When Aleister Crowley was living in New York, doing various magickal experiments in a place on West 9th, he did what’s called the Amalantrah Working. It’s theorized this process created a deliberate channel in ephemeral cosmic influences so that extra-dimensional entities could enter our universe. In short, he likely created a portal for what we know as gray aliens to come visit us.
Eventually Crowley made contact with an entity known as Lam and drew its portrait, and damn if it doesn’t look like the pictures we see of Grays now. (Incidentally, “lam” is the mantra linked to the root chakra, which is associated with survival.) This was around 1917. While there are possibly ancient accounts of extra-terrestrial visitations in other parts of the world, this was one of the first-known Grays to have popped into Western consciousness, although Crowley didn’t explicitly say this.
Crowley introduced Lam for the first time in his commentary on the Voice of the Silence by Theosophy founder Madame Blavatsky. Founded or not, he basically tears that classic to shreds without ever really explaining why he started it off with his portrait of Lam. Since then, Lam’s been expounded on by a writer named Kenneth Grant who knew Crowley personally and is his acknowledged successor.
When we last left off in our Magickal Stories with Brian Butler, he talked about how his demon-worship experience in Brazil culminated in a Lam visitation. Let’s pick up where we left off…
VICE: First of all, who or what is Lam?
Brian Butler: It’s always been a bit mysterious what this was to Crowley, or what the creature was at all. You can tell by looking at it that it looks like a gray alien, although it precedes that. So, was it a self-portrait of Crowley on the astral plane? Was it an entity that he encountered? Was it Amalantrah?
What was your experience with it?
When I was in Brazil, it was related to those events that I explained last time. All of a sudden Lam came up [in my consciousness] and I got a communication that I was to contact it. Years ago, when I lived in New York--close to where Crowley was doing those rituals--I did what’s called the Lam Statement, which is written by Kenneth Grant. He became interested in Lam and wrote a bit of his speculations of what Lam was and his relation to Crowley and how to investigate and contact that entity. It’s a pretty simple operation.
Then what happened?
I came into contact with an order of alien beings.
What did they say or show you?
It was a long-term process that took maybe a year. You’re dealing with non-human intelligence, an elemental or “alien,” whatever it is. It proceeded like a slideshow, it was in my sleep, they were showing these projections and it took me a while to figure out that’s what was happening. They were gradually preparing me for this communication. And then I got into contact with these beings. I was given a further basic understanding of [Lam's] nature and being. I recorded it with drawings and audio, my relation of what it was.
How would you describe that contact?
It could be like a classic gray experience…. How to explain it? It’s all really strange.
What were you told specifically?
So there were these images, they were all very personal, just strange. You read about these things for years, but when you actually experience it, it’s completely different.
You can’t really imagine what it’s going to be like. It’s an entirely different order of being than anything you’d normally encounter in your lifetime. It takes a while. Just the impact on your mind, if you’re not prepared, can be very unsettling. And the classic gray alien contact or experience is extreme terror. I can relate to that, in a way. It’s a very cold, mechanical kind of computer-like intelligence. It’s what we perceive as artificial because it’s not incarnated and it never was. So it doesn’t have empathy or doesn’t relate to that at all.
Huh, that’s something I hadn’t thought about, but it makes sense. That it hasn’t been cycled through and had a chance to learn things, so it would seem detached and disaffected.
Yeah. It’s eternal. It’s ancient. And it’s also futuristic. It’s from a dimension that’s beyond what our perception of time is, too. So not only is it not a warm-blooded creature, it’s also transcending the barriers of time and space. There are certain limitations you need to function in the world—such as a body—so it’s impossible for a human being to fully comprehend what it could be, just by nature of being alive. If you don’t retain those things, such as an ego or sense of logic and reason, then you can’t function in society. These entities operate outside of those rules. So it’s very difficult to classify them. We can see a small part of them, but the whole thing is too much, it’s overwhelming. It helps you to evolve, and it also can be terrifying, the vastness of where they’re coming from.
How can it help you to evolve?
Just like anything, if you’re in contact with it, you sort of absorb it by osmosis. Like with religion, if you’re around a higher level of initiation, it’s going to impact your aura. Hopefully you’ll be raised to their level, rather than them being brought down to yours. In some ways that can be scary or disorienting, because maybe you’re not ready to all at once be presented with it.
Why do you think he put this portrait of Lam before the Voice of the Silence?
It’s been speculated that it has some kind of strong connection with him. Maybe it was one of the Masters of the Theosophicals? Or like a secret chief of the A.A.? He actually thought this was going to cause a big upheaval in Theosophy when this was published.
It was all so marginal.
The moment in time may have seemed marginal, one esoteric religion battling another, but ever since Crowley’s Amalantrah Working lots of people in the US started reporting visitations, or “abductions,” with creatures that looked very similar to Lam. Tomorrow, Saturday, January 21, Brian Butler performs his Union of Opposites Ritual, combining light and sound to create a collective out-of-body experience. Along with his team he'll execute an occult rite inspired by Crowley's Ritual of the Mark of the Beast. If you're in the audience, you're a participant. This happens from 5 to 6 PM at Ruskin Theatre at the Santa Monica Airport in as part of the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Fair.
Previously - The Exú