“Holy, Holy, Holy are these Truths that I utter, knowing them to be but falsehoods, broken mirrors, troubled waters; hide me, O our Lady, in Thy Womb! for I may not endure the rapture.”
–Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies, “Windlestraws,” and “The Glow-Worm,” pp. 29-32.
Notes on Matt Cardin, “In Search of Higher Intelligence: The Daemonic Muse(s) of Crowley, Leary, & Robert Anton Wilson,” in Angela Voss & William Rowlandson (eds.), Daimonic Imagination: Uncanny Intelligence, Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle, 2013, pp. 266-281.
Matt Cardin defines interaction with the Muse as “a felt engagement with an autonomous entity or intelligence that is separate from the ego.” This distills down to the essential, omitting the history and poetry of human interaction with the Muse, as most musicians, artists, poets, adepts and shamans do collaborate with it. As for the ego: Cardin redundantly reinforces that the Muse is autonomous and separate, something sentient that is not ourselves, but other.
In Revelation, I list many expressions for interacting with the Muse, including the Hindu apauruseya, śruti, ākāśavāni, prophecy, “Dionysian ecstasy, Bacchus, the Jungian collective unconscious, race consciousness, the Akashic Record.”
(Revelation: A Screed on Dreams and Worlds Without End, Bangkok: MKD, 2018, p. 22).
Cardin asks whether these entities are indeed separate and independent, or are they “metaphors for the unconscious mind?” (P. 266). He already knows the answer.
I address this question in Revelation, concluding that it is not contradictory to consider such entities autonomous manifestations of human consciousness.
“Some will say that it is God. Others, that it is my unconscious. These are two words for the same phenomenon, and the Buddhist interpretation, that I make it, that we make it, is not exclusionary. The Rishis explained Brahman and ātman: it is, the more that I know it, unnamable and unnamed, beyond words. I called it The Ineffable.” (Revelation, p. 72).
These entities can be both autonomous and projections. Indeed, the metaphysics of the multiverses demand that we understand them that way. What we are really doing is wrestling with the ways that we experience them. Another question is whether we are talking about entities, plural, or multiple manifestations of a single entity.
Rosemary Guiley published a taxonomy, The Encyclopedia of Demons & Demonology (New York: Visionary Living, 2009), and assorted Encyclopedias of Ghosts, Spirits, Angels, Vampires, etc.: efforts to catalogue such entities across cultures and epochs. There is no entry for the Muse in the Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology.
It can be asked whether entities of this kind are projections by an apex deity, a possibility that I first addressed in 2015 in Smoke Signals: Borges, Tzahi Weiss, Kabbalah. This is synonymous with the consciousness of the human collective, aggregated with all other sentiences in the cosmos, merely another way of describing the universal consciousness that the Hindu name Brahman.
“In non-dual schools such as the Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is identical to the Atman, is everywhere and inside each living being, and there is connected spiritual oneness in all existence.” (Wiki).
Louise Eugenie Alexandrine Marie David, circa 1886, age 20.
One unspoken question is whether a projection is controlled by its projector, or the human that perceives it. This is an artificial question, as solipsism decrees that everything is subjective, a projection of our consciousness. We can pretend that we are not isolated islands in the cosmos, and play along, granting independence and agency to such entities, but we do create them, and we do experience them separately.
What we are really asking is whether discarnate entities enjoy independent existence, like any other consciousness that we interact with. Trees enjoy independent consciousness. Why not discarnate entities?
Anyone who reads Alexandra David Néel’s (1868-1969 CE) Magic & Mystery in Tibet (New York: Penguin, 1931) understands that such projections do escape control and can be lost to their creator. Metaphysics aside, some wonder whether they created anything at all, or whether they just perceived something, facilitated something, something that was latent, but not yet manifested.
Interesting questions. I think that we are just tussling with differing manifestations of a single phenomena, and wrestling with our various ways of understanding it.
Cardin then segues into Aleister Crowley’s (1875-1947 CE) infamous receipt of The Book of the Law.
The Beast incarnate.
After Crowley erupted into the zeitgeist of the 20th century, his Holy Guardian Angel (hereafter HGA) was understood by adepts as the “spiritual guide, helper and exemplar” of a practicing magus.
Indeed, accessing the HGA was the “chief goal of magical or esoteric work,” practices which Cardin considers definitive to Western esoterica over the centuries, derived from neoplatonic prehistory and sister schools of mysticism. (P. 267).¹
Crowley considered himself the reincarnation of Eliphas Lévi.
Cardin reminds us that Thelemites celebrate Crowley’s April 1904 receipt of the Book of the Law, or Liber AL vel Legis, from the praeterhuman intelligence Aiwaz on the Equinox of the Gods: the founding event of Thelema.
The origin story of the Book of the Law is a prototypical example of revelation.
“Revelation in religion or theology is the act of revealing through communication with supernatural entities.” (Wiki).
Interestingly, Cardin accurately mines Crowley’s autohagiography (John Symonds & Kenneth Grant (eds.), Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography, New York: Penguin Arkana, 1989) and reminds us that Crowley was a reluctant proselytizer. It was not until 1919 that Crowley finally addressed the Cairo Working (1904) as an encounter with a praeterhuman sentience spanning three days.
Crowley said that Aiwaz named himself a messenger of the god Horus. This was an artifact of the belief system that Crowley devised for himself to make sense of his margin experiences. In Thelema the Cairo Working marked the beginning of the Thelemic Aeon of Horus. Crowley initially spelled his interlocutor as Aiwaz. Later, for reasons of numerology, he rendered the name as Aiwass.
Kenneth Grant, founder of the Typhonian Order, in a photo taken by Jan Magee in 1978.
It was Kenneth Grant (1924-2011 CE) who connected Aiwass with the double star Sirius, announcing his discovery of an occult current emanating from the “transplutonic planet Isis,” in a 1955 Manifesto of New Isis Lodge OTO, which seems to be rare and absent from the internet.²
Israel Regardie (1907-85 CE) conversely said that Crowley tapped depths of the human evolutionary unconscious beyond those identified by Jung and Freud. (P. 268; Wilson & Hill, p. 134).
Grant considered the entity extraterrestrial. Regardie considered it a manifestation of human consciousness.
(Robert Anton Wilson & Miriam Joan Hill, Everything is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults & Cover-ups, New York: HarperCollins, 1998).
Cardin says that Thelema is erected upon the HGA. It is a belief system that asserts that every mage can communicate with a praeterhuman awareness. Not the apex entity, or God, (Thelemites consider the Judeo-Christian Yahweh one god among many), but an identifiable discarnate entity that repetitively manifests to a magus.
Others observed that Thelema, based upon Enochian procedures adapted by the Golden Dawn, just works. You are not required to believe anything. If you do certain things, you will elicit certain results, and they can be repeated.
Moreover, rituals can be shared, and others can duplicate similar results. Rituals can be experienced in common, or adepts can operate separately. The results will vary, for many reasons, but there is no question that something happens.
Speaking for myself, I consider even the avatars of divinity to be divinity, who does not care whether we prefer Kālī Ma, Brahman, Yahweh or any other epithet, as long as we glorify it. Aspects of God are facets which help us understand constituents which may otherwise evade us. Hence the 33,000 gods of Hinduism.
Which is why I suspect that the HGA is a Thelemic error. I doubt that any praeterhuman consciousness is independent of ultimate deity. Humans, each with an individual soul, particularly in Vedanta, are not disconnected from Brahman. To the contrary. Why would discarnate intelligences be different? Particularly if we determine that they are autonomous human projections?
Clearly, entities discussed in this article are not infallible, which most would agree is an attribute of ultimate deity. We are on thin ice with this question, considering the pettiness of the Egyptian Ennead and the 3,000 gods of the Mesopotamian pantheons, not to mention our jealous God of the Judeo-Christian tradition. (Raphael Patai, The Hebrew Goddess (3d ed.), Detroit: Wayne State, 1990, pp. 49-52).
While praeterhuman entities may indeed be infallible, whether they are manifestations of an apex divinity or sacred beings with independent existence, they are dependent upon interactions with flawed humans.
And humans wrote the mythologies and legends that spawned our religions, even those that claim to be revelation: Ergo. An interaction with deity may be revelation, but it still happens to a fallible human. Human interpretations corrupt the process. It can be said that absent a human, there is no process, there is no revelation.
Do the gods still exist? Surely.
Consider mathematical formulae. Do all equations preexist, somewhere? Waiting to be discovered? I do not think that there is any question of it. All formulae exist. They merely await a conjunction of circumstances and consciousness to be brought to tangible awareness. The same with these sacral processes of interaction with discarnate deities.
Reviewing accounts of interactions with deities, I am struck by how quotidian they seem at times, reflecting the concerns of their human interlocutors. The classic accounts are, of course, the diaries of Dr. John Dee (1527-1609 CE), magus and spy.³
Lamentably, humans are far from infallible. And yet–we do seem to innately know what is right and what it is wrong. We are born with an impeccable moral compass, it is part of our genetic patrimony. In the case of amoral autistics, the psychological rule of the mean considers them psychopathological. It takes time for mutations to consolidate–and not all mutations succeed.
I am not sure how such a view contends with Aztec human sacrifice. Can an entire culture be considered mentally ill? Just yesterday, my newsfeed told me about the discovery of monuments to Xipe Tótec, the “flayed god,” for whom the Aztecs stripped the skins of their victims alive so that priests could wear them.
Xipe Tótec, “the flayed lord,” for whom the Popoloca indigenous people built a recently excavated complex between 1000 CE-1260 CE, predating the Aztecs. Xipe Tótec was an Aztec deity whose spring festival, Tlacaxipehualiztli, saw human victims flayed alive after which their skins were worn by priests.
We clearly lack crucial context to understand such grisly manifestations of the sacral, but we are, nonetheless, dealing with questions of divinity. We can surely recall others. Let us consider the human moral compass a gut feel for now, and return to it some other time.
Dr. John Dee, circa 16th century, depicted at age 67. The portrait was acquired by Elias Ashmole and is now in the permanent collection of the Ashmolean Museum.
Dr. John Dee (1527-1609 CE) and Renaissance magicians would consider Thelema a system for communicating with demons and spirits, or goetia: a tradition including The Book of Abramelin, the Lesser Key of Solomon or Lemegeton, and Agrippa’s (1486-1535 CE) inimitable De Occulta Philosophia libri III and others.
Aristotle would consider Thelema a method of consulting the daemon, an aspect of human personality. In Islam and its pagan antecedents, the djinn became the genie, or the Latin genius. In Roman mythology, the genius manifests at birth, and shapes human character and destiny.
Rosemary Guiley reaches back to the Sumerian apkallu, citing the classic by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, Gods, Demons & Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. This makes perfect sense to me. (Guiley, p. 94; Jeremy Black & Anthony Green, Gods, Demons & Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, London: British Museum Press, 1992).⁴
Postdiluvian advisors to kings who were men, the ummanu, were the successors of the antediluvian mixed-species Apkallu who were portrayed as fish-men. In this frieze now held in the British Museum they tend to a sacred tree. The antediluvian Apkallu were the so-called seven sages of Sumeria.
For practitioners of Thelema, Cardin explains, the end of the Aeon of Osiris signaled the end of patriarchal monotheism and the advent of the Aeon of Horus: a 2000 year period enshrining personal liberty and communion with the HGA.
Thelema asserts that only in communion with the HGA can an adept distill his own True Will, defining his purpose in life.
Francois Rabelais circa 1501-1600, Accession Number MV 4046 Palace of Versaille, acquired 1845.
Cardin says that the Thelemic motto Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law was cadged from Rabelais. It was derived from the fictional rule of the imaginary Abbey of Thélème in Gargantua by François Rabelais (1483-1553 CE). It was fay çe que vouldras, or “do what you will,” and from there the maxim was adopted by the Hell-Fire Club. (Tim Maroney, reproduced in his article below in Book of Lies).
The purpose of Thelema is to contact one’s HGA and to embark on the great adventure of actualizing the cosmic destiny of the magus. (P. 269).
Cardin characterizes the HGA as an invisible spirit that “exerts a kind of existential gravity or magnetism” as the adept traverses the shoals of life.
Cardin emphasizes that Crowley contradicted himself many times, at one point characterizing the HGA as “our Secret Self—our Subconscious Ego,” interpreting the HGA as a layer within the individual psyche. Then he quotes Crowley saying:
“Who wrote these words? Of course I wrote them, ink on paper, in the material sense; but they are not My words, unless Aiwaz be taken to be no more than my subconscious self, or some part of it: in that case, my conscious self being ignorant of the Truth in the Book and hostile to most of the ethics and philosophy of the Book, Aiwaz is a severely suppressed part of me. Such a theory would further imply that I am, unknown to myself, possessed of all sorts of praeternatural knowledge and power … In any case, whatever “Aiwaz” is, “Aiwaz” is an Intelligence possessed of power and knowledge absolutely beyond human experience; and therefore Aiwaz is a Being worthy as the current use of the word allows, of the title of a God, yea verily and amen, of a God.”
–Aleister Crowley, The Equinox of the Gods (1936), chapter VII.
(P. 269; Tim Maroney, “Six Voices on Crowley,” in Richard Metzger (ed.), Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult, New York: The Disinformation Company, 2003, pp. 168-9).
So Cardin asks, what is more preposterous? That Aiwass is a discarnate entity? Or a layer of Crowley’s amalgamated psyche? Again, I must propose that both are true, without contradiction.
And I must also point out that everything that we are discussing takes place within the 6-inches separating our ears.
RAW, 1977, National Theater, London, photo by Richard Adams.
Then Cardin transitions to Robert Anton Wilson’s (hereafter RAW) acid trip where he played Crowley’s taped Invocation of the HGA: “RAW on the HGA.”
I listened to Crowley invoke the spirits, you can find the recordings by searching on YouTube. Believe me: listening to Crowley on acid is not a good idea. I cannot imagine why RAW decided to do that, much less how it impacted him. I am certain that this mundane act reverberated within his psyche for the remainder of his incarnation.
RAW recounted in Cosmic Trigger that he experienced “a rush of Jungian archetypes, strongly influenced by the imagery of Crowley’s Invocation, but nonetheless having that peculiar quality of external reality and alien intelligence (italics in original) emphasized by Jung in his discussion of the archetypes.” (P. 270; Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati, Tempe: New Falcon, 1977, p. 830).
Cardin again cites Crowley contradicting himself, telling Frank Bennett (Frater Progradior, 1868-1930 CE) that the HGA is merely “our own unconsciousness,” and explaining to Jane Wolfe (Soror Estai, 1875-1958 CE) that the HGA is “a separate being of superhuman intelligence.” (P. 270; RAW, CT, 1977, p. 84).
Jane Wolfe (Soror Estai).
Cardin keeps pointing at the contradiction, which reinforces my conviction that both assertions are correct and not contradictory in the least. Indeed RAW writes, and Cardin omits, “It is both/and; it is the “bornless one,” as Egyptian priests said.” (CT, 1977, p. 84).⁵
When RAW wrote, and Cardin omitted, “It is both/and; it is the “bornless one,” as Egyptian priests said,” (CT, 1977, p. 84) RAW was thinking upon the foundation of Crowley’s belief system. RAW lacked access to the Greek and Demotic Magical Papyri which are footnoted below. As we see, with the perspective afforded by a century and glorious source documents: Crowley took liberties, Enochian amendments aside.
RAW meant that the deity was both a projection of human consciousness and a discarnate praeterhuman intelligence. Crowley’s contradictory statements to Bennett and Jane Wolfe are not mutually exclusive.
Frank Bennett recorded his interview with Crowley in 1921 in his diary, and the entry was cited at length by Symonds and Grant in Crowley’s Confessions. It was summarized:
“…it was all a matter of getting the subconscious mind to work; and when this subconscious mind was allowed full sway, without interference from the conscious mind, then illumination could be said to have begun; for the subconscious mind was our HGA.” (P. 270; Crowley, Confessions, p. 936, n. 90/4).
Then Cardin transitions to Israel Regardie (Frater Ad Maiorem Adonai Gloriam, 1907-85 CE), who wrote in his introduction to The Law is for All:
“It really makes little difference in the long run whether the Book of the Law was dictated to him by a preterhuman (sic) intelligence named Aiwass or whether it stemmed from the creative deeps of Aleister Crowley. The book was written. And he became the mouthpiece for the Zeitgeist, accurately expressing the intrinsic nature of our time as no one else has done to date.”
(P. 271; Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000, p. 133).⁶
Cardin considers Regardie one of the “most influential figures in modern Western occultism,” echoing Gerald Suster, a biographer of Regardie.
(Gerald Suster, Crowley’s Apprentice: The Life and Ideas of Israel Regardie, York Beach: Samuel Weiser, 1990, p. vii.)
Regardie is infamous in esoteric histories for publishing the secret rituals of the Stella Matutina, a magical order that split off from a schism of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
In an act that Crowley hypocritically characterized as “pure theft,” Regardie preserved magical rituals and democratized them, making them available for anyone to consult, not just adepts and initiates. Later, he published the rituals of the Golden Dawn itself.
Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, & John C. Lilly, on Easter Sunday, 1991, at the home of Dr. Oscar Janiger. Photo by Philip H. Bailey.
Before transitioning to Dr. Timothy Leary (1920-1996 CE), Cardin opines that “the basic point—that it does not matter whether one opts for the supernatural or psychological explanation, because the end result is the same—is worth pondering at length…” (P. 271). As I said: Cardin already knows the answer.
In 1960 Leary ate mushrooms in Mexico and when he returned to Harvard he collaborated with Professor Richard Alpert (1931 CE), later aka Ram Dass, to study the psychological effects and potential therapeutic qualities of hallucinogens. (P. 272).
Harvard fired them both in 1963, terminating their research project. The USG banned psychedelics, shutting down research. The government was frightened silly: Leary and Alpert struck a nerve.
Leary was incarcerated. While serving time, the lore of Leary claims that solitary confinement sensitized him to his inner voices. Leary realized that something wanted to express itself. Something separate. Something … other. So Leary experimented with channeling.
Leary perceived the entity as telepathic and extraterrestrial. The result:
- Timothy Leary, Starseed, San Francisco: Level Press, 1973.
- Timothy Leary, Neurologic, San Francisco: Starseed, 1973.
Leary concluded that humanity was originally extraterrestrial and predestined through DNA and a racial arc of genetic compulsion to colonize the cosmos and return to the stars.
Leary considered this a reunion with the galactic source of our origins, a higher intelligence, a path of transcendence and fulfillment.
Or as I say in the final pages of Revelation: rapture. (Revelation, p. cliii).
An undated, unattributed photo of poet Victor Benjamin Neuburg, courtesy of the Hermetic Library, where his writing is preserved.
Leary and English writer Brian Barritt (1934-2011 CE) tripped on LSD at Bou Saada in the Sahara in 1971, unwittingly replicating magical workings chronicled by Crowley in the Vision and the Voice in 1909 with Victor Neuburg (Frater Omnia Vincam, 1883-1940 CE).
Leary and Barritt wondered whether Aiwass manipulated their lives to bring them to Bou Saada at that time. (Pp. 273-4; Barritt, pp. 155-n.2). They did not intend to mimic Crowley and Neuburg’s magical workings. They felt that coincidence was impossible.
(Brian Barritt, The Road of Excess: A Psychedelic Autobiography (excerpt), in Richard Metzger (ed.), Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick & the Occult, New York: Disinformation Company, 2003, pp. 145-51).
In Leary’s Confessions of a Hope Fiend, he wrote:
“The eerie synchronicities between our lives [i.e., his own and Barritt’s] and that of Crowley, which were later to preoccupy us, were still unfolding with such precision as to make us wonder if one can escape the programmed imprinting with which we are born.” (P. 274; Barritt, p. 153).
Legit questions. But there were other, even more perturbing synchronicities. It is not certain that Leary knew it, but Cardin mentions an heretical faction of Thelemites that considered certain interactions extraterrestrial and “Trans-Plutonian.”⁷
Kenneth Grant’s Lovecraftian synchronicities and Trans-Plutonian communications strangely echoed Leary in ways that could not be coincidental. Perhaps Leary did know about OTO factionalism, and maybe he came down on the side of the Typhonian current. Or … maybe Grant’s current was overflowing these modalities and manifesting to other messengers. Which now leads us to the strange case of Science Fiction writer Philip K. Dick.
Philip K. Dick (1928-1982 CE), also interacted with extraterrestrial intelligence in VALIS (1980), and The Divine Invasion (1981), both published before his death. Dick did not live to complete The Owl in Daylight (nd).
Exegesis (2011) contains excerpts from Dick’s journals that informed VALIS, and like Radio Free Albemuth (1976/1985), it was published posthumously. Arguably, in comparison to Grant, Dick was relatively sedate. And he wrote fiction–except for VALIS and Exegesis.
Philip K. Dick, photo ©Nicole Panter.
Philip K. Dick demands to be discussed in a separate article, or in yet another book, and I am sure that Dick specialists are engaged in this. I will cite Jean Baudrillard’s (1929-2007 CE) Simulacra and Science Fiction on Dick and leave it at that.
Before you read Baudrillard excerpted below, I must note that I address a doctrine of the shadow in Revelation, derived from E. Wallis Budge’s (1857-1934 CE) translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (~1550 BCE) and William Butler Yeats‘s doctrine of the daemon (1865-1939 CE).
“It is hyperreal. It is a universe of simulation, which is something altogether different. And this is not so because Dick speaks specifically of simulacra. SF has always done so, but it has always played upon the double, on artificial replication or imaginary duplication, whereas here the double has disappeared. There is no more double; one is always already in the other world, an other world which is not another, without mirrors or projection or utopias as means for reflection. The simulation is impassable, unsurpassable, checkmated, without exteriority. We can no longer move “through the mirror” to the other side, as we could during the golden age of transcendence.”
–Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Science Fiction, Science Fiction Studies, #55, Vol. 18, Part 3, 1991.
The doctrine of the shadow, or as Baudrillard puts it, the double, also deserves an article of its own. Baudrillard in this citation is referring to the nature of reality, which is fine, but his comment reminds me that I interpret the double to be a synonym for the shadow, or sheut, a recondite slice of the ancient Egyptian metaphysical anatomy.
I find it significant that Baudrillard stated that the simulation is “without exteriority,” that we no longer flit through a Borgesian mirror to another side. This reminds me of Kenneth Grant’s Darkside of the Tree (Outside the Circles of Time, London: Muller, 1980).
For Baudrillard, there is no other side. This simulation is all that there is, which neatly corresponds to the Hindu doctrine of Māyā. I will return to this theme in a later work.
Returning to Cardin, he tells us that RAW corresponded with Leary while he was incarcerated. RAW then subsequently recorded:
“The Starseed Transmissions—“hallucinations” or whatever—were received in 19 bursts, seldom in recognizable English sentences, requiring considerable meditation and discussion between the four Receivers before they could be summarized.” (P. 274; RAW 1977, p. 105).⁸
My gut reaction to the Starseed Transmissions is that plenty of wishful thinking went into the analysis of those “19 bursts.” Perhaps we can examine the identities of the 4 “Receivers” in a separate article, determine how they each “received” the “bursts,” and finally ask what they did with them.
In Terra II, Leary recounts the long human history of interactions with higher intelligences, including religious beliefs, but summarizes them thusly: “the goal of the evolutionary process is to produce nervous systems capable of communicating with the galactic network. Contacting the Higher Intelligence.” (Leary, p. 15; Cardin p. 275).
It makes me wonder whether there was cross-fertilization between Kenneth Grant’s New Isis Lodge and Leary. Occam’s Razor would say yes. The synchronicities between Grant and Leary are numerous.
Then Cardin quotes Leary from a PBS American Experience episode, Summer of Love, saying that LSD tripping is “… a sense of being in communion with powers greater than yourself, and intelligence which far outstrips the human mind, and energies which are very ancient.” (P. 275; Dolgin and Franco).
Cardin is persistent, and he stays admirably on target. He then notes that RAW made this statement after visiting Leary in Vacaville:
“[Leary said] Interstellar ESP may have been going on for all our history […] but we just haven’t understood. Our nervous systems have translated their messages in terms we could understand. The “angels” who spoke to Dr. Dee, the Elizabethan scientist-magician [who had figured in both Crowley-Neuberg’s and Leary-Barritt’s visionary experiences in the Sahara] were extraterrestrials, but Dee couldn’t comprehend them in those terms and considered them “messengers from God.” The same is true of many other shaman’s and mystics.” (P. 275; RAW, 1977, p. 118).
Hilariously, Leary’s mental health was evaluated by psychiatric professionals during his incarceration: he was deemed sane and enjoyed a high IQ. (p. 275).
RAW interviewed Dr. Hiler, Leary’s shrink while he was at Vacaville.
“I asked Hiler what he really thought of Dr. Leary’s extraterrestrial contacts. Specifically, since he didn’t regard Leary as crazy or hallucinating, what was happening when Leary thought he was receiving extraterrestrial communications?
Hiler responded: “Every man and and woman who reaches the higher levels of spiritual and intellectual development, feels the presence of a Higher Intelligence. Our theories are all unproven. Socrates called it his daemon. Others call it gods or angels. Leary calls it extraterrestrial. Maybe it’s just another part of our brain, a part we usually don’t use. Who knows?” (p. 276; RAW 1977, p. 163).
We see here multiple human efforts to understand a phenomenon that recurs across history and cultures. We give it many names. Demons, angels, praeterhuman awareness, the daemon, the egregore, the Muse–all refer to something similar.
RAW’s 1983 Prometheus Rising opened with an introduction by Israel Regardie. RAW’s primary recounting of his own interactions with a higher intelligence are in Cosmic Trigger I (1977). I found Regardie’s introduction interesting because he cited the physicist John Bell, and Indra’s Net–both of which I address at length in Revelation.
To tickle your curiosity, I will merely say that John Stewart Bell (1928-90 CE) realized in 1964 that entangled particles instantaneously communicate irregardless of physical distance and spacetime, overthrowing laws of physics and light speed. The global coterie of quantum physicists were in an uproar.
Physicist John Stewart Bell, circa 1972, CERN.
As for Indra’s Net … I will leave it at this: I consider Indra’s Net the explanation for the phenomenon of synchronicity. (Revelation, pp. 57 and 103).
Cardin tells me something that I did not know: RAW was a Ph.D in Psychology. In his author’s introduction to the 1986 edition of Prometheus Rising, he explained:
“Cosmic Trigger deals with a process of deliberately induced brain change through which I put myself in the years 1962-76. This process is called “initiation” or “vision quest” in many traditional societies and can loosely be considered some dangerous variety of self-psychotherapy in modern terminology.” (pp. 276-7; RAW 1977 p. ii).⁹
Interestingly, RAW believed that he deciphered a hidden message in Crowley’s The Book of Lies in 1971. The consequences were classic:
“The outstanding result was that I entered a belief system, from 1973 until around October 1974, in which I was receiving telepathic messages from entities residing on a planet of the double star Sirius.” (p. 277; RAW 1977 p. 8).
Some reading this are shaking their heads. These accounts are just too outlandish. The problem is that others reading this know through personal experience that something happens. The Muse is real. Artists, poets, musicians, shamans, adepts of all varieties including Thelemites know it. What we are contemplating is what it is.
Some will no doubt be examining their own synchronicities, and a few of them will end up writing me astonished emails. But the default response that is programmed into us is skepticism.
Perhaps inevitably, RAW later concluded, after meeting Dr. Jacques Vallée, (1939 CE) UFOlogist, in 1974, that he was not receiving telepathic transmissions from Sirius.
RAW said that Vallée told him that these sorts of contacts are centuries-old, and this is clearly true. They are also determined to be terrestrial due to contamination with modern cultural beliefs. (277).
RAW recounts that he initially contacted the “entity” using “Crowleyan occultism.” An extraterrestrial origin was just the modern rationale for an old phenomena, which during the Middle Ages was ascribed to angelic interlocutors, and to spirits of the dead during the 19th century.
RAW’s own skepticism overcame him in the end–or did it? So it was no longer extraterrestrial. Still: something happened.
RAW said that he believed nothing before his contact experience, and described himself as a “neurological model agnostic, applying the Copenhagen Interpretation of physics beyond physics to consciousness itself.” (P. 278; RAW 1977, p. iv).
In more synchronicity, I wrote in Revelation that “The Copenhagen interpretation of the many-worlds multiverse requires observation to collapse wavefunctions, or consciousness, while the many-minds interpretation of H. Dieter Zeh (1932-2018 CE) centers wavefunction collapse in the minds of endless observers.” (Revelation, p. 46).
Remember that RAW wrote Prometheus Rising in 1983, and Cosmic Trigger in 1977. He was ahead of his time. Professor Zeh published The Problem of Conscious Observation in Quantum Mechanical Description (arXiv:quant-ph/9908084v3) in 2000 (based on a paper circulated in 1981).
Then Zeh published The Physical Basis of the Direction of Time (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1989, 1992), followed by Decoherence and the Appearance of a Classical World in Quantum Theory (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2003).
Zeh did publish “On the interpretation of measurement in quantum theory,” in Foundations of Physics in 1970, but Zeh was an outlier, and regardless of the biases of any physicist that you ask about him, he remains one.
This does not dissuade me from conflating Zeh’s many-minds interpretation with the modal realism and Possible Worlds of David Lewis (1941-2001 CE). (Revelation, p. 41).
Philosopher David K. Lewis, photo courtesy Princeton University.
Even more interesting for me: RAW considers these manifestations to be “working tools to hack the metaprogramming of individual personal psychological imprints.”
In other words, RAW takes no position on whether these entities objectively exist. He says that some areas of brain functioning cannot be accessed without using such entities as keys to open specific locks. “I do not insist on this; it is just my opinion.” (P. 278; RAW 1977, p. v.).
There are many ways to hack consciousness. Alexandra David-Néel used Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhist meditation, Crowley, Kenneth Grant and innumerable magicians before them used ceremonial magic. Crowley’s Magical Record recounts much use of cocaine and opiates, and Thelemites cite Liber Al Vel Legis, verse II:22: To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof!
The Desert Fathers taught hesychia derived from Judaic haga and siha trance. (Revelation, pp. 74-6). RAW used ceremonial magic and psychedelics, as did Leary. Tantrikas use ajapajapam as they pray the rudraksha japa-mala, yoga, asanas, pranayama, mantra, mudra, yantra, dhyana. (Revelation, pp. 78-9, 138). I endorse a species of meditation in Revelation, derived from quantum physics and Vedanta:
“Wheeler’s Principle, Bell’s Theorem and Heisenberg Uncertainty imply that spacetime can be hacked: no law of physics is impregnable. Absent awareness, waves of probability are not material: they are statistical predictions. Absent awareness: there is no wave. So what is actually hacked?” (Revelation, p. 59).
The answer is subjective consciousness. I must emphasize again that we are discussing phenomena that transpire within the six inches separating our ears. Cardin says that the struggles of Crowley, Leary and RAW illustrate them interpreting forces in the psyche that are independent of the ego and autonomous.
Cardin reinforces that they are an evocation of an ancestral connection to the Muse, the daemon and genius.
Cardin emphasizes that this sort of episodic communication with something recurs throughout history, and that it can happen to you and to me. Do I not know it.
“…it definitely means a sense of something impinging on or communicating with our conscious self “from the outside,” or perhaps from the deep inside, which experientially amounts to the same thing.” (P. 279).
And then Cardin gets really good:
“The really electrifying jolt comes when we realize, as our three present case subjects all did, that such impinging and communicating is always happening, regardless of whether or not we are consciously aware of it, as a constant psychic undercurrent. If we are skilled and sensitive enough to tune in and hear it, the rewards in terms of creative vibrancy can be exquisite.” (P. 279).
Creatives depend on it. Writers, poets, musicians, all depend on the Muse, and interact with Her in varying ways. Adepts interact with egregores, demons and HGAs. Christianity knows the phenomenon as the Holy Spirit.
Which is why commentators like Helena P. Blavatsky (1831-91 CE) considered such voices murmurs from the racial consciousness of the species that we all share. I suspect that it is locked in the DNA, and it uncoils in this way. Blavatsky had her Akashic Record, and her Mahatmas. (H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence, Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1881 ed.)
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy.
We could be sensing nothing more than a mutation struggling to emerge, an elaboration of human mentation, a new capability, struggling to break out and manifest across humanity. This is just one speculative possibility. There are many others.
What I do not think is disputed any longer by folks like you and like me is the reality of these phenomena. We now see them attested repeatedly across history. It does not take much imagination to ascribe them to angels, or to daemons, or just to the whispering of Brahman in the wind in trees. (Revelation, pp. 69-72).
We know that something happens.
Then Cardin points us at a work of literary criticism that RAW wrote about the writer Raymond Chandler using the nom de plume of critic Epicene Wildeblood.
“Chandler spent 15 years, the prime years of a man’s life, in the oil-executive game before the Daemon or Holy Guardian Angel that haunts artists got its teeth into him again.” (P. 279; RAW 1980, p. 127).
Winding down, finally, 1981 RAW was interviewed for Starship: The Magazine about Science Fiction.
The interviewer asked him, “Is a book fully organized in your mind before you start writing or does it take shape as it unfolds?”
“Sometimes I have a clearer idea of where I’m going than other times, but it always surprises me. In the course of writing, I’m always drawing on my unconscious creativity, and I find things creeping into my writing that I wasn’t aware of at the time. That’s part of the pleasure of writing.
After you’ve written something, you say to yourself, “where in the hell did that come from?” Faulkner called it the “demon” that directs the writer. The Kabalists call it the “holy guardian angel.”
Every writer experiences this sensation. (I disagree!) Robert E. Howard said he felt there was somebody dictating the Conan stories to him. There’s some deep level of the unconscious that knows a lot more than the conscious mind of the writer knows.” (P. 280; Elliott).
–Eliot, J. “Robert Anton Wilson: Searching for Cosmic Intelligence,” Starship: The Magazine About Science Fiction, 19.1, Spring 1981.
Many writers never know ahead of time what the Muse will wish to surface through our agency. I legitimately intended to write a simple preface to my third book, Metamorphosis, and as the Muse continued feeding me articles and words and books and ideas, it morphed into a whole separate book, Revelation.
I am not that smart. I actually published The Rosetta Stone of Memories with the text of Revelation as the preface, followed by a narrative consisting of Metamorphosis. It was not until Amazon priced all 3 pounds and 490 pages of it at $88 in paperback that it occurred to me that they were two separate books.
“I wrote this work at the behest of the multiverses. I am just a messenger.
If you have eyes to see, you see that I write a latter day uttaratantra, I have no master, and this mystery carpet is woven from the paradoxes of the ages.
I take refuge from the ten similes of illusory phenomena in an ocean of dākinīs, mirror-like pristine cognition: I give you an illusion, a mirage, a dream, a reflected image, a celestial city, an echo, a reflection of Moon on water, a bubble, an optical illusion, an intangible emanation.” (Revelation, p. 144).
And that is what I have to say about that.
Bangkok, corrected January 16, 2019.
Revelation Revisited, a review of Matt Cardin, “In Search of Higher Intelligence: The Daemonic Muse(s) of Crowley, Leary, & Robert Anton Wilson,” in Angela Voss & William Rowlandson (eds.), Daimonic Imagination: Uncanny Intelligence, Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle, 2013, pp. 266-831.
¹In Revelation, I trace interactions with discarnate entities to Alphonse Louise Constant (Eliphas Lévi, 1810-75 CE) and his doctrine of the egregore, which derives from the fallen angels in the Books of Enoch.
The Book of Watchers in 1 Enoch (6-36) is dated to 300 BCE. The narrative states that it was written by the great-grandfather of Noah, before the Deluge. Many of the fallen angels are listed in Guiley’s Encyclopedia.
There were 200 fallen angels in some MSS of 2 Enoch, and 20 of them (so-called “chiefs of ten”) founded the mystery schools, but I did not count them in Guiley’s Encyclopedia to confirm whether they were all accounted for. (Revelation, pp. 63-5; Andrei A. Orlov, Dark Mirrors: Azazel & Satanael in Early Jewish Demonology, New York: SUNY Press, 2011, p. 93).
²Kenneth Grant, Hecate’s Fountain, London: Skoob Books, 1992; Henrik Bogdan, “Kenneth Grant and the Typhonian Tradition,” in Christopher Partridge (ed.), The Occult World, (New York: Routledge, 2015.
- Starfire Publishing surely holds a copy of Kenneth Grant’s 1955 Manifesto of New Isis Lodge OTO. These sigils by Steffi Grant ostensibly adorn it. Maybe they will have mercy on independent researchers worldwide and upload it. I did ask them. Maybe if you ask them also they will consider it.
³Meric Casaubon (1599-1671 CE), A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed For Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits, London: D. Maxwell, 1659. This document is flawed as an exemplar of Dr. Dee’s journals for many reasons, but I include it here in gratitude to the Getty Museum for posting such a beautiful facsimile copy of it.
⁴I wrote Editorial Note on the Apkallu and the Roadmap Ahead on my website Samizdat in 2015, when I was deep into studies of the antediluvian and postdiluvian sages of ancient Mesopotamia. At risk of immodesty: it is an indispensable resource. Enjoy.
⁵In short, the “bornless one” is a reference to the Bornless Ritual, a preliminary invocation to the Ars Goetia, portions of which are reliably dated to 1563 CE, courtesy of Crowley. The Ars Goetia is the first part of the Lemegeton, cited above. Crowley and SL MacGregor Mathers (1854-1918 CE) published a revised English edition in 1904 as The Goetia, which was reissued in a 2d edition by Samuel Weiser and the OTO in 1995.
Crowley’s version from Liber Samekh, corrected and reissued by Celephaïs Press in 2003, is reproduced in full in the Wiki. Crowley folded in Enochian modifications, despite the admonition of verse 155 in the Chaldean Oracles (v. 155):
“Change not the barbarous Names of Evocation for there are sacred Names in every language which are given by God, having in the Sacred Rites a Power Ineffable.”
– Psellus (1017-78 CE), 7. Nicephorus (1295-1360 CE).
Crowley and Mathers allegedly consulted MSS at the British Museum, but Crowley’s Preliminary Invocation derived from Charles W. Goodwin (trans.), Fragment of a Graeco-Egyptian Work Upon Magic (Cambridge: Deighton, Macmillan & Co., 1852). Mather’s and Crowley’s Goetia was not, in retrospect, a strict translation, but we now enjoy definitive source materials.
Things get interesting when Alex Summer tells us in “The Bornless Ritual,” Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, (No. 7, Vol. 1, 2004, p. 103), “There is a more recent re-translation of the same ritual by Hans Dieter Benz, where it is referred to as “The Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist.”
Then Summer posts a critical commentary on the ritual. Summer’s note refers to a 2d edition of Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells, Vol. 1: Texts, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. A 1986 edition (hereafter PGM) is available for free download, and a 1996 edition is on GoogleBooks. In the 1986 edition, the spell is as follows:
“I summon you, Headless One, who created earth and heaven, who created night and day,
you who created light and darkness; you are Osoronnophris whom none has ever seen; you are Iabas; you are Iapos; you have distinguished the just and the unjust; you have made female and male; / you have revealed seeds and fruits; you have made men love each other and hate each other.
I am Moses your prophet to whom you have / transmitted your mysteries / celebrated by Israel; you have revealed the moist and the dry and all nourishment; hear me.
I am the messenger of Pharaoh Osoronnophris; this is your true name which has been transmitted to the prophets of Israel. Hear me … (followed by barbarous names of evocation and the remainder of the spell, which switches tense to the first person as the mage transitions from summoning to internal evocation): […]
I am the headless daimon with my sight in my feet, [I am] the mighty one [who possesses] the immortal fire; I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world; I am the one who makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll;
I am the one whose sweat is the heavy rain which falls upon the earth that it might be inseminated; I am the one whose mouth burns completely; I am the one who begets and destroys;
I am the Favor of the Aion, my name is a heart encircled by a serpent; come forth and follow…”
–The Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist, 1986: Benz, 1986: PGM V. 96-172, p. 103.
There is more, but you get the idea. The term “Bornless One,” as RAW states, refers to the “Headless One” (Gr. Akephalos), a peculiar deity in the Greek Magical Papyri whose origin seems Egyptian and was conflated with Osiris in Hellenistic Egypt (Benz, PGM, p. 335).
Professor Benz reminds us that other Headless deities included the Molos mentioned by Plutarch in Crete and the Headless Triton mentioned by Pausanias (110-80 CE) in the Dionysus Temple at Tanagra. (Plutarch, On the Cessation of Oracles (Charles W. King, trans.), 1908, p. 89). I do not think that these are that similar, aside from being headless.
Dr. Benz dates the Greek Magical Papyri to 200 BCE-500 CE, reminding us that these are a small number of the magical spells that once existed. Scrolls and books were burned many times over the centuries, particularly magical texts. When magicians were also put to the fire, they went underground, Dr. Benz tells us, and they took their scrolls with them. The Papyri reverberate with admonitions to preserve their secrecy.
What I find fascinating is that the “papyri represent a Greco-Egyptian, rather than the more general Greco-Roman, syncretism … In this syncretism, the indigenous ancient Egyptian religion has in part survived, in part been profoundly hellenized.” Then he tells us: “The goddess Hekate, identical with Persephone, Selene, Artemis, and the old Babylonian goddess Ereschigal (sic), is one of the deities most often invoked in the papyri.”
Putting the papyri into historical context, he writes that “the discovery of the Greek Magical Papyri is as important for Greco-Roman religion as the discovery of the Qumran texts for Judaism or the Nag Hammadi texts for Gnosticism.” (Benz, 1986, pp. xli-xlviii). I suspect that the Demotic Magical Papyri in particular provide a tantalizing (albeit syncretic) glimpse into an original Egyptian religion.
But how syncretic? Professor Janet H. Johnson wrote the introduction to the Demotic Magical Papyri, noting that the bulk of the MSS were written “in that stage of the Egyptian language known as “Demotic,” and that the corpus as a whole derives in very large measure from earlier Egyptian religious and magical beliefs and practices.” (Benz, 1986, p. lv). Some MSS include passages written in “the earlier Egyptian hieratic script or words written in a special “cipher” script.” The Demotic Magical Papyri are dated to circa 300 CE.
⁶(Cardin’s editors missed a typographical error on p. 270, writing that Regardie was “Leary’s” personal secretary between 1928 and 1932, when he was Crowley’s personal secretary at that time. The editors also misspelled Jane Wolfe’s name as Wolf. Sorry: I blame OCD).
⁷Kenneth Grant’s Draconian Tradition in the Typhonian Current, the Lovecraftian workings of Grant’s New Isis Lodge (sometimes written as Nu-ISIS), and his declaration that he was OHO (Outer Head of the Order) of the OTO left his faction in opposition to the orthodox Thelemic mainstream. (Kenneth Grant, The Magical Revival, UK: Muller, 1972).
Then there was the portrait of LAM that Crowley gave to Grant in 1945. In 1987, Grant issued The LAM Statement, also titled The Dikpala of the Way of Silence, establishing a Cult of LAM.
Aleister Crowley, LAM, Dead Souls Exhibition, Greenwich Village, 1919. This portrait of LAM was published in The Equinox, (aka The Blue Equinox) Vol. 3, No. 1, (1919), and as the frontispiece to Crowley’s Commentary (Liber LXXI) to Helena P. Blavatsky’s The Voice of the Silence (1889). Kenneth Grant also published the portrait on page 70 of The Magical Revival. Beneath the portrait, Crowley added this caption: “The Way. Lam is the Tibetan word for Way or Path, and Lama is He who Goeth, the specific title of the Gods of Egypt, the Treader of the Path, in Buddhistic phraseology. Its numerical value is 71, the number of this book.”
Grant solicited members of the OTO, the Ordo Templi Orientis, to join the LAM Cult. This was a schismatic maneuver. Grant and his members of the New Isis Lodge were previously excommunicated by an earlier OHO, Karl Germer, in 1955.
Subsequent OHO’s never lifted the revocation of Grant’s Charter, and Grant continued calling himself OHO, publishing several influential books over the years.
Grant signed The LAM Statement with his magical motto, Aossic Aiwass, and as usual styled himself “OHO of OTO.” Grant’s claim to be the chief of the OTO was rejected by successive OHOs and by OTO members who were not sympathetic to New Isis. (Michael Staley, Scintillations in Mauve, UK: Starfire, nd).
⁸Pardon yet another digression, but for some reason this reminds me of the case of Bruno Borges, a Brazilian who covered his room in enigmatic writings and vanished—until he reappeared and published a book on Amazon. At this point in my life, I know better than to resist intrusions with sufficient strength).
A painting of Bruno Borges and LAM, as it appeared on a wall in his room.
⁹And the synchronicities continue. I published my own account of initiation last year as A Tale of the Grenada Raiders. While it is a work of history, the narrative is a flashback, a nightmare, dreamt in a safehouse in Lima in 1990. I did not realize this until a year after the work was published. I long ago learned to heed my own Muse. I wrote:
“I know now that everything is illusion: we each project our own multiverse.
There may be an infinity of potential universes, their number is dynamic and indistinguishable from an infinity for us, but they collapse and they manifest faster than thought.
Indeed, they are synonymous with consciousness, winking in and out of subjective materiality as our perceptions collapse wave functions, crossing over and merging into one another as our decisions dictate which paths that we walk, projecting the imaginary constructs of our lives.”
—A Tale of the Grenada Raiders: Memories in the Idioms of Dreams (Bangkok: MKD, 2017), p. xxiii.
I explain these metaphysics in Revelation. I did not know it when I wrote A Tale, but the answers are all in the Upanishads–as is the solution to Cardin’s Crowleyan contradiction.