In the Center of the Fire: Invocation

James Wasserman is the founder of the Ordo Templi Orientis’ (O.T.O.) NYC Tahuti Lodge and one of the foremost practitioners of the magical system of Aleister Crowley. His most recent book is In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989, which chronicles the occult scene in New York City in the 1970s and ’80s. In this segment, Wasserman describes the process of invocation – the identification of oneself with a deity or archetype – in reference to the gods, Pan and Tahuti.

Imperium Pictures is currently completing The Gent (a feature starring Genesis P-Orridge, Douglas Rushkoff et al) and a short on solid rocket fuel developer/occultist Jack Parsons in which British director Ken Russell portrays Aleister Crowley.

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  • KoryCl

    Is this part of a documentary? Are there more clips?

  • Psimon Magus

    Much appreciated. I look forward to seeing ‘The Gent’. Thank you.

  • Ted Heistman

    I think Pan is very interesting. Kudos, for displaying Pan for real and not a domesticated g-rated version of Pan. Pan became the Christian Devil, which I think illustrates Gnosticism’s idea of the Demiurge, as being the God behind Christianity for the most part, particularly Christian Fundamentalism. Though, I don’t believe its as cut and dried as to say every Christian worships the Demiurge. That sounds too much like the view Christian fundamentalists have of Buddhists, Hindu’s, Moslems, etc. as unknowingly worshipping Satan.

    I don’t believe Pan is “everything” but I believe he is a very powerful Demigod and represents the Life Force itself, which is basically sex. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says in a symbolic way. “of the instincts” I am the pro-creative urge”

    So this instinct is from God and in Christian Fundamentalism this instinct is vilified, instead of kept in balance as was the view of the ancient Greeks.

    Christian fundamentalism deifies Thanatos and demonizes Eros.

    • Calypso_1

      Clear association of Pan w/ Satan did not occur until 18/19th centuries. Medieval depictions look nothing like Pan. Horned god imagery associated with the development of Xtian myths have numerous sources including Egyptian, Cretan & Persian. Influences of Zoroastrianism during the Babylonian captivity on Judaic concepts of Satan is marked and images of Angra Mainyu are much closer to the earliest xtian ones

      • Ted Heistman

        Google Eusebius.

        • Calypso_1

          I know he demonized all the non-xtian gods. Many early depictions of Lucifer in art bear a strong resemblance to Apollo who he also includes in his polemic.
          I know the predominant narrative oft tells of the Pan -> Satan transformation but it’s not born out in figurative representations. Are you aware of any early art or direct association of Pan w/ the archfiend? You are right about Pan being a complex character & I think the origins of xtian myths are complex as well. I think it is important to both the Greek & xtian mythos to seperate the elements of iconographical warfare and search for origins that extend beyond this singular point of historical interaction.

          • Ted Heistman

            Horned devil’s with hooves are all over Cathedrals and Religious art going back a long way. Google “devil, Gothic Cathedrals”

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            It’s odd how the further you go back the more the deities multiply, until their almost too numerous to count.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do

      In alchemy its said that Pan stole some of the abyss (from Yahweh/Brahma?) to try and build a paradise, which we call life.

  • THEUNSEENofNOTISH

    Invocation is quite interesting. I wonder however, how misconceptions of gods and essences by those invoking can destroy the image of a god, or those looking to cause chaos violence or fear may incorrectly invoke or claim to invoke certain deities irresponsibly. Like people blame artists and priests and religion for their own violence and abuse throughout life. I see it myself with many religous types in all sects of all major religions, dont many? Invocation must be respected as individual calling upon a spirit, but not necessarily being given access to it, if we believe it is more than a story we use to strengthen our own behavior. Real or not Real, as your blogger aptly brought up in his own writing. I find many times that invocation may call a spirit and the spirit will say FUCK YOU, IM NOT THAT KIND OF THING, and people go about and say theyve invoked it anyways. The truly psychotic, sociopaths or psychopaths I may call them to use terms of real danger, esp. when dealing with Mageickal Matters.

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