The Light Invisible

A Blog for the Church Magical

Tag: occultism

Acephale Georges Bataille

Georges Bataille and the Black Brotherhood—Crowley’s “Scientific Illuminism” vs. Bataille’s “Science of Filth”

The radical French philosopher Georges Bataille and the English magus Aleister Crowley at first seem to have much in common—both explored the darker sides of eroticism and their links to spiritual experience, both were evocative writers expressing philosophical standpoints considered beyond the pale of polite early twentieth-century society, and both sought a rapturous mystical dissolution of the ego-bound self, a union with what traditional mystics would call the One or the All. But their understandings of the end of the mystic’s quest differ greatly—even to the point that, according to orthodox Thelema’s conception of the magician’s supreme goal of “crossing the Abyss,” Bataille could be labeled a member of the vilified Black Brotherhood, that society of Dark Adepts who ultimately fail in their spiritual task. (Bataille, of course, would probably revel in the transgressive identification.)

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Urth Liberation Front: On the Dangers of Thinking Esoterically

Despite the massive abundance we have created on this planet, there are a few with unimaginable wealth and a lot who are not even getting their basic needs met. All of these powerful tools we have developed are neutral in the hands of men. They can be used to empower us or enslave us, for us or against us. As a human being alive at this time, you get the unique opportunity to play a role in choosing and forging the direction of civilization in arguably its most crucial moment. We are at the precipice of change. You can choose to embrace the Spiritual Revolution that is upon us and unite globally for the highest good of all. We can choose to evolve our outdated systems and co-create economic and social systems that serve us all. Urth is the collective utopian future vision of a transcendent civilization sharing love and abundance. The Church of Urth is a non filed association of churches which functions as a global vessel to manifest that vision of Urth. This universal platform gives people the opportunity to make a stand as one that the fate of our species is more important than being right. When we are able to stop trying to dominate people and start collaborating, stop trying to enslave people and start trying to love and empower them, then anything becomes possible. That is Urth to me.

Sounds pretty good, right? Some of it is even reminiscent of language you might find on this very blog. We do live in a society with rising inequality and poverty in the midst of massive abundance. The tools and technology we have created are in fact neutral, and can be used to support either oppression or liberation. Uniting globally in a Spiritual Revolution that creates economic and social systems that might serve us all is a laudable goal. It would be great to live in a “transcendent civilization sharing love and abundance.” All fine sentiments.

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The Seven Sacraments

Magical Univocity and Misogyny: Crowley’s Sex Magick vs. Sacramental Sex

In a previous essay, I described how Aleister Crowley’s (and, by extension, many modern magicians’) views on sexuality are theologically deficient. Crowley follows the course of modern Protestant thinkers like Ludwig Feuerbach in employing a univocal view of reality, in which words describing the properties of God mean the same thing when applied to created objects such as people or things, even if the degree meant is vastly different. This is opposed to an analogical view of reality (which is the normative position of Catholic Christianity), in which, since God is transcendent, human concepts like goodness or beauty can only ever analogously apply to God, and negative statements — God is not good, God is not beautiful — must be equally true.

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Prince Hall Freemasonic Lodge in Atlanta, Georgia

Shadows of a Future Aeon: Esotericism, Politics, and Populist Spirituality

Stephen K. Bannon — political strategist, filmmaker, financier, and … occultist? Really: multiple sources have reported that Donald Trump’s advisor, right-wing populist, and former Breitbart News editor Steve Bannon has a penchant for the occult and the esoteric. Bannon had notably cited the early twentieth century Italian esotericist, traditionalist, and Nazi affiliate Julius Evola during a 2014 conference with traditionalists at the Vatican. More recently, Mitch Horowitz — author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped our Nation wrote in Salon that, after the 2009 publication of his book, Bannon had called the author to express his “deep interest in the book’s themes,” encouraging Horowitz in his work on his next volume, an exploration of the positive thinking movement in American life. Horowitz goes on in his article to give a history of American conservatism’s interest in occultism and New Age mysticism, including Ronald Reagan’s use of Manly P. Hall’s esoteric ideas about America’s “secret destiny,” Donald Trump’s belief in the power of positive thinking, and the Freemasonic symbols in the Great Seal of the United States.

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Harrowing icon banner

God Declares Trump Good; or, Why I Won’t “Bind” a Cosmic Power

The movement of witches and magic-users to “bind Donald Trump” took on viral momentum recently, with in-person performances of the spell at local magic shops (Catland in Brooklyn, in my case), mainstream media reports, evangelical Christian pushback, and the opposition of a pro-Trump cult of Pepe the Frog “worshippers” centered around 4Chan, who believe that the Pepe meme is now a hypersigil related to the ancient Egyptian chaos god, Kek. Even one of my favorite musicians and queen of Coney Island, Lana del Rey, got involved (on the side of the angels, of course). In other words, the situation is both getting very weird, and very alarming.

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New Jerusalem

The Curious Conversion of Frater Achad

[Note: Originally published as a part of my column for the Patheos Pagan Channel, The Blooming Staff.]

This column explores the intersections between Catholic theology and the Thelemic current, so it was only a matter of time before Frater Achad—mundane name Charles Stansfeld Jones—came up. Prior to the late nineteenth century, most occult and esoteric movements were Christian, many heterodox Catholic—the Elus Cohen of Martinez de Pasqually, the Martinists, the Rosicrucians of the Parisian occult revival, and many members of the Golden Dawn. In the twentieth century, A.E. Waite, Dion Fortune, and many other figures continued the esoteric Christian current. But Thelema appears to have a built-in bias against Christianity, stemming directly from its founder and from his Aeonic schema, which suggests that the formula of the dying and rising God (the Aeon of Osiris) is now outmoded in favor of the formula of the crowned and conquering child (the Aeon of Horus).

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