Tantra deals with enormous lengths of time, elaborate cosmological systems, and an intense intellectual component—but viewed from within a worldview that states the cosmos was created by means of a sexual act between the gods, and that therefore the entire created universe reflects that sexual polarity. The power that fuels the universe has its analogue in sexual energy. Our bodies contain the source of this energy, the Fire Snake
—dead but dreaming—at the base of our spines; and as individual as this seems it is also universal. The Kundalini coiled at the base of my spine is identical to that at the base of yours, and they are both identical to that at
the base of the spine of the Universe (the body of the Mother Goddess), which is identical to that at the base of the spines of the gods themselves. It is a machine, a technology, that bridges the gap between science and religion, between mind and body, between reality and the Other.
Sexuality is an ancient metaphor for this power. It crosses cultural, racial and religious lines. Sexual spirituality can be seen in the occult practices of China, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Europe. Fertility rites have been observed among pre- literate societies the world over, and painted on cave walls dating back thousands of years. This is the “apostolic succession” of the Typhonian Tradition.
Using sources as diverse as de Santillana and von Dechend’s Hamlet’s Mill, as well as the more fanciful projects of Zecharia Sitchin and Erich von Danniken, we can see that a stellar—rather than a solar—tradition is the oldest form of occult theory and practice. Reference to the famous Dogon tribe of Mali, in Africa, reveals to us a sacred tradition that is based on stellar, and not solar, considerations and computations that take place in the wilderness. The venerable astrological system of India—Vedic or Jyotish astrology—is sidereal-based and not solar-based. There is a definite Current that involves this tradition, and with it we can begin to re- evaluate some of the history we think we know about such groups as the cult of Mithra—which this author insists was an astral and not a solar cult.
Truly, it is written that “Every man and every woman is a star,” not a sun or even a moon. Much of what Crowley wrote is intelligble from a stellar or astral perspective as opposed to a purely “solar-phallic” one. Some of Grant’s criticisms of Crowley’s approach to magic are legitimate; that does not mean that Crowley’s Thelema has been somehow devalued in the process. It can only benefit from constructive ideas and the expansion of its theory and practice into new, uncharted territories. Yet, any criticism of Crowley is considered anathema in some quarters, and those with lesser initiations feel unequal to the task of questioning either Crowley himself or his (appointed or unappointed) heirs.
So what is needed is the Dark Lord.
Set is the Opponent, the Adversary (like his Christian avatar, Satan). It is the role of Set to set himself up in opposition to the status quo, to the consensus viewpoint, to traditional beliefs and practices. He is the Other, and as such represents alien concepts and methods. Just as the Elixir Vitae
is formed of both the male and female elements, and just as the Aeon of Horus is the Aeon of the Magical Child—the offspring of those elements
—so too Set is the polarity required by Horus to balance the new religion and bring it into greater recognition…. And to contribute to the birth of new—non-human—offspring.
In the Catholic Church, there is the role of the Devil’s Advocate. This individual is there to question every aspect of the life of a person being considered for canonization as a Saint. While he works for the Church, his job is to try as hard as he can to challenge and defeat those who would support the canonization. Set’s role is similar, but much more far-reaching.
Set is the avatar of all such Devil’s Advocates. He is, in fact, the Devil himself according to some traditions. He is the Dark Lord, the “dark” at the end of the Tunnels of Set. He represents all that humanity has suppressed, repressed, and oppressed since time immemorial. There is no Aeon of Set, for Set is not relegated to a solar period, an equinoctial precession, or any kind of calendar. He cannot be contained that way. Set’s position in the heavens is as the Pole Star or, at least, as the circumpolar asterism we know as the Big Dipper, but which the ancient Egyptians recognized as the Thigh of Set: the all-important device made of magnetic iron—Lovecraft’s “Tutulu metal”—that “opened the mouth” of the mummy, of the corpse, of the re-animated God.
Set is polymorphously perverse. He’ll have sex with anything. He’d do his mother if he could. He is the symbol of unbridled lust, which is characterized as evil, vulgar, rapacious, etc. by his parents. Sexuality is the first thing societies control and legislate. It is the one power that, if unchecked, can topple governments, impeach presidents, destroy careers. Sex must be tied, like Set, to the prow of the Ship of State or the Ship of Saint Peter … or just the Ship of Fools.
Set and Shiva hang out. Both are wild men, living in the wilderness. Shiva is the Lord of Destruction, with Brahma (Lord of Creation) and Vishnu (Lord of Preservation) forming a holy Sanskrit Trinity. Set spilled his seed, and so did Shiva.
Set comes from the stars. He is not from around here. Even his token Egyptian animal is unidentifiable. He is an Alien, in every sense of that word. And that means his natural consort is the alien woman, the Strange Woman of the Bible: the Scarlet Woman, the Red-Headed Goddess of the Red Lotus throne.
Set is the Beast. He is Therion. Set is that supernova that exploded on April 30, 1006, when his asterism “hung from its tail in the sky” and destroyed a civilization, and buried one of the largest temples in the world under a mountain of volcanic ash not to be seen again for more than eight hundred years.
Set is the reptilian brain. The serpent brain. That ancient legacy from the Great Old Ones, from five hundred million years ago. Fight or flight, it’s all the same to Set, but my money’s on fight.
Set is the Lord of the Underworld. He is cthonic. He is Kutu-lu. Cthulhu. High Priest of the Great Old Ones. In his underground, underworld, undersea James Bond villain-villa. They feared him in Egypt. They were terrified of him in Sumer. They searched everywhere for him among the Cathars, the Albigensians, the Templars, the Witches … and finally found him in the mirrored plates of their own armor.
Set is the key to understanding human existence. He is the key because he is the one Lord we fear the most, and don’t know why. He is the Ghost in the Machine, the Father of Lies, the King of Demons, the Lord of the Flies. He pub-crawled with Job. He wrestled with Jacob. He hit on Eve while she was naked and Adam wasn’t home, the Dog.
He walked up to Jesus and offered him the world. Like he cared.
Set is the Master of Deception and Dissimulation, but not of Classification. Set does not work for governments and has no desire to serve and protect. Governments have never been very kind to Set, so besides being the Master of Deception he is also the Lord of Leaks.
Set is the Force of Retroversion. He reverses the flow of energy in the universe, the onward march of time, the linear measurement of space. He’s the up of the down, the down of the up. The backwards glance. The lateral pass. He’s tricky that way.
Most importantly, however, Set has his throne in the deepest, darkest recesses of the human unconscious. And the human unconscious is the gateway to all the other zones of reality that comprise the magician’s neighborhood. He’s in deep, but that’s because we’ve put him there. If human beings are social animals, and need society to feel safe and comfortable and to sleep their way through existence, then Set needs to be
suppressed. And when Set is suppressed, then everything connected to Set is suppressed. And that’s how most of us live.
It’s not a very magical approach to life. But it’s safe.
Let’s look at the 24th Tunnel of Set, that known as Niantiel.
Kenneth Grant describes what was seen on a tour of this Tunnel, this scary back alley on the Tree of Life. And it’s not pretty.
It’s about a Death Cult whose members “became addicted to necrophilia.” The ritual involves sex with a “ritually slain woman dedicated to the deity with whom contact was sought.” As we have learned, the occult policy of Grant’s Typhonian Order is contact with discarnate Intelligences, and in this case, both the Intelligence and the Vehicle are discarnate. According to Grant, virgins were kept especially “sequestered” for these rituals. Once slain, sex with the corpse was almost immediate as the astral form of the slain woman was sent to a realm between earthly and “post-mortem consciousness.” All of this was to enable the magicians to use the freshly-liberated spirit of the victim to travel to the desired realm and communicate what she saw back to the cult.196
This is a form of necromancy, and versions of it exist in many cultures. Contact with the dead is tabu in many religions and sexual congress with a corpse is especially heinous.197 However, the Tantric rites that take place in cremation grounds in India come pretty close to this example. Sexual congress—maithuna—can take place in the presence of a corpse, and not necessarily one that has died recently. To a true Tantrika there would be nothing inherently objectionable about having sex with a corpse as nothing is hideous to the truly enlightened. There are many Tantric ikons that depict Kali, for instance, dripping in blood and skulls, standing on the corpse of Shiva. Foul substances are no longer foul in the realm of the Dark Lord:
The mediaeval Alchemist perhaps came nearest to the pure doctrine with his analysis of substances popularly considered unclean. He knew that dross was the outer form of the Hidden God…198
That which repels, that which disgusts, must thou assimilate in this Way of Wholeness.199
Even Austin Osman Spare, the visionary artist and natural magician, weighed in on the subject:
Perversion is used merely to overcome moral prejudice or conformity. By persistence, the mind and desire become amoral, focused, and made entirely acceptive, so the life-force of the Id is free of inhibitions prior to final control.200
In the rituals of the Kalachakra Tantra—the form of Vajrayana Buddhism practiced in Tibet by the Dalai Lama into which he has initiated thousands of people all around the world—there are instructions for the preservation of urine and faeces in special jars at various points of the Mandala, as well as those for blood and semen. (I have already discussed this in Tantric Temples.) The motivation is probably the same: to demonstrate that there are no “bad” substances, no “ugliness” in the world, but that all is a manifestation of the Goddess, and there is no purpose in prefering one substance over any other.
After all, even the Bible tells us that “the Stone the builders rejected was the cornerstone.” (Psalm 118:22; Acts 4:11)
This ugly substance, this forbidden act, this rejected Stone … all can be understood as relics of the Dark Lord.
The problem with the scene depicted as having taken place in the Tunnel of Set known as Niantiel is that a woman was slain for the purpose of contacting the Old Ones. Everything else would be permissible to a Tantric Adept, in our world, except murder and human sacrifice.
Except … except … it has been known to occur. Human sacrifice was not unknown to the various Tantric sects of India, Tibet, and even Southeast Asia. Tantra is about power, about shakti, and there have been Tantric kings who coveted the power represented by the Goddess Kundali and who applied that arcane knowledge to the world of politics and government. Kings have never been squeamish about killing people; add a religious or occult justification and it just makes it easier.
The kapala—the human skulls used as sacrificial vessels in the more shamanistic of the Tibetan Buddhist rituals—were sometimes selected from appropriate victims while they were still alive and using them. The
requirements for these skulls are complex and specific; there was no way one came across an appropriate skull by accident. It had to be by design. The same for the skulls to be used for the damaru, the ritual drums. And the care and preservation of these skulls was also a matter of some concern. The best way to keep the skulls from drying out was to rub them with fat; the best fat was that obtained from the cremation grounds.201
We know that human sacrifice, sometimes on a large scale, did exist in various parts of the world. The Aztecs were famous for massive sacrificial events. While we consider ourselves too advanced and civilized today to engage in this type of barbaric behavior, the possibility still exists.
We are entranced by tales of serial killers and we have romanticized them to the point that we have made of them the new Dracula: urbane, intelligent, sophisticated, like Hannibal Lecter. But the reality of serial killers is quite different, just as the original vampires were believed to be little more than animated corpses.
Don’t be seduced by the Dark Lord. His power rests in the things we have hidden from ourselves; and, yes, sexuality is one path that brings us before his throne in the sunken city. But he must be approached with care, and with caution.
Otherwise the Dark Lord will fuck you up.
The Typhonian Tradition is ancient, according to Grant. This is not so unbelievable as it appears. As Ioan Couliano tells us:
… witchcraft was still practiced in certain zones of eastern Europe at the end of the nineteenth century as a direct derivative of shamanism. Beliefs recorded in Paleosiberian caves around 1000 BCE were still valid less than a hundred years ago. How can we explain such amazing continuity? … a simple set of rules would generate similar results in the minds of human beings for a virtually infinite period of time.202
This perfectly accords with the writings of Grant who does not insist that his discoveries came from a long line of initiates stretching unbroken back to the Stone Age or beyond. What he does say is that the Typhonian Tradition itself is ancient, and that there have been bodies of adepts at various times in various places who have either kept the Tradition alive, or who have rediscovered it and breathed new life into it. The “simple set of rules” is what counts, and those of the Typhonian Tradition are