Monday, October 9, 2017

Should non Jews practice the Kabbalah?

So the other day I chanced upon a comment from an associate of mine which said that you should not practice the Jewish Kabbalah if you are not Jewish.  My first reaction was, of course, how could I ever possibly un-practice and un-direct experience those years of my life spent in transgression or whether I am completely beyond saving?  Then, taking a moment to quell my rising panic, I began to reflect on the implications of this latest edict as a great portion of the Western Mystery Tradition from the high Middle Ages and the Renaissance has been the study and practice of the Jewish Kabbalah - be it Gematria or working with Hebrew angels.  If you are not Jewish surely you can't practice Christian Cabala instead - a much bastardised and culturally appropriated form of the system - that would only add insult to injury?  Hermetic Qabalah is possibly even more criminal. The only solution would be to completely amputate the Kabbalah and all related subjects from the canon of the WMT so no one would ever run the risk of even accidentally breaching this edict.  You see how dangerous this line of thinking rapidly becomes?

The truth is that the Jews, like all races and religions do not exist in a vaccuum, there is/was considerable cultural mingling with everyone around them in ''the beginning'' (if there is such a clear date in historical reality) and in the diaspora afterwards.  The Kabbalah, in the sense of that understanding of a universal system begun in the 11th century (which itself is clearly influenced by Catharism and accompanying beliefs, Catharism itself a migrating system from the East) has its roots in the cosmopolitan culture of the Levant and Mesopotamia in the early parts of the 1st millenium (Sefer Yetzirah, etc) and many more influences which extend back into the dawn of civilization (Egyptian letter magic, Babylonian astrology, Zoroastrian Angels, Greek philosophy and mathematics, etc).  While the Jews made contributions and produced a fusion of the ideas that was all their own, there are a variety of similar works in letter magic all over the world.  The position is, of course, absurd, full of contradictions and ill-considered consequences.  If upheld the logical conclusion would be that no person who is not of a race or religion should practice that culture - what does this do to Paganism in the larger setting?  Can only people who prove they are authentically Greek (whatever that means considering the Slavic influence) work with the Greek Pantheon etc etc?   What about Egyptian magic?  Is Josephine McCarthy, for example, authentically an ancient Egyptian? If I am "English'' does that mean I can only work with the English Cabala instead? Spare me this madness at least!

This brings us back to the subject of reincarnation and that it is a widely held belief in the esoteric community that few seem to genuinely embrace.  Have I only been reincarnated from within my DNA's own timeline?  Can I only investigate something I have ''physical'' genetic roots in?  We must have a racially secure and culturally homogenous esoteric experience!  What??? - this is creepy.  Having been an animal, or a differently coloured, differently abled human in past lives, (and an angel in future lives), our experience creates compassion for animals, differently coloured, differently abled people and angels - leading to a more tolerant personality and a kindness towards all life-forms.  When we tap into that trans-temporal self we enable kindness, forgiveness, curiosity and wonder towards all life and consciousness.  On the other hand what I see continuing to rise, in comments from within our community like the above, is conservatism, judgement, constriction, boundaries and division.  I think the root of it might be a lack of creativity in certain quarters and a corresponding desire to shut down wonder and imagination - who knows?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Quarry of Magic Strange II - Entangled with Entanglement

Cooper, this is a portal, cutting through space-time, we're seeing into the heart of a galaxy so far away we don't know where it is in the universe.

Romilly, Interstellar

The other evening found me in a conference room in the Marriott with a group of famous actors (including Orlando Bloom), producers from Legendary and Amazon and several casting directors, where I was reading the screen direction for an upcoming TV series.  As I was walking down to the reading I had two distinct feelings: one, that there is no upper limit on Jupiter magic there is only an upper limit on a magician's consistency; second, that I was almost definitely living inside a dream. Like most Twin Peaks - The Return fans I was left [found myself] somewhat discombobulated by the finale - adrift like Richard Cooper in a maddening dream universe of shifting timelines that was possibly the creation of an extreme negative entity and it reaffirmed my belief that Lynch is a far greater authority on the nature of reality than showboat scientists like Bill Nye or Richard Dawkins.  As I walked down the street to the reading my heart changed, I stopped feeling like Richard Cooper and started feeling [and walking] more like [my idea of] Philip Jeffries, more used to this new way of experiencing time-sliding through reality.

As I entered the room a delightful synchronicity happened for amongst the famous actors I was reading with was David Gyasi - the actor from Interstellar, who deployed the pen and paper metaphor for explaining wormholes that I referenced in the Quarry of Magic Strange.  Similar to the Alice Entanglement had I now become entangled with my idea of entanglement!?  Was I always entangled with entanglement?  During the reading I had to dramatically describe everything that happened during the show (on camera) and I realised afterwards that I had just had the biggest break thus far but as I went to sleep my delusions of glory faded and the thought of that pen and paper returned to haunt me. The pen/paper wormhole model is always presented as a metaphor but what if it was literal, the fabric of time and space, a literal scroll, the pen a literal pen for writing - and for poking holes in the story. Like Cooper* was I/am I a character in a saga, could I fall through a hole into the 'real world'?  Am I time-sliding or does it only feel like that? Am I playable or non-playable?  Am I being played? My mind returned to conversations with Bridges about higher dimensional entities using ''pentatopes'' like pencils to ''write'' on reality - maktub - something like the squid things from the Arrival.  After hours of sleeplessness I fell into some feverish nightmares.

Many people watching the end of Twin Peaks edited their memory so the last line was ''What year is it?'' instead of ''What year is this?''  as the real line is even more disorientating.  Similarly I find that a lot of magicians hold and present certain beliefs without ever really examining them or considering their implications - a kind of esoteric virtue signalling.  I know a lot who believe in reincarnation but few who really live that belief, who live as a reincarnating soul rather than simply their current incarnation who happens to believe in reincarnation.  Its one thing to talk about magic acting on quantum probabilities [or whatever] and another to consider what parallel universes really means for any concrete idea of a self - it is one thing to believe in destiny it is entirely something else to live it.

''So you can take a shortcut across a higher dimension.  But to show that, they've turned three dimensional space into two dimensions.  Which turns the wormhole into two dimensions... a circle.  but what's a circle in three dimensions?''
''A sphere.''
''Exactly.  A spherical hole.  And who put it there?  Who do we thank?''
''I am not thanking anyone until we get through it in one piece.''

Romilly and Cooper, Interstellar

*Cooper is also the name of the protagonist in Interstellar - what does a Cooper do?  They makes and repair barrels, this resonates with the Shevirat ha Kelim - Cooper as the repairer of barrels is the force of Tikkun, i.e. Messianic.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mages, Sorcerers and Wizards

How come no-one says ''wizard'' anymore?

Darth Vader, Robot Chicken

I found the graph on a dungeons and dragons website but it kind of sums up the sense I am getting from all the constructive friction between these two opposing groups.  There also seems to be a correlation between the assumed title of magus and transcendentalist approaches and the assumed title of sorcerer and immanent approaches.  The Magus seems focused on a series of psycho-spiritual initiations in order to access the beyond whereas the Sorcerer seems unconcerned with this and primarily uses magic to satisfy earthly desires.  Generalising, ''sorcerers'' seem absolutely convinced that this is the 'real world', have no questions about it, and their ''results'' oriented modus operandi seems to be entirely about physical gratification - as Rufus stated in a recent post ''getting laid or getting paid'' - as opposed to more philosophical/metaphysical inquiry.  ''Magi'' on the other hand often seem to present an aloof ''qabalistic'' philosophy that puts them on a trajectory to a beyond outside of this dimension (and better than yours...), a transcendental ''other'' - whereas Sorcerers are just ''missioning'' about in this one; getting in adventures and such.

Our graph needs a z axis though! I remain unconvinced of the immanent in the sense of a shared physical world because I have never directly experienced it, only indirectly through the intelligibility of my senses to my [idea of my] self - I am also unclear as to whether this reality is ''editable'' in any sense which would pour doubt on the notion of sorcery itself.  Similarly I am not convinced of an accessible beyond mainly due to the problems that come about with trying to understand/experience infinity - i.e. that it can have no position or size etc therefore it is impossible to actually ''go there''.  Any other dimensions we are accessing that we might consider a beyond, are still natural, we don't need a ''supernatural'' persay. I think the dichotomy between spirit and matter outlives its usefulness fairly rapidly and we're going to find ourselves a lot less limited if we start rethinking our models in terms of time and anti-time (consciousness).  I don't think we need a ''physical'' and a ''spiritual'' with a neat little dividing membrane that the spirits live behind I think the notion of an entangled ball of threads of time and anti-time with no actual ''base'' physical/spiritual reality will provide a lot more explanatory force in the long run.

So this brings me to wizards (!) and why I am bringing them back.  Looking at the above most of us in the community are in fact wizards, we exist in the social-spaces between players at the extremes learning from both and concocting our own fusion, our own lines on the graph, philosophies bending and twisting under various influences.  Its not as simple as ''sorcerers'' or ''mages'' being right or wrong - neither the transcendental nor the immanent are actually understood by any of these people - its almost certainly a bewitching mix of the two or a paradigm shifting concoction (the z axis) that few of us have even yet conceived.

Wizard! I'm bringing it back.

Darth Vader, Robot Chicken

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Empty-headed II - Testicle Head, Kidney Head

Although we have been trained to believe that thoughts are trapped in our brains because we believe ourselves to be the physical body we appear to be, as explained in Empty-headed our [sensation of our] head is in fact empty.   In truth our entire [sensation of our] body is created by the mind and the head is in itself empty; our thoughts cloud about the face and occupy the seemingly physical objects in the world around us and beyond as well as all over our mental homunculus of our self.

In One Hundred and One Pieces of Mind Man Trivia we encountered the testicle-headed or ovary-headed personification of Yesod known as the Many Mannered Mind Man.  In the ''physiognomy'' laid out in the Hermetic Lessons we know that people with high testosterone are more likely to act in certain ways than others - for instance aggressive tendencies, lack of restraint, and paraphilias are much more common - and in describing their behaviour we could say they are thinking [and acting] with their testicles.  Similarly the other personifications are related to other glands and groups of hormones that produce physical changes in the body alongside altering the mood of the various individuals who express them in lower or higher concentrations than ''normal'' - those personifications could be said to be thinking with these other glands.

In confronting our bias towards facial-cranial centrism in this way we have to ask where is our head actually at? When we are talking to other people we generally talk to their faces but the whole body of the person you are talking to is a construction of their mind - why not talk to their feet, their belly, their nipples or their butt - as if it were their face?  What if that person is thinking with their testicles shouldn't you be directing your attention and intention that way as if their testicles are their head? Even deeper than this every nucleus of every cell is in fact a ''centre'' of mind - talk to the whole being as if it were all head and all mind, imagine your own body as all mind, that is, after all, what it is.

My ''natural grade'' is the kidney (particularly the adrenal cortex), I am ''kidney headed'' and therefore, fundamentally, a cleaner. Many doctors, assassins and even actors are cleaners (that's why we say ''polish'' the work, and we provide catharsis, a kind of purging of blood-spirits for the audience) - a toilet cleaner or over zealous housekeeper is effectively working in preventative medicine!  The more kidney headed I let myself become the more ''OCD'' I get, the more focused I am on polishing the form and the more capable I am of multi-tasking - if one is disciplined these special powers of the cleaner can be applied in a great variety of areas. 

Over the last few weeks, however, I have been actively investigating moving my ''head'' or centre into other parts of my being and re-imagining my own head (and others') as if it were, say, a tail.  This can be quite amusing as different thoughts/emotions/responses are immediatly generated by this experiment.  Allow your ''head'' to drift into the back of your knees, live as if the back of your knees were your head for a few hours or a whole day, more importantly diminish the role of the head/face give them the same level of consideration you would normally give to your heel, or your tailbone.

Monday, September 25, 2017

One Hundred and One Pieces of Mind Man Trivia

The Many Mannered Mind Man was one of the characters in a vision of the Tree of Life I recieved when I was younger, a memory palace created in a previous life to pass my knowledge on to myself.   Encountered by ''the Genius'' on the shore of the Great White Sea, later I came to understand that this Mind Man is a Partzuf of Yesod - a personification that allows me to engage in dialogue with this aspect of the Tree of Life and understand/remember the related ''physiognomy''.  Like the other characters, the Many Mannered Mind Man had his own chapter in The Book of Fantastic Lies - the book of the vision - called One Hundred and One Pieces of Mind Man Trivia.

Looking at the image we see:

- The skeleton confronting the symbol of its death/infinity on the shore
- The Mind Man's head is replaced with a Yin Yang to symbolise the phases of the Moon
- The tube attached to the helmet makes it appear like a testicle or ovary
- The tube goes down into the ''White Sea'' which is shown to be a mucus, or sexual fluid
- Within the white sea are perfect egg-pearls which represent individual moments

Why trivia?   As I have got to know the astral plane I have discovered that it is an ocean of ''our'' memory most of which is banal or trivial.  Trivia can aggregate into more significant encounters/beings (the icebergs in our vision) but the prima materia is the trivial.  As forms of head injury can produce perfect memory recall of banal things e.g. what day it was on a particular date, etc so we store all such things in memory but thankfully cannot access the vast majority of it.  The astral plane consists of  all memories, all trivia, every possible timeline all scrambled together - the Akashic Records.

Situated as we are in the Depth of the Past we live our life experiences in the aftermath of the moment, ever catching up with ourselves - am I already dead or dying and is my life actually my life flashing before me?  If we imagine our perception to lie just behind the moment we could imagine the next step ahead would be the moment itself but our perceptions/sensations of the history of our reality are contained within the outer mind which may then be finally contained in a physical body directly experiencing the ''now'' of physical reality.  Therefore we have to navigate this entire structure of the Inner and Outer Mind in order to apprehend reality itself, to get to ''now'' be it death or not - the Depth of the Past does not lead into the ''Depth of Now'' but the Depth of the West, the Depth of Memory.  If in the Metabolism of Time the Depth of the West represents the place the day goes to die, where digestion is completed - what does this say about the Depth of the Past?  Excreta?  Only when we understand that this life is itself but one memory can we begin to understand memory itself.

Since all time is history - including the future - our own timelines in the form of our DNA can guide each of us back into the veritable oceans of our ancestry.  Like the tube of an old diving suit these ''astral threads'' can breathe ancient past memories and ancient future memories.  The Many Mannered Mind Man, a higher dimensional being, freescales through these timelines, a Librarian of Babel, inspecting each moment to guarantee it is perfect - and perfectly trivial.  Confronting infinity reduces you [and all meaning] to the trivia that you are but however little importance your trivia has it still has some [ 0.0 recurring].  Only by confronting the vision of the infinite can we discard the baggage of extraneous meaning, our excreta, that prevents us ''becoming'' the Many Mannered Mind Man - and taking another step on the journey to discovering our true selves amidst the pearls of the infinite.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hermetic Lessons - Practical Work Discussion I

As they continue to do the work the students are now leaving the Depth of the Past and moving along the Path of the Moon towards the Depth of the West.  As they acquire their first spiritual ally (their chosen Lunar deity), learn to hone the will through Raja Yoga and continue to attempt astral projection, they will gain perspective on the ''past'' that they are leaving behind.

As much as our experience of life and ourselves is fundamentally mental it is also fundamentally historical. We very literally live in the past - signals take time to get from [assumed] physical reality through our sense organs until they are organized and transformed into the representation of reality that we experience in our minds.  Being behind the moment in this way makes it really difficult to tell how far behind the moment we exactly are:

- did this already happen and are we in a loop?
- is this mental experience of reality happening in a dying mind, are we literally ''catching up'' with our own death?
- mindfulness only allows you to connect with this mental impression of ''now'' what I call the immediate past, it allows you to catch up with your ''catching up''
- consciousness as anti-time a) the idea of reverie being a shallow experience of highlights of this life but building into a honed, sustained reverie that can take you back through your own geneline b) the idea of prediction and anticipation being a form of future reverie which we can again hone and sustain to see the future (which is also history)

I set the students a series of tasks to complete between now and December when the course will continue with a further three lectures/practical workshops.  They have to:

- form a connection with a lunar deity of their choice
- follow the instructions and attempt to get results on the astral plane or fail gloriously
- succeed in one restriction/observance
- acquire knowledge of basic astrology

I think that although teaching styles are a problem within the WMT they are ultimately regulated by market forces, i.e. the less able teachers are finding that students are not interested in their work and don't want to pay for tickets, venues, lessons, etc.  The more able/flexible teachers will find themselves overbooked and will have to create co-teachers etc.  The more pressing problem regarding teaching at the moment is the notion that teaching = leading and this is probably why the community is treading water.  More on that later but right now I want to explain/explore/justify some of these choices from the perspective of the teacher and also discuss some of the issues the students are having and how I will address them as we proceed -  transparency about the teaching/learning process makes a big difference to the quality of the lesson. 

As we move into the world of dreams and illusion* that is the Astral Plane (beginning in the Depth of the West) the students must have acquired spiritual allies - these allies are for their own protection and will allow them to sustain a vision for longer than they would normally and reduces the chances of being kicked off. Although there are a variety of possibilities here lunar deities are a good place to start as the Moon is the traditional guardian to the entrance to this realm and we are going to need relationships with all 7 sacred planets. As outlined in the Seshat working one of the students made very rapid progress regarding astral experiences after they engaged in a small ceremonial magic ritual to their chosen Lunar deity, then used the prayer as a mantra during gazing.  Although this student chose an Egyptian deity my general advice was to pick a deity that your ancestors might have worshipped.  Another of Irish/Welsh descent is making good progress and has just selected their deity - Rhiannon. I consulted a scholar friend of mine who put this together for her, along with an audio so she can perfect the working in the (closest) language to the deity:

O Rhiannon sydd yn fwy hynafol na hanes y tir
Eich ceffyl yn gyflymach na syniad ac yn ysgafnach na'r gwynt
O Rhiannon yn sefyll ar y twmpath gyda golau lleuad
Rwyf yn eich addoli
Rhiannon doeth, Rhiannon deg Dduwies gwirionedd amyneddgar

The other two seem a bit confused and overwhelmed by the choice but they will make it in the end I'm sure. One is mainly interested in the history of alchemy and has Italian ancestry so I am thinking of directly referring them to Luna/Diana as opposed to another Lunar deity - if you have any other suggestions please advise in comments.  The remaining student is being very cryptic so we will see what emerges.

In addition to attempts on the astral students are also working on lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis.  Sleep Paralysis, an experience I recommend new students attempt to have, has the equivalent horror factor of the midnight ritual in the graveyard (when it comes to developing the astral body) and some students crave that kind of intense experience to ''jump-start'' their work.  Ignoring the roll-over signal is an incredibly easy way of inducing sleep paralysis and after a few failed/aborted attempts students seem to be making ''progress'' there.  Its a kind of cheap, dirty trick to have an OBE quickly and get the conversation on ''what is the self?'' moving outside of the confines of the [sensation of] the physical body - it starts a very different kind of conversation than lucid dreaming does (which is a more common experience although not one that is commonly mastered).  We can also discuss the way in which the outer mind protects itself from the activities of the inner mind.

Certainly having to teach is making me reflect on my own experiences and knowledge and how I structure the transmission - in many ways I am adapting an AA style approach but with the Saadia Tree of Life.  I think the systematic development of different faculties is important and in some ways we are ''climbing the tree'' while maintaining an emphasis on unification and ''grounding''.

1) Depth of Past - Question physical reality and embrace truth of mental reality
2) Depth of West - Memory
3) Depth of Down - Remembering
4) Depth of Up - Forgetting
5) Depth of East - Inner Mind

As we learn about the properties of memory in the next set of lessons, we will be learning more than microcosmic tricks for enhanced reflexes, referencing, learning to think with the spine, or recovering from trauma more rapidly etc but also to ''remember into existence'' and ''forget from existence'', we will also be learning about how the faculties of remembering and forgetting correlate with synchronicities and de-synchronicities.  Ultimately we will be moving through physical, psychological, informational, ''spirit'' and mind-only models to our final destination the time-dependent or temporal entanglement model.

*Like spheres this is an introductory explanation for the Astral Plane, my own understanding is different to this but its a way in.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Twin Peaks and the Tree of the Return

 Its 2:53 in Vegas and that adds to 10 the number of completion.

Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks the Return

Without denying other clear influences David Lynch used the Kircher Tree of Life as the structural basis of Cooper's Return to Twin Peaks. Beginning in Malkuth with Cooper sitting in the chair we followed him and his Doppleganger as they raced up through the Tree of Life through Yesod (the so-called ''Mauve Zone'') and beyond.  There are countless examples of where Lynch tied a particular colour to an episode or used other symbolism from the paths on the Hermetic Tree such as the ''palm'' (Kaph)  of Ike the Spike, or the ''hand'' (Yod) of Freddie, some of you may remember the ''window'' (Heh) where the loud scraping forces Cole to adjust his ear piece, etc etc.  Throughout the Return we see the magickal imagery of the Sephiroth (man on throne, wise man in profile etc) and Partzufim or magickal character-archetypes.

As I said in the beginning this idea of Cooper's Golden Dawn style ascent would prove difficult to resolve (and potentially cause magickal calamity) as the Kircher Tree is fundamentally broken but that he may have attempted to ''repair'' it in the remaining episodes after the characters had reached Kether - the way in which certain esotericists sometimes distinguish between a Cordoveran ''Tree of Emanation'' and a Lurianic ''Tree of Return''. I also said that there would probably be other discombobulating consequences from effects upon the cast and director all the way up to altering the weather.

As my close readers know I attempted something very similar to Cooper's ''botched'' attempt to restore Laura during my stay at Edward Kelley's Tower and although I was using a different Tree for my work, my colleague Vincent Bridges was using the Kircher.  Nevertheless the logical conclusion of this kind of Qabalistic work results in the recognition of the 4th dimensional self, the time-traveller/prophet, and an awareness of the kind of ''physics'' which it is necessary to understand in order to fully become this being and explore its new reality.  In trying to alter time, myself and Bridges, like Cooper, certainly failed but what emerged was a dialogue between us and ''entities'' (Raziel and others) regarding how to think about and operate in this new arena, that of being lost in time - which is of course the natural state of all humankind when they face up to it.

What is repair?  In my own research, repair is fundamentally about restoring the Fallen Daughter from her pendulant position in Malkuth to her original position in Binah, the seat of the superior mother which we see in the final attempt by Cooper to take Laura ''home''.  Repair means fully living your life with the knowledge that you are your mental self experiencing your mental universe as opposed to the delusion that you are a physical self living in a physical universe. I know that what I feel like I am inside right now is not my physical body but my own mind's homunculus of myself, I know that the objects around me are not the physical objects themselves but composed of the stuff of my own thought but I understand that it is one thing to ''know'' that and another to understand it and live that way.  It doesn't matter how much sorcery you do to get that foxy redhead or your fancy new promotion if you're going to forget it all when you die and wake up in your next life as if amnesiac from a shipwreck with your memories scattered like wreckage along the shoreline.  Its absolutely futile.  Without developing/becoming this time-traveller for all your sorcerer's power you're no different from anyone else.

In some ways we do see this repair in the finale of Twin Peaks which leaves Cooper both lost in time and questioning the nature of his and Laura's reality itself.  However disquieting it may be, Cooper, in fully understanding his new predicament is actually experiencing the awakening of the 4th dimensional self and eventually rising to meet the challenges of a fundamentally different kind of existence - is it future or is it past?  I feel like Richard and in truth I have for a long time.

What year is this?

Richard Cooper, Twin Peaks The Return