Stafford Stone: Memorial for the Visionary Artist

Angel and Jinn

“Angel” and “Jinn/Self Portrait”

“Magick must, by definition, be creative. Creativity has to result from Magick, and inform Magick; otherwise, there is no Magick” – Robert Taylor: Magick & Imagination, Starfire Vol. II No. I

On the afternoon of Saturday 19th March I had the pleasure of attending the Robert (Taylor) Agasucci/Stafford Stone memorial exhibition at the Horse Hospital curated by Billy Chainsaw & Johnny Jones, which featured art from Rob’s previously unseen archive. Arriving at the Horse Hospital, walking down the darkened corridor and pulling back those curtains, I felt like I was getting a peak behind closed doors.

Rob was a man of extraordinary vision, imagination and great dexterity, combining his eye for line, form and exquisite sense of shape and shadow with the outpouring of occult influence – a truly inspired creative magician – and the collection highlighted that succinctly. There was an intimacy in standing before each of these works, examining the strokes on the paper/canvas closely, and I felt as if the smoke and veils had been parted, slightly and ever so briefly. I have had a great admiration for Rob’s artwork for a long time and standing up close to these original works one can sense a discernable potency emanating from them. Afira Khan, Rob’s former wife, magickal partner, long-term friend and Muse (a fashion designer with an ongoing interest in the Typhonian Current), commented that “all of Rob’s artwork on display was a magickal talisman of sorts, and that most were signed with his sigil and probably magickally charged.” They exude a visceral quality that is hard to put into words.

The images that we have highlighted in this post were only a few of those that were on display, but these were the images that stirred me the deepest – ‘The Ace of Stones’ which featured in Starfire Volume 2 No. 2 alongside Rob’s article ‘The Black Stone (The Nightside Tarot’), which I have only seen in black & white was mesmerizing to see up close, the blue tint upon the stone and the lightning struck black pyramid against the vivid colours of the background. The radiating eye which was a cover for a German edition of The Magical revival by Kenneth Grant. A Spare-esque portrait (not featured here), which when viewed from an angle brought into view hastily drawn marks, swirls, sigils that caught the light in certain directions, seemingly scrawled across the surface with unrelenting passion. The textures he achieved in “Moonchild” were outstanding, the child in the womb, the armless ‘angels’ reminiscent of the figure from ‘Man Is A Bundle of Ids’ by Austin Osman Spare (1955) – just stunning.

The piece that affected me the most was Eve (below). My eye was caught by brilliance of the gold upon the halo and how it throws the phantasmagoric atavisms of the background into sharp contrast. I found myself standing before this one the longest, studying the curve of her breasts and the fine strokes of her hair; the serpent circled around her shoulders seemed to writhe as I took the whole image in – evoking a feeling of deep familiarity.



In conversation with Afira, she stated that “Rob’s art work and vision was his Magick, he believed in the concept of Art being Magick and this is what he dedicated his life to. Art was the higher path, and he was encouraged by Kenneth Grant on this journey when he was in the Typhonian Order. He was a visionary who worked extensively within the praxis of dream, and as he explored the Nightside this came through into his dream life and ended up on the computer screen with his later digital works, where he found his ideal medium.”

Sarah: “What does Rob’s art mean to you personally? Which pieces resonate the most and why?”

Afira: He was a powerful magician and artist acting as a channel for this current, so all his art works are precious to me. I believe he was a living conduit for these energies. He taught me how to direct my magick into my art and how they are inseparable entities, each informing and enhancing the other.

The exhibition featured works that were done from the 70s-90s when he worked on an easel, and represent his earliest depictions of magickal art. From these I’d say the Black Stone is especially powerful to me because of my Islamic heritage, Jinn and Laylah. Rob and I met later when he was working with the Nightside in digital, and these images are most significant to me. In recent years we both began to work with the Strong Woman and Femme Fatale image – something I embodied and inspired for him. We had similar visions and began inspiring each other’s creativity and art and often worked together.

Sarah: “I’m fascinated with the process of esoteric art – the way in which the content is drawn through into the medium. What was integral to Rob’s work as an esoteric artist?

Afira: These earlier pieces shown at the exhibit were magickally charged and sigilized, likely in a manner similar to that practiced by AOS, whom Rob drew a great deal of inspiration. Once his sole Magick became his art he was just infused with visions from the Nightside. His dream life was very vivid and this is where the spirits and landscapes came in. He would just get straight on the computer drawing these or even making sketches and doodles. He didn’t need to do anything else, they just came and never stopped. There was an intense connection he had developed with these forces and the current that he drew on.  He was a natural visionary, and I think that is why he really appreciated other visionary and outsider art.

Dream work was his Magick. I know that it was something he worked with from earlier occult groups he belonged to. He believed strongly that the zone between wakefulness and dream is where spirits and humans connected, and where he derived inspiration for his Art. It was a place of power and subtlety, a place where he grew as both an artist and magician.

Rob was a very generous artist who would give his work to his friends as gifts. He was very much of the belief that all art was to share and should be accessible to all. In later years he operated in mainly the digital realm, where he could be true to this belief. His motivation working in this medium was “pure democracy” In this sentiment he was again inspired by Spare: “By working digitally, there is no “original”: every copy is just as good as the first, equally accessible to all, and at no cost to those who appreciate it. It’s not about money, or fame, just the art. In a sense, it’s the next logical step from Austin Spare’s decision to exhibit only in pubs.” – Rob


“Moon Child”

Sarah: “Given the nature and subject matter of Rob’s art (particularly his Nightside visions) and accepting that ART = Magick. Have you had any unusual experiences or occurrences happening around the paintings?”

Afira: Nothing too weird yet! Though I do find I can tap into that energy and landscape meditating on his art. I think Rob’s drawings are portals for us to enter into, especially the Nightside art. You could detect a ripple effect in the work he did as an artist magician, it radiated and unfolded in many different ways in his life, but the work and art was always his true mission. There was an obsessive quality to him as an artist, and I often wondered who really controlled the pen. At all times he was doing his Will, and that was something I really admired. Even though he had an early demise, I know that he lived life on his terms and followed his heart always when it came to his art, he was certainly on the higher path.

We were both tapping into some powerful energy, and yes you could say they did play out in and around us. But that is the risk we were prepared to take for The Work. Like Rob said “you must have no fear, and continue your work” He knew the risks involved, embraced them and continued his work, his Will, and taught me much the same.



Sarah: Rob’s website states that his grandmother taught him how to draw at the age of 4, but I was wondering how he went about developing this…

Afira: He drew comics growing up as a child, developing his passion at art school, where he learnt fine art and graphics. He was naturally talented, a master painter drawer. He was very motivated and inspired by the Situationist’s and this influenced his art, philosophy and path into the occult. As a young man he was going to Sex Pistols and Bowie concerts, and being a punk himself he was very enthused by this scene and its influences. After Art College, his art and love of music took him to London, smack bang in the middle of the art and music scene, hanging out with the likes of Marc Almond, Nick Cave, Sisters of Mercy and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Sarah: “What inspired Rob to begin to explore Typhonian themes?”

Afira: Rob began to explore these themes even before he joined the Typhonian Order. It’s a current he’d always been devoted to even in other groups he belonged to (Cult of the Hidden God, Typhonian Order, Ku-Sebittu and most recently Horus-Maat Lodge and The Esoteric Order of Dagon) The current was his magickal beginnings. It came to him naturally; it embraced him a much as he embraced it.

The Ace of Stones (1)

“The Ace of Stones”

Sarah: “And what other artists or authors inspired him?”

Afira: Kenneth Grant was hugely important for his Magick and creative work. Rob also collected visionary art by Austin Osman Spare, Von Stropp, Mark Ryden, Steffi Grant and H.R Giger. He saw different worlds in their works much like the ones he explored in his dreams. He did not limit his inspiration to purely visual sources, either; Rob was an avid reader having a love of books, fiction as well as non-fiction, and his library had over 3000 books, some very rare. In recent years he really admired Rasputin and began reading everything he could find on him. Egypt was also a huge inspiration for him, and writings by Massey and most recently academic Egyptology for the book he was writing on myth and climate change, (which he dearly wanted to finish).

As an artist his inspirations were wide and varied. Among his favourite authors were Robert E Howard, HP Lovecraft, and he loved the Arabian Nights. He loved Surrealism, Dada, and Symbolists. His favourite artists were mostly American, for example Jeffrey (Catherine) Jones had a huge influence on him as a child and he would often buy books just for the cover artwork; Franzetta, Berni Wrightson, Kaluta, Claire Wendling, Leonora Carrington and Andy Warhol (Rob had written to Warhol whilst at college telling him how much he loved his art and how he had inspired him to go to art college, and he was delighted when Warhol wrote back, sending him a signed photo).

He had a fascination with Monsters too; if he wasn’t creating them he was watching them in horror films.  He took obsessional delight in creating and recreating these chimeras.

Sarah: “Are there any plans for future exhibitions?”

Afira: There will be some exhibitions of his digital work in the future. Stafford Stone will always have an online presence both on FB and his website. He wanted his work accessible to all, and I’ll do all I can to maintain that presence.

As for future work by him… He did visit me after his death to tell me he was working on something much bigger, he was building something! And I like the idea that he is still at it, continuing the Work someplace else… I hope his art will continue to challenge and fascinate, and encourage others to follow their own Path and Will. Certainly that is the legacy Rob would be most proud of.

Radiating Eye

His artistic (and written) creations are unforgettable, and his influence will indeed live on – “Rob’s drawings are portals for us to enter into” and by carrying this idea through into our own art / writing we can create our own portals and links with those entities we traffic with in our own journeys and Work.

I would like to end this with Rob’s closing statement from the article I opened with:

“…there are no limits to what Magick, in conjunction with Imagination, can achieve. If Magick is to progress beyond superstition, then it is the task of creative magicians to dispense with superfluous details, and concentrate instead on devising more efficient ways of, in Van Gogh’s words, ‘refashioning of reality’. “- Robert Taylor: Magick & Imagination, Starfire Vol. II No. I

Text: Sarah-Jayne Farrer & Afira Khan
Original Paintings: Robert (Taylor) Agasucci
Exhibition Photography: Sarah-Jayne Farrer
Digital Photographic post-processing: Matt Baldwin-Ives

Stafford Stone on Facebook :
Stafford Stone Website:
Robert Agasucci Website:

The Horse Hospital:

“Unless Occultism becomes creative in the sense of opening up new approaches, modifying and developing traditional concepts and generally revealing a little more… there will be a stagnation in the swamp of beliefs rendered inert by the swift acceleration of humanities consciousness, which is little more than a miracle” – Kenneth Grant


Voudon Gnosis from the Vast Future-Past: Sublimities from a Voodoo Docteur

Matt & I have been admirers of Sean’s artwork for a long while, but like so much in the online world, you never really get to know just what lies beyond the social media postings, and artwork, until you meet someone face to face. On meeting Sean Woodward at the recent Day of Talks on Matters Typhonian (hosted by Starfire Publishing & Treadwell’s of London) Matt & I found our online impression of Sean was somewhat incomplete. Sean sat behind us, quiet but ponderously scribbling away in his notebook as inspiration struck during the days talks.  However, it wasn’t until after the talks on Typhonian matters (please see Emma Doeve & Matthew Levi Stevens’ post for an account of the day) that Mr Woodward opened to communication. Bonding over fine Ale, we found him to be a man of great integrity, a wonderful conversationalist with a fantastic (see ‘wicked’) sense of humour.

Sean is a scholarly individual who not only ‘does the Work’ but also lives and breathes it – a true Chime Child who entered this incarnation at midnight on December 31st. It is said that those who were born within the chime hours are gifted with the eyes to see things which are usually hidden from ordinary people. This is evident in the way Sean conveys himself, particularly in his arcane writings and legendary artwork.

As Mr Edward Gauntlett most eloquently stated in the summation of his talk: “The imagination as the image-making faculty is the supreme instrument of both magician and artist.” and we certainly found this to be especially true in Sean.

So, as day concluded and the night drew in, we decided to offer these questions to him shortly after, to which he so kindly reciprocated. So we happily present to you…

Voudon Gnosis from the Vast Future-Past: Sublimities from a Voodoo Docteur:

twins of the ritual design

Q: Could you describe your initial attraction to and subsequent experience of Voudon Gnosis?

A: A few years ago as I sat in the Chicago home of the Grand Hierophant Conservateur of the Rite of Memphis Misraim, Tau Ogoade-Ordeo IV, Patriach of the Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua and La Couleuvre Noire, of Michael-Paul Bertiaux, author of the Voudon Gnostic Workbook[1] I had cause to reflect on the road that had led me to the initiation and consecration conferred that day.

My involvement with the Voudon Gnostic current began in the early 1980s and was in many ways linked with my interest in the work of Kenneth Grant. I had already read the first edition of Magical Revival[2] and Cults of the Shadow[3] when I saw a copy of the first edition of the Voudon Gnostic Workbook in the UK in the Ace of Wands bookshop. Ironically at the time I was deterred by the high price and production values. I would come face to face with it again a few years later in New York, unknown to me at the time, in the very place it was born, the Magickal Childe Inc bookshop. Once again I put it to one side and left with a copy of the red and gold Liber Legis!

It was Grant’s editing of Aleister Crowley’s Confessions and The Magical Record of the Beast 666 which led me to the Typhonian trilogies and working with a Typhonian Power Zone[4], one which I recently learnt had a charter from the OTOA. It demonstrated once again how the agents of the gnosis had so often been a breath away.

With the publication of the expanded edition of the Voudon Gnostic Workbook[5] I began to work with the papers more closely and quickly established a link with the Hoodoo using the opening ‘Lucky Hoodoo Grimoire[6]. In the intervening years I had worked with a wide range of disciplines including Thelema, Tibetan Vajrayana, English Witchcraft, Shinto and Tantra. I had travelled throughout the middle, far east and pacific rim and so the eclectic and wide-reaching remit of the workbook was something I had affinity with and saw this as a great strength rather than as being disjointed as many who come to experience it do. My primary and continued experience with this path is one of vibrancy and primal power. It blew away all previous experiences in a hurricane of the Hoodoo’s visitation and turned the other systems into ashen heaps of archaic rote and empty rite. It also reignited my artwork which became an offering and one which the Hoodoo feasted on happily and continuously.

Q: Would you tell us what you can about the history and magickal functions of the OTOA and LCN?

A: The OTOA and LCN[7] hold a unique transmission in their combination of the hermetic tradition of Papus[8] and the esoteric Voudon of Haiti. Following Michael Bertiaux’s time in Port-au-Prince and initiation into these mysteries[9] they were brought to America and incorporated into the teachings of the outer body, the Monastery of the Seven Rays[10].

“Michael Bertiaux once shared with me that the Haitian Spirits attached to the Jean-Maine Familie took an interest in America and thus “migrated” here. This was done via Bertiaux himself who had been selected as a Vehicle of the Spirits. These Spirits “inhabited” our Orders as a functional “Body“.[11]

As well as esoteric voodoo, these transmissions included the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraim that Papus had inherited at John Yarker’s death together with other currents such as those of the Atlantean Brotherhood of Saturn, an inner order of the Monastery of the Seven Rays. The Orders act as magical machines that enable the ingress, congress and egress of these currents. On August 15th 1973, the Monastery of the Seven Rays and OTOA accepted the Law of Thelema and female membership, becoming one of the first old aeon Orders to do so.

The OTOA and LCN are dedicated to the practice and initiation into the live and evolving tradition of European hermetic-alchemical Gnosticism and esoteric Voudon as taught in Haitian secret societies and Zobops.”[12]

vudu priestess ov the new moon

Q: How would you define your communion with the Lwa or the guardians of the tradition? Could you explain the technique that allows you to draw these powerful spiritual entities through and into your artwork?

A: This relationship with the Hoodoo, Lwa and guardians of the tradition is paramount! Without this there is no admittance into the spirit-pools, temples and treasure houses of the cultus. It has been said that this is a multi-incarnational work and such continuity does make the re-establishment of this communication easier. Once this connection is made and strengthened by initiation in the Orders, it opens the gateways to those places.  Whilst its beginnings appear simplistic in the methods of the Lucky Hoodoo Grimoire, once the connection is made, these rapidly diversify into the Gheudhe logics and Trans-Yuggothian lattices.  The moniker Workbook is itself misleading and the individual papers should be considered as such. Attempting to approach the Workbook in a linear fashion can often be deeply frustrating. This also happens with the density of the prose. It is perhaps simply a result of attempting to articulate some of these concepts which do not fit easily into Newtonian Physics or the English language. I think that this is one of the reasons that many great magicians are also artists, as the powerful entities can sometimes be better expressed in this medium.

Of all the techniques that contribute to the drawing down and through of these entities, La Prise des Yeaux is the core component. This seizing of the eyes by the spirits themselves enables the initiate to experience the Hoo Realms directly and then it is only a matter of replicating that vision. In many ways this could be understood as a possession petite, because little by little it’s easy to find their tastes and predilections becoming one’s own. This perhaps gives rise to concerns of a parasitic relationship and it is a question I am often asked following lectures. My answer is simple. There is no protective circle in the Lucky Hoodoo Grimoire, no triangle of arte in which to bind spirits. This is because there is no danger when working with the Hoodoo, they simply give their gifts in return for the things they can no longer experience themselves.

On a mundane level the creation of my artwork is surrounded by its own set of ritual and implements. My Winsor & Newton easel naturally attracts their own brushes, paints and inks. Chinese brushes and Sumi ink from backstreet specialist Malaysian shops sit alongside Liquitex paint pens and Staedtler pigment liners. More Winsor & Netwon boxes stick out below the canvases with oil sticks stacked alongside Sennelier oil pastels. In the corner my National Geographic camera bag is filled with my Nikons that both capture textures for my photo library and the finished artwork for upload or transformation into the range of prints offered via my website[13]. The Evernote app is a constant container of ideas, research and images tagged for inspiration. Notebooks of every persuasion stack against the side of a bookshelf, their pages full of biro trances. My Apple Macs bathe the studio in an eerie screensaver glow and of late the sounds of David Bowie’s Blackstar have added to the rotation of Coil’s Ape of Naples, NIN, Led Zeppelin, Fields of the Nephilim, Black Sabbath, Killing Joke, Nick Cage, Tool, The Waterboys and David Sylvian. Did I mention earlier that I cherish the eclectic?

Q: What is Voudon Technology? (And will it be on the shelves for Christmas?)

A: Let me start by quoting the SGM[14] of the OTOA-LCN, whose insights and familiarity with the dynamic nature of the gnosis and its manifestation are a constant inspiration: “Hoodoo Tech has no cultural confines. Rather it enters culture as a vehicle for its Wild and Lovely Life!”[15]

There are many aspects of esoteric technology from the cubes of the Chronozon Club[16] to the time-stations, gnostic-radionics, grimoires and peristyle of the Zobop. Many others are mentioned in the Voudon Gnostic Workbook such as the creation of magic squares and a Zobop Passport that I focused on in my recent workshop[17] at the Occult Conference, Glastonbury.

Another important technology, that will definitely be on the shelves for Christmas is that of the esoteric tarot as I have created a number of decks that encapsulate aspects of the Voudon Gnostic teachings and act as portals into the realms of the Lwa.

Q: How does Kenneth Grant’s vision of ‘The Nightside’ align with the work of the OTOA and LCN? Can you elaborate on any specific points of ‘cross-order collaboration’ with the Typhonian Order?

A: “The magick of the Spider Sorcerer is older than that of our Atlantean brothers, for it originates from the Trans-Yuggothian Priesthood of Zom, the spiritual guardians of the Zothyrians.”[18]

Much of the Nightside is analogous with the Zothyrian Empire of Universe-B and it is the work of the Voltigeurs and Spider Sorcerers of the LCN in traversing these realms that Kenneth Grant draws upon in his writings.

The astral lycanthropy of the Black Snake Cult involves not only the secret pathways of the qliphoth but a degree of willed astral projection designated the Voltigeurs, whereby all the paths of the back-side of the Tree are traversed in a jump.”[19]

Historically there have been a number of points of contact. Many of the topics were clearly of interest to both Grant and Bertiaux and their work intersects and weaves in and out of each other’s in many places. Grant was unique in having access to Monastery papers and private correspondence at a time when few outside the circles of the Hyde Park Group in Chicago knew anything of the work.

patriarch mage

 Q: Have the English OTOA-LCN and its Vudu practices evolved in accordance with the core vision of Michael Bertiaux or at variance to it?

The OTOA-LCN has evolved since its creation in the 1920s and more recently with the appointment of its current SGM, Zettelion[20]. In the past for example the Orders were distinct entities but were later unified. It continues to support the work of initiates and core tenants such as that of the LCN to “combat psychic evil”. As the engine house and eregore of the Orders are the spirit families that continue to guide them within the Zothyrian Empire, it is they who shape their evolution. The Patriarch has contributed much to the public awareness of the Orders through his publications and the numerous newsletters, papers and audio recordings[21]. He has stressed on many occasions however that these are not the finite borders of the gnosis and every initiate of the OTOA and Black Snake Cultus is encouraged to pursue their own relationship with the vision.

Q: Tell us about the brilliant Carrefour Tarot, the Tarot of the Emissary and your most recent (and yet unpublished) Gholem Tharot? (Perhaps our favourite to date!)

A: The Carrefour Tarot began at the suggestion of the OTOA-LCN Secretary[22], who had previously been unable to find an artist and initiate able to manifest the Creole Cabala Tarot of the Four Crosses. Only the titles of these 32 cards are listed in the first year Monastery papers. Being unlike a traditional tarot it seemed a daunting task but it was one that the Hoodoo soon assisted, bringing dreams which presented a landscape and interpretation of the cards. In further discussion with the SGM it was decided to double the deck, creating 32 opposing energies. The inception and meanings of this elemental deck is discussed further in The Living Atua of the  Carrefour Tarot[23]. It is similar to the nature of the Hoodoo themselves, being intrinsically elemental and has its four crosses become analogous to the guardians of the quarters. Many owners of the deck have attested to the raw power it evokes. Within the artwork I placed a number of sigils designed to make the deck bond with the owner and attune to their work when engaged in Voudon contemplation or ritual.

David Eosphorus Maples writes in Anomaly Report, 2013 “I have only had the cards in my presence for one full day and already there is much to say. From the onset of the decks arrival, I could feel the otherworldly energies that emanated from its core. What I hadn’t anticipated was the inward as well as outward pulls and influxes of the cosmological territory that had now been opened as a portal with these cards. I have theorised that these entities have their origin in the Sirius system. This theory is supported by the ever-present manifestation of a black dog. This dog sometimes appears in different forms, some resembled more of a jackal, and others simply a black dog adorned in gold jewelry. Since this contact, more and more cosmological entities have inhabited my space, making it their own. Watching, tempting and studying, these intelligences have a most inquiring nature, they seem to be as curious of me as I am of them. Portals and gateways into time and space have indeed been opened, and from both sides[24]“.

The Tarot of the Emissary was created on the framework of a traditional tarot, but one which drew upon my appointment as OTOA-LCN Emissary and incorporated various aspects of my own vuduverse which had arisen from a number of workings documented in Ontic Dreaming, Vudu Meditations, Liber Sedecim and The Sutra of ZAL[25]. These volumes as well as being magical records were created as one-off slipcase editions very much in the tradition of Andrew Chumbley’s Unique Transmission Series, of creating individually hand-written and illustrated telesmatic volumes.

The tarot included many of the visions of the Leng Mythos, of the migration of the Lwa from distant star systems, the war of the Architects with the Archon and the sorceries of Zom which I have presented in a number of short stories[26] and essays[27].

The forthcoming Gholem Tharot is a return to the format of a 78 card deck. It is the result of a request from Michael Bertiaux in 2013 to create such a deck related to the golem mysteries. These mysteries relate to the historical golem, the Saturn Gnosis and the zombie. Artistically the deck is very different from the previous two as I have drawn upon my personal photographic library to create montages for the cards.

Papus, in Tarot of the Bohemians (1889) alludes to two ways in which the mysteries of the tarot have been preserved throughout the ages “1. Secret societies, a direct continuation of the mysteries; 2. The cultus, a symbolic translation of the higher doctrines“.

As these decks originate from my own work within the cultus, they are living atua of these energies.

gholem of the sporeworlds

Q: It’s clear you have done some exceptional collaborative work with Edgar Kerval from Columbia, The Infernal Faces of Hekate being a prime example. Would you like to explain how this came about and is there anymore in the pipeline?

A: Thank you! My original involvement with Edgar was through my music project Gothick[28]. As well as the commercial albums[29] I recorded, there is a free trilogy of albums based upon the Book of the Law available[30].

Our bands appeared on a number of anthology recordings together and when he began publishing occult books I started to work more closely with him. As well as my continued regular contributions to his publications Qliphoth, Sabbatica and Noxaz, I also illustrated his first grimoire Ast-Ma-Ion which featured a set of colour postcards of the Qliphoth entities.

I also released the album Lapidis Lazvli with Edgar as Sons ov Sirius. This is an album of ritual music inspired by Aleister Crowley’s Liber VII and my own experiences with the City of the Pyramids.

The Infernal Faces of Hekate[31] was the result of work I had been undertaking with the English Witchcraft tradition and a series of visions and dream-workings as the Hecate-Frog is a key totem of the Voltigeurs. This led me to a re-interpretation of the SATOR magic square and to Hecate’s origins as the warrior woman engaged in the war with the Archons. This original aspect of her nature, retold in the Greek tales of the Titans, was something I felt had been overlooked by her transformation into the ‘Goddess of the Witches’ and something which came through strongly during the workings. I was particularly struck by the revelations concerning the SATOR square as I seemed to have become an occult archaeologist turned detective as I followed the clues and trail from medieval cathedrals to the shores of Cornwall. The deluxe boxed edition of the book, Infernal Sabbati, sold out very quickly[32] and came with a pendant and mala of onyx stones. My and Edgar’s personal copy of this has a unique pendant whose entanglement I like to think assists our collaborations. The skull and moon engraved box has become a permanent feature upon one of my altars.

As my work unfolds I continue to publish essays and artwork which illuminate its nature. I’m currently working on the Grimoire of ZAL which unites the work of Louisiana Voodoo, Lam, The Equinox, Bon-Po tantra, the Green Man and a secret angel. I’m also designing a new expanded edition of Edgar’s sigil deck, The Labyrinths ov the Primigenian Void which will be available this year.

As well as his commitment to his path of the Red Gods, I very much appreciate Edgar’s integrity and dedication to creating hand crafted quality items which reflect this, either via his writing, bookbinding, art or music.

Q: If you are willing, could you tell us what’s on Docteur Woodward’s lightning struck slab at this time?

A: It’s draped in black, sigil etched covers at the moment!

A number of the tantric elements of the Grimoire of ZAL have prompted side projects such as the recent work with the rite of Memphis-Misraim that led to a revival of the Rite of Sat B’hai, documented in the essay The Fires of Sat B’hai[33]. New music projects have been bubbling under the covers for some time, including a project with Anthony Mangicapra (Hoor-Paar-Kraat) and Charlie Martineau (Esperik Glare) as well as a further Sons ov Sirius album with Edgar. For the Gholem Tharot there is The Secret Garden of Zahul Al l’hikma[34], which unites esoteric witchcraft and plant lore with the Gholem Gnozis. I’m also considering a book of collected essays and audiobook as well as one similar to a gallery catalogue featuring my esoteric artwork.  I’m very conscious of the impact that totemic books have had on my own research and practice and it is to that model that I have looked when contemplating these new volumes. I’m also delighted to be collaborating with the Typhonian Artists Unbound group on the Nu-Isis Stele project.

Following my lecture and workshop at The Occult Conference and talks at The Day of Raising the Ancestral  Spirits[35] and Visionary Voudon[36], I’m also available to speak on these subjects and am also interested in exhibiting some of my original artwork.

Q: For someone interested in actively working towards entry into the English OTOA and LCN, what would you advise?

A: To paraphrase Michael Bertiaux in a conversation with Tau Leo, just do it! This path is for the very adventurous and brave. The official representative of the OTOA-LCN can be contacted at In service to the Orders and the SGM I currently mentor a number of students both in the UK and internationally in America, Australia and Jamaica and I am happy to offer guidance to anyone who is committed to this work as the spirit-families will often guide them to me.

Thank you for your interest in my own art and writing.

Dr Sean Woodward, XVI⁰, 33⁰,90⁰,95⁰,96⁰,97⁰
Grand Master, Great Britain & Ireland

[1] Michael Bertiaux, Magickal Childe 1988
[2] Kenneth Grant, Muller, 1972
[3] Kenneth Grant, Muller, 1975
[4] Nephtys-Arachna Power Zone (NAPZ)
[5] Weiser, 2007
[6] First published in 1977 as Lucky Hoodoo – A Short Course in Voudoo Power Secrets by Docteur Bacalou Baca
[7] OTOA (founded in 1921)  and LCN (founded in 1922)
[8] Gérard Encausse, born in 1865
[9] In 1963/4
[10] See Vudu Cartography by Michael Bertiaux for details of his time in Haiti
[11] Coils: The Newsletter of OTOA-LCN  I.III, Zettelion
[12] Zettelion, OTO-LCN Facebook page
[13] See the Store at
[14] Sovereign Grand Master
[15] Zettelion
[16] It’s head  is Tau Choronzon VII (see the Bertiaux Tri-Order Statement, Samhain 2014)
[17] A Hyper Vudu Workshop, The Occult Conference, 2015
[18] Spider Sorcerers  of Universe B, Sean Woodward, Sabbatica
[19] Cults of the Shadow, Kenneth Grant
[20] Appointed in 2010 by the Sovereign Grand Master Absolute, Dr Courtney Willis
[21] Esoteric Lecture cassettes, Technicians of the Sacred
[22] Tau Leo
[23] Qliphoth, Transmutation Publishing
[24] The Living Atua of the Carrefour Tarot, Qliphoth
[25] Zendiq, private collection of the OTOA-LCN
[26] Such as Dreamwalker of Leng, Earthwalkers of Leng and Starwalkers of Leng
[27] E.g. The Carnival of Leng, Tarosophist International (II.IV)
[28] See
[29] These include ZODIOS released by Quartier23 in Berlin
[30] From
[31] Sean Woodward & Edgar Kerval, Sirius Limited Esoterica, 2015
[32] The standard hardback edition, Kalas of the Astral Witch, is available from Edgar Kerval
[33] Qliphoth Opus V: Dreaming the Draconian Flames, Sirius Limited Esoterica, 2015
[34] Zahul Al l’hikma translates as ‘the wisdom of Saturn’
[35] Underworld Apothecary, Bath 2014
[36] An Evening with Sean Woodward, Hellfire Club, 2014


A Gateway for Oneiric Sorcery

Gateway for Oneiric Sorcery

“If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.”

The modulating half-light of the lanterns lit made the room appear to be cast in a brooding dusk. The dancing shards cast off by their flickering flames hinted upon the room’s vague structure but in no way dispelled the darkness, and caught upon the slowly moving motes filling the room instead; giving them the appearance of a vast firmament of stars revolving in the unfathomable reaches. Through the splintered walls of sleep she let the room’s long length assemble, recalling that there was a library here. The rooms liked to move. Stack upon stack of aged parchment piled towards the ceiling, threatening to topple under the cold weight of ink; towers of wax from innumerable melted candles; a roughly hewn wooden table with its distinctive flowing knots; windows leaden and in need of repair and the ornate mirror standing at the far side of the room, reflecting all. It was there, rooted deep, and all came into sharp relief as she built it back up. Her surroundings became more and more tangible as she went. It was the feeling of belonging she experienced as she paced the room slowly, her footfalls silent upon wooden boards, that let her know it was now complete.


The maid with glancing eyes drew then, from within darkened folds, a glinting blade mounted with a heavy hilt which rested perfectly within her hand as she carved her glyphs upon the mirror’s surface. As they burned intensely with emerald flame she felt the growing pull from behind the dark matter mirror. The mirror in which the broken howling stars reside; the edge of the abyss where all is destroyed and created, at the same time, for all of eternally.  The mirror now became as a doorway, a gateway for Oneiric Sorcery. As her mind journeyed forth, it were as if she walked out into space, a place beyond all known universes; here zephyr float; the serpent coils; a bejewelled spider scampers up her bare leg, weaving diamond threads in the darkness as the Beast roars. She continues to the other side with a thrusting of her senses and steps through the dark matter mirror to the great landscape beyond; spires drip and shimmer in the grey-gold filtered glow of the dying light and towering monoliths reach fathoms into an alien sky…

“A Gateway for Oneiric Sorcery”: Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Sorceress”: Matt Baldwin-Ives
Opening quote from “Descent of the Goddess Ishtar into the Lower World”
Text from the upcoming post “Bridging the Both: Astral Temples and Dream Control”: Sarah-Jayne Farrer

Supping At The Angel & Feathers by Michael Staley – Part 3

Mother of the Sun

Supping at the Angel & Feathers (Part three)

The card most readily associated with Maat is Atu VIII, Adjustment, assigned to the Hebrew letter Lamed and the zodiacal sign Libra. It shows a female Harlequin figure pirouetting within a diamond or vesica shape, finely balanced. She is masked, and bears the sword and balances of adjustment. The card is loaded with Maatian symbols. Crowley’s remarks on this card reinforce the close relationship with Atu 0 – a relationship the contemplation of which does so much to convey the essence of the Aeon of Maat:

This woman-goddess is Harlequin; she is the partner and fulfilment of The Fool. She is the ultimate illusion which is manifestation; she is the dance, many-coloured, many-wiled, of Life itself. Constantly whirling, under the phantom-show of Space and Time: all things are real, the Soul is the surface, precisely because they are instantly compensated by this Adjustment. All things are harmony and beauty; all things are Truth: because they cancel out. She is the goddess Maat; she bears upon her nemyss the ostrich feathers of the Twofold Truth.

Elsewhere in the same essay, Crowley stresses that this card is the feminine complement of The Fool. The relationship is so subtle and interwoven as to suggest identity. The mingling is indicated by a further passage, this time from Liber Aleph:

Now this Ox is the letter Aleph, and is that Atu of Thoth whose Number is Zero, and whose name is Maat, Truth, or Maut, the Vulture, the All-Mother, being an image of Our Lady Nuit, but also it is called The Fool, who is Parsifal, ‘der reine Thor’, and so referreth to him that walketh in the Tao.

These passages underpin firmly the identity of Maat with The Fool, and thus give insight into the nature of Maat. However, there is more here than simply a return to an advaitic, undifferentiated innocence. Maat represents the expression of that innocence through manifestation. It is why She holds the Balance; She is poised as delicately as a feather; and, as a fine balance, She is constantly making subtle compensations and checks in order to maintain the balance – for we have here the dynamic balance of Going, or constant Becoming, rather than the Silence and Stillness of Being. Reading the above extract from the essay on Atu VIII, what shines through is a sense of Perfection, or the Perfect Ion as Achad put it. We have the consummation of manifestation: the delicate, dynamic balance of the Naught and the All. The Perfect Ion, or the Aeon of Maat, is the perfection of manifestation, its ultimate flowering. It is the redemption of matter, the Daughter raised to the throne of the Mother.


It is the crescendo, following which is the return to Silence. The letters associated with Atus 0 and VIII are Aleph and Lamed respectively. The combination of the letters gives us LA (Nothing, not) and AL (God, the), the closeness of which constitutes the key to Liber AL. Crowley considered the subtle interplay of Aleph and Lamed to be of supreme importance, the basis for “a complete Cabalistic system of greater depth and sublimity than any other”. He went on to say that the details of this system had not yet been revealed; whether it was completed but remains unpublished, or whether its earthing by him was never finished, is not known. The most comprehensive account published is in the text of Liber V vel Reguli; it demonstrates the intimacy and complementary nature of the relation between Aleph and Lamed, Atus 0 and VIII, The Fool and Adjustment, conveying the essential flavour of the Aeon of Maat. It also makes apparent the expression of the Aeon of Maat in terms of the Tetragrammaton, in particular as Hé final; and there are three short, interesting passages from The Book of Thoth which bear on this aspect: The Union of the Father and Mother produces Twins, the son going forward to the daughter, the daughter returning the energy to the father; by this cycle of change the stability and eternity of the Universe are assured.

He [Harpocrates] is also the mystical absorption of the work of creation; the Hé final of Tetragrammaton. The Princesses represent the Hé final of the name. They represent the ultimate issue of the original Energy in its completion, its crystallization, its materialization. They also represent the counter-balancing, the reabsorption of the Energy. They represent the Silence into which all things return. They are thus at the same time permanent and non-existent.  Within the context of the Tetragrammaton, Maat is the Hé final, the “ultimate issue” of the “original Energy”, as well as its absorption. Again, Maat is the perfection, the Perfect Aeon, the flower at its peak. As Atu VIII She is glyphed by the poised, delicately balanced figure who pirouettes about a point – the point of return. She is the Perfect expression of the infinite potential of The Fool. Having flowered into perfection, She is poised on the edge of return or reabsorption – the Fool on the edge of the Abyss. This balance is to be seen in terms not of time, but of a perpetual and dynamic balance of being and non-being, of becoming. These ideas are tenuous and fleeting to the terrestrial mind, which is conditioned by duality and time. By a process of contemplation rather than intellectual grasping, however, these glyphs act as receivers, earthing flashes of insight which remain forever inexpressible in terms of reason, but which hover on the edge of awareness. Horus and Maat constitute a Double Current; they are twin aeons – the Twins of Tetragrammaton, the Son and the Daughter, the Vau and the Hé final.

Likewise, they are Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor-paar-kraat, the manifest and unmanifest twins which are Perfection: and Perfection, being Silence, is Zain, the Wordless Aeon.

These twins are shadowed forth in Atu VI, assigned to Gemini; and contemplation of this card sheds further light on their interplay. Atu VI depicts the closeness of the Twins; it also, though, emphasises the disintegrative or purgative side of the formula solve et coagula – the breakdown into constituent elements, prior to their synthesis or reintegration. In the Atu this is suggested by the arrow, which is about to be shot by the figure of Eros or Cupid towards the Twins. The arrow is a symbol of direction, and shows the dynamic of True Will – which is not being but going, not individual but universal. The arrow pierces all points simultaneously in a perpetual orgasm; it is tipped with poison, an all-penetrant toxin capable of dissolving the illusion of separateness.

The complement of Atu VI is Atu XIV, Art, which depicts the flight of the arrow beyond its disintegrative stage. The Two are now resolved into their synthesis, which is Perfection. The arrow is soaring Beyond, piercing the rainbow. There is no goal, only the dynamic of the flight. The flight is towards Perfection, as we gather from the Vision of the Fifth Aethyr: And having known these [Isis and Nephthys] there are the wings of Maut the Vulture. Thou mayest draw to an head the bow of thy magical will; thou mayest loose the shaft and pierce her to the heart.

Maut the Vulture is a glyph of Maat, and Maat is Perfection: the perfection or redemption of matter, the perfection of Zero as Two. The arrow, as the magical will, has its own dynamic; it is on the return flight, soaring to its reabsorption into the undifferentiated consciousness from where it was loosed, that undifferentiated consciousness itself preparing to melt back into the Naught. This is representative of the Hé final, the original Energy in its completion; and in its counter-balancing, the reabsorption: the Silence from which all things issue forth, and into which they are poised to return.

Aeon of Maat

In 1974, Liber Pennae Praenumbra (The Book of the Foreshadowing of the Feather) was earthed. Often in opulent language, and expressed in flowing imagery, it is cast as a transmission from the Aeon of Maat – hence the title. The feather is a symbol of Maat, glyphing the weight against which the heart was judged in Amenta. The principal mantra from this text is IPSOS, ‘by the same mouth’:

By the same mouth, O Mother of the Sun, is the word breathed forth and the nectar received. By the same breath, O Counterweight of the Heart, is the manifest created and destroyed. 

“Mouth” suggests the Hebrew letter Pé, associated with which is Atu XVI, The Tower. This is a glyph of many intermingling ideas – the phallus erupting, the aspirant being shattered by the flash of illumination, and the dissolution of individuality at the impact of the cosmic. There is, however, another aspect – that of the pregnant Womb of the Mother. Liber 777 gives a correspondence for Pé as ‘The Crowned and Conquering Children emerging from the Womb’; later in the same section of 777 these children are referred to as Horus and Harpocrates. Crowley makes a more explicit reference to this aspect of Atu XVI in the course of his Comment on Liber LXV.

Pé is the letter of Atu XVI the ‘House of God’ or ‘Blasted Tower’. The hieroglyph represents a Tower – symbolic of the ego in its phallic aspect, yet shut up, i.e. separate. This Tower is smitten by the Lightning Flash of Illumination, the impact of the H.G.A. and the Flaming Sword of the Energy that proceeds from Kether to Malkuth. Thence are cast forth two figures representing by their attitude the letter Ayin: these are the twins (Horus and Harpocrates) born at the breaking open of the Womb of the Mother (the second aspect of The Tower as “a spring shut up, a fountain sealed”).

This Mouth is the Gate through which manifestation issues forth, and to which it returns; by the same mouth is the word uttered and absorbed. There is a clear connection with the foregoing remarks about Tetragrammaton, and in particular with the Twins – the Son and the Daughter, the Vau and the Hé final. The hieroglyphs coalesce; none can be pinned down and assigned a definite, clear and unambiguous meaning.

The four elements of the Tetragrammaton have meaning only in relation to each other;that meaning is dynamic – moving, flowing, shifting. We are dealing with the formulae as they have been refracted through terrestrial mind, with inevitable interpretation in terms of duality and time. The essence of glyph and symbol is conveyed intuitively, in a flash of insight. It is no more than a flash, because once the mind attempts to grasp the insight, it is gone. The flash is the refraction of the insight in terrestrial mind, a fleeting glimpse of the infinite and eternal.

Pan-dimensional Cosmic States

Maat is the Mouth both of ingress and of egress, of manifestation and of non-manifestation, of flowering and of reabsorption. It is the matrix from which everything springs, and to which everything returns. The Harlequin figure of Atu VIII is masked because She is the nothingness which masks itself with the play of form.

She is perfectly balanced, Perfection itself, the supreme balance of Zero and Two – their utter and perfect equivalence. ALIL, ‘the image of nothingness and silence which is a fulfilment of the aspiration’ is mirrored as LILA, the play of manifestation. The Aeon of Maat is not something distant in time – a future aeon some two thousand years hence, which somehow reaches back to us; it is here and now, and we need only to perceive it. It is the pellucidity of innocent, undifferentiated awareness, which is at the same time the perfection of manifestation: a perfection which is not something perhaps capable of attainment at some future time, but is already here – has always been, and will always be. It is the clarity and freedom of jivanmukta – liberation whilst yet living. The liberation is not of the terrestrial vehicle – which is a child of space and time, and thus subject to its limitations – but of consciousness, no longer shackled to the vehicle through which it has formerly focused, but able to expand and soar beyond its former confines.

Maat is at the core of matter or manifestation. It the background from which everything springs, in which it is nourished, with which it is infused, and to which it returns: undifferentiated awareness which lies forever beyond the boundaries of terrestrial awareness – boundaries which have no reality, are self-imposed and self-limiting. Initiation is the widening and deepening of awareness, the remembrance or re-membering of a pan-dimensional, cosmic state. The Aeons are states of initiation, the unveiling of awareness, which become apparent when the aspirant is ready to perceive; not uniform spans of time, but of indeterminate length. They are not successive, but simultaneous; likewise, Naught and Two are not merely different aspects of the same thing, but are utterly identical – “the soul is the surface, and the surface is the soul”. The Naught is not superior to the Two, nor the Two a progression from the Naught. This is a Truth which remains forever a closed book to the rational mind, but which flowers intuitively in the silence of contemplation.

It is with this continuum, this matrix, that we traffic when making ‘alien’ contact. As we become increasingly alive to those vast reaches of awareness which lie beyond the terrestrial, so there is a corresponding awareness that we are not confined to the terrestrial vehicle through which we have habitually focussed. This diffusion of identity may seem a strange, threatening idea to our rational way of thinking, conditioned as it is by language to perceive in terms of contraries such as subject and object, inner and outer, me and not-me. However, at deeper levels of awareness we know this to be a shallow superstructure. There is a sensation of recognition, of remembrance, of experiencing again an intrinsic state which had slipped awhile beyond conscious recall.

This state remains as a substratum, the hidden stream or current which powers the fountain. The Angel dwells at this point, where the terrestrial merges into the infinite and eternal; it is the point which is everywhere and at all times, veiled by the chimera of terrestrial identity, revealed by the dissolution of that identity. The Angel is ever present, infinite and eternal, a fountain of living waters from which we can drink at any time; all that is needed is to listen to the Voice of the Silence.

The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and the Aeon of Maat, are identical; this identity can be experienced at first hand by, quite simply, communing with the Angel. Magical and mystical experience is the life-blood of initiation, by which we are eternally supping at the Angel & Feathers.


Text: Michael Staley (with kind permission) – Starfire Publishing


“Mother of the Sun” – Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Jivanmukta” – Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Aeon of Maat” – Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Pan-dimensional Cosmic States” – Matt Baldwin-Ives

Supping At The Angel & Feathers by Michael Staley – Part 2

Liber Samekh

Supping at the Angel & Feathers (Part two)

Extra-terrestrial contact has also occurred in the case of people who do not regard themselves as occultists or magicians. The contact need not be conscious, and an interesting example of this occurs in Lovecraft’s work, much of which was written as an outlet for – and an attempt to come to terms with – his extraordinarily rich, intense and exotic dreams.

Quotation has already been made above from Beyond the Wall of Sleep; many others of Lovecraft’s stories instance traffic with extra-terrestrial elements. A perusal of his Selected Correspondence makes it clear that this contact occurred whilst dreaming; during waking hours, an obsessive rationalism came into play, and Lovecraft dismissed the significance of his dreams as anything other than fodder for his stories.

The stories themselves, though, are clear testament to how deeply he was disturbed by such contact; and also that, however much the rational aspect of him cavilled, in deeper dimensions of consciousness he not only knew that the contact was real, but also understood the significance. Such contact typified the intrusion of alien consciousness into his own – alien, that is, to his conscious, terrestrial vehicle; alien in the sense of being out with the self-imposed boundaries of that terrestrial vehicle; but ultimately not alien, since nothing exists outside consciousness. The sense of alien intrusion via the matrix of creative imagination was expressed by Lovecraft in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith of October 17th, 1930:

…The true function of phantasy is to give the imagination a ground for limitless expansion, & to satisfy aesthetically the sincere & burning curiosity and sense of awe which a sensitive minority of mankind feel towards the alluring & provocative abysses of unplumbed space and unguessed entity which press in upon the known world from unknown infinities & in unknown relationships of time, space, matter, force, dimensionality, & consciousness.

For the magician, the first clear instance in his initiation of sustained, extra-terrestrial contact is often the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel – a contact characterised as marking occult puberty. It is difficult not to speculate on the nature of the Angel, since this stage of initiation looms so large in magical tradition. Like so much else, though, it is beyond the conception of the human mind. Sometimes the Angel is delineated as an entity wholly separate from ourselves, almost a spiritual body-guard assigned to watch over us; at others, the descriptions sound reminiscent of that venerable concept ‘Higher Self’. This is an ambiguous term; often it is simply a case of someone abstracting their favourite characteristics and cherishing them as the epitome of ‘spiritual culture’.

On the contrary, the Angel is of a nature which is beyond the terrestrial vehicle, and of which the mind can retain only fleeting glimpses. However, whether the Angel is a denizen of the Inner or the Outer, a refraction of a quintessential awareness or something wholly separate, is beside the point. There is no ‘Inner’ or ‘Outer’, simply because there is nothing of which to be inside or outside. We are attempting to understand in terrestrial, logical terms something the nature of which lies beyond such comprehension.

Contact with the Angel need not be some sudden, overwhelming bolt from the blue, like Saul of Tarsus being knocked from his horse in a blinding blaze of vision. More often, it is a case of a multitude of experiences which are cumulative, reach critical mass, and then assume shape. Again, the contact need not be sensed consciously, but might instead fertilise unknown dimensions of consciousness, dormant until there is a foreshadowing. There is one common characteristic: a durable link has now been forged between the terrestrial mind and those wider, deeper ranges of consciousness which nourish it. This growing, intimate awareness is of far more enduring worth than any amount of pyrotechnics – the sort of dramatic sound and fury which many magicians seem to expect from traffic with the Angel.

An initiation of such intensity is not confined to occultism; a similar experience runs like a thread through many different traditions and disciplines. The hallmark, though, is that there is an opening-up of awareness, a sensitivity to impressions which were not previously perceived. This can be seen across the gamut of creative artistry – artistry, that is, which is not simply human artifice. There can be no doubt that artists such as Beethoven, Dali, Mozart and van Gogh, to name but a few, were enjoying something so akin to traffic with their Angel that the only difference lies in the label put to the experience.

Traffic with the Angel is not the attainment of an individual – though, given the depths of our solipsist conditioning, it is perhaps inevitable that it should be seen as such. Rather, the impulse for communion comes from beyond the aspirant – from the Angel; it is the registering of this impulse which is the opening of the Working. The work of the aspirant lies not in striving for contact, but in preparing himself for the approach of the Angel. This is akin to true creativity; rather than manufacture, the artist seeks to render himself a fit channel through which inspiration is more likely to flow.

Approach of the Beyond

The approach of the Angel is sometimes figured as a lightning flash, a bolt or spear, a swift transfixion. This glyphs a sudden shift in perception or perspective, a swift change of vantage point, like waking from a dream. These are flickers of a wider awareness – the Beyond – bursting through momentarily. It is experienced as momentary by terrestrial mind since this is the only way in which eternity and infinity can be interpreted. This approach of the Beyond can assume myriad guises. It can take the form of dreams, such as in the case of Lovecraft; for a mathematician, it may be figured in the intuitive glimpse of subtle, profound and elusive formulae; for the artist, a beauty and symmetry that has never suffused his work before.

In terrestrial terms, we have the trafficking with wider and deeper ranges of consciousness, or alien contact. In reality, alien is the very last thing that it is; on the contrary, it is the communion with a deeper, more fundamental identity. This deeper identity is sometimes figured as the Aeon of Maat – which, although often masked as a span of time, is in fact a level of initiation. The Aeon of Maat glyphs this substratum of advaitic awareness in which the sense of terrestrial identity is rooted and with which it is suffused – an awareness, the glimmerings of which constitute traffic with the Angel. A consideration of the Aeon of Maat, therefore, has much light to throw on the subject of traffic with extra-terrestrial entities. It is as well to start with an account of the Aeons generally, and some thoughts on the Aeon of Horus in particular.

This will, inevitably, draw upon Crowley’s work, and make clear that the Aeon of Maat is implicit in that of Horus. Throughout much of Crowley’s work, the Aeons are presented in a relatively straightforward, literal manner: an Aeon spans approximately two thousand years, the succession of the Aeons being marked by the Precession of the Equinoxes. There were several early aeons which were primeval and prehistoric, covering many thousands of years, during which the universe was manifested and life evolved. More recently we have the emergence of the Aeons as they are more familiar to us – beginning with the Aeon of Isis. This was marked by a matrilineal pattern of organisation and the predominance of the feminine, reproduction considered to be by the female alone. With it came the worship of the Goddess as Mother, the male role being restricted to that of consort and son. This was succeeded by the Aeon of Osiris, during which the role of the Mother was superseded in importance by that of the Father, and the social pattern became patrilinear. This in its turn has given way to the Aeon of Horus, the eternal, ever-coming Child, marked by the growing awareness of the continuity of consciousness. The Aeon of Horus is a precursor to that of Maat, when the common nature of consciousness is realised. After this comes the Pralaya, the absorption of the manifest back into cosmic Night. In this way, manifestation is perpetually thrown forth and reabsorbed, in an eternal play of Being and Not-Being, of becoming and dissolution. This view concentrates on the Aeons as the unfolding or evolution of manifestation. They are also, however, stages of initiation or insight.

These two ways of regarding the Aeons – macrocosmic and microcosmic – are not different; they do not, even, represent the same principle applied on different planes. The key to the understanding of Maat is advaita: not divided. Awareness is a continuum, a gamut; an unbroken, ecstatic play which is yet Silence and Nothingness. This state of affairs is glyphed as 0 = 2: there is simply no difference between them. There are some interesting chinks in the more literal account of the succession of the Aeons. An aeon is defined as an indeterminate length of time; it may be an instant, or it could be on the scale of the Hindu yugas, which persist for hundreds of thousands of years. Crowley did on occasion depart from a purely historical view. For instance, verse 34 of Chapter III of Liber AL refers to the arising of the next Aeon “…when Hrumachis shall arise and the double wanded one assume my throne and place…”

The ‘Old Comment’, published in The Equinox volume one number VII, remarks:

Following him [Horus] will arise the Equinox of Ma, the Goddess of Justice, it may be a hundred or ten thousand years from now; for the Computation of Time is not here as There. Wherever “There” is, it is clearly beyond time, and thus independent of the astronomical phenomena of the Precession of the Equinoxes.

Elsewhere, Crowley refers to the possibility of the Aeon of Horus collapsing within a hundred years or so of its inception, if the work of preparation did not go well. This is depicted as catastrophe, with a collapse into a new Dark Age, and is again interesting as a departure from the inevitable, evolutionary and progressive view of Aonic succession.

The Nature of Force and Fire

There is no doubt that an indication of what lies beyond Horus is there in Crowley’s writings, for those who care to read between the lines. There are hints of a close relationship between Horus and Maat. In the ‘New Comment’ he has this to say about the same section of Chapter III verse 34 quoted earlier: Note the close connection between Leo and Libra in the Tarot, the numbers VIII and XI being interchanged with XI and VIII. There is no violent antithesis as that between Osiris and Horus; Strength will prepare the reign of Justice. We should begin already, as I deem, to regard this Justice as the Ideal whose way we should make ready, by virtue of our Force and Fire.

Horus is a preparation for the Aeon of Maat. What is the nature of this preparation? More to the point, for what are we preparing? Horus is of the nature of Force and Fire, and thus purgative. In this context, it purges the hindrances to the dawning of universal awareness, of pan-dimensional or cosmic consciousness. An awareness of the undying, ever-coming Son is the keynote of the Aeon of Horus. Death is not the extinction formerly considered, let alone the herald of hell or heaven; but a time of transition, of crossing over, of incarnating afresh, the sloughing off of one form and the reformulation into another. Atu XIII is a succinct representation of this – our old friend is shown there as not a Grim Reaper despatching tortured souls, but a dancer of reformulation. Consciousness roils, a perpetual shifting of forms.

A purgative involves disintegration, and this is the function of the Aeon of Horus. It is the illusion of separateness, of the absolute and sovereign individuality of consciousness, which is swept away. This is dissolution or dis-illusion – the erosion of the idea of separation from the rest of the universe, an idea which is ever naught but illusion. Horus disintegrates this sense of isolation, paving the way for reintegration into the unveiled, advaitic awareness of Maat. Maat is mentioned at various points in the course of Liber 418, The Vision and the Voice, as foreshadowing the Aeon to supersede that of Horus. The reference is generally to Themis, or Thmaist-Justice; but Crowley puts the equivalence beyond any doubt with a footnote in The Book of Thoth: “See AL III, 34. The reference is to Maat, Themis, Lady of the Balance”.

Joker At The Gate

Later in the same book, in the course of an essay on Atu 0, The Fool, comes a passage which identifies Maat with Atu 0, throwing into relief the import of the Aeon of Maat: In the medieval pack, the title of the card is Le Mat, adapted from the Italian Matto, madman or fool… If one assumes that the Tarot is of Egyptian origin, one may suppose that Mat (this card being the key card of the whole pack) really stands for Maut, the Vulture goddess, who is an earlier and more sublime modification of the idea of Nuith than Isis.

The affinity with Atu 0, The Fool – which glyphs, amongst other things, the innocence of undifferentiated consciousness – is the key to understanding the Aeon of Maat. The Tarot is a compendium of the course of initiation; and Atu 0 is, as Crowley indicates time and again, the key card in the whole pack. The reintegration of consciousness, and the dissolution of division, is the essence of initiation.

To Be Continued…

Text: Michael Staley (with kind permission) – Starfire Publishing


“Liber Samekh” – Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Approach of the Beyond” – Matt Baldwin-Ives
“The Nature of Force and Fire” – Sarah-Jayne Farrer & Matt Baldwin-Ives
(Clay, oil and acrylics on canvas board with photographic manipulations and digital art)
“The Joker at the Gate” – Matt Baldwin-Ives

Supping At The Angel & Feathers by Michael Staley – Part 1

Featured here with kind permission.


This article explores the link between three elements of magick – the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, extraterrestrialism, and the Aeon of Maat. The link is intimate – stripped of jargon, they are different facets of an identical experience. The experience is that of trafficking with wider and deeper ranges of consciousness – often referred to as ‘Outside’ or ‘Beyond’. Dissolving the veils of jargon, we find a beautiful simplicity at the core.

‘The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel’ is an extremely glamorous concept in the Western Magical Tradition. It remains nothing more than a concept until it has been experienced; and, once it has been experienced, the concept bears no relation whatever to the reality. This reality is an unshakeable insight into the substratum, the fountain of living waters which underlies and infuses the play of manifestation. Communion with the Angel may be realised by a formal Working such the Sacred Magic of Abramelin, or Crowley’s Liber Samekh; or it may arise with apparent spontaneity, an accumulation of experience which reaches ‘critical mass’.

Holy Guardian Angel

Contact is not, though, at the behest of the magician; it is the Angel which opens the Operation. This is because the magician is a facet of the Angel, not – as he or she might like to think – an autonomous being. The human is a terrestrial expression of the Angel, nothing more. ‘Extra-terrestrial’, therefore, refers to vast reaches of awareness that stretch beyond the terrestrial, and of which the terrestrial is a limited expression.

This extra-terrestrial reality is often referred to as the Aeon of Maat, the Matrix or Womb from which manifestation arises. The Aeons have been interpreted as periods of time which are bounded by the Precession of the Equinoxes, but this superficial interpretation veils the reality to which the term points. As in the Angel and extra-terrestrialism, we must look beyond the concept.

Some readers may be wondering about the basis for the above remarks. A number of years ago I received an unmistakeable call to undertake the Knowledge and Conversation, and it seemed clear to me that Liber Samekh was to be my chosen instrument. This was in spite of the fact that I did not consider myself to be competent in some of the magical techniques of Samekh; however, since the time had clearly arrived, I had to do my best with the skills available. I stuck closely to the format of Samekh in terms of frequency of ritual, order of stages, etc. Liber Samekh is a very intensive Operation, an accelerating intensity and frequency of working that has to be kept to. This intensity gives rise to a powerful momentum, the nature and intensity of which can be appreciated only by someone who has undertaken something similar.

The accelerating dynamism of the initial ten moons of Samekh is a preparation for the eleventh, culminating moon. The expectation is that the dynamism generated will hurl the aspirant into rapturous, orgasmic communion with the Angel. It doesn’t; the essence of this final moon is one of waiting for the approach of the Angel, who has indeed been the instigator of the Working. This is an extremely hard lesson; undoubtedly, it has to be learnt afresh at first hand by the aspirant.

There is a passage of Liber LXV, The Book of the Heart Girt with the Serpent which captures this point beautifully:

The prophet cried against the mountain; come thou hither, that I may speak with thee! The mountain stirred not. Therefore went the prophet unto the mountain, and spake unto it. But the feet of the prophet were weary, and the mountain heard not his voice. But I have called unto Thee, and I have journeyed unto Thee, and it availed me not. I waited patiently, and Thou wast with me from the beginning. This now I know, O my beloved, and we are stretched at our ease among the vines. But these, thy prophets; they must cry aloud and scourge themselves; they must cross trackless wastes and unfathomed oceans; to await Thee is the end, not the beginning.

The nature of the Angel is at once both simple and profound. It is the Gateway to the continuum of consciousness which lurks behind the mask of multiplicity, and which is extra-terrestrial; this continuum is also masked as the Aeon of Maat, which is not a sequence of time but insight into Reality. This Reality is ever-present, veiled by terrestrial identity; we have only to cease to be hypnotised by our self-imposed limitations, for it to become apparent that we are that Reality, always have been, and always will be. Hence the above line ‘I waited patiently, and Thou wast with me from the beginning’; it really is that simple. The notion of the jivanmukta, he who is liberated whilst still living, is a glorious one; on the other hand, the only thing keeping us from this liberation is the illusion that we are not free.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Your Angel knows of that gorgeous little tavern ‘The Angel & Feathers’ which is always just around every corner…

Supping At The Angel & Feathers

Supping At The Angel & Feathers:

It is as well at the outset to clarify the use of the term ‘terrestrial’. It denotes simply that which is earth-bound, or human. The terrestrial vehicle is a mask, an incarnation of a consciousness, the veils of which dissolve in the course of initiation. ‘Extra-terrestrial’, therefore, indicates that which is out with or beyond the comparatively narrow range of human, earth-bound, terrestrial consciousness. ‘Beyond’ or ‘Outside’ is often used in a similar fashion – that which lies beyond the confines of the terrestrial vehicle. A fine example of the use of the term ‘terrestrial’ in this context occurs in the first paragraph of Lovecraft’s story Beyond the Wall of Sleep:

…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 exist after waking…

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 this terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon. Magick has a mystical core – the realisation of sunyavada, the emptiness at the heart of matter. This emptiness is simultaneously a plenitude, nourishing in its depths the seed of manifestation which flowers in its perfection and then fades. The rhythm of the universe is maintained in a perpetual expansion and contraction, becoming and absorption. Initiation is the unveiling of consciousness; whether this is viewed as an internal or an external journey makes little odds, since both amount to the same thing. It is the assimilation of magical and mystical experience – a process of understanding, of insight. The nature of this insight is an awareness that consciousness does not rest with the individual, but is universal or cosmic; there is a continuum, not a multiplicity of isolated units.

Whatever the nature of the magical or mystical practices pursued, the real change is at the level of Jnana – intuitive knowledge. What changes is not consciousness, but that which we have previously thought of as ourselves in relation to it. Awareness is no longer restricted to the terrestrial vehicle; the focus shifts, attuning to wider and deeper ranges of consciousness beyond what was formerly considered to be the self.

Evoking the Interterrestrial

The sense of individuality is only a restriction or dungeon so long as we incarcerate ourselves therein, a bondage forged by our own preconceptions. We are all facets of the universe. There is no individual self which endures, but the flux and flow of perception, like wave after wave surging forth. The wave is a transient form of the water, giving way to another wave. Consciousness roils, throwing forth shadows from its depths; these shadows are the glamours of manifestation, a perpetual play which flows and shimmers, urgent and alive, sweeping this way and that. We are drawn from these shadows: not as monads, self-existent and eternally enduring; but as transient ripples of consciousness which flow outwards, melding and coalescing with other ripples. In this incessant weaving amidst the continuum of consciousness, self and not-self mingle and fuse, slipping back and forth, trespassing wantonly across apparent boundaries which have always been fluid.

To become alive to this transience seems an extraordinary thing; yet it is the most natural state in the world. It is a measure of how we have cut ourselves off from reality – drawn the covers over our heads and huddled in our ghettos. Initiation is a vitriol, dissolving the illusion of separateness. Only in recognising individuality as illusion, and ceasing to cling to it, can we see past what we are not, to the fecund infinity of that which we really are. This relinquishment is the pressing of the blood into the Cup of Babalon. It is a work of reconciliation: not of the melding of self and other, the microcosm and the macrocosm, the apparent individual and the rest of the universe, which have never been apart anyway; but of our awareness of that identity.

This reintegration is a path not of renunciation, but of fulfilment – of awakening to a wider, richer, deeper identity. It lies at the heart of magick, and is the Great Work.

Without such a vision, there is only results magic, which accentuates the sense of separation from the rest of the universe. This is the path of compulsive individuality, the attempt to seal up the blood in the body, to cling to the sense of separation, inured to the flux and flow of the universe – a tide which inevitably claims all transient shadows for the melting pot. This melting pot is the Cup of Babalon, from whence springs the gamut of existence, and to where it returns.  Initiation is thus not something which occurs to an individual. The terrestrial vehicle is a refraction of a much vaster field of awareness.

As initiation runs its course, awareness becomes wider and deeper, less bound up with the terrestrial vehicle, and increasingly alive to reaches which lie beyond. This is not a steady process, but unfolds by leaps of intuitive insight. Its course is sometimes expressed as a move from the self towards the Self – the totality, the cosmic consciousness, of which the self is a refraction. All knowledge is Self-knowledge, and initiation is a process of re-membering, or reintegration. All apparent entities are ranges of consciousness, equally vehicles of the Self. There is a sea of sentience; we traffic with wider and deeper ranges, and there is assimilation: “For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union”.

Entities such as Lam and Aiwass are no more entities in their own right than are human beings: not remote, august beings, but equally shadows in the sweep of sentience. The sentiments of Lovecraft in the passage already quoted are not so far from those of Crowley, when he wrote: My observation of the Universe convinces me that there are beings of intelligence and power of a far higher quality than anything we can conceive of as human; that they are not necessarily based on the cerebral and nervous structures that we know, and that the one and only chance for mankind to advance as a whole is for individuals to make contact with such Beings. Crowley’s traffickings with Aiwass and Amalantrah are examples of such contact. Crowley usually needed a medium to facilitate such communication, although there were occasions when mediumship did operate fitfully for him: the glimpses of Aiwass during the earthing of Liber AL, for instance. In the case of the Amalantrah Working, this mediumship was provided by several Scarlet Women, who were sensitised by sex, drugs, and alcohol in various combinations, and became oracular.


Their visions were often located at an astral Temple, peopled by doubles of those taking part in the physical sessions, as well as the forms of colleagues who were at a distance. Frequently what the medium was seeing and hearing was meaningless to her, but oracular and intended for the comprehension of Crowley. Communication was sometimes explicit; more often it was subtler, the essence being conveyed by means of numbers, symbols, I Ching hexagrams, Tarot cards, and the like. Communication in this fashion may seem at first sight perverse, and wilfully obscure.

However, the use of gematria and symbols can spark intuitive leaps, flashes of insight that are simply not amenable to expression in words. It is not unlike the mathematician’s approach to communication in terms of pure number, as being more precise than language in its apprehension. Thus, Workings such as that with Amalantrah, or those in the Algerian desert in 1909, go beyond the subjective – although there is bound to be some such tincture, like light shining through coloured glass. These are records of traffic with extra-terrestrial forces, and their worth is substantiated by the fact that, years later, other occultists are able to study these records and make creative use of them, with a view to picking up some of the multitude of threads and continuing with them.

To Be Continued…

Text: Michael Staley (with kind permission) – Starfire Publishing


“Holy Guardian Angel”: Sarah-Jayne Farrer
“Supping At The Angel & Feathers”: Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Evoking the Interterrestrial”: Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Amalantrah”: Matt Baldwin-Ives

The Kisses that Foam and Bleed

The Kisses That Foam And Bleed

I bring ye wine from above,
From the vats of the storied sun;
For every one of ye love,
And life for every one.
Ye shall dance on hill and level;
Ye shall sing in hollow and height
In the festal mystical revel,
The rapturous Bacchanal rite!
The rocks and trees are yours,
And the waters under the hill,
By the might of that which endures,
The holy heaven of will!
I kindle a flame like a torrent
To rush from star to star;
Your hair as a comet’s horrent,
Ye shall see things as they are!
I lift the mask of matter;
I open the heart of man;
For I am of force to shatter
The cast that hideth -Pan!
Your loves shall lap up slaughter,
And dabbled with roses of blood
Each desperate darling daughter
Shall swim in the fervid flood.
I bring ye laughter and tears,
The kisses that foam and bleed,
The joys of a million years,
The flowers that bear no seed.
My life is bitter and sterile,
Its flame is a wandering star.
Ye shall pass in pleasure and peril
Across the mystic bar
That is set for wrath and weeping
Against the children of earth;
But ye in singing and sleeping
Shall pass in measure and mirth!
I lift my wand and wave you
Through hill to hill of delight :
My rosy rivers lave you
In innermost lustral light..
I lead you, lord of the maze,
In the darkness free of the sun;
In spite of the spite that is day’s
We are wed, we are wild, we are one.

Words “Dionysus”: Aleister Crowley
Image “The Kisses that Foam and Bleed”: Sarah-Jayne Farrer & Matt Baldwin-Ives