Ancient mysticism, sex magick and philosophical discussions are all part of the peaceful practices of The Church of the Dark Sun, an occult community that has been steadily growing in the United States over the past 15 years. Last night, however, at the New York City chapter’s first general meeting in three years, they announced the coming apocalypse.
Two days ago, I was at the grocery store with my family when I received a call from an unknown number. When I answered, a familiar voice recited a seemingly random set of digits, stopped, and started again. It was only on the second time around that I was able to grab a pen and scribbled down the information on the side of a cereal box. Using a cipher I had been taught years ago, I was able to decode the details from the call – a summons to a meeting of The Brothers of the Abyss, along with a time and location.
I have been following The Church of the Dark Sun since first hearing the founding brothers speak in 2008. Shortly thereafter, I was granted access to the church, and have since been recording as much of their activity as possible for a feature length documentary. The Church is one of the most secretive and fascinating occult organizations active today. They are spread across the United States and claim to have over 4000 active members. Their magick rituals far surpass anything I have ever witnessed before.
The New York chapter of the Church meets at a new location for each of its general meetings, and last night I arrived at the address at the appointed time to find other members filling into a large, nondescript brownstone
The 75-odd brothers present all entered a small antechamber, changed into their ceremonial robes and proceeded into a large living room for the ceremony. After lengthy introductions and blessings, High Priest Brother Arvakhac addressed the congregation.
“There has been a shift in the stars, Brothers. I have witnessed the future to come, and it is glorious,” thundered Brother Arvakhac. “The Abyss has come, and we must welcome its embrace. The uninitiated will not understand what is at hand. They will first seek to control it, then, when they cannot, they will seek to save themselves. But only the Pure may be saved.”
Brother Arvakhac spoke at length about a coming apocalypse. The focus of the prophecy centered on an impending opening to the Abyss, a higher plane of existence, that would bring “glory to all those chosen and rain down hellfire on all the impure souls.” The High Priest purported to have seen a vision of an entity, slowly gathering energy from our world, first through metals, then small creatures, and finally through the life force of mankind itself. This terminology did not sway from predictions made by countless other doomsday groups.
However, The Church of the Dark Sun has no history as a doomsday group, nor accounts of violence or fear mongering amongst its members. In my seven years following the group, there have never been any signs that the Church has apocalyptic ideologies, nor did it close itself off from the outside world, like so many cults do. My reason for fascination with the Church has been just that; unlike so many other New Religious Movements, they seem to be only beneficial to their members, have shown no signs of cult like behaviour, and have never requested money from me or any other member I have interviewed. And they are able to perform real magickal ceremonies.
Yet now, for the first time in the group’s unblemished 15 year history, the Church of the Dark Sun has announced a clear end of the world, and became, for the first time, a potential threat to the safety of their members.