Reading Queen of Hell

by Mark A. Smith
Reviewed by Stephen Sennitt (posted with permission)

This is the latest in a succession of beautifully produced hardback, limited edition books from Ixaxaar, and is, I think, their most sumptuous and thought-provoking production yet-a seductive combination for collectors of truly gorgeous occult/magickal tomes that also have a parity in terms of their contents.

Not that Mark Smith is a master of style in terms of prose; in fact, in many places Queen of Hell struggles for coherence, no doubt in light of the truly stupendous gnosis it attempts to relate. There are passages which seem to swirl back on themselves, getting nowhere, as though Smith is casting around somewhat futilely in an attempt to conjure into words the magnitude of his visionary encounters with the Infernal Trinity of Hecate, Lucifer and Belial. And then, suddenly in a passage here and there, or in a line of his often poetically inspired invocations/evocations, a glimmer of the true dark light pulsates through and more than makes up for the effort it takes to get to the heart of the matter. In fact, it is this evident struggle on the author´s part to find a worthy form of expression that ultimately convinces the reader of his work´s genuineness: the overriding sense is not one of a writer incapable of doing his subject justice, but one who has really seen and sensed what he is writing about, and is attempting to get it down in the mundane form of plain prose text.

This is not to say that the book has no literary merit at all-some passages are excellent, and the many invocations/evocations are frequently potent and nicely phrased – but that its sense of authenticity and power is generated from a source beyond such literary considerations, residing instead in the dark gnosis it imparts, via the overwhelming sense that the book acts as a conduit linking the reader directly to the source of Smith´s inspiration. To explicate further: my assertion is that this book acts as a direct and potent link to Hecate Herself, and therefore transcends the function of most other magickal texts in a similar way to which the mythical Necronomicon transcends run-of-the-mill 18th century grimoires. This is no more evident than in the final third of the book, The Book of the Inner Sanctum which contains some of the most powerful and illuminating philosophical exegeses and magickal formulae I have ever encountered, in particular ´The Toad Rite of Hecate´ and ´The Rite of the Phoenix´.

In light of this, I do not think it is exaggerating too much to say Queen of Hell is destined to have a massive impact on the future of magick and occult philosophy which will grow over the coming years.

I think it marks a revolutionary breakthrough in the struggle to discover Gnostic reintegration with the true source of Being.