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Continuation of the Fiction & Metaphysics, Spirituality thread
#1
Continuing this Skeptiko thread:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/on...from.3921/

= | = | =
The Magick of H.P. Lovecraft

https://techgnosis.com/h-p-lovecraft/

Quote:The first explicitly occult appropriation of Lovecraft’s fiction can be traced to the British magician Kenneth Grant, one of the most vivid and controversial figures to emerge from the Thelemic current begun by Aleister Crowley, and the renegade head of the New Isis Lodge and the Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis. Writing for Man, Myth and Magic in 1970, and two years later in his book The Magical Revival, Grant argued that, through his remarkable dream life, Lovecraft was linked to actual traditions of ancient and contemporary magic; in this view, The Necronomicon is a “real” book tucked away in the akashic records that Lovecraft’s waking mind was too hidebound and timid to accept. Grant was particularly keen on lining up curious similarities between names and other elements of Thelemic and Lovecraftian lore, like Yog-Sothoth and Crowley’s Sut-Thoth. In all this, Grant’s own degree of irony or diabolic playfulness is, as ever, hard to assess. Given his florid imagination and parsimonious use of scholarship, Grant’s texts—which include ruminations on Bela Lugosi—already scramble the borderlines between occult originality and fiction.

The year 1972 also saw the publication of Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Rituals, a companion text to the Church of Satan leader’s popular The Satanic Bible. The book includes two Lovecraftian rites written by LaVey’s deputy Michael Aquino, the “Ceremony of the Angles” and “The Call to Cthulhu.” In his introduction, Aquino legitimizes the occult appropriation of Lovecraft along much less supernaturalist lines than Grant, emphasizing instead Lovecraft’s own amoral philosophy and the subjective, archetypal, and possibly prophetic power of fantasy. This argument accorded with the language of “psychodrama” that LaVey himself offered as non-supernatural explanations for the transformative power of blasphemous ritual. As a pragmatic corollary to this constructionist view, Aquino developed a meaningless ritual language for his rituals, a “Yuggothic tongue” based on the alien speech Lovecraft provides in “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Whisperer in the Dark.” The efficacy of such guttural and semantically empty speech is also described by Grant in his discussion of the Cult of Barbarous Names.
Within the Church of Satan, LaVey founded an informal “Order of the Trapezoid” whose name was inspired in part by Lovecraft’s story “The Haunter of the Dark,” which features a “shining trapezohedron” used by an extinct cult called the Church of Starry Wisdom. The Order of the Trapezoid would later become the supreme executive body of Aquino’s Church of Set, where the Lovecraftian current was interpreted in part as a force of apocalyptic subjectivity. Other notable Lovecraftian orders over the decades have included the Lovecraftian Coven, founded by Michael Bertiaux, a practitioner of “Gnostic Voudon;” Cincinatti’s Bate Cabal; and The Esoteric Order of Dagon, a Thelema- and Typhonian-inspired sect founded by Steven Greenwood, who in the 1960s became magically identified with Lovecraft’s fictional hero Randolph Carter. Lovecraftian magic has also became an important, almost signal leitmotif for chaos magicians, whose “postmodern” (and largely left-hand) approach to the contingency of traditional occult systems is resonantly affirmed by the adaptation of a fictional and profoundly anti-humanist cosmology that has the additional feature of being concocted by a philosophical nihilist.

Quote:Regardless of such strategies, the occult appropriation of Lovecraft can be traced in part to the intertextual and metafictional dynamics of the texts themselves. The central theme that Lovecraft critic Donald Burleson identifies as “oneiric objectivism” is itself the central vehicle for occultist legitimization; from this perspective, occultists impose a second-order level of objective dreaming to the textual circuit that Lovecraft himself established between his actual dreams and his fictional worlds. Occultists could certainly be accused of turning Lovecraft the writer into something he’s not and would moreover abhor. The irony, however, is that this supernaturalist overwriting of the author’s materialism is itself inscribed in Lovecraft’s fiction, which—unlike the detective fiction it occasionally resembles—usually encourages the reader to piece together the horrifying cosmic scenario long before the bookish and blinkered protagonists put the pieces together. In a larger sense, occultists might simply be seen as culture makers who have, like thousands of writers, accepted Lovecraft’s invitation to play the game of imaginatively co-creating the Mythos. In the occultist version of the game, however, players risk the element of verisimilitude that Lovecraft himself saw was a key element of the “hoax.” And like the empty networks of referentiality that undergird the substance of occult literature, such games may have a life of their own.
"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us."

  -Thomas Browne
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#2
A quote from the autobiography of Lord Dunsany, who wrote among other things The King of Elfland's Daughter & The Gods of Pegāna:

"I did not feel as thought I was inventing, but rather as though I wrote the history of lands I had known, in forgotten wanderings."

At least some of Dunsany's works can be found at Sacred Texts:

http://sacred-texts.com/neu/dun/index.htm

An interesting, Idealist-esque, line from The Gods of Pagana:

Quote:"Some say that the Worlds and the Suns are but the echoes of the drumming of Skarl, and others say that they be dreams that arise in the mind of MANA because of the drumming of Skarl, as one may dream whose rest is troubled by sound of song, but none knoweth, for who hath heard the voice of Mana-Yood-Sushai, or who hath seen his drummer?"
"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us."

  -Thomas Browne
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#3
Looking for more info related to the just above mentioned works/ideas of Dunsany & the practice of magic(k), but note Erik Davis also wrote more about how Lovecraft's fictional works seem to have genuine magic(k)al power:

http://www.levity.com/figment/lovecraft.html


Quote:The word "fan" comes from fanaticus, an ancient term for a temple devotee, and Lovecraft fans exhibit the unflagging devotion, fetishism and sectarian debates that have characterized popular religious cults throughout the ages. But Lovecraft's "cult" status has a curiously literal dimension. Many magicians and occultists have taken up his Mythos as source material for their practice. Drawn from the darker regions of the esoteric counterculture--Thelema and Satanism and Chaos magic--these Lovecraftian mages actively seek to generate the terrifying and atavistic encounters that Lovecraft's protagonists stumble into compulsively, blindly or against their will.
Secondary occult sources for Lovecraftian magic include three different "fake" editions of the Necronomicon, a few rites included in Anton LaVey's The Satanic Rituals, and a number of works by the loopy British Thelemite Kenneth Grant. Besides Grant's Typhonian O.T.O. and the Temple of Set's Order of the Trapezoid, magical sects that tap the Cthulhu current have included the Esoteric Order of Dagon, the Bate Cabal, Michael Bertiaux's Lovecraftian Coven, and a Starry Wisdom group in Florida, named after the nineteenth-century sect featured in Lovecraft's "Haunter of the Dark." Solo chaos mages fill out the ranks, cobbling together Lovecraftian arcana on the Internet or freely sampling the Mythos in their chthonic, open-ended (anti-) workings.

This phenomenon is made all the more intriguing by the fact that Lovecraft himself was a "mechanistic materialist" philosophically opposed to spirituality and magic of any kind. Accounting for this discrepancy is only one of many curious problems raised by the apparent power of Lovecraftian magic. Why and how do these pulp visions "work"? What constitutes the "authentic" occult? How does magic relate to the tension between fact and fable? As I hope to show, Lovecraftian magic is not a pop hallucination but an imaginative and coherent "reading" set in motion by the dynamics of Lovecraft's own texts, a set of thematic, stylistic, and intertextual strategies which constitute what I call Lovecraft's Magick Realism.

Magical realism already denotes a strain of Latin American fiction--exemplified by Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Isabel Allende--in which a fantastic dreamlike logic melds seamlessly and delightfully with the rhythms of the everyday. Lovecraft's Magick Realism is far more dark and convulsive, as ancient and amoral forces violently puncture the realistic surface of his tales. Lovecraft constructs and then collapses a number of intense polarities--between realism and fantasy, book and dream, reason and its chaotic Other. By playing out these tensions in his writing, Lovecraft also reflects the transformations that darkside occultism has undergone as it confronts modernity in such forms as psychology, quantum physics, and the existential groundlessness of being. And by embedding all this in an intertextual Mythos of profound depth, he draws the reader into the chaos that lies "between the worlds" of magick and reality.
"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us."

  -Thomas Browne
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#4
Excerpts from Grant Morrison's Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human --->


Quote:Superhero science has taught me this: Entire universes fit comfortably inside our skulls. Not just one or two but endless universes can be packed into that dark, wet, and bony hollow without breaking it open from the inside. The space in our heads will stretch to accommodate them all. The real doorway to the fifth dimension was always right here. Inside. That infinite interior space contains all the divine, the alien, and the unworldly we’ll ever need.

Quote:And now there were two healthy universes living and growing inside our own. The DC universe was a series of islands separated for years, suddenly discovering one another and setting up trade routes. And there was Marvel’s beautifully orchestrated growth and development. Two living virtual worlds had been grown and nurtured inside conventional space-time. These were not like closed continua with beginnings, middles, and ends; the fictional “universe” ran on certain repeating rules but could essentially change and develop beyond the intention of its creators. It was an evolving, learning, cybernetic system that could reproduce itself into the future using new generations of creators who would be attracted like worker bees to serve and renew the universe. Just as generations of aboriginal artists have taken it upon themselves to repaint the totems, so too does the enchanted environment of the comic-book dreamtime replicate itself through time. A superhero universe will change in order to remain viable and stay alive. As long as the signs stay constant—the trademark S shields and spiderweb patterns, and the copyrighted hero names—everything else can bend and adapt to the tune of the times.

Quote:When I was halfway through the seven-year process of writing The Invisibles, I found several characters actively resisting directions I’d planned for them. It was a disorienting, fascinating experience, and I eventually had to give in and let the story lead me to places I might not have chosen to go. How could a story come to life? It seemed ridiculous, but it occurred to me that perhaps, like a beehive or a sponge colony, I’d put enough information into my model world to trigger emergent complexity. I wondered if ficto-scientists of the future might finally locate this theoretical point where a story becomes sufficiently complex to begin its own form of calculation, and even to become in some way self-aware. Perhaps that had already happened. If this was true of The Invisibles, then might it not apply more so to the truly epic, long-running superhero universes?

Marvel and DC have roots that run seventy years deep. Could they actually have a kind of elementary awareness, a set of programs that define their rules and maintain their basic shapes while allowing for development, complexity, and, potentially, some kind of rudimentary consciousness? I imagined a sentient paper universe and decided I would try to contact it.
"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us."

  -Thomas Browne
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#5
"As a humble way of beginning, we might say that the psychical and the paranormal appear in that space where the humanities and the sciences meet beyond both, where mind and matter, subjectivity and objectivity merge in ways that can only violate and offend our present order of knowledge and possibility. Accordingly, to approach such phenomena as subjective things, as “anecdotes” or “coincidences,” as interesting internal states that have no real connection to the external physical world of objects and events is to seriously misunderstand them.

Similarly, however, to approach such phenomena as objective, quantifiable, replicable things “out there” is inevitably to miss them, or to just barely see them. This, I would suggest, is why the necessarily objectifying nature of the scientific method can pick up the slightest examples of something like psi in the controlled laboratory, but must miss all the most robust paranormal ones in the real world of human experience. I have heard contemporary parapsychologists joke about what J. B. Rhine really accomplished at Duke University by operationalizing psychical research and insisting on controlled laboratory conditions and statistical approaches: he figured out how to suppress psi and finally make it go away. 

Bored sophomores staring at abstract shapes on playing cards is no way to elicit psychical phenomena. But love and trauma are. Consider what we will encounter below as the classic case of telepathic dreams announcing the death of a loved one. Such dreams are not objects behaving properly in an ordered mechanistic way for the sake of a laboratory experiment. They are communications transmitting meaning to subjects for the sake of some sort of profound emotional need. They are not about data; they are about love. Obviously, though, when the object becomes a subject and brain matter begins to express meaning, we are no longer in the realm of the natural sciences. We are in the realm of the humanities and hermeneutics, that is, we are in the realm of meaning and the Hermes-like or Hermetic art of interpretation. 

My goal in the pages that follow is not to demean or deride the sciences (quite the contrary, I will end with them), nor to arrive at some false sense of rational or religious certainty— I possess neither— but to expand the imaginative possibilities of contemporary theory through a certain authorization of the Impossible. I am not asking us to know more. I am asking us to imagine more. This ability to imagine more is precisely what defines an “author of the impossible” for me. I intend this key title-expression in at least three senses. In the first and simplest sense, I intend to state the obvious, namely, that these are authors who write about seemingly impossible things: think telepathy, teleportation, precognition, and UFOs. In the second sense, I intend to suggest that these are authors who make these impossible things possible through their writing practices. They do not simply write about the impossible. They give us plausible reasons to consider the impossible possible. They thus both author and author-ize it. In truth, they are authors of the (im) possible. Finally, in the third and deepest sense, I intend to suggest that the writing practices of authors of the impossible are intimately related to the paranormal itself, and this to the extent that paranormal phenomena are, in the end, like the act of interpretive writing itself, primarily semiotic or textual processes. 

This is why “automatic writing” played such an important role in the history of psychical phenomena and why we still speak of “psychical readings.” That is, after all, exactly what they are. There is another way to say this. Although paranormal phenomena certainly involve material processes, they are finally organized around signs and meaning. To use the technical terms, they are semiotic and hermeneutical phenomena. Which is to say that they seem to function as representations or signs to decipher and interpret, not just movements of matter to measure and quantify. This is my central point to which I will return again and again: paranormal phenomena are semiotic or hermeneutical phenomena in the sense that they signal, symbolize, or speak across a “gap” between the conscious, socialized ego and an unconscious or superconscious field. It is this gap between two orders of consciousness (what I will call the “fantastic structure of the Mind-brain” in my conclusion) that demands interpretation and makes any attempt to interpret such events literally look foolish and silly. We thus ignore this gap and the call to interpret signs across different orders of consciousness at great peril. 

We might also say that such paranormal phenomena are not dualistic or intentional experiences at all, that is, they are not about a stable “subject” experiencing a definite “object.” They are about the irruption of meaning in the physical world via the radical collapse of the subject-object structure itself. They are not simply physical events. They are also meaning events. Jung’s category of synchronicity, for example, is all about what we could easily and accurately call meaning events, that is, a moment in space and time where and when the physical world becomes a text to be read out and interpreted, where and when the event is structured not by causal networks of matter but by symbolic references producing meaning. If, however, paranormal phenomena are meaning events that work and look a great deal like texts, then it follows that texts can also work and look a great deal like paranormal phenomena. Writing and reading, that is, can replicate and realize paranormal processes, just as paranormal processes can replicate and realize textual processes. This is what I finally mean by the phrase “authors of the impossible.” It is also what I am trying to effect with this text."


     ---Kripal, Jeffrey J.. Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred 
"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us."

  -Thomas Browne
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