Buddhist Meditation

Buddhist Meditation Image
Here is a small piece from a very good article on Mindfulness and Stress by Mark Flanagan, posted at the Neuroanthropology site. Be sure tro check out the rest of the article.

Biomedical literature has suggested that stress-oriented perception and weak social networks are a large component of psychosocial stress. According to neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky, individuals are more likely to produce a stress response and are at more risk for stress-sensitive disease if they:

1. Feel that they have little control over stressors or are chronically disempowered.

2. Feel that they do not have predictive information about how long or intense the stressor will be.

3. Do not have many outlets to vent frustration caused by stressors.

4. Interpret the stressor as a sign of worsening circumstances.

5. Do not have adequate social support for the confinement caused by stressors.

While strong social networks and support systems are important for reducing the harmful effects of long-term stress, the other four predictive factors for stress sensitive disease involve a perception of harm, suggesting that how an individual perceives and interprets their reality is central to understanding psychosocial stress.


Studies on neurocognitive processes indicate that mindfulness meditation increases awareness and the creation of alternatives to mindless, automatic behavior - reducing the stress response by guiding conscious thought away from uncontrollable past or future scenarios and towards a non-attached acceptance of present circumstances, rather than battling unwanted thoughts.

Ellen Langer has beautifully demonstrated the power of controlled perception in manifesting drastically improved physical health of elderly individuals who were encouraged to reminisce mindfully about or relive their 20's and 30's in a retreat setting with various activities and visualization exercises. Participants were guided on how direct their thinking so that they were able to experience the reality that they desired, rather than responding to every thought that happened to cross their mind. Both groups were significantly stronger and had a greater range of motion than before the week long mindfulness experiment.

In addition, a recent study conducted by H"olzel et al. (2011), documented increases in grey matter after eight weeks of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in a group of 16 meditation-na"ive participants. Grey matter increased in the hippocampus, posterior cingulate cortex, the temporo-parietal junction, and the cerebellum. According to the study, these areas are associated with learning, memory processing, and emotional regulation - which includes the ability for self-referral and perspective taking. This ability to take perspective and break the stream of unconscious, preconditioned responses is a process by which psychosocial stress could be mitigated.

Tags: Neuroanthropology, Mindfulness and Stress, Psychology, mindfulness, stress, Health, meditation, Mark Flanagan

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Aleister Crowley - Book 4 Part I Meditation
Alan Wallace - Lucid Dreaming And Meditation

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Ritual Work Of The Hermetic Brotherhood Of Luxor

Ritual Work Of The Hermetic Brotherhood Of Luxor Image
The Outer Circle relied upon a system of initiatory ceremonies that drew heavily on the Rosicrucian and Masonic initiations of the last part of the 18th and the early 19th Centuries. Max Theon and Peter Davidson put a more Egyptian flare in these ceremonies. This use of Egyptian symbolism helped to create an atmosphere that drew from the ancient land of Egypt. The name of the Order began this by using the word Luxor, the Egyptian for the city of Thebes, the former capital of the land. The lay out of these initiation ceremonies is very near to what they are modeled after, the initiation ceremonies of the more established Rosicrucian and Masonic Orders in Europe.[16] These ceremonies do not need to be discussed nearly as much as the personal work that the Order was having its members perform.

The material that was used by the Outer Circle of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor was rather interesting. Much of this ritual work and philosophy can be seen in Thomas H. Burgoyne's book, The Light of Egypt, that he wrote after the breakup of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. The majority of this book concerns astrology, but there are also chapters that cover Symbolism, Alchemy (organic), Alchemy (occult), (these two are from Burgoyne), Talismans, Ceremonial Magic, Magic Wands, The Tablets of Aeth, which is in three parts, and Penetralia. I think that it is interesting to note that Burgoyne starts his book with several chapters devoted to astrology, which had become more popular by 1900 when The Light of Egypt was first published. This gets the student into studying what has become one of the basics of any magickal Order since that time. Included in these chapters on astrology are two rather fascinating chapters on Astro-Theology, and Astro-Mythology. The chapter on Astro-Theology gives subchapters on The Creation of the World and The Scheme of Redemption.

This sacred Bible is the great Astral Bible of the skies; its chapters are the twelve great signs, its pages are the innumerable glittering constellations of the heavenly vault, and its characters are the personified ideals of the radiant Sun, the silvery moon, and the shining planets, of our solar sphere.

There are three different aspects of this sacred book, and in each aspect the same characters appear, but in different roles, their dress and natural surroundings being suited to the natural play of their symbolical parts. In fact, the whole imagery may be likened unto a play, or, rather, a series of plays, performed by the same company of artists. It may be a comedy, or it may be melodrama, or it may be a tragedy; but the principles behind the scenes are ever the same, and show forth the same Divine Oneness of Nature; demonstrating the eternal axiom. One truth, one life, one principle, and one word, and in their fourfold expression, is the four great chapters of the celestial book of the starry heavens.

This is an interesting way to look at the heavens and astrology as a whole, though Burgoyne does hit upon the one Great Truth in his axiom, "One truth, one life, one principle, and one word". He also discusses how the four great chapters of this celestial book can give insight into the Divine nature. This is something that all magicians have been seeking from the beginning. Much of this can be seen in Burgoyne's chapter of the Creation.

Suggested ebooks:

Order Of The Golden Dawn - Theoricus Initiation Of The Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn
Stephen Flowers - Fire And Ice Magical Order The Brotherhood Of Saturn

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The Importance Of Thelemic Atheism

The Importance Of Thelemic Atheism Image
Perhaps the very first thing we should bear in mind, the object of highest priority, when contemplating the message of Aiwass, is the verse from "Liber Legis" (2:70) that reads: "if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein". I.e., true will carries with it "millionfold joy", so if you are to do your true will -- as opposed to some ill-formed personal agendum -- you simply have to learn its incredible depth of subtlety. The whole book is extraordinarily subtle all throughout, and the consequences of failing to realize this, of misinterpreting the book in so many possible ways, are severe: "There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason." (2:27.)

The atheism of " The Book of the Law" is evident first in vs.20-23 of ch.1. It is in v.20 that we are told that the key of the whole ritual -- in other words, the key to our new form of religion -- is to be found in "a secret word" given to the prophet. I go over all of this, albeit briefly, in "The AQBL Key": see pages 10-18. But an excellent example of the subtlety of the book can be found right here in this verse. What I didn't write in that segment of "The AQBL Key", is the following important insight into the full intended meaning of the word "secret" here (in "The Key" I really only examine its AQBL meaning), though I do note the atheistic basis of the following verses. I'll get back to this in just a moment.

As for those who dispense with the whole notion of religion outright, I tend to see this as throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It is primitive religion that is outmoded, not religion itself. Religion "sans" God, centered instead on the mystery of consciousness, i.e. on Self-Gnosis and the acceleration of the evolution of the temporal mind, bringing it to a measure of apprehension of the underlying reality of the praeternatural Mind, is the nature of our atheistic theological system. Crowley is in agreement with this: there is not only that line in "Liber Oz", "There is no god but man", but we have other examples of his position on this matter.

E.g., the very first line of the "Blue Equinox" reads as follows:

"THE WORLD NEEDS RELIGION. Religion must represent Truth, and celebrate it. This truth is of two orders: one, concerning Nature external to Man; two, concerning Nature internal to Man. Existing religions, especially Christianity, are based on primitive ignorance of the facts, particularly of external Nature."

Again, it is primitive religious theory that must be discarded in the interest of science, not a liturgical theory wherein the objective is to uncover and attain the unknown potential of the mind. Then there is p.395 of "The Confessions of Aleister Crowley", with this line: "The importance of religion to humanity is paramount. Paramount".

It is only superstitious religion that is beneath us. Back to the "secret". The key to the riddle of the "secret word" that is itself the key to our unique system of religion, is this: that it is "secret" in the sense that it is actually" secreted" into the very first line of the very next verse. The word is "nothing": "With the God but note also the number of the verse, as it is the same as the Gematric value of "I am". Now jump ahead a bit to 1:27-28: "O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus; that men speak not of Thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous! None, breathed the light, faint and "two", the reality of division in which we experience infinite possibilities, is all. Look next at verse 46: "Nothing is a secret key of this law." There we have it, as plain as day.

But the atheism of Thelema is unique as well, not your garden-variety materialism, but much different, though it acknowledges the sanctity of materialistic indulgence, as is healthy. In Thelema we see consciousness itself, independent of the brain but utilizing it as a vehicle, as a form of energy that is not only ultimately independent of its limitation but in fact unlimited in intelligence and linked to every other point of consciousness ad infinitum. What one encounters in Samadhi -- an experience that very few have truly known, and yet one that many more have either disengenuously or mistakenly laid claim to -- that total manifestation of the underlying source of all awareness across all of the cycles of time and space, "that" is essentially what God is, and from the limited, temporal perspective in which we initially find ourselves, this being" seems" objectively real -- it is even in the possession of greater knowledge than we ourselves, in our temporary blindness, think that we are capable of. What we do not realize until we progress beyond this limited perspective, by opening up our realization through the routine of sacerdotal work that accesses this infinite underlying reality, is that we are not merely in the moment: we are at once in the past and the future as in the present; and this greater mind of God that is at the heart of the phenomenon called Atmadarshana, that underlies and indwells us, is really our own, on a level not ordinarily known but which we peer into at odd moments, in dreams and in visions.

That we see multiple Gods expressed in "Liber Legis" should not lead to the primitive-minded conclusion that Thelemic religion is polytheistic; again, it is not theistic at all, for the indwelling deity that it proposes is not objectively real nor is it personally-limited, but simply the essence of our own (and all) awareness. It is our contention that the kind of spiritual self-awakening that we undertake actually leads to our "achieving Hadit", or shifting our perspective to the broader one without sacrificing or diminishing our place. These "gods" are facets of a single reality that, as it is unconstrained to any limitation but in every point continually, is really nothing "in particular". They are, moreover, formulae that convey a doctrine. For instance, having three in one (or none) is vital to us now, as we have advanced first out of the Aeon of Isis, the Mother, and matriarchal cults, through the patriarchal formula of the old Aeon, that of Osiris, the Father, finally to an ideology that embraces neither female nor male as superior, but both equally: i.e., the Child, who is really Baphomet, the two-in-one Androgynous Hoor-pa-kraat and Ra-Hoor-Khuit, passive and active, feminine and masculine.

The key thing to understand is that our form of religion does not postulate a God apart from oneself, and consequently, there is no need for petition, as there is in fact no God to get personally interested in your petition, and also no need for the silly yet psychologically damaging notion of sin, which is dangerous not only for the effect that the consequent guilt-complex poses to the mind exposed thereto, but to a healthy social interaction as well.

Isis, Osiris, Horus: these might be said to be Nuit, Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Khuit; but they are also Babalon, Beast, Baphomet (Babalon and Beast conjoined); and too, H KOKKINE GYNE, TO MEGA THERION, and AIWASS. These are all names not of actual entities that are in some celestial cafe right now, but names chosen for their symbolic significance.

Suggested ebooks:

Margaret Alice Murray - The God Of The Witches
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Thelemic Saints Albert Einstein

Thelemic Saints Albert Einstein Image


Born on this day in 1879, Albert Einstein falls into our fourth category of Thelemic Saints, i.e., "Geniuses, Artists, Mystics and/or Oracles whose contributions to culture and/or science, and manner of living, have significantly contributed to the societal establishment of the liberational Law of Thelema and/or to the progress of humanity." To mark the occasion, we present an article he wrote that appeared in the "New York Times Magazine" on November 9, 1930 pp 1-4. It has been reprinted in "Ideas and Opinions", Crown Publishers, Inc. 1954, pp 36 - 40. It also appears in Einstein's book "The World as I See It", Philosophical Library, New York, 1949, pp. 24 - 28. The emphasis in bold is mine.

"Everything that the human race has done and thought is concerned with the satisfaction of deeply felt needs and the assuagement of pain. One has to keep this constantly in mind if one wishes to understand spiritual movements and their development. Feeling and longing are the motive force behind all human endeavor and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present themselves to us. Now what are the feelings and needs that have led men to religious thought and belief in the widest sense of the words? A little consideration will suffice to show us that the most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience. With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions -- fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death. Since at this stage of existence understanding of causal connections is usually poorly developed, the human mind creates illusory beings more or less analogous to itself on whose wills and actions these fearful happenings depend. Thus one tries to secure the favor of these beings by carrying out actions and offering sacrifices which, according to the tradition handed down from generation to generation, propitiate them or make them well disposed toward a mortal. In this sense I am speaking of a religion of fear. This, though not created, is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste which sets itself up as a mediator between the people and the beings they fear, and erects a hegemony on this basis. In many cases a leader or ruler or a privileged class whose position rests on other factors combines priestly functions with its secular authority in order to make the latter more secure; or the political rulers and the priestly caste make common cause in their own interests.

"The social impulses are another source of the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes; the God who, according to the limits of the believer's outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even or life itself; the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing; he who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.

"The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, a development continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in peoples' lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.

"Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. BUT THERE IS A THIRD STAGE OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE WHICH BELONGS TO ALL OF THEM, EVEN THOUGH IT IS RARELY FOUND IN A PURE FORM: I SHALL CALL IT COSMIC RELIGIOUS FEELING. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO ELUCIDATE THIS FEELING TO ANYONE WHO IS ENTIRELY WITHOUT IT, ESPECIALLY AS THERE IS NO ANTHROPOMORPHIC CONCEPTION OF GOD CORRESPONDING TO IT.

"The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.

"THE RELIGIOUS GENIUSES OF ALL AGES HAVE BEEN DISTINGUISHED BY THIS KIND OF RELIGIOUS FEELING, WHICH KNOWS NO DOGMA AND NO GOD CONCEIVED IN MAN'S IMAGE; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.


"We thus arrive at a conception of the relation of science to religion very different from the usual one. When one views the matter historically, one is inclined to look upon science and religion as irreconcilable antagonists, and for a very obvious reason. The man who is thoroughly convinced of the universal operation of the law of causation cannot for a moment entertain the idea of a being who interferes in the course of events -- provided, of course, that he takes the hypothesis of causality really seriously. He has no use for the religion of fear and equally little for social or moral religion. A God who rewards and punishes is inconceivable to him for the simple reason that a man's actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that in God's eyes he cannot be responsible, any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motions it undergoes. Science has therefore been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death.

"It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. On the other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics! Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. ONLY ONE WHO HAS DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO SIMILAR ENDS CAN HAVE A VIVID REALIZATION OF WHAT HAS INSPIRED THESE MEN AND GIVEN THEM THE STRENGTH TO REMAIN TRUE TO THEIR PURPOSE IN SPITE OF COUNTLESS FAILURES. IT IS COSMIC RELIGIOUS FEELING THAT GIVES A MAN SUCH STRENGTH. A CONTEMPORARY HAS SAID, NOT UNJUSTLY, THAT IN THIS MATERIALISTIC AGE OF OURS THE SERIOUS SCIENTIFIC WORKERS ARE THE ONLY PROFOUNDLY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE."

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Thelema Shadow Magick Ii Self Cleansing

Thelema Shadow Magick Ii Self Cleansing Image
Once you've seen yourself clearly you can study yourself and determine what traits you have that are not serving you, whether they be bits of personality, habits, communication styles, or something else entirely. Traits that no longer serve are the bits of yourself that are working against your goals or are in some way delaying your accomplishment of goals for personal growth and transformation. These are not necessarily "bad" traits. We often develop traits, like not caring what other people think or eating quickly, in order to protect ourselves (mentally, physically, spiritually) and those traits are appropriate when we're threatened in certain ways. However, once the threat has passed those traits can become problematic and end up being counterproductive. That's when it's time to sever them and move on.

You can find a plethora of personal cleansing techniques on the web and in various New Age/Metaphysical books and most of them will work for most people. However, for those of us who do a lot of shadow work the gentle garden variety cleansing can be a bit too gentle. There are many cleansings that go along the lines of "step into the shower and visualize the water washing away your negativity/stagnant energy/unwanted trait/etc. and the black ooze of this flowing off your body and down into the drain." For an everyday cleansing that sort of thing is great, but it isn't always enough. Those sorts of cleansings area bit like vacuuming the carpet - it takes care of dust and a bit of grit, but does nothing for set in stains. That requires something a bit stronger.

I recently performed the Order of Scathach Armouring Ritual which included a self-cleansing. In that ritual you write down a list of traits of which you would like to be freed and then burn the list to banish them. Before performing that ritual you do about six months of work. After six months of introspection I was pretty much rid of the surface level grit that such a simple cleansing could effectively get rid of. So I had to ramp things up a bit in order to feel really cleansed. In the ritual you need a physical fire to burn your paper and I did this as step one of the process. Then I closed my eyes and went to my astral temple (a sacred space in the astral plane that I can go to mentally and energetically to do workings that I don't want to do physically - very useful when your mental work would be dangerous if carried out physically).

At my astral temple I called the spirits of fire to be present and to aid me. They showed up in the form of a large magickal bonfire directly in front of me. I asked the spirits of the fire to help me burn out the things I was having the most trouble with (self-doubt and fear). I then, astrally, stepped into the fire and let the flame burn. As the flames burn my clothes and skin I visualized all of my ingrained fears and doubts burning away. I stayed in the fire until it seared through my bones and reduced all but the best parts of me to ash. All that was left was the etheric body in its purest form. As I stepped out of the flames my physical body regenerated without the old patterns. I thanked the fire for its help and watched it depart. I then returned to my physical body and completed my ritual.

This type of intense visualization is a very effective way of giving magickal workings extra oomph. It's not the sort of thing that anyone in their right mind would ever do physically - it would kill you. But doing this sort of thing mentally sends a definite message to your subconscious and will generate much more powerful energy than your average rite. It's not for everyone, most people don't want to dig so deeply to root out the source of their problems - particularly when they "are" the problem.

This sort of work should only be done after months of prep, working through the cycle of cleansing and realization gradually. Every time you cleanse yourself of one kind of negativity it allows you to see the negativity underneath, you get rid of that and see what was below that, and so on forever. This sort of work is never finished, but as you do it the process becomes its own reward. With each layer of myself that I cleanse and purify I find myself become a stronger, kinder, wiser person. It can be really hard to look at the components that have caused me problems over the year and harder still to see what I did to make it worse, but facing it sets me free. Self-examination is hard work, but we owe it to ourselves to undertake it and become the best we can be.

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How To Use Magick With A Straight Face 5 Metaphysics

How To Use Magick With A Straight Face 5 Metaphysics Cover
We obviously don't exercise infinite power. There is more to magick than merely having a desire or belief. That is because we have many conflicting desires and beliefs on many levels. There is a level called, among other things, the Little Self. This roughly corresponds to the subconscious and the super ego. The ego, the part of ourselves which we think of as "I," is called the Middle Self. The Little Self is the gateway to the High Self, our connection with godhead and the universe. Infinite power lies with the High Self, but our access is through the Little Self which has its own ideas. The Little Self is aware of and accepts everything around it and everything you think, even when you are not aware. These perceptions build up very strong ideas in the Little Self. When these ideas are different from yours (those of the Middle Self), your ideas loose. To succeed, you must unify your will.

Of course, people rightfully complain that even if we do create our universe, it's still tough to make changes. That is because there is quite a bit of inertia to ideas that have been strongly supported since childhood (or before, if you accept past-lives). In an extreme example, the original "Peter Pan" had to be changed to keep from harming children. In the original version, the characters flew because "they believed." Many children attempted to fly and discovered the hard way that their Little Self did not agree. Things like a belief in gravity may be possible to overcome, but no one will argue that it's commonly done.

This example sounds silly because our experience of gravity is so compelling that it seems ridiculous to consider it to be "merely a thought construct." But another belief that is nearly as widespread is that of poverty. This is a significantly less daunting belief which many have overcome. As long as you believe you are poor, you will be. This is often a very strong belief. Many cannot even genuinely imagine themselves as being wealthy. But, because it is not beyond reasonable comprehension, it is possible to reprogram your Little Self-- much as it's possible for left-handers to learn to be right-handed. Magick is an effective way to do this.

If you are unconvinced, consider how many little messages you heard when growing up, which you now believe on some level. Frequent messages, especially with children, usually become true. If you have heard all your life that you are poor or dumb or unsuccessful, eventually you believe it and eventually it's true. You probably know many people with an unjustifiably poor self image. This is an image which their Little Selves accepted, probably during childhood when they couldn't protect themselves. That is how messages to the Little Self work against you. And the Little Self is aware of everything, even when you are asleep. It also believes everything it hears. So the next time that you hear that you're not good or that you need to buy a product that you don't really want, consciously give your Little Self a different message. Talk to it and tell it what you want to believe. This is what makes your universe, so make it the way you want it. When you have a particularly powerful belief to overcome, then you must send a powerful message. That is the role of magick.

Suggested ebooks:

Aleister Crowley - Book 4 Part Iii Magick In Theory And Practice
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Celtic Thelema You Dont Have To Be Egyptian

Celtic Thelema You Dont Have To Be Egyptian Image
I've always been enchanted by the images and ideas of the Book of the Law. As alleged spirit-transmissions go, I find it the most inspiring and poetic item that actually relates to the kind of ideas I want in my Paganism. Those who may not know the story of the 'reception' of this three-chapter prose poem by Aleister Crowley can read the orthodox account here.

1: Bare Bones Thelemic myth

Crowley's imagination was trained in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the fashion of that organization followed its times, favoring the newly discovered (or newly translated, anyway) deities of ancient Egypt. Initiation rites were performed using the aid of the Egyptian deity powers and the entire magical system depended heavily on the Graeco-Egyptian complex of spiritual powers. As a result much of Crowley's magic, and the magic surrounding Thelema has become filled with images from Khem.

However, the basic god-forms and symbols of the Book of the Law have little in particular to do with ancient Egypt. There are five primary figures in Liber AL (the esoteric name for the BotL):

NUIT: (the name is the French word for 'night) is the goddess of Infinite Space and Infinite Stars, the cosmic body of all, in which all live and move and have their being.

HADIT: (the name of several Canaanite king-deities) The infinitesimal Point in the Center, the ever-present cosmic throne that allows the individual to appear out of Nuit's starry sky.

Thus, Nuit is the Body of Space, and Hadit the Central Star. Liber AL says "Every man and every woman is a star."

The primary triad of Thelemic deity is completed by the form most usually called "RA-HOOR-KHUIT" This the most directly Egyptian of the basic forms, derived from Crowley's vision of the Stele of Revealing. Ra-Hoor-Khuit is a form of the Egyptian god Horus (Heru, Har or Hoor more accurately in Khemetic). The name means something like "Horus-Ra of the Horizon", identifying the warrior-god Horus with the sunrise moment. The Book also describes Ra-Hoor-Khuit as the 'Minister of Hoor-par-kraat' and that latter form is the child-horus, also an important figure, sometimes called the God of Silence. Together these forms are called the Crowned and Conquering Child.

The Crowned and Conquering Child is a central image in Thelema, seen as the power of Initiation and wisdom for the New Aeon that it heralds. It is this symbol which takes Ra-Hoor-Khuit out of the realm of Egyptian polytheology into a wider potential for cultural expression. It will be a key to our location of Thelema in a Gaelic mythic context.

In addition to this primary triad there are two secondary god-forms, derived fairly directly from the Apocalypse of St John, at the end of the Christian New Testament.

BABALON: is the Scarlet Woman, who rides the back of the Great Beast, bearing in her hand the cup from which she is drunken on the blood of the saints. The spelling, incidentally, is from the Enochian-language material.

THE BEAST: is the male counterpart to Babalon - the Great Dragon, the beast of seven heads. He is the vehicle of the Goddess, her balance and counterpart.

These two figures are often described as the priestess and priest of Thelemic rites, or as the operative daemons that express the earthly will of Nuit and Hadit.

2: Gaelic Thelemic Forms

If we look for the kind of primal figures that we find in Nuit and Hadit among Indo-European sources, and especially among Celtic cultures, we run into the difficulty that no Celtic creation myth has been preserved. The Thelemic primal powers contain an unspoken creation model in which the pre-existing cosmic material is activated by the central kindled point, and manifestation thus occurs. Thelema is nothing if not phallo-kteic, and this should be interpreted sexually to get what they mean by it.

If we look for this sort of primal God and Goddess in Celtic lore we must begin on scholastically shaky ground (we'll get to firmer territory by and by).

The primal mother goddess in Irish lore is named something like Ana, or Dana, or Danu, or Don. (It's hard to render Irish words into English sentences because their spelling changes depending on grammar). This is most famously remembered in the name of the 'tribe of gods' from the Irish Book of Invasion, the Tuatha De Danann, which means 'Nation of the Goddess Danu'.

Danu is the Mother of the Gods in the Irish tale. She is never depicted, has no tales or deeds. However the linguistic evidence is interesting. The word 'dan' survives in Irish as a complex term that can mean 'art' or 'gift' or 'song' or 'fate'. I've personally been at this so long that I can't remember whether there's a good reason for me associating Danu with the Starry-Sky-As-Ocean, but I find her an acceptable parallel to the Thelemic Nuit.

The equally sketchily-drawn primal father in Celtic lore has names that include 'Bel'. Sometimes that sound refers to warfare (cognate to the Latin bellus) and sometimes it means 'beautiful' (cognate to the Latin bella) Especially in the latter cases the male deity referred to seems to be related either to the sun or to fire. In either case we see the image of the light at the center, the point within the circle. This will do for our Gaelic Hadit.

To find the Beast in Gaelic lore we need look no further than the Bull, the Stallion and the Stag. Each of these are specific deities in British or Gaelic lore. The Stallion, especially, is the Mount of the Queen, and is present in the god called In Dagda. That title means "The Good God" in the sense of good at everything. He is multi-skilled, a Druid, a Warrior and a Man of the Plow, his phallus legendary and his harp magical. One of the Dagda's 'real' names is Eochaid (roughly 'yo-khee') meaning 'stallion', and he has a famous meeting with the Red Goddess as described below. He is also called the Red Lord of Secret Wisdom (Ruadh Rofessa) and is a sorcerer and trickster.

The stag leads us toward the much-misunderstood figure of Cernunnos, the Antlered God. While his most famous depiction, on the Gundestrup Cauldron, might make him appear to be a 'god of animals', most of his depictions in Gaulish lands show him with symbols of wealth - bags of coins, fruits of the earth. Personally I am inclined to equate the Antlered God with the Underworld Father (Dis Pater) who is sometimes called the father of the tribes. Also, despite modern witchy inclinations, Cernunnos is never depicted naked or ithyphallic, though he bears that suggestive ram-headed serpent...

While bulls play an important role in Gaelic story and Gaulish imagery, the Bull-god is a little harder to find. In Britain bull-horned gods are gods of war and of the hunt, many with names based on that 'bel' particle. There is little sign of the Dionysus/Shiva bull-complex, many of the kingship and phallic functions perhaps transferred to the stallion.

The Thelemic Beast is, I think, best depicted in the Gaelic stallion-god. That is certainly the 'beast whereon she rideth'. Some mileage might be gotten from composing some sort of chimera, some bull-horned horse or multi-headed mount, of course.

Gaelic lore plainly shows us powerful images of the Thelemic earthly feminine power, called Babalon. On the divine plane she is called Morrigan, the Red Woman. Morrigan means "Queen of Spirits" and she is a goddess of war, sexual power and sorcery. She is called a war-witch, associated with the choosing of the slain and the fate of heroes. In another tale the Red Woman arises from the Underworld bearing the Cauldron of Rebirth, in which the bones of heroes are boiled to restore them to life. It is quite fitting to say that her Cauldron is overflowing with the Blood of the Heroes.

One famous story takes place during the war between the Gods and the 'Titans' (Fomoire) of Gaelic lore. Dagda keeps an appointment to meet with the Morrigan, and the two couple, with the Goddess' feet on either bank of the land. From their coupling a river was born. By making that alliance, Dagda secures the help of Morrigan and her army of sorcerers for the battle. Despite the inclination to the missionary in common imagination, we can surely envision this as the Red Goddess riding the Stallion.

On a more human plane, Irish tales show us the figure of Medb the mighty, queen of Connaught, who stands as the enemy of Ulster in the famous Cattle Raid of Cooley. She is described as a warrior queen and inspirer of men in battle. It was said of her that she never had a man without another waiting in his shadow. Medb's name means 'mead' or more broadly 'intoxication'. She is a memory of the place of the Celtic queen as binder of the war-band. The ancient custom was for the local Queen to bear a cup of mead to each man of the band, offering it in exchange for fealty to her and the leader. Celtic mythographers refer to this figure as 'sovereignty' and she is often a goddess unto herself. Medb, though distorted through a monkish lens, stands as a figure of Sovereignty, the Lady of the Cup of Intoxication.

Finally we come to the Crowned and Conquering Child. In classical Thelemic iconography we find the hawk-headed warrior Horus in this role. However in Gaelic lore we can see a powerful expression of it in the so-called Wonder Child. This figure has a number of specific expressions in Celtic story.

The Wonder Child is the Coming King, who rises from obscurity, through trials to sit enthroned. The most notable expression of that formula is in the Irish god called Lugh. Lugh is the child of a Titan mother and a father of the Gods, and is marked from the first to be the destroyer of the chaos-monster of the tales. He performs his first deeds when still a youth, and is called things like "Long-arm' and 'master of all skills'. Lugh bears a spear connected with the lightning-bolt, and becomes King of the Gods by the end of the tale.

The Wonder Child appears in other tales as well. Always born a bastard, always raised by a sorcerer, initiated by the Red Woman and crowned by her Sovereignty, his story repeats across Celtic cultures. Cuchullain partakes of his nature, doing his mighty feats before ever he has his first whiskers. Aengus Og is another inheritor of the Dagda's house. Later, The Arthur tales and the tale of Taliesin continue the fame of the Wonder Child.

It would not be a complicated matter to assemble the Thelemic Cult in a Gaelic context. Primal Night and Sun are Danu and Bel. Their children, the Dagda and the Morrigan are Babalon and the Beast. Shining Lugh, the Conquering Child, completes the pentagram. Looking at the Thelemic powers through a new cultural lens provides many new opportunities for mysteries and understandings.

3: A Few Random Mysteries

o The Zelator Formula.

In the mystery rites of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, from which Thelema draws a great deal of ideological DNA, the very first initiatory rite admits the student to the degree of 'Neophyte'. This rite is based on the admission rites of Masonic lodges, and has all the elements of later initiatory inventions such as those of Traditional British Wicca. At one key moment the candidate for initiation, who has been 'hoodwinked' (blindfolded) has the blindfold removed and hears the words "Child of Earth, long have you dwelt in darkness - quit now the darkness and seek the day." The panoply of the temple is revealed, and the goal is to create a moment of imprinting for the initiate.

This formula becomes a central method of practical magic inside the GD system, as learned by Crowley prior to the creation of Thelema. In the consecration of talismans the material basis is wrapped in dark cloth and revealed at the moment of consecration, with the same words. Even in the evocation of spirits the Z formula, as it is called brings the spirit into manifestation.

There is a nearly direct parallel with a Gaelic poetic method of incubation. In that formula the poet undertakes to craft a poem, perhaps with an oracular intent. She chooses a dark place - a windowless hut, or a cave or even a mound, and makes her bed within. She places a heavy stone upon her chest which would both help prevent sleep and mandate regulation of the breath - great trance-induction device. The poet then spends the night in the darkness. When the time comes, the poet comes to the door of the hut at dawn, and beholds the sun through the traditionally eastern-facing door. In those first rays the poem is pronounced, fully-formed and magically potent.

It is surely possible that Scottish Freemasons knew this lore directly, and that it entered Masonic, and thus GD, ritual by an ordinary route. I do find the parallel interesting though. I have used the formula of Gaelic incubation as a basis for several types of practical magic working myself, including the Cauldron Rites included in my books.

o The Grail Hallows

It's no secret that the Golden Dawn's formulation of the Four Elemental Weapons, which became an immediate part of Crowley's Thelemic symbolism and ritual, was related in part to the Gaelic tale of the Four Treasures of the Tuatha De Danann.

The Four Treasures are the Spear of Striking, which never misses its target and returns to its owner's hand; the Sword of Victory, which can never be defeated; the Cauldron of Rebirth, which brings slain warriors back to life to fight again; and the Stone of Destiny, which determines who is fit to be King. These have no particular elemental correspondence in Gaelic lore. In the Celtic Twilight of Yeats and Mathers they became corresponded to the Four Tools of the GD brand of hermetic ritual.

Mathers began with the various sets of symbols applied to the four suits of playing cards in renaissance Europe, and formalized them as the set popularized by the generation of occultists just before him. However he 'occult-ized' them further by making them correspond to his ritual weapons. Thus the 'Money' suit became ritualized as 'Pentacles', 'Staves' or 'Clubs' became 'Wands', etc. However the final wave of influence on Thelema was in Crowley's choice to use the Grail Hallows in his Gnostic Mass.

The stories of the Holy Grail begin in Celtic Wales, and seem to be directly descended from previous generations of tales concerning the Cauldron of Wonders, which the Hero-King must rescue from the Underworld. In later Grail romance tales, the holy vessel is accompanied by a bloody spear, a head on a platter (or just the platter), and the sword that severed the head. These were interpreted through a Christian lens in medieval tales, but Nineteenth-century scholars were already discussing them in relation to the Gaelic Treasures.

To look back at out Gaelic cultus of Thelema, to arm the Priest with the Spear is to make him stand for Lugh - the Crowned and Conquering Child. To arm the priestess with the Chalice is to make her stand for Morrigan, the Red Goddess. Cuchullain and Medb, Arthur and Morgana, the formula is as Celtic as can be. One might even have the priest performing incubation in his dark tomb before appearing to work the rite.

So, I don't mean to propose anything very serious here. I haven't the time, myself, to take up a cult of Celtic Thelema. Still, it wouldn't be hard to do. Mix in a trifle of Wild Hunt or Fairy Rade, and the Witch's Sabbath, and you might be getting somewhere...

Suggested ebooks:

Aleister Crowley - Liber 044 The Mass Of The Phoenix
Asbjorn Jon - Shamanism And The Image Of The Teutonic Deity Odin
Patrick Boylan - Thoth The Hermes Of Egypt

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Truth Vs Flame War Propaganda

Truth Vs Flame War Propaganda Image
VH Frater SR, HOGD(R) Scandinavia Imperator

by Guest Blogger, Tomas Stacewicz, VH Frater SR, 6=5

I am VH Frater S.'.R.'., Tomas Stacewicz, Imperator of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn(R) in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. Many of you know me already or have read my GYLLENE GRYNINGEN blog.

"I DO NOT USUALLY SPEAK OUT ON THIS BLOG, BUT I AM DEEPLY CONCERNED BY THE DIRECTION THAT THE GOLDEN DAWN COMMUNITY APPEARS PRESENTLY TO BE MOVING IN."It's a great shame that our community is being dragged back to a state that preceded our Golden Dawn Harmony initiative in spring 2009, where instead of reasonable arguments based on fact and backed up with evidence, ugly rumours and outright lies are once again being used by a leader of a Golden Dawn organization.

For the last few weeks Robert Zink, the Chief of the "Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn", has on his "Golden Dawn Blog" been spreading false allegations and accusations against the H.O.G.D./A+O, which I feel must be addressed as it involves my native country and personal domestic affairs. I only reluctantly have decided to address this latest debate which is quickly being dragged back into the sort of feud that has nearly destroyed the reputation of the entire Golden Dawn tradition over the past two decades, being one who tries to shun this truly ugly aspect of the modern Golden Dawn community and culture.

Most of the contents of the latest blogs by Mr. Zink aren't even worthy of any serious attention at all, as most readers are able to see through the stereotypic rhetoric of propaganda which infest them. Our order has already refuted the myriad "flame war" talking points Mr. Zink in recent weeks appears to be attempting to resurrect together with the flame war itself. The interested reader need only read our on order's website our TRADEMARK and LINEAGE PAGES (including regarding DESMOND BOURKE), the factual biography (instead of propaganda) of MR. DAVID GRIFFIN (our International Imperator), or the ACTUAL COURT DOCUMENTS that are a matter of public record.

But there is, however, one important point that I feel compelled to address here as it concerns the Order in Sweden and its history. Being a Swede, and the Imperator of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn(R) in Scandinavia, as well as the author of a mainly Swedish Golden Dawn blog (even if events and debates outside of my country often compel me to write in English), I must address the issue of certain Swedish affairs being aired in that blog by Mr. Zink. Robert Zink writes thus:"TOMMY WESTLUND. LEFT HIS [DAVID GRIFFIN'S] ORDER AND TOOK THE ENTIRE SWEDISH TEMPLE WITH HIM AFTER ALLEGEDLY DISCOVERING GRIFFIN WAS DOING RITES WITH THE NAZI FLAG DRAPED OVER THE ALTAR."BEING A MEMBER OF THE SWEDISH JURISDICTION OF THE H.O.G.D./A+O, AND ALSO AN INITIATE OF THE SAME TEMPLE AS THAT OF TOMMY WESTLUND, FOR AS ALMOST AS LONG AS THE LATTER, I BELIEVE THAT I PROBABLY AM THE PERSON MOST QUALIFIED TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.


Regarding Tommy Westlund, Tommy was a personal friend of mine and I still regard him to be a dear Frater. He now heads his own order, the Sodalitas Rosae Crucis (S.R+C), which has taken the Golden Dawn tradition and other Rosicrucian currents into a unique direction, that however doesn't reflect the vision of the H.O.G.D./A+O, even if we both pursue the Ars Royale, this being the actual reason for us going separate ways. There is no feud at all in Sweden between the H.O.G.D./A+O and S.R+C, or any other Order for that matter. The true state of matters in Sweden is that there is no need for any Golden Dawn Harmony initiative here, as there is no disharmony in Sweden or Scandinavia to address in the first place.

This newly alleged reason for Tommy's departure from our Order, clearly invented by Robert Zink for his "Golden Dawn Flame War" certainly isn't any protocol of Temple procedures that I have ever seen or heard about in my 15 years of active Temple work in several Swedish and European Temples. In reality, Tommy Westlund left the H.O.G.D./A+O because he wanted to found his own Order, according to his own personal preferences and research.

Tommy Westlund certainly did not take the "entire Swedish temple with him", that being the Temple in Stockholm. Besides, referring to the "entire Swedish temple" falsely gives the impression that there only existed one Temple in Sweden at that time and thus that it no longer exists any Order in Sweden. This is outright propaganda-style disinformation. In fact there existed several Temples of our order in Sweden at the time of Tommy Westlund's departure, one of which one has been under my personal supervision and leadership since early 1997. None of these Temples "followed" Tommy Westlund when he left to found his new organization. In fact, only a couple of individuals followed Tommy into his new project. The Stockholm Temple to which Tommy belonged remained intact and proceeded with its operation as usual.

Let there also be no doubt that the H.O.G.D./A+O continues to have a real presence in Sweden today and that it's College of Adepti oversees students from entire Scandinavia. After Mr. Griffin decided to leave Sweden permanently to pursue his study and training with his Alchemical Masters, he left the charge of the Scandinavian Jurisdiction over to me as Scandinavian Imperator.

Furthermore, I am sure that Tommy and his Order are doing a splendid work in furthering the spiritual process of their initiates, and I truly acknowledge him for that. Therefore, it feels disheartening to see Mr. Zink trying to drag the name of Tommy Westlund and that of my native country into this latest "flame war" barrage against the H.O.G.D./A+O. Therefore I urge Mr. Zink to stay away from dragging Sweden and Swedish initiates into these types of dirty games and underhanded tactics in the future. We don't want to have any part of it.

I do not believe that the hard working Fratres and Sorores of the EOGD are happy that our community is being dragged back into feuding and flame war either. I can assure you that your brothers and sisters in the HOGD/AO do not want this any more than you do. Let us all speak out for peace now before it is too late. Our orders not have to agree about everything. We do not even have to always like what one another does. Let us indeed keep our discussions and debates civil, however. Even if we need to point out something ugly in ourselves to one another, let us do even this in a fraternal manner. And above all, let us present reasoned arguments backed up by factual evidence, not just destructive talking points and flame war propaganda.

Let there be no doubt that the H.O.G.D./A+O still remains firmly committed to the Golden Dawn Harmony initiative, we launched two years ago. We repeat our offer to remove on a reciprocal basis all objectionable materials from our respective fora, websites, and blogs. However, this initiative has fallen on deaf ears up until now and reading the latest blog by Mr. Zink, I fail to see that there actually is any real, common interest in maintaining harmony in the Golden Dawn community on his part."I CALL THEREFORE ON OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE EOGD TO LET MR. ZINK KNOW THAT YOU TOO HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF FLAME WAR LONG AGO."Mr. Zink may think that by trying to drag us all back into flame war, he is only hurting Mr. Griffin or only the members of the HOGD/AO, but he is actually hurting all of you in the EOGD as well as our entire beloved Golden Dawn tradition.

Let us not only end this flame war before it gets started. Let us finally roll up our sleeves together and clean up the really old garbage and attacks off or our websites as well. Let this not be the beginning of a new flame war. Let this instead be the beginning of true fraternity between our two orders.

Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Yeheshua,
VH Frater S.'.R.'.Imperator for Scandinavia
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn(R)

Thelema Using Multiple Intelligences In Magick

Thelema Using Multiple Intelligences In Magick Image
When I was working as a network administrator for a public school, there was a county-wide push to use Howard Gardner's theories of multiple intelligences in order to help students learn. Basically, the theories state that there are multiple ways that people prefer to learn, and by working with the way the brain prefers to absorb information, the learner will more readily grasp new concepts.

At the school where I worked, they had the students take a short quiz to determine their preferred learning styles. The teachers worked with the students' individual learning styles by grouping students accordingly, having them work on projects that were most appealing to their style. They demonstrated new concepts in ways that appeal to multiple learning styles. It was quite effective; there were marked improvements in students' grades and test scores. More importantly, the students didn't hate their work quite so much because the way they learned worked with, not against, their own nature.

Gardner's learning styles can be summed up as follows:

* Linguistic - Prefers learning through reading, writing, debate, word problems and verbal discussion

* Spatial - Prefers learning through images, pictures, drawing, and graphing.

* Logical/Mathematical - Prefers learning with numbers, formulae, equations, code, and logic puzzles.

* Musical - Prefers learning through music, rhythms, sounds, and patterns.

* Kinesthetic - Prefers learning with the body, hands-on activites, motion, and by developing muscle memory.

* Interpersonal - Prefers learning in a social environment, by interacting with others, in group activities.

* Intrapersonal - Prefers learning by meditation, reflective activities, soul searching and internal dialogues.

* Naturalist - Prefers learning by observing nature and working in the natural world.

(There are more in-depth explanations of the learning styles at this site and many others.)

Part of how magick works is that it works through me. I am one of the primary channels through which the changes I wish to achieve can happen. By impressing the magick upon myself in a way that works most efficiently with my own nature, I can expect my entire body, mind and soul to work more effectively at casting the magick, therefore giving me more consistantly desirable results.

I took the multiple intelligences assesment and I got these results:

* Spatial: 5

* Social: 4.14

* Language: 3.57

* Self: 3.43

* Logic/Math: 3.29

* Nature: 3

* Kinesthetic: 2.71

* Musical: 1.29

Spatial intelligence is not just my highest, but completely maxed. That makes perfect sense; most of my hobbies involve the visual arts. Career-wise, I am a web designer and graphic artist. I'm remodeling an old house and I design clothing, both of which requires a lot of visualization and spatial awareness.

I use this knowledge of my strong tendency toward the spatial in my magickal pursuits. Most of my magick involves sigils, symbols, and art. I've often painted out spells that I have cast, weaving the magick as I move my brush on the canvas. This painting, entitled, "Fly Fly Away," was one such working. I wanted to get out of town for a little bit, go on a sabbatical, clear my head and get a new perspective. Having summers off was a very nice perk of working for the school system. I just needed a destination and a bit of extra money to do so. Shortly after finishing this painting, I was invited by a friend in Alberta, Canada (just outside of Edmonton) to visit for a few weeks. That week, I got a bonus check in the mail from my place of employment; apparently the principal was so impressed with my work, he named me one of the employees of the year, and that came with a nice fat bonus. On top of that, I found ridiculously cheap plane fare to my destination. I had a wonderful few weeks exploring the Great White North, I got to camp in the beautiful Canadian Rockies not far from Jasper, and got to have Tim Horton's doughnuts and coffee any morning, noon or night I wanted. I got a beautiful painting out of the deal, too.

I was certainly convinced when I saw my magick work so beautifully, and decided to make that one of my foci in my magickal pursuits. Currently, I have a desktop background on my computer with sigils on it that is helping with some of my current endeavors. I have numerous paintings and other hand-made creations which house current or past magickal endeavors.

I enjoy working magic with my coven and I work with spirits a lot. Both of those directly correlate to my second strongest intelligence, social intelligence. People with high social intelligence learn best by talking and interacting with others, by bouncing ideas and working with energy that is produced in groups. Obviously, I can't have my coven around all the time to work magick with, so I have a whole host of spirits living around me with whom I can work my magick.

I was doing some reflecting on different types of magick, and how they relate to the multiple intelligences. Take the MI assesment and see if these suggestions line up with the way you do magick.

* Spatial: sigil magick, yantras, sacred art, symbols, magick squares, talisman-making

* Linguistic: mantras, chants, poems, journaling, channeling and free-writing

* Kinesthetic: sacred dance, katas, repetitive motions, mudras and hand gestures, sign language, drawing symbols in the air, pantomime

* Mathematical/logical: Numerology, sacred geometry, exploring sacred mathematical patterns such as the Fibonacci sequence, gematria

* Interpersonal: Group magickal work, work with a partner, working with spirits and other external entities.

* Intrapersonal: Meditation, guided journeys, workings on the astral plane

* Musical: Sacred music, singing, drumming, chanting

* Naturalist: Keeping plants for magical purposes, working with animals and animal spirits, working with natural phenomena such as weather, seasons, moon phases.

Of course, I make it a point to work with all of these from time to time, so that I can strengthen those intelligences which are not so developed. One day, I'll be able to carry a more complex rhythm than a Beladi, I promise. I make it a point to not lock myself in to my strengths, but to also work to develop my weaknesses. Though I will rely on my strengths first when I need to get something done, developing my weaker areas gives me channels through which I may grow. Since my Great Work requires me to develop all aspects of myself, the multiple intelligences also provide me with a guidemap for areas to improve.

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Christian Fundamentalist Who Was Once A Member Of The Wicca

Christian Fundamentalist Who Was Once A Member Of The Wicca Image
This is a response written by me to the blog article "Freemasonry: The Witchcraft Connection" pathetically penned by William J. Schnoebelen. You can find the article here.

I thought that I had already written the final chapter about my arch nemesis and former teacher, the ever self-propagandizing, ridiculous and all-around hypocrite, half-assed minister of With One Accord Ministry, Bill Schnoebelen. But alas, he continues to scribble his lies, half-truths and religious bigotry throughout the internet. The latest diatribe would be quite amusing if weren't so profoundly stupid and annoying. So I am drawn back into a brief one sided skirmish with the ultra-conservative Christian Fundamentalist who was once a member of the Wicca and a Mason.

It's really like doing battle with the torso of the Black Knight (as fondly remembered in Monty Python's Holy Grail movie). He has teeth, but no arms or legs left to do battle, and can be easily defeated. I guess Bill makes a great straw man, since his positions are based on Christian myth and imagination rather than real facts. I apologize in advance to mainstream and esoteric Christians who must be quite embarrassed by this clown. Anyway, let the battle begin!

"Rebellion is a sin of sorcery, presumption a crime of the teraphim." - 1 Samuel 15:23 (The Jerusalem Bible)

Bill starts out his article with this quote, although he uses the terribly antiquated and much rightly criticized Kings James Version, where the word "sorcerery" is substituted by the word "witchcraft", which changes the whole meaning, of course. That King James had an obsession with witches and witchcraft bordering on insanity is besides the point - it did, however, influence the translation of the bible into English.

This sentence is part of larger section of the chapter that contains the dire pronouncements by the prophet Samuel used to denounce King Saul. Samuel was apparently livid with Saul and his decision to disobey Yahweh, so instead of ensuring that the Amelikites were completely annihilated and all of their possessions destroyed, Saul allowed the Israelites to keep the prisoners as slaves and their belongings as booty. The word "teraphim" in the sentence refers to household idols, so it represents false gods and their worship.

The key point is that King Saul rebelled against the commandments of his god and presumed to make decisions for him. What this quotation has to do with modern witchcraft and Masonry seems pretty obscure to me. I think that Bill used it out of context because the KJV bible uses the word "witchcraft" instead of "sorcery", even though the point is really disobedience and presumptuousness. The irony of Bill using this statement is pretty hysterically funny, since presumptuousness is very much his mode of doing business. So we start out with a sentence taken completely out of context from the Old Testament, and somehow this will make the rest of the article sensible and erudite? Right!

First of all, Masonry is not a religion. It is a fraternal organization with some biblical themes and obscure symbolism based on those themes. While one could make occult interpretations of the various Masonic rituals and lore, those same interpretations are not held by either the rank and file Mason, nor the esteemed members of their ruling bodies and their studied intellectuals. Masonry is not an occult organization nor would any of its members consider themselves to be occultists or members of some kind of alternative religion. So when Bill says the following in his article, we can easily refute him. The Lodge of Masonry is not a religion, nor is its underpinnings theological, occultic or rooted in ancient forms of paganism - those underpinnings are actually philosophical in nature. We can look at the foolishness of this claim, and I quote it in full, because it is the keystone to Bill's entire argument.

"Thus, the Lodge is not just 'another religion' like the Muslims or the Buddhists-although that alone should be enough to keep Christians from involving themselves in it. The nature and character of the Lodge's deepest theological underpinnings are rooted in Witchcraft and Paganism."

Of course, we are to presume that modern Witchcraft has an unbroken line going back to the paleolithic past, and that somehow Masonry borrowed heavily from those sources. However, both Ronald Hutton and Philip Heselton have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that modern Witchcraft can't be traced back further than the early 20th century. That would mean that modern Witchcraft is considerably younger than Masonry, which itself only dates back to the early 18th century. If modern Witchcraft shares many common features with Masonry, then one would have to conclude that the reason this does in fact occur is because Gerald B. Gardner (who was himself a Mason) put them there. While some witches may argue this amongst each other, scholars have shown that much of the lore of modern Gardnerian witchcraft was cobbled together from other sources. What this means is that there is no conspiracy and the linkages between one tradition of witchcraft and Masonry can be easily explained - it was a matter of creative plagiarism and not some kind of Satanic conspiracy, as Bill would have it.

The reason why this is so transparently obvious is the fact that only Gardnerian witchcraft (and it's various offshoots) have these points in common with Masonry. Other non-Gardnerian traditions of witchcraft are quite different and have few if any points in common with Masonry. How does one explain that troubling little discrepancy to Bill's over-arching theory? Why it's elementary, my dear reader! Bill is making an argument that is quite fantasy based and profoundly dramatic - it is, in a word - a great lie! This is even more curious when one considers that some of the more traditional non-Gardnerian forms of witchcraft may actually represent older systems from the previous epoch, although the proof for that supposition has yet to be verified.

Cunning folk considered their magickal works to be their "craft," just like anyone else who had a skill for hire. They made things for their paying clients (spells, talismans, amulets, herbal remedies, tonics, etc.), although none of them ever professed to be adherents of an alternative or "old" religion. Likewise, craftsmen were individuals who worked with their hands, used tools in a skillful manner and made things, unlike the ruling classes and the church. To call Masonry a craft is to hearken back to the days when Masons were builders and architects, or at least that is part of the theme of following the Masonic path. There is nothing sinister or esoteric about this phrase, just as one would assume - since we still use it today without any theological pretensions.

We will pass over Bill's definitions, since we have shown that witchcraft is much too varied to apply one definition to the entire movement. Bill is using definitions that were put together in the late 19th century (about paganism in general), so they don't reflect the modern perspectives of historians and archeologists. Bill has obviously not read anything about witchcraft since he left the craft in the early 1980's, and even then, he spouts the old arguments and lines that most folk, whether from within the movement or outside it, no longer hold as true. Suffice it so say that for every supposed fact that Bill states in his article, there are modern witchcraft and pagan groups who don't adhere to it or where it isn't even relevant.

A case in point is one of Bill's arguments, which is flawed and really a terrible generalization.

"Essentially, a Pagan believes most everything the Witch believes, but is kind of a lay person, whereas a Witch is more of a Priestess or Shaman."

I think that the above quote has more fallacies in it than anything that I ever seen written by anyone with any amount of knowledge. Modern witches and pagans represent very different traditions of belief and practice. Even within these generalized categories there is quite a bit of difference, based on the fact that every witch or pagan calls upon different traditions within that generalized group. While some could find some very broad points in common between them, they are quite distinct. Also, a member of a specific witchcraft tradition would not be an elite amongst a group of neopagans, since there isn't any really defined hierarchy between all of these divergent traditions in the first place. Each group has its own leaders, and often there is a fair amount of squabbling about even that obvious point. You will also notice that Bill conflates a priest or priestess with a shaman, which is a completely different category altogether. It just seems that Bill doesn't really know what he is talking about, so it would seem that his entire thesis is based on utter and complete nonsense.

Deeper into his article, Bill does concede that Wicca is modern, and that if there are resemblances between Masonry, then obviously one would have been the model for the other. Such an admission almost destroys his entire thesis, but then he saves it by proposing some more ancient (and sinister) source for both Wicca and Masonry. Although there isn't any proof for this statement, it does represent the foundation of Bill's thesis. I quote his damning admission, with the merest caveat that saves his thesis from nullifying itself.

"As it is currently constituted, Wicca is barely a century old. This is not to say that it doesn't draw on elements from the ancient mystery cults. To be certain, it does-to a high degree. However, it is a difficult task to ascertain whether contemporary Wicca so strongly resembles Freemasonry because two of its principle architects (Aleister Crowley and Gerald B. Gardner) were Masons; or whether that similarity is a derivation of more ancient practices."

Historians have shown that the supposed ancient mystery cults passed away without leaving very much evidence behind. Christianity was quite thorough in its destruction of all of the pagan practices of antiquity. What we have today is a mere conjectural reconstruction, drawn from many different sources and completed with a lot of creative imagination. Masonry and witchcraft are modern creations, and they have very little in common with the older mystery cults, since that knowledge passed away long before either of these two organizations were invented. Masonry was a product of the Age of Enlightenment, and Wicca, a product of Victorian England. There is no unbroken lineage spanning the ages of antiquity to the present time.

Another point, Aleister Crowley didn't have anything to do with writing the corpus of the Gardnerian Witchcraft Book of Shadows. This has been proven quite definitively, since Crowley and Gardner didn't meet until the year of Crowley's death, and then only a couple of visits occurred. It may be a difficult task to ascertain the resemblances between Gardnerian Wicca and Masonry if you are looking for some kind of satanic connection, but of course, the simpler explanation is just a form of plagiarism.

Then comes the really nail gripping and ghastly supposition, that (oh my!) Wicca somehow has engulfed the evil source of Masonry, making the rites more sanctified and less (still my beating heart!) blasphemous than their original form. What this amounts to is the belief that Masonry is evil and satanic, so if some group has modeled itself on those rituals and beliefs, then that group, too, is tainted and satanic. This belies the known fact that Masonic organizations spawned a plethora of analogous organizations and institutions, both in England, the European continent and the U.S. One could even go so far as saying that a number of democratic countries, such as our own, are powerfully influenced and saturated with Masonic beliefs, symbolism and philosophies. If you are a citizen of the U.S., Italy, France, England, and others too numerous to mention, you are an unwitting pawn influenced by the evils of Masonry. I guess the whole world should be so lucky!

Here's Bill's altar stone for his article -

"If Masonic rituals were engrafted into Witchcraft in the late 19th and early 20th century, and if that melding was so seamless and effortless-even to the point that in some cases, the Wiccan rites were less bizarre and blasphemous than there[sic] Masonic counterpart, then what message does that send about Masonry? As a preacher friend of mine, Jim Spencer, observed, 'If the devil can preach my sermons without changing them much, what does that say about my sermons?'"

I suppose you could say that it really says nothing at all, since lots of organizations around the world have modeled themselves on Masonry. I would also say that the Devil has been preaching Mr. Spenser's sermons, and Bill's as well. Anyone who preaches bigotry, religious intolerance and advocates sectarian hate crimes against others is really doing the work of the Christian devil. How illuminating for Bill to show us who his mentor really is.

From this point on in Bill's article, things get completely silly. The merest suppositions become embedded and obvious facts, and from them the world turns into a dark gothic negative image of itself, with ravens cawing in the background and bats flitting overhead, while the world is wrapped in a sinister stygian mist that hides the supposed real truth. Bill goes on and on with his arguments, building them up to a crescendo, like listening to Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" or reading a story by H. P. Lovecraft. Even the list of satanic members of witchcraft and masonry is pretty astonishing. I am sure that Arthur Edward Waite would have been horrified to be considered a member of the witch cult, just like many of the other members of the infamous list. Only Gerald B. Gardner and Alex Sanders belong there, and the fact that at least one of them was also a Mason really proves nothing.

One of Bill's final arguments is totally inane and even laughable, so I shall present it here for our amusement.

"The Masonic temple is a temple of Witchcraft! There can be little doubt about that. Veiled within its symbols are the deities and even the working tools of Witchcraft! As has been shown, the square and compasses are representations of the generative organs-the 'sacred altar' of Witchcraft! The blazing star at the center of the lodge is the Witch's pentagram, symbol of the god of Satanism, Set! The Letter 'G' stands for generativity[sic], sexual potency."

Anyone who has ever been a Mason (or has read Masonic material) will know what the mysterious "G" symbolizes. It represents the first letter of "God" and "Geometry," both of which are quite prosaic and tame. Bill has outdone himself, becoming a laughing stock in the process. I am certain that his audience, the credulous and the ignorant, will find his article illuminating (no pun intended). They will undoubtedly lose sleep over it and have many nightmares about Masons and witches cavorting together in some satanic grove, dancing merrily and obliviously around the hooves of the big "D." I do feel sorry for them and wonder at the foolishness of their critical thinking, but I have little further to say about Bill except to shake my head and wonder how he is able to make up all of this crap. He must be ingesting some potent hallucinogens in order to come up with these obvious fantasies.

Perhaps some day Bill will be rewarded for his virulent punditry. Maybe he can get a day job as the pastor exemplar for the Fox News Network. However, I doubt if other and wiser Christians will ever appreciate his work, since it is so far down in the gutter and living in the sewer of popular thought.

Frater Barrabbas

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