Clarity in Spiritual Writings

Recently I wandered over to Adelaide, South Australia to give moral support and a public lecture for the founding of the first Australian lodge of the Fraternity of the Hidden Light. One of the most gratifying experiences I had was people reflecting on the clarity of my talk – an overview of the western esoteric tradition – even folk who were not members of it. This makes me happy, as one of the biggest problems in western spiritual systems is the language. A lot of it is anything but clear.

Now we have recently had a lovely (and in some parts of the earth, spectacular) ‘blood moon’ eclipse. From my blog news feed it seems by and large the magical community did not make a big fuss about it all; they simply got on with the job. Yes, some nice comments and photos on social media, but that was about it. Not so the New Age folk. This is an example of several similar things that ended up in my Inbox:

“Spectacular event of magnetic proportions awaits mankind’s entrance through the gateway of creation once more. Thorough the gateway of creation of the flower of life and the eternal essence of being.

The structural component grids of the aforementioned genesis of creation has been recalibrated with the new frequency of being and new set of accords has been instituted into the physical institutions and representations of that which humanity believes to be.

For through the representation of the highest octave of being, you shall begin to see candid facts of eternal angelic guidance and the flower of life and the eternal flame of the violet, manifest into your daily activities through the truth of that which shall be bestowed upon you by those who hold the books of the ancients, for the books of the ancients carry the informational decree of eons past.”

St Bob once wrote that most ‘spiritual’ writing is like a politician’s speech; it feels vaguely inspiring and uplifting as you go along, but if you reflect on it at the end, precious little actual information has been delivered. And so it is with this piece of channelled wisdom. As I asked when reviewing a disturbingly new age Golden Dawn book, what by all that is holy is this supposed to mean?

I can’t actually pin any real meaning to these paragraphs at all, at all. Now part of the problem is of course the nature of the subject: spirituality is a slippery fish and essentially subjective. It is hard to write about without sounding like a plonker. However, that is no reason not to try. Defining terms is always a good place to start, otherwise gods knows if the author (in this case some Ascended Wotzit or other) and reader actually understand the words the same way. But the biggest most disturbing aspect of these paragraphs can be summed up by contemplating these words:

“The goal of electromagnetic forces is to plant the seeds of intuition rather than yearning. By flowering, we believe.

This circuit never ends.

Soon there will be a condensing of learning the likes of which the universe has never seen. The planet is approaching a tipping point. The reintegration of fulfilment is now happening worldwide.

Flow is the healing of potentiality, and of us. You and I are messengers of the cosmos. Faith is the driver of freedom.”

Why? Because the above paragraphs were written by a soulless computer, as part of the ‘New-Age Bullshit Generator’ project. Literally created by a godless algorithm. Yet they sound like the words of Ascended Masters promulgated by the New Age and dodgy parts of the esoteric community. Think on it.

Far be it from me to question the validity of individuals’ New Age experience, but really guys, as a community, when you produce drivel that can’t be discerned from a computer generation, you’re letting the side down… eh?

I still get lovely compliments and questions regarding my book, By Names and Images, and to each new questioner I ask them to let me know if anything is not clear. So far, on the whole, so good. I hope that my future writings are as clear; if I ever write like an Ascended Master, euthanasia is encouraged. Thanks 🙂



  1. Tarot Cirkel · October 9, 2014

    About your book…. it’s a book that I enjoyed reading and I still take it out of the bookshelf to read parts of it again.
    It’s a stayer.

    I love that I comprehend a lot of it and that some thing are not clear. I like to chew on thoughts and hate spiritual baby food.

  2. dirk t · October 9, 2014

    What should I say? Me and some other guys tested this New Age BS generator in various occult facebook groups. When someone came up with some non sensical word mishmash, we generated answers with that app and copy/pasted them into the commentaries. Worked perfectly fine. People actually seemed to understand what the machine generated and gave equally non sensical answers, without realizing, it was a computer talking to them. We had a complete discussion where one nonsensical phrase was following the other and everyone seemed completely satisfied with that, though nobody said anything meaningful at all 😦

    I think I already mentioned the guy at a German Buddhist board, whom I asked what nibbana meant and who answered: “Nibbana is the black hole of our own existence”.
    When I asked, what that phrase meant, he wasn’t able to explain it himself. Only then probably realizing, that it meant nothing at all. However, as I explained that nibbana translates as “to extinguish”, and is defined as the “extinguishing of greed, aversion and delusion”, he declared me delusional. That was clearly not, what nibbana meant to him. Other forum members chimed in and asked me, what right did I have, to define nibbana for him or anyone else? Why was I trying to force my views upon him? Everyone had the right to define nibbana for himself! Oops :O

    The idea, that nibbana is actually a well defined concept within Buddhism, was not acceptable for him. It’s meaning too mundane. Too rational. Not mysterious or “spiritual” enough.

    Another anecdote came from Stephen Batchelor, who once asked in the context of a Vipassana retreat he was giving, what the fundamental insight of the Buddha was. What was the nature of his enlightenment? What did he “wake up to”?

    Of 20 or 30 people in that retreat, only two came up with the correct answer: i.e. the insight into dependent arising, or in its more codified form: The four noble truths.
    The rest gave all kinds of spiritual sounding answers, like “finding the true self”, “becoming one with the universe”, “being liberated (from what?)” and so on.
    And we’re talking here of people, who claimed to have been involved in Buddhism for years or even decades.

    So… everybody was talking about achieving “enlightenment”, but only a few people had a thorough grasp, what that actually meant in a Buddhist context. A lot of people, who declare themselves practicing Buddhist, but follow their practice without understanding its fundamentals and goals. Fascinating. And sad.

  3. freemanpresson · October 10, 2014

    This is very useful. You have done such a nice job of taking the babblers to task without frothing at the mouth or being overly obvious about any desires to kick things. I will emulate this if I ever finally decide to grow up.

  4. Peregrin · October 10, 2014

    Ah, Dirk, your comments are always top notch 🙂 However, this has depressed me even more! I can well believe it though … what do we do? As for the Buddhist anecdote – ye gods! This amazes me – Buddhism is a venerable and established tradition – how can folk even think they have an individual right to define basic terms for themselves and stop others from presenting tradition. It is weird. As for the Stephen Batchelor story: again more sadness. This is Buddhism 101, real basic. It was this knowledge, gleaned from reading just encyclopedia entries as a teenager and a single Theravadan meditation session that made me realise that Lobsang Rampa, for all his colour and excitement, was not presenting actual Buddhism. So basic … very sad :/

  5. Peregrin · October 10, 2014

    Thanks, Freeman 🙂

  6. Murray · October 11, 2014

    Great post. I read somewhere (sorry I can’t remember where) that human beings have an inherent tendency to be conned or duped which has evolved as a necessary quality for groups to function/survive. The substance-less nonsense that you are pointing at shows up in political speech and corporate marketing, where that tendency is deliberately exploited. In the case of the New Age though I suspect that the adage of “never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity” may apply 🙂

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