Black Metal and Human Alchemy

Maybe we are not born with immortal souls, but have a chance to earn them – in fact to become them. And maybe this is not the potential of every human, but only of those who have an extra ingredient in the blood – the seed not of Albion, but of Aldabaran.

I’ve been reviewing the history of Black Metal music, the music which truly captured the world’s attention when, during its second generation in Norway, Varg Vikernes was put on trial and convicted not only for the murder of his ex-roommate and band member Euronymous, but for a series of church burnings. He was convicted of both and sentenced to the maximum term allowed under Norwegian law, of 21 years. Subsequently a whole series of serious crimes, including, for pre-invasion Norway, a large number of murders, were unearthed, and we were intrigued with the story of an “inner circle” within Norwegian Black Metal, with ties to Satanism. Some of the survivors of the scene assert that there was in fact such a circle, and that they were members of it, although their credibility may be impugned by their career-based need to maintain the myth.

Indeed, with the first wave of Black Metal emerging a decade before the Norway scenario, we don’t have to wait for Varg to make our point. That first wave, which probably began in Britain and spread quickly to Scandinavia and Europe (British band Venom, inspired principally by co-Brits Black Sabbath, followed by Danish Mercyful Fate, then Swedish Bathory, and on to Swiss Hellhammer which evolved into Celtic Frost) makes my point clearly enough. That point being, that many of these musicians, who were the most extreme form of artist, began as Satanists and evolved into followers of the old European religions, sometimes Celtic but usually Nordic; and that some of them evolved beyond that point, transcending religion and anti-religion, and leaving behind a body of work that may in fact be the Philosopher’s Stone, the Holy Grail, in its greatest, pre-Christian sense.

If you want proof of the evolution of the bands I reference above, just look to their music and particularly their lyrics. I won’t detail it all here, but Bathory is perhaps the clearest example; their first three albums are blatantly Satanic, and in terms of sound I would argue that theirs is the first real example of the Black Metal genre, although the earlier bands gave them the subject matter and the name. In their second famous trilogy of albums, they went on to invent another subgenre, Viking Metal. Then there is Varg, who was never really much of a Satanist but definitely embraced, to an ultimately self-destructive extent, the rebellion that creed signifies, but who found Odin in prison, as it were, though possibly before. The evolution of rebellious Scandinavian youth through Satanism to Odinism is perhaps obvious, but to spend a moment with it:

Satanism in rock music goes way back before Black Metal, and even before Metal itself, and before rock itself… Robert Johnson sold his soul to Satan at the crossroads. Led Zeppelin flirted with these themes and with the mementos of Aleister Crowley in the early 70’s. It was probably Black Sabbath who made these themes explicit, though some of their early lyrics were in fact decidedly Christian. But what is, it really, this Satanism?

Satanism, in and of itself, is not a religion proper, but a heresy, and could never be more than that. It is totally defined by and dependent on the context provided by Christianity. As such, its appearance in Rock and among its younger fans is best seen as little more than rebellion against upbringing. Rebellious youth senses that the Christianity it has been taught is wrong and fake, and raises its bloody middle finger. In America and in the European cultures in which the people’s true heritage has been most obliterated by Christianity – which obliteration was by the way the main function of that religion, a disease unleashed upon the peoples of Europe to break down their tradition immunity to domination and control, provided by their identities as peoples and their structure of “myth” and tradition – this insight followed by rebellion, left those rebellious youth nowhere to go. They had no context outside Christianity and most of them lacked the gnostic experience to develop their own context. Hence they put on the guise of the enemy created by Christianity, that of the devil. And some of them could go no further than that.

METAL APOCA

But the Christian devil, particularly in his more modern forms, is a boogyman created not only to scare potential sinner, but also to demonize the traditional gods of the European people. The devil looks a lot like Pan, or the older gods on which Pan was based. So that for some of the more sincere and tortured of the European youth, particularly to those who had access to surviving indigenous religions, it was not a huge leap from empty Satanism to Odinism, or Asatru. With that evolution, the silly sense of “evil” that comes with the Satanic cartoon was replaced by Wagnerian heroism, and positive values were acquired, which enabled some of the former Satanists to create not only great art, but to become the flagbearers of a traditional consciousness arising from necessity in our age in which the evil nature of the Semitic disease becomes clear to all, as it drags the society its has infected for thousand of years, finally to destruction.

One need not only to examine the music, but also the present state of Asatru, to realize the limits of this evolution. In its early modern form, Asatru/Odinism arose in the 1970’s, a time whose extreme cultural Liberalism and rejection of Christianity allowed for the arisal of all sorts of alternative religions, including the Eastern ones, like Yoga and Buddhism which had arrived earlier but flowered in this time. But the third quarter of the twentieth century was for the most part a time of great prosperity in the West, where such new belief systems prospered in plenty. Although their original exponents may have had other intentions, they all grew in soil whose nutrients were supplied by Christian compost. So just as Western Buddhism became Humanism or even denatured Judaism, Asatru became indistinguishable in most of its participants from Viking role-playing games, and its morality came more from the Republican Conservatism of the 1950s than that of its European progenitors. Certainly its leaders never intended for this to happen. But by the 21st Century it was frequently pointed out that the rejection of Christianity by the bulk of the Asatruar didn’t go much further than substituting Thor for Jesus, and the Hammer for the Cross.

I’m not writing this to bash Asatru – I still wear a Thor’s hammer, among other symbols, and in fact I think the best road that I’ve found for us of European blood to transcend our decayed Judeo-Christian culture and its dying civilization, does in fact lie to the North. The true path, I think, lies in transcending the surviving remnants of the Odinic teaching, in the form they have come down to us. That is, I think that the true knowledge of Odinism is far, far older than the appropriated and absurd myth structure of Christianity, or at least of what has become known as Judeo-Christianity. Which religion is, I would argue, nothing other than a hodgepodge of ancient and true teachings whose oldest literal remnants are now found in Sumeria, but which probably originate elsewhere far to the North, which has been badly forced into the shell of the Jews’ stolen history, and ultimately unleashed by Rome as a plague upon Europe, to destroy the souls and minds of Western man.

It’s clear from my own studies and experiences that behind the current religions not only of Asatru, but of Slavic paganism, the stories of the Celts, but also of Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Christianity itself, lies the true story and meaning not only of mankind, but of existence itself. Although it is best initially accessed by entry into, and then ultimately by rejection of these modern religions, these flawed remnants of truth in this decayed, material age, the truth is ultimately found only in Gnosis. I have omitted from this discussion Philosophy its modern sense, for having studied it, I find that it leads either back to religion, or to Nihilism, which is actually one stage in a path I will mention in a moment, or to modern rational Humanism, which is decayed Christianity, which is nowhere.

USMAR

What lies behind all this – what makes the Satanism a viable option for youth, as a point to be moved beyond and not a destination – is an Alchemical process. In medieval Alchemy, which was in its mundane guise the attempt to turn lead to gold, but whose actual end product was not a valuable metal, but a transformed human, the stages were and are Nigredo, Albredo and Rubredo – the Black, the White and the Red. To omit the cloaking terminology which served mostly to protect Alchemy from the Church at its strongest, the initiate first goes through Nigredo, the transforming blackness, the Black Sun of modern Esotericism. In that process – think of the chunk of lead thrown into the fire being cleansed of its impurities – he is freed from strictures of his old identity. This, I believe, is the function of Satanism in these musicians and in these youth – the destruction of the old identity, the death of the small I, the abandonment of Ahamkara. From this, they emerged cleansed, White, Albredo. It is here that I see some of these Asatruar getting stuck. If they fail to complete or even work toward the next transformation they merely become gray and eventually fall back to the state they were in before their transforming experience.

To complete the Alchemical process, the initiate must move on to Rubredo. He must adopt the Vajra, the red shell, which enables him to achieve immortality, as a true Self, not undifferentiated as in Buddhism or Vedanta, but he becomes God in man. This is the true story behind the myth of the Christ which was stolen and defamed in Christianity, but also lies behind Odin’s hanging on the true for nine nights before picking up the Runes – roaring! – and falling back again to earth. It is the story of Parsifal who obtained the Grail and journey to the West.

To return to the beginning: Man is not born with an immortal soul. He is born as a creature of the Demiurge, who has contaminated Creation from the Fifth Heaven downward. When he dies, he dies, except as he is subject to the Eternal Return, and merely goes back into the soup. But perhaps there is a salvation. Maybe some of us have a spark which comes from the outside, from beyond the earth, from beyond the material plane. Maybe God does indeed come to earth to save it. And he does so by embedding a spark of his existence in our blood, we who come not from here, but from outside, and who know from the day we are born that we are not of this world. And maybe by purification of this essence, by Alchemical process, by scraping off the false shell of the world, emerging white and spanking new, following the Green Ray, and then by training and efforts coating ourselves in the hard red shell of Vajra, we become truly Individuated, which God never was. Purifying, transforming himself, Itself, Themselves, Ourselves, through the darkness and then the purifying fire of this world, God emerges as something different. As a true Self who can live in the world as well as apart from it.

Not that I’m recommending Satanism, of course. It itself it’s really kind of silly. I was never a Satanist, but I had by own purification to go through. Not everyone needs these fires, I think. Not everyone is here for transformation. Some people aren’t really here at all; they are animals or Non-Player Characters. Nevertheless, there is a process available, and if you are reading this, there is a larger-than-average chance that you are a candidate for it. Don’t be afraid to walk through the fire. Don’t be afraid to follow your quest for the truth, through whatever dark places that may take you. For if you truly bear the Seed, you have an obligation to transform.

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