They see, it is said, men who have been dead for several months, come back to earth, talk, walk, infest villages, ill use both men and beasts, suck the blood of their near relations, make them ill, and finally cause their death; so that people can only save themselves from their dangerous visits and their hauntings by exhuming them, impaling them, cutting off their heads, tearing out the heart, or burning them. These revenants are called by the name of oupires or vampires, that is to say, leeches; and such particulars are related of them, so singular, so detailed, and invested with such probable circumstances and such judicial information, that one can hardly refuse to credit the belief which is held in those countries, that these revenants come out of their tombs and produce those effects which are proclaimed of them.

Antoine Augustin Calme

Traité sur les apparitions des esprits et sur les vampires ou les revenans de Hongrie, de Moravie, &c.

(Treatise on the Apparitions of Spirits and on Vampires or Revenants of Hungary, Moravia, et al.)

It is surprising the number of practitioners of the magical arts and witchcraft who were involved in military and intelligence work during the Second World War. Perhaps the best known ‘occult spy’ operating in the Second World War, and in fact long before, and whose intelligence career has been well documented, is Aleister Crowley. Author Dr Richard B.Spence believes that Crowley began his journey to being a secret agent when he took an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. This was at the Malvern College boarding school in 1891when he joined the cadet corps of the local Worcestershire Royal Artillery Volunteers. Later in life Crowley was to say that despite his problems and issues with the British establishment he had always felt that he was bound to that oath. In fact it had strengthened his link with England. It is possible he meant on a magical and psychic level as well as the physical and patriotic one.

As a young man, through an introduction by his aunt who was a member, Crowley joined the Primrose League. This was a semi-secret, quasi-Masonic, right-wing group within the Conservative Party whose aim was to protect it from its political enemies. Dr Spence suggests that Crowley’s Jacobite sympathies in support of the return of the Stuart dynasty to the British throne to replace the Hanoverian usurpers, could have been used by the League to persuade Crowley to spy on potential enemies of the Crown. This however would suggest that his Jacobite inclinations were not genuine or a passing teenage phase.

Crowley was lucky enough to come under the patronage of the Marquess of Salisbury, the Grand Master of the League. It has been suggested that Salisbury helped Crowley to enter Cambridge University and was grooming his young protégé for a lifelong career in the Diplomatic Service, which might well have involved spying for his country. However Crowley had other ideas, although it was at Cambridge that he met the future artist Gerald Kelly and later married his sister Rose. Forty years or so later both men were to serve in the wartime British Secret Service.

In the First World War Cowley was living in New York and he was accosted by a stranger on an omnibus. During their conversation about the war in Europe the man handed Crowley a business card.Printed on it were the addresses of two pro-German magazines and subsequently Crowley wrote anti-British propaganda for these publications.

Naturally the British government took a dim view of this anti-patriotic, traitorous act. They labelled him a traitor and the police raided his magical temple in London and closed it down. Crowley always protested his innocence. In fact he said he had been working for British Intelligence and written the satirical articles at their request. The aim was to ridicule the pro-German movement in America and discredit the magazines. This has never confirmed by the British Government, but it has also not been denied.

Michael Howard
THE OCCULT WAR
Secret Agents, Magicians and Hitler

Amongst some races the constrictor vaginæ muscles are abnormally developed. In Abyssinia, for instance, a woman can so exert them as to cause pain to a man, and, when sitting upon his thighs, she can induce the orgasm without moving any other part of her person. Such an artist is called by the Arabs, “Kabbazah,” literally meaning “a holder,” and it is not surprising that the slave dealers pay large sums for her. All women have more or less the power, but they wholly neglect it; indeed, there are many races in Europe which have never even heard of it. To these the words of wisdom spoken by Kalyana Malla, the poet, should be peculiarly acceptable.

Sir Richard F Buton (translation)
Footnote from The Anaga Ranga

Once we were blobs in the sea, and then fishes, and then lizards and rats and then monkeys, and hundreds of things in between. This hand was once a fin, this hand once had claws! In my human mouth I have the pointy teeth of a wolf and the chisel teeth of a rabbit and the grinding teeth of a cow! Our blood is as salty as the sea we used to live in! When we’re frightened the hair on our skins stands up, just like it did when we had fur. We are history! Everything we’ve ever been on the way to becoming us, we still are…

I’m made up of the memories of my parents and grandparents, all my ancestors. They’re in the way I look, in the colour of my hair. And I’m made up of everyone I’ve ever met who’s changed the way I think.

Terry Pratchett
A Hat Full of Sky

Diary 14th April

In ‘Crowds of Power’, Elias Canetti gives us an example of inter-tribal warfare in South America. A Taulipang tribal warrior tells how they wiped out a neighbouring tribe, the Pishauko. According to Canetti, the Taulipang launched a surprise night attack on their enemies village. Apparently the Pishauko witch doctor sensed their approach from the ‘spirit dimension’ and warned everyone of danger, but the villagers ignored him. The Taulipang warriors dully appeared and began clubbing the Pishauko to death. They set fire to the huts and tossed all the Pishauko children into the flames.

How did the Pishauko witch doctor ‘sense’ the impending attack?

We know that Neanderthal man buried his dead with some sort of ritual (seeds of brightly coloured flowers were interred with the corpse – probably, they were woven into somekind of shroud). Chunks of manganese dioxide have been found in their caves worn down on one side as if used as crayons. Ritual art is a strong possibility. Undoubtedly, Neanderthal man and woman had religion (indicated also by the stone spheres representative of the Sun and Moon found in their habitations), and religion is obviously the outcome of thinking about the Universe.

200,000 years ago at Pech de l’Aze in the Dordogne, homo erectus took time out to engrave the rib bone of an ox – the engraving, the earliest we know of, is of three arc-like patterns overlapping. Is this, too, a representation of symbolic (religious?) significance?

175,000 years ago Cro-Magnon man was busy painting the walls of caves – in the deepest, darkest, remotest parts of caves. Vivid paintings of bison, deer, wild boar and wild horses. It was Salomon Reinach in 1903 who suggested the probable magical significance of these paintings; magic ritual to lure the animals to Cro-Magnon traps; lure the food to the table.

Alexander Marshack in his book ‘The Roots of Civilization’ suggests the Cro-Magnons were far less primitive than previously thought: they recorded a basic calendar on animal bones to anticipate the seasonal migration of animals, their food supply. In effect they invented a simple form of writing!

It is speculative, but a strong possibility, that religious art extended far back in time beyond the highly developed art of the Cro-Magnon people. It is probable that homo erectus, over 200,000 years ago, with their much enlarged brain capacity, used ritual magic in an attempt to control nature, to control their food supply.

So, you might ask, what has this to do with that Pishauko witch doctor?

Well, ancient man had no need to ask questions about the forces of nature; he FELT them around him, as a fish feels every change in water pressure through nerves in its sides. The result was most likely a curious sense of unity with the earth and heavens that homo sapiens – us, in other words – generally lost a long time ago. Ancient mans religion, his rituals, weren’t an attempt to ‘explain’ his world – it was a natural response to its forces.

In much the same way, the Pishauko witch-doctor was able to FEEL the approach of his enemies. All shamans, witch-doctors, magicians, witches and sacred priests, throughout human history, have claimed they derive their powers from ‘spirits’, often those of the dead. Sure we can dismiss this as primitive superstition – but we’ll be missing the point if we consider it an attempt to explain ‘life’ after death. Shamans do NOT believe in ‘spirits’; they EXPERIENCE them first hand – or at least, experience something they accept as the ‘spirit world’. Thus, boys and girls, I’d suggest it unlikely Neanderthal man performed burial rites because he ‘believed’ in life after death. He performed them because he took it for granted that he was surrounded by ‘spirits’, and these included the ‘spirits’ of the dead and the spirits of nature – otherwise known to us as ‘elementals’. Our Pishauko witch doctor, engaging in a ‘magic’ ritual to help a sick tribe member, and communicating with his ‘spirit guides’ was promptly alerted to the impending danger of attack.

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What will happen on Beltane?

We’ll take part in the Great Rite, of course – experience the type of sex where we are so deeply entwined, so far in to each other’s darknesses and each other’s souls that we will be as one. Passionate, lustful, almost savage fucking. That’s what will happen.

For Beltane is a time for love. A time for merging with the goddess; for seeing the world through each other’s eyes. It is a time for bonfires and dancing. It is a time to be joined by spirits, in celebration of the Earth’s great fecundity. See their ghost shapes, milky white, dancing beside you in the trailing smoke from the bonfire. Eat, drink, love…

Dionysus

March 26, 2017

Dionysus is powerful because he is a god; but in myth, at least, the god conceals his divinity in order to impress his presence all the more forcefully on mortals. In his mythical epiphanies, he exercises his destructive power from a position of apparent weakness and inferiority… the punishment he inflicts is often indirect, deceptive and designed to hide his presence and downplay his power; unlike Apollo or Artemis, he does not kill his victims through direct divine intervention, but relies on those self-destructive drives within their human nature that case madness, self-mutilation or transformation.

Albert Henrichs
He Has a God in Him: Human and Divine in the Modern Perception of Dionysus

Leaving my empty goblet, I slide from the soft pile at his order. I can already feel the desire bursting from between my thighs as I fall to all fours and begin my crawl to where he has seated himself.

“We will begin as before – you will be spanked over my knee – but this time there will be little pleasure in it for you, my captive. I intend to hurt you – to mark that pretty little behind – and make you unable to sit properly for some time.”

I am back by his feet as he concludes and warily, I raise my eyes as he finishes the sentence. I know I am not hiding the terror in my face and yet still I am compelled to carry on – submitting myself to him in this way for our mutual need. He catches my hair in his left hand and pulls it into a rough ponytail, again drawing my head back.

“When my hand is aching from tanning your backside, I will bind you to the bedpost and continue to thrash you with my strap. Do you understand?”

He eyes me wildly and for a moment I am too afraid to even respond. I have to swallow hard again to find my voice.

“Please, my Lofðungr,” I say shakily. “I do not know if I can bear such a punishment?”

He never takes his eyes from me as he answers. “You can and you will, my sweeting,” he says. “You will submit to me in this way as a sign of your true desire to be mine.”

I close my eyes at his words, understanding for the first time his real intention. He means not just to punish me, but to mark and possess me in some meaningful way. To make me his again in the way that our coupling had done before. As I open my eyes again and see him standing over me, there are tears but also a new acceptance.

I nod my head as best I can whilst he is still holding my hair in his fist. “I will bear it,” I say, my voice breaking.

He leans in toward me, his face just an inch from mine, those blue pools burning into me. “You will bear it,” he replies, his hot breath against my face, “and I will love you for it.”

Felicity Brandon
The Viking’s Conquest

Perversion and degeneracy

March 11, 2017

Almost as soon as it was published (Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray) in Lippincott’s, reviewers expressed their disgust. It was called ‘effeminate’, ‘unmanly’, ‘leprous’, and full of ‘esoteric prurience’ . Worst of all, it was openly French – written under the influence of naughty French decadence. Very recently, the translator of an Emile Zola novel had been prosecuted for obscenity, for daring to issue an English edition of Zola’s vile Parisian filth. The book that corrupts Dorian Gray, an unnamed ‘yellow book’, was self-evidently the weird and perverse French novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans, Against Nature (1884), about a decadent last scion of a degenerate aristocratic house pleasuring himself and defying boredom with a series of increasingly perverse investigations.

The most famous review of Dorian Gray was in the conservative Scots Observer (edited by the poet W E Henley), which came very close to accusing Wilde of the crime of gross indecency that had been made illegal in the 1885 Criminal Amendment Act. Dorian Gray, the review said, was fit ‘for none but outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph boys.’ This was a reference to the recent ‘Cleveland Street Affair’, the discovery that a male brothel had been used by aristocrats to pay telegraph boys for sex. In the novel, Dorian Gray is openly asked by Basil Hallward, ‘Why is your friendship so fatal to young men?’ There is a litany of suggestive rumours listed about Dorian that imply blackmail, ruin, exile or shameful suicide. Dorian’s portrait is completed by an artist who openly expresses ‘that I adored you madly, extravagantly, absurdly’

Roger Luckhurst
Perversion and degeneracy in The Picture of Dorian Gray

“Make America great again!”

A good piece of rhetoric, don’t you think? But meaning what, exactly…?

Obviously, the statement presupposes a diminution of America – specifically in its quality of ‘greatness’. But what is the precise nature of this quality? Do we, for example, believe America has been made smaller, reduced in dimension by circumstances, international or otherwise?

A simple glance at an atlas shows this not to be the case. The USA still comprises fifty states. Russia has not taken back control of Alaska…yet. In addition, the US still holds sovereignty over fourteen other territories, including Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands. So no changes there, that I can see.

So where does this diminution lay?

The US has military personnel deployed in over 150 countries around the world, more than any other country in our humble biosphere – which includes both Russia and China. So no reduction there, either.

Perhaps, then, we should look to something more difficult to quantify or define: the perception of the US nation by at least some of its citizens.

Ronald Reagen, who was so good in the movie “Tennessee’s Partner” (he played Cowpoke alongside John Payne’s Tennessee), and as the bad guy Browning in ‘The Killers”, was the first US President to use the slogan ‘Make America great again’. He used it in his 1980 Presidential campaign. He, it appears, had in mind the worsening US economy (inflation skyhigh and growth low).

Bill Clinton used the same term in his 1992 Presidential campaign, so it obviously has a certain attraction to politicians and the electorate.

Perhaps then the term is about nostalgia? A craving for the past? In fact Donald Trump not only used the phrase in his chaotic Presidential campaign, he also took out copyright on it! Made it his trademark, no less! Millions of well fed Americans rallied to the cry, convinced, obviously, that the US had ‘lost’ something.

But, of course, it is this vagueness that makes the phrase so successful. It can mean so many different things to so many different people.

In an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump stated the phrase “Make America Great Again” was a

“ look back…(to) a period of time when we were developing at the turn of the century which was a pretty wild time for this country and pretty wild in terms of building that machine, that machine was really based on entrepreneurship.”

Trump also pointed to the “late 1940s and 1950s,” as a time when, he said, “we were not pushed around, we were respected by everybody, we had just won a war, we were pretty much doing what we had to do…”

So, the phrase harks back to the 50s: a time of high employment and low inflation in the States. The American dream was then still a possibility…

But wait. Hold up there. Trump and his people aren’t after a return to the 1950s. The economic policies of the time meant that top wage earners paid 70% tax. The labour unions were strong and it was this strength that in part fuelled an almost unprecedented period of growth and prosperity in the middleclasses. And the level of employment was so high, simply because the majority of women didn’t work.

I can’t see Donald Trump & Co wishing to pay vastly increased levels of tax, can you? Nor can I see him setting up a Marxist Socialist planned society for the benefit of all!

So what then does it mean? Make America Great Again? Simple answer: NOTHING! Or put another way, it means whatever you want it to mean! It is just empty rhetoric.

In fact President Trump has already ‘trademarked’ his slogan for the next Presidential campaign. It is ‘Keep America Great!’ And the winner of the next Presidential campaign will be, I’m certain, the candidate with the best slogan. Genuine policies seem hardly to matter to anyone anymore…It’s all about pretend!