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.


Techniques for Doing a Musical Tarot Reading & Creating Auditory Sigils

Posted: April 8th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, O9A, Order of Nine Angles, Tarot Cards | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Techniques for Doing a Musical Tarot Reading & Creating Auditory Sigils

rubi-featured

[Repost of: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/04/08/musical-tarot-reading/]

Good evening everyone,

I thought I might say a few words on the topic of music for aspiring musicians and artists in the Order of Nine Angles. In briefly detailing some of its influence in my life, I hope others can find some inspiration in the following commentary. By way of practical advice, I also include some techniques of my own on how to do a “musical” tarot reading using the ONA’s Septenary spread, in addition to creating what I call “auditory sigils.” The aim of such techniques is to establish a kind of toolkit by cataloguing these experiences in preparation for more advanced Septenary workings and rituals, such as esoteric chant.

Though I have spent many years refining my thinking and writing in the academic world, the existential cadence underlying my life has always been one of music. As strange as it may sound, I went into academia to become a better musician. My classical musical training provided an important toolkit to connect visceral, internal movements with meaningful forms of signification, whether historical, cultural, symbolic, or emotive. Through what I would call a kind of “pre-phonetic” musical grammar – the way certain combinations of tones stir the heart and spirit at a primal level ­– I began to sense over time that music and these “movements” provided the possibility and condition for the formal structures of thought.

Thought for me has always been a kind of primal impression of music, a way of visualizing sound in an organized and creative way. In my experience, the process is visceral rather than cerebral, emotive rather than intellectual, grounded first and foremost in instinct, intuition, and the way these combine into meaningful patterns across the heart rather than in the mind. In this, I found that the “pre-phonetic” patterns and movements of music have a direct connection to the grammar of natural language and can be used to structure it directly in thought. Contrary to much of what is written against abstraction in the ONA, I find that there is a kind of magick and alchemy in emotionally cataloguing the way thought can be made musical, where the abstract convergence of the two can creatively shape our worldview and direct our lives. For me, life is musical – a living narrative between abstraction and particulars, thought and spirit, cadence and caesura, without which thought alone would be quite uninteresting.

With this in mind and reflecting on the current climate of the ONA, I thought about what an auditory or “musical” tarot reading might look like for the immediate future of this tradition. I considered some of my own musical influences, including those that influenced the guitar compositions on my 2018 release, Hex Haruspex, as well as some of my classical guitar compositions. (As a curious aside, the songs on Hex Haruspex form auditory correlates to many of the tarot images of Christos Beest’s “Emanations” deck. It could thus be used for musical tarot readings.) In considering these and the immediate future of the ONA, a few of my deeper and long-standing musical influences emerged. I think these paint an optimistic picture for the future of the ONA in addition to demonstrating that sinister influences can – and should – be found in uncommon and unexpected places. My musical tarot reading thus looks as follows:

1. Moon – Michael Hedges, “The Naked Stalk”

2. Mercury – Michael Hedges, “Ritual Dance”

3. Venus – Michael Hedges, “Shava’s Song”

4. Sun – Kostas Grigoreas, “Ballad of Sensation and Illusion”

5. Mars – Michael Hedges, “Song of the Spirit Farmer”

6. Jupiter – Jeremy Jouve, “Cavalcade”

7. Saturn – Roland Dyens, “Fuoco (Libra Sonatine)”

There are many ways that a musical tarot reading can be conducted. One simple way involves assigning the above selections to the spheres of a traditional Septenary spread according to their numbers and interpreting them accordingly. I have listed which song goes with which sphere above. See, e.g., this Sinister Tarot Reader plugin page for further instructions on how to interpret these in a Septenary spread: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/tarot-reading/

A more advanced reading involves combining the songs from the musical tarot reading with tarot cards. In this case, one would combine the musical selections above with cards from the Sinister Tarot. To do this, you would draw seven cards from the Sinister Tarot deck using a Septenary spread and meditate on each card while listening to the corresponding songs in the musical tarot reading. Thus, if one drew the Nythra card for the Moon sphere, they would listen to the musical selection for the Moon sphere – which in this case is Michael Hedges’ “The Naked Stalk” – while meditating on that card. This method adds additional layers of signification to the overall reading and helps personalize the Septenary correspondences in a deep way through the combination of music and the tarot images. It also has the advantage of potentially combining readings from more than one individual, where one person “draws” musical selections for the musical tarot (using whatever technique they like) while another draws and then combines these with tarot cards.

For example, regarding the question of the immediate future of the ONA, I drew the following corresponding tarot cards for the above musical tarot reading. These can be combined using the technique just described and interpreted as follows:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/tarot-reading/?mcresult=333-299-302-293-310-311-331-308-348&mcdeck=1

  1. Moon [unconscious factors] – Michael Hedges, “The Naked Stalk”: XIII Death / 2 Nythra
  2. Mercury [past] – Michael Hedges, “Ritual Dance”: 0 Physis / 8 Ga Wath Am
  3. Venus [past] – Michael Hedges, “Shava’s Song”: III Mistress of Earth / 19 Davcina
  4. Sun [present] – Kostas Grigoreas, “Ballad of Sensation and Illusion”: XIV Hel / 5 Aosoth
  5. Mars [immediate future] – Michael Hedges, “Song of the Spirit Farmer”: X Wyrd / 6 Azanigin
  6. Jupiter [immediate future] – Jeremy Jouve, “Cavalcade”: VIII Change / Nekalah
  7. Saturn [outcome] – Roland Dyens, “Fuoco (Libra Sonatine)”: VI The Lovers / 12 Karu Samsu

Much like in performing sequences in esoteric chant magick, the experience of meditating on the cards with ritually significant music playing forms a kind of larger “auditory sigil” from the combination of these two in a structured, organic motion across the psyche. Over time one could even catalogue these sigils – either visually, through music, or otherwise (and then potentially use those for new and more advanced tarot readings). This is a practical way to bring certain energies of each Septenary sphere to life through personalized musical experiences of the Sinister Tarot in a ritualized, meditative, active, and reflective setting. (This involves a species of active contemplation rather than passive reception.) Rather than reading this and trying to understand it rationally, I strongly encourage the reader to try the above tarot reading using the link to the Sinister Tarot cards in combination with the music specified above. This will give you a sense of what that “auditory sigil” feels like with respect to sensory layering. I found the particular musical and tarot combinations listed above to be a beautiful experience. When doing this, one should keep in mind the question or aim of the tarot reading (the immediate future of the ONA in this case), the correspondences of each tarot card, the sensory and internal experiences the music evokes while listening (emotions, memories, tactile sensations, etc.), the energies of each sphere, and the contours of what “takes shape” as one moves across the spheres, keeping in mind that sensory layering between sight and sound will combine with the movement across the spheres as a kind of structure: what I call an “auditory sigil.” The more experience with and “cataloguing” of these sigils, the more specialized a toolkit one will have at their disposal in approaching other more advanced Septenary rituals and workings involving these correspondences, such as esoteric chant. The difference is that in using appropriate music, one can personalize these experiences, lending greater significance to their understanding of Septenary correspondences and the energies of the spheres. This method helps make those uniquely their own and may function as a kind of informal pathworking.

Many other methods can be derived using additional techniques, tarot spreads, and tarot decks – these are just a few techniques that I created. The Sinister Tarot Reader plugin can be used to initially experiment with such techniques. In “drawing” songs for the musical tarot reading, one could experiment with genres, styles, eras, and cultures for certain forms of music, for example, perhaps assigning a given genre to a certain Septenary sphere, star, or Aeon for advanced workings. (The techniques described in this article could, in a very advanced setting, be combined with the Star Game, but that will not be explored in this brief overview, which merely provides a few techniques to get started.) Songs could be selected randomly using a variety of methods (writing them down and drawing randomly, picking from a physical music collection, shuffling them digitally on a computer or phone, and the like). There are many possibilities. The only limitations to deriving new techniques are one’s creativity and imagination.

I would like to close with a few comments on the above musical pieces. The songs by Michael Hedges come from his album Taproot, which had a lasting influence on my musical approach and guitar style growing up. I recommend the album highly. Kostas Grigoreas brings the tradition of Greek classical guitar into a modern context (he is also a terribly friendly person). Jeremy Jouve is a talented modern classical guitarist who deserves more attention in my opinion – both for his ability and exceptional performances. Roland Dyens is a well-known French classical guitar virtuoso with a background in composition (whom I almost had the pleasure of meeting/studying with briefly and have had the pleasure of seeing live). It should be noted that none of these individuals have anything to do with the occult or the Order of Nine Angles. I think their music does, however, capture something unique about its essence, its spirit, its current climate, and the possibilities for its future.

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
April 8, 2022


Wonder, Alterity, and the Immemorial as Devotional Candor in the ONA

Posted: March 10th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Acausal Theory, Alchemy, David Myatt, Fenrir, Inner ONA, O9A, O9A Nine Angles, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, The Sinister Tradition, The Sinisterly Numinous Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wonder, Alterity, and the Immemorial as Devotional Candor in the ONA

Visitation

– Jacopo da Pontormo, Visitation, c. 1528-1529

Wonder, Alterity, and the Immemorial as Devotional Candor in the ONA

[Posted here: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/03/18/wonder-alterity-and-the-immemorial-as-devotional-candor-in-the-ona/]

Much like the Order of Nine Angles, the ideas that have shaped the Western tradition are characterized by what Aristotle identified as wonder. This sense of dispositional awe in the face of an incomprehensible mystery – what Rudolf Otto, in one of the most widely read German theological works of the twentieth century,[1] famously characterized as mysterium tremendum et fascinans, “a mystery that inspires dread and fascination simultaneously”[2] ­­– marks an enduring response to the way we inhabit and orient ourselves in the world.

This “solitary and silent ‘residence’ of wonder”[3] finds shelter in a wide history of Western thought. In the Theaetetus, Plato describes wonder (thaumazein) “as the beginning or archê of philosophy.”[4] Aristotle describes this with respect to the way we begin (archontai) by wondering (thaumazein) whether things are as they seem.[5] We find these “beginnings” reiterated powerfully in the Renaissance Platonists, who were “[h]eirs to late ancient and medieval Christianity” and stressed “the epistemological or ontological status of miracles, thus exploring the cognitive side of amazement and the metaphysical side of any sort of spiritual intervention”;[6] in works of the early thirteenth century, such as those of the English nobleman Gervase of Tilbury, who outlined “three categories of wonderful things”;[7] through the exploration of magic in the Middle Ages and early modern period as an “enquiry into the wonderful”;[8] and in many other major Western figures, such as Plotinus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Pascal, Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, Malebranche, Spinoza, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Kant. In fact, it was Kant who famously remarked how two things fill the mind with wonder: the starry sky above and the moral law within.[9]

All of these explorations of wonder share in common an “attitudinal change which occurred in the European history of ideas,” one in which “a radically new way of approaching reality evolved.”[10] In a similar spirit, we are witnessing a radical new way of approaching reality in terms of the ONA’s evolution. In addition to an attitudinal change in the ideas that have shaped the tradition, one can sense a change in the climate that informs the ONA’s praxis. From the flashpoint of the “noise,”[11] gossip, and interpersonal infighting that have occurred for decades at its outskirts, we now find reflected in its collective exoskeleton what has always remained hidden in its esoteric heart: a relationality or plurality that becomes “visible” when this sense of wonder comports one utterly beyond rational comprehension, one that is acknowledged in our fundamental relation to the other. In the ONA, this relation is embodied in transformative action through empathy; and in such a way that it cannot be reduced to the self or comprehension.[12]

Through wonder and in the face of modernity, the ONA attempts to explore “what was lost in the destruction of our capability to be astonished and perplexed.”[13] As Jacques Taminiaux notes, this wonder or thaumazein is enduring,[14] driving the way the ONA’s philosophy informs its praxis and how this carries over into concrete experience. As one embarks on a journey leading to radical transformation with respect to the incomprehensible alterity or otherness of the world, one discovers what David Myatt, in reference to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, cites as a “wordless-awareness,” which he connects to empathy in the Corpus Hermeticum.[15] Myatt’s point regarding “a mortal apprehension that Being, and certain beings, are not or cannot be subject to, nor explainable, in terms of causality”[16] is analogous to the fact that our fundamental relation to the other through empathy cannot be reduced to comprehension. Rather than comprehended or understood, it is acknowledged or “apprehended” through the practice of simple but difficult primordial experiences leading to transformation. Thus – and this point is sometimes overlooked – in addition to its philosophy, the ONA also requires practice.

As that which directs this wordless-awareness in relation to empathy as a fundamental relation to the other, we find that wonder is not just enduring but what Jean-Luc Nancy calls the immemorial: a kind of excess or overflowing that resists memorialization or being made into a monument. As a vital collective presence spanning a plethora of ancient and modern traditions, the ONA exceeds itself, having neither definitive leadership nor singular authority. In some respects, its enduring wonder “never commemorates”[17] – it is not a monument to the past, nor does it memorialize. And yet, what Nancy says of the immemorial equally applies to the ONA from its past to present day: it is “what is infinitely ancient and thus definitively present.”[18] In its cathartic practice and tragic revelation, the ONA speaks to something timeless and yet concretely present in the world. The mysteries it promises are systematically attainable through practical action. And while they remain intimately hidden and out of reach as an irreducible opacity – something ungraspable, even to the self – they are nevertheless not beyond the world but “present right here.”[19] In the value of what it reveals, in its timeless mystery, and in its solemn yet enduring visitation, the ONA is “what is never to be seen or said, but toward which one does not cease to move – and that is the immemorial.”[20] In much the same way that the immemorial frees itself from memorialization through its own excess, so too does wonder free the ONA from becoming yet another internet relic, one crystalized in history as a blueprint for what could have been, lost to future generations as a curious irrelevance. With the changing seasons and as we look from earth to sky for guidance, I remain optimistic that what Nancy says of the immemorial may serve as a kind of ongoing augury for the future of the ONA: “[that it is] always to come again like the return of a past more ancient than any past, its visitation always reprised in a movement in which the surface itself rises up, billowing and leaping out.”[21] Whether this “billowing and leaping out” will prove to be a hex or a haruspex remains to be seen.

In closing, I would like to note that it is this spirit of wonder that will motivate the upcoming and future editions of Fenrir, the ONA’s journal of Satanism and the Sinister. This article will be published in slightly revised form in the upcoming edition and is meant to serve as an introduction to some of the themes that will be addressed in more detail there – themes such as alterity, empathy, and sinister magick. As editor of the journal, I should also note that I have an important announcement, which will be revealed in the very near future. I would like to conclude with an excerpt from a message I recently wrote to a friend and well-known ONA associate, one that I think will prove timely, relevant, and interesting for our best and brightest:

[…] whether running Fenrir or having a wide influence on the ONA in a public capacity, one cannot let transparent emotions inform the opaque intentions motivating what others say. The ONA is beyond personal affectation or judgment, beyond you and I, beyond even its founders. Over the last decade of involvement with the ONA and the Seven-Fold Way, I have witnessed some of the most painful and transformative experiences of my life shape something radically ineffable, melancholic, cathartic, serene. In that “something,” which is utterly intangible and yet directs everything we do, I found a presence worth dying for; and, more importantly, worth living for – authentically and with integrity. It is my hope that […] you see the value in devotional candor, in submitting to something beyond the self, something absolute and incomprehensible.

Four Witches

– Albrecht Dürer, The Four Witches, 1497

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
Moon in Gemini, March 9, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita

NOTES

[1] Todd A. Gooch, The Numinous and Modernity: An Interpretation of Rudolf Otto’s Philosophy of Religion (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000), 1. The text referred to here is Otto’s Das Heilige: Über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationalen (1917), commonly known by its shortened English title, The Idea of the Holy.

[2] Ibid., 2.

[3] David Bollert, “The Wonder of the Philosopher and the Citizen: Plato, Aristotle, and Heidegger” (PhD diss., Boston College, 2005), 2.

[4] Ibid., 3. The reference to wonder in Plato’s Theaetetus occurs at 155c-d.

[5] Ibid., 93. See Aristotle’s Metaphysics, 983a12-13.

[6] Elisabeth Blum and Paul Richard Blum, “Wonder and Wondering in the Renaissance,” in Philosophy Begins in Wonder: An Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy, Theology and Science, ed. by Michael Funk Deckard and Péter Losonczi (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co, 2011), 1.

[7] Koen Vermeir, “Wonder, Magic, and Natural Philosophy: The Disenchantment Thesis Revisited,” in Philosophy Begins in Wonder, 45. These three categories are characterized by “things we consider unheard of,” sometimes through variations in nature, “at which we marvel”; by things whose cause is unknown and thus “inscrutable to us”; and by “customary experiences” that differ from others.

[8] Ibid., 51. Vermeir here lists two philosophers of this period with respect to the relation between magic and wonder: the Protestant philosopher Heinrich Alsted (1588-1638), who wrote that “magic is the art which is concerned with wondrous effects [apotelesmas], commonly known as incredible”; and the Jesuit scholar Gaspar Schott (1608-1666), who defined magic as “whatever is marvellous and goes beyond the sense and comprehension of the common man.”

[9] Dennis J. Schmidt, “Thank Goodness for the Atmosphere: Reflections on the Starry Sky and the Moral Law,” Research in Phenomenology 50 (2020), 370.

[10] Péter Losonczi and Michael Funk Deckard, “Introduction,” in Philosophy Begins in Wonder, xvii.

[11] Despite a few interesting ideas and an appetite for vital experience, I find Crowley’s writings and way of thinking problematic on a number of grounds. That said, something he wrote in Magick without Tears is relevant here: “You ask me what is, at the present time, the greatest obstacle to human progress. I answer in one word: NOISE.” Aleister Crowley, Magick without Tears, ed. Israel Regardie (St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1973), 125. See chapter 14, “Noise.”

[12] Part of the mystery of this esoteric dynamic lies in the twofold sense in which the relation to the other arises from the ONA’s emphasis on the individual as a means to empathy, and how this acknowledgement actualizes itself at the level of transformative experience (which occurs individually but exceeds the individual).

[13] Losonczi and Deckard, “Introduction,” xxv.

[14] Bollert, “The Wonder of the Philosopher,” 3.

[15] David Myatt, “Chapter Two,” in “Classical Paganism and the Christian Ethos,” 2nd ed. (self-pub., 2017). See the section, “An Appreciation of Acausality” in addition to the subsequent section, “A Mortal Wordless-Awareness.” The reference here is specifically to “the activity of theos … [as] a wordless-awareness.” His reference to empathy in connection to this worldless-awareness pertains to tractate VIII of the Corpus Hermeticum.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Jean-Luc Nancy, “Visitation: Of Christian Painting,” chap. 8 in The Ground of the Image, trans. Jeff Fort (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005), 108.

[18] Ibid., 116.

[19] Ibid., 109. On pp. 108-109 Nancy says: “On this side of or beyond the memorial, that is, beyond or on this side of the self and of what can be subjectivized: the hereafter or the other world (death, in that sense), not outside the world but present right here.”

[20] Ibid., 111.

[21] Ibid., 118.