There were, and always were Hermeto-Kaballistic, Luciferian, Gnostic, self-admitted Satanists (by that name), Theosophists - and people interested in what was then a barely known author of strange fiction: H. P. Lovecraft. This goes back to before 1963 because at that time, my cousin, an adult, was well involved in this stuff and I briefly ran into it at that time.
These people did what all such people interested in similar things do: they formed groups, or "esoteric cults" of their own, meeting in homes, coffee houses, or wherever else, especially in the 1960s. Many of them gave their group a nice, occult name, but this time, these people were linking up with others outside their families or cultures. They gave their little group a "cult sounding" name, and it was a name related to the Cthulhu Mythos and not to anything that anyone else would recognize - in other words, they either borrowed from Lovecraft (who had also borrowed from standard mythology sometimes) or they made up a name.
Everyone in the Gnostic or Satanic realm knew what the OTO was or who Dennis Wheatley, Michelet and Crowley were (and today they might know who LaVey and Aquino are - but this was before that time). Every Witch and Warlock knew what Aradia was and most of them also knew who Michelet, Wheatley and Crowley were. Most Jews knew what Kaballa was. Every Freemason knew what what AASR or OES were. Every Catholic knows what demons and angels are, and who the Saints are. But - the Starry Wisdom Sect? What was that, an astronomy club? Or the Esoteric Order of Dagon? What was that, some Phillistine pagan thing? Actually, no! This was the Cthulhu Mythos; it is the primary thing that created a sincere interaction in these people from these disparate traditions and cultures, people who would normally not have any contact with each other or talk "religion" with each other. Even if they never heard of Lovecraft and the Mythos (I never heard of the Cthulhu Mythos at that time), people got to meet and interact with others - and find out about this strange invented Mythos of Lovecraft.
I don't want to give the impression that everyone was seriously religious in these groups or that the groups formed due to religion. Far from it; that's not what happened at all. They had their own traditions, they liked this strange fiction, but they formed friendships outside their own cultures due to the fiction - something they shared in common.
Since all of the Cthulhu Mythos was invented by Lovecraft and his own "inner circle," it would be impossible for anyone else, even from the same traditions, to know what was being discussed when everyone started to use words from this mythos. Some collected information that showed mythological correspondences across cultures, knowing that there was one solid Dark Tradition that ran through these cultures and through the ancient world - a Tradition that was once esoteric and hidden from the Pagans of the Ancient World and later hidden from Judeo-Christian-Islam, more or less - sometimes it is infused and somewhat incorporated! This is what they all did in these groups with one very strange and unique addition: they collected stories and letters that were written by Lovecraft and August Derleth and anyone else in a related but invented mythology called the Cthulhu Mythos. In fact, Derleth is the person that gave it the name "Cthulhu Mythos." Lovecraft had his own inner circle and they had ways, within the stories they wrote, of "acknowledgeing" each other. Based on a lot of what Lovecraft himself said, especially about his dreams - and what he wrote in fiction - it was damned hard to believe that he was not familiar with some occult systems. However, he claimed he was not - and there is no reason to disbelieve him. He did say that he got some of it from Kaballa and from Tibetan and Tatar sources, though.
Tracking down these Cthulhu Mythos stories, letters and notes was not easy back then; 99% of it was out of print and had only been in print in news stand pulp magazines! Most people never heard of it. This stuff was nothing like vampire or werewolf or witchcraft lore. It was nothing like demonlogy or angeology or satanism either. It was WEIRD STUFF, but oh, not all that weird to some people when they read it! The stories grabbed you. But the material itself, the stories, etc., was very obscure stuff at the time and the stories were hard to understand for some due to the strange way they were written. It was HEAVY - and it tended to grab hold of people that we all recognized to be innately of the Left Handed Paths, even people being from traditionally esoteric but Right Hand Path traditions who were innately of the Left Hand were grabbed by this stuff. It was seriously like a Call and you either felt it, it GRABBED you, or you just didn't get it. Perhaps this is what The Call of Cthulhu, really is! Or maybe better yet, the Call of NYARLATHOTEP who is said to be the Soul and Messenger, the Crawling Chaos, dwelling in Abyssal Darkness! As Professor Robert M. Price (he has two Ph.D's in Theology and taught the Eastern Esoteric Tradition in university theology courses) wrote in "Crypt of Cthulhu #2" - IF the Eastern Esoteric Tradition were to find a Cthulhu Mythos name for their Dark Lord of Transcendent Awareness, it would be Nyarlathotep. He is 100% right. He knew this from the outside. But we all knew this from the inside!
Back then, not everyone knew how to type, not everyone owned a typewriter, and there were no xerox machines or at least the ones that were around later on were not readily available to private people who had heaps of material to copy. Many of them had hand written notes on many subjects though, as far as I know, none ever presented the Dark Tradition in as pure and uncluttered a form as we (Tani Jantsang, Philip Marsh, et.al.) have done for over three decades - and for public sale for more than one decade. Me and my relatives and friends brought a very pure, Turanian or Central Asian Dark Tradition (Esoteric Eastern Tradition and related tradition) into the groups we linked up with. There was no hostility toward August Derleth back then - and much of what he wrote in this Cthulhu Mythos clicked with the Gnostics and/or people that knew a lot about Catholic Demonology.
Understand, this was a lot of fun; it wasn't just serious study. I still have much of this material, and though it was since then typed from handwritten copies, it's not in any kind of etext form or on a computer disc.
In 1965 I saw a manuscript called "Sudanese Sirius System" by two Frenchmen, M. Graiule and G. Dieterlen, anthropologists. My cousin had it and I read it. He got it from the Societas Selectus Satanas, one of these groups, at this time out of 100-15 195th Street, Hollis Queens, NY and headed by one "Count Zarnak" or "Mr. N." That has turned out to be Lin Carter! Or, at least I assume that is Lin Carter since Carter wrote tons of stories recently on Zarnak and that is Lin's old address! The article by the two Frenchmen was translated in handwriting. I didn't know what to make of it and it sounded extremely bizarre and unrelated to anything Dark or Light that I recognized. It was about the star Sirius and fishmen. I knew what the Prachetasas were; but that was from India and the entire story was very different, seemingly unrelated; also this manuscript didn't mention the Prachetasas. I knew what Sirius was and that it was called Sothis in the ancient world (that's the same word Jesus used to mean salvation). I knew about the Oannes and a lot of "fishman" lore from the ancient civilizations and cultures all over the world. But I never heard of this Sudanese stuff. It doesn't matter if this manuscript written by the Frenchmen was legitimate or not. The point is that Lin Carter did read it.
I also was at a great disadvantage when scanning over some of the more familiar material; I'd run across names I didn't recognize at all and couldn't find in any standard source book. No one I knew ever heard of these names. Of course, I had no idea what the Cthulhu Mythos was at this time and had no idea I was trying to find names that someone invented. One of the names I thought was just a misspelling of Yat-Zebaoth and the definition fit. (Yog-Sothoth!) I thought that Azathoth might be either Asat or Azoth of the Gnostics. I recognized what Nyarlathotep was, but not where that name could have come from. Oddly enough, Lovecraft had the nightmare of nightmares about this Nyarlathotep - and after that happened to him, he began writing tales in this strange Cthulhu Mythos! Prior to that, he wrote very differently. (This is detailed in "A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos" by Lin Carter, Ballantine books, pages 17-19). At this time, 1965, this was the only thing I actually read from anyone involved in this kind of thing. I was in high school at the time. There were many notes with this "Sudaniese" manuscript that were added later on - all hand written. I have since typed ALL of it - and it's on our website (SIRIUS - THE FISH TRADITION - AND LIGHT TRADITION IN DUALIST THOUGHT- BOTH SEPARATE FROM THE DARK TRADITION. "SIRIUS MYSTERY" - INCLUDES NOTES ON THE BOOK BY ROBERT TEMPLE WITH MUCH INFORMATION AND PARALLELS NOT IN HIS BOOK. )
In 1970, maybe 1969, a friend who was involved in one of these groups and I saw a movie, "The Dunwich Horror," and I got interested. I read some of Lovecraft's stories. I didn't read "The Dunwich Horror" first, since I found it boring. I latched onto "The Call of Cthulhu" and from there read "At the Mountains of Madnes" and "The Shadow out of Time," One word: WOW! Then I read the rest of the tales and tales by some others, such as Derleth (these were Ballantine Book series; Lin Carter was the head of Ballantine Books).
I became very familiar with the basic Cthulhu Mythos and linked up to an offshoot group called Starry Wisdom Sect, which my friend was involved with - the name was taken from one of the stories (Haunter of the Dark), which was about Nyarlathotep. I was loosely connected with them but contributed a lot of information about the Dark Lord of Transcendant Awareness - and I made notes and passed them on and read everything that passed my way. I noticed a clear distinction between some Lovecraft stories and others. Some were very mundane, even boring - but the Cthulhu Mythos ones were outre in the extreme and they had a different feel to them. LIKE a Call! They GRABBED you - or they did not. It was that black and white.
In 1974 Phil Marsh was brought into the fold and I was, by then, fully familiar with the Cthulhu Mythos and, due to the former group, had just about all the out of print stories ever written in the old days by the original writers. By that time, we called our own offshoot group Kishites, from the Babylonian city of Kish. The Sign of Kish is our 2 pointed up Pentacle - and it was this long before the Pythagoreans ever used it. Kish is an ANCIENT city. We had our own lingo-jargon for everything - if the mythos didn't have a word, we'd make one up. When Lin Carter stuck the "Kishites" into a story, that was an acknowledgement of our group. That's what people would do, write each other's invented entities or groups into stories, include the strange races or cities (real or invented) into stories or even write about each other using a disguised name, as in "Haunter of the Dark," the character Robert Blake is Robert Bloch! And Robert Bloch then wrote a sequel to that tale called "The Shadow From the Steeple"! The Esoteric Order of Dagon was another group and that's either still around now, or a it's new group formed with that name or there is more than one EOD around. The head of one Esoteric Order of Dagon that is a genuine occult order is presently headed by someone I know who is also a member of the Satanic Reds; John Miele. There was also the infamous Esoteric Order of Dagon Amateur Press Association; infamous because they often mimeographed, for their own members, drafts of stories that they were specifically asked NOT to publish anywhere! Richard Tierney seems to have worked solo in collecting all the Simon Magus information and he wrote his superb Simon of Gitta tales, incorporating the Cthulhu Mythos into a heavily Gnostic and ancient world setting. He outright established that Yog-Sothoth is the Hebrew God by using many of the same methods we used - "if it sounds like it or sort of sounds like it, and if it also MEANS the same thing - then use it"!
Not everyone involved in this was a writer. Some were serious occultists, some were serious funsters. Not everyone appreciated Lin "acknowledging" their creative efforts, either - especially when he did more than just acknowledge something in passing - he took it and put it in a story written by himself! (Naughty naughty.)
This compilation of mythos/traditions work, with the intent to eventually put this either into story form, or write "the Secret Books" Lovecraft wrote about (which never existed!) was ongoing at least back in 1963; that's as far back as I saw dated letters and/or little membership cards proudly shown by the group members with a smile. These were from the Societas Selectus Satanas (and by the way, they used the Baphomet in 1963), out of Queens, NY back then. That's Lin's address and I had his phone number - spoke to him. That was definitely Lin Carter involved with this and he definitely knew some of the others, even people in Pennsylvania that I knew later on. I have no idea what he was up to except that I do know he wanted to write the "secret books" and write stories with these ideas in them; he was also into declaring what was or was not a "mythos tale." According to some that knew him back then, he was a definite occultist. According to others, he was not serious but wanted to make money. According to people that knew him when he got sick and lost touch, he knew a lot about the occult, but didn't believe any of it. Who knows? Maybe Lin himself was not sure. He certainly could be nasty - I saw that myself. But he could also be very friendly. I knew him primarily over the telephone. I personally didn't know much about the Societas Selectus Satanas and didn't much care for the name, since it had "Satan" in it, which didn't fit the mythos, in my opinion. SWS, EOD and Kishites never used the term "Satan."
A brief note here first, to clarify something about the use of the incorrect Latin word "Satanas." That's how it was spelled on Lin's cards that predated LaVey. Some might quibble about that. OK, then. Herbert Sloane had a group in 1948 called "Ophite Cultus Satanas." Reference: James R. Lewis Satanism Today. There was also a major Faustian novel from 1895, The Sorrows of Satan that used it, or the alternate spelling "Sathanas." Still, the improper Latin "as" is on the end of the word. Some wish to state that LaVey was the first to use the term "Satanist." Incorrect. Dennis Wheatley wrote a whole novel, quite popular, called The Satanist in 1960. I would be shocked if Lin Carter, very versed in occult literature, did not read these books.
The first group I was closely associated with in 1969, through my friend, was called the Starry Wisdom Sect. They used a symbol that looked like a diamond shape with rays coming out of it and a wavey crossed Vajra in the center. I use this same symbol on the Dark Tradition section of the Satanic Reds website, but instead of a crossed vajra, I have a wavey I-Ching diagram for Inner Truth (the Kishite symbol for Nyarlathotep). Otherwise, the symbol is identical. As I said, these were casual friends, people from backgrounds a bit outside of the major religions here and backgrounds similar to mine that used to hang out and get into this. And they all did their own version of "seek out and recognize" others who got pulled into the fold, or just see if their friends were interested!
Though Lin Carter wanted to "write the Secret Books" that Lovecraft and the others invented, he got very sick and never did it, or what he did of this, was not very good work in my opinion. Much information was collected for Lin by the original SSS group. I knew that Lin personally knew at least two of the members of the Penn State U group that formed using the same Societas Selectus Satanas name, because Lin spoke about these people on the phone. There is one sample of this "writing the Secret Books" on our website entitled "The Aklo Tablets," rit-aklo.html ) entitled "The Aklo Tablets." This material was collected in 1963. I had copies of it; it was xeroxed pages from something Blavatsky wrote, with much of her stuff crossed out and handwriting on it. No one ever typed it out. I finally did and put it on our website. I also wrote the rest of the Tablets by just making up the information, since what I could see of Blavatsky's original made no sense to me at all. I used standard Daniel Harms "Encyclopedia Cthulhuiana" information to do it and some ancient history. It is also a published story with a story plot in "Cthulhu Cultus".
In 1974, as I said, we formed our own little group of about 20 people, and named it the Kishites. That name was not yet in any Cthulhu Mythos stories, but we used it anyway. Keep in mind, that's a lot of people to have over your house at one time. So groups soon split off and took up new names: The Dholes, the Shantaks, the Voormi, etc., names from the Cthulhu Mythos that weren't already being used by another group, or new names shortly to be put into new stories. The Societas Selectus Satanas at this time, early 1970's, was out of 430 Shaw Avenue, McKeesport, PA and consisted of mostly college students from Penn State U. Xerox machines and available electric typewriters made all of this a lot easier.
While the original Societas Selectus Satanas incorporated all the types of people mentioned above, and the later one seemed to be a group of college kids; the Starry Wisdom Sect had more people in it that were interested in the sciences, not just mythological correlations, and people who knew a lot about specific cultures of the past and had a strong focus on the Dark Traditions, but not exclusively. The Kishites were purely a Dark Tradition faction of the SWS, which also incorporated some sciences into it - and most of the people in it were my own cousins and close friends; but it was all interwoven with the Cthulhu Mythos, too. I have photographs of some of us and of the crazy things we did at parties, and one of those photographs is of 56 pounds of green jello. Other things we did can be seen on our Trip to Innsmouth and on the photos of things Lovecraft wrote about and houses Lovecraft lived in, Lovecraft Was Here. Hundreds of short stories got written - and we'd take turns reading them. I'm afraid that most of this material is lost, though some of it was published - most of it was never given to anyone to publish. I do still have one huge notebook of material, specifically about the "Deep Ones," but none of that is magical or of that type. I have never made any of that public, but some of the information was incorporated in the novel OTHER NATIONS by T&P Marsh.
At the same time all this fun and fiction was going on, the various groups of Freudians and Jungians were out there trying to analyze Lovecraft himself. Dirk Mosig, professor of Psychology, showed up on the scene in the 1970s. His interactions with us were pure fun with only some seriousness. A sour note is that a strong anti-Derleth trend started, which wiped the smiles off many faces and took the fun and joy out of the scene. Derleth was instrumental in launching a few careers - Brian Lumley's and I think Lin Carter's, too. The Lovecraft Scholars showed up at this time, too, often disparaging any fiction that anyone wrote, especially Derleth's. That's a shame. No need to analyze Lovecraft to know that he WANTED people to write stories and borrow these ideas. Lovecraft was HAVING FUN.
What does this have to do with Satanic Reds? Satanic Reds is the Kishites with exclusive emphasis on the Pure Dark Tradition, but with no inclusion of any kind of fiction, and with the inclusion of politics! Another difference is that Satanic Reds is purely open; our information is either free on a website or sold to anyone who wishes to know it.
These are Our Roots. We didn't just appear in 1989 handing Dark Tradition material to other Satanic organizations. We didn't just appear in 1997 with Satanic Reds. We have been around a LONG TIME! Prior to that the Root goes back to standard LHP doctrines of the Boundless Darkness - and there is a unity in all these traditions. These traditions are the oldest traditions in the world - as a matter of fact!
Do we have any roots in LaVeyan Satanism? NO! NONE! Do we have any roots in the Temple of Set? No, none. Though there are some Setians that see a strong similarity between their Set concept - and The Sat. We both have the Doctrine of Becoming in our organizations. (Set is considered an incarnation of Nyarlathotep by some of the Mythos crowd: "Encyclopedia Cthulhiana," Second Edition, page 224, by Daniel Harms). Well, the Sat is Nyarlathotep in Kishite lingo! Do we have any roots in Chaos Magic? No, None. They sort of have their roots in us way back then! SURPRISE! Do we have any roots in Thelema? No, though there are definite similarities that Themelites in the Satanic Reds Organization recognize and have written about. Do we have any roots in Theosophy? No. though there are a few Theosophists in our organization that think we present the Real Deal in a very Pure form with nothing hidden away. Do we have any roots in the Witchcraft or Wicca movement? No, though there are Wiccans in our organization that resonate to the "feel" of it and we link to The Temple of Lylyth Organization.
For more on how the Kishites used the Mythos terms in relation to the Dark Doctrines, you may wish to read about that HERE
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