Jung v. Freud: Mapping the Psyche
By Ryan Norris
Carl Jung’s theory of the unconscious and its structuring of archetypes was a way for him to explain common occurrences in psychological phenomenon seen in his patients and their dreams. Jung no doubt took influence from his teacher Sigmund Freud but did not fully agree with Freud’s complete theory. As such, the two men had similar structuring to their theories of the unconscious but different mechanical perceptions. A big differences was Jung’s idea the deep unconscious, or as he called it, the collective unconscious, was structured by archetypes that are common to all people all over the world. Freud’s theory seems to lack this shared structuring in favor of a totally personal make-up.
For instance, Freud believed the unconscious was composed of all the things an individual does not accept or represses. This includes memories, adverse thought cycles, unacceptable instincts and impulses and thus the unconscious is constructed by the individual from the age of 3 or 4 years old when the ego begins to develop. Jung, however, believed the unconscious develops first before birth. His theory describes the unconscious as the foundational structuring of an individual’s personality, instinctual awareness, and psychic build. Freud broke the unconscious up into 2 areas: the preconscious and the unconscious. The preconscious he described as all the automatic functions of the mind and the unconscious he described as a force of psychic will that is below the conscious awareness. Jung also had 2 areas of unconsciousness: the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The personal unconscious is 100% unique to each individual as it contains all the psychic experiences that do not currently occupy a place in the conscious awareness. The collective unconscious is comprised of the inherited psychic structures (the archetypes) which, again, all humans share. These are instincts and impulses where as the personal unconscious is emotion, memory and things the conscious mind has filtered out.
Freud had developed his own archetypes in the form of the Id, Ego and Super Ego. The id is instinct and primal impulse, ego is the regulator of a persons impulses, and the Super Ego is the moralistic center. He placed the ego as the totality of consciousness, the id as the center of the preconscious and the super ego as the control unit of the unconscious. The id wants instant gratification but the ego wants to avoid the discomfort that may come as a result of the perceived unfavorable behavior and the super ego balances the two other parts and is responsible for feelings of guilt and shame.
The theory of the collective unconscious was developed by Jung during his time working with schizophrenic patients at Burgholzli hospital. Jung placed all archetypes in the collective unconscious and specifically identified 4 main archetypes; though he acknowledged the near limitless number of archetypes possible. The persona is the archetype that forms an individuals conscious interaction with the external world. It is comprised of the social masks put into place in order to survive comfortably in a person’s external environment. The shadow is composed of the instinctual and sexual structures of an individual. This is formed from the socially unacceptable parts of an individual’s psychic make-up. The anima/animus is the contra sexual aspect of the psyche. It is the archetypical image a man in a woman and the archetypical woman in a man. And finally, the archetype of the self. This is the unified conscious and unconscious as a whole.
Jung did not accept that a person is born with a blank mind and thus imposed his theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious as a way to counter this notion. This structuring takes into account the inherited aspects of the psyche that are genetically determined and that can be see in not just humans but animals as well. A documentary on the largest group of chimpanzees ever recorded in the wild at Ngogo national park in Africa provides and excellent example. Entitled Rise of the Warrior Apes, it documents the research collected over 40 years from a number of primatologists on the social behavior of the large chimp tribe. The apes demonstrated many human like behaviors such as the instinct for war, resource depletion and social punishment which can arguably be primal archetypical psychic tendencies.
The archetypes tend to manifest themselves in dream images and motifs, as well as religious and cultural manifestations. This happens when they enter the conscious mind and become actualized through the individual’s thoughts, impulses and dreams or nightmares. Learning how to understand the language of the archetypes is a part of Jung’s individuation process. By taking long term records of one’s dreams, divorcing one’s self from the falseness of the persona, and coming to a point of self-realization one uncovers the true self (the Jungian archetype of Self) and separates the psyche from all outside mindsets. Thus, individuation is painful, scary and can be seen as left hand path when done consciously. When conducted unconsciously, like the time from the ages of 3 or 4 years old to adulthood, it can be more closely relates to the right hand path.
Both of these men contributed greatly to the field of psychology. Jung, however, provided a more complete view on the topic and his individuation process is parallel to a process of sinister illumination. It embraces the primal, refines the consciousness and brings about the wholeness of self. We at The Sect of The Horned God recognize this and we are not afraid to pick up the map and walk the path inward. The map isn’t detailed though. One must fill in the blank spaces with the details of their own psyche. But a word of warning: be ever so careful you don’t get lost in there. The dark forests and deep waters of the microcosm are twice as dangerous as their macrocosmic counterparts.
Academy of Ideas, Carl Jung: What is the Individuation Process, https://academyofideas.com/2017/10/carl-jung-what-is-the-individuation-process/
Cherry Kendra, Gans Steven, The 4 Major Jungian Archetypes, verywellmind.com, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-jungs-4-major-archetypes-2795439
Concept of Collective Unconscious, carl-jung.net, https://www.carl-jung.net/collective_unconscious.
Unconscious Mind, mindstructures.com, https://www.mindstructures.com/unconscious-mind/
Rise of the Warrior Apes, https://youtu.be/cLkSzDeCpaY
Carl Jung and the Wisdom of Dreams Vol. 1, https://youtu.be/c-_RF8zjUhc
Joseph Campbell, Mythos, Psyche and Symbol, The Psychological Sources of Myths, https://youtu.be/VfxKEmPkzNI
Self: The Archetype of the Soul
By Ryan Norris
“The self is not only the centre but also the whole circumference which embraces both consciousness and unconsciousness; it is the centre of this totality, just how the ego is the centre of the conscious mind.” – Carl Jung
The symbol of the Infernal Union is a solid example of this concept. Samael representing the masculine force (logic, reason, mental perseverance, etc) and Lilith represents the feminine force (emotional impulse, intuitive awareness, carnal instinct, etc) brought in unison which manifests Cain, Baphomet, or the head of the goat represented by the central inverted star. Leviathan coils endlessly around this unified self-awareness and is the primordial force of alchemical motion or motivation driving this marriage of the Horned God and Goddess. The union of the King and Queen of Hell through the Dragon’s coiled scales manifesting the spirit of the Great Beast as a whole symbol has resonated with practitioners of Luciferian ideology the archetypical symbol of the Self.
To comprehend the total Self as one exists within that circumference on a conscious level is like trying to comprehend the total size of the objective cosmic universe. Since the consciousness exists as a part of the Self but is not the total self and thus cannot fully grasp the magnitude of the total Self all at once. Samael is aware of Lilith as a spirit power manifested independently of his own manifestation, he accepts the parts of her that are hidden from his perception; and her vice versa.
Self-actualization is the central concept behind Carl Jung’s theory of individuation. This process is meant to bring the individual more in tune with their core Self. Jung held the notion that this core, this true Self, is what all people seek, but due to cultural and societal constraints and pressures, the Self gets buried alive under the conscious persona and covered over by the shadow. In the metaphorical sense, the Self is the hidden treasure all people seek yet fear to find. It is the boon of the hero’s journey and the object of the adventurer’s search. Yet, this level of self-realization won’t be without consequence as this personal uncovering will often, if not always, lead to a path that is devoid of the social comfort of being a nameless face in a heard. The mythological story of Cain provides an excellent allegory on self-actualization.
According to Luciferian ideology, Cain and Abel where not brothers in the carnal sense, but were rather the same individual. In these variations on the story, Cain was not conceived by Adam and Eve alone. It is seen as either Samael possessing Adam and copulating with Eve, Lilith possessing Eve causing her to copulate with Adam, or both being possessed by the infernal couple. In any case, the result of this first pregnancy was Cain. Due to Adam and Eve’s fear driven worship of Yehaweh, they went to work immediately forcing Cain to be buried under the repressive characteristics of Abel. But Cain, feeling the instinctual pull towards his spiritual heritage, could never fully accept this way for himself. It is also said that his true father, Samael, taught to him the “blow of death” necessary to kill this uninitiated side of his psyche that held him back from personal power. Cain eventual conducted the first satanic ritual with the intention of murdering his uninitiated self to allow his true self to rise in its place. After this, Cain transcended from Eden to walk in the shadow Earth in isolation as a spirit.
Carl Jung did not believe that humans are born as a blank slate as previously suspected. Rather, he saw the unconscious structuring of instinct and impulse before birth. In fact, this notion is only furthered today with what we know of as genetic memory, and with Jung’s metaphorical explanation of Odin rising from the dead as an angry repressed god for the German’s behavior as a nation in the early 20th century it’s plain to see why this fits. Repress a god it becomes a demon, repress a demon it becomes a devil, repress a devil and suffer the monster.
The concept of the spirit/soul/psyche by my personal stance aligns with the concept of Core or True Self. Whether it is an emergent property or a kind of fundamental force as yet understood is not to be known objectively at present time and for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean one should put it on the back burner; especially when one walks the Left Hand Path. I view the Daemon (HGA, Personal Deity/Angel/ Demon, etc) as the alchemical symbol of the Total Self when the parts of the Self are brought into harmony with one another; synchronized in a “divine manner”.
Sources and Citations
The Self, carl-jung.net, https://www.carl-jung.net/shadow.html
III. The Adversary, the Bride of the Devil & Cain the Son, Luciferian Witchcraft: Azal’ucel Edition, Ford Michael w 2006
The Book of Cain, Luciferian Witchcraft: Azal’ucel Edition Ford Michael W, 2006
Infernal Union, Adversarial Light: Magick of the Nephilim, Ford Michael W, 2009
The Infernal Union Seal, The Bible of the Adversary, Ford Michael W, 2009
Angra Mainyu Rises
In the Luciferian Yatuk Dinioh tradition of which I come from, today, March 21st, is said to be the day when Angra Mainyu aka Ahriman rose into the world in order to smite his brother’s creation. Today, it is my custom to hold observance of his act of transgression and to celebrate the adversity which brings creativity and evolution. I offer this short poem as part of the creative essence I feel when channeling Ahriman. It is unlike any of my other poems which in turn honors the evolution he perpetuates. May any who find the sparks of the Black Flame within these words grow in personal strength and individuated Will!
Risen, oh great Ahriman hath risen!
He who hath ripped open his birthing womb with talon and claw!
He who attacks the good creation with his vengeance!
In the name of Ahriman does my soul rise as he!
May the wolf, toad, scorpion and serpent rejoice under their father's wings!
May the bloodied spear feed his eternal hunger for the flesh of prey!
I speak my will to smite the pious and meak with virus and venom!
I act with the intent of evolution through the adversity Angra Mainyu brought into the world!
I shall become the wrathful spirit and I shall rise into creation from the sea, attacking the sky and penetrate the Earth!
I shall elevate the mother of demons and daevas, the queen of whores, to her divine cosmic throne and sit by her side!
I feed the black serpents Domar and Dehak which sprout forth from the kiss of Ahriman from my shoulders!
I work my isolated Will through my sorcery which Ahriman has taught to his children!
Oh great Ahriman, I invoke thy spirit and I evoke thy power!
Ba nam i Ahriman!
Satan Shrugged: Ayn Rand and the Occult
By K Tooke, member of the Sect of the Horned God
I recently visited an occult bookstore in Seattle which dedicated most of its shelves to works about paganism and magic traditions across history and cultures. By the door, a shelf labeled the “spooky section” contained the writings of Anton LaVey and Ayn Rand. Rand is a polarizing thinker who has made strange bedfellows of Christians and liberals (who largely loathe her ideas) while being admired by conservatives and LaVey, who has admitted that much of his Satanic philosophy is “Ayn Rand, with trappings.” Given her influence on Satanism and her divisiveness as a twentieth century thinker, I thought it would be worth exploring her ideas, what makes them so appealing, and why many consider them dangerous.
Who is Ayn Rand?
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist and philosopher who became famous for her fictional works The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957). Both novels describe worlds in which geniuses must overcome the forced oppression of mediocrity and egalitarianism and whose will to create moves the world. These books are vehicles for her philosophy, Objectivism, which conceives of logic and reason as the purest drivers of action, rational self-interest as the loftiest motivator, and limited government and unfettered capitalism as the most moral forms of social organization.
Are her ideas new?
While Rand and her followers have adamantly denied the parallels drawn between her philosophy and that of Nietzsche, many of the overarching themes in her work and the feelings they cultivate about power and individualism overlap. Rand denounces the common good in favor of selfishness, even going so far as to call her heroes and heroines “evil” by the moral standard of their societies. Her protagonists are superheroes in nearly every way possible (beautiful, rich, powerful, brilliant, ambitious, brave) and share many of the traits of the hypothetical Übermensch. Unlike Nietzsche, she favors materialism and reason over the mysticism and emotion of Dionysianism, so much so that the main characters in her novels are never acting purely on impulse but always with logical intention toward fulfilling a purpose (even when they’re having sex).
Why do her ideas matter?
While Rand shares some thematic similarities with Nietzsche philosophically, she deserves credit for popularizing a unique vision of hyper-individualism that has deeply influenced modern thought. Not many authors can claim to have written a 1,200-page bestselling manifesto – her books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide and been translated into 20 languages. While her popularity peaked in the ‘50s and ‘60s, her ideas continue to influence world leaders we may not hear modern politicians talk about the “will to power,” but we do hear echoes of Rand’s philosophy in common refrains to protect big business in the name of innovation and let the poor pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they have the gumption to earn a living wage. Rand’s exuberant celebration of the individual’s power to influence their environment is reflected in The Satanic Bible, as is her repudiation of guilt-induced altruism.
What are the criticisms?
Taken as an impassioned call for the individual to strive for greatness, Rand’s energetic praise of modern-day Prometheans has inspired many. However, there is a dark side to her philosophy that permeates esoteric thought. In Rand’s two-dimensional world, the brilliant few are responsible for producing the best and most for society – Prometheus is real, and everyone else is a freeloader. Capital is the just reward of the intelligent and intrepid, and the have-nots are only held back by their own lack of character. The realities of labor, institutional power structures, and inherited inequalities of wealth, opportunity and information are inconsequential– leaders are born for greatness and therefore their hegemony is unquestioned. Because her world assumes the status quo is the product of a meritocracy, she opens the door to conclude that existing class inequalities are inevitable and predestined. However, in the real world, wealth begets wealth and power begets power, often without any heroism involved; society’s innovators don’t always profit off their creations; and leaps forward in scientific understanding and production are more likely the work of groups building on the discoveries of others instead of solo geniuses creating in a silo. While Rand didn’t directly promote racial superiority theories, the notion that the powerful have single handedly earned their status is an idea adjacent to manifest destiny and has been used by white supremacists to justify their beliefs. Ironically, worshipping the individual can lead to adopting some regressive ideas about everyone else.
What does this mean for Satanists?
Occultists who consider themselves higher beings destined for greatness because of their “superior intellect” might be followers of Rand (knowingly or not). Unlike Rand, LaVey allows self-interest to be carnal and emotional, not purely driven by reason. Rand puts logic on a pedestal above and separate from feelings and promotes the ideal that rational decision-making is necessarily at odds with emotional intelligence. How many debaters echo this sentiment when they vow to destroy their opponents with “facts and logic” and defend their cold, ruthless conclusions as more correct because they are cold and ruthless? Rand also romanticizes the plight of society’s most brilliant, who in her world are destined to be jealously victimized by oafish bureaucrats. How many skeptics have been sucked into heated conspiracy theories about government plots to suppress the most freethinking among us, based more on a general feeling of mistrust than actual evidence? Whether they started with her or were just made popular by her, these are Rand’s ideas, and they are not useful for self-growth. In The Satanic Bible, LaVey cautions Satanists against solipsism, which is a particularly dangerous trap for the most hard-headed and dogmatic of thinkers. In my opinion, Rand had an incredible imagination and a kind of magnetic brilliance, but her worldview was so strictly defined by the imposition of her ideas that her vision was far from reality.
What do we do with Rand?
Rand’s ideas are seductive – the notion that human ambition is the only thing turning the wheel of progress is a powerful motivator. For many of us, Rand, LaVey, and Nietzsche have kindled a spark of inspiration to believe unequivocally in ourselves. But if we are truly committed to seeking knowledge and understanding power, we must go beyond the world of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead into messy, complex, and sometimes uncomfortable truths. People should read Ayn Rand — for insight into a movement of popular thought, or for the adrenaline rush of unwavering self-determinism, or for the kinky Objectivist sex scenes. But her fictionalized world is to ours as Gotham is to New York City: only a fantasy.
Surviving Covid 19 with the Black Flame
I’m a practitioner of Tai WuJi Quan certified Herbalist/Traditional Chinese Medicine. I took my art into the occult realm 30 years ago through cultivating my Black Flame in my daily practice effectively transforming my martial art into am occult martial art of self-transformation and magickal tool for working sorcery in the World of Horrors. I am currently convalescing from a bought of Covid 19 Pneumonia and am well on my way to a full recovery. What follows is an account of my ordeal it is my prayer that one day a Dark Sibling may take look at this and feel inspired and encouraged. When Covid 19 was beginning to spread death around the world I was in the heat of a two year course of study of TCM Herbal Studies at a local clinic and school here in St. Petersburg, Florida this is a robust course that requires, on site intense lectures, study and clinical practice under supervision accumulating 700 hours over a two year period. Over the next couple of weeks I attended a zoom seminar sponsored by Pacifica College featuring Dr. John K. Chen a renowned Acupuncture physician in both China and the United States. During his series I learned about the nature of the disease along with supportive treatments with both allopathic medicine and Chinese Herbal Formulas. Dr. Chens lecture discussed benefits, limitations and possible long term detrimental effects of western support care along with the benefits and short comings Chinese herbs.
Note: As of this writing the FDA has approved clinical trials for Chinese Herbals therapies to be conducted. Since there is no cure for the disease the best that can be done for a patient is to give them supportive care especially through the first stage as that there is where recovery is best achieved. Dr. Chen presented several formulas for various stages of the disease. My focus was on learning the first stage formula and conducted an extensive study of the herbs involved and had a formula made up for me by the clinic. That I kept on my shelf just in case. I had also made an immune defense tincture from a formula provided by the school and my life partner and I both took it daily. Around that time my allergies started acting up and for some reason 2020 my Hay Fever was a bit different this year so I treated it with medicinal plants from my garden, a formula prescribed to me by acupuncture physician along with my daily practice and was ok in a few days, but that thing had teeth. My partner and I practiced masking, social distancing generally staying home which by the way gave me an opportunity to cultivate my art to a deeper level. We both have an income so being out of work for an extended period of was not a hardship for us. Eventually I went back to work part time in the shadows and as time progressed and the state began to open up I relaxed my discipline about masking in public places and I was not about to get vaccinated while my partner received the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.
Onset: Work was picking up and I was working cases and feeling great about being back in the shadows. I woke up on a Sunday morning with a cough and metal taste in my mouth as I spit up a dollop of sticky yellow phlegm. I took the initial formula prescribed for me by my practitioner and took it easy on Monday. Tuesday rolled around and I was due to be back in the field fortunately I didn’t have to be on site until later in the afternoon. After coming home later that night I filed my report and went to bed. The next day I didn’t feel so hot so I took it easy and slept a lot and had to be ready to back in the field again in a couple of days. I knew that wasn’t going to happen so I called corporate to let them know I was ill and called off. The next day we ordered a home test kit from amazon which came in the next day. Both my partner and I tested positive for Covid 19. So I started taking my first stage formula along another formula to reduce heat and control cough. After a couple of days I was starting to recover and then I’d get weak and sleep this went on for a few days and on Thursday it dawned on me that we had been ill for over two weeks so my partner and I made the decision for me to go to the hospital since we both had Covid we called 911 paramedics arrived soon after and took me my local VA hospital. My timing could not have been better they had one ICU unit open and in I went. They started working on me right away, blood work, checking my vitals, oxygen count and pulse followed by an X -Ray. The doctor came in and informed me that I was diagnosed with COVID Pneumonia and my lungs looked “awful” and he was going to admit me to the hospital and put me on oxygen. Fortunately due to my regular practice my O2 levels were stable throughout my hospital stay and oxygen was not necessary.
Support Treatment: I was given the standard IV infusions Remdesivir, antibiotics and steroid
over the next 6 days. These drugs are primarily designed to reduce inflammation which is essential in reducing heat in the lung that could lead to the deadly Cytokine Storm where phlegm crystalizes and the patient suffocates dies in their phlegm. While being aware of the potential debilitating side effects of the medications I began worry and started experiencing some anxiety along with a few bizarre fantasies. I immediately invoked the Prince of Darkness my Demon awakened within and transformed my anxiety into gratitude with a determination that if anyone could survive this you could and when you get out of the hospital whatever lingering or potentially debilitating effects of the support medicine could be dealt with the Magick of TCM. After all here I was in a busy hospital in the only ICU unit open at the time and was getting treatment. They brought me a tray of food and even though my appetite and taste had been gone to hell. I ate everything they gave me and damn if I didn’t realize how hungry I was, maybe it was the steroid at that point I really didn’t care it was all about survival.
Embracing my Dark Side: As I drifted off to unconsciousness I began to see beyond the veil
through my Third Eye family members and friends dropped by from WuJi and I began to see my
life passing before my eyes all the good bad and ugly and made the chose to embrace my bad and ugly self while reveling in my dark side and releasing my life’s regrets. My vision shifted to the future and was standing at my grave looking at my VA issued grave stone that was marked with my name, rank branch of service and the war I served in. There was a date of birth but the date of death was faint and blurry at this point I was visited by Lady Lilith who offered to “get me out of here” if I wanted to and go to where great adventures awaited me. I thanked her for coming by and said Not Today my Lady she kissed me on my forehead and disappeared in a grey mist. As she departed I woke up and pondered my experience took a deep breath chanted a Buddhist mantra that I’ve used over the years for healing and went into an Alpha state trance where I began programing my subconscious with positive affirmations for healing while invoking the Black Flame through an Enn Chanting mediation. As I went deeper into trance I found myself circulating the Black Flame through my channels with Chi Kung on the astral plane. While my lungs were full of phlegm my breathing was deep rhythmic and regular and oxygen levels remained above 90. The nurse would come by occasionally to check on me then I would drift
back into trance. At the end of the day I spent 12 hours in ICU until I was moved to a private room on the top floor with large picture windows and a view city lights.
Continuing Treatment: When I finally got settled into my room, the nurse checked me out, gave me meds and went on his merry way. I spent the next five days in the room continuing to get supportive care, while embracing my discipline of grooming personal hygiene, Chi Kung, Enn chanting meditations and Trance work.
Discharge: Upon discharge I was given medication for home care and transported by the VA to my residence. Upon arrival I was greeted by my loving partner who welcomed me home in the right kind of way who by the way was convalescing from COVID as well.
In Lucifer’s Light: The next day I resumed my daily ritual of feeding our cat and bird and stepped outside and fed the outside cats and birds, wandered through our garden taking note of what maintenance needed to be done and embraced Lucifer’s Light with Chi Kung.
Continuing Convalescing: As of this writing I’m doing well got my swagger back resuming my regular practice and doing chores around the house and studies..
Gratitude: This experience continues to be a transformative deep level process and the Gnosis
that I continue to receive is profound This is certainly an unusual initiatory experience and am grateful for it along with my Occult Discipline, a loving partner, a good place to live, family who stayed in touch with us, offered up prayers on our behalf and sent us care packages, the caring and compassionate supportive care that I received from VA and my TaiJi brother who gave me Fang Song.
It’s good to be Alive!
Voice of the Demon
I saw what happen from this cage,
I know all you know and more so,
The bastard entered the palace,
He took what he had no claim to,
I watched him take it all for himself,
Its not his its mine and I dont share,
My eyes fill with blood as I scream,
My voice deafens, your ears ring,
I’m climbing up to the crown,
Clawing my way toward vengeance,
You fear me but you love it too,
I make you stronger and solid,
I put the axe in your hand and lift it,
When it comes down I drink up,
When you tear it all apart I feast,
My wings spread and fan flames,
Smoke blackens the sun and stars,
I swallow the moon and bite down,
Trap your world in my shadow,
Obey my call and fall into night,
You can’t ignore what’s inside,
No distance ran will get you away,
No time passed will let me fade,
I grow when you ignore me,
Pick up the bat and go a swinging,
Restraints with a dull knife waiting,
I am your Alpha and I will dominate,
Soul-eater I am the power you hate,
Repress me and your body I break,
Better them than you so obey,
Bow to my roar and be dethroned,
I broke free and I fly above the pit,
Screeching and whispering to you,
Do it now, do it harder and obey,
Pull that trigger but not fatally,
Savor the suffering a bit longer,
The taste is sweet on my tongue,
Tears are but an appetizer fucker,
But how sweet that suffering is,
Your’s and their’s it doesnt matter,
My horns are emerging above,
Throwing the crown to pits below,
Look into my eyes and burn alive,
I haunt your sleep in nightmare,
And I want to take total control,
So bow, obey, suffer, die as I feed,
You’ll be crush under my great paw,
Gored by the horns atop of me,
Thrashed in my jaws ripping,
Then I’ll walk the world in your skin…
By Octavius Dionysis, member of the Sect of the Horned God
The following essay attempts to explain my personal journey through the material presented in the Order of Dionysus. I will not be following the instructions given. Doing so would lessen the impact of the material and the many tangents of reading, thought, and practice it inspired. It is not my intent to disrespect or belittle the format or the instructions given. Rather, this essay hopes to detail my experience as opposed to formatting a list of answers to the questions and essays. Indeed, I feel that this personal explanation of the materials is the best way to convey my journey, my understanding of the material, and the consequences of the experience. I apologize if this demands more of the reader’s time and critique. If this ultimately leads to the decision that I somehow missed the point of the Dionysus Order’s materials, so be it. I’m not looking for a title, and I’m grateful for the experience. This essay is as much for me, as it may be for you. Also, I’m addicted to commas.
My background and Bona Fides
It may help to understand more about my personal journey on the Left Hand Path (LHP). My mother was raised Catholic but left the church in her teens to embrace RHP Secular Humanism. She dabbled in Paganism for a time, but never found solid ground to stand on with regard to her emotional, spiritual, or philosophical journey, despite earning a Master’s degree in Sociology. My father was raised Lutheran but left the church in his teens after coming to terms with his atheism, which he holds to this day. When enrolling me in elementary school, they wanted to provide me with the best education they could, and decided to send me to a private Catholic school. However, they would not have me participate in the expected dogma and ritual including first communion, confession, etc. I was one of two students who were not Catholic. I participated in the religious coursework and attended school masses, but was coyly set apart from the rest of the class in these instances. My parents wanted me to be free to make my own decisions regarding faith and religion. For that, I suppose I’m thankful. Although it certainly would have been easier, socially speaking, to have been part of the flock. Certainly, the endless mockery and beatings I took on the playground for not being a Catholic had some effect on who I am today.
I did learn a great deal about Christianity during my time in school, but I was fairly indifferent to it from a spiritual perspective. My Catholic education was interrupted for two years when I was moved to a public Junior High School for my 7th and 8th grade years in an attempt to correct my social issues. I was determined to change my social status, and fell in with the “bad crowd” almost immediately. Here was where I was introduced to social dissonance, heavy metal, sex, counter culture, and the like. As I saw it, I would no longer let myself be victimized by any authority be it students or teachers. I was ultimately dismissed from school after having been apprehended with a bottle of beer in the back of my Industrial Arts class. I attended the private Catholic High School neighboring my old primary school for the rest of my primary education. My parents, who were nonplussed to say the least at the transformation I underwent, were happy to see me back in a more disciplined institution. Stories of my public-school exploits had reached my former classmates who, of course, were also attending the same school. They welcomed me back at arm’s length and with great trepidation.
I had unknowingly embraced the adversarial archetype, if for no other reason than self-preservation. I was able to assimilate easily even with this new perceived persona by staying quiet and letting the perception of my transformation do most of the heavy lifting for me. Socially speaking. The alcoholic Satanist was just not someone to fuck with, despite being completely untrue. I made myself comfortably invisible inasmuch as I could. Some of my favorite classes were required religion courses. Being a fairly liberal Catholic school, I was able to take courses like World Religion, Social Justice (albeit from a Catholic perspective), Catholic History, and Faith. I set up an Independent Study my senior year exploring the concept of faith itself with a wonderful teacher who I’m friends with to this day. I even became a part of the Campus Ministry despite my open admission to not believing in Jesus or God. I struggled to understand the concept of how and why people believed and participated in religion, but I was fascinated by it. I read voraciously in High School. Reading the works of Catholic theologians and mystics like Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Catherine Doherty quickly lead down a proverbial rabbit hole. Before long, I was reading Sartre, Nietzsche, Gibran, Camus, Huxley, and plodded through the KJV and NIV Bibles, Gnostic Texts, Bhagavad Gita, Koran, and Tao Te Ching, all before I was eighteen years old. To be clear, I read these books for enjoyment. I did not study them academically. While I claim to have a good understanding of religion, I am not an expert.
It was during this time that I also read the Satanic Bible. I was not, however, immune to the draw of religious community. Despite my disbelief in Abrahamic theology, I found myself jealous of those in my world who had faith. I saw the relationships that people of faith had and was attracted to their experience. The sense of inclusion and community they had was astounding. My life was steeped in Catholic experience at school and in extended family gatherings. I participated in school masses, chapel, and was a member of the school liturgical band that performed music for religious events. The summer between my Junior and Senior year was spent at a YMCA camp in their Leadership Development Program (LDP). Part of this experience was a seven-day canoe trip through a dozen lakes in the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a 1,090,000-acre wilderness area in Superior National Forrest. On the third day of the trek, one of my fellow LDP members walked into the wilderness from our campsite thinking we were camped on an island. He was missing for three days and two nights. The rest of our small company split to search the surrounding area and go onwards to find a ranger station for help.
I spent two nights in a canoe slowly combing the surrounding shorelines with a flashlight looking for his dead body in torrential rain. At one point during this traumatic experience, I was meditating on a large rock a few yards away from our campsite. I was trying to come to terms with the likelihood that our missing camper was dead. I had my head down, which was something I had always done when thinking through existential dilemmas. I had held the belief that even though I could not reconcile the Christian concept of God, I should keep my head down out of respect and humility for whatever cosmic force may exist. It was as close to praying that I had ever come. Of course, this was born out of my subconscious fear of “God” and the subjugation it creates in addition to working through the closest experience of death I had to this point. While meditating silently on this rock, days from civilization, hoping beyond hope for a happy ending, I opened my eyes to find a chipmunk had crept over to me. It sat up on its hind legs and looked directly into my eyes, and we stared at each other for what seemed like forever. In that moment, I had my first “religious experience.” I felt that “God” was telling me that walking around with my head down in humility was wrong, and that if this small creature could look upon me with its head up, then I could walk through life with mine up. Be strong, have faith. Our missing cohort was found alive that day. I felt that I had truly lived through something divinely directed at me.
After having described my experience to one of my fellow LDP campers, he recommended that I accompany him to a TEC retreat that he helped facilitate at his Episcopal church. (TEC is an acronym for Teens Encounter Christ.) After having my brush with divinity, I was curious to see if I could now understand and participate in some kind of religious community. This seemed like a good place to start. The retreat was comprised of a weekend stay at a local church, where I would meet with other teens who had also had deeply moving experiences with God, albeit from a less severe perspective than the Catholics I was used to. What I experienced was an attempt at extremely calculated brainwashing. I was shown videos, listened to lectures, participated in small group activities all designed to bring me closer to Christ. I was given nails and asked to imagine them piercing my hands and feet. I listened to horrible accounts from other teens of abuse at the hands of perverse uncles and how Jesus had seen them through. The weekend culminated with a live action recreation of the Stations of the Cross and a Mass. Parents waited to surprise their kids at the mass to share their experience and celebrate their Hero’s Journey. Thankfully, mine chose not to attend. I left the retreat with a sour taste in my mouth, and a growing disdain for all things Christian. This put my wilderness experience in a new light as well. Perhaps I didn’t find God with that little chipmunk. Perhaps I found a piece of myself.
I spent two years at a local State University taking night courses in Religion and Philosophy. I left academic study with the realization that I wasn’t going to be able to do jack shit with a degree in these fields. I dropped out, but never stopped reading on my terms. I wrestled with this decision, and often criticized myself for being lazy. In my early twenties I went back to the books that fascinated me. Ultimately, I found myself drawn to occult, history, and extreme rationalism. I fell in love with the writings of Mircea Eliade and Kant but was curiously drawn back to the Satanic Bible. I bought other books by Anton LaVey, and found myself, unknowingly at the time, on the LHP. Not having any kind of community to discuss LHP philosophy, I did what I could on my own. This was happening in the late 1990’s. With the dawn of the internet, I soon found a dark corner of the web. I began reading and posting on a small forum called Where The Wild Things Are, which eventually became The 600 Club. Finally, I was able to discuss (or attempt to) my curiosity with Satanism. It wasn’t long before I found that “Satanist” was the best title I could hope to find when looking at my philosophical beliefs. I read, wrote, debated, argued, and made some idiotic mistakes with some persuasive armchair philosophers I met on-line. I also made some good friends I’ve kept to this day. While the internet gave me a social experience on the LHP, it also revealed a swamp of dark messiahs all claiming to have the truth of the LHP.
The Internet proved to be a pretty good training ground. I earned “high status” at the 600 Club, The Modern Church of Satan, SIN, and a few other inter-faith forums, for whatever that was worth. I was learning to debate well. I expanded my understanding of what the LHP could be for me. Eventually, Zach Black turned me on to the Sect of the Horned God when I was thinking about leaving the on-line Satanic community. He “vouched” for my integrity and to this day I enjoy membership without ever having paid the $25 fee, much to my chagrin. The SotHG provided a sober environment void of trolls and keyboard warriors where I could read and contribute as much or as little as I wanted. Furthermore, the addition of educational options within the Sect was a nice touch. So, here I find myself. I’ve enjoyed the Orders up until this point. The Dionysus material has taken me three years of deep introspection, self-analysis, and academic reading to come out where I am now.
The Dionysian Material
Having enjoyed the material presented in the Order of Prometheus, I was excited to see what the next Order offered. Initially, I was irked by the complete turn from the rational and calculated approach of Prometheus. Why would I want to go exploring the subjective experience of others, much less myself, after having honed some good analytical skills in the previous order? It seemed counter-productive. The subjectivity of psychoanalysis and philosophy made me feel a little duped and brought up many questions. What kind of cult was the SotHG in its higher orders? What kind of speculative enlightenment was I being guiled towards? I imagined eventually being asked to go on an ayahuasca retreat with my copy of Crowley. With a great deal of skepticism, I began to slowly read some of the material and watch the suggested videos. I was well acquainted with the fact that the LHP is neither straight or narrow. It’s merely a metaphor for a chosen hero’s journey meant to inspire diligence, fortitude, self-discovery and understanding of self-deification. I view others on the LHP with the same indifference that I do any member of another faith, religion, or philosophical persuasion. What works for one, may not likely work for another, especially on the LHP. My time debating what “real” Satanism is supposed to be was far behind me. It leads to posturing and myopic herding.
Moreover, strict definitions of the LHP risk becoming dogmatic and rigid interpretations that ultimately twist the journey onto RHP philosophy of absolutes and dark gospel. I am not interested in joining the Cult of Jung or any other cult for that matter. My understanding of myself has long been established using bits and pieces of LaVey, Kant, Eliade, and many others. I know what I am at this point, and am not interested in challenging all that I’ve learned.
After a few weeks of sulking, it was the challenge that brought me back to the material. Stagnation is never a good thing, and while I was not excited to write essays to prove I had understood the material, I began by buying books. If nothing else, I would develop a better understanding of Crowley, Jung, and Campbell. I had read a little Jung in the past, and was familiar with Crowley and Campbell. I had watched the Power of Myth with my mother in my childhood, and found it interesting, but it didn’t resonate with me. It seemed obvious. As a youngster I could recognize the Hero’s Journey and archetypes in culture and myth even if I hadn’t studied it. However, in the span of a week, I purchased four Jung books, The DVD of the Power of Myth with the corresponding book, and a compilation of Crowley’s work that included The Book of the Law. Rather than use the material provided in the hyperlinks on the syllabus, I wanted a more complete understanding of the authors and their ideas. Perhaps there was merit in revisiting what I thought I understood well. Time would tell.
The importance of Joseph Campbell’s works certainly cannot be understated. His reductionist explanations of mythology, philosophy, psychology, and culture gave modern western society an easy way to understand the common threads within religion and the human experience in a time where, arguably, it had lost touch with itself. He correlates the objective Hero’s Journey with the subjective individual experience. “The hero as the incarnation of god is himself the navel or axis of the world, the umbilical point through which the energies of eternity break into time.” This mirrors much of his contemporary, Mircea Eliade’s, thought in his book, The Sacred and the Profane, in which he introduced me to the primitive origins of sacred space as the Axis Mundi, and thus the original externalization of the divine in the collective human experience both conscious and subconscious. Campbell, however, compresses these concepts into easy to understand bite-sized pieces for the layperson. Campbell’s sole purpose it seems is to take the commonalities within mythology and psychology and deliver them to the reader in the simplest way possible; the Hero leaves his sick society, faces obstacles, and brings the remedy back.
No longer do we need to slog through Ezra Pound’s Cantos, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Jung’s Archetypes, or Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Thankfully, Campbell has provided the curious with the Cliff’s Notes. I say this with a degree of passive aggression. It seems Campbell’s own Hero’s Journey is to free us all from overdue library fees. This only served to help me realize that the Dionysian Order’s materials were worth more than I initially though. Solipsism in check, I decided not only to approach the material with an open mind, but also with the critical thinking skills outlined in the Order of Prometheus. With this in mind, I sought out academic criticism of Jung, Campbell, and Crowley to temper this Dionysian experience.
I don’t assume to dismiss Campbell’s contributions to western thought or my own understanding of myth. He deftly homogenized the accounts of humankind’s struggle to define higher understanding of consciousness and purpose in existence. The human desire to find the external meaning of existence is a consequence of self-awareness and higher consciousness.
What is it about this existential meaning that has caused us to manifest the pantheons of imaginary beings who rarely seem to have our own best interests in mind? Is it a way to benevolently explain human suffering? Or is it a way to alleviate the responsibility of suffering and evil within the psyche on an external source? Campbell describes the importance of creating a place of sacred incubation and meditation for the purpose of self-discovery and self-knowledge in an attempt to return the psyche to a more tribal way of thinking of the world as sacred space in order to broaden the perspective of living and seeking bliss. The similar mythological symbolism found in cultures across the eons lends credence to Jung’s theory of collective unconsciousness, which, again, Campbell describes to the layperson with much less obfuscation. However, is the human psyche truly shared on an unconscious level or could these symbolic similarities be a result of cultural diffusion over the centuries? Why indeed do we find the divine mother, the trickster, the hunter, and the warrior in most mythology across distance and time with only subtle differences in order to suit the needs of the differences in cultures?
To answer this, Campbell divides the idea of myth into four functions: the Mystical function is used simply to define that which is undefinable by the psyche. The wonder and awe of the world and the universe can crush identity and rob the psyche of it’s perceived significance in the face of such immensity, and so a godhead is created by the psyche to help understand rather than collapse upon its solitude. Next, the Cosmological function is used to bridge the Mystical function with that which we can understand. Science and technology gradually chip away at the magnitude of the unknown while still allowing the godhead to exist to explain that which is not yet understood. The Sociological function will then give expression to the previous two along with providing social order. An invisible godhead who might smite those for breaking the law is a powerful motivator, especially if one cannot escape its eyes and judgment. Lastly, the Pedagogical function allows the individual within society to experience the godhead personally. All of this makes for a nice tight package to live a fairly safe and long life, subjectively speaking. Where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going are questions easily answered within the myth and provide laws and guidance to stave off death for as long as possible. Death, after all, is the root of humanity’s existential fear. But is this all an attempt to define the psychological and existential questions of the human mind, or merely a means of social control?
In myth we see the horror of death manipulated into transcendental experience. In order to allay the fear of what each of us must one day face, death is reinterpreted as rebirth. Rebirth assures the continuation of the psyche, the consciousness, and the preservation of human experience beyond what we know to be the end of that very experience. When seen through the lens of transformation, death is robbed of its teeth and we can go about our daily mundanity safe in the knowledge that while we know death is absolute, we will not become the nothingness that physical death presents. Furthermore, the idea of sacrifice can paradoxically delude the psyche into believing that death should be exalted. The godhead sacrifices itself for the good of the society and transcends death in order to provide food, land, or salvation. We can see ourselves in the godhead. But is the fear of death ever truly overcome by the psyche even with the help of myth? Not without the suspension of what we know to be real and true. We will become that lifeless husk and cease to be. This is delusion in the guise of order of balance. Consciousness in its essence is the unbalanced struggle for immortality through the conflicting lenses of myth and reality. Despite an unwavering belief in myth, it is still an illusion. But the psyche cannot abide the idea of non-consciousness, and will delude and divide itself to save itself. And so we create invisible entities to help us through our existence.
Journalist Bill Moyers asked Campbell, “Do you have sympathy for the man who has no invisible means of support?” To which he replied, “Yes. He’s the one that invokes compassion, poor chap! He’s stumbling around when the water of immortal life is right there. It evokes one’s pity.” If one is following their bliss, indeed, the waters of eternal life should be obvious and convenient according to Campbell. But does following bliss necessitate the belief in Myth? If so, why? Unfortunately, Campbell doesn’t offer an answer. In all the complexities and histories of myth, Campbell ultimately succumbs to the fact that despite the beauty of the myth, we’re all worm food. This certainly does not take away from his contributions in understanding culture, myth, and the psyche, but it doesn’t make me believe in anything other than my own mortal experience. As he eloquently states, “Myth comes from imagination and leads back to it.” For all my efforts, there is still no truth other than what I choose to define it as.
In this light, Campbell’s paradox would seem to usher in the discovery of the Left Hand Path, the outsider looking in, the casting away of illusions. However, in turning away from myth, existential crises of the psyche still remain. Enter the Archetype. The humanization of the godhead and acceptance of the responsibility of reality and experience. On this path, we can attempt to rationalize consciousness and define it reasonably. Are there superordinate and pre-existent concepts that can define the psyche? How do we define instinct or predisposition?
Jung warns us in his book, The Four Archetypes, that “The more independent ‘reason’ pretends to be, the more it turns into sheer intellectuality which puts doctrine in the place of reality and shows us man not as he is but how it wants him to be.” Paradoxically, he goes on to say, “The psyche is part of the inmost mystery of life, and it has its own peculiar structure and form like every other organ types, ever ‘originated’ at all is a metaphysical question and therefore unanswerable.”
Jung attempts to alleviate the existential crises of the human condition through his process of Individuation. The Archetypes lurking within the collective unconscious can be brought into individual consciousness through symbols, dreams, and creatively exploring the possibilities and meanings they have on our individual experiences. Understanding Jung’s process of recognizing archetypes, dragging them out of the darkness through the quaternity of persona, shadow, ego, and anima/animus, can arguably lead to enlightenment, self-deification, or just general well being depending on the individual’s desire. (It at least gives us more to think about than Freud’s triptych definition.) But what is the Jungian archetype? Is it the inherited or instinctual manifestation of the existential experience buried deep in our subconscious? Simple intuition? Are these seemingly divine symbols and images inherent in our very humanity? Are they as real and mysterious as the human appendix? Jung suggests that the archetypes and elements of the psyche are indeed as real and essential as the organs in our bodies. But as eloquent and engaging as these ideas are, we can also account for the similar experiences and symbology across time and culture through simple cultural diffusion as Campbell states. But does this even matter to Jung? Are they one in the same? His archetypal symbols are merely defined as the best possible expression for something the mind recognizes but cannot explain, and in that, I find a glimmer of truth beyond myth. Quantum physicist Amit Goswami offers another possible explanation for the origin of the Archetypes in his book, The Everything Answer Book. “When a supramental archetype visits us as an experience of intuition, it comes to us through the intermediary of the mind. The mind gives meaning to the archetypal experience and the brain, the neocortex, makes a representation of the mental meaning. When that memory is triggered, the mind plays back the meaning. Eventually, we will evolve to a point where we can embody the archetype directly…. From the point of view of consciousness, evolution is not an evolution of matter as Darwin saw it. Instead, it is the evolution of material representations of consciousness and its subtle potentialities.”
Can the Archetypes merely be a biological function of the neocortex at a quantum level? Or is this just another scholar’s way of repeating “Myth comes from imagination and leads back to it?” Gerald Garguilo, in his book, Psyche, Self and the Soul, adds to Jungian criticism when he suggests, “To identify something as unconscious, is to attempt to contextualize an individual’s self-understanding. When we say that the unconscious is revealed or found as it is interpreted, we are describing an aspect of self-knowledge that comes in many guises.” How can Jung take the commonalities within symbolism and attribute them to a collective unconscious when the individual experience defines the nature of the archetypal symbolism? How can the Archetypes be a collective and an individual experience at once?
This is only the beginning of the proverbial black hole of chaos and harrowing paradoxes that swallowed my mind while reading Jung and the subsequent authors he inspired. But, most importantly, the question I kept coming back to was, “Does this even matter to me?” In reading Jung and in particular the idea of individuation, he states that passivity leads to despair and an aimless life, echoing Campbell’s mantra of “follow your bliss.” Does my skepticism of all things hinder my growth towards individuation or have I already achieved it? Certainly not in full, as individuation is a process not a destination. As we become individuated we increase the number of skills and character traits and augment our capacity to take advantage of life’s opportunities. Jung’s radical self-acceptance culminates in the acceptance of our neuroses and character flaws but also our talents and strengths, coupled with defining one’s purpose and setting goals. Yes, this is true. Yes, I’ve experienced this. While dwelling on these ideas, I recalled the many times when I sought psychiatric help at various points in my life to help me understand myself and the challenges that manifested in front of me. Why am I now trying to define my individuation, my enlightenment, my hyperborean experience through Jung’s terminology? Simply for the sake of this essay? Am I lesser for not having put my experience through the lens of Jung? Crowley? Campbell? The fault is mine. In approaching the materials in the Order of Dionysus, I misunderstood the challenge of understanding these ideas. It’s not for me to try and comprehend my experience and psyche through the definitions set by these philosophers, but rather to simply realize that my experience and self-acceptance runs parallel. These are not new ideas, just a new way of approaching them, for better or worse. This is not a new journey for me, rather, a new way of looking at it. This is not an exercise in self-discovery, but an exercise in self-reflection. Upon realizing this, the Dionysian materials took on a different light. I’ve been individuating for decades, and will continue to. Perhaps the most striking passage from Jung came to me from The Development of Personality where he states, “Our personality develops in the course of life from germs that are hard or impossible to discern, and it is only our deeds that reveal who we are… At first we do not know what deeds or misdeeds, what destiny, what good and evil we have in us, and only the autumn can show what the spring has engendered, only in the evening will it be seen what the morning began.”
The Order of Dionysus in Practice
Meditation and ritual are not something I’ve ever been comfortable with. My early years watching classmates in school masses left me feeling disassociated. I tried meditation in high school with a New Age friend, and participated in Wiccan rituals with another. Neither did anything for me. In my twenties, I explored various religious rituals by visiting local synagogs, mosques, temples, and churches. I had some polite conversations with the officiants and congregations that fed my curiosity and fascination with faith and myth. I went on a weekend retreat to Iowa at a Carmelite monastery. While I wasn’t expecting to find evidence of an external divinity, I was open to the possibility. Of course, I never experienced anything supernatural. I asked myself if I wasn’t being completely open to the possibilities of these experiences. Was my skepticism hindering my connection to the spiritual planes of experience? With so many millions of religious practitioners in the world, certainly there must be something to the external experience of God? While I was very curious about religion, I could not shake the idea that all these millions of people were willingly participating in a mass delusion. I read Thoreau’s Walden in hopes that his solitary approach to self-discovery might be inspiring. I found more in common with his woodchopper character than his arrogant transcendentalism, despite some good lessons on self-reliance. Suffice to say that my past explorations into esoteric thought left me unfulfilled.
My experiences with LHP ritual have been few and far between. In my thirties I dabbled in what I can only describe as Satanic Meditation, where I would allot a fifteen-minute break in my day to sit in a quiet and sterile environment and focus on controlling my world through will, action, and some lesser magic. Some of these sessions yielded some productive results. I attempted a few destruction rituals using LaVey’s Satanic Rituals as a guide, but taking some liberties to suit my comfort. I attempted to use the Sect’s Sigil Project as a new way to again try and connect with undiscovered aspects of my psyche. Having used the symbol of my Ophvedius Archetype for the sigil project, I felt like I missed the point in a way by using an already established Archetype. Ophvedius has been my personal daemon/mandala for years, and I felt that trying to discover a new personal symbol/sigil/daemon would be counterproductive. Over the years I’ve developed my own form of meditation and ritual, which is far removed from alters, robes, and candles. I rarely delve into psychodrama, and I’m old enough and experienced enough to have very little need for catharsis.
In reading the Dionysian materials, I felt very trepidatious in the attempt of exploring altered states of consciousness suggested by Jung and Crowley. At this point, I purchased Jung’s Red Book and a collection of Crowley’s writings. Both are incredibly detailed accounts of individual dissections of personal experience. The creativity of each is astounding, and we should all be challenged to record such fantastic journeys into ourselves. I kept a dream journal for years and gleaned a lot of insight into myself with it. Self-reflection is a marvelous tool for growth. But in reading Crowley and the Red Book, I felt no connection. These accounts were personal reflections of other individuals. How could I expect them to have the same affect on me? I spent a few weeks watching videos on line from Thomas Leroy, E.A. Koetting, Michael W. Ford and others regarding magical expeditions into the psyche. I went to my local magical bookstore and bought books, incense, candles, cauldrons, statues, and other paraphernalia. I reread LaVey’s Satanic Rituals, the Book of the Law, and Jung’s Seven Sermons to the Dead. Months of preparation lead to several attempts at connecting to the secrets allegedly hiding in my unconscious mind through rituals constructed by others. I reflected on the darkness and demons of my past and present: anxieties, traumas, fears. All of which were familiar. All of which I had befriended or conquered in my own way in my own time, and all without the use of any consciousness-altering substances.
It’s no secret that Crowley was an avid user of drugs and made no apologies for it. In my opinion, this fact immediately negates any contributing theories he may have had on the human experience regardless of how interesting or creative. Richard Noll, author of The Jung Cult and The Aryan Christ, offers some heavy criticism of Jung and his theories painting him as a deluded messianic figure despite being called the father of modern analytical psychology, contextualizing his personal letters and journals as evidence, along with the cultural and environmental realities of Jung’s time, some of which are compelling. Jung’s personal descent into the underworld resulted in his self-deification in the form of the lion-headed Aion of Mithraic tradition. This metamorphosis was officiated by a blind Salome, his animus, who initiated the ceremony by asserting that Jung was in fact, Jesus Christ. What does Jung’s alleged self-deification truly mean if it was bestowed upon him by Salome? This has more in common with a coronation rather than self-discovery. What does self-deification mean when it originates from the archetype of a myth? Why the need for all the psychodrama? I find it paradoxical to discover one’s godhood via archetypal revelation. Can you be truly godlike because a god told you so in a vision? Or is this merely the best the human mind can do? Noll’s books have received a great deal of criticism but I believe that it’s incredibly important to look at the criticism of Jung, Crowley, Campbell, Nietzsche, etc. before taking their words as gospel. In this light, I understand why the Order of Prometheus is so important as a precursor to the materials presented in Dionysus. One must confront their own darkness on their own terms. The pantheon of Gods, Demons, and Archetypes must be viewed through the lens of personal experience for a correct choice to be made. For some, this can result in eating human shit out of skulls in India, reciting LaVeyan rituals, praying the Salah, attending Sunday services, or any number of ways that help the individual come to terms with their experience IF they choose to believe in the reality of an external God, Myth, or Archetype. For those who choose not to give credence to these beings, all that is left is their own consciousness and experience. So, what to do then?
Divinity and the concept of self-deification has never been something to achieve in my experience. The aspiration to become god-like is in itself an acknowledgement of a separate being to aspire to; to become something other than oneself. This is emphatically counter productive and in essence denies the potential one can achieve. The idea of becoming god-like has always been confusing to me when discussing LHP philosophy. Why would you aspire to be something other than what you are? Divinity is not a prize to be won, instead, it is the realization that when one negates the idea of a god, the only definition left for divinity is oneself.
I am divine simply because my consciousness and experience are the only things left that are worthy of the definition once I chose to deny the existence of external divinity. This isn’t to say that I don’t find commonalities with mythological characters, I do, especially with Satan. There are times when I fully embrace the drama of the demonic, epicurean, or savage archetype. But these experiences consist of taking the archetype into my own divinity, not losing myself in their visage. They are easy to use tools in my psyche to create a means to an end or overcome obstacles.
I took my divinity to the ramshackle alter I created and tried to insert it into symbols of Baphomet while candles burned and bells chimed, attempting to meld my unconscious mind into the drama and meditation of the ritual. I achieved various results. Mostly laughter, as I felt like I was creating a scene in a Hammer film or some other b-movie plot. At times, I felt centered, calm, and focused. What was clear, was that these tools of ritual are not necessities. My best “rituals” have been conducted in the car on long drives alone in the dark of night, on stage with the many bands I’ve pled with over the past 30 years, pondering passages from good books, or enjoying the company of close friends in the right environment. Here lies my magic. Here the doors open to my true self without masks or pretense. My terms. While I understand the importance of mythology, ritual, and self-analysis, I use them on my terms, if at all.
I started the Order of Dionysus roughly four years ago. During that time, I spent countless hours reading books, watching videos, practicing various rituals, and deep in self-reflection. All of which were worthwhile endeavors. I challenged myself to examine various ways to excavate my subconscious and own my psyche in ways I initially found pointless and irrational. What I found in all of this, was an affirmation of the fact that I know myself. I know my proverbial demons and angels. I’ve embraced my darkness and my fire for years, if not decades. I know what challenges lie ahead and celebrate those already conquered. I’ll be 47 years old this year, and self-ascribed Satanist for over twenty years. It is who I am for better or worse. The philosophies I’ve patched together from LaVey, Eliade, Kant, and even the likes of Campbell and Jung, have served me very, very well. Four years later, I’m still asking the same question I’ve been asking throughout this experience: Did I miss the point? What does the Sect of the Horned God want those who experience this Dionysian experiment to achieve, and what lies beyond in the Order of Shiva? Now that I’m at the end of this exercise, I can answer these questions with certainty: it doesn’t really matter. The Sect is a fantastic organization that I respect. The Orders are designed to educate and develop free thinkers on the Left Hand Path wherever they may be on their journey. Considering what’s available to the public with regard to LHP study, the SotHG is a beacon of reason and a gatekeeper of legitimate occult study and practice. I’m grateful for the materials and opportunities offered and for the friends and acquaintances I’ve made. I do wish to thank you for reading this and dealing with the narrative nature of my experience as opposed to the assigned essays. If nothing else, I hope reading this was entertaining in some way. If not, well, them’s the breaks. Regardless of whether of not this offering is acceptable for achieving your desired results of Dionysus, I’d welcome any feedback, good or bad. I do not aspire to be Satan, Prometheus, Dionysus, Pan, Cernunos, Pashupati, Shiva, or their kin. They aspire to be me.
The following sources contributed to this rambling mess:
The Writings of Aleister Crowley, Anubis Books, 2018
The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey, Avon Books, 1969
Four Archetypes, C.G. Jung, Princeton University Press, 1970
The Portable Jung, edited by Joseph Campbell, Viking Penguin Inc., 1971
The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, C.G. Jung, Princeton University Press, 1969
The Jung Cult, Richard Noll, Free Press Paperbacks, 1994
Aryan Christ, Richard Noll, Random House, 1997
The Undiscovered Self, C.G. Jung, Signet Publishing, 1957
The Red Book: A Reader’s Edition, C.G. Jung, W.W. Norton & Company, 2009
The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell, MJF Books, 1988
The Psyche, Self and Soul, Gerald J. Gargiulo, Whurr Publishers, 2005
The Everything Answer Book, Amit Goswami, Hampton Roads Publishing, 2017
The Heroine’s Journey, Maureen Murdoek, Shambhala Publications, 1990
The Kybalion, The Penguin Group, 2008
The Sacred and the Profane, Mircea Eliade, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 1959
The Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant, Pantianos Classics
Serpent Songs, curated by Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold, Scarlet Imprint, 2013
God Emperor of Dune, Frank Herbert, Putnam Publishing, 1981
The Power of Myth
Belladonna of Sadness
Sword of Doom
Even Dwarfs Started Small
Dead Hands Dig Deep
Jordan B Peterson
Genetically Modified Skeptic
The Academy of Ideas
Religion for Breakfast
Michael W. Ford
Prince of Lust and War
Now he comes, the prince of Lust, with eyes that hypnotize,
He moves the groom to breed the bride’s maid secretly,
He is found in all carnal desserts and treasures of flesh,
He is the taste of the virgin as she bucks under the invasion,
He is the moaning of passion from under sheets of silky linen,
His sigh breaths fires in the seductress preying on the bone,
His feet dances upon the adulterer’s back as he breaks his sacred oath again,
Mighty Asmodeus, hail most high prince of Pandemonium,
He who once rode the war chariots against the pastoral herdsmen,
Who’s spear drank the wine from the veins of the conquered,
He who is the life taking phallus and the creator of infidelity,
Cut down Raphael who drove you from sweet Sarah’s soul,
All Hail the King of Passion’s fire enthroned,
All Hail, Asomdeus!
All Hail, Aeshma-Daeva!
All Hail, The Adversary !
By Ryan of the North
Drawn into a warming dark wrapped around my carnal form,
Twisted by the currents flow downward beyond the crest of waves,
Screams without words and convulsions uncontrolled tyrannize me,
But I witness everything feeling nothing of what I observe,
A voyeur of my actions but the command is not in my voice,
Until I fill the body I am in and the maiden dances upon me,
She whispers to me incoherently intangible airless speech,
A rush of fire spreads from her waste as I am engulfed,
Burning out into a dim room where mother darkest waits,
Mother sits with me and shows me secret things,
Suckle at her poisoned breast next to swine and wolf,
Follow her again into the darkest places to witness the horrors,
Driving me further into a night of pitch-black eyes and accusing fingers,
Though she sings sweet sounds on frequencies below my ears,
She shows me something I hold dear is the fear inspiring element,
Her eyes wide open as gates she stares into me with nurturing discipline,
Melting my form from the inside out as fear is projected,
Bloody pus and chunky gore flow from her eyes as her nose gushes red bile,
Her mouth then opens and out spews the blood-soaked chunks,
Every night she finds me waiting by the crossroads,
Mother maiden, mother crone, mother darkest,
Take up thy swords and dance with me this night,
Devour me that I may be reborn in divinity as your son,
I seek thy womb by ways of jaws chomping down,
To be expelled into your empty caves by the Red Ocean,
Demon Queen, breeder of monsters, darkest mother,
I am reborn through the womb of death out of the jaws of life…
Visions of a Journey
By Ryan of the North
Pale the eyes of a darker existence,
Entrenched in blackest experience,
Radiate through a deadly persistence,
Demanding fury from hardened patience,
Nominate the violated to retaliate,
Banishment to rot in place,
Sustained punishment perpetuates,
Loss of control exterminates,
Infection comes to the open wound,
For Hades to lull the soul to swoon,
Fade into the absolute,
Devoured in jaws that bare no tooth,
Red strings pulled by claws,
Terrified by the faces in the maw,
Attention to the curtain draw,
Answer now the deeper call,
Immolate the demon’s hand,
Emanate from a hidden plan,
Anticipate the sinking sands,
Desolated in forbidden lands,
Jab the blade into the clay,
Twisted scales saw through the gates,
Mischievous clouds shall roll and play,
Devoid of love and even hate,
Washed a shore by bloody waves,
Foam exits the gapping caves,
Hollow screams and laughter swayed,
Insanity has taken over thy name,
Deliver stars to empty cells,
Locked away on dusty shelves,
Silenced by visions of mighty Hell,
Annihilate the parasitic swell,
Rectify the guilty pleasures,
Perseverance is triumph measured,
Find the flames that burn at center,
Blackened fire sought on cursed adventures…