Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Greetings from Glastonbury and the transmission of the Avalonian Aeon.
Here are a series of extracts from my upcoming Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus that serve as a mood-setter and kind of movie trailer. Some of these sections are separated by lots of material in the book and have featured in blogs before but they hang together quite well as a policy statement. They feature the three main characters in my narrative: Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons, and Timothy Leary. Those who find this mix to their liking may care to investigate the blog further and perhaps look out for the book when it is published on Dec 5th
This is the information age. We have access to more data in a shorter space of time than could ever have been imagined even a few decades ago. That still leaves us with the issue of what we choose to look for and why. Kids leave school today without being able to recount any details of Auschwitz or Hiroshima. A teenager asked for a response after seeing Schindler’s List at the cinema derided it as boring. Nothing really happened in it. The passion, intensity, and brilliance of popular music in the sixties have become all but unknown to new generations. There are hippy kids in Glastonbury with hardly any real knowledge or interest in the sixties upheaval. On one level, I can’t understand that at all. On another, seen from the perspective of the idea of Gurdjieff’s sleepwalking humanity and James Joyce’s nightmare of history from which we need to awaken, the Gnostic prison of the Matrix, I can.
As far as I’m concerned this whole thing, the twentieth century, with it’s Nazi and psychedelic eras, this time that Crowley has called the dawning of the Aeon of Horus is so mind shatteringly heart-bustingly compellingly interesting and important that at times I feel like I’m straining with every nerve to take on board every last nuance in order to maintain the altered state of gnosis necessary to comprehend it. In that comprehension is ecstasy and terror, ‘the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star’.
I’m walking through Cairo Museum in a culmination of a thirty year journey. A loud multi-national hubbub of noise throbs around the enormous high-ceilinged interior as a great tumult of life bustles everywhere around me. Egyptian guides compete to make themselves heard, instructing international groups clustered by the mind-shattering exhibits whose imagery has so deeply permeated western consciousness. Arab art students sit in groups on the floor, girls in Muslim headscarves, guys in western attire, chatting, laughing, comparing pictures on their mobile phones, whilst sketching assorted antiquities. The backdrop of sound blends with synthesiser droning, wind, thunder, tambura, tablas, chanting, and twelve-string electric guitar coming from my headphones. I’ve started to notice something. Amidst all of this movement the artefacts of Ancient Khem convey a profound stillness.
Moving slowly, savouring every moment, past huge stone figures, up the stairs to the second floor, I’m coming into the vicinity of the most famous archaeological find in the world. An ever denser tumult gathers around the exquisite death mask of Tutankhamun and I will certainly be joining them. I have far greater preparation to appreciate its beauty than when I last saw it as a schoolboy at the British Museum in 1972. I haven’t come just to see the boy king though.
My main reason for being here is a noon appointment marking the anniversary of a perplexing event. It’s with another nearby item that receives far less attention. Large elliptical and rectangular openings on the second floor look down upon the first. Pillars support a balcony walkway which in turn has arched entrances to smaller enclaves. Section 23 is flanked by large figures of the goddesses Isis and Nephthys, standing with arms outstretched, in glass cases. Passing through between them, and looking immediately to my right, in the fourth level of a cabinet full of wood and stucco funerary stele, I see for the first time the object of my quest: exhibit 9422 commemorating Ankh af na Khonsu, an obscure twenty-sixth dynasty priest.
Photo by Andrew Collins. Enhanced by Sue Collins. Taken in April 1997. Year 93.
The stele measures 51.5 by 31 cm. A card from its previous home in the now defunct Boulak Museum numbered 666 gives a hint of why I am here. More brightly colourful than its companion pieces and of more accomplished artistry, it attracts some of the young people to sit in front of it and draw. A plaque on the wall labels the room’s contents as New Empire Funerary Furniture. Panning back out and around from my initial focus on the stele I now notice some of the other items displayed. There’s a cabinet full of wooden hawks, another full of haunting golden-faced busts with nemyss headdresses, all manner of different sized figures, such as dog-headed Anubis, that, in combination with the ebb and flow of synthesiser drones and deep surging sounds that could be mellotron cellos, help to create an outstanding ambiance.
There’s a sound from my headphones now like an extended rumble of thunder from what one commentator likened to a storm in the desert at dawn as I listen to the conclusion to the twenty minutes of music Jimmy Page composed for occult filmmaker Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. I feel fortunate to have finally tracked down a bootleg recording of this legendary piece and that a musician friend was able to clean it up in his studio. It has assisted superbly in setting the necessary mood, also giving me a further sense of full-circle as it was Page’s interests that helped begin this journey for me decades ago as well.
There’s a little red book in my pocket and it’s not the Thoughts of Chairman Mao. I take it out as noon approaches. The Book of the Law is supposed to be a text dictated by a non-human intelligence announcing the onset of a new era. The stele was of central importance in its creation, Ankh af na Khonsu being an alleged past-life of its twentieth century scribe, the legendary Aleister Crowley.
Holding my book cover image by the Stele. April 10th 2009.
It began to dawn on me that history felt like a mighty weird affair. I read top historians and took on board arguments for economic, sociological, and technological determinants but for all the growing mass of data and ideas that filled my head something that felt like it ought to be cohering wasn’t. Yes, if you look at what was happening in Germany following their defeat in the First World War, their treatment by the Allies with the Treaty of Versailles and the economic troubles of the twenties, a resurgence of an aggressive nationalism seemed inevitable. That doesn’t account for the strangeness and severity of form it took.
With the sixties, it is possible to point to a number of economic and technological factors that made the emergence of some sort of youth culture highly likely. That doesn’t really explain why it turned out to be such an outrageous party. The drugs certainly made a difference but they simply can’t bestow talent on mediocrities. How remarkable that as Hitler, Himmler, and their associates reached the climax of their endeavours at Stalingrad and Auschwitz, so the grouping that included John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger, were coming into incarnation.
It seemed to me that the main players of the Nazi nightmare and the swinging sixties were rather specialised groups. They were uniquely over-qualified for the situations that they were born into. The group of characters who were available to take the whole thing to the limit and beyond seem to have been assembled by a brilliant casting agency. The usual ways of looking at history didn’t satisfactorily explain to me why it all turned out to be quite so hideous, quite so ridiculously brilliant. I felt there was a deeper mystery trying to reveal itself.
In some brief fragments on Gnosticism included in Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword Parsons wrote that ‘The Holy Ghost is the feminine counterpart of Christ – the Sophia. God is manifest in the union of Christ and Sophia.’ ‘Let us celebrate in singing and in dancing, in friendship and in lovemaking, and in all manner of joyous and bountiful and beautiful things that are fitting to the love and worship of God, who made all things. Let us put away fear and envy and hatred and intolerance and all thought of guilt and sin out of our hearts, that we may worthily celebrate our brotherhood in joy and love. In the name of Christ, that is the Son of God, and of Sophia, that is the Daughter of God, and of their union that is God, Amen.’ ‘Formal Christianity has distorted, perverted, and misinterpreted the teachings of Christ. Mankind can only find happiness by rejecting the false doctrines of sin, guilt, fear, hatred and intolerance: and in accepting the gospels of Love.’
From the London Times Oct 5th 1969.
It is in the context of such sensibilities that Parsons Antichrist material must be assessed. Much has been made of him deliberately taking on the role and vowing to spread the Law of Thelema throughout the world in the name of the Beast 666. Despite Israel and Chorazin and a general Revelation ambiance we’re not talking about an Omen movie here. A brief sample of his Manifesto of the Antichrist may hopefully restore some perspective.
‘An end to the pretence, and lying hypocrisy of Christianity.
An end to the servile virtues, and superstitious restrictions.
An end to the slave morality.
An end to prudery and shame, to guilt and sin, for these are of the only evil under the sun, that is fear.
An end to all authority that is not based on courage and manhood, to the authority of lying priests, conniving judges, blackmailing police, and
An end to the servile flattery and cajolery of mobs, the coronations of mediocrities, the ascension of dolts.
An end to conscription, compulsion, regimentation, and the tyranny of false laws.’
‘I will put a live coal upon your lips, and flowers upon your eyes, and a sword in your hearts, and ye also shall see God face to face. Thus shall we give back its youth to the world, for like tongues of triple flame we shall look upon the Great Deep - Hail unto the Lords of the groves of Eleusis!’
Aleister Crowley. Rites of Eleusis.
‘No we will not forget who we are
Our wild souls still beat
Our muscles strain against the bonds
When tides of ancient energy surge within
We sit trembling in our cages
It is hard for the proud wild to be captive
We will not forget who we are
We pray that you, beloved, do not forget who we are.’
Timothy Leary. Prison 1970.
The fervour of those times may seem difficult to comprehend. A few factors are crucial to understanding. First of all, in case anyone hasn’t heard, LSD is an extremely powerful substance mindwise. To experience it just after the drab fifties was a bit of a shock to the system to say the least. Those who were a tad disturbed by 9/11 would do well to ponder the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. This was the most intense episode of the Cold War. It might just have been the most intense episode not just of the Cold War but the whole of recorded history in as much as a nuclear war was genuinely an imminent strong possibility. Short version: Russia started setting up nuclear missile bases on Cuba within close first strike proximity to the USA whilst stating that they were doing no such thing. America found out and said stop doing that or there will be trouble. An invasion of Cuba and nuclear strike on Russia were seriously planned for. Bombers were loaded and ready to go. For a few weeks global stress levels rose to unprecedented highs. A deal was struck and the missiles removed.
It was as if the enormous collective alchemy stirring since 1945 was reaching a crucial transformative stage. Just over a year later Kennedy was killed as Huxley exited on LSD. Some of the early acid heads felt that LSD and the Bomb were like a kind of yin and yang of the new epoch that needed to be balanced out. Was there some kind of mysterious timing that had revealed such power in the realms of the sub-atomic and the energy field of consciousness all but simultaneously? The world had nearly destroyed itself, the divine king of Camelot (as Kennedy’s presidency came to be known) had been sacrificed. Unless the world caught up in the inner wisdom game very rapidly the final catastrophe could be horribly near. War mongering madmen riddled with Reich’s emotional plague, armoured against the free flow of love and sexuality, ruled the world. Give them some acid and chuck them in a pool full of dolphins and they might just sort it all out. They would probably be at least a bit less inclined to want to kill each other.
I can forgive Timothy Leary his grandiloquence in trying to save the world with LSD. I will cut him some slack for what in hindsight was irresponsibility in encouraging a generation to drop out and thereby facilitating a westward flow of innocents like some children’s crusade that would soon overwhelm the Haight-Ashbury scene and be exploited, abused, and leave some very real human tragedies in its wake. The clinical pre-requisites for a good trip of set and setting would not always be available for some of these unfortunates. We shall examine the more gruesome outcomes of that shortly. In the sixties the sense of how far it was possible to take something dissolved. The space race was the best indicator of that. Huge developments in the history of the human race were occurring in rapid succession. The sky was no longer the limit. If we can put a man on the moon within a decade of deciding we want to do it who says we can’t transform the consciousness of humanity in a similar period of time? Such was the incredible spirit of the age.
Artwork by Adam Scott Miller.
I would like to think my book could serve as a fine christmas present/read.
Artwork by Gwendolyn Xalvadora.
Available from Dec 5th
Monday, 16 November 2009
My 2 year project is complete.
Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus will be available by Sat 5th December.
Its initial launch will be in the evening of the next day (Sun 6th)in Labyrinth Books, Glastonbury High Street between 6.30 and 8.30.
This event commemorates the centenary of the magickal peak of Crowley's career, the legendary desert ceremony invoking the guardian of the threshold of the abyss, Choronzon, a story that is featured extensively in my work.
A further London function will happen in January. Details to follow.
The book has nearly 400 pages and will sell at £13.99
From the back cover
ALEISTER CROWLEY AND THE AEON OF HORUS
Is another historical and cultural esoteric extravaganza from Paul Weston.
An Aeon of Horus primer: from the Nazis to the atom bomb, LSD, and UFOlogy.
Beyond the legend of infamy:
Aleister Crowley the occult superstar, yogi, mountaineer, junkie, sexual adventurer, and mystical poet, the supreme prophet of the modern world?
Jack Parsons, L Ron Hubbard, Marjorie Cameron, JFC Fuller, Hitler, Jacques Vallee, Charles Manson, Timothy Leary, Guido von List, Meade Layne, Robert Anton Wilson, Phillip K Dick, Gerald Gardner, Rudolf Hess,HP Lovecraft, Rudolf Steiner, George Hunt Williamson, Anton Szandor LaVey, Wilhelm Reich, Gurdjieff, the Beatles, Robert Graves, George Van Tassell, Kenneth Grant, Alex Sanders, William Dudley Pelley, CG Jung, Kenneth Anger, Aldous Huxley, John Keel.
Dealing with diverse and extraordinary subjects:
Babalon Working, Sirius Mystery, Stele of Revealing, psychedelic sixties, Church of Satan, Process Church of the Final Judgement, rebirth of Witchcraft, Manson murders, Thule, orgone energy, Abraxas, Mothman, Illuminati, Men in Black, Gnostic revival, Nazi Occultism, Montauk, Loch Ness monster, Necronomicon, the psychology, magick, and mysticism of Thelema, the crossing of the abyss, secret ciphers, Extra-Terrestrial Gnosis.
Stele of Revealing. Photo by Andrew Collins