Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Book of Mephisto & The Necronomicon Gnosis

The Book of Mephisto- A Left Hand Path Grimoire of the Faustian Tradition,
Asenath Mason, Edition Roter Drache, 2006. 76 pages.
ISBN 3-939459-00-3

The Necronomicon Gnosis- A Practical Introduction,
Asenath Mason, Edition Roter Drache 2007. 184 pages.
ISBN 978-939456-05-7

Experienced occult practitioners understand that the Mysteries may be invoked under many identities, shifting forms and names from circumstance to circumstance. Thus it is that amongst the oldest traditions we often find elements of what might otherwise be called ‘post modern’ sorcery. For example, I remember during an adventure into the dark underbelly of London coming across a Voudon altar which had been erected to the Baron of the Cemetery - a genuine lwa of that tradition- represented by the image of Darth Vader (or perhaps that should be Daa’th Vader?). Much to the bafflement of the uninitiated, many of those practicing ‘traditional’ witchcraft often display a similar attitude towards the Mysteries of our own culture. We know that underneath all archetypes, be they from the pagan myth cycles or modern popular iconography, there lies the power of the ultimately unknowable, unnameable Mysteries of which even our traditional pantheons are ultimately the merest shadows.

Just as the Voudon cultists have identified their own lwa or ‘laws’ at different times with the saints of Catholicism, or the new myth cycles of popular culture such as the Star Wars films, so have we as witches in England. Hence it is also that the pagan gods found themselves re-identified as demonic forces in the various grimoires of cunning tradition. We know that neither interpretation of these Mysteries are strictly speaking the ‘ultimate truth’. We know also that the form beneath which the Mysteries are called may even be completely fictional, and like the rest of Western Magic in the modern day have even succumbed on occasions to applying the mythos of H. P. Lovecraft in our rites. Similarly, post-modern Chaos magicians have found that it has proved possible to work effective sorcery by invoking gods that did not exist five minutes ago, or even invoking characters from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (although why you would want to do that is anybody’s guess). It is an attitude that is shared also by Asenath Mason, founder of Lodge Magan – Polish lodge of the Order Dragon Rouge, in the two books I have recently received from her.


In the ‘Book of Mephisto’, Asenath explores the goetic tradition through an exploration of the Faustus myth, specifically his making of a Pact with Mephistopheles, whom she identifies at various times with Ahriman, Samael, the Initiator, the Opposer, and the Jungian ‘Shadow’. She sees the Faustian Pact to be ultimately a misunderstood manifestation of the Great Work of the Left Hand Path, pointing out early on that in Marlowe’s play he does not evoke demons to satisfy petty desires, as many of the later editions of The Lesser Key promise to fulfil. He does not seek material benefit, or to have control over other humans. Rather, he sells his soul in exchange for knowledge, and for exploration of the outer and inner cosmos. In this sense he seeks illumination with the ultimate aim to become himself ‘as a god’, which as Mason points out is the definitive quest of the Left Hand Path magician. From this perspective she goes on to explore the tradition of the magical pact in sinister witchcraft, identifying Mephistopheles also as a face of the Black Man of the Sabbat. The work includes a number of ritual formulae that combine traditional and modern elements that might be employed by any aspiring magician or witch to commune and invoke this Mystery, whether in the guise of Mephistopheles or any of its other names.


In ‘Necronomicon Gnosis’ Asenath explores the employment of the Cthulhu mythos in practical modern Left Hand Path sorcery; not entirely unknown also amongst witches (being not too far a stretch of the imagination, since we commonly refer to the Mysteries as The Old Ones even when we are not being post-modern about it all), Chaos magicians, the Typhonian O.T.O., and not forgetting of course the Voudon traditions as they are transmitted through Michael Bertiaux’s O.T.O.A., nearly all of whom receive at least a passing mention. Although described as an introductory level work, there is also much here that may be of inspiration to the more experienced practitioner. Indeed, Asenath generally assumes an advanced knowledge in her readers, hoping perhaps as much to reach out to those who might be her equals (distressingly few I would imagine) as to inspire those whose journeys are only just beginning. Again, she employs this modern pantheon to explore mysteries that are in fact so ancient as to be ultimately unnameable. Along the way she offers us her always profound and occasionally alarming insights into such traditional magical practices as astral travel, the Sabbat, dream incubation, shape-shifting, necromancy, sexual communion, invocation, evocation, the creation of though-forms, and other elements that fit well into the Cthulhoid mould of working. That the pantheon is fictitious means very little, since it resonates with the deeper mind that knows no bounds to ‘truth’ or ‘fantasy’; the dreaming mind of the sorcerer.

Logic might tell us that offering sacrifices and pacts to gods that do not actually exist will bring no fruit, yet experience tells us otherwise. Similarly, just because a subjective magical belief yields objective results, this does not necessitate the objectivity of that belief. This, besides the human mind’s incapability of seeing the whole ‘truth’ at any one time, is something that we can be very thankful for. Again there are enough inspiring rituals to keep any cultist happy. These are much more your ecstatic rituals of sex and blood than the usual dry old recycled ceremonial material one has got so used to reading but never getting around to doing these days. You cannot go wrong with the odd frenzied rite here and there..


I am reminded also of a telling of a Buckinghamshire coven that, wrapped up in the usual inter-coven magical warfare over the five mile ruling or some such nonsense, attempted to evoke the Lovecraftian entity known as Azazoth, the ‘Blind Idiot God’, to direct its destructive capabilities towards their perceived ‘enemies’. As if such a being is likely to concern itself with petty squabbles about poaching each other’s coven members… As Asenath points out in the ‘Necronomicon Gnosis’, summoning entities like this to manifestation is never wise move under any circumstances. True to form, this coven failed entirely to direct the chaotic forces of Azazoth in the directions they intended, and within six months all those involved in the ritual were either in an asylum, dead after a freak accident, or had committed suicide. Which, personally, is the kind of magical f**k up we could all learn from observing. Thank the Old Ones that other people are out there to make mistakes like that for us, so that we do not have to.


Both works display profound insight into the Mysteries, as does her breathtaking ‘fantasy’ artwork which adorns their pages. I am always suspicious of so called Left Hand Path magicians that display no particular talent, such as the ability to paint inspiring images to write evocative prose (this is supposed to be the Dark Art after all) and it is obvious that Asenath Mason must surely be an accomplished sorceress to produce the quality of work that she does. I expect that her lodge will prosper and grow through her inspiration and guidance. It should matter little if your own approach is purely ‘Traditional’, or whether you are open to employing elements from fantasy as new ‘masques’ for the ancient Mysteries, there will most likely be much to inspire you within these pages. Highly recommended indeed.
So mote it be,
Nathaniel J. Harris
(Skratte)

For further details of these and other books published by Edition Roter Drache visit their web page at http://roterdrache.org
For information on the Order Dragon Rouge, visit http://www.dragonrouge.net

To see Asenath Mason’s accomplished dark fantasy artwork, and to find links to various esoteric articles by her, visit http://www.asaenath.deviantart.com

2 Comments:

Blogger BissekArt said...

Yes indeed! As one of my mentors years ago responded to my query on the historical validity of the Necronomicon with the words: "Who cares? It'll work right if you have the power and that is all the validity any real witch needs."

3:29 PM  
Blogger azu said...

Nice work!

www.warlockasylum.wordpress.com

12:26 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home