Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

So, how about that 2010, eh? Could have been better for a lot of folks, could also have been a lot worse for most of the rest. A few had it as bad as anyone else, or worse, and a few had it just freaking awesome and better than they deserved.

And on other days, it just rained.

Politically, my country is a mess this year. It always is, but the mess seems to be more messy than usual. Of course, I always feel that way about government. I don't think I've met anyone who's ever been completely happy with government and politics, if they really pay attention to it.

Economically... well, times are tough all over. And they aren't getting better as fast as they used to. We're still in the midst of a global transition of power and influence, and it hurts. In time, things will get better, they always do, but things will never go back to what they were. And they never do that either.

Spiritually though, these are awesome times to be alive in! The global economic pressures and political tensions are rarely aligned like this, usually only once a century or so. This is the shit Crowley et al went through in their lifetimes, producing more occult resources than we'd seen since the last time the world's power centers shifted. These are the times that shape the future of occultism.

I mentioned the other day that the stresses of existence provide the Alchemical Heat that acomplishes the Great Work. In times of material wealth and prosperity, people are relaxed and at ease with the world around them. They're shallow, lazy, and usually fat. But when times are tough, people get better. Adversity builds character, unlocks potentials to excel and achieve in ways you didn't need to before. It brings out human ingenuity.

When you do an initiation into a sphere, shit rises to the surface, and the stress is a manifestation of the purification process your sphere is undergoing. Illusions are revealed to be what they are, and new forces come to you, forces that you have to learn to control, and screw up with, at first. There's that learning period, that time when you're clumsy and break things as you learn to control yourself. My daughter's in dance, and I watch her little group of friends learning new routines, going from clumsy tentative motions to confident, strong expressions of the essence of their art. It's neat. We do that as magicians too, as we go through initiations.

And all stress produces heat. If you're not doing the GreatWork, the heat just burns out of control, destroying everything around it. It's the prairie fire that consumes everything, kills everything as it passes, and it's only those that come after who receive the benefits of the flames. That same fire can be directed though, can be sent to burn out only the things that need to go. Controlled burns eliminate massive forrest fires, and return nutrients to the soil. Planning the burns brings the wild force under control, gives it purpose and objectives.

Alchemists used various temperatures of heat at various stages of the Work to complete the Stone. Most of the time, the heat was low and steady for long periods, but in between stages, the heat is increased for short periods of time.A low heat produced slower oxidization and created different kinds of crystalization in the Materia, while a high heat allowed the metals to merge, or to temper depending on what you were doing.

When we perform an initiation, we're releasing that heat into our lives in a specific way, with a directed goal. To gain initiation and understanding of a sphere, its power, its landscape, its application. It can be elemental, planetary, zodiacal, or even spheres beyond the map. The rituals direct the heat that's going to be there anyway in your life into the actual transformation you desire.

Times of great global stress produce a lot more heat, and provide the opportunities to ascend higher, to go deeper, to integrate further aspects of the Work than times of indolence and prosperity. Tapping into this and using it to accomplish the Work, to go deeper into the Mysteries puts you in control of the shit that's going down. That doesn't mean the shit doesn't go down, or that life is any less stressful, it only means that when the stress is gone, and only you remain, you'll be stronger, faster, better, smarter than you were, and not just burned, broken, battered, and bleeding.

By taking control of the Heat, you're putting it to work for you. It's going to burn something anyway, it might as well be something that's holding you back, an obstacle in the way, the darkness of ignorance pierced by the  light.

Now, change hurts, and honestly, when you look around at the world, it can be pretty frightening when you see that you will have to endure pain. Fear of pain, fear of suffering are my biggest sources of anxiety. I might lose my house, car, food, shelter clothing, social standing, esteem, attainment, ambitions, goals, I might fail, or get burned again as I reach out and try to direct the Heat. Fear.

But I've learned from my suffering in the past a thing that has released me from those fears. I've been through terrible shit, and I've found out that as bad as the worst has been, it wasn't that bad. I made it through, I'm ok, and things got better. There's nothing to worry about. Even the pain is brief, and it doesn't kill me. Facing it, directly and dealing with it calmly and with discipline resolves all problems. And by doing the Work, the pain actually helps.

There is nothing to fear, not from Korea, or Iran, not from the TSA or the corrupt city cops, not from the Republicans or the Democrats, or the aliens infiltrating humanity and feasting on our flesh in the dark recesses of underground cities. These things may very well hurt, frustrate, or make life worse in some way, but you can rest in the knowledge that it's working for you, preparing you for the next phase of your existence. Life will go on, in some way, and you will remain.

In the next year, may you remember that above all else, there is nothing to fear.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Money: Getting it Out of the Way

Money is such a pain in the ass. Magicians really need to be spending their time doing magic, and not worrying about paying the bills all the time.

Now, we have to take into account fact that stress provides the heat that transforms the magician. That can't be ignored or alleviated, at least not in any way that I can tell. However, no one ever said the only kind of stress that can transform the magician has to be money-related. It's ok to turn your attention to better things.

Like anything else we do to channel the transformative heat required to accomplish the Work, removing the money-aspect of stress takes a lot of work, both spiritually and physically. It ain't easy. It is dangerous to you as a person, because you will be changed by the process. The person you come out the other end of this trip is going to be someone else, someone different, wiser in many ways. You will change, and who you are now will be a memory of how you used to be. It's really for the best in the long run, but the trip can be a real doozy.

But fortune smiles upon the brave! Don't be afraid of your freedom, and that's really what we're talking about, being free from the stress of money. All it takes is making money.

Making money is pretty damned easy, it just takes a while, and a lot of good old fashioned work. About an inch or so of discipline, and the mental fortitude to endure some discomfort for a greater cause. It takes stamina, but like exercise, the stamina comes from doing the very thing you need the stamina to do! You've got to do it, and you'll find that as you do, you are better able to do whatever it is you're doing.

Starting is the hardest part. It's free, so there's no excuse not to do it. All it takes is time and work. You sit down, you start a blog, set up some pages, and start talking about the things you like to do. You invest a couple of internet afternoons to understanding PayPal and Google Checkout. You set up some means to accept funds.

Then you describe what you love. It's your passion, your Genius. You wax poetic and profane about the thing you love, and the effort you put into it, and you sell the byproducts of your passion, the commentary, the pieces of art or craft you make along the way. You sell the how-tos, and the tips and tricks, and you tell the truth about your pursuit of your love.

And people like you, who are into the same things will come and talk to you, and about you amongst themselves. Your products will appeal to them, and as the things you make accomplish the goals they are created to accomplish, people's lives are made better. And they tell their friends, and your sales grow.

And it takes a while. But it works.

Take an inventory of your interests in life. Really think about what it is that you love to do. What brings you the absolute most fulfillment in life? What thing in your sphere of influence would you seriously consider writing poetry about? What's your art? What's your passion? What are you really good at doing? What skills do you have that you would enjoy developing? What things make you happier when you get better at doing them?

Do them! Do that thing, whatever it is, and do it with all of your heart. And talk about it to people. And talk about how to do it. And sell it. Sell the fuck out of it. Take your love and your passion and make a fucking profit off that bitch. If you're making shit, sell the shit, and let the beauty and meaning of that shit go into other people's lives, and pay your bills at the same time. It's convenient, it's efficient, and it's fulfilling as hell.

And you don't let the selling become your life, because if you do, you really don't understand money at all. It's bullshit, people! Money is just fucking bullshit, a goddamned sick game people play. It's really, honestly, fucking absurd when you think about it. If you lose sight of that, it becomes your master instead of your means. Jason talks about that in his stuff on finances. Money makes a good servant, but a poor master.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Continuing the Work

One of the first things to go when things start getting stressful around the holidays for me is my daily Work, and it's right when I need it the most. I've been fortunate this season because I've had a lot of Applied Hermetic work to do for other people, so I get to spend a lot of time with the spirits anyway. It keeps my sphere tingly and bright. It harmonizes the parts of my soul, and it's harder for the stress of the material world to fracture that link between the rational mind and the emotional survival instinct that just wants to destroy anything it perceives as a threat to its safety and peace.*

So try not to let your daily work slip. People in the Black Work course should be doing that ritual at the end of the first lesson once a week, at least. I know it takes forever, but it's fun. Those who should be conjuring the Supernatural Assistant (yeah, I am talking about you down in Texas, but also some others) should be conjuring it. It's ten minutes, yo. 

And for those who are going through the process of K et C HGA, remember not to speak of the things of the heavens that cannot be understood. Watch your step (have sight in your feet) when you're around others. Shit gets stirred up that doesn't need to be addressed over Christmas dinner. The urge to burn through the bullshit and cauterize the wound so it can heal can be strong. 

*Never one to ignore a challenge, the Stresses of the Material World  redoubled their efforts throughout the season, but I've managed to hold my own against them! Yes, I am happy about that, it's not the norm for me in years past. 

Sorcery's a Dangerous Game

You know, here in the United States where society officially treats sorcery as a harmless delusion (usually), we've got it pretty good. As frustrating as it is not to be able to talk to people at the office Christmas party about what you spend most of your personal time doing, it's better than sorcerors have it in parts of the world where people actually believe in magic.

I've been monitoring Google's news stories lately for occult stories. The news occultists make globally is bad news for the sorceror. 45 people accused of using sorcery to spread cholera were lynched by mobs in Haiti. A guy was expelled from a country because the government suspected he was doing sorcery to aid his friend in an election. And he probably was, honestly, but getting him expelled from the country won't likely lessen his meddling.

Kinda sucks to be a sorceror, in most places, especially when shit goes wrong.

Of course, that's true in our private lives too, isn't it? Even among pagans and magicians, if you're going through troubles, don't your friends or family assume it's your fault, that you've done some magic that is having some kind of unexpected consequence? And it really doesn't help that they're right sometimes either.

Still, at least I don't get lynched and shit.

Sanity Clause

I saw a present from the kids marked, "To Dad, From Sanety Klos." I thought it was funny, and then I thought maybe the universe was trying to tell me something. Fortunately, I never took that Oath.

But this time of year, who couldn't use a visit from Sane-ty Klos, come to spread some Sanity to stressed out moms, dads, and kids (of all ages) all over the world?

And honestly, it's not just at Christmas. All year long, the pressures of life are pushing people beyond the boundaries of sanity and into the realms of being out of control. There's only so much stress the mind can take before it begins to fracture, and when it finally cracks, the Ruach and Neschemah influence is gone, and we're all in the power of the Nephesh and the Guf. By the time we get back to being a mostly unified being, we've said shit, done shit, and generally made a mess of our lives.

So, I propose a contract modification to the Universe. I think we incarnate humans should have the right to invoke the Sanity Clause at any point in time when the pressures of existence have fractured our sanity. When things start getting bad, we should be able to say, "I invoke the Sanity Clause" and have a brief respite from the stresses of the moment. Or a reset moment.

While the Contract Specialists in Jupiter work out all the legal details with Mercury and such, all we can do in the mean time is continue the Work.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Astrology and Hermetic Magic

In the Solstice Lunar Eclipse Stuff post, I passed on some astrological information about the Eclipse, and Patrick Dunn brought up some really interesting points in response.

Astrology is the art and science of reading the relative positions of the stars and planets to determine what forces are at play in general, and specifically at any given place and time on the Earth. It's a method of reading the signs so you know where you're at.

For Hermetic Magicians, astrology is a way for us to look around at the tools we have to work with at any given time to accomplish our magical aims. A chart of a given place and time will tell the trained eye which influences are strongest and which are weakest. Historic observations can tell us what kinds of things generally manifest when the planets are arranged in similar patterns. It lets us know what the tendency of things that manifest under these conditions has been according to astrologers who were paying attention throughout history.

When Patrick did his ritual, he did it exactly the way a Hermetic Magician should do it.

The first point Patrick makes in his post is that he conjured intelligences and didn't just make a talisman. His point that they might be in a certain mood because of the weather is insightful and true. When working with the intelligences, you're moving beyond the forces of manifestation and into the pre-manifest realms, sort of. And he did it the right way, asking questions and seeking a favor. He didn't say, "Take now thy powers manifesting in the Earth and direct them to manifest my desires, forsooth!" By performing his magic the way he did, he became a co-creator, a worker with the forces. He did it exactly the way a Hermetic Magician is supposed to, and mitigated any deleterious effects.

I agree with his point two, that no chart is an unmitigated disaster, and I have no comment on his point three. Ice cream comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors because people have different tastes.

In point four, he brings up some awesomeness. "Those who have attained any degree of Henosis are free of the “twelve governors of fate” described in the Hermetica." It is the manifest realm that lies under the governors of fate, and as Patrick says, we are free from that realm when we go into their spheres and talk to them. When the favors he's requested come down to the material realm to manifest, they are going to be subject to the forces of the Fates that rule the material realm, just like any other Idea that gets projected into space-time, but he's gone to the Intelligence and focused the way the forces will manifest as they come down relative to his intent. He's right, the Henosis-endowed magician is not subject to the tides and forces of the fates, he is the co-worker with the fates.

I was disappointed with Patrick's point five, that he's unimpressed by magic that tells us to sit still. I completely agree with him, but my last paragraph of the previous post was supposed to address that. I take my goal, look at what's going on astrologically, and see how I can tweak the general forces to work towards my specific goal. Health is obviously Mercury and Jupiter, but it's also Venus, and also Luna, and the Sun, and Mars can be used, and so can Saturn. Finding one of the planets that is powerful in the current astrological weather is easy enough, you just have to be creative, tweak your approach.

In his first post on the eclipse magic, Patrick points out that he's used eclipses to burn through obstacles. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Eclipses are bad news. The light is obscured, both physically and spiritually. Yet he directed the forces of the eclipse, the negative bad news towards burning through the obstacles. His statement of intent, "I will that America and its people immediately develop greater freedom and prosperity," is great. Using the eclipse's negative forces to burn through obstacles that keep people from freedom and prosperity is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about.

Add to that that he went Above and talked directly to the Intelligences, and you've got a perfect example of how to incorporate astrological weather into a rite. Patrick said he's gotten positive indications through his divinations on the results, and I personally think he's going to have great results.

But for folks who just wanted to absorb the forces that were manifesting and point them towards good things without going up to the highest heavens, without working in harmony with the forces, there's going to be shit to clean up. Just because a moment is full of power doesn't mean that power is going to automatically translate into what you want. It takes effort and insight.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Lunar Eclipse Stuff

The blogosphere's been abuzz with things to do on eclipse-solstice night, but I didn't do anything special with it. I don't understand astrology well enough to know what the effects will be, and I've learned not to work from a position of ignorance and assumption when doing magic, it can have really bad effects.

On the Spiritus Mundi list, the topic came up, and John Michael Greer pointed out a couple of interesting things:

  1. The eclipse is not on the solstice. It finishes more than 15 hours before the solstice, so it's just an eclipse near the solstice.
  2. Greer quoted William Ramesey's Astrolgia Restaurata, and then made some analysis of the actual chart as it is, not as it seems to folks not familiar with astrology. See the group for more information, but he summarizes thus: Political troubles, poor public health, and a bad vegetable crop.

This matters because hen we're talking astrological magic, we're talking about the specific forces that are affecting a particular moment. As soon as you start conjuring up the forces of the heavens that are being projected through the Earth, you're taking a snapshot of the moment and saying to the universe, "I want the forces represented right here, right now to apply to the following things," and then you list the targets of the forces available, i.e. political troubles, poor public health, or bad vegetable crops.

So any magic you may have done to channel these forces will succeed, but maybe not the way you wanted them to.

Now, I wish I had time to read the posts before the eclipse, but I didn't. I wish I'd posted a warning ahead of time, because this kind of magic is tricky, and can lead to bad things if you don't know what you're doing, but I didn't. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I missed the chance to give an ounce of prevention. Sorry about that.

But at least you can take into account the traditional meaning of the eclipse near the winter solstice and maybe make some adjustments to any rites you've done if necessary, or have a clue to figure out the source of any political, health, or ... uh ... vegetable crop issues you may have if you've done some Work on the occasion in hopes of getting something good. You'll have to find a way to turn that into a pound of cure, if anything bad surfaces.

And remember, when you do astrological magic, you're taking your idea of what you want to the tool shed, and then seeing what tools and materials you have to work with. At that point, you have to figure out how you can build your desired intent with the tools at hand. Based on your personal ingenuity, you can usually find a way to structure a rite that will get you what you want with the forces and materials available. It takes thought, planning, and understanding of the forces at work to be successful at this kind of thing. And ingenuity.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rectificatur Invenies Ocultum Lapidum

Pallas Renatus, frequent commenter and interesting blogger who should post more, mentioned on my last post, "Oh dear, it must be Mercury Retrograde again."

And then I felt all Satanic.

Which is because I'd been reading Wake World again, and was reading the entrance to the Sun via a Gate from Mercury, which is Ain on the Kircher Tree, the path between Hod and Tiphareth, the Devil card of the Tarot:

"But in the first we came to a mighty throne of gray     granite, shaped like the sweetest pussy cat you ever saw, and set up on a desolate heath. It was midnight, and the Devil came down and sat in the midst; but my Fairy Prince whispered: "Hush! it is a great secret, but his name is Yeheswah, and he is the Saviour of the World." And that was very funny, because the girl next me thought it was Jesus Christ, till another Fairy Prince (my Prince's brother) whispered as he kissed her: "Hush, tell nobody ever, that is Satan, and he is the Saviour of the World."

We were a very great company, and I can't tell you of all the strange things we did and said, or of the song we sang as we danced face out-wards in a great circle ever closing in on the Devil on the throne. But whenever I saw a toad or a bat, or some horrid insect, my Fairy Prince always whispered: "It is the Saviour of the world" and I saw that it was so. We did all the most beautiful wicked things you can imagine, and yet all the time we knew they were good and right, and must he done if ever we were to get to the House of Gold. So we enjoyed ourselves very much and ate the most extraordinary supper you can think of. There were babies roasted whole and stuffed with pork sausages and olives; and some of the girls cut off chops and steaks from their own bodies, and gave them to a beautiful white cook at a silver grill, that was lighted with the gas of dead bodies and marshes; and he cooked them splendidly, and we all enjoyed it immensely. Then there was a tame goat with a gold collar, that went about laughing with every one; and he was all shaved in patches like a poodle We kissed him and petted him, and it was lovely. You must remember that I never let go of my Fairy Prince for a single instant, or of course I should have been turned into a horrid black toad."

Good times! And then after she goes through the other two paths to the Sun, via Luna and Venus, she says,

"We came by and by to the Sixth House. I forgot to say that all those three paths were really one, because they all meant that things were different inside to outside, and so people couldn't judge. It was fearfully interesting; but mind you don't go in those passages without the Fairy Prince. "

They all meant that things were different inside to outside, and so people couldn't judge. Not shouldn't, but couldn't. Because what things look like is not what they are. The things in the path of AIN are gross and disgusting, but they are also holy and divine. They are gates to illumination, even though they are debaucherous. There's a danger, of course, for those who let go of their HGA for even a second on this path. People can turn into horrid black toads if they are pursuing Illumination through depravity, but there is a way through it that makes even the most depraved act holy if it's done for the right reasons, and you never lose sight of the goal. The Cainite Gnostics come to mind. So easy to slip into utter oblivion on that path, but still a viable method of attainment if you can hold onto the Guide, and not lose sight of the Goal.

The depraved acts are, in truth, Evil. The depraved acts, done in innocence and without malice are, in truth, Good. It's dualism at its finest, really. Truly evil and truly good. But there's more to it than the apparent evil and the occult good. Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis. The Third Truth is that you cannot judge them to be either good nor evil, whether by merit of their appearance or the result. The real truth is that there is no good or evil other than your likes or dislikes.

This third truth is essential to the accomplishment of the Art/Temperance tarot card that represents the path of SAMEKH between the Moon and the Sun. You cannot make the Philosopher's Stone unless you have rectified the Red Lion and the White Eagle, if you haven't found them in a pit of nasty filth where they were savage, if you haven't raised them to be faithful and good by always treating them kindly. You have to see beyond the apparent filth and savagery to get to the point where you have the refined faithful companions, the refined pure ingredients to create the Stone. You have to reach the third truth, that appearance and essence are often at apparent opposite ends of the spectrum, but their utility is only attained by balancing both.

The third truth is essential to passing the Third Path as well, the Path of NUN, the Death card of the Tarot. All who incarnate will walk down this path, and only one will emerge from the end, and yet the One and the Many are again the Outer Appearance and the Inner Truth, and again they are both illusions, references to the thing and not the thing itself.

So when Pallas Renatus said, "Oh my, Mercury must be retrograde" in response to the previous post, I realized that I'd better make some things clear, just in case. The apparent hubris of the post is the outer truth, the message it contains is the inner truth, but its true purpose was simply to entertain.

Ceremonial Hubris and Self Centeredness

Jow's observation on the self-centered nature of ceremonialists got me thinking. Ceremonial Magicians have earned a certain degree of contempt from the pagan and occult community at large because we do tend to be dicks, or haughty bitches on occasion. We spend all this time learning ancient forms of astronomy and correspondence tables, and we take the time to study the writings of magicians and mystics that can be difficult to understand, and some of us, at times, can get kind of arrogant.

But sometimes we just seem that way. When you've taken the time to actually read the source material Crowley references in his Book IV for example, you learn to understand a great deal more of what the man was saying. The jokes become apparent, and then when you point it out to people they get all offended because they don't get the joke.

And on top of that, you're a social retard who spent a lot of your time in books and communing with spirits, and most humans don't understand what you're trying to do. You finally meet some occult-people who seem to have an interest in what you've already done, and you try to talk to them, and then you figure out they're just starting out, and you want to help, but you don't know what they know, and you don't want to offend them by patronizing them, but you're excited to tell them something that would really help them, and so you try to make it sound like it's something they might already know, you refer to it at a high level so it just reminds them what you're talking about if they already know it, but if not leaves you open to go into more detail, and then they just look at you, and you try not to burn out their eyeballs with the glittering brilliance of your sphere as they gaze upon you with their stupefied inbred deer in the headlights look, and later on you learn they thought you were just being an asshole when you were trying to do a good thing. They aren't capable of understanding it, let alone appreciating it or participating in the real good times, and they walk away thinking YOU'RE the dick.

Or the haughty bitch.

So bear in mind, sometimes when the Ceremonial Magician seems like an arrogant prick, it's not on purpose, he just knows more than you, and hasn't, necessarily, interacted with anyone face to face in a bit.

Oh, and we only seem self-centered because we've seen what it really means to be "self-centered." I mean, we're only doing this for you.

Which you'd know if you'd used the Dehn translation, I swear.*

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Emperor Rudolph II reincarnated in Kazakhstan

Fellow alchemists and other magicians seeking the opportunity to get state funding for your alchemical experiments, please note that Kazakhstan is the place to be.

Sure, it's a little unstable, but if you believe all the hype, the US will be in just as bad of shape shortly. The UK too, I'm sure. So you know, ex-pat seekers, throw together an Elixir of Life formula that looks plausible, and you've got a free ticket for as long as it lasts.

Note the fate of those who failed Rudolph though. Things to remember.

The Hacktivist Revolution

Please, oh hacktivists, tell me you're smarter than this.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Driving Reality: The Faith Steam Shovel

You know why Hagbard Celine says, "I steam-shovel when it's steam-shovel time"? Because the Steam-Shovel was invented in about three different places at the same time by three different parties who were not working together. It was the next step in Engineering, and as the environments and education allowed for it, it emerged around the world because it was time.

First assumption then: That when something happens like that, it's happening for a reason. The convergence of technology and innovation and necessity, plus experience and education ensure that somewhere, the steam-shovel will be invented. It happened simultaneously because it was just time for it to happen, and nothing could prevent its manifestation.

But Hagbard takes it a step further, doesn't he? "I steam-shovel..." He makes it personal. The statement changes a phenomenon of technological development and turns it into a universal principle that has personal applications. It was destiny that the steam shovel manifest, he says, and if there is a destiny for that huge innovation that leveled mountains and paved the way for global communications and the exchange of information across time and space, by god, there's a destiny for all things, even me. As a result, what I do matters and has global implications on par with the coming of the steam shovel.

It's a leap of logic that can get kind of difficult to support if you spend too much time thinking about it. He is an Erisian, after all. But it's a statement that has stuck with me over the years.

I've been playing with Luck lately. I've been exploring the paths or tunnels between Saturn and Mercury and the Moon. Very fun and interesting stuff. There's a simple way to screw up really badly looking for Luck and good Fortune in the sphere of the Greater Malefic, and avoiding that particular trap has taken a lot of focused intent. It's like a gravitational constant that tries to wrap you up in the decaying orbit that leads to the Terminus. Lots of adjustments need to be made, and you really have to watch the proportions of the mingled forces.

But what I've found is that when you've got it right, you become the driving forces of Fate itself. It's a matter of getting your mind in harmony with the forces of Fate. There are Seven forces of Fate, the Governors of the Planets. Getting the initiations into the Seven Spheres is imperative, I think, and I wouldn't have been able to integrate those forces without my SA* to guide the process. But when I've been "on," and in harmony, I can feel myself changing the warp and weave of existence in every action. I can feel the extended efffects of my moions and mutterings in my basement affecting the mechanisms of the whole around the universe. I can feel the forces moving me right along, and I am as much the Mover as the Moved. It's an at-one consciousness thing with some Right Action thrown in to boot.

And it's not like I'm just doing what I'm told, I'm doing what I want. And yeah, "what I want" is the result of coming to terms with why I'm here, and it's not what I wanted in terms of selfish want, but it's what I WANT from an eternal perspective, and it's even better than the lower-case want I thought I wanted when I started out.

There's a power that is both giddiness-inducing, and humbling at the same time. To be the hand of fate, to Steam-Shovel when it's Steam-Shovel time is to become the creator of the universe for as long as you can hold onto it.

And I think we're all there at some level, but we're not fully aware of it except when we're at-one-ing. The rest of the time we're as much pawns as we are hidden chess masters, and it's not the same thing as conjuring spirits, or meditation, nor is it the same thing as producing whatever it is we produce to earn our paychecks in the mundane world.

But you've got to go through at least an intro level into each of the Planetary Spheres, get familiar with those forces and get them in their proper positions relative to one another in your sphere. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense, so let's use the Microcosm in the Macrocosm example that summarizes things for me best: The Altar Glyph.

Ok, see how everything is laid out in relation to the four corners of the World? The glyph represents how you would see the world if you were looking out from Agrippa's Scale of the Number 4, from Book 2, chapter vii of the Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Because the Altar is always in the physical realm, you lay out your representation of the things Above as if you were seeing them from here Below.

Now we know this isn't "really" how things are. It's a representation of everything as seen from one point of view. The planetary groupings in the Elemental kingdoms follow Agrippa's elemental attributes from Book 1, chapters xxiii-xxix. It doesn't follow the normal elemental attributes assigned by the planetary rulerships of the Signs, and it threw me for a while, until I realized Agrippa is using this to explain how the forces of the Planets primarily manifest in the physical realm. (shit, just hit cntrl-P which apparently publishes the post. woopsie! someone's reading a draft right now. Come back later and see what I meant it to look like if you're reading this before I repost it. And no, I don't know how you're supposed to know that. I guess just look and see if there's more below this point besides the asterisked footnote.)

Ok, so the image is a representation of the relative locations of the planets and elements to one another in the physical sphere based on how the forces of the Planets primarily manifest. The process of initiation into all the spheres builds in a kind of Altar Glyph into your own sphere. The forces are all integrated relative to one another, and you're able to tap into them more directly and clearly, and consciously as you go along in the Work. The forces are purified, strengthened, and you gain knowledge and skill in applying them as needed.

Once they're integrated and you've got a frame of reference for each of the forces, you can start to catch the waves of their mingling and manifesting consciously. It's a lot like surfing. You've got to be aware of where you are in relation to the wave, you have to estimate where it's going to break, position yourself in the right place, and then stand up at the right moment and let the wave take you, guiding it, riding it, moving with it and being at one with the most powerful forces of existence.

But the surfer is passive, sort of. The feeling of being at-one and directing the integrated forces of Fate is much more active. It's easier to start out with one type of force at a time and then start playing with the others as you progress.

Ok, back to the Luck thing. Notice that Saturn and Mercury are both in the same quadrant as Water in the Altar Glyph? Weird, huh. I mean, most GD Hermeticists will tell you Saturn is of the element Earth, right? And they are right too. Agrippa says Saturn is Water and Earth. But he lumps Saturn in the quadrant of Water in the Scale of the Number 4 because that's how it begins to manifest, like fluid flowing down, and it's as resistable as the tide.

Speaking of the Tide, the tide is ruled by the Moon, right? And the Moon is in the element of the Earth in the glyph. Why? Because in the chain of manifestation, the outward form of all Ideas that are manifesting from the Ideal REalm into the Physical is determined and ruled by the Moon. The Moon is the definer of the final shape and outermost form of all ideas as they come into being. So the Earth and the Moon are one in the glyph to represent this aspect of the process.

So my luck experiments consist of taking small amounts of Saturn, large amounts of Mercury, charging the Watery manifestation point, and pouring it out into the Earth through the Moon. When I'm consciously riding the Luck Wave, I can feel the surges from the other spheres I've been initiated into, like hearing the communications between the other governors, but most of my attention is focused into the manifestation of the luck-fate current.

And when it all clicks, and I'm doing here below what I'm doing up above, the feeling is incredible. It is the steam-shovel, it is the creation of the lucky series of events that lead to moments of joy and relaxed reaping of rewards.

And here's the thing: When you're doing it, it's faith. You just know what to do, you believe it, because you're doing it. Like riding a wave, you know you can because you are, and the longer you can do it, the more you know you can do it longer next time. "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed," the old saying goes, "you can move mountinas." But this faith is a gift, as well as a thing earned. It allows the conscious control of Fate, but at the same time demands the conscious acquiescence that the controller of Fate is more than just the part of the Whole Thing that is temporarily manifesting as you or me. It's believing on purpose in what is really true, in spite of the symbolic nature of the things we're using to represent it all.

*SA is the Supernatural Assistant. It is the entity that became, in later revelations, the Holy Guardian Angel. It's purpose, at least, one of its purposes, is to "embalm you as befits a God" when you die. I've mentioned before that this is a reference to the transformation process between a human and a Power of the 8th and 9th spheres. Gods don't need to be embalmed. I see this as a process of aiding in the integration of the purified forces of the spheres into the sphere of the magician, an integration that transforms the whole of the individual being into the next level of incarnation, if they are on the path that leads to through this particular gate. Different strokes for different folks, and all, but for Hermetic magi, the goal is to become a Power.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

War and Rumors of War

Within my sphere, I've felt rumblings and churnings. My friends and family, colleagues and students are feeling the winds of change, catching the acrid odor of burned nitre and sulfur wafting down the halls from the future. The general diplomatic and economic sate of the world at large has people getting ready for the things to come, and I've had a number of people asking me for advice and help, training for this coming phase of life on earth. They feel like they need to have their spiritual powers honed and sharpened, and ready for the trials and tribulations around the corner.

My standard and official response to the rumors of the end of the world are the same as they have been since Y2K failed to bring about the promised collapse of Western Civilization:

Don't Panic.

Rome didn't collapse in a day, and by the time the barbarians are at the gate, it won't be the first time you've seen them. Chances are pretty good that you'll have a lot more indications between now and the day it hits than you have had yet, it won't be surprising. Especially if you've taken Gordon's advice and honed your divination skills.

Nevertheless, after you've accomplished the above, move right along to the next part:

Be Prepared.

Do your daily rituals that you're supposed to be doing. If a spiritual apocalypse comes and the Reincarnated Warriors must step forward and take their destined places in the annals of history, they should have the following things taken care of in preparation:

Divination skills in at least one medium you can carry with you, tarot, runes, i ching, or omnimancy. See Gordon's post for more reasons to pursue this anyway. 

Full ability to channel elemental forces at will. Manifesting fireballs and ice daggers would be super cool, but for our purposes being able to direct the elemental forces to charge talismans, bring healing, and to energize our companions at need will be useful. You need to be initiated into the spheres of the Elements, and have balanced and integrated the forces they represent.
Astral Warrior Training - In the coming days, you'll have ample opportunity to wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with powers and and principalities in high places. Getting some experience wandering around the astral reflection of your area, learning to identify spying spirits, and how to drive off, defeat, or coerce enemy spirits to join you will help a great deal. Also, most of the people trying to be magicians who don't understand the Work will be really good at these kinds of cheap tricks, and there's no point in being a powerful Hermetic Magician if you get your ass beat by a White Wolf master of mental moon magic, is there? Get initiated and trained in the Lower Lunar Realm ASAP.
Working relationship with the Supernatural Assistant. You aren't going to have TIME to attain K&CHGA when the zombie apocalypse arrives. Get it taken care of now. The Supernatural Assistant can take care of the maintenance shit that you won't have time for, like protecting from spiritual forces of darkness, driving off evil spirits, and making a path through the wilderness that doesn't set off the proximity sensors of the New World Order's security forces.
Initiation into all Seven Planetary Spheres. You'll need to be familiar with the forces represented by the Seven Flames that stand before the Throne of God to be able to roll with the punches as they pour out their cups and bowls upon the Earth, if they're FINALLY going to get around to it. If they don't, being on speaking terms with them will help in so many ways I can't begin to list them here. 

Conveniently for my blog readers, and in honor of Rule 34, all these things happen to be available through my Hermetic Courses. I'll also be finishing up an Astral Warrior training guide that just focuses on getting some fun astral powers down, you know, observation, data gathering, weapon creation and empowerment, combat techniques, and mastery of the sphere that will allow you to bend the astral realm itself to entrap, bind, and destroy any enemy you happen to come across. Useful stuff for those going through that phase of their development. All the stuff I wish I'd had when I was dealing with it, that's for sure.

Oh, and the eBooks I sell wouldn't hurt either.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Taking another stab at it...

Ok, so I had this fast track to taking over the world and making it dance to my mad piping. It ran into some snarls along the way and was temporarily derailed by a momentary concern that should have been dealt with in better ways. My bad. Ooops and shit. Now that that's taken care of, we'll just be moving right along.

Things are... mmmm, Good. Beard stroking, warm beside the fire as the cold winds blow outside, enjoying a quality cigar and pondering the future as I listen pyromantically to the whispers of the flames as they dance across the embers. That kind of Good.

My Elemental Spheres have been balanced by some recent Work, and I've relearned some things about manifestation that I had forgotten lately. I've reclaimed a great deal of the things I'd let slip away in the Distracted Time, and as my Above has gotten sorted out, my Below has been keeping steady pace. Assuming I haven't fucked anything up, in a few short weeks, I'll be back where I was before things got screwy, and I'll be able to pick up where I left off and move right along to the next phase of my plans...

Gee, it's almost as if I brought about a purifying fire refining me and purifying my essence to better accomplish the Work.

Fuck, I hate this process sometimes. As far as world-views go, perhaps a cosmology that requires calcination as a precursor to massive achievement and reward leaves something to be desired. I would much rather have discovered that the secret methods manifestation and empowerment came from eating Kit-Kats and drinking Monster on the beach in a land where it never gets fucking freezing outside. Is it asking too much that my personal pleasure and instant access to infinite resources at whim be the key to global human transcendence forever without any suffering on my part at all, ever? Apparently.

Whatever, I've been through the fire, damnit, and I'm ready to reap the rewards. There had better be a fucking Red stone that turns everything to fucking gold when this shit works out. Signs indicate this is indeed the outcome, but if not, I will be kicking some ass.


Things are indeed getting better though. Inventory updated, progress noted.

Five Columbia students busted for selling drugs at three frat houses and dorms -

Five Columbia students busted for selling drugs at three frat houses and dorms -

Those wacky college kids with their dealing-drugs-for-tuition! Oh, but wait, see, drugs are ACKSHULLY dangerous and on par with VIOLENT CRIME. Read the article, it tells you so.

In case you're wondering, this is indeed a direct result of California's attempt to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Since it didn't raise enough of an outcry in the nation at large, apparently people need to be reminded that drugs are bad. Bad drugs.

Expect to see a lot more media presentations of recreational drugs in an evil light. With plenty of beer commercials in between.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Directing Forces from Talismans

A friend of mine posted on his Facebook status something about when you're carrying around a Saturn bag, don't be all shocked when you start feeling depressed and gloomy. Excellent advice!

One of the biggest dangers in magic, at least, right now as I write this because I'm thinking about it, is forgotten magic. You do a spell or make a talisman, or conjure up a spirit and ask it to do something, and then you go on about your life. Two weeks later when it's starting to manifest, you've forgotten all about it and miss out on the opportunities you've engineered, or you're not directing the forces you've put together into the original intent anymore.

When you make a talisman and start wearing it, like my friend above did, it begins influencing your sphere immediately, but the cumulative effects take a while to start manifesting. A luck talisman will start filling your sphere up with luck, but it's like pouring hot water into a bowl of cold water. It takes a while to warm up, but if you keep the source flowing, keep pouring hot water into the bowl, eventually the bowl and the water in it will all be hot. A luck talisman is pumping luck into your sphere, but it can take a while to hit full potency.

With the Saturn bag, I doubt he started feeling gloomy and depressed all at once. I didn't ask, but there are a lot of good reasons to carry around a Saturn bag. If you want occult wisdom, or longer life, or there's something you're working on shutting down and you could use a little more binding power in your actions, you can carry it around and direct the forces it's emanating into your actions.

I do this by paying attention to what I'm doing. I picture the force in my mind as a sort of mini-star. It's sending out light and other forms of radiation, and is also a gravity well, drawing things into orbit around it so that its effects can be regulated, the way the Sun's solar effects are regulated on each of the planets in our solar system by the duration of the orbit and the distance from the sun.

It's your job to direct these forces. I've made a Solar Talisman before and consecrated it to Michael, and put it on a shelf, and forgot all about it. The talisman was directing general Solar forces through the Michael seal right about into my brain as I sat in front of my bookshelf working. Mart of the seal was the symbol for Leo, and it wasn't long before I began manifesting decidedly Leo-ish personality flaws. Being a Taurus, the influx of Leonine forces was strange and new and different. I was a Royal Pain in the Ass at that point, and it took people familiar with Leo issues to help me understand what was going on.

A little more direction of the forces was applied, and things got remarkably better. I had intended the talisman to fill my office with solar forces that would keep the parasitic spiritual Larvae accumulation under control. I didn't have a lot of time to spend on maintenance, so I tried to automate it. I assumed that the Michaelian forces of the Sun would just automatically drive off the negative spirits, which it did, but I didn't anticipate the other effects. So I had to take the steps to attune the forces more specifically.

We, being in the image of the First Father, create the same way he did. We use the Logos, we speak things into being. When you make a talisman, you consecrate it to a specific purpose, generally speaking. Whatever that purpose is, you set it in place by speaking it over the thing you've created. You draw on the appropriate symbols, taking the idea and giving it a symbolic form in the physical realm. A luck talisman may have an image of Mercury, the Caduceus, or the wheel of Fortune, something that directs the forces emanating from the sphere of power anchored on the talisman.

When you're carrying something that is that specific in its final form, it puts out the forces it represents through those symbols. But a planetary talisman, or a talisman of a spirit is a pretty general thing, and you've got to be directing the forces it represents, otherwise it just fills your sphere, and like water, seeks the lowest point to manifest.

When you put on the talisman, tell it what you want it to do. Tell it the specific aspect of the forces it represents that you want it to manifest. While you're wearing it, remember you're wearing it. Every once in a while, repeat the intent you have in wearing it, and direct the forces represented to manifest in specific ways. Saturn, bind the efforts of [business man X] in this meeting, or Saturn, provide the wisdom to see what hidden forces are at work in this situation.

Likewise with spirit conjurations. When you start seeing your results manifest, it's a good time to revisit the spirit and continue to work with it in the manifestation process. If you've got a job lined up after doing a ritual for prosperity, call it back up and talk to it about how you want things to go next. Get advice and give further direction.