Occult Quest

O9A. One Image, Ten Thousand Words

Pathei-Mathos and The Initiatory Occult Quest


Pathei-Mathos is a term – appropriated from Myatt’s philosophy of The Numen – that we, the Order of Nine Angles, introduced a few years ago into Occultism in order to describe a certain internal (alchemical, esoteric) process, both individual and Aeonic. As occurred with the term Traditional Satanism, introduced by us some decades ago, it has been used and is now being used, and mis-used, by others, both in an Occult and a non-Occult context.

Therefore, as there does seem to be something of a mis-understanding as to what is meant and implied by the term pathei-mathos in both an Occult and a non-Occult context, some explanation of the term seems in order.

As Myatt has explained, pathei mathos – πάθει μάθος – is a Greek term (used by Aeschylus in his Agamemnon) which can be variously interpreted as meaning learning from adversity, or wisdom arises from personal suffering, and/or personal experience is the genesis of true wisdom.

These, taken together, impute the correct esoteric meaning and O9A usage, which is that wisdom [1] – one goal of the Adept [2]; acquiring a true, balanced, understanding; the dis-covering/revealing of Reality – has its genesis in the combination of: (a) personal suffering, (b) a learning from adversity, (c) the development of certain Occult skills, and (d) practical personal experience. That is, that all these diverse experiences are meant by our use of the term, and therefore that all such experiences are necessary for interior, esoteric, change within the individual. Not just ‘personal practical experience’; not just Occult skills, and not just a ‘learning from adversity/challenges’, but also and importantly a learning from personal suffering: from grief, severe trauma (physical and/or emotional), personal loss, and an encounter (or many encounters) with the imminent possibility of one’s own death.

There thus arises, from such pathei-mathos, certain intense personal feelings, a certain insight, and thence, in many individuals, a certain knowing – of yourself, and of how finite, how microcosmic, the individual human being is and just how fragile the human body is. In essence, the individual is placed in context and, if they possess a certain potential, a certain character, are changed by – learn from – the experiences. Of course some humans dwelling on planet Earth – lacking a certain potential, and possessing an altogether different character – do not change, do not learn from pathei-mathos. Which is to say that pathei-mathos tests, selects, reveals, and can breed a somewhat different type of human.

In that sense, it is and has been a useful esoteric technique, a new type of Dark Art. Which is one reason why the ONA has such techniques as Insight Roles, grade rituals such as Internal Adept; an exoteric adversarial – heretical and amoral – praxis; and tough physical challenges. So that individuals can test themselves and be tested; can suffer, can endure hardship and triumph or fail; can shed affectations and come to know themselves for who and what they are; and can acquire the necessary esoteric, Aeonic, perspective, of themselves as a fragile mortal nexion.

For what pathei-mathos as a Dark Art does, has done, and can do is allow the individual to outwardly experience and to internally confront within themselves both the sinister and the numinous, the ‘light’ and the ‘dark’, and to thus learn from – or fail to learn from – such experiences, interior and exterior. Which is why Occult, initiatory, methods such as the Seven Fold Way and the Way of the Rounwytha exist and were originally devised, for they provide context, a living tradition (ancestral pathei-mathos/’guidance’) and form a tried and tested path toward the goal of positive, evolutionary, individual change and toward the goal of acquiring wisdom.

Lacking such methods, there is generally either failure or, more common, the delusion of attainment. For few if any of those trying to use pathei-mathos as a Dark Art – sans such structured methods – have (a) ever willingly or unwillingly experienced the imminent possibility of their own death; (b) ever suffered severe trauma (physical and/or emotional) and (c) ever willingly testingly betaken themselves into the realms of the numinous, content as they are with themselves and their prideful ego to such an extent that they adhere to the primitivism of ‘might is right’ and believe stuff such as the grandiloquent I command the powers or ‘I can and I will command the powers…’

Thus they remain unbalanced; incomplete; far from wisdom, never having – via πάθει μάθος – melded ἀρετή with their ὕβρις and thence betaken themselves far beyond both those imposters.

Which is why this particular technique of ours – pathei-mathos as a Dark Art – has two distinct phases, conventionally represented by the attainment of Internal Adept and then by a successful Passing of The Abyss.

Which is not to say that such structured methods as our Seven Fold Way and the Way of the Rounwytha are the only means to wisdom, as we understand and appreciate wisdom. Only that they have proven effective in enabling some individuals to achieve that tertiary goal, that third phase; an effectiveness that can be appreciated by a personal knowing of such individuals, and also by their creative effusions, be such Occult, or philosophical, or personal, or, in the case of a few individuals, musical/artistic, or scholarly [3], or pedagogic.

The Initiatory Occult Quest

Internal Adept – as is now well-known in part due to the availability of texts such as Naos – is the phase, the stage, the iteration, of our sinister initiatory Occult quest, where the external gives way to the internal; where a personal destiny can be revealed; and where a certain inner knowing, and thus balance, is attained. An inner knowing, a balance, similar to, though not identical to, the individuation described by Jung. A knowing which the new Internal Adept carries with them throughout their life and which makes them, when they encounter the mundane world again after their three months or so (or more) spent in solitude, feel somewhat misplaced, bringing as this feeling does in many a sense of not belonging in the present but rather to some distant past or to some distant, longed for, future.

But this new knowing – partly acquired as a result of the months of solitude in isolated wild places and often slowly, gradually, more generally acquired over subsequent months – is not itself wisdom, being as it is of a more personal nature. That is, of their feelings, their relation to Nature; of the things they themselves now do so desire to do: to create, to manifest, to perhaps explain.

Beyond all this is the rite of The Abyss, preceded – by those following a sinister initiatory way – with a lengthy and practical engagement with the numinous; and preceded – by those following a numinous initiatory way – with a lengthy and practical engagement with the sinister. That is, preceded by the experience of, and the living over a period of some three years or more of, the numinous/sinister aspect, followed by the integration of that aspect and a going-beyond – again, in practical terms – of the personal amalgam that results, a going-beyond that the rite of the Abyss is an integral part of.

This experience, this living of ways of life, of and for at least three years, of the apparent opposite from one’s initially chosen path [4], is very easy in theory but quite difficult and testing in practice, undermining and destroying as it does and must the self-image – the sense of Destiny, the self-importance, the pride – that the Internal Adept rite helped to reveal and then the Internal Adept strove for some years to manifest, to presence. For the new type of knowing, for instance in respect of someone following a sinister initiatory way, is of others, of empathy, of the connexions that bind them, beyond their self, to Life: to other human beings, to Nature, to the Cosmos. Of affective (acausal) and effective (causal) change.

The rite of The Abyss – as manifest in the Camlad Rite with its dark simplicity, its stasis, its dangerous requirement of confinement for a whole lunar month – is where the old pathei-mathos before and following the rite of Internal Adept is melded with the new pathei-mathos of those recent three or more years. For the candidate has nothing else to do but dwell upon such matters, and to try and simply be, to be what they are and always were, one microcosmic connexion, suspended between causal and acausal Time. In addition, and crucially important and necessary, the candidate has to implicitly trust someone; trust them to leave food and trust them to reveal when their lunar month of isolation has ended. [5] In effect, their entrust their own life to someone else, for a whole lunar month.

Conclusion – The Breeding of A New Race

All this garnishing of experience, by the Dark Arts and by the Dark Art of pathei-mathos, is difficult and takes a certain duration of causal Time, of the order of decades, and of necessity involves not only exeatic, adversarial, and Occult experiences, but also learning from personal suffering: from grief, severe trauma (physical and/or emotional), personal loss, and an encounter (or many encounters) with the imminent possibility of one’s own death.

Therefore show me someone claiming to be wise, claiming to have gone beyond the stage of Adept, who is younger than a certain age, who has not endured grief, severe trauma (physical and/or emotional), personal loss, and an encounter (or many encounters) with the imminent possibility of their own death, and I shall show you a liar, a fraud, a charlatan, a poseur, or someone so deluded they actually believe the fantasy they have created for themselves and maybe also for others.

Conversely, not everyone beyond a certain age, claiming to follow or who actually has followed an initiatory Occult quest, is or might be wise, or even an Adept. For wisdom is either a profoundly rare wyrdfully-given gift – obvious by the personality, life, and works of the mature individual – or the result of someone successfully following, over several decades, an initiatory Occult quest to its exalted ending, a success again obvious by the life, the personality and the works of the individual [6]. For both types – those wyrdfully given the gift and those acquiring it by Occult, alchemical, means – are harbingers of a new human race and, from this race, this new breed, of a new human species.

Of the wyrdfully-given there are, perhaps and despite what mundanes desire to believe, only three or so per century. Of those who acquire it, for themselves, there are, as yet, only slightly more than that small number, per century. Which is why such initiatory Occult ways, and the Dark Art of pathei-mathos, exist: to bring-forth, to breed, more and more such beings in ever increasing numbers.

The way, the means, to wisdom exist; but so far humans have shown little inclination to follow the way, to use the means, preferring as they so obviously do ease to difficulty, lives of self-delusion, of subservience to causal abstractions, and of slavery to their lowly human desires and/or to others.

Anton Long


[1] By term wisdom is meant not only the standard dictionary definition – a balanced personal judgement; having discernment – but also the older sense of having certain knowledge of a pagan, Occult, kind to do with livings beings, human nature, and concerning Nature and ‘the heavens’. To wit, possessing certain faculties, such as esoteric-empathy, a knowing of one’s self; possessing an Aeonic knowing; and thus knowing Reality beyond, and sans, all causal abstractions.

[2] The other goal is immortality, which for us means a new existence in the acausal.

[3] By scholarly is meant both learned and having undertaken meticulous, unbiased, research on a specific subject over a period of some years.

[4] The pdf compilation Enantiodromia – The Sinister Abyssal Nexion gives some general guidelines for such ways of living.

[5] This trust, being a hitherto aural tradition, was deliberately omitted from the details of the rite published in the aforementioned text.

[6] As we have emphasized many times over the years – and as our Code of Kindred Honour demands – we, our kind, judge a person by, and only by, a personal knowing of them, and of their deeds, and a knowing extending over a certain duration of causal Time. Anything else is the mark of a mundane.