This dangerous process certainly was begun by Crowley, but later was amplified by his American follower Jack Parsons. Grant claims that the atomic explosions of 1945 disturbed the delicate psychic membrane covering our planet to the extent that other forces began massing at the rent in the veil and by 1947 began pouring through in greater and greater numbers. This, of course, was the UFO phenomenon which Grant links directly to the type of magical operations begun by Crowley and continued by his followers. This is a scenario straight out of H. P. Lovecraft and especially, “The Call of Cthulhu.”
As always throughout this study, we have to remember that events that take place in the “real” world are mirrors of events that transpire in the inner, invisible, or secret world and that these two worlds influence each other in ways that are not obvious to any but the most dedicated adept … or most paranoid conspiracy theorist. There is, in fact, little difference between the world view of the occultist and the nagging fears of the conspiracy theorist; except that the occultist has a more positive approach to the same material, seeing in the activities of the sinister forces that influence world events (as well as personal ones) the possibility of reversing the process through an act of will coupled with a knowledge of technique.
It is this realm of the invisible world that occupies us in this chapter, for it is the backdrop against which all of the theory and practice takes place. In a sense, we can call this world R’lyeh, to use Lovecraft’s designation for
the secret city below the ocean waves where Cthulhu waits, dead but dreaming.
But to Kenneth Grant, it is the Mauve Zone.
… the Sri Chakra conceals in its symbolism more than the possibility of alien contact, it conceals the keys to doors Outside.182
Grant’s main focus where Tantra is concerned is the group of beliefs and practices that come under the general rubric of Sri Vidya, with its all- important Sri Chakra mandala. Grant claims that there is a surviving cult of the original Typhonian Tradition known as the Anuttara Amnaya, which just happens to have the same initials as the secret society founded by Aleister Crowley, the Astrum Argenteum, or A A The Anuttara Amnaya is the repository, again according to Grant, of the true practices of the Sri Vidya cult which links it to the ancient and all-but-forgotten mysteries of the Great Old Ones.
Before we go too deeply into the weeds of this concept, it is perhaps beneficial if we pull back a little and briefly describe the Sri Vidya cultus and identify the Anuttara Amnaya as best we can.
The word vidya has the same root as Veda, and means “knowledge.” The word Sri is used to mean “divine” or “sacred,” so Sri Vidya means, literally, the sacred knowledge. It is an early form of Tantra, one which several groups (including the Kaula sect) claim as their own lineage.
Sri Vidya is also identified as the worship of Sri Devi, the great Mother Goddess, who in this system manifests as Lakshmi Tripura Sundari, or Lakshmi (“the Playful”) of the Three Cities. (The identity of the “three cities” is subject to controversy but may be identified as sat-cit-ananda— Existence-Consciousness-Bliss—and in Grant’s schema Consciousness is identified as having three states: waking, sleeping and dreaming.) Lakshmi Tripura Sundari is usually depicted as a Red Goddess, a young girl of sixteen years of age dressed completely in red and sitting on a red lotus throne, adorned by a single lunar digit, or kala. In this mode she is called Shodashi (“sixteen” as in “sixteen years old” but also clearly a reference to the Sixteenth Kala) or even simply Bala (“young girl”). Her power is the power of Consciousness itself, or Cit-Shakti. It is Lakshmi Tripura Sundari who is worshipped via the Sri Vidya cult’s most famous emblem, the Sri Cakra which is her symbol and which represents the entire cosmos.
The Anuttara Amnaya is one of six “subsidiary” vidyas of the Sri Vidya tradition. The word amnaya is related to agama, a word that can mean
“religion” or a type of special knowledge that is handed down from generation to generation, such as a “sacred tradition.” It is often used as a reference to sacred texts in general and to Tantra itself. The word anuttara is usually translated as “highest” or “absolute.”183 Thus, Anuttara Amnaya is the Highest Tradition or the Supreme Tantra. It does not refer to a specific group of devotees or sect, but is usually used to identify a specific set of Vidyas within the Sri Vidya tradition, a school of Tantra with its own mandala, teachings, etc. Followers of the Sri Vidya tradition may be initiated (diksha) into one or all of the six amnayas, so that the Anuttara Amnaya is really a school within the greater Sri Vidya tradition. Yet, Anuttara Amnaya is also referred to as the “seat” of the Goddess Lakshmi Tripura Sundari: subtle, difficult of access, but a path above and beyond all others.
There is, however, a darker aspect to all of this and it involves Shiva in his incarnation as Hatakeswara or Hatakeshvara. In this incarnation, Shiva is the ruler of one of the seven infernal hells or Patala of Indian religion, specifically Vitala. The hells of Patala are inhabited by the Nagas (or serpent gods) as well as by the various Indian demons, such as the Yakshas. Yet, oddly, it is precisely Shiva in his form of Hatakeswara who rules Anuttara Amnaya and guarantees immediate enlightenment to its practitioners. According to the Hatakeswara Stotra (a hymn to Hatakeswara), the Lords of Hell pour forth from the mouth of Shiva- Hatakeswara. Thus, in this manifestation, Shiva is nothing other than the Dark Lord himself and the ruler of Kenneth Grant’s Anuttara Amnaya cult
… and the Goddess of the Sri Vidya tradition is a form of the Scarlet Woman, the Goddess Sixteen.
Now for the weeds.
The Sri Chakra is a map similar in nature—if not design—to the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and perhaps related more closely to the Enochian Tablets as employed by the Golden Dawn. It consists of nine large triangles—four pointing up, five down—superimposed on each other and thus making a total of 43 triangles and the intersection points (the marmas and sandhis) between them.184 Around these triangles are an eight-petaled lotus, a sixteen-petaled lotus, and three concentric circles around them. Around that is often drawn a diagram representing four Gates in the four cardinal directions. The Sri Chakra is an entire cosmological system but it is also the body of the Goddess in schematic form. Although it is a two- dimensional figure—a drawing—it also has been made in three- dimensions: the only one of all the Indian chakras permitted to be constructed this way.
The characterization of the Sri Chakra as the body of the Goddess is not an idle one. The marmas—the intersection points where triangles overlap
—have their analogues in marmas in the human body: similar, in fact, to acupuncture points in Chinese medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is concerned with applying pressure, through massage, to the appropriate marmas in order to promote healing. There is even an Indian martial arts technique called marma adi, which is a method of killing or disabling a human being by the correct application of pressure—a strike—at one of the twelve “death marmas” on the body (there are 96 healing marmas, and 12 “death” marmas, for a total of 108 marmas in the human body).
To Grant, the marmas on the Sri Chakra and the marmas on the body are reflections of each other. During the ritual we described in the last chapter, the magician is to make passes (or mudras) over the body of the priestess in order to stimulate the activity of specific marmas which in turn affect the chakras. Grant believes that the kalas are brought down from the Mauve Zone into the body of the priestess during the ritual and that the stimulation of the appropriate marmas helps to accomplish this. Then the Kundalini—which Grant has begun calling the Fire Snake—is encouraged to rise through the body of the priestess, sealing the chakras as it proceeds to the cranial vault.
According to Grant in “mystical” Tantra (if such a thing truly exists), the raising of the Fire Snake to the cranial vault is the ultimate goal, for when the Goddess Kundalini and the God Shiva meet the hierogamos or sacred marriage is complete. The Tantrika eventually achieves union with the Absolute and attains advaita, or non-duality. But in the Kaula Circles that are the primary channel for Sri Vidya, the power that has been raised is drawn back down to the muladhara chakra where it is collected by the magician. This is the “magical” approach to Tantra rather than a mystical one and Grant is not bashful about this. He implies that the acquisition of siddhis—magical powers—is the goal of his system. He equates the first type of Tantra with the elixir vitae of the alchemists (the amrita), and the second form of Tantra with the Stone of the Wise, the Philosopher’s Stone. To a Tantrika, this is an unenlightened approach and one that is usually condemned as unworthy; moreover it is factually incorrect. The Tantras do indeed prescribe the oral consumption of the kalas directly from the genital outlet, the yoni, of the priestess and in fact also generally insist that the elixir is obtained by the mixture of both the kalas—the menstrual discharges—and the semen of the male operator, what is known in the Gnostic Mass as the “cakes of light.” The only deviations from this rule concern the ability of the male Tantrika to achieve orgasm without ejaculation, in which the absence of semen is acceptable, or when the male Tantrika is engaged in maithuna—the sexual embrace—with a married woman not his wife, in which case (and according to some Tantras) it is preferable that the Tantrika not ejaculate or not ejaculate in the yoni of his partner. (The Tantras are all over the place where ritual requirements are concerned, and what is and is not desirable or permissable.) What Grant discusses is perfectly comprehensible in terms of the Western magical tradition, with its conscious manipulation and exploitation of mind and body, and that is perhaps where he parts company with normative Tantra. His focus on the raw technology of the system rather than on the philosophy behind it—the Hindu and Buddhist ethical and spiritual traditions—alienates Tantric scholars and Tantrikas. However, it satisfies the need of Western occultists who are not interested in the ethos of the system (who see such considerations as purely theological and thus ideological) but in the psycho-biological apparatus of the human body itself, and how altered states of consciousness and experiences of other realities can be attained through manipulating its inner processes.
In addition, Grant’s claim that the kalas are brought down from Beyond to the body of the priestess implies that there is a strong stellar or astral component to what appears to be a psycho-sexual or bio-chemical process. Of course, when the full details of the rite are considered—which includes the lunar phases and other astrological considerations—it becomes obvious that what Grant claims has, in fact, validity. Imagine a solar panel in a land where there is no sun: it doesn’t matter that the panel is created perfectly and all its parts are in working order; if there is no sun, there is no power. In the case of what Grant begins to call the Ritual of the Fire Snake, the body of the priestess is the solar panel; the ritual must be timed so that the “sun” is present in the right place at the right time for the panel to provide energy.
This is true of all ceremonial magic, as any glance at the medieval grimoires would certainly reveal. Magical rituals depend as much on correct timing as they do on the preparation of the magician and the occult implements to be employed. It is this emphasis on timing—in Tantra, in Daoist magic, in alchemy, and in Western magic—that reveals the deeper character of occultism in its dependence on the interrelationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm. What casual observers may not realize, however, is that the macrocosm can be just as dangerous as the microcosm. After all, Cthulhu can be summoned only “when the stars are right.”
This leads to another element of Grant’s thesis: that these marmas or entry points into the Mauve Zone exist in space, exist in the human body, and exist on the earth. Here they are power-zones on the body of the planet, exploited by cults or groups of adepts who are sensitive to their use and initiated into their mysteries. Such marmas represent, as the blurb on the first edition of Grant’s Outside the Circles of Time states:
… a network more complex than was ever imagined: a network not unlike H. P. Lovecraft’s dark vision of sinister forces lurking at the rim of the universe.
The Sri Chakra, like any perfect cosmological system, must take into account the existence of what the non-initiate may term “evil.” Some of the marmas and sandhis provide means of entering areas of existence that are inimical or hostile to normal human consciousness: the realms of the demons, or Nagas. It is, in fact, precisely these regions that most attract the attention of Kenneth Grant.
One of the schemes that can introduce the Western occultist to this concept is that of Liber 231, a small treatise by Crowley that is concerned entirely with the realm of the Shells, the qlippot. In order to appreciate this text it is necessary to understand that the Tree of Life of the Kabbalists— consisting of ten spheres or sefirot joined by twenty-two paths representing the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet—also has a “dark side.”
According to the Golden Dawn system of interpreting the Tree of Life, there is a “space between” the lower seven sefirot and the upper three. This “space between” is referred to as the Abyss. It is sometimes believed to be the realm of another sefirah, Daath. In diagrams of the Tree this sphere is often shown with a dotted instead of a solid circle to signify that it is not a “true” sefirah in the scheme of things but a “shadow sphere.”
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Daath was the subject of much speculation and it was Jacob Frank—a messianic figure of the eighteenth century who combined Jewish, Islamic and Christian concepts in his movement—who emphasized the importance of Daath to his own system. To Grant, Daath is the “Outer Gateway” to the Mauve Zone. It is a kind of “anti-sefirah.”
In addition to Daath, there are the qlippot which are described in Crowley’s Liber 231. These are the shells of a shattered sphere from the first Creation (according to one tradition) and they occupy twenty-two “anti-paths” on the Tree of Life. The marmas and sandhis on the Sri Chakra are points, or bindus, on the diagram that are the intersections of lines; the qlippot are paths between the spheres on the Tree of Life, so they more resemble lines than points. But this is a superficial difference. In practice, the qlippot are as much gateways to the Other Side as specific marmas or sandhis.