David Beth, Voudon Gnosis, Fulgur Limited, London 2010


«Esoteric voudoo is the science of the orientation of the temple of consciousness, which you must create with your will, mind and imagination».

  Michel Bertiaux


The standard edition of the book is in hardcover, printed with a beautiful Vevé made by Hagen von Tulien on top. The volume starts with Baron Samedi's Vévé and ends with Maman Brigitte's Vévé. The book is illustrated by Jónas Sen, Hagen von Tulien and Marlies Beth. The book begins with a precious Foreword by Michel Bertiaux (pp. ix-xiii), then the Dedication (p.1), the Introduction (pp.3-7), eleven Chapters:

 Ho Ophis Ho Archaios (pp. 8-12),

 Magical Writings and Inner Worlds (pp. 13-18),

 Voudun Gnosis (pp. 19- 20),

La prise des yeux  (pp. 21-29),

 Le nid de serpents and the Points Chauds (pp. 30-39),

Elemental Sexual Magic (pp. 40-48),

The Grimoire Ghuédhé (pp. 49-53),

 Le temple des Houdeaux (pp. 54-63),

 Mo Ayon: The Dark Doctrine (pp. 64-75),

The Cult of Juju Rouge (pp. 76-101),

Epilogue: Living the dream-images (pp. 102-103).

The book ends with Appendix I (pp. 104-118) and Appendix II (pp.119-151), Acknowledgements (p. 152), Illustrations list (p. 153), Index (pp. 154-159).

In the Foreword, Michel Bertiaux explains in his own intense words that which is the very quest (or question) of this book: the very quest is here to try to restore the Adam Kadmon, a non fragmentated Being, the primordial unity, and he also says to us that this is a 'difficult -if not impossible- problem' (p. ix). Bertiaux explains straight away the method used by Beth and his School in order to attempt this quest: their research pathway 'was answering the problems of magic by using the contents of the problems (as the contents Inhalt of the ontological or even better -the ontic) as the self-evident answers!' (p. x). The process is as simple but tricky as that. The process we are talking about here must be taken with more than one grain of salt because we must never forget that the methodology we use goes to fix in the matrix into which we will move and act in our wholeness, this is a magical machine. In order to understand this important passage we must remember here the very philosophical difference between 'ontological' and 'ontic'. Ontology (from the Greek ὄν, genitive ὄντος: 'of being', neuter participle of εἶναι: 'to be' and -λογία, -logia: science, study, theory) is the philosophical study of the nature of Being, existence or reality in general, as well as the of basic categories of Being and their relations. 'Ontic' is existence as simple presence: I am here, I go there, I like this, that and so on, the 'ontic', in other words, needs for the 'is' copula. The copula 'is' is the fundamental difference (Being is not Ontology) but it is also what expresses the fundamental relation between 'Being' and 'Ontology'. We must always keep in mind this difference because if don't the risk is to fall (like Icarus who built himself wax wings) victims of metaphisics. Man should indeed not consider Being as similar to nothingness because this is not the case: what makes man's autenticity is his singularity: the fact that he (or she) must die. The finitude is my singularity and the very focus of my Being. This makes us also liberate from being subordinated to any ground-arché. My own death is my own unique possibility, and nothing else. My unique possibility is not to go to Paris, it is not to go to Rome, is not to be an architect or a clerk. My death cannot be lived as death by anyone else but me. As a consequence, the root for autenticity is to fully understand and embody my complete historicity: this means ceasing to conceive myself as a stable and given object according to the ideas of being that I have inherited from traditional metaphysics. Metaphysics is not only a natural experience, but it is an historical modality of conceiving objectivity that I have inherited by the culture I was born in, and this tradition, which started with Plato, Aristoteles, ends today in the society totally organized which is grounded on positivism, that states that truth is only a fact that can be determined and controlled scientifically and that all realm concerning our Soul is a residual emergency, less important, and that we don't have to talk or care about it, or at least you can do some art or write a good novel but if you want to fully live within this society you myst be a piece of an objectively structured organism: mass production society. Mass production society and one dimensional man are what Avant-gard has always fought and David Beth's Société Voudon Gnostique fully subscribes itself in this tradition. You must not forget what things are and that they are. Being is anarchic freedom and only from anarchic freedom one can engage a fight against a system totally organized. This is what David Beth is talking about in Voudon Gnosis. Once understood this passage we can go on with the delightful reading of the book: reality must be lived fully with all our senses and it is definitely not something existing in another world, realm, plane of existence, our Soul is our Blood. This is important to stress: we are not seeking here for idealism or metaphisics and not even for a truth which could forever ground us to some system or paradigm or historical world view. This is not the case, we are seeking for ways that could blow up our minds in order for anyone to proceed towards the goal of the Gnostic experience of Wholeness, within Self consciousness. There's no need of a transcendental edifice because mind is already always constructing reference points, but of something that can lead to our very Soul:


I have no interest in transcendental yearning, as profane transcendence represents escapism: a form of impotence and ignorance of all that exists. True existence and being is impossible without a kosmos, and thus my work may guide you to the discovery of the lost kosmos and the empowerments of the glittering stellars fires' explains David Beth (p. 7).


It is so difficult to find a language (an order) to talk about this kind of experiences and experiments, but, in a paradoxical way, we do need a language to express and communicate with the deeper realms our Self. Laguages used here are rituals, words, signs drawn and according to Michel Bertiaux: 'David is able to provide us by the act of magical creation, with the designs of the spirits in the act of possession. This response to the energy is what makes voudun gnosis possible' (p. xi) and more:


In place of the logic of ideal predicates, as found in both the neocartesian and neo-Kantian analysis of voudon and gnosis, David encouraged by the evolutionary psychism of Klages and Max Scheler, looks for 'structures of the moment' in the process of magico-totemic experience (p. xi)


David's magical Work is a Lebensphilosophie, being purely rooted in the very cradle of German philosophy's debate between Spirit-mind or soul and in the African Fetich Sorcery tradition:


to my mind, this shows that there has emerged a context of universal ethnicity, as the result of David's efforts, lectures, seminars, and now publications. The ethnicity is both voudon in that it grows out of the roots of elemental awareness as well as Gnostic, because it is the search for and attainment of spiritual enlightenment in the knowledge of oneself as kosmos' says again Michel Bertiaux (p. xiii).


In the Introduction, David Beth explains what is the Société Voudon Gnostique, stressing how this path is very radical and not for all:


In an age where most magic and occultism have become materialistic pop culture, we seek a return to the inner sanctuaries of primordial gnosis to which few are called and even fewer are admitted (p. 5).


This brief statement encloses the very thought of David Beth and the meaning of his own rebellion to the status-quo:


Thrown into a world of separation from life and dictatorship of the rational, we free the instinctual and primordial beasts within through the rush of cosmogonic ecstasy. The ecstatic warm pulse of the blood stirs up powers and images of the ages, allowing the elemental energies to ignite even the abstract world of philosophers and create kingdoms of Fullnes of Being (p. 6).


This book shares with the reader some of the keys to the primordial kingdom of the Soul. The path is not for all because the very question can be summarized as: what to do at the end of metaphysics? And 'What for?' Beth's answer is masterly: to fully live in our bodies and our soul in the creation (because a magic work, works) of new realms of true Gnosis (necessarily beyond good and evil). Beth discusses then the importance of esoteric transmission in magical writings, an undeniable resource for the seeker of the unknown realms. Of course a physical initiation is needed. It is, in my opinion, David Beth's personal genious (and his whole family roots and genealogy whom, in a deeper vision, he is only the very peak) to have created a magical system based both on the physical aspect (Fetich, Voudon) and Gnosis (it is undeniable that we have a Soul, or that we need to have a Soul in order to fully express our Lebenswelt). This magic scenery is like a deep mistery of the Langue Mystère that human beings have to face and which is to me like to try to find again and again the origin of the zero (sunya, void, sift, zephirum, cifra, zeron), there is no grant that you can find it but the quality of the path is worth trying to do it, because the Soul is like an open space, a gift-based utopia we have to conquer and to in-habit in order to fully live so 'we must fear no current as too deep or too dark. The frontier must be constantly pushed forward!' (p. 19). Beth's work seems to be directly inspired by the first beautiful verses of Hoelderlin's Mnemosyne:


The fruits are ripe, dipped in fire /

Cooked and sampled on earth. And there's a law /

That things crawl off in the manner of snakes /

Prophetically, dreamings on the hills of heaven'.


Moreover, the Voudon Gnostic tradition works with the roots of sexuality in a wide sense:


It is non-verbal and deeply Plutonian in its rawness. In the elemental cells of the Voudon Gnosis the body is being experienced as raw and elemental, as pure instinct. Esoteric workings of this nature lead to a metaphysical breakthrough, a certain type of violence, which is not esoterically evil so long as it is not conceptualised (p. 21).


That is the point: Voudon Gnosis's semantical area of reference is the possession of the body and the Langue Mystère is its language, and the result of this ordeal can only be expressed through Ritual Art: 'producing art as a part of ritual became strongly connected to this cult as the initiates drew more and more powers and pictures from the world of the spirits' (p. 24). David Beth states another important difference in concept which is strictly related to the embodyment and to the perception of the initiate. Voudon Gnosis (and also Kosmic Gnosis) prefers the path of the magician to the one of the mystic:


the soul-principle acknowledges a profund mystery through the experience of the soul, which is connected to the body and senses. The rule of the spirit-principle is mainly characterized by a denial of the world and the chasting of elemental experience, while the soul-principle advocates a Dionysian ecstasy in experience, and becomes empowered by what the kosmic initiates have come to term 'Eros Cosmogonos' (p. 27).


The man becomes the Osiris-Legba soul: 'Perfection is achieved when the soul awakens, and the awakened soul is vision! What is revealed is the esoteric actuality of the primordial images'; (p. 29) what happens is just like that.

The following Chapter explains what are the 336 Points Chauds, the Daemons and the Aeons, Presentments and Pheonismes. The Société Voudon Gnostique focuses on the elemental and root type and source of all sexual magic energy: 'The relationship between the Transcendental Ego and Transcendental Id is sexual and cosmological' (p. 41). And more 'In the elemental temples of the S.V.G., we are convinced that we must focus our energy upon the low and elemental powers to build upon them. We want to stir up ancient powers and kosmic emotions and memories' (p. 43). The sexual Voudun of the Grimoire Ghuédhé, the Lwa of death/sexuality is called spider magic and 'is the most dangerous and archaic form of the Zothyrian metaphysics of magic, but also the most esoteric' (p. 53). The secret of the great success of Voudon Gnosis is the marriage between Gnosis, the higher realms of German Philosophy and Voudun frame setting, which is more close to rawness, that gives birth to a singular Lebenswelt as Beth calls the world of lived experience. The Chapter 'Le temple des Houdeaux' explains in depth how Gnostic Voudun works and the four levels of the Temple. Beth gives an interesting and important explanation about the difference between Time travelling and Astral travelling (p. 61) It is very important to avoid subjective experiences; it is never enough to say that 'The astral world could be regarded as having more of a psychic nature, and thus has many subjective qualities' (p. 61). According to anyone's personal attitude the time travelling can be explored through different means: Tantric Physics, Gnostic Physics, Voudotronics, Ma'atian Physics, Nemirion Physics and its uses by Magicians. The following Chapter talks about the 'Mo Ayon': the name in Esoteric Voudun reminds me of the Middle Ages's scenario of  Dante's 'halfway along our life's path' incipit to Inferno. We are welcome to enter the Nightside of the Three of life, the Universe B and this kind of consciousness and nothing else makes a full magical initiation as such. This Chapter codifies the important (for the student) distinction between Meontology and Ontology. Maybe Da'at is the only way in and out but Beth also states that:


To the adept of the Left Hand Path (in its Eastern or Western expression) the existence of bliss is useless unless it can be relished. He would never desire to lose his individuality through extinction within bliss, but aims to relish the nectar of supreme bliss. If there is no relishment in the state of emancipation, any approach in this direction would be futile, and any effort worthless. At the summit of attainment on the dark path, we find ourselves in symbiotic contact with the divine (or Brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan) while at the same time keeping our individuality. In the terms of Sufism – we become the lover and the beloved – simultaneously we are loving and being loved  (p. 65).


Moreover 'This mistery is reflected in the Qlipha Thaumiel, which represents the intellectually incomprehensible principle of duality in non-duality through its twin gods Satan and Moloch' (p. 66). This path into the Meon, set into intentionality, needs an olistic system to be worked out and the book explains it in depth. Beth gives, in those chapters, a splendid map of the Soul. The following Chapters explain in depth the Mysteries of the Red and Black Twins as they work for the Western African Cult of Juju Rouge:


We must keep in mind that because these Rays are powerful root energies of Esoteric Voudun from the subconsciousness of the kosmos (Universe B), they can be seen to greatly influence or even constitute the nature of our Universe A(dam). It is thus important for the initate to become intimately connected to those forces as they hold not only initiatory power, but also aid in healing, as well as Gnostic transformation, and in the greatest variety of magical exploration and sorcery (p. 83).


Beth explains then the Nganga, the Fetich Master: 'A fetich is both a demonic entity and the seat of such an entity. The spirit of the fetich is nearly always a soul of the dead. So the material fetich is the temporary seat of the soul' (p. 87). This process leads to the construction of the Blood Lamp, through 'a radiant life suffused with erotic energy' (p. 89). The following are very poetic and meaningful words:


To achieve this, he needs to bring about kosmic symbiosis between the inner Life (with its seat in the Blood) and the outer androgynous All (Father-Wotan: the all encompassing). In a time where the rational, structuring, calculating and acosmic spirit rules absolute as the tyrannic deity of the Kali Yuga, it is left to a few cells of kosmic rebellion to celebrate and pass on the secrets of the soul to a chosen few. The human is the microcosmic battleground of soul and spirit, and it is of the greatest importance to us that we bring about a symbiosis between soul and spirit, between the Wild Hunter and god of kosmic heroic-erotic rush Wotan-Dionysus, and the god of individuation, Apollo. The spirit must act in service to Life, must be guided by the soul, not rule over her. Only then can true deification within a kosmic harmony being achieved, rather than a total destruction of Life and zombification of Being. Only in the soul are we no individual, no ego' (p. 89).


Beth seems to be inspired here directly from the best central European philosophical and poetical tradition (Goethe, Bachofen, Klages, Hoelderlin, but also Hegel with his Aufhebung and moreover the line Brentano-Husserl-Heidegger is present here). At the end of this whole process, our red blood transmutes in metaphysical aristocratic blue blood (maybe it's not a case that the Bhudda, word that means 'Open', is often depicted as blue as a sapphire). Furthermore, Beth explains how this initiatical conception is very far away from escapism but also from the frames of materialistic religions. In the Voudun Gnostic perspective, infact, Life and Death, Eros and Thanatos are always melted together, so there is a very deep idea put on scene: 'We know that life is instantaneous and death is duration (p. 5) (Cfr. with Bergson). Then there is a brief introducion to the family spirits you work in the Nganga Cults and there is also an explanation to how to construct a fetich. Of course in this process we are out of our confort zone. Following there is a beautiful and deep excursus about the difference between occult, mystic Love and romantic, profane love: Beth warns us against the hard awakening from projections of the mind while 'the initiated man (or woman) or the aspiring Gnostic magician in our tradition, wants to perfect the Self' (p. 107) because 'the tradition we work in is a tradition of warriors, of solitary warrior monks, male and female, who are united in the bonds of sacred comradery and companionship. (p. 109). The archetypal figure of the warrior-monk is Parsifal and his search is for the 'kosmic isolation of the risen Krist' (p. 110), in the 'understanding of the world as polarities and poles' (p. 113) and in the deep shamanic experience. I am positively surprised to find in this book an explanation of the word Roma/Amor that my grandfather used to tell me when I was only a kid, and that I have never heard again: the meaning of a-mor as 'without death' in opposition to the Church of Rome (p. 117). The book ends with a practical suggestion: in the Appendix II we can find some Voudon Gnostic rituals.

I personally really do appreciate the Voudon Gnosis magical system as explained by David Beth because he is able to unify in the system both and wide aspects of human living beings: the raw and struggling being-in-the-world we have to face every day and the eversolar aspect of Mind. We incarnate both aspects, both twins Apollo and Dyonisus and  in order to find a balance, how can we find ourselves at ease if our consciousness, who seeks knowledge all the time and constantly, is limited by a system that denies the possibility of some aspects of the all-encompassing and of life and Being? As Beth says: 'We, if at all, live by ideals' (p. 88, note 81). Furthermore, as far as I do interpret it according to my personal experience, Voudun is the sygillation aspect, like the tap you open and close according to the experiences you are ready to let in or not. Sarting from raw Voudun then the Soul can balance into the realms Gnostic experiences, into the realms of pure mind of mundus imaginalis. There you have the key. Red Red Diamonds then and Life as Raw as it is is just brilliant! I have to deeply congratulate Mr. David Beth on the book Voudon Gnosis because it is very well written and articulated and I know how is difficult to talk about a subject as ancient as hell 'the moment of eternal truth' how he says, when the problem (well the very hard problem) is always the same at the end of the day, what to do at the end of metaphysics? We are not talking here only on the philosophical plane, I know how easy it is to talk about various subjects on the rational plane but we are trying to integrate the Adam Kadmon in all his Glory. The book is filled with a true profound sense of honesty and it does not smell of metaphysics while keeping very high philosophical standards of a sharp and deep inspired mind, plus the profound initiatic path. Not for all, yes, I do agree.



Alae Lunae Dharma





Here is Michel Bertiaux's Biography of the Author:




A link to purchase the book: http://www.fulgur.co.uk/voudon-gnosis/


David Beth on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Beth


Société Voudon Gnostique: http://www.voudongnosis.org/