Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Archive for January, 2012

Crows

Posted by Mike on January 31, 2012

If you’re up early in the morning in Sacramento, say before 7 AM, you may have experienced the massive flocks of crows that descend like a loud, cawing black cloud. This is extremely eerie while in nigredo. I can cut off none of their heads through a fourth floor window.

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Interesting experience

Posted by Mike on January 26, 2012

Dreamwork is something most occultists engage in at some point and through the years my dreaming varies from not at all to labyrinthine (something I think is triggered working with Yesod), from dreams I’m an observer in to lucid dreams. One thing I don’t ever remember doing is looking in a mirror, I’m not even sure why it’s never occured to me, but I did for the first time last night and saw what my Yetziratic body looked like. An incredible experience.

I’m always surprised just how dismissive people are of dreams, if only for the fact that it’s a flawless demonstration of what it’s like when your consciousness is in another form or “body”. It’s an interesting question to ask people too, where do you think you are when you dream?

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Book Review

Posted by Mike on January 25, 2012

I just added a review to Amazon of Lyam Thomas Christopher’s Kabbalah, Magic & The Great Work of Self-Transformation. Hopefully this link will take you there.

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Art Trances

Posted by Mike on January 17, 2012

I’m still a Virgo, but lately it has been hard to remember. I seem to remember a guy who used to analyze and categorize and review and critique, but whoever that is is long gone or at least heavily dormant. In fact I have to kind of force this type of thinking when I have to study. I still have to review incenses but to do it is like trying to get back into my head of a year ago.

Art takes over when it does. I was inspired this weekend by a virtual stranger who remembered my art and wanted to see more, but sometimes it’s just the whisp of an idea, when a half year ago it was to take my mind off of something. This weekend, all I had was about 1/10th of a new piece started, by the end of the weekend I’d done about 80% each of two pieces, the first is an acrylic reimagining of the “Garden of Eden Before the Fall” diagram, the second is a pretty wild psychedelic marker piece I’ve tentatively called “Incursion.” Previous to this I’d done a few quickie pastel pieces.

I display most of my art at the top of my staircase. Somewhere it went from a few pieces to more or less a full two-wall gallery. I started doing art in September 2010, I now have 33 finished pieces (although a good five of these are actually part of a much larger composite work). I have to admit there’s something somewhat unsettling about thinking that if I was to turn back the clock half a year none of it would be there. It’s like I have still yet to come to grips with all of this.

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Self-Initiation

Posted by Mike on January 11, 2012

I got my signed copy of the Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic at the end of 2003 and started working with the system not long after. I’m not sure I consider this my initial initiation, in the late 90s my initial forays into the occult were through runes and I consider it all part of a personal continuum of sorts, especially when I realized how much wealth I could get out of kabalistically analyzing the experiences.

Sacramento, CA is kind of an odd little town, I’d probably call it conservative for California but very liberal compared to the heartlands. There’s a thelemic organization here but no Golden Dawn temple, at least with a public face. The temples in the bay area seem more hybrid than I’m personally drawn to, so after doing the research I figured I’d start doing the work and let the rest of it sort itself out.

I’ve been profoundly affected by the work I’ve done, when I look back at who I was then and who I am now it’s like two completely different people. For me the GD process is intensely psychological and very transformative, so I tend to find a lot of online arguments over minutiae to demonstrate an imbalance in the direction of Hod (seriously it would be really fun to see how many initiates are Virgos or Geminis).

I think self-initiation is something you do when you feel you have to. I’ve been trying to think of a good metaphor to compare it with temple initiation. My guess is something that you might process in a temple under guidance could take much longer on your own without any. There isn’t anyone to help you balance when you’re initiating on your own, which generally seems to me to make the lessons a lot more painful, the potential for self destruction greater and the ability to stay in a dead end longer.

I’ve been there. The first time I had to face one of the largest parts of my shadow I ran from it. Had I had a mentor at the time they probably could have told me what was going on (and someone did eventually). But I think when you start the process it starts a forward motion that means you can’t really run from it for long. And I spent almost the last year and a half dealing with this shadow, a process that led to the most numinous experience of my life, something that made all of this real for me in a way nothing else has. There are synchronicities and then there are Synchronicities.

I wouldn’t recommend self-initiation unless you absolutely have to. Perhaps I’m fortunate that when I reached out to the greater GD community my questions were answered, I’m probably very lucky to have had almost pyrotechnic confirmation of the work, but it took a really long time and it completely sucked until it happened. I will say, though, that at a certain point, if you stick with it, it will be noticed. Self initiation definitely works, it’s just a lot uglier and much stickier and you’ve got to have almost incredible willpower to go through the inevitable pain on your own.

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Update

Posted by Mike on January 3, 2012

About a year ago, or maybe a year and a half, I remember a person who reviewed incenses and previous to that music and wanted to write about everything. Writing is communication and thus a Mercurian activity and for me a lot of that went away around September. Even sitting here typing this I’m not really sure what’s left to say (and this doesn’t count almost a half dozen unfinished drafts over the last few months). A few weeks ago my home computer followed my soul and went up in a scent of burnt fuses and for the first time since the home computer I found I didn’t care all that much except for its use as a quick research tool. I do hope to replace it in the next month or two, but at that point it will be really difficult to tell where I’m at. My Mercurian brain can’t live without a computer but my Venusian brain couldn’t care less and it’s in dominance right now.

2011 was extremely brutal for me. Computers, fender benders, tremendous emotional difficulty and other things were run of the mill and almost shocking in frequency and only a small part of the story. Since my experience on September 25th the move from Hod to Netzach has more or less completely upset my previous personality to the point where I’m concentrating more on individuating, and feeling like I have a personality in transition is making it difficult to make judgement calls on what to do with difficult situations.

Alchemists call this process nigredo, in the GD this process is more or less the outer school and elemental work. You really have no idea how bad this is going to suck until it really sucks. I thought I knew pain and heartbreak but I honestly had no idea, previous examples of both in my life have almost been mild in comparison. The spiritual experience of Malkuth is amazing and that of Netzach even more amazing, but both hint terribly at what’s missing. We’ve been conditioned from so early to seek for the profound on the outside and even once we find it on the inside, we continue to seek for it on the outside, continuing to struggle to find some recognizable analog to this thing waking up inside us whose reach is so incomprehensible and vast.

On the other hand this same thing waking up seems to have turned me into something of an artist (I’m always reminded of how it’s mentioned that the Practicus grade opens up hidden creative potential). I started painting (and marking and drawing and whatever) in September and in the last week of 2011 I set a goal to complete 30 pieces of artwork (I think I was around 25 or so) and made the goal on the 31st. I hope to eventually get pictures of these up, but the last five that weren’t related to another project were all 17 by 14s and one of them I think is my best to date. They’re almost getting too big to tote around at least in frames.

People are really responding positively to the work but are always asking me where I show them or what I want to do with the art and I always say something like I’ve only been doing this for a four months and honestly have no idea how to take the private public or if I even want to do that. The closest style is visionary art (which is maybe the most common style when the occult meets the psychedelic), but I guess I think of it more as initiated art in that most of my pieces are directly related to the GD transformational process and the wisdom clothed within symbols. What looks like water and fire and triangles and symbols are all veiled descriptions of psychological and spiritual processes and I’m constantly amazed how some of these maps are emerging unplanned out of certain artistic techniques.

Anyway that’s about as much as I can say about where I’m at, the art speaks to all of this quite a bit better. But I did want to explain a little about all this because I think things could get even more difficult before it all gets better.

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