Liber Fausti

Ghost – A Pale Tour Named Death

Last night was my first Ritual with Ghost–front and center! Devilish joy filled the air, and even though it was the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, the energy was high! The Nameless Ghouls are so very talented and animated, and Cardinal Copia is a gosh darn good fellow. And of course, singing all the good old Satanic hymns at the top of my lungs while the Clergy are mere feet away was a religious experience for me. It was also very nice to have like minded people around. Ghost fans are good folk. I had such a perfect time 🙂



Artist Spotlight – Scurvy Drunkard

Shyarn Koenitz, aka Scurvy Drunkard, is an up-and-coming multimedia artist based in Australia. She first attracted my attention with the paintings she makes with her own blood. Everything she produces is deeply disturbing, and I absolutely love it! Her work touches on themes of fear, body horror, consumption, magic, Eros, and so much else. Who knows what twisted and depraved ideas will come pouring out of her mind at any moment?! See more on her Instagram.

Some of my favorite work of hers, featured below.


Magical Resistance Through the Ages

In 1588, with tensions between Philip II of Spain and Elizabeth I at their peak, Philip launched the 130 warships, known as the dreaded Spanish Armada, in an attempt to invade England. According to popular legend, the privateer turned explorer Sir Francis Drake had sold his soul to Satan to become a master of the sea. In the summer of that year, Drake gathered with a mysterious group of witches at Devil’s Point, Devon where they raised a mighty storm that would destroy half the ships and leave the Armada running back to Spain with its tail between its legs. Locals say the witches can still be heard chanting there to this day.

Others like Gerald Gardner, claim that witches were instrumental in preventing Napoleon from invading England, possibly even lending their aid at Waterloo. For a fun alternative history take on the English using magic against Napoleon, see Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel.

In 1940, again England was under the threat of invasion, this time by none other than Hitler’s Third Reich, who each and every day were dropping bombs on London and other English towns. It was largely expected that a land invasion from Nazi forces was imminent, who sources say were already waiting on the other side of the Channel for their invasion orders. Enter the witches, again. This time a coven of 17, joined by Gerald Gardner and other residents of Highcliffe-on-Sea, who joined on Lammas night to engage in Operation Cone of Power. Here the witches performed a powerful ritual to raise a cone of power against Hitler himself, according to Gardner in Witchcraft Today:

“Witches did cast spells, to stop Hitler landing after France fell…They met, raised the great cone of power and directed the thought at Hitler’s brain: ‘You cannot cross the sea’ … just as their great-grandfathers had done to Boney and their remoter forefathers had done to the Spanish Armada …

Which brings me to the present day. Since 2016 witches have been working together in the thousands against the multi-headed hydra that is the Trump Administration, and now in 2018 against all the evils of the GOP in the Blue Wave movement. Though the culture, place and times have all changed, the theme remains the same: empowering ourselves with magic to fight against tyrannical powers. Though much evil has been committed by Trump and his minions, I like to think that the collective binding is doing what it can in keeping the presidential usurper powerless to destroy us. And now with the noted success of the Blue Wave movement (though much work still needs to be done), the corrupt GOP will no longer hold full power over our government. That is a sign of our success.

This time it’s not as simple as protecting an island from an invading force—we are working against powers of evil that are woven into the fabric of our own society, and that is much more difficult than shooing away some wooden ships. When people feel helpless and disenfranchised, they turn to magic for empowerment. That is why I have always admired the magic of Afro-Carribean traditions: Voudon, Yoruba, Santeria, Conjure, and so on. The struggle of those peoples, the anger of oppression, the cries for justice and the devoted appeal to their gods for help are what gives their magic such power! That is the caliber of magic we will need in America to defeat these bastards who have stolen our political machinery for their own gain.

These examples from history serve to inspire me when the battle gets tough. If you’re not pissed off by now, why not?! Get the fuck up and keep hexing the Right!

For Sale: Neopaganism “As Is”

Master herbalist and historian of magic, Sarah Anne Lawless, has written a detailed article about the false origins and current state of Neopaganism (including modern areligious magicians) in the world today. From the failure of the American Council of Witches and the money-grabbing tactics of Llewellyn, to the crime of spiritual/cultural appropriations so many magical practitioners are guilty of in these times. Most important to me is her expert distinction between actual tradition and “fakelore”–shit that is made up by witches and passed on as if it were ancient! This ties into another theme she’s written about here and what I have also touched on in the BoF, escapism. Neopaganism today is not the fairy tale “religion” many wish it was. Go read this article yourself because it is something that needs to be said!

 

A Vision of Satan, A Night of Magic

Sunday, November 11th MMXVIII. Waxing Moon in Capricorn.

Our group has a powerful tradition of nocturnal witchcraft. When we determine the times and seasons are correct, we go out hiking deep into the wilderness where we have free reign to wander the woods under the cover of darkness. This is a mixed group of experienced psychonaut-witches and others new to our craft. This night was S’s initiation into our Mystery. After hiking a few hours, we arrived at our gathering place: a small clearing at the foot of a dense cypress dome. By sunset, our camp was set up, the sacred fire lit, and the tall pines stood watch as they were beautifully silhouetted against the twilight sky. As the slender crescent moon loomed low over the horizon, it was time again to take the mushroom potion I had so diligently prepared months ago.
We each bring our own different intentions to the rites. Some were there for guidance, others for healing or communicating with nature. My specific intention was to grow in magical knowledge and personal power. The group dynamic was just right, so I felt brave enough to take a very large dose. As we sat around the fire waiting for the arrival of the Mushroom Spirit, that old familiar indelible sensation of a subtle unveiling passed over us, wave after wave after wave. By the time we were each in a fully altered state, a strong wind passed us and we came to attention. Almost in unison we rose to walk. As we traveled silently in the darkness, the world became new again. Our sense of separation from nature was replaced by profound harmony. We slowly and carefully crossed a patch of swampland and into a scrub field. By this point, we had all been babbling to each other in endless streams of consciousness, roaring with raucous laughter and profound joy. When I peered through the darkness towards T and C (the other two experienced witches), we had been visibly transformed. T with his wavy golden locks, and wearing a cloak of stars became to me like the god Apollo! C with her bright blue hair and wearing a cape with a dark, colorful mandala, became like Gaia. I looked at myself and had become like Hades.
We decided to lay down and rest together a moment (the Mushroom always creates an alternating need to move and then to stop moving). I told the group it was time to be silent and listen to the world. The sudden quiet covered us like a blanket. After a moment (or maybe an hour? Time was becoming so difficult!), I went up to “Apollo” and asked him to walk with me alone. A short distance later we were shocked and surprised to find a crossroads in our path. This was the sign I needed! In many western traditions, a lonely crossroads is a particularly powerful place, and one especially where Satan is known to present himself.
Remembering my original intentions, I asked “Apollo” to guard my body. I did not know what I should do. By this point I was at the peak of altered consciousness. I stood at the edge of the crossroads and whispered into the darkness ahead of me, “Please, show me what to do.” Again the wind picked up and seemed this time to carry on it the whisper of a voice. I sensed the presence of a mighty and dread spirit. “Satan,” I said, “Here am I. If you would grant me the fantastic powers I’ve heard about, which you are known by men to offer those of us who call on you, I would freely give you whatever price you would ask of me!”
Then by an impulse I dropped to my knees, my arms spread out and my eyes looked up to the vast cosmos. Suddenly the sky itself rippled open into a terrible vortex! It was a swirling kaleidoscopic tunnel reaching into infinity from some other dimension. Fangs, bones, flames of Hellfire, glowing texts in an unknown language that revealed secrets unfathomable, hideous demonic faces with burning eyes staring through me, all rotating and ever changing before my dumbfounded self. I felt waves of new power crashing down on me, penetrating deep into my bones! My chest heavy with this power, I felt like I could become anything, do anything! A burning orange light rose out of me like a red-hot ball of iron. I knew this was my soul ascending towards the vortex. Out of the whirlwind appeared a terrible black claw with a singular reptilian eye. It was slowly coming down to snatch up my soul like the prize in an arcade claw machine. Then to my complete disappointment, the trance was broken with the sound of my name, which clashed and roared like thunder! “Gaia” appeared behind me, radiantly, standing next to our Apollo, to intervene and save my soul from being taken away.
The empty silence of the woods surrounded me again, and the vortex was gone, leaving only the countless stars sparkling down on us. I was equally grateful for their concern as I was desperate to go back into that trance. I appreciate my friends’ intervention, I know they meant well. But who knows what could have become of me had I not been interrupted.  Twenty-four hours later I can still feel that power dwelling in me, so perhaps something was given to me after all?
The night continued, the trip was the most visually intense experience I have ever had. We eventually returned to our camp to rest by the fire, but the visions just would not stop. The group’s mad ravings and fits of laughter and wailing continued through the whole night. Ever restless, we broke into smaller groups here and there to explore the more familiar parts of our woods, rapidly exchanging our disjointed thoughts, sharing our visionary experiences, and gazing out at constellations and wishing on shooting stars. Sleep would not come to us till just before the dawn.
Was my encounter with Satan real? On a psychological level I may rationalize the experience in terms of brain chemistry and the power of suggestion. But on a spiritual level, I know my soul was touched that night, and had that infernal transaction been completed, I can’t say what would have happened to me. The experiences that night were real enough that we will be forever changed.

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