As much as our experience of life and ourselves is fundamentally mental it is also fundamentally historical. We very literally live in the past - signals take time to get from [assumed] physical reality through our sense organs until they are organized and transformed into the representation of reality that we experience in our minds. Being behind the moment in this way makes it really difficult to tell how far behind the moment we exactly are:
- did this already happen and are we in a loop?
- is this mental experience of reality happening in a dying mind, are we literally ''catching up'' with our own death?
- mindfulness only allows you to connect with this mental impression of ''now'' what I call the immediate past, it allows you to catch up with your ''catching up''
- consciousness as anti-time a) the idea of reverie being a shallow experience of highlights of this life but building into a honed, sustained reverie that can take you back through your own geneline b) the idea of prediction and anticipation being a form of future reverie which we can again hone and sustain to see the future (which is also history)
I set the students a series of tasks to complete between now and December when the course will continue with a further three lectures/practical workshops. They have to:
- form a connection with a lunar deity of their choice
- follow the instructions and attempt to get results on the astral plane or fail gloriously
- succeed in one restriction/observance
- acquire knowledge of basic astrology
I think that although teaching styles are a problem within the WMT they are ultimately regulated by market forces, i.e. the less able teachers are finding that students are not interested in their work and don't want to pay for tickets, venues, lessons, etc. The more able/flexible teachers will find themselves overbooked and will have to create co-teachers etc. The more pressing problem regarding teaching at the moment is the notion that teaching = leading and this is probably why the community is treading water. More on that later but right now I want to explain/explore/justify some of these choices from the perspective of the teacher and also discuss some of the issues the students are having and how I will address them as we proceed - transparency about the teaching/learning process makes a big difference to the quality of the lesson.
As we move into the world of dreams and illusion* that is the Astral Plane (beginning in the Depth of the West) the students must have acquired spiritual allies - these allies are for their own protection and will allow them to sustain a vision for longer than they would normally and reduces the chances of being kicked off. Although there are a variety of possibilities here lunar deities are a good place to start as the Moon is the traditional guardian to the entrance to this realm and we are going to need relationships with all 7 sacred planets. As outlined in the Seshat working one of the students made very rapid progress regarding astral experiences after they engaged in a small ceremonial magic ritual to their chosen Lunar deity, then used the prayer as a mantra during gazing. Although this student chose an Egyptian deity my general advice was to pick a deity that your ancestors might have worshipped. Another of Irish/Welsh descent is making good progress and has just selected their deity - Rhiannon. I consulted a scholar friend of mine who put this together for her, along with an audio so she can perfect the working in the (closest) language to the deity:
O Rhiannon sydd yn fwy hynafol na hanes y tirEich ceffyl yn gyflymach na syniad ac yn ysgafnach na'r gwynt
O Rhiannon yn sefyll ar y twmpath gyda golau lleuad
Rwyf yn eich addoliRhiannon doeth, Rhiannon deg Dduwies gwirionedd amyneddgar
The other two seem a bit confused and overwhelmed by the choice but they will make it in the end I'm sure. One is mainly interested in the history of alchemy and has Italian ancestry so I am thinking of directly referring them to Luna/Diana as opposed to another Lunar deity - if you have any other suggestions please advise in comments. The remaining student is being very cryptic so we will see what emerges.
In addition to attempts on the astral students are also working on lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis. Sleep Paralysis, an experience I recommend new students attempt to have, has the equivalent horror factor of the midnight ritual in the graveyard (when it comes to developing the astral body) and some students crave that kind of intense experience to ''jump-start'' their work. Ignoring the roll-over signal is an incredibly easy way of inducing sleep paralysis and after a few failed/aborted attempts students seem to be making ''progress'' there. Its a kind of cheap, dirty trick to have an OBE quickly and get the conversation on ''what is the self?'' moving outside of the confines of the [sensation of] the physical body - it starts a very different kind of conversation than lucid dreaming does (which is a more common experience although not one that is commonly mastered). We can also discuss the way in which the outer mind protects itself from the activities of the inner mind.
Certainly having to teach is making me reflect on my own experiences and knowledge and how I structure the transmission - in many ways I am adapting an AA style approach but with the Saadia Tree of Life. I think the systematic development of different faculties is important and in some ways we are ''climbing the tree'' while maintaining an emphasis on unification and ''grounding''.
1) Depth of Past - Question physical reality and embrace truth of mental reality
2) Depth of West - Memory
3) Depth of Down - Remembering
4) Depth of Up - Forgetting
5) Depth of East - Inner Mind
As we learn about the properties of memory in the next set of lessons, we will be learning more than microcosmic tricks for enhanced reflexes, referencing, learning to think with the spine, or recovering from trauma more rapidly etc but also to ''remember into existence'' and ''forget from existence'', we will also be learning about how the faculties of remembering and forgetting correlate with synchronicities and de-synchronicities. Ultimately we will be moving through physical, psychological, informational, ''spirit'' and mind-only models to our final destination the time-dependent or temporal entanglement model.
*Like spheres this is an introductory explanation for the Astral Plane, my own understanding is different to this but its a way in.