by Frater Choronzon 999
Gnosis is a Greek word for ‘knowledge’ or the ‘means of knowledge’, particularly in an esoteric sense. In the traditional interpretation it is applied as much to straight-forward intellectual investigation as to any technique of consciousness modification or direct experience gained thereby. The concept of gnosis as a path to enlightenment is traditionally associated with a diverse array of philosophical and religious groups which emerged in Egypt during the early centuries of the Christian era. That time period in that location was characterised by the mingling of traditional Egyptian views of the world, which were distinctly magical in orientation, with influences from Roman, Greek and assimilated Mesopotamian cultures, and the newly emergent salvational concepts which were an essential component of early Christianity.
Gnosticism was quite thoroughly suppressed once Christianity became the state religion throughout the declining Roman Empire, and its proponents were condemned as heretics after the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. What seems certain is that the Gnostic tradition comprised of a number of sects pursuing their own magical/mystical paths - a similar ambience might be said to exist today among modern western occultists. Some of those early Gnostics appear to have incorporated erotic, or at least phallic devotional concepts into their practices. One remarkable piece of evidence for this suggestion exists among the collection of Christian sculpture in the Vatican Museum - namely the devotional image "Soter Kosmou" (Greek: The Saviour of the World"). It is not known whether this piece, dating from the first century, is actually on display, as it might be considered offensive or even blasphemous. It consists of an anthropomorphic cockerel whose head is metamorphosed into a disproportionately large erect phallus. In recent times the existence of this early Christian icon was highlighted by supporters of Gay News in defence of that publication against action being brought about for the rare criminal offence of Blasphemous Libel.
Among present day occult practitioners (and not just Chaos Magicians) there is some consensus that the inducement of a state of gnosis is an essential prerequisite for any useful magical activity, be it divination, enchantment, evocation, invocation or illumination. A number of techniques have been described by which such a modified state of consciousness may be induced, and these have been divided into two broad categories of ‘Inhibitory Gnosis’ and ‘Excitatory Gnosis’ by Peter Carroll. The classification is not absolute, and occult practitioners usually find on a personal level that some techniques work better than others, or that particular techniques for inducing gnosis are more effective than others when applied to specific intent.
Inhibitory techniques are generally contemplative or yogic in character and are aimed at reducing sensory stimulus, with the subsuming of consciousness in coma and ultimately death being considered as the extreme end of the scale - Thanatos.
Excitatory techniques, in contrast, depend on hyper-stimulation as a means of modifying consciousness. Extremes of pain or fear or persistence with some energetic physical activity (such as a whirling dervish dance) to the point of exhaustion can be effective, but sexual climax as the ultimate expression of life represents the pinnacle of excitatory gnosis - Eros.
Thus ‘Erotognosis’ is the attainment of a modification of consciousness by sensory stimulation of a sexual nature.
There are physiological differences between human males and females with a regard with a regard to sexual climax, although generalisations may not necessarily apply to particular individuals. Men usually experience a progressively increased level of arousal culminating in a peak of orgasm which is followed by a hiatus, albeit in favourable circumstances that cycle may be repeated a number of times. Most women, in contrast, do not suffer the hiatus of arousal after an initial orgasm, and with continued sensitive stimulation are able to experience a progression of climactic peaks until a point of utter physical exhaustion is reached.
Transcendent erotognosis is the state of consciousness which is experienced immediately preceding and at the point of orgasm, and therefore, by reason of physiology, the gnostic state can generally be sustained by women during a longer period of time than is ordinarily possible for men.
The key to sustained erotognosis for men is to control the physical response to applied stimulus so as to extend the duration of the phase of maximum arousal immediately preceding orgasm, without proceeding forward to ejaculation and the subsequent hiatus. This is essentially a matter of mind and body control, and with a sensitive and appreciative partner, it can be a lot of fun to practice.
The importance of such techniques in occult applications and in hedonistic gratification, was recognised by Crowley who wrote a long essay on the subject entitled ‘Energised Enthusiasm’; this is included in the book Gems from the Equinox. Sexologists seeking to treat conditions such as premature ejaculation have also proposed similar mind and body control techniques. A technique known as ‘Karezza’ or ‘Dianism’ extends control of the male orgasm to the point where the ejaculate is effectively reabsorbed within the body; my own view is that while this may be interesting to try as an experiment in physical control, it bestows no particular added value in any occult sense. Others might have a different opinion, but I take the attitude that the ultimate release of orgasmic ejaculation is an essential part of the erotognostic experience for a man, and that to deny that element in the process is to reduce the efficacy of any magic that may be undertaken as well as being unfulfilling in an emotional and physical sense.
Erotognosis is an essentially personal experience, but most people find it is most effective if the primary sensual stimulus is being administered by someone else. If the objective is simply to produce a sample of bodily fluid for some purpose then obviously one can do what is necessary oneself, but if the target is the oblivion of gnosis some relinquishment of personal control is desirable.
Most of what I have put forward so far has been couched in terms of so called ‘straight’ sexual practice, but that is not to exclude the wider dimensions of erotic expression. Basically whatever turns you on will be effective for you personally, and, conversely, you are unlikely to achieve much in the way of gnosis through participation in any erotic practice which you find repugnant. This is not said to discourage experimentation; I have met people who thought the idea of oral sex was repulsive until they found themselves on the receiving end of it; ditto massage with body oil; ditto mild bondage; ditto group sex. With erotognosis one is talking about sensory stimulation techniques applied for an essentially cerebral response, not necessarily about romantic love; although if it exists it can enhance the experience.
In summing up it may be useful to give some indication of typical applications of erotognostic techniques in each of the main areas of magical activity. These are appropriate to either male or female practitioners, and they assume the willing and witting participation of at least one partner to provide sensory stimulation, whether of the same or/and the opposite gender is entirely a matter of personal preference. An obvious caveat in these times of serious risk from life-threatening viral infections is that unprotected penetrative sex involving transfer of bodily fluids should be avoided, unless you are privy to a partner’s sexual and personal history - stay safe.
Eroto-divination is about obtaining answers to questions. Close to the point of orgasm (for men) or in the course of an orgasmic sequence (for women) formulate a question intensely in your mind. Allow yourself to become immersed in the sensation driving you to the pitch of ecstasy and take note of whatever random thoughts or image next impinges on your consciousness - interpret these as the answer to your question. This process may be repeated with different questions, or you can ask the same one again to seek clarification of an earlier question. Men may find this question and answer routine actually helps to delay orgasm, and that the eventual climax of the experience is all the more intense for having gone through the exercise. As an alternative, the person experiencing the erotognosis may be encouraged to make oracular pronouncements while in climax - divination by orgasomancy!
In evocation the objective is to imbue some material basis with a vital essence or to draw forth and fashion some non-material servitor or entity from the energised aura of an operator in the throes of ecstasy. A clear statement of intent should be made at the outset of the working. This class of operation may be more effective if conducted as a group working with the participant willingly providing the erotognostic manifestation (male or female) hoodwinked and subjected to mild physical restraint. Although sexual fluids can be used to charge a material basis, the sweat of passion is equally appropriate, as is breath exhaled with the shriek of ecstatic climax.
Erotognostic invocation typically takes the form of the Hieros Gamos. Alternatively the gnosis may be induced by the means indicated and then used as a conduit by means of which the operator may attempt to take on a manifestation of some appropriate deity, with other participants vocalising any incantation.
Erotic techniques are particularly appropriate for an enchantment. A sigil may be constructed to represent the intended outcome of the working using any standard procedure for example that set out in Austin Osman Spare’s Book of Pleasure which has been paraphrased by many other authors more recently. Such a sigil may be strongly visualised at the moment of erotic climax. Alternatively a conjugal act of mutual stimulation might be devoted to such a purpose. A paper representation of the sigil might be placed under the altar of passion, and perhaps left there if an ongoing enchantment is intended. Alternatively the sigil might be inscribed on rice paper, or on a chocolate biscuit which might be broken with a portion being consumed by each of the participants. At the point of collective attainment of the erotognostic state the sigil would be symbolically reconstituted and the enchantment effected.
Illumination by erotognosis is potentially a devastating experience. An effective procedure might open with an arousal and stimulation process along the lines of that set out above for evocation, but this should be carefully planned to ‘drip feed’ arousal to each sense in turn, with visual stimulus denied until the restrained recipient’s frustration is absolute. Matters should be arranged so that when the hoodwink is removed and the restraints are loosened the operator is instantaneously transported from a pit of torment into a paradise of fulfilment. Some caution is advisable here. The operator may experience a very intense emotional release and the working should not be undertaken by anyone who is not in robust physical health. The objective is illumination through the ultimate Excitatory gnosis. On the other hand, being ‘fucked to death’ has to be the best of all ways to go.