The Devil’s Bookshelf

A recommended reading list culled from our own personal library – fiction and  nonfiction.

READ BOOKS! Read challenging books! Read books with pages made of paper and take notes in the margins and highlight inspirational passages. We dare you to think for yourself! It is imperative for true seekers, and seekers of Truth, to dare to embrace the darkness – within and without – in order to behold the light.

“I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”

– William Blake

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Let our first inspiration be:

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We recommend the edition edited by Yale’s Prof. of English David Scott Kastan, which is 427 pages including introduction.

Paradise Lost   by: John Milton  

“Evil be thou my good”   Book 4. 110

The first version, published in 1667, consisted of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, arranged into twelve books. It is considered by critics to be Milton’s major work, and it helped solidify his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time.

The poem, which opens with the fall of the rebel angels from Heaven, concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton’s purpose, stated in Book I, is to “justify the ways of God to men”. However, there is a detectable sympathy for the Fallen angel Lucifer, the Devil Satan, in this work which has lead to some speculation regarding Milton’s true spiritual allegiances. It is a magnificent epic poem worthy of much study and contemplation.

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Là-Bas. Unless you can read French, do yourself a favor and read the 2001 translation by Brendan King published by Dedalus Books.

Là-bas  by: Joris-Karl Huysmans

“From lofty Mysticism to base Satanism there is but one step. In the Beyond all things touch.”

“Who did you think you’d meet here, saints?”  p.247 

Là-Bas, translated as Down There or The Damned, is a novel by the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans, first published in 1891. It is Huysmans’ most famous work after À rebours. Là-Bas deals with the subject of Satanism in contemporary France, and the novel stirred a certain amount of controversy on its first appearance.

The plot of Là-Bas concerns the novelist Durtal, who is disgusted by the emptiness and vulgarity of the modern world. He seeks relief by turning to the study of the Middle Ages and begins to research the life of the notorious 15th-century child-murderer Gilles de Rais. Through his contacts in Paris (notably Dr. Johannes, modeled after Joseph-Antoine Boullan), Durtal finds out that Satanism is not simply a thing of the past but alive in turn of the century France. He embarks on an investigation of the occult underworld with the help of his lover Madame Chantelouve. The novel culminates with a description of a Black Mass.

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1st American edition 1955, hardcover

The Satanic Mass; A Sociological and Criminal Study   by: H.T.F. Rhodes

Rather a rare book with loads of general information on the Black Mass. Mr Rhodes starts by showing how the “rite and idea of Satan” has its origin in primitive myth; he traces its evolution through the Manichaeans, Cathars, the witch cult and the Templars down to the 17th century, where it was caught up in a vicious crime wave, and then to the 18th century when it became in England the monstrous plaything of rakes and dandies. The affair of the Guiborg Mass and La Voisin is covered, as well as the contributions of Eugène Vintras and J.K. Huysmans, and up to Crowley’s Gnostic Mass.

Another book along the same idea is:

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The Satanic Cult   by: Gerhard Zacharias

Translated by Christine Trollope (seriously?!, Christian trollop?! Some editor must have snickered up his sleeve at that one!). First published in English in 1980. German edition first published in 1964. An important work on the subject but also rather rare. Part One: The Origins, deals with the religious and cultural basis of Satan Worship, the sociological aspects of Satanic movements, and the psychopathological features of Satan worship. Part Two covers documents relating to the Satanic Cult and the Black Mass: from fringe manifestations of the Satan Cult in the first centuries of the Christian Era to the Romantics and Satanic phenomena in Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, and Romance-speaking countries.

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The Poetry of Baudelaire

“O you, the wisest and fairest of the Angels,
God betrayed by destiny and deprived of praise,                                                                             O Satan, have mercy on my long distress”

“Les Litanies de Satan” (“The Litanies of Satan”) is a poem by Charles Baudelaire (April 9, 1821 – August 31, 1867), published as part of Les Fleurs du malThe poem is a renunciation of religion, and Catholicism in particular. It includes a blasphemous inversion of the Kyrie Eleison and the Glory Be, parts of the Catholic Mass, or it substitutes Satan for Mary and liturgy directed towards her. The poet empathises with Satan, who has also experienced injustice and can have pity for those who are outcasts. But for political reasons, Baudelaire had to preface the poem with a note explaining he had no personal allegiance with Satan. Even so, Les Fleurs du mal led to him and his publishers being fined for “insult to public decency”.

Baudelaire’s poetry is potent and spellbinding and carries a strong flavor of romantic rebellion and spiritual melancholy. This is a link to the original French poem with several English versions: The Litanies of Satan.

It can be an experience of sublime horripilation to listen to the version by avant-garde performer Diamanda Galás. Link below:

– Diamanda Galas – Litanies of Satan –

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This book has appeared with a number of different, and deliciously lurid, dust jackets over the years.

The Powers of Evil; In Western Religion, Magic and Folk Belief   by: Richard Cavendish

“The heart of man is the place the Devil dwells in :                                                                         I feel sometimes a hell within myself.”

Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici

First published 1975. Chapter titles: 1. In the Beginning, 2. Death and the Dead, 3. Fate 4. Darkness and Night,  5. The Powers Below, 6. Hell, 7. Evil and the Gods, 8. The Devil, 9. The Side of the Left. A comprehensive study of beliefs – from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome and throughout pre-Christian Europe – in devils and demons, the Furies, vampires, the Black Mass, Lilith, Lucifer and Satan. A nice introduction to the many facets of the dark jewel of “Spiritual Evil.” As Richard Cavendish reminds us, a study of these powers “may or may not reveal the world outside us, but is does illuminate many unexpected facets of ourselves.”

 

AGHORA; At the Left Hand of God   By: Robert Svoboda

1986. This is an extremely important work for pilgrims on the Left Hand Path who wish to step outside of the Judeo-Xtian paradigm and discover the ancient practices of the taboo breaking Vamamarga tantra. The author tells of shocking Occult rituals held in cremation grounds by the fearless Aghoris who dare to utilize corpses, taste human flesh and invoke the dreaded Goddess in Her most fierce and terrible aspects in order to gain magical powers, and finally to rend the veil of Maya and attain divinity. The 2nd book in this series ‘Kundalini’ is also recommended for those who wish to study these yogic practices in more detail.

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The Typhonian Trilogies    by: Kenneth Grant

A challenging, but fulfilling, and thought provoking series of 9 books to bend your mind into some very strange realms of occult knowledge. Grant analyzes the work of Aleister Crowley, recounts occult workings of his own occult group, reveals strange transmissions from extraterrestrial beings, and spins strands of  Gematria connecting the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, sex magick, and ancient occult traditions guaranteed to make you insane (take notes as you read). As a young man Kenneth Grant (1924 – 2011) served Aleister Crowley as a kind of secretary and personal assistant. Crowley was basically living in poverty at this time and paid Grant in magical instruction. Crowley described Grant as “a school boy gone berserk on brimstone aftershave.” Grant was also friends with the occult artist Austin Osman Spare (considered the grandfather of Chaos magick) and, through his writings, single-handedly saved this magnificent artist’s work from oblivion. There are numerous other titles of Grant worth studying: At the Feet of the Guru, Images & Oracles of Austin Osman Spare, plus some weird fiction and a book of poetry.

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