Tuesday 21 December 2010

Do They Know It's Mithras?

Bracken House Sundial
Sunday 12th December saw the first act of Magick Concrète. Mark Pilkington and I took a 3 hour walk from Tottenham Court Road, through Crowley's Holborn beneath the pealing bells of St. Paul's, to the displaced remains of a Mithraeum at Walbrook. Along the way a number of field recordings were made. Mark then processed the recordings through his modular synthesiser set-up - MISTY. I have subsequently taken these recordings, to create a ceremonial structure, overlaying them with readings from a Mithraic Ritual. We are releasing the the resulting track "Do they know it's Mithras", as a free download. It is possibly the first ever occult charity record. Each download will accrue magical energy for worthy causes over the Christmas period. By downloading this song, you are pledging 13 minutes worth of pure oja. It's a radically different working of the "English Heretic" family favourite standard "Open The Mithraic Stargate".

Statue of Ceres at Holborn Viaduct

The last few weeks have seen tumultuous scenes in our capital city. As education becomes the key symbol of a gnostic power struggle, "Do they know it's Mithras?" is a timely ritual. Knowledge as power, gnosis as the power of psychic freedom. The Persian Mithras is a gnostic deity appropriated by the Roman military. Education - and by inference knowledge - sacrificed at the behest of the military industrial complex. The Feast Of Mithras, imported to Rome, took place on 25th December, at the culmination of the week-long festival of a Saturnalia. It was a celebration of the return of the sun in the darkest time of the year. Whilst the recent vote was passed to increase tuition fees, it may represent the necessity for a more autonomous future. Though it may be possible to handicap the right to formal education, what cannot be taken away is brightness and potential, an unconquerable Sun, that transcends class and wealth. Perhaps this is the time to imagine the ludic revolution as envisaged by Bob Black. In this respect "Do they know it's Mithras?", is an economic sacrifice to precipitate such a revolution: an opportunity to steal from the fire of serious play. Black inspires the notion of the gift economy, lessons as presents. To be in the ever-present and see the ever in the present - akin to P.K. Dick's "the empire never ended" - is the initiatory lesson in concrete magic.

The remains of a Mithraeum at Walbrook

The track is dedicated particularly to the activism of lecturers and students alike, who have shown both courage and vision, using the society of the spectacle and its machinery to subversively bright ends. Moreover, that the vital tools of humour and imagination can disarm and re-vision evokes Octavio Paz's statement, "a chained man need only close his eyes to make the world explode". To mix the puer of Jupiter with the senex of Saturn is dissolve the lectern between pedagogue and pupil. As such, "Do they know it's Mithras?" is a ceremonial volley from the esoteric underground of the spectacle, a shadow academy - the society of the spectral. On a more hermetic level perhaps it is necessary for us to dwell in the saturnine night of discontented winters in order to glimpse the jupiterian light and new possibilities - what the alchemists called the lumen naturae.
The black dog of Newgate

The track serves another purpose. As we know, Christmas is often a time of celebration induced stress and unwelcome guests. Therefore, rather than treating this track as a piece of festive entertainment, and because of its somewhat atonal nature, I would recommend playing it towards the end of Saturnalia when one wishes to rid the House and Parliament of toffee-scoffing hangers on. A banishing perambulation to work off the gluttony of capital.

A common custom during Saturnalia was role reversal, in which masters would play the slave and slave the master. This psychodrama is patently obvious in the recent demonstrations; the would-be buffoon king and his equine wife pelted with paint is a masquerade conducted by the very lords of misrule. It also shows the arbitrary nature of power. Words as power, the mithraic liturgy, used in this hymn, contains a vowel based mantra. GRS Mead believes these to be a form of theurgic language, a nomina barbara. A set of seemingly meaningless utterances, they may actually represent a yogic exercise in breath control, of harnessing emotion, forging from the fire of eiron, anger and energy tending unto change. Our final instruction for the listener is to gather their family and friends around the mithraic tree and join in with the mantric section from the ritual. In doing so, one will only serve to raise the mercury to boiling point in the charity oja-ometer installed at the English Heretic HQ. Be warned though, like all dodgy gurus before, we may run off with the proceeds to build ourselves a Scientological yacht somewhere exotic.
St. Pauls, the luna temple