With spiritual bankruptcy and a lack of intelligent, independent thinking posing a greater threat to the population at large than any physical disease, Black Funeral’s tenth full-length, ‘Scourge Of Lamashtu’, arrives during humanity’s darkest days. Yearning for a spark of enlightenment, I reached out from the vacuum to torch-bearing alchemist Akhtya Nachttoter – an alter ego of pre-eminent Luciferian author and guide Michael W. Ford – to explore whether the Left-Hand Path might offer an escape route from our mindless acquiescence to mass enslavement.
Spring, 2020: the lockdowns came, shattering the comforts and conveniences previously granted to the sheep, and more than half the world’s population was decreed to stay at home. There were protests from those who objected to having their liberties snatched away without consultation. But isn’t the reality that most people willingly spend their lives in chains anyway? Chained to a job? Chained to a mortgage? Chained to an ego? Chained to a god that doesn’t exist? It’s like we don’t recognise that we are imprisoned unless the containment is physical…
“There are all types of chains to forge at our leisure; invariably all living beings have their chosen prisons or walls to contain themselves. The challenge is found in experiencing and mastering the world you live in to an extent which brings balance and power. Apotheosis, becoming a god – the union of the Daemon with Consciousness – is gradual and ever-so challenging. The world’s population for the majority have problems with isolation – they fear the silence and quiet darkness within and outside of them. I learned to embrace it when I was young; it is natural to me now as breathing. The sheep cannot stand isolation as they are guided by what others – including the media – tell them to do, to think and to worship. Worship the car, job, idea of a mate or lustful companion. Do not forget to hide in social media apps and proclaim self-righteous dribble … humans seek to control and dominate the lives and thoughts of others, especially under the pretence of what is ‘right’ and ‘good’.”
It happened swiftly. The pathogen swept across the globe and we were told that a world that is fraught with the glorious danger of death every day now had become too perilous to navigate. Yet really nothing had changed. The virus is natural. Nature is bigger and stronger and more enduring than mankind and has always presented the danger of death. Why were we suddenly cowering in fear in the face of an admirable adversary?
“Humans are the virus. We destroy nature to build more communities: houses, apartments, strip-malls, while ignoring the crumbling ones cast from the consciousness and at the same time ignoring the masses of homeless. Pockets must be filled; bonus pay-outs and tax cuts demand blood! Never mind the narratives told repeatedly to the sheep – Be THIS political idea, hate those who think opposite of you! Nature ignores human needs, especially if they treat it like some grubbing plate of ‘super-sized’ fast food coupon-deal. If the animal is in your way, run it over, kill it! Humans destroy anything which does not destroy them. When the world ‘stayed at home’, there were readings done by Scientists which indicate the earth was not rumbling as much due to the human ‘noise’; waters were becoming less polluted. Then the sheep were told to ‘re-open’, leading to the level of full speed ahead. You notice no one talks about ‘respecting nature’ besides the few voices out there who have no political power? Pestilence, plague, and death is part of the cure in which Nature sees fit. Too many humans, probably akin to a flea infestation. My published grimoires and works are not ‘conversion’ manuals: these works are for those who are subconsciously already aligned with Luciferian Philosophy. If you don’t perceive the world from the outlook of the Luciferian or Satanist, based on my 11 Points of Power (and similar works), then you won’t really get it.”
The collective fear of death really came to the fore during the so-called pandemic. You could almost reach out and touch the panic as people began to contemplate the prospect that they might die … as if it hadn’t occurred to them before! But what about the fear of life? It seems to me that many are afraid to live. The only certainty in the world is that by some force, whether by accident or design, we have been born into this existence. The obvious thing to do is to make the most of it in the limited time we have…
“Humans have lost, with the advent of Christianity, the instinctual desire for wisdom, power and balance. I live according to my own code: leave nature as I find it, avoid harm of animals and all insects to the greatest extent, treat others as I would expect and, if less is shown, be ruthless and filled with joy outmanoeuvring your enemy. Death is certain; thus, we should live to our own design. We watch humans take up belief and use it to hate those different, all on the subconscious impulse to conquer, destroy and control. With ancient wars, the victors celebrated and felt joy in their mastery, viewing it as good. Enemies were subjugated and sometimes eliminated. In our age, guilt is the watchword of societies. Feel guilt for what your ancestors did, what others and their cultures did before, guilt for lust, success and especially for victory. Love everyone equally, give participation awards. This age is weak and stagnant in the dross of underachieving, self-loathing nothings who cling to their iPhone and social media posts. In a way, society now is much crueller than even in ancient times: we destroy our environment, allow media and politicians to force agendas and narratives which mean nothing in the face of it all. A little disappointed Covid-19 turned out less than the hype. Nonetheless, we must at times struggle and by the will-to-power conquer our obstacles; this is the way in which humanity evolves. Strife is essential; required for motivation and the initiatory process on all levels to occur.”
I found it ironic that faceless powers (I have no idea who is running things…) which historically seemed hellbent on enslaving people were now pretending to care for us. Governments and their bodyguards in the mainstream media want to keep the population at large dumbed down. Popular culture such as reality TV, celebrity worship and social media dependency is an anathema to enlightenment, but these are the things that are shoved down our throats … not science, art, nature, engagement with the universe. Then again, is it not the duty of each individual to find their own path rather than crying victim?
“It is up to the individual; however, not all are really ‘individuals’ as so many sheep cling ceaselessly to their distractions. In our times, we have so many wonders and conveniences such as technology which would have been called ‘futuristic’ and probably a ‘fantasy’ thirty years ago. We have iPhones and computers which (at our fingertips) provide a gateway to knowledge and entertainment. What do people use it for: to hide behind social media apps and troll those whom they consider different in perception. It is all ‘without teeth’ as so many hide behind their avatars and online personalities. I prefer to think before I type or speak. Also, I refuse to type something to someone that I would not say directly to their face (in person). Anything less is cowardly and weak. Anyone can type and troll, few can look at the self before being mundane on some video or social app. I indulge (in moderation) some tv shows, I love horror films, using tech to my advantage and detest the control techniques of social media. I use it, a necessary thing for my artistic expression and business (Luciferian Apotheca), but I limit my use to avoid the mundane addiction of validation. It is a tool, but to post too much is to become mundane and over-exposed in your personal life and work. Balance is the key.”
One potential path to enlightenment and wisdom is to read, to learn, to absorb information. But there are traps here too because if you assimilate the wrong material it will have the opposite effect and render the reader / participant even more stupid. Do you accept that it can be difficult for people to break free from the shackles and conventions that are inflicted upon us? Or is it weakness to blindly follow and never question or think independently outside of the official narrative and conventional diktats?
“Chains of restriction and limitation are forged at birth by potentially our parents and surrounding community. Religions and all the vague restrictive beliefs of monotheistic thought are often pushed and ingrained in our minds as children. Even when we wish to break from these concepts, the subconscious duality of ‘good vs evil’ and ‘what if there is a judging god after all?’ can linger in an intelligent and moderately Luciferian or Left-Hand Path individual for years. You must know how to recognize it (within your thought patterns and beliefs) and, once you do that, it can be overcome, and a more suitable concept can be adopted. Everyone who is Satanic or Luciferian will have distinct differences in how the world and ‘spirit’ (or Mind) is perceived, based on our brain wiring and natural predilections formed by concepts and experiences early on. My Luciferian Works have expanded in popularity over the years because I have addressed that issue and provide a metaphysical framework to conquer and strive towards Luciferian potential. In my work, Apotheosis, the philosophy along with basic psychology provides a rational and reasonable conceptualized process of practicing Magick and Initiation into the Black Arts of Luciferian Magick. It can be understood by a Theistic or Atheistic individual. Of course my structure of Magical texts is deeply spiritual and, at the core, anti-cosmic in nature. This process is named “The Triad of the Morning Star”, being: Liberation, Illumination and Apotheosis. This is a cyclic structure which builds in momentum (it is totally up to you) towards discovering, mastering yourself and your world. It is NOT self-help, it is for those born of the Black Flame, Luciferians, and Satanists in mind. KNOWLEDGE must have a practical use in some way for the individual to strive towards self-awareness and potential. Reading propaganda or narratives on the garbage dumps of social media (this means news and everything else) without validating (with facts or gained insight of experience) is a trap and temptation for the individual to surrender Free Will and critical thought by the junk food of fake news and subconscious laziness. It takes a level of individual isolation, reason, intelligence, discipline and strength of will to break the shackles culture and community place on us. The trick is to slowly, and without much notice, compel change and influence your inner and outer world by way of Will, Desire, Belief and the Triad of Liberation, Illumination, Apotheosis – Magick and becoming a vessel or nexion of the Adversary (as an acasual, anti-cosmic force) begins in the most mundane and simplistic motions and thoughts.”
As an eminent authority on Luciferianism, who has written extensively to explain and promote this belief system, you have clearly achieved a supreme level of enlightenment – and I assume you hunger for more. Is this path open to all? Or need only those with a natural gravitation towards darkness and the Left-Hand Path apply? You published a book last year called ‘Apotheosis: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Luciferianism & the Left-Hand Path’; the title suggests that this could serve as an opening guide to the totally uninitiated who are interested in seeking Luciferian enlightenment and perhaps learning about occult practices and magick?
“Luciferianism is open to all in terms of reading and obtaining publications and materials of the ever-expanding traditions I have explored and defined in my years. With that said, so many forbidden ‘secrets’ and ‘knowledge’ are filled in my books (something I learned many years ago by the works of Aleister Crowley), yet the majority of readers may never decipher the trails, connections and structure of the layers of initiatory knowledge as I often (unknowingly during the writing) so layered my grimoires. The subconscious is a quiet and powerful thing! Some will find Luciferian Philosophy in harmony with their belief system, using it to enhance and refine certain ways of attaining goals and basic levels of initiation. Fewer still will be the serious practitioners of Magick, even though changing your thoughts and willed inner change is practicing Magick no matter if you are an atheist or theistic Luciferian. The first level is identifying who you are and who you wish to become. The second level is causing degrees of Liberation from self-determined goals and desires, validating and the foundation of inner-spiritual ‘faith’ in yourself is established. The third level is by learning and understanding the symbolism of Luciferian Magick, discovering the Spark of the Black Flame which brings forth your personal and unique Daemon (or Holy Guardian Angel, the personal god, etc.) – the guiding Spirit or Force which is perceived as your Higher Self, the Luciferian Daimon or patron spirit whose energies open the gates to mastery. The forth level is only for the few: by mastering the Triad of the Morning Star and attaining your levels of Mastery as a Black Magickian, is the ordeal of initiation into anti-cosmic and acasual Black Magick and Adversarial Magick. This is all within my published works – layered in such a way that the worthy and ready will unearth the teachings layer by layer and adapt accordingly.”
Obviously, no transition or transformation is going to take place overnight, though. Besides, I suspect that most people would investigate obscure or alternative philosophies out of idle curiosity as opposed to delving deeply into them?
“Luciferian initiation (like any dedicated practice and teaching) takes years to refine and find expression within the Adept, it is a unique journey which takes place right before your eyes and often even unnoticed by the consistent experiences and disciplines in everyday life. This includes self-determined workings to change certain restrictive beliefs or oppressive thoughts, prejudices, by breaking old habits and by sheer force of will, creating new ones. Seeking then the knowledge on your mundane or magickal goals and desires, along with the steps to attaining this is a VERY hard and difficult part: so many give in and just fall into an uninspired fantasy of what Luciferianism and Satanism is. The Luciferian Spirit is at the core a part of the initiate no matter what: it is with you in all aspects of life and it must be a torch of guidance when struggle tests your very being and attempts to shake your foundations. Luciferians are living temples of the Adversarial Spirit and Energies; we are a Crossroad and our circumference of self is the Ouroboros Circle of Leviathan! Many Luciferians do not appear to look as ‘Satanists’; they use the sorcery of physically appearing to fit in by dress so that they may master the world they so desire to. Luciferians are individuals and leaders in all walks of life; some are introverts and others extroverts. Learning of other philosophies is an essential part of the journey seeking the Left-Hand Path. You must decide which reflects your desires and potential of who you are and shall become, then by self-direction and dedication, become a living vessel for that spiritual energy or current which fills you and ignites your Black Flame.”
You mentioned to me in an email after I reached out to you pitching for this interview that Black Funeral is not a ‘Luciferian’ loudspeaker for your philosophical works but, at the same time, you approach Black Metal as an art form and type of Black Magical expression. On the imminent tenth Black Funeral LP, ‘Scourge Of Lamashtu’, the alchemy of cold Black Metal and dark ambient passages is truly magickal, like a seamless sorcery is taking place. Although it’s separate, in what way has Black Funeral evolved in line with your personal growth, enlightenment and ever-strengthening philosophical beliefs?
“Black Funeral is a reflection in form of the anti-cosmic, Ahrimanian, Vampyric predatory spirituality at the darkest core foundations that so gave birth to Luciferian Philosophy. Black Funeral does not embrace others in love, it devours and destroys. If a force is ‘like’ Black Funeral, it embraces as identifiable in its demonic and necromantic darkness, so shaping sonic mindscapes of the Black Musical Art which is Black Funeral. My black ambient soundscapes, concepts and lyrics are contemporary visions and explorations of what I am working with magically at the time. Black Funeral began in 1993 as an expression of the Satanic, Vampyric and Black Magical in the way that I could express and understand as a 16-year-old then. Over the years, it has taken different forms and structures in sound to mirror that journey and artistic expression of the most abyssic levels of my mind, spirit, and imagination. The rebirth of Black Funeral with Azgorh of Drowning The Light – in 2014 with ‘Ankou And The Death Fire’ – really connected with my magical works on a whole new level. The Vampyric is a constant with Black Funeral and always will be.”
‘Scourge Of Lamashtu’ is the second album where Azgorh Drakenhof from Drowning The Light has been part of Black Funeral. Given that this is obviously a deeply personal vision with a discography that goes back a quarter of a century to the release of the first Black Funeral album, ‘Vampyr – Throne Of The Beast’, how much creative input do you allow him? Also, what prompted you to invite Azgorh into the fold in the first place?
“I have had very few REAL members of Black Funeral since 1993, it began with not finding musicians interested in playing Black Metal in the USA then so I had to manage to recruit session members for each album. By the time ‘Choronzon Blood Rite’ was recorded, I was not going to record another Black Funeral album. Azgorh Drakenhof (whom I had contact with for years, and his label released Black Funeral) suggested that if I would be up for it, he would like to do some session work on the next album. He sent me in a short time a full album of songs, which I listened to over and over for weeks. Then it all changed, and I wrote the lyrics and concept for ‘Ankou And The Death Fire’, then weaved in Black Ambient soundscapes to add extensions of the lyrical and Black Metal narratives of each track. I asked Azgorh would he join Black Funeral as a full member (not something I toss around; it is a big deal for me) and he said yes! Black Funeral has a new force and dark power to it that was missing for many years. I give Azgorh total freedom with musical composition – I trust him, and we have a mutual understanding of the black magical workings which I visualize for Black Funeral. I compose concepts, soundscapes, lyrics, and vocals in full.”
Without meaning to flatter, I must note that I believe Black Funeral is one of the most important Black Metal forces, having consistently produced wonderful music marrying the raw with the sublime. An accomplishment to be proud of, indeed. You have other musical projects as well – Akhtya, Nihtgenga, Darkness Enshroud and Valefor, for example, which exist within the ritualistic, dark ambient realms. Adding in the fact that your name is synonymous with occult practices and I could – perhaps from a point of ignorance or understatement – suggest that you are to Luciferianism what Anton LaVay was to Satanism, do you find it difficult at times to keep your ego in check and remain grounded? You have accomplished a great deal, both philosophically and musically. Do you try to remain modest and humble or is it important to celebrate oneself and to acknowledge achievements and elevations made along the way?
“I appreciate your observation. Yes, I agree, Black Funeral is a very important Black Metal band, especially being one of the first and leading the Black Metal scene (along with Profanatica, Demoncy, Absu, etc.) back in the early 1990s and surviving to 2020. Black Funeral has remained underground – no tours, commercialism – and while I explored different aspects of the concept, the essence has remained consistent since the early time-worn beginnings in the Winter of 1993 (in Indianapolis, Indiana). Akhtya, Nihtgenga, Darkness Enshroud, Strigoii and Valefor all have expressions of the darkness within and what I wish to express in a musical structure. I have a healthy ego; I enjoy my success in life and all I have accomplished. My True Will, the essence of my Daemon, Azal’ucel, is to expand Luciferianism across the world. I detest people who have egos in which they exist under the illusion that they are more significant than most. I test and challenge myself, never allowing myself to grow weak with over-ripe self-importance. I treat others as I wish to be treated and, while quiet, can be very imposing in my character when need arises. I am humble but not because I feel some guilt or limitation; it is because this allows you to observe weaknesses and strengths in yourself and others. Also, one day you can be successful and another day forgotten. Who knows? I know what is within me, my essence and the work ahead.”
Do you pity those who never seek any form of enlightenment, who never ask questions, who go about their day-to-day drudgery aimlessly? Who inherit a set of values from their parents and stick to that without deviating from the path their parents followed? Imagine a household where all the members followed different codes… Or is pity a waste of energy that could be best invested into making your ‘self’ stronger? Is that ultimately where all energy and emotion should be geared towards?
“No pity, just silent disdain for the sheep. In this world there exists by state of being and personalities: Leaders, Supporters (often leaders, yet they understand the importance of an alpha male or female) and followers. We need all of these in the structure of our world. I do not care if someone seeks knowledge or not, only if it gets in my way. Making yourself insightful by experience and stronger by the balance of the mind and body is significant. Luciferians are living nexion (gateways) of the Adversarial Spirit, embodiments who are ‘like’ the characters and symbols inherent in the lore of the Fallen Angels, the demonic and Pagan divine. We do not worship, we honour and direct the Deific Masks from within to the outer world.”