Archive for Aleister Crowley

Liber Monstrorum Begins Here…

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Occult Detective

 

I am proud to announce that First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum is, at long last, available for purchase. First Born is an occult detective collection, bringing together twelve short stories, a novella, and two illustrated tales.

These are the stories I’ve been working toward since I first put pen to paper as a boy growing up in rural Indiana. My obsession with witchcraft, magick, and religion, in both fact and fiction, has all led to this.

Published by Seventh Star Press and edited by Scott Sandridge, First Born is my love letter to the occult detective genre and to those glorious supernatural tales that thrilled me as a child… I hope these stories do the same for you.

Cover 01 First Born

From the arcane sorceries of “The Wickedest Man in the World” to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe, this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.

First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist…

First Born can be ordered from the following online outlets:

AMAZON
Trade Paperback
Kindle

AMAZON UK
Trade Paperback
Kindle

BARNES & NOBLE
Trade Paperback
Nook

KOBO
Ebook

iTunes
eBook

Below are some examples of the artwork you’ll find inside:

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Available Now — Mourn Not the Sleepless Children: An Audio Drama

Posted in Writing in Theory & Practice with tags on March 2, 2016 by Occult Detective

I am pleased to share with you the latest production from Openly Gamer Theatre, an adaptation of my short story “Mourn Not the Sleepless Children“.

Produced and Directed by Eric Ausley, with a stellar voice cast featuring Andy Young, Kevin Smith, Katarina Ausley, Shannon Steele, Eric Ausley, Jayson King, and Chris Hill as Aleister Crowley, “Mourn Not the Sleepless Children” is a dark and twisted gothic tale of horror and redemption.

Mourn-Not-the-Sleepless-Children

To hear it in all its glory, visit Openly Gamer Theatre at the following link.

Occult Detectives in the News

Posted in Horror, Media Macabre, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2015 by Occult Detective

golemLet’s start in the world of four colors — Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden team up with artist Patric Reynolds and colorist Dave Stewart to bring Joe Golem to life once more. I didn’t read Drowning City, so this was my introduction to the character. I love the idea of it, having dabbled in similar detectives of my own. Joe’s sort of a cross between Golem-esque FBI Special Agent Martin Crowe (Descendant) and the Demon Private Eye Sam Hill (reoccurring most often in various Landon Connors tales). The pictures are pretty, but there are a few issues I had with the flow of the story, more from an artistic standpoint than anything the writer hiccuped on. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend. It’s the first of three issues, so I imagine most will wait for the trade. That’s bad for business, overall, but hey, the comic industry of my childhood’s been under sod for better than two decades now. No point in bellyaching.

simoniffOn Wednesday we took Connor down for a doctor’s appointment at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. My faith in doctors (or rather, my lack thereof) was unshaken. As long as they remain slaves to pharmaceutical companies and close-minded to anything other than their narrow world view, their usefulness is virtually nonexistent.

On the way home, however, we did swing by Half-Price Books and I managed to procure The Simon Iff Stories & Other Works and The Drug & Other Works, both by famed esotericist Aleister Crowley. Iff, who appears in Crowley’s novel Moonchild, is one of my favorite occult detectives, so finding these collections, for a grand total of just under ten dollars, was a score and a half.

A shame that Crowley is not more well known for his fiction. He had a real knack for it. A shame too that he didn’t pursue it more vigorously.

ConstantineI guess the big kicker in occult detective news yesterday was Matt Ryan slipping into John Constantine’s trenchcoat again for a guest-stint on Arrow. ‘Haunted‘ was a decent outing and Matt Ryan did old Conjob honorably enough. His accent was slipping here and there, but given his tight schedule, it can be forgiven.

Some of the special effects were a little underwhelming and that Horus Grimoire prop was pretty damn cheap looking, but I was just thrilled to see Ryan as Constantine again.

I really wish the series would have made it, and I wish the Arrow showrunners could have brought John in for a season long arc, but we get what we get…

There’s still a slim chance Matt’ll get a run at Constantine again on the big screen as a part of Justice League Dark (which is still in development). Time will tell…

Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, Destination America has a new paraentertainment series out — The Demon Files featuring ‘demonologist’ Ralph Sarchie. My advice? Skip it. It’s what we in the business like to call ‘first rate buffoonery’. This joker wouldn’t know a demon if it bit him on the arse. He and Zak Bagans should be pen pals.

The Whisperer in Darkness: An Interview with the author of H. P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition

Posted in Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , on September 25, 2015 by Occult Detective

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Today I have a special treat for you, an interview with John L. Steadman, author of H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition: The Master of Horror’s Influence of Modern Occultism.

This is a book I cannot recommend highly enough, whether you’re a Lovecraft fan, an occult practitioner or enthusiast, or all of the above.

Steadman approaches the subject with aplomb, interweaving Lovecraft’s life story, literary works, and influences, and creating an intimate tapestry that is then dissected and filtered through the eyes of a man that understands the esoteric societies that have sprung from and been shaped by the author’s weird fiction.

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First, let me commend you on the terrific blurbs you garnered for H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magick Tradition. Praise from such Lovecraftian luminaries such as S.T. Joshi, Nick Mamatas, and W.H. Pugmire, to name but a few, has to be not only flattering but rewarding. Tell me, when you began this project did you have any idea that it would be so well received?

I was (and still am) immensely flattered by the wonderful endorsements; this part of the whole book-making business has been very positive and rewarding, and I have made a vow to myself that if I ever achieve such a level of eminence that a young, unknown writer seeks an endorsement from me, then I will give him or her the most positive, inspired and useful endorsement that I can.

HPLBMTH. P. Lovecraft & the Black Magickal Tradition is the first book in a projected trilogy; currently, I am working on the second book and have finished, to date, just over 86,000 words, so it is nearing completion. Just as with the writing of the first book, when I undertake a project, I honestly don’t think too much about how it will be received; I simply do the best that I can with my thesis and my subject matter. If I do entertain stray thoughts about the possible reception from time to time, such thoughts never linger long and they never have any impact on my ability to complete the project or on my romantic inclination to admire intensely each and every one of my ideas and images.

I must admit, while reading your work I felt an immediate connection. We have similar interests, to be sure, and it appears we cut our teeth in the same manner. Tell me about your earliest influences and what led to your interest in the occult and magical traditions?

I can’t remember a time in my early life and childhood when I wasn’t fascinated by ghosts, vampires, witches, werewolves and occult subjects. When I was a student in elementary school, there were two books that I constantly checked out at the school library: The Thing at the Foot of the Bed (a collection of ghost stories compiled by folklorist Maria Leach) and the wonderful anthology, The Fireside Book of Ghost Stories. I also collected Famous Monsters of Filmland .

In Middle School, in the mid 60’s, I first read the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was around this time that I first discovered Lovecraft as well. I was shopping at a bookstore and was drawn to a paperback book with a particularly lurid cover. The book was The Colour Out of Space & Other Stories, by H. P. Lovecraft. The cover displayed a burning, orange-red skull against a black background and it was this lurid cover that compelled me to purchase the book. I took the book outside on a beautiful, cool autumn day and I read the title story. Quite literally, this story terrified me; I actually found myself shivering, even though the day was rather warm.

No other story that I had ever read before had such an immediate, disturbing effect on me. And from that point on, I was hooked on Lovecraft.

Unlike most Lovecraft admirers, I’ve always had a fondness for “The Horror at Red Hook,” it being the closest he ever came to writing an actual ‘occult detective’ story, though my favorite has always been “The Dunwich Horror”. It was the first Lovecraft story I read as a twelve year old boy and it has been with me ever since and I readily admit to an admiration for the Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee film as well. What is your favorite Lovecraft tale and do you have a favorite film adaptation of one of his works?

I like all of Lovecraft’s stories, particularly those written after 1926, and I find that most of them are extremely well-written, even “The Horror at Red Hook”, which was written just prior to the advent of Lovecraft’s mature writing phase. My absolute favorite stories are: “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”, “The Dunwich Horror”; and “The Dreams in the Witch House.”

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As a young boy, I was a big fan of the Arkoff and Nicholson film that you mention, The Dunwich Horror (1970). At that age, I was very impressed with Dean Stockwell’s portrayal of Wilbur Whateley; I thought that he was the ultimate ladies man; handsome, urbane and cool. Now when I watch the film, I find myself laughing; his performance is so campy and silly, but still very entertaining. At around the same time, I was likewise impressed by The Haunted Palace (1963), a film based on Lovecraft’s “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward; Vincent Price always struck me as the perfect actor to portray Joseph Curwen.

In the early 70’s, I also enjoyed the Rod Serling Night Gallery segments based on Lovecraft’s work, these included “Professor Peabody’s Last Lecture (1971); “Pickman’s Model” (1971) and “Return of the Sorcerer” (1972); this latter was based on the Clark Ashton Smith story, of course, but the story and the segment were heavily permeated with Lovecraftian elements and themes.

Nowadays, I am invariably disappointed by Lovecraftian films; they are always a little too over-the-top. Stuart Gordon did an adequate adaption of “The Shadow over Innsmouth” in his film Dagon (2001), but the film is spoiled by all the relentless violence and gore, and as usual, the unnecessary presence of a sexy girlfriend for the protagonist. The main character Paul Marsh (Ezra Godden) should have been content with his dream-fueled relationship with Uxia (Macarena Gomez), the high priestess of Dagon; tentacles are, after all, much more of an aphrodisiac than arms or legs.

Lovecraft is obviously a huge influence for us both. What other authors have you been inspired by?

My favorite authors, and those authors who inspire me the most, are (arranged in the order of most inspiring to least inspiring): Ray Bradbury, M. R. James, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Aickman and J. K Rowling.

The so-called Simon Necronomicon has always been a fascination of mine. What are your thoughts on it as a pop-cultural gateway drug into the occult?

simons-necronomiconI don’t much like statements such as the one you have quoted above; these are negative statements and negativity has no place in genuine magickal practice. The desire to perform magick derives from an earnest wish on the part of the magickal practitioner for establishing an original relationship with the universe; this is, in fact, the goal of magickal practice and in pursuit of that goal, the practitioner expects to find meaning and purpose in his or hers life. But the goal itself is entirely positive, not negative. Indeed, I would argue that there really isn’t such a thing as negativity at all; negativity, like evil, is simply an instance of mistaken perception.

Certainly, the Necronomicon is not any kind of pop-cultural drug, any more than the OTO USA is merely a McDonalized illumination, with Aleister Crowley as the Ronald McDonald of occultism, which P. R. Koenig argues in his very negative article “Halo of Flies”.

The Simon/Schlangekraft Necronomicon, though more efficacious in terms of its rites, is essentially as authentic (or inauthentic) as the other Necronomicons, the “spurious” texts that I examine in Chapter 3 of my book, provided, of course, that it is used for the positive purpose of helping magickal practitioners accomplish the goal referred to above.

As a member of the O.T.O, I wonder if you’d care to weigh in on the debate around Bill Breeze’s fill/kill Liber AL edit?

I should clarify that I was a member of the Thelema Lodge for many years in my youth; I took the following degrees: II° in New York on 3/79; I° on 11/20/77 and the 0° in California on 5/70; subsequently, I allowed my membership in the order to lapse as of 11/27/84. Therefore, technically, I am not an active member of the OTO and consequently, the reader should view my comments and opinions on issues such as the fill/kill debate as the comments and opinions of an educated, reasonable person who is not necessarily a Thelemite.

aleister.crowleyMy favorite book by Crowley is The Book of Lies, and in Chapter 16, “The Stag-Beetle”, Crowley has these remarks about death: “Death implies change and individuality; if thou be THAT which hath no person, which is beyond the changing…what hast thou to do with death?……The birth of individuality is ecstasy; so also is its death…Love death therefore, and long eagerly for it. Die daily.” The implications of these important words are evident when one considers Part III, Verse 37 of Liber Al vel Legis.

Now, I don’t see any need to involve myself in any discussion of how or when Crowley made final corrections to the manuscript of The Book of the Law, and I’m certainly not going to bother about whether he wrote in pencil or pen, or whether the changes were written by him personally or in Rose’s hand, or with any of the other issues raised by those involved in this rather silly controversy. But when Crowley/Aiwaz states: “The ways of the Khabs run through/ To stir me or still me!/Aum! Let it fill me!”, he is clearly referring to death in the same way that Death is referred to in the above citation from The Book of Lies, i.e. as a change and as the birth of a genuine individual. Thus, whether the word “fill” or “kill” is used, the sense of the line remains exactly the same. In fact, death is implied in the previous line- “to still me!”, and so, perhaps, “kill” might be a more accurate transcription.

Any final words you’d like to share regarding Lovecraft’s influence on modern occultism?

I think that as the new millennium progresses, magickal practitioners, whatever their denominations, will likely make even more extensive use of Lovecraft’s pantheon of extra-terrestrial entities and Lovecraftian elements and themes in their own ritual workings. This is already happening today, in fact.

The artist and writer Scott R. Jones, in his book When the Stars are Right (2014), suggests a rather benign apocalypse, i.e. the widespread adoption of a R’lyehian spirituality on the part of earnest seekers after truth and knowledge.

Donald Tyson, in The Grimoire of the Necronomicon, has established a white magickal organization that allows initiates to pair up astrally with Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones, choosing one or another of these beings as mentors to assist them in their spiritual growth. Again, this is a relatively benign occupation.

But there are, of course, more aggressive approaches.

For example, Gavin Callaghan, in an article written for Fate Magazine, refers to an organization named the Cult of Cthulhu in Wisconsin, led by Venger Satanis, whose members are actively working to evoke the Great Old Ones and literally bring about a fully-realized, Biblical apocalypse, an entirely negative goal. So there are good Lovecraftian practitioners, distilling positive energy and productivity, and there are, unfortunately, evil practitioners who are fostering negativity and distilling hate.

steadmanFrom my own personal standpoint, I tend to embrace the good. And I can’t help but be convinced that Lovecraft’s influence on occultism and on western culture will end up being largely positive. In fact, I believe that Lovecraft’s work will ultimately have much broader of an influence on science in the future than on western occultism. To date, contemporary physicists posit the existence of a universe which is very much in alignment with the views of the universe articulated by magickal practitioners. What scientists lack, however, are the methods necessary to quantify their speculations. And thus, in their search for methodology, scientists will ultimately be forced to undertake the study of magickal texts and this will, in turn, bring them back to the roots of culture and civilization itself.

H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition by John L. Steadman is published by Weiser Books and available wherever books are sold, so please, whenever possible, support your local bookstore or, better still, order directly from Red Wheel/Weiser. Of course you can always confirm your allegiance to the Dark One and drop your money here :)

93 Skidoo

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , on June 25, 2015 by Occult Detective

necronomicon

I devoured all the Lovecraft I could get my hands on before I reached junior high. I was one of those odd kids that always had a book on hand. To be honest, it was usually Robert E. Howard that had my attention, but Lovecraft certainly was a close second. I generally kept a paperback book shoved into my back pocket, just in case. Don’t believe me? I could show you my ragged and tattered copies of Conan the Freebooter and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath as proof.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The real subject of today’s blog entry has to do with an odd sort of synchronicity.

I had, for some peculiar reason, Lovecraft on my mind this morning. Not his fiction, mind you, but the man himself, and so was perusing a collection of photographs when one in particular caught my eye.

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Taken on the shore in Magnolia, Massachusetts, on June 25th, 1922, a few stray thoughts crossed my mind and these in turn led me to one of those surrealistic synchronicities that makes one wonder about the underlying connections between the world we see, openly, and the one hidden from us, that greases the wheels of madness.

Seeing Lovecraft strike this pose on the Magnolia cliff led me, first, to think on Aleister Crowley, who was something of a mountaineer and climber. Then I noticed the date — June 25th. Funny, that, being today’s date as well. But that year, 1922, was scratching at my brain. Something about the year was striking my as strange. June 25th, 1922. June 25th, 2015. Then it dawned on me… 93 years.

So, my lizard brain, seeing this picture of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, led me to associate it with one Aleister Crowley, a picture separated to the day, from then to now, by 93 years.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law? Weird coincidence or someone trying to tell me something? You decide.

Spirit Board of Education

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , , on November 5, 2014 by Occult Detective

norman-rockwell-ouija-board-saturday-evening-post-cover-may-1-1920

The Ouija Board by Norman Rockwell appeared on the May 1, 1920 cover of The Saturday Evening Post. It was the 29th cover illustrated by Rockwell for the magazine, whose first sale to the publisher occurred in 1916. The original oil on canvas was 26 x 22 inches and is privately owned.

“The board is set, the pieces are moving. We come to it at last…
The great battle of our time.” — Gandalf

An interesting article — The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board: Tool of the devil, harmless family game…or fascinating glimpse into the non-conscious mind? — by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie can be read here.

If you’ve a mind to be more open to the mysteries of the Ouija, I would recommend reading Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board by J. Edward Cornelius, available via amazon in paperback or kindle.

The Nativity of the Beast

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , on October 12, 2014 by Occult Detective

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