How Rosicrucian is the Golden Dawn? A review of a review

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I have to confess I get nervous, a kind of ‘contact embarrassment’ whenever someone says they are a Rosicrucian. I was brought up by kind and decent folk, unassuming and unpretentious and this seems to have influenced by spiritual life somewhat: when the Fama says to ‘profess nothing’ save to heal the sick gratis, I think it means just that. Tradition tells us one simply does not declare oneself a Rosicrucian. It’s like Maggie Thatcher’s wisdom: ‘if you have to tell someone you’re a lady, you’re not’.

I guess a good response for those who wander up to us at parties declaring they are ‘a Rosicrucian’ would be to imitate novelist Maya Angelou’s retort when confronted with folk who proudly declared they were Christians: ‘what, already?’:)

So when a blog, for all the right reasons I am sure, seeks to review modern Rosicrucian Orders and give them a score for various ‘Rosicrucian’ qualities, it does make me wonder a little. However, Sam Robinson has done just this and today produced his latest review, this time on ‘the Golden Dawn’. Knowing a bit about this myself, I thought I’d give the review its own little review:)

Firstly, Sam needs congratulations – or perhaps pity – for attempting this task at all. The modern set of groups, practices, communities, websites and ideas that are ‘the Golden Dawn’ in 2016 is extremely diverse. I wouldn’t touch a review of ANY aspect of the GD across such an assorted (and often at odds) set of misfits with a barge pole. So here’s to Sam! And to his many caveats he requires to discuss such a diverse cluster of spiritual odds and sods.

Sam, after much placating of expected dummy spitting by some people, starts by an assertion that the GD is Rosicrucian, despite what other Rosicrucians may say. By this he means the inner order of the GD, the Rosae Rubeae et Aurae Crucis, (RR et AC). So far so good, though of course the published text of one redaction of the initiation into this inner order specifically forbids initiates from telling folk they are in fact, Rosicrucians. Hmmm.

Of this Sam writes: “The RR et AC does not belong to the Golden Dawn. It belongs to the greater Rosicrucian current.” It is hard to argue with that, since the GD was specifically created to be the Outer Order of the Inner and is dependent upon the Inner for its existence. Nothing can, by definition ‘belong’ to the GD at all, at all:)

I assume what Sam is getting at here is that the RR et AC is a manifestation of the Rosicrucian tradition(s). This may not be obvious now with all sorts of modern GD (outer) manifestations, but the inner retains links to that tradition that cannot be discarded (and still practice the GD effectively in the Outer). No matter how Thelemic one is or how problematic one many find exoteric Christianity.

Sam’s review succeeds or fails on his separation of the GD into the “… ‘public Golden Dawn’ vs. the esoteric and still hidden Golden Dawn Orders.” This will piss many folk off, but I think is one of the greatest aspects of his review and something I respect. Why will it annoy some folk? Sam answers beautifully:

The very idea of still hidden Golden Dawn Orders is considered blaspheme [sic] in some Public G.D circles, so certain as they are that their branches are the only ones with any lineage to claim. So much so that now a militant behavior towards other lineages has become a norm, as is shooting down any ‘challengers’ to a monopoly they imagine they have.

copy-of-pastoslid1Naturally of course, since these ‘still hidden’ GD Orders cannot be scrutinized no verifiable evidence can be forthcoming. The quotations and ideas attributed to these esoteric GD groups could have been written by Sam himself over his morning waffles. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

However, a keen observer and practitioner of the GD/RR et AC will have noticed certain themes and ideas present in the original manifestations (via documented evidence) that are now missing or downplayed in many modern Orders. Extrapolating from these facts can give us an understanding of what a more traditional ‘hidden’ Order’s views may be. That these fit perfectly with the ideas Sam presents as being from two traditional Rosicrucian GD folk is interesting to say the least.

Sam summarizes the themes often missing in the modern GD nicely: “They [the modern Orders] tend to down-play the original Rosicrucian-Christian elements.”  And “At times they offer an approach which is often at odds with the actual G.D documents.” Ouch.

He continues: “The Esoteric G.D as a hidden stream remains more active in its Rosicrucian approaches”. Something I have found also. He explores this Rosicrucian approach as one of the distinguishing factors that separate the public GD and the esoteric, with the public being more focused on the magical and the esoteric on the Rosicrucian.

History

Sam does a quick review of the historical origins of the GD: “The story of the ‘discovery of the [Cipher] manuscripts’ led to their alleged contact with Anna Sprengel”. Me rusty brain tells me it was only later when Dr Felkin started his own search that the mythic Fraulein Sprengel acquired the first name ‘Anna’.

Sam now gives us a juicy carrot:

Recent information has surfaced detailing events leading up to the founding of the SRIA. Essentially English masons did a tour of German and Belgian lodges and encountered spectacular rites (amongst the rites drawn from, shock horror to English masons, was the Egyptian Rite of Misraim). The excursion left them with a sense of purpose; that the English should also have such a Rosicrucian branch.

Well, roger me rigid and call me Toby! Obviously we have to ask WHAT ‘Recent information’ and surfacing from WHERE via WHO? This is all rather occult Boys Own Adventure stuff, but I for one would like some proper sources here:)

The lack of understanding of, or willingness to accept, the Christocentric aspects of the inner order of the modern GD manifestations is mentioned by Sam. He says it ‘does influence their Christosophia score’. This lack is something that we have long argued here on MOTO. Such an approach does not require an Inner Order GD member to become a confessional Christian, but they do need a rich and deep engagement with the Christian method of the Rosicrucian tradition. Authorities like R.A. Gilbert maintain Rosicrucianism needs to be approached from a Christian Trinitarian framework else it ceases to be Rosicrucianism.

In this regard Sam briefly mentions the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, but while initially describing it as a ‘Christian branch’ of the GD, he quickly makes an important distinction: the FRC searches for Grace not magical power which kinda puts it outside the orbit of the GD, at least the modern GD. He also talks about the order and movement often known as Whare Ra in New Zealand:

Whare Ra in New Zealand was one of the longest going G.D currents and certainly it was Christian and had a more faith based approach. In fact most of its members saw attending the G.D as a way to enhance their Catholic beliefs. Still it was not the Christianity of the manifestos.

whareravault100001I think is pretty much on the ball, though from memory the members were largely Anglican not Catholic. Tony Fuller in his excellent doctoral thesis refers to Stella Matutina documents that clearly position the Order as a manifestation and continuation of the Christian revelation through the historical Incarnation. There is no equivocation there.

Christian or wot?

Sam refers to the function and power of Christian symbols within the Inner Order initiation ceremonies and papers. These certainly are clearly drawn from the Christian myths and texts. However, he says that “after initiation into the RR et AC all the Christ symbolism stops dead in its tracks.”

I am really not clear if this is the case at all. Certainly it is in many, if not most modern (public) GD Orders, but not within the Rosicrucianism based Orders he describes as esoteric. The difference is quite stark: I have corresponded with modern adepts who cheerfully confess they have NEVER read the Manifestos and with adepts who know the Manifestos intimately and in parts verbatim. It is the same with the supporting scripture and Christian traditions that underpin the Manifestos.

I agree fully with Sam when he writes of the modern/public GD: “… most G.D leaders mention the [Rosicrucian] current as being ‘just a layer of symbolism to the ritual’ and worse I’ve heard a major G.D authority say ‘there is nothing to the Rosicrucian symbolism.’ Instead the focus is on the magical approach rather than the Rosicrucian one … This is one of the examples of the public G.D being guilty of ignoring its own teachings and papers.”

The same applies to the modern interpretation of the Christian emphasis within the Manifestos and the Inner Order. For example, Pat Zalewski gives a good example of the modern utilitarian approach to the mystical Christianity within the Inner Order when he writes:  “[Christ’s] Name evokes a powerful current or force that fills us with the receptive principle, something akin to the Yin of Chinese metaphysics.” This is a very different approach to his antecedents in Whare Ra.

Sam proceeds to speculate that the ‘Christosophic’ score of the GD would be increased by changing the ritual (presumably the published Adeptus Minor ceremony) by including “… the 11 Apostles, a spear and crown of thorns could be added to the ritual, and the candidate would circulate the temple one time carrying a cross over their shoulders. Furthermore the forty days of the desert of Christ should actually be something the candidate has to undergo, following a period of mystical work before the Rosicrucian degree.”

Personally, I am unsure on all this, as the inner symbolism and mystery of all these elements, apart from the 11 not 12 Apostles, is already within parts of the ceremony or lead-up to the ceremony. At least they are in those Orders that work the inner workings fully within a Christocentric approach. Likewise I personally have a very different appreciation of a section of the Third Point in the Adeptus Minor ceremony quoted by Sam, where the Chief Adept speaks from inside the Pastos:

For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.  I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.  I am the purified.  I have passed through the Gates of Darkness into Light.  I have fought upon earth for Good.  I have finished my Work.  I have entered into the Invisible.  I am the Sun in his rising.  I have passed through the hour of cloud and of night.  I am Amoun, the Concealed One, the Opener of the Day.  I am Osiris Onophris, the Justified One.  I am the Lord of Life triumphant over Death.  There is no part of me which is not of the Gods.  I am the Preparer of the Pathway, the Rescuer unto the Light; Out of the Darkness, let that Light arise.

Sam describes this as “Hermetic Christianity, but it is also quite dry and distances the initiate from Christ.” I am not sure I know anyone personally who experienced this as ‘dry’. Certainly it could be said to be ‘distant’ from a mystical appreciation of Christ as a sole deity, but this is not the point of this part of the ceremony. The Chief Adept speaks as our father in Christ, AND as Amoun AND as the Justified Osiris, producing a fusion which allows connection to the Mystery behind all forms and thence a gateway to the eternal verities. He correctly explores these different approaches by writing:

A contrast arises here, in that one objectifies Christ as an ideal we may become, while the other does the same, but also worships Christ adoringly through the same process.

I am sure that Sam would agree though that more than a few historical and contemporary GD folk do worship and adore Christ, even if this is not the case for those most visible in the public square. However Sam is correct in his critique of the GD/RR et AC’s approach to both Christian theology and scripture as functional and subservient to technical processes of adept manipulation of the various aspects of the self to produce transformation. This is opposed to the traditional Christian understanding of Redemption through the action of Christ not by our own effort. This dual aspect, using traditional Christian-Rosicrucian imagery within a magical context that is counter to traditional Christian theology is the nub of the problem the GD faced and still faces. It is succinctly put by Professor Ronald Hutton:

It was far from obvious, in the performance of the Qabbalistic Cross, whether the kingdom, the power, and the glory belonged to God or were being promised to the human carrying out the ritual.

As Hutton goes on to say, the ambiguity made the GD attractive to people with a range of beliefs and approaches. However, it has also produced the state of play, ably noted by Sam, where the GD can become a tabula rasa for any modern magician to foist their own spiritual views upon.

Sam’s review of the GD approach to traditional ‘Gnosticism’ seems pretty spot on, as far as I can tell, so I won’t comment on that. Instead I will finish with a quote from the review that makes total sense to me. Thank you Sam for this review and your comments, it was informative and delightful.

I would have to say the majority of ‘traditional’ Public G.D Orders are not very Christian. They too tend to play down the role Christ has within their R.C Inner Order.

In many ways Public Golden Dawn has taken a step downhill in this regard. Not only do they ignore the Christ mysticism already outlined in the documents but Christ has become a total stranger. It is almost as if modern Golden Dawn has attracted a bunch of youths who grew up hating their parent’s religion.

Had Golden Dawn remained secret I imagine things would be very different today.

Amen to that.:)

 

Orlando Massacre

Put this on Facebook just now. Placing it here in case it helps at all, somehow.

This is probs a complete waste of time, but here is my small response to the Orlando murders and gun violence generally.

(1) Some Rosicrucian wisdom: Nequaquam vacuum – ‘Nowhere a vacuum’. The murderer’s hatred of gay folk did not arise from nowhere. He was not born with it. It was interdependent on the general hatred and fear of LGTBI people generally. Every person who has ever preached hate against ‘the gays’ or discriminated against folk because of their sexuality or denied them respect or in any other way withheld care based on sexuality is partly responsible for the fostering the atmosphere where this can occur. As is everyone who has not done enough to counter the hate – myself included. I am not going to let people, family and friends, off the hook whom I know were anti-gay 20-30 years ago and now have ridden with cultural change and horrified at this massacre. Sorry, but no.

(2) Any ‘right’ to gun ownership is as fictitious as any other human made law or construct. It is temporal and can change. If the Constitution was understood in the same manner by everyone there would be no such thing as Constitutional Law. There is. So deal with the fact your ‘right’ exists only because folk with power maintain it. This ‘right’ can and will change at some point. It is not God given. In any of the major attempts to formulate statements of ‘rights’ based on the dignity of simply being human, like the UDHR, owning weapons is not considered. Deal with it.

(3) You and everyone you know is ALREADY supportive of weapon restrictions. The US and the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ went to war and invaded Iraq based on this principle. No one, even the most gun-loving redneck would be happy for their neighbour to own an armed thermonuclear weapon. How about 50 canisters of Sarin nerve gas? No? Mustard gas? A fully armoured tank? A bazooka? Landmines around the edge of their property that will blow your moggie to kingdom-come if she crosses over? No. The point is there is always a spectrum and we are all somewhere on it.

The question becomes then, where on that spectrum should a caring, decent society enforce restrictions. This again is a temporal matter and will change. So when someone says ‘if you take away the AR-15, knives and baseball bats could be next’ you are making no sense. You have already, in your mind got a limit. So let’s discuss those limits for society, not react against any ideas that make you scared someone will come and ‘take our guns’.

(4) The idea that the people, not the guns are the problem is facile. A six year old could tell you that. The taste of the cheese exists not in the cheese, not in the eater but in the union of both. A gun massacre would not exist if these pesky, virtually always, men who think blowing someone apart is a good idea did not exist. True. However, it would also not exist if the guns did not exist. And yes, yes one can make other weapons from handy household materials, but the evidence is clear: mad men intent on murder prefer guns. Cos they are so easy to get and use for murder. As they were designed to be.

Thanks.:)

From island prison to island prisons: White Australia and other stories

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This week the highest court in Papua New Guinea unanimously ruled that the detention camps established by Australia on Manus Island are unconstitutional, which is to say illegal.

There were two layers to the decision, both of which went against the case for the legality of the camps. The first was that the establishment of the camps was unconstitutional. The second was that the constitutional amendment designed to authorise the establishment of the camps was itself unconstitutional.

The next day the PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced that the camps would be closed. Bear in mind that the case was brought and won by the leader of the opposition. The PNG Supreme Court may have displayed greater moral fortitude and constitutional rigor than the High Court of Australia, but politics is politics wherever we look.

 

Two constitutions, four islands: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Manus and Nauru

This post is…

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George Pell and the SNAFU Principle

geroge pellCurrently in Australia much focus is being given to the incredible display of Cardinal George Pell giving testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse via video link from Rome. I won’t report much of that here: Google and be amazed yourself.

What I will say is that Cardinal’s Pell’s repeated refrain of ‘I knew nothing’ about the vast amount of abusive and paedophilic behaviour occurring under his watch rings both false and true to me. Most of my contemporaries and peers think it is all a pack of muck-muck. However, while I think that, I also do not think that.

This seems contradictory and if the institution (the Roman Catholic Church) Pell represents was functional and healthy it would be so. But it is not, and the good Cardinal is the product of an institution that has taken the SNAFU principle to its apotheosis by including the concept of consecrated spokesmen of God at its highest points. Let me explain.

The SNAFU (Situation Normal All Fucked Up) principle as I read it as teenager in St Bob is explained in this diagram:

Here we may readily substitute workers for peasants, middle managers for knights, upper management for nobles and CEO for King. Or in Pell’s case, the laity, episcopacy, cardinals and pope.

SNAFU – power down and information filtered up.

The crucial element here is that power comes down from the top and information is FILTERED as it rises to the top. That is, the peasants learn very quickly to only tell the knights what they think the knights want to hear, who do the same for the nobles etc. Because otherwise a mighty shit storm will descend upon them from high. The result is the King knows less about what is really going on his kingdom than the most uneducated serf and his decisions will reflect that ignorance.

I remember when a school friend was elected as an MP and I was ranting to him about some of the more notorious decisions of former PM John Howard which showed he was about as ‘in touch’ with the Australian public as a starved shark. My friend calmly replied, ‘well, yes he would have been told that the most Australians think that way and honestly would have thought any other voice was simply being negative’. He knew the SNAFU principle well, my friend. Needless to say he did not last long in politics.

So, yes SNAFU. This happens in most structured organisations, even families. And it happens ALL THE TIME. I’ve seen it occur in the most mundane spheres, like the purchase of scissors for an office.

Now focusing on the RCC, the power and awe given to priests, let alone those higher in the hierarchy, is staggering. Most non-Catholics will not understand this. Most congregations back when Pell was a simple priest were taught to see Priests as something other than human. I’ve seen elderly parishioners almost wet themselves when a priest accepted their invitation to dinner. I was not raised Catholic but have studied the culture a bit from up close and my reports here are considered accurate by friends who were raised Catholic.

So once we have the concept of a divinely appointed, ordained person up high in the SNAFU pyramid we are in serious trouble. And let’s not forget Catholic Church has a highly regimented structure, founded on, and this is important, Roman Imperial principles.

And when we add to this the vast amount of power plays and manoeuvres in the church, the old boys club mentality, we have hit an even nastier level of dysfunction.  Then let’s add the practice of not removing from office men who are manifestly insane (and I have friends who suffered as children from such priests) simply because they are ordained. And let’s top it off with a situation far more crucial than purchasing scissors – the vile, extremely secretive, and not even admitted-to-the-consciousness abuse and rape of children. We have now entered the world of a byzantine cluster-fuck, mind-game, sandwich most people would not believe.

Within this incredibly abusive and dysfunctional ‘atmosphere’ (an esotericist would say ‘egregore’) the flow of accurate information would be extremely hard to predict, let alone manage. And even when news entered the consciousness, it would hardly be believed, let alone acted up. Then there would be dinner, a sermon to write and it would be shunted into the big bag of ‘I don’t want to fucking know’ we all carry around inside. That Cardinal Pell’s bag is larger, murkier and more evil than most seems beyond dispute. What he did this with, what he ‘knows’, does not know and what he does not want to know and what he will not tell, we cannot actually discern from the given evidence.

I am not here commenting on Cardinal Pell’s legal guilt or innocence at all. That is impossible to do, and we must resist conflating moral guilt based on our own limited knowledge with legal guilt. What I am exploring is the effects an incredibly dysfunctional church has on these matters of real, embodied evil.

Pell may have ‘to go’ as many people have said, and called on His Holiness to do, but the removal of Pell may not change a thing in the RCC itself. It will go a small way to redressing some of the pain caused to the numerous victims of known abusers under the authority of the Cardinal. For that reason alone, I also call for Cardinal Pell, now in his mid-70s, to retire gracefully and with full remorse. He should be willing and happy to ‘sacrifice’ his remaining years of power and prestige to comfort those who have been hurt the most.

Whether the RCC can actually change if Cardinal Pell (and others) leaves remains to be seen. I have my doubts. The structure is too fixed, too mired in dysfunction for any hope of a quick change. The most sensible thing on this I have seen was a tweet today from Fr Bob McGuire:

ALL general members (of the Church) wherever located must now occupy Catholicism from the ground up…as urged by Vatican2 in 1950’s.

Actually Vatican II was in the early 60s, but two points are clear: a groundswell is needed to sweep out the millennia of old filth, and the church changes very slowly. Typically moribund organisations require the generation in power that resists change to die before it can be enacted. It’s now half a century since Vatican II…

And even when there might be change in the RCC, I worry that it will not be be genuine and will come in a ‘New Labour’ form where the old dysfunction is masked in modern language, style and image – the Roman Empire learnt to adapt to local and changing conditions, remember. A new form can easily contrast the ‘old dinosaurs’ like George Pell but offer no real spiritual renewal.

This to me would be a tragedy equal to that on display in Rome these days. Because more children will be hurt, more abuse will occur and more pain will be caused. As a wonderful parish priest of mine concluded her sermon once:

Evil most often enters the world through the words of a reasonable man.

Let’s keep an eye out for those reasonable men.

Homeopathy – or where I lose some readers

There were two prompts for this post: a few headlines of articles regarding the possibility of homeopathy being banned or made illegal in the United Kingdom and a relatively recent Facebook friend add of a homeopath who saved my sanity some years back. More on that later. Now, I don’t like the idea of such a noble art, and one that is so powerful when used correctly, being banned so I felt I had to say something.

Many people I know and respect will likely think homeopathy is hokum at best or dangerous garbage at worse. No probs there, that’s quite logical, as it clear homeopathic remedies contain nothing physical that may promote health (or equally cause ill). There’s nothing in it, therefore it is at best a placebo the well-worn argument runs. And if the physical dimension is all you are concerned with, it all makes sense. Well done, have a cigar.

However, many of these same people also hold with and practice a number of different esoteric and ‘spiritual’ traditions which have the central motif and reality that something non-physical can impact upon and change the physical. Magic, in other words. You see where I am going with this – what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and wot all.

To be fair, I used to be sceptical (if not scoffing) about homeopathy. This was despite never having used it myself (strike one) and practicing a tradition (the Golden Dawn) that historically included some leading homeopaths in London (strike two). My not-quite youthful arrogance took a third and final strike when the mother of my child used homeopathy during her labour. In that highly charged, between the worlds and sacred space, I could see the effectiveness of the various remedies prescribed by her midwife and witness the immediate help they offered for her labour.

Proof with the ‘Pudding’

After the birth of my child I studied homeopathy a bit more and decided to see how it worked more. Now the first wonders I beheld were those of my child recovering their full health finally after a nasty bout of chicken pox. Of course, this could all be subjective involving placebos and expectations from parents etc.

However, during the teething phase of infancy I came to love homeopathy and my homeopath. Our child, as many do, suffered terribly from teething and would wake in the night screaming and crying in pain. They were prescribed Chamomilla 30c as a remedy, in liquid form. These, and I swear by all that is holy this is true, were the results.

  • Infant (sleeping next to our bed) wakes in night screaming.
  • Befuddled dad reaches for Chamomilla, holds infant administers a few drops among crying.
  • 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 – crying subsides
  • 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – infant back to sleep!
  • Relieved dad collapses back, mum seldom woke at all.

How fucking glorious was that!?! Anyone who parented a night-teething baby would know what a miracle this was. Compare this with the results from Baby Panadol …

Of course, we can also invoke some form of expectation placebo effect here – but the results were still wonderful and saved my sanity, so even if it were ‘expectation placebo’, so what? Anyway, it was not any sort of expectation of results somehow being transferred from me to the screaming child (and hey, that possibility opens a whole new bag of worms).

I know this because by accident I once gave them Belladonna 30c, which was also by the bed for my partner. In this case NOTHING happened. The baby screamed on. I was confused, bordering on worrying. It had always worked before. It took me two minutes to finally check the bottle. Fortunately accidental dosage of homeopathic remedies is not poisonous and I administered the correct Chamomilla. Since they were already in lots of distress it took longer than ten seconds this time. It took 30. But I was still far ahead of those poor parents using paracetamol.

How It Work Then?

All of these, and many other instances, led me to investigate homeopathy further, and in summary I think it’s kinda like this:

Homeopathy, like a few other forms of ‘energy medicine’, works within a paradigm of physical and subtle bodies. It recognizes there are no actual physical molecules of Belladonna in its Belladonna remedy. OK. Got that? Cool.

So this means each and every laboratory test of homeopathic remedies are set up to fail. Because physical tests require something physical. We cannot get streptococcus bacteria in two test tubes, plonk penicillin in one and homeopathic sulphur in the other, compare and say, ‘see it doesn’t work!’ Of course it doesn’t work. It is not meant to work that way – all homeopathic remedies work only with the person.  We are not talking chemistry here but something just as wonderful:)

Instead homeopathy asserts there is an ‘energetic’ dimension linked to the physical remedy that may affect our subtle bodies and thereby help our own subtle bodies promote physical health. Our subtle bodies are affected by the ‘energy’ or signature of the Belladonna and the reactions there will cause us to heal ourselves. No outside chemicals involved. The physical Belladonna remedy we take is merely a carrier for this signature. There is no trickle down of ‘Belladonna’ from subtle to physical; only our own subtle body affects our physical and the remedy affects the subtle bodies alone. This is really important.

The whole concept of subtle bodies is the big break between orthodox scientific and homeopathic worldviews. But homeopathy at no time asserts its remedies directly affect the physical body. At all, at all. The planes are not confused. It has its own logic and supports physical intervention for the physical body while it addresses the non-physical to promote physical health. This is very important and I am sure homeopaths themselves laugh equally along with videos such as this:

Once we have established we cannot test homeopathy in a laboratory we have to include the human element. And here is where a little thing like human difference gets in the way of standard double-blind trials procedures. Since we are each very different folk (especially on the subtle body levels), the same ‘illness’, heck even the same infection caused by exposure to streptococcus, will manifest in many subtle ways. And each of us may require different homeopathic remedies and different potencies of that remedy to change the course of the illness. We may require a few different remedies, changing as we heal.

We cannot design a blind trial with one third of folk getting penicillin, one third a placebo and one third homeopathic sulphur. The penicillin will act chemically with the bacterium and ‘kill’ it in most of the people given it. But there is no guarantee sulphur would be the correct remedy for the people it is given to. Again, we can’t compare.

It is here I would say homeopathy is a much an art as it is a science. And skilled homeopaths practice an art tailored to their clients to produce the knowledge of what remedy is correct at that time. I would also venture to say that I suspect the inclusion of consciousness, conscious deduction and skill on behalf of the homeopath has something to do with the overall success also. This is a healing method that centres upon the higher dimensions of the person and the person healing themselves from those levels, so it seems to be consciousness would be an important part of the equation.

Like all things, I think we can only do so much on our own with store brought remedies and must consult a qualified homeopath for anything serious. I can do washers on leaky taps, but anything else I’m on the phone to the plumber. The same with our health. And really, I find it kinda strange that folk who attempt homeopathic healings themselves based on misleading ideas that are about and fail, discount the whole field. One may as well discount plumbing as a science.

A Merry and Quick Conclusion

So while folk like me are able to easily pull apart many of the objections to the idea of homeopathy being ‘false’ and while folk like me suffer less and sleep more than folk using conventional medicine, and while folk like me like the idea of people choosing their health methods for themselves, suggestions to ban homeopathy will always cause fiction. Of course, I am supportive of correctly trained and qualified homeopaths, clear in the areas of their art and not providing false or misleading claims and information. This is best produced by training and regulation not limiting and banning. OK. Thanks:)

Vicariously responding to tragedy: do no harm

As the recent terrorism deaths in Paris and Lebanon show, there is no shortage of death and misery in the world. These events also highlight the filters within our media, country and culture that either focus or ignore tragic events depending on proximity, culture and race. For example, we are not daily exposed via the media to the tens of thousands of preventable hunger and poverty related deaths across the world.

When events such as the Paris attacks occur – if they are widely reported – people have many responses. I think the best review of these was this sad cartoon by First Dog on the Moon.

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One response Mr Onthemoon does not explore here is the conspiracy response.  Typically within hours of any mass shooting or bombing these responses pop up. My social media and news feeds are generally tailored enough that I avoid them. However, this morning I came across one on a Facebook friend’s page in response to the San Bernardino killings. Since it was on a closed group I will not provide details of the commentator:

Personally I don’t believe what happened in San Bernadino is anything other than a Gvt. hoax to attempt to take people’s guns away and hate on muslims (sic) and I’m disappointed in all who are falling for this type of media manipulation.’

Yup. Typical. I am not going to respond much to the child-like cry of ‘don’t take my guns!’ Gun control is another matter. Suffice to say, I am constantly surprised at how many intelligent, spiritual practitioners insist on their right to ‘bear arms’ among countless horrors and who devolve into adolescent or toddler pique when the concept of gun control is raised. Most of them are from the continental United States, young or middle aged men – indeed the exact demographic of people most likely to blow innocent people’s brains out with the guns they insist they have a right to own.

I am interested here in the conspiracy view. I suspect, and I have not read the literature on this, that the theorist, in responding with immediate views of government or extra-governmental conspiracy is simply reacting to the horror of the situation, in the same way as the avenues of coping Mr Onthemoon draws in the cartoon above. The conspiracy theorist, in her assumption of special knowledge that the rest of us do not have, is insulating herself against the raw horror of the events. It stops her being involved and gives a focus for her anger.

However, I do not accept that such responses are healthy. These ideas are not simply nutty memes. They cause damage. I cannot imagine the hurt of having a family member murdered in a mass shooting. And then to have some vicariously involved stranger from another city or country say it was a hoax? How cruel, really, how cruel can people be?

Conspiracy theories that deny the deaths of innocents or assume that they were somehow involved betray an inability of the theorist to empathize or sympathize with the survivors and families of the dead.

In the example above you and I (unless you’re a conspiracy theorist too!) are assumed to be media dupes. Now of course, it is highly unlikely the commentator, or any of the thousands no doubt similarly holding and sharing these views right now, have any PERSONAL knowledge of the events. That is, they, like you and I, are separated by time and space and relationships to the people and places involved. These folk are relying on media reports just as we are – albeit, smaller and stranger media. We are all (most of us) experiencing these tragedies vicariously.

So the burden of proof cuts both ways. Conspiracy theorists, like most of us, are seldom there when deaths occur.  THEY DO NOT PERSONALLY KNOW. And, even if these events were ‘a hoax’ it would be impossible for someone removed from the situation to KNOW after such a short time and no investigations. And if you do not know, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING that will cause hurt and offence. Simple.

Of course, I do accept that our governments and other bodies do on occasion act conspiratorially. However, the instant and blanket discounting of real people’s pain and suffering is not acceptable. These types of theories need to be stopped – both at the social level by not sharing them and vigorously questioning them, and at the personal level by the theorists themselves engaging in some thought and concern before posting or passing on ideas on social media. Please do not allow these ideas to spread unchecked.

THANKS:)

Social and Political Change, some lessons from Magic

We will start with singer Kasey Chambers: “If you’re not pissed off at the world. Then you’re just not paying attention.”

Following this, I assume you personally wish for the world to be different and take some action towards that aim. If so you may already be familiar with the three, broad ways of changing the world, which I first learnt with the bodacious Joanna Macy decades ago. I will explore these with reference to the current situation in Australia with regards to asylum seekers and refugees. Do click on the links to find out more – there are some awesome people out there!

  1. Interfering with the systems of oppression or injustice via direct action, peaceful or otherwise. Here think Love Makes a Way and Mums 4 Refugees. This approach does not produce direct change, but rather buys time for the other approaches and exposes the systems of oppression – at the very least to the arresting police officers and judiciary.

  1. Changing the system from within – being part of the system of oppression or injustice to whatever degree we can (and can stomach) to change it or dismantle it from the inside. Here, think Labor for Refugees.

  1. Changing the consciousness of the society itself so that the system of oppression is exposed and dismantled. Here think of those artists and storytellers presenting a different version of the myth of refugees to Australia, such the group performing under the tag ‘We’re Better Than This’.

All three approaches have their strengths and can be very powerful. All three however are vulnerable to the systems of oppression they seek to change. Alternate views within ‘the system’ are sidelined or undermined; direct action protests are often outside the law and thus render participants vulnerable to a range of legal problems; and novel modes of consciousness and cultural myths may receive little exposure or funding.

These three approaches can be viewed diagrammatically as a triangle.

three methods triangle

I place the third approach, the change in consciousness of a society as the basal arm because it is required for any lasting change. For example, unless a society has a consciousness which does not see race as a discriminatory factor, all the laws and advances engendered by working the system and all the continued highlighting of injustice will not be enough. Oppression will still continue. Ask a black woman in the southern USA, a country with a black president and an enshrined equality before the law. Speaking recently to friends from Dallas, they mentioned how many folk there still have not accepted that the Confederacy lost the Civil War. The consciousness abides.

The nub of this problem I feel was unwittingly highlighted recently by Ricky Muir, an unlikely Australian Senator for the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Honestly I am not making this political party up. This is Australia.

“Crossbench senator Ricky Muir has revealed he switched his position on same-sex marriage after a fight with his wife in which he said he would disown his son if he was gay.

The Motoring Enthusiast Party senator announced his support for same-sex marriage earlier this year, linking the issue to rural mental health. “I did have very opposing views to what I have now, but that’s because it’s ‘monkey see, monkey do’,” Senator Muir told Annabel Crabb in an episode of Kitchen Cabinet to air on the ABC on Wednesday. “You grow up a certain way, you’re told certain things, you go with it.” (source).

Obviously whoever or whatever hegemonic force controls the lead monkey, showing other monkeys how to act, controls the game. As the world moves to embrace same gender marriage it is now acceptable for Senator Muir to hold the pro view. Really though, he is still a monkey. And so, to a large degree, are the rest of us. I remember being convinced that same-gender marriage would occur in my lifetime after reading a Time article in the late 1980s on how large companies were creating advertisements targeting gay couples with disposable income. Economics demanded equality and so it came to pass.

The question then becomes not how to change personally as society changes, but how to get novel and new justice based modes of consciousness embodied within the culture to produce social change.

To explore this, we can relate these three arms, interference, change from within and change of consciousness to the now famous 60’s maxim: ‘the personal is political is spiritual’.

pps three methods

I read this maxim as magician, someone who sees spirituality both in its traditional forms, which includes converse with non-physical beings and in a broader, wider scope that includes artistic vocation among other things. This is not a valorisation of the contemporary ‘spiritual not religious’ self-focus where we pick and mix our spirituality to accommodate our ego. Spirituality, whether traditional, artistic or novel in form must be concerned with the non-personal and the transpersonal. Fr Matthew Fox sums it up: ‘the test of a spirituality is in its justice making: does it create justice?’

The spiritual then, as the basal arm of our triangle is concerned with justice making, personally and collectively (politically). It is for this reason, Australia’s greatest Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, could make this bold statement about Labor governments (and I would say ANY government):

“In any civilised community, the arts and associated amenities must occupy a central place. Their enjoyment should not be seen as remote from everyday life. Of all the objectives of my government, none had a higher priority than the encouragement of the arts – the preservation and enrichment of our cultural and intellectual heritage. Indeed I would argue that all other objectives of a Labor government – social reform, justice and equity in the provision of welfare services and educational opportunities – have as their goal the creation of a society in which the arts and the appreciation of spiritual and intellectual values can flourish. Our other objectives are all means to an end. The enjoyment of the arts is an end in itself.”

This really says it all. If we work for the artistic and the spiritual we achieve it all.

When we superimpose the two triangles upon each other we can see this. The personal links directly to the personal choice to interfere and risk legal penalties. The political is expressed through the political and economic systems that are changed from within. And the spiritual finds equation with the change of consciousness – except that this is seldom fully realised.

The reaction against religion in Australia and the modern secular west means our artistic and other modes of changing consciousness are seldom seen, promoted or empowered as real spiritual events and actions. The artists We’re Better than This, I mentioned earlier, are secular artists, not religious or spiritual. Yet, I would argue that by seeking to change the dominant myth of refugees in Australia they are seeking spiritual ends. Gough clearly equates the two and clearly places them as the raison d’être of government, as does traditional religion. And here is where liberals and secularists get nervous mistakenly seeing the promotion of spirituality and art as throwback to medieval Christendom or Caliphates. Not so of course for Gough who was modern, western and secular but with a vision lacking in virtually all modern politicians.

Fully linking the spiritual traditions and the non-human spiritual realties to the action to change societal consciousness is seldom done. There are a few traditions and churches that attempt this, but by and large the division remains. We can highlight the effects of this division by looking at magic.

One of the key symbols and tools within western magic is the Triangle of Art. This is a physical and outer representation of an inner construct, created in the consciousness of the magician.  A classic example of such a triangle is this:

triangle_of_the_art_by_arsadraoi

The purpose of the triangle of Art is to evoke, to bring to manifestation in this physical world a ‘being’, typically an angel or spirit,  that embodies or will carry out the will or desire of the magician. This will, in spiritual magic, is always concerned with the spiritual and personal unfoldment of the magician or some repair or healing of others or the world.

The ‘being’ becomes manifest in the centre of the triangle. Around the arms are written divine names of special significance to the magician. When they are empowered and spoken their interior blessings interact to create the inner construct of the triangle and keep it integral and sealed. It is the interaction of theses blessings that creates the ‘interior atmosphere’ that will allow the ‘being’ to manifest. It is like fish bowl or a space suit in function, allowing something not here already on earth to be here temporarily. This temporary quality is then delivered to the magician by one method or another, and she is changed or she becomes the agent for changing the world.

The interaction and interdependence of these three divine names and powers is shown by placement of a divine name, separated in three sections, at each of the three apexes. Here we see this with the name of the Archangel Michael. This placement leads the eyes and the consciousness around the triangle, connecting each side with each other. Another concept in magic is of the ‘Triune Flowing Light’ which inherently is dynamic and interdependent flowing throughout the triad and bringing the interior forces into manifestation.

An absolute clear principle of magic is that outer actions are always mirrored by and embody inner actions, such as visualisation and prayer. Outer actions alone will never create magic.

So with reference to our other we can produce a social change Triangle of Art thus:

ta refugees

At the centre is the justice we are seeking. At the arms we place the interference of the system, the working within the system and change of consciousness. The ‘atmosphere’ that will allow the change we are seeking, in this case humane treatment of refugees, will come about through the interaction of these three arms, these three approaches.

However, this only represents only the first level we examined, the first triangle. To create magic, to bring compassion for refugees into this world, we need to include the other levels: the personal, the political and the spiritual.

Again, I contend the missing element here is the real, authentic, actual spiritual element that includes the reality of non-physical beings, shared consciousness and interior streams of blessing of hindrance. Without this connection, the spiritual dimension our Triangle of Art will remain incomplete and what we seek to manifest will not occur, or will occur partially or in a distorted fashion.

It is interesting that out of all the possible arenas of magical action, personal wealth, love, employment, healing etc, the most seldom taken up is that of social or political magic. It is rarely taught or even mentioned as a primary reason for magic, as I talk about in this post on the Iraq War. In some form though this approach has often been there in western magical and spiritual circles. To quote from my own post:

“Active political magic is one thing, though very much part of the Western Tradition (for example see Gareth Knight’s The Magical Battle of Britain). The inability or unwillingness to look beyond the obvious is another. Esoteric after all means ‘inner’, occult means ‘hidden’. As esoteric students, pagans or magicians we should be looking beyond what our media and our governments dish up. Otherwise we are not being conscious, which is the essence of all authentic spirituality. And once we become conscious of what is actually occurring, we must be moved to act against it, in some manner. After all, another hallmark of authentic spirituality is compassion.”

So to round things off, this post is a call to do exactly what I believe will create an effective Triangle of Art for manifestation of justice: the linking of the spiritual and the political via the personal. This will fully link the non-physical realms to our work and deepen the interaction of interference, working within the system and changing the consciousness of our world. Without this linking our Triangle cannot fully manifest what we are seeking and praying for.

I have attempted and attempt a number of these actions, the most public and recent for refugees described here. This current post is the beginning of a manifestation of more, where you will be invited to be part of healing the world via your person, your politics, your art, your spirituality and your magic. THANKS:)

Also published on Medium at: https://medium.com/@mrperegrin/social-change-some-lessons-from-magic-2d95613e535