Lambs to the Marketplace
The world of illusion is at my door,
I ain't a-haulin' any of my lambs to the marketplace anymore. - Bob Dylan
In 1905 Aleister Crowley led an experienced team of Swiss and Italian mountaineers to Nepal's then-unscaled Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak. Showell Styles tells what happened in his On Top of the World:
The party advanced up the glacier and reached a height of 20,400 feet on the face below the main peak and to the west of it; and here, at Camp VII, the Swiss called a conference at which Crowley was formally deposed from leadership because of his sadistically cruel treatment of the porters. Crowley refused to accept this. The expedition was then called off, and all except Crowley started down for the lower camps. There was a slip which set off an avalanche. All of them were swept down and buried under the snow.... Pache was dead, and the porters too.
Crowley had heard the frantic calls for help but had not troubled to come out of his tent. That evening he wrote a letter, later printed in an English newspaper, commenting that he "was not over-anxious in the circumstances to render help. A mountain accident of this kind is one of the things for which I have no sympathy whatever." Next morning he climbed down, keeping well clear of his late companions who were toiling to recover the bodies, and proceeded to Darjeeling by himself. As a Satanist, it seems, he was doing rather well.
But what is a Satanist? Crowley would have said he wasn't one, and he would have made a strong argument, since the figure "Satan" is the adversary of a God he didn't acknowledge in a religion he despised. Many occultists have made similar cases, resisting the simple either/or's of the dominant culture. And even though much of the religious aesthetics and dogma may appear similar, we should probably concede this point.
But there's something else that distinguishes Satanism, at least if we may use it as shorthand for an ethos rather than as an attitude of devotion towards a fallen angel. And that's the Ye shall be as gods come on, that manifests both as radical individualism ("Do what thou wilt") and a lack of pity towards the "herd." ("We should not protect the weak and vicious from the results of their own inferiority," said Crowley.)
In The Occult, Colin Wilson writes that Crowley "had almost no capacity for natural affection. It is this that makes him a 'monster.'" The metaphysics and the sex magick were not beside the point, but they were another point. It's by his profound lack of charity that we can rightly call Crowley Satanic, and his conduct on the slopes of Kanchenjunga was a magnificent example.
As was George Bush's contemptuous behaviour during Katrina, eating cake and strumming a guitar while the poor of New Orleans were purged. Or his mocking of Karla Faye Tucker, and his sniggered lynch joke before Coretta Scott King. It's in the way all of these people smile when they speak of tragedy, and use the sufferings of others for their own political alchemy. (That the tortures of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay quickly took on aspects of ritual sexual abuse are not tricks of the light.)
I don't know if Dick Cheney dons a black robe and drinks cats' blood. It wouldn't surprise me, but I don't know; though I do remember he was dressed for a duck hunt at Auschwitz. But I have no qualms about calling him a Satanist.
Many of the elite, for whom Cheney is a factotum, obtainted and maintain their privilege by the application of Satanitic sentiment, whether or not they know it as such. They exalt their will and make it the vector of their ambition, and are merciless to those weaker than themselves unless there's something in it for them, for a while. Natural affections are stunted, and unnatural passions - the perogative of the old gods - are indulged. Sociopathologies of power are perhaps, also, the demonstration of a Satanic disposition.
At least this helps me to accept as true as well as horrible a story like this from last week, updating a post of last February:
Ties Between Elites and Child Sex Rings "Beyond Imagination"
The complicity in Mexico between child sex rings and the political and business elites "goes beyond what we can even imagine," says activist Lydia Cacho, who faces death threats and was even thrown briefly into prison for revealing those ties in a book. "What we have just seen is only the tip of the iceberg," Cacho told IPS, after the local media aired Tuesday recordings of telephone conversations between two prominent politicians and a hotel owner now in prison, and a wealthy local businessman.
The number of Mexican politicians and businessmen involved in child pornography and sex rings "would shock us if we knew the real extent of the phenomenon," said Cacho.
"Los demonios del Edén" contains the personal accounts of minors who talk about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of a ring in which prominent figures were allegedly involved. The youngsters describe how the hotel owner sexually abused them himself, set up a prostitution ring to allow others to abuse them, and photographed them in order to sell the pornographic images on the Internet.
Only those dead to pity would take such lambs to the marketplace, and such people could properly be called Satanists. But then, the market may be more than just a place.
Magician J Edward Cornelius writes of opening gateways for astral creatures in Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board that "some people have wondered if an elemental is really dangerous when it shape-shifts into our wildest dreams or fantasies.... The more a person communicates with an elemental the stronger it becomes. It gains its strength by feeding on your life-energy. This relationship is properly or magickally called a marriage - more precisely, a Lesser Marriage."
That is to say, entities evoked by a magician to fulfill a certain need will also take something in return. They have to feed.
Every Medium will attest to the fact that after communicating with the spirit world they become very tired or drained. Where did their energy go? Energy cannot dissipate; it has to go somewhere even if it is absorbed by an invisible entity. When I once asked a similar question of my own teacher, he said, "Look, I eat, you eat and they eat - what's the problem?" I thought about it and replied, "I guess there is no problem."
The danger, Cornelius writes, is in "allowing the entity to use you as the source of its feeding," drawing psychic energy to the point of burnout. He compares the "elemental" that may be called through a gateway to a microscopic parasite accespted as part of nature, but also to a lion: "The consequences of its feeding can often be disastrous where a human is concerned. Whether one loses body or psyche to any "feeder," visible or invisible, is not a reality one wishes to embrace."
The danger, he warns, is greatest to children, who are regarded as tastier food, because their spirits are naturally more open to finer planes of existence:
The choice of feeding off the youngest person by an elemental, although seemingly baneful, is simply because of the nature of a human's psychic system. The older a person gets, the harder it is to open that which time has begun to close down; we become earthbound with age.... The more earthbound or wrapped in Maya we become, the more destined we are toward an earthly grave. Most children, on the other hand, are simply "open" for anything. Magicians must learn to be like children.
And to survive, children made to be meat for hungry spirits of this world or another need to close down.
In The Secret Spiritual World of Children, Tobin Hart tells the story of Liz, a six-year old girl who began reporting strange visitations in her bedroom. A green and purple monster would appear in one corner, followed by a man who seemed "a little scary." Her parents noticed an unpleasant smell, like filthy socks, would fill the room after a supposed encounter, for which cleaning and doing laundry would have no effect. The smell was accompanied by a feeling of disgust and fear.
When the smell and the feeling seemed present, they would discover that Liz would often masturbate. In and of itself this, of course, is no reason for concern, it is normal for children to masturbate. But in this case it seemed excessive and also remarkably tied to her reports of this visitor; it was as if a wave of energy wafted over her. Was this some invisible sexual predator? they wondered.
The parents prayed and sought advice on ritual cleansing. These seemed to work a little, but the visitor kept returning until Liz began to recognize the power to establish her own boundaries. She told it to go away, and when it did, she began to pity it.
"It's a hard world for little things," Lillian Gish says aloud in Night of the Hunter as she watches an owl snatch a rabbit. It's hard to be prey. It's harder to be prey that can pity the predator. But empathy is a big part of that which makes us us, and not them. And perhaps that can be a weapon, as well, to help distinguish the many from the few. They can't eat us all, but they may die trying.
But first of all, we need the eyes to see what's on the menu.