TEMPLUM NIGRI SOLIS - A BRIEF HISTORY
Templum Nigri Solis (TNS) was initially established in Australia in the 1970’s, deriving it’s name from various occult references throughout history such as Alchemy, the sun in Amenta, the Gnostic Pleroma of fullness/emptiness, and the experience of the Void as dimly recollected by the human nervous system.
TNS comprised of Magickians from Australia, New Zealand, North America, Great Britain and mainland Continental Europe. Drawing from various traditions, they brought experience and expertise to the syncretic hub of TNS from their Magickal as well as their professional lives. These included such diverse areas as Thelema, Zos Kia Cultus, Maatian Magick, Traditional Witchcraft, North American Native Shamanism, Taosim, Tantra, Earth Mysteries, Hermetism, Cabbala, Ceremonial Magic(k), Anglo-Saxon and Northern European Shamanism. From their professional lives they brought with them expertise in diverse areas as Organic Chemistry, Modern Western Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Herbalism, Ernergick Medicine (Homeopathy, Flowers Essences, etc) Neuro-Science, Ancient History, Palaeontology, History, Linguistics, The Arts, Artisans, Writers, and Journalists.
Their general discontent and frustrations with the inadequacies of the various established groups they had been working with brought them together. The catalyst was primarily the general anti-intellectual prejudice so prevalent amongst self styled working Magickians and Witches.
From their own personal Magickal Work, each had come to the same conclusion: that a concentrated and condensed form of Magick lay at the core of all our various paths. In stripping it all down to essentials they could then rebuild, utilising the common factors which have been consistently used by Magickians from the earliest of times. With this came a renewed interpretation of these techniques in light of the latest fringe technologies and sciences. There is nothing new under the (black) sun; only that which has been forgotten.
After much experimentation, and not a little foolhardy risk-taking, they formed a working model of Magick in its most general sense, placing great emphasis on the practical techniques and physiological triggers which are found in ALL traditional forms of Magick. Much emphasis was placed on the use of sacraments, in both traditional forms and modern smart drugs. The ready availabity to modern medicines, and most especially anaesthetics (which many of the members had access to), allowed them to further expand their repetoir of techniques and experiences. All members from this core temple utilise what they learnt from their work together in their personal as well as professional lives.
With the coming of the 1980s came news on the Magickal front that some notable Magickians in Britain had congregated under the aegis of the Illuminates of Thanateros (IOT). There was some amusement that the phenomenom of the IOT had its germ in suburban Sydney at a time when Peter Carroll was visiting whilst on his Grand Tour. In Sydney Carroll worked with an Entity then known as The Church of Chaos, though his Magickal experiments were totally independent of the work being done at the same time by the various members that eventually became the core initial group that evolved into TNS.
Following their initial dialogue with the IOT, the members of TNS were astonished and quite pleased to find other people had come to similar conclusions with regard to Magickal Practice. A core group of TNS members agreed to participate in the ongoing work of the IOT and were asked to be its representative in the region in accordance with the ethos within the IOT at the time, which attempted to undermine the pre-existing old Aeon protocols of “Magickal Orders”, plus the need to accelerate the realisation of the agenda of the then IOT.
The reigning Temple Master of TNS was made 1st degree and Section Head for Australasia and this was further extended for administrative and instructial purposes to incorporate New Zealand, South-East Asia, North and South America with much co-operation and synchronised workings. TNS was responsible for maintaining enthusiasm within the ranks of the American IOT members, which at times floundered due to being ignored /snubbed by the British IOT - most especially after Carroll had formally resigned from the the established Pact of the IOT.
TNS was responsible for introducing William S. Burroughs to Chaos Magick and assisted in the coordination of Burrough’s initiation into the Magickal Pact of The IOT.
TNS was the first to raise the matter concerning the establishment of multiple archives of the Pact’s work. The places proposed were Britain, Continental Europe, and the USA. TNS contributed to the IOT archival project.
TNS also proposed the position of Elder to accommodate those members who had served and contributed much to the IOT but felt they no longer could serve actively within the Pact. This came about as a reaction to the crisis that loomed over the IOT at the time Pete Carroll resigned his position as Head of the Pact. The position of Elder was also granted to William S. Burroughs and others.
With the departure of Peter Carroll and his wit and foresight, the initial impetus of the IOT was undermined by the successive administrative regimes. This was occasionally put into check, usually (and ironically) by the direct or indirect influence from Carroll himself working on the sidelines. Carroll never envisioned that the IOT would last more than seven years and in hindsight such does seem to be the case. But again, like other similar ventures, the Phoenix does rise from the ashes. And again referring to a quote much liked by Carroll from Heraclitus “ You cannot step into the same river twice”.
At about the year 1995 it was felt that with Pete Carroll’s departure, along with a number of futile changes that were being deployed and incorporated into the Pact, the IOT had ceased to function effectively as a Magickal entity. It had strayed so far from the original ethos of practical and explorative Magick as to become redundant from a Magickal perspective. Ironically when the original TNS temple decided that the IOT had become too corrupted and left the Pact, the then reigning Temple Master and Section Head was urged to take Elder status, though the offer was declined as it was not felt to be appropriate.
It’s legacy remains evident by the utilisation of its initial impetus by other groups working Chaos Magick but remaining unaffiliated with the IOT. The seasoned Magickal reader will also have noticed by now how much of the then neo-logism championed by the original Chaos Magickians (CM) - Ray Sherwin, Peter Carroll and others - have found their way into the most unlikely of magickal and even New Age writings - a point most likely lost on those self-same writers.
TNS went on to concentrate on its Magick unhindered by the administrative limitations that were attempted to thwart its progress. Unbeknownst to TNS at the time of their departure from the Pact, there was a global walkout by most existing temples as way of protest to the way that TNS had been treated. Many contacted TNS directly and affiliated with them in order to avoid the unmagickal behaviour coming from London.
Some of the archives from TNS had been banked with the various repositories. Many had not.
Now a selection of TNS Temple Papers (TP) has been made available under the title Between Spaces. It is to be the first general release from a greater body of work that has accumulated over the years whilst being affiliated with the IOT - plus works predating their association. More current works of TNS and their affilates will be released in the future.