Humility and Grace

Posted: September 17th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Alchemy, Culture, Current Affair, Fenrir, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, paganism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Humility and Grace

Humility and Grace

By Nameless Therein

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis

Metamorphosis

– Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937[1]

As we make our way into autumn, new changes bear old faces, reflected in the many moods of nature. As death makes way for life, change is all around. From the fallen tree to the dying leaf and the setting sun behind the clouds, we find mirrored in our own mood a shift at once familiar and new: a shift in season.

Things have been quiet in the ONA lately. Though autumn’s mark of silence can be felt, one can sense something else – a restlessness and exhaustion, a neutral disinterest and quiet anticipation, a dispirited silence from the need to be heard. Having experienced big changes in my own life recently, I have observed these qualities in myself over the last year, emerging in and through the psyche and receding into the unconscious like an ocean tide. I suspect others have found a similar canvas of emotion in themselves.

These qualities have concerned me. But as said changes in my life began to show signs of the death of many things I had trouble letting go of, what remains of these qualities has been cast into the open to be more closely examined and then discarded.

This is never a straightforward process. It can take years and sometimes a lifetime of patient, careful observation, work, and self-reflection. It requires a certain sensitivity, compassion, a level of humility, and what David Bentley Hart might term grace.[2] The quality that concerns me most, both in myself and in much of the ONA, is the need to be heard. I would like to share some thoughts on what this entails from a vantage point I believe now has some of the necessary space and silence to witness this tenacious quality begin to lose its hold. It is my hope that such observations might gently encourage others to identify, confront, and in time work to overcome this quality if and where present in themselves. As one may have discerned from my approach to the ONA, I think this is much more productive than castigating, japing, or attacking such individuals for a quality they may not even be aware of.

The Temptation to Be Heard

Much like the title of the Romanian nihilist Emil Cioran’s work The Temptation to Exist, there is a quality I would term the temptation to be heard. Though it is perfectly natural to want to be heard, acknowledged, and validated by one’s peers in some capacity, the emphasis on “temptation” points to a recurring spectrum of pathology commonly characterized by various degrees of compulsion. This quality can be characterized by an unhealthy need: the need for validation regarding one’s work or accomplishments, the need to be recognized as somehow different or unique from the rest of society, a hyper-sensitivity to what others think masked by a façade of false and callous indifference about the opinions of others, and an inflated sense of individuality regarding one’s importance within their societal niche. I emphasize “spectrum of pathology” because these characterizations can manifest in tangible or subtle ways depending on the psychological constitution of the individual. Such characterizations are sometimes visible in a person’s appearance, in their means of dealing with conflict and confrontation, in their ability to cope with stress, and in their way of interacting with others. When I say this is a recurring spectrum of pathology, I mean that it is both operative throughout the psyche and operative in a way that is rarely transparent or “visible” to the individual, who more or less takes its occurrence and existence for granted. Ultimately, this temptation rests on a need to control, whether as resistance to change beyond one’s control, a need to assert dominance out of a consistent lack of control in one’s past or present, or a resistance to being controlled, whether real or imagined.[3]

The temptation to be heard resembles certain unhealthy qualities in what Clarice of Nexion of Ur previously noted as an Enneagram Type Four personality. More to the point, I think Cioran characterizes this type of temptation accurately when he says that:

Certain peoples … are so haunted by themselves that they pose themselves as a unique problem: their development, singular at every point, compels them to fall back on their series of anomalies, of the miracle or the insignificance of their fate.[4]

The posing of the self as a unique problem to draw attention to, then inflated by an ongoing compulsion to do so – this lies at the heart of the temptation to be heard, in whatever shape or variety. We all fall victim to it from time to time, sometimes in subtle ways. In the ONA, it seems reasonable that such a private and personal quest of transformation, growth, and self-realization sometimes carries the need to share such experiences with others who may appreciate their value. But I think there is a difference between the need to convey meaningful experiences with others who might appreciate them, relate to them, and use them to guide their own experiences, and the looming, often hidden compulsion to continuously validate one’s identity in the eyes of others. The latter rests on creating the conditions for a “hidden war” with the other person in order to resist, and then attempt to control, their objectification or reification of the self.[5] The ongoing and recurrent compulsion to create those conditions in any form is what I am referring to here as “temptation”; and the “temptation to be heard” has to do with a compulsion to control the way one is objectified or reified by their peers by resisting that objectification in order to validate a distorted or inadequate sense of self.

Confusing Self-Immolation and Self-Esteem

The temptation to be heard can be thought of as a confusion between self-immolation and self-esteem. The former has to do with clearing a kind of opening for the unconscious and self to form a cohesive bridge across the psyche through the gradual but radical dissolving of the egoic resistance structures that attempt to control these processes. The latter has to do with how these forces in motion across and beyond the individual psyche manifest and then come to constitute an individual’s identity and sense of self-worth, both as an individual and in relation to others. Confusing one with the other can be disastrous, and many of us fall victim to this confusion at some point in our lives, myself included. The key, I think, is learning to identify certain hidden patterns and signs that briefly emerge into conscious experience in a variety of ways, much like a shapeshifter. This requires the cultivation of certain faculties such as empathy (the ability to identify the appearance of these patterns and signs in other people and vice versa), a heightened sensitivity (being attuned to those appearances as they emerge), and formal tools for studying these appearances (phenomenology, meditation, and various formal psychological models are a few examples). One can then take steps to trace the potential origins of these patterns and signs in the unconscious in order to slowly diminish their effects on our lives. The danger is letting these go unnoticed until the aforesaid confusion gives way to a need and that need to a temptation: commonly, the temptation to be heard.

The Harmony of Grace

Interestingly, that temptation can work the other way as well: when one identifies the temptation and gradually takes practical steps in the real world and in their life to diminish its hold on their psyche, on their identity, on their interpersonal relations, and on their family life, they may begin to see that temptation become merely a need. As that need itself diminishes its hold, it may become a healthy attunement toward others as a balanced desire to share meaningful experiences and ideas that can then shape their lives in a constructive way; or that need may disappear almost entirely, being replaced by a sort of wordless and outstretching contentment across one’s being, a tremulous and living epiphany of great grief and melancholy settled in the heart as a work of ongoing art, validated by the life lived and those it had an impact on, as one’s tragedy finally gives way to a comedy after so much pain, as the wounds of the past erect joy rather than misery from no longer needing to control or resist, as one loses desire for more things and possessions and finds they want for very little, having always been the source for everything they need – not as something self-contained, but as a living embodiment of nature’s many moods within the world. A harmony: their body and being have become a work of music. This is what I refer to here as “grace.”

Conflict, Struggle, Assimilation: The Final Harmony

Whatever the ONA was or is or shall be one day, it is precisely this kind of harmony that systems like the Seven-Fold Way aim to achieve. The simple acts of kindness at the heart of the ruthless spiritual predation found in the genuinely Satanic, the metamorphosis of the narcissist into a being of tremendous joy, the tensions of the flesh sculpted through powerful and pagan physical ordeals into spiritual transformation, ecstasis, and elation, the letting go of all desire into nocturnal love, the hidden sun, the Kingdom of Ends as an eternal beginning, the wisdom of falling, of letting go … I would go so far as to draw a connection between the harmony that results from this constructive movement away from the temptation to be heard and the spiritual harmony the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis describes in relation to Christ’s temptation in The Last Temptation of Christ. In describing the tension between the flesh and the spirit, Kazantzakis says:

Every man partakes of the divine nature in both his spirit and his flesh. That is why the mystery of Christ is not simply a mystery for a particular creed: it is universal. The struggle between God and man breaks out in everyone, together with the longing for reconciliation. Most often this struggle is unconscious and short-lived. A weak soul does not have the endurance to resist the flesh for very long. It grows heavy, becomes flesh itself, and the contest ends. But among responsible men, men who keep their eyes riveted day and night upon the Supreme Duty, the conflict between flesh and spirit breaks out mercilessly and may last until death.

The stronger the soul and the flesh, the more fruitful the struggle and the richer the final harmony. God does not love weak souls and flabby flesh. The Spirit wants to have to wrestle with flesh which is strong and full of resistance. It is a carnivorous bird which is incessantly hungry; it eats flesh and, by assimilating it, makes it disappear.[6]

It is this conflict, struggle, and assimilation – under whatever name and through whatever esoteric framework – that I think the ONA has attempted enact, explore, and provide a rough-and-ready guide for individuals to achieve over the course of its history, all with an aim toward this final harmony. Exploring the means to achieve this harmony, and if unachievable learning to regulatively enhance it to the highest degree possible – that is a large part of what lies at the core of the ONA.[7]

Two Faces of the Same Passage

And so, over the course of many years and the last year in particular, I have come to realize the importance of the temptation to be heard as a test of self-honesty and a necessary rite of passage. Sadly, this test is one that many people continue to fail or refuse to take at all; one that I’ve failed – and continue to fail! – many times. But failing has helped to resolve an important disparity for me, one that I think is helpful for all of us to keep in mind: the disparity between the public face of the ONA on the one hand, and the movement toward the aforesaid final harmony on the other, one that goes on out of sight among a loose network of serious practitioners. In my opinion, the public face of the ONA was more or less meant to be a collocation of the experiences, observations, ideas, and techniques encountered or developed while working toward that final harmony by sincere and advanced practitioners of the tradition. That is my goal for the future of the Fenrir journal. In terms of the public face of the ONA as it currently stands, this goal has unfortunately been overshadowed by the temptation to be heard on the part of many individuals who, while bearing the right spirit of enthusiasm, perhaps have some work to do in diminishing the power of this temptation in their lives.

Conclusion: What the Future Holds

The real work toward this final harmony will continue to go on behind the scenes, either privately or in small groups of individuals bound by pacts of loyalty and committed self-sacrifice, pacts which make possible their patient progression into the difficult and shadowy landscape ahead. Meanwhile, the public face of the ONA will take on whatever organic form required to attract and deflect, bewitch and misdirect, or enchant and mislead a new generation of budding adepts, one brave enough to brave the elements and courageous enough to examine these dynamics in the world and in themselves: with humility, with grace, and with love.

Narcissus,
in his immobility,
absorbed by his reflection with the digestive slowness of carnivorous plants,
becomes invisible.
There remains of him only the hallucinatingly white oval of his head,
his head again more tender,
his head, chrysalis of hidden biological designs,
his head held up by the tips of the water’s fingers,
at the tips of the fingers
of the insensate hand,
of the terrible hand,
of the mortal hand
of his own reflection.
When that head slits
when that head splits
when that head bursts,
it will be the flower,
the new Narcissus,
Gala—my Narcissus

– Salvador Dalí’s accompanying poem to Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
September 16, 2022

Notes

[1] “The ancient source of this subject is Ovid’s Metamorphosis (Book 3, lines 339-507). It tells of Narcissus, who upon seeing his own image reflected in a pool, so falls in love that he cannot look away. Eventually he vanishes and in his place is a ‘sweet flower, gold and white, the white around the gold.’” Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, “Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus,” Smarthistory: The Center for Public Art History, accessed September 16, 2022, https://smarthistory.org/salvador-dali-metamorphosis-of-narcissus/.

[2] Hart offers the following insight on grace: “Christian theology taught from the first that the world was God’s creature in the most radically ontological sense: that it is called from nothingness, not out of any need on God’s part, but by grace.” David Bentley Hart, “Christ and Nothing,” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, October 2003, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2003/10/christ-and-nothing.

[3] At a deeper ontological level, we can observe this need to control as an inability to accept our own mortality – a refusal to acknowledge that we will one day die, which is related to what Heidegger characterizes as the “inauthentic.” This can take the form of attempting to control death or resist being controlled by it. We find that impulse in many surface-level interpretations of religion, spirituality, and even in the ONA to some extent, with its recurrent emphasis on immortality.

[4] Emil Cioran, The Temptation to Exist, trans. Richard Howard (Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1956; repr., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 65. Citations refer to the University of Chicago Press edition.

[5] This is related to what Jean-Paul Sartre calls “the glance,” which is well-characterized in his play No Exit.

[6] Nikos Kazantzakis, “Prologue,” in The Last Temptation of Christ, trans. P. A. Bien (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015), 1-2.

[7] Over the course of intense Satanic devotion and practice throughout my life, I have found that this conflict, struggle, assimilation, and final harmony is also what lies, in part, at the heart of genuine Satanism. One may sense this, for example, in the potential relation between Vindex as opfer and the temptation of Christ so described. I should note, however, that this is a personal conclusion I have arrived at through my own experiences via the evolution of my own system of Satanism, one I suspect would not be widely accepted or possibly even acknowledged as “Satanism.”


The Septenad

Posted: July 31st, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Acausal Theory, Alchemy, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Septenad

An interesting video that was brought to my attention earlier today: a brief presentation “on the seven spheres of the hebdomad (presented as septenad),” which appears to have been given to a class at a university. Not sure who the author of the video or the channel is – but kudos to them.


Otonen Satanas performed by Nameless Therein at private Sunedrion

Posted: July 27th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Fenrir, Inner ONA, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, paganism, Rounwytha, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Otonen Satanas performed by Nameless Therein at private Sunedrion

sunset med

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/07/27/otonen-satanas-sunedrion/

Not long ago, a few members of Scothorn Nexion were invited to an international Sunedrion deep in the mountains at an undisclosed location, attended by a few notable persons and nexions. We arrived a day early to explore the region. After hiking up the mountains for many hours, we found a place to camp for the evening before reconvening with the others the next morning. As day turned to night, I sensed something unmistakably sinister about this land – something primal, atavistic, unaltered. Here, one knew the meaning of the nocturnal, the dismal decay of light into the lunar, the primitive and watchful spirits who guarded the veins of the earth. Learning to find the divine, the Satanic, in something as simple as the bark of a dying tree, the restless wind, the fading sun, descending over a horizon untouched by man as something in us faded with it … that was the goal this evening, expressed in a single chant. As the other members prepared our ritual supplies to commemorate the sinister, to burn our souls in blood, to throw ourselves off the edge of the world, I opened the group working with Otonen Satanas, recited from memory. No effects, no editing – the recording is unaltered. Though the video cannot do justice to what transpired in those moonless woods, I am sharing this for those with the eyes to see and sense the space between the shadows; to give back a little of what we sacrificed that evening.

Yet for herself she felt no terror; no little personal fear could touch her whose anguish and deep longing streamed all out to him whom she so bravely loved. In this time of utter self-forgetfulness, when she realized that the battle was hopeless, thinking she had lost even her God, she found Him again quite close beside her like a little Presence in this terrible heart of the hostile Forest. But at first she did not recognize that He was there; she did not know Him in that strangely unacceptable guise. For He stood so very close, so very intimate, so very sweet and comforting, and yet so hard to understand – as Resignation.

– Algernon Blackwood, “The Man Whom the Trees Loved”

Tunica propior est pallio,
Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
July 27, 2022


“You May Call a Cat a Fish, but It Will Not Swim”

Posted: July 16th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: David Myatt, Fenrir, Journalism, National Socialism, O9A, Order of Nine Angles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “You May Call a Cat a Fish, but It Will Not Swim”

STCB600_1000

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/07/16/cat-fish/

“You May Call a Cat a Fish, but It Will Not Swim”[1]

Good evening everyone,

As some of you may have noticed, I have not posted an update about the Fenrir journal for some time. I want to clarify that my reticence to speak has not been from inactivity. In fact, most of my free time over the last year has been dedicated to the revival of the journal, having poured my heart into this project over many long evenings. On the contrary, my silence has been from exhaustion and some discouraging news.

A little over a month ago, my entire Fenrir team announced their resignation. Many of us have struggled to balance the journal with other commitments in our personal and professional lives, and this tension eventually proved overwhelming. With the resignation of my team, I lost the little exclusive content remaining for the upcoming edition. More importantly, I lost the assistance of some very good and talented people. And though we are still close friends, the question remains: what is to be done now?

Like a curse, this question has slowly clawed away at my spirit, keeping me awake at night, discoloring my worldview, sullying my strength, weighing on my heart. Many nights I’ve wondered: why? Why should it matter so much? Why has this setback drained all the color from my day so that no joy can reach me? Why continue on when I seem to be the only one invested in the journal’s success, even at the expense of my own health and well-being?

I’ve reflected on this question. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer. I’ve thought back on my lifelong Satanic journey and its initiatic footsteps into the Order of Nine Angles all those years ago. I sometimes think back to where I began, what I’ve been through, the people I’ve met, the melancholy, the failures, the ecstasy, the terror in those midnight woods, the reckless possession, rearing its head above the riptide of the self. No, there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer; but beyond cosmetic justification, beyond the black horizon, there remains an irresistible magnetism trailing some immense shadow, always out of sight. The spiritual compulsion to continue at any cost is something many of us share in common. Words reveal themselves as the superficial signifiers they are, and those on the outside looking in will never share that unique spiritual underbelly of nocuous passion and pain marking those of us who, in the words of Steingrim Torson, shall remain cursed, scarred and forever possessed.

No, Fenrir has never been a journal for outsiders. It is our journal and shall remain so – a journal for those of us who continue to brave the alchemical elements in simple and extraordinary ways, committed to our quest and willing to share our insights along the way. Despite what our opponents claim to the contrary, there are good and exceptional people in the ONA. Though I am sincere in what I said about being outspokenly against National Socialism, extremism, racism, violence, and the like, these are my personal opinions and will never be grounds to turn my back on my friends. In fact, unlike our opposition, we can maintain this uncensored diversity of thought without conflict, because despite our supercilious web of words and misdirection, we do not measure our legacy according to how hard we can knock down a virtual strawman on the internet. We measure it with real progress – in our lives and in the world. People like Secuntra Nexion, ABG Lodge, Chloe, Clarice, and other individuals one can probably guess – these people have shown me kindness, loyalty, and unconditional consideration. Even The Black Order has been cordial and respectful, despite our disagreements.

My point is that our opponents have never shown us this consideration, spinning every truth into an untruth, every wary miscreant into a sacrosanct ideologue, every narrative into an anchor at the bottom of the ocean. As noted above, they “may call a cat a fish, but it will not swim.”[2] And I for one am tired of drowning. Not once have these journalists objectively evaluated any of our positive content; not once have they commented on anything that casts a remotely favorable shadow on the ONA, even when it sincerely rejects the very things they condemn us for. Our opponents are only interested in one thing: turning their red herring into a Leviathan as they selectively paint us in the most negative light possible.

Sure, we haven’t always helped matters in that respect. And this is one reason why I want to steer Fenrir away from politics and extremism in favor of art, scholarship, esotericism, and magick. However, I don’t think creating further division among our ranks by appealing to outsiders who openly hate us will help things either. It is my hope that we can set our opponents aside and once again look to each other in carving our path for the future, despite our differences. In the eyes of Satan, there is no difference.

What then is next for Fenrir? Well, here’s what the landscape looks like: I may not have enough content to release this edition as I would have liked. However, the new interview with David Myatt has been completed. If I am not able to assemble enough content for this edition, I will at the very least finish formatting my endnotes and questions for that interview for release on the Lux Lycaonis site. I will try to do this sooner rather than later. Following this and the possible posting of some of the other material intended for this edition, the journal will continue as planned. I may take a break for a little while to attend to other commitments. But I intend on opening submissions up to the public for the next edition. Though I will say more on this in the future, for now I want to say that all are welcome and encouraged to submit. I don’t expect everyone to write at a graduate or professional level. I do, however, expect a baseline of quality, novelty in thought, the ability to clearly and coherently communicate an idea at roughly an undergraduate level of writing, and credible research/scholarship when and where appropriate. More on these requirements to follow.

Onward!

The rocks bruised his knees. He changed his position, leaning against the trunk of the cedar and closing his eyes. And then, without losing his tranquility or uttering a cry, he saw her—inside his eyes. But she had not come in the way he expected. He expected to see his bereaved mother with both her hands on his head, calling down her curse upon him. But now what was this! Trembling, he gradually opened his eyes. Flashing before him was the savage body of a woman covered head to foot with interlocking scales of thick bronze armor. But the head was not a human head; it was an eagle’s, with yellow eyes and a crooked beak which grasped a mouthful of flesh. She looked tranquilly, mercilessly, at the son of Mary.

“You did not come as I expected you,” he murmured. “You are not the Mother …. Have pity and speak to me. Who are you?”

He asked, waited, asked again. Nothing. Nothing but the yellow glitter of the round eyes in the darkness.

But suddenly the son of Mary understood.

“The Curse!” he cried, and he fell face downward onto the ground.[3]

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
July 16, 2022

NOTES

[1] Quoted from HBO’s Rome, season 1, episode 11, “The Spoils.” Brutus says this to Cassius shortly after telling a slave to erase graffiti on a wall depicting him stabbing Caesar in the back.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ, trans. P. A. Bien (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015), 79.


Sutor, ne ultra crepidam

Posted: June 13th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Fenrir, Inner ONA, Journalism, News, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, Politics, Richard Moult, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sutor, ne ultra crepidam

VG_shoes

– Vincent van Gogh, A Pair of Shoes, 1886

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/06/13/sutor-ne-ultra-crepidam/

Sutor, ne ultra crepidam

In response to the media, to critics, and to opponents of the ONA, I want to say a few things.

When I took over as editor of Fenrir and created Lux Lycaonis, my motivations were simple. I had long since recognized a disparity in the Order of Nine Angles. On the one hand, I knew first-hand the power and efficacy of its system of magick through the transformations I experienced in the most beautiful, painful, and ecstatic moments of my life. Having searched sincerely over the course of more than twenty years for an answer to the mystery of mysteries that other occult traditions and systems of philosophy only hinted at, I discovered that the ONA’s peculiar Hermetic cocktail really does have something to offer by way of an answer. And its greatest esoteric novelty? Hiding in plain sight. Many of its secrets are readily available. But these cannot be deciphered without having done the difficult work that systems like the Sevenfold Way offer as a loose but effective guide. Certain transformations are required to embody the wisdom that this tradition guards as a “birth of the word in the heart.”

On the other hand, I began to see holes in the idealization that I erected from my transformative experiences. The unique way this birth had occurred for me – as something opaque, receptive, nameless, unseen – quickly became at odds with the way associates of the Order of Nine Angles attempted to organize things. Time and time again I sensed one misstep after another in their tendency toward extremity and violence, their strategic deceit, the substitution of opinion for knowledge, and the resulting misinterpretation that continues to fan the flames of a nexus of stupidity and misinformation – both within our ranks, and in the eyes of our opposition.

My motivations are thus very simple, as I said. Instead of one deception after another for some strategic moral calculus, I intend to be honest. When I say that I am against National Socialism and Nazism in any form and want to see them removed from the tradition, I really mean it. When I say that I believe an open and honest dialogue is necessary in moving towards that end, I mean it. When I say that I believe in integrity, keeping one’s word, sincerity, and transparency as cornerstones of what this tradition should aspire to, I mean that too. And I am sincere in being outspokenly against extremism, violence, racism, and harming others or other forms of life.

When I initially put these motivations into motion via Fenrir, Lux Lycaonis, and my articles, I did not do so as yet another “strategy” or for some ulterior reason. I did it because I believe in what this esoteric tradition has to offer in the revelation of its deepest and most authentic praxis. One shouldn’t have to propose what is otherwise common sense as a new Aeonic logos; because at this point, the ONA is hanging by a thread. We have lost all credibility in the eyes of our opponents, sabotaged the viability of our future for petty and selfish gains, relegated the source of real truth to the ranks of childish gossip, and sacrificed the possibility of survival in the guise of heroic egoism.

There are many within the ONA who will continue this kind of behavior. It is unfortunate that our greatest accomplishment in the eyes of our opponents is a caravan of mediocrity that prides itself on a self-referring lack of humility, manners, and intelligence. In some sense, our opponents are right – as long as such individuals exist within the ONA, this will be our Signa Romanum, the standard upon which our accomplishments are measured.

My aim is to introduce a new standard. One that attracts the kind of audience that can keep our hidden practice alive – fortified in majestic night, resplendent in unending endurance, a burning beyond blood in the secret oaths we’ve sworn. In the bright bosom of Satan, from the nails of universal desire, in the unholy grip of the crucified and catalytic kindness … I know that if there’s a chance, we have to take it. May this aim ring true as I offer all that I have, and all that I am, into the eternal flux of love and death.

Not as a stillbirth but a rebirth, may we learn to judge less readily above our sandal.

BWH_cropped

– Richard Moult, The Birth of the Word in the Heart, used under a Creative Commons license

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
June 13, 2022


An Update on Lux Lycaonis and the Fenrir Team

Posted: April 28th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Fenrir, Inner ONA, News, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on An Update on Lux Lycaonis and the Fenrir Team

Loki

– An image of Loki from the eighteenth century Icelandic manuscript, “SÁM 66”

Good evening everyone,

I wanted to write a brief update regarding the Lux Lycaonis site. Slowly but surely, we have been expanding the Fenrir team, ever on the lookout for those who, through their deeds, ethos, works, and talents, have proven themselves capable of making meaningful contributions to the establishment of a viable future for the Order of Nine Angles.

We recently acquired a new addition to our team, which is now well-equipped to address the philosophical, literary, magickal, historical, mythological, musical, and artistic domains required for that future – all with an eye toward approaching the ONA in a new way, paying homage to its origins but expanding its theory and practice into new spheres of influence.

With that in mind, I want to note that while many of my articles will be relayed to the o9a.org site, much of the content by the rest of our team will remain exclusive to Lux Lycaonis. There have been some updates in the last few days, including new content. And we anticipate an influx of new work on the way.

Much of this anticipated work will address important and overlooked esoteric topics within the ONA. For example, one of our team members is currently completing an article on Uranianism and Sapphic sorcery with respect to certain non-negotiable esoteric sexual techniques. One such technique is Locis Muliebris, which is required for particular rites of the Septenary system. In exploring these and other features of Uranianism and Sapphistry, this author will additionally expound upon the qualities of Sapanur as the patron Dark God associated with homosexual men, who is identified in “The Black Mass: Gay Version.”

Which is all to say that there are many interesting things on the way. In addressing these and other topics – topics which have remained at the core of the ONA since the time of its inception but are almost completely overlooked or ignored – we hope to challenge many of the prejudices falsely levied against the tradition by opponents and associates alike. With respect to associates and the future of the ONA, the Fenrir team agrees that we need to call home those who left disgruntled, augment those who are still here but lying low, and call new individuals to the fold who can make the aforesaid contributions. To do this, we aim to emphasize the tradition’s strengths rather than its weaknesses as a taste of things to come.

 

 

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
April 28, 2022


Cinema and the ONA: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Posted: April 22nd, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, O9A, Order of Nine Angles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Cinema and the ONA: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Janus

– Janus fresco in the Aula Gotica, Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome

[Repost of: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/04/22/cinema-and-the-ona/]

Cinema and the ONA: Everything Everywhere All at Once

(Rev. 2.2)

Certain dynamics alluded to by the Order of Nine Angles find application in many areas of life. In the world of cinema, these take on complex artistic expressions. They can be found in numerous films, such as Andrzej Zulawski’s masterpiece Possession (1981), which addresses how the little-discussed relationship between the Star Gate and Dark Angle forms the basis for all intersubjective experience (captured beautifully in the expression by Isabelle Adjani’s character, “Because you say ‘I’ for me”); in Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), which explores how universal desire is revealed in the constitution of spiritual absence (connecting to the path of Lidagon as one of the three hidden paths on the Tree of Wyrd); in David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997), which explores the relationship between transformation and disassociation with respect to identity (redolent of what can occur during the journey of the Sevenfold Way at the individual level); in Ingmar Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly (1961), which addresses the boundary between madness and divinity in the beauty of the ordinary and the everyday (calling into question the use of the term “mundane”); in Neten Chokling’s Milarepa (2006), which explores the consequences of revenge and the infliction of suffering through the story of one of Tibet’s greatest yogis and saints (calling “culling” into question and placing it in its proper mythic context within the Labyrinthos Mythologicus); in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011) and Breaking the Waves (1996), which, taken together, establish a cosmic context for what lies beyond – and what most misunderstand by – the phrase “Insight Role”; and in the comedic cynicism of works like Man Bites Dog (1992) and Trier’s more profound The House that Jack Built (2018), which remind us not to take ourselves too seriously and what can happen in a world without love, respectively.

Though I hope to explore cinema in relation to the Order of Nine Angles further in the future, here I want to briefly note a film that unexpectedly caught my attention this evening: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). In addition to its parallels to the ONA – [SPOILER ALERTS] such as the possible link between Jobu Tupaki and Baphomet, navigating the multiverse and directing acausal energy through consciousness, and influencing parallel states of existence [END SPOILERS] – the film casts a beautiful thematic shadow over the idea of constituting meaning from chaos. Its heroic approach to making meaningful the statement “nothing matters” also illustrates a curious turn in the current narrative of the ONA with respect to its trajectory, its interpersonal application in the real world, and the underlying motivations of its hidden practice. The film does this in cogent, topical, creative, and highly original way, one that I personally found quite moving. Obviously it won’t appeal to everyone, but the unexpected parallels to the ONA alone make it worthwhile viewing. Top-tier performances from Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, and Ke Huy Quan. Recommended.

.

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
April 21, 2022


The Star Game, Chess, and the Nine Angles: An Introduction to Chess Hermeneutics

Posted: April 14th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Acausal Theory, Alchemy, Inner ONA, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, The Sinister Tradition, The Star Game | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Star Game, Chess, and the Nine Angles: An Introduction to Chess Hermeneutics

Grandmaster © Nameless Therein 2022

– “Grandmaster,” © Nameless Therein 2022

[Repost of: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/04/14/chess-hermeneutics/]

The Star Game, Chess, and the Nine Angles:
An Introduction to Chess Hermeneutics

Much attention is given in the Order of Nine Angles to the importance of learning and playing the Star Game. At its most basic level, the Star Game can function as a learning tool or “game” to familiarize oneself with various Septenary correspondences and refine certain imaginative, creative, rational, and abstract faculties. At one of many esoteric levels, the Star Game functions as a way of magickally apprehending “the nine fundamental ‘alchemical’ forms,” which “re-present the acausal manifest in the causal.”[1] These “nine fundamental forms” are represented by the pieces of the Star Game, where each alchemical combination represents an “angle” with respect to the Septenary Tree of Wyrd, alluding to one esoteric meaning of the term “nine angles.”[2] These forms are said to “exist in many combinations within the nexion which the ‘Tree of Wyrd’ represents,” where such combinations “are abstractly symbolized by the placement of the many pieces of the Star Game over the seven boards (‘Spheres’) of that game.”[3] The aforesaid abstraction “makes the [nine fundamental] forms understandable on a level higher than using words and ideas,” which is in turn meant to cultivate “a new form of thinking” – a form of thinking referred to as “acausal thinking.”[4] The symbolism of the Star Game is essentially “a new tool to assist and develope our understanding, and it is via this symbolism that the meanings of the nine angles may most easily be understood without confusion.”[5] The simple or Septenary form of the Star Game is meant to be an introduction to its advanced form, which is a “complete and full representation of the septenary system.”[6] In more advanced applications, the Star Game functions as a “sophisticated magickal ‘clock’” with respect to the Wheel of Life;[7] and in its advanced form, the game can be used for Aeonic magick.[8]

While many associates have some understanding of the esoteric significance of the Star Game and its basic applications, I find it bewildering how so many associates attempt to learn the Star Game while completely neglecting training and experience in the game of chess.

CHESS AND THE STAR GAME

Like the Star Game, chess can be played as nothing more than an entertaining game, rich with complexity and a deep cultural history over the course of its long evolution. But from its longstanding cultural origins, its tangible influence on world history,[9] its influence on global technology,[10] and its usefulness in developing certain higher-level faculties in the individual, the significance of chess has broader socio-cultural implications. Unlike the Star Game, chess is merely a game. But it can be an invaluable tool to develop, refine, and expand the necessary faculties required for applying the Star Game to its many esoteric and magickal contexts. At a practical level, the study of certain fundamental patterns in chess provides a foundation for navigating the boards and pieces of the Star Game. With care, experience, and creativity one can find correlates between the patterns found in chess and the nine fundamental alchemical forms represented by the pieces of the Star Game, which again represent one esoteric meaning of the “nine angles.”[11] Insofar as these nine alchemical forms “are the basic apprehensions of magickal energy … [representing] the acausal manifest in the causal,”[12] and given that these forms can manifest in many ways, the study of correlative fundamental patterns in chess is a worthwhile and important activity. At a more advanced level, discovering correlations between the patterns in chess and the forms of the Star Game can aid in the development of the imaginative, creative, rational, and abstract faculties required for their magickal apprehension and application. At more advanced levels of chess, experience with these fundamental patterns not only finds application in real life – in navigating interpersonal conflict, strategizing, and identifying complex networks of meaning, for example – but can form a bridge between instinct and what with respect to the Star Game is referred to as an “intuition” – a lower form of abstraction that can arise with “acausal thinking.”[13] The capacity for acausal thinking arises from the relation between the abstract symbols of the Star Game and “conventional representations,” such as “archetypal forms; the energies of the pathways; the symbolism of the Tarot and the many and various Occult symbolisms.”[14] This capacity thus arises, in part, from the formation and implementation of the meaningful associations and “deep roots” that I described elsewhere (see my previous articles, “‘Deep Roots’ and Meaningful Associations: Musical Tarot Continued, Auditory Sigils, and Aeonic Chant Magick” and “Techniques for Doing a Musical Tarot Reading & Creating Auditory Sigils”). Thus, in forming the aforesaid correlates between the patterns of chess and the forms of the Star Game, in establishing a bridge between instinct and “intuition,” and in developing and then refining the necessary faculties to apply said patterns to more advanced esoteric and magickal contexts, training in chess is an invaluable tool for learning and playing the Star Game.

Colloquially, the number of possible chess games that can be played is sometimes said to exceed the number of stars or atoms in the known universe. More precisely, the number of possible legal positions was estimated by Claude Shannon in 1950 to be “of the general order of 64!/32!(8!)^2(2!)^2, or roughly 10^43,” which is now referred to as “Shannon’s number.”[15] More recently, Victor Allis estimates this to be around10^50,[16] additionally estimating the game-tree complexity of chess to be 10^123.[17] Again, given this immense number and given the even greater complexity of the Star Game when accounting for the variables involved in its advanced magickal applications at the Aeonic level (which, like our “normal” understanding of the septenary, reflects not just a “‘map of consciousness and the cosmos,”[18] but a dynamic of the universe), it is difficult to imagine how one can approach the Star Game, let alone the advanced form of the game, without some experience in chess.

That said, while one can play the Star Game without any experience in chess, it is my opinion that high-level chess players, including those at the Master and Grandmaster levels, would be of assistance in developing the Star Game. Such players could assist in developing a consistent notation to record and then analyze games, in addition to determining how to approach tactics, strategy, openings, and calculating accurate moves in specific positions. Eventually, we may be able to develop Star Game engines, both to analyze our games and to play against. Without these and similar developments, the Star Game will likely encounter obstacles over the course of its evolution, highlighting an asymmetry between the potency of its magickal applications and the practical limitations of playing and studying the game. It is hoped that in emphasizing the importance and usefulness of studying chess in relation to the Star Game, others will take up these tasks. With the esoteric and magickal applications of the Star Game in mind, it is also hoped that a confluence between chess and the Star Game can aid Internal Adepts and Masters/Mistresses in constructing and then employing new empty formal structures of magick to employ at the Aeonic level. These function as formal structural “models” that can then be populated, directed, and implemented according to a specific magickal or esoteric technique.

With those aims in mind, I will be regularly introducing various chess patterns or puzzles in relation to various levels of meaning relevant the Order of Nine Angles. I call these “chess hermeneutics.” To make sense of what I mean by this phrase, in addition to how these chess puzzles will be applied to the ONA, I will say a little more about the origin and meaning of “hermeneutics.”

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HERMENEUTICS

The word “hermeneutics” comes from the Greek infinitive hermenuein, which means “to interpret.”[19] Hermeneutics is an ancient field with a long history, one that was revived in the modern age and particularly in the nineteenth century. In the ancient world, hermeneutics developed in two contexts: one was Greek and the other was biblical. In the Greek context, hermeneutics took shape with respect to the work of Homer, who is sometimes regarded (and explicitly referred to) as the teacher of Greece. Through Homer we find the ancient myths conveyed in epic poetry, which provided a context for the Greeks to understand the world they inhabited. Though there are disagreements about when to date Homer, we can see from the fourth and fifth centuries that his work guided the Greeks over the course of several centuries. With this guidance and as history began to run its course, the question concerning how Homer’s work could come to bear on the current circumstances of individual lives took shape. The response, broadly speaking, was that some dynamic or process of interpretation was needed. This was also the case in the biblical context of hermeneutics, both with respect to the New Testament and the Old Testament. Hermeneutics was the name given to that process or dynamic of interpretation.

Hermeneutics made its way from the ancient world to the modern one through works like Aristotle’s On Interpretation, which was devoted to the task of analyzing sentences, to the work of St. Augustine in the early medieval period, which was concerned with the question of how the word of God could be understood by human beings. Hermeneutics saw a revival in the nineteenth century through the work of the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, who was interested in the question of scriptural interpretation. Schleiermacher developed a mode of hermeneutics characterized as “romantic,” which in effect concerned a type of understanding or communion between the interpreter and the historical source of the text. Hermeneutics began to branch out from theology as Schleiermacher became interested in the character of understanding generally. Around this time, we also find contributions to hermeneutics in the work of the philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey, whose name comes up in Heidegger’s Being and Time when Heidegger distinguishes his own hermeneutical project from that of philosophical anthropology. Dilthey essentially draws a distinction between the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and the human sciences (Geisteswissenschaften), which includes the social sciences developed in the nineteenth century.

Dilthey may have been looking for a way to work within the human sciences that was more appropriate for them than that of the natural sciences. We find, in turn, that the type of thinking appropriate for the human sciences is understanding, which brings along with it a question of meaning. This is contrasted with the type of thinking appropriate for the natural sciences, which is explanation. In short, Dilthey concluded that hermeneutics is the method appropriate for the human sciences.

At this point, hermeneutics began to re-emerge prominently as a development that continued and intensified into the twentieth century. Additionally, the distinction between the natural sciences and human sciences created a division between those who approached the human sciences with respect to understanding and meaning versus those who attempted to work within the human sciences as if they were natural sciences. This essentially involved a division between a hermeneutical approach (sometimes called interpretive social science) and a calculative methodology (sometimes called calculative social science). This division can still be seen in, for example, the difference between Continental philosophy and Anglo-American analytic philosophy, broadly speaking.

Though there are other fields that take a strong interest in hermeneutics – hermeneutic interpretation finds a strong presence in law and jurisprudence, for example – today the term usually refers to philosophical hermeneutics, and specifically philosophical hermeneutics after Heidegger. Heidegger brought hermeneutics into philosophy in a major way through his analysis of Being. In analyzing the structure of the type of being that we are (which Heidegger calls “Dasein”), Heidegger finds that we are “always already” interpreting. This discovery – that a hermeneutical interpretive dynamic is always already at play with respect to the ontological structure of our being – was a major contribution to the Western intellectual tradition and carried hermeneutics into the modern world.

CHESS HERMENEUTICS: SHAPESHIFTING, SATANISM, AND MIMESIS

With respect to what has been written here on the Star Game, chess, and hermeneutics, the phrase “chess hermeneutics” is thus meant to refer to a specific way of interpreting the correlations between certain fundamental patterns encountered in chess and the nine fundamental alchemical forms in the Star Game, which represent one of the esoteric meanings of the “nine angles.” In keeping with the role of the “shapeshifter” in the ONA, studying certain recurrent, fundamental chess patterns in their myriad configurations can help illuminate the many ways these dynamics are interpretive and require interpretation – not just on the board, but in real life. Like the “nine angles,” such dynamics are operative in consciousness and throughout the cosmos, requiring a kind of reflexivity between the operator and their environment: before one can identify the many ways such dynamics manifest in the world, they must first develop the faculties required to identify and then imitate these primordial patterns, thereby “shifting their shape” or “shapeshifting,” to illustrate one esoteric sense of the term.

Many who claim the title “Satanist” have not developed the faculties required for this kind of imitation at even the most basic level – faculties required to approach any magickal apprehension of “shapeshifting.” Beyond Satanism and with greater experience, one learns to approach this basic form of imitation through the more advanced interpretive dynamic of mimesis, which, in one advanced form, alters by way of complex forms of “imitation” certain formal structures of the narrativity of wyrd. This is a clue to what “shapeshifting” actually entails, here approaching the Aeonic level. At that level, “‘Mimesis’ is one method of aeonic magick that has come down over the centuries,” involving the imitation of “some aspect of cosmic/Earth-based movement/working, and then either following the natural pattern or slightly altering that pattern to bring about a subtle change.” Additionally, given that it is this “alteration” that “forms the basis for ‘black’ magick,”[20] it is quite telling that so few “Satanists” have a sense of what that means.

In an attempt to remedy this, and as a practical way of encouraging others to develop the faculties required for advanced magickal applications of the Star Game, I will thus be introducing a series of “chess hermeneutics.” These will involve specific puzzles and positions in relation to certain interpretive dynamics. Those dynamics may include (but are not limited to): 1) relations to certain energies, forces, paths, spheres, and Dark Gods on the Tree of Wyrd; 2) applications in certain interpersonal scenarios in real life; 3) connections to other magickal and esoteric ideas, techniques, or correspondences; and 4) potential connections to the Star Game, when and where applicable. While these are not intended to be comprehensive, they will offer a few ideas on how to identify and then utilize such dynamics with an eye toward broader, more advanced esoteric, magickal, existential, and cosmic applications.

In turn, I will try to select puzzles and positions requiring varying levels of skill and experience on the chess board, ranging from intermediate to advanced. These will be created as I find puzzles and positions worthy of constructing into a “chess hermeneutic,” which may take some time.

In closing, I encourage those interested or experienced in the Star Game to supplement their knowledge with chess. Though there are many online resources to begin studying and playing the game – chess.com is an excellent resource, for example, and has a “puzzles” trainer that includes over 150,000 different puzzles to solve at different Elo ratings – what is important, as with all things, is to get started.

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
April 13, 2022

NOTES

[1] Anton Long and the Order of Nine Angles, “The Nine Angles – Esoteric Meaning,” in Hostia: Secret Teachings of the O.N.A., Volume I (Shrewsbury: Thormynd Press, 1992).

[2] Long and ONA, “The Nine Angles.” The Tree of Wyrd itself “possesses nine causal angles and nine acausal angles in the causal geometric sense,” which the author notes “can be represented as formed by the corners or angles of a causal and acausal tetrahedron, one a reflexion of the other, the base of both lying in the plane of the middle sphere (the Sun). This double tetrahedron encloses in three-dimensional space the path from causal to acausal – the ‘Initiate journey’ from the sphere of the Moon to Saturn via the other spheres, this path being helical (cf. ‘The Wheel of Life’). The direction of this path is ‘counter-clockwise’.” Regarding the nine angles themselves, the author adds that, “In essence, the acausal is a reflexion (and vice versa) of the causal, so the single term ‘Nine Angles’ describes what is our normal (i.e. un-Initiated) view of the septenary, this septenary being a ‘map’ of consciousness and the cosmos. The realization of the dual nature of the spheres (for example, Mercury is the ‘shadow’ of Mars) arises from Initiation and is the first stage of an esoteric understanding of the term ‘nine angles.’”

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid. The author notes that the higher-level understanding of these nine fundamental forms “arises from playing the Star Game and relating the abstract symbols to conventional representations (e.g. archetypal forms; the energies of the pathways; the symbolism of the Tarot and the many various Occult symbolisms) – this developes the capacity for what may be termed ‘acausal thinking’: when the conventional representations are abandoned and collocations are viewed abstractly.” The author emphasizes that this abstraction is “not a dry, academic process,” but a “new ‘insight’ (a lower form of which is often described an ‘intuition’),” whereby consciousness is extended “into new and important realms and pre-figures the development of a symbolic language which eliminates the confusion, both moral and linguistic, which exists in words and the translation of complex ideas into such words.”

[5] Ibid.

[6] Long and ONA, “Advanced Star Game,” in Hostia I.

[7] Long and ONA, “Star Game: Addendum,” in Hostia I.

[8] For more on this subject, see, Long and ONA,“Aeonic Magick – General Notes,” in Hostia I. Also see the final section of “The Septenary Star Game” in Hostia I, which elaborates briefly on what “Aeonic magick” in part entails with respect to the Star Game. The author notes that, “It is important to understand that the most important and practical aspect of an Aeon is the associated higher civilization – magickal Aeonic workings shape the ethos of this during the transition period between the ending of one Aeon and the beginning of another.” Elaborating further, the author states:

Hitherto, Aeonic workings – when they have been undertaken at all – have concentrated on opening the Gate that presences the power of a new Aeon. Yet is possible to extend by such workings a … [higher civilization] into the … [sulphur] stages. For the present, this implies the end of the Western as c. 3090 AD instead of 2390 AD. This is the first time in history that such a change is possible, since heretofore the process of Aeonic change has not been consciously understood by Adepts – it was approached mainly via mythological symbolism. It is through the abstract symbolism of the Star Game that full control is possible.

However, the following comments from Hostia I, “Aeonics” should also be kept in mind when approaching these advanced esoteric topics: “These are ‘esoteric’ teachings – of necessity, because their understanding requires the insight and knowledge which an External Adept and Internal Adept has attained. Without this insight and knowledge, there is liable to be mis-understanding and a failure to appreciate the finer points (or even any of the points at all).”

[9] Chess has seen many historically significant events over the course of its history. The defeat of the Soviets in the 1972 world championship between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky is one of many notable examples. See David Edmonds and John Eidinow, “Match of the Century,” ch. 1 in Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005). The authors colorfully expound upon the historical significance of this event as follows:

To Western commentators, the meaning of the confrontation seemed clear. A lone American star was challenging the long Soviet grip on the world title. His success would dispose of the Soviets’ claim that their chess hegemony reflected the superiority of their political system. The board was a cold war arena where the champion of the free world fought for democracy against the apparatchiks of the Soviet socialist machine. Here was the High Noon of chess, coming to you from a concrete auditorium in Iceland.

[10] As evidenced in, for example, the 1996 match between IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue and Garry Kasparov, which demonstrates the lasting influence chess technology and chess engines have had on global technology. One can trace these developments to related subjects in, for example, the analytic tradition of philosophy of mind, particularly with respect to consciousness (see, e.g., David Chalmers’ zombie argument), physicalism (see, e.g., Frank Jackson’s Mary argument on qualia), dualism (see, e.g., Descartes’ Meditations and the mind-body problem), epiphenomenalism (see the entry linked here), and, more recently panpsychism or Russellian monism, which is thought to be a resurgence of vitalism and is a rich development in philosophy of mind. On the subject of panpsychism, see, for example, some of the recent work by Sam Coleman, David Chalmers, Thomas Nagel, in addition to Galen Strawson et al., Consciousness and its Place in Nature (Charlottesville: Imprint Academic, 2006). All of these areas of research have more or less had some influence on the concomitant development of artificial intelligence, and thus have some bearing on the rise of chess engines. See, for example, David Chalmers’ work related to “strong” and “weak” AI with respect to consciousness, as well as the famous thought experiment by John Searle referred to as “The Chinese Room Argument.” A great (illustrated) overview of this thought experiment, in addition to notable criticism of it, can be found here: https://mind.ilstu.edu/curriculum/searle_chinese_room/searle_chinese_room.html. For an overview of one of the more famous critiques of this thought experiment, see the “Robot Reply” found here: https://mind.ilstu.edu/curriculum/searle_chinese_room/searle_robot_reply.html. In terms of the rise of chess and artificial intelligence, many of these subjects are relevant to early ideas on Turing machines. See, for example, Claude E. Shannon, “A Universal Turing Machine with Two Internal States,” in Automata Studies (AM-34), eds. C. E. Shannon and J. McCarthy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956). On the question of whether chess computers can “think,” see Claude E. Shannon, “A Chess-Playing Machine,” Scientific American, 182, no. 2 (February 1950): 48-51.

[11] Long and ONA, “The Nine Angles.”

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Quoted in Stefan Steinerberger, “On the Number of Positions in Chess without Promotion,” International Journal of Game Theory 44, no. 3 (August 2015): 762, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00182-014-0453-7. Steinerberger clarifies what this number calculates as follows:

The number is known as Shannon’s number: it counts the number of ways to arrange all chessmen (henceforth simply called med) taking into account that no two men can occupy the same square and that furthermore any two identical men of the same color are indistinguishable. This number does not consider the possibility that not all the men need to be on the board (some might have been already captured) and … it also does not account or the rule of promotion whereby a pawn must be promoted to a more powerful figure if it advances to the end of a file (column of the chessboard). However, it also accounts for all sorts of illegal positions that can never possibly occur. This combination of factors makes it difficult to say whether Shannon’s argument over or underestimates the actual state space.

[16] See Steinerberger, “Positions in Chess,” 762.

[17] Victor Allis, “Searching for Solutions in Games and Artificial Intelligence” (PhD diss., Maastricht University, 1994), 171.

[18] Long and ONA, “The Nine Angles.”

[19] Brian Gilchrist, “Questions Concerning Ge-Stell: Heideggerian Confrontations with Technology,” Explorations in Media Ecology 14, nos. 3-4 (December 2015): 240.

[20] Long and ONA, “Aeonic Magick – General Notes,” in Hostia I.


“Deep Roots” and Meaningful Associations: Musical Tarot Continued, Auditory Sigils, and Aeonic Chant Magick

Posted: April 9th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Acausal Theory, Alchemy, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, Rounwytha, Tarot Cards, The Sinister Tradition, The Star Game | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Deep Roots” and Meaningful Associations: Musical Tarot Continued, Auditory Sigils, and Aeonic Chant Magick

chant-grid

[Repost of: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/04/09/aeonic-chant-magick/]

“Deep Roots” and Meaningful Associations: Musical Tarot Continued, Auditory Sigils, and Aeonic Chant Magick

With respect to my previous post on musical tarot (“Techniques for Doing a Musical Tarot Reading & Creating Auditory Sigils”), I would like to add a few comments regarding the selection of appropriate music. I will additionally offer some commentary regarding the purpose of sensory layering techniques like combining musical and visual tarot readings in relation to the creation of advanced auditory sigils for the purpose of chant magick. I will conclude by noting a few ways this finds application in Aeonic magick.

Regarding the selection of music for musical tarot readings, a few things should be kept in mind. The music selected should be meaningful to the user, emotionally evocative, and selected with care, keeping in mind that it needs to be appropriate for this type of working. While one should feel free to experiment, it should be noted that certain forms of popular music may introduce coloration and structural distortion in the creation of auditory sigils. Lyrics and certain lyrical themes, certain musical production elements, “noise,” and other distracting characteristics may misdirect the user’s emotional and psychic attention. Lyrics, for example, can be distracting insofar as they involve the mediating role of language. This is not to say that music with lyrics should be avoided; chant itself is defined as “sung speech.”[1] But on this point – and though here taken grossly out of context – something Nietzsche wrote on the relation between lyric poetry and music is relevant:

Language can never adequately render the cosmic symbolism of music, because music stands in symbolic relation to the primordial contradiction and primordial pain in the heart of the primal unity, and therefore symbolizes a sphere which is beyond and prior to all phenomena. Rather, all phenomena, compared with it, are merely symbols: hence language, as the organ and symbol of phenomena, can never by any means disclose the innermost heart of music; language, in its attempt to imitate it, can only be in superficial contact with music; while all the eloquence of lyric poetry cannot bring the deepest significance of the latter one step nearer to us.[2]

In keeping one’s “eye on the prize,” the user must remember that the goal of techniques like sensory layering is to form meaningful associations – associations that combine many levels of meaning across the emotive, mnemonic, sensory, and symbolic domains. These are structured organically, in that each experience will be unique according to the musical selection, tarot reading, and a plethora of other associations from the user’s unique history; but there is also an element of chaos, in that the way these meaningful associations structure themselves systematically through sensory layering are unpredictable and beyond the comprehension or control of the user. Interestingly, however, in being directed systematically across the seven Septenary spheres of the Tree of Wyrd, the structure of such experiences can be reproduced for other individuals (in using, for example, the same music and tarot reading); but the way that structure takes shape across the psyche for a given user will be unique. This structure, which is in part created by meaningful associations combined with sensory layering techniques in motion across the Septenary spheres, creates what I call an “auditory sigil.” In the technique described above and in my previous post, this involves combining musical and visual tarot readings using a Septenary spread and then moving from one card and sphere to the next sequentially while listening to the corresponding music.

These auditory sigils become more efficacious as layering meaningful associations reach their zenith through an increase of precision and symbolic condensation. The technique I suggested of combining musical tarot readings with visual tarot readings and then directing them across the seven Septenary spheres is an introductory exercise. It is meant to allow the user to experience certain energies of the Septenary spheres, to form meaningful associations with them through sensory layering, and then to direct these systematically across those spheres, where the sequential movement or motion of meaningful associations from one sphere to the next essentially creates the auditory sigil (at the most basic level of chant, melodic movement and chant sequencing across the spheres perform this function). The exercise is not only a useful introductory tool to familiarize and then personalize the Septenary energies and correspondences, but also serves as a simple and practical technique to start creating and then cataloguing a “toolkit” of auditory sigils for use in more advanced Septenary and sinister magick.

As one gains experience with the creation of auditory sigils and begins to establish a catalogue, the practitioner may wish to make their way into the more advanced domain of esoteric chant magick. Much more can be said on this subject, and I may elaborate on some of the following techniques in a subsequent article. But part of the purpose of chant magick is to expand and increase the efficacy of these auditory sigils, and then direct them. Through a precise series of correspondences, meaningful associations can be focused, deepened, and directed using advanced sequences of melodic motion, specific Gregorian modes and diatonic musical keys, polyphonic and harmonic layering, visual sigils, incenses, colors, and the Dark Gods, to list a few examples. Each individual will additionally bring with them a vast host of meaningful associations from their life experiences, magickal experimentation, and transformations through the Grade Rituals. Previous, less clarified, and rudimentary auditory sigils can be expanded upon and developed; they can be structurally recreated and worked with interpersonally and intersubjectively in a group setting; they can be introduced into even larger groups of practitioners for purposes determined by specific Nexions; they can be used in the Star Game, including the advanced form, for the purposes of Aeonic magick; and they can be animated as “egregores” through advanced mimetic techniques.

While these are only a few of the applications of esoteric chant magick, its application, unlike external and internal magick, is one of the most powerful forms of magick in the Order of Nine Angles. These techniques are unique to the tradition. It is also one of the few forms of magick that is capable reaching the Aeonic level for use in Aeonic magick.

On this point, and returning to the topic of selecting music for musical tarot readings, I would like to draw the reader’s attention to an interview with the composer Edward Artemyev on his experience working with the cinematic auteur and master, Andrei Tarkovsky. Artemyev’s account of Tarkovsky’s views on the inclusion of music in his films not only highlights the appropriate mindset one should have in selecting music for a musical tarot reading, but illustrates what is partially required for chant magick to find application in Aeonic magick, where all previous meaningful associations, symbolic “gestures,” and forms fall away, collapsing into an incommunicable essence that is then directed as “melodic” spiritual energy:

I’ll begin with Tarkovsky. The most unusual things were the tasks set and our first conversation with him … I was struck by his attitude to music in film, precisely in his films. He told me right away that he didn’t need a composer at all. He needed the composer’s ear and his masterful command of sound, in order to mix music, to make musical effects. Possibly, to add some orchestra, but so that it didn’t stand out. So that it be background sound organized compositionally. I was simply startled by this. But so it was when we filmed Solaris, Mirror and Stalker. This idea of his was constantly present. He did not need music as a developing theme. “This is not a concert,” he said. “This is something special. When I run short of cinematic means, then I put on music.” But since he, basically, had enough means, he needed a composer only as an organizer of the background sound. And if a film needed some music, as in Solaris, he used Bach. There was Bach in Mirror, too, it was either “The St. John Passion,” or “The St. Matthew Passion.” Music as the lining to image he did not want.

Once Tarkovsky told me a very interesting thing. I asked him: “Why? I can write something [music] for the film too.” He [Tarkovsky] answered that cinema had no roots, that it was too young an art. It is only one hundred years old. To give the viewer a sense of deep roots, to make a linkage with the world art, the music of old masters is needed. As well as the paintings of old masters which he did quote … Subconsciously, it creates, as he believed and was right to believe, the deep roots for that art.

In many respects, the Order of Nine Angles is equally too young an art, despite its ancient influences and roots. In constructing meaningful associations with the aim of auditory sigils and chant magick, in addition to the application of magick in general and the establishment of tradition, Tarkovsky’s point is helpful: the creation of “deep roots” requires a “linkage with the world of art,” and for this “the music of old masters is needed.” This is perhaps even truer in making linkages with the world of magick. For this, the “music of old masters” is indeed needed; and in the application of chant magick, that music tends to find its most powerful voice through devotional Gregorian chant. The “deep roots” Artemyev referred to need to initially extend into the unconscious and find shelter there, which is part of the goal of introductory sensory layering techniques like combining musical tarot with visual tarot. When one reaches the more advanced stage of esoteric chant magick, these will begin to form a “bridge” into consciousness (through, for example, the path from the Moon to the Sun, which is the path of Azoth / Satanas). Eventually, these “deep roots” will exceed both, requiring the dyssolving of the ego. At this point, previous forms of meaningful association will shed their skin, taking on a structural identification that can only be approximated in music or speech as their sensory, psychic, and spiritual layering becomes more and more condensed. This can occur, for example, when one’s “catalogue” of correspondences, associations, and auditory sigils has become rich and expansive enough to resemble a Tree a Wyrd through the “doors” or “paths” created by layered associations across the psyche (through, e.g., years of advanced chant magick). Chant itself then becomes malleable, where certain musical and magickal elements of a given chant become interchangeable with others. Auditory sigils themselves can then be layered, where that malleability can lead to a kind of musickal dyssolving, unlocking the true power of chant magick. Contrary to popular belief, the map can become the territory. And this is required before an Aeonic context becomes possible. For this, “deep roots” and meaningful associations can only do so much; it is necessary to enact both as a kind mimesis through embodied imitation – an imitation of these condensed associations and their function as a Tree of Wyrd within the psyche – through transformative activities like the Grade Rituals of the Seven-Fold Way (though there may be other ways). Put another way, one’s psycho-spiritual constitution should actually resemble the “deep roots” and meaningful associations an individual has established – a resemblance that mirrors and enacts a functional Tree of Wyrd within the psyche. (One’s psycho-spiritual constitution and the development of “deep roots” go hand-in-hand. Attempting to develop one without the other will usually be self-evident to those who have developed both.) Unless real alchemical change has occurred in the individual in lock-step with their approach to chant magick, this kind of magick is not only dangerous but may have catastrophic effects.

With respect to Artemyev’s reference to Tarkovsky on “deep roots” in relation to art, some of Nietzsche’s comments on the Apollinian and the Dionysian in The Birth of Tragedy may be helpful. Though unrelated and taken completely out of context – this passage needs to be read in its proper context to understand what Nietzsche is trying to convey – it does cryptically illuminate a sense of some of what has been said here on the relationship between “deep roots” and chant magick, particularly with respect to “imitation.” In needing to be practiced and experienced, chant magick by and large resists rational comprehension or explication – and Nietzsche indirectly captures both sentiments if the following is read “artistically” or “musically” with this in mind:

Thus far we have considered the Apollinian and its opposite, the Dionysian, as artistic energies which burst forth from nature herself, without the mediation of the human artist – energies in which nature’s art impulses are satisfied in the most immediate and direct way – first in the image world of dreams, whose completeness is not dependent upon the intellectual attitude or the artistic culture of any single being; and then as intoxicated reality, which likewise does not heed the single unit, but even seeks to destroy the individual and redeem him by a mystic feeling of oneness. With reference to these immediate art-states of nature, every artist is an “imitator,” that is to say, either an Apollinian artist in dreams, or a Dionysian artist in ecstasies, or finally – as for example in Greek tragedy – at once artist in both dreams and ecstasies; so we may perhaps picture him sinking down in his Dionysian intoxication and mystical self-abnegation, alone and apart from the singing revelers, and we may imagine how, through Apollinian dream-inspiration, his own state, i.e., his oneness with the inmost ground of the world, is revealed to him in a symbolical dream image.[3]

In closing and to elaborate upon what has been written here a little further, I would like to share a transcript of part of a conversation I recently had with a close friend – someone who has completed the Grade Ritual for Master of the Temple (the sphere of Mars, past Internal Adept). Our conversation was on the subject of chant magick, during which I was asked the following:

As a musician … do you feel like when you perform esoteric chant … it is the precise performance of the chant that gives you access to … [a] particular pathway of [the acausal]? Or do you feel that it … [arises from] the connection … [you make] empathically [to it]? Or is it somewhere in the middle? Is it because you are a musician and by performing … [the chant as accurately as possible, you evoke] that empathic connection and … access is granted to you? What are your thoughts on that?

My response was as follows:

[While much more can be said,] the most important thing with respect to accessing the acausal is what I would call “charging.” Someone could formulaically perform a chant perfectly at every technical level and achieve nothing by way of magick. There are so many factors that play into successful chant work, but the energy generated to “unlock” a certain direction or momentum … [to] puncture into the acausal “stratosphere,” so to speak, comes from a continual, impromptu acclimation into higher and higher spheres of meaningful signification. This happens in real time, and those significations converge, often violently. I call this “charging,” and without that chant is at best informal mediation, not musick and certainly not magick. In this, certain “forms” can help the charging – the more symbolically condensed and meaningful the better. But eventually one doesn’t … need such symbols anymore. The condensation, like a sigil, becomes a kind of “muscle memory” – a treasure incarnated and recalled with each subsequent performance and charging.

The amazing and difficult thing about chant magick is that unlike, say, a Hermetic ritual, there are no symbols or meaning structures other than the internal movement of the … melody in combination with the words. Generating the proper charge from that takes skill and a certain – I would say [almost] Rounwythic – constitution. Because by definition and at the most advanced level, there are no gods, dates, holidays, or other meaningful correspondences. One has to make their own [through the malleability and “openness” of these condensations]. And this symbolic condensation is quite nameless, quite wordless, in the act itself. Which in my opinion and experience makes chant magick one of the most powerful types of magick, [capable of tremendous energy, direction, and adaptation to any form of chaos]; [capable, in turn,] of reaching the Aeonic level.

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
April 9, 2022

ADDENDUM: GETTING STARTED WITH ESOTERIC CHANT MAGICK

For those interested, there are many ways to begin learning chant. Other than various online resources, including the instruction manual by Fr. Columba Kelly provided in the first endnote below, the best way to start, as with all music, is to use your ear: listen. Listen carefully, thoughtfully, and actively, as many times a day and as often as you can. Repetition is the key to many mysteries; and chant magick is no exception. There is much to observe in listening: the movement of the melody, the structure of the chant, where to hold notes, how to enunciate and project properly, as well as breathing and breath control. Once you have listened carefully for some time, the next step is to try to imitate what you are hearing, trying to match your performance to the original as closely as possible through continual practice and repetition. After you have spent some time singing along, start looking at the chant notation while you sing to try to understand what certain symbols and notes mean. Once you have done this for some time, supplement your eyes, ears, and voice with a more detailed study of the notation itself using an instruction manual. There are further resources at the bottom of this addendum to assist with this.

To get started, I suggest beginning with the main ONA Septenary chants, which are simpler than some of the more advanced ones, such as the Dark God chant arrangements below. The main ONA Septenary chants will provide a basic familiarity with the energies of each of the spheres on the Tree of Wyrd and will provide a framework to learn and construct more advanced sequences. Below are some resources to get started.

Once upon a time, I learned the main ONA chants from the old Chant of the ONA cassette, released by MMP Temple. Most people have digital versions of these and they are not hard to find. Currently, they can be accessed here, for example:

There are, however, mistakes in some of these performances. I corrected these in the versions found in my “Dark Gate” sequence. This can be used to practice the main Septenary chants (and I recommend these over my older versions of the chants). It should be noted that this sequence includes the first public recordings of the chants for the Star Gate (“Chant to Open a Star Gate”) and Dark Angle or Man’s Gate (“Chant to Return Atazoth to Earth”), which are advanced and difficult to learn (having taken me many years to decipher, learn, and then finally record and release). They are required and important for more advanced chant sequences, being two of the most powerful, dangerous, and magickally significant chants:

When one gains more experience and familiarity with the main chants, they can move on to experiment with more difficult chants, such as the arrangements I did for each of the Dark Gods. Though I will not elaborate on how to use these in detail here, the most basic approach involves substituting Dark God chants for specific Septenary sphere chants in a given sequence or series of sequences to generate a specific type of acausal energy. (These can follow a specific pattern determined by the cantor according to, e.g., a “magickal algorithm”; or they can be completely random, to list just two examples.) For example, the “Agios Kthunae” chant could be substituted for the “Agios Alastoros” chant for Mars in a given sequence to target a specific aim, goal, energy, attribute, or desire. The Dark God chants can be found in the following playlist:

Other chants, such as the chant arrangements I did for those listed in the ONA’s Black Book of Satan can be found through the following link. These can be used to generate specific types of energy, usually of a sinister or “Satanic” nature:

Finally, some of the advanced chant magick techniques I alluded to in this article are demonstrated in the following chants I composed. These are but an introduction to the many possibilities of such techniques:

Additional chants can be found on my youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsERKck5lRE0rL8h_q2nDXA

It should be noted that chant can be used for more subtle forms of magick, such as internal and external magick. These can take the form of devotional, contemplative, reflective, or pensive exercises aimed at creating or projecting a certain type of energy generated from a “mood” or “disposition.” These require a different approach to creating and layering meaningful associations, which I will not go into here. My chant composition for David Myatt’s c. 1986 poem, “In the Night,” is one such example:

More resources can be found within the ONA for guidance. I may create a more detailed list in the future. For now, I suggest NAOS: A Practical Guide to Modern Magick for the beginner, which provides some basic instructions to get started. The Hostia texts and some of the old Fenrir editions under Christos Beest provide more advanced guidance for the discerning reader.

A helpful resource outside of the ONA can be found at Corpus Christi Watershed. The Saint Antoine Daniel Kyriale performances are accurate and are an excellent place to start:

https://www.ccwatershed.org/gregorian/

https://www.ccwatershed.org/2014/04/25/st-antoine-daniel-kyriale/

NOTES

[1] See Fr. Columba Kelly, “Part 2: Chant is ‘Sung Speech’,” in Singing Chant: Latin and English: A Performance Manual (Indiana: Saint Meinrad Archabbey, 2016). I consulted this text for many years in learning chant. It is a great resource and reference manual. The text can currently be found in its entirety at the following location: https://www.saintmeinrad.org/media/1387/chant_manual03.pdf

[2] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, in Basic Writings of Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: The Modern Library, 2000), 55-56. One must be very careful here, as making sense of what this passage means requires carefully navigating Nietzsche’s analysis of the Dionysian and the Apollinian, in addition to understanding the distinctions he makes between epic poetry, lyric poetry, art, and music in relation to these. See, for example, Nietzsche’s characterizations of the “plastic artist,” the epic poet, the Dionysian musician, and the “lyric genius” on p. 50. See also p. 49, where Nietzsche discusses the taking for granted of the union or identity “of the lyrist with the musician” in relation to ancient lyric poetry.

[3] Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy, 38.


“Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd?”: An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination

Posted: March 29th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Alchemy, Culture, Etymology, Fenrir, Inner ONA, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, paganism, Rounwytha, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd?”: An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination

Venerable Bede

– Harry Clarke, St. Bede the Venerable, 1931
St. Cuthbert’s Church, Durham

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/03/29/will-wyrd/

What follows is another article for the upcoming edition of Fenrir. This article covers the subject of wyrd in relation to the medieval Christian influence on the Anglo-Saxon pagan Weltanschauung. In examining the role of wyrd in extant Anglo-Saxon verse, I demonstrate how the role of wyrd as Other illuminates the meaning of the phrase, “elþeodigra eard gesecan” – “to seek the land of foreigners” – in relation to the Hermetic quest (ἄνοδος) of the Order of Nine Angles. In so doing, I then examine how the relations between man, wyrd, and God and three types of human responses to wyrd in medieval Anglo-Saxon verse shed light on the deeper esoteric role of wyrd within (and beyond) the ONA through what in Beowulf is called “forethought of mind,” and what in devotional Anglo-Saxon verse is referred to as “thinking well” or “thinking wisely” – all with an eye toward addressing “the inability of the individual to comprehend the operation of wyrd in man’s daily life and the human endeavor to live meaningfully in the face of that incomprehensibility.”

“Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd?”

An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination

by Nameless Therein

monað modes lust mæla gehwylce
ferð to feran, þæt ic feor heonan
elþeodigra eard gesece.

The mind’s urging admonishes the spirit at every moment to set forth, that I might seek far from here the land of foreigners.

– “The Seafarer,” translated by Andrew Galloway

The above poem fragment is taken from the tenth-century manuscript known as the Exeter Book, which “constitutes the largest extant collection of Old English verse.”[1] Some scholars have suggested that the phrase “elþeodigra eard gesecan” – “to seek the land of foreigners” – is a “common expression for a journey into religious exile.”[2] In the poem, “The Seafarer,” the phrase is meant to indicate an “oblique and elusive resolution” as “the speaker passes beyond the world of heroic obligations … to another sphere.”[3] This “passing to another sphere” alludes to a complex historical relationship between the concept of wyrd or “fate” in Anglo-Saxon literature and that of choice, indicated by the verb (ge)ceosan, “to choose,” which appears in the tenth and eleventh centuries.[4] While this relation can be observed historically with respect to the notion of Christian predestination,[5] the relation speaks more broadly to “early English poetry’s deterministic vision of history.”[6]

That deterministic vision of history takes on additional significance when considering how the phrase “elþeodigra eard gesecan” finds application in the modern world, specifically in terms of wyrd. In the complex relation between fate and choice, and much like its central place in the “surviving paganism … [of] Anglo-Saxon literature,”[7] wyrd plays a central role in the Order of Nine Angles. Here, “elþeodigra eard gesecan” can be interpreted as the way wyrd directs each individual across the Septenary spheres of the Tree of Wyrd, thereby “passing to another sphere” or “from sphere to sphere” over the course of their Hermetic quest (ἄνοδος).[8] While many associates have a cursory understanding of what the term “wyrd” means in this context – as an unclarified sense of “fate” or “destiny,” for example – few have a grasp of its etymological origins and fewer still get beyond the apparent duality it alludes to within the practice of the ONA. This duality concerns two horns of a dilemma upon which each initiate necessarily finds themselves impaled – a dilemma involving the emphasis on solitary, individual experience on the one hand, and the confrontation with something other than the self on the other. The dilemma concerns the way one can become ensnared in various “traps” or “deceptions” as the duality “turns in” on itself through the dissolving of the ego, either through the temptation to over-emphasize individual experience, where one can lose their way in mistaking a personal map for impersonal territory;[9] or in deceiving oneself into believing that dissolving has occurred before it has begun.[10] All in all, one must remember that the ONA’s emphasis on solitary practice and pathei-mathos with respect to individual experience is intimately conjoined with empathy as a means to empathic living.[11] More specifically, solitary practice and individual experience are a means to the radical confrontation with something other than the self, which empathy makes possible; and this confrontation recasts each initiate in a shadow of destiny that exceeds the boundaries of the individual.

Wyrd is important in this respect because it involves this “something other than the self.” At one level, said confrontation can take the form of a relation to the other person; but at a broader level, it can reveal itself in the form of fate or nature (physis or φύσις). Though other phenomena can assume this role, the acknowledgement of something other than the self plays an important role in the dissolving of the ego. While more attention can be dedicated to this relation, this article will focus its attention on the cultural, historical, and etymological origins of wyrd in relation to this “something other than the self,” both in terms of wyrd as Other and in terms of the relation between man, wyrd, and God in Anglo-Saxon literature. The purpose here is not to conduct a systematic analysis of these subjects, but to highlight certain recurrent dynamics that can occur in the transformative experiences of ONA praxes like the Seven-Fold Way.

WYRD AS OTHER IN THE MEDIEVAL CHRISTIAN AND ANGLO-SAXON WORLDVIEW

The term “wyrd” has complex origins culturally, historically, etymologically, and in terms of its usage in the early literature of the Order of Nine Angles.[12] We find references to it in the Old English poetry of the tenth-century manuscript known as the Exeter Book, in the epic Anglo-Saxon[13] poem Beowulf,[14] and in King Alfred’s Old English translation of the Roman philosopher Boethius’ influential work, The Consolation of Philosophy, which marked one of the last great crossroads between the Classical and Medieval worlds.[15] Though translating “wyrd” was once a “polarizing enigma for scholars of Old English literature and of the history of religions,”[16] philologists of the nineteenth century translated it as “fate” and held that “the presence of the word in the … [Old English] corpus … [represented] one of the few preservations of England’s Teutonic pre-Christian cosmology.”[17] Jacob Grimm, for example, notes the “philological link between wyrd and the Norse norn Urðr, one of the three entities responsible for weaving the fates of humankind.”[18] Wyrd is thus described as a “fixed fate that shaped the pagan world of the Anglo-Saxons,”[19] which, in “pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon mythology” denoted “a force in the universe which controlled the destinies of all things.”[20] In this, its role is similar “to that of fate in Old Norse literature, where it compels even the gods to act in accord with its dictates.”[21] In Beowulf, “Wyrd is the force that eventually destroys the lives of the violators of unknowable universal order,”[22] which F. Anne Payne describes in the following way:

[Wyrd] is the agent in the most terrible experience of the day of death. It is the opponent of man in the strange area of the most intense perception and consciousness. Though it may hold off for a while, the individual in the end makes an error in choice and releases forces whose consequences at the moment of crisis he controls no longer and Wyrd is victorious. Wyrd affects only those with the strength and energy to enter that space where order is at first contingent on their choices. When they fail as they inevitably do because they are human, Wyrd’s dreadful power compensates for their inadequacies. While it is completely accurate to say in epic and tragedy in general that the hero seeks his fate, it is totally erroneous to say he seeks his Wyrd. Wyrd is alien to the individual; it is the force which balances his errors, punishes him, at best tolerates him. Wyrd is always the Other.[23]

In this sense, wyrd thus functions as the form of alterity alluded to at the beginning of this article: a fundamental Other or otherness that we encounter through empathy in the radical confrontation with something other than the self. While alternate forms of alterity can take on this relation, each with their own dynamic in relation to the self (nature or physis being one example), such relations are sometimes sensed more prominently with the dissolving of the ego. Thus, to revisit the phrase from “The Seafarer” introduced above: “elþeodigra eard gesecan” does not just refer to seeking “the land of foreigners” as an expression for a journey into religious exile. In “passing to another sphere” or “from sphere to sphere,” wyrd also refers to exile from the self in confronting something other than the self. In this respect, wyrd as enigmatic, impersonal, and incomprehensible is reflected in the poetry of the Exeter Book, which thematically addresses “the inability of the individual to comprehend the operation of wyrd in man’s daily life and the human endeavor to live meaningfully in the face of that incomprehensibility.”[24] In this, “elþeodigra eard gesecan” indeed indicates a passing “beyond the world of heroic obligations … to another sphere”[25] as each initiate continually immolates and re-constitutes their sense of self in the face of wyrd’s incomprehensible influence across the Tree of Wyrd.

MAN, WYRD, AND GOD

In this context, wyrd does not just refer to fate but “inexorable fate,”[26] one in which “the hopeless pagan vision of a crumbling world” – whose “bitterly cold, inconsolable pagan worldview” makes poems like “The Wanderer” in the Exeter Book so compelling – eventually converges with Christian consolation.[27] In fact, though the Christian influence in Anglo-Saxon works is explicit, there is disagreement regarding its role and origin. While early scholars considered the term “wyrd” in such literature “a rare preservation of pre-Christian belief in the extant corpus,”[28] a more recent scholarly consensus acknowledges the Christian context of extant Old English literature,[29] possibly tracing the derivation of wyrd to the verb weorðan (to become).[30] This Christian context introduces alternate ways of interpreting the term “wyrd.” Though there are various occasions in Old English literature “where wyrd is personified and is distinguished from God,”[31] there are numerous references to God and “God’s wyrd” throughout the poems of the Exeter Book.[32] F. Anne Payne notes that “[t]he relation of man, Wyrd, and God which is represented in Beowulf finds its philosophical clarification in [King] Alfred’s use of the term in his … [translation] of [Boethius’] Consolation of Philosophy.”[33] Payne adds that “Alfred’s metaphor for the absolute relation of … [man, Wyrd, and God] makes Wyrd a great wheel on which men are caught, the worst toward the outer rim, the best near the axle, which is God: ‘swelce sio eax sie þæt hehste god þe we nemnað God.’”[34] On this point, Susanne Weil traces the “many words that express the concept of wyrd” to the term’s Old English root meaning “to shape.” She notes that gescipe, or “destiny,” means literally “that which is shaped”; that the verb sceppen means “to destine, to shape”; and that “one of the most frequently used words for ‘God’ is Sceppend,” which literally means “Shaper.”[35] With respect to the relation between man, wyrd, and God in Anglo-Saxon verse and literature, she adds:

Since the motif of wyrd as the implacable arbiter of men’s struggles resounds throughout the Anglo-Saxon canon like a perpetual minor chord, the synonymous nature of fate and shaping in Old English should not be surprising: the singers of the canon were always aware that the events of their lives had been “shaped” by a force (or forces) beyond their control. Given the primacy of tactile imagery throughout their poetry, their vision of destiny as a process of shaping is characteristic. It is as if their Shaper were a sculptor, carefully crating the form of each man’s fate, molding a rough edge here, a smooth curve there, until the work took on its final cast in the moment of death.[36]

Against this clear Christian influence, however, there does seem to be something mysterious with respect to wyrd in the underbelly of the pagan Anglo-Saxon Weltanschauung. As monks historically moved into Britain and began recording Anglo-Saxon writings, it was assumed that the Sceppend was the Christian God. But Weil raises the important question: “who was he before that?”[37] After all, “The Anglo-Saxon tongue existed before the Christianization of Britain, and yet the Germanic religion which had held sway there had no supreme Shaper.”[38] On this point, Weil finds that, “As we push the parameters of the mythology, every possible explanation seems to lead to another mystery. The Anglo-Saxon universe seems curiously without cause, yet brimming with effects—all subsumed under the murky heading of wyrd, which remains a force, not a figure. Who, then, is the Shaper?”[39]

In relation to wyrd, Weil suggests that a clue to this question can be found in the following lines from Beowulf, where Beowulf says that “Gaeð a wyrd swa hio scel (Fate always goes as it must!),” and also that “Wyrd oft nereð/unfægne eorl, þonne his ellen deah (Fate often saves an undoomed man if his courage is good).”[40] In these two axioms, there appears to be an inconsistency: in the first “fate is unalterable,” and in the second “[fate] plays favorites.”[41] Later in Beowulf, the narrator seems to suggest that fate “is subordinate to both “wise God” and “the man’s courage.”[42] At a superficial level, these differing conceptions of wyrd appear to reveal an inconsistency. At a deeper level, however, that inconsistency may confirm Weil’s suspicion that neither Beowulf nor the narrator are confused here – that it is instead the modern audience who has missed the point of these pronouncements.[43] She elaborates on this in the following way, unpacking the relation between the Christian influence and the pagan Anglo-Saxon worldview:

Critics who see the poem as primarily Christian … view the narrator’s pronouncement on the power of God as evidence that Christian providence, not wyrd, was the Shaper of the Anglo-Saxon world—ignoring other pronouncements that the narrator makes elsewhere about the supreme power of fate. If proving God to be the sole power were the narrator’s purpose, why would he immediately append the caveat “yet is discernment everywhere best, forethought of mind?” He seems to be telling his audience not to count on the power of God or wyrd: the future will be a mixture of satisfaction and suffering even though God (or fate) “rule(s) all the race of men.” What a man can depend on is his “forethought of mind”: this is the core of the individual’s power to endure.[44]

“FORETHOUGHT OF MIND” AND “THINKING WELL”: THREE HUMAN RESPONSES TO WYRD

This “forethought of mind” as a means of enduring wyrd is an important theme, one that other scholars have taken note of. The “narrator’s purpose” Weil refers to above with respect to “forethought of mind” occurs in Beowulf as follows: “Forþan bið angit æghwær selest, [/] ferhðes foreþanc,” which can be translated as, “Therefore understanding is best everywhere, forethought of mind,”[45] or, “Yet is discernment everywhere best, forethought of mind.”[46] As a parallel to the reference to “forethought of mind” in Beowulf, we find an analogue in what Karma Lochrie renders as “thinking well” in one of the poems of the Exeter Book.[47] The reference occurs with respect to a series of “less obvious sequences of poems” in the Exeter Book, ones that “present variations on some particular theme or a series of instructions for devotional exercises.”[48] Such poems are noted by Lochrie to reveal a “pattern of the sacrament of penance.”[49] These form a “thematic group” and are headed by a “Judgment Day” poem, which is comprised of three short poems: “Judgment Day I,” “Resignation A,” and “Resignation B.”[50] These three short poems comprise three different approaches “to the common concern with wyrd and its effect on mankind” in the form of “a homiletic poem, a prayer, and an elegy.”[51] The phrase “thinking well” occurs in the first of the three poems that comprise this triplex: “Judgment Day I.”

“Judgment Day I” is described by Lochrie as a “homiletic poem in the third person” that “switches curiously … to a prayerlike, first-person narrative mode in which the speaker solicits the audience’s participation in his poem.”[52] The poem seems to call the reader to prayer after “a description of the inexorable end of the world through God’s wyrd and the judgment of mankind through His Word.” The call appears to be a “response to the mysterious upheavals and revelations wreaked by wyrd,”[53] where the ending “embarks on a prayer for the recognition of one’s inability to change or postpone wyrd ‘under heaven’”:[54]

Oncweþ nu þisne cwide; cuþ sceal geweorþan
þæt ic gewægan ne mæg wyrd under heofonum,
ac hit þus gelimpan sceal leoda gehwylcum
ofer eall beorht gesetu, byrnende lig.
Siþþan æfter þam lige lif bið gestaþelad,
welan ah in wuldre se nu wel þenceð.

(Repeat now this saying; it shall come to be
that I may not frustrate wyrd under heaven,
but it shall happen thus to all people
the coming of the burning flame, over all this bright creation.
After the flame life will be established,
and he will possess happiness who now thinks wisely.)[55]

This poem points to the fact that “the individual cannot ‘frustrate’ or prevent God’s wyrd under heaven, that in fact that wyrd is destined to frustrate the individual’s plans for the future, and that he or she must endure the ‘burning flame’ which will engulf all creation equally.”[56]

It is in this enduring – specifically with respect to enduring wyrd – that we find a link between the “forethought of mind” in Beowulf and the “thinking well” that Lochrie mentions with respect to “Judgment Day I.” “Thinking well” is also rendered as “thinking wisely,” where “the poet also adds to what might otherwise be a pessimistic outlook that the individual can affect his or her destiny by ‘thinking wisely’ now—that is, in the present.”[57] Whether referring to wyrd as “the speaker’s hardship, suffering, and misery which he cannot understand or prevent” in “Resignation B,” or as “the final conflagration and Last Judgment” in “Judgment Day I,” the lesson is the same: “one must not try to change or appeal one’s destiny; instead, one must ‘think well’ in order to endure it.”[58]

These three poems – “Judgment Day I,” “Resignation A,” and “Resignation B” – present variations on the limits of human understanding in relation to wyrd, and illustrate three “particular human responses to wyrd.”[59] “Judgment Day I” establishes a “triptych” that “portrays these [three] human responses to wyrd” – responses that “[hinge] upon the quality of one’s thought, and … [whether or not] we consider the truth well.”[60] The three responses involve three characterizations or caricatures: 1) the gromhydig guma or “the grim-thinking man”;[61] 2) the earthly feaster;[62] and 3) the deophydig or “deep-thinking” soul.[63] Of these, the first two are “caricatures of the unwise—those who are heedless of the future in their overweening confidence in the present.”[64] The third conversely “assumes the model human response to wyrd.”[65] I will briefly examine each of these in turn.

The first type of response, the gromhydig guma or “the grim-thinking man,” is suggestive of a character who boasts and “heaps scorn on his lord, murders him, and flees to hell with his friends.” He is “the destroyer of peace who, in his grim ravaging of the earth, fails to consider the ‘dark creation’ which eternally waits for him.” As a response to wyrd, “the grim-thinker’s failure to know what lies beyond the present” represents a species of “proud ignorance by which man exploits the limitations of his own knowledge on earth.” Lochrie notes that the remedy for such pride is suggested by the word ferðgleaw, an adjective meaning “prudent.” With respect to wyrd, prudence “is a wisdom in the face of the future which recognizes the limitations of human knowledge and our inability to change our future” and is characterized by forethought.[66]

The second type of response is that of the earthly feaster. Similar to the grim-thinking man, “the feaster is oblivious to his wyrd.” Lochrie contends that the feaster “is guilty of another kind of pride which is associated with the ‘immoderate mind’.” The feaster is additionally characterized by an indifference or lack of care towards knowledge.[67]

The third type of response is the deophydig or “deep-thinking soul.” The deep-thinking soul “considers well his journey hence and looks upon his sins with anxiety, sorry, and suffering.” This type of response marks a soul characterized by prudence, one who, “while not … [presuming] to know or understand God’s wyrd, is able to endure it patiently by thinking well upon the future.”[68]

All in all, these three responses to wyrd are meant to indicate the types of qualities required to endure it: “understanding, patience, and memory.” On this account and in order to receive these qualities, the speaker of “Resignation A” realizes that “he must first learn to ‘think well’,”[69] as indicated by the poet’s words:

Gesette minne hyht on þec,
forhte foreþoncas, þæt hio fæstlice
stonde gestaðelad. Onstep minne hige,
gæsta god cyning, in gearone raed.

(Set my trust in you,
strengthen my forethoughts, that they may
stand fast. Raise my thoughts,
God King of souls, in ready wisdom.)[70]

CONCLUSION

Over the course of this paper, I examined some of the cultural, historical, and etymological origins of the Anglo-Saxon term “wyrd” in two contexts. The first concerned a radical confrontation with something other than the self, where wyrd took on the fundamental role of Other. I investigated this in some of the poems in the tenth-century manuscript known as the Exeter Book, in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, and in the Old English translation of Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy. Here, I found that the phrase “elþeodigra eard gesecan,” or “to seek the land of foreigners” could be interpreted as more than a religious exile, referring instead to how an initiate in the Order of Nine Angles is exiled from the self in confronting something other than the self. That other (or Other) can take the form of wyrd.

The second context concerned wyrd’s deeper constellation of meaning when examined through the lens of the medieval Christian influence on the Anglo-Saxon pagan Weltanschauung. We examined different interpretations and possible etymological origins of wyrd in extant Anglo-Saxon verse in relation to God and the three different human responses to wyrd described by Karma Lochrie. These responses centered around the theme of “thinking well,” which I suggested is analogous to the idea of “forethought of mind” in Beowulf. Through an examination of “Judgment Day I,” “Resignation A,” and “Resignation B” in the Exeter Book and their characterization of the three human responses to wyrd, we learned that the appropriate human response to wyrd is prudence: “the recognition that we cannot change or frustrate wyrd.”[71] Hence, “Thinking well and wisely upon our future judgment while accepting the limitations of our understanding of divine wyrd finally means suffering well our present.”[72]

While prudence as an appropriate human response to wyrd may conflict with the Order of Nine Angles’ philosophy – there may in fact be magickal and esoteric techniques to alter or “re-direct” one’s wyrd, which is an element of the ONA’s esoteric system that seems to attract the dogged initiate – it does cast an interesting light on a deep historical complexity surrounding the cultural, historical, and etymological origins of the term “wyrd.”

In closing and as a testament to the importance of activating what has been said here in a participatory manner – one that brings wyrd to life in life, not on paper – I will end with a brief symbolic gesture: long ago, on the trail of danger and adventure in my younger years, I had a close friend who, now on the path to becoming an adept, once said to me: “Where’s your will to be weird?” Like a forethought of wyrd echoing into that present – a present which is now the past but is still very much alive – the question stuck with me. The question returned. The question evolved and took on strange forms. Now, as an echo across history into the present, as a moving anchor into the future, wyrd seems to be revealing itself to itself, providing temporal clues as to what this was intended to mean. Like many of the mysteries or “treasures” revealed in wyrd, I sensed the meaning instinctually, liminally, beyond the bounds of understanding. Until now, I never knew how to describe this “sensing.” In closing and as a clue as to the meaning of the title of this article,[73] I end with a passage from Payne:

The adjective “weird” and the noun slang term “weirdo” describe an event or person whose attributes are suddenly discovered to be outside the bounds of normal expectation and arouse an experience that an observer contemplates with uncomprehending but compelling uneasiness. This combination of attraction and awe in the face of an event in a space whose dimensions are undefined and uncontrollable hovers about the meaning of Old English Wyrd.[74]

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
March 28, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita

Wudu mot him weaxan, wyrde bidan,
tanum lædan; ic for tæle ne mæg
ænigne moncynnes mode gelufian
eorl on eþle.

(The tree might flourish, abide its wyrd,
sprout forth with branches; I for disgrace may not
any of mankind love in heart
any earl in my native land.)

– “Resignation B,” translated by Karma Lochrie

NOTES

[1] Courtney Catherine Barajas, “Introduction,” in Old English Ecotheology: The Exeter Book (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021), 20.

[2] Andrew Galloway, “Beowulf and the Varieties of Choice,” PMLA 105, no. 2 (March 1990): 199.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 197.

[5] A noteworthy development in this respect is the lesser-known fifth-century Christian heresy known as Pelagianism. Pelagianism, which is associated with the British monk Pelagius, held that “the grace needed for salvation comes from God through creation (which gives humans the capacity to do good) and from revelation (which teaches and encourages them toward goodness).” According to Pelagianism, sin “does not invalidate these gifts, and baptism is not necessary for the forgiveness of original sin.” These teachings were opposed to the views of St. Augustine, who held that “humans pass original sin to their children through reproduction, and that after Adam’s sin they lost the divine gift of love that makes human actions effective for salvation.” On Augustine’s account, “Without love, even things that seem to be virtues have evil motives.” Pelagianism was condemned by the Church as a heresy. Interestingly, a group now referred to as the Semipelagians, “represented by the monks John Cassian and Vincent of Lerins,” agreed with Augustine “on the necessity of interior grace and the effects of sin, but felt that predestination was dangerously close to some kind of destiny.” Predestination in relation to destiny is beyond the scope of this article but is mentioned here in passing given its relevance to this discussion of wyrd. Charles Taliaferro and Elsa J. Marty, eds., “Pelagianism,” in A Dictionary of Philosophy of Religion (New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010), 174-75.

[6] Galloway, “Beowulf,” 197.

[7] Eric Gerald Stanley, “Wyrd,” chap. 11 in Imagining the Anglo-Saxon Past: The Search for Anglo-Saxon Paganism and Anglo-Saxon Trial by Jury (1975; repr., Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2000), 85.

[8] The Greek term “ἄνοδος” commonly occurs throughout ONA literature to describe this Hermetic quest. See, for example, Kerri Scott’s point that, “The symbolism of ω9α philosophy is – as described in the Poemander/Poemandres tractate of the Corpus Hermeticum and in many Renaissance alchemical texts – the ancient one of seven spheres (ἑβδομάς) and of a hermetic quest (ἄνοδος) by the individual from the first, lower, sphere to the seventh, higher, sphere.” Along these lines, Scott also notes that, “The Seven Fold Way involves an individual or a partnership undertaking a difficult hermetic quest, an ἄνοδος, either overtly Occult – as for example described in the Naos manuscript – or based on a non-Occult seeking as described in the text The Sevenfold Seeking And Noesis Of The Hebdomian Way.” Scott adds that, “Those on such a quest, often called the Hebdomadary (singular) or Hebdomadarians (plural) generally concern themselves with their quest, their interior life, their partnership, and family, above and beyond the dialectical machinations of the external world such as those of politics.” Kerri Scott, “Guide to Omega9Alpha Subculture” (self-pub., 2022).

[9] There is a powerful sense in which wyrd relates to the self in a way that exceeds the boundaries of the self. This involves a kind of personal intimacy; but that intimacy is also enigmatic and impersonal in its relation to forces that cannot be reduced to comprehension or understanding. It is, however, rarely abstract, embodied in an experience that can neither be “located” nor locuted, defying all natural forms of expression and grammar; all except, perhaps, music. In this way the map can become the territory, and the way this occurs is deeply personal.

[10] These are two common examples that many individuals fall victim to. Regarding the latter case, said “deception” can occur as an ulterior resistance structure or unconscious defense mechanism that artificially “elevates” the individual above the actual confrontation, sometimes out of fear, denial, unresolved trauma, or a refusal to let go. Small – and sometimes not so small – signs can indicate this type of inflationary response in the individual: in the way they speak, their mannerisms, their response to conflict, their etiquette, and their interpersonal relations, to cite a few examples.

[11] On this point, Myatt notes that, “The Way of Pathei-Mathos is an ethical, an interior, a personal, a non-political, a non-interfering, a non-religious but spiritual, way of individual reflexion, individual change, and empathic living, where there is an awareness of the importance of virtues such as compassion, humility, tolerance, gentleness, and love.” David Myatt, “I. Morality, Virtues, and Way of Life,” in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, 5th ed. (self-pub., 2018).

[12] Sadly, overuse, misuse, and a lack of knowledge regarding the origins of ONA terminology on the part of many ONA associates has diminished the meaning of such terms; but through a careful examination of some of the complexities that inform their intended meaning, we may breathe fresh life into a terminological framework that has been stripped of significance through years of carelessness. Such investigations will hopefully inspire others to find new ways to describe complex phenomena – phenomena that may appear conceptually contradictory but consistent in experience. There is evidence that the early authors of the ONA were aware of the complexities surrounding such terminology and were possibly attempting to exceed the limitations of such terms in creating clear divisions like “causal” and “acausal.” While such distinctions can be misleading, they lend the advantage of drawing our attention to their apparent limitations so that we may evolve and exceed them in turn.

[13] Note that while “Anglo-Saxon” is often used synonymously with “Old English,” the term and its Latinized form, “Anglo-Saxonicus,” originally applied “to the people and language of the Saxon race who colonized the southern parts of Britain.” The Saxons were distinct from the Angles, who colonized the northern regions. “Anglo-Saxon” does not refer to a combination of Angles and Saxons – i.e., “the people and language of the whole of England.” The latter would be more accurately described by the term “Old English.” Since the revival of such studies in the sixteenth century, however, “‘Anglo-Saxon’ has been used as the general term, without a sense of geographical distinction. Dinah Birch and Katy Hooper, eds., “Anglo-Saxon,” in The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, 4th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

[14] There is controversy surrounding the dating of Beowulf. See, for example, The Dating of Beowulf: A Reassessment, ed. Leonard Neidorf (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2014). Neidorf notes that scholars have assigned dates ranging from the seventh to the eleventh century. Prior to the 1980s, “most scholars held that the poem was composed during the seventh or eighth century.” Interestingly, J.R.R. Tolkien was convinced that Beowulf belonged to the age of Bede, which lasted from 672-735. On this point, Francis Gummere wrote: “There is no positive evidence for any date of origins. All critics place it before the ninth century. The eighth brought monastic corruption to Northumbria; while the seventh, described by Beda, with its austerity of morals, its gentleness, its tolerance, its close touch with milder forms of heathenism, matches admirably the controlling mood of the epic.” R.W. Chambers additionally notes that, “[F]rom the point of view of its close touch with heathendom, its tolerance for heathen customs, its Christian magnanimity and gentleness, its conscious art, and its learned tone, all historic and artistic analogy would lead us to place Beowulf in the great age – the age of Bede.” Other scholars disagree with this assessment. Scholarship on the dating of Beowulf appears to be “uneven in quality.” Leonard Neidorf, “Introduction,” in The Dating of Beowulf: A Reassessment, ed. Leonard Neidorf (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2014).

[15] Victor Watts, “Introduction,” in Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy, rev. ed., trans. Victor Watts (1969; rev. ed., London: Penguin Books, 1999), xi. Boethius’ Consolation marks one of the great crossroads between the classical pagan worldview and early medieval Christianity. Boethius is said to have written this work in prison before his execution in 524 AD. Watts notes that, “[I]n the absence of firm evidence to the contrary … [we must believe that] Boethius … wrote [Consolation] in prison, alone, under the shadow of eventual execution, unaided except by the power of his own memory and genius.” Watts, “Introduction,” xxii.

[16] David Pedersen, “Wyrd ðe Warnung … or God: The Question of Absolute Sovereignty in Solomon and Saturn II,” Studies in Philology 113, no. 4 (Fall 2016): 714.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid. Pedersen interestingly cites a long-standing conflict between pagan and Christian interpretations of this term in an Anglo-Saxon context. He notes that “numerous proponents of the preservation of Germanic mythology in … [Old English] literature pointed to the various occasions throughout the corpus where wyrd is personified and is distinguished from God.” This began to change in the early twentieth century, however, as “a predominantly English school of scholarship began to attack the idea that the extant sources preserve some vestiges of Anglo-Saxon paganism, contending that the nearly three centuries of Christianity preceding many of the earliest literary occurrences of wyrd preclude any pagan connotations.” Pedersen, “Wyrd,” 714.

[19] Susanne Weil, “Grace Under Pressure: ‘Hand-Words,’ Wyrd, and Free Will in Beowulf,” Pacific Coast Philology 24, no. 1/2 (November 1989): 94.

[20] Jon C. Kasik, “The Use of the Term Wyrd in Beowulf and Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons,” Neophilologus 63 (January 1979): 128.

[21] Ibid.

[22] F. Anne Payne, “Three Aspects of Wyrd in Beowulf,” in Old English Studies in Honour of John C. Pope, eds. Robert B. Burlin and Edward B. Irving (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), 15.

[23] Payne, “Three Aspects,” 15-16.

[24] Karma Lochrie, “Wyrd and the Limits of Human Understanding: A Thematic Sequence in the Exeter Book,” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 85, no. 3 (July 1986): 324.

[25] Galloway, “Beowulf,” 199.

[26] Dan Veach, “The Wanderer,” in Beowulf and Beyond: Classic Anglo-Saxon Poems, Stories, Sayings, Spells, and Riddles (Atlanta: Lockwood Press, 2021), 41.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Pedersen, “Wyrd,” 713.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid., 714.

[31] Ibid.

[32] For example, see Lochrie’s discussion of the poem “Judgment Day I” in “Human Understanding,” 325.

[33] Payne, “Three Aspects,” 16.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Weil, “Grace Under Pressure,” 94.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid., 95.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid., 95-96.

[45] Pedersen, “Wyrd, 726.

[46] Weil, “Grace Under Pressure,” 95.

[47] Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 327.

[48] Ibid., 323.

[49] A reference to L. Whitbread quoted in Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 323.

[50] Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 324.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid., 325.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Quoted in Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 325. Translation by Lochrie.

[56] Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 326.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid., 326-27. There is a parallel between “forethought of mind” and “thinking well” in Anglo-Saxon verse and my analysis elsewhere of the importance of what Hannah Arendt refers to as the vita contemplativa or the contemplative life. That parallel has to do with the role of contemplation in relation to action. The parallel only indicates a relation, however; the two issues are not identical.

[59] Ibid., 327.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid., 328.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Ibid., 327.

[65] Ibid., 328.

[66] Ibid., 327.

[67] Ibid., 328.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Quoted in Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 328. Translation by Lochrie.

[71] Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 331.

[72] Ibid.

[73] I should note that the phrase “Anglo-Saxon religious imagination,” which I chose as the subtitle of this article, comes from Pedersen, “Wyrd,” 713.

[74] Payne, “Three Aspects,” 15.