Fairly Frantic

“I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts.”
Aleister Crowley.

space

Since one function of a blog is to get things off one’s chest (and onto the unsuspecting internet) I thought I’d have a go. Normal, erudite and reasoned programming will be resumed as soon as possible.

Pick and mix spirituality

If I was like some, I’d make a rude pun :)

This new age approach is exemplified in this from Alain de Botton:

I’m aware this offends some people; there’s a criticism that religions are not spiritual buffets from which we can select the choicest cuts, but I heartily disagree. Just as with a singer you like, you wouldn’t buy everything they ever did and never listen to any other singers. Surely we can create our own playlist when it comes to culture, and also religion.

Well, maybe so, maybe no, but either way even if you manage to concoct something that fits together the chances are you will not be practicing a real spiritual tradition. Why? Because if we choose from our ego, we strengthen our ego. And our ego will not choose those aspects of the various religions ‘on offer’ that will threaten the ego. And that is the function, the definition of a spiritual tradition. This is why an authentic tradition never, ever, ever feels universally comfortable to us. Sure we can ‘tune in’ to our intuition to help us choose – before we have practiced depth spirituality for years to clarify our intuition. Good luck with that.

Internet Memes

For the love of Dog, if you’re gonna spread internet memes and stories, check the facts. ‘Nuff said.

Bashing Christ #4079

Related to the internet memes – the utter, utter mix up of a few facts and much childhood wounding that comes along in these Zeitgeist inspired Horus = Christ messages is staggering. What is more staggering is that leaders of magical Orders and groups believe and reproduce this muck. No questions asked. Because it fits into their pathetic little views about how big and bad Christianity is. Let’s all run to our mummy-Goddess.

The facts on the matter are clear: much of the Zeitgeist info is warmed up dog-turd. See here and here and here. Again, it’s exactly what that wonderful man, C.S. Lewis said – many adults choose to leave the Christian traditions based on a childish conception of Christianity, not a mature and adult one. Grow up, already, I’m sure your father wasn’t that bad.

Respect the order of the Orders.

The Golden Dawn, and many similar magical traditions, are predicated on a systematic and careful process of spiritual unfoldment. The concept of the three Orders (the GD, the RR et AC and the Third) wasn’t just made up by Westcott and Mathers after a hard night at the pub (unlike some aspects of the Alexandrian tradition). The concept correlates to the ancient and traditional understanding of spiritual unfoldment which recognises three broad but distinct phases. These were described in the west by Pseudo Dionysius (who influenced the esoteric tradition mightily) as: purgation, illumination and unity (theosis).

In the first Order we purge or purify our personality selves, allowing them to be loose and clearer enough to handle the Illumination we generate via our magical practices in the second Order. This second Order magical work illuminates us enough that, eventually, we become who we are and realise (not just know) we are actually the One, and thereby we experience Theosis in the third Order.

If ignore this framework and start practicing heavy illuminative magic in the first Order there is every chance we will distort and stunt our purgation and purification. Our egos will not be loosened enough to hold the light from the higher. We can easily, like Mr Crowley quoted at the start, attain bodaciously high grades and still be concerned about our ego.

Any group or Order who practices deep magic in the first Order has not understood the structure they profess to uphold and work within. It’d be like a Wiccan first degree initiate practicing the Great Rite before the depth experience of death and limitation of the second degree which prepares them for the Rite. We cannot rush or force feed magical development, we cannot make things happen ‘faster’. If you are attracted to groups that attempt to do this, that’s your ego. If you are in such a group and offended by my words, that’s your ego.

It’s You I’m Talking About.

I am constantly amazed when I teach or lecture to Wiccans about the wonderful, exciting and divine actual history of their magical religion, a certain percentage will not get it. They somehow think I am not talking about them, even though they are using the same rituals created by Gardner from western magical sources, not any putative ancient religious witchcraft. They are like the ‘writers’ Phil Rickman is addressing in my favourite exclamation of his:

I mean, have you read some of this crap? The most embarrassing thing is that people who can’t write are usually the very last to realise they can’t write. Even if you scream in their faces, YOU CAN’T FUCKING WRITE! they just think you’re jealous because they’ve mastered in a couple of weeks something that took you years of heartache, false-starts and terrible disappointments.

One day I will probably scream in some ‘initiated by me grandmother’ Wiccan’s face, “It’s YOU I’m talking about”. It’s pity ‘cos they’re mostly lovely folk :)

Happy Happy Happy

There is a new age expectation that spiritual teachers should always be happy and positive, full of vigour and energy, patient and kind with a lovely smile to grace their websites and books. And they shouldn’t smoke or eat anything but fresh organic food. Bugger that for a lark!

My teacher was not happy all the time. Or even positive. He was no looker either, being lanky and smoke wrinkled with teeth that could have come from the Big Book of British Smiles.

This focus on happiness and ‘positive energy’ is simply silly. Look at W.G. Gray – he was a mean old sod who ended up cursing most of his students. Yet they recall him and his teaching with gratitude and fondness, because he was a real, solid magician. This happy-hap focus is a snare and is not actually spiritual at all.

As Buddhism observed long ago, pain and pleasure are simply two ends of the old “egoic stick.” As long as one is drawing one’s vital energy from self-esteem, self-affirmation, and self-expression, even in service of the purest and noblest of causes, one is still orbiting within the egoic feedback loop. As long as happiness and a personal sense of self-worth are still the measures by which one relates to life and adjusts one’s heading; as long as vitality is the measure of spiritual wellbeing, one is trapped within the egoic feedback system. These are not moral judgments; they are descriptive criteria. And by these criteria, it is depressingly clear that ninety-nine percent of what is being promulgated as contemporary Western spirituality is merely fine-tuning the ego.

(http://www.sacredweb.com/online_articles/sw4_bourgeault.html)

Well, that’s it for now :)

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18 comments

  1. Morgan Drake Eckstein · January 30, 2013

    Wait a second–there are other reasons to have a blog?!

  2. 01finrod · January 30, 2013

    When it comes to the matter of the historicity of Christ, I don’t like to assume anything, given the lack of evidence. Specifically, people who claim that Yeshua Ben Joseph existed are making an assertion which it is up to them to provide evidence for. My current view is that the figure of Jesus Christ is most likely a composite of various people who lived at that time and did various things in defiance of the Roman occupation and preached the coming of the heavenly kingdom. I could be wrong about this.

    While the Phase I religious traditions of the Mediterranian and the middle-east might not be as good a source of elements of the traditional Christian account of Jesus as some think, have you considered the case of Saoshant? The following is taken from the Wikipedia article on Zoroastrianism:

    “The final savior of the world, Saoshyant, will be born to a virgin impregnated by the seed of Zoroaster while bathing in a lake. Saoshyant will raise the dead – including those in both heaven and hell – for final judgment, returning the wicked to hell to be purged of bodily sin. Next, all will wade through a river of molten metal in which the righteous will not burn. Heavenly forces will ultimately triumph over evil, rendering it forever impotent. Saoshyant and Ahura Mazda will offer a bull as a final sacrifice for all time, and all men will become immortal. Mountains will again flatten and valleys will rise; heaven will descend to the moon, and the earth will rise to meet them both.[42]

    Man requires two judgments because there are as many aspects to his being: spiritual (menog) and physical (getig).[42]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

  3. Peregrin · January 30, 2013

    Hey Craig, thanks for the link – I have read this (and much other Zoroastrianism stuff)… it is very interesting and no one will deny its possible influence on the early Jesus Movements. I hope.

    That said, I think the general academic consensus is that Jesus was a living man, who really existed and did a few things which got him in trouble before getting executed. The Jesus Seminar, comprised of of over 150 scholars have concluded this much. After that it’s down to a matter of opinion.

    I personally think the evidence (as I imperfectly understand it) shows he was more an apocalypticsis and itinerant healer than anything else. This has little bearing on the Christian religions and mysteries, which took the Jesus story and elaborated it into a new places, ranging from a nasty piece of work (e.g, the Westboro fuck-heads) to the most sublime mysticism imaginable (e.g. Simeon the new Theologian).

    In any case, the point I was making was that the Horus=Jesus stuff is bullshit often made and spread by those with issues with Christianity. There are plenty of folk like this and I think if we were to deal with our issues rather than create lies or spread them without fact checking, the world would be a nicer place THANKS.

  4. Lee · January 30, 2013

    Haha! I love it when you get your snark on. I most definitely practice a pick n mix spirituality though. In fact I am reminded of those candy towers in Kmart of old. Some yellow bananas here, some black cats there… my ego is a bitch though! Eclecticism is rife in neo-pagan circles. I never kid myself that I am practicing a real spiritual tradition though. And maybe it will take me longer to get where I am going because of it. Though I have observed other Gen Y pagans younger still than me, perhaps divinely inspired, starting up their own ‘traditions’ and publishing (‘real’ publishing) three books before they have hit their mid 20s and I could even get a blog rolling, and they seem to be practicing something that is deep and challenging. Although I do admit I side-eye their practice from time to time.

  5. MvdV · January 30, 2013

    Thumbs up from me Peregrin,

    Some great points Frater!

    MvdV

  6. Mam Adar · January 30, 2013

    OMG, I think Phil Rickman’s books are the stuff I have been wanting to read without knowing about it. I remember seeing The Bones of Avalon at my workplace, but I think I’ll start with the older novels. Thanks, Peregrin!

  7. JR Kiefer · January 30, 2013

    “Because it fits into their pathetic little views about how big and bad Christianity is. Let’s all run to our mummy-Goddess.”

    Peregrin, the same could be said of the obverse in just as spiteful a fasion. You seem to relish and truly enjoy demeaning others’ view of the evidence and its various interpretations.

    All hail, Peregrin, Defender of the Truth, because he says so.

  8. Peregrin · January 30, 2013

    Lol, thanks, Lee :) Yeah, well the sainted Starhawk published the Spiral Dance in her mid-20s. Amazing! S

    @Mam Adar – yes, go read Phil – really good: :) Older ones first.

    @ JR (I can see your email address) – Yes. Yes. Very cool – I love me a hail :)

    THANKS

  9. JR Kiefer · January 30, 2013

    Peregrin, I am confused by your “I can see your email address” comment. It appears you require an email as a prerequisite to posting on your blog. Or were you making a joke about the address itself?

    Anyway, I am glad you enjoyed your hail, but I grimace at my own typos.

  10. John McNair · January 30, 2013

    Yes Peregrin, the sentiment expressed in the “Happy, happy, happy” section is so important and is not alluded to often enough in writings on spirituality. Apparently Ramakrishna, Yukteswar and Crowley were not pleasant people to be taught by but students were generally with them to learn the path to the infinite, not to be their best student.

  11. Peregrin · January 30, 2013

    Hi JR – sorry, yes I was making a comment on your cool email address :) Thanks.

  12. JR · January 30, 2013

    Liked your points on ‘ego’ re: New Age selectivism Peregrin.
    How one can liken spritiual traditions to pop-artist selction is beyond me and completely disrespectful (but then again, Western colonialist culture often is as history shows us). Perhaps an iPhone app is next??

    PS… Don’t even get me started with TZM movies!!

  13. Pompous Adeptus · January 30, 2013

    Holy crap… I just got it. You’re talking to me! Damn…

  14. greengalloway · January 30, 2013

    I like what you say here about Wicca. The “initiated by my granny” types seem to be getting more and more in recent years. All the more reason to keep myself to myself.
    Alicia (I think this is the same Alicia – http://mountfranklinannualpagangathering.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/alicia-writes.html) wrote an article a while back called “Back to the Broom Closet” on this very issue. Well worth a read if you can get your hands on a copy.

  15. Andrew · January 30, 2013

    Alas, talking to me, too. (And it’s a powerful ego that’s thinking, “but maybe he’ll respond, no, no, I didn’t mean you,” But that’s an ego trip in and of itself.

    I think the illustrative tradition that I’ve been exploring has some of this deep spiritual lineage you’re speaking about. Today, in discussion with a friend, we realized that Geniel (who is the Angel of the 22nd mansion of the Moon, which was today where I am) aids the freeing of captives and the restoration of health. We were pondering a third friend who is in hospice care and nearing death, and we realized almost at the same time that Geniel’s imagery is almost perfect for someone in that half-alive, half dead state: he says “Damsel arise,” as the King James Bible would have it, and helps the near-dead to recover; or he says, “come with me across the river into freedom,” as psychopomp and conveyor of souls. And so I made the relevant image for my first friend, the one I can in fact talk to (not the one in hospice), and said, “look, I think of these things as powerful medicine, but [our friend] has to decide if she’s going to be well and speedily recover, or if she is going to choose a different kind of health and freedom.”

    Even as I said these things, though, I was … ahem. Frightened. This touches on big stuff — Saturn stuff, life and death stuff, boundaries and endings. I don’t know our hospice friend well enough to make these kinds of decisions, and I almost regret making the image, and putting it into my friend’s hands. Is it a loaded gun, or a piece of paper? Something in between? Or something far more dangerous? How would I know?

    Except, of course, that I have to put some trust into the illustrative spiritual tradition that the Mansions and the Zodiac and the Decans represent — the stories that it tells, and the ministry that the images have for the world, feel authentic and real… in part because of the discomfort that I have in telling or drawing out these tales. Maybe it’s all unverified personal gnosis, which concerns me; on the other hand, the mark of a great poet or a great artist is the way in which their guardian genius (or HGA?) speaks through them to reveal deep, uncomfortable truths to a new generation.

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