Sunday, July 11, 2010

Physical Planets and Other Forms of Matter

Yes, still yet more on planets.

A friend of mine once asked me if I considered the physical planets like batteries for the forces of the Spheres. Like if a person went to Mars, they would be overwhelmed with Martial "energy." Colonists there would live like Spartans, by Law and Order and Structure, but they'd always be belligerent and probably at war, near war, or recovering from war. Like America, but not fat and stupid.

We won't talk about what Colonies on Venus would be like (coughcoughFrancecoughcough).

The question surprised me. I hardly ever think about the physical planets in terms of their spiritual significance. I mean, Mars is rock and iron. Venus is covered in bad gas. Some moon around Jupiter would be an awesome source of methane to power the planet. If they ever had the technology while I'm young enough to do it, I would totally go looking for an asteroid made of solid gold.

But the planets being literally the manifestation of a spiritual force? Fuck no, it's a metaphor. The planets are symbols of the spheres, things that indicate what types of powers are hitting the planet spiritually based on their relative positions to us on Earth. They're cosmic weather vanes. Thinking they are the thing they point to is like thinking the weather vane is the wind.

But when I think about it, an old weather vane would make a pretty awesome Wind Talisman. A meteorite from Mars would be pretty awesome in a Martial talisman too. But I don't really believe colonists would exhibit the planet's associated character traits because they lived there. It's not like they are the spheres we use them to represent. It's symbolic, like everything else here in the physical realm, an indicator, or an arrow pointing to its higher aspect, an image of the thing, not the thing itself.

Even though images of things can be powerful in rituals, they aren't the things they represent. Confusing the two can lead to idolatry. I think idolatry is dangerous because it leaves you missing the actual relationship with the spirit represented by the object. The damage it does is measured in the missed opportunities, missed time you could have spent learning about who/what the symbol represents, how it manifests in you.

I think that's why I don't get concerned about the significance of the planets in the Chaldean Order not lining up with a heliocentric astronomical cosmology based on laser-accurate locations of the planets. They're more like referents to me. As long as they get good results, I'm fine with it.

If I do get to a point where I need to start using the planets actual order for something, I'm not opposed to it. I've run into some weirdness I'd like to investigate at some point at different times in my Work, and I shelved it for further research when I'm feeling dry or stagnant. For now I'm still achieving with the system I've got, and I'm happy with that.


  1. The physical planet Mars is a manifestation of the same thing as a chunk of iron or a daub of sulfur. But the "Mars" behind them is a Platonic ideal.

  2. Yes! Great point!

    I bet a piece of Mars would make a great Martial talisman, but that's because of the symbolism attached to it, not because the rock itself is the power of sphere of Mars. Still thought, it'd be pretty awesome to attempt it :-D

  3. One pet hate I have is people completely disregarding the initiatory and pedagogical aspect of any given system. (Ok, this only goes for systems that have a theurgic initiatory aspect such as hermeticism, gnosticism, tantra etc.)

    The 7 planets scheme only works if you then combine it with a travel from a geocentric mind to a lunar, then solar and finally cosmic consciousness, after which there is nothing, it is by definition cosmic.

    If we would follow Jason's what if scheme then we would be ignoring the as above so below scheme in regards to how the hermetic system is designed to aid in the development of the ultima materia of man. I respect Jason as a sorcerer and I have no doubts as to his personal attainment, however reading hisb makes me wonder whether he has a tight enough grasp on western initiatory systems.

    A paralell is to say:
    what if we would tell people they have already reached nirvana and they are now enlightened Boddhisattvas untill it just sinks in?

    There have been many people trying THAT scheme and never has it produced an initiatory system or tradition of any value. Telling people they are christ does not create a solar consciousness.

    However raising someone as a Devout Hindu brahmin and then subjecting them to a mind altering Tantric female focused initiation just might.

    Why oh why do we conflate an initiatory systems symbols, that even its creators knew were symbolic and not factual, with the hard fact reality?

    It is because
    1 people talk about initiatory systems from the point of view of someone having read all that is available yet not actually worked through it and missed out the entire pedagogical value and initiatory links

    2 because of projection. If having a lunar consciousness is like this, then solar must be like that and the cosmic one must be X.

    3 they are still seeking and are incapable of understanding that systems designed to bring about a specific consciousenss, within that system have a symbollic end-point.

    Kabbalistically speaking, you could, with correct training grace and initiations reach a consciousness as far as the three negative veils.there is nothinbg beyond that.

    Hermetically, there is nothing beyond God.

    In Gnosticism the pleroma and knowledge of god

    in hermetic alchemy (wich really is simply applied alchemy) creating Gold. Sure, we could say that "but there should be something beyond gold, like platinum" or something equally moronic. But within that context, within the scheme of hermetic alchemy, Gold is the final stage, the ultima materia and if the inner process has followed, there is no more initiations. Then there is nothing beyond. Man has been made whole. There may be horizontal things to learn, but the vertical ascension has come to an end. there is nothing left to ascend to. There is no Darkside of the tree of life to go to after this. There is no need for black holes in the hermetic scheme, or platina in alchemy or an 11th sphere in theurgic hermeticism.

    Once you're there you're there and you're doing a very good job this far.

  4. "as long as they get good results I'm fine with it."

    Music to my ears. :)

  5. This is totally spot on and a fantastic post.

    I will be commenting further on my blog.

  6. @Argent, Jason's got a firm grasp on the Western system, he's just also got a firm grasp on other systems. A swallow has to fly at lower altitudes than an eagle, but because his understanding of flight is limited by his experiences, he shouldn't question the eagle's understanding of the physics and dynamics of flight.

  7. @ Argent

    A couple points: Cosmic may be the limit of the Hermetic system, but it is not the limit of truth or Gnosis or human capacity.

    The union with Cosmos can be thought of as happening beyond Saturn. The Unuion with Diety can be thought of as happening in the 9th spehere. There is also the unions of Apophatic Gnosis and Non-Dual gnosis that does not get dealt with specifically in Hermetics. By musing about consciousness shifts to further planets and galactic centers I was extending the symbol set to include these. Again, it is just some fun musing - you seem to be acting like I am commiting some kind of Hermetic heresy.

    Your analogy to my thoughts being akin to just telling people that they are enlightened is not at all appropriate and honestly I cannot see how you draw that conclusion.

    Your rather dogmatic insistence that the end point of the hermetic model is the end point period is pretty lame and based on nothing but your clinging to the written word. It is you that comes off as someone who hasn't traveled the length but is insisting on knowing what it is all about.

  8. @ Rufus.

    Am I the Eagle or the Swallow in this case? Even I am not sure some times.

  9. One last point. The people that authored the system did NOT think of the planets as merely symbols of the stages. That is a projection that we have made on them. People forget that science and magic were the same. At one time people felt that the literal planets were indeed representative of the literal spheres leading to heaven.

  10. Jay, we're all swallows and eagles at different times, but in that instance you were the eagle.

    From offline conversations, I have more insight into your path and experiences than casual readers of your posts might.

    From personal Work I've done, I've seen the Hermetic System is a very useful, and necessary tool (for some of us) within its own context.

  11. @Jason

    Where does it then end my dear?
    Or do you really think this is an infinite loop with no end?

    Pray tell me then, How do we know when we have reached the ultimate level? Or is there in your world always another beyond?

    I am not clinging to the written word, as much as I know what works and what is just theoretical bullshit, or going around in circles without getting to an endpoint.

    By the way, I was making a point of systems in general not you in particular.

    Sorry Jason, you know your stuff with a lot of things, however you really don't seem to know what the western lines are trying to do or are doing.

    Hope you find your gold behind one of those doors someday because there are only so many doors one can open untill one starts to walk in circles.

  12. @Argent: Do you really think there is an ultimate end? You think it's a closed system? If it were, it would have failed a long time ago.

    The Corpus Hermeticum is pretty clear, the Work doesn't stop when you hit the next level, the nature of it changes. I've yet to go through any initiation that completed any sphere's initiatory limitations. This isn't a "do this, check that box, get a title, have the power, ok you're done" kind of path at all.

  13. @ Argent,

    You ask, where does it end my dear?

    I answer, I do not know. I only know as far as I have gone, which is further than what the descriptions of the 9th sphere are. I personally am not in a big hurry to plant the flag on the ultimate state of reality for all time ever. Just seems arrogant to me.

    I am reminded of a story that a Sufi friend (a real one in Saudi Arabia, not one of these fruity western Sufi things) told to me once:

    Rumi get's asked who was greater Mohammed or Mansur Al Hallaj. Rumi replies that Mohammed was greater. The questioner asks how can this be as Mohammed claimed only to be a prophet, but Al-Hallaj claimed to be Allah himself! Rumi replied that while Al-Hallaj did possess very great realization, he mistook his realization as the final and ultimate, and this belief blinded him to the further stages.

    You claim that because I do not agree with your dogma about what constitutes the end of the line that I don't know what the "western lines" are getting at. This despite being an initiate of a couple western lines myself and having worked it for many years.

    So what than am I missing? Given your statements I can assume that you are well grounded in the "ultimate" realization that you speak of. Why don't you enlighten us, o great master? What do we who are not as learned as you in the great western ways not understand?

    Or is just that questioning and experimenting and pushing boundaries is not allowed in, as you put it, "your world".

    I think you are mistaking the difference between not thinking something is the total picture of reality with not understanding what they are getting at. I understand perfectly well what they are getting at.

    While we are at it, is there a separate truth for western lines than there is for eastern lines? Where is the dividing line? Turkey? Is Arab Magic western or eastern? Is Eastern Orthodox magic western or eastern? How about African Magic?

    What about western mystical lines that espouse more of an apophatic or non-dual idea of Gnosis. I guess that Meister Ekhart just did'nt get it either.

    C'mon man. Truth is truth when we are talking about the nature of mind, cosmos, and reality itself.

    We are living in an amazing time when we have literally have access to every spiritual culture on earth at our finger tips and unprecedented progress in the studies of consciousness and human development.

    If the authors of the Hermetica, the PGM and other texts that you are holding dear had access to this age they would have gone ape shit with theories and new symbols and combinations of systems. How do I know this? Because that is exactly what they did with the comparative small amount of information that they did have!

    As for hoping I find gold one day, thanks. I find gold every day. I hope that you find that the world is a little bit bigger than you currently think it is.

  14. I'm reminded oddly of Ray Bradbury's "Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed" (categorized in his "Martian Chronicles"), which suggests something analogous to the hypothesis of your second paragraph. It makes for a good story, but i can't imagine living on a different planet would change someone so fast and so thoroughly. Anyway, just a tangent ;-)

  15. All I've come to understand thus far is that various systems are different types of spiritual technology, each with their own framework and cosmology, and that ultimately there's always something else to have gained elsewhere other than the system or framework you're operating within. There are things and approaches that the Hermetica and the magick thereof are simply not going to offer me that other systems might. I've come to see all these dichotomies fully dissolve because of the realization that we, as human beings with limited understanding and limited time, can only imbibe and master so much.

    I think that to suggest that while you are physically incarnate, you could climb successive and higher degrees until ultimately you reach the pinnacle of all spiritual refinement and all Understanding is arrogant and fails to recognize how much of a microcosm of a microcosm of a microcosm from a macrocosm we really all are.

    It's sheer speculation, but it seems like once you pass a certain point in your potentially many incarnations, you'd no longer be a physical manifestation here in the bottom of the map, so to speak. If we are "spiritual beings having a human experience" (which I fully believe), then human experience in any sense could only take you so far.

    Way beyond all our attainments and aspirations is a God, a Source from which everything stems -- would He not be the highest point, would He not reside in that state of utter perfection and in a plane that human minds could never conceive fully? We are capable of a great many things when we pursue rigorously, but I don't see that there is an "end" for us. Just a (hopefully) constant ascension.

  16. Just a final note to answer your question before I start my work-week and get out of your hair permanently:

    To answer your question: Yes. I don't think there is an ultimate end. I know there is one.

    The Horizontal path may be limitless but the vertical is not.
    This isn't about any sphere or place on a tree or anything like that, This is beyond all forms of Divine Union, This is the only way one can convey in words the ultimate Gnosis.. Alchemy has the best analogy for what I mean>

    In alchemy we start with a metal that we then subject to a process, in the end we get gold.
    Once you have made "gold" there is nothing beyond that stage. You can use that gold to make everything into gold, but gold is the highest stage, and in this hermetic teaching there is the ultimate mystery.

    In this there is an analogy to all mystical and theurgical attainment. Being in posession of the royal secret does not turn anyone into an enlightened master, but it is a key to everything.

    We can still spend our time devising potions and elixirs and making stones and tinctures, but once you have made "gold" that is it.

    @Jason: Good luck with that.

  17. @Argent, that explains a lot about your previous comments, and why you've mistaken my recent experiences as "Solar Consciousness."

    All I can suggest is that your conclusions are, uhm, premature, and may at some point shift as more data becomes available to you.

  18. Boys, boys, boys!
    Argent writes:
    “Where does it then end my dear?
    Or do you really think this is an infinite loop with no end?”
    There are two very distinct views of time. One is linear and one is cyclic, kind of like a snake eating its own tail. Guess which one is manmade and which one follows nature?

    The alchemist DEVOUTLY follows nature, as her student. We must not forget the first principles of our Art. Where and from what does our gold come from? How is that which is not gold transmuted to gold? What happens to our gold once it is made after the passage of time? Is it possible for our gold to be transmuted again from this state? More Paracelsus for you! ;)

    The actual practice of basic magical spells will quickly teach that time is not linear. The spirits are not bound by linear time. When magic starts working, manifestation is common during preparation for a spell or, at the very least, the wheels have previously been set in motion for manifestation to coincide with the completion of a ritual.

    The linear view of working towards an attainable goal is very psychologically beneficial. As magicians, we do not get this luxury. With magic we must eventually let go and see that we will inevitably end up where we are only different.

    And then we will die.

    Anyone who wants to break into the “Circle of Life” from the Lion King, feel free to do so now! :)

    FRO, I have got to say it. This planetary musing reminded me so much of Logan and his Kircher/Saadia tree rant. Even some of the words. Do you see it? At the time I think my argument went something like, it doesn’t matter how you look at it, or how you choose to arrange it (though these nagging feelings often personally reflect different vantage points in the spectrum, which is ok!) as long as you look at ALL of it you can eventually get there. We all can, from different angles (Buddhism, with its different paths, is big on this), after all, There is actually Here (without the T).

    Love Kathy

  19. @Kathy, maybe I'm finally catching up to Logan. If I move to Prague and start publishing novels that win me local celebrity status, we'll know it's the True Path.

  20. Boys boys boys :) You are funny.

    I recently rediscovered the extreme usefullness of the Greater Hexagram Banishing Spell. Remember that you can get just as obsessed and possessed with higher, positive, cool forces as you can with lower negative ones.


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