Somebody who ever read interviews with Christofer Johnsson, knows who is Thomas Karlsson for him and what is his role in Therion. His an author of Therion lyrics, however in the world of people interested in magic, he is known as a founder of organization working with magic, Dragon Rouge. It was really hard to contact him personally, but it worked out - thanks to this some of you would get know something more, because as for now, every infos about him are little bit poor. The nterview was made for the site Therion.Metal.Pl and for e-zine Rock4eveR both on 16 th of September 2003.
Thor: How (and when) did you meet Christofer Johnsson for the first time?
Thomas Karlsson: I met
Christofer for the first time at the Central station of Stockholm. I think it
was 1990. He had heard about me and Dragon Rouge and wanted to borrow a couple
of books and to discuss some private subjects. We had phone contact several
times and I realized that he was an intelligent and magical skilled guy and
I invented him to some magical workings and we became both magical companions
You write lyrics for Therion, how do you do it? Does Chris tell you what you must write about or you get a free hand?
It is inspiring to write lyrics
to the music of Therion. The lyric and the music originate from the same well,
which is myth and magic. My most important tools when I write the lyrics are
my own dreams, my magical experiences and books about religion and mythology.
Most of the times I got free hands, but I discuss the subjects with Christofer
and we try to find the right song to the right concept.
What about titles of the songs?
Most of the time I invent them,
but some of the titles has Christofer come up with.
Do you get a "naked" music before writing text, to fit the words to the music?
Yes, most of the time.
I took notice of your lyrics are very poetic. Do you write it special in this way or do you make it automaticly, spontaneous?
Im inspired by ancient
ritual texts and mythological poems and they are often poetic, so I try to write
in that spirit.
did your "adventure" with occultism, esoteric and magiacal phenomens
When I was a child I experienced astral projections on regular basis, but I didnt realized that it was something supernatural or occult. It was only an experience in life among others. When I became older I started to read about the occult and understood that this was what is called a paranormal experience. I became fascinated by the occult and started to read about magic and the paranormal and practiced the occult arts systematically from the age of 12.
Some time ago you released a book "Uthark". Say something about it.
Uthark - Nightside of The Runes is a practical manual for rune magic. It is based upon a controversal theory advocated by Sigurd Agrell, a Swedish professor in the 30th. He meant that the rune row was a chiffer and that one is able to understand its real meaning if you place the first rune last. The ordinary rune row called futhark then becomes an uthark. You place the f rune in the end of the row. Around this theory is a very fascinating system of ancient numerology and mythology. The runes are very powerful tools for magic and occult experiences. The initiation into rune magic is described in the old nordic myths when Odin enter the realm of Death and Darkness through self sacrifice to become illuminated by the secret of the runes.
Are there any plans to release it in Polish language?
I would really like to release
it in Polish. Poland is a country with an old tradition of magic so I think
the book would be appreciated in Poland and that the reception would be positive.
If some reader of this interview know a publisher please contact me.
I`m not sure am I right, but I have read somewhere (but I guess the word "conjectured" would be better, because the articles was in Swedish) that you have written another books too (about Lilith I think). Am I right?
I have written a lot of articles and magical texts about Lilith, but not a book. Yet.
Are you going to write another books?
Im about to publish more
books. First in line is a book about Qliphoth and the Nightside of Qabalah,
and an advanced introduction to magic called Magic and the Nightside Tradition.
I will also soon release a book about The Gothic Qabalah, which is a unique
system of Rune Mysticism from the Swedish Renaissance, and I will release a
book about Astral Projections. Thats only the beginning: I have plans for books
about Witchcraft, Alchemy , Sumerian Sorcery etc.
You belong to Dragon Rouge, can you say something about its premises?
Dragon Rouge is a magical order
working with the Left Hand Path, The Draconian Current and the Nightside Tradition.
We work with empiric occultism based upon the experiences of the individual,
and we avoid dogmatic teachings. Our work is based upon four main branches of
magic which is summarized in the formula G.O.T.A: Goetic qabalah (the Qliphoth),
Odinic runosophy, Tantra and Alchemy. Dragon Rouge is both a educational and
fraternal order: we both have an initiation system based on magical teachings
and on a good brother- and sisterhood. If the reader wants to know more about
Dragon Rouge thay can go to: www.dragonrouge.net
Say something about plans of Temple Of The Dragon in Gotland. What will it be needed for?
We have temples in Stockholm,
Gothenburg and Gotland. The temple on Gotland is the latest one and is meant
for retreats and longer workings. Its on the countryside, while the two
other temples are in cities. We hope that we will found new temples around Europe.
We have some members in Poland so maybe we soon have a temple there.
Do you receive everyone who wants to belong to Dragon Rouge or there are any requirements for the people who wants to become a members?
Not everyone is allowed to become
a member. If a person is mentally ill or emotionally unstable we recommened
that person to not become a member. Workings with dark magic could be dangerous
for such a person. Unreliable persons are not welcome as members and we demand
mutual respect between members.
What reasons made you to found the Dragon Rouge? When the idea to found it for the first time in your head appeared?
It was several reasons, and its
a long story so I cant tell the whole story here, but three reasons were
most important: 1) it was a need for a new practical oriented order, 2) it was
a need for a new order working with the LHP, Draconian Current and Nightside
Tradition, 3) I got the impulse from older draconian magicians both in Sweden
and Marocco to found a new magical order based upon a practical oriented version
of the LHP, Draconian Current and the Nightside Tradition.
I`m not sure do I remember well, but somone told this was not your idea, but it was the decision of the secret association derived from Yezidian and Tyfonic traditions? Is it true? Can you say something about that association?
Yes, you are right. As I said above I got the idea from a secret group of Swedish magicians. I got a lot of magical texts from them and their work was partly based upon the typhonian tradition and there interpretation of yezidism. They claimed that their founder was inititated in a yezidi circle in Kurdistan. Much of their concept reminds me of what you find in the writings of Kenneth Grant and I think they were inspired by him, although they made a lot of new interpretations and inventions. I also recieved small but important magical things on a journey to Marocco in the days when Dragon Rouge was about to be founded, and one of our earliest members was a pupil to a american magician who gave us a lot of unique material about LHP Egyptian magic and dark Egyptian deities.
You know, I was always wondering what is the meaning of the lyrics of 'Raven of Dispersion'. Is it call for the death (ravens are harbringers of the death, in old creeds people believed that ravens take the souls to the other side) or the raven helps to get into the "black hole", which is symbolized by the 11th level in The Initiatoric Draconian Magic?
It is a celebration to death
as a metaphysical principle. It is not the ordinary physical death, but the
force of transformation which make it possible for the caterpillar to become
Would you like to explain the meaning of the star which appears on Therion booklets?
The 11-pointed star symbolizes
the mysteries of qliphoth, the dark forces in the qabalistic tradition. Qliphoth
represents the forces of Chaos and the principles of destruction. Handled wrongly
this forces is very destructive, but if they are used in the right way they
could be keys to illumination and freedom.
Why the lyrics of "Siren Of The Woods" are a secret for many Therion fans? Is it only Christofer's decision or yours too?
A secret should remain a secret.
Its Christofers decision and I respect it.
There is strong smell of Nietzsche`s philosophy in your lyrics. Is it present in your private life and in Dragon Rouge?
Im not a nietzschean although
Im inspired by many parts of Nietzsches philosophy. I especially like
his bombastic writing style in works as Also Sprach Zarathustra. A lot of people
misunderstand his intensions (maybe I also do) but I think he made a brave stylistic
revolution against the ordinary academic style of the modern age, which is as
dry as dust. His language is rich as the prophecies of ancient days. Despite
the romantic language in Zarathustra his philosophy is perspicacious and free
from all illusions. Parts of Nietzsches philosophy plays a role in both my private
life and in Dragon Rouge. Necessary to say is that I not think much of übermench-wannabes.
Nietzsche is often misused. Nietzsche himself should have taken a futher step
in his philosophy and become an esoteric adept, but he did not and thats why
his philosophy is insufficient although it is brilliant in so many ways.
Practising magic don`t you affraid that during openining the astral channel some dark creature will stick to you? Did it happened to you in the past and do you make something to avoid it?
It has happened so many times that I start to be used to it. Through my oaths and my initiations I have many allies on the other side so I no longer fear what I will meet there, or at least not so much as I did when I was more unused to this experiences. Some years ago I made an evocation and it went a bit wrong. I was surrounded by a thick darkness. It was like a chewing mouth of organic darkness and I was quite scared. I raised my magical dagger in defence and asked the darkness what its name was. It answered me and said: My name is Marilyn Monroe!. That experience showed me the absurd humour that is typical for the astral plane. This terrible demon was for sure no nice blonde. Later on this Marilyn Monroe has become my astral pit bull terrier .
Can you say about lyrics for the next Therion record?
The lyrics and the concepts are lying in the womb of secrecy. But I can tell you so much that the lyrics will be like a kaleidoscope of dark light from lost civilisations beyond the stars and under the sea.
Are there any plans (yours and Chris`) to use in the lyrics something from old Polish/Slavonic religion (for example Perun, Swietowit, Nyj..)?
Im very interested in Polish/Slavonic
mythology so it is likely .
In your opinion, what happen to the man after death?
Death will be darkness for some and light for some. Most people will enter an eternal dreamless sleep when they die, but through the ageless initiations of the magical path one could strengthen the soul so that one survives death and is able to enter the astral worlds consciously. That is the secret of true alchemy.
Some time ago you have finished studies (religion history), did you start another direction of studying?
I continue my studies but on a more advanced level.
Why did you choose Religion History?
I have also studied History of
Ideas, Runology and Philosophy . Ive always been interested in this subjects
so it was a natural choice when I started to read at the University.
You was learning about many religions, in your opinion, is there a one, true religion?
No, you can find truth in every
religion, as well as illusions. It is also a matter of what truth you are looking
for. If one is looking for moral and social conventions and believe it to be
the truth you must search in other levels than if you are searching for the
core of power in Man. The light religions are based on social conventions and
the dark path are looking for the core of power. Nothing is true, and everything
is true. Nothing exist, and everything exist. It is a question of power . The
magician learn how to control the mechanism behind the power that create truth
and existence. That is why the magician in Tarot is shown as a juggler: he juggle
with the worlds, that is, the existence itself. You can be a Christian and an
adept of the Left Hand Path and you can be a Satanist and a typical follower
of light ideology. It is of course rare, but theoretically it could be so. Many
satanists only follow lower instincts instead of striving to reach the core
of power. Some satanists prefer to satisfy low desires, created by social conventions
through the propaganda of commersialism. You know, I need that car, I
need that money, I need that girl that looks like the girl at the commersials,
I need that drink, and so on. The true dark adept strive to become like
a god, able to create the existence in accordance with the will.
What religion/mithology is most interesting, inspiring for you?
Im interested in most religions
and mythologies, but if I have to name one it should probably be the Sumerian.
What do you think about Christians?
I respect and even like some
Christians, and I dont respect and dont like some. I not very fond
of that religion, but there are parts of old medieval Christianity which I think
is interesting. Im especially interested in Gnostic and Heretic Christianity.
Most of all I dont like modern commersial American Christianity, but I
think it is better to follow some path, than no path at all which is typical
for the modern disillusioned and lost man.
What do you think about Necronomicon and what is life and creation of Crowley for you? What do you think of this guy?
Im very interested by Necronomicon
and the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P Lovecraft. He was a gifted author and I think
his novels is filled with underlying occult knowledge. Im not a crowleyan
at all, but some of his writings are splendid. In many ways he was a typical
White Magician although he revealed some very important aspects of the Dark
Path. I respect Crowley, but Im more influenced by his contemporary fellow-countryman
Austin Osman Spare, who was an adept on the Dark Path.
In the band named Tristitia is the man named Thomas Karlsson. Is that you?
Nice name, but no!
But for 100% you were singing in Shadowseeds and you were a founder of this band too. Can you say something about it? (how did it start, kind of music, etc..).
Shadowseeds was first and foremost founded by Tommie Eriksson who is a frater of Dragon Rouge, but one could say that I was part of the idea so early that I could be considered a co-founder. The music and the concepts of Shadowseeds evolved through a year of intense magical workings together. Shadowseeds became like a musical manifest of some parts of our magical work that days.
Don`t you plan to revive this project, make a next record?
It is a long time since Shadowseeds released the record but we have created much music and lyrics since then and we are about to release new material when the time is right and when we find the right label that fit our purposes. We have made two performances the last year under the name Shadowseeds - II - Mitternacht Löwe. The music was very epic and experimental and the lyric was based upon a prophecy of Paracelcus from the 16th century. Only the true connoisseur could fully appreciate the performance
You stand in the Chritofer`s and the band`s shadow, people don`t know too much about you, you seem to be a mysterious so many people think you are some kind of eccentric 'cause you are in occlutistic topics and similar things. What are you private?
I consider that private (laugh).
Okay. What tips would give to someone who is just starting with the magic?
Dont think that you could
success as a solitary practitioner. One important reason to found Dragon Rouge
was to create a meeting place for practicing adepts on the occult path. It is
like traing: if you try to master a sport by only traing at home you will probably
fail. One have to co-operate with others who have similar goals and experiences.
The best advice to someone who try to learn magic is to have patience and an
iron will, to never give up although the path sometimes seems hard and the goals
Few words for reader of Rock4eveR and visitors of Therion.Metal.Pl
If you have further questions
related to music or magic or something relevant, you are welcome to write to
me on www.dragonrouge.net.
I cant promise that I will answer all mails, but I will try.
you very much for your time!
16th of September 2003,