Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fear and Pride

A fast trip straight down the ladder, right to the primal fear, right to the base anger.

Jacobs Ladder, Bruce Joel Rubin


The Practical Kabbalah is replete with warnings; the occult is a dangerous business.  If it doesn't feel dangerous you're probably doing it wrong.  The three most serious dangers that face the practitioner are blasphemy, insanity and death - we face them constantly.  Blasphemy arises from failure in  practice or when results go awry - fuck this shit.  Insanity occurs as a result of possession or when the mind becomes so saturated with symbolism and significance that rifts inevitably result - schizophrenia.  Untimely death can occur in a number of different ways but more often than not it will appear as the result of sudden sickness or unusual accident.

Although we need to distinguish between the dangers of magick and those of mysticism I agree that the best occult results are achieved when they are thoroughly intertwined.  While calling tricky or hostile spirits could easily result in possession and various banes, when the Kabbalists warn us to run and return they are fully aware that mystical union with the Godhead could also mean the divine kiss of death. Like the moth to the flame, in ascending the Tree of Life you should understand that Kether may well be a black hole, not a worm hole.

When practitioners warn us to stay grounded, holding on to our belts lest we float away they are trying to protect us from these three perils.  We must learn to fly but when we do we need to make sure we hang onto that silver cord of a lifeline.  When fusing ourselves with the Zodiac man we must remember that while the rams head may well be the crown of the celestial heaven our feet of fish walk upon the Earth.  Learn to fly, but grow into a giant so you can reach Heaven without ever leaving the Earth.

In all my life I never knew such terror as when I lived at Edward Kelley's haunted tower at the Donkey in the Cradle House in Prague.  Insanity threatened from the failed attempts to rationalise all the spooky shit that surrounded me - noises, temperature drops, feeling Lovecraftian things touching you, caressing you in the night (this might sound funny, the reality is appallingly awful, believe me).  People think it would be exciting to experience The Conjuring as your day to day life but it isn't it.  Its terrifying and exhausting.  Frequent attempts at posession by someone or something pretty much had me sleeping through the day and remaining vigilant all night. I feared the hour of eleven when the invisible wires would ting ting ting.  What I learned from all of this is when the master wizard gets killed by the wraith then you flee the cursed tower built on the bones of murdered orphans on Corpse Street next to the old plague cemetary.  Fear and Love, know which is which and use appropriately.

Ignore practitioners who urge you to just do it, in fact ignore anyone who seems arrogant or reckless - this is not the right attitude at all as people can get hurt or killed.  Do the work, but as a scientist follow all safety advice and be absolutely respectful of the spiritual environment and possible contagion.  And most of all, beware hubris, fellow mage.  Pride is the mind killer not fear, pride will make you press on when all Reason is calling for retreat and pride will convince you of success when you have fallen into those deepest of pits - blasphemy, insanity or death.


  1. Yes, this.

    Developing appropriate safety strategies is important; and following in the steps of those before you is especially important; it's hard for us as beginners to know what is going to be important until we've done it for a period of time, and learned how the work is both a shield against stupidity and a toolkit for navigating perils.

  2. We never stop being students but I wouldn't consider myself a beginner. I feel like I have been at this forever. I tried to get that across in the post on sleeplessness. I agree with trusting those before you people like Jesus and Elijah ideally. The (lab) work is dangerous and erratic. It is not a guard in and of itself. People who did the work have provided some important safety tips if they didn't get blown up. If they did their apprentices gave the tips. But I think with the above three risks you have to trust common sense more than anything else.

    A poor workman blames his tools. Never blaspheme against magick. Never ''curse'' magick. What is ''God'' after all unless the spirit of magick itself? Go about ''defying the stars'' and you might find they start defying you right back.

    Regarding insanity, the problem is that many of the phenomena we encounter as magicians could easily fit the symptoms of schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. How do you distinguish between the two? I would argue that most schizophrenics tap into the forgotten magickal world on some level and therefore to some extent we tap into schizophrenia, but too much is too much, right?

    Regarding death well the above is a true story and why there are so few posts for 2014 in the archive. I had to delete most of them after running solidly up against the last danger. This shit is really dangerous, I am really worried about the casual slapdash approach of some practitioners and the culture they build in their wake. If the angel that is talking to you is not in the same scale of being as you are to an ant, it probably isn't really happening. Imagine a nebula, now imagine you, that's the relationship - lets compare relative gravitational field strength.

    So they are big risks and what I didn't mention above is that I believe the risk factor of encountering at least one is about 75%:

    You will either a) blaspheme and ''cut the shoots'' losing your connection with the spirit, possibly forever b) go mad or c) get sick or die early. If you actually take a solid survey of serious practitioners as opposed to say dabblers, charlatans or armchair enthusiasts the 75% risk will probably seem generous.

    Sleep tight!

  3. Or enter the garden in peace and leave in peace. Your mileage may vary.