When I began officially working on this Levenda work five days ago, I had no idea we were going to lose one of our largest heroes, for so many reasons. Paul Laffoley was one of my favorite people and he passed away the other day. Five days ago I included Laffoley’s thoughts on Lovecraft which I will republish here:
Paul Laffoley on Lovecraft:
The painting you’re working on now is about Lovecraft?
Paul Laffoley: It’s called “Pickman’s Mephitic Models,” based on the story. Certain things about it many people don’t realize. Pickman was a real painter who lived between 1888 and 1926. Now, there’s a question mark [gesturing toward the writing in the margins of the painting], because Lovecraft claims that he turned into a ghoul. God knows how old he is now.
RG: Well, we know he reappears in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath as a ghoul. So, let me get this straight, you’re saying Pickman really lived in Boston?
PL: Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. In other words, the reason why I found out about that is that I went to Brown University. I belong to the Lovecraft Society, which meets at the University. They do things like follow in Lovecraft’s footsteps, just like he followed in Edgar Allan Poe’s footsteps. I mean the actual footfalls, you know, like they’re going out looking for sasquatch, this kind of stuff. I mean, these are really dedicated people when it comes to Lovecraft. But in the top floor of the John Hay Library, you have all of Lovecraft’s archives. And messing around in there, I noticed, I said, what are these paintings? And the librarian told me, “Well, those are Pickman’s paintings.” I said, “I thought this was like something he made up, like The Necronomicon, that kind of stuff.” And he said no, that the guy actually existed. He was a mediocre painter, living in Boston at that time, painting for the Boston Art Club, and places like that. We’re not talking avant garde galleries here. But Boston is not an avant garde place. It stays literally 15 to 20 years behind New York at all times. I mean, even New York isn’t in any great shape anymore in relation to the rest of the world. But at a certain point Pickman got this studio in the north end of Boston, which at that time was the first area where people lived when they first came to Boston. And the reason they did that, they were defending their position, and in order to really defend it, by 1700 they had dug underground tunnels all through that area so people could go up in a house and then not be seen by the enemy attacking them.
RG: I remember that from the story.
PL: The tunnels were used first in the Revolutionary War. The next time they were used is during the time of moving slaves from the south on big ships, and when they would land they’d instantly go down into those tunnels, until the slave ships that were trying to catch them, coming up from Chesapeake Bay or West Virginia, got tired and went away. And the story is… You’ve read the whole story?
PL: Eliot, the narrator, goes down into these tunnels with Thurber…RG: Wait. Thurber’s the narrator, who’s talking to Eliot.
Paul Laffoley: Right, you’re right. So Eliot brings him down and Thurber starts hearing rustlings and stuff down there. He’s looking at these God-awful paintings, very realistic renderings of demons, as they’re going deeper and deeper into the inner sanctum. And then suddenly Eliot disappears and Thurber grabs something that he thinks is a background shot of a photograph. When he gets home he realizes that this was actually the demon that Pickman had taken a snapshot of, and that he was using it to help him paint the thing from real life. And so I’ve always wanted to do a painting on this, but this has nothing to do with the fact that it’s going to be in the Satan show. It’s just that it’s been on my mind for years, and this is a perfect time to do it.Okay. Now, the thing is, once I discover that these paintings are actually in the John Hay Library, I ask them, “Can I come back and take pictures of them?” The guy says, “Absolutely not. This is like a museum. The only thing you can do is, you or a sketch artist can sketch these things, otherwise it’d be like going into a museum and borrowing stuff. You can’t do that. The things would be ruined, taking them out of the case and all that kind of stuff.” So I said okay. I got a friend of mine and said, “Let’s go down and do some visualization of that stuff. That’s how I got the things that’re there [referring to a series of four sketches hanging on the wall of his upstairs studio]. Arnie Clapman, that’s my friend’s name, I hope he’s going to come to the show, he decided to do the first sketch. So I’d say stuff like, “No, no, that’s wrong, look at this here.” So we were working these things out together to get a pretty good rendition of what they actually look like. There’s quite a number of paintings that Pickman did. So I picked basically the four juiciest ones. They’re not really the way they’re described in the story, because Lovecraft’s talking about something that almost sounded like Andrew Wyeth or Norman Rockwell, you know, the dogs playing poker and this kind of stuff. In other words, that isn’t what Pickman was all about. He was depicting the suffering of Satan, you see, through these demons. Because the whole theory of what Satan is, it’s Lucifer, the highest of the seraphim, the bearer of God’s light, who at a certain point comes to believe he is what is being revealed to him.So, I began to realize that Lucifer is this creature who, having received an infinite revelation, believed he was God. So that’s the first sin of pride. It’s also a moment at which the first transsubstantiation occurs. And he becomes Satan, which is like… This was a flash, an instant. He becomes a humanoid, but he has an infinite number of physical senses, each of which are as different as eyes are from your ears. If you can imagine, we only have five or six senses, and we have trouble even distinguishing those when people are in synaesthesia. So he goes through all the seven deadly sins, right down the list, finally to wrath. He’s lusting after knowledge in this way, and so he sees the universe as a non-supernatural example of cosmic art. Now, we know this is what Lovecraft was into. Because he kept talking about how he wasn’t interested in religion. In a heaven state there is no religion, meaning that you’re seeing the whole thing … I mean, to worship something means that it’s something beyond you, right? In other words, it’s not being revealed to you.So here was the situation. For years Lovecraft was defined as an atheist. Well, he wasn’t saying anything about what he really was at all. He wasn’t even an agnostic. That’s exactly what the situation is, in other words, when you enter an eternal realm. You’ve got to know there is no religion. So it’s literally a non-supernatural state of cosmic art. This is what this creature experiences, who then becomes Satan, and the moment he becomes Satan he’s pulled back into eternity. He loses instantly, loses all these senses. And as it’s happening he’s going right down to wrath. And so what he’s doing is, he’s putting on a show that he isn’t suffering.Look at all the stuff the Existentialists did. You can start with Picasso, you know, and then Francis Bacon and other guys like that. What they were doing is depicting suffering. And that’s exactly what a demon is, he’s pretending that he isn’t. So he can get more people down there. You know, misery loves company, that’s the whole thing. So that’s basically the pitch that I’m working on.
RG: S.T. Joshi once said that Lovecraft was creating an anti-mythology, in the sense that he was turning basic theological concepts upside down and placing hell outside, in space…PL: Yes, in an extraterrestrial realm. The thing is, where you gonna place it? From the time of Dante, when you have the Ptolemaic universe, you had God on the outside like a hypersphere, and then in the center you have the Earth, all the seven heavens and layers, and then you have the Mount of Purgatory and Hell right in the center, and here’s Satan flapping his wings and he keeps making the lake of Cocytus ice so you can’t get out. So, again, where Heaven and Hell are, who the hell knows that now? Because we’ve got so many dimensions going. I don’t think one person could ever make a total theological statement about that. That, I think, is impossible, because then… The whole thing that Dante did was summed up in the medieval world. It’s like St. Thomas Aquinas, the Summa Theologica. He didn’t invent it, he just put it all in one package. You get twelve fat books there sitting in any library. Whereas… I think if Joshi thinks Lovecraft was doing anything like that, just throwing together all this stuff to form a kind of anti-mythology, that’s where I would disagree with him.
RG: Do you think Lovecraft was actually an atheist or…?PL: No no, no no no. I think he recognized what he was dealing with, he was dealing with demons. And he was dealing with creatures that’re suffering. There’s no way out of this suffering. I think… You know, Mick Jagger’s “Sympathy for the Devil.” I think it was inspired by that. You don’t know who’s reading what, you know. It just comes out once in a while in the pop culture. And so, I would say that it’s probably impossible for a lot of people to even think what Lovecraft’s theological state was. He could’ve been trying to do a Marx to Hegel, that kind of thing, in other words, turn the thing upside down and crawl around inside it. But, look, the guy was eating poorly, he had like a quart of ice cream a day. He was suffering constantly near the end. He wasn’t concerned with his body at all, not the way we’re concerned with our bodies nowadays.I think that the phrase “a non-supernatural cosmic work of art” is what he would say that the devil had seen, or Satan had seen, in that instant. Like this orgasm of knowledge, where he sees the universe in a way that we can never see. But then that gets taken away. Of course, revelation is always taken away. So then he is thrust into some kind of outer space realm, like here [pointing toward the painting in progress]. In other words, he’s recognized he’s gone through R’lyeh, the Sunken City of R’lyeh, and then Cthulhu, the extraterrestrial, calls his band of worshippers home to recognize him as the anti-christ. This is all in The Necronomicon, something Lovecraft actually did make up.RG: Well, you know, Colin Wilson claimed that Winfield Lovecraft, Lovecraft’s father, was a Freemason, part of the Boston Freemasons, and speculated that The Necronomicon might have been real, something Winfield saw in the local Masonic Lodge and perhaps brought home with him one night. Young Lovecraft tiptoes downstairs and flips through a couple of pages late one night….
PL: Yeah, okay. I like Colin Wilson, mainly because he never went to school. When you don’t go to school you can say anything you want like that and not have to worry. [Laughs] And I would bet that some of the things he’s saying are correct. But how much, who knows? Red Ice
I have been stumbling around an overwhelming labyrinth of data, working on a type of biography for occult/historical/spiritual author Peter Levenda. You can see what I’ve gathered together so far here, however I will be reworking a good deal of it in the coming days because I want it to be more thorough and equally helpful to those who know many of the related topics to some extent already.
In this Update I wanted to throw in some interesting points and links I have come across on the way to gathering the puzzle pieces of Peter…
I’ll leave those items for last, first, everything else:
and let’s just stick with Joe Alexander and connect it to 1947
Sync and Twin Peaks
The White and Black at VISUP
I felt that sometimes coincidence is the evidence that there is something — there’s another force at work in nature, another force at work in reality that we only come across when we look at synchronicity or coincidence. When that happens, someone’s trying to tell us something…
On Twin Peaks
In the very first episode of Twin Peaks, the famous TV series by David Lynch, Kyle Maclachlan’s character is talking to his tape recorder, he’s talking to Diane, the invisible secretary back at the office, and he says “whenever two events occur simultaneously, particularly pertaining to the same subject, you must pay very close attention.” And he’s talking about coincidence, and Twin Peaks is all about that sort of juxtaposition. – Peter Levenda interviewed by Joseph L.Flately
Thelema Now Interview with Peter Levenda ( Music, Magick, Chris Claremont, the occult scene in the 70s, lightsabers, The Warlock Shop, the Necronomicon)
Thelema Now Interview (H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant) Dec 10,2013
On the power of film, Stanislavsky and the Method
There is power in Hollywood. Hollywood has that ability to shape consciousness; to manipulate reality even…And you’re dealing with individuals in the business who are by their very nature emotionally unstable by any other metric that you would wanna use for the rest of the world. Especially the actors or actresses who have to become somebody else for an extended period of time. If you look at the method developed by Stanislavsky he understood that this was an occult process he likened it to yoga…We’re dealing with people who are not always who they appear to be
Film was our church, You know we go into a big room, we sit in pews facing the front, its dark and we enter into a mystical communion with whatever is happening on the screen. It alters our reality… The image of the united states a broad is created largely by Hollywood.-media monarchy interview with Peter Levenda Oct 9, 2009
Gnosticism, MIB, PKD, and little pink lights
The Men In Black and the Black Lodge
“Often when a person or institution allied with the historical Great White Brotherhood approaches success (variously defined) or comes into possession of certain aspects of transcendent wisdom, Something Intervenes. That something has been defined as the Man in Black, the Men In Black, the black lodges, or The Black Lodge.
The latter term most nearly accommodates my own view. That they need to do this, and that they often fail in their efforts, is itself an indication that,
(A) the Black Lodge is opposed by Something Else, equally as strong
(B) they are afraid of something we might find out – about them, about their opposition, about ourselves or all three. The story of our interaction with the UFOnauts begins with the Qabalistic Tree of Life, and the Chakra system of the body.
According to the primal occult and frequently secret and subversive view, the manifest universe emerges from an Ultimate NOT-Thing, a Consciousness or Beingness beyond words or expressions sometimes referred to as the Unmanifest or The Limitless Light. This Unmanifest cannot be understood in the external sense, but can be Known in the Gnostic sense by the initiate or perfected sentient being, the Ubermensch. It can be plugged into.
For reasons equally inexpressible, this uniqueness unfolds itself in manifestation. Thus, the limitless light becomes a series of emanations or expressions or Intelligences that devolve increasingly toward our material form of existence and thus towards accessibility in the conventional sense.
But the manifestations also increasingly become subject to subdivision into arbitrary concepts such as “good” and “evil” as these are commonly understood. And they also become closer and closer in form and content to our own mundane reality, though in the relativity of things, these Higher Intelligences may seem unspeakably powerful, mythic and divine.
The Gnostic view has tended to be that what the external world of the conventional person understands as god, devil demon, angel or, more recently, extraterrestrial beings are, in fact, such emanations of the unspeakable ultimate. Indeed, the ancient Gnostics saw the ‘god’ and ‘devil’ of conventional theology as an ego-maddened entity under the delusion that it, indeed, IS the Ultimate Being!
The late Phil Dick, in his last Gnostic allegorical fiction, eventually settled on the name “V.A.L.I.S.” or “Vast Active Living intelligence System” for this being or Demiurge. He wrestled through his literary career and secret life as a Christian Gnostic philosopher with whether VALIS was a benevolent, if machine-like deity of a sort, or an insane extraterrestrial supercomputer.
Throughout recorded history, and, from the evidence of primitive objects and works of art, for aeons before, certain humans have had the capacity to tune into or channel various of these Higher Intelligences with varying degrees of accuracy. These humans have been our Seers, Oracles and Prophets. It appears, in fact, that much of the source-material of all religions comes from such channelings, including, arguably, “The Book of Revelation”, “The Book of Mormon”, and “The Book of the Law“.- The MIB and Their Magical Origins by Allen H Greenfield (1994)
violet lights of PKD, and wandering bishops?
“VALIS is a semi-fictionalized account of “Horselover Fat,” Dick’s alter ego (the name formulated from word derivations of his name), and Dick’s meeting with what he takes to be God or at least a God, via the medium of a pink beam of light. Dick dubs this god VALIS (a Vast Active Living Intelligence System).”-Philip K. Dick and the Illuminati by Jim Keith
More notes on Philip K Dick:
In February and March of l974, Phil had amazing contact experiences that changed his life. He would spend the rest of his life trying to figure out what exactly happened, and who or what was responsible. His theories included mental illness at one end, to direct contact with God at the other end. In between were the theories of contact with an alien race, time travelers, an AI (Artificial Intelligence) computer from the future, a government agency or a secret society.
Eventually he came to call what contacted him VALIS, for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. Phil would have different ideas on what VALIS was – a satellite beaming information to him from an alien world or just a manifestation of God? He came to think VALIS was a satellite from advanced entities perhaps from the Sirius double star system. One of the missions of VALIS was to fight the Empire,(“The Empire never ended”) the continuation of the Roman Empire in the evil power elites in the East and West, who were secretly connected in their desire to keep their populations enslaved. The second mission of VALIS was to enlighten people with information and knowledge, to spark creativity, invention, art and innovation. This was also partially done through the true hidden and suppressed gospels of Jesus Christ which were revealed to the world in the Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi in 1945. This information is a living plasmate that comes alive in every person who reads the gospels or who reads about VALIS in the stories of Philip K Dick. The final mission of VALIS was to show Phil that this is a fake world, a “Black Iron Prison”, a “criminal virus” that occludes people from seeing that the world is alive. In fact the world that we see is fake, and we may be living in a computer simulation or a hologram. Now you can see why the creators of “The Matrix” acknowledge PKD as a major influence.
He would write what he called his Exegesis to investigate and explain what he came to call the “2-3-74” experience, meaning February and March of 1974. His Exegesis would grow to over 8,000 pages. Recently a 900 page version was published. Phil increasingly came to favor theological interpretations of VALIS, but at one point, after reading Arthur C. Clarke’s novel “Childhood’s End”, he expressed his experience in Clarke language and classic Sci-Fi terms:
(1)We are not only being watched; we are being controlled, but don’t know it; they remain beyond our threshold of vision.
(2) They work for a higher purpose, one we can’t understand but which fits our concepts of spiritual, moral purposes.
(3) We are instruments, therefore, of an invisible spiritual force which causes us to grow and develop in certain arranged directions.
(4) Some of us are either part of their race or can be elevated to their level, as they work through these individuals.
(5) The probable reason for their concealment is our evil qualities. We cannot be trusted, individually or collectively (man qua beast).
(6) A critical moment has approached or is approaching; this is a unique period in their work, therefore in our use-purpose.
(7) The extent of camouflage and delusion induced in us is extraordinary in amount and degree…
John (C Lily) felt he was saved by the work of what he playfully called the Earth Coincidence Control Office, or ECCO. He first encountered these entities of light and love as a child and given his religious upbringing he thought of them as angels. He came to believe that they arrange “coincidences” on Earth to assist in the growth of knowledge and for the greater good. ECCO sounds very similar to what PKD called VALIS, the Vast Active Living Intelligence System, which he felt intervened in his life to save his son, impart knowledge and fight the Empire. Both ECCO and VALIS also sound similar to the Carl Jung concepts of synchronicity, the collective unconscious and archetypes. They also resonate with what quantum physicist David Bohm called the “implicate order” and Celtic legends call Fairyland.
While ECCO works on the side of aiding humans, an entity Dr. Lilly called Solid State Intelligence (SSI) works to achieve dominance for computers and machines over all biological forms, in particular intelligent mammals like humans, dolphins and whales. Think of the machines in “The Matrix” or the mega computer Skynet in “The Terminator”. Dr. Lilly used computers and technology for good purposes but feared there use for bad purposes, by evil men of the military-industrial corporate state or even self-aware AI computers on their own.
The other incident is said by the book to have happened in the fall of 1974, but as the book is loose with dates and even years, I have reason to think it was probably 1973. John and Toni were on a flight to Los Angeles. Dr. Lilly took Ketamine on the flight and then looked at the Comet Kahoutek and it greatly increased in brightness. He then received a message that said SSI was going to shut down all systems at LAX. He told this to Toni, who disapproved of John’s increasing drug experiments and thought ECCO was nonsense. But minutes later, the pilot announced they could not land at LAX because a plane had crashed into power lines causing a black out. The plane landed safely elsewhere. Kahoutek was not visible to the naked eye in 1974 but it was visible in 1973. There was a plane that hit power lines on November 17, 1973.
John later felt that the message was from ECCO about the dangers of SSI. Had the pilot attempted to land at LAX when the power and lights went out, he might have crashed. Did ECCO/VALIS send Dr. Lilly a warning? As it had sent to his friend when he was drowning? As ECCO/VALIS had sent to PKD and RAW about their sons? Dr. Lilly later got warning messages of nuclear devastation from ECCO in 1974…
…What he describes sounds very much like VALIS. Along these lines one should also consider that the first detonation of an atom bomb occurred on July 16, 1945 (7/16=23?) at the Trinity Site at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. About two years later, around June 16, 1947, the “flying saucer” enters American culture with the reality (or myth) of a saucer crash at Roswell, New Mexico, just 114 miles to the east of the Trinity Site at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. On June 21, 1947 the Maury Island UFO is sighted in Puget Sound, Washington. On June 24, 1947 pilot Kenneth Arnold sees nine shining discs near Mt. Rainer in Washington. Others pilots also see them and a man photographs these discs.
Terence McKenna believed that the reality (or myth) of UFO’s were a confounding of the close minded scientific, corporate and government establishments, in the same way that the reality (or myth) of the resurrection of Jesus was a confounding of Greek empiricism and Roman Imperialism. McKenna felt that what he called the “Overmind” of the planet can create UFO’s, miracles and other events when technology and power out run ethics. His “Overmind” also sounds a lot like PKD’s VALIS, except it is probably not extraterrestrial in origin. But then again VALIS may not actually be extraterrestrial either, even if it wanted to appear to be so at times.
Carl Jung felt the massive wave post war UFO sightings indicated “changes in the constellation of psychic dominants, of the archetypes, or “gods” as they used to be called, which bring about, or accompany, long-lasting transformations of the collective psyche.” He compared them to the “signs and wonders” that accompanied the transition from paganism to Christianity. Constantine seeing a cross in the sky and the spinning disc and lights seen at Fatima in 1917 might also fit in here.
This entity, let us call it VALIS, is not necessarily always pro-Christianity, or pro or anti-technology, or UFO. As Dr. Jacques Vallee states it is a cultural thermostat. In the summer the thermostat cools your house, in the winter it warms it. At the time of the brutal Roman Empire the Christian idea of universal love was needed. When Christianity became a Roman Empire of its own, a new confounding was needed. (PKD=”The Empire never ended”) VALIS acted to spur science and technology when needed and to counter it when needed. Dr. Vallee felt these things have been with us a long time but ancient man called them gods from the sky, later man called them angels or demons, the Celts called them fairies.
Jung felt that some UFO’s were real in the sense that they are picked up on radar screens and in some cases can be photographed, and McKenna felt that they were “real” in every sense of the word, though most or all were probably not nuts and bolts craft and most or all were not probably not extraterrestrial in origin. It presents another way to think about unexplained things. These alternative ideas are explored best in “Passport to Magonia” by Dr. Jacques Vallee , “The Mothman Prophecies” and “Our Haunted Planet” by John Keel, “The Archaic Revival” by Terence McKenna and “Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies” by Carl Jung.
We can perhaps tie the presentiment about LSD and the start of the UFO sightings to the end of WWII and the start of the nuclear era. Why did the experiences of PKD, RAW, Lennon and Lilly happen in the 1973/1974 era? Was it related to the Nixon drive for war abroad and a police state at home? Was there a higher danger for nuclear war or other calamity in this time frame? General Alexander Haig, in the waning days of the Nixon regime which ended on August 9, 1974, issued instructions to the military not to follow orders from the President, reportedly out of fears revolving around his drinking and mental state, and concerns he might start a nuclear war or use troops to refuse to cede power if impeached.
Philip K Dick felt VALIS had a political dimension. He had received the message “The Empire never ended”. He took this to mean the Roman Empire continued through Nazi Germany, through totalitarian communism in the East and the military-industrial complex ruling elite in the West. PKD felt The Nixon regime in particular had come to power through the murders of JFK, RFK and MLK, and now posed the threat of outright fascist dictatorship and a police state through the pretext of the War on Drugs and the criminalization of dissent and free thought. PKD thought VALIS helped to defeat Nixon in this crucial 1973/1974 period. In his novels the character President Ferris F Fremont was an even more McCarthyite and fascistic version of Nixon. “The Empire never ended.” That was the message PKD got from VALIS. The true Gnostic Christian rebels helped by VALIS defeated Nixon in August 1974.
Or was the 1973/1974 era also the time for a need for a change in culture and the arts, in ways that we cannot understand or explain? Was there, as Carl Jung would put it, a need for a change in the collective psyche?
–Pulling the Cosmic Trigger: The Contact Experiences of Philip K Dick & Robert Anton Wilson by AK Wilks, Paranoia Magazine