Tuesday, December 1, 2015

''An Education: Grades'' - A Response

The human body is divided into a variety of different cell types in the same way humanity is divided into a variety of different psycho-social types.  For ease I divide these into types using the spectrum of the endocrine system, the glands, as they provide a useful general field of purpose (control, perception, communication, immunity, energy, engines, reproduction) and also a fairly easy set of physiognomical cues to identify them.  Using these archetypal forms i.e. high testosterone character or high adrenaline character etc, I can zoom in more closely using the paths and identify where an individual might lie *between* these archetypes, I can determine the genetic ''alchemical'' mix at the essence of a person and subsequently diagnose the disease (or spectrum of disease), both physical and mental, that they are likely to struggle with.

The discussion on Disrupt and Repair is about the usefulness of making a grade system out of this and learning systematically about characters other than one's own or trying to replicate them within yourself.  In this sense the process of initiation leads you away from yourself only to return to your ''natural grade'' when you achieve a certain level of enlightenment (8 = 3), and it also suggests that some grades are naturally superior than others.  The natural grades we are discussing do relate to the intiatory grades that have been associated with them for example a Practicus is using adrenaline to fuel their recall ability when learning and utilizing systems of correspondences, an Adeptus Minor is using insulin and glucagon to store and release energy.  This means that if one is an insulin/glucagon character their natural grade is Adeptus Minor. However this in no sense means that an Adeptus Minor is more important than a Practicus in this understanding.

Think about occupations in the real world such as the police force, associated with the immune system and Mars.  There are some people with a certain set of natural skills that make them good police officers.  There are other influences (spoiling, neglect, abuse) that can reduce their quality as police officers.  Within the police there are a variety of different types of jobs that require different skills - armed response is different from detective work, in the same way an eosinophil immune cell is different from a B memory cell.    Within these jobs themselves there are different levels of achievement and recognition, different ranks etc which are accessible, technically, by different displays of virtue and excellence.  You can earn more money and respect as a highly ranked detective (Mars) than a lowly ranked government official (typically Jupiter or Saturn types) or teacher (typically Solar or Venutian).  So I don't think there is anything inherent in a natural grade that makes one more important than the other, a skin cell or hair cell is equally important to a nerve cell in the grand scheme of things.  When I look at the Tree of Life, I use it in its 2d upright form to find position within the body and don't automatically equate that to status - if we take people's misconceptions as someone whose character lies around cortisol and testosterone (or Netzach and Yesod), kidneys and gonads, I would be considered quite lowly.  The head can't work on its own though - at least not yet - and even when it can it will be linked to things that are doing the equivalent of cleaning its blood, etc.

I do work ''up the Tree'' through initiations after a manner - when stepping onto a certain path or Sefira  an individual of the physiognomical type enters my life, they are summoned as a spirit, and I learn about the Sefira by learning about them.  I explore their traits both negative and positive and try to apply the most useful ones to myself.  For example I have been working between Solar and Martian initiations for some time now and would reject the Pride and Aggression but try to absorb the Inspiration and Discipline. 

Bear in mind that an individual is automatically a gestalt of the people they have met: an ex-girlfriend's smile, a father's frown, a mother's nod of assent - this gestalt forming a mask of memory or acquired behaviour, harmonious or otherwise, over a genetic core identity.  We naturally acquire this mask of messily acquired other ''grades'', initiation simply applies some system of undertsanding that - we acquire experience of other cells this way and come to know ourself in the body as opposed to just ourselves in the cell.  Without this tour of the inner space, which has beene expressed out into the world, we can't fully know what the point of it all is, although we may good at doing it.

When this process of discovery is complete the mask comes off (or is integrated and internalized) and the individual is revealed in their fullest glory as their archetype - this is the 8 = 3 grade - and in life this is where one is really good at doing what they do and what they have true will for be it artist or scholar alongside knowledge of the entire system - they are a real human being.  Typically the artists, scholars, scientists, mothers, fathers, etc who are renowned are the ones who have achieved this understanding, they understand how their part contributes to the greatness of the whole, as opposed to those who labour in their various cells without that knowledge.

To give a practical example for my Netzach initiation, I conjured various forces - ended up working in Taurean and Libran spheres - my Taurean intiation was handling the FMD crisis in 2001, my Libran working as a waiter, balancing plates in an extremely fancy green restaurant.  Due to excellence I was promoted and became the manager of this literal green sphere, outside of which were two statues of women one black (exposed to rain and pollution) the other white (less exposed).  During these spheres and the pathwalking that followed them - which were mainly in either caring (Alzheimers, Schizophrenia) or entertainment (restaurants, pubs, shows) leading to teaching in the end as the Solar sphere - I formed close relationships with Mime types, listening to the transactions on the sod level. For my Solar initiation, I conjured various forces and went to work in a big yellow building numbered 320, I worked with and encountered many Prisoner types and again paid attention to them on the sod level.  These experiences have not just yielded qualities of personality but esoteric abilities as well.  As I said above I think there is substantial correlation between the physiongnomical archetypes and the grades of the A.A. and can go through it in another post.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to respond to this.

    When you linked over here from my original post, you talked about debate and I'm not sure if I have one with you. When I posted the grade discussion I wanted to talk about three ways we can use the term to:

    1) Refer to a system of potencies (e.g., the paths on the tree)
    2) Refer to an account of temperaments
    3) Refer to a progressive educational regimen where each grade prepares and builds upon the previous.

    Then, I wanted to suggest that while I can endorse a strong parallelism between (1) and (2), I don't see how that parallel justifies the creation of a graded system (3).

    For example, when I hear you talk about learning to heal, I hear the story of a solar potency being developed and extended by the increasing illumination of how other potencies manifest (good and bad) in health. I hear the story of a single 'grade' manifesting the potencies of other grades under the auspices of its own potency. Learning the health of a Martian temperament manifest Mars within the Sun, but it does not necessarily manifest Mars in itself.

    While such work proceeds through an appreciation of other potencies, I don't think there is a necessary order through which that appreciation ought to develop. I don't think it necessarily benefits the work of healing to begin with a Mercurial rather than Venusian process, so long as it begins and continues.

    I think there is an ideal path through which one proceeds through initiations, but that this path is not universal or generic. The ideal path is one that develops between one's natural temperament and one's individual circumstances.

    I guess the question I have for you is this:

    Do you think there is a clear and well-defined path through which a person must proceed to develop their natural grade and that this path is consistent enough between individuals to warrant building a standard magical curriculum from it?

    If the answer to that is yes, then we disagree. What I would need to be convinced I am wrong is a rationale as to why a specific curriculum works so well.

    If no, we don't (yet) disagree.

  2. That one needs to be fully acquainted with the entire zodiac to adjust one's own being to it and attain awareness of one's role in the body I think is essential to any fully initiated individual. Although I think it would be possible to approach the system organically and ascend the paths as you wish, or as so evolves, I don't think you will achieve as much focus of the will in so doing.

    I think the advantages of a grade system are two fold. The first one is a curriculum and tests/ordeals give aspirants' creative limitations, the danger I see around me is the open ended nature of occult studies is leading people nowhere. They flit around from topic to topic and I don't really see that much discussion of actual occult work besides conjuring spirits and these are phrased very vaguely. As I said to somone recently, I think summoning spirits is fairly easy (build strange attractor, incant, bargain, etc) as opposed to say building the astral body or healing people and I have serious misgivings about the quality of much of the esoteric work that is going on.

    The second one is it forces you to deal with the less attractive aspects of your being as well as the positive ones. I think a problem for a lot of esoteric practitioners (and here I agree with Crowley) is they find something they are good at and focus on that. I would liken that to working within the cell and not completely understanding that position in the body. Now if one chooses to be a healer or a diviner and they focus on that and that's their role and they explore the ladder of achievement within that area - great! The curriculum is not meant for everyone in fact it is supposed to be for a very very few.

    I do want to point out that I don't think there are many people who can go through such a grade system and do very well. The system, if adhered to, is extremely demanding most people I know couldn't even handle the reading/memorization - let alone the practical work - and I am far from complete in my endeavours regarding it. I think there will inevitably be personalization of the system anyway but having a common groundwork is useful.

    I agree about the fractal tree description of my work. It is actually not possible to ''open'' certain Sefirot until someone has completed the work which shadows that in lower Sefirot and lower Sefirot are not fully initiated until the whole work of initiation is complete. I was trying to be extremely concise regarding my experiences here, perhaps a more detailed explanation of initiation from my perspective would help.

  3. Do I think the structure of A.A. is perfect, no? The Kircher Tree is a huge problem in the writings of the A.A. but I do agree with the principles of their system as it is applied to the Sefirot and most of the planetary conflations can be explained by understanding the paths that lead to them. I also think although one might be born with a knack for certain things, certain things are by their nature fundamentally more difficult than others on average. I would say it is harder, on average, to access/understand Chesed than it is to access/understand Gevurah in that is easier to smite than it is to forgive.

    I think using a system based on the Chaldean order works better as you are building (rectifying) the individual from the ''ground'' up. You start at the bottom and work your way progressively through the Sefirot. Whilst a ''shotgun'' approach to this maybe starting with Saturn and messing around with Mercury and then moving to the Sun may yield results I think it is more likely to exacerbate than starting from the bottom. Similarly with the zodiac man, building the Zodiac man in the self from the feet up seems to be sensible to me.

    For example in initiation for the Moon one is supposed to access their magickal memory - I think this is extremely useful for work that, in the Chaldean order at least, would go on top of this. Accessing magickal memory as one of the first things did give me a strong foundation to build on and having a good memory is a huge support for Mercurial work, in the same a good memory is useful for a student building a system of correspondences. So before doing research (Hod/''Mercury'') one trains the memory (Yesod/''Moon''). One's devotional work (Netzach/''Venus'') builds on the research obtained in Mercury. Before one is ready for the Sun one should be, according to this system - logical, passionate and with a good memory.

    I had to use 2 comment boxes because of a limit on characters. I also guess discussion would be the better word rather than debate.