SIGIL MAGICK

Magick, Occult

The word ‘sigil’ is a contraction of signature, in magical terms the signature of a spirit. The essential principle is universal to all magical traditions, ancient and modern. Examples include the vevĕ of Voudon, the lamen of Goetia, bind-runes of the galdrbok, or the combined elemental letters forming the sigils of planetary astrology. The term has also been used, since its popularisation via the works of Austin Osman Spare, to a method of spellcasting by means of self hypnotism and subliminal suggestion. Spare himself also described the method in spiritist terms, suggesting their use in the summoning of Thought Forms. Despite certain modern charlatans attempting to claim sigil magick is something ‘new’, it has clearly formed an integral part of magick since the very dawn of humanity.

Some of the spells in this book include elements of ‘sigil magick’; for example, the name of the client or target is combined with a statement of intent, combining letters of the written sentence into an ideograph;

sigil1

A sigil might also be arrived at through abstracted pictographs;

sigil2

The sigil is first inscribed then focused upon during magical trance, during which the subconscious is most impressionable. This might be achieved by many means, from quiescent meditation to (as is popular with many Chaos magicians) frantic masturbation. In the magic of my ancestors, who were of East Anglia, sigils were formed from the earlier alphabet of the runes – the vernacular alphabet of their own time – and charged by feeding them blood from a cut – usually, but not always, the spell caster’s own.

The purpose of this abstracted symbol is similar to that of a subliminal, such as those commonly employed in advertising, or any kind of hypnotic suggestion. As such its actions upon the subconscious will be more powerful if we ‘actively forget’ the original statement of intent, so that we no longer consciously recognise its meaning. This task of ‘forgetting’ takes some clever mental trickery – whenever you accidentally remember, tell yourself aloud, “Now I have forgotten and it is not important.”

Then think about something else.

Basic sigil magick can produce startling results, even on its own. The principle may be expressed in countless ways and applied without much study.

charak4

The sigils of four elements combine to form the planetary seals of astrology.

Similarly, consider how the ‘letters’ of the elements combine to create the sigils of the 7 astrological powers commonly invoked in the Western tradition.

The same principles are applied in the grimoires of traditional sorcery, which are filled with ornate designs for all manner of purposes. In The Goetia, the sigils – or signatures – of demons provide the means by which they are summoned and bound. The following sigil is for the demon Baal, taking his name from the Babylonian and meaning “he who possesses”;

Baal

The lamen of Baal as given in The Goetia

Consider also how the vevé of Papa Legba is composed of various symbols, such as the crossroads, his walking stick, and the palm leaves representing the poto mitan – the ‘Tree of Life’ in Haitian Voudon;

Voudon

Vevé of Voudon Papa Legba

The sigils of spirits, such as those above, also provide the keys to their summoning. The most powerful rituals are those of conjuring and possession. Their sigils may also be used to empower simpler spells.

As well as being consciously created, or discovered through research, sigils may also be drawn directly from the collective unconscious. I tend to use automatic drawing for this purpose, usually asking my subconscious directly and aloud to provide one. A few I use regularly first came to me through dreams.

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ATUA; The Spirit Box

Art, Magick, Sorcery

The ‘spirit box’ is a method of spirit communication common to the African mysteries, most commonly called an Atua, the name by which it is known in the hoodoo of Louisiana. The hoodoo Atua tradition is said to have originated because white men would not permit ancestor worship so more secretive methods had to be found. More overt forms of the same magick can be found throughout the AfroAsian diaspora, just as they can in what remains of European spiritism; I have come across the same method in the notes of a cunning man who referred to it as a Wizard’s Box. In essence the spirit box holds much in common with the ‘Worry Dolls’ of Dutch tradition, although the spiritism of this simple child’s toy – a box of dolls kept beside the bed you tell you worries to before going to sleep – are perhaps forgotten.

The hoodoo Atua is, in essence, a box containing offerings to a specific ancestor, who is ritually called upon and invited to enter into and ‘dwell’ within the box. An Atua to contact your dead Grandmother, for example, might contain her photograph, the perfume she used to wear, items she was fond of, and perhaps thoughtful gifts such as her favourite chocolate walnut whips. Candles are burned on the box’s lid during like a miniature altar, and it is kept under the bed to facilitate ‘dream incubation’. Letters to the spirit world can be left in the box and left there overnight.

A spirit box might contain gifts to the Invisibles, or their Shadows, just as any altar or fetishé might ‘seat’ the spirits. I made the above example for The Master at the Crossroads to look like a grimoire of black magick, then filled it with the appropriate ingredients, similarly to when an initiate of Voudon seals a ‘part’ of Legba in the cowrie eyed concrete heads often sold in botanicas. The crossed trident symbol on its ‘cover’ is known in Macumba and Makaya – two branches on the left side of the Voudon family tree – as a symbol of Exu-Elegbara, and is also known in the old Germanic magick – still practised in some parts of northern Europe – as a symbol of Odin; two faces of the ‘red ray’ of the archetypes, the trickster/initiator at the crossroads, and in both cases also identified after ‘conversion’ with Satan, the Lord of the Underworld; a masque he is said to still wear simply because he finds in funny. It seems an appropriate symbol to apply my own sorcery; a commonality between my own almost eradicated ancestral tradition and the still nourished spiritism of Africa, and so like much of the ‘mash-up culture’ here in Bristol, a city built on the slave trade. Spells and petite pacts, signed with blood, are placed inside the box until fulfilled on both sides.

The REAL Secret of the Holy Guardian Angel

Gnostic, Magick

The most famous of magical oils is probably The Oil of Abramelin, the recipe for which is given in The Book of Abramelin the Mage by Abraham Worms. It holds a crucial place in the summoning of the Holy Guardian Angel – called otherwise the Genius or Higher Self.

The origins of the Oil is in ancient Kabalist magick; it is described also in the Book of Exodus, where it is identified as the Holy Oil of Tanakh. The ingredients given in the original Hebrew include oils obtained from a number of magical plants, most notably qunubu, otherwise transliterated as kunubu; cannabis, mistranslated by the Greeks, and in every translation after, as camphor – perhaps simply because their theologians knew little of magical herb lore and took a guess. When God appeared to Moses as a burning bush and gave him the recipe, he was instructed to mix up around a gallon of this consciousness altering oil. That’s right. Moses was a serious stoner. No wonder he saw God, or that Abramelin – applying the same formula – met his Holy Guardian Angel.

Few, if any, O.T.O. Thelemites claiming to have successfully invoked their Angel even know the correct recipe for the oil required in the ritual – and nor did Crowley; his recipe of 10 Kabbala corresponded ingredients might smell nice, but it won’t even get you stoned. As with most of Crowley’s claims to being party to ‘occult secrets’ it appears he was simply taking a guess and stringing his followers along. This is ironic considering what a dope fiend he was, and that his HGA allegedly dictated a whole book about itself but didn’t think it relevant to correct him on this crucial aspect of its own ritual.

_________________________

(Cannabis) Oil of Abramelin

Olive oil base

Myrrh oil

Galangal oil

Cannabis oil

Add the ingredients to the carrier and blend to make a potent aromatic mix. Use to anoint spells and as an incense; thrown upon heated charcoal to give off great billowing clouds of aromatic cannabis; the mystery of the Shekinah.

(Excerpt from Nathaniel’s Little Book of Spells – currently in preparation).

THE MAGICIAN’S PYRAMID

Magick, Neuromancy

Θ ⸫

THE MAGICIAN’S PYRAMID

The training of the neuromancer requires the ability to master one’s own consciousness, entering and leaving altered states at will. This is the true meaning of the Oath of the Magician’s Pyramid, called also the Four Powers of the Sphinx; to Know, to Will, to Dare, and to Keep Silence. It is this oath that is taken upon, and represents, the processes of initiation into the mysteries, long understood by the metaphor of death and rebirth; that is to say, it is a transformative experience. Transformations of personality are by no means a rare occurrence; indeed, they play a considerable role in psychopathology, although these are rather different than the magical initiations and mystical transformations discussed here.

Initiation may be precipitated by ritual, such as in the self initiations common to most forms of witchcraft. They may also occur during formal acceptance into a group, as with the rituals of maturity in certain tribal societies, or the graded initiations of occult orders.

Initiatory experiences may also happen spontaneously, most often through crisis, revelations leading to a reassessment of identity, or other life changing events bringing maturity, individuation, and permanent change. On rare occasions, they may also announce themselves in dreams and visions. There are natural processes which happen whether we like it or not, and whether or not we are conscious of them. These processes develop considerable psychic effects, so that any thoughtful person might ask what really happened to them.

Chief among all these processes are those techniques such as meditation in which, in addition to the grace inherent in the practice, the personal endeavour of the candidate is needed to reach the intended transformations. Such formula are among the most reliable methods of initiation, yet require the most self determination and persistence. No symbolic ritual, whether performed by a group or by the individual, may ever take their place. In working through the disciplines described within this grimoire the reader will be undergoing such an initiation, not at all dissimilar to the processes undergone by the alchemist, transforming the base matter of the candidate into gold; not simply a personal change but the transformation of what is mortal into what is eternal.

Magick requires discipline; for the humble novice who may have little or no anticipation of attainment, just as it does for the Magi. Without it all ritual will be empty words and actions; whether they are drawn from witchcraft, Voudon, Esoteric Freemasonry, Golden Dawn, Thelema, New-Age, Nu-Aeon, neuromancy, or any other tradition including self created or revealed systems, it will still be merely amateur theatre. This is why so much of what passes for magick in popular occulture is little more than an extremely pretentious form of pyramid selling – with the eye at the crown nothing more than a confidence trick.

Θ ⸫

To Know

To know something – anything – involves abstracting information and interpreting it for use at different times and in other contexts. When we have knowledge we become more capable, and can deal with new situations in creative ways. Brain imaging studies show that when we answer trivia questions, it elicits a response in areas associated with food and sex; suggesting we treat knowledge similarly as a primary reward. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective; knowledge is at least as important to survival as either sustenance or reproduction.

Yet knowledge is an elusive concept. What we know, how we know, what we know others know, and how we know others know it, is different from what we merely believe. For example, I might say, “I know this book is going to be a catalyst for great change,” but it can be argued that until it has been published, and a suitable period of time has passed (which might be as long as 30 years), I cannot know the impact it will have – I can only believe in it. In response I might say, “Yes, but I have a near 100% accuracy with divination, and so it is unlikely that my divinations concerning this book are wrong.” Nevertheless, although I may possess empirical evidence concerning the accuracy of previous divinations, it is still the case that I am investing belief – perhaps with good reason – but cannot know.

Most people make their way through life without considering the true nature of knowledge, managing their decisions and beliefs intuitively, without reflection and calculation. Nevertheless, it rewards meditation. The degree to which we know information, and know what others know, forms the basis of all human interaction; yet defining the precise nature of knowledge remains problematic.

To know something it must first be believed, but this is not enough in itself; if the belief is to be considered as knowledge, it must also stand the tests of truth. Yet this too is insufficient; a belief can be true by chance, or we can arrive at a truth by erroneous means. For example, supposing I glance at my clock at 11pm to see that it reads precisely 23.00; and yet, unknown to me, the clock has stopped and is showing the correct time only by chance. My belief that it is 11pm happens to be true, and my clock has apparently provided justification, but in fact I do not know what time it is at all, I simply believe that I do, even though my belief happens to be correct.

Knowing something is a far richer, more complex state than merely believing. The ability to distinguish between knowledge and belief, and to constantly question what we believe we know, is vital to human progress. Knowledge is a mental state that locks us into truth; itself implying the condition of untruth, and the either / or binary coding of the Matrix.

To the hard-core relativist philosopher there can be no such thing as objectivity, hence the axiom; “Nothing is true & everything is possible”. In philosophy the sceptic questions everything, and so is left with nothing on which to base knowledge; yet if we hit this philosopher in the face with a brick they will certainly know about it – this ‘truth’ has everything to do with the reality of the brick, and very little to do with the relativity of our philosopher. The challenge is to ensure that our ‘inside’ truth aligns with ‘outside’ truth; or else we are concerned with belief rather than knowledge. We must tread a fine line between healthy scepticism and self defeating relativistic cynicism, thinking critically and assessing the credentials, track record, and potential bias of any information source. If somebody tells us something, we must ask what motive they may have for wanting us to believe it, other than that it is true. We must also ask, how do they know? These same questions we must also ask of ourselves; how do we know?

We must also discipline ourselves to ask whether our reaction to new knowledge is rooted in truth or wishful thinking. Consider ‘Satanic ritual abuse’, which the USA and UK governments both deny the existence of (while also facing constant accusations of same – coincidence?), despite mounting evidence to the contrary. To do something about this problem might require a considerable amount of inconvenience, a reframing of previous ‘information’ together with its source, the potential sacrifice of certain contacts, friends, dearly held beliefs, and perhaps even our view of ourself, and so many people choose to believe the problem does not exist at all; despite the idea of Satanism being the only religion in the entire history of the world to harbour no paedophiles – or that even if it did they would be unique in never twisting the beliefs and rituals of their religion to further their abuses, terrify and control their victims, and to cover for their crimes – being rationally untenable.

Knowledge (information) is power, and power is knowledge (information); hence the first teaching of the Mystery Schools was Gnöthi Seaton; “Know Thy Self”, expressed in the Greek term gnosis, meaning ‘knowledge of the heart’, attainable only through meditation and introspection. The academic study (epistimology) of magick may become a lifetime’s work, yet the knowledge gained in such a fashion may only ever be secondary to experiential knowledge (gnosiology). No text, including this one, can ever provide a substitute.

Plato addressed this problem in Phaedrus when he spoke of Thoth’s invention of writing. The magician-god presented his discovery to Amoun, who replied;

.. it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they will know nothing, as men filled, not with wisdom, but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows.”

Θ ⸫

To Will

Where there is a Will there is a Way, and it is often the Will that matters more than the Way.”

– Traditional

Success in the work of magick, by whatever name we call it, requires the awakening of the True Will. The first stage in this is to ascertain where and what the True Will is.

The True Will is the source of all motivation and meaning. It may be sensed, discovered, and directed by countless means. In essence it is a knowledge that may be grasped through the instincts, without conscious deliberation. In the preliminary, the training of the magician involves the calming of the mind so that these instincts may be sensed.

In learning to know the True Will begin with the smaller tasks and desires of mundane life. Seek to be fully satisfied in everything that you do. To you, it must be a perfect work of magick, even if it is the most mundane task imaginable. If it does not fully satisfy, the Will must be directed and exercised until it does. Effective magick requires the disciplined focus of the mind. Those seeking to develop such abilities must become perfectionists unto themselves. It is up to each individual to decide what they accept as perfection yet the magician must seek to control the level of their own workings. In doing this, greater influence is gained over the material world (i.e. the Matrix), the physical body, the instincts, the emotions, and one’s own consciousness.

It may initially seem dissonant to compare the wisdom of the ancients to discoveries in modern science, but many recent advances offer confirmation of what might otherwise seem like abstract metaphysical theory. From a neurological perspective the phenomena of Will presents something of a paradox. The frontal cortex, being that part of the brain that conceives of an individuated ‘I’, takes up only a very small area of the brain. The majority of processing happens below the level we call ‘conscious’. Furthermore, our brains also consist of mirror neurons, which respond to signals without differentiating between the ‘self’ and ‘other’. Through the electromagnetic resonance of the planet all brains are ultimately in communication with one another. This immense Greater Mind could not possibly be assuaged by the output of an individual brain, or even many of them working together, and ultimately drives all our behaviour and apparent decision making.

Neuroscience has confirmed that the frontal cortex only processes information retroactively; that is, it makes sense of the decisions and actions already taken by the rest of the brain rather than directs its activity, reprocessing this information as if it had retroactively made a decision based upon reason. Our sense of ‘I’, and of having an individual will, is an illusion, the purpose of which is to prevent what would otherwise be a permanent condition of cognitive dissonance, too immense to integrate. In truth there is nothing that separates us from the Greater Mind. Again, this is not an abstract metaphysical concept – it is verifiable science supported by empirical evidence.

This is the difference between simply ‘doing what you want’ and following one’s True Will ; the one is directed by the ego, the other by the Greater Mind.

Θ ⸫

To Dare

To practice magick means to go where others are too scared to. It takes great courage to face the vast uncertainties it brings. Only those who dare to dream, create and destroy have any place within the circle. Without this there may be no attainment. It is typical, however, for most people to both fear and resist change of almost any kind. Hence the traditional four-fold oath includes daring; from minor acts of habit changing to the most powerful acts of iconoclasm.

Through such acts of daring the sorcerer liberates their self from the mind forged manacles of cultural conditioning. Such may only be attained through the shedding of all assumptions and beliefs, even if only for an instant. Such baggage makes the difference between successfully leaping the Abyss and attaining At-One-Ment or plunging headlong into delusion and apophenia; epitomised in the individual by all those mental illnesses of ‘fixed belief’, and in culture as all forms of religious fundamentalism (including atheism).

Θ ⸫

To Keep Silence

Success in magick requires the progressive attainment of mental silence through meditation. Such is not merely a technique of low sorcery but the key to freedom from all concerns and anxieties. This subjective non-experience remains identical if maintained for a minute or an hour. This is why the Gnostic text Thunder Perfect Mind tells us, “I am the Silence that is incomprehensible.”

Magick works when we are not looking; this is why it is important to remain silent concerning its rituals, as to speak of something brings it to attention. The conscious mind must not be turned to memories or concerns regarding one’s previous magical operations. In many cases, especially those of enchantment, they should be forgotten entirely, all memories sublimated as with hypnotism or subliminal mind control. To talk, or even ponder about, such operations is akin to constantly digging up a seed and wondering why it is not growing.

Initiations into occult orders commonly involve blood curdling oaths of silence, with it being taboo to reveal the identities of other members, or to speak to outsiders concerning secret teachings and rituals. There may even be threats of persecution, magically and otherwise, if the oaths are broken. Such oaths are vulnerable to abuse if a group falls into the wrong leadership, as any group can, regardless of how benign its origins. In such cases the oaths of silence are invariably exploited to criminal ends, protecting secrets of the most unwholesome nature. The candidate will be relieved that no such demands are placed upon them in this work, while being reminded of the need for both discipline and discretion in all their operations.

Θ ⸫

It would be irresponsible not to give a severe warning at this juncture. The occult world, which has become such a fad and fashion, is rife with sociopathic individuals keen to exploit the wide eyed and naïve, who are also in great supply. Furthermore, there are those who are abusive, and also have rudimentary knowledge of magick, such as hypnotism or other forms of manipulative mind control, whether instinctive or learned, who have used their abilities to rise through the ranks. Initiation into any such a group may indeed prove a transformative experience, but sadly not for the better; abusive cults damage lives, often in ways outsiders could never imagine.

In such an environment as our so-called ‘occult revival’ the charlatans vastly outnumber the few with genuine integrity. Furthermore, it has become unacceptable to draw attention to the lies and self aggrandisement of these charlatans. Any book on magick published before the 1970s invariably contained dire warnings about sexually exploitative ‘teachers’ and black lodges engaged in prostitution, drugs, and blackmail. In stark comparison, especially since the so-called ‘Satanic Panic’, there has more recently been a blanket denial that, within this vast network of obvious charlatans, any of them or their groups might be abusive, or a risk to anyone involved with them; indeed, to speak up makes one an outcast of the supposed ‘occult community’. Similarly with anyone unlucky enough to find themselves embroiled in such a criminal group; to speak out about their abuses becomes interpreted as a break of the oaths of silence.

Let this also be made clear; the oaths of secrecy remain important for many reasons, the efficiency of our magick being one of them, but speaking out about crimes and abuses against others, be they adults, children, or even animals, is not in any way a betrayal of one’s loyalty to the occult community; indeed, in such circumstances it is the only way one can do it service.

The deepest betrayals are not only committed by the abusers themselves, but those who knowingly cover for them, who attempt to silence the disclosures of survivors and warnings to the community, and allow charlatans and abusers to prosper unchecked; in some cases for decades. Although such individuals may currently be beyond prosecution by the law they are not beyond persecution by means of magick.

As I write these words the problem is rife, and there are many reasons to suspect that no few of these abusive occult groups are being covered up at the highest level by those making the most obscene profits. The abuses suffered by the victims of such groups are beyond traumatic, often causing permanent damage the the psyche.

____________________________

Excerpt from The Neuronomicon: A 21st Century Grimoire.

The Law of Wyrd

Magick, Occult, Paganism, Religion, Sorcery, Spirituality

Thence come the maidens

Mighty in wisdom

Three from the place

Under the tree

Wyrd is caled one

Another Werðende

Scored they on wood

Scyld is the third;

There laws are laid

There life chose

To men’s sons

And spoke destiny.

Voluspa 20-25

The image of three witches.. Macbeth.. the Fairy Godmothers in Sleeping Beauty.. the Morae.. the three Marys at the foot of the crucifixion.. the Triple Goddess of the waxing, full and waning moon.. the three Gorgons,, the three faces of Diana.. the three faces of Noticula-Hecate.. the three Fates.. the three Njorns.. the three sisters Wyrd.. They are the laws of time; the past, present, and future. Always they are spirits whose knowledge is of men’s destiny, whose power it is to shape and influence it. In the various mythologies they are often seen as spinning time on their spinning wheels, weaving the fabric of reality, working their spellcraft over a roaring cauldron at the crossroads, or are found at the Well of Wyrd, a spring that lies at the roots of the world tree Yggdrasil. Each day they take water from the well so that the roots of the world tree do not fall to rot.

The image if the three sister Wyrd recurs throughout the Germanic world, and Anglo-Saxon poetry written even after the conversion still retains memory of their power. Even when the worship of the Northern gods had fallen into decline, even in the modern day, they remain a strong image in their folk customs. We still have the folk saying, “these things happen in threes’, reflecting the connection between the number three and what we call fate. Traditional spells of binding are tied with three knots in three cords. Many folk charms are repeated thrice (or nine times – three times three). The tradition of ‘touching wood’ is to knock thrice upon living wood for good luck. In folk witchcraft circles are often walked (or danced) three times round; hence the ‘superstition’ that it is unlucky to walk around a church three times widdershins – to do so, it is said, may summon the Devil.

The concept of Wyrd, the ‘Three Fold Law’, is central to the philosophy of witchcraft, as it is to its modern cousin Wicca. It is also one that seems to be much misunderstood, often being quoted as the reason why witches do not do ‘black magic’, since (we are told) all things return to their sender threefold. Wrongdoers, according to this misconception, are inevitably punished by the Cosmos herself, and we in turn need do nothing. This interpretation has little to do with the genuine Old Ways, or how Wyrd was perceived by our ancestors.

The most common perception is that this is a kind of deterministic philosophy. Yet the Goddess does not fix, determine, or decide our destinies for us. Wyrd is a fluid and ever changing substance – it is the way Time unfolds. Sometimes it is even seen as a web connecting all things; a metaphor for the way all things are inextricably linked. To pull one strand is to effect the Web of Wyrd as a whole, and the smallest of actions can have the furthest reaching consequences. Wyrd is not fixed. Much of what we like to think of as the future is merely our hopes and fears for the future. These hopes and fears we are thinking and feeling in the now. The future is uncertain, as is much of the present, and indeed the past.

“Goeth ever Wyrd as she wills,” as Beowulf was heard to say. We may petition her, and learn from her, yet she will always be unpredictable – even to the Runemasters. Daily, new actions sink into her well and old deeds rise to the surface..Our ancestors considered it a virtue to accept one’s Wyrd, however hard, just as it was a virtue to know we can be responsible for our Wyrd and change it. This is what magic is all about. While the world (or ‘weorold’ in AS) around us is subject to its own greater destiny, we are subject to our own personal fates, which are effecetd by everything we do in the now. Who and what we are now is a result of our past, and the world we live in is inherited from our ancestors. All Wyrd is one Wyrd (the meaning of ‘weorold’), and yet we each of us possess our own individual Wyrd, of which we may never be wholly the master.

The deeds of the present sink into the well of Wyrd, becoming the past, yet the deeds of the past are inevitably pushed back to the surface by the natural action of the waters moving beneath them. The well of Wyrd is not a cistern or a bucket – it is a dynamic force of change. Wyrd is not about maintaining traditions for their own sake. It is about our place in the flow of Time; an appreciation of who we are and the world we experience, how we came to be and what we can become – indeed what we must become. It is the courage to create and to change through our actions, just as it is the courage to accept what has been created and changed otherwise.

The ‘threefold law of Wyrd’ is the law of returns. Like the law of ‘karma’, many have misunderstood it as a moral force. Our debts of karma, or Wyrd, are not based on some kind of tally system or ‘sin now pay later’ cosmic scheme. Whatever actions we take will always have consequences, and some of those consequences will inevitably effect us. If I throw a curse at you my own bitterness may well come back and slap me in the face, but if I give Johnny three sweets there is no guarantee he will give me nine in return – most likely he will eat them all himself and proceed to ask me for three more. Nevertheless the law of Wyrd is that what we give out is reflected in what we get back. It has always been the case that good deeds are more likely to bring good returns, and that arseholes often make their own lives more difficult. However Wyrd is fickle and obeys no laws but her own. Actions that are well meaning can sometimes bring ruin, and actions intended to harm may sometimes bring healing. Witchcraft is the art of serving Wyrd that she may side with us and our actions bring the results we intend. It is also the virtue of honesty; in accepting who and what we really are. Wyrd permeates al things, flowing through us and through al nature – everything we experience. All things travel a path of return; earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. It is in the rise and fall of the sea, the three faces of the moon, the turning of the seasons, the cycles of life and death. To recognise this flow is to know where and when to make those changes that get us what we Will, just as it is to know when taking action would be unwise. It is to know ourselves, when our personal power is high or low. It is the knowledge and recognition of omens, and when it is best to perform magic.

The younger sister of Wyrd is Werðende, whose name means custom, tradition, and law; these are not the decree of any supreme All Father or king but are a power derived from the folk. Not everyone lives in the same way, such as the traveller community of modern England, or the Tuscany ‘gypsies’ of the last century. Similarly, the witches of English history have also found themselves at odds with Christian laws, and the government, through their very lifestyles. In Norfolk, for example, we have Kett’s rebellion in our history. In the research library of Norwich, before it burned down in the mid 1990s, I found evidence suggesting this revolt was lead by witches – many years later I found notes made by Cecil Williams, founder of The Museum of Witchcraft, where he also came to this conclusion. The witches were at odds with the Church and gentry’s claim to ownership of the land. Thus it may be seen that these laws were not Wedende, since they were not the laws of the common folk. They were not the laws, customs, or traditions that the folk took to remember history, but the rule of those who would rewrite history according to an imposed narrative.

Wyrd’s older sister is Skyld, whose name means debt, obligation, and mortality. During the conversion, when the Christians needed to find a word that could explain their concept of ‘sin’, they borrowed her name and gave it new meaning. Yet one must not be tricked into believing she is an entirely negative force, for in upholding our obligations we are rewarded. Wreaking vengeance for the harming of one’s kin, for example, is an obligation. It is the custom, tradition, and law of Wyrd that we cannot inherit the power of our ancestors, and have no virtue in our blood, if we do not honour such obligations. We must never give up the battle, in whatever field we fight, against those who would crush us and our ways. This is the original ‘three fold law’; that we must never shy from our responsibilities, including the punishing of our adversaries.

_______________________________________________________________________

Originally published in Witcha: A Book of Cunning, 2002 – republished by Mandrake of Oxford 2004). Out of print by author’s own demand (and due to breach of contract by Mandrake).

ACCIDENTAL ANTICHRIST: Chapter 0

Art, Magick, Occult, Satanism, Sorcery

 

Nathan’s real life is so unbelievable it could never be passed off as fiction. I hope one day he decides to tell his story.”  – Pat Mills, creator of 2000AD, introduction to KHAOS PUNK

Inspired by Pat Mill’s encouragement, and the need to heal through reclaiming my past, I have been working hard on my autobiography Memoirs of an Accidental Antichrist. Now undergoing its final editing process we are aiming to publish the completed book this September in a limited edition hardback. Advance orders are now being accepted – write to me at n8nharris@yahoo.co.uk for further details.

The following excerpt tells of my unlikely conception;

Memoirs of an Accidental Antichrist

Chapter 0

0

I WAS conceived during a Black Mass. It was on a boat on the river Colne, just outside the garrison town of Colchester, Essex, sometime around March, 1970. The air thick with pungent incense, black candles on a makeshift altar casting twisted shadows around the windowless hull. Everybody sky-clad, tripping on acid, and chanting the names of the Infernal hierarchy. My father played priest. My mother, a sixteen year old redhead, was the altar and sex magick sacrifice.

As the ritual climaxed there came an almighty thump on the roof of the boat. Rasping, panting breath, and a low grrrowl.

Shit, it’s the pigs,” said someone. “Dog unit. A bust.”

Everyone pulled on clothes and swallowed the remaining drugs; a half ounce of hash and yet more acid, gulped down with a bottle of wine. The bravest among them, probably not my father, opened the hatch. There was nobody and nothing there. Relieved but spooked, and about to come up on a shamanic dose, they refastened the hatch. The growling came again. Something moving around on the roof, sniffing them out. Once more they opened the hatch to find nothing there.

Three times this happened, convincing them the ritual had, quite unexpectedly, worked. They spent the rest of the night huddled together below deck, hatch secured, terrified for their souls.

The sun rose. They brushed off the cobwebs and sailed a little further along the Colne, mooring alongside a Tudor pub with a beer garden leading down to the bank. The old landlord carried food to their table and they got talking. Someone mentioned their experience during the night, presumably neglecting the bit about the acid crazed Black Mass.

The landlord blanched, “You’ve met Black Shuck, the Devil’s hound. He’s patrolled this stretch of river for three hundred years or more, vengeful for the rape of one of his witches..”

Shortly after, my mother discovered she was pregnant.

* * *

At least, that is the version of events she told Jasmine, who is now my wife. This was back in the summer of 2002, before we got together or anyone guessed we would. My mother could never have known that her story would later be repeated to me. Whether this makes it more likely to be true, or less, is impossible to tell. She concluded her unbidden confession by saying, “Of course, his father tells a completely different story.”

When I was growing up my mother told a cleaned up version, where it was just a party, with no Black Mass or LSD, but still Black Shuck. She was always saying things, then denying she ever said them, and I doubt she has changed much now, so I don’t expect her to confirm this story.

* * *

My mother’s maiden name was Ann Clarissa Honeybell, better known to her friends as Honey. She had wild honey coloured hair and honey yellow eyes. Her side of the family had a reputation as witches going back several generations. There were whispers of great aunts, great great aunts, and great great great aunts, who had been midwives, abortionists and poisoners. No boys had been born into the family for long as anyone remembered. If there had been, they had not survived.

My father’s name was Robert John Harris, also known at the time as Image. He wore mismatched coloured contact lenses, and high platform boots to compensate for his 5’2” height. More recently he has taken to calling himself Szandor Dashwood, and hanging out with the society Satanists of London. He must also have also been styling himself as a Satanist back in 1970 – it was in fashion back then, what with Charlie Manson, the Process Church, and the come down from the 1960s.

In any case their tacky Black Mass, and my conception, had more to do with the then recent publication of Anton Szandor LaVey’s The Satanic Bible and the release of Rosemary’s Baby than it did with any genuine witchcraft traditions of Essex. If I had been born a few years later they would probably have named me Damien.

It doesn’t sound so romantic when you put it like that.

* * *

It wasn’t until 2002 that I heard Robert’s version of how I was conceived.

In this version my mother held a séance, of the kind my Grandma was known for, in a house supposedly haunted by the ghost of a cunning man. Thunder rolling through the darkened skies, lightning throwing everything into stark contrast. Everybody sat with one finger resting on the glass, letters of the alphabet displayed on cut-out pieces of paper round the edge of the table.

The glass began to move, gently at first, then nudged at the letters, spelling out messages of anger, spite, and malice.

Everyone took their hands off the glass but it kept on moving.

Begone!” cried my mother.

The glass rose in the air, hovered, then threw itself against the wall and smashed. Everyone screamed, running out into the night as the rain poured down.

It was a fun story, but quite how a séance was supposed to have resulted in my mother getting pregnant remained unexplained. My father is as much of a habitual liar as she is, and I am not saying I believe any of it, or that you should.

* * *

Whatever the circumstances, Robert denied paternity. During childhood he had been kicked in the balls by a horse and only had one, like Hitler. The doctors had told him he would never father children. I guess they neglected to factor in the possibility of witchcraft.

He and Ann split up.

She was hysterical, crying herself to sleep every night. In the grip of a nightmare she shoved her blanket in her mouth and swallowed it down, nearly choking herself to death. She had to be taken to hospital to have it removed.

After that they got married.

* * *

My mother had another story about being out one night with her flower child friends, everybody on LSD, which they all seemed to do an awful lot of. The party was busted by ‘the pigs’, who had no difficulty guessing what they had taken. Ann was dancing on the table batting thrown eggs with an egg-whisk and splattering yolk all over the kitchen.

The pigs lined them all up, turned out their pockets, and gave them a talking to. One got his snout right up in my mother’s face about the size of her eyes and the size of her belly, “That’ll damage the child, you know. It’s chromosomes. Give it birth defects.”

That gave her a really bad trip.

* * *

My birth certificate says I was born in Colchester Hospital Maternity Ward, Friday, 4th September, 1970. No record was made of the time. I was nearly four months premature, still in the amniotic sack, with a fleshy caul covering my face. My entire body was covered in red fur from head to toe, a double crown on my head causing the hair to stick up in devilish little spikes. Green eyes. Still with my prehensile tail, curly like a piglet.

Ann told me she had meningitis and can’t remember my birth. She talked about lying in hospital, delirious, when two figures came to her. A woman in a flowing white dress and a crown made of branches and flowers. A kingly figure with antlers sprouting from his brow like a stag. They were like the characters on playing cards, so that where there should have been legs they had an upside down double image, floating above the ground. As they spoke to her they turned about like wheels, talking with their alternate heads.

Many years later, Robert told me there had been no meningitis. The reason I was premature was because Ann had tried to abort me with a hot bath and a bottle of whiskey.

Either way, the weightless comfort of my mother’s womb was replaced by the hard, sterile box of the incubation unit. There were doubts I would survive. Less that 3lbs in weight, my bones yet to be hardened, gravity twisted my spine as it grew. This tilted the development of my hips so my knees point inwards. My feet have no arches and one has deformed toes. Instead of growing from the front of the foot, pointing forward, they grow from the top and point upward, or would if they were not curled in upon themselves. There is a large gap between the big toe and the one next to it, as if one is missing.

My medical records call it scoliosis, Latin for ‘crooked’. The doctors said I would never be able to walk.

* * *

Ann removed the sock draw from her cabinet and padded it out for my crib. They named me Nathaniel John Harris, my middle and last names shared with my father.

According to Ann she chose my name herself, interpreting Nathaniel, commonly interpreted to mean ‘gift of God’, to mean ‘gift of the Elves’; the Hebrew ‘El’ being cognate with the Old English ‘Aelf’, both meaning ‘being of light’.

According to my father my name was chosen by my aunts, who all insisted upon it together. If so it’s likely I was named after the archangel.

Between being either conceived in a black mass or being the reincarnated spirit of a magician of yore, then named after the most powerful of all the archangels, I think it’s fair to say I never lived up to my parent’s expectations.