Editorial Note: We republish here an extract from an illuminating interview with the Finnish Occultist (aka Northwind) who edits The Sinister Flame zine and who runs the Black Metal record label of the same name. The interview was published in July 2017 on the deathmetal dot org website.
Northwind expresses the essence of the ONA system, hidden as that is by the ONA’s perplexing, misleading, challenging, testing Labyrinthos Mythologicus.
As anyone who’s taken part of his publication will know, he [Northwind] works with the Order of Nine Angles system – also known as the Seven-Fold Way.
– This is a path I’ve walked for well over a decade now, and it’s taught me a lot. For starters – it’s worth pointing out that the Order of Nine Angles has no formal membership, no leader, no structured organisation and no dogma. The word ‘order’ is a bit misleading in that sense. This is of utmost importance to myself, because I’ve always preferred working alone.
NorthWind adds that he has no problems collaborating with others – should the situation require it – but not being a particularly sociable character, it’s unlikely to happen by preference.
– O.N.A. is, first and foremost, a tradition that’s often been characterised as esoteric, occult, pagan, sinister and satanic – I feel all of these adjectives are justified. Above all, I regard it as a kind of constant real-life training system for individuals who are genuinely interested in self-knowledge and personal development.
The practitioner’s progress is divided into seven stages, all of which include physical and psychological elements.
NorthWind notes that while O.N.A. literature contains highly precise practical instructions, there is no explicit creed.
– Each path is unique, as all individuals are different – the system provides a frame but what’s done within it is your own call. Now, our know-it-all armchair Satanist will of course be quick to say, ‘Why would we need a framework? Satanists are free!’ Well, my experience tells me that we simply do. Much like a university needs a curriculum, the path of self-growth requires a certain structure. If you just do a bit of this and read a bit of that – you might learn something and go somewhere, but there’s no reliable way of measuring your development.
NorthWind speaks from empiricism, having done just that for a great number of years – dabbling in different occult and Satanic currents.
– In the end, none of them ever resulted in anything tangible and seemed more or less like mumbo-jumbo. But once I came across the O.N.A. it was immediately clear that this was precisely what I’d been searching for. This was something which manifests in the real world – it’s practical and it works.
How were you introduced to it?
– It was largely my correspondence with Frater Calus of ALTAR OF PERVERSION in the beginning of 00s which drew me to the O.N.A. I knew about it long before via flyers and journals, but it wasn’t until we started discussing these matters extensively that I really looked into it. ALTAR OF PERVERSION is a forerunner in O.N.A. inspired black metal and, as you know, Calus is a regular contributor to The Sinister Flame.
Walking the Seven-Fold Way, one seeks to complete various trials and challenges. One such tribulation is what’s called Insight Roles, an enterprise requiring the adept to make temporary but often drastic changes to his or her lifestyle – even switching place of residence, or outwardly assuming a polarising ideological position likely to provoke confrontation.
– It’s to test your limits and then learn from endured hardship. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and finding out what you’re really made of; experience is what tutors us and moulds our characters.
NorthWind adds how one can read any number of grimoires, or decorate ritual altars to the heart’s content, but actual learning occurs only when stepping out into the unknown and taking action.
– This is also why the O.N.A. is often described as ‘dangerous’ by other ‘Satanic’ currents. Worth noting is how it’s you alone who decides what your next Insight Role might be – no one is issuing decrees; it could be anything from a long stay in the woods to… well, think for yourself. But no one’s pushing you to do anything. It’s your life and you traverse the sinister how and as far as you wish, in accordance to your own goals.
Besides a philosophy where deeds weigh heavier than acumen, the fact that nature is an essential part of the tradition is something which immediately resonated with him.
– Nature has always been very important to me and I’ve always lived amongst it, more or less. Even now, if I want to go to a forest it’s about 150 metres from my home. Or if I want to go to the lake, my boat is two kilometres away. I’ve come to develop a deep connection with nature and its various faces over the years. Reading your recent interview with the Nordvis character though, I started feeling painfully urbanite…
– Moreover, read early manuscripts like Naos: A Practical guide to Modern Magic, or old issues of Fenrir – the O.N.A. journal – the writing is impeccable and clearly authored by someone wielding a supreme command over words. That really appealed to me. One could argue that the writings even have this evocative and addictive quality to them. I’ve often discussed this with my O.N.A. associates, and many mention how they need to take actual breaks from reading the material. It’s interesting to see how words can indeed hold such power.
Escapades such as these Insight Roles sound like a frightful nuisance, are the rewards worth the hassle?
– Well, I suppose it depends on what you want from life. Personally, I can see no more important task than constantly striving for an improved version of myself on all fronts. Still, it’s not something I decided to do – it’s always been within me. Having said that, I can easily admit I have a long way to go; there have been plenty of phases in this journey ending in disappointment. Just saying.
NorthWind refers me to a quote by Anton Long – the pseudonymous former Grand Master of the O.N.A. – printed on the back cover of The Sinister Flame #3.
(…) They will have really lived, ‘on the edge’; they will really have achieved something with their lives. They will have inspired others. They will in some way by their living have ‘presenced’ the dark forces on earth. If they survive – their rewards are their achievements and the wisdom that awaits. If they do not survive, at least they will have done something with their lives.
– For beginners, the O.N.A. is a total mystery and puzzle – and deliberately so. Try to google the material and you’ll find a truckload of it, but after two months of reading you’re more confused than from the onset. It takes years to get some manner of grip on it – which is obviously by intentional design, to test the seeker’s will and resolve. You’ll turn away pretty soon if you do not have this sinister flame burning inside.