This book took me back to my early teens when I first came across the work of Kenny G. The Dark Lord stands squarely in the tradition of attractively produced, Thelema-centric, hyperbole-tastic, Typhonian literature. At first glance I wondered if this was to be a biography of Mr Grant (aka ‘The Slime Lord’) but in this case ‘The Dark Lord’ isn’t just a more polite epithet for Kenny (and no, it’s not a Voldemort or Peter Mandelson reference either). Instead The Dark Lord in question is the being that signifies that whole stellar-Set-Shaitan-Typhon antinomian spooky occult vibe.
In this book Peter Levenda takes us a on a grand tour of the interface between Crowley, Lovecraft and Grant, with supporting characters appearing in the form of Jack ‘butterfingers’ Parsons, Mike Bertiaux and Frater Achad (no mention of Soror Nema, women don’t get much of a look-in until we get to p. 246 – see below). Levenda presents Grant as the magus who distilled the Ophidian Gnosis from Crowley’s (overtly) Big Solar Cock style of Thelema. Grant does this by detecting the stellar rather than solar vibe in the work of Lovecraft, left-handed tantrism, and some obscure and (largely inaccurate) scraps of mythology from Seabrook, Massey et al.
Levenda doesn’t wade directly into the pool of qlipothic slime like Kenny G. does. Instead he provides an opportunity for us to peer over the edge, a knowledgeable and interested observer of the unspeakable goings-on in the Adverse Tree/Meon/The Mauve Zone etc. The book opens with an erudite but rather inward looking analysis of Crowleyian aeonics where Ma-Ion, Horus, Isis et al jostle for esoteric prominence. While Levenda points out that the archaeological and historical evidence for the Aeon of Isis (age of matriarchal power) being supplanted by the Aeon of Osiris (featuring Abrahamic faiths) is rather thin on the ground, there is still a sense for me that these vast, pan-cultural claims rest on nothing more solid than some blokes from the early 20th century going on about Aeonic Words and channeled texts.
While ideas such as the Aeonics of Crowley (or Achad, or Aquino, or Carroll, or McKenna for that matter) are interesting metaphors through which we can explore the world and our relations with it, such a relativist and post-modern approach doesn’t work for Levenda. This is typical of the Typhonian current of literature in that it folds back on itself; a hungry oroborous, eating, digesting and regurgitating a series of texts and presenting its results as having some kind of universal applicability. But the bottom line for Levenda is that all this stuff points towards the (cue dramatic music and so frequent that it seems obligatory ellipsis) …The Dark Lord!
This book is certainly well written, though it isn’t as evocative as the writings of Grant himself. There are some interesting and nicely put points about the relationship between magic(k) and religion, the role of syncretism in magic, and the primacy of technique rather than ideology for the magician. But, paradoxically, this is far from a book of actual esoteric praxis. However Levenda does provide partial instruction in the Sinister Gnosis (capitals in these situations seem to be obligatory). So on page 246 – after perhaps one of the longest bits of literary foreplay in history (in both the previous 245 pages of this book and the whole of Typhonian Trilogies) we finally get down and dirty with …The Dark Lord. So what’s the deal? As we chaos magicians like to ask, ‘what do you actually do?’
The answer is that (at least for certain adumbrations of the arcanum) you get your girlfriend to bend over, then you makes ‘magical passes’ over her points chauds (hotpoints, powerzones, chakras, tits, that kind of stuff). You may choose to wave your wand over her (or your Obeah, or your Wanga, or whatever) and when she’s all of a quiver go down on her. (But of course don’t come, ‘cos if you do all the vital Azoth leaks away, innit?)
Those of us in the early 21st century, who in response to this, might venture to suggest ‘WTF! Is that it?’ are of course not privy to the deeper techniques and meaning of this ritual. The aim, as explained by Levenda is that, “…there should be a flow of secretions from the female genital outlet”. Truly the poetic tradition of tantra is not dead.
There are other options given in the technique. The juices from the woman can be smeared on little disks of metal and used to make all kinds of talismans that allow the adept to live forever, travel to magick fairyland, meet aliens etc etc. Whether the coins are slotted into the accommodating ladies vag isn’t clearly described, nor yet what sort of “jar” they should be kept in after the ritual.
Whether …The Dark Lord has anything else up his apparently heteronormative sleeve isn’t revealed. No fisting, no breath control, no group orgiastic sex. Sure there’s bit of kinky celibacy alluded to in the text, but that’s about it. And since it has taken us (the avid audience for Typhonalia) a book case full of tomes just to get to cunnilingus, I fear it may be a long while until …The Dark Lord reveals the mysteries of bum sex or wot-not. (Mind you the fact that these books are reassuringly increasing in value is of course a good thing. Hail Satan! \m/.)
However my irreverent take on the Mysteries of Nuit and Hadit (‘my heart & my tongue’) above is not me saying I didn’t enjoy this book. I did. But I did so in a way which was really about the softspot I have for Kenny G. Grant’s work was formative in my magical development, if nothing else because I spent ages reading it thinking, ‘well this is all lovely, but what do you actually do?’ And this was both a noose and goad to my own magical process. Having seen beyond what, for me, would have been the cul-de-sac of a solely Typhonian path, I realised (mostly thanks to people like Ramsey Dukes and Robert Anton Wilson) that an occulture without humour isn’t worth having. The Discordian in me loves to see the funny side of the Nightside of Eden. Of course there’s lots of Discordian cross-overs with the work of H.P.Lovecraft. Who could forget the adventures of Lil’ Cthulhu (and more, and more, and more, comedic Lovecraftianisms)? My feeling is that the ‘hard core’ Typhonian culture, as exemplified by Levenda, needs and indeed invokes some of this.
The present volume contains the opportunity for all kinds of gags; simple, outrageous and subtle. I think I did spot a few. For example Levenda provides us with a handy list of special magic and world-shaping events which have all happened on April 30th. Of course as any fule kno this is a potent date of magical significance. Levenda handily explains that “…this is a date with great relevance, for it is another of the cross-quarter days…Known as Walpurgisnacht to readers of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it is also known as Beltane or even just as May Eve to pagans and Wiccans. The European equivalent of the American Halloween, it is a day when witches gather for their Great Sabbat atop mountain peaks to commune with the Devil …(sic) with the Dark Lord” So Beltane is the European version of the Yankee Halloween eh? Well that explains it I guess…
Levenda’s list of magic happenings runs:
“April 30, 1492, was the day Christopher Columbus received his commission to set sail for the East Indies, a voyage that culminated in the ‘discovery’ of American on October 12, 1492-coincidentally Aleister Crowley’s birthday.
April 30, 1789, was the day George Washington took the oath of office of President…
April 30, 1945, is the day when it was alleged that Adolf Hitler committed suicide…
April 30 1975, is the day when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese army, signalling the end of the Vietman War.
April 30 1978, is the day the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was proclaimed…”
To this I would add (sticking with the Americana theme)
April 30, 1869, Hawaiian YMCA organised
April 30, 1966, The Church of Satan is established at the Black House in San Francisco.
April 30, 1968, 3 Oriole pitchers walk 14 NY Yankees in a 9 inning game (whatever that means)
etc ad nauseam…
Of course all these synchronicities come down to the hidden machinations of …The Dark Lord (even the globally insignificant elections of America Civil Servants). What is hinted at throughout is that Crowley, Lovecraft et al were in contact with ‘supramundane’ entities. Proof that these Elder Gods (or Space Brothers) are attempting an incursion into culture comes in the form of Crowley’s Liber Al, art movements such as Surrealism, and hillbillies getting their bottoms touched by aliens (abudctee phenomena). The significance of April 30th is that it is on this date, according to The Necronomicon, that ‘the stars are right’ and some stars, like the supernova in 1006 ce blow up (although whether this is a Julian or Gregorian 30th April isn’t discussed).
While I rather like the spirit model myself I also think it’s important to be able to consider what’s going on in other terms (cultural, semiotic, psychological etc). So while it may be evocative to claim that extraterrestrials are interested in our earth so they can mine the “sacred and magnetic Tulu-metal”, whether I should fear the possibility of aliens fracking the landscape (along with terrestrial drilling companies) I’m not so sure. This is sci-fi meets LHP magick and it’s clear that …The Dark Lord is not of this earth. At least one effect of the near universal agreement by the Crowleyianity faithful (and let’s face it, this is a religious movement, complete with revealed texts, laws and priestly hierarchy), namely that Liber Al is the work of an extraterrestrial, means that, unlike the other Holy Books of Thelema, it remains Outside the Circles of Copyright Control.
It’s apparent that Peter Levenda knows his Ophidian Onions and, while there’s not much original research in this text, his stripping down of the Typhonian canon is pretty accurate. The book didn’t have as many freaky looking sigils as I would have liked, but the cover art by the fabulous Rosaleen Norton and general production quality is great. This is a handy book to add to your Typhonian collection but if you don’t already own a copy I would recommend getting the version of The Necronomicon, that Levenda (allegedly) wrote under the pseudonym Simon, first.
So is this volume worth checking out? Well reading …The Dark Lord is a little like being on tour bus Number 231 bound for Universe B – entertaining if you get the references in this sentence, but otherwise possibly not.