esothemes

Reflections, revelations and proposals esoteric: Themes to elucidate the depths of human potential.

My Magical Menagerie: Part I

This esoteric blog would not be complete without at least some attention to the topic of magick. I, therefore, desire to take a walk through my magical menagerie. That’s just a fancy way of expressing what’s on my mind regarding this topic, from exposure to its conceptual cornucopia and in terms of working with its themes myself.

Before I begin my little stroll, I want to set the stage with a working definition of the word that I find useful: Magick is the system of operations through which changes are made in reality via the application of one’s awareness of non-physical influences.

The definition is limited and can certainly be disputed, but at least it gives some frame of reference to the presentation. Before I move on to the main topic, there is one more detail. It is a trivial detail and I am annoyed at my attention being drawn to it, but like a pesky speck of dust in the eye, minuscule as it is, it obstructs vision.

It’s the damn spelling of the word. There is no such word as magick any more than America is spelled Americka outside of a cheesy Hollywood version of old Soviet propaganda. Simply put, that admirable art of prestidigitation is not magic. If “prestidigitation” is too much of a tongue twister, we can use the word “illusionism”.

Whatever term we choose, in my view, calling this art magic misrepresents and undermines the true meaning of the word. Making up another word that just sounds the same doesn’t correct that. It just gives the slander license by tolerating a spelling that just looks and feels wrong. Alright…enough of the mini-rant. It was prompted more from poking at the keyboard on a hot muggy day anyway, than sprouting from any real gripe with occult semantics.

Moving on, I want to focus on modern magic. I do not, however, want to limit myself to purist sensibilities. Make no mistake. I greatly respect and value the perspectives that are true to tradition. I am simply turned off when the perspectives express as dictates over what I can and cannot do and still call it magic.

That doesn’t mean the so called eclectic expressions of modern magic are not by and large saturated with misconceptions. It doesn’t mean that modern eclectic magic is not diluted regarding what can be accomplished. It doesn’t even preclude the denial of magical potential in favor of psychological and pseudo-scientific theorizing that reduces the mystery of magic to a series of watered down postmodern memes.

I realize I’m setting myself up to be called a two-faced hypocrite when I end up talking about the electromagnetic basis of some occult phenomena at some point. To be clear, my gripe is not with expanding occult paradigms into scientific ones or vice-versa.

It is with the ever trendy superficial scientism and parroting of oversimplified new-age cliché as opposed to really thinking things through with an understanding of both science and occultism, wherever one chooses to focus in these genres.

Be it purist or eclectic, magic is often intertwined with ceremonial drama or some form of ritual, as a series of actions that involve specifics of time, place and materials that represent the outcome one wishes to attain in some way. Although this is indeed one way to go about things, it is often idealized by advocates as the essence of what magic is or should be.

Truly, given the populist tendencies that have oversimplified much of esoteric possibility I cannot blame the purist sensibilities. My gripe here is that they can lead to extremes of blinding practitioners to creative options that are not scripted in written traditions.

Magic, for example, can be accomplished without elaborate ceremony. The primary agent in this case can be one’s own will, be it augmented by unseen sentient influences or not. The outcome may be labeled with words such as “psionic” or “psychic”, but it can still fit into the aforementioned definition.

Magic is indeed hard to pin down conceptually in any universally satisfactory manner in my view. Even so, with enough theoretical- not to mention hands on- exposure one gets an intuitive sense of what’s involved to the extent that other practitioners and arm chair advocates usually know what is meant when someone uses the word “magic”.

That being said, I have long been interested in streamlining and minimizing the ceremonial complexity in magical ritual down to bare necessities, and even less. That does not mean the process of doing so is either simpler or “less work”. The work may actually be more, but the application of the work and its ramifications of emphasis and expression are different than with ceremony-based magic.

It goes without saying views vary across the board. Mine is that disappointment comes via a chronic misunderstanding of the meaning of creative innovation in the magical arts. Disappointment festers when innovation is confused with making things easy. Disappointment can also fester when a form of magic is taken for granted just because tradition or some trendy majority says so. So the issue isn’t to “do the work”, but to know what you are doing and why every step of the way, and to be aligned with it. In other words, effective magic is an outpouring of one’s being and not a series of technical maneuvers. And there are no free rides.

In any case, the concept of modifying/innovating tradition and to what degree this is favorable has been a point of controversy in online discussions. It is not hard to notice the dividing line polarizing those who advocate purism from those who advocate liberal modification of occult ways and means (as they understand them).

Many experienced occultists do not like the way things have been watered down and oversimplified with points of emphasis that are blatantly “made up” and marketed with little forging in the fires of experience. Then again, practical occultism is not a by-the-book skill in my honest opinion. Basic principles matter, but improvisation appears to be adapted to both the individual and the circumstances in which they find themselves in the desire and necessity surrounding application procedure.

To be more specific, in my experience, magical effectiveness is strongly dependent on one’s existential stance. This is a topic that demands ample space to be given justice. Such space will be found in another installment of this series. Suffice it to say that I am speaking of how- if at all- one understands and relates to the meaning and purpose of one’s existence and perhaps existence as a whole.

This involves reaching for that potential and discovering the most coherent way to actualize it in pragmatic balance. The stance doesn’t have to be elaborate or overtly “philosophical” in outlook. One can be a nihilist or a hedonist, a materialist or transcendentalist, or some or all of the above, regardless of ethical considerations.

The reality of one’s existential stance, however, is often over-simplified in confusing it with beliefs and belief systems. The stance is more about motive in magic and the very roots of that. Thus knowing thyself, as it were, is far more empowering than faking belief in something to force a magical outcome. On the other hand, a simulation of belief convincing to one’s own critical faculties appears to induce effective outcome to an extent. Many practitioners stand behind it, and it is unlikely every one of them is fooling themselves.

A simulation of belief, however, that is convincing to one’s critical faculties amounts to conversion to that belief. In other words, holding two opposing beliefs serially or even at the same time can be magically effective. The provision is that they are connected by an underlying truth that may be paradoxical or practically impossible to verbalize, but is felt as true nevertheless.

Without the feeling/sense of truth the effectiveness of forms of simulated belief are highly limited in my view. For example if one feels the truth that the contradiction of opposing beliefs is an illusion and also feels how this is so, then their conviction fuels what their critical reasoning might otherwise undermine. There is more to this of course, and will be reserved for a future installment as well.

I would add here that getting results in magical work is not something hard to do. What is challenging and requires much commitment in time, energy and concentration is getting results of a considerable and sustainable caliber, regardless of what one’s priorities are. Not everyone is dedicated to sex, wealth and status, and out of those occultists that are, or say they are, few apparently succeed; that is unless they remain under the radar, refraining from the kiss and tell “stance” that well-known names appear to favor.

My own existential stance is built on the premise of personal transformation. I do not view magic as metaphysical mechanics or an artful expression of rules and tools as a means to fulfill desires. I also thrive on the magic energy itself, and consider it part of my very being. The internalization of the symbolism is nourishing to me. It is augmented by cultivating the principles behind that symbolism as I coax its story into light. It goes without saying, furthermore, that commitment bonded energy expended in an operation, long or short term, is an investment toward its success. When properly appropriated, that energy will return a multiple of itself.

This is another one of those topics that can run on and on. It is a personal quirk of mine to find difficulty in saying a few simple words regarding themes that are not only challenging to conceptualize with any rational clarity, but that have depth well beyond the space afforded by a few scripted pages pretending to do them justice. Thus, once again I leave the topic open-ended, to be revisited as the winds of mood and circumstance allow.

The Tree of Life and the Divine Restoration: Part IV

Let us now explore the esoteric implications of the Garden of Eden (Gan Eden) story in relation to Cabalistic philosophy, and specifically regarding the extended symbol system known as the “Tree of Life”. This symbolic mapping incorporates the biblical story of expulsion from paradise. The direct cause of expulsion was the ingestion of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (ToK) of Tov and Raa, two Hebrew words that have most always been translated to respectively mean “good” and “evil”. The act of ingesting the fruit has been associated with “sin” and “fall” (from grace), two concepts alluding to alienation from an inherent state of divine proximity if not communion.

The concept of knowledge in the biblical and QBLH context, on the other hand, is about intimacy of experience with ramifications of existential metamorphosis. The consequence would be to stimulate evolution and existential maturation. The premise here is that the stimulus itself is not just that which is termed “good” in opposition to that which is termed “evil”, but a relationship between complementary evolutionary strategies.

Let us look at the semantic pair in mention in its original context: Tov (Tayt, Vav, Bayt- transliterated TVB) and Raa (Resh, Ayin- trasnsliterated RO). In terms of the meanings of its constituent letters Tov refers to a structure that fertilizes one’s house or presence. It is a natural state, in other words. Raa, on the other hand is the vision or way of another or “another vision”. As such, it is the artifice for better or ill. If obedience to divine authority is Tov, then one’s own initiative is Raa.

The interpretation makes sense in terms of the ToL of QBLH because the 3rd and 4th sephiroth are therein termed depths of Tov and Raa respectively. “Depth” in this case can be considered a metaphor for an arcane mystery. We have the mystery of good and the mystery of bad. Or rather the mystery of intrinsic harmony and the mystery of evolutionary challenge and initiative. It is the dramatization of the latter around which the story of the fall revolves.

The garden of delight, full of wonders as it was, did not involve evolutionary challenge nor any sense of initiative where the first humans were concerned. How could it when they could not tell between what was pleasing to them and what was not? That is not to say that the value of the tree of knowledge is the insurgency it inspires against a divine status quo. The value is in making the one imbibing its fruit aware of the meaning of Tov, Raa and the complementary and symbiotic nature of their relationship. What is so bad about that?

Religious interpreters of the story would say it is about humans being disobedient and not about being able to discern between qualities. They site that the first symptom of imbibing the fruit was to experience “modesty” or a sense of shame in being naked before the divine. Today we know that modesty is taught and that one desires to be covered and/or concealed because it makes them feel vulnerable and exposed. This only occurs when exposure is sensed as threatening. Perhaps being exposed to YHVH Elohim was not always a “good” thing, but the first humans did not have the ability to tell when they were not treated lovingly.

Speculation aside, the Torah explains precisely why humans were expelled, and then kept out of the enclosure of their creation. It had nothing to do with defiance. The truth is that the activation of the fruit of knowledge, aside from awakening discernment, is only fulfilled when the fruit of the tree of life is also imbibed afterward. Then, as the “Lord” mused, “They shall be as Elohim”. It is likely that later generations misunderstood the import of the statement. For a mystic the meaning is clear: consuming both fruits in the proper order (knowledge and then life) engenders a profound transformation of existential identity via the power of divine realization. Elohim ends up clarifying to its peers (and the readers of the story) that not only are the wages of consuming the fruit of the ToK the experience of death, but the subsequent redemption of rebirth only comes when tree congress comes full circle: meaning the fruit of the Tree of Life must be consumed forthwith.

Once Eve and Adam consumed the fruit of discernment, however, they were promptly banished to insure that they never even come near the Tree of Life again. Some analysts insinuate and some openly posit that if humans just did what they were told, they would have been freely given the fruits of their destiny in full…when they were ready. The first humans were thus held accountable for disobedience they could not evaluate one way or the other, under the pretext that they didn’t need to evaluate…just do as they were told. What is most problematic, however, with the story is that making a choice based on a convincing argument (the serpent’s in this case) cannot be done without the discernment necessary for arguments to make sense in the first place.

The sloppiness of this story lends one to come to conclusions about it that can dovetail in to more than one conspiracy theory about archons and aliens. Whether these have merit or not is beyond the scope of this exposition. We do not have to resort to such rationalizations, however, nor do we need to whitewash the inconsistencies with artful commentary and blind faith. We can choose to open to the understanding that many tales holding arcane wisdom utilize paradox so that their meanings cannot be extracted with day to day reasoning. Sometimes the tale is so focused on making a point that it ignores the context that is supposed to give it coherence and consistency.

In this particular story, we know there are two trees. And we know that to become as Elohim we must consume both their fruit, in the proper order. We know that we are no stranger as humanity to either of these trees, since the first humans ate of their fruit- albeit not in the proper order. The story appears to emphasize the nature of these fruits, and that when one is eaten the other is forbidden so the caterpillar human does not awaken as the butterfly Elohim equivalent.

Discernment is superficially qualified as evaluating between good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, harmony and dissonance etc. Analyzing the words as letter strings, however, we can see how the first represents a natural and healthy state, whereas the second touted as bad actually refers to acting and thinking outside the status quo of natural harmony. This is, in fact, what humans tend to do and what separates them from the proverbial “beasts in the field”.

If humans are aware where they veer away from instinct and natural “default” instinctive inclination they can act with deliberation. Such discernment and the ability to act artfully (with artifice) is apparently necessary if the tree of life is to lead one to an Elohim-like condition.

Here is another hint: The serpent is one being connected to the story. It is cast in the bad guy role even though it facilitated consumption of the fruit that gave humanity the initiative to cultivate discernment. The other being associated with the story is cast in the good guy role, even though it is hostile to humans. This is the Kerub guarding the East Gate of Eden. One must pass this Kerub and its revolving fiery sword to access the tree of life. Perhaps this too is a mystic allusion. If so, what mysteries does it conceal or even imply?

Human experience is practically defined by the consequences of eating the first fruit, for humans not only discern between what is natural and what is artificial and dysfunctional, but have become enslaved to the latter. Yet human destiny is incomplete without the fruit of the other tree, the one that used to be permitted before the eyes of the first humans were open. This Tree of Life, is described in QBLH as an existential map.

Perhaps it is indeed an allegory of the primordial human frame itself- both cosmic and microcosmic. If so, it is the embodiment of that being which chose to veer from the dictates of its Creator in the first place even before it could tell what that meant: you, me and everyone human. At some point there will be a fifth installment. This topic is by no means exhausted, and I have yet to touch up the “divine restoration” part as I originally intended. In any case, there is more to come…(at some point).

The Tree of Life and The Divine Restoration: Part III

The Divine in its pure, original state- according to mystical understanding the world over- is the very essence of Love/Bliss. Seeds created in its image and likeness are exposed to choices inherent in fields of creation defined by polarity and multiplicity…and then meaningful shit happens. Ultimately, the path that takes the Divine through the transcendence of Its own perfection for the incomprehensible further horizon is paved with the precarious denial of its very essence.

That dynamic of existential self-denial is what the fall is all about. It is the denial of the original divine essence at odds with the status of created beings or offspring. The Tree of the Orchard of Delight, known in the Torah as Gan Eden is a multidimensional entity representing the blueprint of human incarnation. From the mystical standpoint, rather than being a “pleasure garden” as the name would imply, the enclosure of Eden is a contained state of being. It expresses and represents the existential mode underlying human creation and its first stages of growth. The state is accordingly one of mystical bliss, the natural condition for the human beings of such a formation.

There is ambiguity regarding the nature and number of trees in the center of the sacred enclosure- the contained bliss state. Suffice it to say that consuming the fruit of the Tree of Life (ToL) did not compromise the state of divine grace the primordial human couple of the story experienced. Partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (ToK), on the other hand, was an act that was said to result in death, preceded by the notorious fall from grace that ushered it.

Rather than buy into the idea that humanity suffers because they were disobedient, and its overtones of capitulation to tyranny (even if Divine), the mythical rendition and its variety of nuances challenges the seeker of esoteric wisdom. Therein the story calls us to penetratingly discern beneath its surface veneer, or fall victim to the seductive prejudices that come whenever mysteries are superficially approached. I would suggest, therefore, that we forget the names of the players in this drama; set aside the blame and the usual suspects. Then perhaps we can focus on the process of unfolding patterns of symbolism embedded therein.

As already mentioned, our story unfolds in the heart of a divine enclosure, an existential state of bliss depicted as an actual place not necessarily on the material plane of existence. We can view the enclosure in terms of a kind of paradoxical chrysalis; not even a living womb, for that might suggest the presence of a temptation to slide back into its warm embrace. The dynamic that sustains the integrity of the chrysalis as well as its function (among the many possibilities of its operation) is the ToL. The dynamic of its end is the ToK.

It is said, however, that the enclosure remains intact even after expulsion, and is guarded by a being of power in its eastern gate. The space itself is a westward dynamic, the direction often symbolic of the realm of the grateful dead, the abode of ancestors and the mythic Isles of the Blessed. The west in the esoteric sense is, in fact, where paradise the enclosed garden of bliss resides. It is not in the future where the sun rises, but in the past where the day is left behind.

It is as if the presence of the guardian forces us to refrain from trying to relive the past, however graceful it my have been. Instead we are forced to walk the earth until we come full circle. We may then perhaps enter throw the back door into a new state of grace. But I get ahead of myself. That train of thought is reserved for the concluding installment…next time.

Be that as it may, the above supposition is compatible in meaning with the following: In spite of appearances to the contrary it is quite possible the guardian is not protecting the enclosure from the humans exiled from it. It is guarding the secret that the enclosure itself  is nothing more than discarded shards (Kelipot– QLIPVTh- in Hebrew), the discarded shards of a former stage of divine evolution that may still have a role to play when the “time” is right.

The former presumption, however, is not easily convincing. Is the being from the family of entities known as Kerubim really guarding a secret, or is it actually issuing a challenge for humanity- if not isolated initiates- to earn and embody a profound mystery? After all a similar being was said in another part of the Old Testament to have descended and battled the patriarch Jacob in order for the latter to earn its blessing and gain then title of Israel.

The mystery in this case lies at the heart of the divine enclosure and depends on the understanding of the tale of the two trees growing there. As is the case for mysteries of the occult, paradox lies at their point of comprehension. That the two trees are one tree is a paradox, but it is not inconceivable. The tree, furthermore, as an esoteric mystery lies not in the midst of an abandoned pleasure garden, but in the beings around which the enclosure was manifested in the first place.

As mentioned in the beginning of this four-part work, the two trees are really one. Each description of a distinct tree is really a formalization of an evolutionary phase of a singular entity or potentiality at the very core of human nature. The thing to consider, and hopefully remember, is that you can take Adam and Eve out of the Garden, but you can’t take the Garden (or rather its core dendritic mystery) out of Adam and Eve. Therein, within a rather crude cliché lies profound meaning and the possibility of unfathomable revelation regarding our very human/divine evolutionary potential.

The forbidden version of the tree, whose fruit transformed the first humans into its likeness, expressed the contradiction necessary to seed the path of self-transcendence and ultimate divine purpose. Thus humanity entered the world of suffering- or rather the principle of suffering entered humanity…and so did the consequence of death.

The Tree of Knowledge (of “Good” and “Evil”- as it is commonly and perhaps erroneously translated), corresponds to a deep existential intimacy with the experiences of being broken, fragmented and in a state of existential denial. It is the knowledge of what sets a self aware being apart from its divine origin and center, and the intimate connection with all that is nourishing and all that is existentially toxic (aka “evil”). As it is more akin to the sensual intimacies of carnal knowledge rather than anything held by intellect, the knowing depicted in QBLH wisdom as daath is not just a theoretical contrivance. It is a brutishly raw experience of the extremes it covers.

Sages have harnessed the revelatory potentials of the Eden mythos and established a mapping and description of the esoteric potentials it inspired. The view was known in various cultures of the ancient Mediterranean as Hermetic Wisdom. Its basis is the understanding that the human microcosm and the universal macrocosm are reflections of each other, while both express/represent a Divine reality.

The greatest revelations in the world, however, are nothing more than a play of intellect when one is not conscious of the sacred state of being their embodiment. When this is the case, those embodied revelations of both macrocosm and microcosm complement and support the fulfillment of the nature and purpose of each; I call this fulfillment “Restoration”.

The Tree of Life in its original purity sustains grace. The Tree of the Fallen, known biblically as the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”, ends the state of grace dependency to initiate and empower evolution through the crucible of fragmented existence.

Suffering, in this author’s view, is a collateral experience and not something with inherent purpose other than its transcendence without compromising the attainment of the third phase of the tree: The restoration as the tree of Living Meaning where grace is now revived as the core of one’s being in unconditional and unbounded relationship with one’s world.

In the next and concluding installment in this series, the nature of the Restoration and its kinship with the Fall itself will be explored at length. The key to be examined is the understanding of the deeper meaning of the words translated as “good” and “evil” in the Genesis story. The suspect conventional translation tends to act in a way similar to a guardian of the entrance to the deeper mysteries of the Eden mythos. These are nothing less than the mysteries of Divine Restoration.

The Tree of Life and The Divine Restoration: Part II

In biblical mythos (literal history to Abrahamic fundamentalists), the first human couple was created within a divine enclosure of pure delight. The enclosure was described as a garden (or more properly an orchard) where many trees pleasing to the eye bore the most refreshing and delicious of fruit. The first human couple was tasked to tend this pleasure garden, while the male who was created first was prompted to name everything he encountered therein.

This account is usually touted as a story of two trees and of disobedience to one’s Creator (and hence Master). Adam the man, was treated as a beloved slave or house pet, and Eve his mate was his Master’s gift and apparently secondary in importance. The man disobeyed the Lord, prompted by the woman, who was in turn “seduced” by the villain of the story in the form of a snake, and the rest is His-story as they say.

The tale of betraying one’s Lord makes sense if you take religious texts verbatim, i.e. with no esoteric component; if you gloss over some inconsistencies, and explain a few things away. It is easy in our world to accept that all we need to do is what we are told when the authority lording itself over us is the “right” one and not the villain. After all, we are obliged in this life to not just follow the rules, but to know which rules to follow. Fortunately for the spiritually somnambulant among us, the latter task is most often appropriated by certain religious institutions whose constituents make it their life’s work to keep the rest of us from thinking for ourselves. Those who encourage otherwise, according to the institutions, are nothing more than shills working for the villain.  

This analysis, however, represents a different track of understanding. It is one that strives to compare and correlate the trees of the biblical Orchard of Delight with two versions of the cabalistic existential mapping also known as the Tree of Life (ToL). One of these is a symmetric array of ten interconnected domains and the other, the same array with one portion gapped or fallen from the rest. I will leave the details of that form (well known to many interested in occultism and QBLH these days) for another day. Instead, the aim here is to elaborate some basic ideas relating to notions of damnation (the fall) and salvation (the restoration).

In essence the fallen tree in QBLH is defined by a gap that alters the dynamic of every relationship within the fabric of its design. Because of this gap, everything else is “off” and one must constantly adjust and experience the trials and frictions of existential compromise when moving through any domain mapped within the tree. If this gap is restored, on the other hand, the discovery and recovery of the original tree of life are actualized in synthesis with the knowledge gained by its/our fall from grace.  

QBLH certainly moves to describe the mechanics of such a fall, elaborating in great detail as to how it happened. The question of “why”, however, is more problematic in a cosmology that is purposeful and revolving around perfect divinity. This is where correlation with the biblical story may provide some insight. The fundamentalist view often takes it for granted that the primordial couple had it good and made bad choices.

Yet there is also the view that suggests the whole thing was a set up. The primordial couple were, in that sense, manipulated to taste the fruit they were ordered to avoid. Thus they would enter the earth plane- the realm beyond the orchard- as an act of defiance to divine authority instead of one ordained by it. The serpent, traditionally a symbol of wisdom and healing, in this drama is working for the “Lord”.   

I find that this view makes sense, but it requires some deeper exploration. Much confusion comes from taking spiritual teachings literally. Spiritual understanding is a paradox. It requires us to strip ourselves from conceptual burdens that overcomplicate things, but also cautions us not to oversimplify either. Spirituality, therefore, amounts to walking a razors edge of insight and intuition in a balancing act that can easily falter. If it does, we slip into misconception and misunderstanding leading to all kinds mischief. The real problem there is that we most often don’t realize slippage has occurred until well after we make a mockery out of our most meaningful revelations.  

Digressions aside, when grace is based on existential integrity, it is a state that comes from the divine core that defines the very fabric of our experience as self. Such experience unites the individual persona commonly called ego with the environment that appears through the five senses to be the “outside” world. Our fabric is then supported and interwoven with the divine truth of Being, inseparable not just from the sense of individual self, but from our intercourse with the allegedly external environment as well. This state of affairs can also be understood as grace because through it desires are attained via what is easily seen from the mundane- fallen- viewpoint as living miraculously.  

The grace of the primordial couple, however, was different because it was grace devoid of initiative, confined and defined by the condition of prohibition. More importantly, it was grace devoid of knowledge. The grace of innocence, in other words, was nothing more than divine dependency. No matter how benign it appears, such “grace” disqualifies the “beneficiaries” of the infinitude of divine possibility for a simple reason: divine dependency is incompatible with the actualization of one’s divine nature.  

One need not resort to conjuring Lucifer, Satan- or any antinomian anthropomorphism- to make comprehend and realize the meaning of the above paragraph. One need only be open to the mystical understanding that all that is created by the Divine is as divine as the Divine itself. There is no need to capitalize either because the Divine is all-permeating and nothing “special” as it were, even when transcendent and apart from the “rest” of all that is. The aforementioned mystical observation makes more sense when we consider creation as divine reproduction- as opposed to craftsmanship and artifice- and all that is created as offspring of its parental causation.  

A human being, however, cannot grow into healthy adulthood when held in the confines of parental dependency. It cannot realize its potential because it has insufficient liberty toward self-definition and discovery. According to this mystical perspective, the Divine is one essence becoming many in an evolutionary process that transforms any compromise into greater actualization potential.  

The process involves the Divine discovering itself within each point of its creation according to the nature of the intrinsic and relativistic limits of those. Such apparently down-sized actualization (or incarnation) may not be under the aegis of the original divine express that begat itself as “them”, at least not in any expressive manner or in a way that does not involve an evolutionary unfolding to a more mature state. But what exactly is the nature of the Divine Aegis? The answer, along with the conclusion to this diatribe, in the next installment.

The Tree of Life and The Divine Restoration: Part I

Out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, (the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).-  Gen.[2:9]

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Gen.[2.16-17]

Then the LORD God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”. Gen.[3:22]

The above quotes summarize a well-known biblical account. It involves two trees in the Edenic Orchard described therein. These are the Tree of Life (ToL), and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or just plain Tree of Knowledge (ToK). The latter was notorious for bearing fruit that was forbidden due to its lethal properties.

Abrahamic religion often interprets the story to be not about the trees themselves, but about being obedient to divine command. The “bad guy” of the story, the infamous serpent, warns the first woman (Eve), that the LORD has deceived them, and that eating the fruit does not cause death. On the contrary it elevates man to divine status. The serpent in this story, appears to be the literal animal and not some diabolical manifestation, by the way, just as the trees appear to be real trees, pleasing to they eye with tasty fruit.

The serpent, in any case, is proven right- at least in part- when the “LORD God” (aka YHVH Elohim) talks to “His” collective presence to point out that the man has become like one of them, discerning good and evil. Apparently the woman was secondary, but the interesting tidbit is the phrase that follows. It explicitly states humans will live forever if they eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, now that they have already eaten of the other fruit.

Before eating of the fruit that triggered dualistic knowledge- or rather the capacity to discern between the two conditions that are translated into English as “good” and “evil”- ingesting the Tree of Life’s fruit was permitted if not downright encouraged. Somehow the forbidden fruit changed all that.

Since humans now have their eyes opened (remorseful as they may have been they would or could not go back to being blind and innocent), they had to be distanced from the enclosure known as Eden, and the ToL that would have completed the transformation begun with the forbidden fruit.

All this is more or less common knowledge by anyone familiar with Abrahamic religions, which amounts to a substantial portion of humanity at the very least. My focus points to a single premise that begs elaboration in my honest opinion: It is the premise that these two trees are actually facets of the same principle.

Suffice it to say that I take the account to be allegorical regardless of how plainly literal its statements appear to be. I also correlate the account in reference to the esoteric mapping that links the human microcosm with creation’s macrocosm, known as the Tree of Life.

Let us examine these “trees” from the viewpoint that they do actually represent “mysteries”. Their perception as well as their comprehension would thus correlate with a mode of knowing that is not obvious to the worldly human psyche. The latter, after all, is more or less conditioned; intrinsically by instinct and extrinsically via social intercourse and its adaptations of relating to the general environment.

These mysteries are not so much hidden or occulted from view. It is rather that most of us are blinded to them in fundamental ways. Those who lifted their veils of awareness in the far past organized some of their understanding to teach and attempt to expand human potential, even with the danger of the fulfillment of the adage that “power corrupts etc.”. In the traditions of the Old Testament, such teachings were known as “receptions” (my paraphrase of the word QBLH– qabalah).

The Old Testament describes a story that appears quite literal, and yet can also be- and often has been- taken as allegory. It is a tale of two trees. The works of QBLH also express an esoteric map known as the Tree of Life (Etz Chaim). The latter is expressed in many versions, two of which stand out for me because they can be compared with the trees of the aforementioned biblical story.

I will refer to these two trees as a) the tree of perfection and b) the tree of the fall. These maps of intriguing territories of arcane wisdom are obviously not literal trees, but perhaps neither are the trees of Eden (fundamentalist objections notwithstanding). My premise or “what if” statement posits that we can come to some interesting and perhaps enlightening understandings if we view the two mapping styles or “trees” of QBLH philosophy as being the very trees of life and knowledge expounded in the biblical narrative.

There is no need here to describe the trees of QBLH, to draw them out, to speak of their parts and interconnecting patterns. Nor is it within the scope of this work to explain from whence the patterns originated in terms of human authorship or accredited documentation. The focus here is the biblical account. The esoteric maps are a reference to fill in the blanks for those choosing to go beyond the usual interpretations by religious or secular scholars.

Suffice it to say that a premise worth pursuing is that the two trees of QBLH are the same tree with a twist. The tree of perfection is simply the original layout of the form. It describes a healthy tree. The tree of the fall describes the aftermath of the equivalent of a lightning strike that altered the shape of the tree by causing a part of it to “fall” a certain distance from the rest (top portion) of the form.

We are speaking of two different states of the same tree. We may as well be speaking of two very different trees, however, because the proverbial fall generates alterations in the context and correspondences of the mapping that establish a reference to a very different territory of challenges than the healthy tree. How does this set of patterns fit within the context of the two trees of Gan Eden (the Orchard of Delight)?

They relate through our initiative to understand the nuances of the biblical story. They provide a context for the option of taking that story as esoteric allegory, and they connect enough dots to provide a revealing picture that can lead to awakening to the possibilities of divine restoration. Another question: what are we restoring? We are restoring the tree, and in doing so we are restoring ourselves by healing the gaps that keep our divine truth from grounding as the prime reality for us in the most tangible manner.

As already mentioned the ToL in its perfect form can be associated with the ToL at the center of Gan Eden. The fallen or asymmetric tree can be associated with the ToK of said Orchard. That implies that Knowledge or Intercourse (as in carnal knowledge) is that of being “fallen” existentially. Thus existential fragmentation results in the Intercourse that leads to one realizing they are equal to Elohim– gods or God for all practical purposes. Let me just run with this.

Even with the deepest existential connections (the knowledge of intercourse with one’s subject) wisdom is not guaranteed. Although the fall may be a path to divine actualization (god-making or simply revealing what is already there), it is still a path paved with suffering and the misery of fragmentation. It is a path of death.

It makes sense, in other words, that such a path of death would only have meaning if it were subsequently applied to restore life. In that restoration of life the knowledge gained can be, therefore, understood to fertilize the wisdom whose crowning essence is itself an actualization of evolving being. As such it is the power to express and apply the profundity of its experience in all one’s relations. Perhaps we can perceive that as the beginning of true healing.

To be continued…

 

Dharma: The Path of Accomplishment

Years of extended research and esoteric application were defined by a filtering and fermentation through which I transformed digested bits of knowledge into something that worked to my satisfaction. Even though I was, and still am, driven to forge my own corpus of esoteric potential, I often take for granted the benefits of esoteric process. Many sorely underestimate the basic nature and implications of these benefits because they cannot see them in terms of material value.

In other words, it becomes discouraging for many when an allegedly healthy transformation of self via esoteric empowerment does not insure that one ends up as wealthy as a globalist tycoon and/or as popular as an award winning celebrity. I guess it’s about priorities. Such can be manifested in my opinion, but due to the artificial (socially engineered) nature of those representations of success, and the resulting conflict such artifice creates, the only way even occult process can get you such things without the standards of this world changing radically is via sacrifice- of self or others.

By change of standards I refer to sustaining sense of purpose that defines the “perks” as the means to worthy ends rather than all that matters. I do not speak of spiritual accomplishment in any way divorced from terrestrial fulfillment. I speak of the forging of meaningful “dharma”- to use a Sanskrit term. It is my contention that understanding the word dharma in a felt way, as opposed to being burdened by rote analysis, will help in coming to terms with what it means to evolve in terms of esoteric accomplishment. Let’s first look at a traditional exposition of the word’s meaning.

The word ‘dharma’ (धर्म) in Sanskrit is derived from the root धृ  meaning ‘to hold’, ‘to bear’, ‘to carry’ or ‘to support’.  धारणात् धर्मः –  that which holds together or supports is dharma.  In this sense dharma encompasses all ethical, moral, social and other values or principles, code of conduct and behavior which contribute to the well-being, sustenance and harmonious functioning of individuals, societies and nations and which prevent their disintegration.  In a wider sense it is dharma which sustains and supports the whole world.

I find this very similar to the definition of “religion” as that which binds and controls/manages (as in “to relegate”). The difference is that negative connotations of the religion concept are pretty stark compared to the positive ones of meaning of dharma. The latter is a sustaining dynamic, a carrier that keeps things from falling apart. Religion may use that as an excuse, but it plays an active and dictating role rather than one where support is divorced from dependency and manipulation. This is not easy for the mind that is not esoterically inclined to understand about things like morality and ethics. They are not meant to dictate behavior, but to sustain the health and integrity of the essence underlying behavior: our deeper identity.

It is easy to surmise that dharma is the hidden hand that holds all we value so that it does not dissolve into chaos. Yet, discerning examination would illuminate chaos itself as anything but the enemy. It is rather the power and tendency to dissolve the structure and ordered patterning of any process or conceptualized entity. Chaos, as I am referring to it here, is a universal solvent that induces structure and form into action and fulfillment of purpose. Chaos in this manner is cooperative with dharma, not its antagonist. Chaos and dharma are mutually interacting so that one without the other represses the proliferation of all that is of true worth. This, however, leads to another misconception: that dharma itself is tantamount to order.

Let me clarify with a metaphor: To establish the medium of oceans where life can proliferate, salt and water are both required, and in the right proportion. Salt is the binder and water is the solvent. One holds together and supports and the other pulls apart and mobilizes. It is similar to sustaining ideal pressure in a medium. Ideal pressure for a human being depends on the balanced between the pressure in the body that pushes outward and the pressure in the environment that pushes inward. It is their equalization that actually sustains.

Indeed, it is easy to misunderstand dharma. At the same time, we can use that to realize what drives the tendency to such misunderstanding. The conventional interpretations regarding support, sustenance and the bearing of a burden appear to be colored by our own proliferating state of imbalance. Suffice it to say that dharma is not order or law or morality per se.

It is the balance between order (law, morality etc.) and chaos. That balance is intrinsic to neither order nor chaos. It is intrinsic to the nature of the beneficiary of balance. The first- and by no means the last- step in establishing dharma and hence sustaining existence in a meaningful manner, lies in knowing the nature of what is to be sustained as such.

How effective is conventional morality in this? How many, if any, religions or laws or any alleged bastions of moral order take the necessity of chaos into account? Chaos is always risky, or at least seen that way by those whose experience of dharma is either lacking or corrupt. Order is seen as oppressive when corruption and neglect proliferate on the other end of the scales.

Freedom, as such, results when the forces defining one’s mobility are perfectly balanced. That is when they do not interfere from whatever one is, does or becomes.  The point when the forces are balanced is not, however, a universal quantity, but is solely dependent on the nature of the subject of balance.

Dharma is, therefore, not a binding form of support. Nor is it a path of perpetual escape from what appears to be limiting for the sake of losing all that is meaningful because of an inability to appreciate it- hence making it a scapegoat for one’s true lack. From an esoteric point of view, dissolving into the infinite and being focused into a singularity of unexpressed monomeric potential, are both events reflecting loss of meaning. In chemistry a monomer is a unit of matter that has the potential to bond with more of its kind.

I have noticed that chaos and order have in many minds taken on the interpretations of evil and good, and sometimes in reverse. Usually the “good” represents what is lacking and the “evil” what is abusively abundant. The true culprit, however, is always the lack of synergy that represents the requirements of our true nature. We can take a lesson from the workings of nature here. Our bodies and the natural physical environment cannot function without a constant balance of synergistic processes. Everything works in its right proportion to reflect the balance between form and the energy underlying it.

Although we can apply the implications of the above rant to many areas of experience, dharma is most often associated with esoteric wisdom and accomplishment. It is not, in my view, that the meaning of dharma is lost when we find things derail in its application. It’s more that we lose sight of how that meaning is meant to be beneficial and healthy. There are a variety of reasons for this.

If the process of dharma’s application is warped, then esoteric process is also warped. If esoteric process is warped, then dharma’s application is also warped. Imbalance is exacerbated resulting in a feedback loop. Therein, false perception and adverse conditions proliferate. They foster deliberate corruption, and the active striving for meaningless existence, regardless of the pretenses of interpretation upon which that is based.

“Evil”, in this manner, results when insanity becomes the convincing imposter of the ideal. Instead of denying “Evil” as a conception we can explore the possibility that it is a mutation of insanity. In this, the latter manifests intelligence. It then takes its malaise to the logical conclusion of reversing the sense of existential meaning so that all that is sane is treated as the illness and existence is forced to become its own contradiction. Something like esoteric knowledge, when applied in resonance with one’s true nature, can ultimately offer something of value: The balance that is the basis of all heart’s desires.

Touching Upon The Esoteric Path

When regarding esoteric wisdom’s applications there is the idealism of spiritual truth, and there is the methodology of alchemy and transformation. The two are not separate, especially if “spiritual truth” includes the world where we live, the underworld, the cosmos and its denizens right along with the abstract dimensions of every pure consciousness.  

The final frontier, however, is not out there in the heights of consciousness and the luminosity of spirit, but within the hidden living depths of earth sentience and the intimacy of the warmth of density. It is within where self is manifesting into its defined distinction where we find the basis of all that is physically tangible, and it is the paradoxical inner world of all that is physical where the sleeping potentials of the meaning of it all lie to be caressed into awakening. The myth of the Sleeping Beauty has an esoteric component as well, after all. It is one of the stories of goddess.

 In any case, I have been bringing together elements of alchemical activation that I found most effective out of a morass of traditional possibilities, interpretations and marketed insights. My premise has always been to explore what is most available. If we find ourselves attracted to something, no matter how it is presented, it deserves attention, or at least a chance. Even discredited knowledge can hold an allure because we sense something about it: that it might lead to the opening of undiscovered doorways of opportunity.

With so much information chaos, online and off, it is not easy to discern between what is credible and what is role-play or fantasy where esoteric material is concerned. We are challenged to figure things out with very little guarantee or certainty beyond our good sense. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Relying consistently on being spoon-fed regurgitated wisdom makes us soft, in my honest opinion.

Owning one’s wisdom, on the other hand, means owning the power that comes with it. It means to dare the calculated risks of trial and error, founded on persistent research and listening to the felt voice reaching out from the most genuine parts of our beings. The journey of owning one’s wisdom is nothing less to me than a hero’s journey; a fantastic and incredibly demanding adventure of discovery, growth and empowerment. Certainly, it is no walk in the park.  

All that being said, there are themes of esoteric accomplishment that time and again have been proven indispensable basics in my quest. The first dynamic of esoteric progress is the attainment of the autogenic (self-established) altered state. It includes the awakening and purification of mind, the emotion body and the sensate nature rooted in one’s physical form and extending from it. The toning of the mind, consciousness and one’s very attention through concentration and meditation is one area. The sensitizing of one’s felt sense as energy is another.  

Then that energy sensing capacity, combined with the meditative altered state can bond with our spatial awareness so we may consciousness experience the “phantom body”- the unilateral extension of what is known as the “phantom limb” effect in amputees. This is just a foundation. The above stages are cooked within each other. That cooking is fueled by one’s passion for wholeness and an ongoing opening to deeper awareness so that the process evolves into a kind of psychic fermentation. The latter dynamic is the crux of what is often labelled “inner alchemy”.

This fermentation is too involved to lay out here, but there are writings east and west that describe symptoms and stages of its progression. Each culture appears to tackle it differently, the west relying more on symbols and codes probably due to persecution and the Asian cultures being overall more direct, but also occulting information for the most part. Older traditions extending to shamanic practices were rooted in oral transmission, and records of such are rarely accurate.  

The good news is that the  field of accomplishment is always the human being, and we are all media of potential exploration in that sense. Another plus is the “higher self” effect, a form of activated or innate awareness that is most often apart from one’s familiar ego structure. It acts as a guide depending on how much one credits its feedback to increase its participation in ones unfolding progression.  

I have often heard, and agree, that those most predisposed to esoteric cultivation feel as if called to those practices. Sometimes the call happens at a specific time on one’s life, and sometimes it has always been there. Human societies run on a structures conditioned into their members. Esoteric cultivation tends to break and dissolve those structures to pave the way for a greater and deeper experience of self and world.

It is much like the snail dropping its shell to grow. Like the snail, growth comes in stages and new shells cover the vulnerable flesh. These, in turn, must also be abandoned. Just because one has left their old shell once doesn’t mean they are free of such defensive restrictions once and for all. Neither does it mean that they need to keep dropping shells and being exposed. The process is up to them. Some just want or need to grow more and will remain at “the next stage” indefinitely, for better or worse.  

Be that as it may, the pillars of human societies may serve interests that define themselves as the authorities of the given social structure. Having the conditioned perspectives of their populations dissolve into something that may not serve their interests can lead to strict measures being taken to avoid or discourage such practices. Esoteric practice, furthermore, is known to strengthen and bring into activation latent potentials of the human body-mind that may pose a threat to those who thrive on the herd of humanity remaining in their version of the status quo.

The exploration of motive, means and opportunity doesn’t just apply to the solving of crimes. It pertains to the exploration of any human activity, especially where we are ambiguous about who did it. This is why I think one finds the promotion of esoteric knowledge and practice in various groups that are in defiance of social convention, but also why established authority structures don’t just ban or demonize and corrupt such practices, but aim to monopolize them.  

Today, in my honest opinion, the search for esoteric wisdom that is absolutely “credible” and objectively verifiable in an empirical manner (as if it were modern science) is futile. Even time worn traditions are not absolute in their reliability because individuals respond differently to esoteric approaches on the one hand, and the efficacy and benefits of many methods is flexible and adapts to changing cultural and historic conditions when a tradition is living.

Even the most effective time honored and accredited methods such as the activations of Vajrayana Buddhism have a number of schools that approach them differently, emphasize different aspects of the core methodology, and can appear as independent systems altogether, when the bigger picture of their historic evolution isn’t known.

Commitment to a path chosen by those deepest parts of our nature, whose call we literally cannot deny, is indispensable. Shortcuts, furthermore, are illusions. The path we must traverse is the path we do traverse when we are ready. It avails us not to bring up examples of other’s failures. Perhaps the path is a razor’s edge we are forced to walk barefoot. Perhaps the so-called failures were simply not listening as much as they thought.  

Our accomplishment is more likely when we dare to be steadfast in our persistence to cultivate all that we desire that moves us forward. Facing obstacles of all types and overcoming them in a number of ways, is par for the course. In my experience, however, it is nothing like the horror stories promoted in circles where people act with rashness and near ignorance, where minds are either closed, in denial or biased, and where one gobbles up whatever fancy shiny bauble of knowledge is thrust in one’s face.

And even though one must be very much aware that there is no such thing as something for nothing in this or any, the truth is a matter of transformation and exchange. It is not about buying and selling as we are accustomed to it in our limited material congresses. Maturity is gained by experience, and discernment too. But within, there is guidance that is our birthright and once that is honestly an influence one can credit then one need not fear of the “wrong path” even if fear might be thrust upon one’s heart for any number of other reasons.

Esoteric cultivation and accomplishment even, may not be for the majority of human beings. However, nobody can really point fingers or define groups that can or cannot proceed with realistic expectation. Not until they have endured the finger of their own limitations and have experienced its dissolution from their existential frame. And that is far easier said than done.

 

 

 

 

Standing at the Crossroads

The occultism of Western civilization- if not the world over- is undergoing an interesting transition. I clarify the meaning of “transition” as “crisis”, under its original meaning of “cross roads”. At the time of this writing the Internet has accelerated the occult information explosion in Western culture to the level of trivialized overkill and disillusionment.

Popularization, the tendency to make esoteric knowledge more marketable (that is, to sugar-coat it), and easy access to information that a century earlier was available to none but the wealthy and persistent few,  appear to have led to a state of confusion in the perspectives that credit esoteric possibilities as being worthy of exploration.

And so those of us interested in the potentials of esoteric study and accomplishment, regardless of where we find ourselves in those terms, may have a sense of the crossroads of which I speak. This crossroads is a position of strain because of the pressure to choose a path. As I attempted to emphasize elsewhere, Esothemes is about moving forward. In my view, the choice that builds the most forward momentum is the decision to remain in equilibrium at the nexus where possibilities- even uncomfortable ones- meet. That is to say, the crossroads in mention is the place to be. It is there where things will fall into place.

The point of insecurity, of uncertainty and of maximized psychic vulnerability appears to be the point of greatest instability and weakness. It is, however, the point that challenges us to dig deep and access our latent strength. Through that challenge we are encouraged to build the momentum that can overcome inertia and the conditioning and entropy that hold us back from where we not only want to be, but where we need to become.

The occult crossroads is that arena of experience where our views regarding esoteric possibilities appear to be most easily trivialized and undermined. It is where we are on the verge of being proven wrong, and where we are most likely to be deceived by all that sounds too good to be true, and all that sounds too true to be good for us. It is where we are prone to get defensive and respond to one extreme of perspective with the opposite extreme; and where our desire to get strong is an endless dance with our alleged weakness.

In spite of the dire drama described above, there is another option: we can remain in a position where the questions are not answered. We can be open to how that feels and explore where the feeling goes. By accepting that initially dissonant position, and by treating it as worthy of our attention, we may find a surprising confidence emerging in the midst of uncertainty. The more we dare relax into feeling all while knowing nothing, the more we sense the accumulation of power in that very stance of accepting our allegedly precarious position.

The crossroads, the nexus of confusion and uncertainty, of which I speak is specific to occult possibility, but we find it in any attempt to get the facts of any situation, only to find more and more concluding that life’s as random as ever, that there are no conspiracies, that people are stupid and that the population deserves to be culled, or that this or that opposing group or idea is the enemy and so on and so forth.

Where esoteric promise is concerned, this nexus can easily lead to confusion regarding what’s real and what’s bullshit. We live in a time where so many have  amassed factoids regarding esoteric wisdom and the traditions surrounding it that the difference between truly genuine esoteric knowledge based on experience or deep perception is practically indistinguishable from  well dressed bullshit.

Misinformation and disinformation can be expressed with as much conviction as well researched fact. Disappointment piles upon disappointment. The toil of retracing one’s steps from endless dead ends of misconception mounts, and buying into the flowery phantasms of media saturated drama weakens the strongest of idealistic passions.

It sounds exaggerated and overly dramatic, but having a sense that there is more to life than whatever we are told there is can set us up for trauma when people in our environment actively strive to invalidate our emerging sense before it matures into experience backed conviction. Under such circumstances there are a few options that appear almost immediately.

We can give up and “get real”, or we can compromise our passion and scale down our expectations. If not, we can stick to our guns and stubbornly insist on the truth exactly as out intellect has grasped it for better or worse. In all the above options, however, we avoid the natural dissonance of sensing the need for change. If in that need we meet the seeming wall or void of not knowing  where to go, what to do, or if we are just chasing our tails, the most useful and empowering change available is to stand tall at the crossroads.

In that stance we can feel the tingles and waves of being left wide open with no guarantees, and we can turn from trying to figure it all out to face what we do know: the paths that have brought us where we are in the now. Even then, logical evaluation comes second to extending sentience and feeling into all that was, including our own drives, motives and justifications. In not knowing the facts, we get to know ourselves, and therein lies the path to finding truth.

We don’t have to constantly demand proof of everything presented in our information stream. We don’t need signs of authority or accreditation. We don’t have to resort to verbatim reproduction of menus of practice. The whole point of cultivation is to cease being an automaton in all ways, after all, and to get real. At the other extreme, we can avoid the sweetness of all that sounds good, while sidestepping the bitter medicine the realist must always swallow to remain free of deception.

We can, on the contrary, have our pie and eat it too- and that’s not just another platitude. It means we can be inspired, and we can be rational. This can be done because we are served best by releasing our addiction to the mind sets that enslave us. The mindset of limitation and the mind set that seeks shallow alternatives in the name of freedom and love.

The point of this rant is to bring up my perception of attitudes I have encountered among those who are either interested or experienced in esoteric theory and practice, however they might specify their views. I too have been among those holding onto these attitudes, including not knowing where or how to proceed when all I felt around me were contradictions to my once unshakable convictions.

I grew to realize, as I let go of being right or being wrong, that just because something can be shaken doesn’t mean it is being broken. Adjustments are always part of life, and finding the balance between flexibility and staying power is a process that undergoes its own fair share of ups and downs.

I write this to assure the reader that being obsessed with proving anything, or even the origins of any information that claims to be esoteric or occult is less useful than the information itself. The world of the unseen is such that even a con artist may inadvertently be a source of truth (to a point and for a time), and still be under the impression they are leading victims by the nose.

Much invaluable inspiration comes in the form of insights off the top of the heads of both the wise and the unwary. Lies and truth can shop from the same tailor, but only the latter has substance when filtered through cultivated discernment and tested via application.

Of the two options discernment is more convenient, however. Testing may require a commitment of time, faith and energy as well as material resources that we cannot afford to waste on a mounting pile of errors where learning from mistakes only leads us to an endless array of more dead ends and viable options.

Fortunately, there are ways to cultivate discernment, and these are probably the most reliable of approaches of inner cultivation. The simplest one takes advantage of the very crossroad of uncertainty that tends to be a common stop off point on any life journey for many of us. For as we open to feel all that we do not know, the door opens for us to explore. That’s a path that requires no justification.

 

Welcome to Esothemes

I start this project with a paradoxical mix of hesitation and enthusiasm. That’s encouraging because it is honest and perfectly in line with what an occultist and a mystic encounters in themselves and in life at large. Paradox is an old and dear friend.

This blog is a personal exploration of applied esoteric gnosis, where terms like esoteric, occult and mystical will be used loosely and interchangeably. I have been hesitating  in moving forward here because I want the curious if not interested reader to understand what is not as easy nor simple to comprehend as populist presentations assume. That is not always an easy ambition to realize. I also want to present material the motivated reader can take to the next level and actually apply, but in a healthy and mature manner. The latter isn’t easy to define either let alone ensure.

That being said, let me emphasize that this blog is not about lessons per se. That requires even more depth than what I can provide here, as well as better organization. The real project I am starting, in fact, involves more than just this blog. That will be revealed in time.

In any case, I believe one can still learn much from the content. I have had over thirty years of occult exploration and experience, including the practice of yoga and internal alchemy as well as magic of various sorts. I have also done some rudimentary teaching starting over a decade ago online. It was a good experience, but I wanted to go deeper. The experience of teaching as well as discussing and debating with a colorful groups of practitioners as well as pretenders gave me more pause then hope.

It wasn’t a matter of being or not being good enough. It wasn’t a matter of being or not being strong enough or not being knowledgeable enough. I simply did not feel ready. Truth be told, I am a trained physicist (PhD) with research experience and some publications years back. I understand teaching challenging topics and I don’t take it lightly. I have also spent much of my life wrestling with the paradox of being a scientist as well as one for whom the esoteric aspect of existence is fundamental to who they are.

Unlike some, most of whom are not formally educated in hard science (and rarely actually practicing it professionally), I do not label the mystical and occult “scientific”. It is not scientific because it is not empirical, that is “based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic”, according to the easily accessed online definition by google.

It goes without saying that esoteric exploration is not primarily based on logic. It is based on inspiration, intuition and imagination along with a number of qualities one is advised to cultivate, along with the former. Logic- and especially common sense- and organized theory are not to be thrown out. Instead, they form a necessary and integral part of a process rather than define the process exclusively. They are necessary to conceptualize and bring inspiration, imagination and intuition down to earth and into manifest application.

One can also explore the esoteric as a poet and an artist. It may be purely aesthetic without a shred of practical fiber. Yet it still may hold potential as a boon and blessing upon the individual and collective human condition. When I separate science from occultism, therefore, I am doing so in terms of leaving occultism free of the limitations of the modern conception of  empirical science, which is rather exclusive in the way it operates, and unforgiving regarding any trespass regarding its well-defined dictates.

Thus I am of the view that one must be careful when comparing scientific theory to esoteric ideas. The latter often require a down to earth mindset in order to be modelled and conceptually structured for sharing and practice, but the real nature of esoteric wisdom is that of felt experience, which is purely subjective in a very special way. That is to say, this is subjectivity beyond the conventional understanding of something only in one’s head, heart or gut and separate from what another might perceive. As far as pragmatist reasoning, subjectivity may as well be tantamount to selfishness if not overtly touted as being mired in make-believe.

One might argue that I am limiting both science and esoteric potential in my so-called liberation of the latter from the absolute dictates of the former. To put it in scientific terms, however, the frame of reference of the esoteric is the subject, not any object. You cannot even begin to touch any esoteric concept  if you remove the subject as the center of experience. In modern scientific theory, the subject is identified as “the observer”. The theory implies that observation is anything but passive. All activity implies interaction, and hence even observation involves some sort of objective exchange that affects the outcome of the condition in mention. Specifically, quantum theory is based upon the interpretation of a series of fundamental experiments. The resulting mathematical formulations are the real expression of the theory’s meanings.

It has been fashionable to point to similarities between the more radical interpretations of the equations and their experimental underpinnings with occult and mystical conceptions of various (mostly Indian and Far Eastern) spiritual traditions. Such comparisons have been an inspiration to me, especially when done by open-minded scientists. It is, however, to forget that the interpretations are speculative from a purely empirical perspective. That does not invalidate them, but it can confuse those who are not in the know regarding the actual science in relation to the philosophical expressions inspired by speculations around it.

This has been an issue for me because I cannot take sides, nor can I act as if science as it is understood and practiced today is a viable spokesperson for the occult and mystical. To be honest, I don’t believe is the best representative of the mystical either, just as I don’t see it viable to completely throw out the whole concept. Science may in fact one day validate the implications of esoteric wisdom and occultist application, and religion may one day represent an honest path of mystical devotion without the implications of blind faith and abuse that mark most religious doctrines today in one way or another.

As far as science is concerned, it is especially realistic to consider that research may one day explain and easily reproduce so-called psychic abilities of telepathy, precognition, remote viewing and even psycho-kinesis, if it hasn’t done so already far from the public eye. Indeed the expression of psychic abilities are easier, in my honest opinion, to embrace as potentially scientific than the more encompassing and often transcendent existential implications of esoteric wisdom.

One can argue and debate, where esoteric topics are concerned, without any end in site. I have done so and intent to avoid doing so in the future, even where I may be tempted to play my own devil’s advocate. Instead I have much to share about selected topics as well as general thoughts and musings.

These can be of interest to  practicing magicians, meditators and enthusiasts of all sorts of spirituality. It is all, however, my own take on things. When I speculate, I intend to state I am doing so. When I speak from experience, I will clarify that as well. There has been so much written and spoken regarding occult gnosis that going back to an original source of any existing idea is not always realistic, so forgive me if in this blog I am somewhat lazy in that regard. I may not name names, but I will say when an idea or inspiration is not mine or not mine exclusively as context permits.

So now that the rant is done (for now), once again welcome to Esothemes, an exploration in all matters esoteric from a singular perspective that I hope you will at least find interesting, engaging and perhaps even inspiring at times. And if you should choose to undergo or are undergoing your own unique journey through the vast territories of occult potentiality, may the real deal meet you halfway. After all, where is the fun if it were all too easy?

.