Thernn – An Introduction to Natural Septenary Magick
Coirie Riabhaich & O9A 1996 eh
I. Nature, Magick and Satan
“Magick” on the individual level is, quite simply, the attainment of cof conscious integration with natural forces – or with “Nature”, and the Cosmos that is beyond. This integration implies a loss of the “self-image”, and a gradual expansion of consciousness into the acausal realms. There is thus achieved a natural balance within living, and the cultivation of a more noble, higher type I of human being (this cultivation being the foundations for what is conventionally terned the New Aeon).
How this alchemical process is initiated is simple in theory but difficult in practice. At present, the only realistic way of attaining this “integration” is via the practical system of the Seven-Fold Way, and this is so because, as yet, no other system contains a ritual of natural hermetic magick comparable to that of the Internal Adept (for details of which, see Naos). It is this rite, above all the other difficult tasks, that terrifies the would-be Adept, and spawns many excuses for alternative ways to enlightenment. There is no “Infernal symbolism” contained within the structure of this rite – only the stark primal fears of the Candidate.
Thus, to achieve this natural integration, the Initiate must strive primarily against him/herself (and consequently the many factors in a society that seek to shackle individual Will to a conformity). The symbol for, or spirit of, this defiance is Satan and Satanism..
Many who profess to be Pagans and practitioners of Natural Magick cannot, or will not, grasp the meaning of Satanism. This partly stems from the perspective that “Satanism” was spawned as a consequence of the distortions of the Judeo-Christian religion, and is therefore to be regarded as having been founded upon “Old Aeon” dualism – and is thus to be superceded, since it cannot fully reflect the genuine “Western ethos”. [With regard to the latter, what is genuine about this ethos is its promethean spirit, and as such it is actually explicated by the conflicts and struggles with the external factors it draws to itself, in the quest for exploration…]
As explained in the booklet ONA: An Introduction for Prospective Adherents, “Satan” derives from an ancient Greek word meaning “an accusation” (and also “foundation” or “origin” of something). The Hebrew “accuser” is in turn derived from this source. Thus the symbol predates the Hebrew, and has a truly Western origin: it did not come into being specifically as a response to the Nazarene distortion, but as a symbol of opposition – to what is the accepted, to what enervates. Thus Satan (and the Sinister – one is the other) is a symbol of creative change, and is concerned with opposition not in the misunderstood sense of “dualism” (i.e. that which is based on an abstract morality), but in the sense of countering whatever is the “norm”. This is the real secret of Satanism: that it restores to a society and individuals, at any given point in history, that which is lacking. Thus there is balance, and thus synthesis: “the process of dialectic change which governs evolution”.
Satan is a vital Western archetype. What “old Aeon” connotations exist in the symbol of Satan, in reality exist only in the minds of those who simply do not understand Satanism itself, and the Sinister in general. From a conventional “Pagan” perspective, Satanism may be described as “Militant Paganism”, since the roots of the Sinister Tradition lie in the solar cults of Albion – the symbol of Satan being comparatively recent (c. 10th or 11th century eh) and entirely appropriate adoption by what is, in essence, the original “Western Way”.
All histories begin somewhere – why not be the ones to begin the history? Thus the outdoor Temple provides the focal point for the new Magick of the working group, allowing this Magick to flow, free from expectations of a past, and towards, perhaps, the creation of aomething significant.
II. The Living Temple
Within the Sinister Tradition, an outdoor “temple” is of two types:
i) a Nexion connected with a particular Aeon;
ii) a site established for personal use by a Satanic group/”coven”/Temple.
With regard to i), the Nexion associated with this present Western Aeon is located in the Welsh Marches, having been established c. 500 AN [Its twin Nexion is known as “Bron Wrgan” – mentioned in various Order MSS]. Tradition relates that the Western Aeon was inaugurated using a crystal, this object being remembered later as “The Grail” of romantic Arthurian legend. It is not known what constituted the rituals of this inauguration, although one authority has suggested a form of a Nine Angles rite (qv. Codex Saerus). It is unlikely, however, that these rites would bear much resemblance to anything of a contemporary Occult structure, since the concept of “Time” was very different, being of a more “holistic” kind. [The linear perception of Time, “cause and effect” and so on, is a legacy of the Nazarene religion – with its emphasis on “sin”.]
The energies at this Western centre are waning, and the majority of the associated sites now belong to the past – although this “past” will enable, within the next few decades, the fulfillment of a future Destiny connected to Sinister forces (the form of this Destiny is similar to how places such as Glastonbury and Stonehenge are viewed by this present society…). It is one of the aims of the O9A to establish, before the end of the century, a new Nexion to presence the New Aeon. This site will also be located in the Welsh Marches, where the Dark Tradition originated. With regard to energies, this new Nexion will be a synthesis of the aspects represented by the previous twin Nexions, mirroring as it does the evolution of the O9A itself. [Establishing an Aeonic Nexion requires some skill; apart from the obvious demands of the rites involved, the Cliologist must assess how the land is to be effected by outside forces throughout the next ten or so centuries; whether the land will remain, as desired, untouched, or whether it will become prey to development from tourism/other business interests. Thus the site chosen should not necessarily be of “outstanding natural beauty”, or of potentially historical interest.]
With regard to ii), the “indoor Temple” is a relatively modern concept, born from the requirements of city living. While there are, of course, certain ceremonies most usually, of necessity, performed within a prepared room (i.e. Mass of Heresy), the fetish of the “indoor” Temple has served more to obscure than enhance the most vital gift of magickal experience: integration with the Land. Where the indoor sorcerer dwells within a shrine to the Ego, the way of natural magick dissolves the Self and re-integrates the magickian with Nature – there is thus presenced a sense of the greater Cosmos. A magickal rite within a natural outside environment produces effects within the participants that cannot be attained when working indoors: it is the difference between playing at magick, as a hobby; and actually living as a magickal entity. When working on and with the Land, the magickian is subject to forces that do not subscribe to the laws of the learned Occult writers, and over which there is no control: there is thus the glimmerings of genuine magickal understanding. There is personal empathy, devoid of trendy abstractions and in time, the magickian attains – or is returned to – an “at-one-with” existence. [It is interesting to observe how the Land itself is changed by/responds to magickal work – and to observe how others within the magickal group are thus changed.]
Those followers of the Dark Tradition cannot significantly evolve along the Way without returning themselves, through magick, to the Land (this should be true of all genuine magickal paths – particularly in this present self-obsessed age). For the External Adept, natural magick within a ceremonial context is an important prelude to the hermetic context of the Internal Adept, this natural unfolding allowing this most difficult of hermetic ordeals to be lived successfully.
This living closely with Nature does not imply resurrecting old beliefs, rituals and gods. Rather, it implies, for the working group, a finding through practical experience of a natural expression of “worship” (where “worship” here means integration) relevant to the environment worked within. [Natural magick finds its ultimate expression in the establishment of an esoteric community – this again does not imply a harking back to a “golden age”, but instead the creation of new ways of living – q.v. Esoteric Pioneers.]
Thernning in Practice
The finding of an outdoor site may take some time and effort, but it is an interesting exercise in itself. For the Satanic group, many factors have to be considered – privacy and isolation being the most obvious. At present, in England, the conditions for performing rites such as the Ceremony of Recalling on a suitable hilltop are increasingly restricted – although this is not the case within areas of north Wales, and Northwest Scotland. However, the site should be within reasonable traveling distance of the dwelling place of the participants for several reasons, esoteric and practical. If those concerned live in a city, then a site should be chosen on the rural outskirts (i.e. York – Yorkshire Moors; Manchester – The Pennines; Swansea – The Black Mountains, and so on).
If the magick of the group has any puposeful future, then the site will make itself known, after a revelant span of time. This is to say, that there exists a site fated to be part of the magick of the group.
As with an Aeonic Nexion, the outdoor site need not have served any previous historical purpose. It is isually tempting to choose a “stone circle”, or a hill fort, for the obvious romantic esoteric connotations. Apart from being generally known, these places, for the most part, have already served a purpose and have played a role in leading us to where we are now – as previous societies have done, such as those of the Celts, the Anglo-Saxons, and so on. There really is no significant esoteric purpose in a working group “re-activating” an ancient site – apart from perhaps as a prop for the benefit of the group psyche. Likewise, with the performing of long-dead rituals, where those rituals once dynamically expressed the unique forces involved in living in the society pertaining to that time – often a type of society that we can only now speculate about. Such rites, as with places, become abandoned because they are only outward expressions do change and evolve – as Art, Musick and Science has done. It is true that we as a whole have lost some things over the Aeons, but such things in essence can be re-captured, without recourse to the past, in expressions such as Magick. None of this is to say that an ancient form is irrevelant because it is ancient: a form is meaningful if it continues, since its inception, to presence the numinous necessary for evolution. Such a form belongs to a genuine Tradition and appears, while relevant, timeless in its words and imagery, until its purpose is realized and superceded (many such rites still provide the powerful foundations of the Seven-Fold Way).
In England, the most suitable sites can be found within wild woodland, preferably on “common land” or near footpaths through rough farmland (though as far as possible from human habitation). The site is best near a river/stream, where thorn grows. Alternatively – and it must be a practical alternative – a rocky outcrop on a high peak is most effective, particularly if it is of a certain type of rock containing layers of quart (see Rite of the Nine Angles MS for further details) – such is the description of the hallowed places of the country. Establishing a Sinister Temple in other lands will require its own criteria, relevant to the country involved.
Once established, a circle of seven stones is set up within the enclosure, according to the guidelines set out in various MSS, and the area protected appropriately. Following this, the Ceremony of Eorthe is conducted, reinforced by the opening of the Earth Gate, and sealed by regular sunedrions. [roup members may also wish to undertake the Nine Angles solo rite within the Temple area, commencing the rite at dusk, and remaining there alone until dawn. Individual results would only be discussed once all participants had completed the rite. Such an experience further binds the group members to the outdoor site.]
Sunedrions consist of a framework of rites from Codex Saerus, with emphasis on the mastery of Esoteric Chant (this is a vital aspect, making possible the performance of future Aeonic rites – qv. Naos and other MSS). Other features should hopefully consist of new aspects created by the Temple members themselves. Authority for the group and its actions lies solely with the Choregos/Mistress, etc. – there is no interference from some outside “higher authority” within the ONA (although the External Adept may occasionally seek advice from their Order guide on certain matters – i.e. Opfer).
Sunedrions should be as regular as possible, and are most usually conducted during the full moon (primarily for purposes of visibility, although other lunar phases are used for specific rites). Satanic Tradition contains no real “seasonal rites” (i.e. “Beltaine”, “Imbolc” and so on). If one studies the rites contained in the Black Books, it will be clear that they all presence the basic forces of the Cosmos – and mainly that which is represented as the Hierosgamos. No seasonal symbolism is employed (such as the slaying of “the Holly King”) because the tides that are prevalent at particular times can be experienced as themselves, without abstraction. All that is required is the regular performance of a rite (such as the cthonic form of the Nine Angles Rite) within a natural outdoor setting, for integration with the seasonal forces to be attained. There are, of course, certain times when the magickal tides are at their most pronounced, and these are recognized bby Satanic Tradition as seven “festivals” – the two most importannt being around the Summer and Winter solstices. The others are: Spring Equinox; May (middle/end of month: ANTARES); August (middle of month: ARCTURUS); Autumn Equinox; early November. [There are other workings and times allotted for alchemical seasons.]
The “working tools” of a Satanic Temple are very few. The obvious items are: lanterns; censer; communal chalice. Incense is always made by a member of the Temple, using the associations in Naos as a guide (for example, if energies appropriate to the sphere of the “Sun” were being employed during a ritual, then the incense would comprise of oak). The altar is provided by the recumbent body of an appointed Priest or Priestess. The sacrificial knife is kept under the guardianship of the Mistress (along with a large silver bowl), and used solely for that purpose (and may be only once every seventeen years). According to Tradition, after such a ceremony, the head would be severed and displayed at all sunedrions thereafter, bedecked with a crown of oak leaves. Sometimes this would be the only “image” present; either that, or a statue/painting of Baphomet, according to the genuine esoteric tradition (qv. Sinister Tarot and the various MSS concerning Baphomet contained in Hostia and elsewhere).
One important item is a large piece of quartz crystal, which is activated by voice vibration and can quite significantly enhance the energies accessed during a ritual. As mentioned many times in Order MSS, the crystal is most effective when shaped like a tetrahedron.. This can prove a cosly procedure, since a large enough piece for grinding needs to be purchased (and should be as clear as possible – coloring/cloudiness usually implies impurities), and the grinding itself, by a reliable craftsperson/jeweler does not come cheap. This shape is ideal, but not entirely essential – it all depends on one’s priorities. Whatever form is used, the Master/Mistress can opt to bury the crystal during a consecration ceremony, thereafter directing energy towards the place of burial.
Performing “natural” or “empathic” magick returns the practitioner to the sacred patterns of Being. There is exultation and awe which transforms life away from the petty and personal via direct experience of the greater context of Nature and the Cosmos. It is the stage beyond that of the indulgence of the indoor shrine and the modern “magick” of self-conscious parody – although this early stage of involvement with the “Occult scene” can play a part in aiding the Initiate along the difficult path to Adeptship, via “people management”, manipulation, and so forth. [This is to say that Traditional Satanism is concerned with the Ego, the manipulative arts and sorcery only in the early stages of the path: such things are there to be experienced/confronted and then transcended if further development is sought.]
A genuine working group should not be as a club to which any vaguely interested person can be invited to attend. It is an organic form that creates itself through certain factors becoming balanced (these factors being unique to those involved in the group). This process can involve much causal time, but through nurture and consequent esoteric binding of those who comprise this organic form, something extraordinary may one day be created. One autonomous (Sapphic) group within the O9A has been active for over twenty years, but has only within recent years completed itself, having acquired the right individuals and environment. It is now closed to outsiders. [For further details concerning the practice of Sinister Ceremonial Magick, see The Black Book of Satan I.]
Esoteric Pioneers: Towards a New Way of Living
The Satanic Temple in practice describes in microcosm one of the most important magickal aims for the immediate future: the establishment of an esoteric community. Most magickal organizations have proved now that they can write profusely and confidently about their aims (in often polemical tones). What is needed now is a new form of magickal expression, and one that cannot be achieved via anything other than practical means. An esoteric community needs, quite simply, dedicated, pragmatic individuals who are prepared to work hard to make the dream real – it does not need another “journal”. Such a venture made real, would take magick into an entirely new phase, away from the dying, urban scene of the present: it would re-interpret magick as the most profound way of living.
To start, several Satanic/Magickal comrades need to club together to purchase a substatial property with a large amount of land (certainly no less than fifteen acres). The property needs to be well isolated but situated on good farming land, since the community must be self-sufficient, and must be understood as being the seed for a new civilization, indifferent to the goings-on of the Old World of Western Capitalism (it may be prudent to establish a base that is also easily defensible). Features of the Community may include: Organic farming techniques (such as the use of heavy horses); the banning of motorized vehicles (allowing the traveler to retain integrationwith the environment); no electricity, thus Musick, for example, would be made by the Community members themselves; and of course, the creation of a new type of education system.
As far as accommodation is concerned, considering the failed experiment of the ‘sixties’ commune, the dwelling places should realistically consist of separate apartments. The aim is not to share out oneself and one’s belongings in order to de-value the concept of self-identity through material possessions and ‘morality’, but to create – through individual skills – an organic whole (and a real [Folk – T.] democracy).
Feast days/Festivals would be observed communally – for example the Mass of Life (qv. The Black Book of Satan III) could be performed every Sunday, in an area designated for “worship” [such an area would become an important Nexion – as would the Community itself…]. There would also be, it is hoped, the continuation of the fifty-year tradition of The Giving (qv. Deofel Quintet). Thus, the unique, natural magick of the Community would unfold.
Although the above outlines are offered as suggestions only, a genuine Community cannot be defined by anything less than a group of individuals creating together an entirely self-sufficient life-style, able to exist wholly apart from modern day society. This implies farming the land. It also implies family: a genuine Community cannot exist as a single-sex unit, because the aim is to create a new society – the foundations for a new civilization comprising of a new type of human being. Striving to establish and maintain such a new society will in itself be a magickal rite – one that is greatly important for the evolution of magick as a whole. Thus there should be no compromise in fulfilling the described criteria for the Community.
In essence, the “esoteric” aspect is simply the nurturing by practical living, of the spiritual connexion we possess the Land: it is this discovery that will presence the numinousity needed. Thus, the rites conducted by members conducted by members of the Community will serve to focus, as worship, this natural magick, rather than the rites themselves providing, or creating, in the first instance the esoteric aspect.
If there is to be significant aeonic Change, then many such Communities should be established in this and other countries. Aside from general esoteric principles shared by those on the Sinister Path, there will be no one dogmatic code as to how each Community organizes itself, since the uniqueness of each Community environment will require its harmonious system of expression. To reiterate, this Great Rite of natural magick will allow a move away from the “post-modernism” of present Occultism towards a new phase where individual lives can be dedicated to a higher purpose. Those who have been denuded of real power by the System can now begin to create History – all it requires is strength of Will.
For the Magickian, there could be no greater Quest.