Last year a former member of the Process Church of the Final Judgement stepped forward and produced a book called "Love, Sex, Fear, Death" that attempted to set the record straight about the much maligned and mysterious group. Though his own words, as well as original source material and contributions from other writers, he managed to shed light on the very real problems of psychological manipulation and exploitation that the plagued the group, while simultaneously dismissing the erroneous claims of murder, animal sacrifice, and child abuse that they have been accused of. One of the writers that contributed to that book was Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the founder of Thee Temple ovPsychick Youth, and lead singer of Psychick TV.
Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth with its ever present symbol and use of uniforms, was partly modeled on the Process Church and eventually ran into its own issues of false accusations and vilification. It is good timing than that Genesis would release a new expanded version of Thee Psychic Bible, which contains numerous essays and documents from TOPY, commentary from Genesis and others, and some very interesting photographic art pieces throughout the book.
Now, I should say here that while I like some of Psychic TV's pop pieces like Godstar, Roman P, and their covers of Eve ov Destruction and Good Vibrations, I have never been a big fan of the music of Psychic TV over all, or for that matter the genre of industrial music. On top of that I tend not to like movements that are very self-consciously "too cool for school", which TOPY most assuredly was. Throw in my love hate relationship with Chaos Magic and Aliester Crowley, two of the biggest influences on the magic of TOPY, and you can understand that when Behutet sent me a copy of Thee Psychick Bible to review, I was prepared to give it a resounding and dismissive "meh".
I am happy and surprised that my expectations were entirely wrong. It seems that I let the few American members of TOPY that I knew personally color my opinion of the overall work. The book is quite simply brilliant.
Just like "Love, Sex, Fear, Death", this book tells the story of a magical/spiritual group that was as important to the 1980s as the Process was to the 1960's and 70's. It gives inside accounts of the raves and rituals that TOPY orchestrated, and tells the now infamous story of how Genesis was accused on trumped up charges and had to move to the US to avoid arrest in the UK. It also detailed the various social issues that TOPY worked on, including starting a soup kitchen in Nepal, and working towards the closure of a Dolphin Aquarium. Working for animal rights being yet another parallel with the Process which eventually became the Best Friends Animal Society.
This book however, is much more than the history of a Temple. In terms of philosophy, spiritual transmission, and practical magic, there is a lot here for the modern magician to chew on.
Though I had known about the practice of TOPY members making sigils with bodily fluidson the 23rd of each month and sending to a central location to be gathered, I never read the full philosophy behind it. The discussion of the "Sigil of Three Fluids" is probably the best explanations of sigil magic I have ever seen. The explanation of how each fluid relates to a portion of the brain puts a unique spin on a topic that has been done to death over the last 25 years.
The whole chapter on intuitive magic is worth its weight in gold. Here we have everything good about Chaos Magic: the streamlining, the shamanic method, the personalization, the use of modern technology, etc with none of the sillyness about belief shifting or invoking cartoon characters as gods. Indeed Genesis makes a point that I have often made myself, that belief is not only not necessary for magic, but can be the enemy of initiation. The sections on sex magic, the use of magical links (splinters), cut up methods, and other techniques is all top notch sorcery.
Most important are probably the three TOPY books collected in one place:
Thee Grey Book, the first TOPY text that one is introduced to, shows the youthful exuberance of the people who were involved in TOPY at its beginning. For as revolutionary as it may or may not have been at the time, it seems kind of "cute" in nostalgic sort of way now.
Thee Black Book takes things to a new level and gets quite serious about getting down to the business of undertaking the process of transforming the individual.
Thee Green Book, the final TOPY text, is a spiritual work that is on par with the Book of the Law, Liber Pene Penumbra, the Book of the Spider, and other important cornerstone texts. The talk of Ultraterrestrials may be dismissed by some, but whether you believe in them as actual beings or a metaphor for what we are doing to ourselves, the text is dripping with truth and is a wonderful call to action.
Throughout the book there is loads of stories from Genesis's life which explains some of the background of his writings and music. Want to know about the obsession with Brian Jones as Godstar? The story is in here. Want some insight into Genesis's work in the field of pandrogeny and transgenderism? The beginning is here, and I think it will be necessary reading for when he gives the topic a full treatment including his Ketemine explorations. To be clear, there are no plans for this that I know of, I am just assuming that it is in the pipe.
The book is 544 pages with fairly small type. There is a LOT to digest here. All of it is good stuff. If you were into Psychic TV and TOPY than you obviously will want this book. If you, like me, never really gave it much thought when they were active, you should pick it up to see what you missed out on.