Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Living Death

So, how you doin'?

Feeling dead?

Just a little bit, inside?

Maybe lots, and not constrained to remain stuck on the inside?

Do I need to paint you a bleak picture of the miserable existence we spend so much of our time focused on? Jobs, relationships... fucking people, everywhere, with their shit. 

All that shit.

Nah. I got something better.

I had a pretty cool experience with the forces of Mercury this morning. That's how we started our day, an early-morning alarm to get up for a Mercury hour on a Mercury day. The last one possible, skating through on the skin of our teeth. The last-ditch chance of a planetary hour of a planetary day for at least a week. And it's Hermes, ffs. Get up.

Yeah, that went through my head.

We started out the way we usually do, Modern Angelic Grimoire Style, with tweaks. Blessed the inanimate creature of god, blessed the creature of fire, blessed the animate creature of god... but then we pulled a full Israfel, because it felt just right. And into the sacred space descended the spirits, showing us both things in the crystal, speaking to and through the scryer, showing me images in the stone that she then confirmed without prompting. We had a great rite, reminded first thing out of the box that we are creator gods, reminded of the power of the tongue, and being shown the framework and the flesh of all that is, and the flow of its breath.

And then this afternoon, I'm reading the Corpus Hermeticum, and see this:
"seek ye for one to take you by the hand and lead you unto Gnosis’ gates.
Where shines clear Light, of every darkness clean; where not a single soul is drunk, but sober all they gaze with their hearts’ eyes on Him who willeth to be seen.
No ear can hear Him, nor can eye see Him, nor tongue speak of Him, but [only] mind and heart.
But first thou must tear off from thee the cloak which thou dost wear,—the web of ignorance, the ground of bad, corruption’s chain, the carapace of darkness, the living death, sensation’s corpse, the tomb thou carriest with thee, the robber in thy house, who through the things he loveth, hateth thee, and through the things he hateth, bears thee malice."
It's the escape from that shit, that living death that we're stuck in that encapsulates the Great Work. That's what we're trying to do, to wake up and remember who we are and why we're here. The things that distract us are terrible. They're a pain in the ass. Social constraints, tribal obligations, taboos, fear of being shunned, fear of starvation for yourself or your family, fear of being alone. We do things to address these concerns, these requirements. We have to pay for our wi-fi somehow, after all, we can't be ourselves without the things we use, the things we do, the things we need to be ourselves.

And it's that "self" that is our enemy. The self that keeps us plugged in so we can interact. The self that acts on behalf of those things that it needs to sustain itself without consulting you first.

That's the enemy we face. The robber in our house. How many people feel miserable and trapped by their lifestyles? How many people stay with people they can't stand? How many hours do people spend doing jobs they don't like for people they hate so they can have money they don't get to enjoy because they have to spend it on keeping everything they hate running smoothly?

Fuck that shit, man. Fuck it right in the ass.

So I was thinking about monks who try to still the mind so they can comprehend that which observes through them. They turn off the thoughts. They turn their minds within, observing that which is observing, and then seeing who's watching the observer observing. Some go to wildernesses to escape other people, to see their thoughts without need of others. Ascetic Hermits of the East and West, sitting on mountains, eating bugs and mushrooms, and trying to see god.

And I thought of Ecstatic Hermetics, having a great time, projecting yourself through the Seven Spheres, integrating their forces, empowering yourself to accomplish your Will, and in the process burning through all the shit that keeps you from being able to handle those forces.

I think they are different approaches to the same goal. The monk gets to a point where he sees that no matter where he goes, or how alone he is, that ultimately it is he himself projecting and experiencing the universe, and that cannot be escaped. The Ecstatic Hermetic pursues that as the goal from the outset, using that as the standard by which all experiences are measured.

That quote is from "THE GREATEST ILL AMONG MEN IS IGNORANCE OF GOD," in the Corpus Hermeticum. "Him who willeth to be seen." That's the "god" referenced.

Who is Willing? Who, by their Willing can be seen?

Remember your Agrippa?
"Whosoever therefore shall know himself, shall know all things in himself; especially he shall know God, according to whose Image he was made; he shall know the world, the resemblance of which he beareth; he shall know all creatures, with which he Symbolizeth; and what comfort he can have and obtain, from Stones, Plants, Animals, Elements, Heavens, from Spirits, Angels, and every thing, and how all things may be fitted for all things, in their time, place, order, measure, proportion and Harmony, and can draw and bring to himself, even as a Loadstone Iron"
That's you, too.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cube Farm Magic

I work from home these days, and I tend to take it for granted that I can just print off a picture of Hermes, light a candle and incense, say a prayer, and have instant magics on demand. I have to remind myself that everyone doesn't live exactly like I do sometimes.

There will be no bonuses again
this quarter due to poor performance.
YOUR poor performance.
But things haven't ever been thus! I too was stuck in a cube farm*. Most of the buildings I've worked in as cube-cattle have been pretty depressing places. If a place has cube farms, you can bet that even the middle management knows its getting screwed; there's an air of quiet desperation that you can taste.

The astral miasma of places like that is pretty awful, and going into a place like that every day can get super depressing, super fast.

Fortunately, we're magicians and we can do stuff about that kind of thing. A few well-placed sigils of Michael the Archangel of the Sun in corners, under desks, in cabinets, etc. can do wonders. I used yellow sticky notes, and simply sketched the seals out during the closest solar hour. Ideally you'd make them at home on a Sunday at dawn with the Sun in a Fire Sign, and your natal chart completely unafflicted, using the blood of a goat specifically killed by a flaming pheonix that just happened to be an Aries...

But life's not always ideal. Sketch the seals in a Solar hour, and you're good. Sketch them in a non-solar hour, and you're still in a better position than if you hadn't. When it comes to doing magic, there will always be a reason you don't do it right now. Sometimes I wait, but mostly I recommend you do the magic now, and if there's a better time for it, do it again then to reinforce the rite. Because you never know whether or not something else will come up later.

You'll find your cube isn't quite the downer it used to be pretty quickly. I found my cube became a depressurization zone for other people too, which I nipped in the bud ASAP. I had just cleansed my cube, I didn't need them bringing their shit back in. Plus I had work to do.

So, you can just write the name Michael, and draw his seal under it (the part inside the hexagram), or you can get all CRAZY and draw out the whole lamen shown below. I recommend making at least one and putting it under your desk, but also a few more to place around the walls in inconspicuous places. When they are positioned, say a quick prayer to Michael, thus:

"Michael, thou Archangel of the Sun! Come now, come in Power, by your Name and your Seal, I call upon the forces of the Sun to cleanse this place! Consume utterly all darkness and drive off every unclean, parasitic, or plaguing spirit; sanctify and make sacred this ground, that it be a holy place wherein I can work in peace, FFS, Amen."

Feel free to change that last part, or any of it, to suit your own style.

* For those who don't know, a cubicle is a fabric-coated metal-framed pen that you keep domesticated office workers in; a cube farm is an otherwise large open space that has had rows of these cubes inserted with workstation hookups for computers and laptops. The fabric comes in two colors, suck-your-will-to-live beige, or crush-your-individuality-and-conform gray. I don't know where they find these hues, but they. always. do.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Magicians are Opinionated Assholes

We want what we want harder than most people. We value our desires in ways that others don't. We look at all the "you can't do that" comments in life, and we're like, "who says? I do what I want." It's what drives us to accomplish the Great Work, to become a Power upon the Earth in this life and beyond, because we are driven to create the world as we see fit. That drive, that urge that compels us to become empowered magicians to clearly express our wills upon the Earth... that is what sets us apart from everyone else. We are arrogant enough to think we should be more godlike... because (really, underneath it all) we know full well that we could do better.

Because we are better, I'm sure you'll agree.

As a result though, we magicians tend to have large opinions, for very good reasons. It should be no surprise that someone who is putting themselves through the rigorous and often painful process of the Great Work - refining the self, releasing the powers of creation, attaining the wisdom to use it well - is going to be pretty sure about themselves. The traits that make us good at this kind of thing are amazing powers of self confidence, and full awareness of our basic god-like natures.

A group of powerful egomaniacs with really healthy levels of self-esteem are likely to behave a lot like we really do in real life. Take offense, give hexes. Fortunately, most of it is harmless, because the kind of people who take offense and curse others are usually interacting with folks at about or slightly less than their own levels of attainment. So they curse each other with the same levels of technology, with the same levels of initiatory force, and end up basically sending the kind of shit that the other people are already capable of deflectinvg and banishing with their own levels of attainment.

I think this shit happens most at the adolescent stage of the development of the magician. After you've got some power and some wisdom, but before you've come to really integrate the fullness of the spheres you're working with. Around the time when you have discovered you can change the world so fucking easily, but you haven't been doing it for long enough to understand how the long term consequences will unravel your best intentions. It seems to be the people who've been doing this magic shit for about a decade or so, with some years as an armchair mage, some years as a dabbler, and then a couple years studying grimoires and a few months to a couple of years worth of actually conjuring spirits and getting results.

But when you get through the Seven Spheres a few times and start scratching at the Eighth sphere, you grow past this phase. You realize other magicians have other things to do, that we're all doing our thing, and that we are most powerful ruling our own world, and how futile it is to fuck with anyone else.

That's why Jason and I disagree about things and never hate each other or curse each other. We both have reached the phase where we appreciate the differences of other magicians' opinions, and we've realized that once someone has K&CHGA you can't really curse them anyway. At least not with any decent, ego-appeasing effect. We save our hexery for those moments when it will be effective, and enjoyable. We don't waste time on bullshit.

Unless we want to. Then we get all evil.

I recently heard about some bullshit in my sphere. A couple mage friends a couple degrees removed from me and my Elite Group of Super Advanced Magi Who Are at Least Out of Our Adolesence(TM) are going through shit. Because they're angry. And hurt. So they're going to throw curses.

I advocate a Thunderdome experience for folks like that. Two magi enter, two bruised and slightly embarrased, but wiser magi leave. I think it's healthy, the whole "as brothers, fight" thing.

But honestly, it's childish.

Fuckin' kids.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Congratulations on Your Recent Trauma!

This magic stuff has gone to my head. I can tell. I really believe this stuff, and it seems to work. It's not my fault.

The other day someone I'm friends with on FaceBook had a terrible thing happen to him. I met the person at a conference, I think (there was a lot of alcohol involved at that con, and when I got home, he was on my friends list, so I think I met him there), and we've sort of been in parallel lines ever since. I don't know him well, but I see the events of his life passing on my FB wall often enough to feel like, hey, I know that guy!

When I saw that he was going through some shit, my first response was, whoa, dude, write that shit down, HUGE OPPORTUNITY here! A magician has a traumatic event, releasing lots of alchemical heat, triggering the solve phase of the Work! Write an essay, capture the process, and consider publishing it/presenting it at conferences! Think of the chance to show people how magicians can be opportunistic when otherwise traumatic shit happens to us! Think of the example you can be to our brothers and sisters! Think of the children!

And trust me, I know how insane that might sound. I presented it with an apology in case it was tactless, but I gave him time to process it first, I didn't hit him up the day it happened. I showed some restraint.

But yeah, my first reaction to magicians going through hell, "Congrats! Awesome! Whatcha going to do with this? How's it impacting your Work? Did you... did you do some Solar rites or something!? Is it K&CHGA stuff?!"

I get all excited about people's trauma. The magics, they have gotten into my brain!

And it's a good thing, I think. In the worst case, the dude will think I'm nuts and unfriend me. In the best case, he'll go all Bodhisattva awesome and turn this traumatic event into an example of total bad ass alchemical magery. He's had a reframing experience that's going to kick off all kinds of self-revelatory phases. He's going to be emotionally and psychologically soft and malleable. He can choose how he reframes his future experiences consciously, picking how he wants to spend his XP. 

It's like one of life's "Qualifying Events." For your insurance policy, generally you can only change your health plan once a year, unless you have a qualifying event. Otherwise everyone would buy the cheapest coverage until they were sick, and then get the higher quality package when they get sick. It screws up the odds game the insurance companies play, so they control the variables.

But sometimes shit happens, and you can change your policy. You get married, and you qualify to change your plan to get coverage for your spouse. You have a baby, you can choose to go on family coverage. You get a divorce, you can ditch the spouse and pay less. These are Qualifying Events, the Shit Happened clause. 

You get to change your choices when Shit Happens. Your neurological and psychological settings are temporarily readily reconfigurable. You can imprint on a whole new path for your life, because the traumatic event has given you a new perspective, and you see that now you have other options, other choices to make. You can be anything you want, which was true before the event happened, but you might not have realized it. You've been through a trial, and you survived, and you can spend your XP however you want.

When my house burnt down, I learned this lesson pretty well. Over the last couple of years, things have been pretty high-heat, pretty regularly in my life. This week has been amazingly hectic. If you knew the levels of shit I regularly deal with on a daily basis, you'd be appalled. I realized this week, I deal with it differently than most people. I take advantage of it, I see the softened edges and I peer into the cracks to see what lies within. Who am I? That's the ultimate question, and these things often leave you with no other choice than to dig in and answer that question. It's the point of the Solve stage. And it's going to happen anyway. So fuck it, might as well use it.

So, yeah... Congratulations on your recent trauma. May it lead you to the accomplishment of your true Wills, the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness. 

You lucky son of a bitch.