Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Archive for May, 2012

Art

Posted by Mike on May 30, 2012

Trinary
http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/#/d51p89j

Cheth
http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/#/d51p8nl

Trinary was also chosen as part of this journal:
http://mutequacky.deviantart.com/journal/The-Daily-Grind-14-305245301

For a little while I’ve been trying to write a post about art (or art and Art if you will). I started doing my art in September 2011 and never really expected to end up looking at 60 pieces 3/4 of a year later. This weekend we had a lot of family and friends in town, some I haven’t seen in many years, and I was asked a lot what led to being an artist.

The answer is very complicated and I’m not sure I have the perspective yet to even address it, particularly as the story might have the tendency to be an apologetic of sorts. The thing that is really striking me about being part of the Golden Dawn is the large scope, the feeling that very little is a coincidence in the true sense of the word. This means it’s difficult to tell a story without telling the whole story and it’s a story very difficult to explain if you’re not part of a western esoteric tradition.

So instead of continuing to try, I’m going to leave this as is and wait for a more lucid moment.

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The Big C

Posted by Mike on May 23, 2012

Christianity. Oh yes. Of all the words we throw around with abandon, of all the words that mean something unique to every human being, at least in the West, the big C has to be at the very top of the list. The problem with this word, at least in the United States, is that it connotates a wide variety of things. Orthodoxy. Biblical literalism. Blood Sacrifice. The Chosen Ones. Racist hillbillies. Rick Santorum. Witch burners. Pat Robertson. You could really play this word association game forever.

The issue with this is that Christianity has become a vessel for separation. This is not only within the paradigm of biblical literalism, but it also appears widely in the pagan community. At the same time, biblical literalists are combing rock albums and television shows for satanic imagery, many pagans find even a long magical tradition like the Golden Dawn to be too Christian.

I find this a very strange idea. In a philosophy where all religions are supposed to be respected as reflections of the One, one expects to see an asterix with a footnote, “except for those pesky Christians.” Why is this?

The idea of being a Christian is to be a follower of Christ. When I look at the biblical literalist tradition in my country, I see a group of people who continually support the interests of the richest percentage in the country, whose philosophy is so polar that the consequences are pseudo science like creationism and global warming denial, and who spend a lot of time talking about the government interfering in our lives while trying to get the same government to pass constitutional amendments that prohibit gay marriage. That’s all well and fine in terms of letting people who feel this way have the conviction to believe what they want but what I think has happened is the idea of biblical literalism and Christianity are starting to become thought of as a single entity. And when pagans start to attack Christianity as being equivalent to biblical literalism, we’re essentially forgetting that Christianity has a long mystical tradition that sits quietly and silently right next to its loudmouth and boorish namesakes.

When Golden Dawn magicians speak of the Christian tradition, they’re usually not talking about biblical literalism. Biblical literalism provides the framework where you’re either for us (or Jesus) or against us (or Jesus). If you’re treating Christianity in this way you’re moving to extremes and if the Golden Dawn model demonstrates anything it’s that extremes are dead ends. When Golden Dawners say things like “The Second Order is Christian” they’re not saying the Second Order is biblical literalist. Biblical literalists are well known for showing occultists the stuff in the Old Testament against divination and sorcery and such. Finding out all your hard work was satanic would be disturbing information to receive after a 5=6.

Biblical literalists win when magicians equate Christianity with the philosophy of separation and treat Christianity as if it’s all megachurches and condemnation. They win when your organization is cool with every religion but Christianity, when you feel you have to tweezer out any vestige of the New, or worse Old, Testament. The magician wins when it realizes that the truth can be found in Christian writings, that it can be easily found when you sit and read one of the gospels without the excessive baggage Calvinism and Fundamentalism brings with it.

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Tikkun Olam

Posted by Mike on May 18, 2012

http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/#/d50dc42

Some hebrew letter 11x14s to follow. Gimel and Daleth are done, Heh traced out and Vau just started. Happy Friday!!!

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From here to there (part 4)

Posted by Mike on May 16, 2012

I set up the first three parts of this series of blog posts in order to address some of the reasons I ended up working in an esoteric/occult system, but in specific the evolution of my thought processes on these subjects. The first part was mostly to demonstrate that the psychedelic experience could find some similarities with what we know about the mystical experience and in particular that the psychedelic experience can act as a type of awakening, at least to a universe larger than what we originally thought it was.

The second and third parts were written to cover conspiratorial thinking because it demonstrates the all-too human capacity to believe what we want to anyway, even in the face of contrary evidence. In Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, the protagonist and associates spend a great deal of time squeezing out information from a document that feeds into an already conspiratorial mindset and sends the readers into fits of associative connecting. In fact, in what is one of the books major spoilers, the reveal of what the document actually is, doesn’t actually have much of an effect on the narrative tangent. Once the conspiratorial mindset is locked in, evidence is evaluated through that lense in order to fulfill the conspiracy.

Part of demolishing the illusions that muddy the Light is to realize that this type of thinking doesn’t have to exist on a level with UFOs or black lodges. We might easily come to the realization that greater conspiracies are nonsense, but we can also be involved in little mini conspiracies usually as a result of projecting. All it might take is to pass a stranger in a hall, assume they gave you a dirty look and say “that person is rude.” From then on out all behavior can be interpreted through this lense. In reality you might have just passed someone with something heavy on their mind or maybe they’re feeling ill and grimaced just as you walked by.

If our goal as initiates is to modify our personalities in order to be a clear vessel for the higher, we must purify the vessel, something impossible when we cling to the illusions created by our darker nature. Part of this is realizing we’re weaving our own stories and illusions in order to protect our ego seated as the ruler behind the tower.

However there’s another bit of a trap that can occur on the return and that will be for the next installment.

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Prints available

Posted by Mike on May 12, 2012

Immeasurable:
http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4yqkwp

Adonai Ha-Aretz
http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4zlsr0

Tiphareth Mandala
http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4zlrpv

These three pieces are now available through deviant art in a number of different formats. I’ve decided to donate the artist royalties for these pieecs to the Global Hunger Project here:

http://www.thp.org/

I believe the royalties are 20% of the overall cost. Further details can be found at deviantart.com.

These three have simply been chosen because I won’t be keeping two of the originals and the other was a request. If anyone would like to see any of the other pieces available as prints etc, just let me know in the comments and I’ll put them on my “to do” list.

 

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Immeasurable

Posted by Mike on May 9, 2012

http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/art/Immeasurable-300211801

Immeasurable is the expansion of The Immeasurable Regions which was designed for Peregrin Wildoak’s blog Magic of the Ordinary. When I originally designed it, I almost cut the vellum to the original 6×24 size but at the last second decided to leave the entire 19×24 up. I wanted to design the original piece as a piece in itself and then expand it to a second piece.

A couple credits are in order. The initial inspiration comes from Peregrin and is explained here. The two pillars were based on the Thoth-Hermes Temple designs in Pat Zalewski’s Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries p 127-130. The idea to tie the upper and lower parts together was inspired by a discussion with my brother after pointing out the part that wasn’t quite working yet.

Immeasurable is the first piece I’ve made available as a print (particularly as I won’t be keeping the original) and there are two more that will follow, Adonai Ha-Aretz and Tiphareth Mandala. I still need to work out a couple things, for instance a premium account allows for larger size prints. I also intend, at least for the foreseeable future, to donate any artist proceeds from deviantart to a charity. So more on these details when I can work them out.

Newest project is coming along swimmingly, a Tree of Life with each sephirah an x-pointed star-based design…

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From there to here (part 3)

Posted by Mike on May 2, 2012

There were two books that I thought handled conspiracy theory thinking in a manner designed to get you looking at it from the outside. The first was Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus Trilogy. The second, which I read quite a bit later, was Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. The former is a product of the psychedelic 60s, the latter the study of semantics but both come to similar conclusions about the assimilative quality of conspiracy thinking. The former covers a lot of ground but centers, at least at first, on the JFK shooting, while the latter is something of an answer to the Holy Blood, Holy Grail conspiracy of the Merovingians et al, now popularized by the Da Vinci code books and movies.

Human beings are generally hardwired to have the evidence fit the opinion, rather than having the evidence drive the opinion. Most of us think that in a rational debate, someone persuasive might be able to change our minds about a position, but rational debates rarely change minds. A person’s worldview influences everything about them including the people they spend time with, the center of worship they attend, the people they vote for all the way down to choices of entertainment. If a rational argument might lead one to change one’s mind on an issue profound enough to change one’s life then it is far easier to deny the rational argument then to accept it only to walk away from your social group forever.

Conspiracy theories are extreme examples of this type of thinking, but Shea and Wilson are more subtle than this in the Illuminatus trilogy where the conspiratorial connecting-the-dots verges in a kabbalistic direction where essentially everything IS connected to everything else. That is, there’s the idea of the conspiracy as a paradigm of separateness but Wilson and Shea were largely looking at the conspiracy as part of the overall unity of the universe. That is, they took it in a direction that pointed at something sublime, rather than the way conspiracies often work which is to leave one shivering in the evening listening to Coast to Coast waiting for the FBI (or the SRIA) to come a knocking.

Wilson untangles this knotty thinking not so much in the Illuminatus trilogy as much as in his nonfiction work like Prometheus Rising and the Cosmic Trigger trilogy and he does so by essentially saying maybe. This doesn’t sound like much but maybe is actually subversive in a black and white universe. It is a flexibility in thinking that is largely unknown in religious cultures where answers are given in doctrine that knows no gray area.

The more practical angle of this is understanding the ladder of connections. It’s easy to get lost in the details when we’ve forgotten the premise, but if the premise is incomplete so is its chain of associations. If we’ve subconsciously accepted the premise that the US government secretly caused the 9/11 disaster for nefarious reasons, then the body of evidence in videos and text takes on the nefarious tones of that premise. It’s essentially the equivalent of the Church Lady moving around the letters that spell Santa around.

However, premises with chains of associations tagged on aren’t just the province of the conspiracy theories, but almost entirely the way we create our personal universes as far back as being children. Many times these premises are completely forgotten and taken as granted. It was at this point Wilson’s “guerilla ontology” started loosening knots in my head or as Gong’s Daevid Allen once wrote “Maybe you don’t know what you know you know.”

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