Mass Public Exorcism

As far as I’m concerned, the last great attempt at large scale, public magick was the Exorcism of the Pentagon attempted on October 21, 1967, part of a march on that institution protesting the war in Vietnam. The ritual included printed instructions given out to attendees:

“October 21, 1967, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., Planet Earth
We Freemen, of all colors of the spectrum, in the name of God, Ra, Jehovah, Anubis, Osiris, Tlaloc, Quetzalcoatl, Thoth, Ptah, Allah, Krishna, Chango, Chimeke, Chukwu, Olisa-Bulu-Uwa, Imales, Orisasu, Odudua, Kali, Shiva-Shakra, Great Spirit, Dionysus, Yahweh, Thor, Bacchus, Isis, Jesus Christ, Maitreya, Buddha, Rama do exorcise and cast out the EVIL which has walled and captured the pentacle of power and perverted its use to the need of the total machine and its child the hydrogen bomb and has suffered the people of the planet earth, the American people and creatures of the mountains, woods, streams and oceans grievous mental and physical torture and the constant torment of the imminent threat of utter destruction.

“We are demanding that the pentacle of power once again be used to serve the interests of GOD manifest in the world as man. We are embarking on a motion which is millennial in scope. Let this day, October 21, 1967, mark the beginning of suprapolitics.

“By the act of reading this paper you are engaged in the Holy Ritual of Exorcism. To further participate focus your thought on the casting out of evil through the grace of GOD which is all (ours). A billion stars in a billion galaxies of space and time is the form of your power, and limitless is your name.”

… or at least this is how Norman Mailer recounted it in his Armies of the Night book on the event.

The ritual included an invocation, made by poet/musician Ed Sanders of the group The Fugs:

“In the name of the amulets of touching, seeing, groping, hearing and loving, we call upon the powers of the cosmos to protect our ceremonies in the name of Zeus, in the name of Anubis, god of the dead, in the name of all those killed because they do not comprehend, in the name of the lives of the soldiers in Vietnam who were killed because of a bad karma, in the name of sea-born Aphrodite, in the name of Magna Mater, in the name of Dionysus, Zagreus, Jesus, Yahweh, the unnamable, the quintessent finality of the Zoroastrian fire, in the name of Hermes, in the name of the Beak of Sok, in the name of scarab, in the name, in the name, in the name of the Tyrone Power Pound Cake Society in the Sky, in the name of Ra, Osiris, Horus, Nepta, Isis, in the name of the flowing living universe, in the name of the mouth of the river, we call upon the spirit…to raise the Pentagon from its destiny and preserve it.”
“In the name, and all the names, it is you.”
“Out, demons out—back to darkness, ye servants of Satan—out, demons, out! Out, demons, out!”
“For the first time in the history of the Pentagon there will be a grope-in within a hundred feet of this place, within two hundred feet. Seminal culmination in the spirit of peace and brotherhood, a real grope for peace. All of you who want to protect this rite of love may form a circle of protection around the lovers. These are the magic eyes of victory. Victory, victory for peace. Money made the Pentagon—melt it. Money made the Pentagon, melt it for love. In the name of the generative power of Priapus, in the name of the totality, we call upon the demons of the Pentagon to rid themselves of the cancerous tumors of the war generals, all the secretaries and soldiers who don’t know what they’re doing, all the intrigue, bureaucracy and hatred, all the spewing, coupled with prostate cancer in the deathbed. Every Pentagon general lying alone at night with a tortured psyche and an image of death in his brain, every general, every general lying alone, every general lying alone. In the name of the most sacred of sacred names, Xabrax Phresxner. End the fire and war, and war, end the plague of death.”


This was followed by, among other things, a sex magical component, a “seminal culmination” as Sanders diffidently put it.

JOHN ESKOW described the reality thusly, this appearing in Arthur Magazine’s epic oral history of this event. (totally worth reading for many reasons including Kenneth Anger’s account of the ritual work he did to influence Mars the God of War in the midst of the demonstrations)

“Part of the action around the Pentagon, under the heading of the whole exorcism thing, was supposed to be all these couples making love. Abbie took it upon himself to be a kind of matchmaker, because people were not pairing off quite as quickly as he would’ve liked. So when they came to the moment, Abbie was grabbing people and saying, “No you’re with her, and him and her… No you go with her, and him, he should be with her and get that other guy out of there, and lie down now. Lie down, come on, do it!” I remember it really well because he made a match with me and some girl that turned out absolutely delightfully. So I was part of that sort of communal love thing that was happening, as Ed Sanders was chanting “Out, demons, out!” There weren’t really very many people making love – it was too scary for that. I remember arriving on the lawn with this young woman and Abbie, on the microphone in the distance, saying that all these couples were gonna make love and then I was tapped on the should by an extremely polite Washington policeman, and I looked up over my shoulder and he said, “Excuse me, but I have to ask you, are you planning to consummate this?” I said, “Yeah, why?” And he said, “Because if you do consummate, I’m going to have to arrest you.” I said, “How will you know?” He said, “We’re watching you.” But he was so polite, he had a lot of couples to watch and he was doing a really good job. Then Ed Sanders was chanting the ritual invocations and I was up and the passion was over and I wasn’t arrested for consummating, and suddenly we were all moving towards the Pentagon itself.”

Meanwhile, one of the reasons the demonstration added this occult action was due to Michael Bowen, a disciple of psychedelic cult leader John Starr Clarke. Bowen attended organizational meetings for the event, and when a symbolic exorcism was brought up, he pushed to attempt an actual exorcism which include the levitation of the building. His involvement is detailed here:

I bring all this up, not to promote a political agenda but to celebrate the last time folks undertook a serious public ritual to sway events on a national level.


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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