Austin Talk – Black Flame and Liberty

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Photo by Andreas Feininger

This is from a talk I gave in Austin in 2015. This was the year L (50) by the Aeon of Set calendar and had been dubbed simultaneously the year of Leviathan and the year of Liberty.  This was the same gathering where Stephen Flowers gave a talk on Zarathushtra, and I seemed to get some huge sense of congruence with Libertarian ideas, and the Mazdan ideas about our existence here being based on a fundamental voluntary act.  I started working on the Morality of the Left-Hand Path pieces shortly after this, so this talk might be considered a ‘prequel’ to those.

There is an audio for this somewhere too which I’m looking get out on a future episode of Daimonosophy 2.0, but in the meantime here’s the transcriptional version.


Reflection

A teacher was teaching her second grade class about the government, so for homework that one day, she told her students to ask their parents what-the-government-is.

So when Little Johnny got home that day, he went up to his dad and asked him what the government was.

His dad thought for a while and answered, ”Look at it this way:

I’m the president,

your mom is Congress,

your maid is the work force,

you are the people

and your baby brother is-the-future.

”I still don’t get it” responded the Little Johnny.

”Why don’t you sleep on it then? Maybe you’ll understand it better in the morning,” said the dad.

”Okay then…good night” said Little Jonny and went off to bed. In the middle of the night, he was awakened by his baby brother’s crying.

He went to his baby brother’s crib and found that his baby brother had taken a crap in his diaper. So Little Johnny went to his parent’s room to get help. When he got to his parent’s bedroom, he looked through the keyhole to check if his parents were asleep. Through the keyhole he saw his mom loudly snoring… but his dad wasn’t there.

So he went to the maid’s room. When he looked through the maid’s room keyhole, he saw his dad having sex with the maid.

Little Johnny was surprised, but then in a flash of inspiration he exclaimed,  ”OH!! Now I understand the government!

The President is screwing the work force,

Congress is fast asleep,

nobody cares about the people,

and the future is full of s**t!”

 


Leviathan and Liberty

But I don’t think the future has to be shit. I don’t think that part has been written yet. It can be different; there can be more liberty, more freedom, more independence; rather than more mechanicalism,

more obedience,

more coercion,

more control.

 

I believe the Temple of Set has an important role to play in making that future happen. In fact I tend to think of it as part of the Temple’s Wyrd.

In this year that Ipsissimus Webb as dubbed a year of Leviathan and Liberty, I want to pause for a moment to consider one of the most enduring and well-known American symbols of Liberty, the Statue of Liberty.

There are many fascinating aspects of this colossal example of neoclassical sculpture. Erected in 1886, it’s a representation of the Roman Goddess Libertas and around her is inscribed the American Declaration of Independence. The seven rays of her crown form a halo – evoking the power of the sun,

In her left hand she holds tabula ansata – a tablet of evoking the law – and in her right she hold aloft a flaming torch – a mighty light and burning-flame-of-comfort.

And what of that light that she bears, that beacon she holds so firmly. Certainly this is not merely ordinary fire, no simple lamp for practical navigation. But given its context – and the fact that so many thoughtful men of exceptional values and integrity had a hand in the statue’s constructionthis fire must bear some special connection to ideas like liberty and independence.


Revelations

To me it reflects an old story about a Supersubstantial fire of ancient and cosmic origins; the same Fire that the 2nd Great Beast called down from the sky in Revelations 13:13 and the same fire that Ra En Set summoned with the Book of Coming Forth by Night in Santa Barbara in 1975.

 

Enoch

It’s the same fire, the same holy fire that Noah’s Great Grandfather Enoch accounts beholding in the large house of crystals, in the apocryphal Book of Enoch….When he states,

 

…I went to another place to the west of the ends of the Earth. And I saw a burning fire which ran without resting, and paused not from its course day or night but blazed without respite. And I asked, saying “what is this flame which burns unceasingly?” Then Raguel, one of the holy Angels who was with me said, “This is the Dark Fire in the West which persecutes all luminaries of Heaven.”

Persecutes, that is, the enemies of liberty, independence, and consciousness.


Prometheus

Before Enoch it was the Greek Titan Prometheus bringing the fire down to man. In Plato’s Protagoras, is recounted that after the gods had molded men and other living creatures with a mixture of clay and fire, the two brothers Epimetheus and Prometheus are called to complete the task and distribute among the newly born creatures all sorts of natural qualities.

Epimetheus sets to work, but, being careless and unmindful, distributes all the gifts of nature among the animals, leaving men naked and unprotected…unable to defend themselves and to survive in a hostile world. Prometheus then steals the fire of creative power from the workshop of Athena and Hephaistos and gives it to mankind, liberating him from animal existence with the fiery substance of independence, inspiration, and invention.

And even before all that buried somewhere deeply in our racial memory we recall that it was Lucifer gathering the Daimons of the Diabolicon around the Black Fire.

As the Daimon Azael spoke: on Earth, where man wandered in mindless bliss, the firmament blazed forth with fiery tongues, and all the land was covered by the Black Flame, which burned not, though it be-wildered the eye to see it.

And Raphael and his guardian Angels were dismayed, for nowhere could they see man or the spirit which had come to him. Then did Raphael call upon Michael to strike the Black Flame with the force of God, but even then was the Flame vanishing of its own accord. And at first it seemed that Earth was unchanged, but in the eyes of man did Raphael see the first gleam of thought.

And Raphael turned to Michael, who had now answered his call, and said, Satan hath come to Earth, and man is no longer pure in the sight of Heaven, for his Will hath become his own.

What finer expression of Liberty is there, than that ones will has become ones own.

It is not a guarantee,

Its not a given,

Its not a matter of birthright. No Monotheistic or Monarchical despot stands to benefit from your independence,

your self-consicousness,

your liberty.

Rather, it is something that must be

Acquired,

fought for….

seized.

And if these other mythological patterns are to be taken as relevant, this self-born will is something that occurs only as a result of consummation of the Black Flame.

 

I’m gonna say it again…“for his Will hath become his own.”

Become… is one of the simplest translations of the Aeonic principle of Xeper; reminding us here that a certain sense of liberty and independence occurs only as a result of Xeper.

While the force of Runa and the wish for being may lead us toward the promise of the Light of Liberty, it is only through Xeper – itself an alchemical combining of substance, energy, and purpose – that a higher sense of Liberty and Independence may be experienced.

Now Again I think of the Statue of Liberty, and the solid, almost martial gait, as though preparing-for-conflict. Perhaps against a legion of anti-conscious and anti-liberty angels lead by Masleh, (or maybe Karl Marx), and the forces of

obedience,

Coercion,

and control.

 

[…]

This idea of an energizing substance that inspires freedom, will and liberty runs throughout history. And here also the idea that we – both as a race and as individuals – must first find that fire – that Supersubstantial Fire – before we can start seeing by it’s light.

And you start to see, that in all these stories is the idea that we really-areunable to find and integrate it completely on our own…We need help…We need Help from the outside. Help, from others who have gone before. Help from others who have learned to carry the fire within themselves, and to hold it aloft as beacons in the night;

…as have the Priestood of Set.

We are all as blind men before the force of Runa begins to draw us toward-the-Light of Liberty; and simultaneously draw the energy of the Black Flame…toward us. When these forces all finally converge at a single point in space and time we for a moment awaken and see that there is a possibility for Liberty….a possibility for conscious, willful existence.

 


Isabel Patterson

The idea of an energy stream associated with liberty is not limited to ancient mythology, or to our contemporary the narrative of the Black Flame. The pattern emerges in many other works on society and economy, many of which seem to drink strongly from the stream of Enlightenment era ideas.

Isabel Patterson, a Canadian-American Journalist, novelist, political philosopher and literary critic of the early 20th century, developed an energy model of history.

In her master-work The God of the Machine, she argues that the material and spiritual well-being of man requires the free flow of energy through the structures of society that encourage individualism; noting also that whenever government regulation blocks that flow, human progress is devastated.

As she wrote:

“ Nations are not powerful because they possess wide lands, safe ports, large navies, huge armies, fortifications, stores, money, and credit. They acquire those advantages because they are powerful, having devised on correct principles the political structure which allows the flow of energy to take its proper course.”

In seeking an answer to the question of why some societies throughout history had enormous scientific and material development while others stagnated, Patterson makes an acute study of ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe, and the American Founding. In all cases of highly charged victors, can be seen that superior political structure. A structure that allows for, even encourages, individualism, freedom and entrepreneurialism.

As she writes:

“The only difference between past and present in respect of energy is quantitative, a higher potential available at a higher flow, which makes a wrong hook-up more appalling in its effect by the given ratio, becoming apparent literally in a world explosion. The principles of the conversion of energy and of its appropriate mechanism for human use cannot change; these are universals.”

And in regard to history’s failures she observes:

“The Society of Status is obliged to restrict production to the energy potential it can accommodate. It does so by collectivism. Group ownership as the norm of property requires the denial of liberty to persons”

Another 20th century thinker, Wilhelm Reich, studied the suppression of energy by authoritarian movements via scientific method. In his early work the Mass Psychology of Fascism, he makes the case that the intentional suppression of certain qualities of energy in a society consistently result in the expansion and growth of authoritarianism.

From the Catholic Church to the Nazi Party to ISIS; from the doctrine of original sin, to our public schools and overcrowded Federal Penitentiaries – it is in the vested interests of all power possessing groups – to control and/or suppress the flow of liberating energy though out society. If studied closely it may be seen that many of the features and institutions of governments and religions in the end really serve no other purpose than to repress the people and advance the authoritarian structure.

One of the hard lessons of liberty, is that with freedom comes responsibility; and with great freedom, comes great responsibility. You cannot have one without the other. It may seem counterintuitive but if examined closely the truth of this axiom cannot be denied. As ones liberty increases, so does ones sense of responsibility.

We learn this in initiation as well. Responsibility takes on an entirely new meaning to one reborn in the clarifying vision of the Setian First Degree. Responsibility expands again with ones sense of freedom as one becomes Adept; and for the Priest of Set the marriage of freedom and responsibility becomes paramount.  Ponder for a moment, the terrible responsibility taken up by the Magi.

On the other hand, it seems that really quite a lot of people are initially drawn to the idea of Black Magic really out of a desire to avoid responsibility. These are the ones who think that by the power of magic, they can avoid such drudgeries as education, or work, or developing basic social skills. What these folks will eventually learn – sometimes the hard way – is what Dr. Aquino reminds us of in the Crystal Tablet – There is no free lunch.

And it’s so important he says it again,

There is no free lunch.

Sometimes people like this – “The Free Lunch Crowd” I like to call them – find their way to the Temple Set, thinking Black Magic represents the quick and easy way. What they hopefully learn is that real Black Magic, or what we like to call Greater Black Magic, is neither easy, nor quick. It’s hard, and rather than being a short-cut to by-passing responsibility, it is in fact a life-long pursuit, that leads to increasingly greater vistas of responsibility as well as freedom.

Causing change to occur in the Objective Universe requires taking on more responsibility; It also teaches us the lesson that responsibility can only be taken, not given.

Responsibility can only be taken, not given

It can only be taken, consciously and willfully, because of its connection to liberty. It can only be taken by a conscious being; An unconscious being cannot be responsible; a slave cannot be responsible, nor can a subject.

Nor can an animal. The taking of responsibility is one of the great lessons of the Aeonic principle of Arkte. We know that an animal cannot be considered responsible; therefore we must take up responsibility. And we know that we cannot give that responsibility to others. We can only take it ourselves. I can’t make someone else responsible…make them feel a sense of responsibility. I have to take it up myself.

Governments, church’s and all sorts of collectivist movements always try to pervert this truth about responsibility by trying to stick it on you. You are responsible for this person’s healthcare, or you are responsible for that person’s education, or responsible or his retirement. But of course they can’t do this. They can’t make you responsible in actuality… but they can make you feel guilty. And if they have a monopoly on force – as all governments do – they can force you to comply.

An American rocket engineer, chemist, and Thelemite named Jack Parsons visualized this duality of liberty and responsibility in his famous essay Freedom is a Two Edged Sword,

In it he wrote:

“Freedom is a two edged sword of which one edge is liberty, and the other responsibility, on which both edges are exceedingly sharp; and which is not easily handled by casual, cowardly or treacherous hands. For it has been sharpened by many conflicts, tempered in many fires, quenched by much blood, and, although it is always ready for the use of the courageous and high-hearted, it will not remain when the spirit that forged it is gone.”

I like to think of that spirit as the spirit of Liberty, and the eternal flame held aloft. And also in regard authoritarianism Parsons wrote:

“No man, no group and no nation has the right to any man’s individual freedom. No matter how pure the motive, how great the emergency, how high the principle, such action is nothing but tyranny.”

As a Thelemite Jack Parsons was of course influenced by the Magus of the Aeon of HarWer, who in his Aeonic utterance of Thelema, said “Do What thou Wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Which is another way of saying that liberty is a precondition for anything else. In fact for any of the other Aeon principles we embrace to have any meaning at all, – Indulgence, Xeper, and all that is borne from Xeper – there must first be liberty.

All of these words and ideas that are at the core of our philosophy are contingent on the wish for freedom. And at the same time we believe that embracing them will lead us inevitably toward a future of greater liberty.

People who live in places with little or no concept of liberty, will have trouble seeing the significance in something like Xeper. Liberty is a precondition for it. As horribly as it often seems our own freedoms are eroding here in America, we at least have an idea about liberty. We have things like that huge statue in New York to remind us.

Perhaps the Statue of Liberty is a modern Legominism. Gurdjieff liked to talk about the Pyramids and the Sphinx as being examples of a Legominism – a method by which wisdom is transmitted in a form that appears to be of an entirely different purpose and of which is able to endure over millennia.

How long will that Statue and it’s message, endure?

Last few years I’ve taken quite an interest in economics in general, and the Austrian school of Economics developed by Ludwig Von Mises in particular. And I must here acknowledge people like Priest Pittman and Adept Bunch as being great teachers for me in this regard.

I find the field fascinating not only because it helps me understand the nature of the world we live in, it’s values, it’s culture, and it’s mechanics. But also, I am fascinated by how the natural laws governing economics often seem to correspond with the laws governing Black Magic and initiation. There seem many correspondences.

For instance, in an approach called Methodological Individualism The Austrian School sought to understand economy by examining the social ramifications of individual choice. They theorized that the subjective choices of individuals – including individual knowledge, time, expectation, and other subjective factors – cause all economic phenomena and determine value. Concluding as we have on the Left Hand Path, that the subjective universe is a defining feature of what makes something like individuality even possible.

Just as it is the subjective universe that determines meaning, it is the subjective universe that also determines value; and makes decisions based on value judgments. And we generally decide what is in our best interests; what we perceive as holding the greatest value. And its subjective universe that is the final Remanifestation of the Gift of Set, and providence of the Black Flame.

Two other significant concepts in the Austrian school are Consumer Sovereignity and Political Individualism.

Consumer Sovereignty states that the influence consumers have on

  • Supply
  • Demand
  • prices

is not merely a hard fact but also an important objective, attainable only by complete avoidance of governmental interference with markets. In other words, consumers, not the government should determine if smoking is allowed in bars, or we can buy absinth in the States.

Sovereignty is certainly a significant core value for many Setians. Uncle Setnakt makes a very strong case for it in his Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path. The challenge is how far we can project that value into the worlds that we live, work, and prosper in. And how far do we acknowledge and allow for the sovereignty of others? How do we cultivate it? Nurture it? How do we take responsibility for its cultivation?

Another key Austrian School idea is Political Individualism – this idea states that only when individuals are given full economic freedom will it be possible to secure political and moral freedom. Restrictions on economic freedom always lead, sooner or later, to an extension of the coercive activities of the state into the political domain. This happens without exception. A dampening of the flame, if you will, undermining and eventually destroying the essential individual liberties which America and other free-market societies were able to attain in the nineteenth century;

Which is, interestingly, the same era in which the Statue of Liberty was erected. There is something very important about this time period. For one thing they were “allowed” to use gold for money, they didn’t have a Federal Reserve, and they didn’t really have inflation.

In fact, the Nineteenth century was a period of deflation, rather than inflation. From the end of the Napoleanic Wars in 1815 until the start of World War I in 1914, there was practically no inflation in most countries, and in many cases prices were lower in 1914 that they had been in 1815.

And it was on the crest of this wave of energy and economic prosperity, that people like Crowley, Lovecraft, Blavatsky, Gurdjieff, Jack Parsons and many others were able to get their ideas out there.

[…]

The theoretical fusion of energy, economics and liberty became a life-long pursuit for another Austrian-School Economist – Murray Rothbard. In his classic work, For a New Liberty he presented what he called “the Libertarian Creed” The Libertarian creed he said rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else.”

The statement is essentially indistinguishable from Jack Parson’s statement that  “No man, no group and no nation has the right to any man’s individual freedom.”

And all of these sound like but a rewording of Crowley’s proclamation of  “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” and “thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall-say-nay.”

What finer expression of justice is there, for one who has accepted that independence and free will are the natural rights of every individual?

The first reaction might be, wow, did Rothbard read Crowley? Possibly…more likely the similarity is there because there is a universal truth lying beneath.

Rothbard in fact traced this tendency toward liberty-mindedness throughout human history and noted proto-libertarian tendencies amongst various pre-modern cultures.

Looking at European history he noted it was The Germanic – and particularly the Celtic – tribal structure which succeeded in disintegrating the Roman Empire with strong libertarian elements. Instead of a mighty State apparatus and exerting a monopoly on violence, contending European tribesman resolved their disputes by consulting the elders of the tribe on the nature and application of the tribes’s customary and common law.

Rothbard also considered the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu as being one of the first Liberty minded philosophers. Lao Tzu Who living in the midst of ancient Chinese despotism, saw no hope for achieving liberty in that totalitarian society except by counseling quietism, to the point of the individual’s dropping out of social life altogether.

It’s kind of like how the Lucifer of the Diabolicon, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, finds the only possibility for Liberty to lie in an exodus from Heaven. A complete dropping-out-of and withdrawl-from that particular ordering life.

As we often learn in our own real-life experiences of seeking liberty through Xeper and the cultivation of self-consciousness, the real struggle comes when you realize there have grown-many-forces in place that are opposed to your Liberty and your conscious evolution away from their established laws of the average and acceptable.

The challenge of the Fire of Liberty is that you burn away those constraints. That you dismay all challengers to your freedom. That you break those laws, rise above the average, and redefine the acceptable. Walk away from the crowd like Lucifer did, reaffirm and Remanifest yourself with that same fire, and then feel yourself rising above them.

In the end Rothbard distilled the concept of the erosion of Liberty to one simple pattern “the seizure of control over the money supply by government.”

He explains the chronic and worsening monetary inflation of the world and the United States as the product of a continuing shift from gold, to government issued paper money; and the development of central banking, i.e. the Federal Reserve. A central bank to which all other banks dependend.

And if you look at history you can see these same things at the roots of the demise of many Wiemar, from Weimar Germany all the way back to the Byzantine empire (more about Byzantine quitting gold)

It’s all beyond of the scope of what we can talk about here, but

This is precisely the same pattern that emerges from the Diabolicon, wherein the Angels of Masleh endeavor to seize control of the Black Flame “supply” in order to maintain control over a docile human population.

 And they fought a huge war over it too.

[…]

Consider for a moment that the stories of the Diabolicon represent not Jungian racial memories of past events, but rather an apprehension or pattern recognition of future events. Perhaps an instance of Synesis, giving us clues to our own immediate possibilities for liberty.

Consider the possibility that we are the Daimons here and now, faced with the question and responsibility of what to do next with the Black Flame. With awesome power comes awesome responsibility, and Liberty can not exist with-out responsibility.

If we can come to see these patterns clearly – the divine patterns of Set, of Luciferian Exodus, of Supersubstantial Fire – If we can see these patterns clearly in ourselves, and in our Subjective Universe, then perhaps we may begin to perceive them in the Objective Universe – In the real world we all live.

Man in his current incarnation has existed on the earth for only a sand-grain of time in the cosmic hourglass. Perhaps there were others before… I wish there to be others after. Or perhaps we are the “others after,”… perhaps we are the last in line.

In the end we will be able to reap only what we have sown.

In the end we will produce only grape juice, or wine.

In the end we will not Remanifest, or we will Remanifest with the Holy Fire of Liberty.

 

[19:56]

 

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The (real) Devils of Ken Russell

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Ken Russell’s The Devils is indeed a classic in occult/cult circles. If you’re a fan of this film you might have heard of the new unrated and restored version of the film that you can see by joining Shudder:

http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3428372/rare-unrated-cut-controversial-1971-film-devils-just-hit-shudder/

We haven’t gone that far yet but the buzz about it got us jazzed to see this again, and my wife managed to track down a rare DVD which we watched last night. I know it was a special event for as I inserted the disc into my Xbox One I got an error warning that I needed to download an app to play DVDs. Really? I hadn’t even tried to play a DVD in how long? 3…4 years?

It was in this “let’s-not-think-about-the-passing-time” moment that I realized I hadn’t seen The Devils since I’d rented it from an old fashioned video store in Lincoln in the 90s. This was when I was going through my Adept phase in TOS trying to rent everything I could find from TOS reading list. So I saw The Devils around the same time I saw The Satan Spectrum, Rosemary’s Baby, Omen Trilogy, The Devil’s Rain, and so forth.

At that time I evaluated it as being largely about mass hysteria,  and recall being mildly disappointed by a lack of representation of supernatural forces. This is probably due to expectations more in line with the Exorcist, the whole thing being based on the famous Loudon Possessions, occurring in Loudon, France in 1634, and also all those other films I mentioned where at least you get a moment in the end to cheer for the Man Downstairs and flash the sign of the horns in victory.  I also remembered being totally disturbed by all the torture stuff (Torture genre films happen to rank pretty low on my personal list, just above Gore).

The torture thing in this film was one thing that hadn’t changed for me, but almost everything else did. Watching it this time I found it totally layered with meaning and significance.  The fundamental theme of this film is stated clearly in the opening sequence – a conversation between Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu, then freeze-framed with the title “The Devils” superimposed over them. In other words, Church and State are the real Devils in this story. As well their moral basis is clearly stated – Collectivism and coercion to fleece the masses of their freedom and wealth.

However you interpret Russell’s film it must be admitted that his narrative deviates from the already blurry historical facts, so you can assume he has his own story to tell with the key events. So while it is based on a true story, what Ken Russell actuallygives us is clearly the classic story of the Individual versus the Collective. In this case the Collective is the partnership/collusion of Church and State, bound together in the shared goal of robbing the masses. Each character is used as a symbol for either the Individual or the Collective or various collator effects of from the struggle between them.

The hero here is the Jesuit Priest Grandier. In the opening sequences the Governor of the town of Loudon has passed away and left Grandier in charge. In the first 10 minutes of the film Grandier establishes his moral basis in his eulogy to the Governor, and it is of Freedom, cooperation, mutual respect, peace and so forth. The Governor is noted for having kept the town safe during the recent Protestant/Catholic conflicts. He’s a good guy, and Grandier is his narrative progeny.

With an established moral conflict of the Individual vs. the Collective the remainder of the story really has more in common with an Ayn Rand novel than the Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist – the bad guys are all totally bad – all medieval forms of Peter Keating, Elsworth Tooey, and Gayle Wynan; while Grandier represents a medieval Howard Roark or Hank Rearden – fully dedicated and unwavering to his principles all through his trial, torture and on up to the bitter end where he is burnt at the stake. He even has a powerful courtroom speech about freedom in the spirit of Howard Roarks courtroom speech from The Fountainhead. There is no such thing as supernatural forces in this film, only the evil that corrupt men do to each other. There are many great examples of what Anton LaVey referred to as ‘Man’s Inhumanity to Man.’

The whole conflict starts when the representative of the State – Laubardemont – arrives with Orders from the King to demolish the city to discourage future protestant uprisings. Grandier stand up to him and puts him off.  Laubardemont is now looking for a way to put him down, starts finding dirt on him from the local Ursuline convent of oversexed Nuns.

Meanwhile Grandier gets the ‘good’ girl – Madeleine De Brou – an applicant to the Ursuline convent of nuns ends up becoming his lover. Grandier makes love to his moral equivalent and sexual counterpart like Hank Rearden and Dagney Taggart while their enemies are plotting against them.

And the nuns – led by Vanessa Redgrave – and their bizarre and often comical sexual antics will distract you and lead you to think they are the central point of the film if you’re not careful. The antics of the Nuns of Loudon are indeed what history recalls, but I feel Ken Russell while appeasing that appetite is also trying to show us something deeper. They represent the idea common to Rand, Wilhelm Reich, and many others from the Modern period that when sexual energy is oppressed, eventually it explodes and forces it’s way through, often in unexpected, perverse, and unhealthy ways.

Grandier may well play the Medieval Randian Hero to the end, but unlike, Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged – where the hero ‘wins’ either by getting his way or else vacating and establishing a new ‘Eden’, The Devils ending is more like Rand’s We the Living – where there is no such thing as overcoming or surviving the force of Central Authority, not even for a hero who sticks to his principles. In the end everyone who was good dies and all that is left are fragments of a story that someone was here and they fought for the good.

So as a narrative piece, the Devils is ultimately nihilistic. The good are punished, the evil are rewarded and evil Totalitarianism wins in the end. All the more disturbing when one realizes that even in the world we live in today Church and State are generally considered to be the good guys. The final shot of the Devils pans up over the piles of bricks of the fallen walls of  Loudon to and endless white road that winds off into the distance lined with Breaking Wheels, reminiscent of the road to Rome lined with the crucified; just like the real Devils of Church and State, leading profane humanity down a road that ultimately leads only to more of the same.

 

 

All-Female Lord of the Flies Remake

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In case you hadn’t heard, some Hollywood jokers have announced they are making a an All-Female remake of The Lord of the Flies.

Yes, it’s disturbing if you are a fan of the book, and as many know this book holds a special place for me and the Esoteric Order of Beelzebub; for it’s cameo appearance by the Horned-One himself, and also for the important questions it raises about the need for structure and authority in society.

You can google it yourself to see all the hype it’s creating, but here’s a couple of gems from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/31/all-female-lord-flies-remake-faces-backlash-misses-point-women/ :

Feminist writer Roxane Gay commented that “the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women”.

and

The author said he made his book all-male because a group of men can be boiled down to be representative of society in a way that women, in his opinion, cannot. He said: “I think women are foolish to pretend they’re equal to men – they’re far superior, and always have been.

It’s not even really clear yet whether it’s supposed to be empowering or dis-empowering to women, whether it’s about challenging traditional roles or more about sex-ploitation.  But I’ll tell you either way I think it’s bullshit.

What really bothers me about this is that it comes down to revision of a historical classic. When people go back and revise historical classics for the most part this creates outrage. Like if they went back in to Lord of the Flies and just took out the violent parts – people would be outraged, because this would be changing the story and not true to what the author intended. But in the case of simply reversing the sexuality, this completely changes the story and is totally not true to what the author intended but we are expected to accept it under the threat of being accused of sexism. In this way one faction basically gets a free pass for historical revision and censorship.

Think if you spent a decade writing a book and it became a classic and got made into movies and taught in schools then 30 years later a couple of Hollywood wise-guys come along and decide to arbitrarily change the sexuality of all the characters – characters you’d spent all that time developing and pouring your soul into? Wouldn’t you be pissed off?

It would be different if they re-titled it “Lord of the Flies: a Re-imagining” or “Queen of the Flies”. But if they named it Queen of the Flies it wouldn’t even connect with Beelzebub anymore and then everyone would realize how ridiculous the whole thing is.

Actually I wonder if they WILL just white-wash the Beelzebub part out as well? In fact, why not just have them stuck in a mall overnight instead of a desert island? Where does it stop? Will they remake Call of the Wild and make Buck a female cat? Will they remake Moby Dick with a female Captain Ahab? Re-writing classic literature boarders precariously on re-writing history and we are supposed to be against that because that’s what Nazi’s, Communists, Christians, Muslims and other Totalitarians do.

Hanbledzoin and the Supersubstantial

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Fire feeds being, and being feeds fire.

The idea of different kinds of fire that nourish or are fed by different orderings of being may have originated with Zarathushtra, but was kept alive in various esoteric traditions for long after. Finally it was Remanifested in the teachings of Gurdjieff, before being once again called down from the sky by the Second Beast of Revelation Ra En Set.

The 20th Century philosopher and spiritual entrepreneur G.I. Gurdjieff taught that man’s existence occurs largely in a state of relative sleep, and that to awaken to a state of being that is able to perceive truth, it is necessary to aright the flow of energies within his internal system. With a background in esoteric teachings and techniques, Gurdjieff attracted a body of sincere students – ‘seekers of truth’ – and expounded upon these ideas via literature, music, and movements.

Gurdjieff utilized a variety of tools, models, and terms; but one central theme is that different forms of energy ‘feed’ different aspects of being. In a man’s ordinary state of relative sleep, most parts of being are cut-off from certain higher sources of nourishment. Much of the work of ‘awakening’ comes down to reconnecting with those higher sources; reopening those channels so dormant and higher-functioning aspects of being can be re-booted and begin functioning with a more conscious aim.

So there are really three things that must come together for man’s awakening: 1) the man, 2) his desire to awaken, or his hunger for higher being, and 3) the energy, or source of food for higher being. The man is Substance, the food is Energy, and the desire is Telos = S.:E::T

Reflect for a moment on that: the idea that there is a special kind of food for higher being – this manifests to us a parallel to our concept of the Black Flame – that Supersubstantial source of energy and purpose that Lucifer delivered to the human race in pre-historic times that led to man’s awakening and exodus from the paradise of simple mammalian existence. Two of the most outstanding terms for this energy are found in Gurdjieff’s magnum opus ‘Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson’: “Hanbledzoin,” and “Aiessakhladonn.” Both refer to significant aspects of a substantial form of energy, manifesting in different forms as it travels through different worlds of magnitude. One energy form is food for what is called the Emotional (or Kesdjan) Body, the other feeds what is called the Spiritual Body. As Beelzebub states in his Tales to His Grandson:

“Now, my boy, I find it necessary for the given case and also perhaps for my further explanations to inform you in more detail about the cosmic substance called ‘being-hanbledzoin.’

“’Hanbledzoin’ is nothing else than the ‘blood’ of the ‘kesdjan body’ of the being; and just as the sum total of cosmic substances called ‘blood’ serves for the nourishment and renewal of the planetary body of the being, so in the same way ‘hanblezoin’ serves for nourishing and perfecting the kesdjan body.”

An external or higher source for something that is or could also be a part of the individual body and being.

“You should know that in general the quality of the composition of the blood in the common presence of your favorites, as in all three-brained beings, depends on the number of being-bodies already completely formed in them.”

In other words man must first form within himself something able to receive, process, and contain those higher substances.

“Blood, in the presence of three-brained beings, may be composed of substances arising from the transformation of three distinct and independent ‘cosmic sources of actualization.’

Three cosmic substances the feed three aspects of the internal being-complex –  compare with the idea of different kinds of fire.

“The substances of that part of the being-blood designed by Nature for serving the planetary body arise from the transformation of substances of that planet on which the given being is formed and exists.

“But the substances designed for serving the kesdjan body of the being, which in their totality are called ‘hanblezoin,’ are obtained from the transformation of elements of other planets and of the sun itself of that system where this tree-brained being has the place of his arising and existence.

The kesdjan body is also called the Emotional Body and it grows in fact out of the Emotional Center. It is possible for the Kesdjan Body to linger after the death of the Physical Body, even for a relatively undeveloped person, do to the extreme emotional energy spike that can occur with – especially a violent or unexpected – death. This explains the superstitions about ‘ghosts’ and many other so-called paranormal phenomena.

“Finally, that part of the being-blood which almost everywhere is called the sacred ‘aiessakhladonn,’ and which serves the highest part of the being called the ‘soul,’ derives from the direct emanations of our Most Holy Sun Absolute.”

This is the highest substance, or SuperSubstance, what Ouspensky called Influences C, or what Zarathushtra called Mainyu Athra, or Holy Fire. The fire-aspects are acknowledged in Beelzebub’s Tales with the symbolism of the Most Holy Sun Absolute.

And how do we receive these various substances?

“Substances required for the blood of the planetary body of beings enter into them through their ‘first being-food’ or what your favorites simply call ‘food.’

“But the substances needed both for coating and for perfecting the ‘higher being-body,’ that is, the ‘kesdjan body,’ enter into their common presence through their ‘breathing,’ and through certain what are called ‘pores’ of the skin.

Recalling the connection of the Kesdjan Body to the Emotional Center, we might note the calming of emotions that can occur through moderated breathing, or the extreme disruption or loss of breath that can occur in heightened emotional states, like crying, laughing, or feeling terror. Regarding pores of the skin consider the effects of sun on mood – sunshine being associated with happiness, a lack of sunshine associated with its opposite.

“As for the sacred cosmic substances required for the coating of the ‘highest being-body,’ which they call the ‘soul,’ these substances can be assimilated and correspondingly transformed and coated in them, just as in us, only through the process of what is called ‘aisirtoorassian contemplation,’ actualized in their common presence with the conscious participation of their three independent spiritualized parts.”

It is through self-consciousness that the highest SuperSubstance is accessed. An act called self-remembering, or perhaps something akin to what Plato referred to as the state of Noesis. The act causes a certain ‘opening’ in one’s being that allows for the reception of something that is ordinarily by-passed.

Like the Black Flame, these things wind through the cosmos and touch man in ways that effect his evolution – personally, culturally, and genetically. They are ‘fiery’ for their transformational potentials, the are black for they are mostly hidden and generally forbidden by the powers that be.

For us the most tangible aspect of Gurdjieff’s life-force energy is what comes to us through the emotions – Hanbledzoin. This is the manifestation focused on largely by Wilhelm Reich and his study of the ‘Orgone’ energy. Reich claimed that the emanations from the passions could be quantified, studied, and observed through waves and heat-signatures. This is the Fire that emanates from the passions and may be passed easily from one person to another.

The Aiessakhladonn is the aspect of the fire that feeds the soul and originates in the absolute. Awakening to it further opens up possibilities well beyond the limitations of this solar system, and connects us with a much higher source. We awaken to it by learning to receive impressions consciously. In order to do this, we first make certain efforts to streamline the flow of the more tangible energy forms like Hanbledzoin, and then an effort to be fully conscious of our being in the moment. Then the higher-being aspects of our energy-environment become not only visible, but digestible.

Even the simplest organ must do two things to continue existing – move, and eat. The same principle endures, even as we discover new and higher bodies of existence.

 

 

The Six Kinds of Fire

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Fire has a central role in Setian philosophy and practice, from the central flame source in ceremonial magic, to the conceptual Black Flame of consciousness spoken of in the Diabolicon.

But a religious focus on fire goes back much further to at least the 4th century BCE to the prophet Zarathushtra. In the most ancient times, before Zoroastrians built temples, and possessed no religious imagery and had no books on the teachings of the faith, light served as the focus of their religious practices. Fire – or Athra – was a means of producing light.

Eventually Fire Temples appeared as central pillars to early communities where Zoroastrian Priests – or Magi – would tend the fire to ensure it never died out. In addition to the spiritual focus, the Fire Temple also served a practical function to the community ensuring the incredibly valuable resource of fire was always available. It would have been quite a claim of technological success for a community to be able to boast they had kept their fire going without interruption for decades, or perhaps centuries. Event today Fire Temples exist in Persia and India claiming to have fire that is thousands of years old, for instance the city of Yazd in central Iraq.

Zarathushtra mentions fire eight times in his hymns, the gathas: Yasna 31.3, 31.19, 34.4, 43.4, 43.9, 46.7, 47.6 and 51.9. In Zoroastrian scriptures and literature, the word ‘athra’ (later adar and azar) is sometimes used to mean a flame and at other times to mean the energy within an entity. It is also the agency that produces energy. The same sort of multiplicity is found in the Setian conception of The Black Flame, where it can refer to consciousness, the agency that inspires consciousness, or the energy that fuels and feeds consciousness.

Different Kinds of Fire

In Zoroastrianism there are further found different qualities or ‘degrees’ of fire which can be identified by their different functions. There are five kinds of what I would call Substantial Fire, and then two kinds of what I would call Supersubstantial Fire.

The idea that the fire itself can change through a process of qualitative evolution is also represented in the Diabolicon where it is said that the Black Flame might become Red signaling a state of perfection.

From the Statement of Belial:

To council with Satan I also was called, and the Lord of Light said to me, Into thy charge, Daemon of essence, I give the essence of my own being, the Black Fire whose power alone can effect creation by force of Will. Against thee who wield the Black magic no law shall stand, and thus I call thee Belial, who art One Without Master. And as I have bequeathed this essence to thee, so let it come finally to man, who shall overcome the great balance and bring to the Flame a change, for in supremacy it shall become Red with the perfection of the Will of man.

Eternal Flame

The Four Substantial Fires

The five fires or energies mentioned in the Avesta’s Yasna 17.11 and described further in Zoroastrian texts such as the Chapter 17 of the Lesser Bundahishn and Chapter 18 of the Greater Bundahishn, are:

  • Vohu-Frayan (good propagator): Such as that found within the bodies of humans and animals. This energy or ‘fire’ requires both food and water in order to be sustained. This can also be understood as Life-Force Energy, or in Setian terms may correspond with Arkte. It is the fire that binds man and animal together. It is also connected with the first kind of Food in Gurdjieff’s food diagram.
  • Urvazisht (most useful): Such as that found in plants. This energy or ‘fire’ requires water but no food in order to be sustained. Urvazisht is connected with the Second Kind of Food in the Food Diagram, and can manifest in carbon dioxide and oxygen.
  • Vazisht (most supporting): Such as that found in clouds (manifest as lightning). This energy or ‘fire’ requires neither water nor food in order to be sustained. Corresponds with ‘heavenly’ fire.
  • Spenisht (most brilliant and beneficent): Such as that found in a flame – the temporal fires. This energy or ‘fire’ requires ‘food’ (fuel) but no water in order to be sustained.

The Two Supersubstantial Fires

Spiritual Fire – Mainyu Athra – The Black Flame

In Yasna / Gatha 31.3, Zarathushtra makes reference to the Mainyu Athra – the spiritual fire – as one that illuminates the path of asha (truth). The universal laws of asha govern and bring order to the spiritual and material existences. Asha is available, through individual choice, to bring order to human thoughts, words and deeds. As an ethical choice, asha represents principled, honest, beneficent, ordered, and  lawful living.

A study of Mainyu Athra takes us back to the origins of man in the universe, and man’s current place in the universe.

In the Diabolicon it is represented in the Statement of Azazel:

And before our sight Satan lost shape and became again the essence of Lucifer, and we beheld a brilliance that infused all of Hell and sent great bolts of prismic light into the surrounding void. And the brilliance said, I am Lucifer revealed, who am the Eternal Flame. I go now to Earth, for no longer shall man be confounded in Godly ignorance. And then the brilliance became as a flash of fire in the vastness of space, and we knew that Satan had departed from Hell.

But on Earth, where man wandered in mindless bliss, the firmament blazed forth with fiery tongues, and all the land was covered by the Black Flame, which burned not, though it bewildered the eye to see it.

Mainyu Athra corresponds to the highest frequency of the Black Flame, Epiousios the Supersubstantial, and Holy Fire. Mainyu Ahtra also corresponds to Gurdjieff’s Influences C – the Higher Impressions that also serve as food for higher being. This conception of Higher Impressions also correspond with the Zoroastrian mantra of Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds. It is ultimately not for the good of others that you practice these, but for the good of you own soul as the practice helps to complete, refine, and feed you soul. Strong is the soul that is nourished with Holy Fire.

Fire of Creation – Barezi-Savangh – The Red Flame

As the study of Mainyu Athra takes us back to the origins of man in the universe and man’s current place in the universe; Barezi-Savangh takes us back to the origins of the universe itself.

The fire of the original creation is the only element of creation that is called the ‘child’ of God (Athro Ahurahe Mazda puthra* cf. Atash Niayesh**, Litany to Fire, verse 5).

In Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh Zarathushtra held up a censer containing a flame and said to King Vishtasp “Look upon the heavens and the earth. God made them not with dust and water. Look upon the fire and behold therein how they were created.”

In the Avesta, fire as the cosmic fire of creation is intimately connected with asha, the cosmic laws through which order in the universe is maintained. The temporal fire is seen as a symbol of asha.

While Zarathushtra does not refer to fire as God’s child, Zarathushtra does refer to the fire of creation as God’s fire or “Thwa athra sukhra” meaning ‘Your radiant / brilliant (all pervading?) fire’ (of creation).

One possible interpretation of these quotes is that the fire or energy of creation (referred to as Barezi-Savangh in the Bundahishn), is a direct creation of God, Ahura Mazda, and that the material universe (gaetha / getig) coalesced from the ‘fire’ or energy of creation. Further, the energy of this original creation continues to pervade the material and living creation through the other forms of energy listed above. While they are different degrees they are all fire in essence, the way different people can have common DNA strains.

From a perspective of modern science we could equate Barezi-Savangh with the Big Bang – the huge explosion from which our universe sprang. Finding clues to its existence takes us back in time through a universe that is in constant motion.

Recalling the Statement of Leviathan, that ‘Heaven and Hell must perish, and man alone must remain for the Black Flame to become Red in the glory of its perfection’ we see that in the conception of perfection is an idea of return to the fundamental nature of the cosmos, as well as the ability to remake the cosmos from a new perspective.

This may be seen to correspond with the Avestan word “Frashokereti” which is the idea that there will be a final renovation to the universe after evil – mechanicalness and ignorance – is dispelled from the world.

All of this points to a return to – or Remanifestation of – the original cosmic fire of creation – the Red Flame.

Eternal Flame 

In Zoroastrian ritual, the passing of esoteric ideas and values from one person to the next is symbolized by a new flame being lit from an existing one. When these ideas and values are passed from one generation to another without interruption, we have the notion of an ‘eternal’ flame, one that will endure the passage of time. The ancient system of maintaining an ever-burning fire in a community-centre and from which household fires were lit also contributed to the notion of an eternal flame.

This is also commonly acted out in Setian practice, in lighting the flame, and in passing the flame around to others. The idea of wisdom spreading mouth-to-ear by oral tradition is also represented in the symbolism of the Black Flame. This is also illustrated througout the Daibolicon as the Daimons pass the flame along to each other.

Epiousios

Just as the word itself moves through different forms to to highlight various subtleties – Epiousios, Supersubstantial, Holy Fire, Black Flame – so does the ancient conception of fire acknowledge various qualities or frequencies of manifestation.

The most immediate emergence from Holy Fire is the duality of Black Flame/Red Flame; Mainyu Athra/Barezi-Savangh; Isolate Intelligence/Creative Continuity; the soul/creation;  These two fires are essential in understanding Epiousios, and are linked with each other. This is why when we connect with the Principle of Isolate Intelligence (Synesis) we may also catch a glimpse of the birth of the universe via the omnipresent Red Flame of continuity.

 

 

The Year of the Red Fire Monkey in Review

This is an attempt to recap, to articulate the moment, and to prepare for the completion of another cycle.

It’s also a review of the year 2016 from a totally psyche-centric perspective.

  • Remanifestation of the Supersubstantial, Epiousios, Holy Fire
  • Remanifestation of Asmodeus X
  • My Mother takes ill, I learn while working on a hospital job site in Beaufort South Carolina. Fellow consultant tells me “that’s your mother you need to go to her.”
  •  I rush to her bedside in Nebraska. As I arrive her eyes are open but close soon after.
  • I spend a week at her bedside. Listen to lots of Gathas and reading Zoroastrian literature.
  • The Recognition of Zarathushtra as the first prophet of the Supersubstantial in ATHRA
  • Mother dies, I am at her side at her passing, coinciding with first March rain.
  • Preside over cremation and funeral
  • Begin new project New Hampshire job site.
  • Sirius XV – Kepler 186 – land of Milk and Gold. Remanifestation of Erbeth.
  • Remanifestation of Conscience and Responsibility.
  • Second funeral for mother, I preside over ceremony, interment in ashes in Missouri, visit historic family grave sites.
  • Psychedelic Blasphemy – Reunion with Electric Hellfire Club
  • I love my family and family dogs
  • I remember more consistently and with ease, that I have already decided to come here to fight for the good.

Magi of Conscience – Zarathustra and Ashiata Shiemash

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Ancient Zoroastrian Priest

Undertaking the vast internal journey of discovery suggested by the Left-Hand Path can result in many surprises, unexpected turns, and spontaneously convergent harmonies. One such harmonic convergence can be found in the teachings of  Gurdjieff, and Zarathustra.

For me the discovery of Setian seemed to lead quite naturally to my discovery the ‘Fourth Way’ system of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. This line of investigation further resulted in my encountering a local branch of the Gurdjieff Foundation where I learned the movements, techniques for self-remembering, and engaged in advanced group study of Gurdjieff’s masterwork, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson (hereafter notes as “BTTTHGS”). All told I spent about ten years working with this group before life circumstances took me elsewhere, yet I retained many valuable lessons and found much of the work to be mutually reciprocal and harmonious with my continuing TOS work.

Some years later, thanks to super-efforts of the wise Darban I Den, I began encountering ideas from the teachings of the 10th century BCE prophet Zarathushtra. Outbursts of “wait, that sounds like Setianism!” were challenged in frequency only by outbursts of “wait, that sounds like Gurdjieff!”

In all of these things I am not alone. Many students of the Left-Hand Path have found great relevance in the ‘Fourth Way’ teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff. Still others have found the same in the teachings of the 10th Century BCE Magus Zoroaster. In fact there are many correspondences between the two teachings, and certain common fundamental ideas about the nature of man and the cosmos. For instance, things like:

  • Focus on oral tradition and the transmission of important ideas ‘mouth to ear’
  • Remembering – or in other words, initiation is largely a matter of remembering yourself.
  • Man is fundamentally good in nature
  • Objective Consciousness and the idea that life is a struggle against non-conscious mechanical forces (The Druj)
  • The source of consciousness is a singularity (monotheism)
  • Conscience – The central aim of initiation is the development of ‘Conscience‘ and that this further brings a social benefit of peace and prosperity for mankind.
  • Triads and the Law of Threes

The best place to begin this examination is Gurdjieff’s own writings and in particular his magnum opus Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, in which it is believed that he actually drew on on oral teachings of Zarathushtra in crafting the character Ashia Shiemash, whom he envisions as one of the first great pre Judaeo-Christian prophets to mankind. It is widely considered by students of the work that Ashiata Shiemash is actually a reference to the ancient Indo-Iranian prophet Zarathushtra. As a student of the Gurdjieff Work and then later a student of Mazadaism, this question for me has only grown with mystery. Gurdjieff at many times indicated that what he taught was simply the original system for becoming; the first system that had been forgotten and buried by time and instances of man’s foolishness. On the other side, the more one studies Zoroastrianism in philosophy and history, the more one comes to see that quite possibly this was the original ‘way’ – the original spiritual teaching from which all others were born, grew, diverged, and eventually lost resonance and resemblance with. Here it is my wish to highlight the significant ideas and stories surrounding the character of Ashiata Shiemash, note the various correspondences with Zarathustra as they may arise, and arouse thought on all of this in the spirit of generating a more comprehensive understanding of the universality of this line of work.

There are certainly some differences between Ashiata Shiemash and Zarathrustra. But there are as many if not more similarities, and deep ones at that. It may be useful to keep in mind that Gurdjieff never considered himself an academic, and were anyone to request academic citation for any of his ideas he would likely scoff and point them to the door. Yet it is clear from his many writings as well as the many writings about him – that he contained within himself a wealth of legitimate knowledge of man, psychology, religion, and history.

Regarding time and place there are strong correspondences with Ashiata Shiemash and what we know if the historical Zarathustra. Of Ashiata It is said he was born in Sumeria in a small village called ‘Pis pascana’ some 700 years before a ‘ great meeting of learned beings’ in the city of Babylon. Most modern scholars of Zoroastrianism generally place Zarathustra as having lived in north-east Iran or northern Afghanistan which puts Ashiata Shiemash in generally the right location. Scholars further consider Zarathustra to have lived some time between 1700 and 1300 BCE. The city of Babylon underwent a variety of incarnations over a sweeping period as far back as 2300 BCE (the Akkadian Empire) to 539 BCE (Neo-Babylonia) with a cultural peak with the distinction of largest city in the world around 1770 to 1670. So time-wise we can at least consider Ashiata Shiemash to be in the same neighborhood and Zarathustra.

Oral Tradition

Gurdjieff always insisted that all of his knowledge of ‘The System’ came from oral tradition – the kind of knowledge that is passed from mouth to ear. In fact his father was an ‘Ashok’ a tribal storyteller of the rural Armenian/Turkish culture Gurdjieff grew up in. In his book Meetings with Remarkable Men he tells of how after the Epic of Gilgamesh was ‘discovered’ and publicized in the late 1800s, he then realized the power of oral tradition, for he had already been familiarized with all of the stories in this work by the oral tradition told him by his father. From this formative experience grew G’s belief that oral tradition was infact a more powerful force than the written word for the transmission of esoteric ideas over time. This also ties in with his ideas about “Legominism.” A legominism is, according to Gurdjieff, “one of the means of transmitting information about certain events of long-past ages through initiates”.

Certainly any of Gurdjieff’s knowledge of Zarathushtra would have come from oral tradition, NOT from books of academicians or historians. In fact the first modern comprehensive writing on the subject of Zarathushtra came from explorer Anquetil du Perron who after many years of courageous exploration throughout the Middle East in search of the ancient prophet finally stumbled upon the Parsi sect in India, and subsequently published the first translation of the Avesta in three volumes in 1771. Even such publication were not widely available especially in the late Nineteenth Century Armenia where Gurdjieff was born. Again it can only be assumed that all of his knowledge here came from oral traditions.

Consider these ideas in relation to the destruction of the Temples, mass burning of books, and murdering of Priests that took place 330 BCE as the Greeks under Alexander the Great attempted to blot out Zarathrushtra’s teachings from the Earth. A full version of this storyline is found in the Ardāy Wirāz Nāmag (1.1-7; text: Vahman, 1985, pp. 76 f.; tr. Bailey, 1943, pp. 151-52, and Gnoli, p. 137):

“Once Zarathustra had received the religion it was propagated in the world until 300 years were completed. Then the accursed, wicked Evil Spirit deluded the accursed Alexander the Roman (i.e., Byzantine), who lived in Egypt, in order to cause the people to have doubt about this religion; and he came to the land of Iran with great destruction, strife, and trouble. He killed the ruler of Iran and destroyed the court and sovereignty, and ruined them. And this religious tradition (dēn), the entire Avesta and Zand as it was written on adorned ox-hides in golden ink, had been placed in Pābak’s (city of) Istaxr in the Fortress of Archives (diž ī nipišt). That ill-omened adversary, the wicked, evil-doing heretic Alexander the Roman, who lived in Egypt, carried them off and burnt them. And he slew some of the religious authorities (dastwarān), judges, hērbeds, mōbeds, religious leaders, and able and wise people of the land of Iran. … Since they (the Iranians) had no rulers, chiefs, leaders, or judges who knew the religion, and they were doubtful about things connected with the Divine Beings, many types of sects, beliefs, heresy, doubt, and disagreement came into being in the world.”

It is estimated by some that ‘1200 oxhides’ or the entirety of Zoroastrian religious writings were here destroyed. It is possible Beelzebub refers to this same event when he says:

“In the course of my subsequent investigations it turned out that , later on, when the Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash had establhsied the particular contions of ordinary being-existence he had planned, several of these tablets, on his advice and initiateive, were set up in appropriate places in many of the large towns, and upon them were engraved all kids of precents and counsels for a corresponding existence.

“But later, when their big wars began again, all these tablets were destroyed by these strange beings themselves, with the excepttion of that one which has somehow remained intact, as I have already told you, and is now the property of this brotherhood. [BTTHGS p.329]

Despite such mass destructions, as we learned of what has survived orally within remote groups like the Iranis in Iran, and the Parsis in India; who as a part of tradition commit whole pieces of the Gathas and other spiritual ‘song’ to memory, and daily recitation, we see that core ideas and values have indeed survived. We see them in fact quite clearly in at the root of other religious systems as well – the duality of light vs darkness, the idea of an immortal soul, the roots of the word “Magic” and “Magus,” and so forth.

It is further plausible that many of these core ideas following the destructions of Iran, Babylon, Byzantium etc, that the ideas would have  survived orally in various pockets even beyond the tight ethnic group of the Paris and Iranis. For instance the numerous Sufi groups through the Middle East which upon observation can be seen to have many of these same commonalities between Zoroastrianism and Gurdjieff. Perhaps the clearest instance of this is in the Sarmoung Brotherhood which Gurdjieff attributes to being the groups that he was initiated into and from which he received ‘The System.’

In his book Meetings with Remarkable Men Gurdjieff goes on to relate the Sarmoung to the Nestorians, descendants of the ancient Byzantine Empire, their expulsion from Mesopotamia and the city of Nineveh, so the geography matches up nicely.

In fact The word Sarmoung uses the Armenian pronunciation of the Persian term Sarman, which may mean either “he who preserves the doctrine of Zoroaster” or “bee”.

Regarding the meaning, the author and student of Gurdjieff,  John. G. Bennet  writes:

“The word can be interpreted in three ways. It is the word for bee, which has always been a symbol of those who collect the precious ‘honey’ of traditional wisdom and preserve it for further generations. A collection of legends, well known in Armenian and Syrian circles with the title of The Bees, was revised by Mar Salamon, a Nestorian Archimandrite in the thirteenth century. The Bees refers to a mysterious power transmitted from the time of Zoroaster and made manifest in the time of Christ…. Man is Persian meaning as the quality transmitted by heredity and hence a distinguished family or race. It can be the repository of an heirloom or tradition. The word sar means head, both literally and in the sense of principal or chief. The combination sarman would thus mean the chief repository of the tradition.” Yet another possibility was “those whose heads have been purified”, in other words: the enlightened.

So in the Sarmoung Brotherhood we find not only the missing link for Ashiata Shiemash and Zarathushtra, but also between Bees and Beelzebub. As Darban I Den once remarked to me, “I was never comfortable with Beelzebub being related to flies – something shitty and annoying. I always felt it must be Bees – it’s in his name after all.” This latter connection though fascinating may all have even greater implications for The Esoteric Order of Beelzebub.

According to Beelzebub, Ashiata’s teaching method deferred radically from anything done by any teacher before or any teacher after. He taught without teaching:

“The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash taught nothing whatever to the ordinary three-brained beings of the Earth, nor did he preach anything to them, as was done before and after him by all the other Messengers sent from Above with the same aim. “ (BTTHG p. 318)

In other words, there is a very distinctive form of essence-exchange suggested by his system. Something more than the writings, and something not obtainable by the one-way authoritarian structure followed by the popular forms of monotheism. It is also here in the narrative of Beelzebub that the idea of ‘legominism’ is introduced. “A Legomonism,” Beelzebub tells us, “is the name given to one of the means used there for transmitting from generation to generation information about certain events of long-past ages through those three-brained beings who have become worthy to be, and to be called, ‘initiates.’” In other places Gurdjieff had spoken of great physical works like the Sphynx, or the Gothic Cathedrals as examples, but here he refers to a legominism called “The Terror of the Situation.” In the work this idea is known in the shock of realizing one’s own mechanical nature which can be tied back to the wish for being, or ‘being-conscience.’ As we shall see, conscience also has a central role in Zarathushtra’s teaching as well.

As Beelzebub concludes, “’legomonism’ is the name given to the successive transmission of information about long-past events on the planet Earth from initiate to initiate of the first kind, that is, between really meritorious beings, transmitting what they themselves have received from similar meritorious beings.” (BTTHG p. 320) In other words, legominism is the unique form of essential-transfer developed by Ashiata Shiemash.

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G.I. Gurdjieff

 

Remembering

It is not only in the direction of academic correspondences that we must look toward in this effort, but correspondences in pattern, archetype, and resonance. Once one allows for this, one begins to see that there is actually a lot of evidence to support the notion that Ashiata Sheimash and Zarathustra are one and the same, and the most intriguing one lies right up front in the name: Ashiata Sheimash. Gurdjieff seemed to relish in dressing-up and encoding references to people, places and things in the work of Beelzebub’s Tales, in what feels like spirit of mischievous obfuscation. It is said that when his students were proofreading manuscripts for him if they too-easily arrived at his meaning, he would respond, “ah, I must bury the bone deeper then.” BTTHG offers an entire lexicon of Grecco-Armenian-Russian crafted code-words, and new names for characters that – as your eyes adjust – gradually become familiar. For instance, Lentrohamsanin = Lenin, Archangel Loosios = Lucifer, and so forth. In the prophet’s first name “Ashiata” we find the letters spelling “Asha” which is the expression of higher truth/objective consciousness in the teachings of Zarathustra. Of this word Dr. Flowers in his book The Good Religion says “There is no adequate English translation. It connotes a synthesis of world-order, truth, right, righteousness and holiness.” Which corresponds closely with the introduction of Ashiata Shiemash, who seems to have been born from such due to the conditions which Beelzebub elaborates on:

…by the all-gracious command of our Infinitely Loving Common Father Endlessness, our Highest and Most Saintly Cosmic Individuals sometimes actualize within the presence of some terrestrial three-brained being the ‘definitized conception’ of a Sacred Individual, in order that, having become a terrestrial being with such a presence, he might comprehend the situation on the spot and give a suitable new direction to the process of the ordinary being-existence of your favorites, thanks to which there could perhaps be removed from their presences the already crystallized consequences of the properties of the organ kundabuffer as well as the predisposition to new crystallizations.

From the beginning Ashiata’s own origins are divine and purposeful. He has a super-ability for seeing truth and and right-order. He sees that the way of helping others see truth is to help them remove their own buffers to truth. Gurdjeiff here introduces  theidea of ‘kundabuffer’ to refer to the idea of a tightly programed behavior of not seeing truth that has become so culturally ingrained that people come to believe it is biological, not unlike the Christian concept or original sin. Ahsiata’s mission – like Zarathushtras – is to remind people that seeing the truth and the good begins with a decision to see it, in other words seeing behind ‘the lie’ of original sin.

Kundabuffer thus represents the great obstacle to Remembering yourself, and remembering yourself becomes the central task of the Gurdjieff Work as discussed by his student P.D Ouspensky in works like In Search of the Miraculous or The Fourth Way. What may seem in the surface a simple act quickly becomes deep and complex the more one personally explores and experiments with it.

The idea of Self-Remembering is clearly reflected In the cosmology of Zarathushtra where all humans on Earth actually began as conscious souls before coming here. In this pre-soul state they do have some awareness of what life is like on Earth, and eventually the great evil and ‘Terror of the Situations’ inspires them to come to Earth to fight for the good – for consciousness and conscience. However in being born into this world one of necessity forgets much of the previous life. But one can remember, and one can find others to help one remember. In Zarathrushtra’s system this remembering the fight for good equates directly to the remembering of the self spoken of by Gurdjieff. Each act of remembering the self is thus also a conscious act and a fundamentally good act.

Man is Fundamentally Good

When we recall that sense of existence in our Pre-soul state, we may also recall the reason we willfully chose to come to Earth – to fight against evil I.e. Ignorance, unconsciousness, coercion and mechanicalism. This is the first fundamentally good decision we made, and so our existence sent on earth is the result of this decision for the good. Thus in Zarathushtra’s system the fundamental goodness of man is not only a moral truth but a metaphysical truth as well.

This idea is in direct contradiction to the doctrine of Original Sin, so common to contemporary Christianity. The idea there is that man is fundamentally evil, is born into the world as an evil being, and so all of his life must be an effort to make good on this – to pay off his cosmic debt. An entire negative and pessimistic attitude about how to approach the phenomenon of life has grown from this, beyond monotheism and even to to influence secular ideologies. For instance, much of science views man to have evolved from a vicious and violent simeon species, who only by the grace of civilization can avoid descending back into total chaos and interspecies predation. In the far political left of Green Party and animal rights extremism you further find the idea in the form of anti-humanism – that humans are the problem where environment is concerned and overpopulation the cause of most social problems.

In these systems mans fundamental evilness is conversely a moral and metaphysical truth – it is not in anyway based in any decision that you personally made, it is rather the burden you must bear for someone else’s (I.e. Adam and Eve) bad decision. All of these systems are simply re-iterations of the idea of Original Sin, which is really more of an attitude or a negative emotion. Zarathushtra sweeps all this nonsense away with the idea of man being fundamentally good, and reminds us that it was the original perspective only later clouded and perverted by monotheistic wise-acering. It didn’t even enter Christian Doctrine until the 2nd Century by way of Iraneus.

In Gurdjieff’s cosmology, man like all other ‘Three-Brained Beings’ in the universe will naturally grow and evolve toward conscience. On Earth however a great cosmic disturbance (first moon crashing into the earth) interfered with this and resulted in man perceiving reality ‘upside down.’ The Gurdjieff work of achieving Objective Conscience is thus really a work of returning to man’s original state of goodness, which is his birth-right.

The idea of man being fundamentally good in fact corresponds with many other systems considered outside of the established realm of ‘normal’ and ‘common’ like LaVeyan Satanism, Setianism, Ayn Rand’s Objectivism and can in fact even be traced back to Aristotle. It is also worth noting that such systems – and thus the idea of man being fundamentally good –  are largely unpopular with mainstream culture.

Objective Consciousness

Gurdjieff attributes to Ashiata many first and unique accomplishments in the areas of philosophy and initiation, and many of these correspond very closely with what we know of Zarathurshtra. For instance, he says

“The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash was the only Messenger sent from Above to your planet who by his holy labors succeeded in creating conditions in which for a certain time the existence of its unfortunate beings somewhat resembled the existence of three-brained beings with the same possibilities that inhabit other planets of our Great Universe.” (BTTHG  p. 318)

In so many words he is saying that this prophet is the only one who was actually successful in creating ‘peace on earth’ – the aim that every other prophet touts but never really accomplishes. In a more esoteric sense what this really means is that mankind generally achieved objective consciousness and real and lasting Conscience for a time, one of the practical results of which of course would be relative peace on Earth.

It is often said of Zarathustra that this was accomplished in the reign of Cyrus the II of Persia, founder of the Achaemenid Empire (600 – 530 BC) which followed the teachings of Zarathustra and was well known as one of the most peaceful and prosperous societies in history. Cyrus respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered, following a successful model of administration working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. He also freed the Jews in Babylon and earned a special distinction in the Jewish Bible as Messiah and is the only non-Jew to be so-called.

In the ongoing work of the individual the enemy of Objective Consciousness is embodied in the idea The Druj – an Avestan word meaning “The Lie.” The Druj encompasses all the forces of ignorance, mechanicalism, coercion, slavery, abuse, negative emotions and so forth. In Setian cosmology the same fundamental ideas are represented in the struggle of Set and HarWer as accounted in The Book of Coming Forth by Night. The Ageless Intelligence must struggle to maintain independence from the confused and fitful presence of HarWer.

Though drawing on different terminology and symbolism – the moral basis consciousness = good, non-consciousness = bad reveal a great harmony in these teachings and a shared core-value.

The Source of Consciousness

It is also possible that the Jews of Babylon under Cyrus were influenced by the monotheistic model of Zoroastrianism, and it is widely recognized by scholars that Zarathustra taught the first form of monotheism. Here again we find reference to this aspect of Mazdaism in Beelzebub’s Tales in the world ‘Olbogmek’ which means, “There are no different religions, there is only one God.”(BTTTHGS\ p. 319). (“Bog” is Russian for “God” as fans of A Clockwork Orange might have recognized).

Zarathustra is universally acknowledged by scholars as producing the first form of monotheism in the character of Ahura Mazda – which is often translated simply as “Lord of Wisdom.” However some scholars assert that Maz-dah is an adjective meaning approximately “he who places (everything) in his mind” (not “wisdom as is commonly rendered.) [The Spirit of Zoroastrianism, Prods Oktor Skjaervo p.13] Such a translation runs much closer to the more technical and specific sense of consciousness and self-consciousness taught by Gurdjieff.

But it

 

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Unknown artist’s rendering of Ashiata Shiemash

Conscience

It is clear in Beelzebub’s Tales that the significance of conscience pervades the teachings of Ashiata Shiemash, that it is central to his teachings and that all of his other ideas revolve around it.

“After the second transapalnian perturbation occurred to this ill-starred planet, that is, after the ‘loss of Atlantis,’ the action of the cosmic law of Solioonensius in the common presence of your favorites took place at least forty times, and each time, thanks to this strange need of freedom which has become fixed in the majority of them, almost the same thing took place as has recently been occurring among the groups inhabiting that part of the surface of your planet called ‘Russia.’ “Here it is extremely important to note that these terrifying processes could never have occurred among the three-brained beings of the planet Earth if those data for engendering the being-impulse of Conscience, which had remained intact in their subconscious—data to which the Most Saintly Ashiata Shiemash was the first to turn his attention, and which he relied upon for the fulfillment of his mission—had taken part in the functioning of that consciousness of theirs which has become habitual for them during their waking state. “It is only because the data for the sacred impulse of being-Conscience do not take part in the functioning of this consciousness of theirs that the action of the law of Solioonensius, as well as of other inevitable cosmic laws, assumes these abnormal forms which are so lamentable for them.” (BTTHG p. 571)

Many significant ideas can be found in this passage. To begin with, in calling him the first Beelzebub is saying not only was Ashiata the first to identify the importance of Conscience, but that the word fully supported and defined his existence and mission on Earth. It is further suggested that there is an actual biological – even medical – benefit to conscience. The Beelzebub word “Solioonensius” is like kind of like lunacy from the sun – dangerous radiations from the sun make people crazy and make them want to kill other beings. There is actually Sociological support for this, as statistically homicide and violent crime rates tend to increase the closer one gets to the equator, where the influence of the sun is obviously more apparent and felt more strongly by the people who live there. Conscience, or the development of ‘Being-Conscience’ can protect us from these deleterious influences. Thus the development of Conscience goes hand-in-hand with the discouragement of animal-sacrifice, and really violence in general.

Conscience also can be seen to emerge with central importance in the teachings of Zarathustra and we find evidence of it in key ideas like Daena Vohuni which is often translated as ‘good conscience.’

Another way Conscience is approached in the Fourth Way work is in the elimination of contradictions, for it is impossible to experience true conscience while one holds on to internal contradictions. P.D. Ouspensky once wrote:

“Conscience is a state in which a man feels all at once everything that he in general feels, or can feel. And as everyone has within him thousands of contradictory feelings which vary from a deeply hidden realization of his own nothingness and fears of all kinds to the most stupid kind of self-conceit, self-confidence, self-satisfaction, and self-praise, to feel all this together would not only be painful but literally unbearable. If a man whose entire inner world is composed of contradictions were suddenly to feel all these contradictions simultaneously within himself, if he were to feel all at once that he loves everything he hates and hates everything he loves, that he lies when he tells the truth and that he tells the truth when he lies; and if he could feel the shame and horror of it all, this would be the state which is called ‘conscience.’ A man cannot live in this state; he must either destroy contradictions or destroy conscience. He cannot destroy conscience, but if he cannot destroy it he can put it to sleep, that is, he can separate by impenetrable barriers one feeling of self from another, never see them together, never feel their incompatibility, the absurdity of one existing alongside another

Conscience is the fire which alone can fuse all the powders in the glass retort, and create the unity which a man lacks in that state in which he begins to study himself.” (Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous)

Ashiata actually has a very personal association with Beelzebub himself, as it is Ashiata that get’s Beelzebub pardoned from the transgressions of his past:

“And thus to one of the planets of this solar system, the planet called “Earth,” a Messenger was once sent from our Endlessness – a certain Ashiata Shiemash. And as Beelzebub had fulfilled  a special task indispensable to his mission, this Messenger, upon his return to the Sun Absolute, earnestly besought His Endlessness to pardon the once young and fier but now aged Beelzebub.” (BTTHG p.49)

This ties in with the Mazdan approach to ethics which asserts there is no transgression that cannot be forgiven. That there is no Original Sin which metaphysically connects us with evil, but that good can at anytime be Remanifested by the decision to do so. In popular monotheism the fundamental nature of man is evil – he is born into the world this way due to the sins of Adam, and therefore the whole of his life clouded with shame and a sense of  indebtedness for expenses he did not himself occur. In Zarathushtra and Gurdjieff’s world, man comes into the world fundamentally good, but forgets this over the course of life. Yet he always has the opportunity to remember, that is why Teachers, Prophets, Saoshants, and Messengers from Above return to Earth at various times, to remind us.

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Zarathushtra

Triads – Law of Threes

Generally speaking there is quite a lot of tripartition and triadic structures in both in Zoroastrianism and the Fourth way. In Zoroastrian the cosmos is triadic with a Spirit world, a Material world, and then a yet-to-come divine world of spirit-matter fusion. There is also the triadic maxim of “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds,” with ‘good’ meaning of high quality.

An important triad in the Gurdjieff work is the Law of Threes, referring to the interaction of positive, negative and neutralizing forces in nature and in man. With Ashiata Shiemash, the great triad comes from the surviving tablet that survived the ‘big wars’ on which was inscribed the ‘sacred being-impulses’ of Faith, Hope, and Love. This triad also appears in Corinthians 13:13 but as one reads the Ashiata’s inscriptions one can’t help but suspect a deeper triadic pattern at work:

FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE

  • Faith of consciousness is freedom
  • Faith of feeling is weakness
  • Faith of body is stupidity
  • Love of consciousness evokes the same in response
  • Love of feeling evokes the opposite
  • Love of body depends only on type and polarity
  • Hope of consciousness is strength
  • Hope of feeling is slavery
  • Hope of body is disease