Hello again Friends,
I hope this finds you in improving circumstances as our shared plague begins to loosen its grip. At a recent corporeal gathering of friends we debated whether Covid is really losing power or if the coming months will see a new resurgence of illness and corresponding quackery from the political fringes. And are we truly in a new world after this shared cataclysm, or will things return to the old horrid baseline of wage slavery and purchased pleasures?
This month I’m writing on War, some upcoming travel, my new alchemical project, and an expanded book review / social commentary that I hope will be thought provoking!
Gods Bless Us, Every One!
As I write this bombs are exploding, both halfway around the world and in my adopted home city of Portland. Today’s news indicates that atrocities in Ukraine are escalating, with reports of civilian families gunned down while fleeing the Russian bombardments. Israel attempts to broker peace between the two nations while simultaneously terrorizing Palestinians and bulldozing their homes. Here locally a perp was caught on video early Sunday morning blowing up a car in the SW Portland parking lot of Kroger Supermarkets affiliate Fred Meyer by stuffing burning materials into the vehicle’s gas tank.
In a world that is, as always, utterly aflame with humanity’s disregard for our collective destiny, perhaps we should all be praying for rain. This poem below, the provenance of which is unclear to me (1), is a good place to start:
We are the guardians of His Beauty
We are the protectors Of the Sun.
There is only one reason
We have followed God into this world:
To encourage laughter, freedom, dance And love.
Let a noble cry inside of you speak to me Saying,
“Hafiz, Don’t just sit there on the moon tonight Doing nothing –
Help unfurl my heart into the Friend’s Mind,
Help, Old Man, to heal my wounded wings!”
We are the companions of His Beauty
We are the guardians Of Truth.
Every man, plant and creature in Existence,
Every woman, child, vein and note
Is a servant of our Beloved –
A harbinger of joy, The harbinger of Light.
I’ll be doing a bit of traveling throughout the next few months and I’ll be bringing my harmonica. If you’d like to help arrange a performance, a reading, or an art showing please get in touch! I’ll mainly be in the Midwest but side trips are always a possibility.
I’m also nearing completion on my first ever astrological elixir, currently under the working title of Jovian Manifestation Oil. It’s an organic grapeseed oil infusion of lavender and cedar harvested from my own yard on auspicious dates, blessed with multiple prayers and offerings to Jupiter. While developing this substance I’ve decided to offer it as one component of a spellwork kit that will include an instructional booklet as well as other tools to employ in tandem with the oil, for the manifestation of your personal abundance. More details coming soon- I will make this product available first to subscribers of this blog before going public with it.
* * * * *
The Strange Case of the Gangland Magus
Just recently I finished reading The Holy Guardian Angel (2013 Nephilim Press).
I found the book to be a very engaging read and immediately penned a review that I intended as just a short write up to post on my social media account. But I found I had a lot to say, and even after chopping it down through several edits the review is too long to fit Instagram’s allotted caption space. So as I mulled over whether to send it out in longer form as a blog post, I decided to research the book’s editor Michael Cecchetelli to ensure proper attributions and to link to his online presence within the body of the review. What I found felt like something I was dreaming, or the basis of a William Burroughs novel.
But first, the review:
The Holy Guardian Angel, 2013 Nephilim Press. Edited by Mike Cecchetelli.
“Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel” (HGA) is a central concern of the Western Esoteric Tradition and thus a frequent point of contention between practitioners with differing interpretations of what exactly that phrase means.
This volume collects several viewpoints, gathered into four parts: The Nature of the Angel, After the Angel, The HGA In the Magickal Schools, and The 2011 Blogosphere Debates.
As that last implies, this book was conceived following some online debates that apparently flamed up amongst divergent parties.
Generally speaking, the HGA is said to be just what the name implies: a benevolent force unique to each and every one of us; the “knowledge and conversation” entails making conscious contact with it and developing a working relationship. From that somewhat common starting point, each chapter of the book details a different writer’s personal experience in the matter.
Viewpoints range from the generally Judeo- Christian to the Thelemic plus Egypto-Grecian reconstructions and uniquely syncretic explorations. A few passages that struck me as particularly insightful are, in no particular order:
–Jason Miller’s suggestion that one shouldn’t worry too much about what the HGA is, and instead engage in the process of K&C early and earnestly.
–Frater Ashen Chassan’s exciting account of a haunted wilderness ordeal he undertook as a teenager, told in a voice that wraps the reader in the thrilling isolation of that moment in his life.
–Frater Rufus Opus‘ droll characterization of Golden Dawn ceremony as “line dancing” as well as his generally jovial and down to earth writing style.
–Conjureman Ali’s observation that there are other spirits one should develop relationships with as a balance to the influence of the HGA.
Expanding on this, one of MC’s closing chapters includes what seems like a healthy perspective: maybe not everyone who is seeking the HGA is at a point where they can benefit from the experience- what he calls the Supernatural Helper is of another nature and may be a more appropriate companion for some.
I’ve personally been engaging in weird ritual and solitary magickal experiments since I was a teenager (nearing 30 years of it now?), but only in the last 10 have I become specifically interested in this type of historically- sourced ceremony (and only in the past year or so have I felt an urge to disclose this publicly.) I am just now beginning to feel focused enough to commit to the intensive and emotionally fraught process that much of the book describes- however it is a fascinating subject for anyone to excavate. I will continue to research further. I read Frater Acher‘s more recent Holy Daimon early last year, and bought this book to hear others’ perspectives on the matter. I wish there were some female voices included herein but that’s something I will explore elsewhere. I applaud the variety of viewpoints that are compiled, as well as MC’s willingness and skill at bridging the differences to bring an engaging breadth and cohesion to the book.
That’s where my review ends and the perhaps more interesting story begins. As I tried to find Mr. Cecchetelli online, I kept encountering rather salacious news reports from Massachusetts about a Michael Cecchetelli who recently (April 2021) pled guilty to various charges related to the infamous Latin Kings organization (2) – what many consider a violent and brutal nationwide gang and what others admire as a social organization with a checkered past that nonetheless does real good in the communities within which it operates:
“Their hand sign is the crown, whose five points represent Respect, Honesty, Unity, Knowledge and Love; some chapters replace the middle three points with Honor, Sacrifice, and Obedience. If only everyone would live by the five points, say the Kings. If only the Kings would, say the cops.” -“The Power of King Love”, SPIN Magazine, March 1995.) (3)
Another sign worth mentioning is a complicated pentacle made with the entirety of both hands, shown in the image above, in which a figure bearing Latin Kings tattoos flashes it behind his head at the camera. This same hand sign also appears as a drawn diagram, “The Sign of the Coronastrum” in Cecchetelli’s The Book of Abraxas, (2014 Nephilim Press). He writes that this sign was given to him directly by the spirit Eleleth, adding “In the years since then it has served me well- far more so than any other piece of magickal technology with which I have ever worked. I have never before shared it publicly; it was introduced only to my brotherhood, and even then only incorporated into our weekly rites as a symbol of the source of our power, without ever disclosing to them its origins or uses in evocation magick.” (5)
In the dedication page of the same volume he thanks several people with King- affiliated monikers including three who he says are “buried forever in the belly of the beast that is the Bureau of Prisons”. He ends this dedication with the Latin Kings’ motto “Amor del Rey”. (5)
Cecchetelli (aka King Merlin, according to law enforcement sources)(2) is accused not only of membership in the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, but of holding a high rank: Supreme Regional Overseer for the East Coast. All this while at the same time being a respected and published member of the international Western Esoteric community! My overactive (maybe?) imagination can’t help but conjure legions of shirtless young bangers like the one above holding formation in darkened chambers, candles flickering as they intone ancient calls to dark entities.
Astonishing as it is, none of this is news- just news to me. In another of his scholarly works relating to the grimoire tradition, Crossed Keys (2011 Scarlet Imprint), Cecchetelli writes of his prior experience as a federal prisoner in solitary confinement for over four years. He describes the circumstances of his life therein as monastic, and proposes that the lack of outside distractions- elements of life that most of us take for granted: job, family, social life, television, junk food, freedom of movement – led to an immense acceleration of his self-education in the magickal arts. In his 9×12’ cell, armed only with what texts he could convince the prison chaplain to print for him from the internet and some extremely rudimentary contraband tools constructed by himself, Cecchetelli enflamed himself in spiritual practice and devotion.
“Under those exact conditions, using candles carved out of bars of soap, incense created by using perfume and cologne sample inserts torn from magazines and ignited using the batteries from my am/fm radio, other improvised tools of the arte, and an indefatigable Will, I succeeded in magickal work I am convinced would have taken me decades to master in less restrictive conditions, or in the free world, having day to day life to contend with…. As a result of this, I have progressed far faster than I would have otherwise, having stood before spirits regarded as Angels, and, conversely, Demons and having learned from both, the latter more so than the former.” (6)
If it seems like I am writing this with an air of admiration, that’s because, well, I am. Hardship is an adventure we do not ask for but it seems that Cecchetelli has seized the proverbial day and created gnosis for himself on his own terms. I imagine that many contemporary magicians, witches, hermeticists, or what-have-you lead fairly prosaic lives, squeezing meditation and invocation in between walking the dog and picking the kids up from school. The hidden dimension of our lives- that which makes us occult – rarely issues forth beyond the constraints of placid society. Cecchetelli is again accused and has pled guilty to a life outside those bounds- one of criminality and secrecy that most people only accept in fictional form as we root for our Dexters and Marty Birds. But remember that we are all prisoners of circumstance- the old adage stands: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Every courtroom verdict is a coin toss, every moment of our lives a chance encounter upon the eggshell thickness of Order and Justice. I don’t condone violence, but I would defend myself and family and way of life if need be. There are many reasons someone might plead guilty to charges like these and I think casting conclusions from the couch is beneath us, we who pay the taxes that fund the endless wars, we who enjoy the benefits of global hegemony, and we who spend our time reading blogs written and disseminated on machines built through child slavery, environmentally disastrous mining practices, and the onward march of Capitalism.
As a well- known wandering wizard once said, “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.” (7)
Jason Triefenbach is an artist, writer, and non-denominational minister with a garden and a lifelong interest in lurking around the Occult/ Paranormal shelves in bookstores worldwide. As Sun Duel he records and sometimes performs music with a variety of friends and loved ones. www.linktr.ee/JWT9000
- Michael Cecchetelli, The Book of Abraxas. 2014 Nephilim Press.
- Michael Cecchetelli, Crossed Keys. 2011 Scarlet Imprint.
- The Gospel of John, Chapter 8 Verse 7.
Leave a Reply