New Playlist Devoted to Behemoth’s Thelemic Songs on O.T.O. USA Spotify Profile

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The O.T.O. USA profile on Spotify has just post a new playlist “Behemoth And The Beast” curated by O.T.O. initiate Algol Aluvia of New Orleans’ Black Metal band Mehenet (there’s a playlist devoted to this band posted as well). Behemoth is notable for the amount of references to Thelemic theology in their lyrics. Here’s the playlist:

Algol was kind enough to also give us a detailed description and discussion the band’s lyrical content and its relation to Thelemic topics. Have a look:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Behemoth’s discography is fairly large, sporting at least 12 studio albums and over 29 music videos. There is a lot of content both lyrical and visual to consider. While much of the early material could be considered standard satanic or luciferian liberation theology, later albums show a much more nuanced and developed Thelemic ethos. Surprisingly, a fairly decent deep dive into the lyrical content of Behemoth is done by Christian Youtube commentators, Vin and Sori. While I am sure that Nergal, and certainly myself, diverge from their exact impressions of Behemoth’s catalogue, their analysis provides a decent springboard for discussions of Behemoth. That they have nearly 200k subscribers also shows what an impact these deep dives might have on the curious. I definitely recommend checking them out.

As early as their 1997 album, Pandemonic Incantations, there is some symbolism that stands out. The obvious diabolical and antichristian reflection also begin to contain urges toward spiritual ecstasy, the secret self, and of course the remote star symbolism. This may not be intentionally thelemic but perhaps a nascent intuition towards initiation. The early album has pepperings of the Beast and the Whore and lyrical reflections on related biblical subjects. There are also references to phallicism and the like. 

By 1999, their album Satanica, had direct references to Thelema. Songs like, Decade of Therion, have quotes such as “Wisdom says: be strong!” and “Here are the star and the snake servants;-they rise the hexagram.” There is the song, LAM, which seems to be inpsired in part by Grantian notions. Lyrics such as:

“Illumination in the face of thousand faces
Gnosis obtained by descending into the tunnels of self – knowing
When thunders of ecstasy strike black waves of unconscious sea
I swim, float, drift, scream… “Aiwasss”
And barriers of self change in legion of escaping bats

Throughout the album, Satanica, there are references to Hadit, and lyrical gestures towards Hadit’s nature as serpent and venom. There are references to the Sepiroth, to the Crowned Child, to Star Children, to Greek and Egyptian deities ecstatically considered, to alchemy and to the Secret Chiefs.

In 2000, Behemoth put out , Thelema.6, their 5th studio album.  Besides the title, it contains references to Hecate, Pan, and other deities in a rebellious and antichristian context that triumphs the spiritual freedom of the speaker. Nergal himself has credited inspiration from Milton. It should also be noted that the lyrics here are credited to both Nergal  by Krzysztof Azarewicz.  Declaring himself, “ancestor of all the gods,” might be interpreted as a nod to “There is no part of me that is not of the gods.” However, this idea, of course, predates Thelema and is found in other cultures and religions as well. There are references to the “powers of the Sphinx,” the spiral force of Pan, and other iconographic statements familiar to Thelemites. Nergal comments to Pan Satyros that, 

“First verses of this poem are derived from The Oracleof Albion, text which was received to me by means of
automatic writing. The path of A’yin, or The Eye, is

connected with XVth Atu of The Book of Thoth.”  

The 6th song on the album, Christians to the Lions, is also an oft quoted maxim put forward by Aleister Crowley in works like, The Law is for All. Nergal comments that,

” Quoting Aleister Crowley’s “Christians to the lions” Ifound the simplest and the strongest expression of my
disgust towards everything that is stagnated,
corrupted and weak “Christians to the lions” is not
just a pure hate anthem. It’s also a manifestation of
vitality, freedom of wisdom… is a song about crossing
boundaries, about trespassing our abilities and
extending our minds.”

The 7th song, Inauguration of the Scorpio Dome, is a clear reference to Kenneth Anger’s Thelemic short film, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. This song also features references to Aivass and Aivass as Lvcifer and has statements like, 

  so every man and woman is a starbut who is scorpio by fire ring’d
where fall means increase?”

Nergal comments to the song, “Natural born Philosopher,” that 

I believe the title speaks for itself.
This song doesn’t need long introduction…
This is my interpretation of Crowley’s “Everyone Is A Star”
Theory, but I decided to push it as far as my observations go.”

More than half the songs on this album have direct reference or an intended meaning which has Nergal’s thelemic reflections. He also states some of his influence came from Austin Osman Spare. 

This is followed by 2002 Album, Zos Kia Cultus, again a reference to the works of Austin Osman Spare, a one time student of Aleister Crowley. With songs like, Horns Ov Baphomet, As Above, so Below, The Harlot Ov the Saints, Zos Kia Cultus, Typhonian Soul Zodiack, and  Heru Ra Ha: Let There Be Might, there is more esoteric, occult, kabbalistic musings, and Thelemic inspirations for the listener to enjoy. 

The 2004 Album, Demigod, again contains song titles with direct thelemic references. Typical fare are such songs as, The Slaves Shall Serve, and Conquer All, being a reference to “”I will give you a war-engine. With it ye shall smite the peoples; and none shall stand before you. (…) Conquer! That is enough, ” This album, like all the others, continues in both a personal and an esoteric vein. 

The 2007 record, the Apostasy, features songs like,  At The Left Hand Ov God, which invokes the Serpent and the Lion, the serpentine dance, and the scarlet women. The album continues its assault upon vulgar Christianity, invoking various Infernal Kings and Demons of Pestilence and plague. 

The 2009 Album, Evangelion, contains hymns to Dionysus as a slain and risen god, a symbol set I believe has deep import in the mysticism of Thelema. We find Max Stirner’s, Egoism. which some have been tempted to align to Thelemic Philosophy. Personally, I find this limiting. Maybe Stirner is now a spook too! A quote from John Balance, of Coil fame, is found in the song, Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti. the mention of Amenti is, aside from the direct Egyptian historical reference, found in Crowley’s Holy Book, “LIBER ARCANORVM tÓn ATV to‡ TAHUTI QVAS VIDIT ASAR IN AMENTI SVB FIGVR¬ CCXXXI. LIBERCARCERORVM tÓn QLIPHOTH CVM SUIS GENIIS ADDENTVR SIGILLA ET NOMINA EORVM.”  The album contains references to the Infernal Journey and its initiation,  concepts such as the Necromanteion and the Katabasis, all elements of the Lesser Mysteries. Unsurprisingly, Baphomet, Babalon, and Lucifer reprise their blessed roles as harbingers and patrons of Initiation and illumination. 

The 2014 album, The Satanist, is smothered in Thelemic references and goes so far as to include large portions of the Bornless/Headless ritual in songs such as, “O Father O Satan O Sun!” a direct reference to Crowley’s, Liber Samekh. The Satanist compiles a litany of Satanic syncretisms to Thelemic concepts and overall melds closely to my own analysis of the satanic elements of Thelemic iconography found in, The Principle of Satan in Thelema. By this album   I think much of Behemoth’s own personal take on Theology and Thelema has been worked out internally enough that it doesn’t suffice to simple look for obvious Thelemic symbolism. The music and ideas have become idiosyncratic and are the result of internalizing the meditations. Whether you see an obvious signifier or not, the lyrics are soaked in Thelema. 

The 11th Album, I Loved You at Your Darkest, released in 2018, again quotes The Book of the Law with, “Is a God to live in a dog? No! But the highest are of us.” Further, we find tracks like “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica,” perhaps a riff off of the O.T.O.’s own Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica but with a diabolic twist. The song, Bartzabel, aside from being a reference to Crowley’s own Bartzabel reference, contains mentions of Ra-Hoor-Khuit and other lines directly tied to the Bartzabel working of Aleister Crowley. 

The Twelfth Studio Album was released in 2022 and was entitled, Opvs Contra Natvram. It is less direct with Thelemic reference but still contains the Solar-Satanic Illuminist perspective and has quotes like ” For love is the law. Love under will.”

Love is the law, love under will.


ALGOL, vocalist of the New Orleans Black Metal Krewe, Mehenet

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