Tracing the Solitary Path
Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
A Review of: Patrick John Larabee: Whisperings from the Void (Aeon Sophia Press, 2012)
‘Whisperings from the Void’ is a revelation through words, images, hymns, prayer and rituals in honour of the Lonely Road, a testimony of how gnosis and enlightenment can be found in isolation and solitude, amidst the denizens of the healing bush and poison apple, within the void and the winds of night.
It is an intimate and philosophical text constantly questioning the very substance of being, nothingness, soul and spirit that in its exegesis takes the shape of a Valentinian revelation colored with the gestalts of our fragmented and constantly recreated worlds and our perception of these worlds as we see, watch, feel and enter into communion with the other side on the wings of dream and the lone sojourner’s ecstasy.
Central for the book is the quintessence of magic as revealed in leaps and states of dream congress with the otherness along the via negativa. It is the void and nothingness that is the womb and tomb for the possibilities enacted in the sensorial and ensouled body adorned by spirit. It is the void that is conceived as beginning and therefore affirmation of all that is by a constant reference to transformation.
A recurring theme in the book is the meditations upon the nature of the soul. These meditations turn from contemplations of the soul in light of the Aristotelian soul as the life-giving power to a thing, to seeing the soul as dream proper. By presenting such meditations and paradoxes Larabee is constantly accepting and deconstructing not only the soul, but also key concepts in the book, such as ‘dream’, ‘void’, ‘flesh’, ‘awareness’, ‘senses’ - and in this the book turns into an exercise and testament-giving word to the constant transmutability of the ensorceled witch.
The one constant in the book, the pole and anchor that transformation dances around and within is the ‘I’ – the Self as revealed through its self awareness. It is this perpetual constant that is the axis that enables understanding and knowledge for the transformation of perception, meditation and experience throughout the book. As Larabee writes: “We so often believe that we are the same being all of the time, but this is not the truth, for we are ever-changing sentient entities that are constantly in flux, every moment adapting to both our inner and outer realities.” (p.55)
All this must be brought into unity – and unity is not a Self defined by categories and forms – but a still centre of reflection and understanding that enables interaction within the worlds that are in a constant transformation.
Larabee is cunningly describing the apparent duality of the world, and sees this as something that must be subject for unity by a dual acceptance of the world of clay and the world of spirit – it is only here the soul can be at peace and cling to the axis of ‘I’. As he writes:
“Here though it must be stated that we are each capable of containing both heavens and hells, that when we reach into the heavens of our own selves we must also reach down into our own self created hells; we each are a legion of demons and angels and we are constantly at work within this battlefield of the mind, of the soul, there is never a cessation of this inner turmoil, whether positive or negative.” (p 22/23)
This constant turmoil is experienced as fragments, parts of a yet unknown whole that must be brought together. Larabee sees this as crucial to the Lonely Wanderer, and this also implies making peace with the world of profane reality as much as the ideal world where spirits more pure reign. The Solitary Witch is in a constant exile – and it is perhaps because of this acceptance of exile the perception of the Witch is often so different and often provocative for the mundane world. As he writes: “Exile is both a blessing and a curse, in that through it we are placed outside of the boundaries of the world as we know it, yet it is this very placement that gives exile its power, its purpose.” (p.32)
It is the exile itself that enables the establishment of the ‘I’ because exile forces one to look at the axis from the outside… and this leads to the following conclusion, that: “The Man of Spirit lives within the spiritual moment, the ever-present, becoming, the Eternal Now; which is the vertical-axis which intersects the horizontal-plane of manifest reality.” (p.73)
The second part of the book is ritualistic in nature as it details and suggests ways of spirit congress through soul travel and the placement of the sensorial body as the ritual field in the Eden of the Witch gods and goddesses. The Compass and crossroad are used as points of entrance both to the spirits of the land, the Mighty Dead and the wielders of witchblood. In this, the Dream Sabbath becomes the metastasis of ‘I’ and is resurrected into a perpetual possibility that turns the lonely road crowded with spirits from all possible kingdoms and the route towards Self.
The book concludes with a series of invocations to sixteen faithful gods and goddesses that encircle the ‘I’ and this retinue is given as: Hekate, Qayin, Lucifer, Lilith, Samael, Rahab-Tiamat, Baphomet, Tubal Cain, Naamah, Mahazhael, Lilis, Janus, Ruha, Azazel, Lucifera, Asmodeus, all of them with deep and thick ties to witchblood proper.
‘Whisperings from the Void’ is a companion for the Witch on the Lonely Road, it is an exegesis on themes of grave importance to the exile and it is a constant meditation on the nature and substance of the ensorcelled Self or ‘I’. As such Patrick John Larabee has given from his soul a testimony of the hooks and crooks of the path that should be read with care and received in gratitude – especially for the Solitary sojourner.
There is a distinct sense of generosity in ‘Whisperings from the Void’, a desire to share and not to overwhelm, which gives this book a beauty in its nakedness that by itself makes this testimony of the Solitary path worthy and good!
Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold