"A study of the solar cycles at NASA's Spaceweather web site gives us the following correlation of youth culture to the cycles:
May 1967 - Hippie culture took off one year before solar maximum.
January 1977 - Punk culture took off two and a half years before solar maximum.
May 1988 - Rave culture took off one and a half years before solar maximum.
1999 - playful hostile strength culture surfaces (via late gabber, The Matrix, flowering of Lee MacQueen, etc), prior to maximum. But interestingly no actual massive youth archetype takes off."
Iain Spence, "Introduction to Hare (Sekhmet) Hypothesis"
Iain Spence didn't quite see the Stormers he expected. After the gentle scattering of broadcast media through the 90s, and its ultimate withering under the light of internet utopianism, the youth culture became even more fragmented, even more tribal, than it had ever been, but what it lacked in unifying avatar it expressed in common pattern. There was no lack of a "Stormer" generation post-1999, and what we witnessed, across disparate subcultures, was an undeniably militant mentality installing itself in the collective, the ushering in of a new technorder at the turning of the millenium.
No, it was not just the Matrix or the rise of first person shooters to a new height in popularity, but, shit, those taken alone are undeniable - what kid wasn't a space marine ninja starship pilot in their fantasy entertainment life during those years? In fact, I want to believe "Doom" (1993) and even "Aliens" (released 1986, near the end of a Punk cycle) heralded at least one ever-present archetype of the solar cycle which began in 1999 — the Space Marine — and the tremendous popularity of "Halo" (2001) surely points to this, as does the later "Gears of War" (2006). XBOX Live sells countless subscriptions on their competitive "rise to the top of the rankings" consumer model, and Stormer kids were all too ready to eat up the "Army of One" myth. The New American wars were so played out against the backdrop of a grand co-opting of all forms of media, especially video games, which were first published by the Army overtly and then covertly, to further their agenda, masking virtual training as entertainment. Coupled with the Army insistence on participation in it's depictions in Hollywood, one can readily trace the links.
Underground music trends of the Stormer decade gave rise to a nu-violence as IDM became Breakcore, and we heard a resurgence of Noise, unparalleled since the 80s. Xanopticon is the epitome of Stormer sound: cold, violent, technical, aggressive, conflicted, and futuristic. Remnants of Goth and industrial dance music are now rebirthed as Witchhouse. The Emo and Hipster crowd have co-opted a thrift-store form of punk style, stealing the sort of faux "lazy carelessness" to blend with love of flannel, inherited from their elder siblings in Grunge. The concurrent rise of pharmaceutical stimulants, particularly methamphetamine, during the decade seems on par with the advent of an unrelentingly aggressive undercurrent.
To find the pattern in other forms, one need not look any further than the rise of right-wing conspiracy doomsday culture and belief systems as they are re-contextualized into pop-culture. The playful paranoia of the X-Files manifested into grim reality as America found itself honed to a toxick edge, starting with Y2K bug paranoia, the fall of Enron and the bust of dot com, fully emerging in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Citizens made resentful of either their deceitful and underhanded government or some terrifying Other; distrust is the only consensus. Australia and Britain have struggled with their emerging police states, a total surveillance panopticon, while the seeds planted in America after 9/11 blossomed into our current regime, the criers of unending emergency, demanding we turn an eye from naked imperialism and corporate dominance, focusing all attentions on domestic monitoring efforts. The governments of the world obviously look at us all, left to right, with equal suspicion. The only reactionary move left to take may be a retreat to pacifism.
(It is interesting to note how the "Stormer" playful hostile ethic, bubbling under the surface for years, finally and fully revealed itself as Anonymous and Lulzsec as the decade closed, highlighting how everything has been cast into the stark "Elitist Military-Industrial complex vs. the Little Man" narrative. Certainly this self-militarizing cyberwar is in reaction to increasingly overt forms of oppressive governance.)
The protests in Egypt were fueled by an internet clamp down and resulted in removal of their local tyrant. The London riots and BART ops were fueled by social media. The previous riots in Oakland were a spectacle across the internet. The occupation of Wall Street and BART point anonymous toward a non-violent direction, possibly showing the attitude of the coming decade, while the London riots exemplify the Stormer influence. We were definitely Stormers by the end of the decade, if only out of necessity: our protest had been squashed by countless new "non-violent" crowd controls means which continue to blur the line between the police and army, reality and sci-fi.
Two points must be made here. Firstly, there is no clean cut separation when studying trends; they move in sinewave gradients across temporality, not on/off switches, and the influence of one cycle feeds into another. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, these trends are not limited to popular culture, which is merely an indicator of the rhythm, a partial picture of the tone for each stage. This being said, there may be a technological map that falls in line with these cultural shifts. Let's think of it in these terms: during the softer, "Hippie" polarity of these changes in the Sekhmet cycle we innovate new technologies, while during the "Punk"-esque eras we refine them.
1944 - Late War, New Hope (and Round We Go)
Let's start with 1944 - Weird science triumphs in this atmosphere, and it is not hard to see why: everyone is working to innovate in ways virtually unprecedented in history. From the atomic bomb to new theories of computation, faster airplanes, better guns, long-range rockets, radar, sonar, and submarines, there seems to be little that we cannot do, few aspects of nature that cannot be mastered and brought into use in the last pitched battles against the Enemy — whichever enemy that might be. If this is all rather dreary and almost Stormer like, it is balanced in part by the undeniable unity and oneness, reminiscent of the hippies, manifesting in America. United in a war, everyone does their part — women working the factories, men on the front lines - everyone rations, everyone conserves, and we're unified against common enemies.
It is the post-war continuation of the trend that sees the first major UFO sighting at Mt. Rainier, and an accompanying explosion of interest in all things strange science. Intelligence agencies finding their feet give us a gift in form of an almost mystic storage media when magnetic tape is first used to record computer data in 1951. LSD, first synthesized in 1938, is publicly marketed to psychiatrists as "Delysid" beginning in 1947. Bombs in the brain with bright flashes of the future lead us into the 50s. We begin to see an optimistic way forward, technologically augmented and dominated.
1955 - Cold Warriors and Beatniks
Flash forward to 1955, era of technological refinement, the proto-"Punk" era. The Korean War is over, and everyone is settling comfortably into an age of American prosperity. We're being told we'll have flying cars that drive themselves, and, if we tire of that, we can take out jetpack to work, all while the robot maid cleans up the house and auto-cooks the roast with one of those next gen microwaves. We still don't have George Jetson's (1962-63) utopic home in the sky 50+ years later. James Dean's career is picking up, poets in New York coffee shops are gathering to talk about being Beat, and somewhere toward the end of this cycle Hunter S. Thompson is riding with the Hells Angels, seeking material he can use for a book he will publish around 1965.
I want to propose (counterintuitively) that a lowpoint of technology may fall somewhere in the 1955 - 1966 range. We're coasting off developments from the Second World War, adapting them to new uses, studying and understanding just what exactly it was we did when the first atomic bombs blew up. In the background, IBM leadership is shuffling out in 1956, and the inheriting son seems to lead the company aimlessly until the early 60s when they receive a NASA contract. FORTRAN is invented this in era, but won't really matter to most people for years to come. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was formed on July 29, 1958, but it wasn't until 1965 that we had the Gemini 3, and we didn't (supposedly) land on the moon until 1969, 3 years into the next cycle. Stephen Hawkings received his BA in 1964, but it's not until 1972 that the accolades start rolling in.
It's a slow haul toward a new cultural expression in the first atavistic youth movement.
1966 - Hippies
The rise of psychedelic drugs, civil rights, dreams of space travel and colonization, a war to unite against, a draft to dodge, novel concepts in physics, psychology, and the arts. Change is afoot, and television is signalling to us all in warm, bright, glorious techni-color:
Although introduced in the U.S. in 1953, only a few years after black-and-white televisions had been standardized there, high prices and lack of broadcast material greatly slowed its acceptance in the marketplace. Although the first colorcast being the Rose Parade occurred in January of that year, it was not until the late 1960s that color sets started selling in large numbers, due in some part to the introduction of GE's Porta-Color set in the Spring of 1966 along with the first all-color primetime season beginning that fall.
We saw a re-circulation of occult titles, and people are actually stimulated enough to care. I believe that our magickal understanding gets retooled in the same manner as culture and technology alongside these cycles, and that the 1960s recaptured the works of the turn-of-the-century breakthroughs of occult orders like the Golden Dawn, the O.T.O., The Fraternias Saturni, and others claiming the Rose Cross as their legacy. The mere immortalization through preservation of these text and beliefs may be key to future cycles.
A new bandwidth is opened in terms of remote experience and meshed with its environment of volatility and drugs; it reacts in faded, neon, hallucinatory fashion trends. The god-father of the fantastic, Jack Kirby, is flipping lids and keeping tempo, matching the tone of the time with his "New Gods" family of comics in 1971, steps ahead of kook science that is turning radionics and radiesthesia into psionics, art on paper: "Who needs a black box when you have hash, mescaline, and a paper schematic? (but, really, who needs schematics when you have an LSD blotter?)" Half the world wants to travel to outer space, while the other half want to continue exploring the furthest reaches of inner space — the answers are just waiting, ripe to be plucked by eager young hands. The youth look upon themselves as a rising tide, come to wash out all the corruption and dead thinking of the old, and no one tuned in appears willing to, or even able to conceive of, surrender.
1977 - Punks
By the end of the eleven year period starting in 1966 it was clear things had changed. It was a post-Nixon world, and culture retreated into indulgence with cocaine and disco. Reagan and Bush Sr. soon slipped their way into office; we learned to love Wall Street, cigars, and fast cars with loose women with poofy hair. Punk was life.
On the technology end of things, Apple was established on April 1, 1976, and they would help usher in the era of personal computing - alongside Altair and gaming console-computers like the Atari and Commodore 64. Apple doesn't push out a GUI computer out until 1983 and it's a failure when next year's model triumphs with a lower price tag and awesomely oppressive superbowl ad for the Mac II. A GUI had been in the work for several years at this point and was pieced together from some level of technology stolen off Xerox. Jobs is forced to resign in 1985. The company needs a more solid ground and they falter for quite sometime. DOS isn't invented by Gates but bought by him and released in 1981:
"Tim Paterson had developed a variant of CP/M-80, intended as an internal product for testing SCP's new 16-bit Intel 8086 CPU card for the S-100 bus. The system was initially named "QDOS" (Quick and Dirty Operating System), before being made commercially available as 86-DOS. Microsoft purchased 86-DOS, allegedly for $50,000. This became Microsoft Disk Operating System, MS-DOS, introduced in 1981."
Innovation wasn't being rewarded, crafty underhanded business tactics drove industry everywhere, and Reagan smiled an oblivious grin, declaring the triumph of his doctrine of corporate prosperity.
Punk thrived because we had reason to be angry at this bummer of a dingy world. Manuel Noriega, Pablo Escabar, Oliver North, Margret Thatcher, illegal gun trading, VX nerve gas attacks, hostage situations, atomic tensions. Punk, with its ties to the Beatniks, both thriving in a period of low innovation and grimness. The beatniks were the surrealist's children, grounded by circumstance, and they fit right in with where the punks found themselves, as no less than William S. Burroughs's exaltation in the punk community reaffirms. Charlie Manson grew in popularity too, and has always claimed beatnik origins, not hippie ones. Alan Moore and Frank Miller are the king of comics with their gritty tones.
Goth despair rose in popularity with icons like the Sisters of Mercy and Christian Death (while Neil Gaiman makes a career out of it in comics), mixing with Punk culture and Genesis P. Orridge's industrial music to take new forms in the angst of Skinny Puppy and Frontline Assembly, spitting cyberpunk battery acid in the face of desensitized New Wave aesthetics. Cocaine yields way to crack around 1985, the same year Skinny Puppy's core members, Cevin Key and Ogre, opened for Chris & Cosey of Throbbing Gristle. Had the torch been passed? Skinny Puppy, a new creature, foreshadowing the environmentalist comeback of the 90s: vegetarianism, ecological concern, gaia theory, and animal life. Grant Morrison's "Animal Man" (1988) is perfectly timed in this equation. There's an edge of technology to industrial music, hinting at the next decade's innovations.
In 1984, "Neuromancer" didn't really ring a dystopian bell, but we couldn't help contextualizing the future as grim, coarsely painted scenery in our heads, and, meanwhile, "Akira" showed us the power dirty, cyberpunk motorcycle gangs could wield against the government in a time of strange, future technology accidents. Those visions would ultimately become brighter, flower-powered under the influence of MDMA, house music, and the burgeoning internet e-commerce world of electronic remote interfacing we had not fully foreseen. We were ready to plug-in and build what we wanted as a result of the technological death cries against a dead and stagnant solar cycle of oppression. We were ready for electronic telepathy in the form of BBS, chatrooms and IM.
Does a bomb in cyberspace make a sound? It creeps up out of nowhere, the virus installed in the background, birth of the botnet. Network attacks are always something you didn't see coming. It was like the Wide Area Network was something no one had seen coming, save for sci-fi glimpses and the minds-eye of top tier end-users, hardware and software developers with a handful of university folks on ARPAnet and early computer clubs, Proto-BBS pioneers, who made use of networks in awesome ways. For the rest of us, it was like a ton of bricks fell out of nowhere and self-assembled into a new city around us when the internet kicked into full gear. PCs weren't everyday folk stuff, and, in 1988 the GUI still wasn't fully formed, and Windows 3.1 didn't come to fruition until 1992. Concepts like those of John C. Lilly's pertaining to Dolphins and cybernetics thrived alongside "Free Willy" with its light-hearted environmentalist pandering, and Tim Leary books about computers. Neil Young is cool and the grandfather of grunge; Tom Petty is releasing new albums to great reception. Heroin is a chic, mopey sedation death hole for exorcising your teenage angst. The bleak hue remains in culture but it's somehow made vibrant, even delirious.
In 1989, Twin Peaks went into production, and its slow, drab realism coupled with surreal happenings captured the pace of this new, resurgent psychedelia caught in grunge. Rave culture, the anti-thesis, gave the early 1990s a neon, blacklight lit hue that extended outward, flowing into fashion and entertainment, a light-handed response.
With the GUI in place, software development began to flourish. Sooner than later we were all familiar with software suites like Norton, Word Perfect, Microsoft Office, and games like "Wolfenstein 3D", "Doom", "Duke Nukem", "Warcraft", and "Quake". Violent iterations but technological progression made in strides alongside console setups like Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Sega even tried to introduce on-line gaming on consoles in the 90's. Dialup was a drag but the internet was novel and fun — fuck our phones anyways. They weren't cellular, they didn't perform neat tricks. Old hat tech, voice communication was giving way to Instant Messengers. You could afford to spend all day downloading that 30 second .avi made in bad 3D software. Computer graphics in the 1990s (even up to Playstation/Sega Saturn/N64) were powerful enough to give you an idea of what you were seeing but unrealistic enough that they were forced to be artful representations of the environment and characters. Virtual reality never really learned to swim but the internet tried to manifest the cyberpunk dream, an ocean waiting while we all raced to the beach in 1999, the cycle winding down.
The dream, like all dreams, had to end, giving way to the death of the resurgent pacifism of grunge and rave culture. Copying that floppy had given way to Warez, and Napster, in particular, was offered in sacrifice to the hungry digital ghosts of Intellectual Property, a signal of the end to the digital autonomous zone we all once heralded as totally free, totally open technology. Despite setbacks in legal warp-worlds, hardware flourished toward the end of this cycle: bettered graphic cards every other month, the breaking of the 1ghz processor barrier, hard drives bigger than 4GB -- it was pretty effin sweet. Warcraft's fantasy world paved ways to Starcraft's colder, alien environments, showing us the final frontiers of space and war on shiny new graphic processors. "Star Wars" was re-released and reborn in 1999, a cycle self-consciously mirroring its 1977 origin. The imperialist star fleets had returned to tell us about the next cycle.
Oppression was going to flash its sinister grin from the shadows of 9/11, and the innovations of networks would only be refined between 1999 and 2010. You may have an awesome tablet, but touchscreens have been around since the seventies, even if its taken forever for multitouch to be implemented, and, ultimately, it's just a low-end mini-PC. You may have a smartphone, but it's just a smaller iteration of a larger, bulkier, cancer spewing portable phones of the 80s. PDAs and mobile phones struggled to find their market for quite sometime, battling against car phones and pagers. People didn't start really throwing away their land lines until 2001 or so, by which time the US government had declared all such phones needed GPS tracking built-in to them, for use in federal and police level investigations.
Robert Anton Wilson, cheery optimist of the Leary intellectual crowd, left us with the message that "Everything is under control" - a stark analysis of wide conspiracy narratives, which found many companions on the bookshelves as conspiracy publishing took off in a paranoid fever. Can you blame Wilson though? 1999 saw the WTO protest, and weren't the protests moved in a violent direction by covert agents posing as Anarchist? Whether the violence was instigated or not, the result was clear - the mayor declared martial law to usher in our decade of militarism. The 27th G8 saw a similar public reception in mid-July 2001, peaking "on July 20, a 23-year-old activist Carlo Giuliani of Genoa, was shot dead by Mario Placanica, a Carabinieri officer, during clashes with police." Throughout the decade protests are met with "free speech zones", cops in black, badgeless uniforms, brandishing absurd high tech weaponry. Our narrative of the Cop shifted, and technology as a means of surveillance is the major theme of an array of new media: every crook is caught thanks to DNA evidence; every baddie is on CCTV; cops have touchscreen and holographic technology you can't dream of. Cop-Culture is a massive DAARPA ad.
Broadband gave us more of the same, faster than dialup, allowing information to move faster, and we must become more aware as a result. Improved, or at least higher resolution, website designs result from this more robust transfer. New code, new languages, new scripts more capable of doing neat things. The emergence of Youtube in relatively familiar browsers and GUIs. Everything is immediate, everything is now, especially the terror of the times. We are made to live like paranoid cyborg soldiers; we brush up on conspiracy narratives and they go mainstream. We train on our Playstation 2s and on-line games for military ops in the homeland and abroad. We give up security for liberty, and eye our neighbors, sizing them up for pillage when the inevitable food riots hit. We're headed for "Mad Max", for "Bladerunner", for the worlds of Jodorowsky and Carpenter, all enjoying a resurgence in popularity as cult films, and it is no surprise they all have a militarist, paranoid edge to them. Indeed, 2011 is set to see a remake of "They Live!" - a cyclic end of another "Punk"-esque era, as the first was released in 1988. More Philip K. Dick movies are on the horizon, while "Bladerunner", having originally enjoyed broad success in 1982, sets the tone for aesthetic applied to cyberpunk - it's the future, grim & dingy. New movies will tackle things like "Ubik" and "Radio Free Albemuth", subjects that could be far more psychedelic than these previous dystopian iterations. "A Scanner Darkly" (2006) & "Minority Report" (2002) enjoyed mild success amidst the militant culture - the Stormers have not only been here, ready to party since 1999, but they're not going away just yet.
Nothing is true as our governments lie and deceive; the internet enables us to share our belief in conspiracies of all nature. "The Matrix", "Being John Malkovich", and "The Truman Show" sold us simulation theory. Our video games are more and more realistic, and with the wars and change back toward the familiar 80's pessimism, we're back to a bleak worldview without sparkle or shine. Since it doesn't seem to matter, since it might be a simulation anyway, and definitely has a series of boss battles (in the form of the top 1%, politicians and corporate master pulling strings and lying), it is only sensible to live like our One-Man-Army archetype during the Stormer Generation, training ourselves for this directed task.
Grant Morrison, Jason Louv, and Iain Spence all appear to fail in identifying the musical breakthrough of 1999: software for electronic music. Things changed since Skinny Puppy made hardware clang in the 80s. The idea of the VST took a few years to grow, but it has been computers fueling a new era of innovative, futuristic, and complex anthems of fast breakbeats, and chill, downtempo grooves with heavy, nostalgic ambient influences. Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher, Cevin Key's solo work, Download, Venetian Snares (and, indeed, older Venetian Snares exemplifies the gritty punk, DIY culture on the rise), Bogdan Raczynski, Proem, Lusine Icl, U-Ziq, Nautilis, Cex's early work, Amon Tobin. The list could go on for days, and now anyone can write-release music. Concepts like glitch, granular synthesis, circuit bending, and software processing alongside midi controllers are here to stay, having altered commercial music fundamentally. Glitch art is a reconsideration of the role the equipment plays in music and visual art, and the computers are now active participants in the creative process.
To a lesser degree, in early 2000, we saw industrial reborn as darkwave through a synthesis with house and trance, carrying the torch of rave culture, meeting the goth and industrial of the end of the previous punk solar cycle. Music wanted to take its self back with the death of Napster, and here we were stealing it from the studios into our bedrooms with little to no investment, all thanks to software sequencers, samplers, and synthesizers. By 2003-2004 the VST community was huge and multiplatform, countless programs making music available to anyone willing to click around and learn. As we'll see soon in the rise of cyber-vigilantism, "Stormers" don't let you take something without taking action to secure its return in the future.
(The rise of the "real life super hero" phenomena can be viewed in this light, taking back the comic book super-heroes narrative stolen by Hollywood, simultaneously riffing off the One-Man-Army motif I've seen recurring.)
It wasn't all Power to the People, but how could it be? The Powers That Be consolidated during this time; diversity in media companies declined dramatically, and people no longer make websites -- they have Myspace and Facebook accounts, default gateways to the internet. Censorship is back in, and the religious right finds new, more strident voice. By the end of this era, Anonymous flourishes and gives birth to Lulzsec at the start of 2011. A strike happens against the internet shutdown modalities politicians like Jay Rockefeller adopt, and buzz around "Cyber warfare" makes the once-dreaded Chinese Firewall measures as something to be envied from the political standpoint. We want what we want without interference and we will make it free on our own. Can you blame Lulzsec or Anonymous for being pissed?
The past decade saw Bittorrent carry the burden of MPAA and governments. Sealand Data Haven was badly damaged by fire in 2006, effectively killing the only servers I know of that exist in international water, and countless bills of electronic surveillance legislation with suspicious wording are passed or on committee, betraying a lust to get the Panopticon on. Did it take the illusory promise of a cool, hip, African-American president being revealed for another corporate tool to trigger some anti-apathy in our overly-saturated media environment of subdued compliance? Was the CIA cloned abortion of George Bush Sr. in office not enough to upset us with the system as a whole? How many people bought the Obama narrative at the end of the cycle, an idealized expression of the next phase - they wanted Hope, and someone capitalized on it, turned it into a brand.
The 2011 release of the third Deus Ex game, set in a future immediately prior to achieving H+ status, its graphics rendered with a half-steampunk/half-Bladerunner style, may exemplify a final pinnacle of the Stormers generation, and a glimpse of where they are headed, casting the hero, a loner cyborg solider, against the dystopian world growing to meet its Human Plus future.
Ages of Sekhmet
I start to think about the next Solar Cycle at this point, and I can't help but go back to the name Sekhmet, the Egyptian Solar Lioness godform, a synthesis of Old Kingdom gods: Hathor, Bast, and Ma'at. It's that last one, Ma'at, which further makes me think to another, similarly assigned, Egyptian godform timescale: that of Crowley's procession of the Equinoxes. I first discovered "The Book of the Law" in the expanding 90s, my youth. It was interesting, possibly even helped to set me on a path I was already trying to peer down, but, in the contracting 00s, it withered and lost its luster very quickly, even to the point where I lived in a period of no magick prior to my most important of initiations. Despite how much I had turned my back on this book, and its author, the notion of his godform procession of Equinoxes strikes a chord — we started in a peaceful Isisian age, evolving cavemen in harmony with earth, and built to an Osiris-dominated, patriarchal age of kings and Divine right to rule. From here, as Crowley declared from Cairo in 1904, we are moving into an Age of Horus, the angry child of these deities, prone to war, still growing into his proper adult form; and, perhaps, just perhaps, Horus does become the shade-born adult, Harpocrates.
Regardless, the narrative which carries on the lifespan of my interest in this topic stems from a former student of Crowley, and mentor to Meade Layne of Borderlands: Frater Achad. Achad suggests there's a short-circuit, that the New Aeon will not be governed by the child god Horus, growing into the blind god of silence after years of wars, but will instead be dominated by Ma'at, Goddess of Truth and Justice. It's the possibility that it can be true either way, that it's not set in stone, that this Aeon hasn't been assigned it's proper godform yet, which keeps me intrigued. I'm not going to spring "This is the Aeon of Sekhmet" just to throw in a third possibility so bare with me here. The Age of Horus makes sense in terms of being a synthesis of the previous two male and female archetypes; it is gender holistic in this way. Even the hawk form implies freedom to fly. Ma'at personifies this aspect to some degree; she is dual natured, truthful and just, wed to Thoth, god of knowledge, and she is surely the opposite of a child in her informed aspect. In fact, both gods are solar deities so under either model we cannot escape this symbolic influence of the sun.
This last decade was filled with literal storms and natural disaster, earthly disarray alongside the long-war agenda — Horus was thriving — but I think we may wake up sometime before 2021 and realize this Aeon may, in fact, belong to Ma'at. Perhaps we are also bouncing between modes of these archetypes every 11 years in a form of mini-Aeonics. The late Kenneth Grant may offer further insights into Achad's thoughts on the subject of the New Aeon (alongside much self-inserted narrative) in "Outside the Circle of Time."
This shift in these mini-Aeonics may also best be surmised in a story pertaining to Sekhmet, as relayed through Robert Masters's work regarding this Solar Lioness. It also may provide a link to Thoth as the myth becomes a holiday celebrated within his month on the Egyptian calendar, Denderah, which consists of re-enacting mythos whereby strange plant and powerful drugs of the Solanaceae family are mixed with beer and human blood to tame Sekhmet on the battlefield. Thinking it the blood of victory, Sekhmet drinks it, unaware it has been dosed with the delirium-inspiring plant (renowned for euphoria at best, and believable hallucinations at worst), and, as a result, her "heart is filled with joy" from the intoxication it brings. So it is that on Denderah that the Egyptians drank this crunk juice (sans human blood) to celebrate. It happens to fall in the month of Thoth, Ma'at's partner. It seems to be an interpretation of the Sekhmet Pomegrante-beer drink too, and this fruit might be how they emulated the blood color. The taming of her war-like nature maybe akin to a shift in dynamics along solar cultural influence, and this may also be related to Spence's Transactional Analysis grid interpretation as applied to this theory.
Look Forwards, Up, To The Future
Cultural trends over the course of the next ten years will be hard to predict. It's likely the next decade will only continue the fractal degradation into smaller niches but overarching patterns will remain.
Research chemicals are the wave of the future. LSD, Pscilocybin, and even MDMA have run their legal course. You used to be able to order 5-MEO-nDMT legally, but the U.S. banned it (while Canada is still cool -- for now). Deeper recesses of TiHKAL and PiHKAL will be mined. Even 80's horror rapper Esham sings about DMT now, as it's common place alongside an interest in quality medicinal marijuana and hash after being popularized by books, documentaries and featured in movies like "Enter the Void" (2009).
Magick is mainstream enough to have a goth, hip-hop voice. The stakes are raised, with a future influence like psychedelics and magick finding a conjunction with nanotechnologies and the emergence of other Singularian dreams — we are bound to see a very odd, photomorphic future. Metallic shifting holograms we can touch and feel, immersive forms of entertainment, environmental projection software, the huge non-local clusters of cloud computing, mitochondrial lifespan augmentations, and everything the military industrial complex has invested in over the past decade finding their way into the public space as we continue to build our 3D printers, DIY bio labs, and hackable EEG headsets.
Strong AI may be one of this biggest accelerators of our nervous system since language. Think about how much a learning computer can put together for the benefit (?) of humanity, while tirelessly running on a system with amazing specs and hardware tricks we haven't pondered yet. Rabbit holes aren't good enough now: we need paradigm shifts. Overly informed by the Stormer mentality of surveillance and spectator culture, we're waking up to how bad the guys running the Earthship are fucking it up. Japan on the brink of meltdown, fraking induced earthquakes in the Northeast, Hurricanes like Katrina, Rita, and Irene, massive oil spills off the coast, at Yellowstone and oil pipelines in Alaska. I see another hippie similarity - we have been realizing we need to respect our collective earthship.
"The future is organic" read an advertisement bump sticker for a particular brand of organic foods (which grew in popularity over the last decade only to be met with lax restrictions by the FDA) on the back of a car as I pondered this. I've always believed technology would eventually evolve to integrate more plantlife into its nature, and Nokia's future concept cellphone with spill-resistant nanograss made me smile. I suspect we will evolve technology further from there to source the next stage of biosphere: insects. Maybe this is where AI turns evil and takes us over. I hope if it happens it's around this innovation, because then, at least, the robots would look like badass metal robot insectoids. Until then though we will probably see more organic forms of technology begin to develop. We are already sourcing novel materials for computers, largely thanks to nanotechnology revealing new properties to them and uses for them.
Synthesis and unity like this may be key to the changing environment, without the hippie rose glasses, with more of a respect for scientific reason, the kind Thoth would remind his wife to bring to the people.
If trends do hold out, music may get less punchy and aggressive. It may develop a softer edge while evolving in intricacy and tonality. I can already foresee something akin to ambient dubstep: bass drowned out with reverb environments. My beloved genre of IDM has come full circle, away from it's aggro breakcore scene back into ambient soundscapes. Lusine Icl's "Language Barrier" (2007) and Proem's "Enough Conflict" (2010) (See also: "Skulls" from the same album) are both relatively beatless and lovely in spatiality, the latter being slightly grimmer. It may be that the development of technology is not so much altered by solar cycles as our approach to it is susceptible to solar radiation's influence. I see atavistic hippie and punk archetypes in individuals' fashion sensibilities everywhere I go in my town; they are all shifting to neon hair it seems. It's simultaneously reminiscent of the early 90's and evocative of looking like you walked out of a cyberpunk anime set in the future.
As best I can tell, the lack of a unifying avatar in the post-1999 cycle from Iain Spences perspective may be due to a weaker solar index in this timeframe. It's not a steady flow; for instance, in the 00s, the solar annual dips at its maximum, forming a two-part crescendo. It's fluctuation could account for the cyclic breaking models, how Alex Grey makes a comeback in a Stormer decade or Thompson refinds an audience amidst a gentle, drug-enthusiast, intellectual crowd despite his rough-edged exterior. Things find their proper times in these cycles. Somewhere in that time, say, 2003 or so, when the solar spots dipped, I recall being very optimistic about the future with an almost hippie-like naivety. Perhaps it was age and the atmosphere, or perhaps our weakly shielded bodies are more susceptible to the sun's radiation than we would like to admit. I can't say, but maybe the Solar Cycle variations chart at the top of this article might have its own input on the narrative.
In the interest of full disclosure, the author would like it noted he is jaded by a desire for a technologically enabled/driven, happy future he sees a possibility of coming to fruition to some degree within the next solar cycle.' Ikipr runs the netlabel Aleph9 and maintains StealthIsKnowledge in his free time from countless other projects currently exhausting him.'
- Iain Spence, ""Introduction to Hare (Sekhmet) Hypothesis"
- Peter Carroll, "Liber Null & the Psychonaut" (1987)
- Iain Spence, Hippy
- Iain Spence, Rave
- Iain Spence, Columbine
- Barbelith interview with Grant Morrison (2002)
- Grant Morrison, "Supergods" (2011)
- "Are we on the verge of the next psychedelic movement?" (Technoccult.com)
- Iain Spence, "Thoughts on Supergods (and early Sekhmet)"
- "27th G8 Summit", July 2001 in Genoa, Italy (Wikipedia)
- The family (Solanaceae) includes Datura (Jimson weed), Mandragora (mandrake), belladonna (deadly nightshade), Lycium barbarum (Wolfberry), Physalis philadelphica (Tomatillo) , Physalis peruviana (Cape gooseberry flower), Capsicum (paprika, chili pepper), Solanum (potato, tomato, eggplant), Nicotiana (tobacco), and Petunia.