Saturday, July 6, 2013

Threshold: Black Magic and Shattered Geometry By Ryan Anschauung & the Temple of THEM

Fall of Man 2011.  207 pages total.  Duodecimo (Twelvemo).  Black and white illustrations by Namtaru Creations. Four volume set.

Available in a single edition:

Standard edition: Four softback booklets with black suede slipcase, limited to 338 copies.  As of this writing, the publisher has noted they are down to their last copies.

I do not normally review paperback editions, but this set had such a unique presentation that I felt it deserved a brief mention and review.  Threshold: Black Magic and Shattered Geometry is a four volume set containing commentary on various aspects of the darker side of post-modern magic.  The individual book titles are as follows:

  • TERATO  (60 pages)
  • HARUSPEX  (54 pages)
  • ENGRAM  (43 pages)
  • MALEFICIA  (50 pages)

One will immediately notice that the first letters of the titles create the word, "THEM", referring to the magical body "The Temple of THEM".  The first volume, TERATO establishes a baseline for the group's belief system, which appears to be a mixture of post-modern currents such as Satanism (the authors' own take on the term), Chaos-Magic, and psychological concepts of "Ego","Self", and the "Id".  The author presents a duelistic world view of two apposing forces, the "Magian" representing the status quo, control systems, and obfuscation, and the "Satanist", representing individuality, rebellion, and liberation.

The second volume, HARUSPEX, contains the authors' general philosophy, and some personal experiences,  It's heavy on opinion, including a few rants about  Man's laziness, reliance upon superstition, and the need for women to play a larger role in occultism. It also touches upon techniques for readers to govern and channel their emotions to work for them rather than against them.  Lastly, the booklet discusses elements of sigil magic, sympathetic magic, and visualizations.

The third volume, ENGRAM includes what The Temple of THEM consider the "Fundamentals of Magic".  It also contains a number of invocations, rituals and alchemical distillations of planetary intelligences.  It concludes with a inspired ritual for "Rain Magic*k" that is rather unique.  Of the four booklets, this one contains the most practical and instructive information for readers.

The fourth volume, MALEFICIA, deals primarily with sex magic, "Narrative Magick", and psychic vampirism.  It includes rituals on how to attract members of the opposite sex.  The section on psychic vampirism, includes a number of rituals for both protecting/shielding oneself and methods of energy exchange.  It ends with a Glossary of terms unique to The Temple of THEM.  This is a welcome addition, as magical groups tend to develop their own internal phrases and terminology that may not translate well outside the group.

The booklets themselves are made of simple red card stock with printing in black.  The pages are white with a satin texture.  Numerous illustrations by Namtaru Creations are found throughout all four volumes.  Booklets come with a black suede slipcase blind stamped with one of The Temple of THEM's symbols, a circle with four tendrils turning widdershins about vertical mark (perhaps an "I", or a Roman numeral 1).  I found that the slipcase was a bit too tight for the booklets.  The books fit exact with no wiggle room.  One has to uncomfortably force the fourth book in to make it fit.  This could be a problem with my particular slipcase and may not reflect other copies.  

Overall Threshold: Black Magic and Shattered Geometry is an interesting body of work.  At times it reads like a manifesto of the Temple of THEM's particular beliefs and magical outlook.  The authors' have strong opinions on a number of subjects.  Readers are unlikely to agree with all of them, but they will likely find some value in the discussion, and perhaps be struck by a few flashes of insight that they can apply to their own practice.  I'm going to assume that Ryan Anschauung is the primary author:  His writing is very clear and concise and not overburdened with black magic mumbo-jumbo, which plagues so many occult books these days.  His writing also reveals significant experience within a diverse range of occult topics.  I hope to see more from him.  Lastly, Fall of Man should be applauded for trying something new and publishing Threshold: Black Magic and Shattered Geometry in such an interesting (and affordable) format.  Also look for their newest release, Lemulgeton - Goetia and the Stellar Tradition by Leo Holmes.  Available in two affordable editions HERE