October 22, 2010 § 2 Comments
“To Know, To Will, To Dare…and to Keep Silent” A maxim I’ve heard more than enough times to know it’s important, but knowing and doing (or “willing”, if you will) are two different things.
First, a little history. The above is known as the “Four Powers of the Sphinx“. The origin is essentially unknown, but Levi and Crowley both put a good deal of emphasis on it. The Four Powers relate respectively to the four elements, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Crowley added a fifth power, “to Go”, which corresponds with the fifth element: The Quintessence. My understanding of what he meant here is that “going” is an act of godliness, somehow, but my understanding of this is obviously a bit muddy. That’s alright though, because for now that isn’t the power I’m going to speculate on.
To Keep Silent. This is the tough one.
- To Know – I’ve got that one. As far as it applies to magical workings, you have to know what you want to do and you have to know what you need to do to get what you want. Know what you want, know what you need to get it. Makes sense to me.
- To Will – “Will” yep, rings a bit of a bell. You have to make sure what you’re intending to accomplish is in accordance with your True Will, and you have to Will it into existence. Bit of a double meaning there, but I’ve got it.
- To Dare – Yeah! Knowing you want to do something and truly desiring for it to happen mean nothing without a little action. You’ve got to try. It’s a bit equivalent to making a grocery list – You know what you need, you’ve made the list, you want food. Good, but if you don’t get in the car and drive to the store, you aren’t having dinner. Practical, I like it.
- To Keep Silent – Uh oh. To continue my dinner metaphor here – To me, “keeping silent” is like telling somebody after they’ve made a really excellent meal that they can’t tell anyone how delicious it was. I mean, I made really great Cajun Chickpea Cakes last night (really, make those, they’re awesome) and if you told me I couldn’t run around bragging about it, I’d have a bit of an issue.
Keeping Silent is fighting against human nature. You made something work! You’re excited about it! You want to tell the world!
You aren’t allowed. No shouting from rooftops here. You have to shut up and go about your day or you’ll ruin everything.
To make things more difficult, I genuinely believe that keeping silent is necessary. Life would be easier if I could just leave that bit out, and go around knowing and willing and daring and then telling the world. But alas, as a psychology student the idea of “autosuggestion” (as brought up in quite a few how-to texts on sigil magick) is one I’m fond of, and I know autosuggestion doesn’t work if you don’t let things stew around in your subconscious for a while.
The brain can do miraculous things if you make a conscious effort, but it can also do great things if you leave it alone. Your brain does some of its best work while it’s sleeping. Keeping silent and “sleeping on it” are pretty equitable concepts – just leave it alone.
One of my favorite ways to keep silent, though I haven’t implemented it yet, is through fiction. Lon Milo Duquette did an excellent job of this by writing Chicken Qabalah pseudopigraphically (this also makes it a really enjoyable read). Grant Morrison dually accomplishes making a hypersigil *and* keeping silent by writing The Invisibles (which I just finished, have I mentioned I highly recommend it?) Alan Moore does the same in Promethea (next on my comics-to-read list). This may well explain why magicians are so prevalent in the comic world – stories don’t break oaths of secrecy, and yet fiction is often more real than the truth.
Considering I’ve been doing more ritual work lately than ever (and that’s all I’m telling you!) I’m going to endeavor from now on to do a better job of keeping silent. This is especially hard for me, having grown up in the internet age where everything is blabbed about on facebook and twitter and pretty much every previously “secret” or “sacred” text is available in pdf form for free. Despite the difficulties, I’m going to make it work, because without Silence as my aid I’ll accomplish very little indeed.
Until next time!
Ipsa scientia potestas est,
October 17, 2010 § 2 Comments
It seems only fitting for me to have finished the chapter entitled “Initiation never ends” in Generation Hex (a Disinformation anthology) , as I pulled into my stop on the train home tonight. I feel that today either the beginning has ended, or the beginning has just begun – either way, something has occurred, and I have been made aware of it.
I entered the city this morning full of promise and hope, gearing up to attend my first Gnostic Mass. The mass was held in Queens by the local O.T.O, and was truly mind blowing. Having only ever been to a traditional catholic mass, the Gnostic Mass was exceptionally refreshing. I won’t divulge too many details (in the spirit of attempting to honor the “..and to keep silent” maxim) but I will tell you that it was a beautiful experience. The whole thing sat incredibly well with me, and it felt good to be surrounded by that many like minded people. There was not a moment where I felt uncomfortable, or unsettled, or even remotely out of place. Everything resonated precisely in key.
I now have many book recommendations written down, and many mental notes to make physical, and many good feelings and plans all around. A friend’s paraphrase of Alan Moore has echoed in my mind for days now, and I can now conclude I understand it:
“Magic goes from a place you visit to a place you live”
Magic was a place I visited for a long time. I would go there, and read, and be interested and enthralled. And then I would leave, go to school, wander around, talk to my friends, and forget I had been there at all. There was a lot of “forgetting” all around. Today was like a housewarming gift from the Universe, the “Powers that Be” decided to acknowledge I had moved in, and pleasantly welcomed me to the neighborhood. As proof of this (though it is only one of many signs I saw), I give you a picture of some graffiti at the subway station, which corresponded nicely the essay in Generation Hex I read on the train not much later, called “Eris is my Biatch”
Seeing “Eris” there was certainly a nice way to close the evening, and I’m glad I saw it before the sun set and made it invisible.
I almost forgot to mention that today marks 2 years since my mother passed away. Last year at this time I spent the whole day thinking of her. This year is a new feeling – I am settled, and I am a more confident, ambitious and happy person than I was then, and than I have ever been. I miss my mom, but I know she would be proud of how I spent today, and what I’m accomplishing and the self I’m building. Both her presence and her absence have made me a stronger, more resilient and compassionate person.
This post in loving memory of Nancy, my mother, the strongest woman I’ve ever known and a constant inspiration.
Ipsa scientia potestas est,
October 13, 2010 § Leave a comment
Well, well, well. It’s been quite the week, and I have much to report. I was sick from about monday ’till thursday (still feeling it a bit, but I’m getting there) – Thursday night I met with a few other theistic Satanists (not a perfect label for myself, but it’ll do) in NYC (see Diane Vera’s meetup page) and had an excellent discussion that kept me thinking for days. Friday night a friend from high school came into town and I spent all day with her, Saturday night I went to a concert in the city (Ratatat, great electronica band, check ’em out) then I was in a wedding all day Sunday.
In all honesty, I could write a whole post on each of these nights, but I’m going to try to keep myself brief.
The meetup Thursday night was a truly moving experience for me. Besides my good friend Jonathan, I hadn’t met any other occultists in person. Just being able to look someone in the face and ask them “Why do you feel drawn to Satan/Lucifer? What do you consider the difference between the two, if any?” and to have them answer genuinely and intelligently – was so validating for me. I was also made aware of a few issues that desperately need attention in the left-hand scene, which I’d like to draw your attention to.
The New Apostolic Reformation is a recent movement within Protestant Christianity – and the fastest growing movement in Christianity today. These are not your garden variety evangelicals, but rather a new, driven and dangerous group endeavoring to spread their ideology as far as possible. Their main (and most terrifying goal) is to infiltrate the “seven mountains” of society: government, arts and entertainment, media, education, family, religion, and business.
They also practice “spiritual mapping” and “prayer walking” which is essentially the practice of assigning areas to members of the church to walk along and pray for the salvation of the residents. This may seem harmless, but when leaders of the church brag about running “witches” out of town (one leader bragged that of 15 “targets”, 10 put their houses on the market) it’s time to be concerned.
Branches of the Reformation currently in Africa have lead to child abuse/death on the basis that children can become “witches” and are therefore a danger to their family. More on this in this article: http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/associated-press-report-highlights-nigerian-boy-doused-in-acid-by-father-after-pastor-accused-him-of-witchcraft/
Founder of the group New Yorkers of Religious Based Bigotry, Diane Vera, has been kind enough to provide me with some resources on this topic, and has written articles on the issue herself (see here). Also, the Talk to Action blog has a number of articles on the topic.
The Left Hand Path community (that means most of you, dear readers) needs to be concerned about this. The media hasn’t taken much of an interest in the issue, and when it does, it doesn’t distinguish the group from other evangelicals. The New Apostolic Reformation is different from typical evangelical Christianity (most evangelicals actually consider NAR to be heretical), and much more dangerous. This group encourages exorcisms, abuse, stalking and harassment in the name of religion, and needs to be stopped. Tell everyone you know.
Ipsa scientia potestas est,
October 4, 2010 § 2 Comments
I had said on twitter I probably wouldn’t post today, considering I’m awfully ill (terribly chest congestion/cough/sinus/plague type thing) (yes I know I’m being hyperbolic by calling it the plague, but seriously I feel awful). However, despite feeling crappy and overusing parentheses, I really do want to make this post. I’ve had an urge to post on a few subjects today, so I may cover a few things. Mostly though, I want to sum up what I’ve discovered about Wicca.
I wanted to look into Wicca because of the more underground religions, Wicca seems incredibly popular, especially with people my age and younger. I had never really looked into it, because my first exploration into the occult was through Satanism, and I had allied myself with the point-down pentagram. By contrast, Wicca’s point-up pentagram seemed too mainstream and cheery for my rebellious sensibilities. That prejudice persisted for a long time, but as seems to be the theme of this blog – I’m older now, and more open, and trying to learn about things I wouldn’t otherwise look into.
I perused a few sites on Wicca before I found one I really liked (which I’ll get into later). The first few gave a general overview, and I can tell you if there’s anything I learned it’s this:
The Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do what ye will”
That is EVERYWHERE. I have to say, I’m not a huge fan. Maybe it’s the Satanist in me, but I think that’s too limiting for an ethical absolute. And I’m a vegetarian! I do what I can not to cause harm where it isn’t necessary, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I prefer Crowley’s version “Do what thou wilt” but not as a call to hedonism – as some misconstrue it – but a command to follow your innermost Will, your true magical calling. The split between personal ego and spiritual Will is essential to me, and I don’t know that the Wiccan Rede follows that. Also worth noting is that “rede” means advice, not law.
More worth noting about Wicca:
-Wiccans worship a deity (deities?) referred to sometimes as the Godess, or God and Godess, or God-ess. There is a dualism there, but not necessarily a dichotomy.
-Wiccans are earth based, and worship and appreciate nature deeply.
-Wicca is decentralized, and many different traditions and factions of Wicca exist
-Wicca is not Satanism. That should be obvious.
Most of what I read on Wicca seemed to support my earlier prejudices – that Wicca is a cheery, earth worshipping, hippie religion. That is, until I found a website called Wicca, For The Rest of Us which taught me otherwise, at least to an extent. The site makes a point of fighting against the “fluffy bunny” wiccans who fit my prejudice. It’s easy to see why I had such prejudice, the only Wiccans I ever met were in high school. Not that you can’t be serious about your spiritual beliefs in high school, but they’re usually a little underdeveloped at that age.
I adore the tone the author of the site takes, and admired his/her devotion to contrasting those that give Wicca such a bad name in such a intellectual and intelligent way. I genuinely respect the effort. Despite the effort, however, it’s still not for me.
It doesn’t seem to have enough of an emphasis on transcendence for me to like it. My whole philosophy is about constantly reinventing myself to become a better, more efficient, capable human being. I’m sure that’s at least part of Wiccan philosophy, but it’s not a big enough part for me to want to adhere to it. I much prefer Satanism’s emphasis on the individual and becoming “adept”. I am glad that I looked into Wicca though, and I’m incredibly glad there are people out there that aren’t “fluffy bunny” wiccans. We need less fluffy bunny people in the whole occult scene, in my opinion.
Ipsa scientia potestas est,