Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Flexibrain: The Great Work

So Gordon wrote recently about the need for neuroplasticity, and the effectiveness of faking being happy to create actual happiness. Not long after reading his post, another one of those smart European occultists who make me think about shit commented to me on FaceBook that I was missing a major piece of the overall puzzle with my post on scrying, and after trying to argue a bit, I realized he was right. And thus, I was wrong.

Which I hate.

Long time readers of my blog will know that when I'm wrong about shit, I admit it and own it right away. I change my mind and/or practices so I'm not doing something wrong anymore. This is because I really want to accomplish the Great Work successfully in this lifetime, and I'm willing to be humble enough to publicly admit it when I'm wrong, if that's what it takes to win.

But more than that, I'm a self-righteous prick, and the only way to get away with being a self righteous prick is to be as much of a prick about your own wrongness as you are about everyone else's*.

Neuroplasticity, the ability to adapt your brain's chemistry by adapting your thinking and activities is a key thing in the Great Work. Sometimes I get to thinking I'm hot shit on a silver platter once in a while, and then I get reminded in uncomfortable ways that I'm more of a cold turd on a paper plate than I like to think. There's always so much more to learn, so much that I've forgotten, so much left to do. I've got to be able to be mentally malleable, I can't get stuck in a position of wrongness out of stupid pride, stuck in patterns of behavior because I can't admit I was wrong. That ain't why I'm here.

Gordon was talking about how he was on an extended downer and needed to get out of it. My problem is every bit as bad, but I get stuck on an upper. I get to thinking I've done all this stuff and I'm great, like some kind of Grad Student of Occult University, and then I get reminded I'm still playing on the playground in Elementary School (literally and figuratively). Yeah, I've been through the initiations of each of the planetary and elemental spheres, I've done a lot of the Work, I've ground up the Stone and Projected it into the world.

Kid's Stuff
But that's kid stuff. Necessary, vitally important kid stuff, but kid stuff nonetheless. There's a lot more left to do. And I'd be doing it if I would just be a bit more productive in some areas of my life that I've been unproductive in.

Scrying is an important and necessary tool for accomplishing the Great Work using the Hermetic rituals I use and teach. The Modern Angelic Grimoire is based on scrying. The path to ascension that I'm using is based on that simple conjuration rite. Everything I said in that post is true and applicable in the context of the accomplishment of the Great Work and the conjuration of spirits.

But there's more to magic than scrying spirits in crystals, and even more to it than Hermetic theory and practice.

This thing that we do teaches us very specialized, very focused tools in our Hermetic laboratory. We learn through conjure, initiations, integration of forces, and the exercise of taking authority over your kingdom. We learn by taking responsibility for the things that happen in our lives, to us and through us. We learn important skills and insights about the universe and the process of manifestation, and our roles in that process.

These things we learn though, they apply to more than the system of the Hermetic Great Work. Scrying is the reading of the Mind. Rituals are the gathering together of specifically harmonic things here in the Spiritus Mundi, the material reflection of our Heavenly Homeland, to accomplish specific aspects of creation. This magical act we do, it's the observation and participation with a massive harmonic field that transcends the dimensions our flesh can sense, but nevertheless includes everything we see and feel and hear and see, intimately. It's like the universe is strings, and we are the musicians strumming them, rubbing rosined bows across them, striking them in rythyms with velvet hammers through levers and keys to create the melodies we experience.

When I was scratching at the doors of the Eighth Sphere, I caught a glimpse of how you can do that with a thought, a symbol, a word, and a gesture in an instant. Without tools or conversations with anyone else, just your mind and your body and your breath working in harmony to express the Will of God.

Getting to that point is a matter of shifting awareness from the down-here-looking-up to the right-here-looking-out perspective, where "right-here" is everywhere, including the Unmanifest. It's the actualization of AN EYE, what Eye none knoweth. It's becoming consciously aware of being the Participant-Observer.
Amoghapasa, a Bodhisattva I found googling around. Check out the Dude on his head, above and slightly behind him. I'm no Buddhist, but it looks like the Participant-Observer to me.
Hermetics is a path that takes you to the point of being able to open that eye and be that person, that observer within.

See, I think you need to go through the elemental and celestial initiations to get to know who you are and what you're capable of doing. The spirits of the spheres train us, retrain us that is, to remember what it is we are, fundamentally, creator-gods.

I've been focusing a lot on what happens after you die for a couple years. I've been looking at all this stuff that we do from the perspective of "training for what comes next." I've been looking forward to doing more of the Great Work to prepare to be a Power when I die. Along the way, I've learned about controlling the world, manifesting it according to my will and desire, for the benefit of the world in general, not just for myself. And I was into that because it was training for the "real" job to come, in my next phase as a Power. You know. When I'm dead.

And that's where I think I missed the point. At a very weird level. We aren't training here to learn how to die, we're training here to learn how to live.

So yeah, all that scrying stuff, it's very much important to learning how to live. But it's a skill that is applicable outside of the Magic Circle, outside the boundaries of the ritual room and your astral spiritual laboratory and playground. It's a life skill, to be used as much as your body's vision and hearing. The Mind is written in the clouds, the leaves of the trees, the flight patterns of birds. It is the stuff of awesome.

The rites and rituals, they teach us how to read the Mind of God in the material realm, what to look for, how to listen, how to see. But the things we learn are to be used today, right now, all the time, on purpose. It's living as a human being, mortal and immortal, united for love.

* For example, some subscribers to my blog will have received a post about how Hermeticism doesn't teach that the Universe is ONE earlier today that has since disappeared as if it never existed. I was, uh, stupidly, stupidly wrong. It does teach that, and I had forgotten that it was traditional, and not just some Kybalion crap, and in my urge to make someone else look stupid I made myself look even more stupid. I was in stupid-fucking-moron mode because I was so busy throwing shit at someone else that I didn't realize I was covering myself in shit in the process. It pays to check your hands once in a while, throwing shit makes 'em stink.


  1. If you have to eat crow, it tastes better fresh.

  2. Dude, I love the Kybalion! It was what made me get interested in Hermeticism in the first place before delving into older sources such as the Corpus Hermeticum. I still re-read it from time-to-time. Its a classic in my view.

    -Aghor Pir

  3. > We aren't training here to learn how to die, we're training here to learn how to live.

    It's only in the physical world that two spiritual opposites can be brought together. Although angels are described as running and returning, they're not capable of advancing... something that we as incarnated humans have a unique ability to do.

    We're learning to live, to build better societies. It's the actions that count.

    I'd take your statement a step further and say

  4. @Aghor, shoot me an email, mang.

    But the Kybalion sucks donkey balls, imho. :D

    It's accurate enough in a couple places, but no one I know walks away from it with an honest understanding of the Hermetic cosmology and the relationship between Nous, Logos, Spiritus Mundi, and Mankind. In fact, they walk away with the opposite most of the time.

  5. @ Frater RO - Sure man, I'll shoot you an email sometime when I get a chance. Although I respect your work on Hermeticism and I certainly am not an expert on that system, we will have to agree to disagree on the Kybalion. There are plenty of Hermeticists who find value in the Kybalion. Yes, it won't give you a full in-depth view of Hermeticism as would the Corpus Hermeticum, but its a good light introduction to the subject. I know that its on the reading list of the Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.) as well as few other Esoteric orders. Mary Greer has a good article on her Tarot blog on the *Source of the Kybalion in Anna Kingsford Hermetic System* that you may want to check out which points to the origin of the Seven Principles found in the Kybalion.

    -Aghor Pir

  6. Being able to change your mind, or say you made a mistake is a big thing. Many people never are able to do that.

    Also, Tuesday did have a heavy Mars energy to it.

  7. @Aghor and RO

    The Kybalion is New Thought and Hermeticism mixed in a blender. It's cool.. and, to my horrifically boring, but I make myself read bits and bobs here and there. Still painful dull to me. But useful.

    And no, cosmology wise it's pretty bankrupt. It doesn't teach how to become a Hermeticist, but how to use some Hermetic principles, but packaged in an early 20th century marketing/New Thought box.

    At least IMO.

    And I was totally going to reply to you on that post RO, but you took it down so quick I only got to read the blurb.

  8. Hey, nice post!

    Makes me feel a bit fancy. Kinda wish I hadn't eaten my dinner straight out of its polystyrene container tonight.

  9. Everybody fucks up sometimes. Your willingness to admit wrong and change your mind is one of the things we like and respect about you.

  10. Well I AM a Buddhist and... close enough on that description.

    You need to read heart drops again though. It does not say, what you say it says...:-)

  11. @Jason, I do need to read it again. It might not say what I present it as saying, but I reached my present conclusions based on what I read in Pymander,, and Heartdrops while doing a lot of Work with the Angels of the Mansions of the Moon. The way I present it might not be what it says, but I wouldn't have reached my current understanding if it weren't for the meditation techniques and ... I don't know, commentary? Instructions? Whatever, where they talked about during meditation you don't worry if you find yourself thinking some tangential thought, just step back and look at where it comes from, where it goes when it goes, and I think it said something about being aware of who is watching the thoughts. I don't remember the exact wording or anyhting, and I might have misinterpreted it because of a lot of other things going on at the time, but Heartdrops was a profound influence on me. Just reading it put me into a different state.

    But yeah, I def. need to reread it, and I'm sorry if I'm misrepresenting it, I'll make more clear statements about what it says vs. what I think it means after I refresh my memory.

  12. Dude, you dont need to be sorry. I am happy that the book had the effect on ou that it did!

    Coming from outside there is a STEEP learning curve for Dzogchen and how it differs from ordinary meditation.

    We should go over it one night when we are on that camping trip.

  13. "We aren't training here to learn how to die, we're training here to learn how to live."

    Just returned from a much needed vacation and this was my exact thought... excellent post, RO.

    Now to integrate some stuff I've been thinking and reading into one of my own...

  14. @RO:

    If you can, I'd strongly encourage you to tune in to Namkhai Norbu's webcasts on Dzogchen:

    Even better if you can attend Lopon Tenzin Namdak's teachings since he wrote the book and is pretty open about the oral instructions, but ChNN gives Direct Introduction online for free.

    You can talk to Jason more about this but from a traditional perspective you need at least Direct Introduction before reading Dzogchen texts.

  15. BTW, you don't need to formally convert to Buddhism or whatever to practise Dzogchen. Dzogchen goes beyond such limitations.

  16. We really need more Dzogchen talks here and there on the internet.

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