The Resistible Rise of Donald Trump

“Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.”

— Bertolt Brecht, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, 1941 e.v.

“As soon as you put men together, they somehow sink, corporatively, below the level of the worst of the individuals composing it.”

— Aleister Crowley, Magick Without Tears, 1954 e.v.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The following, hopefully brief essay will begin and end Peter Pendragon’s coverage of the 2016 e.v. American election for president. Next month, that is, November 2016 e.v., the election will be over, a new president elected for our fair republic, and the public and media can then get back to their usual distraction-filled lives focused on transitory scandals, natural disasters, and general existential angst at the state of humanity in the early 21st century. But here we are, with two candidates who have inspired more loathing, distrust, and dread than any in our contemporary history. Hillary Clinton represents, at her most basic level, the betrayal of progressive ideas and idealism to a moderate corporate ethos, a kind of compassionate trickle-down politics, with the end result being that we have a somewhat slower stream of piss hitting our heads than the torrent to be expected from modern conservatism. Donald Trump, on the other hand, now wildly careering into his own personal Gotterdammerung after innumerable vulgarities, obscenities, and insults to the American people (particularly women) have been brought to light by a media addicted to his toxic persona, is an entirely different political animal. A recent convert to conservatism, a billionaire real estate gadfly more adept at branding than in creating real business success, Trump saw a golden opportunity in the Republican party to pander to the most aggrieved voters in their enraged base with economic faux-populism, racism, xenophobia, sexism and, ironically, class resentment, prompting them to revolt on an increasingly isolated GOP establishment and enable him to seize the nomination for himself.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, the election was tightening, with Democrats in a frantic panic, concerned that their default savior Hillary Clinton might not be able to defeat Trump’s brutal charisma; now, however, he is a political disaster waiting to happen, with Republican politicians on all sides revoking their support and urging him to step down, something they know, we all know,  he simply cannot do. He will sit this one out at his personal Fuhrerbunker at Trump Tower, lose gloriously, probably taking down innumerable GOP candidates in down ballot races with him, then blame the media afterwards and capitalize on his failure to again rebrand himself. So we have all been conned, like every student at Trump University thinking they were going to benefit from his unique business “expertise”, but instead found themselves in massive debt. The GOP will most likely have to face demographic reality and create a new, exploitative paradigm, one that can cater to the greed and naked self-interest of voters of every race, creed, and sexual orientation, with their anti-Trump Mormon coalition taking up the mantle of religious conservatism from the shattered remnants of Christian evangelicalism. And what of our new Madam President, Hillary Clinton? She will have a far worse fate, I think — that of governing a country of newly socialist millennials on her left, and a fatally wounded, reactionary conservatism on her right, both sides most likely blaming her for our national predicament.  All of us will come to miss the erudite, careful, and optimistic tone of Barack Obama, and the quiet grace with which he and his family faced the angry American id these long eight years — I miss him already. And, again, our nation will, citizen to citizen, progressive and liberal, have to look ourselves in the mirror and admit that we finally need to grow the hell up, or remain in permanent cultural adolescence.

“You can’t con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

— Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal, 1987 e.v.

Love is the law, love under will.

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The Subtle Allure of Poverty Porn

“Might not look like it, but there’s rules in this place. The most important of which is, the second you’re perceived as weak, you already are.”

  • Galina “Red” Reznikov, Orange is the New Black

“My mother is bipolar and my father is an alcoholic and an addict. He takes what he pleases and he offers nothing. No money, no support. I’ve done what I could to help raise my siblings. I wish I could’ve done more. I’m not asking for your pity or your admiration. I just want to be able to give these kids everything that they deserve because they’re great kids. And they deserve better.”

  • Fiona Gallagher, Shameless




       So I have just completed the latest, and what I consider the best season of Jenji Kohan’s Netflix based binge phenomenon, Orange is the New Black, and ended up quite moved and profoundly affected by its unprecedented approach to social issues currently tearing at the fabric of our country. Privatized prisons, police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement, class inequality, all humanized in an entertaining and thought provoking manner that makes these issues come alive rather than be distant abstractions.  The concluding episodes, wherein a long-time character’s accidental death sent the narrative into a descending spiral of violence and chaos aptly reflected the state of our country in this increasingly ugly summer of 2016 e.v., with more and more questionable deaths at the hands of American police departments and, finally, a fatal retribution cycle in response filling our social media and news outlets with almost daily horrors.

So why do I feel so wrong about enjoying Orange is the New Black?

Admittedly, I am a privileged white male, borne of an increasingly battered middle class, but still never having to really encounter the day to day struggles so many Americans face due to their class, ethnicity, gender, or education. I have had rough times, yes, all of us have in the modern America, but the math is plain — I am not as likely to be profiled or brutalized by the state or our society due to its inherent biases. But my own prejudices, rooted in multiple recessions, a family tradition in liberalism, and a personal anti-authoritarian streak and sympathy for the universal outsider, has made me view shows like Orange is the New Black and it’s more earthy, exaggerated predecessor, Shameless, starring William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, as, at the end of the day, exploitative. Maybe in a good way, maybe in a way that portrays the lives of poor, self-destructive whites in the South Side of Chicago, and female prisoners in New York state on Orange, in a way that has never been portrayed before on American television.  Shameless is worse, don’t get me wrong, but ultimately these programs rely on our ability to have distance from their worlds. No matter how bad we may have it, we are not in prison with Piper, nor do we have a superhumanly dysfunctional father like Frank; so we can be amused, titillated, a socially conscious voyeur, to be sure, but a voyeur nonetheless.

Shameless is, at its heart, a classist black comedy, with its lead characters in the Gallagher family always either striving to free themselves from their South Side origins, sinking back into their apparently “destined” lives in the faux ghetto of the series, or engaging in lopsided interactions with various elites always astounded by the Gallagher’s gifts and/or endless talents of personal degradation. It is an enjoyable, transgressive farce, but it is no Good Times — this is not a socially conscious situation comedy, and it does not romanticize the characters or their dysfunction; in fact, it usually more or less sticks to the usual American narrative that the poor are pretty much to blame for their own lot, and only via character building personal strife and abandoning the losers in their lives can they amount to anything. In other words, it confirms the usual consumerist, classist status quo, as does Orange is the New Black. We can humanize the prisoners, get to know them, even love their individual quirks, and perhaps understand their crimes — but they are still criminals, all defined as the eternal other to the audience, all striving to evolve into successful individuals as the corporatist media needs.
Fuck it, I’m going back to the superhero genre — that’s where the real transgressive art is made nowadays. 

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DARPA: “The Paranoids are after me!”


While many Americans have heard of the various alphabet-soupagencies (NSA = “No Such Agency” CIA = “Christians In Action” FBI “FatBoys Institute”), few outside of readers of Dean Koonz horror novels have heard of DARPA.

To quote from their Website:

“For more than fifty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in break through technologies for national security.The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that, from that time forward, it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and out side of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also such icons of modern civilian society such as the Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and Global Positioning System receivers small enough to embed in myriad consumer devices.”

It all sounds well and good until you delve into some of the “Projects” DARPA has developed. One example was a War Robot that was “Powered by Organic Matter” rather than batteries or solar power. Some more astute Scientists found the term “organic matter”, more than a bit troubling, and the DARPA Geeks were hauled in front of a Committee to explain.After a lot of hemming and hawing the aforesaid Geeks suggested “organic matter” might be the flesh of pigs and chickens. The problem is that in this case “organic matter” meant human flesh on a battlefield.

Yes, fellow Americans, your tax dollars were funding a flesh-eating killer War Robot. If this doesn’t get your attention, take a good look at the DARPA Website. Granted, you may have to have a Technical background to translate some of it into English. You’ll find projects to link the Human Brain to a Mainframe via a microchip (shades of the Borg!), Nano Technology that can be used to cure (or kill), and a lot of other things that remind one of the films Universal Soldier”, Terminator, and The Andromeda Strain.”Of course, most Americans have never heard of this obscureGovernment agency.

Now ask yourself:

“Do you want to know the Truth? Or do you want to be able to sleep at night?”

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As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society to be Released as Documentary

“There’s an inspiring and wacky solemnity in these organizations—high values reinforced through pageantry and performance in an ecumenical social setting—which deep down must also have been a whole lot of fun. Now it’s as if that foundational Other America, that underpinning of the America we know, has gradually eroded, and here we remain, living in a world that is a mere shell, a movie set, of the world that made our world manifest, that brought it into being, and all we have left are these perplexing masks, banners, and costumes to puzzle over.”

  • David Byrne, from the foreword, As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society 1850-1930

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

     Last year saw the release of As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society 1850-1930, a loving tribute to the material culture of the formerly ubiquitous multitude of secret societies that flourished in the United States during their golden era of mass membership, that is, the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. The book was accompanied by an exhibition at the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Texas, and included a foreword by David Byrne, iconic New Wave musician formerly of the Talking Heads, and himself a collector of fraternal art. An arts motion picture company, Tropic Pictures (!blank/eh6l1), has recently announced a new documentary based on the book, with a crowdfunding endeavor based on short video sales online of parts of the film as it is completed. The donations help to defray the costs of travelling to various lodges around the country to do interviews and see the actual locations where this unique art found use, in their rites and ceremonies.

These orders include the Freemasons, their attendant rites such as the Knights Templar, the Eastern Star, and the Shriners, as well as their fraternal cousins the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Grange (their current renaissance previously covered in Peter Pendragon). The cultural impact of this exhibition, book, and upcoming documentary is indicative of a larger, burgeoning art trend in occultism as indicated by exhibitions around the world. Categorized as folk art, or Americana, the ritual implements, regalia, and wardrobe featured in As Above, So Below serves as an earnestly middle-class counterpart to the “high art” on display at the Esoteric Salon, Magica Sexualis, and other shows late last year.

Now, one might imagine that the next evolution of this kind of cultural exploration of the esoteric world might be in the realm not of secret societies now past their operational prime (notwithstanding the massive infrastructure and financial influence of older orders like the Freemasons or AMORC, for example) but with newer orders such as the innumerable lodges of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, to modern Wicca and Neo-Paganism, to the Ordo Templi Orientis, Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica and A∴A∴; could an eventual documentary on the modern Western Mystery Tradition not be far behind?

Love is the law, love under will.


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Liber Pratis Lunae sub figura XCIII


(What follows is a received document transcribed by a former resident of the Valley of Las Vegas, NV, and appears to magickally delineate the Current of Thelema as it manifests in that Valley. This Liber has no official standing but is included here as a product of the Great Work as it has manifested in Las Vegas, NV since it began there in earnest circa 1995 e.v.)

Liber Pratis Lunae sub figura XCIII

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

  1. From pain comes experience, from experience comes skill, and from skill comes the Fire.
  2. A white fire blazes underneath all.
  3. The universes are but the briefest smoke of the Great Flame, and men but sparks.
  4. Mountains about the valley ring a city of light.
  5. God created Las Vegas to test the faithful. One cannot go against the word of God.
  6. Aeon after aeon does the flame grow, expanding, penetrating everything, its sparks mere faerie fire fighting back the haze, concealing its power amongst the destruction.
  7. The true god is Green.
  8. The bride of our God was borne from the scorched desert, and she still burns.
  9. The Coin! The Knife! The Drink! The Car!
  10. Luck be a Lady to Night.
  11. The Secret Flame of the Coldest war, the spawn of all things Holy and Unholy in the Desert Fortress.
  12. Lord Khonsu, we remember, and hold you holy.
  13. Thou art the Eye of the Neon Sky!
  14. The Faithful call to Thee, yea, the Faithful call to Thee.
  15. (And it is because I am the glittering bright one that the petty and the unfit will say that this is the home of the rabid and the foolish, so We say unto them:)


Love is the law, love under will.



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Gods Amongst Us: A Review of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

“You sold us out, Clark. You gave them the power that should have been ours. Just like your parents taught you. My parents taught me a different lesson… lying on this street… shaking in deep shock… dying for no reason at all. They showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to.”

— Batman, The Dark Knight Returns 1986 e.v.

You want to know the oldest lie in America, Senator? It’s that power can be innocent.”

— Lex Luthor, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016 e.v.

Warner Brothers, on March 25, 2016 e.v., finally released their big screen counterpart to Disney’s Marvel Comics shared universe extravaganza, The Avengers, in the form of their own DC Comics epic Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Critical and fan reaction has been mixed, with many viewers having issues with the length, dramatic density, and over-the-top violence, with some comparing the film more to director Zack Snyder’s previous DC foray, Watchmen, than to anything by Disney/Marvel. Nevertheless, the film has racked up an impressive opening since its release and through the Easter holiday weekend.

So, why the divisiveness? Is the film a big budget, muddled misfire?

A little perspective might help here — since the success of The Avengers, the high concept of shared universe, franchise driven properties, primarily the heretofore untapped narrative treasure trove of comic books and graphic novels, has become a dominant creative force in genre cinema and, recently, television. Superhero properties have been around before, of course, but always on Hollywood’s terms, not comics fans, or their creators, until now. So Disney and Marvel restore their most popular characters and their epic narratives in their cinematic universe and critically acclaimed television series, and Warner Brothers eventually follows suit, making a clean break from their last standalone adaptations under Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy) with, first, Man of Steel, directed by genre auteur Zack Snyder, then with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and their own “shared universe”. Marvel, though owned by Disney, is an integrated production house, able to coordinate all of their properties through multiple movies and new Netflix exclusive series — but DC Comics is owned by Warner Brothers, a studio hungry for a franchise property after the success (and conclusion) of their Harry Potter films, and which consists of separate TV and cinema divisions, thus their DC Comics television series are in a completely different universe than their nascent cinematic world. So they are essentially attempting to pull off the opposite of the slow and steady process of Marvel, but jumpstarting an entire cinematic franchise in the Man of Steel sequel, Batman v. Superman.

The film begins by first re-acquainting us with Bruce Wayne, now older, more brutal, weary, played with confidence by Ben Affleck, and his recent obsession with Superman, (a returning Henry Cavill from Man of Steel) who thrashed a good portion of Gotham City and Metropolis during his climactic fight with General Zod. Some in the public see Superman as a messianic redeemer, others as a false god, a destructive alien who cannot be trusted. Bruce Wayne, having had his Foundation building destroyed in Man of Steel, finds himself determined to destroy Superman, along with a quirky, ambitious high tech corporate scion of Metropolis, Lex Luthor, and a mysterious woman, Diana Prince, also on Superman’s trail (Gal Gadot, the character later revealed to be Wonder Woman). What follows is, in this author’s opinion, the most intense, savagely ecstatic evocation of the mythic potential of superheroes yet seen. The film is unrelenting, with a poetic grace to its world-building, and an unapologetic fidelity to contemporary DC Comics narratives and character. This approach, this absolute, pure rendition of our modern gods is not for everyone, hence the divided nature of the critical response, but is, in fact, the fruition of years of superhero cinema. Marvel properties have their heart, their sense of humor — but with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Warner Brothers and DC have created a singularly artistic vision, and brought our contemporary fairy tales to vivid life.

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2015 Era Vulgaris: The Year in Thelema

“Success is your proof; courage is your armour; go on, go on, in my strength; & ye shall turn not back for any!”
Liber AL vel Legis sub figura CCXX III: 46

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Looking back, it may be seen that the year of 2015 e.v. heralded unprecedented changes in Thelema, being a uniquely pivotal period in the New Aeon’s short recent history.  These unparalleled historical turning points encompassed every element of the Thelemic movement, from the political and cultural, to the ongoing evolution of infrastructure crucial to the future of the 93 Current.

The following is a mere selection of these events, beginning on May 16, 2015 e.v., with the Vancouver, Canada O.T.O. Conference celebrating the first century of order activity in North America.


“For its purposes, O.T.O. recognizes a single administration of A∴A∴ The contact information for that administration is:


— Sabazius, X⭘, Grand Master General, United States Grand Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis, July 17, 2015 e.v.

The Vancouver Conference went from being an anniversary event commemorating the arrival of the O.T.O. in North America, Agape Lodge #1, founded by Frater Achad, Charles Stansfeld Jones, to an open declaration of the O.T.O.’s policy regarding A∴A∴  lineages. That is, that they do not exist, and those claiming such authority have no recognition or cooperation from the O.T.O. This was the most direct statement of the two orders’ relationship in modern history, and was, in many ways, the culmination of the “Duplexity” lectures done at several Thelemic communities and O.T.O. bodies in the United States, wherein the interrelationship of the orders were delineated by members of both.  


“The exhibition Magica Sexualis is following in the series of In Missa Interfectionis, Opus Hypnagogia (at Morbid Anatomy Museum) and the inaugural exhibition at Stephen Romano Gallery’s new Bushwick location Lexicon Infernali, all of which examine the interaction of the esoteric, visionary, outsider, vintage and contemporary art practices. “

— From the article Occult Art Exhibition Magica Sexualis to open at Stephen Romano Gallery New York by Lorenzo Pereira

What began as a Thelemic incursion into the world of contemporary art, spearheaded by Buratti Fine Art and Collective 777, the Artists Guild of the Australian Grand Lodge O.T.O., blossomed in 2015 e.v. into an explosion of occult art with exhibitions at such venues as the Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn, NY (Magica Sexualis), the aforementioned Buratti Fine Art Gallery (Esoteric Salon) and extending into 2016 e.v. with Language of the Birds at New York University’s 80WSE Gallery. These exhibitions showcase not only work by known, if heretofore underappreciated occult artists such as Austin Osman Spare, the ubiquitous Aleister Crowley, Marjorie Cameron and Genesis P-Orridge, but also other contemporary artists, many of whom are initiates and practitioners in their own right. Relative to the legendary Sister Cameron, she had her own exhibition through the Dietch Projects gallery in New York, entitled Cameron: Cinderella of the Wastelands. On a side note, her late husband, former Agape #2 Lodge Master and Jet Propulsion Laboratory founder Jack Parsons long awaited television series, produced by Ridley Scott’s company RSA Films, opened its writer’s room, in preparation for its episode order for AMC. This will be the most prominent portrayal of Thelema and the O.T.O. ever presented in the popular media — based on George Pendle’s Parsons’ biography Strange Angel, with the working title Marvel.

“A large part of the property has already been destroyed by fire and crews are concentrating their efforts on the west wing of the building.  Crews in breathing apparatus are using four main jets to tackle the blaze and the incident is ongoing.”

— Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at the scene of the Boleskine House fire, December 23, 2015 e.v., from BBC News


“It is with great pleasure that I announce the establishment of the first permanent temple of Ordo Templi Orientis in Western Australia.

Our Lady BABALON Temple, located at May Avenue, Subiaco opened it’s door this week in conjunction with the Oasis taking its step to Lodge777. At over 300sqm the space meets all of our requirements to operate an effective centre for initiation, education, storage, EGC celebration and events.”

— Frater SL NVCTS, Master, Lodge777, O.T.O. Australia

These announcements came within days of each other — that, on one hand, the first permanent temple and lodge space for the Ordo Templi Orientis had been acquired by the Australian Grand Lodge, on the other, that the iconic Boleskine House, formerly owned by Aleister Crowley, later by Thelemite Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, then under private owners, had burnt to the ground. These two events symbolized the great change moving through the 93 Current, as well as the shedding of past infrastructure no longer holding the importance of the actual work being done today, by modern initiates. The destruction of Boleskine House, essentially the Kaaba for the Thelemic current worldwide in rituals such as Liber XV: The Gnostic Mass and Liber V vel Reguli, struck many of us as an existential thunderbolt, striking to the very heart of our movement. But, despite its place of prominence in our tradition, the property was not owned by the O.T.O. at the time of the conflagration, and, in fact, may have served as a symbolic “stand in” for the Current’s northern orientation, related, as some say, to Schiehallion, the nearby “fairy mountain”, the “Heredom” of Masonic legend and/or the North Star itself. In any case, the hard work and dedication of the Australian Grand Lodge in creating a new and permanent infrastructure for our Order “earths” the accomplishments of 2015 e.v. in a way that will last beyond us, a legacy to future Thelemites as the Aeon of the Child begins to grow up.

Love is the law, love under will.

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