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Archive for April, 2012

From there to here (part 2)

Posted by Mike on April 25, 2012

I spent the evening with a friend. Someone important to him has fallen down the rabbit hole that is the conspiracy theory trap and it was interesting discussing this not only in the light of wanting to discuss Robert Anton Wilson’s influence but also in the light of the increasingly comical conspiracy theories elsewhere in the community. So this is a prelude to RAW…

Conspiracy theories can be obvious if you look around the internet for UFOs and the men in black and 9/11 and JFK and 100 other things. But you can also find them in fundamentalism (where the devil is more and more treated as the Manichean opposite to God, influencing everything from the government to what music you listen to) and even in the Golden Dawn (where gigantic third order pupper masters are pulling strings in order to … I dunno, sell small press books).

I would wager a guess that dealing with this energy is all part of the ladder especially in certain charts. But essentially I think it deals with the issue of discrimination, or, that is, the lack of discrimination that is the hallmark of the conspiracy theory. I want to quote from Mark Stavish’s article “Problems on the Path of Return” on the issue that comes up on the Path of Resh:

Moon to Mercury- Psycho-scientific babble. Lack of discrimination in areas of magical, occult, or alchemical information. Belief in extreme forms of conspiratorial thinking, a rational form of irrationalism. The more bizarre, the better, and more easily believed. A UFO goes from being as defined, an Unidentified Flying Object, to an identified alien space craft from beyond the solar system. Everything they read they believe, National Inquire thinking, or even X-Files as hidden social history being disseminated for our indoctrination. (+)

Familiar?

Discrimination couldn’t be more important in the occult, even many of your friends who don’t have anything to do with it are generally turned off by the lack of discrimination shown in all sorts of public new age teachings. We’re so used to esoteric teachings that tell us “anything goes” and people who seem to have unearthly channels to ascended masters who have nothing better to do than makes us feel warm and fuzzy that unless we’re careful and attentive we can easily begin spinning our wheels.

On the path back we’re continually urged to sacrifice the control of our ego. But conspiracy theories are all about control and ego satisfaction. You know something dreadfully important than NOONE ELSE knows. You are also relieved of your personal responsibility because the shadowy secret government has its tendrils into every aspect of your life. Congratulations you are now powerless, after all the Illuminati controls what goes in your milk, your popular pop figures (the above friend’s conspiracist is certain the Illuminati was responsible for the death of Michael Jackson), and the entire government. And yes, ignore that idea that it’s not a secret if three people know something, the Illuminati, which must number in the thousands, are really good at keeping secrets.

With the Illuminati now responsible for everything that happens in your life, you can now be happily powerless. There’s no need to meditate or work on yourself, after all there’s really nothing you can do about the extensive reach they have in your life. The problems, as always, are on the outside and you now can’t do anything about them. Or can you?

When I was told about the Michael Jackson thing the first thing that came to mind was “Why would the Illuminati want to kill Michael Jackson?” I’d have similar questions about recent GD conspiracies except everyone is supposed to cross Resh on the way back. Which really makes you wonder.

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The Immeasurable Regions

Posted by Mike on April 24, 2012

My newest piece, a header for Peregrin Wildoak’s amazing blog Magic of the Ordinary, is finished. He talks about the idea and inspiration for it in this post. The first idea for it popped almost immediately, and then a little bit later the “host.” Anyway if you’re curious about the Golden Dawn, this is one of the most informed and luminous sites out there and Peregrin’s also written what could easily be the best introductory guide to the system out there, By Names and Images. Thanks Peregrin 🙂

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From there to here (part 1)

Posted by Mike on April 20, 2012

As someone immersed in the western esoteric tradition, every so often major events have you looking back at your personal trajectory. From my experience this is entirely a “real” paradigm and thus I often wonder why I’m here and other friends and family members aren’t. Obviously there are no easy answers to these questions and my journey went from the religion I was raised in through various phases of dabbling in the occult and atheism/skepticism.

My father more or less imprinted or impressed upon me the value of pursuing the truth at any cost. In many ways I think it’s not relevant we ended up in two totally different paradigms, but this was a belief that came out of a Calvinist sort of mindset that has been of great use to me in life and hermetics. In fact there’s an element of fundamentalist Christianity (and even Republican politics) that is very close to a hermetic mindset, the concept of taking responsibility for your actions.

But then the teenage years came and my mind was blown open by the psychedelic culture of the late 60s. But where most young hippie types tend to stop at about the “drop out” point, I was far more interested in the “turn on” phase I encounted via Ram Dass, Timothy Leary and especially Robert Anton Wilson. The expansion of consciousness wasn’t as important to me as what it meant for me in a larger sense.

I was at a party in Davis when I was in my college years in the late 80s completely dosed with a friend, in the backyard listening to a friend’s band play. At one point we locked into a group mind and for a short period of time our perception was that we could literally control everything happening around us and actually felt we did. This ended when both of us had an intuitive alarm that had us heading for the exit. Completely lost we had wandered down a street, realized we had gone the wrong way and reversed. Only to run into loads of people saying the cops had just busted the party.

A few years previously a friend and I went camping at Emigrant Gap in Northern California expressly for the psychedelic experience. As I began to peak, listening to Genesis “The Fountain of Salmacis” lying face up on a blanket staring up into the trees I had a massive consciousness shift. Where previously the world was as random and uncontained as you normally perceive, when I shifted all of a sudden everything about me turned into something like a predictable computer program. I had a glimpse of the complex array of spider webs and insects and ever single part of it looked like it had been completely predicted by mathematics, as insect and spider trajectories looked like drawings of geometric figures. Every time I come across writing on the spiritual experience of Yesod, “The Vision of the Machinery of the Universe” it reminds me of this experience. It also reminds me of the bible quote that I can vaguely paraphrase as “what could you possibly worry about when God is aware of every bird.” (Yes this is an awful paraphrase!)

Later that afternoon at the peak of the experience we had climbed the hill across the stream from the large waterfall at Emigrant Gap. At this point I was completely overwhelmed by the experience. As we watched, we could see what was like a gigantic earth elemental as the face of the rock the water was pouring over. I don’t know how long we sat there watching or perceiving its vast age, solidity and power, but I remember it like it was yesterday (not to mention it has come up in the past via the Zelator meditation). Some of this I think peaks its head out in my Adonai Ha-Aretz painting.

I don’t recount any of this to say I recommend psychedelics as an entry point into western esotericism, in fact now that I’m 25-30 years beyond these events, I’d say it’s actually a terrible idea. Progress in the Golden Dawn is slow and measured, while LSD, psilocybin and the like are an awful lot like jumping on a spiritual trampoline without any guards or helmets. Sure you may get a high bounce, but you often come down wrong. But what impresses me today is how much so many of these experiences I can relate to hermetic or qabalistic terms, if, perhaps, only as metaphors.

So this was essentially one element of the piece. It’s difficult to have psychedelic experiences and not have a ready metaphor of the overall unity of things at some point. And in having this framework it probably allowed for a new phase to happen when I came across Shea and Wilson’s Illuminatus trilogy.

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Milestone

Posted by Mike on April 15, 2012

I just posted photos of my last three completed pieces at http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/ . This includes my 5oth piece of artwork since I began in September 2011. Anyway the 50th “Unfolding” is dedicated to all in pursuit of the great work with special thanks to those who helped me through some rough spots.

 

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Some thoughts on the GD, Christianity and such

Posted by Mike on April 5, 2012

Unlike a lot of occultists who join groups or have like-minded friends who share the interest, I managed to find the Golden Dawn on my own. Like a lot of occultists, I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian environment and when it comes to family and circle, I’m still occasionally placed in the middle of a table of a dozen people screaming for Obama’s head and thinking everything outside of a narrow Calvinist framework is part of a mega Satanic conspiracy. In fact I can look back over the last ten years and see a gradual evolution of how I’ve had to deal with this. This has drifted from a need to assert my individuality to a much more gentle approach.

I was reading Nick’s great post here and really resonated with the part about not being blighted by Christianity. In fact when I started the practical work of the Golden Dawn I felt like a lot of my early experiences were understanding the bible through a hermetic paradigm. I remember one beautiful early vision via a meditation of the crucifixion. Most of my life I understood it as a symbol of Christ wiping away the sins of the world, but it was via the hermetic paradigm that I “knew” this was also about bringing the light of the One down to the physical world.

At this point I went back to the bible and started reading it with different eyes. This is essentially what removed the hold that literalist theology had over me. I remember vividly struggling with it and then one day that struggle was over. For me it was reading Aleister Crowley’s little duality parable on Jesus and Satan, it was perhaps the first moment of many understanding how deep the doctrine of separation goes.

I didn’t go directly from a fundamentalist mindset to a hermetic one though, in fact I came to the Golden Dawn because of what I see as a scientific approach to spiritual issues, it was actually more a result of atheism. Perhaps it’s this reason why the minds in the Golden Dawn I’m most sympathetic to are the ones seeking to improve and develop the system from within, it just strikes me as good science.

I mentioned in my previous post the “you’re not doing it right” meme that flies around magical circles. I’d like to see this move slightly to “you could be doing it better” because I think it says the same thing a little more accurately without the overtones of dismissiveness and with a great deal more encouragement. Anyone can pick up a book and start practicing an LBRP, but it’s in the practice itself where one realizes how many submechanics are involved, how many facets of the process can be fine tuned to be more effective (Peregrin Wildoak’s new By Names and Images has lots of good stuff where all this is concerned, it’s already helped me improve my work).

This is true for the whole system as well. I’m not in the Golden Dawn to sacrifice my beliefs and conscience to another father figure or so I have a new corpus to go evangelize about. I’m not asked about the GD very often but when I am I tend to be discouraging, and I’m discouraging because it works. I remember being at the front end of this and literally having trepidation over doing my first ritual. It was a long time ago, but I’ve never forgotten I used to have that mindset. Even convincing someone to take up meditation for five minutes a day as a starter comes with the “you’ll be surprised how hard it is to keep that up.”

Usually someone just wants a quick fix, but I generally recommend if things are bad enough to need a fix that seeing a therapist is a much better idea. The divinity you awake in a hermetic process isn’t a theory or a new agey feel-good sense of euphoria or a cosmic pat on the back. One doesn’t react to this by all of a sudden floating a few feet over the ground in a lotus position which in my experience seems to be most people’s idea of the “mystic guru.” It can be very painful and life shattering to the point where you wonder what’s actually holding it all together.

When something is real, you get to a point where you have increasing confidence in that reality. This confidence makes it a lot easier when some well meaning  fundamentalist friend or family member starts to get anxiety over whether your box is checked saved or not saved. The last discussion I had like this I just listened until it ran out and amused myself with thoughts of a fundamentalist Golden Dawn where you were hellbound unless you did your LBRPs every day.

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A few thoughts on GD messes I’m not sure I’ve seen yet.

Posted by Mike on April 2, 2012

Not that I think any of these things are major revelations but:

  • I’ve done a great deal of editing in my life. Not only professionally but for the Gnosis site etc. After a while it becomes fairly easy to pick up writing voices. Regarding the reviews of Nick Farrell’s King Over the Water and addressing those voices writing the one star reviews at Amazon, well I’m not completely convinced it’s “those.” One thing that is highly important about creating sockpuppets is you need to spell well otherwise all of your sockpuppets have the same spelling errors. Also, certain memes give sockpuppets away because once one mind thinks a meme is a good one then likewise do all the sockpuppets. Even in a situation where a group of people are being persecuted, the beliefs of why they’re being persecuted are still going to vary a fair bit just by the information coming out of different peoples’ heads. While I do think there is more than one voice at work, right now it wouldn’t shock me if the grand total of people involved in this was actually one.
  • It’s difficult to sustain the hatred of someone through the publishing process. But I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the conclusions that come out of King Over the Water are going to piss off everyone associated with a Golden Dawn who do it because they want to be seen as a badass with powers. It doesn’t have to be specific to any particular order because this does seem to be part of the shadow that the reflection of the light of the Golden Dawn as a whole is casting. It can’t be a surprise to anyone there’s this type of activity when a whole bunch of important new books are being released.
  • Worrying about what other people think about the Golden Dawn is a complete waste of time and I think a lot of this energy is helping contribute to the negativity. This includes the negativity from magicians who take these opportunities to paint the system with a wide brush. There’s just a little too much “you’re not doing it right” flying around which isn’t so much the big deal as the lack of confidence it dredges up in response to it. But then again if you’re puffed up and talking down from the mountaintop, you’re going to react to accusations a lot more harshly than you are if the system has more or less humbled you. It’s interesting seeing who is snapping at this point. It’s also interesting seeing which blogs are still putting out great information and which are completely consumed by the flame wars.
  • The Golden Dawn is  just fine thank you. But it is dangerous and I think a lot of what you’re seeing is what it does to those who haven’t heeded the warnings. There are some obvious basic values that are screamed out in all the major literature and one of the majors is the warning of ego inflation. Some of what’s out there are picture perfect examples of not heeding the warnings and letting this whole thing go to your head. I think this could be more true in situations where the occult becomes your entire life and you’re not around normal people who would laugh their asses off if you showed them a picture of you in ritual garb.
  • I have some new art up at http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com. Have also almost finished #48.

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