INSIDE OUTER SPACE-An Appreciation of Kenneth Grant

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Anyone conversant with the work of Kenneth Grant cannot help but associate his name with the word Extraterrestrial. His books are surrounded and permeated by an alien aura, fashioned from-and hidden within-layers and levels of an unfolding dimensionality of consciousness. The language and symbolism employed in his writing simultaneously circles into and out of the ‘Weird.’ From the surreal sensuality of Austin Spare’s artistry to the visionary voudoo of Michael Bertiaux to his own arcane appropriation of Lovecraftian Lore, Grant is ever evoking the presence of the ‘Otherworldly.’ As his writing progresses, the substance of magical tradition and history moves forward into an intensifying fusion with science-fictional futurism. The remote past is projected against, and then into, a backdrop of starry space, opening into a cognizance of ‘Outer Gateways,’ contact points with areas of Being and Non-Being increasingly identified as Non-human. UFOs streak into the ordered march of heavenly bodies and Modern Magi maneuver through the fantastic fluctuations of the Incoming Current. Where Gods and Men once held parlance, Starships assail the fabric of Time, the Oracle marking a midpoint betwixt the human being and Entities whose origin can only be described as ‘From Beyond.’

Grant makes his motivation for this thematic focus clear in a 1990 interview with the Skoob Occult Review:

 

Skoob: What is the purpose of your books?

Kenneth Grant: The main purpose is to prepare people for encounters with unfamiliar states of consciousness.

S: Do these include extraterrestrial encounters?

KG: Yes, extra-, sub-, and ultra-terrestrial encounters.

S: You think such events are imminent?

KG: They are likely at any time, but whether now or at some future period, their occurrence is certain and it is necessary to be prepared for such events.[i]

Grant’s nine volume series of books, collectively known as The Typhonian Trilogies, are works of particular interest and application to those involved in the ‘93 Current,’ a philosophy and life pulse rooted in and springing from the ‘Law of Thelema,’ as proclaimed and codified by the British Magician and Prophet, Aleister Crowley. In fact, without considerable grounding in- and understanding of-Crowley’s work, Grant’s creative compilations will be largely inexplicable and impenetrable. It would be erroneous, however, to approach Grant as a mere expositor. His writing develops, extends and evolves the life work of his former teacher into arenas alien even for many who have embraced and set their feet upon the Path promulgated by the ‘Great Beast.’ As such, it is not unusual to meet with some perplexity, confusion and apprehension when first entering this strange terrain. If any thought Crowley to be ‘too concentrated, too abstruse, too occult for ordinary minds to apprehend,’[ii] his student and friend, having entered into his own as one of the Magi, would turn the volume up to 11, riding its stellar soundscape into dimensions of which Crowley would only hint in his writings. If The Great Beast shook the popular mindset with his talk of angels and demons, or recommendation of rites and ritual culled from a more medieval aesthetic, Grant shakes those who have arrived at some understanding and familiarity with the language and forms of that Magickal Milieu.

From one perspective, Crowley sought to modernize archaic forms, revealing the kernel of truth hidden therein and applying the methods and means of an antiquated art to our evolved and scientific sensibility. Grant, having passed through his own ‘discipleship’ with Crowley, did the same. He was not, however, destined to rest on the top rung of that ladder.

Some critics have accused Grant of neglecting the Heights for the Depths. Such a view expresses the most superficial survey of his work. In his book Remembering Aleister Crowley, Grant states, ‘My main interest was (and still is) in Oriental Mysticism.’[iii] This is crucial to bear in mind when venturing through the veils and sinister shades of his esoteric explorations. It is also essential to the essence of the Extraterrestrialism of the Typhonian Tradition.

Within the Supernal Triad of the Qabalistic Tree of Life, we find the transmundane and primordial principles of Chokmah and Binah fused into the Unity of Kether, The Crown. The so-called ‘False Sephira’ of Daath embodies a dangerous depth (an Abyss) separating this Transcendent Triad from the lower realms of ordinary human consciousness. The Trilogies place great emphasis on this particular realm and have thus been met with some confusion in those identifying this atmosphere as an ‘evil’ to be evacuated in the progressive ‘ascent’ of Initiatory Consciousness. If one envisions the Summit of Spiritual Striving as an all encompassing globe of Light, Grant’s energy would drive his chariot beyond even this, seeking the Sun Behind The Sun.

One is here reminded of Crowley’s words, describing the ascent of the ‘imaginary body’ through the successive strata of Space and Mind, in ‘Liber O’:

Let him continue in this so long as the breath of life is in him. Whatever threatens, whatever allures, though it were Typhon and all his hosts loosed from the pit and leagued against him, though it were from the very Throne of God Himself that a Voice issues bidding him stay and be content, let him struggle on, ever on.[iv]

 The arena of Daath was thereby penetrated and the realms it opens to systematically explored.

We will momentarily discuss the significance of this theme in Grant’s work, as it provides a profound Key to his Occult Alienology. It is not our intent to explain Grant but rather to examine elements infused in his work which may be understood as a definite development of the ‘Oriental Mysticism’ forming the bedrock of his life and message.

Involved with O.T.O. in the United Kingdom, Grant also orchestrated an experimental sub-group called the Nu-Isis Lodge. This collective not only pursued magickal workings in a group context but followed the threads of a very specific Path, one which led to realms outside the areas traditionally explored by those involved with Western Hermetic Schools.

Just as The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn had claimed contact with overseeing and discarnate entities known as the ‘Secret Chiefs,’ Crowley directed the Order of which he was Outer Head based on his own communication with a ‘Praeternatural Intelligence’ called Aiwass. Intensely investigating these and other such contacts, Grant conducted extensive experimentation with the techniques taught by Crowley and others. The result was a collection of communications from Entities heralding, not from the Astral Realms or Ancient Egypt, but distant dimensions, oblique to the observation of the objective mind.

Crowley had stated, towards the end of his life, that such contact was the only hope for mankind, as a whole, to advance. While some sought to limit their experimentation with such ‘Outer Limits,’ calling on the Crowleyan Corpus as a canonized ‘ring-pass-not,’ Grant was the Elisha catching the Mantle of his Master. Crowley wrote of his firm conviction that the reception of his ‘Divinely Inspired’ Book of the Law was the FIRST of such communications from its Source. Either he was mistaken or his words heralded what Kenneth Grant would realize in both his life and literary output. In following this lead, Grant has not only remained faithful to the Vision Crowley devoted his life to but has taken his own place amongst the Company of the Masters. It is of little consequence that small and sectarian minds have found objection to Grant’s Vision. The Legacy of Aleister Crowley itself continues to meet such resistance and yet persists. Similarly, Grant remains a Man for the Future.

This is not an issue of anticipating some historical vindication for we can see how history perpetuates the memory of the base and ignorant alongside genius. Our society is yet enamored with vanity over beauty and symbolism over substance. No, Kenneth Grant’s work is a Gateway to our best potential, distant and unthought of possibilities, which we may yet realize in this lifetime. As humans, we are the hope and future of our Simian past. We are also underdeveloped creatures who have our own future toward which we turn our gaze. This can only appear as alien in both form and feel. For those who shrink from the change and shock of metamorphic mutation, this is, indeed, a threatening proposal. The appearance of the Future Self signifies the obliteration of what we are (or perhaps, more accurately, how we seem to be). Is it any wonder that accounts of Alien abduction are often typified by terror and a sense of personal violation? The hardwired survival instinct within each of us cannot help but recognize the implications of what it, often unwillingly, has intersected with.

On the other hand, for those who will dare, the Englishman Kenneth Grant assumes his Transcendental Role as our Frater Aossic Aiwass, human emissary of an Extradimensional Influx and Power at the periphery of our own perceptive parameters. His artistry augments our ascent by means of an unconventional usage of language as the vehicle whereby we interface with, and are transformed by, an Intelligence and Life radiating from beyond our present state of affairs.

When I first read Kenneth Grant, I was perplexed, unnerved and, at the same time, mystified. His writing was extraordinarily dense. The numeric symbolism was overwhelming. Within a single paragraph, he would reference a tremendously diverse multitude of ideas with which I was unfamiliar. He would also allude to very sinister and disconcerting practices. I found it hard to ‘stick with it’ and would put his work down to pursue something with more clarity. Despite this derailing, I would repeatedly return to his books. I was disorientated and, at times, disturbed. Yet, I found myself irresistibly fascinated. And every time I would enter his ‘world,’ I wanted to be a ‘fly on the wall’ of Nu-Isis Lodge. He would speak of fantastic and outrageous happenings and I wanted to witness, for myself, the events he described. Doubt and desire would alternate. Ultimately, both would be extinguished in a sudden and unforeseen Gnosis which led me back to these strange books with an unprecedented passion. My awareness of what Grant calls the ‘Alien’ awoke and a sense of urgency, as opposed to mere curiosity, drove me back to his words.

I had been practicing a form of Japanese Buddhism when it occurred. Crowley’s Thelema and Grant’s difficult work was far from my mind. After years of involvement with this school or that, I thought I had ‘found my way’ and was not anticipating any sort of ‘return’ to my former fascination with the Message of the Master Therion.

This is how it happens. Intrusion. Invasion. The ‘stars are aright’ and the conditions propitious. If one is ‘unprepared,’ such an influx may be traumatic, shattering the reference points upon which one has staked their self-understanding. St. Paul is about ‘business as usual’ when knocked off his horse and struck blind, forced to confront the Christ with whom his whole existence has been at enmity. He ‘kicks against the pricks’ until finally opening to the deeper reality which will not be denied. The result is his Conversion, Transformation and Evolution.

Personally, I remain cynical of many accounts of ‘alien contact.’ As a culture, we tend to encounter such stories only as they offer an economic gain to the media moguls who deliver them to us. What comes through our TV screen is, undoubtedly, bound up in commercial interest and the ceaseless hunger for diversion and entertainment we crave as a society. UFO sightings may as well take their place with the wholly unconvincing ‘Ghost Hunters’ and Psuedo-psychics contacting deceased relatives for a ‘live studio audience.’ Consider how often we cut to ‘commercial break’ and note what is being sold.

Despite the cant of commercial media, the phenomena itself is not so easily dismissed, especially when it ‘intrudes’ into one’s experience. The science fiction writer Philip Dick was not seeking to confirm any preexisting religious beliefs when he encountered ‘God.’ His was a disconcerting experience and not one embraced with hungry credulity. Navigating through his intellect’s defense mechanisms, Dick was able to meet this ‘Incoming Current’ halfway. The information it bestowed crushed his previous grasp on reality, transformed his work and, quite literally, saved his child’s life.

For myself, a series of events, wholly unsought after, entered my life and disrupted its ‘reality tunnel.’ I was thrown into a zone I had never before encountered, despite many previous years of esoteric endeavor. An Intelligence outside of myself began to communicate information in a very sequential and patterned fashion. This Intelligence indicated an origin in the Sirius Star System. I was, honestly, at a loss as to how I should make sense of what was occurring. Despite my focus on Buddhist practice and teaching, what came through was an unmistakable reference to Crowley’s Book of the Law. I can distinctly recall thinking ‘I am way out of my depth! I don’t know what is happening! I need someone to help…!’ The first person I thought of was that elusive Englishman, Kenneth Grant. He had written about this sort of thing! I recall bounding up the stairs to a bookshelf where Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God was tucked away. Reentering this text, I felt as if I was reading a completely new author. The ‘Kenneth Grant’ who was previously difficult and daunting suddenly seemed sharp and simple. Where I once thought ‘he must be putting me on,’ I now thought ‘My God! This man has BEEN where I’m AT!’ I devoured the book. Unaware of the collector’s market, I underlined and scrawled in the margins. This book was not some rarity of resale value. It was a lifeline, cast into the Labyrinth and winding towards new portals and access points. Rather than showing the way OUT, it began showing the Way IN.

The intervening years have found me voyaging further into this Mystery, sometimes lost, other times hot on the trail. What is clear to me is that I passed through a Gateway and the Door sealed behind me. I had imagined what it might be like to be present at the events described in Grant’s books. Just when it was all furthest from my mind, I fell through.

When we catapult into the ‘Beyond,’ all we have known and been until that point comes trailing after us. This portion of our Being is forced to confront those unfamiliar states of consciousness Grant said his books were meant to prepare people for. Our confrontation does not automatically assure successful assimilation. We may attempt to fit the forms of the Incoming Current into preexisting portions of deep seated mental mechanisms, clustered about and supporting the fierce drive to survive. The result is confinement of the Current, its boundless energy pressing against its prison. The explosive expression of its nature through such ‘mind forg’d manacles’ gives birth to monstrosities. The Sermon on the Mount is turned into the Spanish Inquisition.

We have alluded to Crowley making modern the archaic language of magic. Carl Jung would deeply explore the mythic and magical realms as an upsurge from the Collective Unconscious into the psyche of the individual. This has certainly been more palatable to the modern mindset than the literalism of previous generations grappling with the same areas of the mind. From this viewpoint, things may be analyzed, docketed and dealt with. There is a tendency, however, to stunt the experience by perpetual relation to a psychoanalytical view. The need to explain based on previous understanding prohibits a full launch into that which we have yet to understand.

Grant, on the other hand, does not attempt to capture the unsettling emergence of the unfamiliar by relating it to a precise system of explanation. This has caused some of his more superficial readers to believe he is speaking in literal and physical terms when describing phenomena of an ‘alien’ nature. Having stated this, we must add that Grant is not simply repackaging psychological insights in the symbolic garb of pulp fiction. As much as his work should not be read as ‘literal,’ neither should one try to decipher some symbolic code and get at what might ‘really’ be finding expression. The language of The Trilogies is neither literal nor metaphorical. It is Magickal.

In his book How to read Wittgenstein, Professor of Philosophy, Ray Monk, comments:

Wittgenstein once wrote: I think I summoned up my attitude to philosophy when I said: philosophy ought to be written only as a poetic composition… If philosophical understanding is to be conveyed—i.e. stated directly in literal language—it must be through something more analogous to poetry. The philosopher has to bear in mind always that what he or she wants to say cannot be said, and, therefore, it has to be conveyed another way; it has to be shown. In this way… the unutterable will be, unutterably, contained in what has been uttered.[v]

This is exemplified in Kenneth Grant’s writings. Through the medium of language, he is showing that which cannot otherwise be expressed. Likewise, he focuses, perhaps more so than any other occultist, on the medium of visual art as possessing this power. Dali, Ernst, Tanguy and others all take their place with the most learned and dedicated of magicians, often surpassing them in effectiveness of methodology.

Visual depiction of that which evades the logic of the layman’s language is not, however, the only medium whereby one may give expression to the ineffable. Although we may find examples of Grant’s drawing and painting throughout the Trilogies, he is first and foremost a writer. Confronted with the limitations of language, Grant has single-handedly invented his own ‘genre,’ dissolving the demarcations between fact and fiction and opening his readership into an awareness where such tidy categorizing cannot be clung to.

In the truly significant volume Outside the Circles of Time, Grant makes this observation:

A new manner of communication has to be evolved; language itself has to be reborn, revivified, and given a new direction and a new momentum. The truly creative image is born of creative imagining, and this is-ultimately-an irrational process that transcends the grasp of human logic.[vi]

Thus it is that Grant calls upon the writers and poets who have done with the written word what the most modern of artists have done with the visual image. I have yet to read a single criticism of Grant that acknowledges the ‘poetic composition’ of his work, let alone displaying any understanding of what a ‘poetic composition’ might be.

William Blake would call attention to the distinction between Allegory and Vision. Allegory is a metaphoric medium. Vision occurs when distinction between the symbol and what is symbolized collapses, melds and is understood within the union betwixt the Perceiver and that which is Perceived. This is the Gateway whereby we may rightly read Grant. It is not a zone we might waltz into without risk. Sanity itself is set upon and we expose ourselves to the possibility of being torn asunder and sucked into the vortex of the ‘irrational process’ we have opened ourselves to.

Despite the danger of first testing and then pushing the action of the mind beyond the limits of its ‘safety zone,’ we acutely feel the danger and ultimate entropy in stasis. If there is risk before us, it offers a better chance than sitting on the certainty of dissolution rising beneath our feet. Our nature is to go, to move, to live.

Therefore we are driven by a fundamentally irrational force toward that which exists on the outskirts of whatever safe haven our minds have constructed. This impetus is not some senseless flailing about nor is it courting disaster without heed for its own interest. Rather, it IS what IS, wholly Itself, something which cannot be described as having a ‘nature,’ for it IS that nature. It utilizes reason as a type of vehicle to assist its movement and yet is, itself, beyond the bounds of reason. We might view it as the force which is both calling us from The Beyond and propelling us into its Alien Territory, all at once.

As reason is ridden into these zones, beyond the normal range of its function, it enters into a crisis. It screams for some framework whereby it might maintain control of the situation. However, ‘If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops and does nought.’ (Liber AL II: 30)

But Will does NOT stop. It is only reason which cries ‘Why.’ Perhaps one of the best replies to this desperate inquiry is given by Grant in his essay ‘The Adamantine Way.’ Grant, treating of the nature of all phenomena as a creation of consciousness, writes:

The reason why we create such a universe of name and form is as inexplicable as why the artist paints his pictures. It may be sheer joy; a compulsion springing from unknown depths; it may be that as art is the nature of the artist, so also the production of name and form is the nature of the mind. And so events, peopled with infinite individual and illusory selves, unfold upon the screen of the One Consciousness and imagine a cycle of life and death, until there is realization by these illusory selves of the real substratum of their being.

It should be remembered that such an answer as this springs from the reasoning mind, and so from the start it is part of the illusion it sets out to explain; so also is the question, which likewise rises from the ignorant assumption that there is such an ego with its desires and vasanas to explain away whereas in fact there is no such thing.[vii]

Gaining in proximity to such a realization, the ego cannot help but spasm and feel abject terror at the proposition of its dissolution. It recoils.

In the pages of Outside the Circles of Time, Grant speaks of an Extraterrestrial Entity called Lam. Amongst the considerable amount of commentary offered in conjunction with this Being, he states plainly:

Lam is the Gateway to the Void. Its number, 71, is that of Alil, ‘Nothing’, ‘an apparition or image’. Lam is the image of the void.[viii]

We can begin to see why Lam is a figure whose appearance may be perceived as emitting a malevolent or menacing aura to those who are not adequately prepared for such an encounter. The emergence of the image of Lam is a unique collision between its essence and the content of the human mind which is opened to such an influx. Although the Typhonian Order embodies an on-going exploration of the worlds to which this Gate leads, the average human being tends to be ignorant of such realms or is unwillingly exposed to them, with accompanying traumatic impressions of hostile or antagonistic force.

One may ask why forces from Outside the Gate would thus enter into human consciousness, ‘invading’ it, as it were. The answer, as much as we can provide such a thing, is found in the aforementioned Will. We have spoken of how the Will is movement, action, going. We have also indicated that this action, although irrational, is not some senseless spinning in a circle. Rather, the Will is the life pulse and movement of the Cosmic Evolutionary Current. It is growing into Itself. The extensions made outward are simultaneously swimming inward, formulating the Masonic Point Within the Circle—or the Globe which is Hadit within the Infinitude of the Body of Nuit.

As the Word becomes Flesh, the Flesh is awakened to the sounding of the Word, which can only be heard as the Voice of the Silence. The Mind rises to fuse with Anti-Mind and this intersection marks the contact point between what we identify as Human and Alien. When such a Union occurs, the horizontal and vertical forces evoke The Point-or the Going Globe of Liber AL, now radically vitalized and unleashed by the polarities of this contact.

Blake writes that ‘Without Contraries is no progression, Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary for human existence.’ Read from a Cosmic vantage point, this is not so dissimilar from the Buddhist declaration that ‘Samsara is Nirvana’ or the Qabalistic statement that ‘Kether is in Malkuth.’ Some schools of religious and mystical bent teach a linear approach to the ideal of ‘Progression.’ One is identified as being somehow at the ‘bottom,’ as it were, and makes successive steps to get to the ‘top.’ For some, the notion of the ‘top’ is equated with the extinction of whatever qualities persist at the ‘bottom.’ Regardless of how much progress one makes along such a line, they will remain limited within this linear consciousness. The two realms are opposed and divided, one considered good (or desirable) and the other evil (or not so desirable). One doesn’t escape the wheel of duality by further emphasizing this opposition. Rather, one must come into The Point, a singularity which is in no wise hostile to the multiplicity.

Lam is the Gate to this Gnosis as well as the Key which opens the Gate. We cannot say that Lam is a symbol for a psychological event, personified as an Entity for, as we steadily unsheathe this Mystery, we go far beyond the typical terrestrial modes of cognition and categorization. Coiled within the constraints of the human mind, we distinguish between phenomena, calling one thing ‘real’ and another ‘unreal.’ We recognize this thing as an ‘entity’ and this other thing as a ‘non-entity’ (an object, an idea, a relationship and so on). Yet all such categorizations are really relative value judgments we are placing on our experience of an endlessly shifting flux of happening. Inasmuch as it is possible to push the limit of our ability to perceive and receive, we may enter into a greater comprehension (or better put, Communion) with Intelligences of which we were previously ignorant.

This Communion is an Opening of the Gate whereby the Cosmic Mind both incarnates and disincarnates all at once. As long as we are holding to modes of perception which are bound up in the time-space logic of our mammalian and planetary life, we cannot hope to envision, let alone experience, this Union. As Grant states, to even talk this way about it ‘springs from the reasoning mind, and so from the start it is part of the illusion it sets out to explain.’ Despite this, the Gnosis embodied in the Opening of the Gate reveals that both the Void and the Manifesting World of ‘Illusions’ are not at odds. In fact, they are both, essentially, the same thing.

What we have been discussing is a profoundly mystical state of awareness. This mysticism will prove to be an absolutely essential key to grasping Grant’s magick.

In her book, Initiation: Human and Solar, Alice Bailey writes:

We must recognize also that danger lies in dogma and in the hide-bound facts of textbooks, and that safety lies in flexibility, and in a shifting angle of vision. A fact, for instance, looked at from the standpoint of humanity (using the word ‘fact’ in the scientific sense as that which has been demonstrated past all doubt and question) may not be a fact from the standpoint of a Master. To Him it may be but part of a greater fact, only a fraction of the whole. Since His vision is fourth and fifth dimensional, His realization of the place of time in eternity must be more accurate than ours. He sees things from above downwards and as one to whom time is not.[ix]

 

It is not the province of the ‘Master’ to impart a Gnosis we lack. It is the arrival at Gnosis, unfolded from our own deep core, which allows us to open our field of perception to a degree capable of cognition within the ‘fourth and fifth dimensions.’ Having passed through and dispensed with the notion of rejecting the so-called ‘lower world’ for the higher, our mystical extension of consciousness finds a new field of action whereby the Will acclimates, assumes its direction and Goes further. This shifting into increasingly comprehensive states of being is embodied in the ritual work of the Freemasons, where the soul which has ‘long been in darkness’ seeks and finds Illumination only to return to the Lodgeroom in search of ‘more Light.’

Initiation after Initiation follows. We are social creatures, whose very language has evolved from a desire and need to communicate. Contact in these realms beyond the terrestrial calls forth the same necessity. We err when we conceive of these possibilities as duplicating the dynamics of human intercourse with the addition of some exotic ornament or form. This is precisely where Grant eludes many readers, although he is often speaking in terms as clear as possible.

The capstone to Grant’s Trilogies is the monumental volume The Ninth Arch, which opens with the text of Liber OKBISh. This text struck me from the very first reading as a genuine account of traffick with the sort of entities we are discussing. OKBISh is not as immediately poetic or coherent as Liber AL. This is an important thing to note. When I read Liber AL as a young man, I imagined that, were a preternatural intelligence to thus communicate with myself, it would be characterized by the same sort of poetic tone. Years later, I would understand how such communications filter through the thought-structures of the medium and are colored thereby. If a student of this neo-Thelemic school of thought and research is perplexed by Liber AL’s more cryptic and encoded passages (such as II: 75-76), OKBISh gushes with raw energy, at times taking form only in the most guttural of sounds, if sound is manifest at all.

The text of OKBISh evokes a cadence beyond its word or meter. One can feel the pulse of consciousness itself rising, sinking and bobbing through unchartered regions of cognition. It is as if the medium dips down into a depth from which no connection may be formed with the conscious mind. Statements and sentences fragment, coherent components of communication dissolve into non-human vibratory emanations and, where the biomechanism of the medium is insufficient for translation, Silence ensues.

This Silence, however, is a Selah, broken by the mind’s return from the Void Realms, magnetizing to itself the impress of all that may be conveyed by word and image. The opening page of this mysterious missive from Beyond states:

To begin…Lam is Okbi Spider Writing. Number of the Great Star and the three tentacles. Walking backwards only then it meets its own Light. (OKBISh 1:4-6)[x]

 

The utterance of these words comes swimming upwards through a wyrd webwork of incomprehensible star-speech. Concise and to the point, these verses utilize the native language and symbol structures employed by the Nu Isis Lodge to convey the Nature of their origin, thereby announcing the quality of mind requisite to reading-and engaging with-that which is to follow.

What is ‘Spider Writing?’ It is web weaving. Mandala making. The elements of communication are not assembled in a sequence of separate symbols. Rather the whole is interconnected, each point linked with the rest in a staggering complex of combinations. This web of arcane geometries is alive in an ever shifting series of vibratory undulations. The three tentacles would seem to signify an inverse of the Supernal Triad, the reflex of L.V.X. in N.O.X.. The number of The Great Light is equated with its opposite. As we ascend to the Light of the Supernals, this Light descends into the Depths and the two are made one. Lam, Gateway Guru betwixt the Manifest and Void, walks ‘backwards,’ evokes the opposite of that which is beyond opposites. The place where this conjoining occurs is in the zone of Daath, an environment which not only distinguishes between the human and transhuman but connects them as well.

Returning to Grant’s Outside the Circles of Time, we find this poignant observation:

Owing to humanity’s exclusive traffic with dayside phenomena, and the use of the front of the Tree by initiates of the Aeons of Isis and Osiris, a lopsided situation has arisen which may be corrected only be systematic invocation of the qlipoth, or nightside equivalents of the power-zones, cosmic and mundane. This is the reason for so much attention being directed by initiates today to the subconsciousness in the human being, and to extra-dimensional consciousness in the planetary and cosmic organism.[xi]

This paradoxical verity has been expressed by various individuals and schools through a variety of terms. Lao Tzu’s ‘Tao.’ Austin Spare’s ‘Neither/Neither.’ The Buddhist concept of ‘Esho Funi.’ Advaita Vedanta’s ‘Non-Duality.’ Kenneth Grant does not simply expound such a postulate, however. His books are a detailed exploration of the mechanics involved in unleashing this Gnosis.

He continues:

Each individual magician should discover his own peculiar modes of access. These cannot be contrived artificially for they are suggested directly from the subconsciousness by chance occurrences of nervous stimulation which engender the atmosphere necessary for creative work in any sphere.[xii]

It is not within the scope of this essay to examine this particular area of action in detail. Suffice to say, the ‘nervous stimulation’ of which Grant writes has correspondence on the corporeal, chemical and metaphysical planes, forming connective networks between then. The ‘chance occurrences’ not only open one to the unfamiliar states of consciousness, alluded to earlier in the Skoob Interview, but inform the magician of what must be developed to transition into full facility in such realms. The displacement of thought-structures immersed in ‘dayside phenomena’ also entails an intense precision of attentiveness.

Applying this approach to OKBISh and other texts like it we are no longer faced with a code to be cracked but a web-song permeating the cosmic topography wherein our Will flows from form to form. The investigation of the text then becomes a true tapping of the intelligences which informed it, as opposed to attempting a capture of trans-rational communications in the net of the mind.

In the short story, From Beyond, H. P. Lovecraft’s character, Crawford Tillinghast, speaks, from a place wavering betwixt impassioned genius and maniacal madness:

What do we know… of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with a wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have. I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break down the barriers.[xiii]

 

Compare this passage to Aleister Crowley’s words, from ‘On The Reception of the Book of the Law’:

 

I frankly accept the most materialistic conceptions of Victorian science. I yell with unholy glee that consciousness is a function of the brain. I merely add that nature is continuous, and that it is therefore absurd to suppose that any special group of phenomena and no other should exhibit unique qualities…. all matter is to some extent conscious; and so there may be, all over the Universe, individuals of many orders-only the shallowest salvationists would sneer “why don’t we see them?” The Unknown-from “Australia before it was discovered” (as the child’s riddle says), to bacilli, Hertz rays and electrons-had the impudence to exist without our formal recognition.

I hope the above remarks have destroyed the a priori denials of the possibility of the existence of discarnate intelligences. Nay, more, I trust that I have established a strong probability that they are everywhere.[xiv]

 

What Lovecraft envisioned in his fiction and Crowley described with the language of reason, Kenneth Grant evokes, maps, and presents to his readership as an investigator of the Unknown, a Pioneer of the outermost fringe of Modern Magickal practice and a profound Mystic, whose incarnation into Space-Time has been irradiated by an influx of Energy and Gnosis from the Outer Spaces.

Emphasizing in his work that it is not his purpose to ‘try to prove anything’ but rather to ‘construct a magical mirror’ by means of the ‘inbetweeness concepts’ whereby we may access ‘unknown dimensions of…consciousness,’[xv] Grant eludes the scrutiny of the scientific mind as well as its counterpart in the credulity of the wishful. Both categories may be considered as expressions of a terrestrial consciousness. Approaching the Typhonian Trilogies as neither fact nor fiction but rather as that ‘magical mirror’ of which Grant wrote, we may find the ‘the unutterable… contained in what has been uttered.’

This is the Voice of the Silence and the Gateway to Lam, Itself a Gateway to Realms yet unimagined. To reach out and touch this mirror is to enter it, to read these writings with more than the intellect’s means and modes of definition and to, at last, be Inside Outer Space.

-Kyle Fite

[i] ‘Interview with Kenneth Grant,’ in Skoob Occult Review, Autumn 1990, Issue 3, 5.

[ii] A. Crowley, Magick: Liber ABA (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 2002), 3.

[iii] K. Grant, Remembering Aleister Crowley (London: Skoob Books Publishing Ltd., 1991), v.

[iv] Crowley, Magick, 626.

[v] R. Monk, How to read Wittgenstein (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005), 27.

[vi] K. Grant, Outside the Circles of Time (London: Starfire Publishing Ltd, 2008), 12.

[vii] K. Grant, At the Feet of the Guru (London: Starfire Publishing Ltd. 2006), 41.

[viii] Grant, Outside the Circles of Time, 154.

[ix] A. Bailey, Initiation Human and Solar (New York: Lucis Publishing Company, 1997), 5.

[x] K. Grant, The Ninth Arch (London: Starfire Publishing Ltd., 2002), 1.

[xi] Grant, Outside the Circles of Time, 236-237.

[xii] Ibid, 258.

[xiii] From Beyond, from Necronomicon, The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft (Orion Publishing Group, 2008) p. 388

[xiv] Crowley, Magick, 700.

[xv] Grant, Outside the Circles of Time, 12.

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6 thoughts on “INSIDE OUTER SPACE-An Appreciation of Kenneth Grant”

  1. This may be the single best explication of Kenneth Grant’s work I have come across. Thanks so much for writing and sharing it.

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