Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Tree of Life - The Saadia Tree, the Twelve Zodiac Signs and Genetics III and Summary




In thirty-two mysterious paths of Wisdom, Yah, Eternal of Hosts, Living Elohim, Almighty El, High and Extolled, Dwelling in Eternity, Holy Be His Name, engraved and created His world in three Sefarim: in writing, number and word. Ten Sefirot out of nothing, twenty-two foundation letters, three mothers, seven doubles and twelve simples. Ch1. V1. Sefer Yetzirah - Saadia Version
During the last series of essays on the Blogos we have looked at the associations between the cellular nature of the human body and the ten Sefirot and the twenty two astrological influences of the Sefer Yetzirah.

In the first essay we looked at the relationship between the three elements and the tripartite nature of the body - blood (air), cells (water) and nuclei (fire) along with the tripartite nature of respiration - oxygen (air), water (water) and sugar energy (fire).  We discussed carbon dioxide as ''earth'' in that it is a gas which we export from the body in respiration and which goes on to be used by plants to make the soil, vegetation and land of the Earth.  Carbon dioxide is not stored in the body which is why we have three elements rather than four.  This is especially important when building the Tree of Life into our auras.

In the second essay we looked at the relationship between the seven planets, the seven vertical paths and the organelles - planet-like structures that exist in the cytoplasm of every cell.  We imagined a descent into the cell from the membrane (Saturn), through the endosomes (Jupiter), the lysosomes (Mars), the mitochondria (Sol), the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticuluum (Venus and Mercury) and finally the nucleus itself (Luna).  This descent into the cell following the Chaldean order of the planets takes us into the interior of the Earth, our chronosomes, where we may find the hidden stone and unlock our latent powers.



In the two sections of our third essay we discussed the link between the twelve zodiac signs and the twelve basic genetic mechanisms of the DNA, the molecular whirlwind which dances in every nucleus - whereby our DNA is copied, reproduced, read and translated, repaired and recombined as it has been ever since the dawn of the first cell.  We looked at how these twelve signs and their genetic mechanisms match up with the twelve diagonal paths of the Tree of Life, effectively creating the shape of DNA itself in the glyph, and we see how the information stored in DNA emerges from the nucleus and creates every thing in the body.

In the Sefer Yetzirah we know that the twenty two letters (plus a fabled twenty third letter of the future world, a four headed Shin) merge into one name and here we see our twenty three chromosomes and the way their genetic material is deployed to create our entire physical and to a great extent, psychological being.

Sometimes in the current obsession with identity politics in the Western Mystery tradition, or with assuming a scholarly historical approach to the subject we forget that our ancestors, the alchemists, were primarily mystical experimental scientists and their principles are embedded in the scientific knowledge we have today.  There remains an untapped wealth of wisdom here which misdirected intellectual energies continue to fail to recognize and explore.

Ten Sefirot out of nothing. Ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Understand in Wisdom and be wise in Understanding. Examine them, investigate them, think clearly and form. Place the word above its creator and reinstate a Creator upon His foundation; and they are ten extending beyond limit. Observe them: they appear like a flash. Their boundary has no limit for His word is with them: "and they ran and returned." And they pursue His saying like a whirlwind [vortex]; and they prostrate themselves [bend] themselves before His throne. Ch.1, V1. Sefer Yetzirah - Saadia Version

In this final section we will look at the two remaining signs of Aquarius and Pisces and their assocations in our twelve basic genetic mechanisms.

Aquarius and Pisces - Repair and Recombination

Aquarius - DNA repair

DNA is damaged in a variety of different ways, from toxins to cosmic rays, and there must be processes in order to repair the molecular lesions that occur.  When a section of the code is damaged an enzyme scans along the strands and uncouples the DNA in the mutated area copying the correct code from the remaining unaffected strand then repairing the missing links.  Damage to the DNA if uncorrected can lead to mutations and to cancer.  We see the glyph of Aquarius in the zig-zag motion of the DNA as it is being repaired.





Pisces - DNA recombination

During meiosis the production of sperm and eggs, the DNA is recombined, information swapped around between chromosomes and/or strands so that a new mix of DNA (and its accompanying traits or phenotypes) are created.  In this sense different sperm can potentially create different babies.  We see the glyph of Pisces in this swapping over of the strands.





 




The principles outlined in the Tree of Life essays can all be applied to what I call cellular consciousness, understanding the structure of your consciousness to be the same as the structure of the cell.  These associations once explored, memorized, and internalized will open the tremendous depths of your being - a being which continues in an unbroken line to the origins of life and into the furthest reaches of our metaphysical antiquity.



Monday, June 22, 2015

The Tree of Life - The Saadia Tree, the Twelve Zodiac Signs and Esoteric Genetics II





Twelve simples: He, Vav, Zayin; Het, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun, Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof. He engraved them, hewed them, tested them, weighed them, and exchanged them. How did He combine them? Two stones build two houses. Three stones build six houses. Four stones build twenty-four houses. Five stones build one hundred twenty houses. Six stones build seven hundred twenty houses. Seven stones build five thousand forty houses. Thenceforth, go out and calculate what the mouth is unable to say and what the ear is unable to hear.  Ch.3 V.4 Sefer Yetzirah, Saadia Version

Throughout our esoteric archives we see constant reference to our spiral nature whether it be through the Caduceus and the Tree of Life, Yogic chakras as vortices, or the whirlwinds, dragon-serpents and bolas of the Sefer Yetzirah.  Most esotericists would agree that the link between this imagery and our DNA is indisputable and many will discuss this association at length.  It is one thing to talk in general and quite another to know the details - with the former we can make beautiful imagery and inspire soulfulness in our endeavours in the material world, with the latter we can inform our medicine




There are Twelve basic genetic mechanisms and these relate to the Twelve Zodiac signs and the Twelve diagonal paths on the Tree of Life.  In the first section we related the first six signs of the zodiac to the six mechanisms involved in replicating DNA. In this second section, we'll look at Libra - Capricorn which cover protein synthesis.  As you know you are made of biological cells, each cell contains a nucleus which conceals the chromosomes - genetic dictionaries listing all the words or proteins necessary to make you. These four astrological signs  relate to the way in which genetic mechanisms are responsible for reading those dictionaries and creating a word (protein) from the genetic code.  In order to do this the chromosomes must be read, analysed, transcribed and translated - the subsequent protein must then be folded in a precise way otherwise it will not have its function.  

Libra - Capricorn or Protein Synthesis

Libra - mRNA transcription + splicing




Transcription is when mRNA is made from DNA - this RNA is a messenger which is ultimately read and translated into a protein. During transcription, an enzyme makes a copy of a gene from the DNA to mRNA as needed.  However some of the code is not useful and the mRNA needs to be spliced before it is read.   Splicing is the process by which pre-mRNA is modified to remove certain stretches of non-coding sequences called introns; the stretches that remain include protein-coding sequences and are called exons.  In the Libra diagram we see in the upper section an intron being removed from the pre mRNA.

Scorpio - mRNA



Once the introns have been removed the remaining exons form the finished mRNA which codes for the necessary protein along with what is called a 3' poly(A) tail.  This tail allows the mRNA to leave the nucleus and be translated into a protein as well as serving to protect the mRNA from degradation. When comparing the mRNA to the Scorpio glyph it is worth noting this tail but at the same time one should compare the image to the one for Virgo or DNA.  If we look at Virgo and Scorpio we see that they are very similar but where Scorpio has a tail, Virgo has a twist - Scorpio is our single-stranded RNA with its poly(A) tail and Virgo our double-stranded DNA.



The image below is useful as we see the DNA of Virgo, the mRNA splicing process of Libra, and the mRNA of Scorpio emerging.



Sagittarius - tRNA + mRNA translation
The produced mRNA is finally read by a molecule called tRNA which is attached to a ribosome. The mRNA is passed through the ribosome and the tRNAs coding for individual amino acids assembles the required protein.  The tRNA is evocative of the symbol for Sagittarius - in the 3d rendering of the molecule we see in the blue downward section the point of our arrowhead and in the green and red of the 2d rendering we see our crossbar.





Capricorn - post-translational folding

After tRNA has read the mRNA we now have our protein as a string of amino acids, our word as a string of letters - however the protein will lack its vital function without being folded, in some kind of molecular origami into its final shape.  This post-translational folding is what is referred to by our glyph of Capricorn.



 






These proteins read from the genetic dictionaries, our chronosomes, are the words of the serpent language of our spiral nature and this final folding of the protein is the inflection*.  These proteins are the words our DNA speaks as it replies to the needs and demands of the shifting environment of the body.

*Note that the site of post-translational folding, our inflection i.e. the E.R. and the golgi appartus relate to Venus and Mercury or Pe and Resh i.e. the mouth and the face

http://hermeticlessons.blogspot.cz/2015/05/the-tree-of-life-saadia-tree-seven.html

''It is probably best to think of the Golgi and the ER as both important parts of the process involving the way in which the nucleus packages and secretes proteins back out into the cytoplasm and finally the body at large.  What must be understood to really grok what is happening esoterically is that the cell is listening to the larger cellular community and then responding to its needs - the proteins, hormones or chemical messengers are the words.  In order to respond to the conversation the information contained inside the nucleus, the physiological dictionary, is read and the correct response/protein is formulated.  This word however must be inflected and spoken - in the language of proteins we would talk about folding the protein and then secreting it - Abrakadabra!''

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Tree of Life - The Saadia Tree, the Twelve Zodiac Signs and Genetics






Twelve simples: He, Vav, Zayin; Het, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun, Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof. He engraved them, hewed them, tested them, weighed them, and exchanged them. How did He combine them? Two stones build two houses. Three stones build six houses. Four stones build twenty-four houses. Five stones build one hundred twenty houses. Six stones build seven hundred twenty houses. Seven stones build five thousand forty houses. Thenceforth, go out and calculate what the mouth is unable to say and what the ear is unable to hear.  Ch.3 V.4 Sefer Yetzirah, Saadia Version

I will be breaking this post on the twelve zodiac signs into two sections in order to make it easier to digest.  What you will learn in these sections, building on the rest of the Saadia Tree and Cellular Consciousness, are ideas which should be exciting for the esoteric community.  It is challenging material to get your head around and ultimately up to that community what they do with it but the ideas are freely given.

There are Twelve basic genetic mechanisms and these relate to the Twelve Zodiac signs and the Twelve diagonal paths on the Tree of Life*.  We'll look at the first six in this section, Aries-Virgo which cover DNA replication.  As you know you are made of biological cells, each cell contains a nucleus which conceals the chromosomes - genetic dictionaries listing all the words or proteins necessary to make you.  These six genetic rhythms relate to the way in which these chromosomes replicate in order for the cell to divide into two daughter cells and involve contortions of the double helix - it must unzip, be read and copied, uncoil, reanneal, wrap and stack - this dance of the DNA secures the continuance of all life on Earth.


DNA replication or Aries to Virgo

Aries - The Replication Fork


The replication fork is a structure that forms within the nucleus during DNA replication when the two strands break apart so they can be read and ultimately copied.  The resulting structure has two branching prongs, each one made up of a single strand of DNA.  These prongs are the horns of the Ram.  As the replication fork is the beginning of the cell cycle so our Aries is the beginning of our Zodiac.




Taurus - DNA Polymerases


Each one of these separate strands is now read by an enzyme called DNA polymerase which runs down the strand and copies it.  Every letter that makes up the code AGTC has its mirror opposite and what the polymerase does is provide this opposite so that each separate strand can ultimately become DNA again.





Gemini & Cancer - DNA Topoisomerases


During the copying of the DNA there are problems with the twisting of the threads and these must be solved by DNA topoisomerases - enzymes which regulate the overwinding or underwinding of DNA.  DNA topoisomerase I cuts into the strand allowing it to break into two separate strands very reminescent of the symbol for Gemini and DNA topoisomerase II allows the strands to reanneal and supecoil again - this supercoiling being shown by Cancer, the two strands rotating around each other again.






Leo - Histone Bodies and Nucleosomes

Our DNA is now ready to be bound into the structures called chromosomes.  First this thread is wrapped around histone bodies - you can think of these as something like spindles.  As a spindle is filled with thread it is stacked against another spindle until they all stack up neatly into chromatin.  Since each human cell has about six feet of DNA inside the nucleus this is truly economic packing and stacking.   The genetic diagram below shows the super-coiled DNA of Cancer at the far left, the wrapping of these onto our histone spindles of Leo in the central section and finally the solenoids of Virgo at the far right.









Virgo - Solenoids


The wrapped DNA packaged on to the histone bodies is then stacked up into a structure called a solenoid.  These solenoids form our chromosomes the repository of our life and our cellular fertility. A fitting association for Virgo.  In the diagram below you can see the solenoid on the far left and if you rotate the symbol for Virgo ninety degrees you will hopefully see the obvious connection between the two.




From Aries to Virgo then we chart the origins of the replication process in the uncoiling of the virile horns of Aries, the fertile work ox of Taurus that replicates each one of the horns by providing it with its mirror opposite, in Gemini, the uncoiling of the loops so they stand opposite one another - duality unbound - following by the supercoiling of Cancer - duality rebound.  This double helical twine is then bound on to its spindle in Leo, and the spindles are stacked in Virgo finally culminating in the structure we call the chromosome.  


Are these associations between the astrological glyphs and genetic diagrams mere coincidence?  The Sefer Yetzirah is known as the Book of Formation and was used, according to legend, to create life - the twenty two letters like astral chromosomes that we mix and match through the 231 Gates in order to heal limbs or manufacture golems**.  Throughout the knowledge of the Western Mysteries we see reference to our spiral nature - be it through the caduceus or through the Tree of Life - and indeed the discoveries of our biochemists stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, the alchemists and the qabalists.  That the wisdom of the ancients, transmitted from antiquity through our mystery schools would correlate so well with the findings of genetics seems to be clear - indeed if we believe in the principle of as above so below why would it not be? 

If the chromosomes are The Rivers of Time, their course unbroken since the dawn of life and the first cell, their internal clocks, their cell cycles mapped by the movement of the stars perhaps a better name would be the chronosomes.






*Note the way the diagonal paths trace a DNA like shape on the ToL.
**More on this later.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Tree of Life - The Leeches and Crossing the Rivers of Time


The Rivers of Time contain destructive and disruptive entities in their waters which are the equivalent of the Klippot, the Shells or Husks of the Qabalah. Often the Klippot are thought of as a kind of demonic hierarchy relating to the Tree of Life and I think this is useful in that we can classify them by the centres they effect  i.e. there are Klippot that cause sexual diseases, some that cause kidney illness, skin conditions, various types of madness, etc etc.

Shabbatai Tzvi's alternate view of the Klippot is well worth getting one's head around though.  His theodicy suggests that the Klippot are particles of thoughtless infinity that have become wrapped up in the thoughtful infinity's creative intentions.  All this thoughtless infinity is seeking to do is return to its original undifferentiated state - the Klippot are not going about this in a consciously malevolent way - its simply a metaphysical mechanism.  Try to imagine the Klippot as holes in something where there is a pressure difference on either side, like a plane or submarine, - finity begins to be pulled into infinity - this infinite force on finity causes its structures to break apart until they completely crumble. Is this a positive source of evil like the Devil?  I don't think so but whether they are ultimately evil or not the Klippot do suck.


In the cosmogony of the Rivers of Time, these waters contain Leeches and they are one of the main opponents of the physiognomical characters as they attempt to figure out and eventually repair themselves.  The leeches are more densely concentrated in the lower portion of these Rivers, i.e. more in the swamps of the delta of remembering and forgetting, than in the mountainous regions of the altered future.   The effect of the leeches seems to be very similar to Tzvi's view - they are mindlessly and mechanically sucking your blood - aging you, increasing the effect of entropy on your body, destroying your great works as if they were sandcastles, etc - in the same way all finite objects are eventually ground down by time.



The vision of the Rivers of Time was accompanied by a lot of what I would probably refer to now as spirit work - communicating with the physiognomical characters for more information regarding their nature and the nature of the lands they occupy i.e. the 4th dimension - where time is seen more as block time - always morning in the mountains, always evening by the sea.



From conversations with the Bloodless Being I was told a story of how the Treefrog once tried to cross the Rivers of Time and was swarmed and drained by leeches - as the blood left her body the Bloodless Being told her that she should have exchanged her blood for light - a light being untouchable by leeches. This dialogue also lead into my later understanding of chronobiology - the Bloodless Being a physiognomical character of melatonin - an antioxidant hormone responsible for maintaining biorhythms that produces young looking, slim, slender boned, cancer resistant people with good complexion - in this sense the high melatonin levels of Bloodless Beings do indeed make them less susceptible to the leeches.

In another way we can see the Bloodless Being's position on the Rivers of Time at Changing the Future as being above the abyss and from the Qabalah we know that the Sefirot of the Supernal Triad were not effected by the Shattering of the Vessels - they managed to contain the light - future beings are light beings.  Blood, a symbol of our finity, our mortality, and our vulnerability to the leeches does not exist above the Abyss, it exists in the shattered worlds of the three dimensions below.  The Bloodless Being in us, the Light Being, is telling us to exchange our blood for light, or in other words to develop our astral body.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The WMT - Astral Projection and Angelic Alien Insects

Sadly, we don't see many accounts of astral projection these days but space is cold and vast, and there is no way human ''spam in a can'' is getting us off this rock in any recognizable shape.  The only way for us to regain our place in the stars is to use our minds.

There are obstacles in the art of astral projection and it requires great work to develop the skill-set - learning to still the mind, building the astral body, clearing the gravity well of your own psychic astral larvae, separating delusion and imagination from genuine astral experience, and perhaps the most challenging obstacle of all, navigating your way past the various entities that maintain our planetary interdict - accusing angels, time-cops, whatever you want to call them.  They keep us psychically imprisoned on Earth possibly for our own good because we have the curse of violence or possibly because they are farming our pain - either way we are cell-mates of consciousness.

As most of us know space travel is time travel and the two arts are inextricably mixed in astral projection - when one penetrates the cell membrane of their own mind and accesses the bloodstream of time it is possible to go anywhere or anywhen.

The most interesting astral experience I ever had was achieved by using a mesh of Hebrew letters across my astral vision.  I meditated until I was seeing the astral light and then I engraved a mesh of letters over it, the membrane parted and I stepped, fully dressed in fine robes into the late 16th century.  I crossed the Charles Bridge to the Tower on the Old Town side, climbed the stairs, furious, and demanded to see Queen Elizabeth (who I somehow knew was there).  I was stopped at the top of the stairs by a group of butterfly beings (about 4ft tall) who informed me, in Butterfly, that I could not see the Queen.  I replied, still quite furious and in Butterfly, ''don't you know who I am?'' at which point I was kicked off the astral plane.  My partner at the time in the next room heard me speaking in Butterfly so it wasn't just in my head.

When I was remembering this the other day I also remembered an astral projection early in my career as a magician where I projected to the Moon - there were very tall spindle like Towers, and thin bridges across chasms. I entered one of the towers, flying through one of the top most windows, and inside there was a viscous black gel which I became stuck in, before I was surrounded by Butterfly beings, who could operate in the gel as if it wasn't there.  After getting stuck I was kicked off.

During a systematic conjuring of the Archangels in 2002, I experienced Uriel as a moth-man like entity who gave me information regarding an interesting use of the Tree of Life* and then, after doing what he said he took me through my fireplace and into an alternate negative universe which at the time I associated with Daath - the hidden/invisible Sefira.  There I met my anti-self also immersed in black viscous gel.

GUARDING THE GATES OF HELL IS TAKING ITS TOLL

As I have worked more and more with Archangel Raziel, it seems that we can work out and exercise our astral bodies in what is the astral equivalent of the Earth's atmosphere without any bother - its like the prison yard - but if we attempt to project to the planetary spheres or through time we are going to encounter police.  The texts speak of this whether it be the Hekhalot texts of ascending the celestial palaces and defeating/charming the accusing angels with the use of divine names or making your way past Gnostic planetary archons.

I see so few  accounts of astral experiences and so much of the desire-fulfillment brand of summoning magic that I wonder if the art is dying off.  Do newcomers to the Western Mysteries realise how important these skills are in developing their full capacity as a being or do they think our tradition is now simply about building strange attractors or conjuring spirits to - get that job, pull that girl, make that money?

Astral projection is one of the most amazing experiences you can have as a magician not only is it more vivid and exhilarating than real life, but you are going to encounter genuine entities on their turf who if they don't kick you off are going to have unbelievable things to teach you, and you are partially reclaiming your heritage as a being of consciousness not one that is imprisoned in matter.



*If using Golden Dawn planetary correspondences, which I no longer do, rotate the Sefirot in your mind according to the ratio of the orbital spin of the planets they are associated with i.e. rotate Netzach the opposite way to the other Sefirot and at a much slower rate, etc.









Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Tree of Life - The Rivers of Time


When I was a young man I received a vision of the Tree of Life in the form of twin rivers weaving together to form a double helix.  These rivers flowed from the top of the mountain, joined in a lake, split once more beneath a viaduct, formed the moat of a tower, beyond into a marsh delta and then finally out to the Sea.  As the rivers flowed so did time; it was always morning in the mountains and always evening at the shore.  Night, it seemed was far out to Sea.



Along the banks of these rivers of time lived a set of characters - The Ignorant Genius, the Ignorant Fool, the Bloodless Being, the Treefrog, the Shellfish, the Confused Venutian, the Prisoner, the Mime, the Jay and finally the Many Mannered Mind Man.  In my visions, I conversed with these characters and they each had something to tell me about the nature of humanity and time itself.

THE MANY MANNERED MIND MAN

A couple of years after working with these characters and applying the knowledge they had given me I came across the Western Mystery Tradition and began to study the Qabalah.  I met my first esoteric teacher at university (where I was studying Biochemistry and Genetics) and he introduced me to the Eastern Mysteries and though I was fascinated, my passion for alchemy, qabalah and magick never wavered. The Rivers of Time, it seemed, were congruent with the Tree of Life, these characters were partzufim, their conversations with me like that of spirits, or maggidim.  Through the Great Work, I opened the archives of my magickal memory - I was poet, monk, slave - fish, frog, demon and angel. The Great Work showed me the only path - of service, of teaching, of medicine - that lonesome road that would lead to the damned Tower in Prague and the secrets of Raziel that still I fear to share.

THE METABOLISM OF TIME

As I continued my studies, the Rivers of Time were enriched by molecular biology, endocrinology and many other ''logies'' - I saw the wisdom of ''as above, so below'' and Cellular Consciousness began to emerge in this heart that loved knowledge - my background in science and mysticism allowing me to free-scale the four worlds.  My studies at university concluded with chronobiology and cryptochrome - an appropriate finale to this stage of the path and, after university, I pursued my studies of Qabalah still further, gazing into the Kabbalistic mysteries of the Sefer Yetzirah, with excellent mentors and admirable peers.

SAADIA - THE TREE OF DEPTHS

The physiognomical secrets revealed to me in my youth had been enriched by these studies - I understood how the perception of time was intrinsically married to character, I could see destinies configured in faces, flesh, or fat and I could see the psycho-dramatic solutions; the rituals necessary to heal the rifts in the souls of my siblings; the words they needed to hear and to say.  I could see how spoiling and abuse lead mankind away from itself and into a labyrinth of false masks, and how they then so identified with these masks that they forgot the truth of their own soul beneath them - those Rivers of Time, navigable and coiling in the nucleus of every cell of their being - their beginning embedded in their end.


Monday, May 25, 2015

The WMT - What Went Wrong? Whatever Works!

I can't stand this argument - ''whatever works'' - you hear it repeated endlessly through the WMT. The essence of it is that we are all individual, we are all approaching the great Nous along different paths so people are going to get different results from different approaches - whatever works for you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that position in principle, we are all different, there are many different paths in the occult sciences and we should avoid ''one-true-way-ism'' but ''whatever works'' is constantly used to defend intellectual and spiritual weakness.

Its lazy.  Have a bit more investigative rigor.  Just because a thing works doesn't mean it works the best.  You can argue that your forehead works to hammer a nail into a plank of wood. You have got results.  You have successfully hammered that nail haven't you? - alongside pulverizing your skull. This is called pragmatism bias - ''if it ain't broke don't fix it''.  The thing is that different tools can do the same job as another tool but better.  In the future for hammering a nail, just use a hammer, right? A Pogo-stick and a jet-pack will both allow you to travel.  Although one may be enjoyed from time to time for recreation and comic relief the other is going to get you where you need to go faster and more directly.

TYPICAL WMT STUDENT

Sometimes we may want to maintain an antiquated practice for sentimental, aesthetic or historical reasons. Sometimes the Grimoire Magi give me this impression - that they are the re-constructionists you might find at a Renaissance festival - pursuing the ''authentic'' methods and whatnot - like my mum is into her lacing guild or one of my mates likes to recreate the Battle of Bosworth. Occasionally that does speak to me of choosing the Pogo-stick over the jet-pack although I do appreciate the beauty of the grimoires, lace and medieval warfare. Sometimes we do lose things in the pursuit of the future and must search in the archives of antiquity, but sometimes our narrow focus on the past is denying us access to arcane advances.

''Whatever works'' is also used to defend the status quo.  Good God, the times I have heard my colleagues say that their objections to my Qabalistic theories are in defence of pluralism - when actually the idea I am presenting (Cellular Consciousness, the Saadia Tree) represents a new contribution to what is actually an incredibly inert Tradition.  The pluralism argument tends to come from my colleagues when I am lambasting the Kircher Tree - they seem blithely oblivious to the fact that the Kircher Tree is often presented in WMT circles as the Tree of Life, not as Tree of Life - in this sense it is Kircher that stands in the way of a purely pluralistic approach to Qabalah in the Western Mysteries.

In Science when a new theory/approach comes along we test it and if it works better we adopt the new method.  In the WMT by contrast, outdated/faulty methods are clung on to because way too much time has been invested in writing/reading about them and the vested interest of the authors/orders makes them really wary of invalidating their own work - any admission of error will cut into book sales, profit margins and political influence.  Your street cred may vary.

Now and then though, the WMT invents/adopts a piece of ''technology'' that works but is also toxic and harmful - think asbestos, glyphosate, etc, for real world equivalence.  The classic example of this is the way in which the Kircher Tree is used by the Golden Dawn - building an inherently unbalanced Tree of Life into the aura is going to continue to produce imbalance in the individual or the society.  There are things about this particular Tree which allow it to work and generate results - think the Sefirot - there are things which allow this Tree to work but which produce severe inaccuracy - think the Letter Paths - there are things about this Tree that are positively dangerous - think building the Kircher Tree into your aura.

KIRCHER BUILT INTO THE AURA

Another dangerous offshoot of ''whatever works'' is thinking that all spiritual paths are spiritually equivalent and this can lead to spiritual tourism.  On this point I'd like to say a couple of things - while it is true that there are many paths that lead to the summit there are also many false trails and dead ends.

Some paths, like Yoga, have been more thoroughly tested and refined due to the length of time and conditions that the tradition which guards them has persisted in.  We have our own cultural and psychological conditions which might make one path more palatable than another even though it is less refined due to long dark ages of ignorance, poor communication, mistranslation, political suppression, etc - think the Western Mystery Tradition.  This said, I find that rather than boldly taking a path, many are paralyzed by the ''whatever works'' philosophy and end up just looking at the mountain and discussing the possibilities rather than climbing it.  This paralysis can lead to musing over the relative relativism of the paths but torpedo your devotion to one path, thus limiting your spiritual growth.  There is something in the process of devotion which harnesses and shapes the will - this is where the Grimoire Magi gain their strength, I think, if it seems at the price of fundamentalism regarding their particular niche, nook or cranny.

So whilst ''whatever works'' should be a good motto for an individual practitioner that emphasizes the unique and private nature of the spiritual path and encourages them to seek the specific and best path for them, in reality it often ends up being used to justify lazy intellectual attitudes, poor research, spiritual tourism and to protect vested interest.