Gen's upcoming events and Misc.upcoming projects...

GENS MISC. UPCOMING PROJECTS: Heartworm Press are publishing “Collected Lyrics and Poems of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge – Volume One 1961 to 1971. Later they will publish Gen's first novel, written in 1969, “Mrs. Askwith”. Other books will follow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Genesis P-Orridge on Magick, Sex and Cyberspace article and interview by Philip H. Farber

Genesis P-Orridge on Magick, Sex and Cyberspace
article and interview by Philip H. Farber
There are few people in the magickal or pagan community who have exerted the kind of influence -- or inspired the kind of controversy -- that Genesis P-Orridge has. Perhaps best known as a musician and founder of the bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, P-Orridge's creativity was seminal in the genres of industrial and acid house music, and he was an important part of the rave scene in both his native England and in the United States. In 1981, P-Orridge founded a magickal order, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (T.O.P.Y.). T.O.P.Y. grew over the years by publishing a method of sex magick "sigilization" and calling on interested parties to send their resulting sigils in to a central location.
In 1992, twenty- three Scotland Yard agents raided T.O.P.Y. headquarters in Brighton, England, hoping to find evidence of satanism or child abuse, and in the process squelch P-Orridge, who had been a thorn in their side for years as a champion of squatters rights, magick, psychedelics and sexual freedom and as an organizer of raves. There was, of course, no useful evidence, since T.O.P.Y. was neither a den of satanists or an organization of child abusers -- and P-Orridge was out of the country at the time.
P- Orridge is now living in California. He has distanced himself from present T.O.P.Y. activities in effort to start a new project, variously called TOPI (which, unlike T.O.P.Y., is not an acronym), The Process and Transmedia Foundation.
* * *
PHF: T.O.P.Y. was pronounced TOE-PEE, how do you pronounce your new project, TOPI?
Genesis P-Orridge: TOE-PEE. (laughs) As in Hopi Indians.
PHF: Is there still an initiatory process as there was in T.O.P.Y.?
Genesis P-Orridge: No. We're still going to share all the information and also we're always very happy to put people in touch with other organizations or assist them. If people say they are interested in Thelemic magick, then we would give them contact addresses for the OTO. When we were in the United Kingdom, we'd tell people how to get in touch with Kenneth Grant's Typhonian OTO as well as the other OTO. We're not aligned. We're happy to put people in touch with whoever might have information to help them develop.
PHF: Then you're not asking people to send in sigils?
Genesis P-Orridge: No. We've had two or three sent in, but we write back very politely and explain that that was an earlier project and incarnation, but now it's great if they're doing that and we're happy to send some information that facilitates some understanding in developing it more.
There are lots more ways to dispose of sigils [aside from sending them into a central location], depending on how they are constructed. One system I used to use is to have them all on the bedroom wall opposite the bed, so that whenever I woke up they would all go into my deeper consciousness every time... You can bury them, you can burn them, you can put them in a container and float them out to sea, you can give them to other people and so on. You can build a casket and keep them all in it so that it's like a battery.
There's lots of different ways to deal with them, but we want to break all those habitual forms. That's one of the reasons I have this conflict with the T.O.P.Y. people. If you're trying to break habitual systems and forms of behavior, and you're trying to explore and develop individuals magickally, there's a point beyond which you cannot keep telling them to do it the same every time. So, we were interested in the experiment and the initial wave of activity that meant there was a network of people globally that were prepared to commit themselves to doing a basic magickal ritual at the same time, on the same day, all over different territory, and to see what results, if any, we got. Whether that was a positive experience, or a mutual experience, or whether it seemed to amplify the achievement of people's will, or not. But after ten years we had as many results as we felt we needed, and lust of result is not the point. We had information and data. We'd done it. To keep on and on doing it by rote, habitually, is to become like the Catholic Church, doing the Communion service. And of course there are some very inspired priests who somehow are transfigured every time they perform a ritual, just as there are sorcerers, magicians, or artists, or even road sweepers. Some people have the ability to be transfigured every time they reenact an action. But not many of us. Most of us tend to fall into habits. One of the really, really important things that we've always been concerned with is to find out what's there when all the habits and formulae are removed. What is the essence? And once it's there, how can the maximum input and output of energy be maintained in the simplest way? That's why T.O.P.Y. was always meant to end, because we knew that there's a natural human need to flatten things and to give them shape and form that's familiar. To have routines and to have a comfortable sense of status. But that's not what it was about. So it had to be terminated, it had to be honorably discharged before it became that which it was actually meant to expose. We didn't want it to be a parody.
PHF: Is there some outcome or resolution you'd like to see between yourself and those who continue to perpetuate T.O.P.Y.?
Genesis P-Orridge: I think they should change the name. That's all I've ever really said to them. If you don't like what we did, if you want to be independent and you feel so convinced about what you're doing, why do you have to trade off the name we used? Why do you have to use my international copyright? My logo, the Psychick Cross? Why do you have to use our writings, if you are so convinced that you are individually and innately special and inspired and doing something worthwhile? Why are you trading off those you say you despise? There's a basic contradiction.
I mean, I'm always skeptical. I'm skeptical of most organizations. That's why I'm skeptical of that one. I'm skeptical of every organization I come across. I'm not someone who wants to join. That's why we were so insistent there were no members. I've never wanted to join an organized, specific, bureaucratic system. I'm happy to be really good friends with all of them or some of them, and I'm really, really grateful and content to get knowledge and ideas and suggestions that improve my inner and outer life. But, really, we are all navigating our own individual path and our own will. There's no way we can really do more than to have very specific mid-level agreements over certain things to do in common. After that it gets very strange once you go further out there. The language becomes more and more symbolic and metaphorical. That's why mystical writing can be so difficult to plow through, because we don't have a language for it. It's images and feelings and other kinds of experience that are no longer linguistic.
PHF: What conclusions or results were you able to draw from ten years of experimentation with group sigilization?
Genesis P-Orridge: Let me backtrack even further. What happened with me personally was that when I was ten I was approached by two old ladies in Britain who were what we would call witches or Wiccans, but they didn't call themselves that, then. This was in 1960. They said that they felt that there was something about me that was going to be involved in a magickal future. That my future would be involved in magick... I was actually quite freaked out by that at ten, because I had never come across anything to do with it before. But later when I was introduced by a friend, when I was thirteen or fourteen, to Crowley's writings, they said, 'You'll like this!' That was interesting, although obviously I didn't understand all the complexities of it.
I went into performance art in the late '60s and early '70s. I got more and more involved in ideas of sexual taboo and social conditioning, and the human body and sexuality, which is what I kind of homed in on by observation of what happened when I did things. Sometimes I would notice reverberations or residual effects that I didn't understand. Once I started speaking in tongues, the only time I actually spoke in tongues. Another time I was declared physically dead. My pulse, my heartbeat and my breathing had stopped. I was in a hospital and they said there was no pulse, no breathing, he's dead. But I was lying there and I could hear everything that was said. I could feel everything, but I couldn't speak. So I was in a zombie state, basically. I was completely conscious, but physically dead, for a few minutes. I was lying there thinking, 'I've got to tell them I'm not dead!'
So these various things were happening to me and I decided doing them in public arenas like art galleries was becoming too dangerous, too uncontrolled. It wasn't necessarily fair on me or any audience any more to expose everyone to the risks that I appeared to be taking. The phenomena that were happening were too intimate and unclear for me to really share. I wanted to find out what was going on. And that's when I started to really look again at books about magick and different tribal rituals and initiation practices, and to see if I could find some basic common threads or materials or specifics that matched some of what I'd been doing intuitively and was calling performance art and find out if there was a formula or a basic equation that would explain what was happening. I could then work from that with more control and understanding of what was going on. So that's how I went back to it. And that's where the sigil idea reappeared.
I actually carried on doing sigils and different types of self-designed rituals and rituals based on things that I read all the way through the '70s and the '80s, but no longer in public and no longer really talking about it until I felt that I'd got enough information to have some basic ideas down. And that was when we published Thee Grey Book and suggested the Sigil ov Three Liquids, which was meant to be a very simple ritual that was de- mystified, that was non-denominational. Although, obviously, in the fact that it involved tantric or sexual magickal practice, there would be certain disciplines or groups who would understand or feel aligned to it quicker.
One of my ideas was that if you did magickal ritual or sigils, in a way you were cutting up your normal behavior and expectations and programming, just as Burroughs and Gysin and people had done cut-ups with language. Just as Burroughs would say you cut up a book to see what's really there, if you cut up your own social imprinting and take yourself into other dimensional realms, do you also see what's really there inside yourself? Do you really learn the most detailed and scarily honest version of what you really are made up of, and can you then engineer your own character and behavior pattern from inside back out to become what you wish to be?
And I would say, yes, slowly. One of the basic things is that there is a cumulative effect of anything. Any ritual done with sincere commitment and repeated with honor and sincerity over any long period of time appears to have a cumulative effect. The orgasm appears to be a very powerful portal for transferring messages to areas of the consciousness or the DNA structure, which then continue to amplify the will. These things seem to happen. There seems to be a cumulative effect of a positive relationship with synchronicity.
PHF: On your way to designing these rituals, did you experiment at all with the traditional Golden Dawn or Thelemic rituals?
Genesis P-Orridge: Mainly with other groups. There was a group in the west country in England, very much a Thelemic group. They published the English Qabala... We did [a ritual with them] at Stonehenge... We worked with Wiccans as well, in London, OTO groups. We've always had great respect for other people's systems. In Nepal we worked with Shiva Sadhus as well. Some animist sorcerers in northern Thailand, and so on.
I have an anthropological approach to it, and I have great respect for systems that appear to have a lineage and a sincere clarity of intent. I assume I know nothing and I'm glad to learn everything I can. Sometimes I discover that things work...
If we don't end the idea of separation between everyday life and magickal work, then we're going to continue being at the mercy of those who wish to control us. So for me it's very much a political thing, too. Control can divide and conquer. One of the things that was really vivid in the far east was that sacrifice, ritual and devotional activities were as commonplace and equally as important or unimportant as cooking, working and sleeping. There was no separation at all.
That's where I'm coming from. I like everything to be practical. I like the idea that magick enhances and amplifies the best parts of life and gives blessings to those who are serious about having an integrated system of life.
I'm a romantic. I would like to be involved in something that changed things for the better or made this world the most fabulous, amazing, stunning place. I want to have that peak experience that can be shared and enhance everything. I would like to see negativity and stupidity and hypocrisy and bigotry end. That's where it all began. That's still the prime motive, to somehow facilitate a step forward so those destructive and useless traits that we tend to all fall into, those habits of behavior, become laughable and completely irrelevant. The system that we adopt is so much more integrated and positive and forward-looking that we don't behave stupidly anymore because there is no point to it.
PHF: What are the physical manifestations that TOPI will take?
Genesis P-Orridge: It seems to us that one thing that could be really useful is to have, even if it's primarily conceptual, some kind of clearinghouse for anyone and everyone, whether it be a single individual living in the mid-west, or a band, or a group of individuals doing some kind of punk hacking, or a motorcycle club like the Illuminati motorcycle club who have a kind of post-Robert Anton Wilson view of the world. Just somewhere where there's an archive building. We want it to be basically a database/library in the widest sense: information, ideas and speculation that can be as accessible as possible, given the restraints of money at this stage, to as many people as possible. Again, non-aligned, mutual. Hopefully, through the Internet and through the mails and through various systems, we'll be able to ultimately have a place where anyone who has archives can donate that information to the larger archive. That central archive is accessible to everybody. We would like to have as many books as possible on occultural and alternative creative systems. We would be specialized in that sense.
In order for that and publication of all kinds, Transmedia products like CD-ROMs and books, for those things to be facilitated, we would probably need to have editing suites and more computers and people who basically did almost nothing but sift and scan and adjust and index data, and assemble and edit products based on the data, compilations of what was there. So what we're really then saying is that we would have to have some kind of basic, very committed community and a place where that community could be physically located, at least for all the computers and the hardware involved.
We would rather that community was a community of people who wanted to push the envelope of expectation and lifestyle and appreciation of what was possible with the brain, as far as it could go. So, we're talking about, on that level, a community, and TOPI would be the name of that extended tribe and extended family/tribal situation that would evolve and shape itself based on the dynamics of the work it was doing and the personalities of the people who chose to be there, who would orientate around that.
So I think that's the way it would go. We would not want to be seen to be adjudicating or administering specifically like a religion. That's why we don't want to receive sigils anymore, or just to proselytize one view. We'd rather have everybody's view there.
PHF: How do the computers fit into this?
Genesis P- Orridge: We're going to invade the Internet and cyberspace as far as we can. One of the theories that we're working with is that there are four brains. DNA, if you like, is the first brain, and we call that the Nanosphere. Then the individual human brain is the Neurosphere. The group consciousness, the social or tribal brain, is the Kaosphere. Then the Internet and all the computers which are, in a sense, at the moment a whole. Literally a whole brain is being built, it's not a metaphor for a brain, it actually is a brain. We call that the Psychosphere. What we're really thinking about is when you plug in and go online, you're plugging into all the brains of all the other people who've been there, some of those people being psychotic and paranoid, some of them being into control, and some of them being very benign. But it is not implicitly benign. Taking that further -- this is just a TOPI/Process/Transmedia interpretation -- we suggest that when enough people believe in something, it becomes a deity. At a certain point it can separate from its source and have an agenda of its own. It can physically or psychically manifest separate from its source, which is originally the human brain. That's what's going to happen with cyberspace. We're building a god, but we're building a god with the flaws and the gifts of everyone on the planet almost, at this rate -- millions of people -- with no real unified agenda and no real dialogue about what the psychic and neurological and social and economic effect really will be of that acceleration and separation of this larger brain. It will be the first all-encompassing and contrived and constructed brain so far, that we know of.
PHF: You believe that the psychosphere will literally become an artificial intelligence?
Genesis P- Orridge: Absolutely. It will be a deity. Then you get back to these other questions: If DNA is a program, who programmed the program? As Burroughs said, "In a prerecorded universe, who made the first recordings?" We posit that there has to be some fifth brain or intelligence that we call Unity. The basic point of all of this is Unity. Maybe that's been the program all along. If this is the case, then we have to look at the pros and cons and give people survival and navigation tools. And at least suggest this way of perceiving and viewing everything. Have you thought of looking at it this way? If you look at it this way, what might be those philosophical and material implications? Whether we are correct or not in our speculations, we feel they are important speculations to throw into the arena in order to widen people's vision of what may be going on and what the implications may be down the line.
PHF: Have you been getting much response to TOPI from the cyberspace realm?
Genesis P-Orridge: Not as many as I'd expected. It's hard to tell. Of course, we basically so far have been directing people to the ftp site (, and I've not been monitoring that. I do know that it's been very busy. I know they've had tens of thousands of people pass through. It was over 30,000 the last time I asked them, and I think it's gone up a lot. So the ftp site is a busy site, and it's not even fully formed and fully structured.
I think we're all coming up to a really exciting time. And I think the idea of the virtual sigil is nearly upon us. There's lots of ways that could go. People could incorporate being online at a certain point during a community ritual of some form, and actually type in or transmit any information they receive during trance or other states. You could actually have some interaction going on at certain points.
PHF: I've seen it happening, already to some degree. Some groups on America Online have regular online rituals. I was a little disappointed with the ones I sat in on, because they were more like the kind of rituals they would do offline, just typed in.
Genesis P-Orridge: It wasn't designed from the hardware out?
PHF: Right.
Genesis P- Orridge: I think that's the way it should go. People should observe the hardware at first, let that speak to them, let that design its story, then look at the software and let that design its story, and almost be the last in the line, in terms of composition. The individuals themselves would almost be perceiving and tuning into what the internet and the hardware was communicating.
PHF: I was intrigued by one of your new symbols, a psychic cross turned into a gender symbol.
Genesis P-Orridge: We've got a series of those. Actually, the next [Psychic TV] t- shirt is also based on this theme. On the sleeve you've got the traditional circle with the male sign, and the traditional circle with the female sign, and then the circle with the psychic cross. And the last one is a crescent moon with the psychic cross. On the back it says, "Nothing Short of a Total Gender." So we've moved from "Nothing Short of a Total War" which was the previous era, we've moved into the New Aeon which is dealing with deities and forces and strategies and the brain in a way that is not to do with gender, but keeping a balance, being aware of the story so far, working within and around that and looking at how that operates, what the dynamics are.
Guess what? Even the wisest people in the world, they seem to be really useless at relationships. (Laughs) Me included. One thing you know is that everyone will have the most wonderful things happening, and then when it gets down to love life and how they cope with other people, it's pathetic. We haven't got very far. We decided that has to be one of the arenas that gets looked at more seriously. We have to see if we can find the place where collaboration and magick meet and intersect in such a way that we can all perceive what the options might really be for us to choose from to move forward and evolve some.
PHF: Do you think there will be a reassessment of traditional views and practices of relationships?
Genesis P-Orridge: There has to be a change. The nuclear family was basically proselytized, it seems, for economic and politico-spiritual control of the population. Basically, Judeo-christian and monetary interests proselytized that because it broke the tribal extended family. By doing that, control was simpler. The fragmentation of the support system, which a tribe in its base form really is, was a key, I think, to the industrial revolution. It's not easy, it's painful, we've all been imprinted for hundreds of years, because our DNA contains all the mistakes and preconceptions of our lineage, too. We have to find ways to deprogram ourselves so that we have at least a clear assessment of what the other alternatives might be. It certainly seems to me that if we could have a situation where there was a community of people and some had children and some don't, that those children would always be getting consistent care and attention because there's a group. There's always more or less an equal number of different generations around who are dedicated and committed to their welfare and wisdom. That seems to me to be an incredibly sophisticated and wonderful way to deal the complexities of any era of life.
That's still the bottom line for Transmedia, to find and build a community and try and learn how to integrate a magickal perspective with practicalities of engineering the culture and deprogramming imprints as to standardization of relationships.
PHF: What direction do you think that deprogramming will come from?
Genesis P-Orridge: I think there's an innate step forward just by having a community. There's an immediate psychological space created by knowing that there's six adults to take care of the banal tasks, not two. So you are doing a sixth of the banal, dull stuff immediately. So just learning that there's an enlightened self interest in sharing what you have, in order to receive a lot more of what you would otherwise not get, that's really important.
I also think that a serious, consistent and regular appreciation of sexual magick and its implications in terms of what it demonstrates about both the primary and innate power of sexuality harnessed toward the realization of True Will. That combined with the story it tells us about different ways of relating to people sexually, I think that's really important.
It's not going to be easy because we've all been brainwashed. If there is such a thing as brainwashing, then one of the places it's been effective has been in generating fear, guilt and paranoia is in the area of sexuality. It's a tough one. From my own personal experience, we took a lot of those socially accepted controls and we broke those taboos and we exposed them. Some of the psychological and emotional results were really hard to deal with and damaging in terms of who you feel you are as a person, because you've not been given any tools or skills to deal with some of the difficult shrapnel that happens. There's some strange magickal and personal shrapnel that occurs when you explode the status quo that is really hard to deal with. It comes in strange, unexpected ways.
I think this is a process that takes generations. It may be the bottom line is that most people just come to a better understanding of whatever they choose as a relationship system. Then even monogamy becomes a much more healthy and clear choice.
PHF: A widely held belief is that psychedelics constitute one of the only ways to break down imprints. Do you see other ways?
Genesis P-Orridge: Oh, yeah. I would say that, in its widest sense, the way is cut-ups. Psychedelics are one tool for cutting up consensus reality and macro-reality and inner, personal reality, and that it's a tool for doing that. And magickal ritual, in a very real sense, is cutting up normal behavioral responses and expectations, and that's cutting up, too. Good ritual is good cut-up and releases one from the normal linear and bounded relationship with ones emotions and aspirations.
Literal cutting up of words and messages, cutting up of television, cutting up of culture, and seeing what's really there, as Burroughs said, that's the key. I think that's why sampling and hacking and all those other phenomena are so literally and symbolically important. I think we are in the age of the cut-up and we have been since the splitting of the atom. Everything we've been learning since then has been through cutting up. To have maximum efficiency of response, you have to have minimum rigidity of expectation.
* * *
For information concerning current projects of Genesis P-Orridge, Pyschic TV or TOPI, send a large SASE to:
Transmedia FoundationP.O. Box 1034Occidental, CA 95465USA

No comments: