Saturday, December 15, 2012

Out of Exile: An interview with Gabriel McCaughry of Anathema Publishing

Greetings Gabriel,

 Many thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us tonight and answer some questions which we hope will provide a little background to yourself and also a facet of your being uniquely distinct from your musical endeavours of which you are perhaps more widely known.  

The pleasure's all mine friend, and thanks to you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to craft these here questions.

This is not my first interview, but is my first interview as an Editor, Writer and Publisher rather than a Vocalist/Lyricist in a band (this is not to say that I am not proud beyond words of what I have accomplished during the years but let us focus to the subject at hand).

Hmm? "Widely known" would be somewhat of an embellishment, but still a welcomed euphemism. Realistically-speaking, I would rather advance that I may "only be known to some (the few)" because of the many years I have invested being parts of various underground bands and my general implication in the musical realm, as music used to be the backbone of most of my day-to-day activities, and at some point my full-time job as well. This aspect of myself is no mystery, for my past in the music scene can easily be tracked down online and traced back even to my first venture in the "metal" world as vocalist/lyricist in ‘Unquintessence’, then eventually ‘Ion Dissonance’, which I believe gained quite a reputation when it first came out, and more recently with ‘Vatican’, ‘LIM’ and now ‘Blight’.

Under the Light of more pressing duties, my devotion to the Occult Studies and the pursuit of releasing quality material via Anathema Publishing, this "frontman/screamer" side of myself has taken a step back to concentrate all the more on the latter Work, as it should.  

Firstly, can you perhaps begin by giving us a brief history of yourself? 

Certainly: I was born in Québec City, I come from a humble household and I like to think of myself as a humble man with a relatively "normal" education; we never had much growing up but we had just enough (sounds cheesy perhaps, but that is the way it is).

All in all, my childhood was mostly a happy one. I was curious and sometime overly active as a child, lost in my dreams with a deep penchant for drawing and everything Art related. The teenage years were the worse, my objective seclusion and general disinterest toward other people made it hard for me to socialise, to care and relate about the mundane and the idiotic concerns most have at that age (a feeling of uneasiness shared by many scholar/practitioners of the Occult as I have come to understand, and by no means something dreadfully marginalistic it appears), preferring instead the world of books and works of fiction.

At school you could say that I was a bookworm, shy as well, and frail (physically-speaking) so it was easy for bullies to find in me the perfect "victim" if you will. A climate that was soon to change when midway through Highschool (and puberty); I grew up a tad taller than most and kicked the living shit out of those who dared try me, fortunately I never had to enforce many of these violent reprisals back then:. Fear did the rest and worked wonders for me, which is quite ironic really, in retrospect. I finally decided to show my true colours as a Metalhead (we were an overwhelmed minority), but then everything ran smoothly as one does during adolescence; I met girls, experienced drugs & alcohol to some moderation, and started off my first band. The rest is history so-to-speak.

As a child I was fascinated by religious iconography and the hidden messages behind the simple wording of sacred texts, it somehow eluded me and yet intensified my curiosity. I was raised in a very liberal Catholic household and I did my first communion etc, but very early on I knew there was something behind the whole institution of the Church that I loathed (eventually going as far as to contact the parish where I had been baptised as a baby to have me excommunicated, asking to be no longer any part of it). It seems silly for me to admit that I was a full-blown rebel, but in many ways I was; questioning everything and trying to shed a different kind of light over life's mysteries rather than gullibly gulping every pre-fabricated "truths" the Church (or any figure of authority) would throw my way, has always been something I would do instinctively without really taking the time to ponder as to why these so-called axiomatic truths seemed flawed to me or at their worse, empty: As if I knew there was a whole system of underground tunnels and corridors running deep beneath the surface, a sort of underlying theme pertaining to those eloquent symbols and metaphors. Of course I was a bit too young back then to fully grasp what was later to be revealed to me as the beginning of my Gnostic Awakening.

I went through many stages of discovery, disdain, and panic when finally confronted with the core of this Knowledge. I was fascinated by it, and scared shitless at the same time…that is until it became self-evident that everything I had ever wrote, that all this ever-questioning process, that this insatiable hunger for gnosis was never to go away, that this was what I was meant to do, it was my Will, and I was good at it, so might as well be enjoying it and dive in head first. 
From thereon, everything I did, the choices I made to pursue education first in literature, both in English and French (my mother tongue), then nourishing a growing interest for Theology (as a side-line), the Occult Sciences, Alchemy, and the many magickal systems and Arte, and finally Graphic Design to both help the bands I was involved in, to have a career and hence put food on the table, as well as mastering layout and editing for any upcoming literary projects, was made so that this Passion, this Love and this Curse was to remain Alive and burning strong. 

Despite your pursuit within the field of music, what other pastimes do you entertain, or hobbies do you have?

These are numerous, as I am entertained by a myriad of things and try to have as many hobbies/pastimes as I possibly can, devouring Life as this is mostly all we can do while being confined into Beings-of-Flesh-Incarnate.

I truly believe that I am able to achieve anything and everything, and I do not want this statement to transpire as being overly pompous, superficial or cocky. This firm belief comes from past experiences and embodies both my greatest achievements and most catastrophic failures, as they are all equally important in the development of the Man-made-Whole, of the Übermensh theorem (which I believe is more of a psycho-alchemical stage of evolution within oneself rather than an elitist viewpoint about the Next anthropomorphic man-beast that'll walk this Earth).

"In my salvation lies a union of contrasts...

Only through the sacred mariage of the King's Animus and Queen's Anima consumed, reprensented as the Serpens Bifudus & the hermaphrodite virtues of LuxFerre,
may this Union be complete and becoming One made possible.
Under such spell, & only through Lucifer,
is access to true divinity, & the "Aqua Permanis", permitted...
Only turmoil may bring Clarity from the primordial Well of Mysteries."

Basically, all the doors are opened for me, and even though at a particular time of my life I may be inclined or not to do this or do that, this can be changed at whim, for the soil underneath my feet is not of solid concrete into which my feet are stuck to, it is closer to moving magma which forces me to be stealthy on my feet and always bolt in different directions... and the Grand Tree lying in front of me, with roots so thick and running deep, is the One of Endless Possibilities.

So where to begin? I like to think of myself a rather decent Cook, I enjoy time spent making a delicious meal when time allows it and especially if I can share the moment with  a "special" somebody... it helps me relax and I've taken great interest in the last few years at sharpening my skills in this domain (to eat better food and thus take better care of myself and others around me). I also try to stay in shape by going to the gym a few times a week, only so I can maintain a healthier lifestyle as indubitably I will grow older and need to address the issue in the best positive way, despite this I am not really fond of sports in general and so I prefer to be pro-active than having to deal with this later.

Whenever I can afford it, one of the main things I truly enjoy, that are always life-changing experiences, is traveling. I have been blessed enough to be able to live the life-on-the-road with the band between 2001 and 2006, doing about 150+ shows a year mostly everywhere in the US and the rest of Canada. But my favourite travel memories were the voyages I did in Europe, the couple of times I went and more recently the three months trip to Asia, which would undoubtedly changes anyone's perspective of life, irrespective of their cultural background, whether they like it or not. This I would like to do more often and for more extended periods in the future.

I have recently started painting and I may reveal my first attempts at it sooner rather than later. Of course I write a lot, this has always been the case, however it took me several years before being able to step out of my comfort zone and try to write lengthier material than the average short story constituting the Lyrics of a song. I mostly write essays on various topics; philosophy or opinion-driven critiques; more often than not failing to finish one piece before undertaking the task of writing another one (a nasty habit I should really work on).

I also write short stories of any kind, mostly depraved and/or very dull and bleak yet sarcastic outlooks upon the human condition in its minute details. That, and of course more scholarly works within the all-encompassing field of Esotericism and my personal experience on this journey as a self-initiated Adept and Luciferian Devotee.

Praying is also a part of my daily routine, albeit my relationship with the Older Gods permits me to omit some days to allow for greater liberty of action and be focused on the many task ahead, namely for Anathema Publishing. The occasional rituals are carefully planned in advance, and rarely done to rectify a current situation in my personal life or to bring about needed changes... that I will do on my own, with my own resources as an individual, scarcely resorting to crystallised-will-propelled-though-magick to bring about those changes. I prefer to consort with the chief deities/tentacles of the Master and be inspired into performing an act of greater importance through rituals sometimes inspired by older traditions yet revitalised and customised to this (my) modern reality.

I do not consider myself a Chaos Sorcerer simply because I will not necessarily start to build a system from scratch but I do work on multiple platforms to suit a given scenario.

Your work was featured in the 2007 issue of Clavicula Nox: Lilith, published through IXAXAAR and was well-received, with excerpts even being used in the marketing of the release. Was this your first publication in an esoteric journal and if so what was the driving force which led you to take the leap (so to speak)?

It was, and again I am grateful that I was blessed to contribute to CN-IV as Ixaxaar always was and is still one of the Publishing House out there that I most associate with and have been following since their first online inception. Having purchased, read and supported most of their work to-date, it came to a point when Ixaxaar was one of the very few places where I was aiming to submit my first book... in the meantime, and coincidentally, I realised Ixaxaar was opening submissions to new contributors for Clavicula Nox's next installment, and I felt it was the "right" time. If I was Ready, I would never know. Are we ever? It just felt right. The theme seemed particularly fitting at the time as I was, myself, deeply involved with the chief-deity governing CN-IV, our Sanguine Queen Lilith. I felt I needed to share... to come out of the Dark (so to speak) and introduce myself to the World (that is, to the very limited audience reachable through this kind of work) in a different way than most people perceived me before that, as being that "dude from this band writing cool shit in his lyrics".

It was time for me to share the experiences I had lived and explain my vision and the many discoveries I had made on this road toward Illumination. I thus grabbed the bull by the balls and started writing right away, first submitting only 2 pages but promising to elaborate further on the topic and submit about a 5 pages piece. A. from Ixaxaar seemed quite pleased with the result and the way I was approaching the subject and deemed it suitable to use it as a featured and opening piece for the issue, which was quite a welcomed shock for me and I am still very proud of that.

Of course it wasn't the first piece I had written this way. I keep a journal of experimentation and write on a regular basis, random thoughts, dreams, visions, transmittance, poesy etc. After all, "ARS REQUIRIT TOTUM HOMINEM".

Before CN, I was merely slowly but surely working on my first book (which I will talk more about later on) and didn't felt the need to go around spreading the words until that door opened at Ixaxaar. Afterward, and since people communicate information rather fast in this small network, I was approached to write a piece for a very small publisher based in Vancouver, The Black Press, which I believe is no longer around. Nonetheless I wrote an argumentative piece, from two seemingly opposite perspective, an essay entitled "Quantum Luciferianism - or - The Vortices of Fore-Thinking" which finally was "published" online via the SilverStar Online Journal of the Horus-Maat Lodge. Then pursued other avenues for a short while thus writing a small book (of about a 100p.) of Fiction mixing occult analogies and metaphors with quantum physics precepts all weaved in a very disparate way and having an underlying dark humor and very politically-incorrect tone. This book, simply titled "ANTI", (which I wrote in French) will probably never see the light of day... I made a hard cover copy for myself as a souvenir but it is not mature enough nor is it complete enough to my taste for actual publication, nonetheless I had fun writing it, it was quite the challenge as I had never wrote something of the sort before and I also gave myself quite a few technical restrictions to respect that were very hard to zigzag around, such as writing each chapters from a first person point of view and every half-chapter from a third person point of view to demonstrate the link between each chapters, for each chapters has its own particular character, more so the entire book never uses the same qualifier twice in any given situation, which makes for quite a vocabulary-heavy book in and of itself.

But aside from that, on an everyday basis I am like anybody else; I enjoy the company of good friends and I like to converse over a good pint of IPA beer.

Since then you have expanded your own vision and manifested within logos your very own ANATHEMA PUBLISHING, can you tell us the motivation behind this manoeuvre and a little about the readership you are reaching out to with the releases?

From the get-go, publishing something of my own has always been a dream of mine, but of course we know "dream" to comprise many treasures and things that have already "happened" but that we just haven't come in term to realise yet. Anathema Publishing and its periodical journal PILLARS are such treasures, and are such events that have always been in the making and happening simultaneously in my life, only when I consorted with The Master, did everything came into manifestation.

I've always wanted to unearth this Prima Materia lying not-so dormant inside of me and this  is a step forward. It only needed a little extra push to go from subconscious to conscious; it is through prayers and experimentation that this can be further propelled in the sur-conscious. In order that this most precious of stone can be turned to diamond, chiseled to near-perfection and thus shine the brightest!
Anathema is but a conduit meant to alter and shape the zeitgeist of our time, a vessel sailing the troubled waters of the Arte, facilitating the passage of Mercurial & Saturnal (divine/upmost and malefic) spirits unto this world….making IT more fecund by creating a wider array of phenomenon to occur; expanding minds through inspiration…a simple yet most crucial mean of expression and philosophy: The Vinum Ardens for us to drink merrily. Quintessence and tri-essence conjoined, as the driving force behind Movement, Resolution, Determination, Balance and Excellence. This is Anathema's verbatim; the poison in the veins of the Tetragammaton.

My hope is that these words will reach an audience willing to "read, hear & see" not only the apparent meaning of the texts presented, but to also feel its Spirit and weight.

I neither require nor aspire to reach a larger audience per se, as I would be content to deal with those already inclined to have these epiphanies bestowed upon them. Yet I do not readily support actual "elitism" (based on a particular artistic background, notoriety within the milieu, creed, affiliation, or academic degrees of any sorts)... From the viewpoint of the human experience, and the samsara-cycle; none of us are equal, I firmly believe this as a fact, yet we are all the same in that regard nonetheless. This duality is fundamental to the Idea formed from the Image faced with its own reflection. A condition first imposed, then exposed, and finally exploited, that is, until one wills it to be extracted, so that a newest form may arise and that Ascent be made possible.

Contributors need to be masters of their own direction, as head honcho of Anathema, I guess it is my role to come up with this "direction" and thus I have taking the liberty to elaborate various themes around which the Adept/Artist can have full license and artistic freedom to be able to present some genuine pieces to the readership.

Pillars VOL I – Psychopompos is freshly released and making its way into the hands of its followers as we speak. How do you expect it will be received and what was your final impression as you saw it as a whole, prior to it being sent to press?

It is always a pretty darn exciting and yet alarmingly stressful time... but each destination is different, and this "trip" was a first for me. I will succumb to exaggeration here and proclaim, metaphorically-speaking of course, that it was for me the closest thing I ever experienced to giving birth! (hahah). PILLARS is my firstborn, my brainchild and a beautiful babe-of-the-abyss. It may not be perfect (nothing is) but it is truly the best I could have done as far as a number One goes and with the limited resources I had at my disposal at the time.

I am immensely proud of this first tome, and I hope it shows in the care and efforts I have made into putting it all together. It has been two years in the making, from when the actual Idea of Anathema went from wishful thinking to the creation of the visual signature, the whole philosophy and aim behind it all and ultimately deciding that the first release that I would put together would be a yearly periodical Journal instead of going ahead and releasing a full book of my own, on a then unknown publishing house by an equally unknown author (me). It only seemed logical that I would begin by a collaborative efforts between multiple authors and artists that I truly respect.

That being said, I did not know if the idea would appeal to anyone or if I would get any submissions at all, or even replies to my first few emails... we can now safely assume this was a success, at least for Anathema.

I will leave my expectations of "how It will be received" in the hands of the followers and the curious parties out there. I am a man that seldom nurtures "expectations", and usually focus more on The Path in itself, and the attainment of a goal rather than the actual goal itself. For once a summit is reached there will always be another mountain to climb. For the publishing house's sake, yes, it would be good to have people genuinely interested in witnessing where Anathema will take it from there. I believe I have set a precedent for totally independent DIY publications and these are the standards that will be the base upon which Anathema will grow. It is certainly a big challenge to take on for a single individual with still limited means but I am not complaining.

I have a very clear vision concerning PILLARS and its upcoming incarnations. I will not lie and admit that a body of textual weight and integrity such as what "The Equinox" was back in the 1900s is a huge inspiration to me; Thelema is not a path I choose to fully embrace yet sheer genius undeniably can be found within any of Crowley's texts (as most will agree) and I always found The Equinox's motto "The Aim of Religion, The Methods of Science" to be very appealing to me, and back in the days it struck a chord within that still rings true to my heart.

The Equinox and PILLARS are of course two very different entities and never would I dare presume that PILLARS will reach the same height with time as The Equinox did. I am not publishing PILLARS in order to spread a single vision or message nor do I wish this whole thing to become a whole movement like Thelema, my goals are much more immediate in this life and if it continues without me this is fine too, but I aim to be in it for the long run while I can.

And what about future works through Anathema or elsewhere, what can we expect of you?

I am fortunately (yes, fortunately) at a Crossroads, I do not have to undertake one path or the other, they are simply laid out before me and I have the luxury of choosing one or all of them, as they are all equally important to me.

There is a book that I have been working on for quite a while now (we're talking in terms of years), which has changed title more than once but will most likely bear the name: "Neoteric Heterodoxy ...also crudely titled, De Abscondita Divina Dubitatione" which is sort of a personal account on the ways and how I live Luciferianism and so it is a quick peak into some of details of my bastardised methods of praxis, written in a grimoire-like fashion. Theosophically speaking, it also strongly revolves around "Doubt" as Divine Principle and chief incarnation, in this world, of the Cephalopod Nature of Lucifer (or Hydra-headed persona of Lucifer). This book however is nowhere near completion and I sure hope that I will be allowed some time off soon to come back to it and polish its edges.

More to-date with what is in the making for Anathema is a short book, written in nine stances, based on some of my direct trance-sequent-transmittances with the Lord of All-Tunnels: a short prosaic work with symbolical explanation accompanying each stance. This one is entitled "(h)Aurorae" and is also authored by me.

Now I am still unsure if both these books will see the light of day before or after the second opus of PILLARS which is now open to submissions; the theme being solidified as we speak. I do not have a definitive date for PILLARS - Vol.1, Issue.2 - "The Golden Eitr" as of now, but it shouldn't come out before the summer solstice of 2013 at the earliest.

Obviously and that goes without saying, Anathema aims to be a genuine publishing house and as such I am very open to anyone who would like to get their work published in a sumptuous albeit rather "underground" or indie way. Serious authors and devoted Adepts should not hesitate to send me their manuscripts.

A little more personally now; what characters from history or modern day serve to inspire you or act as muse to your own philosophy and perceptions? How do these transcend across to your own spiritual existence?

This is as much of a good question as it is a very tough one to answer "properly"; sometimes the links in between the said inspiration and the inspired are so thin or so remote from one another that it is very difficult to pinpoint the actual Alpha from the Omega, and when or how exactly they came to being an influence of mine is also very hard to recall. People, living and/or deceased, spirits well-stuck in between, friends, foes and fiends alike, as well as entities from much higher and lower stratas of perception, have all contributed to my progress, ingress and egress, as I am slowly making my way through the Veils, and step by step, climb the ladder to where I am standing today. They all have their individual worth, but is there one over the other? I often wonder... and wander as well, away from my own deductions and often wholly embrace other point of views and different teachings. There is true beauty to be found when one is able to be the advocate of his own Inner Devils, so-to-speak.

Characters from all over influenced me, I am but the culmination of past influences, laid on my shoulders, straight from the Novosphere of Gnosis. The list again, would be endless, and to elaborate about each individuals would be in itself a very tiring endeavour and so I will try to name a few here and be quiet as to how they have "helped" me along the way as I also realise how unoriginal I can be when choosing who to name here as muses...

(In no particular order): Authors (from many a fields of literature) who have inspired me at some point or another:

Carl Gustav Jung,
Julius Evola,
Friedrich Nietzsche,
Aleister Crowley,
Ms. Blavatsky,
John Fante,
Khalil Gibran,
Le Compte de Lautréamont,
Alexandre Dumas,
H.P. Lovecraft,
Stephen Hawkings.

I also have a strong inclination/fascination toward sacred texts of multiple religious denominations, whether it be the Bible, the Torah, the Vedas, the Coran, Paganistic Texts & Mythologies, or The Tibetan Book of the Dead, etc. Any work of Theology, Philosophy and Philology are paramount to some extent. - Again nothing too "out-of-the-blue" I suppose.

As much as I deeply enjoy music in general, few are the  artists who have truly made an impact on my life, except of course perhaps Ulver, which is by far my favorite band out there. And recently I have grown very fond of Hexvessel to the same degree.

Lots of contemporary authors and publishers such as Ixaxaar, Xoanon, William Kiesel and Ouroboros, Jake Stratton-Kent, etc. are benevolent influences when considering this new entity in the making which is Anathema Publishing.

Most notably though, and from a personal standpoint, the work and words of Andrew Chumbley have a special kind of resonance for me, his was a truly Unique Transmission. You only need to invest enough time imbuing yourself with the essence of his written work to realise it.

Are you affiliated or aligned to any particular groups, or are there any existing working groups who you particularly admire and who inform your own praxis?

I am not at the present moment in time affiliated with or aligned to any particular group bound by fraternal faith or common belief system and tradition. I am often debating internally if that is a fortunate or unfortunate occurrence, however I do believe that in the end, my path is a solitary one. I guess my initial fears as far as reaching out to find a group that would appeal or rather ring true to what I already happen to have experienced comes from a general fear of mine to fall prey to de-individuation, not that I am usually keen to fall in such traps, but I do keep my guard up.

I do believe these congregations to be paramount, in order to insure the preservation of old rites and traditions, however, if the said group is particularly rigid on its grounds as a mean to respect what has comes to pass I understand, but not if it deprive the practitioner the right to adapt. Providing "Truths" is one thing, sucking the potential out of the practitioner to make up their OWN arcane truths, that's where I draw the line... for such a group would have become tainted by the dogmatizing influence of religiosity; knotting in both hands and mind.

As a practitioner, my whole take on the Arte is an all-inclusive form of Neo-gnostic self-initiation process that I have come to embrace and develop in a very solitary way over the years as it seemed that A) I was pretty much alone in my entourage to have this burning hunger toward The Teachings and B) I never felt the actual need to go out and change that (ie. meeting like-minded individuals living close to me with whom I could share and conduct experiment with). I preferred to take my time and be as serious as I could be without resorting to peers acknowledgement or mutual mental-masturbation, if you understand my mean. And finally C) it got obvious after a certain point that I could never readily join a coven, an organisation or such, even though some are dangerously close to my aspirations on the fundamental energetic level. However each time the Works is required of me, to dabble and commit to a certain "system" or "tradition", my primal and most personally profound link with Lord Lucifer intervenes and rather suggest to pick whatever I deem fit and instead incorporate the strings to the fabrics of my own web of transcendence.

I have always been interested in the shattering the Jungian archetypes, by first embracing their significances as potent logos and, through praxes and syncretic alchemy, proceed to  give them a breath of their own, pushing  them forth from the sethos of the esoteric toward the celestia of the exoteric; from the unconscious to the conscious realm. The old gods in turn bestowing me, the operator, with numerous insights to be utilised in the lower planes. Information that was  part of me but was veiled and inaccessible at first; My Will then traveling the pleroma of the Umbra-Plasma, collecting names, specters and various masks,  coming back a different entity to reveal my own inner strengths and weaknesses. You could say then that my Work is on the very edge of two battling notions, being part Luciferian Theism and Archetypal Philology.

And finally, do you have anything else you wish to say or any wisdom to impart upon the audience?

I aim for the Gods to lend a helping hand so that PILLARS II may be as much of a surprise and success to serious Occultists as the first issue was and perhaps yet even more so.... Making it so that "The Golden Eitr" exerts the same impression to others as "Elend's The Umbersun" did to me years back (of course if one could compare music and literature in such context, but you get the analogy.); A periodical journal which is both viciously disturbing and yet grandiose, bombastic and all-empowering!

I will leave you with a short excerpt of "wisdom" taken from Neoteric Heterodoxy and used here as an example to make a point in this particular context: an excerpt that is only meant to titillate the subconscious mind & broaden its horizons. 

"Only when the Olde Dragon of Da'at Dane'elam lays down to mate with Sophia Divided, can true sparks of enlightement reach the Adept in ways he can actually decipher, and these are rare occasions; a glimpse of the Divine, and a miraculous intervention much like the meeting of Aiwass and Crowley on top of the dunes of Cairo.

With this in mind always, become or rather just Be “Inspiration”: always aim and strive to either be inspired or convey inspiration (be an inspiration to others when inspiration lack in your life). Never allow dull moments and lazyness to linger and get the best out of you, for that leads to procrastination, which is truly the sole Enemy of any God-in-the-Making...
& the end of All Magick."

* Original Artwork for Year of the Goat "Lucem Ferre". Credits to the Artist.

- G. McCaughry - MMXII

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