A Few Words on Inner Cultivation
by A. C. George
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.