Sudenmarja Zine II: "Traditio on tulen siirtämistä eteenpäin / Tradition is passing on the fire"
Printed zine in Finnish only.
"Haastattelussa Hail Conjurer, Aki Cederberg, Veli-Matti "Läjä" Äijälä, Antti Tolvi, Templum N.R., "Masterji" M.S. Viswanath, Maria Salminen ja Pekka Airaksinen. Käsiteltäviä aiheita muun muassa primitiivisyys, eurooppalainen pakanuus, sähkö, zen, jooga, shamanismi, tiibetinbuddhalaisuus ja Odo-meditaatio. Koko A5, 80 sivua, painettu kierrätyspaperille.”
Sudenmarja Zine II: "Traditio on tulen siirtämistä eteenpäin / Tradition is passing on the fire"
I recently went through the reviews of my book Journeys in the Kali Yuga, and published most of them on my website here. Almost all of them are very encouraging and reading them makes my work seem worthwhile.
There has so far only been one negative, vaguely resentful review of my work, published in the recent issue of the popular Ananda yoga magazine. Although the award-winning, popular magazine has featured interesting articles through the years (including a long interview with me and a positive review of my Finnish-language book), recently certain ideological streams have been seeping into its pages, as evinced in the newest issue by the editorial speaking of white male privilege, and a preachy and decidedly unfunny full-page comic strip about a queer unicorn titled “Queer-yoga”. In light of this, it comes perhaps not as a full surprise that my book does not receive the warmest of reviews, as it is definitely at odds with these modern ideological streams holding sway in academia and mainstream culture at the moment. I mention this, as I find it important to openly criticise this negative trend before it becomes unquestionable holy writ for us all - if that is not already the case.
But I will forego the superficial or ad hominem -style arguments of the review, and concentrate instead on the relevant point of contention which it does bring up.
The main gist of the review is the perceived lack of genuine sadhana (i.e. spiritual practice) in European paganism or ethnic religion. This is a very real cause of criticism against paganism: the lack of authenticity of a broken tradition (such as we have in Europe to different degrees), versus a living tradition (such as those of India). This is a problem I deal with extensively in my book, and it was one of the reasons that I originally went to India myself: to see and learn first-hand how a living “pagan” tradition works, and then to use that knowledge, via analogy, to see my own tradition more clearly.
While the European pagan traditions may be severely fractured, they are by no means dead. The old gods still whisper to those who have ears to hear, as can be witnessed by the resurgence of paganism and ethnic religion in various forms throughout Europe. The mytho-poetic world of our pre-modern ancestors lives on in us. Even in the new issue of Ananda magazine itself there is not just one, but two longer articles dealing with Finnish folk-tradition (one about mantras and the Finnish tradition on songs and spells, and the other one about “forest-yoga”).
The solution to a fractured tradition is not the adoption of a completely alien tradition and culture of a foreign people, along with its outer trappings. The solution is the rediscovery of original living tradition, the revitalisation of its essence, and the expression of that tradition in a new but authentic form. This requires religious creativity, discernment and dedication. It is not an easy path.
The biggest difference between me and someone like the editor of Ananda magazine, who is a Finnish Vaishnava, is that while he worships Indian gods in his urban apartment, I revere the gods of my ancestors in their original temple - the forest. While I do not wish to dissuade anyone from their spiritual path, I do not see the adoption of the outer trappings of a foreign folk-religion as being very successful on any large scale. It does not bring us closer to a deeper sense of connection, which we are obviously lacking in the modern world.
I do not believe in pick-and-choosing religion from the global spiritual marketplace, as many modern Westerners do. I also do not believe in choosing a religion because of strategic or politically motivated reasons either. Just as one does not choose one’s family, one does not choose one’s ancestral tradition. The core truth is that I am already part of the mythic and magical world of my folk, and for all that it might be lacking, it is at least genuinely mine. Rediscovering and embracing this world is equivalent to a spiritual homecoming.
As to the question of genuine spiritual practice in paganism, we have deep wells to draw from for its rediscovery and practice - and it is already being practiced, although not as widely as the world religions of course. Besides the original sources, many who have gone before us have left us with their work we can now learn from. Scholars have devoted lifetimes to studying the myth, lore and history of our various ethnic religions. Pagan philosophers, both ancient and modern, have left us with an impressive corpus of thought to study and build upon. Artists have in countless ways expressed the numinous spiritual essence of pagan tradition in their works. And it is this essence, beyond philosophies and ideas, that still lives on in us.
Ultimately, paganism is not about abstract thought or right belief so much as it is about right action and a living relationship to the world. Indeed, the Abrahamic concept of creedal “religion” was foreign to many of our distant ancestors, as every aspect of life was for them part of an organic order, including the divine powers and how one interacted with them. Simply put, a pagan is one who partakes in the rites of sacrifice.
If we define paganism as the mytho-poetic worldview of our pre-modern ancestors, the central aspects of which are: a sense of connection with locality and nature, a sense of the ancestral chain one is part of, a hyper-consciousness of mortality, a cyclical worldview, and a sense of and relationship with the sacred (or “the gods”), how might we then approach this worldview in the modern age?
Collin Cleary offers some sage advice for what might help this process along in his appendix “Some notes on a form of “Therapy” for Moderns” in his book Summoning the Gods: Essays on Paganism in a God-Forsaken World (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2011 , which I can recommend. Although Cleary’s thoughts on the matter are too in-depth to be adequately summarised here, in short he suggests the following activities: Ego-displacing Activities (inducing “peak experiences” through physical risk; meditation and other forms of mental exercise; the use of mind-altering drugs), Primal Activities (activities carried out in nature; hunting; competitive sport such as fighting; sex), and both combined with an immersion of oneself in the study of the religion, culture and tradition of one’s ancestors.
As for myself, being of dominantly Finnish and more broadly Scandinavian and Northern European ancestry, I am seeking to embody the essence of authentic nordic spiritual tradition, of which I embrace both the exoteric and esoteric manifestations of. I study the lore, myths and history of my folk, and make pilgrimages to holy sites. I revere and give sacrifice to the gods and higher powers. I partake in seasonal ceremonies marking the wheel of the year along with personally significant rituals, and also conduct rites-of-passage, such as marriages and name-givings. I am devoted to learning various magical aspects of the tradition. Furthermore, with a small spiritual group and community we come together monthly for religious and vitalistic activities such as those described above.
I realise that to plant the seed for something strong to grow is the work of a lifetime. But as the Greek proverb goes, a society grows great when men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. I encourage others people to do the same, whatever culture and tradition they might be part of.
Happy Kalevala day and day of Finnish culture!
I am honoured to announce the imminent release of Gerhard Hallstatt's new Allerseelen album (available on CD and limited edition cassette) Chairete Daimones on which I deliver vocals for two songs. Ever since I first read Gerhard's Aorta and Ahnstern journals and encountered the technosophical works of Allerseelen some twenty years ago, I have been inspired by his works. With this in mind, it makes me especially glad to now be a part of a new Allerseelen album.
"Chairete Daimones is Ancient Greek for Be Greeted, Demons. These daimons or demons are not the evil spirits that the monotheistic religions pretend to know. In pre-Christian antiquity they are usually good spirits, benevolent powers, closer to the Christian conception of guardian angels that take care of the humans. Chairete Daimones were also the words in an ancient Greek ritual in which wine was spilled into the air, on the earth or also on tombs as a libation, an offer for these demons. This ritual was again celebrated in autumn 1871 when Friedrich Nietzsche with some fellow poets and philosophers drank dark wine late at night. All of them drank just one half. It was the second half. The first half had been spilled as a sacrifice for the demons.
Dear listener: Please enjoy the dark music and poetry of Chairete Daimones with a good glass of dark wine late at night. Decide for yourself if you want to share it with the demons. Feel free to repeat the ancient ritual if you dare - one half of the wine for the demons, one half for you."
Allerseelen CD Chairete Daimones I. UNENDLICHKEIT .I II. ANTHRAZIT .II III. WAS KEINER WAGT .III IV. ANUBIS .IV V. HOBELLIED .V VI. REQUIEM .VI VII. EFEUWEG .VII VIII. LUDWIG .VIII IX. DER NORDISCHE RING DES WISSENDEN .IX X. GLÄSERNE KUGEL (2018) .X XI. AUTDARUTA .XI XII. ANTONIN ARTAUD .XII XIII. CHAIRETE DAIMONES .XIII XIV. NINE MOON KNIFE .XIV XV. KONNERSREUTH (2018) .XV XVI. DÄMONENWEIN .XVI XVII. STREICHHOLZORCHESTER .XVII
Aida de Acosta (composition) XVII
Aima (vocals) II, X
Aki Cederberg (vocals) IX, XIV
Annamaria Bernadette Cristian (cello) X
Estella (vocals) VI, VIII, XII
Eugene Voronovsky (violin, violin arrangements)
XIII, XV Faye R. (vocals) IV
Marcel P. (bass) I - XVII
Thomas Bojden (vocals) XI
Gerhard Hallstatt (Tonkunst, vocals) I - XVI
You can listen to one song from the album with myself on vocals, DER NORDISCHE RING DES WISSENDEN, by listening to episode 24 of the Ultraculture podcast found here.
Order the album here:
Muutos on aikamme iskulause. Mutta mihin suuntaan muutos kulkee? Ovatko todistamamme muutokset edistystä vai epäjärjestyksen kasvua? Intialaisen perinteen mukaan elämme parhaillaan kosmisen syklin viimeistä vaihetta, Kali Yugaa. Tänä aikana perinteet murenevat, järjestys horjuu, koko kosminen organismi natisee liitoksissaan. Tällä kertaa Maailmanpuun studioon palaa kirjailija, muusikko ja elokuvantekijä Aki Cederberg, jonka tuore kirja Journeys in the Kali Yuga käsittelee henkistä etsintää aikana, jota määrittää jumalten poissaolo. Miten surffata ympärillämme ja sisällämme myrskyävän Kali Yugan aalloilla? Miten herättää muinaisten tietäjien sanat henkiin? Tervetuloa mukaan keskusteluun, joka vie meidät susiajan syövereihin!
Perjantaina 30.11 klo 9-11 Aki Cederberg on vieraana Kuusiston syyshetkessä Roll FM:llä.
97.1 mhz ja nettiradio www.rollfm.fi
Aiheina paitsi "Journeys in the Kali Yuga: A Pilgrimage from Esoteric India to Pagan Europe" myös pohjoinen pakanallisuus, CG Jung, mielenterveysongelmat ja paljon muuta.
Musiikkia lähetyksessä kuullaan seuraavilta artisteilta : HERR LOUNGE CORPS & Aki Cederberg, Allerseelen, MAA, Tähtiportti ja The Aeon.
TYR: Myth, Culture, Tradition Vol. 5
Ever since I read the first volume of TYR back in 2002, I have considered this book-length journal to be the most insightful publication on the pre-Christian, pre-modern spiritual traditions and culture of Europe. Each volume is filled with original and thought-provoking articles, essays and interviews from the most prominent pagan thinkers of our time, and the new volume 5 is no exception. Included is also an in-depth review of my book, JOURNEYS IN THE KALI YUGA, as well as two photos by Justine Cederberg.
COLLIN CLEARY’S “On Being and Waking,” JACK DONOVAN on “Starting the Sacred World,” BRADLEY TAYLOR-HICKS on “Reclaiming Sacred Space,” JOSCELYN GODWIN on “Alain Daniélou in the Age of Conflicts,” STEVEN POSCH on “The Last Pagans of the Hindu Kush,” NIGEL PENNICK on “Northern Cosmology: The World Tree and Irminsul,” RICHARD RUDGLEY on “Pagan Palingenesis,” STEPHEN EDRED FLOWERS on “Germanic and Iranian Culture and Myth,” WOLF-DIETER STORL on “Indo-European Healing Lore,” MICHAEL MOYNIHAN on the cult film Koyaanisqatsi; interviews with traditional bladesmith J. ARTHUR LOOSE and avant-garde composer DYLAN SHEETS; and much more.
Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: Arcana Europa Media (2018)
Order via Arcana Europa.
I recently participated in a Q&A with Greg Kaminsky of the Occult of Personality podcast (my appearence on that show can be listened to here), for the member's section, Chamber of Reflection. We talked about the revitalization of European paganism, initiation in India, Finnish magic, and much more. Head over to the Chamber of reflection website for this interview and more exclusive content.
My hermetic friend
"Contemplate the fire, contemplate the clouds, and when omens appear and voices begin to sound to your soul, abandon yourself to them without wondering beforehand whether it seems convenient or good to do so. Our god is named Abraxas, and he is both the god and the devil at the same time. You will find in him both the world of light and of shadows. Abraxas is not opposed to any of your thoughts nor to any of your dreams, but he will abandon you if you become normal and unapproachable. He will look for another vessel in which to cook his thoughts.”
- Hermann Hesse
Perttu Häkkinen was a significant force in Finnish culture: a well-known electronic musician, non-fiction author and journalist with his own weekly radio-show, which delved into murky, marginal and esoteric subjects. His sudden, accidental death will leave a permanent mark in the landscape of the Finnish collective soul. Perttu Häkkinen had a wife and two children. Because several in-depth eulogies have already been written about him that focus on his significance on a wider, cultural level, I will in turn write about Perttu as a friend – such as I knew him.
Perttu and I connected over our common interest in esoteric subjects, such a the mysteries of the Grail, the mythos of Montsegur in Southern France, the Gnostic diety Abraxas, and many other such topics. We also bonded over our appreciation for at times dionysian revelries and drinking. And so it was the we experienced perhaps our greatest moments together when these two passions converged: we could have an enlightening dialogue about, for instance, the nature of the Gnostic Demiurge or the philosophy of Julius Evola, all the while sitting in a dive bar and carousing the night away. The next day these moments of radiant clarity would be inevitably crystallised in my mind, although the evening would have otherwise descended into chaos. Those moments were convergences of the higher and the lower, the immanent and transcendent – as was the story of Perttu’s life as a whole.
If my memory serves me correct, the first time I went to meet Perttu at his house, the co-author of his book Valonkantajat (“The Lightbearers”), Vesa Iitti, was also present. Our nightly bacchanalia soon took a swirling descent into quite chthonic, atavistic spheres, which involved runic stance and chant, as well as wrestling in the backyard. In the heat of the activities, I forgot my flask and suit-jacket at Perttu’s place. Soon after our evening, I received a message from him: “Ave! Have you missed your jacket and flask? Both are here, although the latter was emptied of its contents during a moment of weakness.”
The next time I visited him, to mark the occasion, he had prepared a sandwich-cake which he decorated with the algiz-rune using cherry tomatoes – knowing that it was a central talisman in my life.
I was a guest on Perttu’s radio-show twice, once to discuss runes, and another time to talk about pilgrimage, about which I had written a book. I also interviewed Perttu on a few occasions. He was a guest on our podcast, Radio Wyrd. We also had a public dialogue organised by Suomalainen Kirjakauppa to promote Perttu’s book, during which we conversed about Aleister Crowley and the Faustian soul. At the end of the talk, I recited Crowley’s classic Hymn to Pan into the microphone: it was a normal afternoon in the bookshop, and some elderly ladies browsing cookbooks were no doubt startled hearing the obscene text - Perttu instead just chuckled contentedly.
The same Hymn to Pan was read at the funeral of Aleister Crowley, without doubt one of the most famous (and infamous) occultists of our time, founder of the religious-magical system Thelema. The hymn was also often heard recited by Jack Parsons, a Thelemite occultist and rocket engineer during rocket launch tests. A few days after Perttu died, there was a memorial gathering held at his site of death. I thought it fitting to recite the Hymn to Pan in his honor one last time. Before the large crowd of people, I raised my voice for the invocatory poem, after which I poured a libation of whisky on the ground.
Once, out of the blue, I received a phone-call from Perttu from Cefalu, Italy. “Hey, tell me how to find that Abbey of Thelema.” The above-mentioned Crowley had in his time founded an abbey in Cefalu, known among its residents as “the Whore’s Cell”. Perttu finally managed to find the ruined abbey, and wrote an insightful column about it. One of our last conversations happened to also be about Crowley, especially about his diaries from Cefalu, The Magical Record of the Beast 666, which Perttu was fond of quoting. In the diaries, Crowley, then at the mid-point of his life, pondered about where his magical path had really led him. I felt that Perttu could relate to that pondering on some level.
Perttu and Vesa were giving a presentation on the subject of their book Valonkantajat at the new age fair Hengen ja Tiedon Messut, and somehow Perttu had managed to convince me to give a talk there also, even though he knew how I felt about such fairs. Moments before I started my lecture, he rushed on stage and poured my cup full of brandy. Then he sat down in the front row, smiled and sipped from his bottle while I gave my polemic speech, which was anything but “feel good”.
One of my fondest memories of Perttu is the time we were at his house with Jykä Varpio, poet and cocktail-alchemist of Radio Wyrd. We were examining the “bleeding stones” Perttu had found in the Pyrenees of Southern France, which have been connected with the Grail. According to a popular theory, the Holy Grail is not a cup, but a stone which fell from Lucifer’s crown when he was cast down from heaven. These stones did in fact bleed a kind of blood-like substance when spit upon and rubbed. Perhaps Perttu had indeed found the Grail.
There was also another moment connected to the Grail that I remember. Via Perttu, I got to meet Richard Stanley, director of the documentary film The Secret Glory, which was about Otto Rahn and his search for the grail. Perttu had just interviewed Stanley after a screening of his film in Helsinki, and we chatted about Otto Rahn, Montsegur and Julius Evola. As I had just been immersed in writing my forthcoming book, which includes a section on Rahn, I found this little moment edifying and inspiring.
I felt that Perttu really knew me on some profound level. Once, as I had returned from a more than two-month long pilgrimage of Europe, where I had travelled from one sacred site to the next, we sat in his study drinking and conversing. I pointed at a portrait of Elias Lönnrot hanging on his wall, which he had received from a relative, and expressed how much I appreciated the picture: “It is inspiring that Lönnrot went around on foot, collecting oral folk poetry and spells, and that he managed with his great work to shed some light on the fleeting holiness of his people”, I said. “That is what you are doing as well”, said Perttu.
Once at the end of a shared jaunt, I somehow ended up safekeeping some paintings for Perttu which he had just bought. The oilpaintings were portraits depicting the children of the now deceased and infamous devil worshipper and nazi Pekka Siitoin. The pictures haunted my hallway for a few weeks, until I finally got to return them to Perttu - much to the dismay of his wife.
Something telling about about Perttu’s endless curiosity and objectivity is revealed in the fact that he explored magick not just in theory, but also in practice. Perttu would not, for instance, deny the possibility that he might have mistakenly summoned up some sort of malicious spirit with his workings, which was now locking random doors and in other ways disturbing the life of his house. From meditation, on the other hand, Perttu told me that he had found a new kind of inner serenity.
At times Perttu moved, in addition to liminal spaces, also in quite murky waters, dealing in his writings and programs with genuinely disturbing subjects, so much so that I sometimes wondered how he kept from loosing his head. But Perttu was a genuinely Faustian soul, and was ready to go to great lengths for knowledge, no matter what the cost. It has also been said that laughter is the best form of banishing ritual, and Perttu was truly one of the funniest people I have ever met. His quirky and iconoclastic sense of humour, along with his eternal playfulness, shone a light into the dark territories which he sometimes dealt in, and he made me laugh like few others.
Perttu did not long to simply be around like-minded people. He was genuinely able to appreciate differing opinions and worldviews, and had friends from many disparate, even probably mutually hostile cirlces. He especially valued individuals with bold and original views, even if he did not agree with them. In contrast, he hated mob-mentality and so-called “call-out culture”, the targets of which genuine dissidents often are, such as he himself a few times.
Perttu was a manifestation of the Hermes archetype. He wore a pendant depicting Thot, the Egyptian god of wisdom, magic, science and writing, who the ancient Greeks connected with Hermes and the Romas equally with Mercury. Mercury-Hermes is also the escort of the dead to Hades. As these divine figures, Perttu traveled between our world and the underworld, brining messages and knowledge from the heights and the depths, transforming them to become a part of mainstream culture via alchemical means. For this reason I put out libations of spirit drinks on our household altars, along with a suitable card from Crowley’s Thot-Tarot deck, depicting the Magician, Mercury.
On the night Perttu died, we at my family’s old ancestral villa on the sandy beach by a ritual fire, gazing up at the stars in the hopes of seeing a shooting star from the Perseiden meteor shower. The next morning, autumn was in the air. We planted a tree, an oak, and I was reminded of an old Latvian pagan prayer: “The gods look favourably on those who plant trees along roads, on farms, holy sites, at crossroads and by houses. If you marry, plant a wedding-tree. If a child is born, plant a tree. If someone close to you dies, plant a tree for the vėlės (soul of the departed).”
Then we received the news of Perttu’s death. Sorrow washed over me like a violent torrent. We gathered at the now faded ritual fire, drank and wept. I once received a bottle of Kirschwasser from Perttu, which I did not really enjoy that much. But now we finished that very bottle and lifted libations for Perttu. A storm rose from the sea, thunder rumbled in the distance. The tree we planted would henceforth be Perttu’s soultree.
Every time I met Perttu, I felt that our conversations were cut short for one reason or another – time was always the enemy. When I met Perttu the last time, he was visiting us with his family. It was a beautiful, warm early summer day. I grilled suitably esoterically themed burgers, inspired by the Blue Dragon restaurant in Rennes-le-Chateau. As our children played in the garden, we sat for moment in my study. We talked of possible future travels together – Perttu had long wanted to visit the temple of Hecate – and I gifted him with a pendant depicting the Gnostic deity Abraxas. As Perttu drove off from outside our house with his family, I was standing on the street waiving goodbye to them with my daughter. For some reason, we stayed there standing for a longer while, watching their car recede slowly into the distance, and finally disappear behind the horizon.
When Perttu was a guest on our Radio Wyrd podcast, he shed some light on his view of Lucifer. He saw something profoundly human in the myth of the beautiful and proud angel who was cast out of heaven. When I heard about Perttu’s death, I could not but be reminded of his destiny as distinctly Luciferian, exactly in the way that he himself had envisioned it.
According to the Gnostic tradition, we are living in a fallen, imperfect world. We can certainly see Perttu’s untimely and tragic death as one evidence supporting this view. The world is irrevocably poorer without his shining star.
Although Perttu was in many ways a mercurial figure, I would like to believe that I also knew him on some fundamentally human level. He was a good father, and it was heartwarming to witness the sincere love and joy with which he treated his children and wife. For me he was a beloved friend, for whom I wish a good journey.
I shall end this incomplete tribute with an ancient heretic greeting we often used with each other:
”Luzifer der Unrecht geschah, Grüsst dich!”
(”Lucifer, who was wronged, I salute you!”)
Porvoo 19.8.2018 e.v.