Thomas karlsson is a Swedish author of esoteric and occult books that focus on trans-personal psychology and philosophy. He is the author of five books and the main founder of an initiatory intellectual order called “Dragon Rouge”. His philosophy is largely based on the “Left-Hand Path” or philosophy of the dark side which focuses on psychological and spiritual transcendence as means of apotheosis. Some of his books like “Uthark – Nightside of the Runes” and “Gotisk Kabbala och runisk alkemi” , play an emphasis on universal archetypes, runes and Kabbalic alchemy as means to understand reality and transmute what we perceive as our identity. According to his website (dragonrouge), among the authors studied in the order are Carlos Castaneda, Julius Evola and Kenneth Grant. In addition, the order also studies more classical and modern philosophers like Herakleitos, Plato, Plotinus as well as Nietzsche, Heidegger and Henri Bergson and several texts from many traditions like the Upanishads and Tao te ching among others. The webpage also cites several authors like H.P Lovecraft, Hanns Heinz Ewers, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Salvador deli, William Reich among the many. In addition to his books and literature for the order Karlsson is also the main author of the lyrics for the Swedish symphonic gothic metal band “Therion” and is also the lead vocalist and lyrics author for the death metal band “Shadowseeds”
The song titled “Voyage of Gurdjieff: The fourth way” describes a voyage of a person to wake up from an state of unconsciousness into the philosophical self and the realm of wisdom or real truth. It uses the name of philosopher George Guerdjieff to show that it is a “road” already taken by him and that transcends a circular tri-pattern of being born, live and die . More else, it explains how several practices can help in the process, to “wake up” as it clearly describes mystic practices like Sufi dancing and Yezidic lures as means to enter into trance. The lyrics also describe several terms that Guerjieff wrote about, like the “building of a soul” by implying a form of living based on his philosophy of “the fourth way”.
“Voyage of Guerdjieff: The fourth way” is a call to attention to the robotic , unconscious state in which most of the population lives in and it also serves as an inspiration to a particular train of thought that is meant to make people become conscious about their life’s. The title is based on the life of Georg e Ivanovich Guerdieff, a mystic and philosopher from Armenia who proposed the idea of a fourth way to transcendence. In his writing he explained that there are three main ways to “seek the truth and wake up”, the fakir ,monk and yogi , a man’s way to gain will of its body, emotion and intellect. He proposed the “fourth way” which meant an intention to work with the three aspects and realign them and balance them. Therefore, the individual seeing himself as he is, he begins to feel his contradictions, conscience is awakened, not the morality of personality, but conscience that is the same for all men.
The lyrics of Thomas Karlsson, were written to explain a way to find “the self” as classic philosophy tries to describes this principle and understand life. As a philosophical topic, the song follows the train of thought of Sufism, and yezidizm, two traditions that are studied in “dragon rouge” the order in which the author is a member of. As a result of the transcendental psychology approach that the order and author adhere to, the lyrics start with the phrase “walk all alone, on a quest to wake up” (1) meaning that that only one can examine its own life on the life time journey it also describes the archetype of the here on a quest, he might have someone on his side but its his story, he is the one alone to fulfill it. What follows is “Life is only real when I am” meaning that when one has find the “self” and once in focus and fully conscious of itself, then one can see reality, which is a philosophical explanation to what is real and what is not. Then the author states “When your journey begins you’ll see the sleep” (3/4)meaning that once one starts examining its life on can see how “asleep” one is as symbolic interpretation of an state of unconsciousness, or conscious activity and see how sleep others are, the journey begins with this realization as a form of threshold.
Moreover, it the verse the phrases “Dance the Sufi dance and fall into trance” and “Dance with Yezidis and learn they secret lore” (1/3) imply common practices by Guerdieff and the author itself, that are aimed to increase self-awareness by dancing and chanting in the “mystic” ways of the Sufis and Yezidis. In the next stanza, Karlsson mentions “Learn how to live, how to use the octave” ,”nine pointed star, it will shine in your soul” and “you will find your way, like a herald of light and dark” (2/4), as a way to explain concepts of psychology and what the author believes to be “universal principles”. In the writings of the Guerdjieff he writes about the enneagram or nine pointed star which a particular symbol of interpretation of universal psychological traits that conform the psyche and that are connected with the three principles of the faquir, monk, and yogi. The author wants to transmit the opinion that when understanding one’s internal psyche one learns how to live in “reality” or the unchangeable “real” part of life and perhaps that once when we understand the “nine pointed star” we will know how to live in this “octave” of reality, this “kingdom” that we can perceive where our quests as a hero take part of , this state of evolution or understanding. He finishes the paragraph with the concept of duality when he mentions the herald of light and dark, meaning that once we understand ourselves we would have transcended the last division of all “duality”, the herald is a symbol of bringing news and transcending something while light and dark symbolize the polarity principle in all aspects of life.
Finally, the author writes “is there life on earth?”(1) trying to make the reader or listener think about if there is consciousness on earth, which is supported by the line three of the same paragraph ,”are we like machines?”. Meaning that we have become robots that act based on reaction, without real processing of life, but just repeating patterns that are “programed” into ourselves throughout our lives, an straightforward interpretation of the tarot card “The foul” that does not pays attention to his path and taking in mind the context of Sufism and Yezidism trapped to be born, live and die in a teaching prison realm until it learns the lesson and is free from the cycle of Samsara or reincarnation. The last line indicates as a response from the before asked questions “No, we can build a soul like black diamond” (4), meaning that by carefully examining our life, on the three ways, body, emotion and mind, and “realign and balance” these principles of our nature, we can “build a soul” or create or find the “self” meaning soul as the a priory standard and essence of everything that is pure consciousness. At the end, “black diamond” a talisman crystal gem, symbolizes something of exquisite beauty and authority that is usually related with the “unknown”. And so, darkness in this context symbolizes what we do not want to see of ourselves and/or in psychology could symbolize the unconscious mind and the mysteries of the unknown. Subsequently explaining that we can build something beautiful and amazing with hard work and time and also meaning an integration of ourselves with our “dark side” or “black side”, just as a black diamond requires a lot of time and refined pressure to form but at the end its very valuable, amazing and unique, we can reach the “self” , “wisdom” and “reality” transcending into a realm of immortality and purity instead of repeating quests over and over again like most heroes do until they die. The black diamond can also symbolize the “left path” as the author calls his ideal of apotheosis of merging to one self to know the universe instead of merging with the universe by being one with everything “the right path” that could be symbolized as a “white “diamond.
All and all, it is my perception that the author tries to signal how unconscious the population is, and how we deny our unknown and dark sides, and signals the philosophy of Guerdieff with its relations with the enneagram and mystic practices like Sufi dances and Yezidic chants as means to achieve the “self” to gain consciousness or “wake up”, “transcend” into what philosophers like Socrates or Plato called the “perfect world: which is wisdom itself. Clearly the content of the song is philosophical, and uses psychology and mystic traditions as a support or state a way to transcend into “reality” seeing the big picture or waking up from the matrix into what is real from a mechanical pattern that we follow like fouls. It is the narration of a trip of the soul from ignorance, in the underground world of the dead or “sleepers” in to the real world that “shines” and where we are alive.
Karlsson, Thomas. Voyague of Guerdieff( The fourth way). Therion - CD album, “ Sirus B/Lemuria”. <http://www.metrolyrics.com/voyage-of-gurdjieff-the-fourth-way-lyrics-therion.html>
Karlsson, Thomas. Uthark - Nightside of the Runes" incl. Therion-CD “Secret of the Runes” Ouroboros Produktion, 1 Jan 2002.
Karlsson, Thomas. Götisk kabbala och runisk alkemi. Johannes Bureus och den götiska esoterismen. Doctoral thesis, Stockholm University, 2010.
Taozi. Tao Te ching. 6th Century A.C Dragoun rouge
Unknown author(s). Upanishads
Unknown author(s). Upanishads