Friday, 18 February 2011

Palo Mayombe and the barbarous civilisation

Last month a mother was charged and indicted on charges of cruelty and neglect of a child she tried to rescue from death threatening illness. For her the solution was found in the traditional faith Palo Mayombe where body, soul and spirit were made subject for healing. As the sensationalist reportage tells, the mother ‘exposed her daughter to the bloody rituals of the Palo Mayombe faith’. The nature of these bloody rites consisted in receiving some cuts to the body where medicine was placed and to consume the heart of a chicken that had been offered to the spirit of healing. The child also witnessed ‘the decapitation of a goat’. When the police went to the paleros house they found the following horrors:

Dolls, a shrine, religious statues, bones, machetes and bundles of sticks bearing numbers and names were among artifacts found at the home. The items, some of which had blood and animal hair on them

The defence was of course one of religious freedom, which the judge denied. Instead it was all about the unsanitary conditions, the cruelty of exposing the child for a ‘primitive’ ceremony and the prosecutor was even making a point of the importance of having ‘paleros’ being given state licence to do their bloody rites in sterile surroundings.

The defence argued that what the child went through was as important as baptism for a Catholic, but to no avail. If we look at the comments given to this smear campaign there is one that is particular interesting, one reader suggests that African rites should stay in Africa and not enter the civilized world. It is quite absurd to see these colonial attitudes still in great vigour and how the people presiding over law are judging from xenophobia and prejudice – as they say because it is not civilized. Not much have changed in terms of attitudes since the middle ages. It is just that nowadays xenophobia is given other names and explained away in quasi academic dialogues as ‘something other’, that don’t belong. I want to remind that the Christian philosopher Montaigne already in 1580 writing about cannibals – a great horror amongst his contemporaries saw things different. He was of the opinion that consuming your enemy in an act of honouring the enemies memory and continue his life cycle was far less barbarous that burning people for religious and theological difference. As he said: "One calls 'barbarism' whatever he is not accustomed to". This is exactly what is happening with Palo Mayombe, in particular, these days. The other is seen as barbarous because the more the world is clashing in people gets saturated in xenophobia.
Vodou has over the years become more accepted because the community itself has contributed to this by sharing more, opening more and also academic studies upon the cult has helped in bringing some nuance to this distorted common consensus. It seems that the zombies and pins of Vodou have now been given to Palo Mayombe as the new holder of true evil. Some police departments are even training their officers particularly in persecuting paleros under the constant suspicion of performing human sacrifice at every opportunity they get. How foolish can foolish get – and how fearful can fear get? Pretty much it seems.
The news report itself is oozing of prejudice, just in the description of the paleros home where some of his horrible items, such as sticks, machetes and bones had blood and animal hair on them. This only speaks of xenophobia and a greater cultural alienation from nature. Maybe we should bring back as an value that you only eat meat if you have battled with the game? That is the reality of nature – while the sanitized civilization raises cattle with hormones and kills them without rite, without sense of sacredness. They are just bags of meat. For me that is quite disgusting – and if that is civilized, I prefer to be a barbarian that honours nature and all she gives by plant, animal and companionship.
This particular case is not only allowing us law murdering justice – but it also speaks about how progress is not a quality, but solely a movement in a given direction. When people say that African customs do not belong in civilization – I think this is more a consequence of our modern civilization not belonging in nature. We have created a fearful, paranoid social monster that constantly measures self in the condemnation of the other. We have progressed towards a world where bugs, leaves and the natural cycle of the world is turning more and more alien for people, a world where the majority of foolish opinions establish dictatorship in democratic condemnation of any minority That’s a great progress! If we don’t move ahead but stand still, we are per definition retrograde – and this is what has happened with tolerance and public opinion. It is still a xenophobic greedy mob that moves the minds of the majority, as is evident in this case – where this attitude was actually moving the whole proceeding. The case was really one between sanitized and sterile civilization vs. Brutal, dirty and cruel savages. It all was resting in prejudice and xenophobia, a foolish refutation of the other on accounts of its ‘barbarous’ ways.

The misconceptions about Palo Mayombe is graver than I thought and the barbaric foolishness amongst law enforcement and civilians at large scary in its proportions. It seems to me that this fear, paranoia and cruelty projected upon Palo Mayombe are a form of scapegoating. It has become a social symbol for wickedness and evil that upon attack gives naturally the opportunity of light the torch of fear upon all other ‘non civilized’ faiths. The situation is sad, troublesome and disturbing and I hope that by divulging the metaphysical concepts underlying the roots and practice of Palo Mayombe that I can contribute to turn this ill tide and make opinions less foolish and paranoid. At least this is how I see that I can better support a beautiful and intriguing cult and religion from defamation and distortion. I also believe the palo community need to consider that we might have contributed to these misconceptions by being too comfortable in our shadows and allowing idiots to do the propaganda.
Palo Mayombe can be ordered from Scarlet Imprint by a click.

The article in question can be read here:

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Palo Mayombe - The Garden of Blood and Bones

Palo Mayombe - The Garden of Blood and Bones by Nicholaj de Mattos Frivold

We are delighted to say that our latest title is in stock and ready to ship.

An initiates account of this much maligned religion and cult whose central nigromantic mystery is the prenda, the cauldron containing the human skull or bones, re-animated by living spirit.

Full details can be found at:

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Eyeless Owl

We have been interviewed for the always fascinating Eyeless Owl blog.
Covering witchcraft, art, the environment, sexuality and the future of magick, this is a wide ranging discussion.

In Nomine Babalon

Peter and Alkistis

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Occult Conference March 2011 Glastonbury UK

The Occult Conference is back for a second year in Glastonbury and we are pleased to both support and speak at the event. A full day of speakers and stalls, a great atmosphere, and fast becoming an important fixture on the UK scene.

Tickets are selling fast, and it is worth booking them and your accommodation sooner rather than later. We look forward to seeing many of our readers there.

The Occult Conference
12th March 2011
Grail Centre, 24 Chilkwell St, Glastonbury

Tickets are £20 and now available online here:

The speakers:

Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimech
We will be discussing our work with the Goetia, in a presentation entitled Corrupted Spirits and Infernal Keys, destroying many of the misconceptions that surround the so-called Lemegeton or Goetia of Solomon the King.

Jake Stratton Kent
Jake Stratton-Kent – author of ‘The True Grimoire’, ‘Geosophia’ and other works – is a practicing conjurer on traditional lines, and amodern necromancer. In his talk he will be discussing the nature of spirits encountered in magical work, in particular how they have often
been disguised and misidentified in the source works, to the near exclusion of the dead from mainstream Western Magic. This process,which has taken place over many centuries, has distorted and reducedour magical tradition. Remedies and implications of this idea will be
presented, hopefully in the process of a dialogue with the audience.

DHR Balthazaar
A rootworker, santeria initiate and espiritista working from Amsterdam. He is also and avid blogger and contributor to the Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly, as well as the forthcoming Conjure Codex: Red published by Hadean Press. He is particularly interested in the intersection between New World magic and the Western Tradition and what it means for the future of both.
His subject is Folk Technicians: Harnessing Sympathetic Material Processes in your Spell Craft.At the heart of many folk magical traditions we find the skilful use of of sympathetic magic. Unfortunately, sympathetic magic has frequently been misrepresented as crude or simplistic by western magical commentators when in reality extremely subtle and sophisticated technologies underpin folk magical forms such as hoodoo. Arguably, as subtle and sophisticated as any form of ritual magic can be.

Paul Weston
The author of Avalonian Aeon, Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus, and Mysterium Artorius. Paul is talking on Jack Parsons and the Nag Hammadi Plasmate. Babalon: Perfect Mind. Placing the legendary Babalon Working and its later ramifications in the context of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Gnostic texts as understood by Philip K Dick.

Kim Huggens
A freelance researcher specializing in Graeco-Roman malefic magic, necromancy, modern Vodou and Hoodoo Conjure. She is an initiated Hounsi Lave Tet in Sosyete Gade Nou Leve, a Haitian, Sanse and Dominican Vodou house run by Houngan Hector Salva, and a member of Ordo Templi Orientis. Kim's talk is, The Truth About Zombies. Or: How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse.
She examines the tradition of the Zombie in the context of Hoodoo Conjure, Haitian Vodou, and the ancient Graeco-Roman sorcerers. From necromantic rites and the dredging of a soul out of Hades, to psycho-spiritual Zombie effects and ethno-botanical studies.

Stalls include:

Scarlet Imprint Hadean Press Midian Books Witchcraft ltd Labyrinth Books The St Martha Botanica
We're very much looking forward to this.