.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Behind/ Beyond the Wall of Sleep

We take our dreams for reality since we believe in the reality of our dreams. (Situ misquote)

We are turning electric dreams into reality (Hawkwind)

All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and we are at last compelled to face with sober senses, our real conditions of life, and our relations with our kind. [Karl Marx de-gendered]

The following is a vague ramble about imagined links between Situationist Raoul Vaneigem, Thelemic magickian Kenneth Grant, fantasy-horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and heavy metal heroes Black Sabbath (which in turn gives a William Burroughs link from his novels The Soft Machine and Nova Express).

To start with here is some Lovecraft:

I have often wondered if the majority of mankind ever pause to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of dreams, and of the obscure world to which they belong. Whilst the greater number of our nocturnal visions are perhaps no more than faint and fantastic reflections of our waking experiences - Freud to the contrary with his puerile symbolism - there are still a certain remainder whose immundane and ethereal character permit of no ordinary interpretation, and whose vaguely exciting and disquieting effect suggests possible minute glimpses into a sphere of mental existence no less important than physical life, yet separated from that life by an all but impassable barrier.

From my experience I cannot doubt but that man, when lost to terrestrial consciousness, is indeed sojourning in another and uncorporeal life of far different nature from the life we know, and of which only the slightest and most indistinct memories linger after waking. From those blurred and fragmentary memories we may infer much, yet prove little. We may guess that in dreams life, matter, and vitality, as the earth knows such things, are not necessarily constant; and that time and space do not exist as our waking selves comprehend them. Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon.

H.P. Lovecraft: Beyond the Wall of Sleep: 1919

This Lovecraft quote can be read as informing Kenneth Grant’s triple Typhonian trilogy and in turn as deriving from William Blake for whom the ‘real’ world was the world of imagination (: dreams) of which the physical world was but its ‘mundane shell’.

Lovecraft’s ‘Beyond the Wall of Sleep’ is believed to have inspired the Black Sabbath song ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’. You can see the Sabs playing the song in France in 1970 here

Or listen to the album version here:


Behind the Wall of Sleep
Visions cupped within a flower
Deadly petals with strange power
Faces shine a deadly smile
Look upon you at your trial

Chill and numbs from head to toe
Icy sun with frosty glow
Words that grow read to your sorrow
Words that grow read no tomorrow

Feel your spirit rise with the breeze
Feel your body falling to its knees
Sleeping wall of remorse
Turns your body to a corpse

Now from darkness there springs light
Wall of Sleep is cool and bright
Wall of Sleep is lying broken
Sun shines in you have awoken

For as long as there have been men -- and men who read Lautréamont -- everything has been said and few people have gained anything from it. Because our ideas are in themselves commonplace, they can only be of value to people who are not. The modern world must learn what it already knows, become what it already is, by means of a great work of exorcism, by conscious practice. One can escape from the commonplace only by manhandling it, mastering it, steeping it in dreams, giving it over to the sovereign pleasure of subjectivity. Above all I have emphasized subjective will, but nobody should criticize this until they have examined the extent to which the objective conditions of the contemporary world are furthering the cause of subjectivity day by day. Everything starts from subjectivity, and nothing stops there.

From The Revolution of Everyday Life/ Vaneigem.

Note mention of Lautreamont.

Replete in the writings of the French poets Lautreamont and Rimbaud are contained imagery and references to an ancient occult tradition known as Typhonian. This Typhonian Tradition was part of a larger more ancient tradition known as the Draconian Tradition. This ancient lore goes back to Sumeria and pre-Dynastic Egypt. Typhon was the serpent goddess who was the mother of the god Set, Shaitan, otherwise known as Satan. The Typhonian Gnosis is concerned with contacting entities from the adverse side of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is the symbolic, mystical system of the Qabalah that claims to represent all of the forces and elements of nature and the universe. This Tree is pictured with eleven spheres called sephirah with each sphere connected, in all, by twenty-two paths. It is believed that there is another side or dark side to this Tree of Life called the Tree of Death. This nether side is the side the Typhonian Tradition works with. Today's leading exponent of this tradition is occultist Kenneth Grant. Grant, one time student of infamous magician Aleister Crowley, claims that dark forces from the nether side of our world are seeping into our dimension and transforming this planet in strange and terrifying ways. Crowley called this transformation or New Aeon the Aeon of Horus, the bible calls it the Apocalypse, Satanist Anton LaVey called it the Age of Satan, and Grant and his associates call it the Ma-ion or Aeon of Maat. No matter what you call it, these groups are announcing a changing of the guard, an alteration of consciousness, a new world order whether we like it or not. Crowley wrote of this new order and the changes it would bring about:

Observe for yourselves the decay of the sense of sin, the growth of innocence and irresponsibility, the strange modifications of the reproductive instinct with a tendency to become bi-sexual or epicene, the childlike confidence in progress combined with nightmare fear of catastrophe, against which we are yet half unwilling to take precautions.

Kenneth Grant believes that certain poets and artists act as "sensitives" or receivers of these otherworldly forces that are seeping into our life wave. These "sensitives" receive impressions and images and impart them through their art. According to Grant these forces are the Qliphoth. Notorious in occult lore as evil and unbalanced, the Qliphoth are forces from outside our known universe trying to connect with us in order to complete our evolution, unite our "dayside" with our "nightside" or, in other words, open our conscious minds to the primordial depths of the dark unconscious. If the magician is properly prepared through the right rituals and has advanced far enough "spiritually" then contact with these forces will be relatively danger-free. The unprepared initiate can face insanity, destruction and the loss of his "soul" as a result of these encounters. However, there is a third way that combines both of these paths. That is the way of the artist or poet. Certain artists' neurons are so arranged as to act as antennae to "earth" these forces or invoke them and then to express their power through art. This can wreak havoc on an artist's nervous system but ultimately, through the expression of these forces they allow the rest of us a glimpse into this infernal domain. Lautreamont and Rimbaud are just these kinds of artists.

From http://www.rosenoire.org/articles/monstrous.php

Do I need to say more? Probably, but what?

Everything starts with an e? (What planet are you from?- Planet Ecstasy…)


And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the unfragmentary non-atomic fact of my universality. [original]


And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body. (AL I:26)

To vaguely conclude… here is a paste from Chaos Marxism


which mixes Maatian magic [ which works backwards in time -see Kenneth Grant/ Outside the Circles of Time and http://www.horusmaat.com/ with Marxist myth :

A successful memetic operation will work backwards in time - in other words, pick a possible future, and attempt to make it a real present. Dialectical materialism is the process of seeing which futures are possible, based on the contradictions of the present, and what kind of pressure on what kind of points right now will bring about which future. Believing that there is change, that the future will be more than the present with faster cars and smellier air, is in fact a revolutionary act in itself.

Hyperstition: a fiction that makes itself real. Example: H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos - after the ideas had been popularised in fiction, people decided to bring the Necronomicon (crappy Mysticism 101 versions of it, anyway) into existence and start worshipping the slimy, tentacular Elder Gods, for what reason I'm sure I'll never understand. Another example: Karl Marx's proletariat as a class-for-itself - the idea that industrial workers were capable of actually taking over the world - came into glorious life for just a few years in Russia. (Born 1917, certainly dead by 1928.)

I think it's one of the errors of vulgar magicians to just believe you can pick a meme, any meme, at random and use psyche-fixing technology to just bring it into existence. Doesn't work like that. It has to have resonance in the actually existing real world, physical and political. (To use an IT metaphor: you can screw around with the software all the time but it won't change the hardware - although it can put it to different uses.) People started worshipping Cthulhu et al - as far as I can tell - who would have been Satanists before Satan stopped being scary and devolved to a mere symbol of having a good time all of the time. The content of the Cthulhu meme is pure alien terror - and when it gets worn out through overuse, something worse will come along. (I sometimes wonder when nerds will legitimately start summoning Sadako from Ringu. That would be at least funny.)

A successful memetic operation will work backwards in time - in other words, pick a possible future, and attempt to make it a real present. Dialectical materialism is the process of seeing which futures are possible, based on the contradictions of the present, and what kind of pressure on what kind of points right now will bring about which future. Believing that there is change, that the future will be more than the present with faster cars and smellier air, is in fact a revolutionary act in itself.

Engels said that the struggle had to be carried on on three levels at once: industrial, political and ideological. This seems intriguingly similar to - although predating! - Freud's schema of id, ego and super-ego; or perhaps even Lacan's three "registers", the Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic. In modern capitalism, industry (not just metalbashing, but mass-production on the basis of wage labour in all its forms) is a dirty, grotty, disavowed area which we are encouraged not to think about at all, but nonetheless is what keeps the whole system physically running. Like the id or the Real. The ideological level is the level of the abstract, of concepts, of memes; the political level is where reality and will interface. Since the industrial in the last instance determines everything, any real fundamental change must lead to real fundamental change in that very area which society - and pretty much every schema of magic I know of - doesn't want you to look at.

For we Chaos Marxists, we are carrying on a kind of "alchemy" on the ideological plane. But to be powerful and real, the thought-forms and concepts we are playing with must original on one of the "lower levels", and return to it. The most powerful magic of all is what causes change on the level of the subconscious mind; on the level of Industry; on the level of the reality which doesn't go away when we stop believing in it.


Post a Comment

<< Home