Cthulhu Cult by Venger Satanis
Review of Cthulhu Cult by Venger Satanis (aka Darrick Dishaw). 168 pp, with some very atmospheric illustrations. This review based on a PDF, but the book is available in print from LuLu I gather...
ISBN 978-1-4303-0631-3 published 2007.
Reviewed by Francis H Breakspear
Page 12 of this fascinating book highlights perhaps the central point of it all "what prevents us from totally rejecting realism? What makes imaginary Gods any less potent than real ones? Why should anything tangible in this world be taken more seriously than a bizarre and gruesome dream?"
Time was, when a magickal book about Cthulhu was a rarity. These days they are a lot more common (for example Phil Hine's Pseudonomicon) and even the academics are getting in on the act (and Venger shows he has read some of the important researchers in that field, like Joshi), by studying this modern paradigm, viz, a magical cult based on the fictional writings of an author who was pretty much penniless and obscure for his entire (short) life.
I am presuming anyone who has made it this far into the review will have an interest in Lovecraft, and thus will know the the general gist of things to save me repeating them: HP Lovecraft wrote a lot of fiction (which engendered a cult following, both of readers, and writers who took his characters and mythology, to write their own stories) and was pretty pessimistic about humanity's chances of making it if the Old Gods actually did ever return to earth. The day after the stars are right for their return, if Lovecraft's doomiest predictions are true, and his work is NOT fiction (for reference read anything deriving from the Typhonian end of Aleister Crowley's Thelema for much discussion of this).... then..... well, earth is screwed, basically. It will also perhaps be a new beginning, for those left standing, and this intriguing little book may well help you be one of the survivors (if you will it thus).
After several chapters detailing the backgrounds of some of the important Lovecraftian deities, Venger describes his own researches, his own rituals (which anyone can use if they wish) and his experiences with this magical system, and then quite succinctly covers the whole paradigm-shift philosophy, a topic that will be fairly familiar to anyone who's not been asleep in the last three decades of magickal thought, but the coverage here is pretty good, and will be of use to anyone who's not entirely sure what it is about. His occult-political ideas for a Lovecraftian ruling Theocracy will raise a few eyebrows, and that's no bad thing, to offer subjects for serious thought... he is also head of the Cult of Cthulhu, and invites membership.....
Venger's book might not, in many ways, strike the experienced reader as anything new- for instance Anton LaVey introduced the idea of Lovecraft's Old Gods as being useful in Satanic rituals a few decades back (as Venger remarks), and a lot of chaos magicians have been playing with Lovecraftian ideas for at least 15 years. What this book is useful for is opening a crack in the common perception of reality- giving us an Austin Spare-esque chance to ask a few "what if-s...?"
Like what if Venger is right?
The author has an almost missionary zeal to give over his ideas, which helps a lot. Reading it, as I did, in one sitting, on a dark and stormy night in the lonely English countryside, coincidentally on the 60th anniversary of the death of Crowley, turning the pages at a rapid pace, made it a very interesting and compelling book, which obviously the fruit of a lot of hard work. In the cold light of day writing the review it is a different matter, and much more easy, or at least more comfortable to half-ignore the urgent and baleful message given herein. Choose when you read the book, and that will dictate how useful if is for you. Pretty much essential reading for anyone already steeped in the Cthulhu Mythos, I would also recommend it to any fans of Kenneth Grant, most Chaotes will like it a lot and of course Wiccans will hate every last page, but that's totally predictable. This book encourages self-control and self-liberation from the world of illusion, Maya, and anything that does that is no bad thing.
Taste alone dictates if you would choose this path, Venger is unlikely to convert a complete disbeliever, but that's also no bad thing- think for yourself! is a message of Satanism, and thus by derivation this book is giving that message out too. Nice!