Frequent flyers on Air Baphomet will be aware that one of our major preoccupations is how we as magicians work with concepts of mystery. When words and concepts begin to break apart, how do we work with those technologies that allow us to effectively navigate inner-space? Whether via the use of Zen sitting practice or core shamanic practices we are seeking to enter those potent, chaotic realms within which the magician may seek to divine the currents of possibility (at least that’s the general idea!). This is the magic of the Void, and I’ve recently been expanding my appreciation of it by digging into Michael Kelly’s latest book “Draconian Consciousness”.
This the fourth draconian book written by the ever prolific Mr. Kelly, and in it he seeks to enter deep waters in mapping the path of initiation for those of us trying to manifest our inner work within the realm of midgard. In the book Michael explores the nature of the magicians character as they mature and the role played by the Void/Abyss as a necessary stage whereby more realised aspects of Self are uncovered. It is a work that at once seeks to evolve the psychocosm of the initiate, whilst remaining ever mindful of the need for sorcerous application at a material level.
If you’re new to his work, I’d recommend starting with “Apophis” the book in which he vividly describes the way of the dragon as divided into its seven “heads”. What follows is a brief review of Apophis that I wrote for “Mandrake Speaks” a couple of years ago:
“I’ll be honest, I really like this book. It doesn’t pull any punches; straight out of the gate:
“Draconian magic is in its very essence terrifying, alienating and antinomian, but – for the successful few – it is ultimately liberating, illuminating and joyous.”
Now it could just be me, but to my eye a lot of contemporary magickal writing that purports to be weighty gives little advice as to how to actually do anything. Such writing is often quite successful in evoking a sense of the magickal and the liminal without giving concrete means for accessing real gnosis.
That’s why I like this book. For my money Apophis is one of the clearest expositions of what the draconian/Typhonian path might mean for the magickal practitioner. Although no longer a member of the Temple of Set, Mr. Kelly is very up front about how formative his time within the Temple was in terms of his current reworking and expansion of Draconian lore.
The work of Apophis (which is sub-divided into the seven heads of the great dragon) is concerned with the realities of awakening and the Setian goal of ‘becoming’ (“Xeper”). This process entails nothing less than the activation of consciousness as it relates to the emotions, the mind and the body. Drawing upon his experience as previous head of the Order of Leviathan within the Temple of Set, Kelly helpfully distils the Typhonian insights of Crowley, Grant, LaVey and Aquino and formulates a form of radical individuation somewhat akin to the Gurdjieff Work.
Although Kelly’s own journey has taken him outside of the Temple of Set, it is clear that he still finds great insight in exploring the “aeonic words” that have been channelled through that Order. The concepts of “Xeper” (become), “Remanifest” and “Runa” (mystery) are key in understanding how the magician engages with Apep, the raw, unformed, primal energy of the universe. Kelly explores this relationship via “the magic of the void” – this is a paired down empty hands magickal approach in which the adept sits with the void and thereby transforms/is transformed.
This is a work chock full of practical magickal experiments (some of which are highly amusing) which seek to locate and challenge the boundaries of our identities. Of especial interest for the Tantric practitioners out there is the focus on the dynamic role of the Scarlet Woman. The Order of Apep seems to be advocating a form of left hand path tantra in which the object of the magickians desire (whichever gender) challenges ones conditioning.
As the practitioner works through each progressive stage or draconian “head” an alchemical transformation of the self is sought- Siddhis becomes manifest and the ability to shape ones reality increases. Refreshingly Kelly sketches the last head as a potentiality that he is in the process of seeking to access. This seems in keeping with a work that is a once weighty and yet maintains a sense of humour and avoids po-faced mightiness.