Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Archive for February, 2012

Status

Posted by Mike on February 27, 2012

The plan is to get the new home computer at the end of the week. I’ve been doing so much artwork in the last few months that I think my priority is going to be setting up a Deviant Art account. The problem with using WordPress, at least on some computers, is it distorts the photo by cramming it into predesigned limits, so the only way to see them is to click all the way through to the jpeg.

I think I’ve done at least 20 pieces since Adonai Ha-Aretz below. I’m working on a 19×24 of the Archangel Gabriel (mine is not fluffy). I just finished a colorized version of The Symbol of Venus on the Tree of Life, which was a riff on the version in the Cicero’s Self Initiation book as I liked the use of the first Hebrew letter of each sephirah (this was also inspired by Chic Cicero’s speech at Pantheacon, particularly the Venus as key part). And there’s lots more.

I also managed to get an incense top 10 done over at Olfactory Rescue Service. It’s been difficult to address the site much without a home computer, but I really wanted to express my thanks to Katlyn at Mermade Magickal Arts who realized a personal incense based on what I went through over the last year and a half and much much more. This was a Netzach incense created from some insanely high quality ingredients (notably rose otto and Baieido aloeswoods), I’m literally almost moved to tears every time I sniff the jar (I couldn’t even express the nirvana when the heater is used). I do think the best incense in the United States comes from the small hermetic corner, both Mermade’s lines and the Nu Essence line (based on thelema) really capture a great melding of magick, scent and art.

I’m in something of a musical withdrawal (probably because I used to play it on my computer a lot), but I was psyched to pick up all three Placebo reissues (the Belgian jazz group) and The Fourth Way’s Werwolf.

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Pantheacon etc

Posted by Mike on February 21, 2012

I didn’t really have Pantheacon on my radar until a few days before the weekend when I was looking at something and realized the Ciceros would be speaking at the event. It would have been nice to have gone the whole weekend, but could only really go for a day and went down on Friday in order to see the talk on the Rosicrucian Vault.

I also wanted to see the Rosicrucian Egyptian museum in San Jose which wasn’t too far from the hotel, so after a lot of wrong turns we ended up there in the early afternoon. It takes about an hour or so to get through the whole thing and it was quite enjoyable, I’d wanted to check this out for many years. It was nice to find it in a really nice neighborhood with easy parking, although we were definitely early in the season to see the full glory of the park. My favorite part of the museum was the neat little tomb area at the bottom.

The hotel was pretty close to E-bay HQ in San Jose which meant there weren’t any reasonable restaurants in the area so after a failed scouting mission we went to the hotel and ate there. People watching is pretty fun at a pagan convention and I did restrain myself from yelling “Hey Neo wants his clothes back” at the grim leather trenchcoat crowd. I wondered seriously at this point what the Golden Dawn group was going to be like (completely unpretentious and casual thankfully).

We did see the Cicero talk. It’s difficult to speak of something that affects you in such an intensely subconscious way, both my friend and I were completely wiped out almost the rest of the weekend after it. There was a group Middle Pillar ritual at the beginning that affected me in a way that could take weeks to even express, plus how can you really talk about it? I can’t even remember if I’ve ever been around that much juju at once. It was AMAZING.

It wasn’t all serious of course, most of the group seemed well aware of that one particular GD personality (noone needed to say the name) and the jokes flying around about that personality were hysterically funny and incredibly sly (and all tinged with sadness rather than mirth). The lecture on the vault was truly amazing to the point where both my friend and I had a distinct impression that the talk was for the two of us and I can imagine almost everyone there might have gotten the same kind of idea.  I think my only regret is not visiting the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn hospitality suite after the talk, but we were now eight hours after our last meal with a two hour trip in front of us, so we got on the road.

Anyway if you’re GD related and get a chance to see the Ciceros talk on anything, go. If anything I was left with a profound sense of unity that will be with me a long time, we are VERY lucky and blessed to have these two leaders, it’s clear they really love the system in a way that is very inspiring.

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Synchronicities in the Golden Dawn

Posted by Mike on February 15, 2012

Synchronicities, specifically the “meaningful coincidence,” can happen to everyone, but in my experience spiritual work accelerates and multiplies these events. I find them to be the hallmark of the nature of the emerging contact of the Self with the personality. The Higher Self (in Briah) is the connection between the human being (Assiah and Yetzirah) and the archetypal universe (Atziluth) and synchronicities often reflect this by connecting the human experience with what often feel like turns of fate.

I connected very early with the number 23 via Robert Anton Wilson. Today there’s barely a day that goes by that I don’t see and experience dozens of these, to the point that I have pictures of some of them and often experience them in company. This morning on my work commute I sat among three cars with 23 license plates one of them was something like 7B23723. Often I’ll see something like a Kings game and flash when the score is 23-23, 23 seconds left on the shot clock with #23 on screen or I’ll frequently get the #23 waiting at a restaurant, and when I check the clock it’s something 23 at least eight times a day.

In 777, Aleister Crowley corresponds the number 23 with the world of Briah, which isn’t something I’ve seen discussed very much, but it’s kind of interesting that such a famous synchronistic number would be connected with the creative Self when the activity of a synchronicity seems to match up a human experience with an unusual twist in fate, in the same way the creative Self connects the impersonal God of the universe with the human being. (Just now WordPress saved this draft at 2:32:35 PM.)

A lot of inititates experience a lot of pain as that bit of light within begins to expand and without (or even with) guidance the inner experiences are often projected on the outside. There is a great chapter (4: Animus) in Richard and Iona Miller’s The Modern Alchemist that discusses this. Synchronicities get much more complicated in these situations because if you’re experiencing that emerging higher self as a projection on someone you care deeply about I think it’s possible if not likely you’ll experience similar and profound synchronicities related to this person as well, which can likely really cause a great deal of confusion, because synchronicities of this sort can be life changing and profound and such experiences can reinforce the projection. In fact I’d guess a lot of the confusion over soul mates comes from situations like this, because you’re projecting your “real” soul mate outwards and imbuing the situation on the outside with a numinous quality that should be on the inside.

Getting it there is a long and painful process, but in my experience returning this energy to the inside helps bring that creative soul into play on a personal level. I was a musician in the 90s but my artist side was pretty close to dead when I began what were the hardest two years of my life. Last September the creativity exploded and I just finished my 40th piece of artwork this weekend. I still will walk around my gallery remembering that as recent as six months ago I hadn’t painted or drawn anything since I was a child.

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Pantheacon

Posted by Mike on February 15, 2012

Looks like I’ll be attending on Friday, am hoping to check out the Ciceros on the Rosicrucian Vault, not to mention checking out the Rosicrucian Egyptian museum in the morning. There’s a lot to fit in..

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Got me!

Posted by Mike on February 13, 2012

I just removed my Rick Santorum vs Heavy Metal article after a friend passed on it was a hoax. Tyranny of Tradition, you got me, that was far too plausible a story for me not to react to. 🙂

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Moyers and Company

Posted by Mike on February 9, 2012

http://billmoyers.com/series/moyers-and-company/

I’d like to recommend readers of either side of the political spectrum to check out the Moyers & Company episode “How do Conservatives and Liberals see the World?” It’s my opinion that the politics of the country are as polarized as they’ve ever been and I’m completely weary of the propaganda coming from either side of the spectrum and am always looking to understand things outside of this box and this was about as close to anything like this I’ve seen on television.

In fact this interview Moyers had with psychologist Jonathan Haidt almost seemed like he was talking to a hermeticist. I can’t remember specific quotes too well, but at one point Haidt made the point that truth can’t be reached through reason, which is one of those statements that ought to have many skeptics in a major uproar, but that hermeticists understand implicitly.

I’m not sure that you could put the conservative party and liberal party on either side of the tree of life, but I do think conservative tendencies tend to be severe and liberal tendencies tend to be merciful. But of course the lesson of this is that of the middle pillar and of balance. I don’t think I’ve ever met a hermeticist that’s a political conservative but I’m not sure any of them quite qualify as a Maddow/Olbermann-esque liberal either. I’m at the point where most of this stuff reeks of obvious propoganda and I don’t like it from either side. Hermeticists break away from groupthink not embrace it.

Haidt brought up Manichaeanism which I tend to find one of the biggest issues because this is really the state of Christian fundamentalism today. If you’re not walking the party line (of good) then the only other choice is that you’re evil. Haidt made the point that this is a lot of what drives Republicanism today and it’s often what I experience with fundamentalist republicans who can’t at all accept someone outside their box as being good, because if they don’t believe in Jesus, the flag and apple pie then they must believe in communes and world states and the rise of the Antichrist.

But I think the main point Haidt makes is that liberals generally try to seek new experiences while conservatives tend to stick to what they already know. I like that Haidt didn’t attach value judgements to these things though, that is he wasn’t trying to say this makes liberals superior to conservatives, only that they’re different ways of viewing things. How he compared the tea party’s use of the flag (untouched and sacralized) to Occupy Wall Street’s use of the flag (usually altered in some fashion as liberals don’t sacralize the flag) was particularly fascinating.

Haidt hopes to be instrumental in translating the language of one viewpoint to the other and I think it’s an honorable if not very realistic mission entirely due to the Manichaenism he brought up earlier. With Ivy league schools cast as elitists due to such Manichaenism (another good example is the way everything becomes the “liberal media”), it’s hard to imagine conservatives taking him seriously. Even though he says the results of the study actually moved him in a more conservative direction.

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Fundamentalism in the Golden Dawn

Posted by Mike on February 2, 2012

I’m probably not alone as a hermeticist that came from a Christian fundamentalist family background, in fact I often read occult writers who mention this was their background. Fundamentalism has a very effective way of breeding an us vs them mentality, creating spectres and demons out of the other until anything outside the group mind gets the “satanic” label. Growing up I used to think pretty much everything I liked must have been satanic because I’ve seen everything from role playing games to rock music stoking real fires.

I got over this a long time ago, in fact I even know when the strings untied, it was encountering Aleister Crowley’s neat little dualistic fairy tale of Satan and Jesus. At that point it was one of the most effective ways of demonstrating the actual unity of things. Fundamentalists separate. Real Christians from fake Christians, good from evil, right from wrong, orthodox from heretic, it’s either a zero or a one.

So in terms of my personal development this urge to separate has gone bone deep and I spent a lot of time recognizing these urges. If a fundamentalist church comes to find out that a member of their flock is, say, living unmarried with a boy/girlfriend, a member of that church will undoubtedly let them know this isnt acceptable with the implication that they either live alone or leave the church.

When I debate with this kind of mentality, there’s no separation between a debate about ideas and a personal attack, it’s considered one and the same. Biblical literalists believe the entire bible is the literal, true word of god. What this functionally means is that a lot of effort is gone to shoring up a leaky boat. If you’re not of this mentality, it’s easy to see there are two accounts of, say, the death of Judas in the bible; but if you are of this mentality, you need interpretation, often a second book that helps “explain” discrepancies.

The Golden Dawn current has now been around long enough where you can see fundamentalism creeping in. Christian fundamentalism is responsible for things like the Jack Chick tracts who will literally claim Catholics (aka other Christians) are under the thrall of the Antichrist. I want to bring this up because I think this information is effective in evaluating the claims of various Golden Dawn orders. Do you know of a Golden Dawn order whose chief spends most of his public time venting on the chiefs of other orders, from blogs to Amazon book reviews and comments? When you see this do you look at the people under attack and instead of evaluating the criticism, evaluate the work of who they’re attacking?

Because to me this seems like the most effective way of really evaluating what comes in a Golden Dawn label. There’s a huge difference in Rosicrucian ideals between someone who will help you just by asking and someone who spends so much time venting bile at the former. A huge difference between someone helping you to become more than human and someone who would like to see their Golden Dawn look like one of those gigantic 25,000 large megachurches.

Evaluate carefully. Do gigantic blog posts character assassinating other members of the community really demonstrate the Rosicrucian ideal or the hermetic philosophy? Are posts like this helping you to become more than human or are they redolent of cults? Are people telling you you have the ability to attain if you work hard or are they telling you can’t attain unless you’re in their group? Because if you can’t tell you might just be trading one kind of fundamentalism for another.

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