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Archive for June, 2012

30th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn Vault of the Adepti

Posted by Mike on June 22, 2012

In honor of Chic and Tabatha Cicero and their work bringing the Golden Dawn forward into the modern era, I’ve recreated the Cross and Triangle as “30 Rays of Light” below as a tribute. For words can not express my appreciation for their service.

The full details of this anniversary can be found in the document below:

30th-anniversary-announcement

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From there to here (part 5)

Posted by Mike on June 19, 2012

https://mikesprattle.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/from-there-to-here-part-1/
https://mikesprattle.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/from-there-to-here-part-2/
https://mikesprattle.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/from-there-to-here-part-3/
https://mikesprattle.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/from-here-to-there-part-4/

Now is probably a good time to revisit the purpose for this series of blog posts. In essence I’m charting a journey, not necessarily chronologically, from the religion/philosophy I was raised in and therefore didn’t choose to the paradigm I ended up chosing. It’s sort of a record of why someone might decide to become part of a western esoteric tradition and the processes and experiences that went into it. From a personal perspective it’s about how I ended up connecting to an inner life. In this piece I will be exploring the idea that my first response to becoming disenchanted with Christianity was to explore skeptical and atheist literature.

The dominant form of Christianity in the United States (particularly in the midwest and bible belt) tends towards biblical literalism of some form and in many ways it’s a philosophy that many consider equivalent to Christianity. Literalism effectively drags most of what’s considered spirituality into the physical universe, leaving many subjects open to proof or disproof. For example, the creation story or stories in Genesis are considered by biblical literalists to be actual history. So instead of mining the considerable treasures of the creation story, we’re told by biblical literalists that it’s part of history, which sends the skeptical human being looking for a physical Eden. Without really stretching one’s credulity, there’s no evidence for it having actually existed anymore than there’s evidence of a worldwide flood.

Unfortunately this is generally read as defeat for the biblical literalist, as if proof that there is no physical Eden somehow renders scripture and their spirituality useless. Which usually means defeat isn’t accepted at all. In cosmic balance to this all, we have the skeptical and atheist schools which start with the premise that these bible stories are literal, only to use formal logic to defeat ideas like the idea Noah’s ark was literal. Both biblical literalists and the skeptics who debate them both feel that these arguments can conclusively demonstrate the other side is completely wrong and in doing so the opposite happens, they dig their feet in and start funneling all evidence to suit the ideas already established.

As a young skeptic, I enjoyed watching these literalist theories trounced soundly, but rarely saw anyone change anybody else’s mind, it all seemed an empty and pointless exercise. It actually isn’t really any different from watching Democrats and Republicans argue these days. People have far too much invested in their personal beliefs to change on a dime and the latest Atheist vs Christian argument is usually an exercise in narcissism on both sides, that desparate need as human beings to carve out our universe and declare ourselves the person who really knows what’s going on, who can really clear it up for you.

The two sides have a lot in common, which is always the case where two modes of thought are in some sort of oppositional balance. Both generally have premises that each side fully embraces, the biblical literalist, for example, finds the Bible to be “special” in a way other books are not. Skeptics can not dream of a part of the universe that science can not reach. The literalist wants the skeptic to accept the idea that the real author is God, the skeptic sends the literalist to dozens of pages filled with logic theory and fallacies. It ends up being a contest of maps and you rarely see anyone say, hey why don’t we see if we can update or change our maps.

There’s the story about the zen master, when his student asks him what happens when he dies, and the master tells the student he doesn’t know. “But you’re a zen master, how is it you don’t know what happens when you die?” And the master says “Because I’m not a dead zen master.” The literalist is trying desparately to show the nonbeliever that there’s some really bad news when you die if certain conditions are not met, the skeptic is usually saying I don’t know, but what they’re usually saying is they’re not convinced about the news. In the end only the dead literalist or the dead skeptic will know what it’s like to be dead. Which essentially means these arguments are wheel spinning.

When I was probably 11 years old, I had this kid’s cookbook I got from school. It had lots of real recipes and a really strange one at the end. The final recipe was an exercise in imagining a hot dog. I remember it describing how to visualize it and smell it and feel it in your hand, even guiding the young cook to eating it and imagining he was tasting it. I remember practicing this until I had actually gotten a visual image of a hot dog sitting on the counter, probably before I lost interest and pulled out the lego box. But what I mean by visual image would be that I saw the same thing as if you were looking at a real physical hot dog on a counter. When I was a child I wasn’t sure what the point of the exercise was, was the hot dog actually supposed to appear? Why would you want to spend this time to eat a fake hot dog? However, in the end the author(s) was obviously more clever than an 11 year old.

Pfft the skeptic says, it’s all in your imagination. At some point I saw the literalist start another round of “No it’s not” but the cumulative years made me realize this was true. The phrase came with the association of “you’re making it up.” I saw the literalist again say “No I’m not,” but I realized I was. And after a while I really wondered what was being defended here. What if you can imagine more than just a hot dog? What if you can make up something that sets your sights quite a bit higher? And somewhere along the line I felt that imagination was being shunted off to the side and treated like a child’s fairy tale. Perhaps this was easier because of earlier psychedelic experiences, where almost instantly you realize your consciousness isn’t in the same state it normally is, giving you a totally new perspective. I hadn’t forgotten one night that I had imagined I could control what was around me and felt I actually did.

All of these different pieces of my life started to coalesce at this point into a different picture where I felt like I had been completely wasting my time. None of the vast and labyrinthine logical arguments really lead anywhere and if most of us were thinking with common sense we wouldn’t believe there was a boat that could fit two of every animal literally and would stop even taking arguments over it seriously. None of these things were improving my life and no three week skeptical conference is going to convince someone to leave their church.

At this point I started to push in a different direction and started discovering the work of Robert Anton Wilson, which I discussed in previous installments. I’ll be bringing these two strands together in the next installment.

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A small tribute to Skip Dudchous

Posted by Mike on June 12, 2012

I still remember it like it was yesterday when my Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn set showed up, wrapped in bag and purple paper and the sheer, unmitigated joy I had flipping through the cards for the first time. Especially when I reached The Sun card and that look the two children are giving each other, in many ways I felt like I had found my deck.

When I bought the deck (and I think I have #68) I was a new Golden Dawn student, not at all knowing what was ahead of me, including the fact that I would end up doing my own Golden Dawn inspired artwork one day. When I think of other artists and magicians who might have influenced this at some point, it’s hard not to think of Skip Dudchous.

Skip’s cards are full of light and beauty and even though his deck appears to be out of print you can see all the cards in this book. I was struck really hard by word of his passing even though I didn’t know him, because his artwork was such an obvious reflection of the reality of the divine dawning.

RIP Skip, you will be missed.

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Venus Transit

Posted by Mike on June 6, 2012

I took the time to go through the journals yesterday to see what was going on during the last Venus transit, the other one in the pair. This happened on 6/8/04. I started esoteric work in the late 90s but as it turns out June 2004 was the time I started working with the LBRP and other more GD-specific material.

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Archangel Cassiel

Posted by Mike on June 2, 2012

http://goldendawnart.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d524oi1

 

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