Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clearing Some Aires


Ok, first off, the floor washing and ablution techniques of the houngans and mambos are not "the same thing" as using sage and holy water. Peace was made with St. B, and it was my own fault for putting things the way I did. Suffice it to say, I never meant it the way he took it, even though technically I said exactly what he read.

My personal meaning of "It's the same thing" is different than the rest of the planet's, apparently, except for a tightly knit group of family and friends. We have a long running family joke about how the cheap Canadian French home-made knockoffs of name brand and professionally created items are "the same thing" as the real thing.

Sort of like the Welfare Burger, only our parents would be telling us "it's the SAME THING as the McDonald's Burger!" Even though it's not. In our house it wasn't hamgurgers, it was whatever my dad happened to want to build at the time. The bunk bed my friends had and the "loft" my dad built me were not the same things. The Koi Pond he envisioned and the half-buried children's wading pool with tiny goldfish and a pile of rocks and a water pump with a couple of dying plants were not "the same thing." The 18ct gold ring on my wife's finger is not "the same thing" as the diamond-encrusted channel set band she wants, even though both symbolize the "same thing."

I thought putting the "pretty much" on the end of that particular sentence would be enough to show that yeah, it's enough to get started, but it's not really the same thing at all, but "pretty much" failed to communicate that it wasn't really the same at all.

The LBRP Pentagrams

With all due respect to the training, research, and experience of the people telling me that I got the pentagram thing "wrong" in my discussion of the LBRP the other day, if you had the initiatory qualifications to discuss the starting point of the Banishing Ritual of the Earth being in Netzach at the left hip, you wouldn't be able to comment on a public blog due to your oaths. If you were qualified, and still commented on it in public, you'd be an oath-breaker who couldn't be trusted anyway.

It's one of those irritating things about the LBRP that contributes to my hatred of it. I can legitimately make up whatever bullshit about the LBRP that I want to, and you can't argue with me. A quick scan of occult groups demonstrates this point better than I can here. There is more bullshit interpretation of this ritual taking up space on servers across the internet than anyone can justify.

For the record, I'm not "wrong" about the LBRP, and I didn't just make it up. I know what they teach the Outer Order, and I understand why you think I'm "wrong," but I'm not. There are more layers of meaning behind the symbols than the ones you can read about in the books that get published for mass distribution. If you want to argue with me, go ahead, but if you stick with the GD process, one day you'll see that I'm right, be amazed and pissed that I would even say it publicly, and then be all frustrated that you can't call me out on it because I never took the Oath you'll have to have taken to figure out I'm "right." Unless you've really earned the Grade and have transcended frustration with non-initiates like myself.

It's all a part of the magickal metamorphosis the GD does to you. It's like turning on genes that are dormant and releasing the proteins that return you to a more primal state, only it's spiritual instead of physical, and the state it puts you in isn't more primal. The LBRP is a ritual that prepares you from day one for a specific purpose. The designers knew that your chances of getting to the end point are slim, but for the few who make it, being marinated in the seasoning and alchemical baths for the amount of time it takes to be properly prepared is a lot like preparing a flank steak to become the perfect fajita.

Not that you'll be literally eaten by Cthulhu if you ever really reached Ipsissimus. I'm sure it's just a metaphor.

But still, when the "Secret Chiefs" ask you to bring guacamole to your final initiation, remember I tried to tell you.

Jason's Comment

Yesterday, Jason posted a comment that critiqued my approach to disseminating my opinions and experiences. At the time I didn't have the time to address what he was saying, but I think it's important to clarify where I stand. At least you'll know where I'm coming from on this blog and you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether you want to keep reading it or not.

Why is it so important for you to demand that you can do everything anyone else can do, and better?
I'm not demanding anything. I'm stating what it is that I can do as a solitary Hermetic Magician with no Order, no initiation into an established tradition, and no local support group. It's great that Jason and POS found mentors they trusted to provide instruction and initiation, it's great that St. Balthazar found his calling in Hoodoo and Goety and graduated from the Lucky Mojo correspondence course, that Joe has found meaning and value in Wicca, and that Scott found his calling in Gnostic Priesthood, but those aren't the paths that everyone gets called to.

Some of us don't trust people because we've seen how depraved we can be ourselves, and knowing our potential for evil, and having witnessed how easily it slips out and ruins our own lives, we don't trust people to initiate us. We know that there are legitimate gaps and blatant lies in the mythological histories and lineages that the Church, occult Orders, and other traditions claim for themselves. We have a justified cynicism when it comes to organized spiritual or religious training. It may be fine for you, but it's not my bag, baby.

On behalf of the cynics, misfits, and those who would rather figure it out on their own with the spirits, I'm providing a record of how it's not only possible, but really pretty simple to get the kind of results I seek out of Hermetic Magic. Along the way, I may compare my results to those of other systems as a reference point, but it should always be understood that I'm saying "the results I'm talking about are similar to, but not exactly the same as the results in this tradition, based on my current understanding of that system, which may be wrong because I'm not actually an initiate of that system, so your mileage may vary." I'll put that somewhere on the blog as a universal disclaimer, and I'll point to it when I don't feel like explaining myself in this much detail again.
Think about it. You are basically saying "your years of training and initiation from your silly HUMAN teachers based on your hundreds of years of living tradition, can be easily duplicated by just having a chat with an Archangel"
Yes, yes I am. Only without denigrating the years of training and initiation. I don't understand why it comes across that way. I've expressed on many occasions that initiatory systems seem to work fabulously for a lot of people, and that's awesome for them.

Personally, I've dealt with the fallout of initiations performed by international Orders who weren't qualified to be giving them. A friend (can't remember if he's publicly owned this yet or not, so I'll leave him anonymous) was still dealing with the psychic trauma of being initiated by someone with serious issues years and years after he left the group that initiated him, and he's not alone. One organization I'm familiar with actually developed a specific cleansing ritual to undo the "initiations" performed by a particular Golden Dawn Order because they had come to believe the GD Order in question was a "poisoned well," and that anyone who drank from it at any point needed to be healed before it fucked up their magical path for a lifetime.

Years of researching cult activities, deprogramming techniques, and having actually joined a couple of groups that turned out to be cults in my teens has left me a little cautious when it comes to putting much faith in HUMAN teachers with allegedly hundreds or even thousands of years of living tradition. People are fucked up.

But the spirits... they're not. I'm talking from a Hermetic Magician's point of view; I've adopted the Hermetic Cosmology from the Corpus Hermeticum, and I find the creation myth expressed in the Divine Pymander and Plato's Timaeus to be more useful in terms of understanding how magic works within a Hermetic tradition than anything else.

In this emanationist theory, every religious and spiritual organization on Earth, past or present, began as an Idea in the Mind of God. In order for this Idea to manifest here on Earth, it had to be shepherded through each of the spheres between the realm of the Mind of God and the material realm by the Intelligences and Spirits that best resonate with the Idea. Every "Revelation" (note: the English meaning of the word "Kabbalah" is "Revelation," just like "Apocalypse") was packaged and delivered to mankind by spirits. They happen to be in a better position to be able to provide "initiations" than any human who has received corrupted instructions from other human beings.

By corrupted instructions, I'm referring specifically to the spiritual truth that the Most Important Thing cannot be put into Words. The Second Most Important Thing can be expressed in Words, but cannot be understood based on the Words themselves. The Third Most Important Thing is what you get from teachings, doctrines, and mysteries that get passed on in language, symbols that point towards the Most Important Thing without actually being the Most Important Thing.

Everything I can say here on the blog is fundamentally corrupted by putting it into words, but it's the best means of communication we have available. The trouble caused by my use of "the same thing. Pretty much." is a good example of that in action. What I think I mean when I say a word isn't necessarily what you understand when you hear or read it. You can only experience what I'm talking about, and the words you choose to express them are going to be your own, based on a myriad of things that I haven't experienced. Hell, you may even experience something completely different, but the words you choose to describe them are so similar that you think we're experiencing the same things when we're not. It's the nature of the game we play in the flesh.

You want to tell me that over thousands of years of oral and even written communication of the core tenets of organized religions or spiritual practices, no one at any point ever miscommunicated something that turned into doctrine? It happens in Christianity all the time, on blogs, in conversations held at water coolers, it happens every time people interact. And you want me to put my faith and trust in that, when I can conjure the spirits that were responsible for shepherding the original revelation from the Mind of God to the Realm of Man myself?

No thanks.

Before you say I'm slamming everyone who belongs to an initiatory group, remember that I'm telling you why I do what I do, why I think what I think, and I am speaking from the understanding that other people will have completely different and equally valid spiritual experiences within the context of organized religion or spiritual traditions.

Great for them, woohoo, they're valid, authentic, useful, meaningful. Freaking AWESOME.

But that ain't me, so I speak from my own experiences, from my own context about things the way I see them. If you want to read this blog and distill truths that may apply to your own path, know that you will have to filter out my bullshit, just like I have to filter out everyone else's. This is not a bullshit free zone, this is the RO bullshit zone. Bullshit comes with the territory, and I'm a Taurus, for Christ's sake. There will be bullshit.

And sometimes it will even be on purpose (Cthulhu isn't really going to eat you after you make Ipsissimus in the GD, for example, unless this statement is a blind; them's the Breaks*), though most of the time it's not. I don't believe any one person can be all things to all people. I will never be able to express the Ultimate Universal Truth in a way that is meaningful for everyone. See the bit above about the First, Second, and Third Most Important Things.
As for your statement "Where does he think this instruction came from? The wise wisdom of weally wise human beings?"

YES. Human beings can come up with things that are equal to and superior to what the spirits can. In Christian mythology remember who god makes bow to who.

Ok, I was being snide. It happens sometimes, and I was feeling less than "collegiate" at the time. I fundamentally disagree that humans can "come up with" anything that would be equal or superior to what the spirits reveal, because the Spirits are expressions of the Source who are closer to It than we are. They experience It in ways we aren't designed for.

Besides, they don't "come up with" anything in my understanding.

The words we use for "Spirits" are almost all based on either the words for "messenger" or "breath." They are the messengers of the Divine, they are the breath of God. They are the Breath that forms the Words, which are the symbols that represent the Idea that comes from the Mind of God.

That doesn't mean all spirits are trustworthy and great and wonderful. I'm not an extremist Spiritist Fanatic Zealot who believes there is no God but the Source and all the Spirits are his Prophets to be trusted carte blanc, no questions asked. You've got to test the spirits because plenty will lie to you or tell you what you want to hear for their own benefit.

That's also part of the approach we have to deal with, but spirits who pass the tests are more trustworthy to me than humans who can and do lie for profit. There's risk involved with any system, and we all try to mitigate the risk to the best of our abilities. The bottom line is that I trust the spirits who haven't been in human form a lot more than I do the ones who are or ever were.

That's the framework, the context of the Head for the Red Blog. Understand that, and you'll be better able to sift through my bullshit and get to the bits that were sent through me for you.

* "Breaks" is a subtitle for the most lucid exposition of the Great Work to come from the 19th and 20th centuries' European Traditions, better by far than the Kabalion.