El-Branden Brazil

Photographer, Writer & Mystic Traveller

Posts from the ‘The Occult’ category

H.P. Lovecraft

607BB511-3ACD-472A-9E6C-330C873722F5Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in 1890, and became one of the legends of 20th. Century Horror literature. Like his hero, Edgar Allen Poe, who preceded him, Lovecraft’s shadow on the world of horror is undeniable.

Lovecraft’s weird tales focus upon a fearful hidden cult that worships ancient and forgotten gods of such perverse anger and abstract terror. The mere mention of these foul, primeval beings, often brings insanity to those that dare to investigate their existence.

Perhaps, Lovecraft’s most famous creation is Cthulhu – a foul slumbering beast with a face of octopus tentacles, imprisoned within the icy walls of the subterranean city of R’lyeh. Yet, he is but one in a pantheon of godly menaces, that includes such diabolical horrors as Yog Sothoth, Nyarlathotep and Azathoth.

The existence of these gods is spoken of only in the whispers of the insane, who have discovered information from rare antique grimoires, housed in the great academic libraries across the world. The most dangerous of these texts is the Necronomicon, written by the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred.

Lovecraft’s macabre tales, often set in New England, are rich in detail and lineage. As a teenager, I was fascinated by the people and creatures that filled the pages of his short stories and novellas. Reading his work, filled me with a trepidation and dread that something true and dangerous was being revealed. It comes as no surprise that the occult themes in his tales have drawn the attention of some occultists, who view his fictions to be true; something that is rather bizarre, since Lovecraft was an outspoken atheist.

I believe that his stories are rather a very real response to the onslaught of modern society and technology upon his conscience; a social transformation that clashed horribly with his romantic ideals for a bygone era.

However, unlike the worlds of other authors of imagination, Lovecraft’s vision is one that very few of us would wish to have any basis in reality. It is a terrifying universe, where everything that humanity assumes to be true is not, and where cosmic horrors lurk within the darkest corners of the world and in the distant dimensions of space, waiting through millennia for the conditions to be right for their return.

Lovecraft has been criticised for using overly wordy prose and continual repetition of uncommon adjectives, such as eldritch, cyclopean and squamous. For those that do become initiated, this flowery wordiness is part of Lovecraft’s charm.

While he fails to construct fully rounded characters, especially female characters, the unique sense of dread that permeates throughout all his tales makes up for this.

No one writes quite like Lovecraft; even those who continued to add to the Cthulhu Mythos after his death in 1937, such as August Derleth, Robert Bloch, Ramsey Campbell and even Stephen King. They try to imitate his style, but fail to capture the snootiness that was so characteristic of him.

During his lifetime, Lovecraft struggled financially, supporting himself by selling stories to the legendary Weird Tales Magazine, as well as working as a freelance copywriter and re-writer. His fame really developed after his death, generating a cult comparable only to Tolkien. Many movies have been based on his stories, but none have managed to capture the underlying cosmic tone and intellectual distrust for truths passed down through convention. Certainly, it is about time that Hollywood produced a film worthy of his imagination.

Napoleon & The Mystery Within The Pyramid

imageIn 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte embarked on a military expedition of Egypt. Like so many throughout history, he was drawn to the mystique of the Pharoahs.

Napoleon was an influential force in the birth of Egyptology. Accompanying his troops, were also engineers, surveyors, artists and archaeologists, who were required to document the great ruins of the ancient Egyptian civilisation. This led to an explosion of interest in all things Egyptian throughout Europe at the time; an interest that has never waned.

Regardless of the myths that abound, Napoleon was not responsible for the destruction of the Sphinx’s nose. According to legend, Napoleon ordered his troops to aim at the nose for target practice. In actual fact, the nose was most likely removed by a Sufi, named Sa’im al-dahr, in 1378. The reason for this disfigurement was a response to the continuing Sphinx worship that many Egyptians at the time still practiced. In Islam, idol worship is disallowed. A recent event that echoes this, was the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

The inner sanctum of the Pyramids drew Napoleon in, like so many before him and since. After exploring the chambers of Khufu’s Great Pyramid, Napoleon requested to be left alone in the King’s Chamber. When he finally emerged, he is reported to have been extremely shaken and shocked by something within. When asked what had happened, he refused to discuss it and insisted that the incident never be spoken of again.

A friend, who visited Napoleon in his final days, asked him to tell him the secret of that day. Napoleon was ready to speak, but then shook his head and declined. Enigmatically, he responded, ‘No, what’s the use. You’d never believe me.’

Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley

Much fanciful speculation has been written about what occurred. Some have suggested that Napoleon was given a vision of his future.

Interestingly, myth also speaks of Alexander the Great spending a night within the chamber. Although, this has never been substantiated, it is very likely that Alexander would have visited the Pyramids, during his brief period in Egypt.

In his autobiography, the great occultist, Aleister Crowley reported a strange event that occurred within the Pyramid, with his wife, Rose, in 1904.

‘The King’s Chamber was aglow as if with the brightest tropical moonlight. The pitiful dirty yellow flame of the candle was like a blasphemy, and I put it out. The astral light remained during the whole of the invocation and for some time afterwards, though it lessened in intensity as we composed ourselves to sleep. For the rest, the floor of the King’s Chamber is particularly uncompromising. In sleeping out on rocks, one can always accommodate oneself more or less to the local irregularities, but the King’s Chamber reminded me of Brand; and I must confess to having passed a very uncomfortable night. I fear me dalliance had corrupted my Roman virtue. In the morning the astral light had completely disappeared and the only sound was the flitting of the bats.’

Shortly afterwards in Cairo, Rose began to channel an entity called Aiwass, which provided Crowley with his occult magnum opus, The Book Of Law. Over three days, he scribbled down the magickal instructions as they were communicated to him. From this point on, Crowley followed the dictum: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.’

Did Napoleon and Crowley’s strange experiences within the King’s Chamber actually happen? Perhaps, within, great ancient secrets await for those receptive enough to gain access. However, it is also highly possible that both these men of extreme personality became intoxicated by the tantalising mystery that surrounds the Pyramids. Quite clearly, the Pyramids were built with the spiritual in mind, but the reality of the experiences that both men had, is but theirs alone.