Denotatum – The Esoteric Problem With Names


The Day's Consecration by Richard Moult

Denotatum – The Esoteric Problem With Names

ONA Esoteric Notes – Rounwytha 3

The esoteric problem with denoting, by means of an ascribed name or a given expression, is essentially two-fold. First, esoteric-empathy [1] inclines us toward a knowing of the numinous essence that such a denoting obscures or hides, and part of which essence is a revealing of ourselves as but one nexion to all other Life, sentient and otherwise. The second problem with denoting is that there exists in various ancestral cultures world-wide (including some Indo-European ones) [2] an older aural tradition of how it is not correct – unwise – to give names to some-things, and of how some ‘names’ are ‘sacred’ because their very use is or could be an act of what we would now describe as sorcery/magick and which naming and which use of such names often tends toward disrupting the harmony between individuals, family, community, land, ancestors, ‘heaven and earth’, that many folk traditions were designed to aid.

Thus there is a different and almost entirely unrecorded folk tradition which is unrelated to the tradition of myths and legends about named divinities, be such divinities Sumerian, Egyptian, Pheonician or whatever, and which myths and legends we are all now familiar with and which traditions of myths and legends include, for example, the fables and stories of the Old Testament with their notions of a people who regard themselves as the chosen ones of some creator-god being persecuted, threatened and tempted by satans and the-satan.

This aural tradition is pagan in both the historical sense of that term and in the later usage of that term: paganus, someone who belongs to a rural community and whose traditions, ethos, and weltanschauung are not that of the religion of the Nazarene, deriving as that religion did from the fables and stories of the Old Testament.

It is possible – as the Rounwytha tradition intimates – that this aural pagan tradition had its natural origins in the way of life of small rural communities of free men and women (such as existed for instance in pre-Roman Britain and for a while in post-Roman Britain) in contrast to the tradition of myths and legends about named divinities and which naming tradition may well have had its origins in that type of living where there is some powerful king or authoritative leader and a more urbanized was of living (as in Sumeria, Egypt, etcetera) and where there was thus a hierarchical division between kings/leaders, court officials, the people, and slaves. For one feature of such early pagan communities was their lack of slaves and their communal way of making decisions.

What is especially interesting from an esoteric perspective is that the knowing that a developed esoteric-empathy provides confirms this aural pagan tradition in respect of both the unwisdom of dividing ‘the heavens’/the unseen by the process of ascribing personal names, and how such a division undermines, obscures, or destroys, our natural place in Nature and the Cosmos, and thus the natural balance both within us and external to us, as individuals and as individuals who are part of a living culture and/or of an ancestral community.

Esoteric-Empathy and Ancestral Traditions

The pagan aural tradition, as recounted in the Rounwytha tradition, is one lacking in myths and legends about specific named deities. Thus, there are no named gods or goddesses, and there is no division between ‘good’ deities and ‘evil’ deities. What there is, instead, are essentially two connected things.

(1) An intuitive, empathic, understanding of natural harmony manifest in the knowledge of ourselves – as individuals, and as ancestral communities – as in a rather precarious balance between earth and the heavens, a balance which can easily be disrupted and which for its maintenance requires certain duties and obligations both individual and communal. For instance, a certain reverence for one’s ancestors; a reverence for certain places traditionally regarded as numinous, ‘sacred’; a certain respect for one’s own mother and father and elderly relatives; a certain loyalty to one’s kin and community; and a certain respect for other but unseen and always unnamed emanations of life, the heavens, and Nature, manifest as this respect was, for example, in the practice of leaving offerings of food in certain places lest some of these unseen and unnamed emanations of life (spirits, sprites) be offended and cause personal or communal misfortune.

In addition, there was the knowing that certain individual deeds were unwise – not because they would offend some named and powerful god or goddess, and not because such deeds contravened some law or decree said to be divinely inspired or laid down by some king or by someone who claimed authority from some god or gods, but because such deeds indicated the person doing them was rotten, and thus, like a rotten piece of meat eaten, might cause sickness. Or, expressed another way, because the person doing such a deed was diseased, and which disease, which infection, might spread and so harm the family and the wider community. Hence why it was that such rotten individuals – known by their rotten deeds – would be removed from the family and community by being, for example, exiled or culled and thus by their culling end the infection and aid the restoration of the balance their unwise deeds had upset.

This knowing of the unwisdom of some deeds is quite different from the ‘evil’ which organized religions pontificated about, and serves to distinguish the aural pagan tradition from the now more prevalent causal knowing manifest in myths and legends about divinities and in organized religions based on some god or gods, or on some revelation from some deity, or on reverence for some enlightened teacher.

For such a causal knowing is inseparably bound up with the manufactured division of an abstract and codified ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and also with the separation of the individual from their own ancestral, rural, community.

In the natural ancestral pagan tradition the individual – and thence their self-identity, their self-awareness – is communal, whereas in organized religions, and in identity derived from myths and legends about divinities and from obedience to some king or to someone who claimed authority from some god or gods, identity becomes more personal, less communal, and related to the ‘salvation’ of the individual, and/or to their personal existence in some posited after-life, with the individual constrained not by duties and obligations willingly and naturally accepted, to their family and local rural community (of shared hardship and shared ancestral pathei-mathos) but instead restrained by some imposed (by others or self-imposed) abstract criteria often manifest in some laws or decrees said to be of some god or gods or backed by some king or by some powerful overlord.

This separation is also manifest in the giving of personal names to both assumed or believed in divinities, and to individuals, a naming which marks a loss of the intuitive, empathic, pagan understanding of natural harmony manifest in ancestral traditions and cultures.

Thus in old pagan cultures an individual was referred by a particular skill they may possess (a skill useful to their community), or by some outstanding deed they had done, or by their family (their clan) place of residence or even by some trait of character or some physical feature. That is, there were no personal names as we now understand such names, and such a naming as existed related the individual to some-thing else: their place of local dwelling, what may have distinguished them from others of their community, or to some work that aided the community. A tradition still in evidence even in recent times in parts of Wales where someone would be referred to locally as, for instance, Jones the butcher or Jones ab Eynon (Jones the anvil).

(2) An intuitive wordless understanding of what may be described by the term mimesis (from the Greek μίμησις). That is, the use of certain actions and deeds – and thence by certain rituals and ceremonies – which are believed to re-present/manifest/presence the natural harmony and which thus can connect/reconnect individuals and their community to what is felt or known to be numinous and thus beneficial to them.

One obvious example here would be the custom, in northern European climes, of lighting a bonfire around the time of the Winter Solstice [3] and which celebration was one of re-presenting the warmth and light of the life-giving Sun in the hope that Winter, as in the past, would give way again to Spring, the season of sowing crops and of livestock able to forage outdoors again and have fresh grass to sustain and fatten them.

Another example might be that of removing a rotten person from the family and community by the mimesis of culling them, with such a culling being undertaken because it imitated/represented the natural process of how Nature culled or allowed to be culled some living being in order that others of those beings may survive and prosper.

For this understanding – this mimesis – was of the connexions that existed between the individual, the community, the wider realms of Nature and of the heavens (the cosmos) beyond, and thus of how the actions of one or more of these affected such connexions. That is, it was an ancestral, a pagan, knowing of the natural balance.

In general, therefore, it was considered that to ‘name’ – to denote by some personal name or even to attempt to describe in words – particular aspects of the connected whole would be unwise because there were (as empathy and ancestral tradition revealed) no such divisions in the natural world, only transient emanations ‘of heaven and earth’ with the individual and their communities one part of, as transient emanations of, one undivided flow of life, and which flow was not – as was later believed – some causal linear ‘history’ of some past to some future abstraction or some idyll and which ‘history’ is marked by some assumed progression from ‘the primitive’ to something more ‘advanced’ and which assumed progression is what has been denoted by the term ‘progress’.

Hence the respect, in such pagan cultures and communities, for tradition – for the accumulated pathei-mathos of one’s ancestors; a respect lost when manufactured abstractions, denoted by some name or by some given expression, were relied upon, striven for, used as the basis for an individual identity, and as a means of understanding Reality.

The very process of denoting by naming and attempting to express meaning in terms of so named and manufactured abstraction denoted by some name or by some expression, is a move away from the wisdom that ancient ancestral cultures expressed and sought to maintain, and a loss of the wisdom, of the acausal-knowing, that esoteric-empathy reveals. A process of denoting that has culminated in the lifeless, un-numinous, illusive division that has been named ‘good’ and ‘evil’, and which denoting is also now manifest in the un-wisdom and the religiosity of The State with its abstraction of ‘progress’, with its manufactured lifeless urban ‘communities’; where a striving, a lust, for a personal materialism and a striving for a personal idealized happiness replaces belonging to a living ancestral or numinous culture; where the individual is expected to respect The State and its minions (or face punishment); and where self-identity is measured and made by State-approved abstractions and/or by some State-approved ideology or religion, instead of by a knowing of one’s self as a transient emanation, both sinister and numinous, dark and light, ‘of heaven and earth’.

Esoteric Dating and Aural Traditions

The dating of certain esoteric celebrations by means of a fixed and manufactured solar calender – something which has become commonplace in the lands of the West – is another example of how the error of causal knowing (manifest, for instance, in naming divinities) has come to usurp the intuitive wordless understanding of aural pagan traditions and the empathy that pagans, in resonance with Nature and themselves, were either naturally gifted with or could develop under guidance.

Thus those committing this error of using a solar calendar rather inanely believe that a celebration such as that now commonly named Samhain occurs on a certain fixed calendar date, to wit October the thirty first; that a fixed date such as March the twenty first (named the Spring Equinox) marks the beginning of Spring, and that sunrise on what has been denoted by the expression Summer Solstice is some “important pagan date”.

Esoteric-empathy and ancestral pagan cultures and aural traditions – such as the Rounwytha one – relate a different tale. This is of the dates and times of festivities, celebrations and feasts being determined locally by communities and families and sometimes (but not always) on the advice of some Rounwytha or some similarly attuned skilled individual. Two examples may be of interest – Spring and Samhain.

Those part of such ancestral cultures – as well as those who possess the benefit of such aural traditions or who have a natural esoteric-empathy – know that what in northern climes is called Spring does not begin on what has been termed the Spring Equinox nor on any specific day, whether that day be marked by some fixed calendar, solar or lunar. Instead, the arrival of Spring is a flow that occurs over a number of days – sometimes a week or more – and which days are marked by the changes in the land, the fields, the air, and by the behaviour of wildlife, birds, and insects. This arrival varies from year to year and from location to location, and usually now occurs, in the land of England, from what the solar calendar now in common use names late February to what the same calender names early March. Thus someone who knows their locality – who belongs to it – will know and feel the changes which occur in Nature during the season when the days are becoming longer and the weather somewhat warmer with the Sun rising higher in the sky in relation to Winter.

This natural flexibility – in relation to a fixed solar or lunar calendar – is why certain esoteric folk of certain aural pagan traditions (such as the ONA Rounwytha one) often write and talk about ‘alchemical seasons’ and not about some fixed seasons determined by some solar calendar.

In the same way, the celebration – the gathering, remembrance, and feast – that is now often known as Samhain (and which according to the Rounwytha tradition was simply called The Gathering) varied from year to year and from locality to locality, its occurrence determined by when what had to be gathered-in and prepared and stored in readiness for the coming days of Winter had been gathered-in and prepared and stored. That is, the day of its occurring was to some extent dependant on the weather, on the health and time and numbers of those so gathering in the harvest and storing produce, and on such important matters as what crops were grown, what fruits were available, what livestock were kept, and what fuels were available ready to be stored for the needed fires of the coming colder season. Communities reliant on fishing or those who relied on hunted game or required such game or fish to supplement an otherwise meagre diet would naturally have somewhat different priorities and so their date for such a communal Gathering might differ from other communities.

Hence the date of The Gathering would vary from year to year and locality to locality, and sometimes be toward what is now termed October and sometimes toward the end of what is now termed September, or somewhere inbetween. It was only much much later with the arrival of the organized and alien moralizing religion of the Nazarene, with its solar calendar system (deriving from urbanized hierarchical imperial Rome) and set celebrations of the deaths of certain sanctified or important Nazarenes (mostly in far-away lands), that a particular date would be used, at least in such communities as had succumbed to the abstractions of such a religion and thus had forsaken their ancestral culture and folk traditions and ways.

On the day of The Gathering there would a feast – a celebration of the bounty which Nature, the earth and the heavens, had provided – and also and importantly a remembering; a remembering of those no longer there as they had been the previous year (and not there for whatever reason, such as death from illness or old age) and a remembering of those long-departed, such as one’s own ancestors. Thus there was, as with most such celebrations, a natural balance born from remembrance and respect for the past and from hope and anticipation; here, hope and anticipation of the new warmer fertile seasons to arrive after the coming darkness of what would most probably be another bleak cold and dark season of snow, frost, and ice. For The Gathering also heralded that season when some form of almost daily heating in family dwellings would most probably be required.

As for a communal bonfire, it was simply practical, not symbolic of whatever; that is, a cheery presence (most people in northern climes love a good bonfire), a focus for the celebration (and such dancing as invariably occurred during such pagan festivities), a source of warmth and light, and a place where offerings of harvested produce and other gifts could be placed, such offerings and such gifts – as was a common folk tradition throughout the world – being to ancestors, to land and sky, as well as to the always unnamed spirits, sprites, and the also unnamed guardians of sacred natural places.


The aural pagan tradition – as, for example, in the Rounwytha one – is of a perspective, a weltanschauung, a way, a culture, quite different from those where myths and legends of ancient named divinities/deities played a significant role, and where there was a hierarchical structure of rank and privilege and, later on, some fixed celebrations based on a solar or lunar calendar.

The Rounwytha way that lived in a specific area of the British Isles was the culture of an empathic knowing where such celebrations as were undertaken were natural, local, and communal ones, devoid of mystique, and which occurred on an unfixed day/evening as and when circumstances allowed and somewhere near what was regarded as the propitious time/season. This was the way of transient ‘sinister-numinous emanations’ where there was no perceived division into abstracted opposites, either within ourselves, within Nature, or within the Cosmos – and where there was no naming of deities or natural spirits.

The cultivation and development of esoteric-empathy is one means whereby this type of knowing, this natural pagan perspective, can be (re)gained. In addition, this type of esoteric knowing leads to – or can lead to – an understanding of how the naming of an entity called satan and all such entities, understood both archetypally/symbolically and as actual living beings in the acausal, are what they are: an un-numinous denoting that obscures Reality and which obscuration led to and leads to the de-evolution manifest in the illusion of and the striving for causal opposites and causal abstractions.

Order of Nine Angles
122 Year of Fayen


[1] Esoteric-empathy is an Occult Art, an esoteric skill, and one of The Dark/Esoteric Arts of the ONA, and is a specific type of empathy – that which provides a certain perspective and a certain knowledge. This is ‘acausal-knowing’ and is distinct from the causal knowing arising from the perception of Phainómenon. In essence, esoteric-empathy (aka dark empathy) is the knowing of life qua life – of the acausal energy which animates all causal life; of how all life is connected, of how living beings are by their nature nexions; of how Nature is not only a living being of which we as individuals are a part, but also one aspect of cosmic life manifest on one planet orbiting one star in one galaxy in a cosmos of billions of such galaxies.

The Grade Ritual of Internal Adept – and particularly the extended six-month version (over two alchemical seasons) – is one means of cultivating and developing the Occult Art of esoteric-empathy.

[2] One of these European aural traditions was that of the Rounwytha tradition centred on the Welsh Marches and especially rural South Shropshire. This Rounwytha tradition was incorporated into the Order of Nine Angles in the early 1970′s CE and thereafter was mostly taught and discussed aurally, although some aspects of the tradition have been mentioned in various ONA MSS over the decades and the ONA Rite of Internal Adept was for the most part based on the tradition of an aspirant Rounwytha having to spend at least three months (usually six or more months) alone in isolated forests or mountains. In addition, The Camlad Rite of The Abyss, as recorded in the compilation Enantiodromia – The Sinister Abyssal Nexion, was another traditional part of the training of a Rounwytha.

[3] See the section below, Esoteric Dating and Aural Traditions, for how ancestral pagan cultures – as recounted and intimated by the Rounwytha tradition – ascertained the dates of communal celebrations, a tradition of dating totally different from that based on a solar calendar.


Words/Forms. This article had its genesis in: (1) private discussions, earlier this year (2011 CE) with two Internal Adepts (one of whom was based in Scotland), and which discussion was continued by private correspondence, and (2) in some private correspondence (during October 2011 CE) with someone living in Africa who, having been acquainted with the ONA for over a decade, sought to elucidate certain esoteric matters relating to the ONA tradition, and one of whose questions related to the aural tradition of the ONA.

Thus, in many ways this, and similar articles – such as the recently published The Discovery and Knowing of Satan – represent some of, or some part of, the aural ONA traditions that have, for the past forty years, been revealed on a personal basis.

Image. The Day’s Consecration – a painting by Richard Moult.