This essay is dedicated to the ones we lost along the way.
Each of the eleven sections in this essay covers a specific point, more often than not, prompted by questions I’ve recently been asked. Some of these sections are related to each other. They chiefly deal with the Left Hand Path, H.P. Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos, and the Fourth Way as taught by Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Nicoll, and others. I hope this lengthy, scatter-point essay helps Cultists better understand the nature of our Great Work. Sometimes, seeing a problem through new eyes helps us learn how to conquer it. Dude Tyson aka Visionary of the Nigrescent Feasth Nakhometh Law-hater assisted me in the writing of “Limelight Prison Muscles are Backseat Driving through the Desert Gate”, especially section III.
This first section, directly below, is a continuation from the short story I began in my last Cult of Cthulhu essay, “Our Viridescent Teaching”. This new piece is more in keeping with the Lovecraftian vibe we’ve got going on over here at the CoC. Enjoy!
The man finished his fruit smoothie and walked to the kitchen door which led to the back porch. He wanted to visit that place he most feared. Prove to everyone that he wasn’t a coward.
The backyard was lush and green, overgrown some would say, and enclosed by a fence. It looked like a fairly typical suburban backyard, except for the large hole within spitting distance of the porch. Well, the man referred to it as a hole. Others called it a well, as there was a stone ring around the seven foot diameter opening.
The man supposed that people could call it what they liked. Just to himself, in his own private thoughts, he sometimes fancied it a pit leading down to Hell itself. He frequently saw things darkly ever since the psychological trauma which occurred in his youth. The Hell-Pit. That’s what the dark place in his imagination called it. After all, it looked ominous and was utterly mysterious in nature. But when speaking of it to others, he simply called it “the hole”. Jasper was the exception, of course.
Who made the pit and why? That was never fully explained by the property’s former owner, though several inquiries were made. It was just there in suburbia, unblinking, staring at him like a starless eye.
The sun was beginning to set.
The man moved nearer in order to get a better look at it, the taste of delicious fruit still with him. Upon closer inspection, he noticed a semi-translucent green substance around the edge of the Hell-Pit. That residue, or whatever it was, hadn’t been there the last time he ventured off his back porch, maybe a week or two back.
Presently, the man’s friend came out to join him in the backyard. He wore a camouflage jacket which made him look even more clean cut than he otherwise would.
“How was the smoothie?”
“It was good. Very refreshing.”
“Where’s the girlfriend?”
“She works nights now. Samantha left about an hour ago, just before you arrived.” He said, looking at Jasper who was looking into the pit’s yawning blackness, from a safe distance of about ten feet.
“I’m surprised to see you out here.”
“Yeah, I know. Guess you shamed me into it.” The man said, wiping the last of his banana, strawberry, pineapple, and orange flavored drink away from his mouth.
“All I said was, ‘you’re scared of your own backyard.’ That’s all.”
“My backyard doesn’t scare me. That God forsaken hole scares me. I freely admit it.”
“At least you’re honest, Collins. Wish I had one on my property. Lucky bastard.” Jasper said, his smile almost turning into a chuckle.
“No, you don’t.”
“Yes, I do. I love weird shit like that. If this were in my yard, I’d be out here every day.”
“You wouldn’t say that if I told you what I saw last night. I’m not even sure you’d believe it.”
“I might. Try me. What did you see?”
“It was during the storm. The wind was whistling, thunder shook the house, periodic flashes of lighting… they tempting me. God damn it, I shouldn’t have looked. The whole night, I got a strange feeling that something might be working its way up that pit.”
“You mean the gate, don’t you?”
“Call it what you like, Jasper, but when I looked out my kitchen window, when the storm was raging at its height… I could have sworn I saw a tentacle emerge from that hellish mouth. Then, when an abhorrent bolt of lightning allowed me to see the entire thing squirming free… Jesus Christ! I nearly lost it.”
“Abhorrent, eh? I see you haven’t totally forgotten about those books I lent you last year.” Jasper said.
“Yeah, I guess a couple things stuck.” Collins said. “You know, ever since the incident I’ve been intrigued by the unknown, cosmic mysteries, all that stuff.”
“Intrigued, but too afraid to actually investigate any of it.” Jasper pointed out.
“Were you talking about the serial killer thing that happened when you were young?”
“Ok, so the storm made you paranoid. I get it. You saw some kind of demon with a few tentacles and a thousand eyes. I understand your concern. Or, should I say, pants-shitting fear. But why are you out here now, Collins? Why not just stay inside? Hell, why don’t you move?”
“Why don’t you ever call me by my first name?” Kyle Collins asked.
“It’s just what I do.” Jasper smiled. “What I want to know is how come you suddenly have the balls to stand just a few feet from the gate?” He said, hands in his pockets, pointing a shoe at the blackness. A blackness which seemed to be flowing out, darkening everything nearby.
Collins turned his attention to the sky, saw the sun almost gone. “Guess I realized there was no use being afraid. Whatever’s in that hole is in there. Can’t change anything by being scared. Why not embrace it?”
“Why not embrace it?!?” Jasper yelled, looking into his friend’s blue eyes. “You’ve been cowering from this slimy gateway to Y’lon’gheau in your backyard for about three years. And now you say you’re ready to just fucking embrace it?”
“Slimy gateway to Y’lon’gheau? Wow, that’s an esoteric reference. You read too much, Jasper. I bet you curl up by the fire with those old books of yours just about every night. That is, every night you’re not over here looking at my hole in the ground.”
“Old?” Jasper said, laughing. “If you only knew how ancient those books are! Handwritten with blood instead of ink and bound in human skin, Collins. Yeah, I re-visit the shuddersome prose of those scholars, madmen, and black magicians. It’s good to get back to what’s most important, from time to time. I like expanding my horizons.”
“You mean sinking to new depths?”
Jasper smiled. “Indeed.”
“Anyways, yeah I’m ready to embrace it – whatever it is.” Collins said, arms folded, just staring away into the starless void before him. “Hang on a sec, how did you know the thing crawling out of the pit had all those eyes?”
“I read too much.”
“No, I don’t think so. I’ve read the same books you have. I definitely would have recalled a thing like what came out of that slimy gateway to the place where our universe ends and the next universe begins, as you called it. Nearly every hideous thing described in those books has given me nightmares at one point or another. Thanks for that, by the way.”
“You’re welcome.” Jasper said, crouching down to examine the greenish residue around the stone rim. “One tome in particular, I used it to do a little astral traveling. You’ll never guess what I saw – such sights… such hideously tremendous sights, Collins. That demoniacal visit told me that your Hell-Pit there is somehow connected to it.”
“What! Are you serious?”
“I’ve never been more serious.”
“You’re not fucking with me?”
“No. I’m not fucking with you. Not this time.”
“Oh, man. This is too much. Maybe I should take Samantha and just get the Hell out of here when she gets back from work?”
“Look, you’re tired. Probably on sensory overload from drinking that fruit smoothie coupled with being so close to the hole. Why don’t we go inside before it gets too dark out.”
“Obviously, you know more than you’re saying. Tell me exactly what’s going on. Who created the pit, gate, or whatever it is and why?”
“I’ll do you one better, Collins. I’ll take you down there, we’ll explore it together. What do you say?”
Collins watched the pit for a moment, half-expecting something loathsome to ooze out of its forbidding black mouth. “I don’t think so.”
“You’ll never be free of it with that attitude.” Jasper looked disappointed. “Go then. Just walk away from your house. You think Samantha will go along with your paranoid delusions?”
“What about your preoccupation with dark things. Didn’t you tell me she almost broke up with you awhile back for something similar?”
“Yes, she found a book on modern-day satanic practices. And Samantha went crazy.”
“Maybe this is different. Just tell her what you saw come out of the gate, and now you both have to leave the house for good. She might understand.”
Collins thought about it, realized Jasper made a good case. “Ok, I’m in.”
“Excellent. You’re made the right decision. But I should warn you… the things you will see – unspeakable. Your pit is actually a gateway to some region of Hell only hinted at in those books. I cannot accurately describe the beings from that other world. However, you should know that they are far removed from anything resembling our own species, not only physically… I’m talking about their understanding of the universe, too.”
He began to lose his nerve; thought about all the people who said he was over-sensitive and weak. Collins knew he had to do this. It took him only a few seconds more to remember himself. “When are we going?”
“Tomorrow night.” Jasper said. His voice was just above a whisper. “I’m getting hungry. Let’s go inside.” He turned towards the house. “You can make me one those fruit smoothies.”
Recently, a Cultist asked me if Awakening was redundant. He wanted to know when the focus would shift from intangible self-awareness to getting his hands dirty. In other words, when does philosophy end and action begin? The following is what I told him; however, I’m going to expand on that because his question was an important one.
When does Awakening become manifesting? That’s like asking, “At what point do our legs become worthless during our trek through the desert?” Awakening allows us to see our destination in the first place and embark on such a journey. Awakening is never redundant. It never becomes useless or unneeded. The struggle to Awaken is the skeleton upon which our meat throbs and flesh hangs. Action requires philosophy or else we’re just talking about simple reaction… living passively, being carried along the natural stream which inevitably leads over a cliff. Passive living is what ordinary people do. Cultists make the journey because they choose to – we create our own current. Therein lies the difference.
Let me tell you something about nature. It doesn’t accept us. Humans are unnatural because of our superior intelligence – which gives us the potential, as self-developing beings, to reach higher levels of consciousness. Higher consciousness allows for True Will. Because we can think and feel in multiple dimensions at once, man is an abomination in the eyes of mother nature. To get even, she constantly strives to bring us down to her level. Nature does this by programming an insatiable lust for ignorance, laziness, and negativity. Sometimes, we can’t help being douche bags. That’s a sad fact of life, but cheer up. We can always decide to break our programming once we realize that everything is quietly manipulated by nature.
What can we do about it? Well, in the beginning, we can do almost nothing. Noobs have very little to work with – no self-awareness, no knowledge, and no faculties which can process our mechanical aspects into something of finer quality. Man starts out with nothing but his machine life, operating at minimum efficiency. He is nothing and can do nothing. Awake, man can do. Asleep, there is no chance of directing his True Will. True Will does not belong to machines, only organic life. It can’t be discovered by accident, and it can’t be utilized without intentional suffering. One cannot simply take the path of least resistance to its door. If you wish to have any hope of reaching your intended destination, then you’ll need both your legs – you will need to Awaken. Struggle to keep the mindful state alive within yourself.
Here’s a question. How do we popularize the 4th way among the CoC? People look for how a topic is relevant to them. You and I may value selfhood for its own sake but other people often think, “how does this help me with what I am trying to do in the world?” This also fits the theme of various Cthulhuist essays on the Left Hand Path, which makes it relevant to the Satanic background of many Cultists.
Man cannot do because he is a mechanical. Things happen without his will being involved since a machine has no True Will. How does creating a new self, a real self, help man? Nothing can be accomplished while our false self dribbles out its imaginary will. The Fourth Way starts at the beginning. It is the language of progress, the search for Autonomy, Power, and Self-Deification.
“It is not the strength, but the duration, of great sentiments that makes great men.” ~ Nietzsche
You may wonder how the Fourth Way is actually relevant to your life. You may say, “Alright, I’m awake. Now what?” It’s more difficult than that, of course, but this instructional essay is not for noobs. I assume most readers have already been introduced to the 4th Way and/or the CoC. If you are completely uninitiated, then email me for a free PDF of Cthulhu Cult.
So, you’ve Awakened… at least for a time. Feeling special yet? After all, most practitioners of the Left Hand Path have an ubermensch fantasy tucked away somewhere within themselves. But, we don’t just want to be Awake. That’s not enough, not nearly enough! We want that most demonized phenomenon: power. And not the kind of intangible power of guru mystics who have total understanding and control of themselves. No, LHP practitioners want to make people’s heads explode. And failing that, get laid and cash checks!
All that comes later – after Awakening, if you still desire it. This is to say that being Awake isn’t a light switch we turn on when we want something and turn off when we don’t. Heightened self-awareness is never superfluous. It always assists us in exploding heads, getting laid, and cashing checks (a reflection of the destruction, lust, and sentiment rituals discussed in Anton Szandor LaVey’s Satanic Bible, which I also recommend).
A greater level of consciousness makes it easier to reach our goals. Imagine a computer distracted by the nonsense of everyday life. Instead of getting you to the website you want, the computer keeps getting sidetracked by random crap having nothing to do with the task at hand. We are just as inefficient as distracted computers – unless we Awaken from the sleep of life. As it turns out, Fourth Way methods can be used to live life outside the four walls of your self-involved psyche.
How much a person can “take charge of their life” in this incarceral reality is the question at hand… or tentacle. A comfortable, fulfilling prison sentence is still life in prison. Even when it’s great, such as a minimum security facility, it could always be better. Thankfully, steps can be taken. Even if our efforts seemingly come to nothing in this vortex of futility, they at least serve as a starting point. We are always taking invisible steps up the ladder. It appears as though we aren’t making progress, but that’s because it happens so God damn slowly. We learn how to attune to our desires, translate them into a goal, begin using the material around us to carry it out, and adjust for the unforeseen circumstances which almost always accompany that material.
One thing is for sure: if you’re going to take charge of your life, first you’ve got to take charge of yourself. We are the foundation for all outer changes. We also have to maintain it over time. Life is a series of concentric circles. To draw other forces within our gravitational orbit, we must become as a crystal, star, or celestial body. We must increase our gravity. To emanate an aura of causal control – mundanely, let alone magically – we must master the concentric circles within ourselves, beginning with the innermost circle: the desire to change.
It’s not all internal, though. The Fourth Way process of identifying helpers and inhibitors within oneself can easily be translated to an external exercise – what influences in our life are helpful or harmful to what we are trying to be? Look on the world with a set of newly selfish, ambitious eyes. Like an inter-dimensional spirit monad plummeting downward into material realms, begin with your vision, and work backwards down the chain to immediately practical details. Watch yourself as you brush your teeth, eat lunch, and talk to your friends. Just as you observe yourself, also mentally dissect your life. Learn the patterns, power structures, and mechanics of your residence, your workplace, your society, and of course the voidal laws from outside.
Start small. You don’t have to jump right into becoming dictator of the planet (though your calling could certainly end there). That first moment of personal situational awareness often feels like opening a messy closet: you realize how chaotic, counter-productive, disorganized, and neglected the whole thing has been for years of your life. Your first steps may seem obvious – “why didn’t I think of that before?” That’s the point. You weren’t thinking before. You weren’t living consciously or willfully.
Now that we are beyond the first stages, we have to keep at it. It has been said that someone who spends one hour a day on something will become an authority on it before long. The best advice… or the worst!?! This almost sounds more like a theoretical goal than practical recommendation. Who has an hour per day to dedicate to something? Why only an hour? The point is that continual sacrifices (intentional suffering) are required in order to create magnificent changes.
Awakened men have scorched this noble sacrifice into their minds: sustained effort. They remember to Self-Remember! This is the Alpha and Omega of the Work. Heroes consistently take the arduous highroad because they can summon up the emotional energy which fuels their resolve. Passion creates heroism. Without an emotional component, the Work is too weak inside of us to make a difference. Make it emotional, visualize what you are specifically trying to achieve, discover why you feel that way, will it, discuss it, allow the Work into your life… all our lives. If we forget why we struggle to Awaken, then the power of the Work cannot block out the distracting influences from life which get in the way, blocking the view of our deeper self.
In fact, it is absolutely possible to be mindful of the logical reasons why we do something along with strong, driving emotions. Our rational minds need to remind us to relive the emotional experience, feel the passion anew. Emotions need direction. Without direction or intent, emotions follow nature’s current. Nothing could be more natural or unconscious than our feelings drifting in their casual ebb and flow, as the universe desires. The logical portions of our brains attempt to set our feelings on the right track if enough True Will has been mined from our core. The intellectual and emotional centers must work together for our mutual benefit.
That kind of dedication requires an inner self which no mere idea or system of ideas can offer. Cartography is not the same as actually going somewhere; the map is not the territory. The Cult of Cthulhu instills the importance of creating this personal core, but our quantum religion cannot replace the effort. The individual is on his own when it comes to working those esoteric muscles, those prison muscles. A Cultist needs to find a way for the intellectual and emotional centers to unify with common purpose. Fourth Way schools teach; students learn and put their learning into practice. The Cult of Cthulhu endeavors to find capable students.
It is easy for curious people to fall into the mistake of learning ideas and assuming that’s all there is to it, then moving on and learning some new ideas. The connections and specifics are interesting, but too often we lose critical thinking in lieu of associative thinking – comparing apples to oranges or limes to lemons without considering each fruit individually. We might be tempted to pile them into our noggins like a big encyclopedia without investing too much of ourselves. That’s not the point of the Fourth Way. It’s not a deal where we just learn it once and that’s it. No, once can too easily be forgotten – nor is a hundred times enough! It takes a thousand moments of Self-Remembering before Magnetic Center can be successfully installed in our machine. It’s not about waking up every so often when convenient. It’s about staying Awake as much as possible. Duration builds momentum, and the longer we stay Awake uninterrupted, the greater the intensity of our consciousness. Intensity can act like a laser, the singular focus able to burn a hole through anything – even our sanity; all obstacles subject to our laser.
Beginner guides in meditation often warn the practitioner about how surprisingly difficult it is to maintain steady attention for minutes at a time. To quote Demian, this continued presence of self is “the only truly difficult thing there is.” Now imagine keeping our attention meditatively fixed on an object, or maintaining a visualized image in our mind – for hours or even days without our attention blinking! Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? It should be. Such a man is a law unto himself; it is something only a Man # 7 could do. Now are you beginning to understand the risks and rewards of Self-Deification?
Dude Tyson could see that I view Awakening as more than situational awareness. He’s right. Focusing attention is what 4th Way practitioners do, but that intellectual exercise is rooted in something which logic alone cannot explain. We use mindfulness in order to reach consciousness – above the animal state, above nature. Human consciousness has access to states of meta-reality which are closer to God than anything else on earth.
Those who open themselves up to gnosis can experience the kind of height and depth I’m talking about. Those who are closed to such phenomena will probably never understand. Does such things as the Fourth Way, the Left Hand Path, and our Cult’s paradigm require a leap of faith? Personally, I don’t think so. Aesthetically pleasing or potentially useful belief systems (yes, even spiritual ones that can’t be “proven”) deserve a trial period. If you cast us out without a second thought, then you’re probably happy with the mindset you currently have. You’re rigid and close minded. That’s death in esotericism.
Even Cthulhu Cultists who are firmly committed to our viridescent teaching have the possibility of change. When does subtext start becoming the actual text? You see, we can go deeper. There are layers of detail beneath the surface. Scratch another layer away and there’s still more! A Cultist can always go deeper, just as he can always go higher. There are questions waiting to be asked, answers waiting to be given, and parallels waiting to be recognized in our daily lives. One interpretation will do for today, but our understanding should grow through the years. This too is a process.
Backseat driving is obnoxious. What driver enjoys some jerk sitting behind or next to him, telling him what to do? We all hate that. It’s only natural. Of course, the hate should set off some kind of alarm in our head. Being driven to a feeling or state, especially a negative one, is the opposite of deliberately trying to experience a particular state… hopefully a positive one. Losing control is weakness. It is failure, sleep. When we give in to those random ‘I’s who believe they always speak for us, we are lost.
Backseat driving is a part of me, a part I try to suppress. Suppression. That’s how it starts. We see a negative emotion leading us wherever it wills us to be. Jumping perspectives for a moment… A beginner, if he’s lucky, decides to shut it down just as it starts bubbling up to the surface. He bites his lip, holds his tongue, or makes some sort of gesture – something to let himself know that a false lesser ‘I’ has been unmasked. That ‘I’ is not us; it masquerades as us.
After we’ve become established within the Work, we can do more than merely suppress our negative emotions. Eventually, we have the ability to stop things before they start. We are more aware of our emotional center and our triggers – those things which set us off. A Man #4 can avoid the expression of negative emotions before it has the chance to speak with our mouth, before it even becomes an ‘I’. Man #5 has no choice but to control his emotional circuitry, redirecting poisonous energy.
These days, when one or more of my ‘I’s wish to bark orders at the driver, I struggle to rise above. Rise above the situation, and rise above the ‘I’. Sometimes, I think I’ll always be part machine… some of me, at any rate. A piece of me shall forever be mechanical and useless. But the portions I continually work on, my essence – that will always be organic, conscious, and Awake. As long as efforts are made.
Sometimes, I slip up. I don’t always remember myself or operate at peak efficiency. However, these days I’m aware that I always make mistakes, that my approach has imperfections. I’m also, thankfully, aware that perfection is not my goal. Evolution is. Moving ever closer to perfection, no matter how slowly, is more than enough for me. Slight progress at every turn – that’s my goal. That’s what allows me to do what I do and be who I am: Ipsissimus of the Cthulhu Cult.
One ‘I’ feels it needs to tell the driver he should go faster or slower or get into the middle lane. Another ‘I’, more experienced and attuned to the Work, realizes it should keep silent. There are other ‘I’s running in the background like some kind of highly developed algorithm of the great outdoors which tells fish where to swim, birds how to fly, and predators where to find their prey. Patterns in nature! But those ‘I’s don’t factor into the center stage conflict. We’re not usually conscious of them. So, we say something to the guy behind the wheel or not? Does our backseat driver win or the 4th Way practitioner? The friction between opposing wills (one false, one true) creates energy – energy which can be used to Awaken.
For those who want to go deeper, we could look at where this backseat driving urge comes from? Control issues? Anxiety? Vulnerability? A need to direct? All of us have features which are good, bad, and indifferent. Knowledge of these features goes a long way towards understanding the self. Shine the limelight into your machine to see where the bugs are… rust, loose screws, faulty wiring – these aspects keep us human and all too mechanical.
We inherit a lot of these machine parts from those around us. The rest is based on life influences, what we’ve seen in the world. Assholes abound. We take cues from them because that’s how we learn – mimicry. Where are the role models who have transcended their machine? They are most assuredly few and far between.
I use the phrase Left Hand Path because it works for me. It’s a simple and well-established dichotomy of good versus evil. In this case, “good” being evil and “evil” being good. Of course, my understanding of it allows for a somewhat balanced approach… a workable solution. Not the imaginary “middle path”, but a third side forged from the most effective aspects of darkness and tempered by fragments of light. What I did was this: I took the Left Hand Path’s basic tenets, shaping them to my specifications, giving the LHP direction, giving practitioners a terrible purpose. I drew a black trapezoid around it… a black trapezoid no doubt oozing bilious green rivulets of pulsating, luminous, malevolent slush.
I can appreciate a holistic approach. I can see the elegant synthesis of forces not opposed but unifying from different angles. All that is understood and taken into account by the Cult of Cthulhu Priesthood. However, let’s be realistic. Human beings exist in a hostile world, one which actively opposes us. Instead of trying to empathize with the slave masters, I’m inclined to fight back, to be adversarial. These lesser gods of the earth who deliberately stymie man’s evolution… they are my mortal enemy.
So, my Left Hand Path may not be what you’ve read about elsewhere. It may appear too outrageous or dualistic for some. A few will be appalled simply because they see the name Venger Satanis attached. So be it. I’m teaching a school, training future soldiers of darkness. I’ll leave the ivory towered nuance of 20th century LHPism to the YouTube philosophers. The Cult of Cthulhu is determined to put divinity into man, making him God. Not put the man into divinity, effectively annihilating his essence.
A related question asked of me was this: “Why Self-Deification? Why focus on God and not demons?” Well, this whole thing is about progression. There must be an endpoint to man’s evolution, the fulfillment of his struggle for ever higher states of consciousness. Up, up, up the ziggurat lickety-split! (thank you, Arnold Judas Rimmer) God is my destination. Not the Christian God or deity of any particular denomination. I’m using God in the generic sense. If that begs the unanswerable question, “What is God?”, then so be it. Who the fuck knows?!? God is ineffable (or is he?). I think of Devils as arch-demon generals commanding cloven hoofed soldiers. And I think of the Great Old Ones as Devil-Gods… the antithesis of those demiurgic forces which keep man’s illumination submerged.
Ok, why not strive to become a demon? Sure, go ahead. But make it a demon that is as powerful as it is unknowable. A demon or Devil who can see all sides at once, utilizing objective consciousness and able to understand that which is beyond him – to me, that is a God. It’s what I’m working towards. Others should feel free to envision something completely different… such as a reality programmer who exists outside space and time. Is that God? It could be. For me, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you want to call your highest potential, that’s what I’m talking about. I think that’s a worthy goal. Don’t let linguistic semantics confuse the issue. God, demon, Devil, programmer, Old One… a lot of this comes down to personal aesthetics.
When does metaphor blur into reality, reality into metaphor, and back again? All the time. We never stop filtering reality through our own subjective and comparative senses. How many shades of interpretation do you have to cross before you are thinking exactly like me? A few… or a few too many? Religion is symbolic. We use it to conceptualize certain ideas which are difficult to think about and even harder to discuss. Such ideas are abstract, such Gods unspeakable. Who knows exactly what all of this translates into? We do the best we can to understand and be understood. That’s it. And even that is more than the universe usually allows.
How many people in this world actively try to not understand each other? If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone who disagrees with you, then I shouldn’t have to go into too much detail regarding the difficulty of finding common ground. Even if both opposing arguments come from the same place or lead to the same destination, there’s always going to be conflict. Instead of focusing on what is agreed upon, most hone in on the disagreement. That’s (human) nature, unfortunately – the universal program. My advice: rise above. Argument is wonderful, but there’s a time to stop arguing. When we fight each other, we stop fighting the parasitic lesser gods of the earth.
I like to use religious terms in order to bring more energy, stimulation, and gravitas to the important things which need to be discussed. Instead of Awakened or having achieved objective consciousness, we might use the word salvation. The conscious circle of humanity becomes the Kingdom of God, Emerald Kingdom, Heaven, Paradise, or possibly the lost city R’lyeh. The terror of our situation is transformed into the Devil. Missing the mark is the actual translation of sin. Ignorance of the messiah is tantamount to never having studied the Work. Hell is the loss of our True Will, thanks to squandered opportunities. Holding on to our false identity and negative emotions damns us to the fiery pit.
Do we need religion? Many would say no. Do we need metaphor? Probably not, but I’d be hard pressed to convey my meaning without it. I believe religion helps us emphasize the importance of things which ordinary people don’t care about. “Why bother to Awaken? Awaken from what? I’m already awake, right?” No, not like how we define it. Only a 4th Way school can possibly show the masses what’s really going on – the depth of this conspiracy against the human race (hello, Thomas Ligotti).
A online network of 4th Way students begins working throughout the world, it becomes a dominant school which joins with others, spiritual paths from all corners realize the Rosetta Stone qualities of this system, then a cultural shift may precipitate a political shift, Unification begins. Raising awareness will raise consciousness. Can you feel the forward motion of such changes?
Speaking of beliefs and arguments, I still get atheistic crusaders who demand that I admit the foolishness of creating a religion around the Cthulhu Mythos. Assuming that the Mythos belongs to Lovecraft and him alone (which is clearly not the case), let’s look at this debate from a new angle.
Yes, Lovecraft did not outwardly believe in tangible entities named Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth. I’ll concede that point as well, though a few would not. Nevertheless, describing such entities and the (anti)cosmic paradigm from which they come is the life’s work of H.P. Lovecraft. Would anyone deny that? What’s HPL’s claim to fame if not his literary contributions, and why would anyone care about his writing if it never included witch-haunted Arkham, Dread Cthulhu, or the forbidden Necronomicon? Lovecraft is the Mythos; the Mythos is Lovecraft.
“All my stories, unconnected as they may be,” Lovecraft said, “are based on the fundamental lore or legend that this world was inhabited at one time by another race who, in practicing black magic, lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside ever ready to take possession of this earth again.’”
Now, let’s turn our attention to the Cthulhu Mythos itself. What does it want? It wants to disturb us. It whispers of those eldritch Devil-Gods in hushed tones for fear of summoning their shambling servitors or invoking the ultimate manifestation of horror that is their mere presence! The Mythos wants to expand and break free; it wants to show the inherent weakness of reality, as well as, the pathetic myopia of mankind.
Why shouldn’t we give this rich mythology an outlet? Why not let it proliferate? Isn’t that what Lovecraft’s elder race desires? Even if everything is just a metaphor, like religion, is there not blasphemous wisdom in believing such strangeness? If life is merely shadows upon a cave wall, then why not make our own shadow figures in the likeness of fictional beings who represent the primal monstrosity beyond our fragile universe? Especially if those fictional beings hunger for our cave’s destruction! If the Mythos can only be described as fantasy, then I submit that all reality, every aspect that you can name, is just as subjective and fantastical, yet several orders of magnitude duller than what Lovecraft proposed.
The scion of Providence has proven to be a dark prophet of our age: the age of slime. We can look at scholarly works or do our own analysis. Briefly, I’ll mention Lovecraft’s constant use of Tarot in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. His occult research for “The Horror at Red Hook”. We can see the ancient astronauts in “The Call of Cthulhu”. Many of us have witnessed the miscegenation between humans and Deep Ones in “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”. What about the crosspollination of mathematics, magic, and folklore from “The Dreams in the Witch-House”? Finally, I’m always surprised to find Lovecraft enthusiasts who are blissfully unaware of the persistent Satanism within his sacrilegious texts. Lovecraft’s unwavering use of demonology and Devil worship must have scurried from the dimly lit ritual chamber unseen, not unlike Brown Jenkin.
Sure, some may find our use of Lovecraftian aesthetics as distasteful as contemporary critics found Lovecraft’s prose. Do 21st century readers not know how ridiculed and undervalued his work was in the 1920’s and 30’s? Stories about decadent grave robbers, awful things with disembodied voices deep in the earth, and strange cults waiting for the stars to come right again – we only revisit them now because of the authenticity Lovecraft and his circle gave them. We appreciate the Mythos now because nothing quite like it has emerged from weird fiction. There is a substantive and transcendent quality which the Cult of Cthulhu attempts to capture by taking the Mythos as real.
Many of us believe the baleful alienage of our prophet can transport an individual outside generally accepted reality. Such a vantage point allows the Cultist a rare perspective – objective consciousness! A glimpse into those interior dimensions which ordinary man tries to ignore – they are the keys. We are the doors. Call it. Call it. Call it! Yog-Sothoth clamors spherical and muculent at the threshold. We are your children. Hail to thee, Father. Yog-Sothoth is the key. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. All is one in Yog-Sothoth! That unquiet void within, deep inside our slumbering seed upon which the green stars shine. I cry for thee, bloody foetus… thou art my crimson phoenix! Awaken, star traveler, dripping bilious green slime upon our world. Awake!
The other day, a Cultist asked me something. “Where’s the 4th Way how-to manual?” He wanted to know exactly which book taught the precise exercises to put his evolution into high gear. This Cultist asked me for the low-down on how to Awaken in the shortest amount of time. And why not? It’s a great question. Unfortunately, I had to tell him the truth. No 4th Way how-to manual exists. We might as well go searching for the real Necronomicon!
Here’s the thing – we have to create our own how-to manual. Each 4th Way student must design his own regimen for waking up, and he has to follow it as best he can, knowing that his self-created route will have to change before too long. Aye, there’s the rub! He cannot keep following the same well-worn path he just walked. New territory must be staked out, new paths explored. The student’s progress towards Awakening is altered by his circumstances and discipline. The result is unique. Guiding principles remain the same, but the journey is always new and always into the unknown.
I’ve read a lot of Fourth Way books; followed many Fourth Way teachers, masters, and gurus; tried various techniques. About fifteen years of study and effort has yielded me a certain amount of understanding. Keep reading and I’ll share with you a glowing shard of wisdom…
The road to higher consciousness is endless and infrequently traveled. The singular yet infinite door I have to walk through, again and again, is one of a kind. That door is a particular shape, color, and design because it’s my door and my door alone. It leads to the Great Old Ones. No one can tell me exactly how to open it. I have to figure that out for myself. It requires a special key which only I can conjure. Books, masters, and fellow students are invaluable, but there’s no universal device exterior to us which can unlock our true potential. There are no shortcuts. The way is simply the way we must go; the work is simply the work which must be done.
Think of all the wonderful things you could do with a million dollars. If I offered you a million dollars, would that get your attention? Would that motivate you? How bad do you want this money in my outstretched arms? What would you do to obtain it? How hard would you work? Money is freedom in the great illusion we call life. The Work is freedom outside of life, beyond the matrix. Now, think about this… how valuable is that money compared to your true self, your freedom from illusion, the green star seed inside you which has the potential to grow into God?
Let’s make this choice a bit more interesting. What if I gave you a million dollars in exchange for your being locked up in prison? The money is less enticing now, isn’t it? Personally, I’d rather have my freedom. But that’s because I’ve tasted the sweet nectar of liberty. Most people can’t say that because they are asleep – which is very much like prison. For an Awakened man, escaping from prison is everything. To him, a million dollars is as necessary to living deliberately as an excess of funny colored paper.
This is the difference between life and the Work. Life is all around us. It’s everywhere because the matrix is all encompasing. I still find it hard to see through layer after layer of illusion, all very convincing and “real”. Often, I separate myself from life. I go inward, watching, focusing, remembering… sifting and winnowing. Our interior muscles, prison muscles let’s call them, can change who we are but only if we have the will to exercise them (lift hard, rest, eat, and recover, then lift slightly harder). Turn your back upon life every once in awhile. You’ll be surprised at what you see. Truth, brothers and sisters. The black mirror of redemption. Singularity. Oneness.
In the end, the money won’t save you. Stop envying the rich celebrity douchebags who seem to have whatever it is you’re looking for. It’s not true. Don’t envy them; their wealth and fame is built upon a house of cards. It’s not real. Never was. Only that long and hard truth, which we continually run away from every chance we get, is real. Stop running. Find a way out of that prison. Allow me to help you or let another Cultist help you. It’s easier to escape if you have the help of someone who is already free. You can think of me as a salesman. I sell freedom at a million dollars a pop. Only those few who are capable of turning their backs on the cash are worthy to proceed.
The other day, I received this question. “Don’t Left Hand Path organizations such as the Temple of Set and Cult of Cthulhu stifle the antinomian impulse – the native lawlessness and taboo breaking which is required of LHP practitioners?
To some degree, yes. Nothing on this earth can be ideal and sustainable in its purest form. No organization is perfect, and that goes triple for every single member within the organization. Orders, individuals, and impulses have a tendency to degenerate. Sad, but there it is. Entropy exists because life is mechanical. Machines break down. Consciousness is organic. Conscious orders, individuals, and impulses adapt and evolve. Sustained effort is the work of God.
I do believe LHP groups can assist outsiders in going further out – beyond the barriers. Such types are, by definition, outside the normal parameters of life.
Organizations like the Cult of Cthulhu are for outsiders who want to do something with their “outsideness”. Our religion is not a haven for rebels without a cause or iconoclasts who no longer seek truth. We put outsiders to work. That’s what we do. We provide an agenda and a structure. I’ll come right out and tell you what those are: our agenda is to Awaken; our structure is that of a black magic lodge. Just as the Church of Satan (or Hugh Hefner’s burgeoning Playboy empire) of the 1960’s and 70’s, the Cult of Cthulhu is an organization of non-joiners who share a particular ideal.
United, I think we can accomplish far more than we could working alone. A Cultist named Talek recently compared the Cult of Cthulhu to a Magnetic Center within the morass of random and conflicted ‘I’s called Left Hand Path. He noticed that Magnetic Center, like the Cult of Cthulhu, is willing to organize for the purpose of Awakening. Immediately, I saw the sense of his comparison, which is why I re-posted his comment at the “Directory of Awesome Posts” thread over on the Cult of Cthulhu discussion boards.
The Work must become real to us. Otherwise, we take it only as theory or worse – fiction! It’s the same with the Cthulhu Mythos. Without belief, there is nothing. No passion, no energy, no stimulation, no drive, no discipline, no transcendence, and no change. Belief is the cornerstone of our viridescent teaching. Of course, as I’ve said many times before, belief isn’t just reality. It’s also a process, a journey. Merely saying something is true doesn’t make it so. A belief system is usually a carefully created framework for us to hang our subjective reality upon like a coat rack. Our coat was made by the invisible hands of a thousand different influences. These influences subtly shape our worldview over time, like the erosion of rocks on the beach.
In the Cult of Cthulhu, I teach individuals to create a new belief system consciously. Doing it with intent makes all the difference in the world. Consciousness elevates a potentially hazardous concept like self-progamming to the sublime. The Work needs to make an impression on us. The prophetic prose of Lovecraft will hopefully have an impact on us. All the bits and pieces from Satanism to chaos magic to Gnosticism to Buddhism to my very own madness – it all needs to re-shape our essence. Influences collide with the surface parts of us all the time. That’s not what this is about. I don’t care about false personality. I’m only interested in the deep, dark stuff which can seep out of our core. It is radioactive material, and it can destroy the illusion if we have the Will.
So, let them ridicule us. After all, Cultists have a sense of humor. Most of us will laugh right along with the naysayers. I might even laugh the loudest! However, I don’t let opposing belief systems tear mine down. That’s just weak sauce. Why would I spend years creating something as intricate and profound as our emerald paradigm only to throw it all away when some random dude gives me the best possible advice he can think of: “Give up!” No, sorry. I don’t think so. “Give up… please?” Nah, I’m good.
In the end, it is I who end up ridiculing my detractors. Allow me to demonstrate. “Hi, I’m average everyman. I think just like all the other people you’ve ever seen at Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and the mall. My opinion of Venger Satanis matters because I’ve heard stuff and/or he didn’t show me enough respect one time. I know what I’m talking about. My mother said so. Plus, the vast majority (my closest internet buddies) agrees with me. OMG, I’m just that awesome! Weeeeeeeeeeee. Epic fail to you, VS.”
Hahaha! That was fun. Hey, where are you going? I was just kidding. No, come back. Ridicule me some more. Seriously, I could use a good laugh.
By His loathsome tentacles,
Venger As’Nas Satanis
Cult of Cthulhu