Do you have phrases or expressions which are always at the forefront of your mind? They might be a popular saying, a line from a film or the chorus of a song. You might keep them contained within your mind. Alternatively you might allow them to slip frequently into your speech like sitcom catchphrases. A writer tends to have more than their fair share of these. They are, after all, their stock-in-trade. Crowley would refer to the future, on occasion, as being a “strange and terrible new aeon.” For my own part there are Nietzsche quotes, lines from Paradise Lost and my observations that “magick is not something you do, it is something you are” & “science can no more prove the existence of magick than magick can prove the existence of science”.  Above all of these, however, are five words which have haunted my mind since childhood: “the lost & the damned.”

The reason this phrase resonates so deeply with me is worthy of explanation. It does. after all, cut to the heart of my worldview. It may seem perverse to many of you that to me “lost” and “damned” are positives. In my mind they are badges of honour to be worn with pride. My use of the phrase in reference to the occult community is always reverential. The concept of “the lost and the damned” contains within it every idea which makes occultism so magnificent. Before we discuss why this is so, let me furnish you with a little backstory. Our phrase has its origin in those fantasy wargames produced by Games Workshop. It is unclear to me if Rick Priestley had any genuine knowledge of Chaos Magick or has simply been inspired by those words. Either way it found its way into his games. Long before Chaos Magick became a reality for me, it was simply the thematic driving force behind my Chaos Space Marine Sorcerer’s battles with my brother’s Tyranids.  “Realm Of Chaos; The Lost And The Damned” was an early source book dedicated to the followers of the Chaos Gods. That subtitle struck a cord and the phrase would frequently resurface thereafter. So what does this phrase mean to occultism?

Do not pity the lost. Save your pity for those who wrongly think themselves to have been found.There are few greater follies than this. Consider the story of Lot. It is not my intention to jump on the anti-Christian bandwagon. Even the most devoted follower of Christ must admit this is one of the Bible’s more twisted tales. Of interest to us are Lot’s actions after having fled the destruction of Sodom. Wrongly assuming the whole world to have suffered God’s wrath, Lot finds a new home in the very first valley that he come across. While residing there with him, his daughters resort to desperate measures in order to repopulate the Earth. Too late this proves to be unnecessary as there is in fact a village in the next valley over. How many people, out of fear of being lost, accept the illusion of having been found. How many great actors, musicians and artists have been lost to us because, on the verge of their big break, they quite to find themselves “a real job.” Had Crowley not been lost he might easily have become a priest. This is not to say that being lost will always be a good thing. For every Guns & Roses there are countless bands no less talented who never made it. Still, do you not agree that it is better to be lost for the right reasons than to be found for the wrong ones? They were surely lost who, without clear reason, first walked out of Africa all those millennia ago.

Do not pity the damned. Save your pity for those who damn those who do not agree with them. How insecure must they be to do so? Marilyn Manson, a man damned many times over, once said “If they think an artist can destroy their faith, then their faith is rather fragile.” If to damn someone is to condemn them then to be damned is to not care. The damned have chosen not the refute the accusations of others. Instead they turn their backs on doctrine. Is it not true to say that most of us came to occultism having rejected our parents faith? In this regard it may be said that Crowley set the trend for the development of occultism in the modern age. To be an occultist is to be a rebel and they are always the first to be damned. There have always been people who fear witches, not simply because they stand apart from society but because the show no remorse for doing so. Why should they? There is no reason to fear being damned by the creed of another. A fundamentalist Christian will threaten a witch with an eternity of suffering in a hell they do not believe to exist. So empty a threat is, frankly, laughable. Better then, to be counted amongst the damned than to be counted amongst those who, in vain, cry damnation.

In my estimation, the phrase “the lost & the damned” encompasses the best examples of humanity. They reject the promise of security, seeking instead what lies just over the horizon. They are not bound by any creed but instead trust in their own judgement. They are exemplified by the seekers of the source of the Nile, of the Northwest Passage and of the Lost City of the Incas. We may count Crowley, Gardner, Fortune and Osman Spare amongst “the lost and the damned”. We may equally count people like Darwin, Curie and Freud amongst their number.To think you are found breeds arrogance and to think you may damn others breeds contempt. So it is that “the lost and the damned” are often the best of people. They are still human and have their flaws; Crowley, let us remember, was at times a brute. What marks them out is that they recognise and accept their imperfections. They know that they are lost and they know that they are damned. A negative becomes a positive when you embrace it wholeheartedly. This is why it makes me proud to be lost and equally proud to be damned.

  1. G. M. Vasey says:

    Reblogged this on The Wacky World of G. Michael Vasey and commented:
    A great little article…

  2. Reblogged this on Wolfe Wheeler and commented:
    An interesting take on the lost and damned…

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