Excerpt from THEE PSYCHICK BIBLE:Limited editions of 999 available at FERAL HOUSE (http://feralhouse.com) for $69.
This excerpt was posted over at http://www.genesisp-orridge.com in pdf.I have reposted it here as regular text..
THE DECONSTRUCTION OF A MAP
OF AN UNKNOWN TERRITORY
Probably no word does better justice to the TOPY phenomenon than “Occulture.” Meshing “Occult” with “Culture,” there’s also a prefixed trace of “Occident” if you will. The defined concept as such was integrated in the inter-TOPY-“lingo” in the late 80s, and then grew to become a readily accepted general term for anything cultural yet decidedly occult/spiritual.
As a more or less unnamed concept, Occulture had already been active in TOPY since day one. The field of research was never ever occultism per se or culture per se, but always consisted of interchangeability where
eventually the clear-cut borders were gently erased. Books, pamphlets, newsletters, film and video screenings, record and cassette releases and other manifestations could certainly contain more or less blatant esoteric form or content, but it was in no way a prerequisite. The literal meaning of “occult”(as in “hidden”) was given a wider perspective than the merely “magical” one.
Hidden information, forgotten personalities, discarded thoughtforms, untrendy thinkers, eclectic evolutionairies and anachronistic anarchs...Dusting off shelved illuminations from past ages and offering forgotten morsels of human intelligence proved to be a very fertile soil indeed. A Promethean Strikeforce that passed on the torch of enlightenment from the dawn of mankind to our own revolutionary times.
From very early on, there was a heavy focus on the unhampered sharing of information, hidden or otherwise. All one had to do was let one’s interests and areas of research be known through newsletters and other channels, and one was certain to receive something of interest. A secondhand book, long out of print. A compendium of xeroxes from someone’s equally enthusiastic archive. A cassette tape copy of some recordings never released on record or broadcast on radio. Seeing the global TOPY Network as a precursor to the Internet is not far fetched at all. The first generation developers of “cyberculture” were certainly aware of—and some of them even active in—TOPY and its ideas and ideals.
Culture in itself is usually associated with performing arts, painting, music, literature and many other forms of traditional manifestation.The sphere of culture. But essentially, culture is exactly what the word entails: a culture—a structure or soil that contains the implicit possibility of growth and manifestation of life and, in extension, ideas and information. The merging of sperm and egg and their continued growth as one DNA-programmed entity in a womb is perhaps the clearest and most potent symbol of culture.
Many of the TOPY “Access Points” (regional headquarters) were involved in releasing material for distribution: books, magazines,records, videos and so on. At TOPY SCAN, the Scandinavian
section, we focussed at times more on these kinds of activities than on the actual meeting of members or on doing strange rituals together.The more esoteric and magical activity certainly took place too, but
quite often these rituals were “cosmic boosters” for the success of, for instance, a new magazine project or a new record. The intimate seeds of individuals were sown in a communal soil for the benefit of occultural manifestations—these becoming, in turn, seeds in their own right, blooming in a more extroverted universe of readers, listeners, art lovers, etc.
On the more distinctly magical level, we organised several workshops in shamanism (meaning here using archaic techniques of, for instance,drumming to induce states of trance used for information gathering
on entirely different, higher, levels of consciousness) and Western ceremonial magic. We made treks into the Swedish countryside, stayed up all night and tried (quite successfully) to communicate with hidden aspects of nature and our own minds.
The rituals suggested in Thee Grey Book (the main TOPY compendium dealing with magick and philosophy) and other key documents were often the starting point for members wanting to experiment with meditation,
traditional methods of ceremonial magic and one’s own sexuality in adirected way. Rituals were by no means confined to the individual monthly sigilising process (as recommended in Thee Grey Book), but would develop and grow in organic forms, either individually or with other members.
The status of “Eden” for the actively sigilising men and “Kali” for the women signified an even stronger internal bond. That is, if one wanted to. There were never any demands on Kalis or Edens to do or achieve anything, except possibly to be truer to themselves than they had been up to that point.
What the central TOPY ritual consisted of, at least structurally, was that on the 23rd of each month, at 2300 hours, the dedicated adepts would perform a sigilising ritual in and/or on an artwork designed by themselves
specifically for the desired goal. This piece of highly charged talismanic art was then sent in to a TOPY “Station” (bigger and more administrative headquarters than the Access Points). The idea was to “impose” or inspire self discipline and regularity, to unite with other adepts in time, to initiate personal empirical research about ritual magick and, not forgetting, to honor the weird synchronistic concept of the number 23, as “inherited” from TOPY mentors William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin.
The augmented level of 23 consecutive sent-in “23-sigils” was reached by very few individuals connected to the TOPY EUROPE headquarters. Usually, however, that level of commitment to an experimental (yet
communal) goal manifested itself in other ways too (active help with administration, practical assistance, creating original things—texts, images, music for TOPY publications, etc.) and thus quite few people
were able to achieve quite a lot.
The structure of “official” TOPY sigilizing combines elements of traditional sexual magic (using the elevated state of mind reached at and before the orgasmic climax to mentally charge a symbol of the desired,
of the ideal, and also using the highly vitally charged residual secretions: semen and vaginal fluids),
meditational focus, eastern mantric techniques, Austin Osman Spare’s development of an individual “alphabet of desire”,elements of sacrificial use of blood and saliva as well as other techniques to maximize the experience as such. Not forgetting creating a totally individual-based artwork to act as a “receiving” vessel or talisman for the desired. Thereby integrating art in its most important and primordial function: As a magical and mystical tool to achieve union with higher cosmic levels of mind and to express one’s affinity and desires with and to these levels.
Very seldom is this art historic aspect of TOPY considered. The archival collection of contemporary talismanic art, ranging in styles from totally primitive abstractions to very refined draughtsmanship, over sexually explicit collages to mind-bending mixed media paintings and sculptures, is totally unique in every sense of the word. The term “Magical Art” is usually ascribed to totemic objects from Africa or other non-Western areas. And it’s usually something having to do with the past. In the case of the TOPY “collection,” all the gathered works are indeed contemporary/present, but all bordering on (at least in the very moment
of creation) the future.
Another highly interesting aspect of this art is that it is in many ways an anti-art. It’s not art made specifically for other people to see, and thereby it doesn’t fit in with the contemporary ideals of pleasing an art
market. Here we can return to the very orgins of art (cave paintings, etc.). The idea was not to have a glass of wine together with tribal kin in a cosy cave, to self-aggrandize through witty ironic criticisms. The idea
was to impose one’s will on the world outside your own personal sphere, or that of the tribe. Art as magical evocation. Whether other members or other tribes actually could see or understand what one had inscribed
or painted was beside the point.
On an individual level, the experimenting was active and, I would
say, radical. As an administrator of TOPY SCAN and, later, TOPY
EUROPE, I was fortunate to see and handle European Kalis’ and
Edens’ “23-sigils” in trust (a trust that has been, is and will continue
to be honored). I was also involved in a proto-creative dialogue with
several members on magical results, effects, breakthroughs, ups and
downs of various techniques, etc. Hearing what had worked for others, I
empirically assembled and concocted my own “grimoires” and shared my
findings with those who had been sharing in their turn. An occultural
TOPY concept in genuinely creative action!
There were also magical workings created and performed together. During
the international gatherings, so called “Roto-Rites,” elaborate and ceremonial workings would be performed for goals that dealt with greater TOPY ideals and visions. At TOPYSCAN and TOPY EUROPE we would not
infrequently experiment with sigilising and other kinds of rituals together.Sharing those kinds of intense and electrified physical and emotionalmoments with others in trust was a real eye-opener to many of those involved,including myself. The creative framework of a uniting crystal-clear goal and of experimental techniques that evoke a previously unfelt emotional chargein the ritual chamber can be quite an empowering setting to be in.
At the era of conception—not an inappropriate symbol in this case—the
TOPY network (or Nett Work, as P-Orridge would aptly call it) was tightly
interwoven with the musical constellation “Psychick Televison” (PTV).
From 1982 and onwards, PTV in their many guises were missionaries of
individual liberty on a seemingly endless tour. TOPY as a living entity
was very integrated in PTV and became philosophical fuel not only for
the band members but also for those already active or those just curious
when the multicoloured Psychick Circus rolled by all over the world.
Some TOPY members “liked” PTV and some did not. What was obvious though, was that the Gesamtkunstwerk-aspect of what seemed to “others” to be just a weird band, was an enormous source of inspiration for most of us. It was possible to do anything. Music was not confined to pop or noise or anything. Neither were the stage presentations, the performances, the artwork for the records limited in any way.
Many of the young people involved in various phases of PTV grew up to
be creative and successful artists in their own right. If there’s something
I think unites all of these people, it’s an openmindedness, a creative
courage and a spontaneity that in many regards have their origins in
the uncompromising Psychick Television—and Temple ov Psychick
What constitutes the essence of all of this? There are so many things
that come to mind, but I guess the most quintessential ones are the
offering of different possibilities, of alternative options, of alternative
routes, of inspiring courage and will, of breaking apart uncomfortable
imposed patterns and showing, by example, that it is after all possible to
re-assemble the bits in very creative ways.
The concepts of “occult,” “culture” and even “occulture” become redundant
on a higher level. What’s here for us all in our apparently finite timeframe is the de-finite possibility to access the in-finite. How and why we as individuals go about this is another story (no less interesting). The first phase and face of TOPY as an experimental “Centrifugal Intelligence Agency” was so fertile it took on a life of its own and thereby touched upon the infinite. Regardless if one’s path is that of a hermit or that of an ardent team player, a lot can be learned from this strange manifestation in human history and culture that has, more than any group structure before, taken on the conscious decision to give form and voice (dare I say even direction?) to the Collective Unconscious.
Carl Abrahamsson, a.k.a. “Eden 162,” Stockholm, Sweden, 2006
ON THE WAY TO THEE GARDEN
The Psychic Youth sits in a house of cards. Reaches out. It is not hard.
Only takes the will to do it. Only takes a small push, to watch the house
they have built for you collapse. To peel back the mask of the identity
they gave you. And when the house falls, as it must, it is the first Garden
we find ourselves in. Unnamed.
To be awake. To be ex-dream.
These are the apocryphal scriptures of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Thee
Temple ov Psychick Youth, a representation of an eleven-year experiment
(1981-1992) that will be remembered as a crucial period in the development
of both the rough beast that is magick and of anarchic and artistic responses to the ever-marching and ever-homogenizing process of globalization.
While the story of the music of Genesis Bryeyer P-Orridge, Throbbing
Gristle and Psychic Television is relatively well-known, the story of TOPY
remains a cipher, hidden behind slogans and propaganda. The activities
of the Temple, outside of the memories of those who were there and
participated, have been obfuscated, and quite intentionally so—buried
like the Dead Sea Scrolls, or perhaps, as William S. Burroughs once
wished for some particularly volatile and explosive fragments of his own
cut-up writing, wrapped in lead and sunk to the bottom of the ocean,
leaving a blank spot in the history of the progression of both modern
occulture—a term that the Temple coined—and modern culture itself.
Founded out of the rubble left by the sonic assault that Throbbing Gristle
waged on the English public, Psychic TV was originally conceived as
the new forum for ex-TG members Genesis P-Orridge along with
Alex Fergusson of Alternative TV and later, for a short time only, Peter
Christopherson (later to form one half of “archangels of chaos” Coil
with the late Geoff Rushton a.k.a Jhon Balance) and occasional cameos
by Marc Almond of Soft Cell. The band’s original forays, notably the
LPs Force Thee Hand ov Chance and Dreams Less Sweet, under Fergusson’s
influence, largely drifted away from TG’s pulverizing wall of force and
into more pop territory, the band becoming a fully-fledged psychedelic
rock outfit by the release of Allegory and Self.
Set up as a propaganda device for self-directed consciousness expansion
by any means necessary, Psychic TV was structured as the public face of
Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, a widescale experiment in the meltdown
of personal assumptions via guiltless sexuality and more formalized
“magickal” techniques derived from Austin Osman Spare, Brion Gysin
and Aleister Crowley, among others. TOPY, however, was never an
explicitly magickal order, drawing equally on the heritage of the radical
action groups and experimental microsocieties of the 1960s, such as the
Exploding Galaxy group that Genesis had worked with in London, the
Diggers of Haight Ashbury, or the COUM Transmissions performance
art collective that Genesis founded in 1969 after a series of “flicker”
induced visions and voices, later joined by Peter Christopherson and
Cosey Fanny Tutti before creating Throbbing Gristle with Chris Carter.
The magick of the Temple wasn’t the magick of the Golden Dawn,
designed for the stately Victorian manor; it was magick designed for the
blank-eyed, TV-flattened, prematurely abyss-dwelling youth of the late
Twentieth Century—like the punk kids in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee, who
have never ventured out of the council flats they were born in. Rather
than high ceremony, drawing-room intrigue and exalted initiatory ritual,
the focus more often than not became simple survival, and defense of
the individual vision from a malevolently dehumanizing culture that
the Victorians and Modernists, even in their most racist and reactionary
moments, could never have foreseen.
The Temple, as its initiates often said, was a ghost… It was, and is, the
realization that your daydreams and fantasies, the teachers within you,
are the most important teachers of all. A push in the right direction,
towards yourself, towards self-integrity, towards your own connection
with the deep waters of Spirit. A method of deprogramming instead of
programming. The Chapel of Extreme Experience.
KEYS TO THE TEMPLE
1 Sitting in the back of the car at age six watching the trees on the horizon,the setting sun fickering through them. Heart is infinite moment is infinite.
2 Watching strange androgynous singer on television at age twelve, new
world, newfound desires, yearning for something more than the human.
3 Strange books with strange symbols. Screaming orgasm at ceiling
gives birth to self.
4 First trip, with friends in the woods. Sudden sense of understanding
felt in the body. This is paganism: To find the gods within oneself.
5 What do you want to do with your life?
TOPY were the direct inheritors of a century’s worth of occult and
countercultural “science,” and then some, a crustpunk laboratory where
radical and, in many cases, previously forgotten ideas were synthesized
into a way of life. The cut-up method of William S. Burroughs and
Brion Gysin; Gysin and Ian Sommerville’s Dreamachine; Austin
Spare’s sigil method; sexual magick in the vein of Aleister Crowley
and Paschal Beverly Randolph; the otherworldly and psychedelic
explorations of John Dee, Timothy Leary and John C. Lilly; Count
Alfred Korzybski’s General Semantics; and the physical and sexual
deconditioning of Wilhelm Reich, among many, many other avenues of
theory and practice.
Over a drink in a pub on Museum Street in London where Crowley and
Spare once whiled away lost evenings, Phil Hine, the Tantric scholar and
author of many of the primary texts on chaos magick (a school of progressive occult thought that ran largely parallel in timeline and geographical center of development, and often intertwined with, the efforts of TOPY), related a particularly telling story to me. Speaking in very admiring tones of the Temple—and stating that, in his belief, they have still yet to be surpassed for their revolutionary approach to magick—he recounted the tale of a very serious Thelemic symposium held somewhere in the Midlands, in which a very serious discussion of the theory and practice of Crowleyan sex magick was enjoined by a few TOPY initiates, who, in the name of freedom of information, displayed a video tape of a TOPY sex magick action, only to have the ever-so “transgressive” crowd descend into nervous, schoolboy-ish giggling fits…
The world of “magick” is, nine times out of ten, a world where people
can hide their deep-set insecurity and personal damage behind illusion,
constructed identities and claims to privileged knowledge, power or
spiritual status. A gaudy carnival magic show, conducted with props
that have long since begun to disintegrate with age, that seems to
function only to distract people from the real magic that is occurring all
around them, in every facet of their lives, every day of their lives. While
the rituals and magical techniques of the Temple seem overly simplistic
in comparison with the loftier Qabalahs, tables of correspondences
and secret formulae of “high” magick, they have one thing which high
magick quite often forgets: a concrete function.
The TOPY magickal system centered around its unique approach to the
“sigil” method—as derived and modernized by the artist Austin Osman
Spare, in the early years of the Twentieth Century, from earlier work by
Cornelius Agrippa in the Sixteenth. At the same time every month—
the twenty-third hour of the twenty-third day—each active sigilizer
would create a “Sigil ov Three Liquids.” After careful deliberation on
something truly wanted and needed in life, each sigilizer would write in
detail what they wanted to happen, thereafter anointing the paper with
blood, spit, sexual fluids and a clipping of hair. After drying, this would
be placed in an envelope and mailed to TOPY World Headquarters,
where it would be filed away anonymously under each sigilizer’s identity
number within the Temple (these archives remain undisturbed at an
undisclosed location somewhere in the world).
Each sigilizer aimed to gain control over the only thing over which control is truly possible: one’s self. The apparent simplicity of the Sigil ov Three Liquids masks some very deep processes that have been a part of the human experience since prehistorical times, acting on levels of the brain far deeper, and therefore that much more potent, then those we are expected to use as citizens of the “modern” world. Central to an understanding of the TOPY sigil method is the Law of Contagion as observed by Sir James Frazer in The Golden Bough—the assumption, common among most “primitive” peoples, that a fragment (or splinter, as P-Orridge says) of something can be used as a magical link to effect its source. Instead of using bits of hair, blood or fingernail to curse or cast love
spells on others—the standard, vulgar view of what magick is—initiates of the Temple used links to themselves to affect their own destinies.
DNA forms the best magickal link possible to one’s own self, a perfect
holographic splinter, containing everything necessary to create yourself anew. Willingly put in contact with a symbolic representation of intent, a message is produced and directly sent not only to the non-conscious mind but also to the conscious universe which one inhabits. Such is the bewildering, though incredibly effective, realm of sorcery. (These are also the exact principles that the nascent science of Radionics operates on—readers are directed to the research of Duncan Laurie for an in-depth look at the directions this type of “magick” can be taken in.)
Regardless of any supernatural effects experienced in connection with
such experiments, a deeper process was initiated—a dialogue begun
between each Temple initiate and their “true will,” their core reason for
existing, that the truly important aspects of life might be fully tuned
into and the background static cancelled out as much as possible.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has often stated that the primary “teaching”
of TOPY was discipline; that is, discipline in focusing on and actualizing
the life one actually wants to live, regardless of social pressure or
constraint. In that respect a Quentin Crisp might be a more apt symbol
of the type of “initiate” the Temple wished to produce than an Israel
Regardie. Magick was never the primary goal of TOPY, though the
organization is most often remembered as a magickal or paramasonic
order; rather, it was one tool to be used in the formulation and execution
of a radically new approach to life outside the confines of the mundane.
(Though, if it’s magick you want, then backwards, sideways, crossways,
and loopwise secrets of magick are manifested throughout this text,
mirroring the potential of magick to reach through time—as if time
were a single, fluid object—to make its point known.)
While TOPY conducted its decade-long ritual, Psychick Television
worked overtime with a rotating cast of contributors to provide the
soundtrack, forming part of an incredibly fertile if often disjointed
period in the evolution of the Industrial genre that Throbbing Gristle
had spawned. While Coil, Current 93 and Nurse With Wound spent
most of the 1980s delving directly into the darkest and most unsavory
facets of TG’s legacy, Psychic TV (thanks, in large part, to regular
consumption of MDMA), moved from an early focus on tribal, wolfpackstyle
declarations of war on man’s sleepwalking state and into a fully
psychedelic (or, rather, hyperdelic), Merry Prankster-esque cheerleader
squad for sex, drugs and magick. (When PTV toured America in the
late Eighties, they brought along a tour bus painted in full hyperdelic
drag, on the front of which they painted “Even Futher,” slyly upping the
ante on the original Merry Pranksters’ acid test bus.)
Following a near-breakthrough to major chart success with “Godstar,”
a hymn to the late Rolling Stone Brian Jones, Psychic TV and TOPY
became early adopters and proselytizers of the English rave scene
(Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is credited with popularizing the phrase
“acid house” after a particularly fortuitous record-shopping trip in
Detroit). By 1988 the role of Genesis’ primary collaborator had rotated
from Alex Fergusson to electronics guru Fred Giannelli, a collaboration
which led to Psychic TV’s Jack the Tab, Tekno Acid Beat and the nearmasterpiece Towards thee Infinite Beat, a haunting, very personal album
centered around passionate diatribes against mankind’s innate need for
warfare (“Horror House” and “Jigsaw,” later to be revisited in live sets on
the eves of both wars in the Persian Gulf) and elegies for Brion Gysin
(“Bliss”) and Ian Curtis of Joy Division, who was slotted to become a
full member of Psychic TV at the time of his suicide in 1980 (“I. C.
Water”). The entire lyric of “Jigsaw” was a combination of a backwards,
a forwards and a combination of backwards, forwards and whispered
vocals using writings from various Processean publications. “Bliss”, in
contrast mixed Scientology speak with the music of Jajouka.
Acid house was the apex of TOPY’s efforts, a widescale scene which
allowed for the type of ecstatic, transcendental and magickal bliss that
Brion Gysin had found in Morocco in the panpipes of the Master
Musicians of Jajouka and introduced to Brian Jones shortly before his
untimely demise. Consider the twenty-year arc between the release
of Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka in 1968 and the
explosion of the acid house scene in 1988. Bachir Attar, the most
recent Master Musician, lived with Genesis and Lady Jaye for a year,
collaborating with Thee Majesty and other projects. Music is the most
effective medium extant for the communication of emotion, and the
deepest expression of the essence of culture. Manipulation or outright
destruction of a culture’s music has, therefore, been one of the primary
strategies of imperial domination. Western music has at times been
particularly concerned with the nullification of anything unstructured,
sexually open, “savage,” “uncivilized,” or otherwise concerned with the
joy of life or which speaks to the “old” parts of the brain.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s mentor Brion Gysin, confronted with the
horror of Western cultural and ontological hegemony when a friend
visiting him in Morocco tuned a radio to a classical station, tellingly
snapped at him to shut it off immediately, shouting that it was “too white!”.While involved in the COUM Transmissions performance art collective
and the mail art scene in the early 1970s, P-Orridge created collages with
the phrase “E Hate Stockhausen” repeated over and over. The mission
statement of Throbbing Gristle was to create anti-muzak, and disrupt the
control frequencies of civilization by any means necessary; the lessons of
TG were reincorporated within Psychic TV and increasingly oriented
towards producing transcendental bliss. The Master Musicians of Jajouka
provided a template, but it wasn’t until 1988 that the stars aligned for
Pan, God of Panic, to sound his cry across the world.
The initiates of the Temple ov Psychick Youth, weaned on Jajouka and
the Dreamachine, had already habituated themselves to the states of
mind that would be produced en masse by acid house, Ecstasy and
computer-generated rave visuals, and became the vanguard of this new
eruption of delerium. Hence would Bou Jeloud, Pan, Baphomet, be
shepherded into public view yet again, and the mask of control slip, just
slightly, for a brief few years, for a whole generation. By the time the
Criminal Justice Bill was passed in the UK, effectively outlawing raves,
the man behind the curtain had already been revealed, control sliced up
as if by Burroughs’ expertly-targeted scissors…
Throughout its eleven-year lifespan, TOPY aimed to transgress—
against Church, State, the nuclear family, and reality itself. Of course,
transgression against modern culture is often quickly short-circuited,
since culture will sooner or later get round to assimilating its “opposition” by mass-producing a watered-down facsimile—not that the authorities take this macro-cultural mechanism into account when dealing with the vanguard of such innovation.
Consider the current mass popularity of body piercing, introduced to
TOPY by Alan Oversby, a.k.a. Mr. Sebastian, a former art teacher who
had left his position to promote tattooing and piercing in the gay leather
and BDSM community in London. That was one of many phenomena
that TOPY “culturally engineered” the wider acceptance of. Body
piercing is now an adolescent mandate; yet in 1987 Mr. Sebastian (who
provided the vocals on “A Message From the Temple,” a track on Force
thee Hand ov Chance that was the initial open call to affiliation with
the Temple) was arrested in the UK government raid known as Project
Spanner, along with fifteen other men from the BDSM community.
He was subsequently charged with assault with actual bodily harm for
consensually piercing a man’s penis, as well as using anesthetic without
a license and sending obscene material (piercing photos) through the
mail. This is now a service that is available at relatively low cost in
almost every metropolitan area in the Western world. In 1987, though,
Mr. Sebastian was considered a threat to society and was sentenced to
fifteen years, later suspended to two years. His profession and life were
destroyed; he died, broken-hearted, in 1996.
Operation Spanner was only one tragedy of many in a very bleak
English political climate. Wars of imperial futility in the Falklands
and Libya; nuclear gridlock; proposed concentration camps for AIDS
patients; crackdowns on alternative cultures of all shapes and sizes;
constant bloodshed over Ireland; environmental degradation; economic
hell. America—with the resurgence of the religious right; secret wars;
CIA-supported dictators; socially engineered crack panic; and Mutually
Assured Destruction—was hardly better. “The Eighties cower before
me, and are abased,” Aleister Crowley prophesied in The Book of the
Law, speaking for the Egyptian warrior god Ra-Hoor-Khuit. In such a
climate, TOPY was, first and foremost, a survival strategy. If it were to
survive—in Margaret Thatcher’s England much as in Ronald Reagan’s
(or, verily, George W. Bush’s) America—magick had to defend itself.
If, as Mrs. Thatcher famously quipped to Woman’s Own magazine, “There
is no such thing as society,” then the Temple sought to prove her wrong ex
nihilo, both in the UK and abroad. The tribal mindset present in both punk
and, later, rave was refined in TOPY’s occultural laboratory, providing
- for better or worse—a sense of family, belonging, commitment, and
self—expression where previously there had been none.
Along with direct predecessors Aleister Crowley and Timothy Leary,
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge ranks as one of magick’s greatest propagandists,
which he has been alternately deified and reviled for, much as Crowley
and Leary were. The British authorities and tabloid press were not the
only forces with which Genesis and TOPY had to contend; another was
the occult “establishment,” or, rather, the “Museum of Magick,” as Genesis
calls them, who were hardly pleased with the mainstreaming of what was
previously considered “dangerous” (and certainly privileged) information.
The Ordo Templi Orientis or OTO, a Masonic body founded in Germany
in the late Nineteenth Century and later captained and reformulated by
Aleister Crowley in the early Twentieth, can be considered the clearest
precedent to TOPY, a secret society created as an access point into the
world of magick. Neither the OTO nor TOPY were teaching orders,
existing instead to foster socialization around occult ideas—halfway
points for those interested in the hidden undercurrents of reality, training wheels that, when eventually discarded, would lead the individual eithertowards more abstruse orders of robed ritualists or, preferably, onto their own two feet and their own personal apotheosis.
Such organizations have been a running theme in Western history. As one
slides into internal fighting and decay, another rises to take its place. Genesis has often related to me that during TOPY’s heyday, Hymenaeus Beta, then and current Outer Head of the Caliphate OTO, felt that TOPY was truly
representing, and doing the work of, the active current that the OTO had
mined in the early half of the century, whereas his current job as head of the OTO was more akin to that of a museum curator.
The story of TOPY’s last days is, of course, central to the myth it has left.By the early 1990s the group had grown to a strength of nearly 10,000
connected, if not necessarily active, individuals across the globe. In February 1992 Genesis Breyer P-Orridge was notified by telegram—the P-Orridge family were in Kathmandu, Nepal at the time using their PTV income and donations from the wider TOPY Nett Work to feed and clothe Tibettan
refugees, beggars and lepers, sometimes as many as 300 daily—that his
home and TOPY Station had been raided by Scotland Yard in connection
with a trumped-up Satanic abuse charge. On the back of an old Psychic
TV video done years earlier by Derek Jarman for Channel 4—ironically
the same channel now alleging the abuse—P-Orridge and TOPY were
accused of chaining women in the basement of the house in Brighton,
impregnating the women, aborting the fetuses and then forcing them to
eat the remains. This is ironic for two reasons—the first being that the
same story has been regularly used since the Fourth Century to smash
pagan groups, since Epiphanius of Salamis accused the Borborite Gnostic
sect of the same crime; the second being that the P-Orridges didn’t even
have a basement.
After choosing exile in California instead of returning to England,
where the public was already crying for blood from the scapegoat of
the week, Gen made the decision to dissolve TOPY, issuing a final
publication—Thee Green Book, reprinted for the first time in this
book—and a postcard reading, simply, “Changed Priorities Ahead.” It
had become obvious that TOPY’s moment was over; that the mission,
which had only ever been meant as a temporary experiment, was over.
It had only been Here to Go. Though some splinter groups remained
(and remain) intact, continuing to use the TOPY name and logo,
the current moved on, leaving what amount to more displays in the
Museum of Magick. As TOPY was ending, a new world—of digital
media and cyberculture—was being born, one that TOPY had acted
as a midwife for. The ritual now complete, the Temple was banished.
While Psychic TV dissolved along with TOPY in the early 1990s, it would
go on to reincarnate for the Larry Thrasher-produced Trip Reset and, later,
in its current touring lineup as PTV3. Baba Larriji also featrures in the
Expanded Poetry project co-founded with Bryin Dall, Thee Majesty.
Fifteen years on, we are left with an occult landscape that has been given its shape and direction by the Temple, whether it is publicly acknowledged or not. The vital current, of course, has mutated and evolved once again—notinto a physical order this time, but into dispersal across the World Wide Web and mass publishing. While this provides for an incredibly unique
period of open access to occult information, one can hardly help but long
for the immediacy and community of a physical network in contrast to
the endless flamewars, constant degradation of information quality, and
terminal loss of context that are the Internet’s stock in trade.
The TOPY years represented a period in which magick was resituated
in its natural context—as a survival mechanism, in the urban blight of
modern civilization just as it was in the dark forests of precivilization.
Though there may be nothing here now but the recordings, the recordings
are there for all to see, to learn from, to improve upon.
This is one story of the Temple, in one world, in one place and time. The
names and the details change each time it recreates itself anew. It learns,
it processes, it incorporates and evolves; thickens its own plot. My story
is there for all to read, etched in genetic spirals along its supporting
columns. Yours is too. Remember this.
Remember Earth from space. Sun goes round as we breathe as one.
Human totality breathes in, breathes out. Cars and electric lights, birth
and death, sex, disease, running through the long grass at dawn, walking
the ox across the steep mountain path, loading the Kalashnikov, spinning
the prayer wheels at dusk, laying the child in the grave, singing the old
songs. Listen to the sound of our breath from space. A secret name of
the divine. The name of a ritual in which we must all take part. A temple
space in which we are all assigned office. The office which you remember
when you are...
The Temple is eternal, shimmering on the horizon. It is a ghost. It is the
specter that answers us at the séance of our most secret desires.
There is one Process and there are many processes.
Jason Louv, Vancouver and New York City, 2006 Era Vulgaris
LETTER TO JEAN-PIERRE TURMEL
Timefix: 23 April 1982
E was watching an American film on TV last week, there was a lively,
strangely attractive woman who discovered she had cancer. She got married
to her lover, knowing she would die, then gradually she got more and more ill and haggard until she died. E had to switch it off, and cried so much because it reminded me of Danny. It was as if suddenly E had understood everything about that tragedy and my heart fell open and wept.
It was good of you to understand, to predict to yourself, that E needed a silence to develop, rest, re-orient and evolve and plan. To grow used to living with a new, different person. Of course you knew E think from our talks and our theories that TG had to end, and now E am so glad we had thee courage to do it. Now, already, it’s like ghosts, talking about characters in a movie E saw, only it doesn’t open my heart, or make tears. Indifferent. Purely history,trapped in time, other people’s business, other people’s news.
Butter it’s true, just as TG supported thee ghost of COUM Transmissions,
so Psychic TV and Psychick Youth will have to accept a ghost of TG, butter
that is thee organic evolution of one dream, thee visualization that makes all things possible through a flexing of will, an expression of imagination.
In thee past, even in TG, E have to admit privately that E was interested
in, seduced by thee mass media attention, E wanted to be LIKED, to get thee
credit we deserved, E enjoyed to be written about, it affirmed my existence
because my self-image was weak and paranoid. Thee biggest change now is
that genuinely, in my deepest interior E am DISINTERESTED in what
anyone thinks about all our future actions and projects. That their opinion
might affect our financial or technical resources is of academic practical interest only and if they chicken out and do not support what we really are this time E REALLY don’t care. Before, E acted disinterested, E understood that it was a necessary state and stance, butter a private part of me flirted and dreamed in a desire for flattery and security. It is not surprising to me, butter E am sure it would be to many outside observers, just how near to being right back at thee beginning Sleazy & E are now. Our new musick is receiving more coumfused reaction than it deserves. It’s just, JUST soundtracks, functional.Butter no one wants to release that, they say, they want MY voice & TG noise. Hah. Butter then we never actually ASKED anyone to release it in thee first place. Assumptions seem one of thee key elements of cultural alchemy & death. If you notice we do not court thee media now, steering clear of instant new roles in relation to TG past. Sleazy & E thought it would be a dangerous tactic to release a record immediately, if ever, or indeed to do anything in public for at least a yera or more. We are asleep, forgotten men whose ghost drifts.
The mass’s desires, non-evolution, conservatism, closing doors are still our enemy. We DO understand that. We have put a few suggestions into thee
arena in that interview, we do not have to manifest any of them. We have
& feel NO obligation. Not to a public, ugh, or past, or to DO anything ever
agen. We are free agents. We shall do, simply, what we want when & if it
appeals to us at thee time. And no consistency of vision or direction need apply on any level. We desire choice.
Sleazy has arrived with Geoff Rushton of Stabmental (formerly), now an
initiate of thee Temple. Today E renew his probationary gestures, relive thee pain of birth, trim thee style of ascetic manipulation and eat thee breath of babies.
There is no why… anymore… there is just us…
Approval & disapproval are moral stances that have no place in our vision
here. There is no morality. E want to talk to a vision, a destiny, not a public. We would rather have five or six people committed totally to a coherent yet subliminal dream, than anyone at all that is merely a dilettante-ish dabbler in gestures. We are stripping away thee final strips of camouflage and revealing what we always wanted to be and do once and for all, and don’t give a fuck what ANYONE thinks, about ANY response or opinion or blocking action.We will do exactly what we want all thee time and concentrate totally upon realization of any & all our FANTASIES AND desires even if we get attacked, persecuted or destroyed. There is nothing else we can do anymore. To be ignored or reviled doesn’t matter. We shall be simply what we desire and no more. And anything that appears in opposition is merely a ministration, a service in thee path of focused imagination and will.
Your theories about a new elite human being, we approve and understand.
Thee mass is to be manipulated only to our ends, if necessary, butter primarily to be, most simply, ignored and deflected.
Your interest in evidence & deception is interesting. You know in a way,
deception works like transparency. We now declare thee exact truth of what
we are doing, at last we are honest, yet thee actual effect is a deception because no one is listening to what we say, because they analyze from assumption based upon past assumptions. In fact they never listen to us at all. So they deceive, deception. It is psychic youth that makes us reach coumclusions so in time with each other. Your analysis is so clear…
Our emphasis from now on is as a philosophical, occult movement; a church
without orthodoxy or dogma, an elite organization dedicated to coumtinuance
of individual choice and options. Discipline of thee self, involvement to
whatever degree a person wishes. As little or as much, where what you give
equals what you get, where No is as good an answer as Yes, where thought
is stimulated so that response is always a mystery. No guaranteed response
expected or requested. A truly non-dogmatic, irreligious church. Psychick Youth thee end in itself. Thee Temple a symbol by its very existence, its work, as an agency and provocateur of ideas & imagination expansion. Visualization,concentration make things happen, events are created by dreaming. So we will encourage self-power, our aim is to becoum redundant eventually to each person involved, to constantly trigger and abandon, to becoum obsolete as we succeed. As a person realizes what we mean, they don’t need us anymore. We won’t want huge numbers of followers, most churches desire, measure their success and importance by thee numbers of followers they have, and by thee number who say YES unquestioningly to everything their LEADERS say. We would rather have six INDIVIDUALS than six million sycophants. We are here to express possibilities and free associations, not to control or restrict anybody. Restrictions are self-imposed for neuroses’ sake. We recognize no leaders, we merely implant thee seeds of immortality.
Huh, E wrote that, then turned over your page & hit your saying thee problem is not of “leader” butter of masses. YES YES YES. We do understand. It’s all inevitable. Right, god it IS uncanny how we coincide, maybe we are each other, or maybe just evidence of what we believe, thee imagination made real. E hate christianism and leftism and suppression and control so much. E feel sick to think of thee masses. We have declared our intent to generate or at least symbologize a new elite made up of leaders only in thee Psychick Youth. An ultra-elite, justified in itself for no other reason than we chose to exist and demonstrate an alternative method of evolutionary change and structure.
Thee Temple is a church of only LEADERS, no followers. A radical step.
Even thee Nazis, though they bred an elite of leaders, still wanted to control thee masses, lead them and entangle themselves with them. We want thee leaders alone. Fuck thee sleeping masses. We have no desire to be superior rulers of boring, dull masses of people who we despise. We want JUST leaders. A church full of leaders, only leaders and not leading anyone. Merely cohabiting.A separate existence for OUR satisfaction. Why waste all that time,energy and vision dealing with boring masses of people. We’ve got betterthings to do. Enjoying and stimulating ourselves. A self-centered religion instead of a crippling, selfless Christian ideal.
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM
THEE TEMPLE OV PSYCHICK YOUTH
We have reached a crisis point.
We are aware that whole areas of our experience of life are missing.
We are faced with a storm of thee fiercest strength known.
We are faced with the debasement of man to a creature without feelings,
without knowledge and pride of SELF.
We are faced with dissolution far more complete than death. A New Dark Ages.
We have been conditioned, encouraged and blackmailed into self-restriction, into a narrower and narrower perception of ourselves, our importance and our potential.
All this constitutes a Psychick Attack of thee highest magnitude.
Acceptance is defeat.
Resistance is dangerous and unpredictable but for those who realize the
totality of defeat, resistance must be thee only option conceivable.
RIGHT NOW you have these alternatives:
To remain forever part of a sleeping world…
To gradually abandon thee hopes and dreams of childhood…
To be permanently addicted to the drug of the commonplace…
Or, to fight alongside us in thee Temple ov Psychick Youth! A New Way On!
Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth has been convened in order to act as a catalyst and focus for the Individual development of all those who wish to reach inwards and strike out. Maybe you are one of these, already feeling different, dissatisfied, separate from thee mass around you, instinctive and alert? You are already one of us. The fact you have this message is a start in itself.
Don’t think we are going to tell you what to do, what to be. The world is full of institutions that would be delighted if you thought and did exactly what they told you. Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth is not and NEVER WILL BE one of them. We offer no dogmas, and no promises of comfort or easy answers.
You are going to have to find out your Self, we offer only the method of survival as a True Being, we give you back to yourself, we support your Individuality in which the Spirit and Will united burn with passion & pride.
Our function is to direct and support. Work that is needlessly repeated is simply wasteful. Accordingly we will be making public books, manuscripts & other recordings of our progress, in various formats, video and audio. These do not contain meaningless dogma but are examples of our interests & beliefs in action. They are made not as entertainment, but as experience, not the mundane experience of day-to-day routine but of the Spirit & Will triumphant