Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hermetic Lessons - Mind

  •  Magical Anatomy of the Self


  • Hologram of physical self in centre of perceptual cell, internal feelings - digestion, heart, etc
  • ''Clock-body'': head in future predicting, anticipating; torso in centre, heart, lungs, beating, breathing ''in the moment'; abdomen in past, dealing with the decisions of the moment, digesting, cleaning the blood, genitals preserving ''memory of the past''
  • Molecular developmental biology - as embryo divides it takes on characteristics of front/back, top/bottom, etc who (how is it?) decides which cell gets to be the ass? 
  • Each cell in the body contains this pefect copy of the DNA physical self in each nucleus, although cells only express some of this info and are thereby differentiated



  • Physical sensations and [sense of] physical reach is the first sphere of cellular consciousness, the ''nucleus'' which encloses the [sensation of] the physical self
  • When you feel the table, you feel the feeling of the table, this sphere of [the sense of] physical ''feeling'' is limited by the physical reach
  • [the sense of] ''Smell'' is the bridge between touch and the other senses, it is concentrated in the first sphere but can extend beyond it
  • Discuss psychometry



  • All sense objects are mental artefacts arising from [assumed] physical objects in a physical world
  • They are composed of mental light - light bulb exercise i) look into lightbulb ii) observe blob of light on retina iii) observe how it moves iv) observe how all objects are in the mind and composed of mental light v) make a general theory for what must follow
  • There is no size - [the sense of] the sense-objects are derived from one undifferentiated field of thought in the mind
  • Cytoplasm which surrounds the cell is a ''mental-fluid'' and which is occupied by ''organelles'' in the form of the sense-objects
  • Liken the sensed space to the structure of the biological cell - pointing out features of typical rooms- lighting, heat, information sources etc
  • There is no movement a) ''hamster-ball model'' the sensation of physical movement can be reversed, since the cell is fixed in the mental sphere instead of the physical body entering different physical events, in truth mental events enter the sphere of the mind b) ''fishbowl model'' instead of a current of events entering the cell, events arise from the natural currents and fluctuations within the fishbowl - a) and b) are the way in which this ''mental fluid'' of sense-experience is linked to the outer mental fluid of the larger consciousness in ''the bloodstream of time'' and the action of the ''mental fluid'' or cytoplasm within the cell
  • Discuss how this may interact with psychic powers like clairaudience, clairvoyance

  • All sense experience (the mental fluid) is contained with the larger sphere of the outermind and is ''membrane bound'' - discuss membrane of physical sensation, the reach of our senses, not being able to see through walls, the limits of senses when staring into space, extensions of those senses through telescopes, microscopes, etc
  • Our physical, egoic and sense experience of our self is occuring within the subconscious and is in fact held imobile within the subconsicous
  • Discuss implications for dreams, prophecy
Practices of Raja Yoga build up this awareness of magical anatomy starting from the sensation of the physical self and the physical will at the nucleus and build up into the fact that all being is held within the sphere of the mind.  To begin, the will is developed by a series of restrictions and observances.  This will is converted into poise through the asanas.  This poise is ''energized'' and harmonized/regularized by pranayama or right breathing/breath control.  [Apparently] external sense objects are then contemplated as mental artefacts and senses are withdrawn and trained by will.  Since physical objects are mental objects all is one in the sphere of the mind.  Experience bliss.
  • Restriction (stop yourself from doing certain things - i.e. eating meat, lying, playing)
  • Observance (make yourself do things - i.e.  keeping clean/organized, studying)
  • Poise (diet + fitness + yoga practice = poise)
  • Breathe (breath control, nervous cleaning)
  • Sense Objects + Mind (observe world as sense objects not physical objects)
  • Meditation (observe how you own mind infuses all sense objects)
  • All Mind
  • Bliss
n.b. The use of spheres here will be corrected here and in subsequent lessons as spheres represent a misconception.  The correct term is hyperspheres - 4spheres, or 5 spheres/ ''glomes''. Spheres are only a way into hyperspheres.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hermetic Lessons - Maps



I am teaching a three part course at the moment - three 45min lessons for a small group of relative beginners on a) maps b) mind and c) light.  The practical sides of the course are a) qabalah b) raja yoga and c) astral projection.  My students are all intellectual, have had some spiritual experiences and have a shared complaint about the difficulties of making any headway due to the sheer amount of information on these mixed subjects and the impossibility of making choices.  In describing the lesson I will be as succinct as possible and if you want to use this plan feel free to adapt.

(5mins) Draw map of the earth free hand
 
(5 mins) Draw timemap of human civilization 

(5mins) Discuss results.  Point out eurocentrism of the maps that students have drawn.  Use globe to show that effectively half of the planet is blue so they have only drawn half the planet.  Point out terra centrism. 



(5 mins) Using the results discuss usefulness and limitations of map(s) and shared language.

(20 mins) Dimensions - lecture and Q/A, elicit answers where possible

- Discuss physical and connotative meanings for the 5 dimensions

  • East - Sunrise, hope, rebirth, awaking
  • West - Sunset, end of things, dreams, sleeping
  • North - cold, contract
  • South - warmth, expand

- If we continue north in a straight line and not follow the curvature of the earth we would head into space.  At what point do the spatial directions lose their meaning in infinity?  If the universe is finite what happens to that line?  If the universe is infinite what happens to that line?

- Point out the usefulness of a certain kind of ''geocentrism'' that puts you in the middle of the dimensions.

- What does it mean if someone is ''warm'' or ''cold''?  The connotative meanings are important and will make sense of the Tree of Life as you look at it later for it is not only a map of space/time but it also a map of the psyche.* 

- Magnetite - studies have shown humans have magnetite in their brain in the same way other animals do who use it to navigate.  What would be the effect of calibrating the organism by spending some time in the north-south, east-west position meditating?  What ''powers'' could we have from the magnetite that animals have that our egoes drown out with their incessant noise about shoe shopping, etc?  If such powers are working unconsciously anyway then would our calibration have the effect of helping us to hear them?

- Use the location of the Pacific ocean to make points about the cultures of California and Japan.  If we suggest that the Pacific Ocean is like the unconscious mind of the Earth what does this say about those two places?  Do other parts of the world fill roles like this or not?  What does this say about the dimensions?  How useful is this idea what are the limitations/dangers?

  • Up - out, rise, lift, ascent, superior
  • Down - in, falling, descent, drop, inferior
- There is no such thing as a precise up and down they are more like in and out from our position in space.

- Why is the ''Fall'' bad, why is ''Down'' bad?  Side discussion on why down would be considered bad from the view point of evolutionary ancestors - down would indicate a journey to the jungle/forest floor with all the predators etc that this involves, falling would be bad in case the monkey breaks a limb.  Ask students to think about other evolutionarily built-in responses to dimensions as they continue to reflect.

- Point out that science as a rule tends to ''look down'' on things and break them into smaller parts in order to understand and that art/architecture as a rule tends to ''build up'' from smaller things to make larger creative structures.**

  • Good - nutrition, excellence/virtue
  • Evil  - poison, ineptitude/lack of skill 
  • Past - birth
  • Future - death

- Move students away from purely ethical understanding of the terms good and evil by asking them to think about what good and evil mean in art and what good and evil mean to a bacteria - think about our own instinctive reponses to eating vomit.  What is bad art? In general terms discuss at what point all dimensions either reverse in their meaning i.e. when does too much nutrition become ''bad'', when does too much warmth become ''bad''?



- (5 mins) Introduce students to sphere of the mind.  Ask students to meditate on the dimensions and insist that this should be pushed to the point where it becomes disorientating.


 
H/W - learn traditional order for elements, planets and zodiac signs

Notes for next lesson - discuss dangers of spheres in thinking

*For instance our Sefirah of Love and Compassion would be Warm and our Sefirah of Judgement/Fear/Strength would be Cold.
**This ties into an understanding of Hod and Netzach later on.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The WMT - Chaos Magic and Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable


Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth.

Damien Hirst, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

When I was in Venice I had the fortune to find myself in Damien Hirst's exhibition ''Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable'' at the Palazzo Grassi and was provided with ample opportunity to reflect on Chaos Magic, its efficacy (or lack thereof) and its absorption by the mainstream.





The whole space is set up like the British Museum and the conceit is that Team Hirst have rescued and restored the antiquities recovered from a sunken wreck - there are numerous films whch show their work in action, exploring a seabed littered with glimmering treasure in the form of golden coins, weapons, ornaments and statuary - shoals of fish swimming by.  One of the first things I noticed was how everyone was really into it, they entered that headspace as if they were in a museum studying genuine relics and artefacts and only after a while did people seem to snap out of it and well... get the joke.



It was at this point in the exhibition that I reflected on the relative lack of success chaos magicians had had with working with thought-forms such as Mickey Mouse or Batman and how they tended to resort in the end to working with saints or ancient spirits.  From my understanding the post-chaos argument (that leads into the grimoire revival) seemed to be that older entities had had longer to gestate in some kind of astral womb or had been fed more by sacrifice and prayer and were therefore more capable of granting boons and inflicting banes than Scooby Doo was.  I wondered for a moment whether this was down to the presentist perception that is dominant amongst magicians, and whether there was an eternalist approach to the conjuring of cartoon characters that took into account that they would exist for centuries and therefore would grow stronger as belief in the older Gods waned.  Could you tap into that from the present, summon them from the future?


 As I reflected I attempted to sense some kind of eternal something emanating from these ''treasures'' but there was nothing there. It made me wonder that whether the connection that some people claim to have with antiquities at museums is more to do with their own mind than any kind of ''energy'' or ''spirit'' resting in the statue or tool itself.  In the end I concluded that it might be the case that in this timeline the relics of the modern world are brutally swept away by some catastrophe and so never have the time to ''gestate'' or ''feed'' in the astral even from an eternalist perspective.  Perhaps these cultural trinkets are only here for a brief moment, never amount to much and the inheritors or our civilization, human or otherwise, have no further interest in archaeology.  They might symbolise a culture that doomed the Earth and there may be another great iconoclasm?



Although the reverential air to the sacred past was broken after the first encounter with Mickey and other Disney characters the majority of the exhibition is made up of a selection of statues of deities and mystical figures from around the world - so it is very much like the British Museum.  Was it possible to connect with spirit/memory through these artworks or only to admire them aesthetically?   It seemed like there was nothing in these statues either apart from great beauty, and although surely noone had conjured spirits into them (Damien...?) it was impossible even to connect with the idea of the spirit through them.


Later in my pathwalking I ended up in the Temple of Zeus in Olympia and the Parthenon in Athens so I had a lot to compare and contrast with the exhibition and although the experience of Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable was spiritually underwhelming it was really very very funny.  A lot like Chaos Magic in that respect.  Let's hope it doesn't start taking itself too seriously.