Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, directed by Patrick Meaney
Halo 8, 80 minutes, 2010
I suspect there are only a few kinds of people who’ll be interested in the documentary Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods – either serious documentary fans, devoted comic-book readers, or magical practitioners. Each of them will come away from this film quite happy.
Director Patrick Meaney largely works with a familiar pattern for this kind of celebrity documentary – one of mostly stepping back and letting the interviews (and, of course, editing) tell the story. There are several attempts to visually represent the psychedelic elements of the tale created by cinematographer Jordan Rennert, though the results are far less annoying than is often the case in such films! The perspective is mostly one which aims at the comic-reading audience, introducing them fairly gently to the core of occult thought that permeates his work. Continue reading
I was putting together a time-line for another essay when something occurred to me. Various religions that started as fringe have grown and expanded over the years, many becoming legitimate in the eyes of the mainstream (or at least, approaching legitimacy), but somewhere along the line we seem to have run out of steam.
Early into the twentieth century Aleister Crowley received Liber AL vel Legis or The Book of the Law, the central text of Thelema, a new religion or spiritual technology (I’ll leave it to those more invested to argue which description suits it best). Crowley joined the OTO and shortly afterwards assumed the role of the OHO, subsequently reworking its rites and rituals to integrate the principles of Thelema, effectively setting it up as a Thelemic organization, which it remains today.
In the late 1950s Malaclypse the Younger and Omar K. Ravenhurst received a divine revelation from a chimpanzee in a bowling alley. There they learned of Our Lady of Chaos, Eris. The Goddess of Discord was alive and well and continues to merrily wreak havoc on mortals, who don’t always seem to get the joke. Indeed, Kerry Thornley (Omar K. Ravenhurst) described it as a religion disguised as a joke disguised as a religion… Even so, Discordianism’s still around and stronger than ever, even if it’s not always taken as seriously as some of its more greyfaced adherents would like. Continue reading
This slight annoyance of being regularly asked by ‘fluffy Pagans’ if we are Satanists probably goes with the territory of being chaos magicians – at the very least we are supposed to eat a baby a week, it seems. The founder of Satanism, the late Anton LaVey, made the very pragmatic point that “stories of unbaptized babies being stolen by Satanists… were not only effective propaganda measures, but also provided a constant source of revenue for the Church, in the form of baptism fees. No Christian mother would, upon hearing of these diabolical kidnappings, refrain from getting her child properly baptized, post haste.” It’s all about the money, honey.
We have also had dealings with several people who would fall under the stereotypical definition of ‘real nutjobs about Satan.’ These include one especially memorable person at an academic conference on alternative religion that we attended a while back. Continue reading
Where Do Demons Live?: Everything You Want to Know About Magic, by Frater U.’. D.’.
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738714790, 187 pp., 2010
In Where Do Demons Live? Frater U.’. D.’. assumes the persona of “Aunt Klara”, an agony aunt for occultniks, delivering lectures on magickal combat, magickal musick, the models of magick (with a focus on the elusive cybernetic model) and answers questions about Freemasonry, witchcraft, the Golden Dawn, the OTO and Satanism.
The result is many ways reminiscent of Aleister Crowley’s Magick Without Tears, in that it represents in a collection of brief essays on a wide variety of topics, though in a vein all his own. Much like Frater U.’. D.’.’s previous works (Practical Sigil Magic, Secrets of Western Sex Magic, High Magic I and II), the advice and recommendations given by Frater U.’.D.’.’s alter (altar?) ego are refreshingly direct and matter of fact. Continue reading
If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It!, by Francis Breakspear, with contributions from Kate Hoodu and Dave Evans
Hidden Publishing, 9780955523731, 327 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2008
Francis Breakspear has written another light-hearted guide to magickal practice, with periodic intrusions by the academically inclined Dave Evans, and the sociologically minded Kate Hoolu. Breakspear casts himself in the role of both taskmaster and as acts a source of comic relief.
I say this book is light-hearted, but it is also meant to be worked through, not merely read. Breakspear constantly calls upon the reader to examine hirself – attitudes, food habits, recreation, sex – and, further, challenges the reader to challenge hirself. Many of the exercises focus on expanding one’s self-awareness, and becoming more fluid in one’s sense of identity. Continue reading