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Archive for the ‘Esoteric’ Category

Going quite well

Posted by Mike on November 13, 2012

I like to communicate, thus the blog, but am finding it more and more difficult to do so. Things are going very well now. I’ve been hesitant to really come out and state it because time is a better judge over the efficacy of something, but I spent a good year or two stuck in something of a very painful loop and finally found my way out of it (knock on wood, etc.). The thing is, when you live with something like that for so long you become used to it, and so now I feel like I’m dealing with NOT having it around, which is very, very new.

Essentially the theory of it is that spiritual progress hits the snags of emotional wounding at some point. At a certain point, the intensity of things begins to trigger and retrigger old patterns and often this is not obvious in any way except that you know you’re miserable and don’t see a way out. I was fortunate to come across someone who understands this like a surgeon and in what was essentially one session, I managed to divest myself of the lion’s share of this wounding.

I know this probably isn’t very clear, so let’s just say that for a couple of years it was rare to not have a deep dive into some very uncomfortable emotional places. We’re talking, say, bereavement level grief at some point nearly every day for two years. Sometimes that level of grief coming along and wiping you out for say 30 minutes, only to be completely functional again almost immediately. To the point where you literally dread when it will come up again because you’re not sure what’s triggering it or what’s being triggered.

So I found someone who understood just about every symptom of this whole thing, learned some basic techniques for managing it and then went through what I’d call a healing session. Or let’s just be objective here. I had these issues as expressed above, had this session, and now I don’t have these issues, or if I do they’re at a much more bearable level. Quite frankly the effects of this were immediate. I’ve had no episodes of bereavement-level grief since, when I distinctly remember having them almost every day and sometimes several times a day for about two years.

One day I hope to write about all of this in greater detail, but it’s still a bit new, not to mention it’s all tremendously exciting and extremely profound. And I keep thinking I’m going to have a dive again because I’d gotten so used to the idea, so the fact that I’m not really even coming close anymore is just beyond miraculous. I get the impression the next month or two is going to be highly interesting.

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The Garden of Eden After the Fall

Posted by Mike on August 21, 2012

It’s noisier in the workshop right now than in my gallery, mostly because I’m slowly and meticulously working on a recreation of The Garden of Eden After the Fall diagram. There are a few versions of it here. Am hoping to be done by the weekend, but I’ve already spent more time on this than any other piece and am still maybe halfway. These are basically some notes and thoughts on the diagram and process.

This isn’t the first time I’ve reconstructed a Golden Dawn diagram. I’m still very happy with Logos, which was something of an inversion. And there’s also Garden of Eden Before the Fall which didn’t end up being a reconstruction so much, in fact with the current project I can imagine I’ll be going back to that one at some point.

The diagram known as the Garden of Eden After the Fall was described in about five lines in the Golden Dawn cipher manuscript before these lines were expanded for use in the Philosophus ritual. These lines state:

9.             H. explains a picture of the fall
10.The goddess who in 3 = 8 supported
11.          Microprosopus
12.          Hs. Fall in & with her Adam
13.Great dragon arose
14.Second Adam is needed

The expanded description of the diagram can be found here. But the diagrams themselves actually differ a little. The description describes how the seven headed and ten horned dragon became the eight headed and eleven horned via Daath. In the version found in The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic (Regardie, New Falcon) the dragon is 7/10, while in the version found in Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries (Zalewski) the dragon is 8/11. I went with the latter.

Part of the (artistic) difficulty of reconstructing the diagram is all diagrams have the dragon rising up to the crossbar with Daath ending up at the center of the cross. Malkuth is clear in the Regardie diagram but there’s only one sephirah in between (assumedly) Daath and Malkuth. The Zalewski diagram is even busier, with all four sephirah and eight dragon heads stacked below the crossbar. I believe the Daath and Yesod heads have dual horns, but the third double horned head (Tiphareth?) isn’t indicated, possibly due to head angle.

In my opinion, in almost every previous diagram, this is not much of a dragon, more like a multiheaded tadpole. I’ve never felt the tadpole to be much of a symbol of desecration and thought it would be more effective to get more dragon back in. Dragons, however, have scales (they do, they really do) and in reconstructing the beast, I’ve drawn about a billion dragon scales. The dragons also now have teeth. They’re still essentially red (or rather magenta) centrally, but I’ve altered each head’s scales a little depending on the sephirah (for example the dragon head in Hod is mostly magenta with some orange scaling in the mix). And I’m using glaze pens to help raise the scales a bit off the vellum.

There really is a great deal of red/magenta in various previous colored versions. Not only is the dragon magenta, but so is the left crossbar, and in the Regardie diagram the flaming sword is also similarly colored and only slightly different, the sephiroth. I’m still debating over what color I want the sephiroth and flaming sword. I’m leaning to yellow on the sword, but feeling it may be a more artistic than symbolic choice (suggestions welcome).

The only issue with having a thick scalier beast among closely spaced sephiroth is there wasn’t room to use a coil to separate Malkuth from the rest of the tree, so I innovated on this part.

The other major development I’m using is with the “letters of the name.” In all versions the kerubs are given symbolically (emblemically? :D) with the letter, however I wanted to bring the kerubs out fully with each kerub drawing the letter. I think I’m just managing to get them in.

The diagram, even static, strikes me as moving. It’s difficult trying to keep a symbol like a cross geometrically straight on a 19×24 sheet, but over time some of this felt like the tension of the diagram in play. Over a larger space the “godhead” above the flaming sword feels almost aloof from the rest of the diagram. In previous versions it felt like the tadpoles were nibbling at the sephiroth, in the reconstruction it feels more like the flaming sword is preventing more nibbling.

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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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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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Incense on the Tree of Life

Posted by Mike on March 29, 2012

This page in Lyam Thomas Christopher’s book Kabbalah, Magic and the Great Work of Self-Transformation and this one from a thelemic perspective both give correspondence lists on the tree of life for perfumes and incenses. In Christopher’s book, these correspondences are used imaginatively as part of an exercise (which is described in the same link). This article assumes you’re familiar with basic kabbalah, if not I’d recommend Dion Fortune’s The Mystical Qabalah as a good starter.

There isn’t much explanation given in the use of these scents, which is a shame because there are absolutely vast differences in quality for many of these ingredients, not to mention there are a few that are either in or starting to move towards endangered status. So I thought I might suggest some scents to start with not only to be able to build more accurate images of these scents that connect more fully with each sephirah but to suggest similar incenses that can be used in any ritual situation.

For Malkuth we have patchouli. Patchouli is almost always inexpensive but like all the ingredients here it can vary in quality from the heady reek of the guy standing next to you at a Dead show to something much sweeter and evergreen. Its correspondence to earthiness is more or less assured no matter what quality you use and while the sweeter Himalayan patchouli is probably the most pleasant scentwise, you’re going to get the most palpable earthiness from a stick like Shroff Channabasappa’s Patchouli. This quality seems to come out the most when the material is at its herbiest – sticks with patchouli oil don’t tend to communicate this as well.

Yesod’s correspondance is jasmine and really never did a more perfect scent match up with the lunar qualities of this sephirah. But like most floral aromas, jasmine can vary vastly in quality and in some cases the finest jasmine oils actually seem to drift away from their lunar qualities into something more refined. A good yesodic jasmine should have an almost wavering, mirage-like quality to it. Most standard Indian masala lines have decent jasmines, for example Triloka comes to mind. There are also some very fine quality high end jasmine or jasmine blend incenses, for example Kyukyodo’s Azusa or the high end jasmines in the since deleted Shoyeido Floral World line, but that almost reflective quality seems to have been refined out of these. The jasmine quality in Nu Essence’s Moon is nearly perfect as an example of what the oil should smell like, but the incense is a bit too much of a blend to enforce the correspondence. I’d recommend sticking with the Triloka stick or perhaps one of the Pure Incense versions.

Hod often shares lavender as a correspondence with the air element. Most lower end lavender oils should be extremely familiar as it’s in an ingredient common in household air fresheners. However the cheaper oils will never stop reminding you they’re oils and the mental activity one might associate with Hod is best brought out when a lavender scent is a little more herby. One good example might be Ancient Forest’s Lavender Dream, a reminder nicely reinforced by the company’s octagram based logo. I hesitate to recommend a few of the Mother’s nag champa blends since I would think the sweetness might cancel out the herbiness, but if the classic lavender oil bothers you, then something like Ganesh or Purusha Nag Champa might work.

Netzach is where it gets a lot tougher. Rose essential oil is almost prohibitively expensive so the lion’s share of rose incenses are approximations, floral blends or often geranium-heavy. A really good example of a blend would be Pure Incense’s Connoisseur Rose, but perhaps a good suggestion would be to search out a bakhoor such as Duggat-al Oud Ma Wardh Taifi. It’s important to get as close to the real thing with rose, as its scent is part and parcel of its symbolic value and the best bakhoors often get extra dimension from the rose via the use of aloeswood (an ingredient that varies enough to have its own correspondences). Also, like I mentioned with jasmine, if you can locate one of the top line Shoyeido Floral World sets, the rose is about as high definition as you might find outside of a rose otto. Of utter importance, the rose scent must be beautiful and moving – there are lots of really bad rose incenses on the market so beware.

Frankincense leads the list of gifts given to the newborn Jesus by the magi, and fits nicely on Tiphareth. However I would say the lion’s share of cheap frankincense doesn’t reflect the solar qualities that it should, the qualities that tend to come out when the frankincense is high quality and very lemon-citrus. You can maximize this quality by using high grade hougary Frankincense. Or if you need to use sticks, there are a couple excellent Japanese frankincense sticks that exhibit the solar qualities missing in most sticks, Tennendo’s Frankincense and Minorien’s. The latter comes close to Catholic church blends, while the former is less of a blend with something of a melon note. While recent news suggests a frankincense shortage on the horizon, there still seems to be plenty of quality resin available, at least for now. Olibanum is also a good alternative, although even its highest quality doesn’t really match hougary and tends to the orangey rather than lemony.

I’d guess dragon’s blood ended up associated with Geburah due to the color, but it’s never struck me as particularly Martian in scent. Dragon’s blood tends to vary very little as a resin and certainly Fred Soll’s stick would fit the bill nicely (particularly as you’re mostly going to find this scent in cheaper charcoal lines). However, I think tobacco or pepper might fit the sephirah a bit better in terms of hotness, but as neither are particularly pleasant to use, it’s difficult to think of a good substitute. Part of the difficulty is a lot of hot ingredients are also spicy and tend to fall under Tiphareth (like cinnamon and clove). But perhaps part of getting this right is understanding that Geburah isn’t necessarily pleasant and perhaps neither should the incense be.

Cedar is a highly inexpensive ingredient and like many it varies from the smell of your pencil to something a lot more stately. Given we’re dealing with Chesed here I think it’s essential to make sure your cedar is of the highest quality. Cheap cedarwood is used as filler in Tibetan incenses and isn’t likely to do much more than irritate your sinuses. However, Triloka and Pure Incense do cedarwood masalas and Indian sticks tend to a sweeter Himalayan cedarwood oil that should bring out the regal correspondance to Chesed quite nicely. A Japanese alternative is Nihon Senko Seizo’s Momiji Koh, which isn’t as sweet but is still quite stately.

Myrrh can be a very difficult resin to deal with as it might have the widest range in quality out of all these ingredients ranging from etheral to downright unpleasant. Most of what you will buy will be in the bottom half, and myrrh also has a way of coming out very understated in sticks. If you’ve never tried a good myrrh then you’re largely missing out on its Binah connections which tend to really sing when the resin is high quality and sublime. Yemeni myrrh is the finest quality and unfortunately it’s very difficult to recommend a stick form that’s even remotely in the same tier. Frankincense will tend to give all it has right up front, but myrrh is far more subconscious and strange and to this day I don’t think I’ve nearly exhausted all of the subscents that spiral off of good myrrh. Be sure you’ve tried it before imagining the scent.

Musk is even more difficult to pin down, out of all of these scents this will likely have the greatest diversion in source, quality and scent. Real musk, which is largely outlawed due its source being that of a dead musk deer, can largely be only found in countries like Japan where ecological laws are lax and even then it’s usually in a form that needs to be diluted to work as a scent. There is a gigantic difference between an herbal musk you’d find in any incense shop and a high end deer musk used in an expensive Japanese aloeswood (a really good example of this is Kyukyodo’s expensive Musashino which has one of the strongest hits of real musk you might ever witness). Tibetan incenses (the ones actually from Tibet itself rather than stylistically) also have high quantities of musk but in these scents they come off more animalistic and less perfume.  The occult correspondence lists are old enough to be referring to the real thing and in terms of correspondance the musk I mention in Musashino is definitely a bit closer to Chokmah due to its almost sweet, crystalline like qualities, but such a scent isn’t likely to be affordable (on the other hand a low ender like Benizakura is also musk heavy). Fred Soll used to make an excellent and affordable (and environmentally friendly) Egyptian Musk but it appears to be a deleted item. It’s difficult to know what to recommend in this case when your choices are either an expensive Japanese incense using animal ingredients or a bad one, but I would suggest that the less animalistic, sweltery and funky your musk is, the more it’s likely to correspond to Chokmah.

At the top of the tree we have Sandalwood. While Sandalwood doesn’t vary a lot in scent, it does vary a lot in quality and the huge difference between the powder in a cheap incense and a slice of wood from an old tree are profound. At its best sandalwood will even convert those that are usually turned off by it, as the better woods increase in crystalline resinous quality and a sense of age and quality like you’d find in a good aged wine or scotch. Good sandalwood is also quite rare but still reachable, Daihatsu provide amazing and robust chips for sale, and if you want similar quality in a stick you can go for Baieido’s Byakudan Kobunboku or if you really want to blow your mind the Byakudan Kokoh. We’re reaching for the top of the tree here and your job will much easier if you’re not associating sandalwood with butter, vanilla and other subnotes found in cheaper sticks.

I’ll be posting a link to this article in Olfactory Rescue Service as despite the occult ideas in this article, it should suffice fairly well as an introduction to different scents. Another reason I wanted to write this is I’d like to talk about aloeswood next time which to many incense lovers is the pinnacle of the incense experience. However I don’t think aloeswood fits anywhere comfortable on the Tree of Life because it varies vastly in scent and quality.

Posted in Esoteric | 8 Comments »

An interesting weekend

Posted by Mike on March 26, 2012

Since September 2011, I’ve had a mostly consistent output of art. The total is about 45 pieces, although a few of them are related to a larger project. When you’re in the middle of this kind of inspiration it’s kind of hard to imagine falling out of the pattern, but it looks to some extent like I’ve reached a bit of an impasse. I tend to recognize an impasse when I have a few more incomplete pieces than I usually do.

I’ve set something of a mini project for myself, which is a series of 11 by 14s of the Hebrew letters. It’s sort of an interesting combination of combining the letter, what the letter means and then the use of color. I finished Aleph last month but have been a bit stuck on Beth. The motif for Beth was to do a house lit from the inside so that the glow leaks through the windows, however I wanted a brick house so working on the lighting got a bit tricky. I’m also trying to subtly bring the Magician into this without making it a tarot card, but I’m starting to approach the limits of my technical skills in some areas.

Anyway, part of why I really wanted to go into this weekend and work through some of the blocks was a response to what’s going on in the Golden Dawn community. I spent a lot of the last decade mostly lurking in the community and trying to learn from the more experienced and over the last few months I’ve tried my hand at a few Golden Dawn book reviews. Most of the visible voices in the community are at the adept level (unless the voice is pretend in the first place), so I thought it might be useful to review some books from a greener perspective. I wrote one on Christopher’s self initiation book and another on Pat Zalewski’s major release, but I was pretty shocked at the responses to my review of Nick Farrell’s new book. Well maybe for a few seconds.

I’m no stranger to reviewing, I spent almost a decade reviewing albums in magazines like Exposé, Audion, Melodie e Dissonanze and others. Then I started Olfactory Rescue Service which is possibly the world’s leading English language incense resource. In fact I just finished reviewing a line self-titled the “King of Incense” line by a company who also sent people over to the blog to rave about them.

Over time you just kind of learn to get the review out and then move on. In my opinion there really is no Golden Dawn flame war.  A wise man once said you can judge them by their fruits. On one side you have someone writing books and blog entries that survey a wide range of Golden Dawn topics that contribute to our process and knowledge and on the other side you have someone whose energy goes largely to photoshopping and character assassination. Case closed right?

Destruction is needed sometimes to tear down the old structures. Those to whom it has fallen to bring out the sword aren’t likely enjoying this. So I thought it would be a good time now that my contribution to all that is done to get back into the spirit of creativity. Photos will be forthcoming at my gallery.

Finally, I wanted to plug what looks to be a tremendous book, Peregrin Wildoak’s By Names and Images. In those rare cases where I’m asked what the Golden Dawn is about, I’ve always found it difficult to recommend just one book, but based on what I’ve read in that second link, I can imagine it won’t be long before this will be the de facto introductory guide to the system. Wildoak has run a terrific, balanced and informative blog for years, so if anybody reading this is interested in wondering what the Golden Dawn is all about, go pick up a copy. There’s a lot of good magicians in the community but perhaps not so many great writers; this one checks both boxes.

Posted in Books, Esoteric | 3 Comments »

Review of Nick Farrell’s King Over the Water

Posted by Mike on March 23, 2012

Here. So I got this done before lunch, was gone maybe an hour or so, and had six comments when I got back. I think there’s 13 now.

[EDIT: Notice that in the comment section Frater WA misspells ad hominem as “ad hominum.” Then go look at the third comment down on this page.]

Posted in Esoteric | 2 Comments »


Posted by Mike on March 22, 2012

I wanted to list some points about self-initiation I think might be of use to those following a similar path.

  • If there’s absolutely any way you have access to a functioning Golden Dawn temple (as opposed to dysfunctioning), even if it’s a drive, take it. Self-initation is fraught with pitfalls that more experienced practitioners are well aware of and can assist with. As a self-initiate it’s very likely the time it takes to do the work will be much longer than if you weren’t under guidance.
  • Self-initiation is driven by disciplined devotion to doing the work every day. It is this work that initiates the changes in your being and breathes life into the intellectual work. In fact, I’m not sure it’s a bad idea at all to start as a self-initiate in only that doing the work might help you discriminate when looking for a temple. When you undergo the massive changes in paradigm and perspective that doing ritual work manifests, it gets easier to identify the impostors. After all, if the work moves you away from an ego perspective, then it’s easier to see when people claiming to have done the work aren’t moving away from an ego perspective.
  • The psychological and personal implications of following a self-initiatic path have not been stressed enough in any of the self-initiation books. Perhaps one of the ironies of self-initiation books is they’re usually written by those initiated in a temple. While a lot of these people may have also started Golden Dawn work as a self-initiate, there’s a serious disconnect between someone working mostly on their own and someone with decades of experience in a temple. I’ve always wondered if there’s any back-end testing when it comes to these books by the people who wrote them to, as objectively as possible, gauge their efficacy. How would we know if these books are actually creating adepts?
  • As someone who has been working on their own for a long while now (how long is really a matter of details), I know this system “works.” I also know that even for a self-initiate the lines become really blurred the longer you work with the system. It would be difficult to really detail how exactly this works, but one aspect to it that seems common is that the quantity and quality of synchronicities change. I think this is activated largely by the learning and absorption of the GD symbol system in that you’re learning the language that will hopefully take you beyond ego perspective.
  • There’s a neat book by Patrick Harpur called Daimonic Reality that I can imagine would be helpful to self-initiates. It’s not so much that I buy a lot of what’s in the book but his theory of a realm where the subjective and objective mingle is very similar to the way synchronicities operate. It helps to have a certain mental flexibility here because in my experience the numinous experiences that arise as the result of Golden Dawn work have a mythological quality that belies looking at them entirely from a scientific/skeptic or new agey/indiscriminate fashion.
  • If you get stuck, find someone you respect and contact them. On the other hand don’t be annoying or abuse this. I’ve done this only once, after what was probably the most profound event in my life. What was important about this was it put the things I had accomplished in perspective and freed me up to keep moving forward. And beware of contacting anyone who would tell you you need to be part of their group to move forward.
  • Temple initiation by quality magicians is a much better thing than self initiation but self initiation beats the hell out of being in a cult.

Posted in Esoteric | 2 Comments »

Life after the computer crash

Posted by Mike on March 3, 2012

It’s nice having a little money, it’s had something of a boomerang effect. I bought a new home computer yesterday. Naturally it didn’t go smoothly, Office 2010 crashed on installation so I spent at least 30m with a tech getting it fixed. And there’s also a problem with some of the menus which I’m going to have to wrangle with Dell about. But now I’m very happy, but I’m realizing one of the great things about not actually having a computer since December is the task list ahead of me. I’m at that point in life where I need to divest myself of stuff. You know sending old books to Amazon and selling off some music on ebay, my guess is 2012 in part will be working on all of this.

On the other hand my first task was to get an art gallery up. I had posted a few of my older pieces on this blog, but they distort in this format, at least on some computers. So I’ve created a deviantart gallery here:


I’m missing about eight pieces I want to put up within the time period of what is up there, and I also have six newer ones. There’s a handful of minor things I probably won’t upload and then there are the really large pieces I’m doing as part of my personal temple that created a large mosaic that I’ll have to put up when I’m finished with them as a whole. Seriously the only enemy is time with all of this.

I also plan to split this blog up again so I can have a dedicated blog on the occult, kinda like I spun off Olfactory Rescue Service for incense, but this will follow the deviantart gallery. I just started doing a series of 11x14s of the Hebrew letters as well that I’m really excited about.

There are an incredible amount of really high quality occult books being released and reissued in the last few years. It occured to me after I got in a rather large haul the other day that we’re witnessing some of the most important work coming out on the Golden Dawn, possibly since the Regardie books. First of all anyone interested in the Golden Dawn can not be without Pat Zalewski’s Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries. There is almost a book’s worth of information on the Neophyte ritual alone and it demonstrates quite clearly the depth that came out of the Whare Ra temple. I’m not sure how long the book will be available, but I’m even thinking about getting one of the hardbacks. I wrote a review of it on Amazon but to be sure, I’m not even close to the type of understanding in it and hope to learn from it the rest of my life. I enjoyed Pat’s book on alchemy as well, although there’s no doubt I’ll have to read it again at some point.

The Rosicrucian Order of the Golden Dawn’s reissue series that includes said mentioned alchemy book is also amazing, I just got in the tarot and alchemy books in the series. I’ve had Case’s Tarot book for years but it’s great to have his early work (including the two volumes of Early Writings that came too).

William Gray – The Ladder of Lights is one of those in the “I can’t believe I didn’t have this yet” category. But of all these books the one that is truly kicking my ass right now is Nick Farrell’s King Over the Water. I’ll talk more about it when I finish, but I think this one’s a game changer. One of the things that attracted me to the system in the first place was it’s true lack of an individual “name,” possibly the reason I keep Crowley stuff around for reference and not much more. So to see this history written in a way that shows the system shining even despite the failings of human beings – that’s the Golden Dawn I know. That system doesn’t have sacred cows or personalities bigger than itself, it’s a work in evolution.

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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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