In the bright crystal of your eyes
Show the havoc of fire, show its inspired works
And the paradise of its ashes

Paul Eluard

In her “Blake and Antiquity”, Kathleen Raine, the eminent scholar of William Blake, writes in the chapter “The Nether-World of Alchemy”, about Blake’s paracelsian influences. Perhaps one could take it as a mark of Blake’s genuine Gnosticism that in his visionary world, nature and forests are always symbolic of evil. His shadowy female, Vala, roams “in forests of eternal death, and shrieking in hollow trees”.

The forests especially are associated with smoke and fire. According to Kathleen Raine, Blake is here following the ideas of Paracelsus on nature’s Great Mystery. Here nature is seen as in eternal flame, always burning as it grows, endlessly returning to the nothing from which it emerges. Thus all of nature is essentially but a heap of ashes, and her creatures but fumes and smoke. Thus the dark female spirit of the woods, the personification of “the ever-growing, the ever-consuming mystery of nature”, is called The Demoness of Smoke.

In India, there is also a fierce Goddess, called Durga, who, like Vala, is dressed in red and associated with forest fires. Like the demoness Vala, who shrieks in the hollow trees, Durga is originally, in her earlier form as Shakambari, a devouring goddess of vegetation from whose body the different plants grew, and who has Her home in the ghostly-looking sheora tree, that is a traditional habitant of demonesses in India. But although Durga is a mother of demons, she is also, and most prominently, the slayer of demons.

In the 2nd chapter Devi Mahatmya, dedicated to Mahalakshmi, the gods are losing their battle against the demi-gods, when they bring forth Durga from their combined anger, giving each Her their signature weapons, and a lion for Her to ride on into the cosmic battle field. Here are two examples of Her association with forest fires from the Devi Mahatmya:

Her lion mount, shaking its mane in fury, stalked among the throngs as fire rages through forest. (2.52)

In an instant, Ambika led that vast legion of foes to its destruction, as quickly as fire consumes a heap of straw and wood. (2.67)

The scope of this cosmic forest fire is lucidly clarified by Brahmas’ words in the 1st chapter:

By you is this universe supported, of you is this world born, by you it is protected, O Devi, and you always consume it in the end. You are the creative force at the world’s birth and its sustenance for as long as it endures. So even at the end of this world, you appear as its dissolution, you who encompass it all. You are the great knowledge and the great illusion, the great intelligence, the great memory and the great delusion, the great goddess and the great demoness. You are the primordial matter, differentiating into threefold qualities of everything. You are the dark night of periodic dissolution, the great night of final dissolution, and the terrifying night of delusion. You are radiant splendor; you reign supreme yet are unassuming; you are the light of understanding. Modesty are you, and prosperity, contentment, tranquility and forebearence. (1.75 – 79).

As the fiery renewal of nature she is both the protecting Goddess and the annihilating Demoness, and the dark nothingness from which the woods grow up and into which they return, ever in unseen flames. The paraclesian realization that all nature and creatures are but ashes is echoed in the old Shaiva vow of the Pashupata sect from the Atharvasiras Upanishsad, in which the initiate confirms that everything is ash – but sacred ash, for fire makes holy.

A similar realization is found in the alchemical interpretation of the sign reading INRI attached to the wood above the head of the crucified Christ:” Igne Natura Renovatur Integra”, that is Latin for “through fire nature is reborn whole”. This invisible fire is not unlike a presence in all nature. The beginnings and the endings of the myriads of worlds can be found from a dim glow of the will-o-the-wisp by night. She becomes a companion, inspiring such reveries as Gaston Bachelard’s in his “The Psychoanalysis of Fire”:

Death in the flame is the least lonely of deaths. It is truly a cosmic death in which a whole universe is reduced to nothingness along with the thinker. The funeral pyre accompanies him in his passing.

Bachelard, Gaston: “The Psychoanalysis of Fire”
Foster, Damon, S.: “A Blake Dictionary”
Kali, Devadatta: “In Praise of the Goddess – The Devimahatmya and Its Meaning”
McDaniel, June: “Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls”
Raine, Kathleen: “Blake and Antiquity”

Abrahamic Immanence of the Philosophical Monsters – A Consideration of Max Beckmann’s “The Night”

As we are not here considering Art History, but instead the universal distribution of archetypical ideas, we can just state that Max Beckmann (1884 – 1950) was a German Expressionist and a New Objectivist. He was, also, a traumatized veteran of the First World War. That Max Beckmann was indeed all these things, seems obvious when viewing his 1919 large oil paint masterpiece, “The Night”.

The painting depicts a scene of three thugs breaking and entering a gothic garret, and violating the inhabitants. The painting is crammed tight with angled distortions, conveying simultaneously dynamisms and frozenness. Objects become alive with unbearable morbid emotion, and the overall milieu of the painting reminds one of the psychological settings of some German Expressionist films – not least The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

Although the horrible happenings in the painting can be related to some of the severe social upheavals of the 1919 Germany, the artist himself has insisted that when considering “The Night”, one should not overlook “the metaphysical in the objective”. To be more precise, Beckmann wished to give “human beings an image of their destiny”, that is, a memento mori.

What makes this memento mori especially haunting is its quality of Abrahamic Immanence. This means that the painting distributes us Biblical characters, as archetypes inhabiting the eternal present, and vitally inherent in each passer-by we chance to meet. In the case of this painting, we meet here characters from the history of Christian painting

The man being hanged at the far-left side of the painting, has his facial expression and the twisted leg borrowed from Matthias Grünewald’s Christ in the artist’s early 14th Century Isenheim Altarpiece. The two figures are actually mirroring each other, with their head and foot twisting in opposite directions. Beckmann saw Grünewald as one of “the four great painters of manly mysticism”, the other three champions of this unsentimental religious art being Malesskircher, Bruegel and Van Gogh.

At the far- right of the painting we encounter a stereotypical brute, sporting a horseshoe moustache and a peaked cap. He is holding open the window with one hand, and crabbing a surprisingly serene looking female with the other. This ruffian is lifted straight from a detail in 13th Century Italian gothic fresco called “The Triumph of Death”. After inspecting this same horseshoe-mustached face first in a the 13th Century gothic apocalypse (at the lower right corner of the fresco, dressed in blue), and next, intruding from the outer darkness of the Weimar Republic night, and through a disturbingly angled window, to snatch away a dreamy blonde, one cannot help but to be overwhelmed by the feeling of the uncanny. Has Abrahamic Immanence ever before produced such a shadowy and timeless presence!

From the same gothic fresco, we find a depiction of a well-known Medieval memento mori -theme, The Meeting of the Three Living and the Three Dead (at the lower left corner of the fresco). It was told that there were three kings who lost their way in the forest during a hunt, and met with three living corpses, who reminded the kings of their mortality, and warned against life devoted solely to pleasure. Now, we meet similar living dead in Charnel Grounds of Buddhist Religious Art. The equally well-known characters are the executed corpses, the walking skeletons and the zombies. These are creatures that many have encountered only in horror fiction. But the monsters in the Charnel Grounds are not fictional, but philosophical; The corpses that are impaled or hanged or dismembered represent false ideas of the self, the zombies exemplify the realization of no-self, and the skeletons are symbols of the inherent emptiness of all things.

In the same way, the monstrous men inhabiting the almost Lovecraftian angles of Beckmann’s “The Night” are Philosophical Monsters. They are images of human destinies, immanent and uncanny through the centuries. But, although there is a universal aspect to these Philosophical Monsters, each one of the monstrous manifestations in art is also unique. The interesting question is, I think, what is the individual message of these specific monsters, the Philosophical Monsters of Max Beckmann’s painting. This is a question I leave to you, dear reader.

Beckmann has told that he once saw in his dream William Blake, who spoke these words: “Have faith in objects; do not let yourself be intimidated by the horror of the world”. Perhaps these words shall profit us, too, in our contemplation of “The Night”


This article has been partly inspired by two books: “The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art” (Palgrave Macmillan) by Charlene Spretnak, and “Expressionism” (Taschen) by Norbert Wolf.

Interview with our International Brethren vol. II

We have again interviewed our international members. The following questions were asked:

1. When or how did you begin to consider yourself a Satanist?

2. Has the membership changed you as a person? How?

3. As the majority in the fraternity are Finns, and the brotherhood was founded in Finland, do you feel like this poses challenges for you as a member?



Male, member for 4 years

  1. Actually, I guess I found myself identifying more as a Satanist some time after I joined the Star of Azazel. I initially identified with a more general Left Hand Path perspective – of which Satanism could be described as a more focussed strain – before I was attracted to the Satanic and/or Luciferian archetypes presented by various authors, of whom Jung is probably the most important, at least in terms of my self-identification.
  2. It’s difficult to say directly. Reading Fosforos certainly had an effect on my personality, as did talking to various members. However, I think it was approximately six months after I first read Fosforos and joined the forums that I formally joined the Star of Azazel. Although this might initially sound like a negative reaction, I became increasingly dissatisfied with various aspects of my life during this time. However – without boring anyone with details – while membership of the Star of Azazel was a significant contributor to this realisation, it was also a significant contributor to the subsequent impulse to actively remedy it.
    3. No, not really. Pretty much every Finnish member I’ve talked to has spoken excellent English, despite fervant protestations to the contrary. As someone who isn’t so much of a social person, physically meeting people isn’t so important to me, although it’s of course nice when it happens.



Male, member for 3 years

  1. Even with the benefit of hindsight, it is hard to identify any particular or singular moment that I first began to identify myself as a Satanist. I was raised from birth in a relatively strong Catholic environment, which despite being aesthetically interested in, I knew from a very early age to encompass an experience and understanding of the spirit that I could not relate to. I was lucky enough to develop a very close and kinetic relationship with my step Grandfather from a young age, who spent many an informative year walking with me in nature, where I believe his heart truly belongs. There was something incredibly special for me in those moments, and I understood then what I can now identify as there being something very holy within nature as a result of my luck in that exposure. This very pure experience connected me to the spirit and a sense of honesty and meaning, which the world of the church and the environment within which I group up did not. I naturally therefore gravitated to finding the Devil, which then found me in all my interests and leanings to follow.

    As I grew older and experienced life as a teenager, I had a very polarised view of the world. I was always on the fringe of whatever environment I found myself in, and was very much isolated and opposite to most of what I found around me. This harboured a natural relationship with the adversary, and a lot of my experiences and feelings during my teenage years in particular led me to know and accept the darker, more challenging sides of life.

    The first time I tangibly considered and ‘labelled’ myself a Satanist was during my mid teenage years. Although at the time this was possibly a little idealistic and was with little or no understanding of exactly what that meant, it was an incredibly important moment for me, which I remember well.

2. Absolutely; exponentially, and it continues to do so in a dynamic and evolving way. My part within the Star of Azazel has vivified my work, and has contributed significantly to a greater understanding of myself, and thus of my work and place within it. It has given me a sense of courage and confidence to not only ask but also seek out the questions at ones core, as well as an acceptance of these. This courage and confidence, so to speak, is an inner as well as an outer one, and I believe it to be a visible change externally, as well as an internal one.

3. Before applying for membership to the Star of Azazel, this was among my primary concerns and considerations, making me reluctant to apply for quite some time. However, since being accepted and joining the Star of Azazel, the welcome and patience has been flawless.
That said, being a non-Finn has and does pose personal challenges, but I have not experienced these as negative, and they do certainly not come as a result of the brotherhood itself. Rather, the challenges come with how willing one is to adapt and integrate themselves into something which seeks unity far beyond geographic and national difference.

Perhaps it inhibits the more social and personal opportunities that some may seek. However, with that said, although I didn’t initially seek it, some of the relationships that I have developed with members of the brotherhood are the most honest, open and meaningful that I could ever have imagined having in my life. My work is also far deeper and meaningful than it ever was before.

In truth, the majority of Finns speak English with far more finesse and vernacular than the majority of natively English speaking people do, so the language barrier is minimal.
The challenges really come down to how open one is prepared to be, and the brotherhood accommodates a relationship of both a close and distant tendency.


Male, member for 2,5 years

  1. I found a connection to Satanism quite early in my occult studies, which back then mostly where antagonistic in character. I have been an angry young man, who felt that something was deeply wrong with the world; as such, I did not really see any value in worldviews that saw the good and positive in Life, but delved over time deeper and deeper into the darker side of occult philosophy.In a sense, I began to consider myself a Satanist rather early, even though the schools I studied didn’t feel like they’d reflect my reason to do so. If ever anyone would have asked me back then, why I would do so, or what Satan actually means to me, I probably couldn’t even have given an adequate answer; there was something that I learned to call Satan, but I could not point my finger at it. Only later in Life things got more concrete, and the character of what I called Satan became visible. I believe that in a sense, the actual being behind such name was hidden behind what we call his mask; the essence always managed to slip my grasp. It was not before certain experiences that I slowly began to see concretely what had interested me for so long; experiences opposite to those I underwent before, which began to loosen old forms in thought and practice.By heart, I am a satanist; but if at all, I most seldom openly referred to myself as one. This label is quite open for misunderstanding, I believe. Plus, as it is put so well in the Article “Why Satan?” on our web page, the name may easily change, and is as such not as important to me as that which hides behind.
  2. Definitively. The contact and exchange with like-minded, wonderful people has, in a way, taught me to accept and trust myself more than before. It has helped me personally a lot to see that no matter what ideas I have in mind, it is likely that there is someone who can understand, relate or put his or her possibly even contrary position to discussion. Likewise, this increased my acceptance of others, their views and their lives. Another important change I see in the emphasis of honesty that I won over time, both in relation to myself and others. If one works together with people or even just one’s self esoterically, I believe honesty is crucial. The philosophy the Star of Azazel represents surely had its part in these changes; the more time passed, the more it grew on me. Still, these points are in no wise restricted to the Fraternity or my membership, but reflect into my everyday life also. I quickly learned how various brethren underlined the importance of an holistic approach towards occultism, and discovered how good and important a point that actually is.
  3. Especially during the first year and a half I was indeed struggling a bit to find my connection to the Brotherhood. To me personally, it was somewhat difficult back then to feel like I truly belong to a group of people who I could not see so easily, which didn’t exactly made it easier to approach people online either. in times, I felt rather isolated and shied away from activity on the forum. In the worst times, I even considered quitting, unsure about what I could possibly contribute to the brotherhood. But the crux of all my doubts has always been the lack of a felt connection, and for me personally, practice did the trick. Even by simply establishing a prayer practice on a daily basis, I moved by heart closer and closer to the brotherhood. My doubts disappeared and I became more active. Needless to say that working together with the brethren increased the effect my participation in practice had on me. Actually meeting with other members has helped a lot as well; it took away the almost “romantic” notion of a brotherhood far, far away and made things more concrete. So, hoping to hereby answer the actual question: Yes, being an international member of a brotherhood rooted in Finland surely brought about its challenges. But, like most I encountered in life, they have been deeply rewarding.


To read the previous interview, visit vol. I

Enemy of Oneness

I’m watching a man in front of a conveyor belt. His movements are exact and steady, but still he keeps repeating the same mistakes he has done for a thousand times. He is not the kind of a man that people usually think of as wise. He enjoys peace and rowing his boat as he fishes with a hook and line. He only takes what he needs. He has never intentionally caused harm to anyone. He does not like boats with motors that much. They will break the water’s surface and the surrounding silence. He is a harmless man and he is not guilty for my anxiety.

The man raises his gaze and speaks to me, but I can’t understand him. I’m away. I know that he rarely asks anything so I smile and nod. The man continues his numb performance, in a role that he has adapted to, as he is trying his best with what has been given to him. This reference applies to both; to this man subjectively and to mankind as a whole.

I’m a very apocalyptic person. And while that hasn’t changed, everything else has. One of the most memorable moments in my life were the passing seconds when I was able to look at him, a fool, as an irrational representative Of Man, without being distressed and hateful. Before that my path has not been much more than a desperate cry on how the world is not how it should be. After the first spiritual crisis there is always more to come. But in suffering, as a gift from life, there is always hope and potential for growth.

My deep feelings for the forests, which I used to call nature, were a sanctuary built on a burial ground. Unable to see that there is also beauty in a barren landscapes, which are also a part of nature. I had violently separated all those dear to me from oneness, as I magnetized myself into vanishing emotions. Praising the decay of the world, while desperately trying to save what I felt was important. Preaching hate towards mankind, as I saw we do not belong in this world.

One should abandon visions for changing the world, as it is complete. Wave the white flag with pride and joy, willing to sacrifice everything. The true change takes place within yourself.

Our New Chairman

Today, on the 7th May 2017, the Star of Azazel has been in function as a society for 130 months. Every one of these has consisted of intensive work. As an idea of the occult brotherhood working in the application of uniting the opposites in esotericism, and for the ideal of oneness, the philosophy of the Star of Azazel is now eighteen years old, and is thus coming to the age of an independent young person. The “Tree” of our society – its living, growing structure – has taken root beautifully, and has endured both storms and the challenges of daily routines.

This is a good day for the first change to the society’s chairmanship. Having been the chairman for the society myself up to this date, today that office is given to sister Heith. The brotherhood – as well as many an outside observer – know her as industrious, trustworthy, energetic, efficient and a creative guide. Especially in the parts outside of Finland; Heith’s ability to build bridges and help other members to find forms to activate themselves is well known.

I will continue my work in the inner group of the Star of Azazel. To leave the chairmanship as well as some other responsibilities to other hands is for me personally a day of joy and celebration. The office of a guide or a leader is, and it should be, a heavy responsibility. The one who wants to guide others is not apt to do so; a real leader knows the hardships and the problems of leadership, and finds themselves at the center of situations that are many layered and challenging. From this central point, they must consider all angles and proceed with a practical application that is best for all. Let our gratefulness and respect therefore be with our new chairman, who takes this burden upon her shoulders for the common ideal and the common Great Work, with knowledge and understanding of the aforementioned and its responsibility.

Fear Not Your Freedom


John Collier – The Death of Albine

Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

The aim of our lives, I often reflect, should be to become free. Free to exist as we wish, to dare to think, look and to feel in a way that reflects our true selves.

For an artist, freedom is in some ways allowed more easily than to others. In this profession, one is allowed to be a little strange. In some ways it is even expected of an artist; expected that our daily rhythms are not so fixed, that we may be wholly and completely arrested by the smallest thing -a blade of a grass which cuts the air swiftly like a sword, the eye of a fish opening a gate to the underworld with its stare, a paragraph in a book which was written as if straight into our heart with love’s hot needle. So the creative mind swoons at the face of such mysteries, deeply moved, and the person who is perhaps not so inclined looks upon this and thinks, what a wonderfully easy, free (and a little bit useless) life you must lead!

But, freedom is no synonym to comfortable, nor to easy (as is indeed not, the life of an artist, either). Quite the opposite. Freedom is actually quite difficult. It takes work, to not to care for the critics and the slander, to keep doing your thing when all the doors seem to close while simultaneously, nothing opens, to do your thing despite that it may be something which is not considered the norm. Any practicer of the Left Hand Path is familiar with such confrontations with their surroundings. Success takes that one is true to themselves and very brave, which is very hard indeed.

John Collier – Lady Godiva

Certainly, freedom is not for everyone, because not everyone can handle it. We are taught to not handle it; we are taught to not lead and to not experience, but to obey and follow instructions and protocols. To not care very much, to not feel very deeply. The curse of our times is a kind of nihilism and apathy. It’s very easy to fall prey to belittling everything -that one person can’t make a difference, that at a certain age one should no longer play, that things don’t matter, that I should not hold the reins of my own life – and so forth.
What I often find common in people who are, shall we say, free, is that they think of death quite a lot. The realisation that everything dies; one’s parents, friends, pets, yourself, that time is ticking away- there’s something very liberating in this. Both because we will cease to be, our bodies will disappear into the earth, and slowly every item that we touched, will break, be forgotten, burned, thrown away- it all will come to dust.

Death truly is the great liberator and depending on how we relate to death and dying, the idea of dying can either feel like a suffocating prison or the ultimate freedom.

Death will tear away the chains of flesh which bind us here. It will tear away our emotions, the things we touch, the things that touched us. In the face of our struggles, problems, fears, death looks upon, impassive, untouched, inevitable.
What a wonderful thing, that in the midst of life which is filled with chaos, something can be trusted to happen so surely. Perhaps death is the only thing that can be trusted.

Then why should one be afraid of anything if the price for that is the loss of one’s freedom, or that one would never even taste freedom in the first place? How many times is it so that a person, at the moments before their death feels fear and regret? Regret for the things they did not do, for the words they dared not speak in fear of being ridiculed or judged? The passions they dreamt of but never dared live?

It may well be a life-long journey to learn how to fear no more -to not fear freedom, nor that great liberator to whom we all must in the end bow our heads to. But these are worth thinking about. The latter will come inevitably whether one wants it or not. But the former is something that one has to work towards achieving and earning.


John William Waterhouse – Psyche Opening the Golden Box

Interview with Our International Brethren

A while back, on our Finnish language blog, some of our members were asked short questions on how it is like to be a member in the Star of Azazel. We decided to repeat this, but this time, it is our international brethren who answer the questions.


1. Why did you decide to join the Star of Azazel?

2. As occult work can also be done alone, what kind of added value do you feel that a fraternity gives to your work?

3. What kind of hopes do you have for the development or direction of the fraternity in the future?


Male, member for two years

  1. Before I joined the Star of Azazel, I have been studying the occult alone. I was searching for exchange with and the possibility to learn from like-minded people, and a chance to grow over the person I have been back then. I felt the need to test my own experiences and perspectives against that of others, since I think that if we go such path all own our own, we may easily fall prey to fallacy. In another aspect, I began to see importance in carrying what I learned outside into the world and become more active in general.

2. Through my membership, I got to know Fraternity as a value in itself. I believe that occultism brings up problems that are not understood and cannot be helped with by many people. For years I have experienced this as a dissonance between myself and the world around me, which doesn’t exactly make a good ground to thrive and work. I experienced fraternity to connect individuals that go a similar path and to bring about mutual understanding & inspiration. Also, I think such fraternal connection to a collective may ease the suffering one may encounter upon one’s path. I believe that being part of such a Fraternity imbeds one into a context that goes beyond that of the individual, which comes with the constant possibility to go beyond oneself.

3. I would love to see the Fraternity growing internationally, and maybe even lodges being formed outside of Finland. I think the latter would give both the collective and the individual greater possibilities to work, and that concentrated groups of people forming a spiritual center point, so to speak, is quite beneficial for both fraternity and outsiders.

Female, member for two years

1. I’ve been a solitary dabbler into all things esoteric pretty much since I was born. However, because of my personal psychological makeup, I didn’t find it possible to join esoteric groups before. Partially this is because lots of them seem to require conformity of belief, because I didn’t find groups who have a mature and grounded relationship with the occult, and for the large part, because of my own lack of humility and openness toward other people. At the time, I talked with my old friend (also a member of the Star of Azazel), who encouraged me to join the open discussion forums. I did, and I found the discussion to be interesting and often substantial, and that I was ready.

       I’m not a Satanist or a Satan worshipper, however, and that aspect of SoA seemed foreign to me since I have trouble with dualities and don’t “believe” in them. However, I am dedicated to Truth and believe in the Absolute as an Immanent All and I felt that my beliefs were in line with the basic premises of SoA. We are, so to speak, on parallel paths, or that’s how it feels like. I think the differences are mainly on level of chosen symbols. SoA has been wonderfully welcoming toward me even if I don’t share the symbolism.

2. Well, first of all, when dealing with the occult, people are in dealings with very subtle, often non-materially based things that are in stark contrast with what is usually thought to be real in our everyday, western, rationalistic existence. It can be things like ghosts, clairsentience, or magic, just to name a few. This causes occultists to position themselves somewhere in the fringes of the society, and too often they have to experiment with things without a strong network of teachers. This can be dangerous because imagination is a wondrous thing and from the subjective point of view, it is often hard to tell the difference between ramblings of a mind off its rocker, and real knowledge of the occult. The beauty of esoteric groups is that, ideally, they provide a grounding network for an occultist so that they can be informed if and when they get ungrounded and off track. I’ve seen this work within SoA network, and greatly appreciate it.

 Additionally, working in group can provide inspiration and power, and give a person space to talk about these matters. For me, personally, talking about my experiences with the Ineffable has been important, and I’ve gained very practical benefit from participating in some exercises and from reading other people’s views on matters such as the Tarot. I’ve learned a lot. Also, it’s simply nice to have the connection with like-minded people.

3. This is a hard question to answer. I feel off loop due to my absence from the forums and because I’ve never been involved with the inner workings of SoA. Perhaps I should wish for more practices that could be done at distance so that us international members can participate (but realize too that now is not my time simply because of technical difficulties). Others who are more involved hopefully have more vision than I do.

Male, member for three years

  1. I decided to join the Star of Azazel after reading Fosforos, but especially after joining the forum. There are people from a variety of different backgrounds who all approach Satanism, Left Hand Path philosophies etc. in sincere and interesting ways.

2. This relates to the above, but communicating with other people is very important. I think in a particular way, yet am often blind to problems or suggestions that others with different perspectives can easily identify. Conversing with other members, either on the forum or in person, has therefore been incredibly beneficial for me and hopefully vice versa.

3. To be honest, I have no idea. However, I assume as membership of the Star of Azazel increases I’m sure different insights, but also challenges, will arise. I suppose my hope is that these will be productive as I’m sure they have the potential to be.

Spelling Thusness

It was one of the poet Arthur Rimbaud’s most inspired ideas to formulate a system where vowels were associated with colours – “A Black, E white, I red, U green, O blue”. The basics of such systems of correspondences are quite familiar to modern occultists, as there must be at least a dozen books dedicated to such tables of correspondences alone. What I find mostly lacking, though, is the poetic fancy to bring these lists alive.

In Rimbaud, however, we find no such lack.

From the blackness of “A” Rimbaud conjures up an image of jacket made of flies, held together, it seems, by a variety of foul stenches, or “Gulfs of shadow”. And from his blue “O” he lets out an uncanny sound of that noisome instrument, the trumpet, only to introduce us in his next sentence to a plurality of silences, “crossed by Worlds and Angels”. And so forth.

With his wild variety of seership, Rimbaud manages, I think, to express something of the inexpressible. He seems to find some queer angle through which he is able to cause a response from the very thusness of a vowel. Now, it is not the essential meaning of the thing that he teases out. Rather than that, he seems to harass a vowel’s thusness, until the very power of that thusness causes a verbal shockwave to explode. And how immense is the power of a thusness! It is almost as if Rimbaud touches the core of the vowel, and with a dirty fingernail splits an atom therein.

Now what are vowels, unless the very building blocks of our minds and our experiences – our Angels and our Worlds. How much more subtle, and how much more powerful, then, is the thusness of a vowel? So much so, that the quest for it cannot be confined to modern poetry, but it must be a spiritual quest.

What, then, could be for us a good example of a spiritual quest? Buddhism, in all her different forms, could be described as a spiritual quest. And certainly, at least in her most sober core, Kabbalah is a spiritual quest. So let us look for a short path – a left-hand path – to thusness in these two noble quests, by simply looking closely at the meanings of the word “thus” in both traditions respectively. If Rimbaud found it in a wovel, could we not discover at least something of it in a whole word?

It is said that every Buddhist Sutra begins with the words “Thus have I heard…” (Evam maya srutam…) Now, the unsuspecting reader might think this is just a customary way to begin a story, not unlike our “Once upon a time there was…” The first, and perhaps the most obvious meaning of these words is, that the Sutras were heard from the mouth of the Gautama Buddha by the ear of his faithful cousin Ananda. But as we are dealing with a genuine holy writ, we are actually plunged into fathomless depths of meaning from the very first word: “Thus”, or, in Sanskrit, “Evam”.

The word is composed of two sacred syllables, the E and the VAM. This word, evam, is called The Casket of Buddha-Gems, and in it are united all the Buddhas and all the Dakinis, expressing the essence of all the Sutras and all the Tantras. This means that in the word “thus” are united the syllable E, which is the Bhaga, that is, the Kteis; and the syllable VAM, which is Kulisa, that is, the Phallus. And again, E is the wisdom of female emptiness, and VAM is the compassion of the masculine principle of the skillful means. To quote the Vajra Garland:

E is emptiness it is taught
Likewise, VAM is compassion.
The bindu results from their union.
This union is the supreme marvel
Embracing the 84,000 dharma teachings.
In short, it is the seal of the dharma.

This sort of elaborate world of meanings unfolding from such a simple and unsuspected word as “thus” is not an exception. This same word, “thus”, when used in the Hebrew Scriptures, is actually even more pregnant with meanings. These meanings are dealt with in depth by the 11th century kabbalist Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla in his masterful treatise “The Gates of Light” (Sha’are Orah).

Here the word “thus” or koh is understood as a formula for an aspect and an attribute of God. Koh is called the Gate of Prayers, through which death, sickness and barrenness are transformed into life, mercy and fruitfulness. Koh is blessing received from the highest spiritual source of Kether, the highest sephira.

When God in Genesis 5:15 took Abraham outside at night and invited him to count the stars if he could, God made an obvious comparison between the countless number of the stars and the numerous people to whom Abraham would become the venerable founding father. But when God pronounces “Thus (koh) will be your offspring”, we find out from Rabbi Gikatilla that the word koh opens much deeper vistas from His words than a mere prophecy.

We are told that the sentence is practically an empowerment, and by koh is meant a divine attribute of the Kether Elyon, that is, the source of the movement of the wandering stars. And by this divine attribute, which Abraham shall pass on to his offspring, he should be able to enter the “source of all sources” – the sublimity of the Thusness. This experience is described as a profoundly healing one.

The idea that koh is the way to the source of movement in the Universe,  corresponds with the Tantric meaning of the Sanskrit word evam. For it is the interplay of the E and the VAM, the female and the male principles, that is the source of vibration that animates the Universe, or makes everything move, so to speak.

Although we have only scratched the surface of much deep contemplation on the words evam and koh, we leave off the spiritual quest for now, and return to the poetic one. In the end it is this very interplay of the subtlety of thusness and the robust vitality of the manifest form that makes poetry so terribly alive. When one is really aware of this constant vibration in seemingly static things, even the sight of a blank page can become almost unbearably energizing experience; one letter is like a chariot of fire; one word like a rain of mountains from the sky; one sentence like hearing the footsteps of God in a garden of speaking serpents.


Of the Elements



Stone, that foundation on which we build. Planets are formed from rocks drifting in the cold void of space, a extremely hostile environment. Often it seems that nothing is as lifeless as a stone, but in truth, stone is absolutely necessary for life, because it has minerals.

Minerals dissolve into water. And with the help of air and a spark, say, a lightning, these two begin to interact with one another. Soon the water begins to change colour. It begins to live, to create new forms which soon begin to affect air as well. Everything becomes connected.

It is miraculous.

Let us ponder for a moment the alchemic, esoteric meanings of this life-birthing formulae and to compare it to the model presented to us by the aspects of the Star of Azazel. In here we have all of those key ingredients required for birthing something. Stone, Water, Fire and Air.

If we remove one key ingredient, the process stops. Likewise, if there is an excess of one element, the overall development becomes slower. But when all ingredients are present, new things are born; minerals, gases and other things which are invisible to the eye, yet irreplaceable to the development of life. Animals, plants, all need these invisible particles in order to survive. Everything begins to move, and at the same time, it keeps on dissolving, burning, changing shape.

In a similar fashion one could say that spiritual development requires time and those invisible key ingredients – which we here call elements of esotericism- in order to be achieved.

It is easy to consider one aspect or en element better or more inviting than the others. This is quite natural when one thinks about it. After all, we do interact with our environment constantly. In a act as subtle as breathing, we release a part of us into our surroundings, which then begins to interact and to alter those surroundings. So it seems only logical that we would find our place more naturally in a certain aspect; perhaps there are those small particles of that aspect floating about in us in great numbers and thus it draws us in. Or perhaps it is simple something which we need to in order to complete a new kind of particle, an idea.

Then of course there are those people who wish to go against the grain and choose an aspect or element which seems hard, even a little bit unfitting to their temperament. These are the people who have the possibility to most dynamically create new minerals (but of course, like in all experiments, the possibility to fail is at least equally large), which float around and become absorbed by the other aspects. Which ever aspect we choose to be our path in this life is all part of the great work. One has to have the sense to understand their place in the greater picture -a bit like looking at the periodic table.

In the end, all must be one. The uniting of opposites is a key understanding in the philosophy of the Star of Azazel. For this, each element is required, will and must find their place, in order to realise that higher element; a world which we forge real with love, compassion and a tremendous effort.

Challenges in the Life of an Occultist

I have been a member in the Star of Azazel for some three and a half years now. Recently in the archives I came across my membership application and decided to revisit the person I was when I wrote it. Reading the application again was not so bad; it wasn’t quite as embarrassing as I had expected. I could still connect with that person, even if some things had changed.

The seeming shortness of my time as a Soror surprised me as I thought about it; so much has happened in the span of these three years, both on my every day life as well as on a personal, spiritual level. Being a member has pushed me off my comfort zone and as a result I’ve acquired new skills and knowledge. Indeed it feels like I would have been a member much longer and while I am so pleased and grateful for having found my way into this Work, it has not been and indeed still is not an easy path to travel.

Each of us face a different set of challenges based on our previous actions (whether we speak on a karmic level or simply of the life that we are currently living) and our temperaments. It is true that we will often have to face what we left behind, sooner or later.

It is very common for fresh members to undergo a crisis soon after joining the fraternity. Some get a nasty flu that lasts for weeks, others notice that they face challenges with work or relationships. Having observed the phenomena for a while now, I believe this has something to do with the shifting of one’s energies. After all, in a occult society, a certain shared energetic pool affects us all and the moment one joins the fraternity, their energies begin to shift.

Profound change is never easy.

Gradually, if one chooses to venture deeper into occult work the challenges get harder; these are the gifts in disguise from our Master. Each accomplishment raises the bar slightly, and each time we must better ourselves in ways that are a bit more difficult, that demand just a bit more, that challenge our capacity for empathy, the ability to love, that test our patience more than the previous challenge. Slowly, one’s reflection in the mirror begins to seem clearer and more real as we step closer to truth, to understanding.

It is not easy facing the real you, with all its imperfections, pettiness and hubris. Each scar and wrong course of action is forever reflected from the mirror that the Master holds for us to see. One must muster the courage to see, dispassionately, steadily and without looking away, what the reflection really is like rather than how one would like for it to be like.

My only advise is, do not forget the virtue of good humour on your travels. While nothing is more serious than the work that one undertakes as an occultist, it is a mistake to lose the ability to laugh. Allow it to comfort you on your way. That is at least what I did when, writing this blog, the doorbell rang and I was paid my first ever door-to-door-preaching visit from elderly women who came to talk to me about God’s kingdom.