Just after my last post where I expressed optimism and hope at the younger generation of esoteric students, and by extension the future of our world, I read this post by Al Billings. In it Al, who has studied Western esotericism and Tibetan Buddhism expresses his misgivings over the state of our western society. He says much which many of us have been saying and feeling for a while, expressing the frustration we all feel. Our world is sick, and is getting sicker and will not get ‘better’ by itself – our societal autoimmune systems cannot cope with this illness. We need medicine from ‘elsewhere’, or decay, disease and death wait in the wings.
From the viewpoint of some traditionalist esoteric perspectives, notably those stemming from Indian sources, this is no surprise: our world is actually in a period of devolution, not evolution, decay not growth and spiritual blindness is set to grow as illumination decreases. It is all part of the cycle of ages, mapped out into ages or Yugas many thousands of years in length. So, in a nutshell, as a world, we’re fucked (for a long while) and we might as well get us to idea.
I find this unacceptable and even if I am simply resisting the ‘truth’, I would resist and try to transform the world than lie back and take it like a man. Like Al Billings, I believe the answers we seek must come from a new experience of meaning in our culture and societies. Without an embodied, sensible, compassionate sense of who we are, and the meaning of our existence and place in the world, we are simply little better than savage robots pretending to be humans. And it is only a thin veneer or civility and external control mechanisms which stop us killing each other’s children.
So, what role does the esoteric play in this? A great deal. One of the ‘secrets’ kept within western esoteric circles until recently is that our world, our culture, western civilization has been created for specific purpose. Peter Kingsley discusses this throughout his work, which is focused on the fountainhead of our culture and esoteric paths (I am not how much contact Peter has with contemporary esotericism). This purpose is intimately concerned with the development of the individual and how the individual can live as one, just one of the Many, and also nurture and develop the sense of the One.
No one can deny that western society has produced the most ‘I’ focused culture in the history of humanity. For example, most of you right now will be in front of a machine that offers access to ‘My Documents’, ‘My Videos’, ‘My Space’, etc. It’s all about Me. We have even created religions based on the individual – a concept that from a traditional perspective is paradoxical and impossible. Western Satanism, in all its forms, is the ultimate apogee of this trend, though religions such as Wicca are in essence infected with the same virus (flame on).
(OK – now this is true – just finished the last paragraph on the train and the young guy behind me is making drugs deals on his mobile behind me. He’s asking for Dexs, complaining about the quality of his four leaved clovers, bargaining down his dealer. Incredible – I mean I know I am short, but there are plenty of other people around who could be police. Wonderful – a little microcosm of what I am writing about literally speaking in my ear!)
Back to it. Our intensely created false ego-self and me culture is, from the Western esoteric perspective a great potential healing agent. Indeed, it is the only healing agent that will help. As strange as this seems, it is a esoteric principle that the gold is only found within the shit, the light is buried at the centre of the earth, and the stone that is rejected shall become the cornerstone of the temple. The poison of our rampant ego individualism can become the medicine for our cultural and global cure.
Exactly how this will occur globally I am not sure and details are not provided in any grade I am currently working. The work must still lie with the individual – there will be no form of vicarious enlightenment. However, I am aware of a number of methods and practices within the RR et AC that work with the use of the individual as culture or yeast within the collective. Dion Fortune of course was teaching and writing about the same method nearly a century ago. See her Sea Priestess and Moon Magic for examples.
In essence, the adept learns to be One and Many while consciously embodying their society – in effect being an energetic representative or avatar of their societal group soul. This cannot however be done unless the individual has a well developed ego identity and sense of ‘I’ – a strong personality so to speak. Otherwise the personality shatters when the One enters. So this is the gift our modern culture is giving to us. Our lower ego I is so developed it is the perfect vessel for this type of work – once of course it has surrendered to the Higher and the One. This is very advanced work, but it is clearly the work of the moment. The more we can train people in this soul work the better.
This may be just dreaming, or escape fantasy. Even if it is though, it is still better than accepting our world is going to hell in a hand basket.