Books on magic and spirituality are often full of people on journeys. Some folks head into the desert (like the Hero of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho), while others head up mountain paths or take to the sea in ships. To pursue change or self-discovery one moves from where we are now in the hope that our travelling will somehow shift our sense of confusion and supply us with meaning. Such metaphors can be helpful when employed skilfully, or they can turn into a mammoth cliché-fest that is essentially without real content.
Lloyd Keane wants you to take a road-trip with him into deep space and he is completely unapologetic about how weird this shit is about to get. As a Jung scholar and Master Cosmonaut within the Esoteric Order of Beelzebub (an order within the Temple of Set), Lloyd is used to traversing some fairly strange internal terrain. Having known Lloyd for the past seven years, I can attest to his dogged commitment in pursuing the type of initiatory magic espoused by the Temple of Set and his willingness to do so using both the creative and intellectual tools at his disposal.
In Black Horizons Lloyd introduces us to the insights that he has gained in working with the concept of deep space travel as a means of understanding our processes of inner awakening. The Esoteric Order of Beelzebub makes significant use of the teachings of Gurdjieff within their school and those acquainted with these ideas will be aware of the way in which space travel is used to convey a sense of strangeness and the potential challenges connected to such journeys.
As we well know, getting lost in space is easy to do! While Lloyd makes no attempt to spoon-feed the reader he does provide some meaningful markers that the budding cosmonaut might use in attempting such treacherous voyages. While not being overly prescriptive in trying to dictate what stages of exploration must look like, he identifies a process of initiatory change in the following terms:
- Tyro – How do we stir our inspiration and desire as a means of fuelling our journey?
- Seeker – Having left the launch pad, how do we actively engage in the early stages of exploration and creativity while avoiding potential pitfalls?
- Explorer – How do we begin to express what we are experiencing so as to create a powerful feedback loop for self-transformation? Here we begin to dig-in to engagements with dark-matter and the deeper dimensions of internal exploration.
- Watcher – How do we begin to exemplify these transformations so that they impact upon others? For me this is the challenge of integrating insights gained and continuing our alchemical work within the more mundane aspects of our lives.
What I find so refreshing in his approach is his willingness to side-step the well-trodden paths of occult language and metaphor in helping us gain new perspectives on accessing our own process of Xeper or becoming. While having been deeply immersed in the language of Hermetic Kabbalah and Thelema, Lloyd has been able to use the black flame of his own creativity to access new insight into the challenges and potential rewards that such work offers. As a testament to his own process of inspiration, the book features numerous examples of Lloyd’s weird and inspiring art work.
Through the structure of the work described, Lloyd asks us to experience the very real and existential dimensions that we experience in the face of mystery and the vastness of deep space. Rather than trying to minimise the sense of terror that we might encounter, he encourages us to actively explore our sense of awe in the face of darkness and the unknown. As we embrace the type of bravery that allows us to remain open and curious in the face of vastness, so the initiate begins to cultivate a new sense of poise for engaging with their life.
Throughout this work, Lloyds style is clear, humorous and for a Left-Hand Path magician, refreshingly self-effacing. At the end of each of the 4 main sections he provides suggestions for further reading and inspirational films with which to fan the flames of our own work. While not being dictatorial about rituals or technologies that one must use, this work is full of intriguing suggestions and Lloyd provides us with some helpful vignettes of his own ritual work within the Temple of Set.
I would highly recommend this work for those interested in gaining an intimate and honest reflection upon a Priest of Set’s initiatory work, and how a contemporary magician can creatively evolve new, future-oriented metaphors for exploring the path of human transformation.
Here’s a link to Lloyd’s personal website: