Six hours, two train rides, and twelve pieces of 4mg Nicorette gum later and I finally have a copy of The Saliva Papers on a tip from an online anon acquaintance, purchased from a crusty kid peddling stacks of Mandrake Press’ Crowley pamphlets and other miscellaneous contraband in Wicker Park. To find the first public manifesto by the only Rosicrucian group of any merit active today in such humble circumstances, twenty pages of stained printer paper held together with an overworked staple, feels sadly befitting of the times. I hold the manuscript tight to my chest all the way to the train, lost in waves of caffeine induced paranoia. I take my seat as a storm blows in and bunker down to test the reality of Christ Coven’s work against all the talk that it would contain something groundbreaking.
Answering questions about what Christ Coven is and what they are working towards has become considerably easier since I have been able to read the manuscript and am no longer stuck scrolling through threads trying to sift baiting and conjecture from the truth. As far as I can tell, Christ Coven is a collective effort by a group of Rosicrucian adepts somewhere in the Midwest using entheogens and spellcraft (Pharmakeia) to portal through the demonic dimensions while aiming to study, conquer, and ultimately claim them for Christendom. Regardless of your thoughts on the validity of such a mission, it is a big task with many inherent risks, risks that unlike drug addled festival goers these initiates seem painfully aware of (it is mentioned in section two that member/researcher “Shasta Delphi” was possessed by a demonic entity during the period the papers refer to as the “Salvia Offensive” and was forced to undergo hospitalization, though she made a full recovery).
The text mainly focuses on structured experiments involving Salvia divinorum, aka the sage of the diviners, administered in either traditional oral doses or smoked in the 100X extracts peddled by gas station apothecaries. The Papers offer case studies and transcribed conversations interspersed with, among other things, explanations of interdimensonal astro-dynamics, layouts for pulling Tarrot in the “Salivic Realms”, and cosmic Christology. Especially of interest is an attempt to conduct the Work as laid out in the Book of Lambspring to study processes of individuation in the in lands and among the entities the researchers encountered while under the influence of Salvia. However, transmutation in what they rightly refer to as demonic realms works according to different principles, specifically because any attempt at constructing a solutio resulted in a rejection of the laws of innate sympathy, hence nothing of a lower class is assimilated. Mercury and Sulfur for example, are described as being almost magnetically opposed, with any contact between them generating small tears through which spider-snakes (later identified as the third sign in the Salvic Zodiac or the Millipede, a combination of the first two signs of Spider and Snake and forming the first of four “Black Vault Trinities”). The Papers go on to lay out a compelling case for the correspondence between the “Salvia Solar Septenary” and the traditional spiritual hierarchs and their corresponding substances.
Regardless of your interest in or disapproval of the tools and methods of western esoterica, whether you think the David Blaine style street magic of the Hermetic Order 2.0 and Cali Kush stonerisms of A.M.O.R.C. are still revelatory, or whether you are at the bounds of your reason in even toying with a Jungian analysis of this, The Salvia Papers are still worth reading for the descriptions of the entities they encounter and communicate with. Ranging from benign ragdoll like creatures asking how to escape from the “Kingdom” to the horrifying Lord Possum of Mazatec mythology, the detailed accounts of these interactions, some of which end in serious violence to the researcher (disembowelment/splintering in several cases) to others which result in productive dialogues, are fascinating to the theologian and psychologist alike. All in all, this is an interesting document that proves there is still exotic and important work to be done so long as one has the moral fortitude to take on such adventures.