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

rc-lamenj

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. 🙂

 

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

Self Development? Bugger that for a lark!

hero-personal-growthOK – another Gonzo post, because I just want to get this off my chest. Hopefully my memory and writing skill will produce a lovely, cogent argument 🙂

A recent innovation that has crept into Paganism, esotericism and even the Anglican Church is the concept of ‘self-development’. This is nearly always meant in a personal sense, developing and improving our personal self and attributes and wot-not. This irks me. A lot.

The concept of self-development is modern – coming out of certain schools of psychology in the early-mid 20th century, like those developed by Adler, Jung and Maslow (from memory). Its proponents sometimes harken back to traditional methods of fasting, prayers, and exercise undertaken in various cultures for millennia. However, the linking is completely invalid as it ignores the key focus and purpose of the ancient exercises – religion, which is by-and-large considered as irrelevant, taboo, superstition or primitive psychology by personal development gurus.

Naturally I think they’re wrong. Regardless, the religious context and purpose means there is no link between these ancient methods and today’s modern culture of improving the self. This means it is a modern innovation and thus partakes of all the problems of modernity and contemporary western culture – it can be shallow, appealing to the negative self-image inculcated within us, commercially based and available only to the richer folk of the society, etc. Strike one.

The inclusion of self or personal development within religious and esoteric systems makes little sense to me at all, because a central truth of all religions (except the daft ones) is that we are all going to die. This means our ‘self’. And no matter how much ‘development’ that self has done, no matter how many EST courses we’ve taken, that self will still die.

Even those traditions that maintain a mysterious post-mortem resurrection of the personality focus on the ‘mysterious’. They do not attempt to discern what the resurrected ‘self’ will be. We cannot know if it will be our 3 month old ‘self’, our 18 year old ‘self’, our 45 year old ‘self’ (graduate of many PD courses) or our 75 year old ‘self’ with dementia or some other ‘self’.

We all come to naught in the end and, with or without self-development.

EVERY DAY IN EVERY WAY …

Of course the bleedin’ obvious counter to the truth above is that, “It’s about life NOW not after death”. Ho hum.

The trouble with this argument is the simple fact, from sheer common sense (and some studies I forget) that largely self-development DOES NOT WORK. Strike two.

I think I remember reading that 80% of self-development folk go back for more courses etc, even if they personally felt the first course did not work for them.

Think about it. The number of folk in the west who have participated in ‘self-development’ since the 1970s must be staggering by now. Has the overall enjoyment of life and the socio-economic improvements of life matched the growth of self-development in the west? No.

Of course, we cannot explain this to those who seem enamoured or addicted to this concept. Why? Because, well … I’m going to cut and paste from myself a few posts ago and change a few words:

imagesAll self-development systems are worthless in themselves. They lock us, often unconsciously, into a system of practice that feels good but ultimately produces no transformation. Most self-development systems are predicated on a two value premise and a ‘promise’ to move between the two: ourselves now, ourselves later (developed, healed, more in tune etc.) and the practices/adjustments or courses that move us between the two.

The danger in such a view is that it can become a closed loop. The person I ‘am’ now can never be the person I foresee at the ‘end’ of the process, since my definitions have already separated the ‘I’ now and ‘I’ desired. The gap between the two, while impossible for ‘me’ to bridge, is “self-development” and while I engage in that I have the sense of moving forward. Of course ‘I’ can never actually reach the goal, but simply having this mental structure and doing some practice I will experience the sense of moving ahead.

This is because of this eternal truth: the self cannot transform the self.

LEVELLING UP

The Tree of LifeA key esoteric principle is that the full transformation of any aspect of the psyche or being requires the intervention and inclusion of a force or presence superior to that aspect. Think about your body. Left to its own devices, the body will simply go on until it dies, subject to the changes forced upon it by environment (diet etc). It will not change itself; develop a six-pack or a terrific bum for the beach. It takes our consciousness, our intervention to direct and change it.

It is the same with ‘the self’, and here I will mention a little Qabalah. Most of us function as bodies (Malkuth), Reactions (Yesod), Thoughts (Hod) and Feelings (Netzach), all directed by a mostly underdeveloped sense of self in Tiphareth – when we even think about who we ‘are’ at all.

If we have a reaction (Yesod) to Aboriginal folk (hey we’re in a racist society), that cannot really change unless we direct the reaction by thought (Hod), stemming its hold or explore it with emotional truth (Netzach). Even then it’s still likely to ‘pop up’ at some point.

And so to the other areas of ‘the self’ – our thoughts and methods of thought and our emotional apprehension can only be transformed by the consciousness of Tiphareth, our ‘self’. The ‘self’ itself however cannot be changed by self-reflecting. We need something ‘higher’ than the self to transform it.

In Qabalah this centralising state of consciousness, Tiphareth, looks ‘down’ towards the personal and ‘up’ towards the transpersonal. This shows the interrelation of the two, while recognising that the correct ‘upward’ view – the motivation and awareness of the individual – is required to embrace what is beyond us. That is, and here is the fucking rub:

The self cannot change itself for self-based reasons.

As soon as we want to change our selves for personal reasons we, by definition are working in the personal sphere. We therefore cannot access the transpersonal sphere required to change the self. This is not just me being cranky towards the New Age wankers out there; it is a description of the way things are. Self-change for self-based reasons can at best move the Lego-blocks around but cannot actually produce transformation. Strike three.

IT’S BEEN HERE ALL ALONG

While it would be great to have functioning folk, moral folk, conscious folk within the esoteric, Pagan and magical communities, I do not feel ‘self-development’ is the way forward at all. It does not and cannot, work and can easily distract us from what we are really about and what really causes transformation – the mysteries (for want of a better word). Let’s have a look at this, since it is all there in traditional religious and esoteric methods.

Once upon a time, the esoteric or deeper aspects of a tradition were not normally bandied around for anyone to see and engage in. People had to be vetted or assessed in some way, and if their moral motivation was not of ‘the right view’ – see this post – they would not be invited in. These days things are a little different…

Of course, any decent religion or spiritual path recognises that we are all broken, that we all are motivated by ego and petty interior forces. To counter this brokenness and the ego-focus of ‘the natural man’ as St Paul would say, many spiritual systems teach us to adhere to moral codes and conduct based on how we would act if we were NOT subject to these petty interior forces. Traditionally these moral codes were often supported and enforced by the community. The classic and most wonderful example of this occurs at each Western church service:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Which when we think about it, blows our minds – loving our neighbour as fully as we love ourselves is like loving God!

Anyway, we of course FAIL at this all the time, every day. Every hour. No matter how many times we look in the mirror and repeat ‘every day in every way, I am getting better and better’, we will still fail at this one. Which is why the Service continues with an act of communal ‘confession’ where we acknowledge our own failings and generate a desire to go beyond them. This is also the function of solitary Confession within the Christian traditions, and a range of similar processes in Tibetan Buddhism. I am not sure of any equivalent within the Wicca or GD.

Symeon the New Theologian

This openness to our weaknesses, our real state of being is crucial because it allows the transpersonal blessings we encounter through participation within the mysteries to enter all of our beings, even the most unlovable and ‘evil’ aspects.

“…everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed

and recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light”.

So it is the presence of the transpersonal, the divine forces, which enter us, even our secret places, that will cause actual transformation, as they/Him/it chooses and wishes, not as we, our ‘self’ chooses. And this the fundamental point: we are actually changed and transformed by that which is outside and ‘above’ unto service. Not because ‘we’ want to change or ‘we’ want anything.

And of course all the authentic traditions provide ongoing opportunities for the divine to enter us. We meditate and we pray.

The stakes are high for real prayer: You must gamble your self and be willing to lose. ~ Sufi Poet Mahmud Shabistari

As Christians we partake of the mystery of the body and blood of Christ – He enters us. In Tibetan Vajrayana we realise we are non-different to the deities and the realised guru. In Wicca we receive blessings from and can touch the Goddess as flesh and blood and enter the sweep of cycles beyond human ken. It is these moments that produce the real transformation in our lives.

Of course the transformation instigated and produced by our Sacred One(s) still has to be grounded and activated in our selves. Real life will give us plenty of scope for that; moments when we will be called upon to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. Change does not occur in church or in circle but in life; even ‘self-development’ teachers will say this. What they do not say, what they cannot say, is the actual cause and power for transformation of the self is beyond the self. THANKS 🙂

Dangers of the Golden Dawn (well all magic, really)

This is sort of a follow up to my post from several years back, Nine Dangers of the Golden Dawn. So you just have to go and have a look there too  🙂

I have been having a spot of conversation with a new friend who knows a lot about all sorts of things, including the Golden Dawn. Getting on a bit, he has studied these things for a mere five decades and contacted several surviving Orders and members in the UK back in the day. He recounts something I have heard before: post WWII, the Order was left to die by its members. That is, they stopped magical working, stopped trying to induct new memberships and let the dust pile up on once glorious temple rooms.

R.A. Gilbert in his ‘Golden Dawn Scrapbook’ writes about the aged adepts who could bring about a renaissance of the Order if they choose – but they choose not. And Nick Farrell recounts how the Inner Plane contacts of the AO ordered the shutting down of the Order around and post WWII (of course, Whare Ra only suffered this fate as late as 1978).

If we are practicing the Golden Dawn (and really any magic coming from it or inspired by it), we have to take a good hard look at these facts. We cannot ignore them – they are pretty telling. If the GD offers a superlative magical system for spiritual development for the modern era, why was it rejected by its own adepts and Inner Plane contacts?

Now, the Inner Plane contacts directive we can, if we like to do these things, more easily write off by invoking ‘corruption of the contact’ or ‘subconscious influence from the medium’. And I am sure folk did just that. However, the real, physical actions and choices of senior adepts is another matter.

When we look at these things two main answers to the question, ‘why?’ come to mind:

  • The Golden Dawn was fine – even brilliant – in its day, but the day has passed. It was and is time to let go and let other things arise.
  • The Golden Dawn was a great experiment – but ultimately it did not work; the Inner Contacts and the Adepts recognised this and let it die.

We can also assume we in 2014 know more about all of this than those Adepts between the 1940s and 1970s and say, ‘they were wrong (or only partly right) … the purpose of the closure of the AO and other temples was actually to let the egregore and magic be open to the thousands of others who could now access it via published works (and now, the Net)’.

All well and good. We ‘makes our choices’, as they say.

Personally, I wonder if the reason for the critiquing and closing of the various Orders and temples had resonance with the concerns I raised in my previous post, Nine Dangers of the Golden Dawn? If I were reframing those dangers, I would today highlight one above all – the self.

Whereas in the original post I cautioned about ‘ego inflation’, I think such a bold term is likely to make folk reject that it has anything to do with them. Today I’d rather caution that the Golden Dawn, and all magic, can lead us to a situation where we place ourselves, our will, at the centre rather than the One. To quote myself 🙂

So modern 21st century magic should be about moving the mage from the centre of the circle, controlling all the forces he invokes (which is like, so medieval) to an awareness that at the centre we are interdependent on the entire circle of life, on the One and the universe that forms around us.

The magic circle should really be a place where we stand knowing ourselves as the centre of God’s love and attention (like all beings), the will of the One moving through us.

Instead magic can easily fool us into believing, that when we stand at the centre of the circle, we are actually the centre of the universe and can control the forces and beings we invoke – which is of course classic magic and, IMHO, a sure path to nowhere. Equally however, we may argue along with Canon Anthony Duncan (in Gareth Knight’s brilliant, ‘Christ and Qabalah’), that as soon as the One is at the centre, magic ceases to be magic at all.

Now this is a subtle thing, really a matter of approach rather than outward actions or choices of magic and rituals. The same ritual can be used and approached in different ways, as Professor Ronald Hutton writes of the Qabalistic Cross:

‘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.

It then becomes crucial that, to use Buddhist terminology, the ‘right view’, the right understanding of the universe is inculcated or already within the student from the very start, as I describe in this post, Magic – what is it good for?

This however requires theory and theology rather than praxis, something most magical students want to avoid like a marginal-seat politician before an election. It is for this reason – to ensure and promote the ‘right view’ – I think the GD insisted on a belief in a Supreme Being and interest in the Christian traditions – as the right view comes from both. It is for this reason I always try and foster a religious attitude, if not practice, in any students I have. These things are crucial.

More distinct ego distortions in the Golden Dawn occur not only because of outward things, like the titles and grades, but also inner difficulties. These mainly centre on the incredible potency and strength of the magic of the Golden Dawn being used at incorrect times. Though this is often said, I sometimes think most people somehow do not think it applies to them personally:

THE GOLDEN DAWN IS NOT A MAGICAL TRADITION.

Magic was only practiced in the Inner Order, the RR et AC, after the student had completed seven initiations, much preparation and been linked to currents of transformation, the Rosicrucian tradition and their own Genius. If we practice magic too early in our spiritual development, distortion can EASILY occur.

Finally, I will lift from a previous ‘dangers’ post, as it is still very apposite.

IT FEELS LIKES IT’S WORKING!

All esoteric paths and systems are worthless in themselves, the GD included. They can only point us to the One, and at worse they lock us, often unconsciously, into a system of practice that feels good but ultimately produces no transformation. Most esoteric paths, the GD included, are predicated on a two value premise and a ‘promise’ to move between the two: ourselves now, ourselves later (enlightened, transformed, healed, more in tune etc.) and the practices/initiations that move us between the two.

The danger in such a view is that it can become a closed loop. The person I ‘am’ now can never be the person I foresee at the ‘end’ of the process, since my definitions have already separated the ‘I’ now and ‘I’ desired. The gap between the two, while impossible for ‘me’ to bridge, is the spiritual practice and while I engage in that I have the sense of moving forward. Of course ‘I’ can never actually reach the goal, but simply having this mental structure and doing some practice I will experience the sense of moving ahead.

Any tradition that has a well developed ‘path’ between the two ‘I’s will naturally draw people, as we all like to see how we get from ‘here’ to ‘there’. The Golden Dawn thus is very attractive with its clearly mapped out path of transformation and rituals/practices at each stage of the way. Ultimately of course, most GD people (like most esoteric students) don’t really transform in any deep way at all – as amply demonstrated by the lives of both historical and contemporary GD magicians. As Rev Dr Cynthia Bourgeault says:

…it is depressingly clear that ninety-nine percent of what is being promulgated as contemporary Western spirituality is merely fine-tuning the ego.

What makes an esoteric path effective, what makes it actually able to lead us to the One is death and resurrection. The ‘I’ now cannot become the ‘I’ we desire, so we must die. Effective esoteric paths shake us all the time; they invite us to die continually and completely. It is up us to choose death or not. However, even the ‘death and rebirth’ instigated by the highly developed Golden Dawn initiations, like the Adeptus Minor, is becoming part and parcel of the intellectual and lower self framework of magicians. If this happens, then death becomes just another magical experience and therefore we block to death as it truly is.

This is a danger of having esoteric paths made exoteric and then taught by people who have not died, who are still in the two value mindset I mentioned above and do not know it. The Golden Dawn suffers from this considerably, and Vajrayāna Buddhism is beginning to suffer the same fate in the west.

Repeating the bleedin’ obvious: our modern western society and therefore all of us are afraid of death. We hate it, we fear it, we deny it, and we handle it incredibly badly. Death though is the key to the esoteric, and as anyone who has experienced esoteric death will tell you, it is no metaphor. To quote that greatest of Priestesses, Dion Fortune: “There are two deaths; the death of the body and the death of initiation. And of the two, the death of the body is the lesser”.

We need to die. And to be reborn. And now I’m sounding all Christian again. Oh, well 🙂 THANKS.

We All Want to Change the World

When I was 13 I read George Orwell’s classic, 1984. While the book is superb and offers many deep insights, several passages hit me hard:

The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they need not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.

Right now the people in Iraq and several other places around the globe are getting to understand the concept of ‘continuous warfare’ first hand, while we lucky sods in the US and other ‘coalition’ countries experience it vicariously and through cuts to essential services.

Orwell was bang on the mark, particularly in relation to the control of mass consciousness. For example, as I mention in this post, during 2002-2003 I was one of a few lone voices on a couple of magical/Pagan user groups who questioned the upcoming Iraq invasion and predicted the calamitous results that would follow. Fast forward ten years and the general opinion changed remarkably: my brother who wanted to ‘nuke Saddam’ in 2003, was in 2013 critical of the politicians who sent the troops in the first place.

People forget.
Nobody voted for Nixon.
We have always been at war with Eurasia.

AIN’T NOTHIN BUT MAMMALS

The point here of course is not so much the particular war, issue or circumstance, but rather as a whole we poor, benighted humans have locked in consciousness. We see through a glass darkly and react, rather than think, with a simple binary push-pull mind. In one sense, it’s not our fault; we are made that way. After all, we’ve got several million years of mammalian and animal DNA running us and only 30 000 years of being the ‘wise man’.

A classic example of this occurred this week with Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony (Mad Monk) Abbott threatening to ‘shirt front’ Vladimir Putin over the MH17 disaster. For those unused to Australian slang, lookee here: Shirtfront Explained.

Yes. That did happen. I mean, could there really be a better example of politics as a mammalian territorial pursuit? Abbott’s posturing here is functionally equivalent to any alpha male warding off another. And Abbott, like us all at times, just can’t help it. It is in our genes.

Dr Tim Leary and Dr Robert Anton Wilson analysed the various ‘circuits’ of human consciousness and explained these seemingly mysterious acts really well. You can read about it all here and in the books listed there also. Essentially we have the first four circuits, called ‘terrestrial’ or common:

  1. Bio-survival. Infant. Oral stage. Concerned with physical safety, comfort and survival.
  2. Emotional–territorial. Toddler. Anal stage. Concerned with domination or submission, territoriality and pecking order.
  3. Symbolic or neuro-semantic. Childhood. Latency. Concerned with language, mental dexterity, calculation, communication, knowledge.
  4. Domestic or socio-sexual. Adulthood. Sexual stage. Concerned with cultural values, fitting in, sexual modes and taboos, social networks, reproduction and raising of young.

The basic premise is the lower circuits (I and II) have operated in our DNA and ancestry far longer than the higher circuits (III and IV) and have veto power over them. Thus we often act out of pleasure/fear (circuit I) or domination/submission (circuit II) and then after the fact use our mind and language (circuit III) and reference to morals and social mores (circuit IV) to justify our actions. And, really, on a social level this sums up politics and international relationships perfectly, eh?

No wonder, the two good Drs often talked about ‘escaping from the Planet of the Apes’ – meaning our world! 🙂

We can of course apply these four circuits to the lower four Sephrioth on the Tree of Life, Malkuth through Netzach, and they fit kinda neatly. Ideally, in the mature human, these personality aspects would be overseen and ruled by the conscious self in Tiphareth. And even more ideally, our leaders would act from this consciousness too. As the Beach Boys sang, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’.

CHANGE

Magic is all about change. And for me, like anyone really touched fully by the tradition, this change involves the rest of the world, not just myself. After all, there is no actual separation. And just cos I love it SO much, once again, I quote the blessed Martin Luther-King Jr:

We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.

There are three basic methods of changing the social fabric and world within any given culture or country:

  1. Working within ‘the system’ of established laws and politics.
  2. Resisting the system through acts of civil disobedience, non-violent or violent.
  3. Changing group consciousness.

No matter what method(s) we personally engage with, I think we should be actively supporting folk engaging in the other methods. I mean, ‘We all want to change the world’, right?

There is also the possibility of full scale revolution involving ‘insurgents’ or ‘freedom fighters’ – depending on which media outlet is reporting the events. Now despite a small part of me, inspired by the memorable Citizen Smith, drawing up lists of those who will be ‘first against the wall when the revolution comes’, I really doubt revolution in most western countries is on the cards. The Marxist analysis that the worker’s revolution never came in the west is because we were ‘bought off’ has some truth here. The increased standards of living, better food and more recreational time meant we are happy to be pawns of the capitalist state (at the expense of the third world, whom we never meet). Sad, but true. Besides, I cannot easily support armed struggle.

Working within the system is a slow tortuous process. This is particularly the case in western democracies with a Westminster ‘two party’ Parliament. Last night at a talk on the vicious treatment asylum seekers in Australia are receiving, from both ‘sides’ of politics, certain Green politicians were pointed out as being pretty much the only MPs vocalising concern. Yet, in the discussion time people bemoaned their hopelessness as the cruelty was bi-partisan. They simply could not think outside the two-party paradigm! Two party systems too easily engage our dualistic, second Circuit consciousness. Us and Them. Left vs Right. Sometimes our teams wins, sometimes their teams wins. Just like football :/

Civil disobedience, particularly when motivated by deep religious and spiritual convictions, can make magnificent changes in society – via the sacrifice of the participants. Just ask the sainted MLK quoted above. In Australia today we have a wonderful movement of mainstream religious leaders working the non-violent methods of MLK in relation to asylum seeker children in detention. Called ‘Love Makes a Way’, these folk are inspiring to the max-max.

AND THEN THERE’S MAGIC

The last method, consciousness change, is where magic (and art) comes in. A magician’s raison d’être is to change their consciousness, transform themselves and unfold their beings into who they actually are. Now who we are is both individual and unified, the Elohim, the Many and the One. The more we become ourselves, the more we lose ourselves. Ideally this should mean, therefore, that as a magician unfolds they also affect and change the group and civil consciousness. Several occult and esoteric groups have been explicitly clear that they aim to change and transform human consciousness. Again, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’.

One such esoteric organisation is the Ordo Templi Orientis (Crowley redaction), which has very noble aims indeed. To quote the man himself:

Civilization is crumbling under our eyes and I believe that the best chance of saving what little is worth saving, and rebuilding the Temple of the Holy Ghost on plans, and with material and workmanship, which shall be free from the errors of the former, lies with the O.T.O.

Bishop Allen Greenfield, among others, has pointed out how hard it is for the OTO (or any group) to meet these goals. It would require folk who, in Golden Dawn parlance, are ‘more than human’ – that is operating with more circuits of consciousness than the average person who is trapped within the four common circuits described above. These ‘higher’ states of consciousness the magician aspires to have also, somewhat, been mapped by Drs Leary and Wilson.

They postulate four ‘extra-terrestrial’ or developing circuits of consciousness, V through VIII. I won’t go into them here, except to say they ‘sit upon’ or build upon the lower circuits, and relate (again roughly) to the next four spheres of the Tree of Life, Tiphareth through Daath. So circuit V sits upon and transcends circuit I, the bio-survival circuit, and circuit VI sits upon and transcends circuit II, the emotional–territorial circuit etc

The problem is simply that most magicians do not actually transform their consciousness at all, but remain mired in the lower neuro-circuits as much as anyone, but now with bodacious methods to tinker with the mind, other people and the universe. Again, to pick on Crowley (hey he’s dead and supposedly a Master, so he won’t mind) – even while claiming the initiatory equivalent to Christ (9=2), Crowley wrote in his diary that he needed to do something about his ego. So, yes, high consciousness but the lower consciousness and circuits still having veto power.

DISTORTION FROM THE DEPTHS

When the terrestrial circuits, lower Sephiroth, personality grades, are not worked through deeply and PERSONALLY, their presence and patterns of behaviour ‘infect’ or distort the higher modes of consciousness, the extra-terrestrial circuits or higher Sephrioth. The results are something like this:

The magician becomes focused on themselves, expanding their own ego and importance in the world and their place in magic. This distortion stems from an incomplete working through of the realisation of the ego’s existence as a baby in the bio-survival circuit (I). We can relate this to the negative aspects of Tiphareth.

The magician becomes focused on carving out territory in the magical community, expanding their groups, attacking others, engaging in magical warfare, seeing themselves and their groups as victims of a vast conspiracy. This distortion stems from an incomplete working through of the domination and submission axis within the emotional–territorial circuit (II). We can relate this to the negative aspects of Geburah.

The magician becomes obsessed with the minutiae of ceremonial, lineage, ritual practice, words and acquiring original documents and ‘secret knowledge’. This distortion stems from an incomplete working through of the acquisition of language, writing and intelligence in the symbolic or neuro-semantic circuit (III). We can relate this to the negative aspects of Chesed.

The magician becomes focused on esoteric or occult eugenics or sex magic and the creation of ‘vehicles’, such as ‘Solar Bodies’, whereby their ego can survive physical death. This distortion stems from an incomplete working through of the sexual and reproductive capacity and legacy forming aspects of the domestic or socio-sexual circuit (IV). We can relate this to the negative aspects of the Supernals operating through Daath.

THE WAY FORWARD

To correct these problems good folk like Dr Israel Regardie suggested all magicians undergo some form of therapy. I am not sure how much of this goes on these days, but I suspect very little. The need to personally work the outer grades, the terrestrial circuits of consciousness is acute. Yet the language, the texts of magic still often ignores these problems, presenting material within a non-personal paradigm. So a great deal of reframing is needed here.

I would also suggest, coming from both a depth Christian and Buddhist perspective, that alongside personal work, non-personal work is essential. By focusing on others we broaden ourselves, engage with transpersonal, higher aspects of consciousness that will speed and smooth our personal rectification. When applied consciously this is the function of community work, social engagement, charity and communal action within churches and fraternal lodges. The two side-by-side, personal therapy and non-personal giving through action and engagement, can have amazing transformational results.

Hopefully then, we can, when ready, work the deeper magic and activate the extra-terrestrial circuits and become really human, unfold to who we are – one and many – without the lower circuits taking veto power every so often (or less often). We would then be in an ideal situation to do some real magic – the third method of social change; changing group consciousness.

As real humans, activated by the deeper consciousness, we can choose to open to the greater mind, the group mind, the racial mind. We can then act within it, working out the issues and problems within it, in our daily lives. Healing and affecting the group mind is not simply a matter of powerful ceremonial on a Sunday night. The blocks, the issues, the injustice and damage in the group mind has to come through and be rectified in the individual magician’s life as one of the Many. This is not at all easy and the best examples are of course given by the ever-living Dion Fortune in her novels and a few of her essays. Read her. Many times.

So in a nutshell: do the personal work, support others, give, practice the deep magic and live the issues of your time and culture, to change them, as directed and inspired by your Gods 🙂 Thanks.

Magical Action to Increase Compassion towards Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Australia

This is part of an initiative I have started to…well, the title says it all 🙂

I will be inviting all and sundry on Facebook to be part of this – and you good MOTO folk here also 🙂 And please, even if you are not Australian, feel free to be part of the magic. I have a nice little outline of the plan and all in good pdf form HERE.

Of course, since some folk like to just read on screen, I will paste the text below also.

This form of magic obviously does not abide easily with the fourth side of the pyramid – silence. The symbol and principles are out there. However, the individual methods people and groups choose, the names of their sacred One(s), contacts and Gods are not on display. So please keep yours mum too 🙂

In my personal experience I have had mixed success with magic like this. As I recount in this post a similar initiative over ten years ago concerning the forthcoming Iraq war failed dismally. However, as I say in this other post:

In my experience the best and most successful forms of practical magic are those performed collectively for altruistic purposes and which work in alliance with spiritual beings under the presidency of the higher powers. These are keys elements: a collegiate experience to go beyond the self; altruistic and transpersonal intentions; working in harmony with beings in the other realms where we at best can but blunder around, and; an attitude of surrender to the One.

And this current magic ticks all these boxes. I’ve seen some wonderful results from this form of magic, as well as failures. So we will see on this one…but remember magic is like hugging a tar baby; it affects the magician as much as it does the world. So working inwardly, magically and working hard and non-personally for compassion will affect each of us and move us towards a more compassionate state. And that can’t be bad! 🙂 THANKS 🙂

– – – – – – – – – – – 

  • This is for everyone concerned about the current government’s actions in regards to asylum seekers and refugees in Australia. Polling suggests this is well over half the population.
  • While magic is predominately the realm of Witches, Magicians, Pagans, Druids and others, the invitation is here for any and all people to help open the group mind of Australia towards compassion for those seeking refuge.
  • This form of magic does not impede on anyone’s sovereign will. But it does provide opportunities for change should there be an inclination towards that change.
  • The daily reports of appalling conditions in offshore detention centres, the military style secrecy of the Australian government, the universal and repeated condemnation of these centres and practices by international sources and the increasing whistleblowing by those working in these centres is a concern for all Australians.
  • These actions by the Australian government are supported by choices and non-choices we have made and are currently making; as individuals, as groups and as a nation.
  • From a magical point of view these choices ultimately stem from the fabric of the collective unconscious, the hidden side of culture and society where our deepest assumptions and beliefs lie. We have all experienced transformation from reworking the weave of our own inner depths. We facilitate these changes in others through initiation, prayer and healing. Now we need to go broader and work directly with our nation and our culture.

 

INTENTION

To increase compassion towards asylum seekers and refugees within the Australian group mind.

METHOD

Everyone is invited to contribute to this magic which will be conducted in five phases from 9 January to roughly 7 February. The magic centres around the symbol below as a representation of compassion in balance within the Australian group mind and as a focus for the intention given above (please see ‘Notes on the Symbol’ below).

Compassion Australia web 96 J

PHASE 1 – SPREADING THE WORD (January 9 – 16). During this week, please share this invitation to all magical people you know, far and wide, personally, via social media and other means.

PHASE 2 – CREATING THE SYMBOL (On or around Full Moon, January 16). The symbol is created within the ‘astral’, inner realm and strongly exists ‘above’ Australia, and is ‘ALIVE’.

PHASE 3 – CHARGING THE SYMBOL (January 16-26). Additional magic is done to empower the symbol.

PHASE 4 – BIRTHING THE SYMBOL (On or around Australia Day, January 26). Magic is conducted to ‘bring down’ the symbol into the group mind of Australia.

Time of ‘gestation’ (January 27-31)

PHASE 5 – PRACTICAL ACTION (On or shortly after New Moon, January 31). Practical action such as letter writing to earth the magic.

SUGGESTIONS FOR MAGIC

  • Those skilled in magic can readily apply the principles below and should work as they normally do.
  • All magic should ‘start grounded and finish grounded’. This is very important. It means we begin connected to the earth, knowing ourselves and our boundaries, and we finish the same way. Grounding is normally one of the first skills taught in most magical traditions. Grounding exercise examples can be found here.
  • Another key point is that straight after grounding we connect with our Sacred One(s) and ask them for assistance in the magic.

Creating the Symbol

  • Visualisation is the key here. After grounding and asking your Sacred One(s) for assistance, strongly visualise the symbol. Keep in mind the intention. Once the symbol is strong, see it grow larger and larger and rise to fill the air above the whole of Australia. Keep visualising for as long as possible.
  • At this time experienced folk around the country will be working deep magic to create the symbol on the inner realms, so it will be easy for you to add your bit by simply visualising.
  • When finished visualising, thank your Sacred One(s) and spend some time grounding.
  • More experienced magicians can use other methods to create the symbol. A group can use dance, ritual, chant etc. to empower the symbol. Wiccan groups and couples can raise the cone of power or use the Great Rite.

Charging the Symbol

  • Magic here involves two forms of action. Firstly, the aims and hopes of the people of Australia to make a compassionate society are directed ‘upward’ into the symbol. Secondly, the blessings of the spiritual powers and beings we are working with are also directed into the symbol. These may be seen as being directed ‘downward’ into the symbol, but only because these beings are transpersonal not because they are ‘beyond the earth’.
  • So in meditation, in ritual, in group or solo settings, we charge the symbol in these two ways.
  • As individuals (after grounding and asking for assistance) we know ourselves to be representative of the thousands of others in our locales that wish for a more compassionate Australia. As representatives, we imagine ourselves taking their thoughts, wishes and love, as well as our own, into the symbol. We may create a chant to help with this.
  • We then pray and ask our Sacred One(s) to bless the symbol. We see their love and power and light enter and enliven the symbol. We do this for as long as possible as on each day in this phase, if possible.
  • Remember to thank your Sacred One(s) and ground at the end of each session.
  • If you are in a magical group, create sacred space. Have one or two people in each direction. Raise energy and go into trance. Consciously identify the quarters of the circle with the quarters of your city; see the east of the circle as and overlapping with the east of the city and so on – so that your circle IS your city. The people at the quarters now open themselves to represent the people within that quarter of the city. In trance they collect and channel the good wishes and intentions of the people of the city. They direct these, in unison with the rest of the group, into the symbol above Australia.
  • Now invoke in your usual manner your Sacred One(s) and see them enter the symbol with their love and power and light to enliven the symbol. Thank your Sacred One(s), close your sacred space and ground as normal.

Birthing the Symbol

  • We do this on Australia Day, when our nation is self-conscious and open to influence.
  • Again, after our preparation, we visualise the symbol. Once it is strong we again ask for the blessings of our Sacred One(s) to enter the symbol. We repeat our intention strongly. Then we slowly and clearly see the symbol come ‘down’ to cover the whole of Australia. We see it enter the group mind of Australia – see it enter the land, the towns, people in your neighbourhood, people in your city, politicians and media people.
  • Then clearly see the symbol produce results – these may be visualised as you wish, for example newspaper headlines like, ‘Australia Leads the Way with Refugees’ or ‘PM’s New Approach to Asylum Seekers Heralded by UN’. Or see people you know who are not now compassionate expressing compassionate thoughts. Use some clear and simple visualisation that shows the completed magic. Hold this visualisation for as long as possible.
  • Once again, when finished, thank your Sacred One(s) and ground.
  • In a group setting the ‘birthing’ process can take many forms from a group meditation to a full ceremony. Wiccans may like to link the birth to the Great Rite:
  • The Coven once again creates the circle as their city. Then the Priestess and Priest will take on the Gods, standing centre circle. Then the Coven will dance the Cone around them and draw the symbol down to just ‘above’ the Priestess and Priest who then perform the Great Rite, birthing the symbol into the Cakes and Wine. These are then shared with the Coveners, who are representative of the city, and thereby take the symbol and magic into the whole city. Some Cakes and Wine should also be offered to the four quarters of the city by people who live nearby.
  • Other methods of birthing will present themselves to experienced magicians.

Practical Action

  • We leave the symbol to affect the group mind of Australia from birthing (26 January) through the dark moon until the new moon (31 January). This is an important period where the ‘ferment’ of the magic grows.
  • On and after new moon is the time for practical action to fully ground and make the magic work on the material level. Without doing something physical the magic will not work. Suggestions include:
  • Speaking to people about the issues; sharing accurate information;
  • Writing letters to the media;
  • Writing letters and contacting politicians clearly stating how you wish things to change;
  • Creating a simple flyer and letterbox dropping it for a few streets around your home;
  • Donating to various Refugee and Asylum Seeker advocacy groups; and
  • Volunteering at refugee agencies.
  • Groups may like to spend a night writing letters and emails. Each member is assigned one letter to write (to local MPs, the Prime Minister, the Immigration Minister Etc.). They bring along a template, and all of the group copy and write and sign all the letters. These are sealed and stamped and magic done to bless them before posting.
  • On all letters or emails it would be good to include the symbol as this will help bring the magic to the fore for those reading it. The symbol can be found here: small (jpg), large (png), for letters (jpg).

 A NOTE ON THE SYMBOL

  • The symbol expresses the intention. Yes, it is a little twee, but we want it to be simple and clear for people from all traditions and backgrounds.
  • The colours are from the Australian Flag to help link to the Australian group mind.
  • The blue in this case represents the raw consciousness of Australia, which we act on and inspire.
  • The red heart represents the compassion we are seeking, rising out of the raw consciousness.
  • The Southern Cross represents the Australian soul, now surrounded by compassion. It also can be used to bring in the stellar forces for those working this form of magic
  • The presence of the symbols of the Sun and Moon represent the balanced approach to refugees and asylum seekers. The symbols also represent the binaries of the Goddess/God for Wiccans and other polarities for those working them.

RESOURCES

Finding gold – extracting the esoteric from rejected knowledge

The pseudo-occultism of the present day, with its dubious psychism, wild theorizing, and evidence that cannot stand up to the most cursory examination, is but the detritus which accumulates around the base of the Mount of Vision. All such worthless rubbish is not worth the power and shot of argument; in order to form a just estimate of the Sacred Science we must study originals, and try to penetrate the minds of the great mystics… whose works bear evidence of first-hand knowledge of the supersensible worlds. ~ Dion Fortune.

Dion Fortune

One of the difficulties the student new to occultism faces is the task of obtaining solid and worthwhile information. If she is a member of a trusted teaching Order or magical group this is lessened somewhat, though the wise student will always seek to verify what they receive by reference to independent sources. Prior to the internet, the student’s main task was to actually find the material she was looking for. This involved hours of searching catalogues, purchasing rare books, borrowing from friends, much copying and many dead ends.

In the post internet world the main task of the student has shifted away from finding material – there’s way too much to read and digest – and towards sifting out the gold from the tarnished and even the downright fraudulent. This task is made even harder because ‘occultism’ is often associated with the entire field of ‘rejected knowledge’ and much of this dross appears in internet searches along with occasional specks of gold.

Lobsang Rampa, the first Walk-In?

Rejected knowledge is essentially every theory and paradigm to explain the world which was and is not accepted as relevant, correct or logical by the bourgeoning scientific academy since the Enlightenment. Included here of course is magic, alchemy, astrology and all the mainstays of western esoteric occultism. However also included here is Ufo Religion, Cryptozoology, Biorhythms, Ancient Astronauts, Breatharianism, Perpetual Motion machines, Walk-ins, Polywater, ESP, and that ol’ standby, the Flat Earth theory. And really, for many regular folk, talking about ceremonial magic causes their eyes to glass over as much as talking about the Hollow Earth.

This is a great shame. While the reframing of occultism in the late 19th century as a spiritual and gracious art has gone apace it is, in my view, still infected by much of this rejected knowledge and pseudo science. It’s kinda embarrassing, actually. Personally, I’d like to see the whole sobbing lot ejected from the esoteric arts and make these humble comments toward that noble aim. 🙂

Psychicism and Spiritual realisation

This is my biggest bugbear. To adapt from me book a bit:

Over the last fifty years there have been literally thousands of books published and techniques devised to develop the psychic powers latent within everybody. Despite the high sales of these books and success of the courses, these powers are no more apparent within people today than previously. This is because these powers and modes of awareness are too latent, too buried within the majority of the population. In short, not everyone is psychic to any degree of usefulness and certainly not consistently. Psychic awareness appears to be a particular mode of inner awareness, often developed from an early age but also often developed following a traumatic event. Sometimes people may experience a temporary expansion of their psychic awareness and abilities following the shock from such an event, only to ‘lose’ them as they integrate the event more into their daily life, as they heal.

While it may be true that everyone can develop these powers to some degree, the time and effort required, which is considerable for most people, far outweighs potential benefits gained from possessing such skills. Also we must consider why we should want to be able to develop these powers – is it to unfold spiritually, to serve the One Being – or is it to bolster our egos or shore up our insecurities? The intermixing of the notion of psychic powers and spiritual unfoldment within Western magic is unfortunate and has led to some quite ridiculous notions of what makes someone ‘spiritually evolved’. Reading the history of psychic research, parapsychology and occultism makes it quite clear that spectacular and unusual psychic phenomena can be produced by the most immoral, self-centred and corrupt people.

The Society of the Inner Light had this to say concerning psychic awareness: ‘Psychism is simply one type of inner awareness and there are other types at least as valid and as common’.

It is quite possible to practice magic and esotericism without being ‘psychic’. Indeed psychism often functions at the Yesodic level while the aim of magic is to remake the self in the service of the One from the Tipharethic level, directed by the Ketheric. Stuffy old traditional folk like me can’t help but wonder if all this ESP, astral travel (next door not inner plane), psychic impressions, card readings for love stuff may actually hinder this aim. You can unfold spiritually without being psychic, and your spiritual unfoldment may or may not affect your psychic abilities.

Modern Science and Occult science

Now of course the scientific paradigm is only one way of viewing and interacting with the universe. I acknowledge that. There are other paradigms equally as valid, even if they are generally mostly promoted by an internet that rests squarely on the scientific method, peer reviews and all those other boring things. Indeed there is nothing more amusing that being lectured to about the evils of science and technology by someone whose Facebook photo shows them peering through bifocals. 🙂

And yes, I acknowledge the scientific establishment has enfolded on itself to produce a self-sustaining and sometimes limiting institution, which can be pretty myopic at times.  St Bob in his The New Inquisition and many others show this clearly. So I am not making an idol of science, but hey, it is science. Most forms of ‘occult science’ are anything but, in that they do not follow logical premises and do not actually make sense. The biggest problem here is of the confusion of planes, which is perhaps best illustrated by a stand up ‘discussion’ I had with a New Age Shaman Wannabee (NASW) at a party who insisted Atlantis was ‘real’. Condensed and cleaned up for ‘G’ audiences, it went like this:

ME: So you’re sure Atlantis was real?

NASW: Yes.

ME: Really real?  Physical, shared space-time real, like the glass of Norfolk punch you’re holding.

NASW: Yes.

ME: How do you know?

NASW: I’ve seen remains of the outlying islands.

ME: Physical remains of physical islands?

NASW: Yes.

ME: Wow! How amazing. Where? When?

NASW: In a vision.

ME:  So…er….you saw ‘physical remains’ in a vision and that makes it true physically?

NASW: Yes.

ME: Right…I think I hear the cat calling my name. Bye.

When we critically examine the ‘science’ behind a lot of these ‘occult sciences’ we come up with essentially the same problem. Sadly some magicians and Pagans, even GD magicians, go in for these forms of ‘occult science’.

Let’s take two practices often listed as pseudo-science by ‘the establishment’ but seen by their advocates to be forms of science; homeopathy and Breatharianism. To the scientific rationalist they are both hokum and dangerous. However 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. Instead it asserts there is an ‘energetic’ dimension that may affect our subtle bodies and thereby help our own subtle bodies promote physical health. There is no trickle down of ‘Belladonna’ from subtle to physical; only our own subtle body affects our physical and the remedy is seen to help with the subtle body alone.

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.

The Queen Mum – swore by the Arnica, she did.

Breatharianism on the other hand seems to be touted by folk who simply can’t get their heads around the planes. They talk about physical ‘nutrients’ being derived from the air as well as prana/chi/orgone/life force. And at no time do they explain how the physical body is supposed to be regenerated by pumping the subtle bodies full of the equivalent of subtle body food. Sure the subtle bodies can affect the physical, but food on one level is not food on another. This is why some folk who practice these methods die of physical starvation, while homeopathy – as complimentary to common physical sense and a good nosh up – seemed to do no harm to the centenarian Queen Mum.

In all magic, in all things suggested or promoted to us by anyone, we need to look at how it all works. If it appears the planes are confused, be cautious. Now of course, being magicians we do see strange things from time to time that do not fit into any paradigm – subtle planes or not. Weird things. However – and this is very important – they are not being paraded around as replicable science within a commercial market place.

Natural and Supernatural

It is very common within modern magic and occult circles to come across the meme that there is no ‘supernatural’ – it’s all natural, ghosts, levitation, remote viewing etc – we just do not understand it yet. Very nice. We fey folk, occultists, Pagans and true believers of the weird and wonderful must be patient and wait for the rest of the world to catch up. Again, very nice.

However, hand in hand with this ‘it’s all natural’ meme often goes a valorisation of the abilities, ‘powers’ and phenomena which are being reclaimed as natural. Search for courses and books on astral travel, bi-location, remote viewing, clairvoyance and you will see what I mean. There’s money to be made in them there super-powers! 🙂

Like the ‘natural’ abilities of cooking, creating, weaving, writing and art, these ‘super-powers’ have the potential to deepen connection to the One in service, increasing the love, harmony and beauty in the world. Unlike serving up the meat and three veg at dinner though, they can be a source of glamour, ego expansion and psychic disturbance if not wisely handled.  The traditional approach to these ‘powers’ within pretty much all sensible esoteric traditions to is to recognize their potential and occasional existence and even usefulness – and then to focus on the main goal, which is re-forming the self to serve the Mystery, however concieved.

I am very glad to say the vast majority of Golden Dawn, Pagan and western magical groups have a good approach, and do not focus on the development of ‘powers’. Personally, I think such a focus is counter to the spirit of the modern western mysteries and the source of more delusion and suffering I care to point a stick to.

Another aspect of the natural and supernatural spectrum is the concept of immortality. It is sometimes stated that the goal of the mysteries is to become immortal:

Initiation is the preparation for immortality.  Man is only potentially immortal.  Immortality is acquired when the purely human part of himself becomes allied to that spiritual essence which was never created, was never born, and shall never die.  It is to effect this spiritual bond with the highest that the Golden Dawn owes its ritual and practical magical work. – Israel Regardie.

Would Regardie want THIS version of his personality immortalized or an older one? 🙂

Sometimes however this concept is misunderstood and an impression of personal immortality is touted. You know, you – yes YOU – living forever. That is, your personality self as it is now, going on and on and on… Sounds kinda exoteric Christian, and it is, of course, nonsense.

Our personality selves cease when we sleep (and orgasm and sneeze if you believe the Tibetan Buddhists) and reform simply out of habit, structure, Karma or wot not. I mean, ingest a hundred grams of alcohol and see how loose and non-permanent your personality self is. Still don’t believe me? Follow it up with 500 micrograms of LSD. Or a year in solitary confinement. Like all things temporal and in the lower worlds, we age, we decay and we die.

However, we are more than what dies. Do some volunteer work in a hospice. As you get to know those who are dying with dementia or some other brain condition, you will see little personality self. Yet the ‘person’ is still there; they are still the terminus of the Great Chain of Being that is their unique expression of the One Thing. In magic we dedicate, use and sacrifice our personality self – our terminus –  our ‘me’, to form the bond, the link with the eternal. This is the ‘immortality’ Regardie is talking about, and the method towards it is clearly shown in the Adeptus Minor initiation (and indeed the Rosicrucian manifestos themselves). It is not a personal immortality, which really is just another ‘super power’ as discussed above, only differing in magnitude not type.

In the end of course, personal immortality appeals to our personality based ego-fear of death. The acquisition of super powers appeals to our personal sense of disempowerment, and attraction to highly glamorised psychicism or alternative theories appeals to our personal need for validation and excitement. There is nothing wrong with any of this. But such things should not be confused with authentic western esotericism which focuses on the transpersonal. And once more I will finish with a much loved quote from Cynthia Bourgeault, a contemplative Anglican priest with much esoteric study:

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)