The Return of the Gods

          “We can no longer deny that the dark stirrings of the unconscious are active powers, that psychic forces exist which, for the present at least, cannot be fitted into our rational world order.”
                                                                 - Carl Gustav Jung

          Much of magic is an experience of inward forces and realities, intangible forces which, at times, can produce dramatic changes in external reality. The most obvious magical effects are often the ones most readily dismissed as mere coincidence, imagination, or outright hallucination, but the reason for these sad rationalizations is that we have been heavily conditioned to keep ourselves in the dark about such things. The clearest and most reliable measure of the subjugation of a divine being is the amount of distance that can be created between the outside world that surrounds him or her and what lies within. When our minds are deprived of vital knowledge about the world in which we live, and our voices are silenced by fear, or even just lack of articulation on our part, it’s not long before the truth, which was once so clear in our heart, dies as well.

          The truth is that each one of us carries an inverse model of the universe within our minds, and each of these models are not just acted upon by changes which occur in the “real” world, but can actually influence the physical world around us as our model of it is changed. The primary factor which controls one’s level of mastery in this regard seems to be that feeling of distance I mentioned above, a feeling which is artificially induced, to various degrees, in billions of human minds around the world.

          Why, you might ask, would anyone want to exchange a world full of gods for one of sacrificial lambs? Because the cosmic power of even a subjugated divinity is still able to shape reality, and without your conscious control over this strange quantum entanglement that makes you divine, your actual effect on the world will be directed by whomever’s message has the greatest impact on the collective unconscious. In the world as it exists today, some still get to be gods, but the bulk of us will exist only as tools, to be used by those in power via media, religion, politics, and, of course, art as well.

          The only gods we must fear, or who may actually save us, are those we’ve created ourselves. If like many in this materialist age, you believe them to be nothing but superstitions, you should still be careful about what sort of things might yet endure within the fertile depths of your own unconscious. Our archetypal images of the divine were once potent psychic mechanisms by which our natural power to shape reality was focused and directed, that is until a state sponsored monotheism condemned almost all of them as demons, and tried its best to keep the last one as far out of reach as possible. Science came along to sweep aside this exploitive religious hierarchy that sprang up on the bones of conquered shamans and their extinguished gods, but the paltry modern practices of depth psychology which have been offered up to replace our stolen spirituality is, in my opinion, hardly adequate.

          Rather than seeking to deny the power of these shadowy figures of bygone faiths, or even that of overbearing Jehovah Himself, we can instead learn how to communicate and work with them in more effective ways, and on what many of you will find to be far more agreeable terms than you’re probably used to as well. I believe that once you’ve done this, you’ll find these ancient gods, and the demons as well, to be invaluable allies on your upcoming journey into a brave new world of powerful psychic technologies, a world which has been lost to mankind since it forgot who it really is.

Alchemy for Dummies (part 2)

         Alchemy is said to be worked in three parts, Nigredo, Albedo, and Rubedo, which are all named for a different color associated with each stage of the Great Work. It begins in darkness, in a stage called Nigredo, which corresponds to the two Hermetic elements of force, Fire and Water. The precise alchemical processes associated with the elements of Nigredo are called Calcination and Dissolution, meaning that the thing which is being alchemized is first reduced to ashes in a crucible and then these ashes are dissolved in water. As far as metaphors go, this is obviously a painful one, although, if done properly, it’s the only part that has to hurt.

          Psychologically, growth begins in Nigredo, as our unconscious naturally responds to painful experiences with some amount of emotion. These emotions provide us with the prima materia, or prime matter, on which we will focus all further Alchemical efforts. Any sort of force external to oneself, if it is sufficient to break one down, becomes an internal force in the form of an emotional response. This process, particularly if one would like to raise their emotional melting point, bears further examination.

          Such self-examination, then, begins in Alchemy’s second stage, Albedo, which is named for the pure white light of consciousness itself, and corresponds to the two Hermetic elements of form, Air and Earth, and is associated with the Alchemical processes of Separation and Conjunction. In Separation, the products of Dissolution are isolated via filtration and impurities are discarded. With the process of Conjunction, what remains is recombined to produce a new, purified, whole. This is said to complete the Lesser Stone, and sets the stage for the final Alchemical processes necessary to complete the Greater, or Philosopher’s, Stone.

          When all is completed, the Rebis (double thing), often referred to as a Hermaphrodite at this stage in the work, can be made into an Androgyne, so that what was once dual becomes unified and whole. The Hermaphrodite being referenced here is not simply a being with dual sexual organs, but should be understood as an amalgamation of things ruled by the god Hermes, a god the science, writing, speech, and the mind, with things ruled by the goddess Aphrodite, a goddess of love, passion, poetry and the arts; in short, the mental and the emotional aspects of all human beings, or, as some might refer to it today, our left and our right brains.

            Let’s recap the Alchemical work up to this point in even simpler terms. What Hermetic philosophers symbolize as fire, which is external force, often begets water, internal force, and this is the inspiration for all of our latter alchemical efforts. Thus the initiation of our alchemical work is provided naturally by the world, since fire is all around us, within all of the activity we observe in the world, even mere spoken words, because all of these things fall under the category of externalized forces, and any of these may provoke the uncontrollable emotional responses that we as Alchemists would like to rise above.

When these forces create a reaction inside of us, we can apply consciousness as part of the next Alchemical step in order to properly address the disturbance, and by doing so transform our portion of what Hermetics call “air” and “earth,” meaning our personal experience of form, internally and externally, into new and better arrangements that will adjust and modify this transference of forces until it’s more to our liking. This is a simple formula for self-improvement and for improving one’s life experience, although, up to this step, it is largely an intrapersonal experiment, meaning one is only resolving opposition within one’s own mind and body. The next stage completes the great work by moving our Alchemical focus onto the world itself.
          This Alchemical focus on the unification of opposites was expressed most strongly by their references to the Great Work as an “Alchemical Marriage,” one between the Lunar Queen, or the Soul, and the Solar King, who represents our Spirit. While the second stage of the Alchemical work is completed with the reintegration of the heart and mind, two internal parts of human consciousness driven apart by defense mechanisms that protect us from painful experiences, this unification of self has only just prepared one for the true realization of the Great Work.  Emotional pain provides us with the prime matter of our work, because only by examining the root causes of our distress and cognitive dissonance can we return to a unified consciousness, free from internal conflict and division, and, having groomed ourselves thus, we are finally able to move onto the final Alchemical undertaking, approaching our marriage with the Anima Mundi and our final apotheosis.

          This is the last stage, the Rubedo, in which an “alien intelligence” enters the equation, and although I responded quite defensively to this idea at first, I’ve come to realize that this alien is also largely metaphoric as well, a symbol for all of the other conscious forces that lie outside of and beyond the bounds of our own unified and individuated self-consciousnesses.

This is why the Rubedo, or the red stage, is considered the proving ground for all the internal work which has come before it. We must reconcile ourselves with the world in order to become truly whole, and our tremendous amount of inner work, carried out in the first two stages of the Alchemical process, is what makes this reconciliation possible.

            Magic transpires within a very subtle realm of synthesis between self and other. Many Magicians try to claim that the power lies entirely within them, but then how do they explain the obvious limitations that seem to be imposed on their will? Christians believe that all such power is the work of demons, and, upon honest examination, this seems to be just as good an explanation for magical phenomenon as any other.

Obviously, many of you, if you’re reading a book like this, will have bulked at that last sentence. Occultists reject such an idea for obvious reasons, not only because they are proud and arrogant about their own power, but because they feel that it validates a Christian worldview and their belief in the Great Controversy which they claim exists between God and the Devil. Wiccans and other pagans are all quick to point out that the Devil is a purely Christian concept, which they don’t acknowledge much less engage ritually, and obviously modern scientifically minded psychics see no reason to cloud the realm of para-psychological study with such religious nonsense. All of these objections are reasonable, but short sighted.

In order to truly become one with a power that most only play with, and are played with in return, you must accept the reality of your own mortal limitations and, only with such honest humility and rare self-awareness, one can accept the agency of these power within the world and offer oneself as an unshakable witness who is able to provide this occult force with a clean and stalwart vessel through which this power can flow and work one’s highest will.

Before Christ, we knew these forces as Daemons, and we embraced them, but then, something happened. The figure of Christ was held up as a warning to all other Daemons and their Magicians that there could be only one Alchemical Marriage, between one God and his one magician, Jesus of Nazareth. The modern Christian movement has thus usurped the fifth stage of the alchemical work, displaying the sacrifice of Christ as sufficient to buy us all, and obviously taking precedence over our own meager offerings to inferior spirits.

According to the Christian world view, only this one man and one god may be united, and we are all merely to serve this shining exemplar; never knowing, or even daring to think, that we too could follow in his footsteps and claim such power for ourselves.

The Great Work, which was accomplished by Jesus himself and countless other Alchemists, ends with the marriage of a purified mortal to a higher spiritual intelligence, so that these two parts can at last become seamlessly integrated; a sane and reasonable human being with a force that can now express itself without reservation in the magical will of its worthy host.

Mortificatio, which is sometimes also called Fermentation, is the critical operation which begins the final stage of Alchemy. As a chemical process, it involves the growth of a ferment bacterium in an organic solution. For the Alchemist, however, it begins with his or her awareness of the signs and wonders that will open up an active dialogue between the Magician and his Daemon.

Yet the process of integration takes time, and the next alchemical operation, Distillation, involves the gradual changes which must occur in order to complete the solidification of this new union. As a physical process, Distillation is the boiling and condensation of the fermented solution to increase its purity, like wine into brandy. Once one begins this last stage of the great work, one must maintain the same honest self evaluation and reasoning processes with should have become habitual during the Albedo stage, but, as many strange and new experiences will be introduced into one’s life to coincide with presence of this new supernatural element, this feeling of “hot water” is what we refer to as the distillation phase of the work, which separates the weak from the strong.

Those who pass through these troubled waters, however, will be able to complete the Great Work, which ends in the process we call Coagulation. When successful, this is nothing less than the union of the physical and the spiritual to produce an incarnate god.

If one fails to properly apply due diligence, however, in any of the preceding alchemical stages, then, I can assure you, the results may be far less than divine, but certainly none of you would approach such intense work without first considering the dire consequences of failing to take it very seriously, now would you?

Alchemy for Dummies

  “The matter lies before the eyes of all; everybody sees it, touches it, loves it, but knows it not. It is glorious and vile, precious and of small account, and is found everywhere... But, to be brief, our Matter has as many names as there are things in this world; that is why the foolish know it not.”
- The Golden Tract.

           Most people who know anything about Alchemy are familiar with the Alchemist’s preoccupation with changing lead into gold. Although this story can be taken literally, most people today also understand that this has a metaphorical significance, and that it actually refers to an Alchemical transformation worked on the human consciousness itself. Since lead is the metal that Hermetic scholars attribute to Saturn, and Gold is the metal they attribute to the Sun, one could surmise that Alchemy is, in fact, an esoteric process of somehow transforming the Greater Malefic force, Saturn, who dominates, and yet is bound within, our universe, into the primary life giving power that radiates out from its center, our Sun.

Of course, this is just one possible theory.

It may be interesting to note that many ancient alchemists were actually far more interested in the process of making iron than of making gold, since iron had far greater practical uses back then, such as for making weapons, farming tools, and eventually for use in the construction of reinforced buildings. The quest to transform one’s self into iron also has greater metaphorical value as well, at least in my humble opinion, since it’s divorced from the shallow usurious mercantile obsessions of our modern consumerist culture and serves to reconnect us to a waning masculine essence which in modern times is in desperate need of a little reaffirmation.

Since iron is also the metal attributed to the planet Mars, who is known as the Lesser Malefic, one could even view this form of Alchemical Work as a way or opting for “the lesser of two evil.”

Again, this is just another possible theory, but such theorizing is precisely where the Great Work must begin.  

           At first glance, the standard Alchemical process may strike some Hermetic initiates as a bit suspicious, particularly when, as in other occult systems of “self-transformation,” most notably the O. T. O.’s “Knowledge and Conversation of One’s Holy Guardian Angel,” one is informed that an alien intelligence is expected to appear at some advanced point in the work and inhabit the prepared vessel, which in this case is “you.”

           Just in case you missed that last part, let me say it again. During the 5th stage of the Alchemical process, which is called Fermentation, or sometimes “Mortificatio,” after the human mind has already completed a thorough refining process that essentially has created a new and better person, an alien intelligence is supposed to appear who will inhabit his or her body.

This will inevitably lead more clever initiates to wonder if they are somehow already one of these higher creatures who seem to use human bodies for sustenance, or are they just a very clever and well bred cow.

           However, as bovine as we may choose to act, human beings are not merely cows. The truth is that we are essentially of the same basic nature as any conceivable type of higher order being who might be able to utilize the human condition as a means of strengthening and sustaining its own transcendental existence. If we were being farmed, it could only by beings who once lived as we do now but who have moved onto a “higher” state of being without first abandoning the carnal needs and habits of the flesh and blood they now lack.

            Thankfully, I have come to understand the Alchemical process far better than I did when I first encountered these threats of spiritual possession, and, hopefully, I will be able to describe the various stages of Alchemical transformation in a way that won’t have you looking over your shoulder, fearful that you too are about to be abducted or eaten by something from beyond.

After all, it was only a theory.

Oh, by the way, and if you want to study the Alchemical Self-Initiation that set me off on this weird rant, this first link should lead you to all of the rest. If you watch far enough, there's a really good five minute long clip of Terence Mckenna near the end, who, to the best of my knowledge, isn't a pawn of dark forces, or if he is, they're politely subtle about it. Enjoy.

Leary's Seven Circuit Model of the Human Brain

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            I found this short four minute clip of Robert Anton Wilson explaining how Timothy Leary's conception of our psychological make-up relates to the days of the week. What's not made very clear in this short treatment of it (it's only about 4 minutes long) is that the fifth circuit, which I think Wilson describes as the circuit of sexual ecstasy, is referred to by Leary as the neuro-somatic (i.e. mind-body) circuit, and is activated by far more than just "Tantra," at least as we commonly understand that word. This higher circuit can be activated by any intense physical discipline that engages one's full consciousness and one's often under-stimulated somatic nervous system. Things like Chi Gung, Baguazang, Capoeira, or even Parkour and Ballet, can, if used properly, all provide the means to redistribute and rewrite one's consciousness, a consciousness which is otherwise arbitrarily shaken out across the first four circuits by sheer happenstance and the random, often less than fortuitous, circumstances of one's early life.

            I also didn't like the way that Wilson reduced and oversimplified the fourth circuit as if it was merely about sexual behavior. Leary called it the Socio-sexual circuit but at the same time claimed that it encompassed all of our taboos and moral inhibitions as well, thus the "socio" part of that title. However, all things considered, Wilson's observations concerning Leary's system (which I'm sure he understood in far more depth than he presented it here) and it's link to the days of the week is remarkably insightful. If you've never read any of Wilson's stuff, you really, really, should. I recommend all of it.

Join the Underground Zombie Resistance!

          The real Zombie Apocalypse will not be obvious, dramatically revealed by fields of blood and gore. Its victims will not shamble in mass through otherwise abandoned streets, hunting the last few desperate survivors of the human race so as to actually eat their brains. Governments will not fall, businesses and homes will not close and bar their doors in terror, and society will not grind to an absolute halt, at least not in any way that reveals or betrays this terrible and secret Apocalypse. I know this is true because I myself have been infected, and the pale influence of this horrible infection is almost completely invisible; undetectable, at times, even to me. This, sadly, is what makes it nearly impossible to resist.

          Of course, it’s quite possible that, somewhere out there, there remains a small uninfected elite, acting as wardens and shepherds to the directionless and disaffected masses of zombie slaves, or simply hiding out in some secluded bunker, struggling to maintain their own humanity, but I can’t clearly conceive of such beings anymore. Once infected, the psychic force of the malady engulfs the mind completely, fogging both memory and imagination, causing both will and desire to slowly wither and die. The dull pragmatism of the disease overwhelms all of the so-called bohemian virtues; until strange concepts like art, truth, honor, freedom, even love, lose all meaning within the minds of the infected. Culture is replaced by consumerism, education by certification, creation by industry and endless reproductions. Nearly all forms of order corrupt and twist beneath the weight of the zombie menace, becoming nothing more than thinly veiled pretenses for merely surviving, or “at best” exploiting, among these soulless monsters.

          When the last pieces of me have finally succumbed, I will probably no longer write such nonsense. I will probably be “all right.” For now, I am still resisting the perhaps inevitable death that comes before death, and hope that these simple words, like the lifeless protocols that keep the corporations themselves from grinding to a halt, will preserve and reawaken some small piece of what I once was; if, that is, I am indeed to be completely consumed by the darkness that now draws near, but I truly hope that some small part of the human being I once was will continue to live on inside me.

          I said they will not shamble in the streets. I said they will not hunt you, and that they will not want to eat your brains. These things are only partly true. Look closely. If this missive awakens some small spark within you, realize in that moment of lucidity that they have been hunting you since you were a child, and you have been “bitten” enough times that, like most of us, you will find unmistakable signs of that shambling zombie gait within the sleep waking footsteps of your own “modern” life.

          The truth is, the secret and nearly unnoticeable rise of the Zombies will not, as the movies claim, disturb the status quo one bit, and will in fact only cause both big brother and big business to boom. This was, after all, its intended purpose when the disease was originally engineered. Where it was once feared that this boom might only be temporary, that the infection would become so wide spread and so dramatic that there would be no one left unaffected, no one with the will to direct all these complex organizations, it now appears that mere habit, as well as gratuitous amounts of protocol and procedure, are sufficient to direct a zombie workforce. In short, the world will not end with a bang, but rather will drone on indefinitely with the inescapable, monotonous, hum of corporate progress.

          I don’t know if it’s a physical infection, hidden within our meat or some vaccine, or if the attack is purely psychic, televised or advertised or transmitted in some far more subtle and occult manner than even I can imagine, but I do know that we can only resist this Zombie Apocalypse if you can open your eyes and detect the tragic reality of it first. I believe that the mind can heal itself, the human spirit can be reawoken, and we can support and help each other as we all struggle together against the insidious power of this terrible disease. Inoculate yourselves and those around you with you own art and self awareness. Create wonders. Dance. Make love. Move at more than a shambling pace. Kiss in public. Climb something. Play. Disrupt misery and the viciousness of the miserable. Be alive.

          Welcome to the Zombie Resistance. Good Luck and Namaste.

The Danger of Monotheism

          Evil delights in any and all deceptions which will allow it either to pass for good or else to remain undetected for what it truly is.* In other words, evil often revels in gathering undeserved moral praise and distinction for itself, wherever and whenever it may, but alternatively, particularly in those circumstances where such praise is not readily available, it will also jump at the opportunity to cloud or to even destroy our ability to form any sort of moral distinctions at all. For this reason, the two most popular forms of rhetorical moralizing, which are the vain claims of one’s own righteousness and the reckless arguments against making any sort of moral distinction at all between right and wrong, should both be considered highly suspect.

          It is, in my opinion, this self interested drive to interfere with true moral clarity that has caused the powers that be, time any time again, to endorse monotheistic faiths over far less politically flattering dualistic and polytheistic religions. Although all of these faiths admit to a realm of moral conflict, only a dualist or polytheistic outlook allows such moral inquiries to extend all the way to the top of the ladder of power, or to consider that the aims of power might, in fact, be antithetical to those of true moral goodness. In stark contrast to this, monotheistic faiths provide the ruling class with an implied endorsement from what we are to assume is an undisturbed and undisputed source of moral authority, one that, like those in power, reigns absolutely from above us all and which has obviously chosen to have all things be however they are. Dualist heresies have been stamped out within the Catholic Church, for example, because they do not promote political stability for those in power, nor do they force the weak and oppressed to accept their horrible circumstances as something that’s part of “God’s plan,” just another victim of their lord’s “mysterious ways.”

          The second greatest tragedy of this age is our reluctance, and at times complete unwillingness, to recognize the presence of corruption and wickedness within those who have power over us. This of course stems from the greatest tragedy, which is the inability of most of us to do anything about it anyway. It is for these reasons that evil has had free reign to masquerade as good, or simply sweep aside all charges of moral evil as the childish and naive sentiments of a more superstitious age. On behalf of the good, I beg you, strengthen yourself however you can, and do not be deceived either by the panglossian surrender to mysterious ways or the postmodernist conceit that goodness is a mere illusion.

* (These deceptions most certainly extend to completely unconscious acts of self deception, so one should not overlook the very real possibility of such delusional lapses in reason within one’s own mind as well.)