'The word decadence, which at first meant simply "decline" in an abstract sense, is now most often used to refer to a perceived decay in standards, morals, dignity, religious faith, or skill at governing among the members of the elite of a very large social structure, such as an empire or nation state. By extension, it may refer to a decline in art, literature, science, technology, and work ethics, or (very loosely) to self-indulgent behavior'
The difficulty with words such as decadence is that they mean different things depending on who uses them. The term generally has negative connotations and is often used by those in power within society to dismiss cultural achievements of the counter culture. To them Occupy movement was a bunch of dirty hippies partying on a street. In reality it was a tremendous effort and a lot of good hard work. Sure, some people joined just to smoke a splif and look cool but they didn't organize it, they didn't create it. They just followed the crowd. At least they turned up! Many equate self awareness and inner growth with self indulgence and decadence. It's bullshit. If your drug and sex loving community creates events, art, literate, technology, science etc it is by definition not decadent no matter what some suited twat on downing/wall street might say about it.
In reality the people in power indulge in decadence more than your or my friends ever possibly could. Many of the financial elites take cocaine daily, do regular orgies, get involved in kink (fuck dead pigs head variety apparently) etc. The conservative image often is just that, an image. The difference is that they generally are not held accountable for any of it, They do not land in prison for having unlawful sex or taking illegal drugs. Mostly because they can afford a good lawyer and large private properties away from peering eyes of the public. The decadence that is destroying modern society has very little to do with a bunch of hippies throwing raves and house parties. It has much more to do with those with too much power not knowing when to stop and more importantly, feeling that they deserve all the fun at our expense. They are blinded with pleasure and power and want it at all cost.
That said, a child collecting trash in a dump to feed their starving siblings might not see the difference between your house party and the one of a banker since both happen at this child's expense and both do equally nothing to address the problem of global poverty which is not even on the kids mind because they are too hungry to think of anything else than food. I guess it's a matter of scale, how much privilege you have.
In the western world we are the people who feel and experience the results of our elites decadence everyday. We see how a greedy few destroys our future for few more snorts or whatever makes them temporarily happy and few more fucks they can afford any time they want. They tell us that we all should be like them and seek what they have. That's the carrot: better sex, better drugs and more of them! They call us decadent because we remind them too much of themselves and their epic failure at running the world. We are the shadow of their negligence and ignorance. Our own attempts at 'having a good time' are constantly overshadowed by fear of legal repercussions, by financial issues, ability to keep our jobs, pay our rents and survive from day to day. Our fun is severely limited and restricted by our circumstance. There is much less freedom in it than it might seem to a drugged mind of one who enjoys it. It is called begin rebellious, perverted, decadent, criminal, sinful etc.We can wear those insults as proud labels if we wish. We all internalized this false dehumanizing narratives imposed on us from top down and sometimes turning the insult into affirmation can be a powerful defense. At the same time we need to be careful not to glorify an attitude based on exploitation.
If drugs/sex/pleasure make you into a selfish dick or if it stops you from growing, becoming more self aware and do what you truly want to do with your life and being there for others then ditch that shit. If it is the only thing that keeps you from killing yourself or allows you to get by from day to day then by all means carry on. Self medicating is not decadence, it is a coping mechanism. The two are words apart. One allows you to cope, while the other stops you from coping. One means running away from your pain while the other learning how to live with it. If sex and drugs or another form of pleasure inspires you to do things, to create, to engage with people around you and grow spiritually then there is nothing decadent about it.
The magicians who 'abused drugs' were magicians not because they were drunks and junkies but despite of it. Their habit/addiction didn't stop them from creating a legacy we all benefited from. In some cases they consciously used mind altering substances to heal and to explore their inner worlds and shared the knowledge with us. That's not decadence either. I can not say the same about a kid of a wealthy banker who spends days fucking trafficked sex workers because its Tuesday. If I could deprive them of their fix so they could feel the pain and face themselves, I would. Some people need pain to wake up and if we steadily serve them their next dose of painkillers they will carry on wasting our future. I am tired of apathy and ignorance of our modern decadent society where true hard work isn't valued any more because someone else is doing it for you in a sweat shop millions miles away. Decadence is not a behavior of the oppressed. It's a privilege. You have to be able to afford it in the first place. There is absolutely nothing subversive about it. It's the status quo of capitalism.
If your pleasure is at my expense then I will judge you for it every time. Similarly I do not expect the proverbial starving kid to understand that I prefer to buy dope for my next weekend holiday than to buy their family a survival rations or fund an initiative that could end poverty. What would I tell the kid? That my life hurts too much and I can't cope with that much pain so they shouldn't judge me? Or that my spiritual growth is more important than their life? I hope the child would understand and forgive me and we could hug and go and get a lunch together, I could share some joints or something and work out how to best help them, because 'we are all humans'. If instead they slammed me across the face and told me to fuck off I'd like to think that I would thank them.
It's our responsibility to cut off the drug supply feeding the elites who exploit us. We need to be the wake up call, the fist that hits them with so much force that no money can stop them from feeling it. No painkillers, no mercy, just the reality raw and true. If they can't take it fuck them because millions of human begins have to take it everyday, completely sober and they do. We are the oppressor and we are the oppressed. We have to be able to handle both truths. Which one is harder to live with? When we deliver the blow some of it will hit us because we all enable the injustice. We can not move forwards without facing our own shadow and facing it hurts. It must and it will. When you run, it follows and makes you face them on their own terms, in the midst of a trip gone really bad, in a dream that you are forced to relive. It gets all of us eventually. We have to find the way out before we kill ourselves trying to avoid it. In the end death and non being are suppose to be the ultimate bliss.
We're putting together an Octarine Magic booklet, which we will release in free pdf and hard copies, as the first of a series. We will include some of the best material already on the site, but some new exclusive articles, ritual write ups, poems, photos and artworks will be most welcome.
Ok, this is not a very sexy post, far from it. However I feel that it does relate to sexual/sensual magick. First of all I want to give you a bit of my background. I have spent years studying holistic therapies, including massage. I have done yoga, meditation and in recent years also Tantra (trying to take a Buddhist perspective, but we can safely assume my attitude will be westernized). Over last two years I started to explore my own sexuality, getting involved with multiple partners, in multiple ways, lots of experimenting and lots of fun. My friends often joke that orgies became my hobby.
At the same time I have spent a few years working in care work, supporting disabled people with number of physical and learning disabilities, as well as people suffering from mental health issues. I have managed to break many of my personal fears and taboos. Biggest of all, for me and for many others, was learning to accept these people as sexual beings. Our society made a significant progress over the years. We don't keep them locked up in asylums any more. They are allowed to live independently, to socialise and even have a job whenever that is possible. Their sex lives are almost non-existent though.
I admit I never had a date with a wheelchair user. I don't have any among my friends. It's not just that. My social circle consists mostly of sexually attractive people. A while back I had a chat with a few friends, wondering whether we subconsciously discriminate against unattractive people. Don't get me wrong- at least a few of my lovers would be considered ugly by the mainstream standards. I don't care how people look, at least not consciously. It's not just looks- it's how they speak, how they move, how they smell- all the sensual stuff that makes some people attractive to me. I'm not going to fool myself though. It's not just the character that matters to me. Although I do admit that intelligence makes people attractive. Smart ugly guys with a good sense of humour often land on my list of sexy people. Stupid people will never be on my list, unless it's a one night stand. In summary- wits, sense of humour, good body and outgoing personality. Welcome to my sex club...
So how does it feel to be "un-date-table"? That's what prostitutes are for, unless you need your carer/guardian to take you there. In such cases you're most likely screwed (not literally, Lol) because that's legally impossible to achieve. And like always in life, it's poor people that suffer the most in these cases. If you have enough money you can call a rent-boy or a rent-girl, but your benefits money will not cover these types of expenses. I hope you can see where I'm heading with this...Some people still suggest that we should sterilize disabled people.
Ok- we discussed being different as having severe disability- like say cerebral palsy or Down syndrome- things that severely limit their ability to function in society. I could argue that obesity lands in that box too, since obese people are often labeled as un-date-able. However there's a whole grey area, "behind the scenes" of "normality" and that's mild disabilities and mental health issues. These conditions are possible to hide. Epilepsy and dyslexia would be good examples of mild disabilities. Perhaps "mild" is not the right word- epilepsy, just like allergies might kill you, but in most cases you're are still "date-able".
Mental health issues are a massive stigma, even worse when it is addiction. Many people still think that it is a matter of choice and laziness rather than an illness. People who land in this group, including myself often suffer from low self-esteem and they often isolate themselves from other people.
Happiness is strongly linked with our ability to socialise and form satisfying relationships with others. I was lucky. I have a joined a large group of heavy drug users. Most of us suffer from anxiety and depression and some cases more serious issues, but we're having lots of fun and lots of sex with one another.
I'm not even sure if that last paragraph was meant to be sarcastic or not. I do feel happy, but I am not naive. It's not a Utopian world.
'If he did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.' -- Voltaire
I talked about him at PaganCon last year, as the creative spirit that breaks free from the labyrinth of the mind. The labyrinth he built to contain a creature he helped create. Our perception of reality with all our expectations and prejudices seems a product of the imagination. The genius.
The last month has been very eventful and also very tiring for me. As I mentioned before I'm going through a strong spiritual transformation that for lack of other options I'm going to call an “Erasing of the Rationalist self”. Since it's been a long process and it involved many different stages I first need to give you some background into my magical practice.
As some of you might remember I have studied holistic therapies and last years of my path have been mostly dedicated to healing (healing myself but also to healing others). During the years I spent at university I was feeling very optimistic about my future and saw myself as a part of Edinburgh shamanic/healers scene. At the same time though there was a strong element of anxiety involved as part of me was doubtful this will ever succeed. And indeed I have failed to achieve this. My failure left me feeling resigned and angry. I moved onto working in care work and spent last to years working, writing and partying. At the same time I often felt depressed as I couldn't see any future for myself in this world.
Anton and Dana have endured my endless complaining for which I want to thank them- you guys are really great friends :-D
Finally I have now arrived close to a great revelation which is the following “rational mind is the killer of magick”. It prevents it from happening.
As a child I was a natural born magician and the magick I believed in was very simple- the world was full of strange creatures and the universe was a conscious being to whom I referred to as “God” (Christian background). After some time I abandoned idea of God as a “person” and moved onto idea of a conscious universe.
I spent lots of time outdoors communicating with the spirits of nature. Dana was there too, so she must remember. My best memories refer to the spirit of the sea. Sea was my favourite of them all. I was often talking to the sea and playing with it as though it was my friend. I enjoyed swimming during the storms and I trusted that the sea wouldn't take me away. I also loved thunder storms, the wind and fire as well. The world of nature was so close to me I often dreamed of turning into one of the nature spirits and abandoning world of humans for good.
As I grew older however I begun to suck up to the rationalist point of view where nature was just stones and plants and other inanimate objects and we were just intelligent apes. I never fully accepted this version of reality, mostly due to many strange experiences I went through. Two of them were close encounters with death. But that's for later chats.
Anyway- back to the point. When I eventually begun to practice magick (as in accordance with the books) the rationalist was already wide awake inside me. Whenever something unusual happened to me I was immediately ready to question it and look for a rational explanation. I was worried that if I rejected the rational side of me I will go mad and get institutionalised or simply that people will laugh at me. I was like Mulder and Scully both in one person. One day I was receiving messages from spirits/gods, the next day I was accusing myself of delusions and feeling like a total idiot.
During the last decade my paradigm shifted constantly, even up to three times a year when once I saw the spirits as outside beings, then as parts of me, then as outsiders again. When I got into healing I was obsessively hoping for a scientific proof of the things I was learning and a lack of such was annoying me horribly.
What was annoying me even more though were these ladies- “hedge witches” who had no rationalist inside them at all. They talked about “energies” with the same conviction other people talk about weather. They complained how people laugh at them and don't understand what they're doing but this didn't stop them. And one thing I noticed for sure was that their healing abilities were so much better than mine. They were able to sense where people had pains without touching them. They were able to dedicate themselves fully to their clients whilst I was on the edge with my doubts and anger. On these rare occasions when my healing actually worked I was so surprised I even begun to convince myself it was just a power of suggestion. Not like science ever explained how power of suggestion works but this sounded safer and better than idea that there was no explanation at all.
Finally I met people who practised shamanism. This took the whole rationalist extreme even further. This girl I met gave up her career as a psychotherapist to become a shamanic practitioner. When she met a teacher (a Columbian shaman) he asked her to come visit him in Columbia for a month. So she borrowed the money and quit her job and just went there. Few other people went to India to study yoga in a similar manner. There was no way I would ever have courage to to something like that! Although actually hang on- I did once.
When Dana and I left Poland in 2005 we left everything behind - our family, our home, our whole lives. We only had about 300 pounds each with us and shit lots of determination to do it. Everyone, I mean literally everyone told us this was never going to work out. And for thousands of other Polish people it didn't. It worked for us because we were lucky. Because one silly and lonely man fell in love with me on the first day we met, my third day in UK and he gave us some money. There was no way of predicting this. But it happened and thanks to him I'm still here. (Never mind he proved to be a complete asshole after all and I left him behind). So was it magick or luck then? Or maybe both. The thing is that when you suspend your disbelief luck and coincidence become part of your life. Later you can trace back your steps and it seems that it was always easy to get from A to B. Only you forget the fact that you never knew the way to begin with.
Problem with rationalist point of view is that it requires us to rely on our skills and expertise . It gives us illusion of control. It works well in our everyday lives for as long as no chaos is involved. Which is why so many people hate experience of chaos and lack of control. Unfortunately for me the shamanic path is essentially just that- lack of control and chaos all the way, at least at the beggining...
I assume most of you know the details of how shamanic call manifests. This article gives a good summary. (Dana- I think you told me about Dr Some??)
I received my first shamanic call in the age of 9 during severe pneumonia that almost killed me and wrecked my health for years. I was then first informed of having a “mission” of some sort. At 14 I was contacted by higher intelligence whom I identified as aliens due to my interest in UFOs. I will leave details for now. At 18 I almost died again due to mysterious illness- some sort of systemic inflammatory response but physical cause was never identified. On top of that I went through depression and anxiety disorders, suffered brief amphetamine addiction and paranoia that came with it...In other words spirits or whatever you call them tried pretty hard to recruit me to their team. If it wasn't for my rationalist mind the whole process would have been a lot faster I bet. Finally towards the end of last year I decided to give in. I signed up for counselling to a brilliant Buddhist psychotherapist and she immediately recognised me as a potential healer. I only saw her few times and it helped me a lot. And then chaos arrived with death of my grandmother and unexpected journey back to Poland. When I was there I discovered or rather rediscovered a book I read at the age of 16 and completely forgot all about it. I found it in my mum's room. The English title of the book is “Shamanica” written by a Bristish female Martime Ashe. I never heard anyone quoting it. It's strange and revolutionary in many ways. Here is the brief description of the book from the Amazon:
"...shamans everywhere will find this very useful - good" Silver Wheel A practical guide to shamanism, written for the modern psyche. Rather than just looking at the past and trying to recreate the same mind set as our ancestors, Martine believes that we should also be looking forward in our shamanic work. The Otherworld, she explains, is composed entirely of energy. Our psyche travels there and uses our imagination to decode signals and energy forms in much the same way that our eyes use light to decode shapes colours and textures for our brains to assimilate. The entry of the shaman into the Otherworld will alter the tides of the physical world so that a shaman can learn to create changes which will have real effects in the physical world. Gives many techniques for the modern shaman in an enjoyable and easily understood form.”
Basic idea is that the world of spirit manifests to us in a shape and form which appeals to our own belief system. Whatever you believe is real will become real to you. If you approach this world with suspicion and decide to treat it as a product of your own imagination it will become your imagination and nothing else. If on the contrary you approach with a clear intension to implement changes in your life the results will be almost immediate. This explains why children are so good at magick since their minds are so much more flexible. I realise now that rationalist is not going to be useful for me anymore on my path. It may come back sometimes as a disguise when I'm around other people but for the Kia community it won't be needed anymore. So enjoy the rebirth of the true Green Man, the Green Tara, the Mescalito, Agent R and hundreds of other forms my consciousness will choose to become.
During last two months of my life I have experienced a strange revival of my old self and ideas I abandoned or forgot about for many years of my life. Now they came back to me. It's as though all of my past selves awoke all at once. As a result I am experiencing a temporary insanity of a sort. I can't stop writing (which feels nice although it brings me insomnia). One of my past selves that came back to me is my old romantic self. This also brought back my affinity with the Lucifer.
Strangely enough my fascination with Lucifer began in high school. My literature teacher was a very extravagant man and he liked to create controversy during his classes. Therefore he dedicated the whole chapter of his teachings to the romantic Rebellious Hero. http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/romantic/topic_5/welcome.htm This idea was very close to my heart back then and I got completely fascinated by it. For the better source of reference I recommend to look the above article.
The bit that I remember from my school was a general idea of Satan or Lucifer being a bold young spirit who gets punished and exiled by God for his disobedience of the rules. And then there is the story of the original sin in the Book of Genesis. Adam and Eve are exiled from the paradise after eating forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. The idea was suggested to them by Satan. Let's put the magical symbols aside for now. Let's look at the pure psychological aspect of these myths. We need to remember that most European feudal societies believed the king to be a natural God's chosen representative. Just like the God was a king in Heaven, so the human king was a God on Earth (not as extreme as it was in ancient Egypt but still close). The hierarchical structure of the society was seen as a reflection of the heavenly order. Rebellion against the laws of the king was therefore automatically interpreted as a rebellion against the laws of God. I'm not a historian but my guess is that the churches and the royal dynasties were helping each other to keep up that belief...In this context John Milton's famous quote: “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” gains an additional anarchistic aspect to it. I's not just a religious or metaphysical statement. It's an opposition towards existing social order and an individual place in it.... As a teenager I got fascinated by this idea...
Romantics often compared Satan with Prometheus from the Greek mythology. Prometheus was punished by the gods for stealing fire from the mountain Olympus. Political context of this myth is self- evident. We have the ruling class of the rich assholes- the gods and we have humans- struggling with their everyday existence. Fire in this case is a symbol of power and secret/occult knowledge. Prometheus wanted to share it with humans (common folk) as a nice compassionate gesture. For this he had to suffer eternal punishment. What's the moral of the story? Rebellion against the ruling classes doesn't pay back. And yet it's hard not to sympathise with Prometheus. On top of that I can't help thinking that Crowley shared a similar fate. He made a decision to share the occult knowledge with 'general public'. Barely anyone ever respects him for this whilst he gets openly criticised for his shortcomings. We forget that in the past you had to be born an aristocrat in order to join magical orders/ lodges etc. Most people had no chance to ever hear about magick. (Unless you happened to be a witch/ a shaman- I will leave the discussion of shamans for later.)
This brings me to another point of my article- the teenagers. The action of my novel was inspired by my own and my friends experiences from the time of our puberty. In order to write it I decided to invoke my old self and mindset back to the present so I could remember how I felt back then. To my surprise I discovered a massive potential that was dormant inside me for many years. As an older teenager I went through a massive rebellion of my own that was in its nature very much a “romantic” thing. Our culture considers romantic ideas to be stupid and immature (rebellion included). We live in the 'rational' times. I put the word 'rational' in brackets here because I think this is not the case at all. However rationality is spoon fed to us as an antidote to weirdness. We are expected to play part in the social order and our value as humans is ranked by our ability to do so. Our societies are highly authoritarian and bureaucratic. No wonder then Satan became so popular in our counter-culture... As always history repeats itself. However there is a difference between now and then. We don't have kings anymore. We don't believe in the God's order. This is why I personally find Satan a bit silly and outdated.
What we have now is the materialistic capitalist society. The only values they promote are these of material success. However we are still expected to obey the rules. Because we don't fear eternal punishment in Hell it is a lot harder to keep us in place. This is ensured with provision of constant entertainment. We're allowed to get drunk and high (governments know well how many people use recreational drugs). We're allowed to buy lots of things. We lose ourselves in thousands of meaningless activities which kill our natural tendency to the critical thinking. Those of us who are still searching for the romantic ideas in life are labelled as 'childish' and ordered to 'grow up' by the others.
The hardships of life kill our inner romantics pretty damn quick. I would say that most teenagers and young people aged up to 25 bear strong romantic traits in them. And that's also the group of people who are most prone to depression and other mental health problems. I don't have the figures to back this claim up but I seem to remember that overall satisfaction with life increases in people by the age of 30. Frankly speaking that's at least partially because that's when they get tired of fighting and finally give up. By the age of 30 most of us would have gained a work career of some kind, earned some money, maybe started their own family... We begin to accept the fact that we'll never be rich and famous...We begin to appreciate simple pleasures of life. Things are good. The struggles have ended...There is a wisdom in this attitude however it is also a trap.
It's only in people who reach above 45 years of age when another wave of depression arrives. By this time their kids have grown up and with any luck they left and started their own lives. Suddenly our '45+' person has gained some free time to think. They look back in time and see all their unfulfilled dreams. For many it's a sad realisation that they've wasted their lives... The phenomenon of the midlife crisis very strongly resembles teenage rebellion. And just like the previous time for most people it ends after a few years of turbulent changes. Barely anyone makes a breakthrough. After their rebellious 'second youth' they finally calm down and move slowly to the peaceful and quiet old age. Old people are statistically speaking the most satisfied with their lives...
In case of both- puberty and midlife crisis we consider them as times of imbalance. Hormonal changes inside our bodies take the blame for our irrational behaviours. It is not an accident that these are also times of sexual hyperaction...Teenagers and climacterics are widely ridiculed by the other groups in society*. It's a shame as these periods in life happen to be also the times of a great transition and transformation. If guided properly they give us enormous potential for self-realisation and self- growth.
At the age 31 (will be 32 this year) I have to admit- I am pretty happy right now. However I haven't achieved much- I have no house of my own, my job is low paid, I have no definite plans for the future... What I've gained is the sudden revival of my own rebellious romantic self. I've suffered depression and low moods since I can remember. And I still had problems with it last year. It probably adds up to about 15 years of low moods.
So what has changed for me then? Among other things I came to realisation- for each one of us- you need to be true to yourself. You need to become who you are inside. You need to allow your inner Star to shine. We're not parts of the machine. We're not here to play the role in the falsely imposed order. We were born on this planet to learn, to experience things, to develop in a spiritual way. I know this sounds kind of religious and I don't want anybody to think that I was imposing my own vision upon them. All I say is this: fuck knows if there is a God out there- I don't care. Each one of has was born with their own talents and a Will to develop them. Each one of us is unique in their own way. Instead of trying to force each other to conform we should encourage one another's individual growth.
I remind you Joseph Campbell and old thread on Kia- for those who can't remember it. It's a talk about the fake order of societies and the individual role in it. In his talk Campbell arrives to the topic of shamans. This helped to shape my further theories on rebellion, magick and spiritual growth. Hopefully I will find the time to discuss them. To be fair I think I have found a tip of an iceberg in here and my further research of the subject might take up a few years..
Now let's have a look at the Lucifer- the romantic hero that inspired me in my youth. As it turns out Lucifer has more to offer us then just an idea of rebellion... In case some of you are not aware of this Lucifer and Satan are not the same thing even though they got merged together during the medieval times.
Lucifer is known also as the Morning Star, the Star of the Dawn, Son of Dawn or the Light- Bringer and has been associated with the planet Venus and the Moon. I don't want to get into longer discussion about his origins in here. I attach a link to the wikipedia page for those interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer. Needles to say though- as soon as I read it I made immediate connection between Lucifer and Isis (in his association with Venus) and also with Horus as the god of the dawn. Then there is also a connection with Sirius. I allow myself to copy and paste a quote from a discussion website I came across:
“The narrative of the deception of Eve into the eating of the forbidden fruit or "red apple," constitutes the fundamental foundation of the deceptive primeval wisdom of gnosis, a new spiritual impulse of the incarnation of the Luciferian spirit, the illumination of knowledge, piercing through mankind's physical reality, affecting and influencing every culture, civilization and mythology through history. The descent or embodiment of a deity to the Earth in an incarnate form or some manifested shape - the incarnation of a god or avatar. The sexual relationship, DNA manipulation and genetic engineering of humans symbolized globally in the ancient and modern architecture of the obelisk and the dome. Where the obelisk represents the phallic /penis /rays of the sky /sun gods and the dome as the vagina/womb of the woman. The ultimate projection of the Luciferian spirit into messianic form. The ultimate realization of the transcendent marriage of the human and the divine. The carefully orchestrated deceptive symphony of the Apotheosis. Apotheoun ("to deify"), which was built from apo-("formed from, related to") and theos ("god"). "...you will be like God..." Mankind transcending the physical reality to becoming gods through methods of ascension, enlightenment, genetic enhancement and evolution, trans-humanism, reincarnation, transmigration of the souls, mind cloning and uploading, transplantation of cellular memories and singularity. These methods of genetic manipulation and engineering, ascension, transcendence and altered states of consciousness are not part of the divine creative mechanism for our spiritual body in the resurrection, and will only serve to advance the Luciferian nature. All deities of the ancient mythologies are ultimately a reflection of Lucifer and Sirius, an enforced and reinforced deception within the spectrum of consciousness keeping mankind in a perpetual state of blindness. All of the ancient religions, cults and mythologies are firmly rooted in Gnosticism of Lucifer, with the celestial objects of the Sirius Star System used allegorically as symbolic representations. Over many centuries, mankind's carnal focus on the elemental aspect of the world has enabled his controllers to implement this matrix. Constructs of control. So, we move from construct to construct (religion to religion, mythology to mythology), never quite understanding that we are living and reliving the choreography of one primary narrative structure. A great deception that resulted in a progressive atrophy of the spiritual impulse governing mankind's relationship with the divine creative.”
Here we come again- another talk of the God's order, only this time in context of the 'astral' worlds. The above concepts are familiar to me because of my background in Lectorium Roscicrucianum- the Rosicrucian group/sect. As far as I can remember they claimed that the Lucifer was an idea of a spirit trapped in matter during its original fall/ descent** and unable to rise back up. The Lucifer in their teachings became the bringer of the light (the gnosis) who failed to complete the transformation of the material world. In effect he is responsible for the creation of the Luciferian forces- an imitation of the true gnosis present in our nature. The true gnosis comes straight from the static world placed beyond the world of the opposites whilst Lucifer is its distorted reflection present in the dialectic world.. I might have confused the details somewhat- I hope not.
According to Lectorium all of the modern magick systems including Chaos Magick, Crowley, Wicca and whatever else (you name it) are Luciferian in their nature. They don't lead to the true gnosis. The true gnosis according to them comes from Christ, who through the process of resurrection managed to rise above the dialectic world of opposites (beware that both Lucifer and Christ are symbols and don't refer to the actual beings. They represent certain principles). Therefore they advise to abandon any forms of magick other than their own teaching.
The true gnosis is attained by the direct touch of the gnostic/ cosmic radiation which comes in contact with the Divine Spark. Divine Spark is an element of the spirit present but dormant in most people and it resides inside the heart chakra. The awakening of the divine spark in the heart chakra (also called the “Rose of Heart”) leads to the true gnosis. Radiation of gnosis is perceived as the infinite love and the light. It's a personal experience that can not be provoked, induced or sped up. It either happens to you or it doesn't. No magick can make this happen. However when it does happen it helps an individual to rise above the duality and the world of opposites. It forms a trinity- the union of a the double nature and the spirit. It brings balance into our being.
All of the above information makes perfect sense to me. As a Buddhist I perceive all the Gods and magick to be parts of the Maya- the illusion of the mind. I wrote about Maya in the first article from my Karma and Reality Tunnel Series. I'm not going to discuss resurrection in here even though I have a pretty good idea of what it is :-) The enlightenment lays in the state of Nirvana- the Tao and the Void which take us beyond the world of manifestations. On top of that I've experienced the awakening of the heart chakra. I know it is real.
However as an individualistic shaman I trust nobody other than myself. This is one of the biggest paradoxes on my path- I love the teachings of Lectorium but I don't want to be involved with them. And I noticed one major difference between our view of the world. They believe us to live in a 'fallen world' ***. They Universe we live in is considered to be a mistake of some kind (Tree of Life included). This idea resonates with most people's feelings since we are all suffering in here. This doesn't resonate with me though. If the world of the spirit was prefect as they claim there would be no fall. This is something I have realised as a child when I was still a member of the Catholic Church.
Our world is chaotic, turbulent and violent- just like the teenagers and climacterics. Isn't it more possible that the current state of things indicates a transition of the spirit? I guess it's up to you what you believe in. This is a highly metaphysical stuff and each of us will relate to it differently. However when applying the same principles in analysis of the human mind it becomes apparent that we follow cycles of the birth and rebirth. Each new rebirth results in the new being- more advanced that the one before the transition.
The fall is a misconception. There is no such thing as the fall. The answer is in three stages of the alchemy and the I.A.O formula (as presented by Crowley) http://hermetic.com/crowley/book-4/chap5.html. First we have the old order, then the destruction/ the descent/ the dark night of the soul and then the rebirth of the new being -better and stronger than the one before. Constant strive for improvement within the Universe, constant renewal.
The fall is a concept of an authoritarian society trying to take control over individual lives. They don't allow people to complete the process. They mark them as fallen/lost/ill/misguided. It is easily done. In the moments of transformation we're most vulnerable. Just like an insect in the chrysalis before it becomes a butterfly. Therefore Lucifer became the fallen angel and in later years it became one with Satan. The states of being associated with the descent/transition have been defines as dark and evil. When in fact they're essential for our personal growth.
I found two quotes from the Bible that refer to the Lucifer
“You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from among the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries. So I brought out fire from within you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever" (Ezekiel)
And then the Lucifer himself says: "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High." (Isaiah)
Apparently Lucifer was the wisest creature God ever created. No other angel, no other being was created with the intelligence that God gave to Lucifer. Apart from the Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit the Lucifer was the highest being.
Let's try to gather all of this information then- Lucifer is a representation of some actual powers existing within the universe. He's the teacher of magick, the being from Sirius (and yes- aliens are part of the subject which I left out for now...), the romantic hero and the fallen angel. He's the bold young spirit who vows to rise above his own father... If we consider his 'fall' as a phase of transition, then he's bound to be reborn at some point...
The Rebirth of the Son of the Dawn/the Child Horus has already been predicted in the Liber al vel Legis with arrival of the New Aeon. All of this stuff is not a secret anymore- it is all over the internet if you know how to find it. However I suspect that this is a very dangerous knowledge. It's not a coincidence that Aiwass, the being who dictated The Book of the Law to Crowley, in the book's first chapter introduces himself as "the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat (the god of silence). As for now Lucifer is still trapped in the darkness (at least for majority) and I assure you that the ruling classes of this world want to make sure he stays there...
When you realise the potential that hides inside your self-destructive phase you're going to feel like a supernatural being... And when you realise that the society you live in was trying to keep you locked up in the darkness... then you become... FURIOUS. Which is why it is worth to remember that most people are themselves trapped and they suffer. Even those who act as your enemies. After spending so many years in the darkness all I can say is that nobody should be made to suffer like this...even if this is an essential step.
*Brain chemistry and hormones will need another chapter of their own. My understanding of biology is very limited, however I have some basic knowledge which I'm hoping to elaborate on.
**I will have to leave the idea of the fall for the next essay
*** I mean that this is their official teaching and most members appear to think in those terms. I have a feeling though that some people in there have more insights and it is very possible that the stuff I mention in here is kept secret from the beginners
When I first started writing series of articles on Karma and Reality Tunnels I didn't for one moment expect where this was going to take me. All of the above theories about karma, Samsara and reality tunnels dependency become almost inadequate in case of the most incredible blessing a human mind can ever experience- spontaneous awakening.
This phenomenon is not uncommon -on the contrary I read many such stories, including famous author of the “Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle. However I'd never dreamed it would become part of my own path. I had many illuminations during my teen years and I went through the violent death and rebirth metamorphoses twice (two years in a row- spring 2002 and 2003 which also happened to be the most creative years of my life). All of these transformations led to profound changes in my personality. Nothing compares to what happened to me last winter (14/15).
I feel as though after years of trials and setbacks I have been truly awakened. There is no mistaking it for anything else. The beauty and also strangeness of this state makes it impossible to describe it with words. And there is also a strong aura of secrecy around it, like I wasn't supposed to say much more... This state changed the way I see people and gave me sense of clarity about the world. My anxiety and low moods have been erased. Years and years of struggle fell apart from me. What a relief!
Nature of my current experience is best defined by the idea of the “full blown” Kundalini awakening, the rise secret fire of the serpent. For the lack of better reference I attach a link to somebody else's story which I found online. It gives a brief account of this type of experience:
The symptoms I have experienced myself resemble that of the mild LSD peak. They included:
incredible amounts of energy released in my body. I also felt lighter and my muscle aches ceased somewhat. At first I couldn't stop moving and dancing through the day.
ecstasy of the highest sort, almost sexual pleasure felt in every action performed
incredible need for creativity and lack of tiredness (Cosmic Genius)
sense of great power (my voice actually changed and became very powerful and forceful, almost aggressive)
loss of appetite
increase of sex drive (almost insane)
strange energy/sensations traveling through my body
occasional visual hallucinations/ (fractals)
everything around seemed to be surrounded by the light
feeling of great clarity and new level of insights in contact with people. Sudden discovery/ connection with other spiritual people
sudden need for dead honesty, rejection of the social mask and pretense
sense of new awareness
occasional slight paranoia (usually quickly overcome by the full awareness of the mind), occasional disassociation
visions of the future
deep insights into the secrets of magick/ immediate ability to find right sources of information
inability to hide this state
occasional altered sense of time (would be stronger if it didn't have to work)
complete annihilation of tension, anxiety and stress apart from very occasional hints in the moments of haste and rush
These symptoms lasted for over two months. They got stronger and weaker at different times. For the first few weeks I found it more difficult to contain myself and I was somewhat hyper-active. Regular meditation helped me to calm down although every so often I am still going through a very powerful trance. I also began to smoke cigarettes which I was usually able to resist a lot easier (I quit a few times and at the moment I don't smoke). I guess my body had the need of immediate calming down. Meditation works fine but it also intensifies the feeling of disassociation.
The “trouble” with spontaneous awakening is that your personality seems to play no part in it. It's almost like being stroked by a lightning-it could happen to anyone. Because of that I feel a tiny hint of guilt when talking about it. As I said- it's a blessing. There is no way of evoking it. Many Buddhist monks spend years and years meditating for many hours a day and they never get close to that state. Other people simply wake up one day and suddenly everything changes for them. Is that fair? Probably not. Which is why I refuse to assign this experience to my Self. It has nothing to do with me. I claim no responsibility for it and take no pride in it. I would also like to emphasise the difference between awakening and enlightenment. I am not enlightened!
Obviously I was seeking the state of awakening. During last few years I got very interested in Buddhism. I watched whole series of Ajahn Brahm lectures on you tube (great teacher by the way), I read about Tibetan Magick, fragments from Tibetan Book of the Dead and many other reading on the subject of Buddhism. I performed invocations of the goddess (boddhisattva) Tara (one of key Tibetan deities) and adopted her as my divine magical self. I did yoga and mediation (sad to admit my yoga practice didn't last for too long). I also gained level 2- second attunement in Reki (all of the above not necessary in the listed order). Therefore you could say I did provoked my awakening. And yet all of the above still don't explain why it happened*...
Rather than assigning my experience to the practices I did I think it's the other way round. I believe I did all that stuff because I sensed the awakening was coming. My left brain hemisphere was in need to describe and analyse the experience, hence the need for extensive research the related topics on my side. I had a glimpse of this state in 2010 when during an LSD trip I had a vision of myself trapped/closed in a bubble made of some transparent membrane. I could see the colourful world outside and was trying to get out there but I couldn't burst through. That sounds pretty much like an embryonic memory from the womb and I'm still wondering if that's what it was. However it was also a symbolic perception of my need to awaken from my limited comfort zone.
As I mentioned in my article about shamanic initiation - whatever you believe is real becomes real to you. The objective truth is hard to define. Sometimes I doubt there is such a thing as an objective truth. One of the basics of the Jungian psychology is that our minds use archetypes and images to manifest the deepest truths about the world and ourselves. Words have only so much to offer us. They can inspire our conscious mind but it's the unconscious that really drives our actions in life. We have beliefs and we have Beliefs. We need to learn what is hidden inside our core- the deepest of our truths, the key of our beliefs, the 'wall' of our reality tunnel...Sometimes you might be surprised by it. Your conscious mind may even try to deny it if it doesn't fit with your current mind framework. However when you open up to it it will become your driving force, the source of incredible power, your True Will. The doubts in your mind will be erased. You will Know what to do and when....
My conscious mind is not too happy to talk about this. It's because it is afraid of being ridiculed and challenged. After all it is a bold statement to announce myself as an awakened spirit...Long time ago I read about self-initiations of the Siberian shamans. They went into the wilderness where they experienced series of ordeals and trances leading to the full initiation. However the last and the most important step was when after coming back to their tribes they had to announce themselves as shamans. If their courage failed them and they stepped back from the last challenge their initiation was considered a failure and their powers were taken away. It makes perfect sense. If you truly Believe (in your deep unconscious mind) that what you're going through is real it becomes real. Otherwise it's just your imagination and it will vanish when confronted with the others**.
*During those years I was drinking heavily, often getting drunk twice a week. That goes well against the advise of all the yogic and spiritual systems.
**Obviously it is worthwhile to remember that our society doesn't believe in shamans... Your neighbours and closest family are not likely to take it well if you told them, although strangely enough my husband got used to the idea... :-)
Tantra- Initiation into the great mysteries of magick
There is an aspect to my story of awakening that makes it even more unusual than those of the others I read. My awakening was not a completely solitary experience. Unlike Siberian shamans who went into the wilderness and hid from the face of the world my story involved intervention from a “second party” which played a vital role in it. It's a correlation between my own magick and that of another Kia Agent (on Kia known as Aariel). He gave me his permission to write about this. Bear in mind though that I'm only telling my side of the story in here and not his.
We have known each other for a few years through Kia. However for a long time our contact never expanded beyond Kia discussions. I don't think we ever exchanged private messages. As far as my conscious mind can tell there was nothing else between us. My unconscious mind tells me otherwise. Aariel communicated with me in my dreams and visions back in 2010. It was a short while before my LSD inspired bubble vision I mentioned earlier. I don't want to disclose all the details as it feels a bit private. All I can say is that these dreams/visions were 'prophetic' in nature. They predicted my awakening over 4 years before it took place and Aariel told me he was going to be involved in this process. Just to clarify- these were my visions, not Aariel's. To begin with I dismissed them a as a product of my imagination. This confirms my belief that our unconscious mind knows exactly what is needed for us and when. It wasn't until last few weeks of 2014 when Aariel and I experienced series of synchronicities involving each other and developed more personal contact. Our Wills got somewhat combined/connected forming a very dynamic and fruitful relationship. I think this is the highest possible form of magick- when two (or more) people unconsciously connect with each other and then slowly become aware of this. The moment of the full awareness is the moment your magick manifests in the physical form. In moments like this you realise that magick really exists, it is not just inside of your head.*
On my side of things meeting with Aariel was an answer to my unconscious dream of finding a tantric partner. Long time ago when I still lived in Poland I came across a very interesting book by John Myrdhin Reynolds (unfortunately I couldn't find original title). In this book he discussed the existence of the occult branch of Buddhism almost unknown in the west which involved the practice of tantra. Tantra in itself is a very complex term and it is somewhat difficult to define. From what I know it originated in Tibet and then spread to India and other Asian countries. For the purpose of this article I chose one many definitions found online - the one that fits to my own experience:
“Tantra considers the universe to be a manifestation of pure consciousness. Through this process of manifesting, consciousness divides itself into two parts, which cannot exist without one another (though appearing to divide, they actually remain one and the same). One aspect remains as a static, formless quality (Shiva), while the other is a dynamic, creative aspect (Shakti). The two eternally coexist, like ink and the written word, which, though one and the same, are different. The journey of Tantra is to know them both, at once, as one. Through a process of kundalini awakening, the two are eventually experienced in their state of union. In the Himalayan tradition, Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra are companion practices.”
Mainstream Buddhism we all know promotes an ascetic lifestyle with many hours of mediation a day. The practices described by Reynolds in his book resembled practices of the western LHP**. Whilst mainstream Buddhist monk or hermit gained his insights in the solitude, tantric practice allowed a possibility of having a partner. In this case a couple went to the wilderness together and they exercised meditation in the form of sexual yoga. It was a purely spiritual practice and its goal was gaining an insight into the deep mysteries of the universe. If I remember well part of the practice involved invoking a deity inside of your partner and in this way moving their consciousness onto a higher level. (Crowley accidentally tapped into this). When I read that stuff over ten years ago it blew my mind. However I never met anyone who'd be suitable to try such a practice and for years i was doing it just by myself- using sexual stimulation (masturbation) to induce spiritual states. I managed to get quite far just by myself - I had very ecstatic visions and insights into the nature of the universe :-) I think it's just as likely that it was these practices more than anything else that helped my kundalini to awaken for good. I've experienced a few kundalini "explosions" before but they always died down eventually...
Main difference between the practices described above and my story with Aariel is that we never consciously planned to engage in that sort of practice. We never even met in the physical world. On top of that Aariel is not really interested in the eastern philosophies. Somehow all of this happened spontaneously. Something in his magick caused my consciousness to move up to the higher plane where Tara became present in my conscious mind. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life!
I first discovered goddess Tara through the healing circles in Edinburgh. She's very popular in the New Age holistic medicine groups. She's the goddess of love, compassion and healing. However she also has a dark aspect to her- very similar to the goddess Kali. My unconscious mind chose Tara as my core deity. It was only recently when I discovered that she happens to be one of the key deities of the tantric cults...I've been trying to unite with her since late 2011/2012. Therefore I already gave her my permission to 'overtake' my consciousness. I guess that prearranged agreement on my side was a necessary element of the process...
One of the elements of the tantric practice that I overlooked in the past was that it doesn't require actual physical involvement with another person. All you need is the connection on the unconscious level and agreement of each others True Wills. This is the true meaning of Thelemic “Love under the Will” principle. It's not a blind karmic force that drives your actions, it's a choice.
If remember well, in usual practice of tantra love between the practitioners is not necessary. You can simply choose a person who is willing to do it with you. After series of exercises and initiations partners can depart their ways. I never liked that idea. It looked to me as though you treat another person like an object... I guess that's why I never did it. (None of my boyfriends were interested in magick). On top of that the practice is supposed to take years. Quoting from the “Secret Fire: The Relationship Between Kundalini, Kabbalah, and Alchemy” by Mark Stavish:
“How long it takes to un-block our psychic anatomy for a more complete and harmonious functioning of the Secret Fire is unclear. It is stated that even the most advanced yogis require a minimum of three years of special practice for this to occur. Since that kind of training takes place under specialized and supervised conditions, it can be assumed that modern Western life requires more time, as well as self-reflection and referral, since the average Western occultist, be they kabbalist, alchemist, or both, will spend the majority of their time working alone or at best in occasional small groups.”
“Certain schools of yoga as well as kabbalah and Sufi practices view the heart as the centre of the individual universe, and the most important of all psychic centers. By opening the heart, we gain access to our Interior Master, or Holy Guardian Angel (messenger),characterized by a strong manifestation of intuition. This is the final resting place for the Serpents Tongue after its ascent over the skull, and as Boehme and Hermetic imagery have shown, the “Heart girt with a serpent” is the ideal to which mystics aspire. As one yogi put it, we approach the “Big King” first, and allow him to direct the activities of the serpent — language not unfamiliar to Hermeticists.”
As I already mentioned somewhere, in Lectorium Rosicrucianum they said the heart was the key to the spiritual transformation. They even went as far as telling their students that the heart was all they needed. They believe that each of us carries a divine spark (the Rose) inside our heart chakra. According to them if the spark awakens and connects with the gnostic 'radiation' this automatically initiates energetic and physical changes in the body. Moment of awakening of the divine spark is perceived as a stream of bliss and overpowering love. I believe mine has been activated some years before but it was only my interaction with Aariel that triggered full kundalini awakening. I can't be sure how and why this happened. In the most simple words he “opened my heart” :-)
To me love is the core of all magick. I don't mean love as an earthly sentimental attachment to somebody although I think these two are related. I mean love as the energy/universal life force, gnostic light that pervades throughout space and time. Personal "union of Shiva and Shiakti experience" leads to what Timothy Leary defined as the 8th (the subatomic/ non-local) of the brain circuits/systems. You can gain that experience without having a partner or being in love. Tantric union of two people makes it more joyful though.
Permanent experience of that state is in my opinion the final step of the Supreme Enlightenment before we enter the state of nirvana. In this state universe is perceived as a union of all beings and you as a part of it, connected with everything. In this state we automatically generate feeling of love towards other sentient beings. I've been there for many hours/days during the last few months...Since in the state of 'Cosmic Union' you have no need for attachment you and your partner may still choose to depart your ways. Indeed it was Aariel's decision to depart with me... i was quite sad about it to begin with but soon enough I managed to move on. There's too much joy in me now to mourn :-)
He's a part of me now just like every other human that I've encountered. In a way we are all parts of each other in this world. We're all parts of the same universe living in the collective unconscious. When collective unconscious manifests in our conscious minds we all become gods...
*Obviously each person perceives things differently. You can not consciously choose the role you play in the other person's life. Human ego always demands attention and wants to be important. You may think you're incredibly important to someone and then find out that it was not so. There is also a possibility that the other person refuses to open up to the experience. This is their right as a human and you shouldn't blame them for it. If you allow your mind to stay in the state of presence you will know the truth and you won't be upset by it.
** LHP is a questionable term
KIA once organised a day of rituals back in 2002. We had a big venue, and about 5 or 6 magicians took it in turns leading a bunch of weird rituals. One of those rituals was the 'Drawkcab Monk Ritual', inspired by a bunch of monks from a computer game. These monks were fond of speaking in palindromes.
This ritual was timed such that the date and time were palindromic. I'm pretty sure the date and time was 20:02 30/03 2002. The magicians present read out a bunch of palindromic sentences from a selection that had been printed out in advance on bits of paper. The idea of the ritual was to do a bunch of stuff:
Focus on the wyrd of the palindromic time and tap into its magic.
Empower certain intents through this weirdness.
Increase the wyrdness in the locality and by extension the world, by turning things on its head.
Well, guess what, a whole bunch of palindromic dates occur next month, (using US date format), from 5/10/15 through to 5/19/15, and this is an excellent time for some Drawkcab magic.
Ideas for what you can do as part of a Drawkcab monk ritual, all optional...
Decorate your altar with images of deities and spirits with palidromic names.
Include mirrors and other reflective images on the altar.
Use audacity to create a backwards track of ritual music, and play this during the ritual.
Make all sigils symmetrical by combining them with their mirror image.
Walk around backwards in a circle whilst reciting palindromes.
Here are some of my favourite palindromes you can use in the ritual:
Grace has burned me
Alive so many times, walking fire
As tedious as tears
Lovers with no hearts, all fears
So off with their heads.
Tore up my spine
And the flower that crowned it
Gave birth to a golden god.
Serpent twins, a man with wings
And so many curious things
All that remains
Beware, dear fellow Abramelists, because the following might be a little disturbing and you may want to reconsider if you really want to read this. What I'm going to describe are some of the problems one may run into but in reality isn't very likely to run into during the Operation. I'm trying to perform Abramelin under not always the most favorable circumstances, and while I feel reasonably safe at the moment, I'm still confronted with situations which definitely don't look very safe, especially for an outsider, and it isn't my intention to put you off, or scare you in any way. My circumstances aren't yours, and my Operation isn't yours, so if you do decide to read this article, try not to identify with my struggle. I sincerely hope that no one ever has to go through the things I went through during this whole period.
But very strange things can happen during the course of the Operation (for example, they wanted to put me on national tv at one time during the beginning of the Operation, for whatever reasons. WTF? I hate tv!), and what I'm about to share, what happened to me in the last two weeks is once again one of those extremely weird things which I didn't even think possible. The focus of this little story is, as you may have already guessed, on the material side of things and not on the "higher" perspective of the matter. As I said, I got enough reasons to feel safe, if looking at it from this higher perspective. But from a materialistic perspective I'm still that person with my background deep in the big black greasy heart of the Matrix, and although I'm rapidly learning and have become a hell of a lot better at it since I started, in extreme situations I haven't yet been able to rid myself completely of my conditioning and of fight or flight response tendencies.
There's a little bit of a background to this story, but I shall try to keep it short. The point is: I hate our countries welfare system, and I hate having to be on the other end of it! It is of course not welfare in itself which I hate, I wouldn't be writing an article on this site if this were the case, but it is governments using this system to control people which I hate. I'm not your effin' circusanimal who jumps through a hoop at your command, I never was, I never will be. I never worked or did anything for money. Money came naturally to me while I did what I most liked to do, and I have no reason to believe that I won't be able to make money the same way again later, even if it will be through different means. That doesn't mean that there aren't times when we have to do things we don't particularly like to do.. we all have. It's who you're doing these things for what matters. Are you doing them for your own sake or for people or causes who you believe deserve having these things done for them, or are you doing them for a control obsessed self proclaimed master?
So I hated it, having to stand there with an open hand at this counter basically begging for money. But giving in was probably the smarter thing to do at that point in my life, because it was either this and get the chance to focus on finding some inner guidance, or get myself lost in the labyrinth, and running the great risk of meeting my final Minotaur. Besides, I'm pretty far from the perfect anarchist (if such a person even exists). I'm nothing more than the somewhat nutty lost raver, who suddenly saw himself walking away from the rave and stumbled upon anarchy, magick and mysticism and discovered that the ideas presented were very close to his own. But my behavior wasn't always a perfect reflection of my thoughts and opinions most of the time. Being raised by hippy parents and growing up with materialistic buddies (my other family) might explain this strange dichotomy which was (and which still, to a hopefully much lesser extent is) me. I'm still a hopeless fool for shiny things, slowly learning not to give in. But I'm digressing.
So when I saw this George Lucas movie, THX 1138, I looked at it philosophically, although of course part of it happens literally in the real world. But I had no idea as to what and how great an extent this could really happen. I found out in the last two weeks, or last two days to be more exact. If you haven't seen this movie, watch it. It's a good movie.
But the trouble started longer ago (a month and a half maybe). I accidentally broke the OS on my computer, which was entirely my own fault. But this caught me off guard and in combination with summer heat I didn't handle this problem well and lost balance. When I finally had it fixed after a week or so and was beginning to gain back some balance the Machine began to discontentedly blast its of sour metal stinking raging fumes through my mailbox again. Who the hell sends you 3000+ Euro bills because somewhere, at some time, in some place someone miscalculated something and now "corrected" it, which is not your fault? Of course things like this are just a craving for attention and I got used to it and just ignore it. I owe you 3000 bugs just because you say so? Alright, fine, get in line with the rest of those bastards who believe I "own" them anything. But you'll become annoyed, and it'll affect your work (especially if your already out of balance. Remember, this is Abramelin, which is already hard enough on your psyche even without negging psychopaths trying to force you into submission through mischievous means). And of course it didn't stop there. Letters kept coming, people started to knock on my door, and I stayed silent. Just try to stay calm, keep balancing, and also don't try to force the work which would only cost you a lot of energy and to lose even more resistance. Seek distraction or rest if you have to. Your greatest weapon is to, in your mind, divorce yourself completely from all that which you possess. That way you'll have absolutely nothing to lose. The worst thing which can happen is you die, and don't get me wrong, I definitely don't want to die and will do everything to prevent physical death. But even though I have to push a great deal of fear aside when I say this: I am without a single drop of doubt, fully prepared to die for my ideals and what I believe to be true (unless of course I receive strong evidence which contradicts what I hold to be true). This is the virus which when given a chance will destroy the Machine, because the Machine will never comprehend this behavior, and it rightfully fears what it doesn't understand. The reason is it can't control it.
And so it goes through extreme measures to control that which is doesn't understand. So I'm just sitting here or doing whatever going about my business a week or two ago, and someone begins to violently knock on my doors and windows. A little bit intimidating but fine, they'll go away, eventually . I never open the door by the way because by now I'm pretty well aware of the despicable tricks these people use to have it their way. One trick I actually never fell for, to give an example, is to send you a package on your birthday. This of course is the perfect bait for your average materialist, a box. Who doesn't love the good ol' box, the perfect representation of materialism. So you open the door, get your box, open your box and congratulations, you have just been summoned to appear into court at this or that date, on this or that time. I'm luckily not that greedy, and wouldn't accept a box in such a way even if they told me it had a million Euro's in it.
The following day, I was just about to fall asleep (I sleep during most of the day, try to work at night when it's quiet) and somebody, presumably the same person, begins to knock my door again. I learned to ignore outside noises but this sound was so bone-crushingly violent that it even woke my neighbor who must have had a day off and was sleeping late, or was at least trying to (judging from the grumbling sounds coming from the other side of my bedroom wall). I was pretty annoyed and had to get up to cool off with a cigarette and a movie.
The same day in the evening same story, which was when it hit me.. Someone wants to dance. Believe it or not, I've been through a hell of a lot worse during some periods of my whole Abramelin ordeal. I know the deal. I got my headphones out, which I hate to wear btw because I already messed up one of my ears pretty badly going through something similar (also during Abramelin). But still, better deaf than bonkers. I did some divination, and uses Magick but, but.. if you'll ever find yourself in such a situation or something similar never ever attack your opponent with magick, even when it's justified (unless your opponnent is a magician him/ or herself. Which is an entirely different game of chess altogether), because chances are you'll only worsen the situation. You'd also, because of lowering your frequency, be much more likely to become prone to anger, which makes it much more difficult not to give in and rip off someones head. What I do amongst other things do, is to keep the appropriate Gods and spirits which I work with well fed. Some of the spirits I work with and completely trust have their own free will, I don't tell them how to handle a particular situation. Well, I don't really tell or force any Spirit or God how to handle anything, but to take Ares as an example (he comes to mind because I worked with him during these last few days and just made an offering of some incense and a candle to him), I requested specifics, in this case to help me keep my head cool and my temperament even cooler. This worked great by the way. But other spirits who have helped me in the past and whom I greatly trust, I just give them what they need and if they want to help me in any way they can use that energy in any way they choose to. I don't ask them to specifically help me with this or that. If they choose to attack someone who's in my way, then it's between them and the other. I got nothing to do with it. (I have to make it clear that if I'm talking about attack I'm not talking about physically harming anyone. I don't want to go into a debate about when physically harming someone is appropriate or not, but greatly frown upon it in some and despise it in most cases. Self defense of the body or what happens between consenting individuals I don't really count as violence. I digress again).
And so we danced. I can't say that I was curious as to whom I was dancing with, because to me they're all the same if it comes down to it, but got a hint when the light of a flashlight became visible on my closed window-curtains. It made it probable it was the police, but if it was the police than why didn't they identify themselves as such? I heard someone call my name once, but that was all I ever heard.
The week went on and I was becoming pretty frustrated. Even if though I'd taken the proper precautions, and they were working, what bothers me most when people try to brute force me is the stupidity of it, which of course says a lot about people using such methods. It's like the chess player always going straight for his opponents king, completely ignoring all the other pieces on the board. Unless you're playing against someone who uses the same strategy, (and after his third try he must have already been aware that I didn't) you can be pretty sure that, unless you change your strategy, you're going to lose.
He lost with a flash and a bang. Once again he knocked me out of sleep yesterday. I forgot to wear my bedphones, and only slept for an hour or two before he woke me up. I was extremely frustrated and extremely angry. But then I heard him throw something in my mail. I went down, looked at my mail and there it was, this letter: POLICE. It was pretty hard not to feel intimidated, especially since I knew had broken no laws, at least none that I was aware of. I opened the letter, read, and will skip to the main part:
"[We] are worried about you [(THX 1138 We only want to help you)] because [these people] as well as your housing association, and your neighbors haven't heard or seen you for a while. I leave you my number and in case I don't hear from you today we will be breaking and entering your home tomorrow at 9.30 AM to see if everything is alright."
What?! I was furious. How did he even make that up? But I called alright, nervous as hell, furious and shaking at the same time. I felt incredibly intimidated. How dare they?? Phone rings, I'm shaking, breathing heavily thinking "I must remain calm. Remember Abramelin rules.. stay humble"..
"Yes hello," an enormously friendly voice answers which sounded like one of those pretending to be communists with their own hidden agenda, with a voice which try's to lull you into sweet submission. A bit like the O'Brien character in Orwell's 1984 maybe. "Hello, yes you call in regards to the.." and then it happened.. An invisible force took hold of me, possessed me momentarily and all nervousness fell off me down into the ground like a static electric antenna suddenly being discharged by contact with the earth. I heard myself interrupting him, but was it me who was talking? It was my voice but I had no control of what was being said but whatever it was, it was in charge alright. Not just in charge of him but it controlled all of us: "Yes indeed, in regard to the letter I just received from you. I just want to say this: You do NOT have a right to break into my home. I AM OK. The instigators, the ones who send you to my home, they are aware that I am socially phobic [SAD]. This is the reason I'm NOT opening my door" "B.. b.. b.. but.. these people" he says, but I (or whoever), interrupted him again: "There is NO LAW which says that I should be either seen or heard", "Yes I KNOW but.. Listen.. listen", "No sir, I'm not interested. I said all I wanted to say. Have a nice day mister.." "But.. but.. buttttt" CLICK and I won.
At least that was what it felt like immediately after the call. Later in the day, I was deadly tired, couldn't get back to sleep, and I started to become a bit paranoid and wondered if he properly received the message. In theory I had the upper hand, to put it lightly. I had here a document, signed by him in big blue letters, threatening to break and enter my home because I wasn't being "seen or heard". I'm pretty sure that's pretty illegal. What makes it even more ridiculous was who did the not seeing and not hearing me. These people, including my neighbors are all strangers to me. I've fleetingly seen my next door neighbors twice since they moved in two years ago. I'm not sure if it was them that he spoke to, but confronted with the police they probably got nervous and "denied all charges". There's no way they don't hear me. But I've got other neighbors too and to my knowledge people stick to themselves around here, but I don't know since I don't go out much, and don't really know any of them. Why on earth would the people who rent this place to me need to hear from me? I pay my rent every month so there's no reason for me to hear from them, or for them to hear from me. But the people who instigated this, of course, that's the whole point. In my dealings with them (which is quite some time ago) I roughly explained them my situation, and how I get nervous when people knock at my door, so they of course thought they could use this method to provoke me and get a reaction. In other words, they try to make you nuts and if it works you'll automatically come running towards them, only for them to tell you "see, we told ya you couldn't do without our help".
But I don't need help, I never asked for help and if I would need psychological help they wouldn't even be the last whom I'd approach to get it. So instead they go through great lengths to force it through your throat, and are even willing to go so far as to break into your house to give it to you. "Swallow the pill son, drugs are healthy" in the words of the psychiatrist they send me to (and I'm not kidding, that's what he said. And he was being very serious about it too. So that's what they learn during 5+ years study, while the toxicity levels of every single drug are just a mouse click away and accessible for anyone with more than two brain cells). I, of course, told him something else about drugs and psychiatric meds. And that was the end of that conversation. I never saw him again and never took any of their meds.
So.. yeah, the world is turning into a dystopian movie in which you have to be SEEN and HEARD by your masters, preferably all the time, and it has been doing so for a long time.
With only two hours sleep I stayed up all night till 10 this morning. Who ever it was, he seemed extremely dumb and it didn't seem as if he was too concerned with the consequences of his actions before, so I didn't quite trust if he'd be now. The spirits were able to calm me down last night and made it clear that he wouldn't take any further action, but I felt too uneasy not to make sure.
He never came, and also quit behaving like a member of the Gestapo. So thanks Ares, and all those Gods and spirits who have the patience to keep supporting me through these nightmarish episodes.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting a number of the sketches I produced for the full page illustrations I created for Chemical Serpents, along with the fully realised images. I was commissioned to illustrate this book by When Illuminated Press for Anton Channing, and enjoyed it thoroughly as it explores symbolism and themes that I find fascinating. The first chapter of Chemical Serpents is titled “Serpents”, introducing serpent symbolism in general and more specifically the Caduceus, the Asklepian and the Ouroboros. My image “Hen to Pan” sets the stage for these themes.
Hen to Pan means “One the All”. With this piece I primarily wanted to explore the ultimate Western serpent symbol, the Ouroboros. Those of you who know my work know that I love the symbolism of ancient Egypt. The first known appearance of this symbol comes to us from The Enigmatic Book of the Otherworld, an ancient Egyptian funerary text from the tomb of Tutankhamun, a text that explores the union of the Sun god Ra with Osiris, god of the dead, in the Egyptian underworld. Two serpents with their tails in their mouths are illustrated coiling around the head and feet of the joined Ra-Osiris, a divine figure representing the beginning and end of time. Both serpents are manifestations of the serpent god Mehen, who protects Ra in his underworld journey.
The Ouroboros appears in many other texts and guises from ancient Egyptian sources, it also appears in ancient Greece, where Plato describes it as the first living thing, the universe itself as an immortal self-eating, self-creating entity. In Roman times it frequently appears as a magical emblem. To the Norse it was the world serpent, Jörmungandr. In Gnosticism, a serpent biting its tail symbolized eternity and the soul of the world.
In alchemy it is a symbol of the eternal unity of all things, the cycle of birth and death from which the alchemist seeks release and liberation. The psychologist Carl Jung saw this as an archetype expressing the nature of the process of individuation, through which the assimilation and integration of an individual’s shadow (their ‘opposite’, all they are defined as ‘not being’), is attained by their union, in much the same way that Ra unites with Osiris.
The famous ouroboros drawing from the early alchemical text The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, which I reference on the cover of Chemical Serpents, encloses the words “hen to pan””. Its black and white halves seem to make it the Western equivalent of the Taoist Yin-Yang symbol. This is one of the oldest images of the ouroboros to be linked with the legendary opus of the Alchemists, the Philosopher’s Stone. It feels clear to me that the ouroboros is a symbol of something very personal and transpersonal, of the union of the individual with all within themselves and the world. This is the essence of the kind of mystical or psychedelic experience many yearn for to know who they really are. With my image of Hen to Pan I wanted to show this union of self with other, of one with all, that we each must face our own personal journey within and into the other if we wish to fully understand our relationship with ourselves and the world.
Cosmic feathers adorn the head of a newborn god, who looks at once within and without, crowned by an ouroborus encircling an egg being consumed. Within that egg is a doorway to our spiral galaxy, where all death creates life and all life creates death. Like a serpent consuming itself, the pair below are entwined in this dance and in the dance of knowing what they are by knowing what they are not. The limits of our knowledge define us, an eggshell of ego encapsulating our soul. Knowing this one can say of oneself “I am my union with all”.
The second chapter of Chemical Serpents is titled “Eggs and the Androgynous Child”, carrying the general theme of serpent symbolism into its relation to eggs, their offspring and serpent-like mythic beings, with specific reference to the Philosophers Egg, the Cosmic Egg, the Monas Hieroglyph, and the figures of the Androgyne, Baphomet, N’Aton and Sophia.
At this stage I would like to point out the smaller illustrations that accompany the entire text. Each image is different but unified with the others by being contained within a golden egg. The egg theme also extends to the full page images, which each reference eggs and form egg shapes within the image. To me, the egg is a powerfully spiritual symbol. It is a cocoon in which disparate elements merge and transform into a unified whole. It is a protective shell of limitations within which we grow and from which we transcend. It is a womb for body, mind, and soul. It is our flesh, our ego and our assumptions, the very limits of our being. That which defines, confines, changes, dissolves and becomes something else. It is the point and the circumference, an emblem of creation entwined with destruction, wholly symbolic of life itself.
Solve et Coagula
Solve et Coagula means “divide and unify”. This is the maxim of alchemy, an enduring symbol of which we find in the image of the androgyne. This symbol appears in many alchemical illustrations as a two headed body with male and female halves divided left and right, often associated with the sun and the moon. This illustration takes some inspiration from images of the left-right androgyne from bronze age Mesopotamia, featuring a bearded male half facing the sun (the conscious ego), and a female half facing the moon (the unconscious), each associated with a serpent. I also allude to Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet, with the raised male arm bearing the symbol for Aries as a reference to solve, Aries being associated with the energy of Mars (the planet to which he points) and so division and destruction, while the female arm pointing down bears the symbol for Taurus, associated with the loving and unifying energies of Venus (the planet to which her other arm is raised in blessing), and so referring to coagula. This embodies the idea that to ascend is to divide in the abstraction of the ego and to descend is to unite in the embodied present of the here and now. These gestures also refer to the alchemical formula of “as above, so below”. We are part of the all and the all is part of us.
This union, of the above and the below, the one and the all, the male and the female, the dark and the light, the conscious and the unconscious, of all dualities, creates the hermaphrodite (from Hermes + Aphrodite) in the centre, a symbol for the “first”, “perfect” or “complete” human, associated with the Gnostic embodiment of the world soul. This is the androgynous child to which the chapter refers. To me, this is symbolic of the produce of a fully individuated consciousness, that is, an individual that has delved into their own inner divisions, unified within themselves and from this birthed a new and distinct psyche, distinguished by its inner completeness. It is united in itself, as an expression of the fabric and structure of existence, yet divided by the very fact of its being a unique facet of this.
The androgynous child is the awareness of the self as one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, of the self as an avatar of the all. This gives it a fractal quality, as consciousness experiences itself through countless and diverse forms. The egg in which it sits, in a posture of meditation, is made of the four elements, distinct and unified, with fire at the centre, the symbolic purifier and element of the will and the spirit. The kundalini serpent emerges from the fire at the base of the child’s spine, forming the foundation of a golden path into the heavens, where we find Mercury, wise and magical messenger of the gods, pouring down the light by which the child is crowned.
The third chapter of Chemical Serpents is titled “Trinity”, with each of my illustrations for it concerning threes and trinities. You may have noticed that the first chapter, the second and this one, concern the one, then the one becoming two, and now the three, or the two becoming three. This theme carries forward throughout the book, with successive chapters concerning increasing quantities and their symbolism.
Tria Prima means “Primary Three”. With this image I focussed on the trinity of Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, from hermetic alchemy, personified as three angels or helping spirits, with the symbol for each element painted on their faces (left, Salt; right, Sulphur; top, Mercury). This symbolism found its way into European Hermeticism during the Renaissance via Paracelsus, changing the duality of Sulphur and Mercury that had been used previously into a trinity. In Jungian psychology, which takes inspiration from alchemy and hermeticism, when the one becomes symbolised by two, Sun and Moon, King and Queen, Self and Other, Mind and Body, Conscious and Unconscious etc., it is a third principle that can resolve conflict and cause the two to unite and transform. This principle is equated with Mercury, the magician or spirit of the individual/group. The third principle forms a basis for mediation and balance, the creation of a circuit, represented in alchemy by a triangle with an element at each corner, allowing a flow of transformative power.
Artist and sorcerer Austin Osman Spare appears to approach something of this concept with his idea of “Neither-Neither”, in which opposites are transcended through a fierce form of contemplative meditation that leads the mind beyond its ability to conceive of oppositions and into an altered state of consciousness. Spare symbolises this in his “Kia Sigil”, which I reference in my image, below the more obvious triangle, embellished with the snake that forms it and three eyes within (one serpent becoming two eyes becoming a third eye).
There is a lot I could say about duality and the Aristotelian logic that plagues Western culture, splitting our world conceptually in two. That which we reject we tend to project beyond ourselves, to protect our fragile egos from associating with it and to make it something we are comfortable attacking. We cannot afford to allow ourselves to be so comfortable, smug and righteous as to believe we are nothing to do with whatever it is that annoys us in others. It has volumes to tell us about ourselves. Human consciousness longs for growth, the consciousness in each and every one of us. That growth requires that we look to the source of our conflicts, ourselves, and find the spirit to resolve them. In resolution we transform our consciousness and allow it to take wing.
The fourth chapter of Chemical Serpents is titled “The Elements” and explores the concept of the Quintessence. Quintessence means “fifth element” or “soul”. Also known as aether, this was considered the highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy, the element that permeates all nature and is the essence of a thing in its purist and most concentrated form. This fifth element is generally considered transcendent, with the others – such as earth, air, fire and water – being immanent, the elements that make up the world.
The Vesica Pisces, a pointed oval formed by the meeting of two circles, is associated with the fifth element by various traditions. In Christian iconography, Christ is often shown inside a Vesica Pisces surrounded by the Tetramorph. This consists of four beings, a lion, an angel or man, an eagle and a bull, in Christian iconography said to represent the four evangelists of the Gospels, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. But this imagery has older and more occult roots, in Babylonian and Assyrian guardian spirits, Ancient Egyptian and Greek myths, as well as ancient associations in astrology as the four fixed signs of the Zodiac (lion/Leo, angel/Aquarius, eagle/Scorpio, bull/Taurus) and the four immanent elements (lion/fire, angel/water, eagle/air, bull/earth). The four elements surround the fifth, their culmination, the transcendent one.
Vesica Pisces means “vessel of the fish”. In the ancient world the fish and the Vesica Pisces were symbolically associated with the female genitals. “Fish” and “womb” were synonymous terms in ancient Greek and the Goddess of Ephesus even wore a fish amulet covering her genitals. In ancient Egyptian myth the fish that swallowed the penis of Osiris was considered a symbol of the vulva of Isis. The “Ichthus” or “Jesus Fish” that is still used by modern Christians today, is a Vesica Pisces turned 90-degrees, and derives its name from Ichthys, who was the son of the ancient Sea goddess Atargatis, also known as Tirgata and many other goddesses associated with the “Cult of the Fish Mother”, the symbolism of which has been traced as far back as the hunting and fishing tribes of the Danube River Basin in the sixth millennium B.C.E. The word “Ichthys” also meant “womb” and a variety of cults and myths link this symbolism to the “Great Goddess” or “Great Mother”, even today. It’s pretty easy to see why.
In my image, Quintessence, I incorporate the four elemental animals, with the classic symbols (triangles) and colours (red/fire, blue/water, yellow/air, green/earth) for their elements, surrounding a Vesica Pisces in which stands a take on the “transcendent one”. This refers to Hermetic alchemy and Jungian psychology, as a form of the rebus or androgyne, but with a distinctly feminine flavour. In alchemy this figure is sometimes referred to as the Empress, as the culmination of the union of the King and the Queen, even though it is androgynous. Rather than two heads, as in alchemy, she has four arms, symbolising wholeness in Jung’s system, with two of these arms in shadow and the shadow of a serpent spiralling up from her feet, as a reference to the integration of that Jungian archetype. She has the fiery mane of the lion, the wings of the eagle, the body of the man/angel and the horns of the bull, again, symbolising synthesis, in this case of the four elements with the fifth.
She is the cauldron in which all things unite and realise their wholeness. She is Eve and Mary, Hathor and Isis, Aphrodite and Hecate, Freya and Frigg. The place where love and magic meet, which is, of course, the soul. As an artist, I am all too aware of how impossible it is to escape ones perspective, let alone produce an image that is in anyway “universal”. This image, and the others in this series, were produced at a time of tremendous upheaval for me. A time I feel has only recently come to an end. These illustrations show a story of metamorphosis because I was undergoing one. I took particular solace in this image. Inside a cocoon, utterly transformed, a winged and beautiful creature waits to emerge.
The fifth chapter of Chemical Serpents is titled “Macrocosm and Microcosm”. With my image for the chapter I primarily wanted to explore the chakra system of seven and the system of seven planets as symbolic ladders, connecting the individual with the all via meditation.
Miracula Rei Unius means “miracle of one thing” and is part of a phrase from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth, said to be the author of the Hermetic Corpus, a series of sacred texts that are the basis of Hermeticism. The full phrase goes: “Quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius, et quod est superius est sicut quod est inferius, ad perpetranda miracula rei unius”, which means “Whatever is below is similar to that which is above. Through this the marvels of the work of one thing are procured and perfected.”
Our atoms come from the stars, we ourselves are microcosm within macrocosm, and macrocosm with our own microcosms, our bodies containing innumerable life forms, cells and structures, interwoven into larger ecologies. Every fully formed human mind has the capacity to imagine innumerable things and become its own reality, populated with hopes, dreams, beings and worlds, known only to them. We are all, in a certain way, quite miraculous, with the capacity to become more so.
I have found meditation to be a very useful tool in exploring the concept of individuality and the feeling of oneness that this can estrange us from. Having looked within deeply enough, I have come to the strange and paradoxical notion that I am a window through which something else is looking, a mask something else is wearing, an avatar in a game being played. This existential feeling easily falls prey to the concept of infinite regress, but it is an experience, nevertheless. Consciousness seems to be everywhere, looking out through me and trees and cats and birds and stars. Very individual in each manifestation but, ultimately, the expression of something whole.
There are many forms of meditation and maps of consciousness that I make use of for my creative work. Systems such as the chakras and planets can serve as a palette of experience to explore oneself with. Perhaps today I could meditate on Mars or the base chakra and explore my instinct, intensity and raw passion, or Venus, the heart chakra, and explore my capacity for love, harmony, beauty and detachment. These “colours” can be mixed and played with, as they are only a conceptual map of a very real territory there to be experienced. This kind of self exploration becomes the basis of self knowledge and this forms the most potent source of creativity: a singular and fearlessly genuine perspective.
The authentic expression of an individual who can approach their own perception and imagining honestly and pragmatically, ruthlessly introspective and unfettered by self doubt or fear of the judgement of others, can be a powerful force for the enrichment and liberation of themselves and those in their orbit. A candle flame can light countless others and remain undiminished, the light of each a fractal expression of a greater whole.
The sixth chapter of Chemical Serpents is titled “The World Dragon Tree”. The image of the tree as symbolic of the cosmos is a ubiquitous one, with Yggdrasil and the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah providing enduring examples. Traditionally the tree has come to represent a bridge between the underworld and the heavens, with mankind somewhere in the middle or at the base. Dark entities lurk in the depths, while winged ones soar from high branches, and forbidden fruits grow that may enlighten and destroy.
Axis Mundi means “cosmic axis”, “world pillar”, “centre of the world” or “world tree”. To me trees are a symbol of the evolution of consciousness, that to embrace our highest heights requires we also embrace our darkest depths. The beasts that lurk in the underworld lurk within our own psyches, and to reject or fear them is to hand them control of our most basic impulses. The brave do not slay dragons, they ride them. Our passions can be our greatest weakness or our most supreme power. Our fears and desires can rule us, or be overcome, and in that overcoming the individual becomes sovereign, able to restrain or release themselves with some degree of choice and able to accept the consequences of their choices as their own.
This is neither easy nor, in many cases, desirable, as we tend to prefer the idea that someone or something else is in control. The scarier truth seems to be that no one is, not even ourselves. Forces move us that we are often totally unaware of, we may gain some influence and understanding, but that only serves to make clearer that we have never been in control and never will be. Sovereignty is an inner knowing, a respectful courage, not an outer power over others.
I have had a fascination with tarot imagery since childhood, having been given my first reading and deck around age eight. This image references both The Fool and The Hanged Man, in that the figure is at once boldly leaping forward and bound to the tree. Their expression is calm and relaxed, they have surrendered and gained wisdom through sacrifice. Their head rests in the eagle’s nest, as an egg cracking open to both receive and to birth. Their torso is a cosmic egg, containing a knotted, embryonic universe at the centre of a flower, their transient and beautiful existence. Their right foot plunges into the skull face of the abyss, where the scarab beetle Kephri pushes the sun through the darkness of the underworld to be reborn and become the bright sun at the top of the tree.
There is an Axis Mundi within each of us; the Egyptians equated it with the spine, a falcon of gold flying above it, while a lion/serpent sleeps in the shade. The task of the initiate is not to shun one for the other, or be subsumed by these fearsome creatures, but to be the knot where both meet, to be the crowned and conquering soul that can walk hand in hand with both the merciful and the severe, the kind and the cruel, the joyful and the sorrowful, the highest and lowest within us, with equanimity.
"Be sorry and sympathetic for my terrible plight! " Moan the souls in all the realms that revel in their suffering.
"For I am downtrodden and shunned by all others, through naught of my own doing."
"Watch me at work and marvel, see how I employ my genius and meticulous manipulation!" Croon the rich and avaricious, who hold the shackles of all the decadent and corrupt cities throughout all the ages, "and be envious all! For I have the means to obtain anything my heart desires."
"Look upon me and my great strength and resolve and be in awe," say the heroes of many worlds, for in my certainty of my own fate and allegiance, I am all powerful and cannot be beaten!"
"All of that and much more I will not do!" Replied the soul. "Even as I have none of all you claim for yourselves, neither do I wish to." The soul looked carefully at what it had, it had tasted of many in its short lifetime, but all were unbearably bitter. Not sword nor riches, not unfounded pity neither manipulative power over men, and many, many other things it did not have, but it's eyes rested on its own pale hands crossed in front of its frail and shimmering body, the left palm facing down and the right facing upward.
"I have seen it all and gladly passed beyond its cloying confines. I have my own useful strengths, not as yours, rooted in the shifting and treacherous emotions of most souls, but rather; in the magik of knowing."
"Knowing what?!" scoffed all the multitude that shimmered around him.
"That which I could not ever explain, even to my own self." Replied the soul with real sadness.
Even as the throng laughed and in many different dialects and ways, called it a monumental and eternal fool, it unfurled its huge black wings and slowly returned to its world, where it still lay dreaming.
The seventh chapter of Chemical Serpents is titled “Illumination”. To illuminate in literal terms is to supply or brighten with light, in metaphorical terms it is to enlighten. Enlightenment is something spiritual types often talk about without actually defining it very well. For one thing it is not a state that once attained is simply how you are forever, it is something to strive for and to actively maintain. Having said that, once a certain point is reached, an “awakening” had, it seems very difficult to “go back to sleep”, but it is far from impossible and all too easy to go crazy or at least become beguiled with strange notions, because you have become far more open to stimulus and must remain detached from much of it. Illumination is not an easy thing, it is not about being happy or fulfilled, it will not help you make more money or impress your friends, it will in fact strip away every comforting illusion you ever used to hide from fully confronting your reality. Enlightenment strips back all of our preconceptions, our cultural conditioning, our cherished ideas about who we are, and shows us our much less edited truth.
For an artist this is far from an unusual notion, for the difference between the trained and untrained hand and eye is that the trained can reproduce with accuracy and honed style their actual perception or intention while the untrained will produce what they think they perceive or intend, a caricature at best. When we believe our preconceptions we are living in a caricature, a highly abridged and inaccurate map of our reality. When our preconceptions are stripped back and we are more open our map may be much more accurate and faithful to our unique perspective on things. Robert Anton Wilson calls this map our “reality tunnel”.
Gloriam Totius Mundi means “glory of the world”. This is another reference to the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus. To me the glory of the world is the realisation of the self as a unique facet of a conscious whole. Our reality tunnel is the current nature of our existence, to believe it to be the only true reality is foolish, to “break free” of it is to fail to embrace what we are, but to understand that we are neither the shape of the tunnel that we are pouring through, nor the substance being poured through it, but a transient union of the two in constant interplay, is to get a taste of enlightenment.
In the image I reference the first four of Robert Anton Wilson’s Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness. If you have any interest in psychology or in reading an owner’s guide to operating the human nervous system I highly recommend his seminal “Prometheus Rising”. On either side of the legs of the main figure we see clusters of images, the remains of an egg that has been broken in two. On the right a bird merging with a lion, representing our bio-survival impulses (Mars), along with the head of a knight, representing our emotional and territorial instincts (Jupiter). On the left an orgasmic face, breast, vagina and cock, representing the social and sexual instincts (Venus), and beneath that a map of the human brain, representing the semantic and symbolising functions (Mercury). According to Wilson these first four circuits generally dominate us, robotising us with conditioned reflexes, but if we gain access to the higher circuits we gain more perspective and flexibility in our responses. The higher we go the more perspective we gain, achieving the ability to reprogramme ourselves. Wilson refers to the part of us that does this as The Metaprogrammer, the golden figure of this piece.
In the Kabbalistic Tree of Life these lower impulses can be viewed as the lower seven spheres, a seven headed beast to be mastered through balance with the highest three (the supernal triad). By rising above our preconceptions and conditioning we may become freer to embrace and experience the divine nature of existence here and now. This is the essence of the psychedelic and the mystical.
For the last in this series of eight articles about the illustrations I produced for Chemical Serpents I would like to wrap up by discussing the cover. The cover art for Chemical Serpents is called “Lapis Philosophorum”, which means “Philosopher’s Stone”.
The Philosopher’s Stone has a history and mystery that goes back a lot further than the famous Harry Potter book. Reference to the stone can be found as far back as Cheirokmeta by Zosimos of Panopolis circa 300 AD, and some writers go further, claiming that its history goes back to the biblical Adam who is said to have gained knowledge of the stone directly from God. This knowledge is said to have been passed down through biblical patriarchs, providing the source for their longevity.
Regardless of this mythic claim, the theoretical roots of the stone’s creation can be traced to Ancient Greek philosophy. It is from Plato that we are given the suggestion that the four elements are derived from a common source or prima materia (first matter), associated with chaos. The concept of the first mater was later used by the alchemists as the starting ingredient for the creation of the philosopher’s stone, and this notion has persisted. The classical elements as well as the concept of the anima mundi and Creation stories from texts like Plato’s Timaeus were clearly the inspiration for the analogies for the alchemical process.
To ancient Philosophers magic was not the trickery and showmanship of pulling rabbits out of hats, it was also not merely causing changes to occur in the external world, that’s what hands are for. Magic was a psychedelic endeavour utilising processes that expand consciousness. Rites such as the Eleusinian Mysteries, open to everyone from the lowliest slaves to the highest free born, took this process to the level of culture. Philosophy was more than a bunch of overly specialised academics getting pedantic about propositions that have nothing to do with ordinary life. Philosophy was directly connected to life, through the exploration and enrichment of inner experience – the imagination. Later Alchemists sought to perfect such processes. The Philosopher’s Stone was, in some sense, the Philosopher themselves, transformed by their own imagination.
The idea that the stone is an actual object that can make actual gold by transforming something else was quite likely a clever ruse by alchemists to gain funding for what is primarily a spiritual activity. But it is the idea of a physical object gained from a physical transformation that has been passed into modern culture, perhaps because we tend to value the physical far more than the “merely imaginary”. “Magic” and “Imagine” come from the same indo-ayran root word “Mag”, which means “Greatness” or “Expansion” (as in magnification). Practically every physical object around you came from someone’s imagining, and certainly every idea. I believe the imagination is the last great frontier and it is the artists and the philosophers who are most equipped to explore it. Unfortunately the current dominant culture devalues such exploration as self indulgent or worthless and would rather we spend our lives selling pointless consumer goods so we can buy pointless consumer goods, than we learn how to enjoy things that cannot be bought or sold and explore the unprofitable secrets of the universe (unless it causes you to write a best seller or start a successful cult).
The stone has been said to have many powers and properties other than transmuting base metals into gold or silver, such as the ability to heal all forms of illness and prolong the life of any person who consumes a small part of it, creation of perpetually burning lamps, transformation of common crystals into precious stones and diamonds, reviving of dead plants, and the creation of a clone or homunculus. These all seem to me to be very much metaphorical, describing inner visionary experiences rather than outer manifestations. The cover art I created representing this object was very much centred on these notions.
This was one of the few pieces I produced for the book that had very specific instructions from the author. A variety of different symbols were required to be woven together into one glyph-like image. These symbols were: a meditating hermaphrodite as the central figure and axis of the piece, the Kabbalistic Tree of Life showing the lightning path with a cross at the top, The Monas Hieroglyphica, the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna serpents, Baphomet, the axe and noose of Ganesh, the Chrysopoea with deep space as its dark half and rainbow as its light, and the roots and branches of a world tree. Anton was also very specific about the colours for each element too, and so this was a wonderful challenge for me and it was particularly satisfying to exceed his expectations.
I produced the images for Chemical Serpents back in 2012, when I was just starting to fully dedicate myself to being a book cover designer and illustrator. Although I am now more technically skilled and continue to become more so, I still find these images quite fascinating. Many of the references and implications in the images seem now like messages from my unconscious that I have become capable of reading and reflecting upon in a way that I was unprepared for at the time of their creation. It was a project I thoroughly enjoyed because it was an opportunity to explore symbolism and themes that I find fascinating with a very knowledgeable author in the various related subjects. But it also seems that it was an opportunity for something ineffable to make itself more fully know to me, something that gives life to my work in a way that nothing else could.
The universe has rhythm. And the most basic rhythm in the universe is ebb and flow. Inhale and exhale. The flow is the doing, the verb, the outward expansive movement while the ebb is the gap, the inward centering movement. The ebb is the gap in between one flow's verb and the next flow's verb.
Western society is better at valuing the flows than the ebbs. But even then, it tends to pay more attention to the nouns, the results, than to the verbs, the active doings that achieve those results. One thing that will improve things for you is if you focus your attention on the doings. Honour the process, mind the verb.
Equally imortant is to value the gaps between flows. Western society tends to devalue the gaps in favour of the flow of tasks. But the breaks in between are vital. The gaps allow us to change gears from one task to another and they allow us to recharge our batteries. Honour the inbetweenness, mind the gap.