Beware Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis NIght and the Vampire: The Influence of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Countess Bathory, La Noche de Walpurgis
Countess Bathory, La Noche de Walpurgis

Perhaps it has to do with the phases of the Moon.

It is under the rays of the moon that all life on earth is fecundated. When she shows her bright face to us, the spirits of fertility come out of the trees and hills to dance Nature into abundance. But when she shows us her dark side, spirits of the dead, and the undead, forces of blight and miscarriage come to earth.  Perhaps when Bram Stoker wrote the chapters called Walpurgis Night, deleted from the published version of Dracula, the Moon was  hiding behind her dark veil of stars, and ever afterwards, Walpurgis Night would belong to the Vampire.

Why else should a a Celebration of the arrival of Summer, a time for the Gods and Goddesses to marry, joy in  the  visible resurrection of the Green Earth, be associated with Vampires and Witches? Why should we fear, in this night of growing light, those who come through the veil from the Land of the Dead to haunt the living?

Maybe the smaller span of darkness makes the Vampires more intense. They become vicious in their need to slake their thirst quickly, before the dawn brightens the sky all too soon.

Watch this little film clip, based on the deleted chapters of Dracula, titled Dracula’s Guest, and see what can happen when the unwary traveler ventures into the forest on Walpurgis Night:

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davidkruschke
Clip from the 2004 short film by Director David Kruschke. Part of the ScreamFest LA Horror Film Festival at Universal Studios.
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Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker

In case you have decided to stay in on this Night, for there is but a silver sickle of moon in the sky, I have included the text of Dracula’s Guest for your frightful enjoyment….

DRACULA’S GUEST

1914

by

Bram Stoker

NOTE: DRACULA’S GUEST was excised from the original DRACULA MSS by his publisher because of the length of the original book MSS. It was published as a short story in 1914, two years after Stoker’s death. Enjoy!
NEW WAVE PUBLISHERS 2103 N. LIBERTY STREET PORTLAND OR 97217-4971 (503) 286-5577

When we started for our drive the sun was shining brightly on Munich, and the air was full of the joyousness of early summer. Just as we were about to depart, Herr Delbruck (the maitre d’hotel of the Quatre Saisons, where I was staying) came down bareheaded to the carriage and, after wishing me a pleasant drive, said to the coachman, still holding his hand on the handle of the carriage door, “Remember you are back by nightfall. The sky looks bright but there is a shiver in the north wind that says there may be a sudden storm. But I am sure you will not be late.” Here he smiled and added,”for you know what night it is.”

Johann answered with an emphatic, “Ja, mein Herr,” and, touching his hat, drove off quickly. When we had cleared the town, I said, after signalling to him to stop:

“Tell me, Johann, what is tonight?”

He crossed himself, as he answered laconically: “Walpurgis nacht.” Then he took out his watch, a great, old-fashioned German silver thing as big as a turnip and looked at it, with his eyebrows gathered together and a little impatient shrug of his shoulders. I realized that this was his way of respectfully protesting against the unnecessary delay and sank back in the carriage, merely motioning him to proceed. He started off rapidly, as if to make up for lost time. Every now and then the horses seemed to throw up their heads and sniff the air suspiciously. On such occasions I often looked round in alarm. The road was pretty bleak, for we were traversing a sort of high windswept plateau. As we drove,I saw a road that looked but little used and which seemed to dip through a little winding valley. It looked so inviting that, even at the risk of offending him, I called Johann to stop–and when he had pulled up, I told him I would like to drive down that road. He made all sorts of excuses and frequently crossed himself as he spoke. This somewhat piqued my curiosity, so I asked him various questions. He answered fencingly and repeatedly looked at his watch in protest.

Finally I said, “Well, Johann, I want to go down this road. I shall not ask you to come unless you like; but tell me why you do not like to go, that is all I ask.” For answer he seemed to throw himself off the box, so quickly did he reach the ground. Then he stretched out his hands appealingly to me and implored me not to go. There was just enough of English mixed with the German for me to understand the drift of his talk. He seemed always just about to tell me something–the very idea of which evidently frightened him; but each time he pulled himself up saying, “Walpurgis nacht!”

I tried to argue with him, but it was difficult to argue with a man when I did not know his language. The advantage certainly rested with him, for although he began to speak in English, of a very crude and broken kind, he always got excited and broke into his native tongue–and every time he did so, he looked at his watch. Then the horses became restless and sniffed the air. At this he grew very pale, and, looking around in a frightened way, he suddenly jumped forward, took them by the bridles,and led them on some twenty feet. I followed and asked why he had done this. For an answer he crossed himself, pointed to the spot we had left, and drew his carriage in the direction of the other road, indicating a cross, and said, first in German, then in English, “Buried him–him what killed themselves.”

I remembered the old custom of burying suicides at cross roads: “Ah! I see, a suicide. How interesting!” But for the life of me I could not make out why the horses were frightened.

Whilst we were talking, we heard a sort of sound between a yelp and a bark.It was far away; but the horses got very restless, and it took Johann all his time to quiet them. He was pale and said, “It sounds like a wolf–but yet there are no wolves here now.”

“No?” I said, questioning him. “Isn’t it long since the wolves were so near the city?”

“Long, long,” he answered, “in the spring and summer; but with the snow the wolves have been here not so long.”

Whilst he was petting the horses and trying to quiet them, dark clouds drifted rapidly across the sky. The sunshine passed away, and a breath of cold wind seemed to drift over us.It was only a breath, however, and more of a warning than a fact, for the sun came out brightly again.

Johann looked under his lifted hand at the horizon and said, “The storm of snow, he comes before long time.” Then he looked at his watch again, and, straightway holding his reins firmly–for the horses were still pawing the ground restlessly and shaking their heads–he climbed to his box as though the time had come for proceeding on our journey.

I felt a little obstinate and did not at once get into the carriage.

“Tell me,” I said, “about this place where the road leads,” and I pointed down.

Again he crossed himself and mumbled a prayer before he answered, “It is unholy.”

“What is unholy?” I enquired.

“The village.”

“Then there is a village?”

“No, no. No one lives there hundreds of years.”

My curiosity was piqued, “But you said there was a village.”

“There was.”

“Where is it now?”

Whereupon he burst out into a long story in German and English, so mixed up that I could not quite understand exactly what he said. Roughly I gathered that long ago, hundreds of years, men had died there and been buried in their graves; but sounds were heard under the clay, and when the graves were opened,men and women were found rosy with life and their mouths red with blood. And so, in haste to save their lives (aye, and their souls!–and here he crossed himself)those who were left fled away to other places, where the living lived and the dead were dead and not–not something. He was evidently afraid to speak the last words. As he proceeded with his narration, he grew more and more excited. It seemed as if his imagination had got hold of him, and he ended in a perfect paroxysm of fear–white-faced, perspiring, trembling, and looking round him as if expecting that some dreadful presence would manifest itself there in the bright sunshine on the open plain.

Finally, in an agony of desperation, he cried, “Walpurgis nacht!” and pointed to the carriage for me to get in.

All my English blood rose at this,and standing back I said, “You are afraid, Johann–you are afraid. Go home, I shall return alone, the walk will do me good.” The carriage door was open. I took from the seat my oak walking stick–which I always carry on my holiday excursions–and closed the door, pointing back to Munich, and said, “Go home,Johann–Walpurgis nacht doesn’t concern Englishmen.”

The horses were now more restive than ever, and Johann was trying to hold them in, while excitedly imploring me not to do anything so foolish. I pitied the poor fellow, he was so deeply in earnest; but all the same I could not help laughing. His English was quite gone now. In his anxiety he had forgotten that his only means of making me understand was to talk my language, so he jabbered away in his native German. It began to be a little tedious. After giving the direction, “Home!” I turned to go down the cross road into the valley.

With a despairing gesture,Johann turned his horses towards Munich. I leaned on my stick and looked after him. He went slowly along the road for a while, then there came over the crest of the hill a man tall and thin. I could see so much in the distance. When he drew near the horses,they began to jump and kick about, then to scream with terror. Johann could not hold them in; they bolted down the road, running away madly. I watched them out of sight, then looked for the stranger; but I found that he, too, was gone.

With a light heart I turned down the side road through the deepening valley to which Johann had objected. There was not the slightest reason,that I could see, for his objection; and I daresay I tramped for a couple of hours without thinking of time or distance and certainly without seeing a person or a house. So far as the place was concerned, it was desolation itself. But I did not notice this particularly till, on turning a bend in the road,I came upon a scattered fringe of wood; then I recognized that I had been impressed unconsciously by the desolation of the region through which I had passed.

I sat down to rest myself and began to look around. It struck me that it was considerably colder than it had been at the commencement of my walk–a sort of sighing sound seemed to be around me with, now and then, high overhead, a sort of muffled roar. Looking upwards I noticed that great thick clouds were drafting rapidly across the sky from north to south at a great height.There were signs of a coming storm in some lofty stratum of the air. I was a little chilly, and, thinking that it was the sitting still after the exercise of walking, I resumed my journey.

The ground I passed over was now much more picturesque. There were no striking objects that the eye might single out, but in all there was a charm of beauty.I took little heed of time, and it was only when the deepening twilight forced itself upon me that I began to think of how I should find my way home. The air was cold, and the drifting of clouds high overhead was more marked. They were accompanied by a sort of far away rushing sound, through which seemed to come at intervals that mysterious cry which the driver had said came from a wolf. For a while I hesitated. I had said I would see the deserted village, so on I went and presently came on a wide stretch of open country, shut in by hills all around. Their sides were covered with trees which spread down to the plain, dotting in clumps the gentler slopes and hollows which showed here and there.I followed with my eye the winding of the road and saw that it curved close to one of the densest of these clumps and was lost behind it.

As I looked there came a cold shiver in the air, and the snow began to fall. I thought of the miles and miles of bleak country I had passed, and then hurried on to seek shelter of the wood in front. Darker and darker grew the sky, and faster and heavier fell the snow, till the earth before and around me was a glistening white carpet the further edge of which was lost in misty vagueness. The road was here but crude, and when on the level its boundaries were not so marked as when it passed through the cuttings; and in a little while I found that I must have strayed from it, for I missed underfoot the hard surface, and my feet sank deeper in the grass and moss. Then the wind grew stronger and blew with ever increasing force, till I was fain to run before it. The air became icy-cold, and in spite of my exercise I began to suffer. The snow was now falling so thickly and whirling around me in such rapid eddies that I could hardly keep my eyes open. Every now and then the heavens were torn asunder by vivid lightning, and in the flashes I could see ahead of me a great mass of trees, chiefly yew and cypress all heavily coated with snow.

I was soon amongst the shelter of the trees, and there in comparative silence I could hear the rush of the wind high overhead. Presently the blackness of the storm had become merged in the darkness of the night. By-and-by the storm seemed to be passing away,it now only came in fierce puffs or blasts. At such moments the weird sound of the wolf appeared to be echoed by many similar sounds around me.

Now and again, through the black mass of drifting cloud, came a straggling ray of moonlight which lit up the expanse and showed me that I was at the edge of a dense mass of cypress and yew trees. As the snow had ceased to fall, I walked out from the shelter and began to investigate more closely. It appeared to me that, amongst so many old foundations as I had passed, there might be still standing a house in which, though in ruins,I could find some sort of shelter for a while. As I skirted the edge of the copse, I found that a low wall encircled it, and following this I presently found an opening. Here the cypresses formed an alley leading up to a square mass of some kind of building. Just as I caught sight of this, however, the drifting clouds obscured the moon, and I passed up the path in darkness. The wind must have grown colder, for I felt myself shiver as I walked; but there was hope of shelter, and I groped my way blindly on.

I stopped, for there was a sudden stillness. The storm had passed; and, perhaps in sympathy with nature’s silence, my heart seemed to cease to beat. But this was only momentarily; for suddenly the moonlight broke through the clouds showing me that I was in a graveyard and that the square object before me was a great massive tomb of marble, as white as the snow that lay on and all around it. With the moonlight there came a fierce sigh of the storm which appeared to resume its course with a long, low howl, as of many dogs or wolves.I was awed and shocked, and I felt the cold perceptibly grow upon me till it seemed to grip me by the heart. Then while the flood of moonlight still fell on the marble tomb, the storm gave further evidence of renewing, as though it were returning on its track. Impelled by some sort of fascination, I approached the sepulchre to see what it was and why such a thing stood alone in such a place.I walked around it and read, over the Doric door, in German–

COUNTESS DOLINGEN OF GRATZ

IN STYRIA

SOUGHT AND FOUND DEATH

1801

On the top of the tomb, seemingly driven through the solid marble–for the structure was composed of a few vast blocks of stone–was a great iron spike or stake. On going to the back I saw, graven in great Russian letters: “The dead travel fast.”

There was something so weird and uncanny about the whole thing that it gave me a turn and made me feel quite faint. I began to wish, for the first time, that I had taken Johann’s advice. Here a thought struck me, which came under almost myssterious circumstances and with a terrible shock. This was Walpurgis Night!

Walpurgis Night was when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad–when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel. This very place the driver had specially shunned. This was the depopulated village of centuries ago.This was where the suicide lay; and this was the place where I was alone–unmanned, shivering with cold in a shroud of snow with a wild storm gathering again upon me! It took all my philosophy, all the religion I had been taught,all my courage,not to collapse in a paroxysm of fright.

And now a perfect tornado burst upon me. The ground shook as though thousands of horses thundered across it; and this time the storm bore on its icy wings, not snow, but great hailstones which drove with such violence that they might have come from the thongs of Balearic slingers–hailstones that beat down leaf and branch and made the shelter of the cypresses of no more avail than though their stems were standing corn. At the first I had rushed to the nearest tree;but I was soon fain to leave it and seek the only spot that seemed to afford refuge, the deep Doric doorway of the marble tomb. There, crouching against the massive bronze door, I gained a certain amount of protection from the beating of the hailstones, for now they only drove against me as they ricochetted from the ground and the side of the marble.

As I leaned against the door, it moved slightly and opened inwards. The shelter of even a tomb was welcome in that pitiless tempest and I was about to enter it when there came a flash of forked lightning that lit up the whole expanse of the heavens. In the instant, as I am a living man, I saw, as my my eyes turned into the darkness of the tomb, a beautiful woman with rounded cheeks and red lips, seemingly sleeping on a bier. As the thunder broke overhead, I was grasped as by the hand of a giant and hurled out into the storm. The whole thing was so sudden that, before I could realize the shock, moral as well as physical, I found the hailstones beating me down. At the same time I had a strange, dominating feeling that I was not alone. I looked towards the tomb. Just then there came another blinding flash which seemed to strike the iron stake that surmounted the tomb and to pour through to the earth, blasting and crumbling the marble, as in a burst of flame. The dead woman rose for a moment of agony while she was lapped in the flame, and her bitter scream of pain was drowned in the thundercrash. The last thing I heard was this mingling of dreadful sound,as again I was seized in the giant grasp and dragged away, while the hailstones beat on me and the air around seemed reverberant with the howling of wolves. The last sight that I remembered was a vague, white, moving mass,as if all the graves around me had sent out the phantoms of their sheeted dead, and that they were closing in on me through the white cloudiness of the driving hail.

Gradually there came a sort of vague beginning of consciousness, then a sense of weariness that was dreadful. For a time I remembered nothing, but slowly my senses returned. My feet seemed positively racked with pain, yet I could not move them. They seemed to be numbed. There was an icy feeling at the back of my neck and all down my spine, and my ears, like my feet, were dead yet in torment; but there was in my breast a sense of warmth which was by comparison delicious.It was as a nightmare–a physical nightmare, if one may use such an expression; for some heavy weight on my chest made it difficult for me to breathe.

This period of semilethargy seemed to remain a long time, and as it faded away I must have slept or swooned. Then came a sort of loathing, like the first stage of seasickness, and a wild desire to be free of something–I knew not what.A vast stillness enveloped me, as though all the world were asleep or dead–only broken by the low panting as of some animal close to me. I felt a warm rasping at my throat, then came a consciousness of the awful truth which chilled me to the heart and sent the blood surging up through my brain. Some great animal was lying on me and now licking my throat. I feared to stir, for some instinct of prudence bade me lie still; but the brute seemed to realize that there was now some change in me, for it raised its head. Through my eyelashes I saw above me the two great flaming eyes of a gigantic wolf. Its sharp white teeth gleamed in the gaping red mouth, and I could feel its hot breath fierce and acrid upon me.

For another spell of time I remembered no more. Then I became conscious of a low growl, followed by a yelp, renewed again and again. Then seemingly very far away, I heard a “Holloa! holloa!” as of many voices calling in unison. Cautiously I raised my head and looked in the direction whence the sound came, but the cemetery blocked my view. The wolf still continued to yelp in a strange way, and a red glare began to move round the grove of cypresses, as though following the sound. As the voices drew closer, the wolf yelped faster and louder. I feared to make either sound or motion. Nearer came the red glow over the white pall which stretched into the darkness around me. Then all at once from beyond the trees there came at a trot a troop of horsemen bearing torches. The wolf rose from my breast and made for the cemetery. I saw one of the horsemen (soldiers by their caps and their long military cloaks) raise his carbine and take aim. A companion knocked up his arm,and I heard the ball whiz over my head. He had evidently taken my body for that of the wolf. Another sighted the animal as it slunk away, and a shot followed. Then, at a gallop, the troop rode forward–some towards me, others following the wolf as it disappeared amongst the snow-clad cypresses.

As they drew nearer I tried to move but was powerless, although I could see and hear all that went on around me. Two or three of the soldiers jumped from their horses and knelt beside me. One of them raised my head and placed his hand over my heart.

“Good news, comrades!” he cried. “His heart still beats!”

Then some brandy was poured down my throat; it put vigor into me, and I was able to open my eyes fully and look around. Lights and shadows were moving among the trees, and I heard men call to one another. They drew together, uttering frightened exclamations; and the lights flashed as the others came pouring out of the cemetery pell-mell, like men possessed. When the further ones came close to us, those who were around me asked them eagerly, “Well, have you found him?”

The reply rang out hurriedly, “No! no! Come away quick-quick! This is no place to stay, and on this of all nights!”

“What was it?” was the question, asked in all manner of keys.The answer came variously and all indefinitely as though the men were moved by some common impulse to speak yet were restrained by some common fear from giving their thoughts.

“It–it–indeed!” gibbered one, whose wits had plainly given out for the moment.

“A wolf–and yet not a wolf!” another put in shudderingly.

“No use trying for him without the sacred bullet,” a third remarked in a more ordinary manner.

“Serve us right for coming out on this night!Truly we have earned our thousand marks!” were the ejaculations of a fourth.

“There was blood on the broken marble,” another said after a pause, “the lightning never brought that there. And for him — is he safe? Look at his throat! See comrades, the wolf has been lying on him and keeping his blood warm.”

The officer looked at my throat and replied, “He is all right, the skin is not pierced. What does it all mean? We should never have found him but for the yelping of the wolf.”

“What became of it?” asked the man who was holding up my head and who seemed the least panic-stricken of the party, for his hands were steady and without tremor. On his sleeve was the chevron of a petty officer.

“It went home,” answered the man, whose long face was pallid and who actually shook with terror as he glanced around him fearfully. “There are graves enough there in which it may lie. Come, comrades–come quickly! Let us leave this cursed spot.”

The officer raised me to a sitting posture, as he uttered a word of command; then several men placed me upon a horse.He sprang to the saddle behind me, took me in his arms, gave the word to advance; and, turning our faces away from the cypresses, we rode away in swift military order.

As yet my tongue refused its office, and I was perforce silent. I must have fallen asleep; for the next thing I remembered was finding myself standing up, supported by a soldier on each side of me. It was almost broad daylight, and to the north a red streak of sunlight was reflected like a path of blood over the waste of snow. The officer was telling the men to say nothing of what they had seen, except that they found an English stranger, guarded by a large dog.

“Dog! that was no dog,” cut in the man who had exhibited such fear. “I think I know a wolf when I see one.”

The young officer answered calmly, “I said a dog.”

“Dog!” reiterated the other ironically.It was evident that his courage was rising with the sun; and, pointing to me, he said, “Look at his throat. Is that the work of a dog, master?”

Instinctively I raised my hand to my throat, and as I touched it I cried out in pain. The men crowded round to look, some stooping down from their saddles;and again there came the calm voice of the young officer, “A dog, as I said. If aught else were said we should only be laughed at.”

I was then mounted behind a trooper, and we rode on into the suburbs of Munich. Here we came across a stray carriage into which I was lifted , and it was driven off to the Quatre Saisons–the young officer accompanying me, whilst a trooper followed with his horse, and the others rode off to their barracks.

When we arrived, Herr Delbruck rushed so quickly down the steps to meet me, that it was apparent he had been watching within. Taking me by both hands he solicitously led me in.The officer saluted me and was turning to withdraw, when I recognized his purpose and insisted that he should come to my rooms. Over a glass of wine I warmly thanked him and his brave comrades for saving me. He replied simply that he was more than glad, and that Herr Delbruck had at the first taken steps to make all the searching party pleased; at which ambiguous utterance the maitre d’hotel smiled, while the officer plead duty and withdrew.

“But Herr Delbruck,” I enquired, “how and why was it that the soldiers searched for me?”

He shrugged his shoulders, as if in depreciation of his own deed, as he replied, “I was so fortunate as to obtain leave from the commander of the regiment in which I serve, to ask for volunteers.”

“But how did you know I was lost?” I asked.

“The driver came hither with the remains of his carriage, which had been upset when the horses ran away.”

“But surely you would not send a search party of soldiers merely on this account?”

“Oh, no!” he answered, “but even before the coachman arrived, I had this telegram from the Boyar whose guest you are,” and he took from his pocket a telegram which he handed to me, and I read:

Bistritz. Be careful of my guest–his safety is most precious to me. Should aught happen to him, or if he be missed, spare nothing to find him and ensure his safety. He is English and therefore adventurous. There are often dangers from snow and wolves and night. Lose not a moment if you suspect harm to him. I answer your zeal with my fortune. –Dracula.

As I held the telegram in my hand,the room seemed to whirl around me,and if the attentive maitre d’hotel had not caught me,I think I should have fallen. There was something so strange in all this, something so weird and impossible to imagine, that there grew on me a sense of my being in some way the sport of opposite forces–the mere vague idea of which seemed in a way to paralyze me. I was certainly under some form of mysterious protection. From a distant country had come, in the very nick of time, a message that took me out of the danger of the snow sleep and the jaws of the wolf.

Vlad Tepes

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Babalon Diaries # 7: Foxy Red

This is the seventh in a series of posts about my adventures during 2005, leading up to the performance of Paul Green’s play Babalon. The story is full of cloak and dagger, initiatory strangeness, chaos, and hysteria. It shows what can happen on the Magical path if one is not careful…(as if one has choice…)

Directed by occultist, Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 5, 2005, at the John Gielgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to a sold out audience of London’s finest occultists and magicians. If you want to listen to it, click Radio QBSaul: Archives: Babalon. I played Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.

Babalon

ANNOUNCER: BABALON

CAMERON/BABALON: (SFX: whispered, reverb) I am the naked brilliance of the
voluptuous night-sky….Come to me..
Priestess/ Nuit

Priestess/ Nuit

In the end, I had no choice.
Here’s a little back story:
The skinny, blond Hungarian pole dancer who had been my flatmate in Highgate got her thong too far up her _____ and decided she and I were “not friends”. I could never figure this out as I liked her well enough. I had been warned about “Hungarian women living abroad” , but she being a pushy little thing, and life at Oak Lodge on the Heath having sunk into a morass of stormy Kiwi DJ NOISE!!!! made moving imperative. I was also outlining this Vampire novel (mentioned in part 666)  and thought hearing the  Hugarian language every day would be good research. Besides, living next to Highgate Cemetery was irrisistable. Of course my Vampire/ heroine would begin her adventures in Highgate! Thus was I seduced into giving in to Salamadra’s demands.
Lease up, she moved out. I wanted to stay put, so in a moment of desperation, I talked Kallistratus and Pippi into moving in. I am so glad I did….
I met them when they were working in Camden Lock Market. Journeying to London from far Grantham, in search of decadance, they sold their own line of clothing in an attempt to survive.  Hung on  outdoor railings, these glamorous togs blew in the wind  like black smudges in the English gloom. Business was not that great, so they started working in Fairy Goth Mother, a Goth shop specializing in beautiful corsets and fetish gear.
Fairy Goth Mother, London

Fairy Goth Mother, London

They were great friends. Kallistratus had a way with the ladies. “Hello, lovely lady,” was his special greeting.Though he is tall, dark and handsome, I didn’t fancy Kallistratus, though we loved each other dearly. Pippi liked me– perhaps because I was the only woman on earth who didn’t fancy her husband.
Once they moved in with me, my Gothic Romance flat was transformed into proper a Goth lair. Bats hung from the ceiling, a collection of Living Dead Dolls and Tortured Souls gazed out from the shelves, a picture of Bram Stoker hung over the kitchen table.  When the picture fell off the wall, breaking the glass, we all three crossed ourselves and groaned…
Posey, Living Dead Doll

Posey, Living Dead Doll

Kundalini Rising

I had a full blown Kundalini Awakening in 1986. This was after clearing my energy fields through 18 months of  almost constant meditation. Dramatic, archetypal, hallucinatory images rose and subsided within me for weeks. ( Without LSD, mind you.) My  third eye blossomed open, intensifying my psychic abilities, and making me a clear channel for healing energies. Kundalini launched my career as a healer.

Kundalini has another side to it, though. A sexual side. I had become Shakti.

I was attending a talk on Chaos Magic at Treadwells. There was a pleasant looking young man there that I will call G.G. ( he is commonly known as the sitar playing Bulgarian)  The next time I was at Treadwells, he came into the shop. When he saw me, he made a beeline for me and gazed into my eyes. G.G. looks a bit like a cross between a Russian Prince in a fairy tale, and a deer. Pretty cute, but I was dazzled by his eyes! They were pale fiery green!

After that, we kept running into each other. One night G.G., and a friend of his followed me home wanting to go to Highgate Cemetery. It was 2 or 3 AM, but what fun! We wanted to go into the cemetery but it was locked. Walking around on the road below the tall wrought iron railings, we found a black kitten, sitting peacefully on a grave, peering out through the bars. Not far along there was a gap in the fence. We broke in and hiked up to Waterlow Park . On this clear autumn night, the moon was full, the trees rustled and dropped their leaves. We lay on the dewy grass looking up at the stars.

Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery

On our way out of the park, a a red fox crossed our path. G.G. knelt down and beckoned it over. Next thing we knew, the fox was sniffing his fingers and letting G.G. pet him.                  
“Who are you? Saint Francis if Assisi, or something?” I said.
G.G. was to have more encounters with red foxes. Note the color — RED!

I Am Called.

A week or so after I got the Babalon script, I was sitting across a table in a Turkish Restaurant having dinner with G.G. At the same time I saw that his eyes were brown? The kundalini raced up my spine, opened my heart, and spouted out of my crown chakra like a geyser. I was alarmed about this. I am old enough to be G.G.’s mother. Kundalini rising like this can make you fall in love…
And why had I seen those Luciferian green eyes looking out of G.G.’s dark brown ones?  Was it my own doing? Or Babalon’s? What was going on?
I still hadn’t decided whether to do the role of Cameron/Babalon. I still did not want to commit. I wanted to write my novel Dark Night, Lily Bright. But at home, the next evening, I felt as if Ophiel had returned. As a huge vortex of energy swirled around me, knocking me over with its force,  my feeble Will was overcome. I freaked out! This was too intense for me, guys!  Magick that is too strong can make me unstable! Don’t work so hard!
I  woke up at 3AM, totally confused, and spent an hour text messaging G.G.
“What is going on? What do you know about it? Why am I compelled to call you?”
I can’t believe he put up with me. He was so supportive! (He worked nights in the Underground, so I wasn’t keeping him up.)
Now I get the picture, but I’m not telling til I’m ready.
Next thing I knew I was at rehearsal for Babalon. I am pretty sure Magick was involved in my decision to agree to be the vessel for Cameron and the Ancient Goddess of Love and War. But I am not sure if it was Magick done by Alison and Pharaon — or Babalon!
by Air Adam

Scarlet Woman, by Air Adam

To listen to the Radio Show, Babalon, click here:

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

Please leave comments. For updates of the Babalon Diaries, subscribe to my RSS Feed or my email list. There is more to come…

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Babalon Diaries: The Audition

Babalon Diary 666

This is the sixth in a series of posts about my adventures during 2005, leading up to the performance of Paul Green’s play Babalon. The story is full of cloak and dagger, initiatory strangeness, chaos, and hysteria. It shows what can happen on the Magical path if one is not careful…(as if one has choice…)

Directed by occultist, Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 5, 2005, at the John Gielgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to a sold out audience of London’s finest occultists and magicians. If you want to listen to it, click Radio QBSaul: Archives: Babalon. I played Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.

Pharaon was the constant companion of a gentleman who will henceforth  be referred to as the Wizard, or the Wiz if I get lazy.  When I first saw the Wizard, and he saw me, we were attending a talk by Gareth Knight at Treadwells.  Gareth Knight is one of the great Western Mystery magicians of Britain, author of many books on Arthurian material and the Goddess. This was the second time I heard him speak, the first being shortly after I arrived in London in 1998 when I went to Wales for a Holy Grail Conference starring most of my favorite teachers and authors. Gareth Knight is a shy, quiet man, so to have seen him speak twice is a privilege.

Anyway, Pharaon and the Wiz were sitting together, as always. The Wiz was looking at me, and I had the strange sensation of energy bouncing back, or reflecting back as in a mirror.  I didn’t like this feeling. Perhaps he had psychic protection up, but I sensed the vibe had a manipulative undercurrent that was being blocked by me. It is still a mystery…He put me on red alert anyway.

After I gave the Grimoire to Kallistratus, we all met up at the famous Goth Pub, the Devonshire Arms, (now the Hobgoblin)  in Camden Town.  (This pub used to scare me before I found my Dark Side. It is full of Vampires. The owner, Robin, painted all these Tarot images along the walls that are very cool. He shows the most amazing old films and has the best music I heard in London where James Blunt had taken over the airwaves as an alternative to constant HipHop. I have outlined a Vampire novel that begins in the Devonshire Arms if I ever get to it…)

Devonshire Arms

Devonshire Arms

My friend/ Tarot client, Katy, came along as well. Pharaon took a fancy to Katy and decided she was a natural Sorceress. Kallistratus, expecting the author of such a powerful little book to look like Anton LeVay,  decide Pharaon looked like a milkman.  I mention these people because they all have their parts to play in my near demise…

Vampire meeting at the Dev

Vampire meeting at the Dev

Cutting to the chase!

I had arranged a meeting newteen Pharaon  and Kallistratus at the Dev because he was looking for  actors to audition for a play called ‘Babalon’ to be directed by Alison Rockbrand. I thought Kallistratus might make a good Aleister Crowley. If  not,  the Goth scene in  general, would be a good place to find someone to play Crowley — the most difficult role to cast. Pharaon came with a few fliers calling for auditions. As he was putting one up on the wall, he mentioned that they needed someone with an American accent to play Marjorie Cameron. I told him I had a lot of theater experience, but I was uneasy about getting involved.

“Magic has a very disruptive effect on me. I am writing a novel. I don’t need any horrible upheaval just now.”

“Well, just come read for it. It will be fun. Jack Parsons is my favorite magician of all time.”

“I bought a Grimoire from a milkman…I can’t believe I bought a Grimoire from a milkman…” moans Kallistratus to himself.

“I don’t know…”

“Please, just come an read for it so we can get a sense of it. You can say ‘no’ later.”

“OK.” I didn’t want to admit I had no idea who Marjorie Cameron was, though I had heard of Jack Parsons in passing as someone who was a follower of Crowley and done Black Magic with L.Ron Hubbard.

Alison Rockbrand as Babalon

Alison Rockbrand as Babalon

Later that week:

That evening at Treadwells, I was sitting in a circle with other hopefuls clutching a script handed to me by Alison. This was the second time I had met her. This time she was dressed in office clothing having come straight from work, looking very professional and capable.  As we read the through the script, I played Marjorie Cameron, called Cameron, with my usual sense of irony, for laughs.

I did not want to to be in this play! At that point the kind of Magick these folks were into scared me. But I am fearless and a fool sometimes, so I let Alison talk me into taking the script home and at least giving it a good once over.

Script

This was the first page of the script I got. It has a little information about these characters.

SYNOPSIS -CONCEPT & BACKGROUND

Jack Parsons (1914-1952) pioneered the rocket-fuel technology that culminated in NASA’s Apollo missions and Space Shuttle flights. He was also the Californian head of the Order of Oriental Templars, an esoteric group founded by the occultist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947)
who was his mentor and inspiration.

By 1946 Crowley, prophet of the turbulent Aeon of Horus, was slowly dying in an English seaside boarding house. With the assistance of the writer L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) and the artist Marjorie Cameron (1922-1995), Parsons performed the notorious “Babalon Working”, a magical experiment allegedly intended to invoke a new entity who would re-focus the energies of the Aeon.

The Babalon Working transformed the lives of the main participants -notably Parsons himself, who suffered a series of personal and career crises, ending with his death in a mysterious explosion -another episode which has been the focus of much speculation.

I’ve done extensive research into the source materials -which are often obscure or contradictory, particularly for the period 1947-52. So BABALON is not a definitive “drama-biog” of Parsons’ life. It is rather a dramatic exploration of the Parsons myth, in all its mysterious paradoxes. The story time covers the years 1938-52.

VOICES & CHARACTERSJACK : John Whiteside Parsons -educated Californian. Frater 210 of the OTO.

ED: Ed Forman – technician at CIT -Californian. Life-long friend of Jack.

CROWLEY: Aleister Crowley, Baphomet, Frater Perdurabo 666, Master Therion, the Great Beast, Supreme Caliph of the Order of Oriental Templars etc etc. In this last phase of his life, Crowley suffered from severe asthma. A 1920s recording of his inimitable voice survives.

FRIEDA: Lady Frieda Harris -artist, wife of Sir Percy Harris, Bart. Crowley’s loyal pupil and patron. In her sixties. Patrician English.. .

SMITH: Wilfred T. Smith. In his fifties. suave Anglo-American. Frater 132. Crowley’s original OTO representative in California.

HELEN: Helen Northrup Parsons, Jack’s first wife. Californian

BETTY: Sara Elizabeth Northrup, Helen’s sister. Later Jack’s mistress.

RON: Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, author, explorer and religious teacher. Mid-West

CAMERON : Marjorie Cameron Parsons, aka Candida or Candy, artist and vessel of BABALON.

POLICE OFFICER/FBI OFFICER/RADIO ANNOUNCER

and YOUNG CROWLEY

666: Number of the Beast

In those years I was living in Highgate in a wonderful flat ten minutes walk from Highgate Cemetery and about two minutes from the Highgate Tube Station (a very important consideration when renting a flat in London.)

I went home on the tube and read the script, full of inner conflict. The script was really good. So good in fact that I felt I would miss out if I didn’t participate. But I had determined NOT to engage in other peoples’ magic. It just wasn’t safe. I rolled the script up and put it in my bag.

I had to pick up a few things at the corner shop. Squeezing in between the loaded shelves in the tiny store owned by very nice  brothers from Sri Lanka, I picked up a few bits and headed for the checkout. Imagine my surprise — NO! Total shock at the amount of my purchases. Up on the face of the old fashioned cash register, big white and shiny, were the numbers 666!

Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley

***

Foolish People

Foolish People

BABALON – A Fable of Rocketry, Sex and High Magick Mystery Theatre of the Aether and 93 Fm present Travesty Theatre’s production of BABALON – A Fable of Rocketry, Sex and High Magick  on FRIDAY DECEMBER 16 at 8.00
in the Gielgud Studio Theatre  at RADA, Malet Street, London WC1
£7.00

On Friday December 16th at 8.00 in the Gielgud Studio Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art , Mystery Theatre of the Aether presents Travesty Theatre’s production of Babalon.

***************************************************************************************************************

Paul Green’s play, originally written for radio, explores the enigmatic life and mysterious death of Jack Parsons (1914-52),  pioneering American rocket scientist,  disciple of the magus Aleister Crowley, and passionate devotee of Lady Babalon,  the Scarlet Woman of the New Aeon.   Alison Rockbrand’s highly stylised production  reinforces the resonance of the text with soundscape and visual projections to create  unique moments of ritual theatre. There are also elements of dark farce and tragedy as Parsons’ apocalyptic vision is subverted by hostile forces.

Paul Green’s plays include: The Dream Laboratory, The Aleph (CBC Radio Canada); Ritual of the Stifling Air (BBC Radio 3); Powerplay, (Capital Radio); The Mouthpiece (Resonance FM); Terminal Poet (New Theatre Works)

Alison Rockbrand founded Travesty Theatre  and  the  Dead Dolls Cabaret in Montreal.  Her productions include the collective creation Mumbo Jumbo: King Leopold’s Opus  and a rendition of Macbeth including stylised dance gestures based upon the Kathakali  dance tradition in India.  In February 2006 she is directing Stuart Draper’s Departure Lounge in the Prompt Corner at the South London Theatre Company.

Tickets for Babalon can now be reserved via  the RADA Box Office on 020 7908 4800.

Posted by John Harrigan on December 02, 2005 at 09:39 PM in Magick, Occult, Theatre

To listen to the Radio Show, Babalon, click here:

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

Subscribe to my email for updates of the Babalon Diaries. The plot thickens….


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Haxan: Not for the Faint of Heart

Haxan

Warning: This film is a bit naughty in places. In others, it is Diabolical.

I think Haxan must mean Witchcraft in Swedish as Hexen is witch in German…

For those who see beyond the stereotypes of Witchcraft, this disturbing little film is campy, funny, wildly imaginative, and loaded with interesting special effects and iconic images that stir the deep mind like the  Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Many of the strange figures in this film are like those often encountered on journeys into Faery. They can’t hurt you unless you allow images and phantasms to scare you.

If you fail to heed the warning and watch this film, Pandora, and it scares you, don’t get upset with me. Just remember: “If you meet the Devil on the road, laugh at him. For the Devil cannot bear to be mocked.”

Directed & written by Benjamin Christensen. Excerpt from the 1922 Swedish/Danish silent film “Haxan” depicting the Black Mass.
If you like this, click some of the ones underneath. There are some real gems there.

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What is the Connection Between Maxine Sanders and Sharon Tate?

The Devil’s Eye

In her autobiography, Firechild, Maxine Sanders discussed her meeting with Sharon Tate in 1965.

For even more details, go to my website www.themysteriousdomain.com, click Mysterious Blog and scroll down to Chateau Hautefort.

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate

Subscribe to my email newsletter to get updates on my series on Maxien Sanders: Witch Queen

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Maxine Sanders: Queen of the Witches, Dawn Ritual

Maxine Sanders is the famous Alexandrian High Priestess from England . I strongly identify with her, for I believe she was born with the Witchblood. As a teenager in the 1960′s, she defied the stereotype of the hag witch with the youth, beauty, and charisma of the Enchantress. Partnered with Alex Sanders, she was instrumental in bringing  the Old Religion to public consciousness and the eventual quasi-acceptability we have today. Her lifetime of dedication to the Mysteries as  healer, teacher, Initiator, and muse in the face social antagonism, media sensationalism, public adulation and envy, makes for one of the truly remarkable life stories of our time.

For newspaper articles from the 1960′s and 70s including tabloid stories and photos of early rituals, visit www.sexywitch.wordpress.com. The sublime hostess of the Sexy Witch, the Red Witch, has kindly allowed me to reprint the following article with rare pictures of a beautiful outdoor Dawn Ritual for a film made in 1969. You can aslo see other film footage on YouTube.

Thank you Red Witch!

Maxine has agreed to an interview with me about her current interests and path, so please come back for that as well as a review of her autobiography, Firechild. Firechild: The Life of Maxine Sanders, Witch Queen

The interview is here: Interview with the Queen of the Witches: Maxine Sanders

Maxine Sanders, Dawn Ritual, 1969

I used the colour photos from the following sequence in my Sexy Witch Video No.2. A particularly astute YouTube viewer asked to see more of them, and here they are!

The ritual that is the subject of this shoot obviously took place in winter, “on one of the high and private ridges of the Yorkshire Moors” (as a 1971 article tells us). On 16 February 1969 one picture from this sequence was printed in News of the World and I think it is likely that the ritual occurred shortly before that date.

Although the sixteen pictures below are taken from eight different publications (listed at the end of this post), and were reprinted in many more, few details about the event have emerged. Consequently, the pictures will have to tell their own story!

Man, Myth and Magic, No.3 (1970). p. 74; Man, Myth and Magic, No.11 (1970), front cover; Man, Myth and Magic (1970-71), pp. 1868b, 1870; Dennis Wheatley, The Devil and All His Works (1971; repr. London: Peerage Books, 1983), p. 233; Witchcraft 1.10 (January 1973), pp.36–37; Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology (London: Octopus, 1974), pp. 8–9, 104–5, 109; Encyclopedia of Magic and Superstition (London: Octopus, 1974), pp. 10, 19; Peter Haining, The Illustrated History of Witchcraft (London: New English Library, 1975), p. 15; Francis X. King, Magic: The Western Tradition (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975), plate 39; Susan Greenwood, Encyclopedia of Magic and Witchcraft (London: Lorenz Books, 2001), p. 202.


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Creating Sacred Space: Part 2

Above, Below, and Between

In the preceding article, Creating Sacred Space, I described how to create a Magic Circle based on the Four Directions of the compass. East, South. West, and North. This is the horizontal Place Between the Worlds, but there at three vertical directions needed  to complete the Astral Temple that really takes one safely into the Otherworld.

Magical Circle

Reestablish yourself within the Four Directions of the Magic Circle. I like what my teacher R.J.Stewart always says: “The direction in which you stand comes through you, the direction that face comes to you, the directions to you right and left uphold you.”

Now you stand in the center of the circle and raise your Magical Weapon to the sky and say:

“I call forth the Gods and Goddesses of the Celestial Realm. The Moon, the Sun, and the Stars, the Seven Planets, the Signs of the Ecliptic, are arranged above us tonight.”

Earthlight Ritual

You can perform the Faery Earthlight Ritual while you call the Sky, as taught by R.J.Stewart at this point to bring it into your body:
*Standing straight with your arms at your sides, visualize the color green in your feet and moving up your legs.
*Raising your arms a little, visualize the color blue moving into your pelvis and generative organs.
*Raising your arms so they are even with your shoulders, visualize the color red moving into your chest and heart.
*Raising your arms so above your head, visualize the color yellow around your head.
*Slowly bring your arms down, visualizing the colors as you go.
This is called Raising the Earthlight and is a Faery technique.

Descent to the Underworld

Now see the ground at your feet. Depending on your tradition, see a five-pointed star shining with blue light, or a six pointed star, the door of a well, and stairway or the roots of a great tree whose branches spread down into the Underworld.

Traditions with Judeo-Christian values, may avoid going into the Underworld, known to them as the Infernal Realm, abode of Demons, or Qlippoth. They may believe that the Faery are Demons. Even I know that they are Fallen Angles — but so are we.

If you feel safer to work in a Temple that has no basement, then it it is perfectly fine to work within the SIX. For those of Faery or Infernal leanings, you will want to include the SEVENTH.


Take your seat in one of the Four Directions. Focus on the well, stairway or tree roots in the center of the Circle. There is a different feel to each.

The Well has a watery feel and tends to take you to twilight places. I find dew spangled grass, trees, and it is through the portal of the well that I have met Merlin, Morgan LeFay, Vivienne, and the Priestesses of the wells.
Around the well grow red and white roses. Roses are sacred to the Faery, and in facet have been created by them. Roses belong to Lucifer and the Madonna as well. I also give them to King Solomon, and the Black Madonna.

Stair to Moat

Stair to Moat

The Stairway that spirals down into the earth has a feel of ancient stone. In my experience, it leads to ancient temple precincts, ruins, and libraries. Also cemeteries, catacombs and the like. Goths will like the spiral stairway, for it seems to lead to the darker mysteries.

The Reversed Tree leads to the Faery Realm, the Green Land and the path to the Palace Under the Hill. This is very potent. There are rules.

I will write another post on the subject of Faery etiquette in the future. If you insist on trying it out before that, use impeccable manners and treat the Lordly Ones with deference, and respect. This isn’t just about being nice — its a warning.


The Sphere Of Light

Now you are within the sphere which is your Astral Temple. You can work within and below as I described, you can journey into one or all of the Four Directions and learn form them. This is never boring as far as I am concerned, because it changes all the time.
This horizontal work can bring amazing experiences. You can wander into the dark forest of the Grimm’s fairy tales, or dive into Undersea Palaces, dally in the Garden of the Rose, or walk among the Standing Stones that shine on the low hill at sunrise..

If you want to move Above, Rising on the Planes, set your intention and you feel yourself shift. Shifting usually brings a sensation of light pressure in your solar plexus and head.
You can visit the Moon, Sun, or Stars. I like to see a golden ladder come down and climb it sometimes. Tower imagery works very well. They have different feels about them. I have often found myself lying in a long golden boat called Millions of Years.


Mood Enhancers

*Music instantly changes the atmosphere. Ambient music, Tibetan bowls, drumming can help focus the mind.
*Incense acts on ancestral memory. Some incenses are designed to call upon certain spirits or deities. Benzoin and Amber call the Faery.
* Crystals, stones, flowers, leaves, figures, and other images can help one to focus, adding a visual link to the deep, subconscious mind. I used to use a crystal bowl filled with water as the centerpiece of my Moon Circles for years.

Every item in the circle should follow the Correspondences to bring through the energies to want to work with.

I will write more on these topics as we go along. Any requests? have any questions or ideas come up about this work of Creating Sacred Space?

For more Magical Instruction, subscribe to my email list and you will be updated.

You can’t go wrong with these books by R.J.Stewart Faery Magus

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Card Dealer

by Mary Greer

Pre-Raphaelite artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s first published poem, “The Card-Dealer,” was based on a painting by Theodore von Holst (1810-1844) called “The Wish” or “The Fortune-Teller” (1840). The poem, which epitomized Rossetti’s fascination with the theme of the femme fatale, was inspired by the painting that he described as being of “a beautiful woman, richly dressed, who is sitting at a lamp-lit table, dealing out cards, with a peculiar fixedness of expression.” In his poem, the woman plays with men as she plays with the cards, which, we are told, represent the heart that craves the more it feeds, the diamond that makes even the base seem brave, the club that smites, and the spade that digs a grave.

holst-wish
“The Card-Dealer” (1852; revised 1870)
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Could you not drink her gaze like wine?
Yet though its splendour swoon
Into the silence languidly
As a tune into a tune,
Those eyes unravel the coiled night
And know the stars at noon.

The gold that’s heaped beside her hand,
In truth rich prize it were;
And rich the dreams that wreathe her brows
With magic stillness there;
And he were rich who should unwind
That woven golden hair.

Around her, where she sits, the dance
Now breathes its eager heat;
And not more lightly or more true
Fall there the dancers’ feet
Than fall her cards on the bright board
As ’twere an heart that beat.

Her fingers let them softly through,
Smooth polished silent things;
And each one as it falls reflects
In swift light-shadowings,
Blood-red and purple, green and blue,
The great eyes of her rings.

Whom plays she with? With thee, who lov’st
Those gems upon her hand;
With me, who search her secret brows;
With all men, bless’d or bann’d.
We play together, she and we,
Within a vain strange land:

A land without any order,—
Day even as night, (one saith,)—
Where who lieth down ariseth not
Nor the sleeper awakeneth;
A land of darkness as darkness itself
And of the shadow of death.

What be her cards, you ask? Even these:—
The heart, that doth but crave
More, having fed; the diamond,
Skilled to make base seem brave;
The club, for smiting in the dark;
The spade, to dig a grave.

And do you ask what game she plays?
With me ’tis lost or won;
With thee it is playing still; with him
It is not well begun;
But ’tis a game she plays with all
Beneath the sway o’ the sun.

Thou seest the card that falls,—she knows
The card that followeth:
Her game in thy tongue is called Life,
As ebbs thy daily breath:
When she shall speak, thou’lt learn her tongue
And know she calls it Death.

Read more about the poem and the painting here.

Reprinted with kind permissions from Mary Greer’s Tarot blog at www.marygreer.wordpress.com

Check it out.

Posted in Book/Story/Poetry Reports, Playing Card Divination, Tarot History & Research

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Babalon Diaries: Pharaon’s Grimoire Comes to Life

This is the fifth in a series of posts about my adventures during 2005, leading up to the performance of Paul Green’s play Babalon. The story is full of cloak and dagger, initiatory strangeness, chaos, and hysteria. It shows what can happen on the Magical path if one is not careful…(as if one has choice…)

Directed by Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 16, 2005, at the John Gielgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to a sold out audience of London’s finest occultists and magicians. If you want to listen to it,click Radio QBSaul: Archives: Babalon. I play Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.

A page out of the Demons’ Book

Before I found Treadwells Bookshop in Covent Garden, I had been in hiding from all things Arcane for a few years. This was due a  spontaneous, prolonged, and shattering Initiation by the Horned God shortly after I moved into a bedsitting room close to Hampstead Heath. I had also been the target of constant, virulent psychic attacks from, in her own words, The Overseer of All Tarot Readers in London. (It took two years of being  back in the States to realize who was behind these attacks. She’s that good.)  Apparently she resented my thriving practice as a Tarot Reader in Camden Lock Market, as well as the fact that I didn’t bow and scrape to her. Why would I? As an American, that type of obeisance wouldn’t even occur to me.  All the time I was London, I didn’t think of this woman because I so seldom saw her. I thought the Universe was trying to destroy me, that the Goddess, and the Faery Realm, had turned against me. I was wrong.

For the first time in my life, I wanted nothing to do with Magic or practitioners of Magic. This led to a Dark Night of the Soul, for never had I felt so isolated, so cut off from the sources of life and inspiration.

I will tell these stories in more detail in future blog posts.

The Cycle of the Horned God’s Initiation Ends

One of my Tarot clients was an interesting Goth girl from New England. I was telling her how much I missed like minded friends, and she told me about Tteadwells Bookshop. There I would be able to reconnect with the only people I felt I had  anything in common with: Magical People and Artists.

It was late 2004,  when I started going to talks there. There are so many interesting people speaking at Treadwells. The first talk I attended was with Caroline Wise . She was discussing the Deer Goddess Elen of the Ways. This  Goddess, with her antlers and woodland aspect, was very resonant with me. Through the  discussion, I gained many insights that brought me back in touch with myself. It was no accident that Elen of the Ways, or the woodland track, led me out of the darkness into which I had been plunged by the Horned God seven years before. Her’s was the feminine end of the cycle of Initiation I had undergone with the masculine Stag God, Cernunnos.

Elen means Light. In the case of this Woodland Goddess, it is the gentle light that filters through the trees. My time of endarkenment was over…one would think.

Cheska Potter, Elen

Cheska Potter, Elen

Magicians

I went back  to Treadwells again and again, thinking I had found a second home. I later found out I had cut quite a dash without realizing it. This was not a necessarily a good thing…

I met all sorts of people there, from Celtic Pagans to Black Magicians. In my years reading Tarot in Camden Lock Market, I had met many Goths and became friends with an amazing couple, Pippi and Kallustratus, who had links with Gothic Satanists. Kallistratus claimed to come from a line of Cuthulu devotees, a magical path based on the. literary works of H.P.Lovecraft. These paths and lifestyles were not my cup of tea. I didn’t understand how the Necrinomicon could be the basis of a religion. As Pippi said about me, “She doesn’t have any evil in her.” It is pretty true despite appearances. It’s just that, as an artist, I have a tendency to go where angels fear to tread….

Out of curiosity, open mindedness,  and a quest for material, I allowed myself to get to know various Dark Magicians. They turned out to be extremely intelligent, creative, and quite fun to be around, though I kept a firm limit on how far I would get involved. I am very sensitive, and have to work overtime to keep my psychic boundaries intact, never mind the  social ones. After my  Underworld Initiation when the Holy Grail erupted form the earth in 1996, I was well aware of the extremely powerful effect magic has on me, and am very careful not to get involved with other peoples’ workings.

It was among these Magicians that I met Pharaon, author of the wonderfully poetic Grimoire, Liber Niger Legionis. This magically inspired book is filled  with invocations to Infernal Deities, or Demons. I told P. and K. about it and they wanted a copy. It was a limited edition, beautifully bound by hand. A work of Art. Each one of the 72 Grimoires is dedicated to a certain Demon.

Ophiel

Ophiel

When I went into Treadwells to make the purchase, its author was unexpectedly there to greet me. There were only 3  Grimoires left. The one I chose was dedicated to  Ophiel, an Angel of the Air sigilized as a kind of vortex of dark wind. Pharaon happily signed the Grimiore for me, increasing its value for my friends. We had a nice chat and a laugh. I was relieved to find him genuinely friendly and easy to talk to.  I took the Grimoire home planning to give it to K. and P. at the Market on the next Monday.

The Grimoire Speaks

When I got it home, I laid the Grimoire on the kitchen table thinking I would take a look at it during dinner. As I was cooking, I my attention was drawn by the sound of tinkling bells. The sound seemed to be coming from the book! I was a bit concerned because I wasn’t up for any more ‘Initiations’. I went into denial for a moment because I wanted to look through the book. It was so well written and beautifully put together. I felt P.and K. would be very pleased with it, but I hadn’t bargained for Magical contact with Demons. The bells continued to tinkle. When I opened the book the sound of soft , dark chanting, far away as if it was in the back of my mind, came through. Then the unmistakable scent of dirty laundry, that I have come to associate with the presence of unclean spirits, wafted up.

Oh, no! What have I gotten myself into now?

Demons and Nightmares

.
Later that night, I was visited by a dream so vivid, it woke me up.  A huge, black serpent was in the living room growing larger and larger, unwinding and rewinding its coils, filling the space with breathing, groaning, and menace. Opening one eye, I lay very still. If you can see them, they can see you and I wasn’t sure I wanted Ophiel to know I could see him.
I stole a glance at the clock on the stand beside my bed. It was about 3 AM. I learned in my ordeal with the Horned God, that 3AM-6AM are the true witching hours. These are the hours when the cock crows, the hours when most people die.
As Ophiel breathed, expanded, and contracted in the living room, there were other sounds, voices murmuring. Much of the phenomena that I don’t remember, but it kept me awake in a state of hyper-vigilant fear until dawn. Suddenly I heard all these little chattering baby voices. It felt as if a cloud of tiny spirits had entered my ear and gone into my head!  I sat up and decided I had to get the Grimoire out of the flat.
The book was still sitting on the kitchen table. This meant I had to  creep quietly out of my room (as if it mattered!) and cross the dark living room where Ophiel still wound in and out, seething and breathing like a black cloud of pollution. The lights from the street lamps came in through the windows, casting shadows on the floor, but the mass of shadows in the center of the room still swirled and oozed. When I reached the kitchen table, I grabbed the Grimoire. I knew it had to go outside, but where?

There was a small balcony outside a door in the wall of my bedroom, but it was often wet with rain. Frantically, I rummaged  through a kitchen drawer for a plastic bag, and wrapped the Grimoire in it — it was expensive, and a gift after all! Then I slunk back to my bedroom and placed it outside on the threshold of the door under the eaves. Then I tried to get back to sleep.
Though the book was now outside, wrapped in a plastic Sainsbury’s bag,  I still didn’t get any sleep because the phenomena continued. Spirits are not barred by walls or doors. I endured their haunting me until  6AM — the same hour the Horned One vanished had when he Initiated me into his mysteries seven years before.

***

This was just  the beginning of my association with Pharaon and his magical associate, Alison Rockbrand, talented director of Babalon.

Preview of Coming Attractions


This is a creatively re-edited bit from Kenneth Anger’s film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, based on Crowley’s Babalon Working. In this scene, Marjorie Cameron plays Kali, Goddess of Death and Rebirth, for Transformation of the soul. I studied this film when I was preparing to play Marjorie Cameron, though the Babalon that I portrayed was very different.

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This film gives some idea of the energies I was dealing with as things heated up for the Play.

To listen to the Radio Show, Babalon, click here:

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

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Cheers!

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Spring Witch

Spring Witch, George Wilson

Spring Witch, George Wilson

This picture by Victorian painter, George Wilson, looks like Persephone coming out of the Underworld. The pomegranate in her hand releasing the spell of Hades, so that Spring can come back to the land.  I think a poem by Victorian poet, Alfred Lloyd Tennyson fits with it nicely.

Tennyson: Demeter and Persephone

Faint as a climate-changing bird that flies
All night across the darkness, and at dawn
Falls on the threshold of her native land,
And can no more, thou camest, O my child,
Led upward by the God of ghosts and dreams,
Who laid thee at Eleusis, dazed and dumb,
With passing thro’ at once from state to state,
Until I brought thee hither, that the day,
When here thy hands let fall the gather’d flower,
Might break thro’ clouded memories once again
On thy lost self. A sudden nightingale
Saw thee, and flash’d into a frolic of song
And welcome; and a gleam as of the moon,
When first she peers along the tremulous deep,
Fled wavering o’er thy face, and chased away
That shadow of a likeness to the king
Of shadows, thy dark mate. Persephone!
Queen of the dead no more — my child! Thine eyes
Again were human-godlike, and the Sun
Burst from a swimming fleece of winter gray,
And robed thee in his day from head to feet –
“Mother!” and I was folded in thine arms.

Child, those imperial, disimpassion’d eyes
Awed even me at first, thy mother — eyes
That oft had seen the serpent-wanded power
Draw downward into Hades with his drift
Of fickering spectres, lighted from below
By the red race of fiery Phlegethon;
But when before have Gods or men beheld
The Life that had descended re-arise,
And lighted from above him by the Sun?
So mighty was the mother’s childless cry,
A cry that ran thro’ Hades, Earth, and Heaven!

So in this pleasant vale we stand again,
The field of Enna, now once more ablaze
With flowers that brighten as thy footstep falls,
All flowers — but for one black blur of earth
Left by that closing chasm, thro’ which the car
Of dark Aidoneus rising rapt thee hence.
And here, my child, tho’ folded in thine arms,
I feel the deathless heart of motherhood
Within me shudder, lest the naked glebe
Should yawn once more into the gulf, and thence
The shrilly whinnyings of the team of Hell,
Ascending, pierce the glad and songful air,
And all at once their arch’d necks, midnight-maned,
Jet upward thro’ the mid-day blossom. No!
For, see, thy foot has touch’d it; all the space
Of blank earth-baldness clothes itself afresh,
And breaks into the crocus-purple hour
That saw thee vanish.

Child, when thou wert gone,
I envied human wives, and nested birds,
Yea, the cubb’d lioness; went in search of thee
Thro’ many a palace, many a cot, and gave
Thy breast to ailing infants in the night,
And set the mother waking in amaze
To find her sick one whole; and forth again
Among the wail of midnight winds, and cried,
“Where is my loved one? Wherefore do ye wail?”
And out from all the night an answer shrill’d,
“We know not, and we know not why we wail.”
I climb’d on all the cliffs of all the seas,
And ask’d the waves that moan about the world
“Where? do ye make your moaning for my child?”
And round from all the world the voices came
“We know not, and we know not why we moan.”
“Where?” and I stared from every eagle-peak,
I thridded the black heart of all the woods,
I peer’d thro’ tomb and cave, and in the storms
Of Autumn swept across the city, and heard
The murmur of their temples chanting me,
Me, me, the desolate Mother! “Where”? — and turn’d,
And fled by many a waste, forlorn of man,
And grieved for man thro’ all my grief for thee, –
The jungle rooted in his shatter’d hearth,
The serpent coil’d about his broken shaft,
The scorpion crawling over naked skulls; –
I saw the tiger in the ruin’d fane
Spring from his fallen God, but trace of thee
I saw not; and far on, and, following out
A league of labyrinthine darkness, came
On three gray heads beneath a gleaming rift.
“Where”? and I heard one voice from all the three
“We know not, for we spin the lives of men,
And not of Gods, and know not why we spin!
There is a Fate beyond us.” Nothing knew.

Last as the likeness of a dying man,
Without his knowledge, from him flits to warn
A far-off friendship that he comes no more,
So he, the God of dreams, who heard my cry,
Drew from thyself the likeness of thyself
Without thy knowledge, and thy shadow past
Before me, crying “The Bright one in the highest
Is brother of the Dark one in the lowest,
And Bright and Dark have sworn that I, the child
Of thee, the great Earth-Mother, thee, the Power
That lifts her buried life from loom to bloom,
Should be for ever and for evermore
The Bride of Darkness.”

So the Shadow wail’d.
Then I, Earth-Goddess, cursed the Gods of Heaven.
I would not mingle with their feasts; to me
Their nectar smack’d of hemlock on the lips,
Their rich ambrosia tasted aconite.
The man, that only lives and loves an hour,
Seem’d nobler than their hard Eternities.
My quick tears kill’d the flower, my ravings hush’d
The bird, and lost in utter grief I fail’d
To send my life thro’ olive-yard and vine
And golden grain, my gift to helpless man.
Rain-rotten died the wheat, the barley-spears
Were hollow-husk’d, the leaf fell, and the sun,
Pale at my grief, drew down before his time
Sickening, and Aetna kept her winter snow.
Then He, the brother of this Darkness, He
Who still is highest, glancing from his height
On earth a fruitless fallow, when he miss’d
The wonted steam of sacrifice, the praise
And prayer of men, decreed that thou should’st dwell
For nine white moons of each whole year with me,
Three dark ones in the shadow with thy King.

Once more the reaper in the gleam of dawn
Will see me by the landmark far away,
Blessing his field, or seated in the dusk
Of even, by the lonely threshing-floor,
Rejoicing in the harvest and the grange.
Yet I, Earth-Goddess, am but ill-content
With them, who still are highest. Those gray heads,
What meant they by their “Fate beyond the Fates”
But younger kindlier Gods to bear us down,
As we bore down the Gods before us? Gods,
To quench, not hurl the thunderbolt, to stay,
Not spread the plague, the famine; Gods indeed,
To send the noon into the night and break
The sunless halls of Hades into Heaven?
Till thy dark lord accept and love the Sun,
And all the Shadow die into the Light,
When thou shalt dwell the whole bright year with me,
And souls of men, who grew beyond their race,
And made themselves as Gods against the fear
Of Death and Hell; and thou that hast from men,
As Queen of Death, that worship which is Fear,
Henceforth, as having risen from out the dead,
Shalt ever send thy life along with mine
From buried grain thro’ springing blade, and bless
Their garner’d Autumn also, reap with me,
Earth-mother, in the harvest hymns of Earth
The worship which is Love, and see no more
The Stone, the Wheel, the dimly-glimmering lawns
Of that Elysium, all the hateful fires
Of torment, and the shadowy warrior glide
Along the silent field of Asphodel.

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