esothemes

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

Category: Magic in General

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.

Trees of Eden: A Map of the Fall [Part II]

In the last installment we described the fall in terms of the symbolism of the Tree of Life of QBLH. Of the sephirot, we noted the fourth was the most likely to be displaced- to become the tenth. Correlating the two models- the 2D Tree of Life and the sephirot of the SY- we note that the fourth sphere of the tree map (from the top) is also the fourth reckoning among the list of ten presented in the SY. The fall among the reckonings leaves us with the fourth process becoming the last, leaving a gap between the third account and the fifth where the sealing of the directions of space occurs. The displaced reckoning involved the power of ignition, represented the power of authority (MLKVTh) the aspirant awakens and applies at that point. After the displacement that power was associated with the Kingdom (MLKVTh) itself rather than the power of the throne itself. It’s like saying the world followed its own rules when humans lost the power to cultivate its authority.

The two models I am correlating describe the same thing from differing premises. Because of this, any change in one map correlates with a change in a parallel change in the other. A revealing application is to take a concept from the SY, such as the depths (OVMQ) of the sephirot, and project it onto the 2D Tree mapping. The affliction upon the (human) fabric of existence can be outlined and one can observe how it has distorted and still distorts evolutionary potential.

The immediate result of the disruption is the divorcing of TVB from RO, and the displacement and subsequent misrepresentation of the mystery (depth) of RO. With the latter displacement the sphere of TVB is left without any sort of reference through which to balance the Covenant. Instead, the sphere of ignition and of the depth of RO– according to the SY- is identified with the worldly state of the subject as well as the world itself. RO (Resh.Ayin.) translates as the view-point of another, who can be a shepherd or guide- for better or ill- a friend or a foe. As the depth of the world it describes an alienating and chaotic place. In terms of its associations with the human microcosm it describes self-alienation and internal conflict as the earthly state of awareness.

Depths of Fallen Tree

The aforementioned diagram (above) depicts the veritable gulf between the upper three sephirot and the remaining seven. The former are contemplative stages in the abstract sense, involving the cultivation of the proper frames of awareness and the required themes of focus to do so. The original final six sephirot involve the sealing of the directions of space. This is not viable, however, without the sphere of power associated with the depth of RO, the sephirah that was supposed to precede them. That pivotal sphere of power, unfortunately, was moved outside the original bounds of the Tree-form.

This analysis, by the way, does not involve pathworking practices of popular modern western occultism. Those would have a starting point in the worldly awareness of the fallen tenth sphere, followed by a progression through the twenty two relationships between the ten spheres of the Tree of Life from highest to lowest number. The ten sephirot as reckonings of esoteric wisdom, on the other hand, are serially progressive and do not involve relationships between them outside their sequential order. In addition, they progress from lowest to highest number. The bottom-up model, furthermore, treats the state of awareness that corresponds to the first three sephirot, as the aim of practice rather than its prerequisite. The bottom-up approach of working the tree leads to divine awareness, while the top down approach can access that very awareness we need to ground for the alchemy to lead to powerful magical application potential.

To reiterate, the fall in the context mentioned here involves removing a fundamental part of a ten-fold alchemy, the part where ignition takes place- and place it at the very end of the sequence, misrepresenting the sequence as a whole and either neutralizing or perverting it. Ideally one progresses to the point of applying a high state of contemplative awareness to the sense of one’s life force and mental will so as to directly connect it to structuring the space around one’s body. This subtle energy structure was, furthermore, meant to be the basis for ignition. Being without the latter would akin to sucking on an unlit cigarette and calling it smoking.

Yet, until the real thing is demonstrated or experienced somehow- until one acquires intimate knowing (DOTh) of the act, the faux process can be convincing in its compromising effects. In this case, the simple correction would be to replace the fallen tenth sephirah in its fourth position. However, regarding the SY, there is no correction because there is no fall indicated in that presentation. One simply follows the reckonings in order. We examine the fall because it is theme that reflects the state of current humanity. In that sense taking the sephirot in their original order has the implications of rectification and reclaiming one’s power of divine authority, something that comes along with the requisite mystical states of awareness the contemplative practices in the text strive to actualize.

With that in mind, let us triangulate our correlations with the biblical account regarding The Tree of Life in relation to the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge. In the QBLH map the Tree of Life has a sphere displaced, something that alters the very shape of the Tree, so that it can be associated with the very different Tree of the fruit of Knowing TVB and RO. The pivotal statement regarding the relationship between the two Trees is implied with the words of YHVH ALHIM in Gen. 3:22:

“Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…”

It is noteworthy that the word for Tree (OTz) and that for Spinal Column (OTzH) are quite similar, to the point that one might be an allusion to the other. The third and fourth reckonings of restraint are about what the corresponding depths attempt to inspire when subjects of contemplation. In that context, the third depth (TVB) hints at the favorable conditions to establish a medium of containment (a kind of subtle body), whose weaves and flows support the housing of one’s presence. The fourth is about the ignition of that medium to activate the patterns of Ruach (mind-energy) as one’s own friends and allies. After the fall, this ignition never occurs. The impulse has become a dense and stubborn territory known as matter, and all the rest of the sephirot remain unprocessed (to use a potentially misleading yet adequate modern term).

It is tempting to suggest that the cultivation sequence of the reckonings will not be effective unless one somehow addresses the issue of one’s capacity to manifest events in creation- to perform magic in other words. This is not what is being implied. We are rather pointing out a block to higher awareness that can be directly addressed through persistent cultivation practice. The fall tells us that is that we need to forge a path between the state of existence based on worldly experience and the state of grace marking unconditioned human potential. This time, however, the state of grace will not be based on innocence, but on the very experiences that led to being deprived of grace in the first place.

I choose to look at the statement of Gen. 3:22 as prophetic. To move toward the Tree of Life, however, we must place the mysteries of TVB and RO side by side to complement each other. They are not antagonistic in this view. In the world, both states are needed and the awareness of when and how to express or work with one and/or the other is the profound wisdom one needs to first open to primordial consciousness as the SY describes it, and to bring that consciousness into the focused application known as magic.

Trees of Eden: A Map of the Fall [Part I]

[Edit: Realized my image didn’t transfer, so had to figure that out. Now this probably makes a bit more sense.]

The following information was a detour from the more concise instructional outline I intended to follow. However, abstract as it may seem it seeks to bridge the implications of the myth of the biblical fall and the trees of eden with the functional mapping given by the ten sephirot belimah. The topic ended more involved than originally anticipated, making this post the first part of a two part intallment. Although the following diverges from the text we are interpreting (The Earliest Recoverable Text of the Sepher Yetsirah), it is still important to fill in certain blanks, even if those blanks aren’t obvious to the causal observer. The topic of the Trees of Paradise has been approached in a previous series of four installments posted here. A comparison would be interesting, especially since this interpretation takes the theory and seeks to establish a context of practice with it.

By emphasizing the power of ten in relation to its numerical neighbors- nine and eleven- the author of our text identifies the reckonings in a specific manner. We surmised that the chosen number of sephirot makes a statement that the power of Shaping (aka Magic) is free of blasphemous or idolatrous qualities. Given the power attributed to numbers, the ten reckonings are more likely to represent divine inspiration than those quantified as nine or eleven. The revelation of ten is a direct and living experience, and is represented by the reality frame (and corresponding occult model) known as the Tree of Life in QBLH.

The Tree of Knowledge (of TVB and RO), on the other hand, is a kindred representation, but one that is incomplete and deleterious in its effects when its fruits are assimilated alone. Without the Tree of Life, the fruits of having intimate knowledge of TVB and RO imprison an individual in a state of being aware of distinctions without the direct gnosis and grace that complete the process of existential autonomy as promised by the serpent of the biblical account. Previously we identified the two trees as one and the same, since the model of QBLH shows the the domain of Knowledge (HDOTh) as being part of the fallen tree. In this installement we examine the myth in terms of two esoteric models: the two dimensional (2D) tree diagrams and the model of the SY with its ten reckonings, which are traditionally taken to describe the same thing. I would say that the situation is not so black and white, because we are dealing with myths and models of reality frames that are magically alive and are not restricted to a three dimensional conceptual reference frame. The premise is simply that the fall as a biblical event, corresponds to the fall in terms of the Tree of Life diagram of QBLH and correspondingly affects the ten sephirot as well in like manner. This correlation is what we examine.

It is noteworthy that the Tree of Knowledge does not exibit some kind of existential toxicity or danger. It isn’t evil or there to cause damage. It serves a purose in the context of human potential. We can consider it, in other words, as part of an alchemical formula of two steps: dissolve and coagula. The second step involves the Tree of Life, which in the mapping of QBLH can be seen as a rectified Tree of Knowledge. In the Hermetic QBLH of the 19th and 20th centuries, the term DOTh was associated with a gateway to the abyss that formed as a result of the biblical fall from grace or “original sin”. Even as the SPIRVTh are can be seen as stages of some form of internalized alchemy, they are also spheres or domains of revelation and empowerment. Suffice it to say that DOTh is “located” between the third and fourth SPIRVTh of the fallen Tree of Life mapping, well known to students of QBLH. The fall causes the tenth SPIRH. It is known as Malkuth and rendered in English as Kingdom, but it also means Royal Power/Authority. According to one view, this SPIRH fell from its fourth position to the tenth. According to another, all the last seven SPIRVTh– representing the seven planets of antiquity- fell down a notch.

I favor the former model. The true bottom SPIRVTh is called Foundation (YSVD), while Malkuth as Power of Authority is coherent with the fourth position, and where it needs to be to function naturally and free of affliction. Below we diagram the evolution of the fall, from the original Tree of Life (far left) to the version considered to be the way the Tree is because of the Fall (far right). The middle figure shows change, from the sphere with number value four, to that with number value (properly forty if we use the numbering of the Hebrew abjad) adjusted to ten when the whole tree accommodates the difference (far right).

The Fall Sequence.png

In the SY the fourth position is identified by the depth (mystery) of RO, which is usually rendered as simply bad or evil. The concept carries much weight, so to avoid philosophical entanglement, let us first look at the letter analysis of the word. The letters Resh.Ayin describe the head (which may be the god-head, one’s own mind, or that of another) of the eye/fountain. Ayin may be a replacement for another letter that conveyed entanglement, something more aligned with the negative interpretation of the word, while RO also means friend and shepherd, someone who watches out for us. Using a similar analysis, TVB describes a weave (pattern of construction or behavior) that supports the house or clan, a state is understandably considered favorable. Contemplating this information gives the third reckoning additional depth and hence empowering potential. When we are open to the revelation of its juxtaposed term (RO), the fourth becomes accessible. According to Hermetic QBLH it is here that the abyss thwarts us.

Eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge (HDOTh) of TVB and RO had unavoidable consequences. If you eat (identify with) the fruit (results) of having experiences that you clearly distinguish into TVB and RO, then you are a discerning entity, and make choices accordingly. Without the impact of the Tree of Life, however, one ends up in a state disconnected from divine essence and the immortality of true Identity. That individual exists in a closed system of cause and effect because they are crippled.

HDOTh is, moreover, not intellectual knowledge. It refers to intimate experience and involvement with the subject, which can be taken to refer to sexuality, but I think the scope of the myth falls flat if it’s just about sex. The fall from grace was the result of choosing to evaluate and act on one’s own experience. And the move to materialize was a natural outcome of stepping from grace and into autonomous evolution. This awakening to their autonomy- albeit not fully- resulted in the humans wanting to cover their nudity. From an esoteric perspective, we can view the animal skins given by YHVH ALHIM as reference to corporeal embodiment, required to experience the reality of the fruits they imbibed. The insecurity the two humans felt was the sense that they should be clothed (corporeal), and was misrepresented as shame and immodesty.

The point of the above was to outline the nature of Original Sin, while our Tree of Life mapping puts it into a different context. There are two important reflections of that context in the altered mapping. 1) The original fourth sephirah is depicted as dropping out of the former domain of the Tree, to become new tenth and final one. 2) A gap formed between the third and fifth sephirot. When the dust settled, the former fifth became the new fourth and so on.

For the context of a list of cultivation practices the alteration would have far reaching consequences. To add insult to injury the original fourth account was that last of the abstract themes before the focus was on the directions in physical space. Without it the internalization process would be incomplete. With that step bumped to the tenth position, the directions in space a approached prematurely, and never really come into their own. Leaving the tenth account below the actual foundation of the Tree creates a distance from the other steps, which along with the sephirah taken from its natural position, isolates the reckoning whose depth or mystery is identified by RO, and keeps the process from being activated as intended.

In that sense the Fall is one of human potential itself, or rather the readiness at which human potential can actualize. To extrapolate how that translates in terms of esoteric cultivation can lead to adaptations in practices among other things to increase the scope of the results. It also places the fourth account in a position of importance in relation to the others. To insure it succeeds, the domain designated as Kingdom needs to be returned to its prior position as Royal Authority- the authority of self. It is by this authority that anything animates or charges, is sanctified and can be sealed. It appears to be the turn-on switch for the systems power, the prior being preparation of what is to contain the fire of the throne. Then the directions of space can be ignited and sealed. The topic is continued and wrapped up in the next installment.

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.

Magic and the Powers of Yoga

I have written formerly about magic (magick), the ways and means of its expression for me, even going into the design of a personal system of it. In this presentation, I would like to elucidate in a different manner, and define magic as the worldly and otherworldy application of yogic accomplishment– that which in Sanskrit is known as siddhi. In addition, I would like to hone in on the cultivation of yogic accomplishment so as to focus on a single practice. In Sanskrit, the practice is called saṁyama.

It is described in the Yoga Aphorisms of Patañjali (a readily available text with a variety of online translations these days). This is a work best studied in the Sanskrit original.  Even if one is a scholar of the language, however, the terminology is that of yoga, and not of everyday experience. Unless one is actually practicing yoga and getting results, there is little or no conceptual reference frame to support coherent understanding. If the text was not precisely meant as an accompaniment to oral instruction, it was certainly meant as a reference for one’s one extended practice. This is a suggestion for caution, not an admonition against translations and/or theoretical study. Personally, I found many translations to be philosophically and religiously biased, while the aphorisms are instructions to practices that are to be evaluated and honed experience accumulates.

Saṁyama is greatly elaborated in the 3rd chapter of the aforementioned work entitled vibhūti (power). This is the distinctly experienced power resulting from mastery of the practices. In tradition, vibhūti is the ash with which the god śiva is said to cover his body. It represents transformed awareness and will, purified by the sacred fire down to its imperishable aspects. Divine power is the alleged outcome of this transformation of awareness. Saṁyama presupposes at least a degree of such a transformation to work. In yoga practice it arises from the fusion of the three culminating subdivisions of the eight-fold system into a single dynamic. The last limb is described in Sanskrit as samādhi, from sama (cognate of “equi”- meaning “equivalent to”) and ā+dhi (a prefix signifying proximity, and a ‘weaker’, more abstract form of the word for “holding”). The second term might technically come from a+dhi, where the holding of attention is negated. Thus samādhi would be a state equivalent with the complete release of attention. This second- albeit paradoxical- interpretation is not without merit.

It is noteworthy that the syllables dha and dhi are found in all three of the final limbs of the yoga of eight subdivisions or aspects. The stronger and more literal sense corresponds to the term signifying the ability to hold the attention or concentrate. This is dhāraṇā. The next aspect involves dhyāna (dhi-āna). It is more subtle than the conventional focusing of attention, and also easily considered to only differ from it by degree. Therefore, while dhāraṇā is a process familiar to the mind in everyday experience, dhyāna is a dynamic specific to esoteric practices that induces a characteristic altered state of consciousness with prolonged practice. The first syllable (dhi) describes a more subtle mind-flux than dha, while the next two syllables (ā+na) form a word meaning door, breath and mouth/face. It is our ambiguous metaphor that hints at a threshold through which the breath of life flows.

The aphorisms themselves clarify the distinction in verses III.1 and III.2. To focus awareness implies a contraction of one’s field of attention, regardless of where the contraction occurs. Meditation begins when the contraction increases until one’s focus is so singular and “tight” that pattern cannot register, nor fluctuation of consciousness. It is like looking closer and closer at a television screen until one is down to a single pixel. That is just the first step. It is followed by dilating our tiny window of attention while keeping it saturated with the one-point pixel and the unconditioned consciousness it represents. In other words, meditation involves a dilation of the unit of consciousness accessed through extreme concentration so that one is literally bathed in it and it becomes the nature of one’s world-perception. This is not, to my knowledge, how meditation is normally explained, but it is how I translated the relevant verse and experience the effect in practice. The Sanskrit word for meditation hints at this in that it can be literally translated as: “holding the door”. This door is also the opening through which breath (life force) flows; the mouth. It is, therefore, a placing of one’s sense of consciousness on the threshold of its own essence, where the proverbial serpent bites its tail, so to speak. If we were to explain this in stick figure terms, it is the state where all one’s awareness is the focus of being aware in the first place; where the eye stares into its own depths.

If dhyāna is a challenging term to unravel, then samādhi is even more so. As with every limb of the aforementioned yoga path the aphorisms elucidate, each aspect builds on the attainment of the previous. To get an idea of the eighth limb, we understand that it begins where the seventh is accomplished. As we mentioned earlier, the word denotes equivalence either with drawing attention to one’s self and/or releasing attention completely. Both options have merit, regardless of which one is considered etymologically correct. Noteworthy is that this state cannot be described with one word except in tersm of what it approximates.

Samādhi is traditionally considered a state of singularity-consciousness, where there are no distinctions, no fluctuations of awareness and nothing to identify. The Aphorisms (III.3) express this state as a stripping bare of one’s own nature- or rather any formative aspect of such. Meditation takes us to the threshold and once we master and can sustain it, the existential essence we have learned to dilate, can be fully embodied as one’s own true nature. This state ceases to be one of holding, even if the aspirant will have to consciously attain it again and again before it deepens enough to become effortless. The state is also akin to perpetual centering, albeit toward a center that is infinit in scope and not as a position in space. The eight limb is indeed the mystery of the whole progression of this system. Accomplished mastery in this yoga, and especially the last three subdivisions, is just the beginning of manifesting magical potential. For the attainment of saṁyama, in particular, we have one step to go: fusing the aforementioned yogic skills. That, along with a deeper exploration of the mystery of fusing the last three limbs, is a topic for the next installment.

 

 

 

 

Ouroboros Part IV: Some of How and Why it Works

In this installment I explain more about this system, and as such will likely repeat myself more than I would like. I want to hone in on the workings of the system itself. I also use it as an example for some generalized descriptions of how and why logocentric esoteric applications are effective. To reiterate, logocentric esoteric applications (LEAps), are occult systems based on the power of the word, including semantics, building blocks and the impact of its symbolism. Sometimes one or more factors predominate, sometimes they work in tandem. The advantages of such systems are considerable. They require little or no ceremonial trappings, minimal ritual and the effects can be powerful and even immediate depending on one’s level of cultivation.

Logocentric systems have logic. But that logic may be coherent when awareness is focused and one’s brainwaves are different than what is expressed during one’s mundane activities. At the very least, it can make sense that focusing on a symbol and vocalizing it internally (whispering or even thinking it) can affect one’s mood and way of thinking. It can make sense that it is possible such changes can affect the course of events in some way. But that logic might not extend into understanding just how the mechanics of the process work. Sure we can spout theories, but they are not necessary for such a system to work for the user. To grasp the dynamics in an empowering way, we need to the mythic sense of our system.

Any logocentric system, such as mantra yoga, QBLH or hermetic occultism has a logical structure that makes it coherent, and tells a story of its own existence that is practically mythic. This may include actual mythic accounts of creation and how reality works, but that is secondary. I am speaking of mythic applications of mathematical logic, for example. Such are the occult application of “magic squares” or the divining powers of the binary hexagrams of the Yi Ching as well as the predictive and other occult powers of decimal numerology systems, not to mention sacred geometry. We have magical alphabets such as Hebrew, with its letters associated with elements, planets and constellations, and in the same system we have the mythic logic of letter combinations that lead to experiences in alternate planes of existence. We have the mythic logic of runes and Tantric seed syllables that represent the essence of deities themselves, when focused upon and expressed in a certain manner.

Mythic logic- more accurately, mythic sense– is not bullshit. It isn’t a theory of any sorts either. It just describes the process in a somewhat mundane manner; particularly when the power of myth is given credit beyond the confines of academically credited Jungian psychology. What we have is the human esoteric potential in the form of stories. Sometimes these stories are in the form of classical myths. They have protagonists and plots. Most often they are explanations of cosmological extent. Even the human microcosm is viewed in a cosmological sense, projected into the heavens or the heavens projected into it. The world tree of certain animistic esoteric paradigms (popularly known as shamanistic) is a mythic construct.

One can write endlessly on the meaning, potency and spectrum of possibility regarding the power of myth, and indeed much has been written, by scholar and layperson alike. To really grasp and then harness the power of myth, however, in the broader and more esoteric sense requires a flexibility of awareness uncommon in most of the human population. Acquiring such flexibility is not easy, nor is it guaranteed by going through the motions of this or that practice. In the end, some end up faking it, but never really making it. Those that do make it have not much means of proof to those who are conditioned to either the consensus reality window or their version of eclectic eccentricity.

I easily express this, but how can I know I am not a victim of it myself? Honesty with self is a razors edge in occultism. Each walk differently, and each can tolerate different levels of sharpness on the razor. Each has their own balancing act. Being too naïve or too strict, and we fall in a vat of our own pretense. Some might consider this depressing. But if you really want to increase stability on the razor’s edge, the challenge is best embraced and maybe even approached as a call to adventure. In the end, magic doesn’t harm you so much as you end up harming yourself, even if it’s all in self defense.

The power of myth is incredible; the power of symbol incredible; the power of human awareness, beyond belief.  To tap into these powers, to dance with them and play them artfully like an instrument, and to experience the wonders that come from that is why I am into logocentric occultism. I am not into elaborate ceremonial, but well aware that nothing- particularly where occult accomplishment is concerned- comes without something offered in exchange. Since I have been into academic accomplishment from a young age, I can appreciate the arduous training required to master such a process. We may well view the necessity for training that must go into successful logocentric application as its ‘downside’, especially since success is not always guaranteed no matter how well one practices. Disposition or innate talent is, in my view, also a factor. The need for systematic and at the same time creative training, is parallel to the commitment contemplative yoga and inner alchemy requires. Success may be a given for most to a point, but the advanced realizations are said to come to those with the innate disposition- the requisite karma, in other words.

Logocentric occultism does not work in a vacuum, but can be an aspect of more elaborate applications. It can be adapted to work with spirits, cosmological principles, the energies of the human microcosm and most any other occult expression, including the use of herbs, metals and stones. ‘Spells’ are standard in all magic, for example, and would be useless without the power of the word. Logocentric principles aside, the Ouroboros system is geared to the practice of esoteric alchemy. In other words its mythos revolves around human transformation potential; its core function being that of cultivation. That does not detract from Ouroboros being used to realize one’s will as magic. In this way it is similar to tantric practices where the aim is realization of the divine in a permanent fashion. Along the way, however, it is common- for those predisposed- to become good at applications of magic via the methodology.

The esoteric impact of the Ouroboros system is less direct. Learning the system both demands and stimulates the focus and quality of awareness required to make it work magically, and one cannot help but be affected by that. This is technically true for any magical system of merit, but some approaches emphasize using the intellect and mental will, rather than the deeper power of consciousness coupled with life-force. Methods can also value the method as if it were the source of success rather than the particular dynamic of spontaneous unscripted nuances that define the cultivation of power in the one using it.

One mythic pattern carries mundane principles into esoteric territory. It is reflected in the way the system weaves three symbol structures representing the three principles of literary syntax: the subject, the object and the verb. In this system the subject is represented by the tetragram elements, the object by the geomantic (geoadamic) sigils and the verb by the corresponding dragon-rune element. The subject and object are both expressions of number value, and the verb is represented by a letter mystery. The latter is what we verbally (internalized or not) express to actualize the potential of the tripartite phrase. It’s quite a simple structure in that respect, and combines the potency of adaptations of three symbol arrays of traditional origins.

One factor that makes any symbol system esoterically potent is its living essence. Many systems draw that essence from the culture of origin. Others are nourished from the impact of the mythic understandings surrounding and defining them, especially if they are part of some sort of occult lineage or tradition spanning generations. If I were of the view that any system requires generations to come alive, however, I would have gone the route of the purist. Instead, there is another way to bring a system to life, and it is not as simple as some forms of modern day marketed occultism tend to claim. Immediate methods work to charge a medium of application, such as a talisman, but charge tends to dissipate rather quickly- which is fine for what it’s meant to do. A system to come alive doesn’t just require its own set of cultivation practices, but also requirements that make it predisposed toward life. That is a topic for another time.

Ouroboros Part II: Pointers for Effective Magic Practice

The aim of this series of posts is to work out some thoughts regarding a system I have been designing and working for the last decade and a half. It is not meant to be a point by point tutorial; just a series of observations and conclusions as my work progresses. This work, by the way, is also a stepping stone for an even more ambitious project involving the construction of a coherent cabalah- I find the term ‘logocentric alchemy’ more descriptive- based on the English alphabet, and its use in the formulation of power words and spells. I realize it’s been done before, but not quite the way I am approaching it, to my knowledge.

The pointers described here are only a few examples, and by no means allotted space to make the information instructive in any systematic way. On the other hand, the information on the posts in the Ouroboros series is cumulative and if one persists in following the thread, the topic may prove insightful. On occasion there may even be some posts that will offer point by point information. Mostly that would depend on the train of thought, since the posts are anything but products of meticulous planning. That would be work, and work should involve compensation.

As it stands, I am writing up manuals on all manner of esoteric themes for personal use. Until I feel comfortable with the organization of the material and the consistency of its application capacity, I’ll hold off the publications. The question of charging for occult knowledge is a valid one, as far as I’m concerned. I only frown upon it if it’s done irresponsibly. Although that simple assessment requires elaboration, I leave it as a topic for another time. For now, let us play with the idea of practice, with or without the design of a personal system, being made more effective.

Back when I used to frequent occult oriented forums there was one frequent poster who would exhibit a seemingly endless esoteric creativity when it came to fashioning rituals and cultivation practices, which would have made them a formidable master of the art had they been able to consistently actualize what filled their mental drawing board- or at least put some substance behind what applications they did manage to cultivate. Yet they always complained that their proverbial rival in occultism- an older brother- was always stronger, even though it was this older brother that taught the aforementioned occult enthusiast all they knew.

I have to admit, it was fun getting into discussions with the guy and coming up with practices that sounded as if they would blow whole buildings away, fit for the most elaborate fantasy worlds being a spread of popularized knowledge and the smattering of contrived esoteric common sense that seemed to fester upon it. I cannot help the extra helping of sarcasm even though I am quite sincere in expressing my enjoyment of those online written discussions.

The practices were not all that difficult. The hard part was doing them right. As it stood, he treated the designing of magical process as the be all and end all of the art, while his idea of practice did not appear to involve the quality of focus required, being more akin to vivid fantasy dressed in stubborn will than real application. I don’t remember even one of the many occult techniques we embellished, and attempting practice gave me a headache for most of them, and did nothing for the rest. There was simply no groundwork to back up the methods.

My point with this little anecdote is that there is more that goes into the design of occult process than making shit up. There is also more than mental light play. The person in mention practiced some form of martial art, and so was aware of sensing ‘energy’ and directing the sensation via his attention. Altered states induced by meditation where not strange to him, although I did not see enough emphasis to empower his esoteric imaginings. It’s easy to say you are doing things right, but results may just as easily say otherwise.

That being said, different esoteric approaches as well as different occultists emphasize different things. Some are more visionary, some rely on abstract symbolism, while others are more about internal alchemy and sensing/directing energy. Some focus on entities and some on thought-forms, while others on the possibilities of their own human and divine potentialities. Some are geared to enhance perception or work in the unseen realms and others prioritize changes in the ‘real world’. There are those who rely on tradition and others who appear to make things up as they go along.

I tend to embrace the latter approach so long as one’s creativity is founded on the reality of occult experience. While imagination is indispensable for occultism, there is more that goes into it. I’m not just pushing the old adage of hard work and study. Those are means to an end. The end is to attain a useful skill set, and a raw work ethic does not guarantee that. Quality of work is more important than quantity, in my view. The understanding of occult theory is a step in the right direction, in that sense. Many don’t value theory because it tends to get convoluted, but theory is there to make sense of concepts denied by our more commonly socialized reasoning processes. It affords an alternative perspective in such a way so we can work with it just as we work with the more objective conceptions of our day to day lives.

In my experience the simplest practices are often the most potent. One can put their whole being behind a simple practice, whereas a more complex practice can involve mental multitasking that makes it difficult to sustain necessary focus. One must be well endowed indeed- esoterically speaking- for complexity to reveal its power. Simple practices can also be mastered individually and then compiled into something more complex and elaborate as well as potentially stressful. I am of the view that occultism need not be dangerous per se when the practitioner is prepared and in shape.

I would say that systems originating in Eastern and Southern Asia are most effective when it comes to getting in shape. These would involve the practices of yoga and internal alchemy. The methods are not all that different than parallel practices in the Middle East, and those originating from archaic Egypt. It’s just that the available information regarding such practices is not as available and as well-organized, but that’s just my experience.

Whatever the case may be, the idea is to awaken the abilities of subtle perception, enhanced internalization and receptivity on multiple levels of awareness potential. Even if one considers themselves already too sensitive, responsible cultivation practices will help balance out that sensitivity as well as deepen it. Experience will expand one’s capacities for comprehension of information, not to mention awaken the ability to recognize the quality of thoughts, feelings and sensation in terms of parameters that the conditioned objectified mindset does not even recognize as such, and which most of one’s human relations would probably refuse to acknowledge.

As mentioned, I only present an outline with a few examples of suggestions to increase the probability of satisfactory success in occult application. As these posts evolve, and the information clarifies further, mental digestion us still necessary to personalizing the knowledge. Copycat magic works well enough when one is in the process of gaining the needed skill set and empowerment, as it were. Maturation, however, is a function of individualizing the practice to one’s own unique nature, and is as natural as muscle mass growing with successive trips to the gym, provided good sense is applied. Easier said than done, but not as hard as all that…

Myth, Metaphor and Magic: The Mystery

I have heard the assertion that Myth is Metaphor, and there is no shortage of commentary on the topic. It’s obvious to most how entwined folklore and magic are entwined. Even in our day the word “fantasy” as a literary genre is part and parcel with the concept of “magic”. The trend when dealing with that relationship, however, is to use the definition of myth as some sort of fictional account without referring to the importance of metaphor therein (the backbone of mythic structure and purpose in my view).

At the same time myth, metaphor and magic are very different concepts. The loose definition intended in this writing describes myth as a fictional account which embodies entities and phenomena transcending mundane experience. Metaphor is a literary device that takes a word or phrase out of its originally intended context to allude to similarities with the object it is directed to represent. Metaphor tells us that a word is very might like something beyond its literal context without using prepositions of comparison (“like”, “as” etc.).

Magic, on the other hand, is more difficult to pin down. It suffices to use a simple definition such as the following approximation of A. Crowley’s: Magic is the process by which change is manifested at any existential level in conformity with will, through an altered state of consciousness in the one causing it.

To sum up, myth is a story, metaphor is an indirect simile, and magic is making shit happen by will and non-ordinary awareness. Distinct as they are, we can observe each concept contains at least one of the other two. Metaphor is used in myth because myths often describe “supernatural” phenomena, while pointing at something deeper and more complex in nature. Magic is the expression of supernatural phenomena based precisely on the deep and complex concepts to which the metaphors of myth allude.

Metaphors address ideas, slippery in the face of logic and common sense, and give them a familiar and tangible context. We are aware that the description they offer is not “literal”, or point by point accurate. The strokes are broad and the outlines basic. We are aware that mystery is at work as a source of conceptual power that can affect us profoundly whether we can pin it down or not. Metaphor allows us to track it, follow its fluid dance of meaning and discerning some identifiable patterns therein.

Myth can therefore be taken as a weaving of metaphor to describe a mystery in an easy and pleasant to absorb manner. The depth of meaning implied by the mystery embedded in metaphor, however, remains concealed even in the most elaborate mythic tale. If one is to master the esoteric application inherent in myth, one must transcend the obvious and not just embrace, but embody the mystery to translate it into a process of activating the possibilities of magic regarding its impending revelation.

The distillation of effective esoteric practice, be it for purposes corporeal or existentially abstract, is itself tied to a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and hence not readily available to be spelled out in a comprehensive manner. Those who are interested in magical practice, and those who crave corporeal rewards for their efforts, can however be impatient with the details of unfolding esoteric patterning. They can insist on adhering to a point by point recipe for a swift harvest of results. I can’t fault a newbie for this attitude. It was, after all, my own stance for years.

That changed for the simple reason of live and learn. Namely, it is not the most constructive approach. The bottom line is not the point by point process of arcane operation. It isn’t the myth or the web of metaphors that comprise its often-entertaining structure either. It is the mystery embedded within it all. That mystery is nothing less than the power of the deep and abiding dynamic of existence in all its manifestations, as well as the underlying essence at the core of each.

Where the mystery is concerned, however, approaches can be simplified (even when they look complicated). Simplification, as I express it here, is just another description for diving into the most available relationship with said mystery. The relationship can come from the direction of theoretical emphasis or insistence on pragmatic deliberation, depending on a number factors beyond the scope of this discussion.

To get meaningful outcomes, however, both theoretical digestion and real-world action are indispensable. Education, or absorbing intellectual knowledge, is often preferred even when the more challenging path of balancing theory and practice is appreciated and open to the aspirant. Repeated application of occult methods, lead the aspirant into awareness of patterns linking cause to effect. By, furthermore, referencing sources of both theory and the practices of others, they can be inspired to explain those patterns, and hence apply them beyond their original context. Mystery itself, for all its empowering of our resourcefulness, is beyond intellect to comprehend on its own steam.

Mystery is, therefore, beyond the mappings of theory- even as it includes them- and beyond the strategic and tactical meanderings of practice, including them as well. Frustrating as this may be, the defining myth, metaphor and magic can help make sense of the challenge of relating to this thing called “mystery”. Remember that the definition of magic involves extra-ordinary states of awareness. These states of awareness are the fulcrum of practice as well as theory. Mystery is mystery because conventional awareness is not equipped to forge identity with it. Indeed, it is identity with the mystery that powers magic, not rote practice or memorizing its metaphors.

Suffice it to say that mundane existence is as much the mystery as anything out of the ordinary or beyond conventional comprehension. It is, therefore, in how we relate to the proverbial ordinary world that matters. That is why the consistent cultivation of non-ordinary states of awareness is a primary ingredient in stimulating awareness and access to the mystery in all our relations. This is not to be confused with the extremes of “arm-chair” or “rules and tools” occultism. Legends speak of those who could make shit happen without elaborate ritual or much theoretical fanfare. Such individuals were more likely to have mastered non-ordinary states. I am not denying ritual or even ceremony, and intellectual understanding is still a great boon to practice. But the latter becomes comparatively potent when done within the domain of esoterically cultivated awareness.

I have heard it said that magic is supposed to make life easier. I would say its power to make life more meaningful is more important. If magic is just a means to an end, then one misses out, because the mystery at its foundation will be replaced by second hand maps. They may navigate rudimentary territories, but in the end practitioners will probably be disappointed when the free ride doesn’t come.

The depth of the mystery out of which all magic springs and which myth upon myth has touched upon in all its infinite facets is not easily trivialized. Exploring it may not be the only way to make shit happen. In this author’s view, however, it is the most coherent way toward mastery free of intellectual tail chasing and rules and tools dependency. Instead, one might discover horizons of creative potential to express an art that amounts to the embracing of one’s very own truth as a seed of existential possibility and more.

My Magical Menagerie: Intermission Rant

It’s been many months since my last entry. When expressing thoughts around topics I take seriously I may not be the most motivated to post references and quote others. On the other hand, I want my thoughts to be clear, to represent where I stand- at least at the moment- and to be the products of conviction rather than uncertainty. That’s why I prefer to say: “in my view” rather than “in my opinion”. However honest an opinion is, it still amounts to being unreliable. An opinion can be factual, but its source isn’t as carefully worked out as a conviction, even though the latter may also undergo revision.

The phrase “in my view” is not as substantial as “I am convinced”, but for me reflects a more thorough process of vetting than just throwing concepts around until something comes out the other end of the mental conveyor belt. We tend, furthermore, to express something as “just” an opinion, which is another way of devaluing the process- along with certain memes such as the saying that opinions are like assholes.

What does that have to do with my magical menagerie? Plenty. One reason I take time off a blog about my views on esoteric theory and practice is because I want the expression to be more than speculative. I want to reliably express information as a product of experience as well as insight. It’s always been that way, but these days with so much occultist role play, especially the kind where the players take themselves seriously, people demand references and even though out the two words “prove it” with a sneer and a slam waiting right behind them if the target doesn’t comply, which they won’t because they can’t.

My magical menagerie does not include proof to be shared. That, thankfully, is not the nature of occultism or we would be in a world of hurt. Just think of religions declaring practice as evil, of innocents tortured and killed, of mass hysteria. Think of power-hungry control freaks wanting to regulate as much as they can of human behavior. The neurotics we encounter in our every-day lives are one thing, but the ones with social influence, praying on fear and ignorance are the real danger.

The greatest boon of the modern occult attitude is the mainstream conviction that it’s all bullshit. Thus, I come full circle. I want to speak with certainty and from experience, but I don’t do this because I desire to be convincing or a fountain of proof of what I say. I just want to be clear so if, and when someone disagrees, the strength of my conviction can be real and not a prop of blusterous intellect.

Regarding this rant, moreover, I am still “on topic”. My menagerie is held together with conviction, which I experience as a specific state of being; an “energy” if you will. Conviction as an energy or felt experience is a power in esoteric cultivation and practice. Uncertainty, however, can also be a power, for that too can be a felt state rather than an abstract mental conception. Felt states are part of my magical menagerie. Some are toxic and need to be either sent way, put down or transformed. Some are highly prized to be nurtured so their strength can be a vehicle of occult accomplishment, which is more than just making shit happen.

Another thing that can account for stepping back from online expression to work things out is this tendency of mine to bring up arguments I have either experienced or observed and play them out against my own views. It’s not so much a masochistic habit as it is a daring to test what already has me convinced in the face of what often amounts to psychic aggression. Being honest with one’s self is important in esoteric work. Being honest with others maybe not so much. That being said; my intention in communicating here is both honesty, as well as clarity, else there’s no point in the record. On with the rant.

I refuse to argue points, for obvious reasons. Too many chips on too many shoulders for one, including my own. There is too much status involved in discussion. Too much of a winner/loser dynamic regardless of whether it is consciously intended or not. Perhaps in a private discussion mutual respect and maturity come easier, but when there is disagreement and debate in front of an audience, its instinctive to experience a sense of competitive display. Some would act as if they are “above it”, just as some would use guilt as a weapon in promoting their “underdog status”.

The drive for status in humans can be promoted by a strategy based on the denial of the drive to assume the position of a superior who has transcended it or of a victim who is outraged at the assumed superiority of others. These strategies can be so instinctive in some people that the individual sporting them has convinced themselves they do not apply to them.  Matters are even more complicated because sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and appearances are what is going on.

I would say, in the face of such complication, that it’s more constructive to be honest and admit that the issue saving and losing face has at least some influence- and to accept that its impact varies from individual to individual. We don’t have to play along, of course. In fact, I want to affirm that my ranting about it is motivated by the desire to emphasize we don’t have to play along. If I feel a sense of satisfaction at winning an argument, I realize it for what it is: a natural instinct. I feel sick in losing an argument. Again, it’s natural.

Simply put, fuck the winning or losing. Losing teaches you and winning reinforces you. They are both useful. What sucks is realizing your interests are simply a means for others to compete for status, social points, attention or any form of self-marketing. What suck is this situation being prevalent enough so everyone has to balance a chip on their shoulder. It is tempting to say I would rather stay silent, but if we all did so the dynamics of engagement would be nothing more than attack and defense dressed in all manner of bullshit. Make no mistake. This rant is not about being butt-hurt. It is about the healthiest attitude for esoteric cultivation and occult accomplishment. It’s about being real, something important for the human experience overall. All this has a cliche sound to it, but it doesn’t make it any less important or relevant.

I chose to title this essay “Rant Intermission” because it has indeed been so long since I posted. Continuity has been frayed and I want to energize my choice to post regularly from now on. There have been events beyond my control that contributed fundamentally to distancing myself from this expression, so it’s not all deliberate. But then again, one reason I practice esoteric methodology is to minimize the factor known as “events beyond my control” in my life. I am ok with having them, so long as they don’t fuck with me beyond the point that keeps things interesting.

Next time I will keep the same title (Magical Menagerie) so as to build on what Magic means to me in terms of my views, experiences and personal preferences, as well as my sense of purpose. Yes, I have a sense of purpose. It is my own and doesn’t really have a single label. It isn’t even the desire to fulfill specific goals. Just to move in the direction that most represents me. Hence it is a path of self-discovery as well as self-cultivation. And that to me is meaningful, which is really all I ask of existence. Believe it or not it is quite a lot to ask; but nothing less will do. Why not share some of the journey?