Rasputin, Sussama rituals and folklore.

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Nick
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Rasputin, Sussama rituals and folklore.

Post by Nick » Fri 26 Aug, 2005 20:54:34

These details is D.R.O. have always fascinated me since I was a child (i.e. a very long time). The Talisman of Set and the Four Horsmen, are well documented myths, however Rasputin as the worlds greatest Satanist, and the Sussama Ritual, are more obscure.
Rasputin certainly fits the bill as a satanist if DW descriptions are to be believed, and the contention that 'every adept knows he was responsible for the great war etc. etc.' seem to be the result of research or conversation with persons in the know. Could the Sussama Ritual have been related to DW from those same persons? There is a ring of truth in DW's narrative that reminds me of an interesting example of oral tradition within the occult. I was interveiwing (for the BBC) a well known singer who assured me that a song in his repertoire was written by a white magician. The songwriter (a woman) had been priveledged to the oral tradition of modern day practicioners of the Wicca religion. There is an unbroken 400 year oral tradition that tells the story of how Witches chose to die in the sea by drowning rather than face the 17th century war against their religion, and also how thousands of British Covens combined their energies to cause the storm that wrecked the Armada while Drake was playing bowls.
It may follow that there is a similar oral tradition within the society of the more sophisticated practicioners of the magical arts, and maybe some of DW's ritualistic descriptions bear testiment to this. Has anybody any thoughts or knowledge that they could share?

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Bob Rothwell
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Post by Bob Rothwell » Fri 26 Aug, 2005 23:07:58

One has to be careful with phrases like "There is an unbroken 400 year oral tradition ...", without some back-up of factual truth. What is known of a lot of todays' 'Wiccans' is that most of the so-called "old traditions" were in fact added by a few practioners to their rites in the middle of the 20th Century in order to attract more followers, e.g., Gerald Gardner in his Book of Shadows which included many rites drafted by Crowley.

As Crowley was one of DW's 'informants' it is likely that many of his ideas were fed to DW to be used by him in his novels. As to factual information, I rather feel that 'Crowley' and 'facts' form an oxymoron. I also find it strange that Sussamma cannot be 'googled'.

For anyone interested in following the history of the modern English Wiccan movement, I can thoroughly recommend 'The Triumph of The Moon : A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft' by Ronald Hutton, Oxford University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-19-285449-6. An academic tombe but worth ploughing through (also contains a bit about our DW!).

Nick
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Post by Nick » Sun 28 Aug, 2005 00:45:33

You are quite right of course Bob, folklore and romance do not usualy mix, thats probably why I shunned the academic side of my relationship with the folk arts. (I stick to blues nowdays) I think that the best 'historical' folk stories can best be described as colourful, confident and wrong! However I sometimes feel I can hear DW asking his questions to his informants, and his novels containing the answers he was given. It's not unreasonable to expect that the same answers were given to other persons who may shed light on the source of the stories. You live in hope (that's the Romantic in me again!)
I used 'all the web' to find some reference to the Sussamma ritual and came up with this question and answer on the Gaurdian site....

In the novel The Devil Rides Out, Dennis Wheatley refers to the "Sussamma Ritual" - the only one of his mythological references I have been unable to track down. Was it made up by the author?

Stephen Bailey, Sutton, Surrey

William Hope Hodgson wrote a series of connected short stories, Carnacki the Ghost-Finder (1913) in which the eponymous hero investigated apparently supernatural events, some of which proved to have a natural explanation while others were genuine. The stories contained several motifs - protective pentacles, ancient manuscripts and rituals - found in later novels, including The Devil Rides Out (1935). In several of the stories, reference is made to the Saaamaaa Ritual, which has protective properties like the not dissimilar Sussamma Ritual. One may compare "And then suddenly the Unknown Last Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual was whispered quite audibly in the room," (The Whistling Room, in Carnacki the Ghost-Finder) with "In a clear, sharp voice he pronounced the last two lines of the dread Sussamma Ritual" (The Devil Rides Out). Wheatley was familiar with Hodgson's work - he included one of his stories in an anthology he edited (A Century of Horror Stories, 1935) - and it has been suggested that Hodgson's novel, The Boats of the Glen Carrig, inspired Wheatley's Uncharted Seas. It is possible that the Sussamma Ritual was Wheatley's tribute to a writer whose work he admired.

Brian Rolls, Reading, Berks


Well how about that then?

Nick Blackpool Lancs.

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Sun 28 Aug, 2005 18:25:50

Fascinating stuff, thanks Nick

Armed with this new knowledge and another 'Carnacki' word used in DRO - Saiitii (forces of inanimate human trauma materialised and made animate), I did further 'googling' and found that Carnacki's stories are available on-line The Carnacki Stories. Plenty of references there to Saiitii and Saaamaaa and a lot of recognisable scenarios! (I really must get round to reading the Library of the Occult copy of Carnacki The Ghost Finder, which contains all nine stories).

What a fertile imagination these writers had!

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