Today I went back to one of the lovely little occult bookshops in da’ hood and perused through the dusty bookshelves, fiddled with various little charms and candles, and secretly hoped that the pots of “bat blood ink” were just figurative and not literal. It was then that I came across a large section of flyers neatly stacked by the door.
There was everything from Pagan support groups to crop circle conspirators (you better damn well believe I’m going to check that out). After a while I came across the crème of the crop in a neat little folded stack of white paper: ENTERING THE HELL FIRE CLUB.
Ho.Ly. Shit. The Hell Fire Club still exists???
For those who don’t remember, this was mentioned on my White Witch walk through Covent Garden several months ago. The Hell Fire Club was a group of men and women who, well, basically just got together in secret, possibly worshiped the devil, and had loads of orgies. I’m pretty sure that everyone was mostly there for the orgies. More info can be found here (though the description is suspiciously devoid of sexy detail): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellfire_Club
The club was founded in London in 1719. The fact that it is still going is wild to say the least, though I suspect it is probably a recent reconstruct.
I thought I would take this opportunity to share some excerpts from the neatly printed booklet:
Thank you for contacting The Hell Fire Club. Application for membership are looked at carefully and we consult with Stewards and senior Members at regular monthly meetings prior to responding directly.
The Hell Fire Club, as you may know, is an old Friendly Society of men and women who take an interest in the welfare of one another individually and as Club Members. The basic format of Club meetings (the Chapter Rooms and their symbolism) can be understood as a convivial and pleasurable meeting (read: orgies), or as an adjunct to a deep study of the inner self, or the soul. The Club has oral traditions which are passed on from person to person in a private manner (a sexy manner?).
Meetings held monthly at local Chapters may investigate esoteric themes and appointed Stewards point to the Hell Fire Club traditions and Symbols as their starting point. Like a wheel revolving through the year the Stewards draw upon the complex connections within the Chapter Room diagram created by applying the two ‘keys’ or geometric symbols which are unique to the Club.
Throughout the year Guests and Members at Chapters see the symbols woven together in new and unusual ways, through relating stories or personal memories about the Club, discussing Club history and investigating its structure the members find correlations between it, each other, and their inner worlds. These connections grow in unique ways for each person and all are equally respected, the essential act of sharing wine and good company being analogous to the relationship one has with ones inner being: a fine balance build on Love and Harmony.
….what? Symbols? Huh?
Let’s see what they say about becoming a member…
1) Individuals wishing to attend a Chapter in their area need only request a friendly meeting with a Member and its Steward and thus be invited as a ‘Guest’ to see for themselves how that Chapter operates.
If there is no established Chapter in your local area:
2) An individual Member may, at their own discretion and in person, pass on essential information as to the symbolic, philosophical or occult nature of the Club traditions to any person they deem fit to receive them. This transmission will be of a uniquely personal nature (??) and though immensely valuable in its own right, the person receiving the transmission will of course require a good deal of sense and sometimes erudition to separate the personal elements from the Universal. Such a transmission once received may be properly recognized by one of the properly appointed Stewards of the Club and once they are satisfied that all is well then full membership may be granted.
3) An individual who has a unique insight, experience of deep personal connection with the Club may use that to penetrate into its mysteries independently. Such persons may secure contact with a Steward or Prior and after discussion membership may be granted. Beginning a new Chapter in a new part of the world is demanding, but be assured we will offer every assistance necessary.
The April O’Neil inside of me is intrigued and would like to investigate further, perhaps see if I could somehow become a member or at least chat with someone who is a member…but then that pesky “sensible” side of me realizes that this group is most likely composed of smelly old lawyers who are looking for meaning and excitement and have loads of orgies a la Eyes Wide Shut. I’m not sure if that is worse than this whole ‘symbol’ and ‘transmission’ business. What is that? A tattoo?
I wonder if this has something to do with those crop circles…
Well, if you want to buy some books on the subject they recommend their website: http://www.hellfireclubbooks.co.uk/