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Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 10 March, 2012 10:19AM
H.P. Lovecraft's inadvertent, and often embarrassing, influence on practicing occultists is well known. Clark Ashton Smith's influence on such persons, though minor in comparison, is almost as interesting. For instance, in an earlier thread, I quoted from an eldritch tome by Kenneth Grant which describes certain earth-bound occultists as collaborating with CAS from "the other side".

As an update to that thread, I have uncovered some interesting examples of references to CAS from Anton LaVey and his Circus...uh, I mean his Church of Satan. You'll find these references below.


1. "It is bad enough to hear of the 'great teachings' of Aleister Crowley—
who hypocritically called himself by the Christian devil’s number, yet
steadfastly denied any Satanic connections, who wrote and had
published millions of words of Kabbalistic mulligatawny, the
distilled wisdom of which could have been contained in a single
volume of once-popular E. Haldeman Julius’ Little Blue Books (which
sold for a nickel). Strange, how seldom one hears plaudits for
Crowley’s poetry, worthy of inclusion with the likes of James
Thompson, Baudelaire, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard".

Anton LaVey. "On Occultism of the Past", The Cloven Hoof [Church of Satan newsletter], 1971


2. "The evening was not a total loss, though, because Fritz Leiber was there. He's moved to San Francisco, so we will be getting together with him after we get back from L.A. Anton was acquainted with him several years ago, around the time he [Anton] was seeing quite a lot of Clark Ashton Smith. Mr. Leiber seemed quite happy to rekindle the friendship, so we're looking forward to seeing him again".

Letter from Diane Hegarty (Anton LaVey's companion) to Michael Aquino,
March 21, 1973, quoted in Michael Aquino, The Church of Satan


3. "The Ceremony of the Avoosal", by Anton LaVey.

This is a ceremonial ritual devised by LaVey. The opening lines are as follows:

"The ritual chamber is embellished with an immense spiderweb stretched across one wall, with a huge spider in its center. A man's body is impaled on the spider's mandibles. otherwise the usual devices are present.

The Avoosal is the Satanic name for the Spider-King who traditionally lurks within the caverns of the earth wherein are kept the treasures man seeks."

Michael Aquino comments in a footnote: "Anton LaVey borrowed the curious term "Avoosal" from one of Clark Ashton Smith's stories, "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan". [...] For this ritual, Anton changed [Ashton Smith's] demon to a more conventional [if enlarged] spider, and gave it the name of the victim in Smith's story." (Aquino, ibid.)


4. "I began to include sentiments from the book into my
vocabulary. I’d pass around the book to prove the reality of my
words. Among my many writer friends, hacks like Robert
Barbour Johnson, Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Jr., Anthony
Boucher, etc., none had ever seen the likes of Might is Right".

Anton LaVey, Introduction to Ragnar Redbeard, Might Makes Right, 1996 edition

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 10 March, 2012 04:58PM
And have ye heard the ritual invocation of Tsathoggua?

1)Make un-clean the area by making sure there is no salt anywhere near the ritual space whatsoever.

2)Cast the Circle--widdershins--with an athame constructed of green stone from R'lyeh. This Tool should be of a baffling geometry.

3)Invoke the Watchers of the 4 Quarters--that is, Yog Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, and of course, Cthulhu. Pray that they do not instantly devour you.

4)Fill the Chalice with the blood of a virgin, spilled beneath the full moon, accompanied by the black incantation I cannot repeat here (see p. 666 of the Necronomicon).

5)Burn some human skin to attract the aetheric avatar of Tsathoggua from the Astral Plane.

If performed correctly, a spectre of Tsathoggua will appear and imbibe the proferred oblations, in exchange for a gift of power, or the granting of a wish.

It's possible I have forgotten part of the ritual. If anyone here be more steeped in the black lore of the Elder Gods than me, please fill in anything I've missed, lest someone here try it and fail horribly, due to any slightest error, which would certainly result in certain doom.

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: Gill Avila (IP Logged)
Date: 11 March, 2012 05:01AM
This fellow makes connections between the Nephilim and the Cthulhu Mythos:

[www.spookhouse.net]

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 13 March, 2012 03:39PM
some of you may recall my re-iteration of Clark's assessment of LaVey - Phoney - it is common for the dilletante to name-drop -

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 13 March, 2012 06:13PM
I certainly would not dispute CAS's assessment of LaVey.

It's interesting that LaVey's former companion stated that LaVey was "seeing a lot" of CAS at a particular time. I wonder how many times they did meet, and how LaVey managed to get introduced to CAS.

Anyway, I hope that the above is at least of historical interest, if nothing else. I was completely unaware of the "Avoosal" ritual until very recently.

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 15 March, 2012 01:28PM
Absquatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I certainly would not dispute CAS's assessment of
> LaVey.
>
> It's interesting that LaVey's former companion
> stated that LaVey was "seeing a lot" of CAS at a
> particular time. I wonder how many times they did
> meet, and how LaVey managed to get introduced to
> CAS.
>
> Anyway, I hope that the above is at least of
> historical interest, if nothing else. I was
> completely unaware of the "Avoosal" ritual until
> very recently.

They met once when, as I recall LaVey journeyed to Auburn with a few hangers-on - one visit - one photo that I am aware of - Clark would never have gone to the coast to meet this charlatan, but would have been of course very grateful for the Amontillado and as always, a gracious host.

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 15 March, 2012 06:50PM
I am guessing that the meeting between CAS and LaVey took place via the intermediation of later Weird Tales writer Robert Barbour Johnson (see the photo in question), but I obviously can't be sure.

Perhaps LaVey's nastiest remark, though inadvertently so, is his suggestion that Aleister Crowley's dreadful Swinburne imitations rank with CAS's verse.

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 18 March, 2012 02:13PM
LaVey and CAS met through George Haas. They apparently met several times. There is a note from LaVey to Smith at the JHL that basically says "Was in the neighborhood and stopped by but you weren't home" (this was when Smith lived in Pacific Grove). I'm not suggesting that they were bosom buddies, but LaVey was a generally well liked member of the Bay Area sf&f community during Smith's lifetime. I don't think that he was espousing his particular version of diabolism until after Smith's death.

Anyway, LaVey was an old carnie and mountebank who IMO used Satanism as just a new way to fleece the rubes. When a friend of mine visited with him, they ended up discussing Charles Bands' great movie "I Bury The Living."

Scott

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 18 March, 2012 04:17PM
Thanks, Scott; that's interesting to know. I figured that the visit documented in the photograph must have taken place in Pacific Grove, and not Auburn.

It's also interesting to know that there was more than one visit. I doubt that LaVey was the sort to captivate CAS, but LaVey did have some curious and eclectic interests--there is some intriguing esoterica in his Satanic Witch bibliography, for instance--and he could likely have conversed knowledgeably about contemporary horror writers, such as Lovecraft.

For the rest, and certainly with respect to what was to come, LaVey was a cynical sciolist, and he became a self-promoting mythomaniac of the lowest order. Even calling him a "carnie" is really doing him too much credit, since he never worked at a carnival, or as a lion tamer at a circus, or did most anything else he claimed to have done. I do think that LaVey believed sincerely in his form of "Satanism", but even that isn't saying much, as it's nothing but Humanism and Ayn Rand dressed in a hood, cloak, and horns. I can't imagine that CAS would have found LaVey's later antics of the slightest interest, except perhaps as theater.

Still, I'd be curious to know more of the substance of LaVey's and CAS's conversations. The sole reminiscence I recall (but can't pin to a source) is LaVey's saying that, in conversation, CAS was "very politically incorrect" (no great surprise, there). Were you aware of the "Avoosal" rite? That came as a surprise to me.

Re: Clark Ashton Smith & The Church of Satan
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 27 March, 2012 04:53PM
Absquatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks, Scott; that's interesting to know. I
> figured that the visit documented in the
> photograph must have taken place in Pacific Grove,
> and not Auburn.
>
> It's also interesting to know that there was more
> than one visit. I doubt that LaVey was the sort to
> captivate CAS, but LaVey did have some curious and
> eclectic interests--there is some intriguing
> esoterica in his Satanic Witch bibliography, for
> instance--and he could likely have conversed
> knowledgeably about contemporary horror writers,
> such as Lovecraft.
>
> For the rest, and certainly with respect to what
> was to come, LaVey was a cynical sciolist, and he
> became a self-promoting mythomaniac of the lowest
> order. Even calling him a "carnie" is really doing
> him too much credit, since he never worked at a
> carnival, or as a lion tamer at a circus, or did
> most anything else he claimed to have done. I do
> think that LaVey believed sincerely in his form of
> "Satanism", but even that isn't saying much, as
> it's nothing but Humanism and Ayn Rand dressed in
> a hood, cloak, and horns. I can't imagine that CAS
> would have found LaVey's later antics of the
> slightest interest, except perhaps as theater.
>
> Still, I'd be curious to know more of the
> substance of LaVey's and CAS's conversations. The
> sole reminiscence I recall (but can't pin to a
> source) is LaVey's saying that, in conversation,
> CAS was "very politically incorrect" (no great
> surprise, there). Were you aware of the "Avoosal"
> rite? That came as a surprise to me.

If, in fact, LaVey said Clark was "Politically Correct" (a term only recently in vogue), it would mean that his Victorian Manners would not allow him to kick the stupid SOB out on his Arse.



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