Recently I was loaned a work that normally I would not be able to afford on the outright. The work is a book called Liber Nigri Solis, and it pertains to the topic of the Black Sun. Although it hails itself as a “Grimoire,” it doesn’t read as one might expect a Grimoire to read. Not being a simple, direct approach to accomplishing a spiritual task, it instead is a complex work that requires much research (at least for me) to read through each page.
This first post of mine about the book will simply cover the basics up through the opening. Keep in mind this is a modern work.
I’m not quite sure why Solis (a Spanish word) is used in conjunction with the Latin “Nigri.” The intent here is to express the idea of a book of the Black Sun, even though the title is a mix of language, the work itself appears well written and researched.
Dr. Eva Kingsepp, a PhD researcher in her own right, opens the work with a Forward. This forward sets the tone of the work as a work of scholarly research on an occult topic of the Black Sun. Kingsepp raises a point of a phenomenological attitude towards this subject – that is, to take on a direct experience of the work. For Dr. Eva Kingsepp this cultural icon is present in many myths throughout the world (Babylon, Egypt, Persian and so forth).
While there is an obvious phenomenon (solar eclipse) that might explain the world wide narrative of a Black Sun, there’s also a deeper spiritual aspect. Kingsepp quotes F.W.J von Schelling in part, and in a way, that is very reminiscent of Setian philosophy – it’s worth considering the linkage:
There could be no affirming will without the negating will. the affirming will is the will of love, but on its own love does not attain being. Being (existence) is individuality and isolation. But love is the nothingnesses of individuality: it does not seek its own. For this reason, although love in itself is what-is, it cannot be (or exist as) this on its own… Just as being of beings could not be (exist) without a force that opposes love, it likewise could not be the being of b kings without a will that resists negation… This force is the white heat of purity, intensified to a fiery glare by the pull of nature. It is unapproachable, unbearable to all created things, an eternal wrath that tolerates nothing, fatally contracting but for the resistance of love.Schelling, F.W.J., The Ages of the World pp 170-171
It’s that Being that got my attention. Compare the above concept to the excerpt from “the Mysteries of the Temple of Set” below:
Being is a state that is like the new sun. It illumines everything, including itself. Being is a state of consciousness that is both self-rflecting – its own source of illumination, as well as the means by which the universe is perceived. In moments of Being, persons know who they are on all levels from teh most mundane to the most cosmic. They understand their relationship with the universe, and they are indifferent to the universe and filled with bliss at themselves. Their self-love shines forth and perceptions are vast and accurate. Being is the goal of the Setian. The state of Being is idealistic rather than realistic, or in Setian terminology Subjective rather than Objective. However unlike most idealistic systems, the reality of the universe is accepted. Matter cannot sully the absolute, nor is it unreal. However matter is seen as less durable than Being. Setians believe that Being is inherent in all Sentint Beings, however the fetters of the world keep this state from being enjoyed. There is that in every human that transcends the gods, yet is kept from mankind by mankind’s laziness, ignorance and fear of the unknown.Webb, Don., The Mysteries of the Temple of Set pp. 19
Dr. Kingsepp gives a very deep investigation of the historic context of this Black Sun through various cultures and philosophies. Yet her sentiment on the matter of this work could perhaps be summed up in this quote, “Although partly veiled in mystical language and obscurity it is exactly through Liber Nigri Solis’ powerfully defying nature that some readers may summon and utilize the counterforce necessary to ignite a process of great spiritual creativity.”1
When I hear the word Aeon, I think of Thelema. As used in this work, the word aeon is a reference to an arbitrary point in time (or time period) wherein a change occurs. There is no specific iconic or ideological tapestry in the word aeon here.
Repeated throughout the work is the concept of the Zeitgeist (or “spirit of the age”) which is also connected to this idea of the aeon. It may seem the anonymous author(s) of the Liber are utilizing the Black Sun to represent large scale change in society. There is an individual gnosis aspect to the Black Sun as well.
It [the Black Sun] is an apt symbol for the singular point of gnosis, the sole and unique focus of consciousness, which alone initiates, regulates, orders and reorders the emanations of the ages, whatever cosmology is employed.Liber Nigri Solis, pp 34.
Here, as well as mentioned in other podcasts (such as Black Flame Immersion) is an idea of utilizing one’s own cultural references for the spiritual path: “Magicians might and do use the cultural forms for a variety of purposes, but the best are those which exalt their own consciousness and that of their culture in a symbiotic fashion…”2
Two warnings are given in the book, regarding culture. The first is when a culture identifies more with the icons of chaos and discord, becoming the core of a culture. In this case I assume the problem is that there is nothing to rebel against. How can one find Individuality if everyone identifies with the adversary? The second is when a culture becomes distorted due to contamination and sublimation of other cultures. We can find examples of this everywhere today. Consider major holidays in the Western world that are appropriations of other religions and cultures throughout history. This syncretism (combining different beliefs) distorts the culture into something new.
I had to ponder, but what is the problem with syncretism, is there really any belief that is unique? The issue here is that the sublimation of other cultures creates demonization of individual consciousness. If the commingling of beliefs added or continued to promote the path towards Individuality, then there is no problem. However, this is usually an enforced (top down) approach that defines Individuality as the enemy… as the group-mind is enforcing all to succumb to the new syncretism.
It is this syncretism (in respect to taking away the path towards Individual Gnosis) that is the problem. This the work calls Cultural Distortion. This distortion, the work claims, will lead to a weakened magic. It further expresses a problem with cultural distortion, in that it will lead to magicians foregoing the Individual Gnosis, in favor of a master Deity that gives them instruction.
Sacrifice, real sacrifice, is also mentioned. This is not some media-hyped concept of the terminology, but rather it is discussion on the topic of having to sacrifice aspects of the self to the greater aspect of the self (what one is becoming). People, relationships and (as the book states) fate itself are all sacrificed along the way, to the degree one is feels is necessary. This is a personal decision, requiring one to contemplate and actualize the truth they feel is right for themselves.
Ipseity (Individual Identity / Selfhood) is the state goal throughout the opening of the Liber. This is a process of following through, knowing who one is, and working tirelessly towards the path.
Identifying with the tapestries that work best (one’s own cultural identity perhaps) and working through those elements to carve out a path of Selfhood is quite the focus here. This isn’t done following some recipes (such as a common Grimoire). Instead the Initiate finds their ipseity through phenomenological work.
Towards the end of the chapter on the “Opening,” there’s a quote I find interesting:
If you still think you are awake as you read this,
you are having a lucid dream.
The Black Sun rises.Ibid. pp. 52
When I read that I can’t help but feel it is addressing the use of thought. “To think” that I am reading or writing this, is to realize the dream that I am reading or writing this. The waking up is in the direct experience, the phenomenological act, that simply is aware of being.