by Niklas Göransson
Solar-phallic black metal forged on volcanic rock. Sturla Viðar, frontman of Iceland’s SvartidauðI, holds nothing back in oration as the “Revelations of the Red Sword” cleave reality and falsehood.
The following is an excerpt from the full article – which is twice as long, significantly more in-depth, and published in Bardo Methodology #3. This issue also features bands and artists such as DARKTHRONE, PORTAL, WATAIN, Phil Anselmo, LEVIATHAN, IMPETUOUS RITUAL, and ALTAR OF PERVERSION.
– Our second album, “Revelations of the Red Sword”, will be released by Ván Records in December 2018. It will contain six songs and feature a playtime of forty minutes.
The title is appropriated from a phrase in the 1909 book Manifesto of Futurism by Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. Signor Marinetti is credited with founding the avant-garde movement known as futurism, an artistic philosophy which rejects nostalgia and calls for all eyes to be fixed on what lies ahead. ‘When the future is barred to them’, he wrote, ‘the admirable past may be a solace for the ills of the moribund, the sickly, the prisoner… But we want no part of it, the past, we the young and strong Futurists!’ Marinetti scoffed at artists who seek inspiration at libraries and museums and generally detested anything which looked to yesteryear, instead calling for modernisation and cultural transformation.
Let’s go! Look there, on the earth, the very first dawn! There’s nothing to match the splendour of the sun’s red sword, slashing for the first time through our millennial gloom!
– In this context, the red sword refers to the rays of both the rising and setting sun; Lux Ferre. As one might deduct from this, the new album will be much more solar-phallic in nature than our previous efforts.
– In the sense of Horus as the crowned and conquering child, as opposed to the impotent solar phallus of Osiris and similar divine figures of the right-handed, patriarchal path – like Christ or Buddha. They represent the old world: modernity, monotheism, and materialism.
Sturla says patterns will emerge if one puts this into a simplified context using SVARTIDAUÐI’s past work.
– “Flesh Cathedral” (2012 debut): the death and overcoming of the old aeon, world, or social construct of modernity’s matrix. “The Synthesis of Whore and Beast” (2014 EP) – the sexual energies in the duality of creation and destruction, while also acknowledging that there’s no dualism between them. “Revelations of the Red Sword” signifies the birth-trauma of a new world, a deification of the self. I create as I speak; embodiment of the Lightbringer.
Prior to the interview, Sturla announced his reluctance to answer any questions pertaining to the Icelandic black metal scene. Fortunately, few topics could interest me less. There are far more compelling aspects of the country one could discuss, seeing as how it’s a veritable treasure-trove of Norse esotericism. To start off, I’m curious if he’s studied the Galdrabók.
– Which one? Galdrabók is a generic term for ‘grimoire’ in Iceland, its literal translation is ‘magic-book’. I believe you’re referring to Galdraskræða Skugga, a collection of texts from ‘Skuggi’.
The pseudonym, which literally translates to ‘Shadow’, was used by Icelandic scholar and poet Jochum M. Eggertsson, who travelled all across Iceland to collect and copy every grimoire he came across. His codex was published in 1940 and later released internationally as Sorcerer’s Screed: The Icelandic Book of Magic Spells. The tome constitutes the largest collection of Nordic spells in print and includes diagrams with detailed instructions.
– Interestingly, his research also found that when the Nordic refugees and Vikings first arrived here in the 9th century, southern Iceland was already populated by Celts. They were said to be mystics who belonged to the cult of Chrysostomosa, or Krýsar in Icelandic. Furthermore, Skuggi claimed that these Celts were the real authors of the Eddas, Völuspá, and most of the Icelandic sagas – all of which were then censored by the Catholic Church in the 1200s.
These Gaelic monks that Eggertsson claimed had settled Iceland’s Southern Region allegedly belonged to a global cult with worshippers from as faraway places such as Crete and Egypt. The cultists were said to wear all-white and live in small settlements of thirteen. He also claimed they taught Viking settlers the Latin alphabet and authored much of the literature which is now attributed to Norsemen.
– Of course, when presenting these theories, he had no other evidence than old hand-written manuscripts to back up his claims. But since his death they’ve found numerous archaeological sites which carbon-dating has proven to be much older than the official narrative tells us.
One such site is the Kverkhellir cave, considered the oldest known archaeological site in Iceland, estimated to have been constructed around 800 AD – almost seventy years before any northern settlers arrived. Mainstream archaeologists in Iceland now acknowledge its residents as Gaelic monks, though believe them to have been Christians on a Hiberno-Scottish mission. Moreover, recent linguistic research has shown how many areas, volcanos and rivers have names which cannot be traced to any Nordic tongue. The same goes for parts of the Icelandic language itself. Even stranger is the 2001 mitochondrial DNA study, which revealed that as much as sixty-two percent of the original female Icelandic settlers had their ancestral roots in the British Isles. This would imply a Celtic presence beyond the enigmatic monks, unless they were female. None of this appears to be taken into account in the contemporary official history concerning the settlement of Iceland.
– All history is written by the victors and you must be delusional if you believe any of the bullshit propaganda spewed forth by official and corporate forces. The narrative is entirely controlled by various interest-groups and in my humble opinion, you’d have to be crazy to take mass-media at face value instead of researching alternate perspectives on current and past events. It takes practice, patience and a keen eye to navigate the fucktonnes of bullshit theories out there but it should be obvious to any sentient being that there are powers behind the powers we perceive.
Turning our attention from historical mysteries to the very fabric of our universe – the so-called reality simulation theory, pioneered by British philosopher Nick Bostrom, is an idea that’s gotten a fair bit of traction the last few years. In 2014, a team of scientists claimed to have detected self-correcting computer code in equations that describe fundamental particles of the cosmos. This is what one would normally expect to find when examining software programming. Leading the study was American theoretical physicist Dr. James Gates Jr., who summed up the finding:
This unsuspected connection suggests that these codes may be ubiquitous in nature, and could even be embedded in the essence of reality. If this is the case, we might have something in common with the Matrix science-fiction films, which depict a world where everything human beings experience is the product of a virtual-reality-generating computer network.
This was pretty much the weightiest endorsement Bostrom’s thesis – that creation is essentially a video game – could ever hope to receive. While the suggestion might initially sound as ludicrous as it is terrifying, it’s supported by a wide range of scientists from institutions such as NASA along with renowned astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson and tech titan Elon Musk. The simulation concept has been used in many modern films, with The Matrix as the most obvious example, others being Cloud Atlas, Vanilla Sky, and Inception.
– The theory is that reality, all matter and energy, can be broken down into simple bits of information which are projected here from beyond the known universe. I believe this to be true, not only thanks to modern science-findings but because the phenomenon has been described in countless sacred scriptures from every corner of the Earth for thousands of years; from Maya to Malkuth.
According to the Hindu scripture Rg Veda, the Kingdom of Maya is where we dwell during our human lives. It’s not real, but merely an illusion perceived as such. In Kabbalah, Malkuth is the mundane physical reality – but really only a smidgeon of the bigger picture.
– At the same time, we freely acknowledge our inability to perceive but a tiny fraction of the world around us. Most human senses rely entirely on the vibrations of various frequencies to work – however, our biological tools for sensory input are so limited that most of the electromagnetic spectrum is imperceivable to us. For better or worse.
Sturla recalls the immortal words of American horror author H.P. Lovecraft; ‘The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.’
– It’s important to understand that our sober minds possess only a very limited ability to comprehend their surroundings, and can only perceive what our shared evolutionary biology deemed necessary for survival. It may sound like total hippie bullshit to claim that we, by fucking with our neurochemistry, are able to perceive and experience phenomena outside of everyday, mundane three-dimensional space-time… yet I, like countless others before me, have gazed deep into worlds far beyond this one; realities so alien I struggle to describe them. I’ve spoken to gods and devils, projected my personal will into intoxicated states and reaped rewards from it in subsequent sober reality.
He adds that while ceremonial shamanism might be magical and glorious, not all of his consciousness alteration has been equally profound in nature.
– I’ve also wasted entire days doing nothing but smoking weed and drinking beer, like a worthless lowlife. This is something I hate in myself, which in turn makes me supremely intolerant towards others exhibiting the same behaviour. As with all drugs, there are ways to make them work for you but most often you end up with the roles reversed; a Faustian deal if there ever was one.
It’s quite rare to come across black metal musicians who consume entheogens, as most tend to favour agents that rather stimulate the ego such as amphetamines and cocaine.
– In the defence of cocaine, which I’m not even a big fan of to begin with – an over-simplified definition of the main distinction between the Right- and Left-Hand Paths is the difference of ultimate goal. Where the right-handed trail aims for ego dissolution and unification with the divine, its counterpart leads towards spiritual separation and self-deification; much like a coked-out douchebag. Drugs should never be the end game in itself, but rather a tool with a usefulness completely dependent on the user’s skills. Any state that can be chemically attained can be reached naturally as well.
This is by and large thanks to DMT, a tryptamine closely related to serotonin and melatonin, found in both human and animal bodies as well as numerous plants. Humans use the compound as a psychedelic by either smoking extracts or drinking potions made of DMT-containing vegetation combined with another plant which allows for it to become orally active. The Amazonian brew known as ayahuasca is an example of the latter. However, thanks to its naturally occurring presence in our bodies, activation is theoretically possible without external agents. To the extent that they resemble effects of exogenous DMT, psychedelic states following practices such as meditation, ritualistic drumming, tribal dancing, sweat lodges, breathing exercises, and so forth may be facilitated by an endogenous DMT-release in our brains. There are also theories that this is what makes us dream at night. In his 2014 book, DMT and the Soul of Prophecy, the world’s foremost expert on N,N-dimethyltryptamine and author of DMT – The Spirit Molecule , Dr Rick Strassman, proposes that what we consider optical reality as interpreted by our eyesight may be regulated by DMT. This conclusion was drawn after a research group at the University of Wisconsin established activity of the DMT-synthesising gene and enzyme in the retina of primates, suggesting that visual perception might be particularly under its influence. Research data shows DMT being actively transported across the blood-brain barrier using an energy-dependent process; the brain treats substances this way only in rare cases where the material is a requisite for basic functionality – glucose, for example. In order to test the theory’s validity, one would first have to determine what happens to a living being without either DMT or the corresponding receptors in its system. Once someone figures out how to deactivate the genetic mechanism for DMT production in lab animals, the ability to study what the world is like for them would tell us a lot about its importance to that which renders us sentient. Based on the available evidence, Dr Strassman believes DMT to be necessary for mundane cerebral functionality. Normal brain-function means normal consciousness, which is that of our everyday reality.
– I’m in no real position to comment on that theory except that I find it highly interesting and would love to study it further. All aspects of DMT are very interesting to me, from the biochemical and neurological properties of the compound to its spiritual and cosmological implications. I read Strassman’s The Spirit Molecule a few years ago and, just as fate would have it, smokable DMT suddenly became available to me almost as soon as I put the book down for the last time.
– I was never able to break on through to the other side – I don’t know if that’s because of the strength or purity of the stuff, the dosage, or if we did it wrong or whatever. I entered a dreamlike state while totally awake and was still able to communicate coherently and lucidly to the people around me. I’m sure the universe will present the spirit molecule to me again when the time is right.
The above is an excerpt from the full article – which is twice as long, significantly more in-depth, and published in Bardo Methodology #3. This issue also features bands and artists such as DARKTHRONE, PORTAL, WATAIN, Phil Anselmo, LEVIATHAN, IMPETUOUS RITUAL, and ALTAR OF PERVERSION.