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

Magic, Cultivation and the Design of a working Occult System

abstact design of different colors

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This blog is based on the synthesis of magic and esoteric cultivation. The strength of the former depends on progress in the latter, but the reverse can be said; that cultivation is smoother and more balanced when there is healthy magical application. If magic is an athletic event, cultivation represents all the basic strength, stamina and dexterity training that goes into improving one’s game.

In the context of these snippets of commentary, the two occult expressions are complemtary and make for a more potent and balanced occult exploration and practice. This blog is also based on the premise that  traditions of cultivation and/or magic, don’t always directly apply to present-day conditions. Magic and cultivation practices evolve, and either adapt and strengthen in the face of historic and social change, or become corrupt or diluted to degrade into a caricature of what they used to be. On the other hand the occult principles themselves upon which the various approaches are based cover a broad spectrum and are timeless to boot. As such, they reflect the perennial potentials of human nature as opposed to some form of cultural ownership.

Thus, while this blog is not about socio-political issues, the analysis and design of theory and application keep the modern-day context in mind, while holding the history of traditional dynamics as a reference. This may not seem obvious as I describe the various aspects of theory and practice as I understand and express it, but it is a view held after years of exploration, cultivation and practice. Disagreement will always exist among occultists on such matters I think, but each probably realizes in some way that occultism weakens with weak and wishy washy beliefs and attitudes. It may even be one reason why seasoned occultists engage less in debate than beginners who are trying to figure things out. Then again ego drama is a sign that said occultist is probably not as grounded in application as they may think.

The mature (psychologically, psychically and psycho-energetically) occultist neither needs nor wants to be the focus of moralistic critique, because they know who they are, what they are doing and why. Persistent disrespectful critique should be taken as a form of hostility, but the response to it need not be a return of hostility, especially magical hostility. The mature psyche has a stable center, after all, and carries no chip on their shoulder. Such an individual does not repress or deride emotion and feeling, knowing its unhealthy and hence unwise.

The mature occultist understands that construction/deconstruction are two sides of the same coin, but they also look deeper into the givens of reality, the nature of life and death, of consciousness and life force, and the multi- sided nature of the occult experience- an encounter being either an entity, an abstract force of existence, or an aspect of our being.   are absolute, or that fate is inevitable regardless of our desires.

In my view, occultism is not for the masses in its advanced forms. In terms of basics, however, I would recommend cultivation and magic to anyone interested. Take it easy, play with it, and you won’t stress unless you push too far- even if that doesn’t seem much. Magic awakens and delivers patterns of consciousness and life force through the body-mind. Each individual has their own disposition and constitution regarding occult dynamics, and adaptation is not always smooth or even a thing. Forces are awakened, then dissipated and banished or absorbed and integrated. If we ignore what we stirr up, even if life force in ourselves, it can come back to bite us.

The primary application I see for the magic to be discussed here is similar to the application of runes. They represent fundamental mysteries of creation. As such they are keys to the dynamics of existential causality, although there are so many nuances to wise- not just skilled or empowered- application. As much as I used to wish it was the case, quick and easy magic- unless it involves the expression of basic mundane awareness states that still can muster magical force. Most of us have the psyche’s version of an immune system, and are only affected by occultism beyond the day to day variety, of people just wanting things to go smoothly in their lives.

Modern magic is usually defined in terms of esoteric means used to influence, if not define, the course of events. Technically, everything we experience is an event. Even if we manifest an object in front of a crowd, that is still an event. We don’t make the object in magic. We make the event. Events don’t have material qualities, like objects do. So we can more easily alter the form of reality when focused on the changes occuring at the level of event.

This installment is an update, however, for a reason. Everything I described represents principles that I sought to weave into a magical system of my own design, using existing traditions as reference, and three different systems of esoteric awareness and expression as pillars of its function. The system came together more out of a series of synchronous events and revelations that kept me going back to it as a kind of experiment as well as a real ambition.

I have been off the blog in order to practice the material about which I have written up to that point. This involved the third and fourth of the ten steps of cultivation delineated in the chapter of the Sepher Yetsirah on the Ten Sephirot Belimah. As I was addressing the challenge I realized that the first four steps of the cultivation process lead to potential that could be applied to my experimental system instead of using the Hebrew alphabet and its correspondences as a context of cultivation and magic. This was especially true of the Ouroboros system I had designed due to the similarities with the treatment of sacred space and circulation of magical energies, not to mention the use of phonetic symbol glyphs with coherent meanings and multiple correspondences.

I’m not advertizing this system, as I call it. I will compile my notes, diagrams and analyses into a book, but I am not sure about what I want to do with such a book at this stage other than use it myself. At this time, however, I am consolidating the meaning of its patterns and refining it into greater semantic coherence and bringing the system to life. The more the system makes sense mythically and esoterically, and the more it sustains a coherent internal logic compatible with paradox, the less it will leak magical potency and be prone to fail in its intended functions. So I will be discussing the theory and practices around this system, as opposed to interpreting a translation that itself is based on interpretation. I will get back to that at some point, but for now I think this will be more fun.

Blog Reboot: New Path, New Material and Getting Occult Issues Out of the Way

Welcome to a new beginning; a reboot that in principle is the first and last for this blog. In practice, who knows? All I can say is that my intention is to be consistent from now on. I have tons of cool material to back my claim, and the passion to make it stick. In fact, one of the reasons I have been on “hiatus” is because I have been busy working on pathways of occult possibility and immersed in testing and refining theory into practice.

So far, this blog has been about esoteric themes in a rather general and theoretical sense; about principles and points of view. I consider the latter important in esoteric cultivation. Often emphasis is on the mechanics of practice, to the detriment of the meaning of the main current of what works and why in such matters. In addition, many practitioners have been jaded by compromised if not crushed ambitions as their journey wore on. This is, in my view, especially true of twentieth century ceremonial magic (aka “magick”), in its many popularized offshoots of the light spectrum and its right vs. left psycho politics. Indeed the modern media- meant to be a refreshing font of elucidation and enlightenment- has ended up a quagmire of processed bullshit, tart, bitter and sugar-coated in its marketed variety.

As a trained and published scientist- PhD in experimental physics- I attest that occultism is not an empirical field of knowledge and experience. You can explain some occult phenomena with the existing scientific models, stretched to the breaking point of theoretical speculation, but still within the realm of possibility. You also use reason in occult practice, just as you should in science. However, an occultist does not employ the (empirical) scientific method, even though it may appear that way due to the rigor and attention to detail both types of theory and practice demand. There is no such thing as “occult science”, in my view. Science reveals objectified models of “what” and “how”. The occult is concealed in functional ambiguity, starting from one’s own fundamental sense of “why”.

Word-play aside, a notable difference between the two is that science is about objective perception and thinking, even in its most arcane-like theoretical manifestations, while occultism is about subjective experience, even when it is shared. This is why it is also known as “esoteric” (internal) and “meta-physical” (beyond physical objectivism). One can practice science and occultism separately, or used scientific models in occultism. One can use esoteric skills in scientific exploration as well, but that does not make it scientific practice. Occultism is not quantifiable, after all, and that is the hallmark of the scientific method- hand in hand with objectified mentation.

The above are topics of interest to me, but will not be part of the reboot of this blog. I bid them a fond farewell with this summary, and am moving to the next step. This involves expressing the products of several years of exploration, and refinement without second guessing or debating the good, the bad and the ugly of it. Not to mention refining is ongoing, and nothing is absolutely written in a diamond hard medium. The process, in other words, is far from reaching its conclusion.

Esoteric accomplishment is meant to result in wisdom, which implies cultivating the understanding and skill to affect reality without a material medium, to affect events, to affect minds and bodies (including one’s own of course), to affect destinies, and to reach levels of awareness that encompass a maturation of all- relatively speaking- one’s existence truly is. Technically, maturing in such wisdom will transform an individual into a boon for the world as well as themselves. That’s how it’s supposed to be, in my view at least.

In practice, the ideal is not congruent with the real, even taking into account the exceptions. Namely, esoteric exploration and its application is not one thing. There are many paths, and every one of them requires commitment and making space in one’s life. It doesn’t mean you either give up everything or don’t bother trying. It means, consider your returns to be a function of your investment in terms of commitment- energy, time and one’s own sense of self. Also consider that truly empowering esoteric cultivation results in deep changes in the psyche, that must be faced along with every nook and cranny of former self being exposed at some point. The changes tend to also pop up as events in one’s personal life, but also in the stage of the world at large. The latter is still a reflection of one’s true (greater) psyche- far more than just the workings of a little brain, no matter how complex and miraculous it is touted.

I used to be concerned about sharing information that might affect the recipients of it in ways they don’t understand. I now know that life in general does this; that most of us grow and change, evolve and devolve in directions we do not or cannot foresee let alone choose consciously. At a deeper level, however, there is more going on. Any opportunity to make that deeper level conscious and work in it and with it; recognizing it as a layer of one’s own existential identity, is something to be pursued by those who know where their interests lie.

Thus I have decided to organize specific information, regarding specific topics and practices that I have structured, explored and refined for personal application. Make no mistake; this is not a teaching of any sort. It is more a thought experiment in occult possibility. Herein I will share information on Esoteric Alchemy (Eastern and Western), Hermetic themes, Solomonic conjuring, Runes, Yoga/Tantra and other topics of occult interest. There is much ground to cover, so I may not be as thorough as if I were actually teaching the material. This thought experiment will present basics without claiming a thing, but expressing in a fashion of “as if it were true”. Even the well-read armchair occultist, if not the reader of populist literature will recognize most of the themes I plan to share. There is the Sepher Yetsirah (Book of Shaping) for starters, and the Yoga Aphorisms of Patañjali, and the “Goetic Art” of the Lesser Key of Solomon. There is also some interesting restructuring of Geomancy, Runic script and Taoist binary symbolism (such the Hexagrams of the Yi Ching) fused into a single system of symbol magic and contemplation.

The material is anything but purist, but not purely eclectic- made up or the product of media fantasy- either. It is an expression of basic esoteric principles I have tested over the years and continue to refine through all the opportunities and challenges life offers me. My experiment is in sharing it without expectation, or desire for some sort of payback or even recognition. Frankly there is no need, because the material does not lend itself as second hand information. Unless one works with and owns the material something will likely backfire. The reason is that its all tied to deep existential forces, sentient and impersonal that are not objective. Thus, like the quantum systems populist new age mystics like to use as examples, the observer cannot step apart from the observed.

Note I am not saying I need to authorize anything. This is an experiment so there are no guarantees, and free of the luxury of being credited, aside from the content originating from some sort of established tradition, and adapted to my own disposition and needs. It is simply that I consider real occult knowledge to be interactive, and not simply a dead pattern of information. I would say the stories of occultists having “bad endings” or hard lives have roots in a variety of causes. Some are as they should be; challenges of growth. Others are expressions of folly that can just as easily be avoided with a bit of caution and common sense. I don’t believe any occultism is more dangerous than the attitude of the one involved in dabbling or trafficking in it.

All that being said, we start the new material with my translation of the Hebrew text Sepher Yetsirah. This is no canonical text, but a modern experimental version, compiled from existing edits by Dr. A. Peter Hayman. He calls it The Earliest Recoverable Text, but by no means considers it anything but an exercise in scholarship rendering a possibility of such a text. It is, in my view, a useful attitude for an aspirant of esoteric cultivation to have toward such a work. The aim of my translation was also an experiment to answer a question: How well does the information in this text fit in the context of a manual of occult accomplishment? Is the manual of “Shaping”- or “Creation/Formation” if one prefers- a manual of magic? If so, what are its secrets? Suffice it to say that I have yet to see an interpretation of this work quite like the one I have rendered. So stay tuned, and we shall begin the beginning about which we elaborated in this post…next time.

Number Power and The Ten Sephirot

This installment focuses on a minor revision of the cultivation process we are outlining. It also involves some review material to place it in context. Such revisions are rare these days, given progress with the application of the material, but they still occur. Feedback between theory and practice is ongoing because there is plenty of room for fine tuning understanding of the material. Attempting to glean the correct theory using mundane scholarship can result in plausible scenarios, but one cannot fake effective esoteric methodology beyond the armchair. Working with the material beyond cultural trappings- most of which were probably added over time- translates into feedback from an esoteric as opposed to a religious or philosophical point of view.

The practices implied in this text, furthermore, build on each other to be applied in a coherent manner. By the time we get to the part of the instruction pertaining to the ten reckonings applications should click into place, even though the text informs us that mastery is a challenging process. The first reckoning, for example, picks up where these instructions leave off. If the translation is lacking something, its attempted application should reflect that lack, provided the practitioner has extended prior contemplative experience, such as with the methodologies of Raja Yoga or Nei Kung. I have been beta testing the interpretations elaborated in this blog for years before I presented them, but breakthroughs can occur when least expecting it. Recently, I realized the application power of the reckoning numbers beyond theoretical considerations.

The text itself tells us that the reckonings reflect the meaning of ten, and not that of nine or eleven. Aside from underlining the decimal number system- interpreting the letter equations for the three numbers in mention- ten describes the accounts as divine revelations. They are not independent spirits or entities (eleven) that can be divorced from their mystical foundations. Neither are they mental constructs (nine) beefed up with inner focus. They are revelations of the mystical experience of the powers of life, as well as the living existential essence those powers represent.

Each of these accounts of restraint is an exercise. Results of each exercise pave the way for the next, while the text provides the basics to be adapted to each tally. In this way, the presentation is structured like a teacher’s manual than something a novice would attempt alone. There is a lot of condensed information that reflects progressive accomplishment, each stage of which takes time to master. This includes learning the basic practices that are to be applied in working with the sephirot. Even when the aspirant devotes a substantial commitment in time and energy, and even with a teacher clarifying every step, success doesn’t come easy.

In such practices altered states of consciousness are induced, and sensate awareness labeled as energy these days complements them. In this way, one can marry the two states and move awareness/energy around and distill it from other states. Even within its cultural/religious context, the text itself expresses times esoteric principles such as the power of sexual polarity, the recognition of the importance of the head, chest and abdomen in inner alchemy, the use of elements, the power of numbers and the (albeit implied) astrological attributions among others.

The reckonings to be developed in the following installments take the numbers as the subjects of action. One (AChD) is Elohim Chayim; two (ShThIM) defines Wind from Spirit; three (ShLSh) defines Waters from Wind etc. The Covenant moderates the fundamentals of contemplation practice, and is especially applied to moderate the sequential pairs of reckonings; the first two, the next two, etc. When humans engage in contemplative practice, their awareness tends to run and [must] return, again and again, to the point of attaining the transparency of consciousness known as AIN. Then, the divine side opens to them, and they in turn receive it.

In addition to the pairing of the sephirot, we distinguish each reckoning into two parts, the end and beginning rooted into each other like a flame in a burning coal.  The two parts feed and define each other. Initially, the first supports the second. Once we get a sense of that, we can apply it in repeating/refining the first part, and so on in a spiral progression. This framework of intertwined parts is important in the process, and a prerequisite for the goal of attaining AIN, in each reckoning, regarding the pairs and where the sacred space constructs reflected in all reckonings, relate to each other.

The power of the ten tallies is the power of their number qualities. We know the latter through their Hebrew names. We also associate the numbers from one to ten with the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet, a notation that has been in use since 167 BCE. Each number corresponds to qualities that can be addressed as subjects of contemplation to the effect that their distinct energy signatures can be recognized, generated and channeled.

The text itself hints at the significance of each of the decimal numbers when it tells us that the mysteries (unfathomable concepts or depths) come out of their hand of ten- hand referencing power and strength. The source of power can be found in the association of the numbers with timeless meanings, provided they are addressed from within the progressions of contemplative practice and energy work. This cultivation is based on these meanings, and would flounder without their inclusion. When we say the driving force and acting subject of each tally is the number power, we are describing a felt experience corresponding to the meaning of number name, semantically and as a letter equation. We also take into account the nature of the corresponding letter associated with each number. In this perspective, it is the number that defines one element from another and infuses sacred space accordingly.

Each number is, therefore, a subject of contemplation to attain the state of AIN. The aim is to stimulate sensate awareness (energy) of the truth of the number- as its Hebrew name outlines- and associate it with the corresponding mystery of the tally, also via contemplation. When this is mastered, the tallies can be run through as a single exercise of restraint- disciplining the mind and heart- in ten counts. The notion of mastery is two-fold, as I understand it.  On the one hand, it involves working the practice until it progresses smoothly. On the other it involves working the mastered practice until cultivation gives up its fruit. The former is a matter of honing skill, and the second involves the ensuing transformation of self. To distinguish between the two let us capitalize the first letter of the word when it refers to the latter meaning. With that in mind let us begin the tallies in the next installment.

The Mystic States of Awareness and the Book of Shaping

Photo by Martin Brechtl on Unsplash

The ten sepiroth belimah described in the Book of Shaping (BoS) comprise a list of steps toward attaining mystical states of awareness leading to the activation sacred space and occult accomplishment. The tallies of the list are meant to be addressed in pairs, each of which is balanced by a center of alignment with the supra-mundane (divine). It is a stance or attitude upon which all subsequent accomplishment is built, and is known as the Covenant (BRITh). The condition is mandatory in the BoS if we are to attain results. It represents a frame of awareness ideally suited for meditation practices leading to a state similar to the one-pointed focus of samādhi in Yoga. In the BoS the comparable state is AIN, a term conventionally denoting the negative article- not surprising considering the void state induced in consciousness during high contemplation practice.

QBLH addresses the ten reckonings as a mystical description of divine creation. As representations of the meeting point between divine will and human potential, the macrocosm reflects the microcosm. In our exposition of the BoS, where we address the latter, the text refers to a human agent of mastery as an example of successful practice. From an esoteric perspective- that of the work itself- the two approaches can even complement and support each other. The text distinguishes between the first four reckonings and the last six. The former express four sequential contemplative practices. They involve the grounding of the mystical principle (Elohim Chayim and the consciousness that connects dedicates- sanctifies) through practices described in terms of elemental symbolism. The latter correspond to six additional mysteries regarding the aspirant’s experience of spatial presence. 

When practice leads to accomplishment the reality-shaping potential of the host is greatly amplified, likely enhancing psychic ability and magical capacity. The Covenant keeps the balance between the pairs, insuring they form a coherent whole. Contemplative focus toward the state of AIN activates them. The practice of circumcision makes a useful allegory of the sacred alignment the Covenant exemplifies. The foreskin is, therefore, like a veil separating the seeker from their divine source. Removal of the veil denudes awareness in the face of divine revelation. Sustaining denuded awareness empowers will to attain the stance or attitude of creative command. This is the positioning of being from which one forges a seat of authority and empowerment. When the denuding of awareness is operant, the conditioning and pretense of the socially adapted nature is no more, and one enters the state of AIN.

The macrocosm-oriented perspectives of QBLH posit more than a single domain of AIN, which is the furthest removed from manifest experience. One is AIN SVP AVR (“AIN-Limit of Light”) or AIN SVP OLYVN (“AIN-limit of Elevation”). Light in the esoteric sense- of the letter equation AVR– is a metaphor for the causal spark that animates awareness. Similarly, Elevation is a metaphor for the peak Creation at the precipice of the transcendent. As a letter equation of divine presence, OLYVN is also a word equation. I render the letter-by-letter interpretation as “the eye of the impulse of action fertilizing sprouts of becoming”. In other words, it is the core of the creative spark, and in this domain. The next layer of transcendence is AIN SVP, the boundary layer between intellectual conception and the purity of the experience. Beyond the boundary layer, there is the infinity/eternity of AIN, the state to which the aspirant strives. 

For accomplishment in this work, the aspirant must also have an understanding of the grades of AIN as subjective experiences progressive contemplative awareness. After all, without the subject (microcosm) representing the macrocosm, creation itself does not come full circle- after the proverbial seventh day. To be precise, the “objective reality” of esoteric conception is a mental model meant to reference the mystic experience. Verbal rendering is always off the mark, but still serves as a useful reference from for the mind to grasp and work with. The bottom line, however, is experience. In that sense, the novice deepens meditative practice to encounter and embody unconventional and often ecstatic states of awareness. Without an analytic map- albeit more metaphor than literal- to help navigate the territory, confusion and the defense mechanisms of the individualized persona (ego) could derail the process. This is true with or without the presence of a personal teacher, who is ideally more like a coach than they are a preacher of dogma.

The QBLH Tree of Life itself- as a two-dimensional construct- maps onto the human form so that the lowest domain is the base of the pelvis and the highest is the crown of the head. The aspirant who experiences presence from within the embodied perspective eventually comes to the threshold of the transcendent. The extension from the top of the tree as the placement of the worlds of AIN corresponds, in the human microcosm, to the extend space beyond the crown of the head. As a transcendent state AIN is neither light nor dark, but a pure transparency beyond any reference. It is the ground of all beginnings. The aspirant strives to channel this into their individual microcosm to activate the sephirot.

Reaching to this power, the aspirant experiences the proximate domain of light (the causal spark of mind). The void-boundary AIN SVP follows as the void of the latent structures of possibility, as opposed to the existing ones of the lower worlds/states. It includes variances and fluctuations of potential emergence with the sense of eternity and infinity prevalent. In pure AIN even possibility dissolves into undifferentiated formless transparency. When the Covenant holds, the void is anything but neutral even though being transparent. The experience of it is most true as a vastness of divine Love. The void-boundary domain itself releases the potential within it the closer to manifestation it gets. That makes it a borderland of existential emergence marked by the distinction of light and dark, active and passive, absorbing and radiating, with flows of purpose (whatever that may be) being all the more prevalent. This is the proximate void of AIN SVP AVR/ OLYVN.

Seeds of possibility transition from the void into manifest experience through application of the covenant in cultivation practice. When the seeds are one with the pure void there is no distinction and really nothing of a seed to speak of in any but the most abstract sense. The existential tension that keeps the seed from its manifest emergence is natural and not an imposition upon the situation. As the self-affirmation blossoms, the tension keeping possibility from reality takes on the nature of the will to be that blends with the energy of self-affirmation. The seed enters an increased state of presence and becomes real to manifestation.

The void is an experience within reach of human awareness, or there would be no point in contemplation practices. The void boundary emerges in an aspirant’s sense of being when the aspirant can trace back the essence of their awareness to its void-immersed seed state. We can liken the experience as activating the beginning of time, which we can term as the first act of the web-seed. The web is the evolutionary potential of the seed. The first act of its seed is the emergence of its indeterminate presence. The successful practitioner experiences the condition in pure awareness as a state of increased existential tension. When the aforementioned seed is present, its liberation from void potential reflects a process of tension release in a compressed spring.

This is the condition of the web seed fertilizing the womb of possibility. The process of ascension is in reverse now, and AIN is being carried into our experience of manifest creation. The aspirant, in this manner, experiences AIN as the womb of possibility rather than an eternal incomprehensible nothingness. The perpetually imploding seed potentials liberated into presence reverse the force of implosion into one of explosion via the transfer of intrinsic existential tension.

The first act of the seed state is its indeterminate presence. The result of the first act is the fertilization of the womb of possibility. The third stage that follows has been expressed in religious literature as the declaration Fiat Lux or “let there be light”. Light is a metaphor for existential causality transforming into evolving presence. The latter is the true otherness that emerges from the void as its creation through the release of the bowstring. Thus, the third stage is the birthing proper of possibility into actuality. Out of these three stages the ten domains of successive primordial becoming can be discerned. The student of evolutionary empowerment can trace the power of becoming through these ten spheres to their own subjective awareness of AIN. In this way the aspirant can understand the void state as their definitive existential boundary.

The Alchemical Precepts of the Emerald Tablet

The Emerald Tablet, for all its condensed form, is the quintessential foundation text of Esoteric Alchemy. It has undeniably influenced the proliferation of Hermetic wisdom in Europe since its translation into Latin during the Late Middle Ages. Regardless of its historic and cultural framework, this document, in my view, is a summarized exposition of psychophysical dynamics of human esoteric potential. In other words, the arena of transformation described is the human body itself. The agent of transformation is something that acts upon our embodied nature.

In esoteric practices, it is important to remember that everything is a function of awareness. The body is, therefore, not just an aggregation of cells, tissues and organs, but our experience of embodiment. This includes feelings, sensations and unbiased, unconditioned thought-forms comprising our state of being. The occult corpus calls this the subtle body, distinguished from the gross or coarse/dense body representing our objectified material nature. To explore this possibility, we examine the precepts this highly condensed document offers us. The primary source for this analysis is a recent translation from Arabic

First Precept- Above and Below Establish Each Other: In most translations the reference appears to be the relation between the heavenly and terrestrial domains- the lofty (spiritual) and the grounded (material) reality frames- which are identified as self-similar. Let us look at this in terms of the subtle body reference frame. The domain represented by the head leads to stimulating the transformation potential in the lower body (abdomen and pelvis), and conversely the latter stimulates the former. In Tantric terms, the crown (Shiva) and root (Shakti) centers of the human frame mirror each other and conduct the same power of transformation. In terms of alchemy practices known in China (used in Taoist traditions especially), we can speak of the relationship between the upper and lower cinnabar fields.

Second Precept- The Singular Principle: A single principle underlies all creation and is the reason behind the first precept and all the processes of manifestation. This singular principle, moreover, is the foundation of all esoteric accomplishment, magic and “supernatural” manifestation. In some translations, this is called the one mind, in others the one thing or simply unity. To get a handle on what this is, let us call this essence and label it X. This is a mystery, but one to be cultivated- fermented, if you will- as well as embodied and applied. The singular principle X is the crux of the work of the sun and the central theme of the Tablet. It is a universal presence, and enters the field of human embodiment in a specific manner. The next precept sheds light on what that is.

Third Precept- Generators and Carriers: As X enters human embodiment it is literally born (again) in us, and it takes root to grow and mature. In this process it, therefore, has both parents and carriers (nurturing agents). The paternal sun fertilizes and impregnates the maternal moon that gives birth to it. The vital breath, labeled wind carries- and according to some versions of text nourishes- it within its matrix. Then earth, the densest aspect of the subtle frame, nurtures and nourishes it as if it were its nurse. The universal force X in this manner fulfills its nature in the subtle incubation chamber of our material being. This dynamic is coherent with traditions of alchemy both east and west.

In alchemy, the sun corresponds to the anima principle. European Alchemists likely used the term in the Christian sense, meaning soul;the individualized and immanent essence of our self-awareness and felt sense of personal being. We tend to associate this with the emotions of the heart. The moon represents the spiritus principle, which is closer to the idea of mental will or the power of consciousness. It became associated with mental activity, and the head. As a feminine and receptive dynamic of awareness, the moon is the receiver of spirit, the essence of consciousness and the mover of mind. The sun represents the heart as the center of identity and our sense of self, the very power of physical embodiment. While we can visualize both of these concepts in terms of wind/breath, the latter is an independent representation of life force, similar to eastern concepts such as prana and chi, both connected directly to respiration. Finally, earth is the sphere of the elements as forces behind the functioning of the physical body, whose belly/womb is the abdominal area. It is the most formative and densest dynamic of the subtle body- closest to physical function and still being non-corporeal. This is the alchemical corpus.

Synthesis of Lunar, Solar and Elemental (Earth) Principles to establish the subtle body mapping in the form of a Solar (Alchemical) Mercury glyph. This is the representation of the AZOTh Principle we call X here.

If we combine the principles, we get an interesting glyph as shown below. This is a glyph of the planet Mercury, only with a dot in the circle. This Mercury is a representation of the human subtle body where the three principles enter a working synthesis. We are speaking here of an awareness frame or state of being. The alchemical term is AZOTh. Alchemists say that all we need is AZOTh and Fire to accomplish the Work, while Renaissance occultist John Dee depicted this notion in his Hieroglyphic Monad.

The solar principle associated with the heart- the heart-felt awareness frame is our center of identity as an experienced felt sense as opposed to a mental conception. This is projected into the head to fertilize the receptive (contemplative) nature of the mind to fortify the sense with consciousness. Using the breath (wind)- specifically the sensation of inhale and the power of attention, we guide this amplified felt sense at the level of the belly where the elemental nature of our being nurtures it. We find parallels with Chinese internal alchemy practices, dealing with the transformations taking place in the lower cinnabar field.

John Dee’s Hieroglyphic Monad as a depiction of AZOTh+Fire in relation to the synthesis of Alchemical Mercury described in the Emerald Tablet

Fourth Precept- Relation between X and Earth: Earth is where the singular principle actualizes its nature and potential. As indicated above, earth in the context of subtle body experience likely denotes the central abdominal area (navel), corresponding to the oriental lower cinnabar field. Here we nurture X, according to the previous precept, while it finds its perfected manifestation according to this one.

Within this earth, and via the activity of X, we extract/cultivate a certain fire. The text tells us that this is tantamount to the subtle being separate from the gross. The fire is itself an aspect of X, itself a universal principle of creation. Our work is to own, individualize and awaken its potential in our being. Although of the subtle body, the localized earth is still denser and static, whereas fire is mobile and energized. Interestingly, there are also similarities to the Tibetan esoteric practice known as Tummo.  

Fifth Precept- Extraction and Circulation of Subtle Fire: The power of X resides in the lower cinnabar field where we focus in a manner to extract the subtle aspect from the denser one. Fire then comes out of it, and through the power of our attention, we lead it upward through the body (presumably through a vertical path parallel to the spine), reaching the head where it absorbs the higher consciousness of the lunar (contemplative) consciousness in the form of spiritual light. This it brings to the lower regions to illuminate and further catalyze AZOTh, and our transformation.

The text declares X as a power or force that overcomes all things subtle and penetrates all things gross. This is a power of awareness, not to be confused with a mental formation, or an abstraction of consciousness. We can loosely call it consciousness energy, a cultivated version of the prime dynamic that marked the beginning of our process. It is likely similar to the power of consciousness known as śakti in yoga traditions when married to the awakened individualized universal consciousness associated with śiva.  

One Arabic translation affirms that the microcosm and macrocosm are the same, hence insinuating that the human frame of embodiment is indeed our frame of operation. A shorter translation stops the cycle when it reaches the top and from there illuminates the world, very much akin to the Kundalini activation process.

In conclusion, this installment barely scratches the surface on how the process of inner cultivation is to take place. While there are marked similarities with other traditions known today, the Hermetic way is by not identical to them. Chinese inner work begins in the lower cinnabar field, and shifts cultivation to the chest area and then the head, all the while using attention to circulate the felt sense through specific pathways at or right below the skin. Indian systems have similar circulation practices, but most of these involve cultivating fire at the base of the spine and using contemplative focus to project it into the head and above. The cultivation practices implied in the Sepher Yetsira vary as well, as we shall see.

That being said, the information provided here and in other installments, outlines a possibility that allows one to view the texts, and alchemy as a whole, in a more tangible light, liberated from its cryptic allusions. In this manner, the aspiring occultist can grasp and apply the precepts into coherent practice. To that end, and since this exposition is insufficient as a practical guide, more will be posted on the matter in future installments. It is my hope that the information provided overall will contribute to bring the interested reader closer to realizing even greater accomplishments than those before us aspired.

A Few Words on Inner Cultivation

This blog specializes in the exposition of arcane/esoteric knowledge. Through the understanding of such information, one can acquire the skill to apply cultivated altered states of awareness toward actualizing ones potential and to affect ones real world experience. Affecting real world experience, as I understand it, includes transforming ourselves, and influencing events, even the people around us, and the world at large.

When these articles have previously touched upon particular esoteric topics, such as the wisdom of QBLH, I have used the term “cultivation” without providing a coherent description of what that means in this context. This installment aims to correct that oversight. I want to make it clear that the material here is not a purist exposition of historic material. It isn’t an eclectic hodgepodge of loosely knit threads, such as one finds in certain types of modern “new age” occultism either.

The material is a synthesis of purist elements. These are weaved together based on the notion that esoteric knowledge is a function of human nature and potential rather than cultural disposition and historic circumstances. It is undeniable that the latter are influential and shape the framework of the wisdom they profess, but this wisdom is still all about our humanity and all that can this can actualize.   

This material, therefore, represents a modern variation on multiple ancient and perennial themes with emphasis on qualities that I have found effective over the years. Specifically, occultism has been an interest of mine for over four decades, while consistent research and application has dominated my approach for over three of those decades. With the advent of the Internet, my acquisition of knowledge increased considerable- something we can assert for most folks seriously interested in esoteric topics. Over the last fifteen years in particular, greater access to translated material, and my own study of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, as well as Sanskrit, have expedited my own understanding while validating many otherwise unconfirmed intuitive explorations in both theory and practice.

Any validation, however, is incomplete without the experience to back it up. It is apparent that progress includes refining the theory to reflect one’s experiences, and making comparisons with how other cultures and time-periods manifested this knowledge. In practical terms the sheer scope of esoteric material is too broad to cover when application is the aim. Anyone can be an occult theoretician, and for most, a little persistence will lead to a degree of success in practice. The question is if that degree is satisfactory, and if we instead end up promoting our own limitations- or misguided exaggerations at the other end of the spectrum- as the nature of the beast itself.

The focus here is on understanding occult themes involving cultivation so as establish general patterns of practice so that the fruits leading to transformations of self and the acquisition of capacities to perform magic can come within the practitioner’s reach. By magic, I refer to the ability to alter reality according to will aside from physical action or psychological manipulation. Practice also can lead to the mastery of levels of perception and expression that we know as “psychic”.

In systems such as yoga, Western and Taoist alchemy, the awakening of such abilities is a natural outcome. Advocates have evaluated these expressions of empowerment in terms ranging from simple symptoms of cultivation practice, to lauding them as the very aim of the work. It all depends on which elements are emphasized and the disposition of those who formulated the particular approach.

In the framework elaborated here, we need not concern ourselves with moral qualifications. This has nothing to do with avoiding or sidestepping the issue. The morality of practicing and teaching occultism has been, after all, one of concern for me in the past. It has everything to do with the fact that healthy and well-balanced cultivation has a transforming effect on the psyche, and is technically far more effective than any brand of therapy modern science can offer. If an aspirant can reflect clear understanding into balanced practice, they can address artifice of moral dictation as the redundant conditioning it is. In that approach, one eventually can see that the benefits of moralistic dictation- in structuring the sustainability of human relations- fall apart in the face of the consequence of its imposed restrictions.  

That being said I want to affirm that one can easily argue morality as a relative conception, with convincing conviction. One is, however, unlikely to manage pushing such a notion regarding the healthy actualization of human potential. All we need is to look at the fruits of that actualization. A sociopath can argue their brand of morality, against all common sense, quite successfully. The art of rhetoric assures us that one need not be moral to come off as logical, and it is common knowledge that sociopaths have been known to be quite charismatic when they choose to be.

One indication that esoteric knowledge is prone to healthy outcomes is the emphasis on love. If love is considered a weakness, outright denied or used as a means to hurt others- knowingly or not- cultivation is most likely full of aberrations. Its corrupt fruits can only thus express the proliferation of pathology instead of realizing evolutionary potential.

All in all human beings, especially the more intellectually competent of the species, can be masters of deception. Healthy cultivation, on the other hand, allows us to strengthen the innate capacity to be aware of human corruption no matter how it is sugarcoated. More to the point, it empowers us to address it effectively. In other words, when done correctly inner cultivation is beneficial across the board, while free of considerations of black, white and gray.

I have already mentioned that the spectrum of esoteric knowledge is too broad to cover in a coherent blog. Even the spectrum of cultivation practices would be nothing but a series of superficial glosses if we wanted to be thorough regarding the available material. By necessity, the chosen esoteric framework here is intended to bring everything I know together into applications that make sense. I find the Western/Hermetic format satisfactory for this, and include occasional excursions to other areas when these can support the chosen theme.     

In this manner, I seek to bring Hermetic wisdom into a modern (post post-modern, if you will) context. Some may find this approach controversial and difficult to substantiate. From my perspective, however, the influences not only of Christianity, but also Neoplatonism, overdressed ceremonial and the more recent Theosophical and New Age ideologies, have stripped western esoteric wisdom from its life-affirming and existentially integrating premises. I find that filtering out certain elements of theoretical complexity and filling the gaps with patterns of esoteric understanding from alternative traditions such as Indian Tantra and the Nei Kung practices of the Far East allows for a more comprehensive and down to earth application potential of cultivation fundamentals.

In future presentations surrounding the general understanding of cultivation practices we will elaborate on some of these patterns. I believe, however, that engaging in the basic premises that form a common thread through more than one framework of cultivation across the globe, the reader can better grasp the presentation, in theory as well as practice.

On a more personal note, there have been some glitches in realizing my expressed plans to be consistent in my posting. This is not because of lack of material, but rather due to demands on my time and ability to access the Internet. Hence, as a review and clarification of the mission statement for this blog, I present this introductory topic. If the reader is to digest the information in a constructive manner devoid of misunderstanding, I feel it is important to present the threads of esoteric knowledge in combination with elaborations of this sort. Next time, we will begin describing the ten phases of cultivation known as the Sephiroth Belimah of the Manual of Shaping in practical detail, two at a time as the aforementioned text implies.  

Notes on the Ten Sepirot Belimah

Before we elaborate on each of the ten steps of esoteric cultivation offered in the SY (Earliest Recoverable Text), it would be useful to do a quick paraphrase so the reader has an idea regarding where we are going with our exposition. Let us start with a description of sephirah anatomy. Each of these ten accounts of restraining (contemplation practices), has a title, followed by a two-part theme that constitutes our main target of focused attention. The title amounts to the meaning of the word for the corresponding number value of a given account. This, along with the preliminary contemplation practice involving the depth or mystery of the account’s conceptual label sets the stage for the main practice.

The first thing we do is look at the general structuring of the accounts themselves. As already mentioned, we are to organize the stages of practice in terms of serial pairs, defined by the labels we have been given as mysteries or unfathomable depths. In this manner, the first two depths are complementary as first and last. The next two- loosely and inaccurately translated- as good and bad follow. Then we have the complementary directions in the space around the practitioner (up/down, front/back, left/right).

In the center of these is the practitioner. Their strength in the practice of deep contemplation is the embodiment of the covenant of alignment so as to attain the mystical state of awareness necessary for success. The aforementioned covenant means the requisite level of proficiency in contemplation cannot be bypassed or glossed if the aspirant wants the process of cultivation to give up is fruits. This takes time, and cutting corners will at best severely dilute the power of our subsequent specified practices. As with the alleged practitioners of old, taking a path such as this is a matter of serious commitment; hence the allusion to the biblical covenant itself.

That being said, and given one has attained a level of experience that allows one to access deep states of awareness more or less easily, one can focus that ability to specific themes of focus. The stages are addressed in pairs, with contemplation practice being holding them together. That means after each pair is worked, the two are worked together. To work each pair we address the depth of each. This can be taken as the mystery theme behind the corresponding process. The number value complements this and can be understood as coupled with it. Thus, if the number one (AChD) is understood as a dynamic of self-reflection, the depth or mystery theme of the account is that of cause, where RAShITh literally means: first. These two words tell us what the account is addressing: the mystery of cause in terms of the self-reflecting dynamic of the number one. At the same time, such simple descriptions do not do the theme itself justice. Only contemplation on their connection can. In that sense, both the number and the mystery theme represent the tone that emerges from our experience of AIN.

The next part of the account is two-fold and establishes the framing of the account, or the way we relate to the procedure. The first represents the context, likened to a coal, and the second to the power that drives it, like the flame causing the coal to burn. At the same time, the relationship is reversed. The second part is context and fuel to the first, which is its driving force. We, therefore, treat these two parts as if each one were ignited within the other, which is its fuel. Let’s return to our example of the first account and just show the two-fold main body of the corresponding verse:

  1. Elohim [Power/Powers] of Life,
  2. …She is the Sanctifying Spirit [Intelligence] of This.

                                Alternate: It is this: the Sanctifying Spirit.

We have two interlocking themes here; the powers of life, and the sanctifying intelligence. The latter, depending on the translation details, is either a part of Elohim of Life or another name for it. Either way, the Spirit (RVCh) is of dedication to a specified purpose- entity or circumstance.

We will thoroughly explore the meanings apparent and implied from the above phrasing. In this analysis we aim to look at the framing of contemplation practice for the ten verses of accomplishment in general.

Clearly, before we can apply we need to understand. Before we can understand we need to approach in the most coherent manner, respecting the hints given to us in the text we have already analyzed for the Earliest Recoverable Text of the SY. Embedding the first and second parts of the verse into each other may appear like a questionable feat of conception. It makes sense because of the insight such a paradoxical coupling inspires. It also makes sense because it demands a thorough understanding of the two parts of each account or the flame in the burning coal will go out.

In the above example, we are challenged to not just have a sense of intellectual meaning, but to experience directly in and through contemplation what Elohim of Life is- at least to the one contemplating. If the translation is ambiguous or exhibits more than one rendering, we need to examine the options in relation to the first part of the account. Our touchstones of meaning are the number of the account, and the depth or mystery of the corresponding quality associated with the account.

The tactic of using complex contemplation practices to attain esoteric accomplishment is not uncommon in formal cultivation systems such as Indian yoga. In this case, we are weaving two parts of a single practice defined by a combination of the esoteric meanings of its corresponding number and a conceptual quality meant to trigger a gnosis experience in relation to the given verse. It is noteworthy that, from a cultivation perspective, if one masters a given account (sephirah), they can tune into its power directly by focusing on its corresponding number.

In that sense, the system may not simply be one of one-shot mastery of an end-goal. Such states of accomplishment are rare, and quite unlikely just the result of a pre-structured process of cultivation. There are many who can apply esoteric gnosis, but few who abide in it perpetually. One could, therefore, master the ten accounts as a series of steps to enter a state of esoteric empowerment for a specified purpose. Living in perpetual gnosis would be the goal of a mystic, and it may indeed have been the nature of the singular adept described in verse 2.V. For most disciples of the revived system, however, it would be much easier to selectively enter the hallowed state, so as to temporarily gain abilities a lay person would consider supernatural.

It is realistic to surmise, furthermore, that the aforementioned application could have been a precursor to that state of perpetual gnosis whose accomplishment would be considered more a matter of divine grace than diligent practice. Even if the aspirant did not or could not attain that final state of grace, they probably could activate a lesser or more temporary gnosis in order to heal someone, or divine the future or to acquire enhanced oratory capacity. It would be as simple as counting from one to ten for a master of the process. One could even perform feats of magic, such as constructing a golem, for example.

It goes without saying that our analysis is speculative, but also that this speculation is founded on text interpretation in the context of esoteric practices of other traditions past and present. The practice of condensing the power of a phrase (meant to activate either through ritual or some form of cultivation application) into a single word or even a gesture, is known as anchoring in the modern manipulative practice of Neurolinguistic Programming. Our accounts are. therefore, tapestries of potential meant to be weaved from a number of interacting strands of practice, themselves an outcome of progressive accomplishment.

They also relate to each other in at least three ways. 1) The first four are distinct from the last six. 2) The activation of each is dependent on feedback with its paired verse (the next or the previous). The test to see if one activates the first account is to easily be able to practice the second one, while the latter’s success depends on the quality of the former’s activation. 3) The accounts are progressive in a serial manner, which is how we can serially number them. In this way, each one sets the foundation for the next whether it is its polar pair or not. Keeping in mind the prerequisites and framings for each account, and how they are to be approached. We can proceed to a more in depth immersion by addressing them in the pairs emphasized by the text itself.

Final Preliminary Practices to Activate the Ten Sephirot Progression

This installment is a direct continuation of the Basic Practices post, which revolved around the previous two verses of the Earliest Recoverable Text of the SY. It also completes the discussion on preliminary practices, which began with the verses I have labeled as I and II. If you haven’t read those posts at least, I strongly suggest you do. Comprehension is a function of topic continuity where this information is concerned.

That being said, I would be remiss to the reader if I failed to provide a summary of the previous two discussions. First and foremost, the text in mention- the Book of Shaping or Sepher Yetsirah- can be taken as an instruction manual for the attainment of esoteric wisdom, something we point out in our analysis of the first verse of the text

The work refers to a process of ten steps, organized in pairs and made coherent by a certain internal alignment with the requisite state of awareness to stimulate their activation. This state is the product of working with the power of the word, demanding a certain focus of vocalization (be it voiced, whispered or expressed mentally). The process appears similar to the use of mantras or spells of sorts, a practice not uncommon in esoteric practices be they of a mystical bent or involving the application of magic.

The practices are based on a genuine divine revelation. They are neither mental constructs nor are they powered autonomously (the product of some form of idolatry, for example). In other words, the work is defined as being mystical in nature, a kind of internal alchemy rather than a practice of magic. Their actualization, however, results in the embodiment of a wisdom that activates in the practitioner the potential to affect things magically- and specifically via the power of the word and the use of symbol. This is no different than the nature of esoteric systems of South and East Asia where prolonged mystical training results in occult powers known as siddhis (accomplishments).

These practices are also undertaken after a suitable preparation. This preparation and how it is undertaken is itself an alignment or covenant with the powers behind them. The system in mention is anything but arbitrary. It is likely the result of an occult revival of sorts where a dying oral tradition had been taken off the shelf, and re-worked by a capable adept who appears to have founded or represented an occult lineage or tradition through their work. The work, according to the perspective expounded here, is of an esoteric nature based on contemplation practice. Being consistent in one’s practice and undaunted in one’s persistence despite difficulties is part of the commitment that is phrased in terms of a covenant.

The ten steps are undertaken in a specific manner. Each step has two parts: the initial part of the account and the latter part. So each step is a dual dynamic of contemplative focused attention. The first part of the account is practiced until results are gained, and the second part is weaved into it so the revelations of the first are like the fuel that fires up the second portion. As contemplation practice progresses, one enters the requisite state of awareness identified with the void known as AIN. The state of AIN is considered to manifest one’s awareness after the aforementioned framing is brought to fruition. That completes our review. From here we will be elaborating on the meaning of the following two verses:

V. Ten reckonings of restraining. And out of their power of ten, where AIN is their end-point: Cause is Unfathomable and Effect is Unfathomable; Security is Unfathomable and the Foreign is Unfathomable; Elevation is Unfathomable and The Underneath [one’s Ground] is Unfathomable; East is Unfathomable and West is Unfathomable; North is Unfathomable and South is Unfathomable. And a sole Adept of El [Power] was a sovereign of their revelation. The ruling by all of them was from the refuge of his sanctuary and a testimony of adornments of perpetuity.

VI. Ten reckonings of restraining: Their vantage-point is like a mirror of the lightning-flash; and their AIN extremity is an end for them. And his work with them is according to “[it is] run and [you must] return [it]”. And for his promise, like a whirlwind they will be the pursued and before his throne they are from that [state] brought down.

Our current post continues the progression of textual information with specific practices of contemplation to be undertaken. Once that state is accessed, each stage involves contemplation on one of ten corresponding principles. The word used for each of these is not the subject of contemplation, however. Each term is a superficial label that acts as a mental handle for the deepening of awareness surrounding it. That would the depth or mystery of the term. In the translation I identify this process in terms of what each term is: unfathomable.

AIN is the state of awareness required to access this depth and experience a fusion with what is to the temporal mind unfathomable. I could not help but associate the above description with a process described in the yoga literature as sayama, itself a synthesis of three distinct processes: a) localized focus, b) delocalization of focus while maintaining the disciplined attention of part (a), and c) a state of union with one’s own field of consciousness as the true authority of ones being. The first process is known as concentration, and the second is known as contemplation. The latter state of attentiveness ideally leads to the cultivation of a state of consciousness denuded of concepts. The third process of sayama is known as samādhi, and describes a state where ones power of consciousness and subjective sense are completely at one with the field of one’s experience so that all is That.

The verse goes on to mention a notable adept, who may or may not be the reformer mentioned earlier. This adept mastered the preliminaries- as well as the ten main stages- and through them accessed a state or stance through which the beauty and value of the unfathomable was not only at their beck and call in terms of experiencing them, but was able to manipulate the power that resulted from that alignment.

The next and final verse describing- albeit in a cryptic and easy to gloss over manner- the preliminary specifics to the ten steps, expresses a very zen-like description of the state of awareness we seek to embody. It is reminiscent of the phrase: “Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment chop wood and carry water”. Similarly, our text tells us to continue our contemplative practice even after we have experienced the depths of contemplation and the state of AIN.

In that continuation our awareness is like a mirror in response to a violent lightning flash reflected in it. The reflection is picture-perfect, but the surface of the mirror remains unperturbed. In this way the chaos of all we embody in our contemplation practices becomes ordered. It, furthermore, structures itself around our centered position in sacred space- which is a point of focus in the last six unfathomable conceptions, to be elaborated in the ten procedures themselves. As such, we are now ready to engage in the latter…once the prerequisites are set, that is.

In the next installment, we will hone in on the unfathomable conceptions, rendered as depths in most translations. It might be useful to clarify these- although the third and fourth have already been discussed in length. We are dealing with references that propose an added dimension of meaning (depth) to what a single translated word might offer. An analysis of the Hebrew letter-equations might, therefore, provide further insight in terms of what we are actually exploring in the contemplation practices indicated.

Basic Practices toward Sephirot Actualization in the Book of Formation

With the posts surrounding the ten sephirot we aim to examine and describe themas they are presented in the Earliest Recoverable Text of the Sepher Yetsira (Manual of Shaping). Our perspective addresses the sephirot as ten practices, with the verses leading up to them involving their prerequisites practices. Their persistent application is meant to lead the aspirant to a state of mastery (wisdom).

In previous installments we diverged into the biblical story of Eden- the fall from grace therein and the role of the two trees, of life and of knowledge of tov and raa. The Tree mapped in QBLH, is a map of both microcosm and macrocosm. This is likely the truth regarding the two Trees of Eden as well. The other tree can be seen as a different mode of the Tree of Life. It represents the same awareness of the micro and micro cosmos’ from a dualistic perspective; the perspective of material world embodiment. This information will serve us as we collect the specifics of our ten accounts and ultimately integrate the practices outlined.

In our exploration of the text, we come to the third and fourth verses. The first two verses opened us to the concepts of the Covenant and the significance of the number ten in this work- as opposed to nine and eleven. To this point we are not given specific practices. We are told the conditions of practice, that the accounts are paired, and that the work involved is with the power of the word. We are also told that the practices are of a revived esoteric tradition involving a master, which means the wisdom is probably far older. In this installment we briefly examine the next two verses, which also provide preliminary information regarding the nature of our work:

III. Ten reckonings of restraining: Restrained is your mouth faced with speech. Restrained is your heart-mind faced with fantasy. And if [ever] it ran, your heart-mind returned to the standing place it pacified. It is said: “[it is] run and [so] return [it]”. And regarding this matter the Covenant was established.

IV. Ten reckonings of restraining: Rooted is their end in their beginning and their beginning in their end, like a flame in a burning coal, which is the framing of each one, and AIN is second to it [the framing]. And before one/each, what are you reckoning?

The third verse justifies the label given to our ten accounts. They are reckonings and listings of practices involving restraint. The idea is clarified in the verse at the onset. Restraint is a part of contemplation practices exemplifying most every spiritual tradition on Earth, specifically corresponding to concentration practice- dharāṇa– in yoga traditions. Focus requires restrained speech, ditto with imagination and verbal thought. The third verse also manages to describe a fundamental tenet of esoteric cultivation in a few words: run and return. Basically, if you fall off the horse of maintaining concentration, just get back on.

The author of the verse could not emphasize the importance of the tenet enough. The Covenant could not be established without it, because the Covenant is an alignment that demands mystical states of awareness and higher consciousness. Simply put, without a strong focus, there can be no alignment. In yoga, contemplation/meditation and hence illumination and spiritual liberation, are out of reach without the ability to focus. If meditation were just about focusing awareness, however, any predator on the hunt would be a sage, and any talented sniper a spiritual giant. Focusing awareness is a prerequisite, and not the only one.

We are informed the reckonings are phrases with two parts, something confirmed if we examine the phrases. In some reckonings the first part involves an extraction of one state- or energy- of awareness from a preexisting one. These can be symbolized by elements, such as air, water and fire, and extracting one from another is likely a practice of focus in itself. This is an example of the beginning of a particular account. The second part describes what is to be done with that state. The reckonings, all of a similar format, don’t work unless we get what verse four is telling us.

So for each account we identify the two parts, and know that to activate the particular step, we need to take the first as the power source- flame of a burning coal- of the second.

That is how each account is framed, and AIN is second to that, which means it comes after we take care of that requisite. We have already discussed the meaning of AIN here. The conclusion was that AIN, in the context of cultivation, is a state of awareness that comes after consistent and deep contemplative practice. Practice aims at that state, which prevails when there is no more need for restraint, as it is described in the previous verse at least.

The final piece of information we are given here is in the form of a question. Before (each) one, what do you reckon- what have you figured out? In other words, how are you prepared in the face of each, or any, of the SPIRVTh BLIMH? The author is giving us a head’s up that prerequisite information is being supplied.

In decoding these verses we note the condensed and specific nature of the instructions given. One can only imagine how condensed an even earlier version of the SY was in content, which to me supports the idea that the work was done for teachers as fundamental notes in a time when the oral tradition was threatened. It happens when those in the know are put to death.

In the next installment, our process goes even deeper. The next two verses to be examined are the last before the text dives straight into the accounts themselves. As we will see in the next installment, these are more specific in the instructions they offer. We will examine these instructions, and do a review of the cultivation material offered in the six verses before the SPIRVTh are directly addressed in the context of that wisdom.

Love, the Divine Feminine and Moving the Assemblage Point

The paradigms expressed by Castaneda can be applied using a composite understanding resulting from a complementary synthesis of esoteric approaches. Such associations of esoteric models need to be brought together carefully, thoughtfully and with attention to the particular points of emphasis of each paradigmatic approach. Sorcerers, according to Castaneda, fulfill desires by shifting perception to worlds where corresponding events  are hosted so to speak- where reality naturally conforms toward said outcomes. They do this by means of the shifting of an esoteric point that can be identified on the energy body- abstractly in my view- and manipulated through deliberate alterations of awareness rather than trying to move a localized point literally to another area of the energy body. 

This model or reality frame appears more user-friendly to everyday logic in my view. The mind more readily accepts change through displacement to a different part of a broader landscape than change by altering everything in one’s existing frame directly. Its simpler to view change as a result of going to the place where desired change naturally happens then disrupting the current order to impose change upon it, in other words. Its similar to the ease of moving to a different place in a room in contrast to rearranging the furniture to get the same vantage point from one’s original position.

Regardless, paradigm or not, shifting the assemblage point still amounts to changing our  experience of embodiment. Each set of experiences is defined by lines of force encompassed by the current assemblage point. So we can consider a world to be a set of experiences. That being said, the world we appear to share with others has as many matrices of experience as it does aware entities to have them. In addition, the human assemblage point has the capacity to expand beyond its current definitions; to not just change perspective, but to expand or contract it.

In examining the paradigm of Castaneda’s sorcery, the methods appear  limited to the impersonal mind plane of universal awareness and ultimately reflect its workings. There are places of consciousness beyond that, which address the very heart of being, whose nature is Love, beyond conceptions distinguishing personal from impersonal. But the Eagle described in the Way of the Warrior can easily be experienced without that core essence sustaining the process.

Nevertheless, in my experience with esoteric cultivation, for the lines of force to define a strong and flexible assemblage point in full compatibility with the subject, Love is the agent that keeps it all coherent. Any pattern is available without the carrier of Existential Love, but it is invariably more brittle and of less impact unless Love is replaced by negating consciousness, the force or spectrum of being that represents the unraveling of creation and in extreme cases, the annihilation of consciousness. This can manifest as forms of psychopathy, punctuated by expressions of hatred as well as latent hatred masked by indifference. Humans, however, are capable of love at the individual level as well as capable of opening to universal well-being even without the core level experience in any conscious manner.

To avoid psychopathic pitfalls, and without more than the average human capacity for love, ethical conceptions are adopted, with selective restrictions to insure clarity of intention, to avoid energy waste through relationship imbalance and to apply strict discipline to ingrain patterns in the assemblage point that serve as a general guide to maintain personal integrity. Thus if one is a compassionate individual, one still remains unaffected by forces of existential negation.

Core Love on the other hand takes care of things for us, so we may focus energy on changes in a way that always feels right. The result is that deeper layers of desire are brought to the surface so our intent may fertilize them and the shift can become a tangible experience. The difference is that the more Love is established the more unconditional our experience of change is. We need not give up anything to get something, or be the source of anything but benefit to the world in fulfilling ourselves.

Core Love and the matrix of desire (field of Yin, the essence of the divine feminine pole of existence) are two factors the Way of the Warrior described in Castaneda’s works does not address. It primarily appears to address the presence of consciousness of this Universe or the Universal Mind. This is not God or Core Consciousness, but a cosmic expression of mind. For the assemblage point to translate into reality experience, the patterns (Yang essence) flowing into convergence must fertilize the matrix of desire corresponding to them. Energy is stored in direct relation to the receptivity of the matrix of desire to those patterns. Compatibility means living the life one is meant to live, while incompatibility means being subject to forces of fate that determine experience whether one desires it or not.

Core Love is the natural fusion of the dynamics of Yin and Yang as described above. It is also inherent in the states of consciousness transcending the universal mind, and what fosters the fusion that guarantees meaningful manifestation. As such, I mean to examine Sorcery in terms of this expanded existential model, which is a direct reflection of mystical experiences. In this installment, we briefly address the three categories of practice that are supposed to bring about a shift in the assemblage point.

As already mentioned:

1) Intent is the Force of consciousness.

2) Stalking assesses one’s existential topography to identify where the assemblage point is, and what is around it. Then one targets a new position accordingly.

3) Altered States (Dreaming, Meditating etc) involve learning to regain fluidity of the assemblage point.

We elaborated on the meaning of intent in the last discussion. Although it wasn’t mentioned, the discussions of existential landscape and increasing one’s potential energy can be directly applied to the practice of stalking. Finally, altered states change the focus of awareness within the existing assemblage point, which make it flexible and more easily movable. Such changes may also directly move the point to a new position.

When intent is insufficient it is often because one’s presence is diminished, because the assemblage point has become rigid, or because one is in a low energy state. What we may not notice, however, is that the response to our practices is undermined. Introspective examination would reveal the matrix of desire is afflicted somehow and deprived of Core connection, even though the universal mind has a near infinite spectrum of options.

It is beyond the scope of this installment to describe just how to utilize the three categories of practice in the context presented. I am posing the elements of the expanded model in a synthesis with the Norse model of the world tree. The synthesis is anything but arbitrary and in the context of mystical experience maps out the esoteric possibilities in a meaningful and applicable manner.

Castaneda’s system does not take into account the receptive (Yin) medium that represents magnetic desire in the manifesting process. This is the divine feminine as the power of existence and experience as substantial as opposed to being some fluctuation of consciousness. In alchemy this medium is described as the Prima Materia. To help compensate for such limitations we can complement the process with a Norse mythic model. This can establish a more flexible and resourceful context for the field of the Yin to be recognized as a participant in the process of manifest existential unfolding.

Changing the assemblage point means accessing states of awareness that correspond to the structures of the World Tree at the root level where the three wells of Wyrd is located. The processes of the Well correspond to the way the assemblage point moves and the activity of the lines of force it sustains. The state of awareness that allows one to access the well consciousness is the same that allows a corresponding motion of the assemblage point. In this case the motion of the assemblage point would appear moderate, since we are working within a physical world framework. Since we are addressing deep level existential issues, however, the motion is anything but moderate. On the other hand, motion likely occurs along lines undetectable by standards where an expanded paradigm was not adopted.

The result is a state of being where one can pattern the flow of events as one wills, continuously or as desire arises. In that state the environment and the subject are so open to each other that former definitions of self are challenged and a constant communion, if not actual dialog, streams between the two.

The Concept of Energy and Castaneda’s Assemblage Point

I am using the esoteric model popularized by Carlos Castaneda as a springboard to explore the concept of energy. The model revolves around the notion of the assemblage point, and describes sorcery as its manipulation at will.

This seemingly hypothetical point that can be identified on the energy body, dictates what you perceive and therefore what you are. The idea is that all exists from Essence or Source, and that this existence is fostered via lines of force carrying the patterns to feed the medium of all that is. A human has a near infinite spectrum of options of being, but at the conscious physical level the options are severely limited. The entity accesses these options though a mobile center of focus. This is the assemblage point.

A given position of the assemblage point, therefore, corresponds to a bounded and specified spectrum of potential experiences, including responses and expressions of initiative. This spectrum includes thought patterns and physical dispositions. It is, furthermore, still a minute portion of the near- if not outright- infinite tapestry of existential experience available to that entity.

At the most directly accessible level, therefore, you can change your body habits, thought and behavior patterns within the range dictated by the current position of the assemblage point. You can do this by simply applying will power and directed action. Effect then follows cause in a more or less logical and linear manner, in accordance to the potentialities of the assemblage point itself. If the assemblage point emphasizes other variables that conflict with the intended changes changes then we find things either don’t change or events bring conditions back to where they were after a brief shift.

The assemblage point includes the world one inhabits as well as one’s own disposition. The lines of power that pass through the assemblage point involve all experience, inner and outer, from who one is to what world one inhabits. Simply put, the greater the shift in the assemblage point, the greater one’s existential experience alters. Castaneda promoted a threefold practice to activate the ability to manipulate the assemblage point: intent, stalking and dreaming. As this is my take on the matter, the definitions are also my own interpretation:

1) Intent is the Force of consciousness.

2) Stalking assesses one’s existential topography to identify where the assemblage point is, and what is around it. Then one targets a new position accordingly.

3) Altered States (Dreaming, Meditating etc) involve learning to regain fluidity of the assemblage point.

To move the assemblage point we require a measure commonly labeled energy, and without it there would be no force and hence no consciousness that is the cause of change. Energy is a term one finds liberally used in esoteric teachings of all types, but the actual meaning of the word is rarely specified, beyond interpreting the equivalent terms in other languages. If we can look at the term as it is defined scientifically and even mathematically, we can draw parallels with esoteric understanding and perhaps expand our occult model and its possibilities of application.

Let’s look at the notion as it is expressed in classical physics (Newtonian Mechanics). Energy is extrapolated from the meaning of force in physics. The esoteric parallel can be understood in terms of consciousness- as we defined intent in the list above. The comparison between esoteric and scientific meanings of force and energy is allegorical and useful for our esoteric application as mentioned. In classical mechanics, force is defined mathematically as the product of mass x acceleration. Mass is defined in physics as matter’s capacity for inertia, the response of the environment to the presence of the body in mention. Mass determines what it takes to counter the motion of an object, and how the object behaves when we apply acceleration and force. We often associate mass with the force of gravity, and confuse it with weight, but the definition involves any applied force. The esoteric parallel to mass is presence.

To get the esoteric parallel of acceleration, we break it down to its fundamental variable, that of distance or displacement. In terms of esoteric parallels, displacement translates to how much- qualitatively speaking- change has altered the conditions of the application of intent. Force is, therefore, the presence increased by a factor of the rate of acceleration of change that applied consciousness engenders. Without getting into the math, work as an esoteric parallel assesses the extent of change in terms of the intent in combination with the arena of application, or what actually was meant to change. Work is the measure of what the applied force does- in terms of the change it causes. To simplify, when an object is moving work and energy are one and the same. Thus the Energy of Change (Transformation Energy) is the same as the work involved to effect said transformation: the experienced initial intent multiplied by the extent of the arena of application. Thus the force applied amplifies its effect through the arena of transformation- represented by displacement in physics.

The above terms are non-quantifiable, so the mathematical parallels are meaningless if we cannot read them qualitatively. Addition and subtraction are meaningless since they only occur between quantities of the same measure rather than a synthesis of varying conceptions. Multiplication and division, however, the way different types of qualities come into synergy. We can look at the qualitative interpretation geometrically. The product of two variables can be viewed as a two dimensional array the variables as its corresponding dimensions. Thus, energy is an array of influence defined by force in one dimension and displacement in the other. We cannot speak of energy when there is no change in experience because of it, at least not in terms of the above model. Then the energy is in potential. That means the capacity for displacement exists, such as with an object on the edge of a cliff. If it tips and falls, the energy in potential becomes increasingly kinetic- the type previously discussed- as it accelerates falling, until it hits bottom.

From an esoteric perspective, potential energy is a sort of ground intention-state. As an applied force of intention on autopilot, it includes the fulfillment of basic needs so we may be sustained in our environment and during the course of our life. This does not refer to instincts, which are the way such needs are expressed. The needs are inherent in every living body, and in humans are rather more complex for a variety of reasons. We can call this Intrinsic Intention, noting that we are speaking of a state of relative mental health by the standards of modern society.

To extrapolate the esoteric parallel, potential energy is the measure defined by the response of the world to the entity’s capacity for change, when expanded by the inherent space possibility where an entity can engender change with minimal effort. Perhaps the physics conception would make this easier to understand. Potential energy in mechanics has to do with the capacity of a body to fall. Force must be applied in all directions for anything to move except one: down. If you are standing on something then gravity is acting on you, but you do not move because of it. If, however, you apply a horizontal force to move where a cliff ends, then downward motion commences converting potential energy to kinetic until you hit a lower ground. In parallel, the intentions that keep us alive stem from our very relation to our terrestrial environment its relation to us. If those relations are altered we can fall or slide until we reach a state of greater stabilization, but which would require much greater effort to induce change to a more desired and less limited state.

In Castaneda’s context, the more energy at your disposal, the more effective you are at intending the presence and power of essence into the shifting of your assemblage point. In terms of our discussion pertaining to physics, the energy stored is potential energy. The Intrinsic Intention we described results in an Intrinsic Energy that is variable over the probability landscape defined by one’s assemblage point.

These are just a few concepts examine via drawing allegorical parallels expand possibilities of meaning available in a given occult model. For the model to work, it needs to reflect in reality and be positively rooted in the potentials of the one applying it. It also needs to make sense to the user. Models are anything but arbitrary or convenient. They are the conceptual sieves that channel the energies and forces we have been discussing. They structure energy and reflect it into existential experience to shift it accordingly.

The concepts are full of implications. The allegorical parallels when punctuated by handles of experience are useful toward magical practice. Handles of experience are the states of awareness and of magical potency one embodies via internalized experiences that parallel the conceptions of the model. For example, what does it mean to experience presence? How does the force of intent vary in experience? How does on experience one’s existential topography? Can we focus with mind, breath, voice or movement to experience awareness that parallels the meanings of our model? In doing so we may have managed to map a territory toward the ability to change one’s reality state at will, and travel through times, places and states of being in a natural and deliberate grace.