September 26, 2010 § 1 Comment
I spent a bit of time this morning perusing my earlier blog posts (in prepartion for my interview for the Luciferian Research Society podcast, check it out!) and I realized I had never done an update on my Progress 8/31 post. That certainly needs to be remedied.
What I’ve accomplished:
Meditation: I don’t actually meditate in the morning anymore. Lately I’ve found that if I try to meditate right after I wake up, I will go right back to sleep. What I’m thinking I might do, though, is wake up *then* wash my face with cold water or something to wake myself up further, *then* try to meditate. That’ll go in the goals section.
Aside from that, I’ve definitely lengthened the amount of time I can sit still and meditate – at least doubled. What I’ve been doing is setting the timer on the microwave, then sitting at the bottom of my stairs to meditate. I know it sounds like an odd place but there’s a method to my madness! My dog, Jake, decided somewhere along the line that if anyone ever sat on the floor in my house he’d sit in their lap immediately *especially* if they’re sitting cross-legged. The problem? Not only is that distracting, but he’s over 80 lbs. See cutie below :)
Sorry, I jump at any excuse to show people my Jakers, I’m such a dog person. Back to the point! I started setting the timer for 6 minutes and that was long enough – it also usually took me a while to get settled and comfortable. Today I’m at 12 minutes and I can enter a meditative state almost immediately – and I don’t even meditate everyday. Progress accomplished!
Drumming: I’ve definitely made this a meditative method, and I’ve been practicing more often. If I get into a pretty stable, loud groove long enough (usually with a lot of floor tom use, I love the floor tom) I can get myself into a bit of a trance state. I can’t sustain it for very long, for both mental and physical reasons, but I’m getting better.
Lucid dreaming/astral projection: No progress on the astral projection front so far. Generally when I have the opportunity to sleep, that’s all I want to do. I know you don’t actually have to be going to sleep to astral project, but I’ve made it my habit and when I’m not too tired it seems to work. I just can’t imagine trying to astral project during the day, it seems weird to me.
I’ve been keeping a dream journal as consistently as possible, but I haven’t lucid dreamt yet. I need to do more of the “reality check” type things (where you check during the day to see if you’re dreaming or not, by trying to read a clock or text or spinning around and doing other things you can’t do in a dream). Last time I was lucid during a dream, it was because I did a reality check.
Meditation: Meditate longer, and use a greater variety of techniques. So far I’ve primarily been doing chakra based work and Japa, but I’d like to do more void/focal meditation and other methods. By the end of October I’d like to be able to meditate for a solid half hour, no moving, no breaks.
Drumming: Need to be able to sustain the trance-like state for longer, and practice more in general. I have to be able to do single and double rolls (and sustain them) by the end of October. I know that sounds really, really basic to anyone who plays drums, but I only started playing a couple months ago. Working on it!
Lucid Dreaming/Astral Projection: I need to start going to bed early enough to at least work on Astral projection. I’ve really enjoyed it when I’ve made progress, and I know it’s possible to achieve. As far as lucid dreaming goes, I need to do more reality checks and keep a more detailed dream journal. There have been times when I’ve woken up and remembered a dream, but I’ve been too tired to actually roll over and write it down. I need to stop doing that. I want to have at least experienced lucidity in a dream by the end of October.
Fitness goals: Well, I walked four miles today, which is the most I’ve walked in town so far (at least that I’ve clocked) so I’m thinking by the end of October I should do at least 5. And I want to be more flexible, so I’ll make my goal for next month to be able to do a split. I’ve never been able to, and it looks like fun. Thankfully, I’ve always been able to touch my toes!
Other goals: Finish reading The Invisibles and The Book of Lies (the Disinfo anthology, not the Crowley book).
Phew. That’s a lot of goals. I feel motivated just by writing it down and publishing it, so that must be a good start.
Wish me luck!
Ipsa scientia potestas est,
September 20, 2010 § 2 Comments
Aleister Crowley and Thelema, the philosophy (some call it a religion, but that’s a debate I won’t get into now) of which he is the prophet, are two subjects not to be taken lightly – especially when addressing others interested in western occultism. I’ve intended to do a post on Crowley for weeks, after I had started reading his biography. It’s been years since I first came across Crowley (I started trying to read his works my sophomore year of high school, which proved entirely too difficult to accomplish). I have to admit I’m still wrapping my head around the whole thing. The man is ubiquitous, his ideas permeate nearly everything I read on the occult, and everyone seems to have an opinion on him.
I finally decided instead of attempting to summarize his ideas into a neat little post (as I did on Chaos Magick and Hermeticism and so on) I’d do something a bit more subjective. Since most people are familiar with at least the basic concepts of Thelema, I thought I’d bullet out a few and respond with my thoughts.
- Concept: “The Book of the Law” was dictated to Crowley in Cairo by Aiwass, his Holy Guardian Angel
I don’t believe it, personally. I think Crowley was so intent on being inspired and the atmosphere of Cairo was so magical and interesting that his mind created a voice for him to hear. I don’t doubt the validity of what it said, nor do a doubt it was his Holy Guardian Angel, I just don’t believe it was an external, sentient being. I believe what Crowley wrote in the Book of the Law and in his subsequent literature came from a place within himself.
- Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
If this were just a hedonist statement, I’d have to strongly disagree. But I know it isn’t. Crowley defines the True Will as something outside of a person’s personal ego and desires, and a calling to reunite with the Divine. I’m a fan of that idea, I think it’s very motivating and I’ve definitely seen it in action. There have been plenty of times where my personal ego has tried to get in the way of my True Will. It’s definitely a separate thing, and I think to make following that will “the whole law” is a pretty solid rule to live by. I know that if I followed that sort of gut-spiritual-calling as often as I know I should, I’d be a better more enlightened person. On a related matter…
- Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel is essential to knowing your True Will
Can’t really argue with that one, and it’s quite a poetic and romantic way of saying “if you don’t listen to yourself, you won’t do what you’re supposed to”. If I could somehow make my inner Will manifest as an eternal being and talk to it, I’d be *thrilled*. That seems kind of like self-induced multiple personality disorder, but that’s something I’ve considered as a method. Apparently Crowley eventually decided the HGA wasn’t an internal thing, but an independent external being. That I don’t believe, for the same reasons I don’t believe Aiwass was a separate being that spoke to him. With the experiences I’ve had thus far, it just doesn’t seem feasible to me.
- Crowley’s ritual methods/personal philosophy
Let me put it this way: Crowley was more into sex, drugs, homosexuality and indulgence than I am, and that’s saying something. I think he went too far (I’ve heard rumors he made a student of his have sex with a goat. I don’t see the pragmatism in that) and I don’t think a lot of his theatrical extravagance was necessary. Personally I prefer a slightly more safe, less complicated way of going about things.
As far as his ritual methods go, I’m not real into it. That could be because I fear what I don’t understand, and I admittedly have a crappy grasp on the Qabbalah right now. Even taking that into consideration though, there’s an awful lot of steps to what he does, and preparation and diagrams and numerology and what have you. I lean more towards the chaos magick side of things, so I’m way more into sigils and inhibitory/excitatory gnosis and slightly more user-friendly magick than what Crowley does. Whatever works for the individual, though.
- Magick defined as “”the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”
This is by far my favorite thing Crowley has ever said. It is absolutely perfect, I have no criticism of it at all. I’d have to say that’s why I spell “magick” with a “k” – because Crowley did, and his definition of magick is thus far my favorite of everything I’ve come across. Magick is definitely both a Science and an Art – it’s beautiful, but it is also systematic, and evolves with the acquisition of new knowledge, like science. It causes changes – rarely do you try to perform magick if you want things to stay the way they are. Finally, it’s all in conformity with your Will, and of course it is! That’s the whole point. You’re making something happen because you want it to. Magicians make things happen. I love it.
- The Abramelin Operation
Not something I ever plan on doing, sorry folks. I can see the appeal, but a six month-long ritual is beyond the scope of possibility to me. Also, I don’t know that I’d ever be able to conjure enough faith in the validity of the ritual for it to work – after all, belief is what makes magic happen, and I don’t have any actually attachment to the Abramelin Operation. Plus, the origins of it are so distant and unknown (apparently Jewish, from the Book of Abraham, which I don’t know much about) that I’d have trouble relating to it on too many levels. Six months! If anyone reading this has actually succeeded in accomplishing this, I’d love to hear about it, and I’d also love to salute you for such incredible effort. Impressive.
That’s as much as I intend to respond to for now. I know there are countless concepts within Crowley’s writings that I could expound on, but for now this will do. What I actually finish reading the biography (Do What Thou Wilt by Lawrence Sutin) I’ll post about Crowley again. I’m entirely open to people responding with their own interpretations of concepts within Thelema, so please leave a comment!
Ipsa scientia potestas est,
September 13, 2010 § Leave a comment
I’m writing this through the pangs of a budding migraine – because I have to, because I know if I don’t post something now, even if it’s not substantial, I’ll give up on it.
I have trouble with keeping things up. But I’ve been in the spirit of rekindling old commitments today (I had my first drum lesson in well over a month, made some serious progress) I thought I’d put something up. I had told myself my next post would be on Crowley, but I’m not ready for that yet. The man is a legend and deserves a thorough study before I claim to understand him.
What I wanted to write about tonight is initiation – not only that, but what draws us into the occult, what a calling feels like. I started a book yesterday called “Hands On Chaos Magick” by Andrieh Vitimus, a chaos magician and voudon priest. In the opening pages, he states:
“If you are facing a real initiation, it is my sincere hope that the book will help you in some small way. By “real initiation,” I distinctly mean the kind of magical initiation that cannot take place within a magical order, but more so where you alone must face yourself and a host of realizations that probably drastically alter the course of your life. Sometimes these initiations are not by conscious choice…”
I heavily sympathize with what he says here. More than a few times since I became interested in the occult (but especially recently) I’ve asked myself if I could live without this. If I could drop the whole thing, live and think like “normal” people, and live with myself. I can’t. I definitely can’t. It would be easier, though, of course it would. It would be simple to just go to school, do my work, take care of things at home and carry on as any girl my age would.
Can’t do it, though. I’ve found this whole other world, this whole other version of reality, of perception, a whole different way of living and I can’t drop that. It’s more work, naturally – I’ve done more reading and researching on the occult this semester than I have on any of my schoolwork, and probably ever will. I find new things every day, new theories, new ideas – and nothing energizes me more than putting the puzzle together.
I’m tired. It gets overwhelming, and I think especially so with the amount of information the internet provides. I can download an entire library of grimoires in an afternoon whereas not even a few decades ago I’d have to hunt then down at occult bookstores across the country, and probably never find half of them. I’m constantly finding something new to read, and sometimes that will cause me to totally shift my perception – which is where the ouroboros comes in. I’m always eating my own tail, I’m perpetually reinventing myself and my beliefs. It’s electric because it’s like a flash of lightning – so bright and illuminating and powerful, but only available for a split second. It’s a constant chase.
I’m waxing poetic and babbling, so I’m going to stop. Just wanted to put down how I felt, this way it’s here for me to read when I feel this way again and wonder how I got through it.
Ipsa scientia potestas est,
September 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
It appears I dropped off the wagon for a few days here and didn’t post. Why didn’t any of you hit me!?
I swear I have a reasonable explanation. I spent all of labor day weekend preparing for a movie shoot which involved a battle between zombies and peasant warriors in the midst of an apocalypse created by God-man. At least that’s my understanding of it. I’m not kidding either, check out me and my zombie minions:
Man, if that isn’t the cutest thing. Sorry, had to brag a bit, I had a really great time (the movie is something a couple friends of mine have been working on for years, I’d throw in a link to the site but something I don’t think they’d want to be associated with an occult blogger) Unfortunately all the activity derailed me from my research/studies quite a bit, and until this evening I hadn’t even meditated since Thursday. I missed it all terribly, and I’m glad to be back.
I’m easing myself back into practice – I just did a bit of void meditation and chakra cleaning, and yesterday I finished volume 2 of The Invisibles. I guess that’s more pleasure than research, but it’s written by Grant Morisson, who is a truly enthralling Chaos magician – if you’re interested in chaos magic, or comics, or even just really cool Scotsmen you should check this out: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6148569602584070911# It’s his speech at the disinformation conference, and I think it’s incredible. Aside from that, The Invisibles is a really interesting take on using magic to manipulate your reality, and I’m enjoying it immensely. I need to find a copy of the third volume, stat, or I will get very cranky.
Other than that, I’m looking into Discordianism a bit. I watched a video on Robert Anton Wilson, the “Pope” of Discordianism (although, as I found out, EVERYONE is a Pope of Discordianism, it’s one of their tenets). Definitely going to write up a facts page on that later, it’s interesting stuff. Very interrelated with chaos theory. More on that later, when I’ve gotten my act a bit more together.
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’m going to get back into my regular posting habit!
Ipsa scientia potestas est,
September 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
Today I endeavored to get a better grasp on Hermeticism. Before I did some active research, I only knew a bit about the Golden Dawn, and that Hermeticism is an old tradition that encompasses a whole bunch of practices, and incorporates alchemy, theurgy and magick. I also knew that the ubiquitous quote “As Above, So Below” comes from the Emerald Tablet.
Well, now I can thankfully say I know a lot more!
Hermeticism is a religious, philosophical, magical tradition that takes its name from the prophet/God Hermes Trismegistus. He took the latter part of his name, Trismegistus, from Thoth – Thoth was often referred to in Egyptian texts as “Ao, Ao, Ao” which means “great, great, great” hence “Trismegistus” meaning “thrice great”. (That’s only one theory, but it’s my favorite. Some scholars believe he was called thrice great because he was the greatest philosopher, greatest priest, and greatest king. Others think it is a reference to H.T.’s reverence for the Trinity. It’s anyone’s guess, I suppose). Before Hermes was adopted as a name for the god of knowledge in Greek mythology, it served as a generic term for “God”.
The existence of Hermes Trismegistus is a bit rumoured – wikipedia refers to his works as “pseudapigraphical” which kind of makes you wonder who actually wrote them. I’d have to read a whole lot more to be able to speculate as to the author of Hermeticism’s primary texts, which include:
- Corpus Hermeticum – a dialogue with Hermes and other Gods
- The Emerald Tablet – the source of “As above, so below”
- The Kybalion – not written by Hermes Trismegistus, but by a group of authors known only as the “Three Initiates” in 1908
Hermeticism thrived in Hellenic culture and ancient Hermeticism was primarily based out of Alexandria. Since Alexandria was such a hub of diversity and culture, Hermeticism itself is syncretic and incredibly open to other traditions and new ideas. Modern Hermetics still believe that Hermeticism is a living, evolving tradition that will perpetually assimilate concepts from other beliefs as they fit. This may well be my favorite part of Hermeticism – I love the flexibility and tolerance inherent in it, despite how old it is.
Hermeticism can be considered polytheistic, though followers believe that all Gods/Goddesses are manifestations/extensions of the one divinity. By nature, Hermetics are seekers of truth, light and wisdom, and dedicate themselves to what they consider “The Great Work” which is to re-unite with the Divine.
Hermetics believe that there are three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe:
Through these (and also meditation/ritual/other practices) is how the practitioner reunites with the Divine.
That’s about as much as I’ve gathered so far. I know it’s not an exceptional amount, but there’s an exhaustive amount of literature on Hermeticism (considering the fact that so much sprouted from it, particularly the Golden Dawn, and then further organizations sprouted from that, and then more…and on..). I’m aware this is such a limited coverage of the topic, and at some later point I’ll do a “Hermeticism Part II” to do it a bit more justice.
I have to say so far I’m a fan. I’d like to know more about the origin of the texts themselves, since Hermes Trismegistus seems to be a bit of a mysterious character. Past that vagueness though, it’s all good principles – respect and reverence for nature, working towards being reunited with the Divine, incorporating a variety of practices and beliefs. All things I can agree with.
Coming soon: I will actually write my posts on Reiki, Druidry and Thelema (the Thelema one will inevitably be a multi-parter, and I’d also like to attempt to read the Book of the Law again before I claim to have any grasp of the topic). I’m also thinking of writing a post on Scientology, because I know nothing about it and I’d like to disagree with something in this blog for once!
Ipsa scientia potestas est,