2016 was a hell of a year, right?
We’re well into the Aeon of Horus now. This (for about a hundred years now according to Crowley, but now more than ever) is the Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child, in both its revolutionary and reactionary aspects.
A whole generation of artists and revolutionaries is dying, what feels like all at once. We must mourn them, but lest we see this only as tragedy, consider this also a swelling in the ranks of the Mighty Dead. An eternal ancestral power that a new generation of artists and revolutionaries will need for what’s to come. Think, “Strike me down, and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” We are experiencing a transmigration of souls toward new battle lines, while we must claim a new front line ourselves.
It’s time for this child of Babalon to take her own role in this procession, and as a result one of the many things on my mind has been the issue of my “Southernness,” something I haven’t really known how to claim in any productive fashion, even though I know I’ve intimately shaped by where I’ve grown up. Although I’ve yet to analyze this phenomenon with any historical rigor, my mind has been drifting toward the “black sheep” of my family and communities (“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”). Especially the witchy women, the women or gender variant people who have been just a little “off,” a little too brave or brash, a little too weird, they might even have something to do with the Devil. You’ll find them “at the end of a pointed finger.”
The tradition of my ancestors, the ones who call me most directly, is a tradition of dissent within the Modern Western Empire. Their bodies were broken and burned in the making of that Empire, and their descendants, when they’re brave, are spies within its borders.
Which is why I need to talk to you about espionage. This conversation has been a long time coming. It’s been whispered among comrades, but it’s time to also hide in plain sight.
A few data points, partly gleaned from Gordon White’s archonology series, but you can look this up anywhere:
At the end of WWII, a Nazi intelligence officer named Reinhard Gehlen handed over his network of spies to the newly formed Central Intelligence Agency in negotiation with Allen Dulles, later the agency’s first “civilian” director. This exchange involved continued control over the operations of this network of, to be clear, Nazi spies, by Gehlen, a committed Nazi, within the auspices of the CIA as their only agents on the ground within the Soviet Union.
Parallel to this, a 1943 memo from the German Foreign Office reads: “The more the prospects for outright military victory diminish, the more urgent becomes the necessity for all-out psychological warfare.”
Under Dulles, the CIA pursued precisely the kind of campaign psychological operations this Nazi memo details, including the infamous MKUltra drug, hypnosis, and psychic experiments, as well as a dedicated campaign of misinformation throughout assorted civilian media.
In 1952, Generoso Pope, whose father had funded Mussolini, left this CIA psy-ops program and immediately bought the New York Enquirer, relaunching it as tabloid we now know as the National Enquirer. This is a publication that has long discredited legitimate suspicions of various State and corporate “conspiracies” by presenting them as absurd. The fact that “conspiracy theory” is almost always a pejorative in contemporary discourse is largely the product of a CIA psy-op.
And it’s not only the news media that have been subject to these operations. The critical bounds of Abstract Expressionism as a movement, and much of the conceptual identity for modern art in the West as a result, were also a result of the CIA’s psy-ops division in action. The CIA funded and curated a variety of art movements throughout the Cold War as a way to oppose Socialist Realism as the publicly acknowledged artistic vanguard.
I’m only able to hint at a tiny sliver of the full story here, and psy-ops program of the Modern Western Empire is by no means limited to the CIA or to State organizations in general (if you’re interested in learning more, you could do worse than Gordon White, Adam Curtis, or Dominco Losurdo). My aim here is to hint at a larger war than what election cycles, so-called rational debate, and traditional activist efforts toward raising “consciousness” can adequately address.
In light of this monumental assault on our very Reality, I’ve only been able to imagine one response that seems remotely adequate. We need to create our own psy-ops. We need to become spies.
And not the spies of the previous century, whose allegiances ideally were drawn along national boundaries. That is, not double agents, but agents with infinite doubles. It is not a risk to our “cover” to say that we are spies, because we could be running any of a variety of psychological operations at any given moment. This world and its simulacra have multiplied beyond comprehension. The new security is not secrecy, but infinite decoys.
And to claim we are this kind of spy in itself is a psy-op. And it calls us to imagine new ones. Imagine, instead of the traditional vanguard party we had a party that was also a Party, revelry and revolution intertwined, the Saturnalia without end. Imagine a high stakes game of shadows that pitched itself as the next big thing in entertainment, but was actually a recruitment device for the continuing war. A game that like the “maze” in Westworld expands further and further into the “real world” around you the further you travel into its walls. And imagine it’s already happening, because it is. Come see it at the Subversive Arts Festival Extravaganza, and beyond.
Let’s follow one of these ley lines, the Ritual Abjects coven’s new organization, Malefica. It’s my contention that in the near future our survival depends on creating our own psy-ops to combat those we’ve been living in for centuries, and that the only force adequate to this task is witchcraft. I may not necessarily be the most knowledgeable or skilled in any one of the many areas of inquiry this requires, and as such I’ll need plenty of help, coalition, collaboration. But I now realize to enact psy-ops for a new communist witchcraft is a task I was born for.
And along with all the imagining we were doing earlier, I’d like you to imagine one more thing, because it’s true: This war, the war against our Oldest Enemy, is a war we’re going to win.
*Alice Lith will be performing as Ritual Abjects this evening Subversive Arts Festival Extravaganza (S.A.F.E.) at Tapps’ Arts Center.