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Choronzon // is a demon that originated in writing with the 16th-century occultists Edward Kelley and John Dee within the latter's occult system of Enochian magic. In the 20th century he became an important element within the mystical system of Thelema, founded by Aleister Crowley, where he is the "dweller in the abyss", believed to be the last great obstacle between the adept and enlightenment. Thelemites believe that if he is met with proper preparation, then his function is to destroy the ego, which allows the adept to move beyond the abyss of occult cosmology.
Including Crowley's spelling of the name, Choronzon, there appear to be three alternatives. Meric Casaubon states that the name is Coronzon (without an 'h') in his True and Faithful Relation…. However, this is at variance with the spelling that appears in John Dee's own journals. Laycock's Enochian Dictionary gives the latter spelling as Coronzom, citing an original manuscript (Cotton XLVI Pt. I, fol. 91a) as the source for the variant. A.D. Mercer's Liber Coronzom discusses the question of spelling in some detail and includes images taken from Dee's original diaries and from Casaubon's True and Faithful Relation... showing the differences.
Choronzon according to Crowley
Otherwise known as "the demon of dispersion", Choronzon is described by Crowley as a temporary personification of the raving and inconsistent forces that occupy the abyss. In this system, Choronzon is given form in evocation only so it may be mastered.
Crowley states that he and Victor Benjamin Neuburg evoked Choronzon in Bou Saâda, Algeria in December 1909. In Crowley's account, it is unclear whether Choronzon was evoked into an empty Solomonic triangle while Crowley sat elsewhere, or whether Crowley himself was the medium into which the demon was invoked. Nearly all writers except Lawrence Sutin take him to mean the latter. In the account, Choronzon is described as changing shape, which is read variably as an account of an actual metamorphosis, a subjective impression of Neuburg's, or fabrication on Crowley's part.
The account describes the demon throwing sand over the triangle to breach it, following which it attacked Neuburg 'in the form of a naked savage', forcing him to drive it back at the point of a dagger. Crowley's account has been criticized as unreliable, as the relevant original pages are torn from the notebook in which the account was written. This, along with other inconsistencies in the manuscript, has led to speculation that Crowley embroidered the event to support his own belief system. Crowley himself claimed, in a footnote to the account in Liber 418, that "(t)he greatest precautions were taken at the time, and have since been yet further fortified, to keep silence concerning the rite of evocation." Arthur Calder-Marshall, meanwhile, asserts in The Magic of my Youth that Neuburg gave a quite different account of the event, claiming that he and Crowley evoked the spirit of "a foreman builder from Ur of the Chaldees", who chose to call himself "P.472". The conversation begins when two British students ask Neuburg about a version of the story in which Crowley turned him into a zebra and sold him to a zoo. Neuburg's response in this book contradicts both the words attributed to him in Liber 418 and the statement of Crowley biographer Lawrence Sutin.
Choronzon is deemed to be held in check by the power of the goddess Babalon, inhabitant of Binah, the third sephirah of the Tree of Life. Both Choronzon and the abyss are discussed in Crowley's Confessions (ch. 66):
- "The name of the Dweller in the Abyss is Choronzon, but he is not really an individual. The Abyss is empty of being; it is filled with all possible forms, each equally inane, each therefore evil in the only true sense of the word—that is, meaningless but malignant, in so far as it craves to become real. These forms swirl senselessly into haphazard heaps like dust devils, and each such chance aggregation asserts itself to be an individual and shrieks, "I am I!" though aware all the time that its elements have no true bond; so that the slightest disturbance dissipates the delusion just as a horseman, meeting a dust devil, brings it in showers of sand to the earth."
Choronzon in chaos magic
In much the same way that Satan has been championed by some of those who object to the Abrahamic God, Choronzon has been turned into a positive figure by some iconoclastic occultists, in particular chaos magicians who object to what they see as the stultifying and restrictive dogma of Thelema. Peter Carroll's "Mass of Choronzon" is a ritual with the purpose of casting the energy of one's ego into the universe to effectuate an unknown desire. This, in part, has served as an inspiration for modernized ritual effectuation based on the "333 current". Carroll himself states in the aforementioned book, however, that Choronzon is simply the name given to the obsessional side-effects of any deluded search for a false Holy Guardian Angel, or anything which the magician would mistake for his own profound genius itself.
In popular culture
This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)
- An experimental multimedia project using the name Choronzon has existed since the late eighties, beginning as two separate and unknown cassette-culture projects, one from the west coast of the United States and the other from the eastern USA. When the internet made each project aware of the other, they fused these into one project. As of 2021, they operate the domain choronzon.org. They have released several albums as well as a printed book, Panic Pandemic. Claiming that what they do is not merely music, but also actual magick acts fused into it, the project's works are distributed through both underground and traditional means. The ″demon″ Choronzon is cited as an actual member of the project, part of which has centered on extending the mythos around this entity past the Thelemic version of Choronzon into a modernized ″post-abyssal″ one, presenting Choronzon as an anti-hero and demigod, after becoming a reversed Satan in the form of a ″risen demon″.
- An invocation of Choronzon forms the basis for an episode of Hammer House of Horror entitled "Guardian of the Abyss,"in which a cult called The Choronzon Society uses John Dee's scrying mirror to conjure Choronzon. The episode was also the inspiration for the album Choronzon by British blackened death metal band Akercocke.
- Thrash/metal band "Megadeth" mentions Choronzon in their song "Looking Down the Cross" from their 1985 album, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!
- A demon named Choronzon appears several times in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman.
- A demon named Coronzon appears in the light novel To Aru Majutsu no Index targeting the character Aleister Crowley.
- Choronzon is one of the collectible demons in the Shin Megami Tensei series of games.
- Choronzon is the name of a god-like posthuman character in Karl Schroeder's science fiction novels Ventus and Lady of Mazes.
- Choronzon is the title of a song from Tangerine Dream's 1981 album Exit.
- Choronzon is the title of the 2003 album by blackened death metal band Akercocke.
- Choronzon is featured in the 2009 horror film Necromentia.
- In Graham McNeill's Horus Heresy novel A Thousand Sons, Book 12 of the Horus Heresy book series, Choronzon appears as a persona of the Chaos God Tzeentch, and calls himself "Dweller in the Abyss" and "Daemon of Dispersion".
- The novel The Trick Top Hat, a book of the trilogy Schrödinger's Cat by Robert Anton Wilson, features Choronzon. He appears to Joe Malik when having sex with Carol Christmas because her husband cursed her with a loa.
- Choronzon's symbol is a prominent part of the cult hit TV series, Twin Peaks. Bob, the demon terrorizing the town is believed by some to be a version of Choronzon.
- Annette Marie's popular book series, "Steel and Stone," includes this horrific beast. She describes them as such, "Choronzons were a type of Underworld creature. They were bestial, simpleminded, and irrevocably, mercilessly violent." Chase The Dark, Annette Marie.
- Chronozon is mentioned in the song, Satanachist by Venom [Possessed album].
- On 17 February 2021 Andrew WK released the video clip for his single “Babalon”. The song features occult and Thelemic lyrical content addressing Babalon as “mother of mankind”, the Abyss and ego death. The video clip (which utilizes esoteric symbolism including the Rose Cross and focuses on themes of duality, annihilation and regeneration of the self) closes with the coded statement “Consciousness hasn’t opened reality, only nightmares. Zone-out now.”, an acrostic of Choronzon. Andrew WK has previously worked explicitly with occult and Thelemic themes in his work, having released an album entitled Mother Of Mankind in 2010.
- Crowley, Aleister (1989). The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, ch. 66. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-019189-5
- The Vision and the Voice, Aethyrs 9, 10 and 11
- Laycock, Donald (1994). The Complete Enochian Dictionary, p. 98. Weiser Books. ISBN 0-87728-817-8
- Online manuscript scan from The Magickal Review
- Mercer, A. D. (2015). Liber Coronzom, p. 19 to 21 Aeon Sophia Press
- Vision and the Voice, Tenth Aethyr, fn 12 and 13.
- Vision and the Voice, Tenth Aethyr.
- Calder-Marshall p34-36
- Vision and the Voice, Tenth Aethyr, "Note by Scribe".
- "For his part, Neuburg remained convinced for the rest of his life that he had wrestled with a demon in the desert." Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt 2000, ch 6, p 204.
- "Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic"., Chappell, V. (2010). Sexual outlaw, erotic mystic: The essential Ida Craddock. San Francisco, CA: Red Wheel/Weiser.
- "The Complete Magick Curriculum of the Secret Order G.B.G."
- Multiple Authors. "Choronzon Grinnoire". Choronzon Project. Akolasia. Archived from the original on 2014-08-21. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Carroll, Peter J. The Mass of Choronzon Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
- Carroll, Peter J. Liber Null and Psychonaut. ISBN 0-87728-639-6
- Multiple editors, Discogs. "Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
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- Side, Oliver. "Choronzon - Panic Pandemic". Avant Garde Metal Project. Avantgarde-Metal.com. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Modemac, E.W. "Cast Iron Chaos: Choronzon". Cast Iron Chaos Wiki. Modemac.com. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- IMDB. "Hammer House Of Horror - The Guardian Of The Abyss". Internet Movie Data Base. IMDB. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- McNeill, Graham (2010). A thousand sons: all is dust... (print mass market paperback). Horus Heresy [book series]. Vol. 12. Cover art & illustration by Neil Roberts (1st UK ed.). Nottingham, UK: Black Library. pp. 179, 451. ISBN 978-1-84416-808-8.
- Crowley, Aleister. "The Cry of the Tenth Aethyr" in The Vision and the Voice
- Dee, John, edited by Meric Casaubon. A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-7661-0812-0
- Rowe, Benjamin. "The Illusion of the Abyss."
- Sutin, Lawrence. Do What Thou Wilt. St. Martin's Griffin, New York.
- Mercer, A. D. Liber Coronzom - An Enochian Grimoire Aeon Sophia Press 2015
- Thelemapedia. Choronzon.