“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Monday, May 31, 2010

On Having "Unpopular Opinions"

Since this issue continues to come up occasionally, and because it has been awhile since I posted any original topical writing, here is a segment from an "interview" section of my next book. This is from an excellent series of questions sent to me by a particularly intelligent Church of Satan affiliate (who usually posts under the name "Delta" online). This Q&A segment is from a much longer series, running 20+ pages, and is one of four or five "interviews" covering a broad variety of topics, from music to magic, film, philosophy, and politics, that will be included in the book.

Q: Some members have complained about your racial views. Though I am personally very happy that the CoS does not dictate its member’s views no matter how un-PC, are you concerned that your writings will be used against the Church, or that if they are you may fall victim to a defensive pruning?

I’ll wager the complainers could not articulate what my racial views actually are without assuming or imagining simple-minded categorical opinions that I don’t actually share. The Church of Satan is unique in being actually tolerant as opposed to nominally tolerant of diverse viewpoints among its constituency. It would amuse some to know that I have associates of a racialist-political bent who have more issues about my association with the Church of Satan than the Church of Satan has over my political or racial views. As I’ve said repeatedly in my routine public disclaimers; the Church of Satan is not a racial or political organization and does not dictate or demand any particular political point of view from its affiliates. To their credit, the Church of Satan doesn’t just talk the talk in this respect, they actually live by their position, which is one of the many reasons why I respect the organization and remain loyal to it.

As far as why I hold the views I have, aside from adhering to the truth as I see it, a central reason would be my disgust and contempt for the hypocrisy with which these issues are dealt with by not only the general public, but by those self-professed dangerous thinkers who facetiously assert that “an uncomfortable truth is preferable to a comforting lie,” yet continue to dance spinelessly around certain issues rather than confronting them head-on. In terms of “intellectual currency” of ideas, I could be described as an advocate of hard currency, in favor of coin of intrinsic worth, in a world where most are content not merely with bad inflationary paper money, but when it comes to most hard issues are actually banking with the intellectual equivalent of Monopoly money – bad counterfeit ideas that not only can’t be used but will actually land you in a bad place. The racial arena is the most conspicuous marketplace of phony ideological currency, because the public has been essentially saturated with state of the art brainwashing propaganda for the past half-century or more.

I recently had a conversation with a China scholar from Oxford who passed along the proverb “White people are the most racist people in the world, except for everyone else.” That is not a facile observation. It is interesting to note, when expressing uncustomary straight observations on racial issues that by a wide margin the most likely to be offended or emotionally damaged will be liberal white people who take it on themselves to be defenders of their minority charges – another hypocritical (and racist) manifestation of the “white man’s burden” idea. Where would all those poor minorities be without the brave, intellectually and socioeconomically superior white liberals to protect them from their evil racist white brothers? While in the meantime racially-motivated black/brown on white violent crimes outnumber the opposite by a Grand Canyon-like margin.

Since my point of view on these issues is shared by only an extreme minority of Church of Satan members, and I typically publish disclaimers differentiating my personal opinions on topics the Church of Satan makes it a policy to have no policy on, and that the Church of Satan membership continues to be the hugely “diverse” body of individuals that it always has been, anyone using me as an example of the Church being some kind of “racist” organization would only succeed in making themselves look like axe-grinders, sloppy researchers, and misinformed idiots.

Things may very well reach the point, in terms of oppressive “political correctness” that merely being associated with a known “racist” will be a legal liability, in which case I would probably distance myself from the Church of Satan out of consideration for friends and colleagues just as I would in the less-likely event that the Church of Satan should someday become a legal liability for its affiliates, if the country descended into some kind of militant theocracy. The High Priest and High Priestess of the Church of Satan and I are on close enough terms that they know not only that I would distance myself for their protection and the protection of the organization, but that they could easily ask me to without rancor or hard feelings – likewise if I resigned for professional, legal, or other reasons. They are exemplary when it comes to this kind of integrity and mutual respectfulness.

On that note, over the years I’ve observed an occasional member of the Priesthood “shit on the floor and throw himself out the window” (as Dr. LaVey would put it), only to embark on an online soapbox crusade to denounce the administration of the Church of Satan. I can only say in every instance I’ve observed, the “dissident” in question has been the offending party, usually terminally stupid and immature, and that the Administration, Magus Gilmore and Magistra Nadramia have never comported themselves with anything but poise and integrity. So much so that my general rule of thumb is that if someone has an “issue” with the Administration, the Administration is usually right. Invariably in the past all the facts have fallen into this pattern.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Triumph of Death (1490) by Lorenzo Costa the Elder

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon - Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime (c.1808)

The Sacrifice of Isaac - Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724–1796)

Striking image - on par with Goya.

Dennis Hopper (1936-2010)

"Here's to your Fuck" Dennis.
A Life-Long Fan

Dennis Hopper performs the Russian Dynamite Death Chair Act at the Big H speedway in Houston, Texas, 1983. Busloads of spectators from his lecture at Rice Media Center are taken out to the speedway to watch his "finale". Also of note in the clip, Terry Southern and Wim Wenders (who can be heard threatening to blow up the camera with any remaining dynamite).

I can't think of any other actor who could have pulled off this role:

Hopper vs. Walken: One of the best face-offs in movie history:

Also, someone uploaded Dennis Hopper on "Inside the Actor's Studio" to YouTube.

An Amazing Career: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000454/


Gregor Erhart, Vanitas (c.1500)

This regularly composed group of three figures contrasts youth and beauty on one side to old age on the other, the former represented by a young man and young girl, the latter in the shape of an old woman with drastic signs of decrepitude. The chastity of the beautiful young couple is in sharp opposition to the shameless exhibition of ugliness on the part of the old woman, which borders on travesty. The moralizing tendency - all is vain - is linked to certain puritan principles. The natural approach towards the naked body characteristic of antiquity has not yet been regained. The shimmering quality of the enamel-like colouring and the richness of surface texture are typical of Holbein the Elder.

Allegory of Vanity
Gregor Erhart
(Ulm c. 1468 - 1540 Augsburg)
Hans Holbein the Elder? (colouring)
(Augsburg c. 1465 - 1524 Augsburg)
Augsburg, c. 1500
Limewood with original polychromy; H 46 cm
KK Inv. No. 1

Memento Mori by Andrea Previtali (c.1502)

Memento Mori (verso)
c. 1502
Panel, 24 x 18 cm
Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan

A Fine Death's Head by Hans Memling

St John and Veronica Diptych
(reverse of the left wing)
c. 1483
Oil on wood, 31,2 x 24,4 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

GUERCINO: Et in Arcadia Ego (1618-22)

GUERCINO: Et in Arcadia Ego (1618-22) Oil on canvas, 82 x 91 cm. Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Triumph of Death, The Tarot, and The Fourth Horseman

Gertrude Moakley, in her book The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo (1966) presents the theses that Renaissance Carnival processions depicting "Triumphs" of morality and specific virtues, concepts also embodied in the text and various illustrations to Petrarch's I Trionfi, provide the symbolic basis of the Tarot, which originates from the same basic milieu - a fusion of three traditions: the Roman triumphs, the religious processionals, and the knightly tournament processions of the Middle Ages. These ideas have an interesting history and visual legacy in Western art.

Below is an example of The Triumph of Death, from Bernard Quarich's edition of Works of The Italian Engravers of the Fifteenth Century:

Below: The Triumph of Death from the Predica dell'Arte del ben morire , Florence c1500.

And more familiar versions:

And various incarnations in the history of the Tarot:

Charles VI (or Gringonneur) Deck; Le tarot dit de Charles VI

The Cary-Yale Visconti-Sforza tarot trumps

A.E. Waite & Pamela Coleman Smith Tarot Deck (Rider/Waite)

Of course, in addition to the Roman traditions of triumphal processions, much of this symbolism is also derived from Revelation 6: 7-8: "When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth."

Albrecht Durer

William Blake

John Hamilton Mortimer

John Haynes after John Hamilton Mortimer

Benjamin West

Gustav Dore

Victorian Taxidermy

I've always had a fascination with antique taxidermy, sometimes a point of conflict with my love for animals. I've been able to vaguely justify it by saying "what's done is done," if only to appreciate the cleverness and macabre aesthetic of older pieces without encouraging, financially or otherwise, the killing and use of animals this way now. Yeah, that reeks of hypocritical bullshit, but there is no denying the intrinsic appeal of this stuff. These are highlights of the excellent page found here discussing the cross-pollination of Victorian children's book illustrations and creative taxidermy. I've archived the best examples here because I've seen too many great websites such as this disappear without notice....

"Hermann Ploucquet's work became famous when he was one of fourteen taxidermists to display examples of their work at the Great Exhibition of 1851. His anthropomorphic displays were immensely popular with the public, and Queen Victoria described them in her diaries as really marvellous. His scenes included a declaration of love between two weasels, a dormouse duel, hedgehogs ice-skating, and six kitten serenading a piglet underneath her window. His most popular work, however, was a series of six tableaux illustrating the German fable Reinecke the Fox based on Wilhelm von Kaulbach's illustrated work of Goethe's tale."

Taxidermy by Hermann Ploucquet.
Interpretation of drawing by Hermann Ploucquet.
The duel, not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.
"The Death" by Walter Potter.
The duel, not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.
Hermann Ploucquet.
The "game", by unknown taxidermist. Very much in the Vitorian style of Walter Potter
The "Rats" den by Walter Potter
The "Prize fight" by Edward Hart
The dual, not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.
The Siamese pigs.
Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.
Not by Plouquet, but certainly an influence.


Skull of Medieval Pirate stolen from German Museum

Old news, but interesting, from January 20, 2010: Skull of Medieval Pirate stolen from German Museum

A nail-pierced skull believed to belong to the legendary medieval pirate Klaus Störtebeker has been stolen from a museum in the northern German port city of Hamburg, authorities said Tuesday.

The skull was stolen from the Museum for Hamburg History on January 9, but the museum didn't immediately announce the theft so as not to hamper the investigation. It wasn't clear how the exhibit was stolen, or why.

"We are all very upset about the theft," museum director Lisa Kosok said in the press release. "We very much hope that it will either be returned or found."

The museum said it was offering a reward of several thousand euros for information leading to the recovery of the skull, but didn't give an exact amount

The skull, impaled on a large rusty nail, was discovered in 1878 during construction for a warehouse district in an area where pirates had earlier been beheaded and their heads displayed on spikes as a warning against other pirates.

The museum displayed the skull since 1922, which is missing its jawbone. The museum also did a reconstruction of the face based on information from the skull.

Later forensic analysis determined that the skull may well belong to a man beheaded around 1400, although not necessarily Stoertebeker.

The museum tried to use DNA analysis of the skull to compare it with possible descendants, but they failed to find a definite match.

Klaus Störtebeker (c. 1360 – 20 October 1401), was a leader and the best known representative of a companionship of privateers known as the Victual Brothers. The Victual Brothers were originally hired during a war between Denmark and Sweden to fight the Danish and supply the besieged Swedish capital Stockholm with provisions. After the end of the war, the Victual Brothers continued to capture merchant vessels.

A large number of myths and legends surround the few facts known about Klaus Störtebeker's life. Störtebeker is only a nickname, meaning "empty the mug with one gulp" in Old German. The moniker refers to the pirate's supposed ability to empty a four-litre mug of beer in one gulp.

His ship was captured in 1401 and Störtebeker and his crew were taken to Hamburg, where they were executed outside the walls of the Hanseatic League city. When authorities took apart his ship they discovered that the masts contained cores of gold, silver and copper.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon."

The best film I've seen recently. Haneke is easily one of the most interesting directors in action. It is refreshing to see that Haneke resists the effort of the Jew interviewers in the beginning to force interpretation of the film into a statement against "Nazism." Haneke is actually an artist, not an ideological hack.

The White Ribbon (German: Das weiße Band) is a 2009 drama film written and directed by the Austrian Michael Haneke. The screenplay focuses on the children in a village in northern Germany just before World War I. According to Haneke, the film is about "the origin of every type of terrorism, be it of political or religious nature."

It premiered at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in May 2009 and won the Palme d'Or. This has been followed by positive reviews and several other major awards.

Director Michael Haneke discusses his Palme D'Or winning film THE WHITE RIBBON (Das Weiße Band) with "The Wrestler" director Darren Aronofsky. Part of the 47th New York Film Festival and the HBO Directors Dialogue series:

Lars Von Trier's 'Antichrist'

One of the better films I've seen recently, probably second only to Haneke's The White Ribbon:

Heidegger & National Socialism

There is no downplaying the fact that one of the single most important and influential thinkers of the 20th century was a committed National Socialist. Of course some cry about this. Others don't.

"Martin Heidegger is widely acknowledged to be one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20th century, while remaining one of the most controversial. His thinking has contributed to such diverse fields as phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty), existentialism (Sartre, Ortega y Gasset), hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricoeur), political theory (Arendt, Marcuse, Habermas), psychology (Boss, Binswanger, Rollo May), and theology (Bultmann, Rahner, Tillich). His critique of traditional metaphysics and his opposition to positivism and technological world domination have been embraced by leading theorists of postmodernity (Derrida, Foucault, and Lyotard). On the other hand, his involvement in the Nazi movement has invoked a stormy debate. Although he never claimed that his philosophy was concerned with politics, political considerations have come to overshadow his philosophical work." -- The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Heidegger, in his capacity as Rektor of the University of Freiburg, sits fourth from the right at a public demonstration of support for Nazism by German professors on 11 November 1933 in Leipzig.

Freiburg i. Br., 2 October 1929
Most esteemed Mr. Privy Councillor,

In the coming days, Dr. Baumgarten's application for a fellowship will be sent to the Emergency Association (of German Science). I should like to add to the official letter of recommendation my personal request to you, esteemed Mr. Privy Councillor, to give this application your undivided attention. In what follows, I want to make more explicit what I could only indirectly hint at in my recommendation. Nothing less is at stake than our undeferrable facing of the fact that we are confronted by a crucial choice: Either to infuse, again, our German spiritual life with genuine indigenous forces and educators, or to leave it at the mercy, once and for all, of the growing Jewish contamination, both in a larger and a narrower sense. We can only regain our own path, if we prove capable of helping fresh forces to prosper, without the usual baiting and fruitless controversies.

With this great goal in mind, I would be particularly obliged, if Mr. Baumgarten whom I have chosen as my "assistant," could receive the fellowship support requested.

We are currently enjoying the most beautiful fall days in our new home, and I take great pleasure, every day, in seeing my work deeply rooted in our native soil.

In sincere appreciation, I am, most esteemed Mr. Privy Councillor, devotedly yours,

Martin Heidegger
[Translated by Manfred Stassen]

An address to German students by Heidegger, published on 8 November 1933, calling for commitment to Nazism and proclaiming Hitler himself to be ‘the present and future German reality and its law’.

Stamp used by Heidegger in his letters, October 1944, when he directed the philosophy seminars at Freiburg.

“…in 1955… when Heidegger met for eight days of discussion with leading French thinkers who were still someone hostile toward him politically and very much so philosophically… He delivered himself of an explication de texte on one of the thorniest passages from the introduction to the Phenomenology of the Spirit [Hegel]…. Gabriel Marcel, Paul Ricoeur, and all those present rose to their feet to cheer…. These men were of course not “converted” to Heidegger’s Denken. But they all knew that they had overheard a dialogue with Hegel that marched boldly along on the great philosopher’s own level. That doesn’t happen every day.” – Thomas Langan, The Meaning of Heidegger, p.9.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Reminder of Death (Memento Mori) from the German Renaissance

This is an outstanding example of a memento mori, or “reminder of death”: a gruesome skeleton clothed in tattered flesh holds a scroll bearing the Latin inscription, “I am what you will be. I was what you are. For every man this is so.”

That the artist has depicted the cadaver in a graceful pose that mimics that of Adam in Albrecht Durer’s famous engraving of Adam and Eve is probably intentional; it was due to Adam’s sin that humans were subject to death. This carving was surely made for a sophisticated collector – Archduke Ferdinand of Austria owned one that is not as good – and such a collector would have recognized the source of the pose.

The complexity of the carving of this statuette demonstrates the qualities of boxwood. The carver was able to hollow out the gut and peel away the skin without the form collapsing.

Mary Magdalene by Jan Boeckhorst (Flemish, 1605-1668)

Horror History Calendar: May 26-27

Christopher Lee (b. May 27, 1922)
Peter Cushing (b. May 26, 1913)
Vincent Price (b. May 27, 1911)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Roman Style

"To this Roman style belong virtus, in the sense not of moralism, but of virile spirit and courage; fortitudo and constantia, namely spiritual strength; sapientia, in the sense of thoughtfulness and awareness; disciplina, understood as love for a self-given law and form; fides, in the specifically Roman sense of loyalty and faithfulness; and dignitas, which in the ancient patrician society became gravitas and solemnitas, a studied and moderate seriousness."
 -- Julius Evola

Burning of Savonarola May 23, 1498

Girolamo Savonarola (21 September 1452, Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna – 23 May 1498, Florence) was an Italian Dominican priest and leader of Florence from 1494 until his execution in 1498. He was known for his book burning, destruction of what he considered immoral art, and hostility to the Renaissance. He vehemently preached against the moral corruption of much of the clergy at the time, and his main opponent was Rodrigo Borgia, who was Pope Alexander VI from 1492 until Savonarola was put to death (Alexander continued as Pope to 1503).

Burning of Savonarola May 23, 1498 (detail), Anonymous, Museo di S. Marco, Florence, Italy: