Standing at the Crossroads
by A. C. George
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.