About Keith

Nerd in NC who loves freedom, RPG video games, Ancient Greek stuff, nature, puppies...and the occult and general weirdness. Just your typical redneck... || All voices should have the chance to be heard; the art is in discerning which to heed.

Awesomely Spooky Music II

There are quite a few musical works that I enjoy that evoke that magnetically dark and “spooky” atmosphere that I love in works of art. I thought that, as we approach the quintessentially spooky holiday of Halloween, I would make a few posts about some of my favorite pieces of Halloween-appropriate music.

I would call the works of Lustmord more atmospheric soundscapes than music in the traditional sense, but his works definitely have an eerie vibe and can kind of take you on a mental journey. Apparently, his live shows incorporating sound and sights can be quite transcendental. This video gives a short taste of his type of performance.

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Awesomely Spooky Music I

There are quite a few musical works that I enjoy that evoke that magnetically dark and “spooky” atmosphere that I love in works of art. I thought that, as we approach the quintessentially spooky holiday of Halloween, I would make a few posts about some of my favorite pieces of Halloween-appropriate music.

I’m starting with this gem of intense witchification, Hexerei im Zwielicht der Finsternis, by the group (solo artist?) Aghast. I don’t think that they/she ever did any other albums (if I’m wrong, please let me know), but this one would be at the very top of my all-time occult-sounding works. It’s creepy, eerie, “witchy,” and sublimely beautiful in a darkly fun way. Listen for yourself, and enjoy!

 

Red Clouds at Day … Stay Far Away?

Image

This is a photo that I took in the mid-1990’s, probably 1994 but maybe 1995, around 5pm in eastern North Carolina. These ominous-looking red clouds suddenly appeared and were rapidly rolling through the sky. It was one of the most impressive sky phenomena that I’ve ever seen, and just a little scary. As I didn’t have a video recorder at the time, a snapshot was the best I could do to record it.

For a bit of pareidolia, I see a large frontal face to the left of the limb, and another, milder-looking one in profile to its left.

The Way to True Change

Every day, it seems that people are confronted with some new or old boogeyman, either in the guise of a group or a grievance, that we are urged is a menace to us and needs to be suppressed and eradicated, even to the point of squashing basic civic rights. Never mind the fact that the fear-mongering is very lucrative to those who are brandishing it, and it comes from all sides. It has become so bad that I generally avoid what passes for news now, as it’s obvious that much of it is a play for mind-control and “rabble-rousing,” not to mention a means to remove hard-won liberties.

I read a quote from Serge Kahili King today that I think is very relevant to the current state of affairs in the U.S.A. and many other parts of the world:

The changing of the world will not be done by advertising, no matter how extensive or well-designed. It will not be done by excessively expensive projects and processes, nor by bigger and better weapons either actual or metaphorical. It will never be done by trying to heal abstract concepts that only represent people. It can only be done by healing individual people one at a time, or by helping them to heal themselves.

— Serge Kahili King, Healing for the Millions: The Amazing Dynamind Technique (Introduction), 2015

We as individuals alone have the power to take our own lives in hand and make ourselves into the best us that we can. We can do that best by taking care of ourselves and lending a helping hand to those who need us. We all have a common twin enemy — Destruction and Death — and we don’t need to give those beings a helping hand in any way; they need no help in their encroachment.

Thor gets his Hammer Back

These are the illustrations for the children’s book, The Quest of the Hammer, from The Home Adventure Library (Volume 7): Great Stories From World Literature, written by Abbie Farwell Brown, compiled by Doris Heitkotter, illustrated by John Everds, copyright of The Southwestern Company, 1968.

For anyone who doesn’t know the story, Thor’s hammer Mjolnir gets stolen by a Giant named Thrym.

Thor discovers his missing Hammer

When Loki flies out and discovers the thief, Thrym states that he will only give back the hammer if Thor’s beautiful wife, Freya, will become his bride.

Loki sets out to discover the thief

Loki then persuades Thor that he should stand in for Freya and be the Giant’s “bride.”

Thor dresses as Freya — with serious misgivings

“Freya” surprises the wedding party by eating and drinking everyone else under the table. Of course, Thor and Loki end up slaying the Giants and get the hammer back (after getting their bellies full).

Thor surprises his bridegroom with his voracious appetite (at the dinner table only!)

Chaos Magic: Ritual through Video Games

Note: I wrote this essay on Chaos magic testing exactly four years ago this month and had it up on this blog for a while but then took it down. I’m posting it again in case it is of interest to anyone.

Chaos magic (I prefer this standard spelling to the oft-used ‘magick’) sometimes gets regarded as a kind of slacker magic — if so, then I stand as a slacker among slackers. But Chaos can act kindly to folks like me. I like rituals, but only when I can make them up. I also like some guidelines, but only where I can pick and choose what to keep and toss. For the most part, chaos magic smiles on non-rigidity, and sometimes vomits on it (depending on how much it’s had to drink), but the main goal consists of getting results.
A few weeks ago, I mulled over ways in which to do some free-form magic based on an activity that I enjoy and spend a lot of time on: video games. Specifically, the game Dark Souls, that already acts a sort of alternate life for me when I immerse myself in it. As it so happens, it has a Chaos covenant, with a devotional element to the Fair Lady, who is half-woman, half-spider. The covenant is most useful as the means to a helpful shortcut, and to save an NPC so that he can help with the final boss, but the member also can offer humanities to the Fair Lady to relieve her suffering and to get rank in the covenant.

At the time, I thought, since I’m already doing this for several hours a week, why not do it as a magic act and make the taking of humanities and subsequent offering a ritual act with a clear goal? Then I thought about what goals to aim for as tests. I wanted something simple and non-life changing, but that also would be an obvious success if it happened. On a Sunday night, I decided on two possible scenarios: Someone at my job would say something unusually nice to me, or the UPS driver who brought our packages would be a substitute driver whom I’d never seen before (mostly because I didn’t like our regular driver, and the substitutes were always the same three or four people). Neither of these scenarios were things over which I could control the outcome, nor would really matter to me, so they seemed like simple tests to try out this form of magic.
I never actually did the gaming ritual, I just made the plan to do so in my head.

The next day at work, my boss was walking through, stopped, and said, ‘You’re probably going to think that this is a really odd thing for me to say to you, but you look especially good today.’ Now, I get along very well with my boss and he’s a lot more cheerful and friendly than I am, but neither he, nor anyone else that I’ve ever worked with, has said that to me, and it was a very unusual thing. I kind of laughed it off, but I thought about the ritual that I had planned. Soon after, the UPS truck drove up. Not our regular loud-mouthed driver, but someone completely new that I’d never seen before. But again, I never actually did the ritual.

That night, I thought about what had happened and wanted to make another plan for a future ritual. Since both of the former outcomes were pleasant things for me, one positive and one kind of neutral, I wondered if it would be good to try something that would be more negative. To have someone criticize me unfairly, for instance. This was a pretty vague plan, and I didn’t think about it too much, or even want to do so. I certainly didn’t have a great desire to be criticized.

Two days later, I went to a department store to return an item and unintentionally “jumped” someone in line, for which I received a furtive criticism. Criticism passive-aggressive and sort of unfair (at least from my viewpoint). Yay! More chaos magic success (urgh).

So how could I get success from rituals that I never even carried out? Partly, I think it has to do with the nature of Chaos magic. From what I’ve read of others’ experiences and from my own haphazard experiments, it can work that way. The important element seemed to be making a clear plan and having clear goals, so the results came with little to no further effort on my part. They were all things that were out of my conscious control and normally don’t happen but all had good probability of happening under the right circumstances (good probability is always an important component of successful magic). Giving it some thought since then, I also have wondered if it was a magic result at all; perhaps it was a case of divination, and I simply was plugging into events that already would happen. Or maybe a combination of the two, resulting in a perfect marriage of precognition and magical results. Maybe all the time that I already had spent on the working part of the ritual (gathering humanities and offering them through regular game play) had fulfilled the workings as I plotted them (kind of like long devotion to a god paying off when you finally make a request of that god). Or maybe they were just big coincidences — but coincidences, if they even exist, have their own peculiar sort of magical vibe.

[8.20.17, edited for length]

Oracular Head of Orpheus

Orpheus just cannot be shut up …

Despondent in his failed quest to rescue his wife from Hades, Orpheus spurned human contact. This did not set well with some Dionysian Maenads, who tore him to pieces. His head washed up on the shores of Lesbos and prophesied to the people. This is a scan of a black-and-white image of an Attic red-figure vase depicting the bizarre event. The image is culled from Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry by Emily Vermeule (Sather Classical Lectures, Volume Forty-Six; University of California Press, 1979).

There is a better, in-color image of this vase painting at the unsurpassed Theoi site.

Dangerous Fairies

“He shall find the thornies set
In his bed at night.”

Be careful: Not all fairies are benign, ethereal sweeties. The Fairies, by 19th-Century Irish poet William Allingham, is a dark-themed children’s poem that includes the abduction (and eventual death) of a child. This artwork by Boris Artzybasheff adds to the creepiness. The poem and illustration were included in the Collier’s Junior Classics’ The Young Folks Shelf of Books, Volume 1 (“ABC GO!”; 1962) under the heading “Best-Loved Poems.” As a pre-schooler, I found the picture especially disturbing. It always comes to mind when I think I feel something scratchy in my bed at night.

Here are some excerpts from the poem:

Up the airy mountain

Down the rushy glen,

We daren’t go a-hunting,

For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,

Trooping all together;

Green jacket, red cap,

And white owl’s feather. …

 

They stole little Bridget

For seven years long;

When she came down again

Her friends were all gone.

They took her lightly back

Between the night and morrow;

They thought she was fast asleep,

But she was dead with sorrow.

They have kept her ever since

Deep within the lake,

On a bed of flag leaves,

Watching till she wake.

 

By the craggy hill-side,

Through the mosses bare,

They have planted thorn trees

For pleasure here and there.

Is any man so daring

As dig them up in spite?

He shall find the thornies set

In his bed at night. …

You can find the entire poem at Poetry Archive

More from “Dreadful Folktales”

Video

Last month, I posted regarding the exhibition/book release in Norway for Dreadful Folktales from the Land of Nosferatu. The book is authored by Gina Sandulescu and illustrated by Costin Chioreanu, both of Romania. Costin has now posted a short movie about the exhibition, including interview clips with members of the bands Einherjer and Vulture Industries: