fluid seaweed, gradually invaded the room. Tenuous fingers of mist began to congeal into a definite, organized shape. It entered their midst, gaining more solidity with each successive moment. The atmosphere grew miasmic with its presence and an overpowering stench accompanied it; and in the massive cloud of horror that enveloped them, two pinpoints of fire glowed like eyes, blinking in an idiot face which suddenly seemed to fill all space. As it grew in size the couple panicked and implored Spare to drive the thing away. He banished it accordingly. It seemed to crinkle and diminish, then it fell apart like a blanket swiftly disintegrating. But while it had cohered and hung in the room like a cloud, it was virtually opaque and tangible; and it reeked of evil. Both the people concerned were fundame
ntally changed. Within weeks, one died of no apparent cause; the other had to be committed to an insane asylum.
Although Spare was convinced that an occult Intelligence frequently painted, drew, or wrote through him, he was unable to discover its identity. He was, however, in almost daily contact with a familiar, a spirit-guide, known as Black Eagle whom he had clearly seen and drawn on several occasions. But he was convinced that Black Eagle was not the sole source of his automatism. Spare had but to turn his head suddenly and he would sometimes catch a glimpse of the familiar spirits that constantly surrounded him. Several times he had "caught" one of them long enough to make a lightning-swift sketch.
Spare's frequent traffic with denizens of invisible realms led to his evolving a graphic means of conjoining all thoughts- past, present, and future- in the ever-fluid ether of Consciousness. His graphic symbology represents a definite language designed to facilitate communication with the psychic and subliminal world.
It was Spare's opinion that for this language to be truly effective, each individual should evolve his own, creating his sigils from the material nearest to hand- his own subconscious. He gave as a reason for so much failure in divination the fact that, although the operator sometimes succeeded in annexing traditional symbols to his own subconscious awareness of their true values, many of the symbols eluded correct interpretation; they therefore failed of nexus and were consequently sterile.
Not only could Spare "tell fortunes" in the usually accepted sense, he could also use the cards for influencing the host of subtle entities which swarm in the astral light, and with their cooperation he accomplished much of his magic.
He designed and used a pack of cards which he called the "Arena of Anon", each card bearing a magical emblem which was a variation of one of the letters of the Alphabet of Desire. (The basis of this Alphabet, together with many early examples of the letters composing it, is given in Spare's 'The Book of Pleasure', on which he began working in 1909 and published privately on completion, in 1913.) When vividly visualized, the emblem or sigil mysteriously stirs the subconscious and a corresponding image, or set of images, arises in the mind. In proportion to the power of belief in the sigil, so is the clarity of the image which it evokes. If the sigil taps a layer of ancient or cosmic memory, some astonishing images surge into the mind and the skilful sorcerer is able to project them into the astral mind-stuff of other individuals, so that they imagine the image to be a palpable presence.
Spare could influence elemental phenomena as well as the minds of other people. Great danger lies in possession, and Spare wisely refrained from writing too openly about the processes he employed. What I know about his methods I learnt from personal contact with him.
Even as a child, Spare employed these curious sigils. One is reminded of Yeat's words in The Trembling of the Veil: "Mathers described how as a boy he had drawn over and over again some event that he longed for; and called those drawings an instinctive magic."
When he was seventeen Spare stayed at the home of the Rev. Robert Hugh Benson, author of The Necromancers and other occult novels. They went out for a walk one summer day; a serene and cloudless blue sky shone overhead. It had been fine all day, and Benson was curious to know whether Spare could, in such unlikely circumstances, produce rain by magical means. Spare said he could, proceeded to trace a sigil on the back of a used envelope, and, pausing in his tracks, concentrated all his attention upon it. Within ten minutes small clouds began to appear; they massed at a point immediately above their heads and discharged violently. Both Benson and Spare were drenched to the skin.
A year or two later, Benson introduced Spare to the Hon. Everard Feilding, Secretary of the Society of Psychic Research. At the time Feilding was associated with Frederick Bligh Bond, the President of the Archaeological Society who, by psychic means, had discovered the buried Edgar Chapel at Glastonbury Abbey. Like Benson, Feilding wanted proof of Spare's magical powers and, when the latter offered to oblige, proposed the following test: Spare was to materialize an object which Feilding mentally visualized without giving any clue as to its nature.
Spare drew one of his magical sigils, which, instead of being symbolic of the unknown desired object, was the ideograph of a familiar spirit whose services he frequently employed when any mind-reading was required.
After some time, Spare received a vivid impression of the object in Feilding's mind. He then drew a second sigil, told Feilding he need no longer concentrate, and proceeded to do so himself. These proceedings were interrupted by a knock on the door. Feilding tiptoed to the door, opened it, and was amazed to find his valet proffering a pair of slippers. Feilding turned to Spare and asked him how he had done it!
An essential part of Spare's technique lay in deliberate forgetfulness, and this is the part which a novice finds extremely difficult. One is reminded of the king who lavished a fortune on an itinerant alchemist who had successfully manufactured the Philosopher's Stone. After giving the king lengthy and complicated instructions, which the king repeated by heart, the alchemist smiled and said approvingly: "Yes, your Highness has remembered every detail perfectly; there is just one further point to remember. For three minutes before the Alchemical Substance congeals, you must concentrate your mind upon its lustre as it seethes in the alembic, but during this time you should on no account let the thought of greenness cross you mind for even a moment." The king thanked the alchemist and prepared to make the Stone. Everything went according to plan until the last few minutes, when the mind of the king was invaded by an army
of green objects which he was powerless to banish.
With Spare's sigils the case is somewhat similar. The reason he gives for forgetting the desire at the time of invoking it lies in the fact that for the operation to succeed the conscious mind must have no inkling of the transaction. Consciously formulated desires take time to materialize; subconscious desires can be made to materialize very swiftly. Consciousness of the desire vitiates the entire process, so a method had to be found of forgetting the desire during the period of magical evocation. Spare called the process "union through absent-mindedness" and advocated the yogic method of emptying the mind of all but the sigil. This is not always successful so as an alternative he suggests the sigillization of perennial desires, desires that are sure to arise periodically, as for instance the desire for beautiful women. Several such desires are then sigillized, scrambled together, and laid aside for several days. On reassembling the cards upon which they have been drawn, the operator is unable to remember precisely what sigillizes what! The rite is then comparatively easy to accomplish for it requires only concentrated thought.
Spare often supplemented the process by a sexual formula which endowed it with added efficacy. He derived most of his sex-magical formulae from a Delphic Pythoness who communed with him during sessions of automatic writing. This Delphic Oracle was probably the spirit of old Mrs. Paterson, guiding him from beyond.
One such formula enabled him to "give life to the autistic, by an earthenware virgin". In view of the present-day predilection for auto-erotic aids to ecstasy, the resuscitation of the dildo (At the time of writing, my attention has been drawn to "the first European sex paper" which reflects the current obsession with purely mechanistic aspects of self-love. Nevertheless, such methods employed in a magical manner may place the practitioner in direct contact with his daemon or genius.) and the widespread curiosity about the sorcery of sex, Spare's formula of the Earthenware Virgin is of particular interest, though for Spare it had an exclusively magical aim.
Until he received this formula he had, as he put it, "copulated merely with the atmosphere, or rode whores, witches and bitches of all kinds, there being few virgins".
In order to translate a specified desire from the level of subjective consciousness to the material or objective plane, the Pythoness instructed him to construct an urn in conformity with the dimensions of the erect penis. Sufficient space- but no more- was to be left at the end of the vessel in order to form a vacuum when the phallus was inserted. The cavity was to contain the sigillized wish, which was automatically consecrated at the moment of orgasm. The greatly enhanced pleasure induced by the suctional power of the vacuum increased the size of the penis and caused an unusually prolonged orgasm. At the critical moment, the desire was to be vividly visualized and held steadily in mind for as long as possible. When the mental image began to wane and disappear the urn was hermetically sealed and buried in a casket filled with earth, or in the ground itself.
Spare maintained that this was the formula used by the ancient Greek urnings; hence the designation. In one of his unpublished writings he give the following instructions: "Bury the urn at midnight, the moon being quartered. When the moon wanes, disinter the urn and- while repeating a suitable incantation- pour its contents as a libation on to the earth. Then re-bury it."
As the sperm would by that time have congealed, Spare advised a replenishment before the second "burial". He describes the Earthenware Virgin as "the most formidable formula known; it never fails and is dangerous. Hence, what is not written down must be guessed.
"From this formula was derived the legend of the genii of the brazen vessel associated with Solomon."
Whether this is so, I do not know, but there is a curious illustration in Payne Knight's celebrated Discourse on the Worship of Priapus (London, 1865) which is not satisfactorily explained in the text. It is in two parts and depicts a male figure with sexual organ erect; in his raised right hand he holds a vase-shaped sheath which he is about to clamp upon the phallus. The second part of the illustration shows the same image, but with penis drooping languidly after ejaculation, and the waist of the figure girdled with fruits symbolic of the rite's fulfilment. There are also one or two illustrations in Reinach's Repertoire des Vases Peints (Paris, 1899), which sugg
est a similar magical practice.
Spare could undoubtedly materialize atavisms from his own subconsciousness and clothe them fleetingly in the sexual ectoplasm (or astral semen) of his atmospheric copulations.
Occasionally, these entities actually achieved a degree of density sufficient to make them visible- and even palpable- to other people. He called them "elemental automata" or "intrusive familiars". They frequently copulated amongst themselves, engendering offspring simultaneously. Spare has depicted many of these creatures in their peculiar pursuits and has written several accounts of the Sabbath which he attended in their company. Old Mrs. Paterson's influence is here very marked, for he used her likeness as the type of the ancient witch in many of his drawings.
One of Spare's constantly recurring themes concerns the transmogrification of age into youth. The first time Mrs. Paterson transformed herself before his eyes, the sorcery of it left a permanent impression which inspired many of his later works. One moment she was the lined and wizened old crone, then, in a flash, she appeared to him as a syren equipped with all the allurements of sex-appeal, an image that fulfilled his penchant for full voluptuous contours. How she projected such a glamour he was unable to discover, and although he never surprised her secret, he tried- with paartial success- to emulate her example. This he did by a magical induction of ecstasy which enabled him to function at levels of high emotionalism. He was at such times creatively active for days on end, needing neither food nor sleep. Enhanced sexual activity accompanied this condition. On the few occasions when he did not sublimate this energy and direct it to artistic creation, he regretted it. Such was his hunger that in one night alone he coupled with eighteen women. He called these outbursts j"Dionysiac spasms of pan-sexualism", in which he had a vision of "all things fornicating all the time".
Spare wrote down his witch-guide's instructions and, over the years, worked them into several books which he illustrated by some of the best of his drawings. It was only towards the end of his life, however, that he concentrated the mass of Mrs. Paterson's teachings into definite form. This consisted of a series of aphorisms and a magical grimoire which he was working on at the time of his death in 1956. Both these works survive in manuscript. He intended calling the Grimoire The Book of the Living Word of Zos, the name Zos being his magical name in the Witch-Cult.
The Grimoire is not so much a resume of the Witch Tradition as a highly individualized system of sorcery reflecting his creative genius and aesthetic theories. He also developed and extended his magical alphabet, the Atavistic Alphabet about which he had first written in The Book of Pleasure in 1913. Each letter represents a sex-principle potent to awaken remote atavistic strata of the psyche. Examples of its use are given in the Grimoire, where he allies it with Witchcraft. The following is a literal translation of one of his favourite spells:
O mighty Rehctaw! Thou who exists in all erogenousness, We evoke Thee!
By the power of the meanings arising from these forms I make. We evoke Thee!
By the Talismans that speak the secret leitmotif of desire, We evoke Thee!
By the sacrifices, abstinences and transvaluations we make, We evoke Thee!
By the sacred inbetweeness concepts Give us the flesh!
By the quadriga sexualis Give us unvarying desire!
By the conquest of fatigue Give us eternal resurgence!
By the most sacred Word-graph of Heaven We invoke Thee!
This prayer or evocation embodies traditional Sabbatic concepts and might be described as the Alpha and Omega of Spare's doctrine.
Rehctaw (Watcher) is spelt backwards, not for the reason given in connection with Dee and Kelly's angelic communications but because the "backward" symbolism conceals the key to the reification of desire, the final absorption of the ego-current in its source- the Self. Hence Spare's emphasis on Self-love, or autotelic ecstasy. Rehctaw is the symbol of reaching backwards in time to infinite remoteness by the mechanism of intense nostalgia. Whether it is symbolized by the Moon presiding over the nocturnal orgies of the Sabbath, or by the back-to-back dance of the witches and warlocks (see de L'Ancre), or by the infamous kiss of the Sabbath which is applied to the anus of the Demon; all such symbols indicate an infinite regression which causes atavistic resurgence and the inversion of sex to Self-love.
"Shall I speak of that unique intensity without form? Know ye the ecstasy within? The pleasure between ego and self? At that time of ecstasy there is no thought of others; there is no thought." (The Anathema of Zos, by A.O. Spare; London, 1927)
The opening line of the evocation resumes the method employed at the Sabbath for conscious wish-fulfilment through self-pleasure, and it is glossed by the words: "Except in the sensuous impact of flesh on flesh there are no meanings." The Self lives in, permeates, and is identical with, Reality- the enduring and ever present Consciousness- the living flesh compact of endlessly reifying dream.
The second part of the evocation refers to the sigils and letters of the sacred alphabet wherewith Zos (i.e. the body considered as a whole) produces its subtle spells by projecting its Self on the mists of matter, without. In other words, the language of desire and its meanings penetrate the silent regions of consciously forgotten experiences, evoking by its rebverberant power the ineluctable memories that abide perpetually in subconsciousness.
"The Talismans that speak the leitmotif of desire" are, primarily, the two major magical instruments of Spare's system- the Hand and Eye of which the phallus and the kteis are the
secret symbols. They are both used, as in Crowley's Cult, for evoking or provoking "consciousness in touch; ecstasy in vision".
The fourth clause of the Sabbatic Prayer refers to the occult maxim that great achievements proceed upon total exhaustion of energy in one great burst of release, after a period- long or short- of sacrifice or abstention, during which time the necessary energy is accumulated and intensified. "The Sabbath is always secret, communal and periodic; an enforced consummation for almost unlimited wish-fulfilment."
"Prolonged voluntary abstinence, repression and sacrifice, is released in mass sexual congress and sublimated to one end: the exteriorization of a wish, which is thus achieved by a great saving and a total spending." (From an unpublished manuscript, Formula of the Witch's Sabbath as first told me by a Witch, by A.O.S.)
The "transvaluations" are effected by the sloughing of conventional ideas and beliefs, and by the absorption of the energy thus liberated. Spare terms such energy "free belief". It is this aimless energy that is seized upon at the Sabbath and directed to given ends.
The fifth clause of the Prayer introduces one of the most important aspects of Spare's magic, that of inbetweenness.
In everyday life one craze or "belief" follows another. By a process of not-believing, of emptying the craze, or obsession, of its content, we can surprise the tendency of belief to appear as one thing rather than another, or as one thing after another. We can in this way break through into that ecstasy of communion with the Atmospheric "I" which Spare calls the Kia, the state of inbetweenness, or Neither-Neither.
The primordial belief is "Self", "God", or Kia (it does not matter what we call it). It is the only belief that is self-evident because it is experienced by each one of us at every moment of our existence. It is also the only belief that is truly free of belief, because to be is to be-live it- as Spare aptly expresses it. It is void of necessity to become anything else, for it is all things all the time and can only and always be itself. If we can realize this we shall not fall into the error of conceptual thought, which constantly breeds other thoughts with which we temporarily identify ourselves: the Buddhist cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
In a few words, Spare states the crux of the doctrine: "By hindering belief and semen from conception, they become simple and cosmic." Only when desire has become cosmic can the total ecstasy, which characterizes Kia, dawn in the individual consciousness, because it is then no longer limited or personalized consciousness, but cosmic in scope and free to enjoy itself eternally.
In other words, one must enlarge belief or desire until it embraces all things; Spare urges us to will "insatiety of desire, brave self-indulgence and primaeval sexualism" (The Focus of Life, by Austin O. Spare. The Morland Press, London, 1921.), for belief freed from conception merges desire with the Infinite, creates a unity of Self-Knowing (which is also supreme Self-Love) and transcends the two poles of objectivity and subjectivity, discovering in between the
two, the Real Self, Kia, the Atmospheric "I".
After the Oath which constitutes the fifth stage of evocation, the refrain changes from "We evoke Thee!" to a demand to the hidden Watcher to 'Give us the flesh!" The petition is for the material medium whereby the desire will actually substantiate itself.
From certain historical accounts of Witchcraft we learn that the roasted flesh or children and animals was sometimes sacrificed to the infernal powers as a sacrifice potent to achieve realization of the desires of the celebrants at the Sabbath. The literal performance of this sacrifice was a degeneration of the original magical act of transubstantiation effected by the sorcerer when he "sacrificed" the child of his loins, i.e. when he consumed or burnt up his sigillized wish in the fire of forgetfulness.
The next stage of the rite evokes the "quadriga sexualis" (the four horseman or powers of sex) which adumbrates the various mystical attitudes (forms of congress, postures) employed at the Sabbath. Although these are numerous, there are four main kinds. Firstly, the gesture of constant congress; secondly, the gesture of abstract creating (a masturbatory gesture) involving the Hand, the Eye, and the Atmosphere; thirdly, the gesture of simulation or astral reflection, symbolized by the Formula of the Divine Ape; and fourthly, the gesture typical of the Witch Cult which involves the sodomitical use of the female organism.
Comparisons with Crowley's Cult of Sexual Magick will spring to mind, but Spare elaborates these four great gestures as follows:
In the first instance he interprets "constant congress" as the perpetual interplay of the Will (symbolized by the Hand) and the Imagination (symbolized by the Eye), for it is Will and Imagination that cause things to appear. The Tibetan Yab-yum is the Oriental mode of representing this constant interplay of the active and passive potencies. The gesture of constant congress, therefore, resumes the prime function of the Sabbatic Rite, which is "ex-creation", or evolving from our "innerness" through living contact with "all otherness"- typified by the world without.
The second gesture- that of abstract creating- is performed by a special kind of mantric vibration, and the Mouth is the symbol of the magical implement which performs it. Reverberant evocation, prayer, adoration through song, incantation or mantra, conveys the energy of desire by tonal nuance to the necessary stratum of the subconsciousness. The technique of making the utterance effective, of resounding the depths of cosmic memory and making the "sacred alignments" is a major arcanum of the Zos Kia Cultus. "What sounds the depths and conjoins Will and Belief? Some inarticulate hieroglyph, or sigil, wrought from nascent Desire and rhythmed by unbounded Ego." (From The Grimoire of Zos.)
The second gesture therefore resumes the formulation of the Great Wish on the astral plane, prior to its "excreation", projection, and subsequent embodiment.
The third gesture of the "quadriga sexualis", the concept of simulation, reveals the means of reifying the Great Wish. The archetype of all such simulatory techniques is the state of total vacuity which Spare named the Death Posture. By feint, the means of reification is concentrated through a simulation of death or annihilation. This posture is explained in the next chapter.
The fourth and final gesture, that of re-organization, re-arrangement, or "abortive congress", implies a magical formula deriving from the ancient Draconian Cults of Egypt. Either Moon Magic is implied, or the Formula of Gomorrah, both of which appear in the Crowley Cult as aspects of the IX! and XI!, O.T.O., respectively. The re-organization of magical power within the human organism involves consolidation of the reified wish until it exhausts itself through "non-necessity". Hence the gesture of the "quadriga sexualis" impregnates the glamour already projected on the astral plane, endowing it with the energy of the sorcerer himself so that it becomes a living entity, capable of reverberant copulations through "increative" congress.
Spare explains the Sabbath as "an inverse-reversion for self-seduction; an undoing for a divertive conation. Sex is used as the technique and medium of a magical act. It is not only erotic satisfaction; the sensualist is made detached, controlled, until final sublimation. His whole training is designed to render him submissive and obedient [to the Witch] until he can control, transmute, and direct his magical energy wherever desired, by cold and amoral passion." (From an unpublished manuscript entitled The Zoetic Grimoire of Zos.)
Following upon the appeal to the "quadriga sexualis" are the words "Give us unvarying desire!" Desire, without variation of any kind, undifferentiated and undifferentiating, leads to the consummation of an unvarying bliss which is free from all concept, and therefore habitually infinite. "Ecstasy is our outspan, touching reality: a potent generative instant; its surplus may be used abstractly [i.e. by mantric vibration; see the Second Gesture] to incarnate another wish," and so on, endlessly. This is what is meant by "reverberant evocation".
The seventh stage of the rite concerns "the conquest of fatigue" which is essential to effective Sabbatic functioning; it is (or should be) sustained somatic, cerebral and psycho-magical energy insuring intense ecstasy when the Great Exhaustion makes possible the voidness necessary to the projection of the sigil; the voidness that is the chalice containing the Great Wish. This recalls Crowley's innumerable sex-magical operations for "Sex-Force and Attraction". (See The Magical Record of the Beast 666, edited by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant.)
The penultimate petition, "Give us eternal resurgence", is a plea for the constant return of the primaevally remembered rapture, until a continuum of bliss is established wherein the Kia is seen, felt, and known to be the backround of all possibility, the source of creation and the aim of all pleasure. It is the doctrine of atavistic resurgence.
The Sabbatic prayer concludes with an invocation of "the most sacred Word-graph of Heaven". The Word-graph of Heaven is a glyph of the Goddess, and it conceals the true purpose of the Sabbath. It is a secret glyph of Zos Kia Cultus; it invokes the Goddess, whereas the preceding stages of the rite evoked Her. Invocation is a call to the Spirit to appear subjectively; evocation is a calling forth of the Spirit to objective appearance. The hidden Rehctaw is evoked to visible manifestation "by the power of meanings arising from these forms I make".
According to Spare, the witch presiding at the Sabbatic rite is "usually old, grotesque, worldly, and libidinously learned; and is as sexually attractive as a corpse. Yet she becomes the supreme vehicle of consummation. This is necessary for the tranmutation of the sorcerer's personal aesthetic culture, which is thereby destroyed. Perversion is used to overcome moral prejudice or c
onformity. By persistence, the mind and desire become amoral, focused, and entirely acceptive, and the life-force of the Id (the Great Desire) is free of inhibitions prior to final control.
"Thus, ultimately, the Sabbath becomes a deliberate sex orgy for the purpose of exteriorization, thus giving reality to the autistic thought by transference. Sex is for full use, and he who injures none, himself does not injure."
Spare believed that the personal aesthetic culture (that is, the individual's idea of what constitutes beauty and ugliness) when exalted as the criterion of value in itself, has destroyed more affective affinity that any other "belief". "But he who transmutes the traditionally ugly into another aesthetic value has new pleasures beyond fear."
In Liber Aleph, Crowley enunciated a similar thesis. The magical ecstasy liberated by union with grotesque or hideous images usually associated with aversion, repulsion, or horror, is super-abundant compared with that released by the union of (usually accepted) opposites. One is reminded of Salvador Dali's observation that the wished-for treasure islands may lie precisely in those images of horror and dread that are naturally repellent to the conscious mind. Such a transformation of values, a rebours, improves health and leads to self-control, tolerance, understanding and compassion. Not only an adjunct to the rite, it accelerates the fulfilment of the Great Desire.
"Nothing is attained merely by 'wanting'; epistemology, even eschatology will not help, not Gods; but- spake Zos- the 'as if' simulations have been prolific as objective realities. Sublimation of all 'reason' to the 'blind' life-force is the whole of wisdom." (From The Grimoire of Zos.)
Spare's drawings were always inspired by the New Aesthetic, the New Sexuality. They amount almost to masturbation in line; the line coils and curls upon itself and mounts the steep incline of ecstasy as the amazing sigils are woven into a complex web of dream. To follow closely the line of some of his Sabbatic drawings is to leave earth and dive obliquely between those spaces that Lovecraft celebrated in his nightmare tales. Such drawings are themselves the gateway to the Sabbath; one is drawn into a vortex and whirled down the funnel of consciousness which explodes into unknown worlds. Spare would not reveal the magical graphs that unsealed the cells of these eldritch dimensions.
Of the Sabbath itself he said that it was always secret, communal and periodic; a concentrated consummation for unlimited wish-fulfilment:
The hyper-eroticism induced by this grand scale hysteria or saturnalia has no essentially sado-masochistic basis; simulation can and often does replace it. Before the ceremony, each participant plays his or her allotted part which usually develops into chaotic promiscuity. The initiates are trained in their parts individually; they play a passive role, while the witches take the active part; thus the symbolic levitation by besom handle.
There is a secret meeting-place and an elaborate ceremony which is an extensive hypnotic to overwhelm all psychological resistances; thus, the sense of smell, hearing and sight are seduced by incense, mantric incantation and ritual, while taste and touch are made more sensitive by the stimuli of wine and oral sexual acts. After total sexual satiation by every conceivable means, an affectivity becomes, an exteriorized hallucination of the predetermined wish which is magical in its reality. No one can say whether certain things happen or not; each individual may have very different and equally vivid experiences; but some form of levitation seems common to all. My own experience of many Sabbaths is that there is consummate exteriorization [of latent potencies] and that subsequent memories are of reality.
All excessively sadistic acts are mainly symbolized by the witches, and what simulation there is follows closely the patterns of all erotic love rites. The whole ceremony is based mainly on an inversion of orthodox religious services.
In another writing (also unpublished), Spare declared that "Sorcery is a deliberate act of causing metamorphoses by the employment of elementals. It forges a link with the powers of middle nature, (i.e. The astral plane, between the spiritual and physical realms.) or the ether, the astrals of great trees and of animals of every kind. Will is our medium, Belief is the vehicle, and Desire is the force combining with the elemental. Cryptograms are our talismans and protectors."
The will, or nervous energy, must be suppressed in order to create tension, and released only at the psychological moment. "At that time, gaze into and beyond the immediate vista, into the Aeon- the spaciousness beyond your meannesses, beyond your borrowed precepts, dogmas and beliefs- until you vibrate in spacious unity. Indraw your breath until the body quivers and then give a mighty suspiration, releasing all your nervous energy into the focal point of your wish; and as your urgent desire merges into the ever present procreative sea, you will feel a tremendous insurge, a self-transformation. And the Devil himself shall not prevent your will materializing."