Black Sun


The image of the black sun appears in various biblical, alchemist, hermetic and occult texts.  The black sun appears as the dark material underside of the pure and philosophical sun (the Platonic sun).  The productive material sun is placed as a rotting corpse into the earth’s core as its productive core going from Philolaus to Empedocles, where the central fire and the earth require their shadowy doubles.  The matter of the black sun worms its way to the surface – bringing about holey complexes of the Earth and the Mind, the hint of the dark fringe, the dark precursor, the night of the absolute all teeming with productively destructive creatures.

This blackened sun is placed on the earth, creates the first stage of alchemy (nigredo/putrefaction) and the same can be seen in the Egyptian root of chemistry.  The stage of nigredo marks the turning point from the real as X to immanence, from the proper realm of physics to that of chemistry.  From spatio-temporal possibility to the resoluteness of death and decay.

The black sun also appears as a Germanic and eventually a nazi symbol.  Karl Maria Wiligut (Hitler’s Rasputin) and Werner von Bulow (of the Edda Society) traced (supposedly) the history of the black sun in runic texts stating that the black sun is a burnt out sun opposing the visible sun which could serve as a source of power for the Aryan race.

But this is the mistake that Lovecraft makes in his racism – that culture can save us or at least lessen the blow from/of the course of infinity.  Perhaps it is the black sun that leaves “only scorched earth, littered with the starved and sunbaked carcasses of wise men.”

11 Responses to “Black Sun”

  1. 1 Reza

    I meant to comment on this earlier but for some weird reason I forgot: the fictional confrontation of black / rotten sun versus the stellar Sun (Sol) might look a bit Manichean. However, as you imply, there is also another theoretico-fictional side to it. The energetic axis between solar excess of the Sun and the life of the biosphere is an economical correlation in which the exteriority of the solar horizon not only necessitates but is also subjected to the dynamic affordability of terrestrial formations. In other words, sun narrows the image of exteriority (conceived by solar excess) for thought through an economic correlation that it emphatically establishes between its solar economy and the capacity of terrestrial biosphere. Also, Sun as an index of exorbitance whose unbindable excess brings about the opportunity of economic (traumatic) binding becomes a ‘necessity’ for all human and organic endeavors on earth. So the question is: how is it possible to circumvent the solar exteriority which is only registered in economical terms so as to widen the scope of thought in regard to exteriority, conditions of its objectification and the contingency of such conditions? Do we need a new conception of terresteriality (i.e. geophilosophy) in order to unbind exteriority for thought and initiate a different ethics of openness that cannot be easily reduced to a matter of affordability toward the sun as an economic image of exteriority?

    It seems Cyclonopedia picks the second question and works with it through the Fantastic / Weird concept of the ‘black corpse of the sun’ which internally introduces the cosmic abyss into the planetary contingency and mortality of earth. Here the perishability of earth embraces the Outside in terms of cosmic contingency: earth is nothing but an interiorized set or horizon of cosmic contingencies and for this reason, like all other contingencies it is perishable / undoable. In other words, the intensive embracing of earth (as opposed to the extensive conception of earth which always finds its expression in the sun) sets the nonnegotiable perishability of the terrestrial horizon as the fundamental presupposition of terrestrial thought. In doing so, thought’s binding of exteriority is not hampered by intensive and extensive necessities. Also a conception of a buried sun or a terrestrial insider brings forth the possibility of complicities. This is because it does not index an unaffordable exorbitance but an already interiorized exteriority whose loci of effectuation coincide with those of terrestrial activities, which is to say it unilaterally operates through the very economic terms of terrestrial activities.

    Sorry, these are all just confused remarks. More later.

    • 2 Ben Woodard

      Thanks for the comments – I feel madness is the only avenue beyond the sun (perhaps in the lunar – the mad moon and the dead moon – the possible deadness of planetoids) as seen in Sunshine – getting closer to the sun means maddening burning. The other avenue seems to be earth without sun (Hodgson’s Nightland) or sun without earth (the possibility of the Dyson’s sphere or artificial earth).

      I have been entertaining for a little time now of doing something of a science fictive relative to Cyclonopedia – something in the lines of a Battlestar set up where ships are looking for a new home for humanity but with awfully nihilistic results – thereby leaving the solar system (the warmth of the sun) and interrogating new possible earths – moving through the unground towards an unknown ground.

  2. 3 Reza

    Also as you have suggested the inflection toward an insider conception of sun / productivity marks a pro-found turn toward chemistry as the “science of complicities” (Johann Malfatti).

  3. 4 Reza

    I saw an off-screen copy of sunshine in Malaysia (with all colors turned into dark blue or lava red) and enjoyed the concept exactly for the reasons you have mentioned. There are a couple of issues with this maddening exposure to the sun that I find a bit problematic. My thoughts on this issue are of course tentative, so my apologies in advance: The exposure to the sun is the schizophrenic affirmation of the very conservative-dissipative tendency that dominates the terrestrial biosphere as the consequence of the economical correlation between solar excess and conservative terrestrial structures. As Freud argues in BPP, the dominant model of dying tries to ward off all alternative modes of binding exteriority or inflection upon death. For the terrestrial biosphere, the dominant model of dying, or more precisely, openness is limited to ‘being open to the sun’, which is to say, dying strictly by and according the sun. In other words, exposure to the sun (full-fledged openness to solar excess) reinscribes precisely the dominant model of dying that strongly and dictatorially restricts the image of exteriority and wards off other possible ways of inflecting upon death. Therefore, maddening openness to the sun does not conjure a survivalist Icarian humanism as some might object but rather a restricted Inhumanism for which exteriority is only perpetuated by the solar economy and inflection upon death is limited to dying by the sun and through the dissipative model that it dictates. A very similar version of this emancipative exposure is expressed by Reich in The Function of the Orgasm (a great vitalist book with enough energeticist weirdness to repel fervent proponents of vitalism). Reich suggests that the unconditional submission to the volcanism of the orgasm must be cloned as a model for the emancipative meltdown of the stiffened self. The unconditional surrender of the organic to the involuntary that is supposed to open the human to the outside conforms to this dominant energetic dissipation which vigilantly staves off alternative modes of openness. It is not that the surrender to the involuntary is impossible but it is prescribed in conformity with the economic order, regulative capacity and the dynamic affordability immanent to the organic structure or the conservative formation. The conservative order economically tends to die or open itself up by the same energetic model which brings about the possibility of its sustenance and from which the energy is conserved. It is this economical insistence on keeping and using an exclusive model of conservation-dissipation that casts doubt on the unbound emancipative potentials of the Reichian account of ‘the submission to the involuntary’.

    ‘Nihilistic search for the originary ark’?!! This sounds like a fantastic plot. Perhaps, you can put it together in the manner of an Islamic philosophical novel, something like Ibn Nafis’ proto-science fictive treatise Theologus Autodidactus or Ibn Tufail’s empirical masterwork Hayy ibn Yaqdhan or Philosophus Autodidactus in which the protagonist searches for the ideal philosophical island. But this time it can be something like ‘Nihilismus Autodidactus’ [half-german-half-latin]. Really excited about the potentials of your project and the bits and pieces you are revealing on this blog.

  4. I’ve been compelled by the subject of your post for some reason, and now it seems like you were anticipating today’s eclipse. Today the black sun also reads to me as what is incomphrensible or unseeable, blocked by something, swallowed by a monster. And in trying to read Reza’s comments, I feel like my intellect has been swallowed by a monster, or perhaps it never amounted to much than that of wood lice. My eyes! My eyes!

    The subject brings me to a level of faith in the virtue of all the workings of the universe that are unknowable to me because of the limitations of my instruments of knowing, and I always appreciate becoming aware of that aspect of my blindess, which seems to bring me a little closer to whatever is on the other side of the shut door, the black sun. Reza’s meanings, in all their richness, for example. Out of my reach, but still resonating. (OK, I do get the Reich paraphrase, which is lovely.)

    bloodcore posted this selection the the Popol Vuh today, also commentary on what prevents seeing/knowing:

    “The first men to be created and formed were called the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, the Sorcerer of Night, Unkempt, and the Black Sorcerer… They were endowed with intelligence, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all that is around them, and they contemplated in turn the arc of heaven, and the round face of the earth… Then the Creator said: “They know all… what shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth!… Are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods?”

    Perhaps we can only see what we are equal to, and the black sun acts as gaurdian of powers we haven’t earned, or are unable to resonate with, but which we hope to steal. Consider me kneeling here with my ear to the door.

  5. From Graham Harman’s blog, sent in by a reader, on the subject of sidereal darkness. Cosmologist Paul Steinhardt has begun to call that force that causes darkness to outstep light quintessence, to the objections of some. Hope you don’t mind me putting it here, it seems to belong. Perhaps you came across it already.

    “In the firmament that we observe at night, the stars shine brightly, surrounded by a thick darkness. Since the number of galaxies and luminous bodies in the universe is almost infinite, the darkness that we see in the sky is something that, according to scientists, demands an explanation. It is precisely the explanation that contemporary astrophysics gives for this darkness that I would now like to discuss. In an expanding universe, the most remote galaxies move away from us at a speed so great that their light is never able to reach us. What we perceive as the darkness of the heavens is this light that, though traveling towards us, cannot reach us, since the galaxies from which the light originates move away from us at a velocity greater than the speed of light. To perceive, in the darkness of the present, this light that strives to reach us but cannot – that is what it means to be contemporary. As such, contemporaries are rare. And for this reason, to be contemporary is, first and foremost, a question of courage, because it means being able not only to firmly fix your gaze on the darkness of the epoch, but also to perceive in this darkness a light that, while directed toward us, infinitely distances itself from us. In other words, it is like being on time for an appointment that one cannot but miss.”

    -Giorgio Agamben, What is an Apparatus? (2009: 46)

  6. I think darkness is something like the *body* of light, it is substantial.

    Will try to ponder more explicitly what this means in relation to this lovely post and comments.

    • 9 Ben Woodard

      Wonderful, do you know the musician’s work well?

  7. I don’t. But you can have a listen here:

    Here are some appropriate lyrics from the album:

    Apocalyptic Destruction
    …what if,
    Milleniums ago a dying sphere bursted into a galactic explosion, and left a hole in space
    Every single piece of the sphere made a rain of meteors and took it’s own course
    …one of them towards earth
    Sands of time and vast dimensions away from earth
    The meteors sourced through space at infernal speed
    While the ages on our planet swept along like the oceans

    In our second millenium a “prophet” discovered a galactic meteor
    It had entered our galaxy, and would soon hit the earth
    The humans was facing destruction, the whole world was in chaos

    No man of astrologic knowledge has (ever before) discovered this gigantic nova
    Who would bring us the apocalypse, all time was lost, nothing could be done
    Who would ever believe a piece of stone from space would
    Be our last grasp of view before our lids would be shut forever

    Every single humanbeing faced the sky (in disbelief and shock)
    When the meteor entered the atmosphere
    Then destroyed the earth and killed all with a massive terrestrial strike



  1. 1 Nihilismus Autodidactus « Naught Thought

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