Saturday, 25 October 2008

Seized by the Eyes

A new reader review of David Beth's Voudon Gnosis:

Seized by the Eyes

Kenneth Grant has described the main purpose of his books as to prepare people for encounters with unfamiliar state of consciousness. In Voudon Gnosis, David Beth describes the principles in the works of Michael Bertiaux as leading to true Gnostic Luciferean transformation. Both Grant and Bertiaux have devised highly original systems of magic which draw on the creativity of the adherent. This is not a simple structured system of rote learning, rather they both offer guides or pointers into deep and complex magical universes which the adherent must learn to develop him or herself. In Bertiaux’s system, adherents use ‘La Prise des Yeaux’, a form of occult active imagination, to explore their magical universe, often documenting it through personal art works.

Bertiaux’s writings do not outline a linear system of magic or esoteric spirituality. Rather they delve into a complex but intriguing web of magical openings which could be analogised by the system of points chaud where magical entities are impregnated in the physical body of the adherent and then activated as required to meet certain purposes. His system is catholic by nature and purpose, and much richer by reason of this. By, as David Beth describes, using a range of spiritual and esoteric systems, it opens up a broad magical universe, which then allows for the absorption of the diverse range of energies.

Bertiaux’s magnum opus, the Voudon Gnostic Workbook, is a dense, complex and voluminous compilation of papers on the magical system he has worked on and helped develop over the last number of decades. Finally back in print in an affordable paperback edition, it a dense and bulging tome of truly occult methodology and philosophy. It is a foreboding text with a seemingly multitude of ports of entry.

David Beth has chosen some of the key elements of the system and provided a lucid exegesis in a slim and attractive volume published by Scarlet Imprint. Expanding on an article originally published in the Howlings anthology, the text has been expanded on and structured in an even more user-friendly manner. There are also some extra diagrams, which help facilitate a clearer comprehension of the complex areas covered.

Armed with the insight gained through reading Voudon Gnosis, the Voudon Gnostic Workbook becomes a much less foreboding document, and the true potential and scope of its magical system becomes much more clear. While there have be other primers of sorts for other magical systems, in particular thelemic magick, I have yet to read a text which is comparable in the effect it has had in introducing the possibilities and scope of a magical system or philosophy. While this is of course a function of staggering scope of Bertiaux’s system, credit must also be due to the author, David Beth, in unveiling some of the content of this ophidian chthonic current.

In addition to an explanation of some of concepts of voudon gnosis, there are also some very useful appendices. Of particular interest in an essay on an initiated interpretation of love, AMOR, which explores the conception of esoteric love, a subject I found fascinating. There are further instructional material on the use of fetishes and time travelling, expanding on materials touched upon in the main text.

Voudon gnosis has been produced in a limited edition and will no doubt soon sell out. It must surely classify as one of the most intriguing and practical occult texts published in recent years and should be classified as essential reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in esoteric methodology.

-David Heney

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