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.”


Pierre Grimes on “The Unity and Synchronicity of Meditation”

Posted: July 27th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Occultism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pierre Grimes on “The Unity and Synchronicity of Meditation”

Socrates_Pio-Clementino_med

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/07/27/pierre-grimes-meditation/

During a long meditation session recently, I recalled a thinker who I thought may be of interest to some of you: a philosopher in the pre-Socratic and ancient Greek tradition named Pierre Grimes.

Once upon a time, Pierre Grimes gave a series of lectures at the Philosophical Research Society. The Philosophical Research Society was interestingly founded by the famous scholar and Freemason Manly Palmer Hall, who authored the “encyclopedic tome”[1] known as The Secret Teachings of All Ages.[2] Aside from having one of the largest wisdom-literature libraries in the world, PRS offers an interesting synthesis between Eastern and Western thought from a variety of traditions.

Pierre Grimes presents one such synthesis. He describes himself as a practitioner of “philosophical midwifery,” which derives from Plato’s dialogue the Theaetetus. Grimes notes that “Socrates refers to his art as midwifery because he assists in the delivery of men who are pregnant with either true ideas or false beliefs.” He adds that “Socrates calls it an art because it is the application of a knowledge that benefits the subject. It is a purely rational method of pursing questions, a dialectic, that uncovers false beliefs, traces them to their origins, and by understanding their roots and influence on one’s life — deflates their influence.”[3]

What I found interesting about Grimes’ approach was his use of Socratic dialectic as a mode of psychotherapy, which I haven’t seen before. The lecture I wanted to share exercises the dialectic with respect to deflating a compartmentalized false sense of self through formal meditation. Though a lot of Grimes’ lectures are worthwhile introductions to pre-Socratic, neo-Platonic, and ancient Greek philosophy generally (I particularly enjoyed this lecture on the obscure philosopher Proclus and this one on Plotinus, for example), the following lecture left an impression on me at a young age. Much like the work of Christopher Hyatt, this is one that I’ve returned to multiple times in my youth. One idea here that left an impression on me back then was the act of studying one’s tangents during a simple meditative exercise as one begins to drift into a daydream – how the narrative themes those tangents take reveal something about this compartmentalized false sense of self. Food for thought; and perhaps someone else viewing this will find something to digest.

Nameless Therein
July 27, 2022

[1] In the “Foreword” to the Diamond Jubilee Edition of this work, Henry L. Drake, the then vice president of the Philosophical Research Society, remarked how: “This volume reveals that the lore and legendry of the world, the scriptures and sacred books, and the great philosophical systems all tell the same story. Human ambition may produce the tyrant; divine aspiration will produce the adept. This then, seems to me to be the significant message of Manly P. Hall’s encyclopedic tome.” Manly Palmer Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy, Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings Concealed Within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of All Ages, Diamond Jubilee ed. (1988; repr., Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 2000), 2.

[2] In the “Preface” to the same edition and regarding the significance of this work, Manly Palmer Hall said the following:

I felt strongly moved to explore the problems of humanity, its origin and destiny, and I spent a number of quiet hours in the New York Public Library tracing the confused course of civilization. With a very few exceptions modern authorities downgraded all systems of idealistic philosophy and the deeper aspects of comparative religion. Translations of classical authors could differ greatly, but in most cases the noblest thoughts were eliminated or denigrated. Those more sincere authors whose knowledge of ancient languages was profound were never included as required reading, and scholarship was based largely upon the acceptance of a sterile materialism.

[…]

To avoid a future of war, crime, and bankruptcy, the individual must begin to plan his own destiny, and the best source of the necessary information comes to us through the writings of the ancients. We have tried to select the most useful and practical elements of classical idealism, combining them into a single volume. The greatest knowledge of all time should be available to the twentieth century not only in the one shilling editions of the Bohn Library in small type and shabby binding, but in a book that would be a monument, not merely a coffin.

It is our sincere hope that this book will endure into the twenty-first century and continue to make available the contents of countless books ad manuscripts that have been destroyed by the ravages of war. This volume is not devoted to my own opinions but is a tribute to the memories and labors of the noblest of mankind.

[3] “Pierre Grimes & Philosophical Midwifery” (website), The Noetic Society, Inc., last modified January 22, 2013, https://www.noeticsociety.org/pierre-grimes.


Nameless Therein Interviews David Myatt (April 2022)

Posted: July 19th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, David Myatt, Fenrir, Inner ONA, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nameless Therein Interviews David Myatt (April 2022)

DM large

Good evening everyone,

I have an exciting announcement to make: I have completed and published the new David Myatt interview, which I have titled, “David Myatt and the ‘Pinch of Destiny’: What Is the Meaning of Myatt?”

I conducted this interview with Myatt in April of this year. I had planned on publishing it as exclusive content for the Fenrir journal. However, due to complications outlined in my previous post, I have decided to publish it as a solo piece. You can access an HTML version and a link to download the published PDF below (for best viewing, I recommend the PDF):

PDF: https://luxlycaonis.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/DM-NT_meaning-of-myatt-interview_A4_stripped_1.1.pdf

HTML: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/07/19/meaning-of-myatt-interview-april-2022/

Please note that, contrary to the other copyrighted articles on the Lux Lycaonis site, this one is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (CC BY-ND 4.0). It can be freely copied and distributed under the terms of that license.

I am very grateful to David Myatt for allowing me to do this interview. As I remarked in the foreword, I hope that it will contextualize his work in a new and insightful way, one that will help equip and inspire a new generation with the intellectual, spiritual, and philosophical tools needed to meaningfully navigate their lives.

Nameless Therein
July 19, 2022


Some Notes on Physis in Aristotle

Posted: June 13th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, David Myatt, Fenrir, O9A, Order of Nine Angles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Some Notes on Physis in Aristotle

casket-romances_medium

Casket with Scenes from Romances, ca. 1310-30

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/06/13/some-notes-on-physis/

What follows is an excerpt from a section of an early draft of my article, “‘Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd?’: An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination.” In the early drafts of that article, I intended to connect wyrd to Aristotle’s notion of φύσις (physis). As I stated in that article, this connection had to do with my observation that “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.” The idea here was that wyrd involves the confrontation with “something other than the self,” which always takes the form of a relation to the Other. At one level, this confrontation can take the form of a relation to the other person; at another, it can take the form of fate or nature (physis).

Having quickly realized that a proper analysis of physis would go beyond the scope of that article, I omitted and abandoned the following section, which still needs to be unpacked and clarified. I am providing it here in its unfinished form for those interested in Aristotelian scholarship on physis in an effort to illuminate some of the deeper implications concerning its role within the philosophy of pathei-mathos.

This is meant as an introduction – a beginning, not an end – and is aimed at those wishing to explore serious scholarship on the subject rather than a general audience. In addition to the sources referenced, those wishing to investigate further in the aforesaid contexts may wish to examine David Myatt’s “Towards Understanding Physis”[1] and “Physis and Being: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos.”[2] In the former, Myatt’s point that physis, understood philosophically, “has specific ontological meanings … which are lost, or glossed over, when physis is simply translated either as ‘Nature’ or – in terms of mortals – as (personal) character” is consistent with what is written below. He is also correct in noting that physis is not “some abstract essence” (in contrast to Plato), which is elaborated upon below. And while I find the negative emphasis on denotatum and abstraction within Myatt’s philosophy problematic – here specifically in relation to physis – I will save that for another time.[3]

Some Notes on φύσις (Physis) in Aristotle

Both physis and wyrd have complex origins historically, etymologically, and in terms of their intended usage within the early literature of the Order of Nine Angles.[4] Though what follows is not meant to address these comprehensively, it should be noted that neither term can be understood in terms of a simple bifurcation: no division or single characterization can comprehensively address the way these phenomena are experienced or described across history. Such characterizations sometimes appear contradictory in ways that remain consistent in experience. In this, the ONA’s distinction between terms like “causal” and “acausal” can be misleading.[5] Such distinctions do, however, draw our attention to the complexities surrounding their apparent limitations.

The Greek term for nature, φύσις (physis) illustrates some of these complexities. While physis commonly refers to “the nature or essence of a living thing,”[6] Aristotle in fact distinguished between seven meanings of the word, eventually “settling on it as the essence of things that have a source of movement within themselves.”[7] Motion and change are crucial for understanding nature on this account, where for Aristotle nature is both a “source of motion and change”[8] and “a source of motion and rest.”[9] Certain entities – such as animals and plants – exist “by nature” because “each of them has within itself a principle of change and rest, some in respect of place, some in respect of growth and decline, some in respect of alteration.”[10] A study of nature thus “aims at the understanding of the principles, causes, and elements of the natural world”[11] according to this account of nature as a source of motion, change, and rest.

Aristotle’s account thus views nature as an internal source,[12] one that rests on the idea of nature manifesting “itself through [the] utter diversity of beings.”[13] In contrast to Plato’s Timaeus, “nature is not an abstract, impersonal, ‘all-pervading demiurgic force’,”[14] but rather an “inner driving force we reference when saying of a natural being: ‘That is its nature.’”[15] On this account, physis or nature “is anything but enigmatic, abstract, and impersonal,” as it “works not by imposing order and shape externally, but by instilling desire from the inside of a natural being: a being that is by nature ‘has in itself a source of motion and rest’ … and ‘stretches out’ toward its own nature … so as to become itself.”[16] Thus, while physis can broadly refer to “the natural world as a whole,”[17] Aristotle’s account contrasts with our modern notion of nature, “understood by way of nonnormative, abstract laws such as gravity, which moves things externally.”[18] His account thus “does not fit within a shallow empirical ‘philosophy of natural science’ but, instead, is part of a true ‘ontology of nature’ or a ‘proto-physics’: an examination into the origins or sources (archai) of nature.”[19]

Aristotle’s account of physis highlights a tension found in the ambiguous relationship between “form and matter, soul and body, fulfillment and movement,”[20] one that can lead to “nature’s self-suspension and transgression into the divine.”[21] The relationship between physis and wyrd involves a similarly ambiguous relationship and tension. On the one hand, Aristotle’s account of physis is neither enigmatic, abstract, nor impersonal. Superficially, this seems to conflict with our general understanding of fate or “destiny” as something incomprehensible, impersonal, and removed from the particular circumstances in which it takes place. Destiny is typically thought to exceed or “transgress” the individual lives and circumstances it affects (and in this sense it is “abstract”); and yet, there is a sense in which it is deeply personal and meaningful in its ability to concretely affect particular lives.

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
June 12, 2022

NOTES

[1] David Myatt, “Towards Understanding Physis,” David Myatt: Learning from Adversity; A Rejection of Extremism, March 2015, https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/towards-understanding-physis/.

[2] David Myatt, “Physis and Being: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos,” David Myatt: Learning from Adversity; A Rejection of Extremism, 2019, https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/collected-works-2/physis-and-being/.

[3] I do, for example, take issue with Myatt’s point that “the ontology of beings … [with reference to] a reality, a ‘true nature’ … is often obscured by denotatum and by abstractions, both of which conceal physis.” Myatt, “Towards Understanding Physis.”

[4] Sadly, overuse and an improper understanding of these terms on the part of many ONA associates has diminished the significance of these and most ONA terminology; 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.

[5] There is evidence that the early authors of the ONA were both aware of the complexities surrounding such terminology and were even attempting to transcend the limitations of these terms in creating such divisions.

[6] Robert Audi, ed., “Physis,” in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

[7] Simon Blackburn, “Physics, Philosophy of,” in A Dictionary of Philosophy, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

[8] On this point, Aristotle notes that, “Since the nature [of a natural thing] is a source of motion and change, and our μέθοδος is concerned with nature, [the question] what is motion must not escape our notice; for necessarily when we are ignorant of this we are also ignorant of nature.” Aristotle, Physics III.I, 200b12-15. Quoted in James G. Lennox, “How to Study Natural Bodies: Aristotle’s μέθοδος,” chap. 1 of Aristotle’s Physics: A Critical Guide, ed. Mariska Leunissen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 11.

[9] Helen S. Lang, The Order of Nature in Aristotle’s Physics: Place and the Elements (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 34. See Aristotle, Physics II.I, 192b14. See also the point made by Heidegger that, “Rest is a kind of movement; only that which is able to move can rest.” Quoted in Marjolein Oele, “Aristotle on Physis: Analyzing the Inner Ambiguities and Transgression of Nature,” in A Companion to Ancient Philosophy, ed. Sean D. Kirkland and Eric Sanday (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2018), 163.

[10] Aristotle, Physics II.I, 192b13-15, quoted in Stasinos Stavrianeas, “Nature as a Principle of Change,” chap. 3 in Aristotle’s Physics: A Critical Guide, ed. Mariska Leunissen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 47.

[11] Stavrianeas, “Nature,” 46.

[12] Oele, “Aristotle on Physis,” 162.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Oele, “Aristotle on Physis,” 161. See also “Heidegger, Martin,” in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, where the author notes how Heidegger’s “portrayal of human existence” is in accord with what “Heidegger regards as the earliest Greek experience of being as an emerging into-presence (physis).” This may be related to Oele’s sense of physis as a “[stretching out] toward its own nature … so as to become itself.”

[17] Audi, “Physis.”

[18] Oele, “Aristotle on Physis,” 161.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid., 162.

[21] Ibid.


Inspiration, Interpretation, and Christopher Hyatt on the Idealized Self

Posted: April 30th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, O9A, Order of Nine Angles, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Inspiration, Interpretation, and Christopher Hyatt on the Idealized Self

Gilbert_vanity

– Charles Allan Gilbert, All Is Vanity, 1892

[Repost of: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/04/30/inspiration-hyatt/]

Although I am adamant about the importance of finding new and uncommon sources of inspiration to interpret the world, I find that certain sources leave a recurrent impression across the psyche. Such works lend depth to the way inspiration can be made meaningful, which can then be used to inspire others through the creation of new works.

My approach to the Order of Nine Angles is no different. In identifying, interpreting, and then making meaningful certain recurrent dynamics from my own experiences and then finding correlates at the heart of the ONA, I try not to draw from the Spenglers or Toynbees of the world, or even the literature of the ONA; rather, I look to the Alfred North Whiteheads, Alasdair MacIntyres, Charles Taylors, Henry James’, Thomas Manns, and Guy de Maupassants – sources that contain these dynamics in a much richer and deeper way, but which go unnoticed and unexamined within the tradition.

Insofar as the ONA is not just a system of thought or practice but a mode of life, one can learn to identify the dynamics it reveals in transformative experience through the cultural canvas of the world, be that nature, thought, art, music, or the history of ideas. In identifying these dynamics in uncommon and unexpected sources of inspiration, one can impart a certain vitality to the tradition. Thus, rather than recycling what have now become dogmatic misinterpretations within and outside of the Order, one can learn to view it through a new and valuable lens of interpretation, thereby lending a much-needed source of renewal and novelty to the tradition.[1]

With that said, there are two main approaches to that renewal and novelty. The first involves identifying the deep dynamics of transformative experience in unexpected sources outside of the tradition and then synthesizing them into new forms within the tradition. The second involves a kind of hermeneutic approach, where one revisits sources of inspiration from their past through a new lens of interpretation, one made possible by transformative experience. In the latter case, the lens changes as we do, which makes the source in question “recurrent,” in that it is continually redefined and, in that sense, “alive.”

While both approaches are essential and typically work together, one such “hermeneutic” or recurrent source I revisit regularly is the following lecture by Christopher Hyatt (aka Alan Miller). When I first discovered Hyatt’s work many years ago, what struck me was not his knowledge of magick, training under Israel Regardie, or previous association with the OTO – none of which appealed to me – but the richness of his life and the no-nonsense pragmatism with which he approached the human mind and our place in the world. Hyatt’s brutal honesty and ruthless empiricism find shelter in much of the ONA, despite their differences in approach; but unlike the ONA, Hyatt seems to form a bridge between practical utility and meaning – between whether something works and what it is in determining how it finds meaningful application.

Having revisited this lecture today, I reflected on some of its deeper psychological import and application within the ONA. In my experience, Hyatt’s psychological characterization of what he terms the idealized, actual, and diminished selves can serve as a powerful psychological model to gauge “where one is” with respect to the dyssolving of the ego. It may also be a helpful way to gently estimate where others are in their own development, particularly within the ONA and in terms of its opponents. This lecture thus struck me as relevant to the current climate of the ONA, keeping in mind that this is merely a model, an overview, and one way of viewing the human psyche (and a general one at that):

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
Walpurgisnacht,
April 30, 2022

[1] And to clarify: the sources I have in mind here are primarily philosophical, artistic, and related. Syncretizing certain incompatible “magickal” traditions with the ONA is not something I generally find productive or worthwhile, seeing as how many of these lack the depth of their philosophical and artistic counterparts, particularly in a modern context. However, members of the Fenrir team do have the knowledge and experience to syncretize traditions that are compatible – and this I view as important and worthwhile. Combined with the philosophical and artistic domains, this knowledge can then be used to expand the ONA’s system of magick and, eventually, create one’s own.


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.


Vita activa

Posted: March 15th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Fenrir, National Socialism, News, O9A, O9A Nine Angles, Order of Nine Angles, Order of the Nine Angles, Politics, The Sinister Tradition, The Sinisterly Numinous Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vita activa

[Updated repost with some additional commentary can be found here: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/03/18/vita-activa/]

Most amusing, Clarice. But let me be clear:

From your reaction and from my writing, many reading the last few posts here may think that I’m some studious, academic bookworm lost in a world of theoretical reflection and abstraction with no grounding in vital experience or action: a “pathetic husk pouring over the dusty tomes of vacuous minds intent on finding solace for their inadequacy-in-the-world,” bound, as you put it, to “the emasculating chains of vain scholarship” in opposition to “putting boots on the ground to carry out definitive action.”

In response, I will say this: those who know me personally – including some of the most powerful Nexions in this tradition – know that my background is steeped in a solemn history of profound sinister/Satanic activity. What I write is not meant to be theoretical. And it is from my history of violent and transformative action that I can even approach the contemplative. My journey along the Seven-Fold Way was prefaced by extreme experiences: I know what it’s like to fight for my life, to be beaten and broken, to approach physical death on more than one occasion; of losing everyone and everything and having to rebuild from a bottom that no longer exists. I know what it’s like to lose my mind, to find my best friend dead in a bathtub after committing suicide, to find myself in the emergency room on multiple occasions, to know and love a woman and then to see her die … My boots aren’t just on the ground: they’re on the earth.

The best among us know what it’s like to be wounded. One cannot approach the ONA or the Seven-Fold Way, let alone expect to succeed, without having had such experiences break down the resistance structures that prevent us from maintaining composure in the face of great adversity. It is precisely from this wounding, from having been the recipient of its necessary violence, that I object to propagating it, whether in language or in deed.

You have misunderstood what was written in my last post: action is not meant to be a substitution for contemplation, but neither is contemplation meant to be a substitution for action. The two must inform each other.

What I wrote was not meant to target any specific person or Nexion. I have engaged in brief dialogue with your parent Nexion, The Black Order, for example – and while I disagree with much of what is written in their literature on some of the grounds explicated in my previous post, I think it is nevertheless important to engage in serious dialogue with them and their ideas for just this reason.

Your response, which I found vulgar and distasteful, seems to indicate just the contrary. And it’s “vita activa,” not “via activa.”

But my brain grew more and more perplexed. At last I jumped out of bed to find the water tap. I wasn’t thirsty, but my head was feverish and I felt instinctively a need for water. When I had had my drink, I went back to bed again and decided that I was going to sleep, by hook or by crook. I closed my eyes and forced myself to be quiet. I lay for several minutes without moving a muscle, began to sweat and felt the blood pulse violently through my veins. Wasn’t it just too funny, though, that he should look for money in the cornet! And he coughed, just once. Is he still walking around down there? Sitting on my bench? … The blue mother-of-pearl … the ships …

– Knut Hamsun, Hunger

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
March 15, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita


Contemplation, Logos, and Faith: The Role of the Vita Contemplativa in the Politics of the Order of Nine Angles

Posted: March 14th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, David Myatt, Fenrir, Inner ONA, Islam, News, O9A, O9A Nine Angles, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, Order of the Nine Angles, paganism, Politics, The Sinister Tradition, The Sinisterly Numinous Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Contemplation, Logos, and Faith: The Role of the Vita Contemplativa in the Politics of the Order of Nine Angles

What follows is a draft of an article for inclusion in the upcoming edition of Fenrir on the subject of politics and extremism in the Order of Nine Angles. While the upcoming edition explicitly moves away from politics and extremism, the article attempts to clarify what a “movement away” involves. In unveiling some of the deeper Hellenic influences at the ONA’s roots and examining the way these inform the relation between action and contemplation, it is hoped that the content presented here will impart a new perspective on a very old dialogue, in turn opening new lines of communication and inspiring a few individuals along the way.

The Death of Socrates

– Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Socrates, 1787

Contemplation, Logos, and Faith: The Role of the Vita Contemplativa in the Politics of the Order of Nine Angles

[Posted here: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/03/18/contemplation-logos-faith-o9a/]

The upcoming edition of Fenrir’s movement away from extremism and politics marks a return to the ONA’s roots in esotericism and scholarship – esotericism with respect to the hidden nature of experiences attainable through this tradition, and scholarship with respect to both the Aristotelian role “for contemplation of a larger order as something divine in us” [1] and the ancient Hellenic role of the vita contemplativa[2] or the contemplative life. While the ONA has roots in extremism and politics, it may be helpful to clarify what is meant by Fenrir’s “movement away” from these in relation to the lesser-known Greco-Hellenic influences that form a large part of the ONA’s foundation.

Contemplation played an important role in the ancient Hellenic world. While many historical shifts occurred during that time, one of particular significance was the shift from the vita activa or active life to the vita contemplativa or contemplative life. Hannah Arendt, a notable student of Heidegger,[3] analyzes these in detail in her influential work, The Human Condition. She describes how the three activities of the vita activa – labor, work, and action, respectively – have specific conditions and contexts. Arendt notes that the condition of labor is nature, whose domain has to do with providing the necessities of life. The condition of work is world or worldliness, which contrasts with labor in terms of the human-made things it pertains to and carries a sense of artificiality. (Labor, by contrast, concerns the phenomena of nature.) For Arendt, labor in relation to nature illustrates our relation to other animals, whereas work in relation to worldliness is distinctively human.

Action as the third activity of the vita activa takes on a special significance. Arendt identifies action as the prerogative of the human being, where the condition of action is plurality. For Arendt, “[p]lurality is the condition of human action because we are all the same, that is, human, in such a way that nobody is ever the same as anyone else who ever lived, lives, or will live.”[4] Arendt draws our attention to the fact “that men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world,”[5] where action is “the only activity that goes on directly between men without the intermediary of things or matter.”[6] Action is thus important in several respects: it “has the closest connection with the human condition of natality”[7] insofar as it pertains to the way birth brings with it the potential for what is new; natality in relation to action has some bearing on Arendt’s discussion of mortality; and – most importantly for our purposes – action is political in nature and is connected closely to the domain of the political.[8]

Through a major historical shift that marked “perhaps the most momentous of the spiritual consequences of the discoveries of the modern age,”[9] Arendt notes how action and the political were overtaken by the vita contemplativa, the contemplative life. As the highest and purest type of action, it became the highest rung of human activity, and this lasted for some time. The trial of Socrates in ancient Greece played an important role in this shift,[10] where philosophers began to distance themselves from and distrust the political following the execution of Socrates. On this point, it is important to note that the primacy of contemplation did not equate to the primacy of thought over political action, as Arendt makes a clear distinction between contemplation and thought.[11]

Arendt observes that “the enormous superiority of contemplation over activity of any kind, action not excluded, is not Christian in origin.”[12] Contemplation can be found, for example, “in Plato’s political philosophy … [and in] Aristotle’s … articulation of the different ways of life … [which is] clearly guided by the ideal of contemplation (theōria).”[13] She describes how the philosophers of the ancient Greek world added “freedom and surcease from political activity (skholē)”[14] to the “ancient freedom from the necessities of life and from the compulsion by others,”[15] whereby the “later Christian claim to be free from entanglement in worldly affairs, from all the business of this world, was preceded by and originated in the philosophic apolitia of late antiquity.”[16] Thus, “[w]hat had been demanded only by the few was now considered to be a right of all.”[17] In this, we find a close parallel to what David Myatt, in “Classical Paganism and the Christian Ethos,” refers to as an “ancient paganus spirituality,” or “paganus weltanschauung” present in the Greco-Roman worldview.[18] From Arendt’s analysis, we find a clue and possible answer to Myatt’s question, “Is the fundamental difference between such a paganus spirituality and Christianity (past and present) simply the difference between λόγος (logos) understood as ‘reason’ and λόγος understood as faith and belief and thus as the Word of God?”[19] As we have seen, the difference rests heavily on the shift from the vita activa to the vita contemplativa in the ancient Greek world, where contemplation becomes the highest human activity. Understanding this shift may thus help us better understand the complex relation between the ancient Greeks and Christianity, and thus between logos and faith.

As a more substantive response to Myatt, I will note that Pope Benedict XVI addressed this very question – the relation between logos and faith – in his September 2006 address at the University of Regensburg, entitled “Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections.”[20] The Pope states that “[t]he encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance.”[21] From the vision of Saint Paul, for example, “who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us!’,”[22] we find a line of interpretation that points to the necessity of a “rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.”[23] Though in the late Middle Ages there is evidence of certain theological trends “which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit,”[24] the dialogue between the ancient Greeks and the early Christians – and thus between faith and reason – was more than a conversation: it took place as a kind of communion, one that has had a lasting influence on the modern world.[25] In fact, the “dehellenization” of the Christian worldview did not emerge until the sixteenth century with the “postulates of the Reformation,”[26] where Reformers were responding to a system of scholastic theology that appeared as “an alien system of thought” – one where “faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system.”[27] This was in contrast to the principle of sola scriptura, which “sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word.”[28] Even after the dehellenization of the Reformation, we find the convergence between the ancient Greeks and Christianity carried through the Enlightenment and into the modern world as a powerful impulse. Immanuel Kant, one of the most important thinkers in Western history, “stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith,” where he “anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole.”[29]

In response to Myatt’s question then, we find that the complex relation between faith and reason has a similarly complex history with respect to the ancient Greek worldview and Christianity. In that history, the demarcation between logos as reason and logos as faith becomes blurred, which undermines its role in distinguishing the ancient Greek worldview from its Christian counterpart. On this point, Pope Benedict XVI says the following:

[D]espite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature. Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria – the Septuagint – is more than a simple (and in that sense really less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II [Paleologus] was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God’s nature.[30]

Thus, in many respects the ONA is a response to a very old and long-standing dialogue between faith and reason, directed through the ancient Hellenic role of the vita contemplativa as the highest human activity, one that directly informs action. To return to the aforesaid question concerning a “movement away” from the ONA’s roots in extremism and politics with respect to Fenrir, it should be noted that this emphasis on contemplation is not meant to replace the three activities of the vita activa; it is meant to inform them by restoring a direct line of communication between how the transformative and ecstatic experiences of the ONA – such as those catalyzed by the Grade Rituals of the Seven-Fold Way – shape the way we inhabit and interact with the world.[31] With respect to the ONA, contemplation is specifically meant to inform plurality as the condition of action, where plurality and action also inform contemplation. Attempting to exclude one over the other is to misunderstand this relation, which sadly continues to occur both within the ONA and by its opponents. Insofar as action as the condition for plurality is political, so too are the ONA and Fenrir in this respect. However, Fenrir’s “movement away” from politics concerns a movement away from the substitution of action for contemplation, which involves a breakdown of the relation between the vita activa and the vita contemplativa. We find this breakdown in almost every major socio-political outlet in the world, which fail to take this complex historical shift into account – a shift that has made possible various developments in the modern world.

With respect to Fenrir’s movement away from extremism, Pope Benedict XVI’s comments regarding the topic of violent religious conversion ring true here. In a dialogue between “the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam,”[32] the Pope recounts how:

The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God,” he says, “is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”[33]

In closing, one should recall that Fenrir remains – and will remain for the foreseeable future – a journal of Satanism and the Sinister; and this should, at the very least, give one pause in considering how to interpret what has been said here: that the outer boundaries demarcating the true nature of the Order of Nine Angles are deeply hidden, complex, and discoverable only through years of difficult ordeals, careful navigation, and – most importantly – contemplation informed by plurality and action. The upcoming edition’s underlying themes of alterity, empathy, and practical sinister magick speak to this in a powerful way.

Home! and with them are gone
The hues they gazed on and the tones they heard;
Life’s beauty and life’s melody: — alone
Broods o’er the desolate void, the lifeless word;
Yet rescued from time’s deluge, still they throng
Unseen the Pindus they were wont to cherish:
All, that which gains immortal life in song,
To mortal life must perish!
– Friedrich Schiller, “The Gods of Greece”

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
Sun in Pisces, March 13, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita
 

NOTES

[1] Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 27.

[2] Hannah Arendt identifies the vita contemplativa with the ancient Greek bios theōrētikos. See Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 2nd ed. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1958), 14. Regarding the role of contemplation in the ancient Greek world, Arendt characterizes it as follows: “and the life of the philosopher devoted to inquiry into, and contemplation of, things eternal, whose everlasting beauty can neither be brought about through the producing interference of man nor be changed through his consumption of them.” Arendt, Human Condition, 13.

[3] Hannah Arendt’s history with Heidegger is complex and will not be explored here. See, for example, Antonia Grunenberg, Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger: History of Love, trans. Peg Birmingham, Kristina Lebedeva, and Elizabeth von Witzke Birmingham (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017). What is important for our purposes is that in addition to having studied under him directly, Heidegger had a profound influence on Arendt’s thought. Lewis and Sandra Hinchman note, for example, that “[r]eading Arendt’s few comments on Heidegger, one would scarcely imagine what a vast, pervasive influence he had upon her.” They add that “[t]he stamp of Heideggerian thinking is especially noticeable in three elements of Arendt’s work: the status of her elaborate system of distinctions and concepts, her approach to language, and her interpretation of action as self-revelation.” Lewis P. Hinchman and Sandra K. Hinchman, “In Heidegger’s Shadow: Hannah Arendt’s Phenomenological Humanism,” The Review of Politics 46, no. 2 (April 1984): 196.

[4] Arendt, Human Condition, 8.

[5] Ibid., 7.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 9.

[8] This is consistent with the fact that the condition of action is plurality, since it is the plurality of human beings that constitutes the domain of the political.

[9] Arendt, Human Condition, 289. The full quote is as follows:

Perhaps the most momentous of the spiritual consequences of the discoveries of the modern age and, at the same time, the only one that could not have been avoided, since it followed closely upon the discovery of the Archimedean point and the concomitant rise of Cartesian doubt, has been the reversal of the hierarchical order between the vita contemplativa and the vita activa.

[10] See Arendt, Human Condition, 12: “The term vita activa is loaded and overloaded with tradition. It is as old as (but not older than) our tradition of political thought. And this tradition, far from comprehending and conceptualizing all the political experiences of Western mankind, grew out of a specific historical constellation: the trial of Socrates and the conflict between the philosopher and the polis.”

[11] Arendt does not address contemplation at length in The Human Condition, as she is interested in the historical shifts that have to do with labor, work, and action. However, regarding the shift from the vita activa to the vita contemplativa, in addition to the difference between contemplation and thought, the following comments may be helpful:

With the disappearance of the ancient city-state—Augustine seems to have been the last to know at least what it once meant to be a citizen—the term vita activa lost its specifically political meaning and denoted all kinds of active engagement in the things of this world. To be sure, it does not follow that work and labor had risen in the hierarchy of human activities and were now equal in dignity with a life devoted to politics. It was, rather, the other way round: action was now also reckoned among the necessities of earthly life, so that contemplation (the bios theōrētikos, translated into the vita contemplativa) was left as the only truly free way of life. (Arendt, The Human Condition, 14)

[12] Arendt, Human Condition, 14.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid., 14-15.

[17] Ibid., 15.

[18] David Myatt, “Introduction,” in “Classical Paganism and the Christian Ethos,” 2nd ed. (self-pub., 2017).

[19] Myatt, “Introduction.”

[20] See Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections” (speech, Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany, September 12, 2006). A transcript of the speech can be found at www.vatican.va.

[21] Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith.” Interestingly, Pope Benedict XVI also addresses faith and reason with respect to the relation between Christianity and Islam. Recalling part of a dialogue carried on “by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam,” he notes “the truth of both,” adding that:

It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between – as they were called – three “Laws” or “rules of life”: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an.

[22] Cf. Acts 16:6-10

[23] Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith.”

[24] Ibid.

[25] With respect to the convergence between the ancient Greek world and Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI observes the following:

This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance, not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history – it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence [between the ancient Greek world and Christianity], with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe. (Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith”)

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] The question of how we interact with others in the world, particularly with respect to the relation between plurality, action, and community, is a theme relevant to my forthcoming article for the upcoming edition of Fenrir, which concerns alterity (our relation to the other).

[32] Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith.” The Pope notes that this dialogue may have occurred in 1391, “in the winter barracks near Ankara.”

[33] Ibid.


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.