esothemes

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

Category: Personal

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?

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Welcome to Esothemes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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