For the first time, a genuine manual of the dreaded "left-hand path." Braving the new Witchcraft Panic that has swept the world, S. Jason Black and Christopher S. Hyatt have written a book that places the Western magical tradition — and the Western psyche — in perspective.
Sweeping aside both the historical fabrications of "neo-paganism" and the rampant mental illness of the religious right, Black and Hyatt explore history, psychology and anthropology to reveal the true "secret doctrine" of Western culture. This work confronts the reader with his own fears and inhibitions — and carries him beyond.
Comprehensively illustrated, this volume contains a detailed history of European "Black Magic" and includes new editions of 17th and 18th century Grimoires with detailed instructions for their use.
Read an Excerpt
The Origin of the Pact
The demonic pact was and remains one of the most anxiety-ridden subjects in the western esoteric tradition. There are two reasons for this that we can think of, and the subject shares these reasons in common with most psycho-spiritual practices that inspire automatic fear in our culture. Firstly, it lays the "soul" and "mind" — the inmost being of the practitioner — on the line. It commits that person to a contractual obligation with a metaphysical entity in return for services that would irrevocably change the magician's life. This is frightening because most people are terrified both by the thought of contact with a spiritual intelligence (which he may even claim not to believe in) and also by the thought of achieving his goals.
The second reason is that the conjuration of a demon and the creation of a formal alliance with it is quite possibly the oldest form of initiation known to man. It has exact parallels in every magical tradition in the world, both Christian and non-Christian (see the works of Carlos Castaneda for example) and goes so far back in time that our very cells acknowledge its power, even when we consciously "don't believe."
Let us emphasize here that despite the safari we have just made into the world of European "Satanism" and despite the use of the liturgy in The Constitution of Honorius, the material that follows in this book is not religion in the normal sense of the term. The manuals of magic collected here, especially the pact-workings, are the stuff from which religion comes (the covenant with Jehovah was a pact) and which modern religion imitates with empty formalism.
Someone once remarked to Jason Black that the definition of a religious ceremony is an act of ritual magic that doesn't work. The forces that are called up by these techniques, whatever the reader chooses to think they are, are communicated with directly by the magus and the practitioner must deal with this experience alone. This is the factor that everything in our Judeo-Christian upbringing tells us to avoid.
Faith Versus Knowledge
In our culture, unlike, say, Tibet, we talk about faith, which has been sarcastically described as a belief in things one knows to be untrue. Direct experience — gnosis — is discouraged from every corner. This is true for the Jew, the Christian and the Atheist alike. If you don't believe this, we suggest you take a close look at the hysterical, almost panic-stricken way in which Psychic research has been attacked by all the above groups for strangely similar reasons, no matter how convincing the evidence or distinguished the researchers.
Even the religious convulsions of Pentecostals and their ilk are only encouraged in the group and to become closer to the group. These experiences — such as they are — reinforce programming. The goal of the practicing magus is to break programming and create himself anew by demolishing his previous limits. A person who breaks the limits imposed on him by the world at large is a very disturbing phenomenon. He doesn't respect authority and he makes a lousy servant. Religion prays to (begs) a hypothetical daddy figure for help and guidance. Magic demands communication and performance, or the being/force will be punished, or at the very least, ignored.
This kind of reaching out and treating with the unknown is the basis of much shamanic training. In those parts of the world where authentic shamanism still exists, the apprentice sorcerer is isolated somehow — usually by going into the wilderness — and calls upon the spirits to speak with him. Sometimes the conjuration involves the taking of psychoactive drugs, but not always. The fledgling sorcerer continues his efforts no matter how many days it takes to get a response. When the spirits come, the first thing that happens is usually an attack. The apprentice must defend himself. If he fails, this can literally result in death (whether from his belief or from other forces we will not speculate). If he succeeds, he returns to society with one or more allies, which aid him in the performance of magic. In return, he gives the spirit something that it wants or needs. This may be some kind of sacrifice, or even periodic possession of his body as a sort of temporary "incarnation." This is the story of Faust pure and simple, with the Christian neuroses about soul-eating removed. However, even this rather obvious ploy to insure the loyalty of Church-members through fear has primordial parallels.
In Haitian Voodoo (and Voodoo is the only genuine "old religion" extant), there is a ceremony called the Ba Moun or "give-man" ceremony. This is performed by the Bocor, or professional sorcerer, as opposed to the Houngan, who serves the community. Whereas in the European tradition, the magus gives his soul in payment to the demon, in the Afro-Caribbean version, the person making the agreement can give other people's souls. This is believed to be a more satisfying arrangement. The catch to this is that he must give from his own family and friends. In other words, it must be a real sacrifice of someone he loves. Harsh as this sounds, if you think about it, you realize that this is far from uncommon in the pursuit of ordinary ambition. Say that a man is frustrated with his life. He has been honest and worked hard and gotten nowhere. He is at the end of his rope. He goes to the house of the Bocor and tells him these things, and in the way of such conversations from time immemorial, he says he would give "everything" to satisfy his desires.
So the Bocor calls upon the Petro family of spirits, which are very close to the concept of infernal demons, and the spirit speaks to the supplicant. He demands a written agreement signed in the man's blood, which is placed in a govi, or ritual jar, and tells the man that on a certain day, once a year, he must choose one of his loved ones to die as a sacrifice to the spirit. In return the spirit will satisfy all of the man's desires and ambitions. If this is agreed to, one person a year will mysteriously sicken and die to satisfy the spirit until the day comes when there is either no one left that the man can give, or he can no longer bear to commit such an act. This time the bargainer himself is taken. It is an eerie coincidence that one of the Petro spirits that operate these pact agreements is called Bosu Tricorne — the three-horned god. Look at the illustration of Lucifuge Rofocale, the infernal maker of pacts at the beginning of this book and you will see what we mean. Perhaps the lord Lucifuge spread his activities further afield than France. Or perhaps our earlier suggestion that a former resident of colonial Haiti wrote The Grand Grimoire deserves some consideration.
Whatever the ultimate origins of the Grimoires of Part II, the tradition of the pact with "the Devil" goes back to the early dark ages in Europe, when the Roman empire was falling apart in earnest and Christianity, which had been the state religion of Rome for more than a century, was in conflict with the older beliefs of the people.
At that time, some of the then-existing histories were transformed by Christian scribes to accommodate the Jesus myth. A good example of this is Merlin, who, according to the research of Nikolai Tolstoy (in his book Quest For Merlin), was a historical figure who lived during the fifth century AD in one of the still-pagan enclaves of northern Britain. He is considered to have been the last great pagan prophet of Europe and thus a figure of considerable importance.
Christian chroniclers, however, have transformed him from the last of the Druids into a half-human figure whose father was a demon (or the Devil himself). In typical fashion they make him one of the great knowledge-givers and guides of Western legend and simultaneously damn him to hell for his magic.
In this same way, the pact-working was cut off from its ultimate roots in prehistoric magic (while still retaining most of its essentials), to become the dangerous selling of one's soul to everlasting hellfire, for the privilege of exercising supernatural power on Earth.
Possibly the oldest of these legends deals with a Churchman of the name Theophilus. Theophilus was a humble scholar who enjoyed the quiet and safety of the monastic life. Unfortunately, his reliability and talents attracted the attention of his superiors in the Church, and he was offered the recently vacated office of Bishop. Pleading humility, he refused, which proved to be a very bad move. The office was given to the second choice, an ambitious politico who proceeded to torment Theophilus at every opportunity. He made his life, so to speak, hell. This state of affairs continued, until Theophilus was finally fed up, at which time he took a forbidden book from the monastery, and in a crypt in the wee hours, called up the Evil One.
The Devil told Theophilus that, in exchange for his immortal soul, he would give him the power to do wonders and triumph over his enemy. Theophilus, at his wits end, agreed. Events went as Satan promised, and the Bishop met his demise. In due course, Theophilus was offered the Bishopric a second time and this time accepted. Years passed, and his power and reputation grew apace, but as he grew older, fear began to gnaw at him. He thought more and more on death and even though he knew that he had served the Church well, he also knew that when he died he would pass into Hell forever. He began to pray long hours in his private chapel, and his servants debated among themselves as to the nature of His Excellency's private grief. Eventually this whining attracted the attention of the Virgin Mary herself and she intervened personally on his behalf, forbidding the Devil his soul. Deus ex machina.
Aside from being an object lesson in the dangers of making a contract with an ecclesiastic, this little legend — which became very popular and much elaborated upon — contains all the ingredients that remain with us to this very day.
The scholar (religious or secular) who, driven to extremis, uses his knowledge to call up an evil spirit, sell his soul, and enjoy magical power. The performance of various wonders during his lifetime. The last minute regret for his actions which at the end, mean nothing to him. The self-castigation for his pride in disobeying Holy Mother Church. The inevitable descent into Hell (or in the case of Theophilus, last minute reprieve).
The first component of the myth goes back to shamanic practice. The rest is a Christian accretion to keep people in fear and bondage.
This volume is dangerous.
The Black Flame
David Carrico Christian Broadcasting Network
About the Authors
Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D.
Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D. was trained in psycho-physiology and clinical psychology. As a research scientist he has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in professional journals and was a Research Fellow at the University of Toronto and the University of Southern California. He fled the world of academia and state sponsored psychology to become an explorer of the human mind... creating such devices as the Radical Undoing Series. He is now a world-famous author of a wide variety of books, CDs, and DVDs on post-modern psychology, sex, tantra, kundalini and mysticism... and an advocate of brain exploration.