Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The WMT - Ares and Mars, War Aims

Shed down a kindly ray from above upon my life, and strength of war, that I may be able to drive away bitter cowardice from my head and crush down the deceitful impulses of my soul. Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes me to tread the blood curdling ways of strife.  Rather o' blessed one give me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of death.

Homeric Hymn to Ares #8, Lines 15-17

Magic From Scratch is an excellent blog which showcases the kind of work more practitioners in the WMT should be doing and sharing.  The visions and dialogues with various entities largely ring true. The author of the blog also made a post about Ares the other day, like myself, and I just want to address some of the points they raise and use this as a way to extend my own thoughts.

Firstly I want to say that I am a highly privileged individual who is ''neurotypical'', straight, white, male, well-off and generally lucky.  With the focus of the WMT on Identity Politics over the last decade and more it can sometimes feel like my voice isn't welcome, that the WMT and Paganism in general is really the domain of discussing intersectionality, the evolving worlds of checking our privilege, microagressions, safe spaces, etc and that ''there is no room for my sort here''.  Regardless of my own charitable endeavours or my support of the LGBTQA+ community in the local arts scene (which is extensive) I sometimes feel hated because of what I represent at a physical social level  i.e. this particularly coloured privileged bag of water animated by reincarnating information spirals as opposed to less fortunate animated bags of water.  It is extremely difficult to remain positive and supportive in the face of such obvious hostility so I can understand where some of the moaning Magick From Scratch talks about might be coming from.

In the post Never Stop Being Offended Magick From Scratch echoes the sentiment I hear widely on social media esp. from my progressive Pagan/Esoteric LGBTQA+ friends, that that outrage is not something that is going away, that that fire will keep burning and burning until the revolution has been successfully completed and society has been radically changed into being a fairer, more equitable place for all. Having been to the future I would like to add that the fire does not burn out and this revolution does succeed but because of climate change and scientific advance (and the various manoeuvres of the Deep State) the world we live in and the challenges we face as humans move way beyond what we are dealing with right now.  Skin colour becomes something people change on a whim and cybernetic advances/gene therapy actually reverse ''able privilege'' for a while - i.e. some of the creations of Hephaistos end up giving him a significant advantage over Ares, until of course it gets really crazy.  This is soon as well.

That said I am not sure to what extent Magick from Scratch is projecting a little on to Ares here. The tone of the post throughout I think is fairly balanced until the end when suddenly Ares looks like a violent jock bully again.  If we are going to go back here, like any stereotypes I have seen, this one is challenged incredibly frequently. Many of my peers from college, who were fair minded good hearted rugby jocks, now solidly fight the good fight for the Labour Party; the idea of PC Bro is brilliantly lampooned on South Park but the support of those bros is clear.

I happen to be good at ''War'' - I have spent a lot of time throughout my life being focused on strategy and tactics and this focus allows me to prosper in the various situations that these principles can be applied to.  In some ways I am often a victim of my own success and am always tempted to continue the ''War'' beyond my aims leaving me over-extended and under-supplied.  The justification is always to ''just finish this off once and for all'', ''put this thing to rest'', ''drive them into the sea'' etc but when I give into that temptation the war ends up continuing and continuing. So over the last year I have become almost obsessed with having clear war aims.  Although I understand criticism is almost entirely unwelcome, especially from my quarters, in some ways the mistake being made at the moment by the #outrage approach is exactly the misconception I was trying to approach in my post on Mars and Ares.  Pure rage is not going to win this war - it will just continue it.  The rage drives the alienation which ends up doing things like electing Trump.  Cool clear headed strategic thinking are what is needed.  When emotionality is the driving force, as opposed to logic supported by clear aims, the war will continue without end and the movement will become over extended, ridiculed and tangled in contradictions.  Fortunately for everyone concerned there are cool heads within that movement beginning to assert themselves and channel some of that rage a little more strategically. That is why it wins but sadly for all of us there ends up being a sting in this tale.

A final point to reflect upon. Magick from Scratch suggests praying for the reconciliation of Hephaistos and Ares is to pray for ''perfect inclusion'' but doesn't comment on the relationship between Ares and Aphrodite and how that may interfere.  Aphrodite is one of the two Gods that I have used the rituals in Liber Astarte vel Berylli to become incredibly close to.  The other is Enlil.  I have worked with many many Gods through various techniques including those used by Magick From Scratch methinks, which is why I value the work done on that site and why I would be interested in reflections upon the role of Aphrodite in all this...

The WMT - Twin Peaks Season 3, Painting by Numbers III

As I suspected David Lynch is using the Kircher Tree *and* the misaligned Tarot paths.  I didn't comment on the Gevurah episode (episode 7) but the symbolism was strong, the evil Coop ('"Set''), the prison and justice system (cops everywhere), the red balloon, the pentagon officials (pentagon is sacred to Gevurah) and the ''right arm''.

I still want to avoid making this blog a popular Occulture blog so I will be very brief as I do appreciate there is a hunger for info.  In the mind blowing episode 8 we have crossed the Abyss! The scene opens with Doppledale driving in the car (path of the Chariot) and very quickly turns into an Abyss sequence.  Amongst many other things revealed in this journey through time Laura Palmer is very clearly identified as the fallen daughter (Malkuth) whose Fall leaves her lying atop the Shells/Husks (Qliphoth).

But why did we skip Chesed?  If you look at the Kircher Tree (and the Snakes and Ladders approach Lynch is using) you will see going to Gevurah necessitated a choice for Lynch as there is no direct route from 4 to 3.  So Lynch either sends the character across the Abyss from 5 to 3 (where the ''dark mother'' Binah will prob. be revealed as Audrey), or goes from 5 to 4 to 2 to 3.    What I suspect will happen is that Doopledale having crossed the Abyss from 5 to 3 (Sitra Achra) will mean Dougie Cooper will cross from 4 to 2 (Sitra Tov). So next episode should be the Chesed one which I imagine will have a lot of blue and be a comedy but maybe I am wrong.  As I said previously this Snakes and Ladders game played by the adherents of the faulty Kircher Tree tends to lead to disaster and although I am hugely enjoying this show I am beginning to seriously worry about the effects of the massive ritual he is working.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The WMT - Terms and Conditions

In the Science Delusion, Sheldrake criticises the underlying assumptions of science and this got me thinking about the underlying assumptions of magic. Magick is currently dominated by a belief in ''the probabilistic universe'' but there are at least two other ways we can look at things - the deterministic and the compatibilist.  The philosophical literature on the argument between free will and determinism is dry and dense and free wheeling sorcerers don't necessarily have time to dig too deeply (concerned as they are with preparing for long elaborate rituals, gathering authentic lion-skin parchment and whatnot) but I think challenging that assumption (of the influence upon probability) throws up some interesting points to reflect on.  In this short and highly limited post I am looking over the rival models and asking some questions which I think are pertinent.  I want to be clear that before my time in Edward Kelley's Tower my resting position would have been with the dominant probabilistic paradigm but since working with Raziel I have been moving to what I consider to be a more ''compatibilist'' model.

Probabilistic Universe

At any given moment you are a being with free will and various things are possible but affected by probability. Magick (strange attractors) is used in order to influence probability in your favour.  If something is more likely to occur then magick can easily tip the odds your way, if its a long shot magick can still have some kind of effect but may not work depending on the outcome of the various competing forces. - making Magick a subtle kind of Physics.  The future does not pre-exist (therefore Probabilistic Model is dependent upon philosophical Presentism) but comes to be as a result of these competing wills and forces already in existence. There is therefore no destiny or you make your own.
  • What is the medium through which magick influences probability?  How do the strange attractors (sigils, spells, altars, etc) work?
  • Why are you ''free'' at any given moment considering the amount of pressure on you from physical forces, genetics, reflex responses to stimuli, social privilege, etc?
  • Do you exercise free will at all times?  Or only sometimes?  Is free will truly global?
  • If there is genuine randomness in the universe then aren't your actions equally random when seen from a global perspective?  If objectively all entities are behaving randomly where is purpose in free will?
  • Often it is the case with magick that the result of your magick already had to be in the process before you actually did the magick and this implies either a retro-causal or temporal entanglement aspect to the act of magick.  If so the future already exists.  How does the probabilistic model explain these situations?

Deterministic Universe

Everything you do in life, including waving your magickal wand, you do because of things that happened before. You were led here.  The future already exists.  You are not free in the slightest and there is no such thing as magick because there is no such thing as free will.  Whether you choose to believe in the delusion of free will or accept determinism is also predetermined.  ''I created you in order to destroy you.'' The feeling of doing magick is explained by misguided prophecy, your ego is claiming responsibility for something that is happening which would have happened anyway. But your ego, your thoughts on this and your belief in the probabilistic universe that made this possible are also predetermined.  Self - Consciousness acts as an analogue narrator/commentator for events over which it has no control. Although this might feel spontaneous it is in fact entirely scripted. There is only destiny.
  • What is the point in life if there is no free will?
  • If my act of magick is predetermined doesn't that mean that magick works I am just not in control of it?  
  • Is free will a necessary component of magick?

Compatibilistic Universe

Several futures already exist.  The only surviving futures are ones where time travel exists - ''time travel'' binds the future to the past (the beginning in the end and the end in the beginning) and allows that universe/timeline to cohere.  You are in one of those universes.  Magick is only possible at certain key moments where those surviving universes intersect - they are knotted together. At these moments you can change/select universe from your list of finite surviving variants.  A ''Choose Your Own Adventure'' book where magick allows you to flip universes.  There are multiple destinies - ''Enlil'' is the Master of the Destinies (plural).
  • If I can only select an observational point at specific times from a limited variety of me then who am I?  Am I riding this vehicle?  How many observers can be on a given vehicle?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The WMT - Ares and Mars

Whenever I think of Mars and Ares I suddenly well up, my heart aches over this sense of profound loss that I can't locate the source of.  I have long wondered about the cause - I mean I am an Aries and ruled by Mars; I can be aggressive, competitive, combative, confrontational, etc though I always steer clear of physical violence and hold myself accountable.

In order to understand I think I must separate Ares and Mars.  Ares, the lover of Aphrodite and father of Eros, Anteros, Deimos, Phobos, Harmonia and  Adrestia was considered by the Greeks to be a violent, somewhat sadistic God of Destruction.  When we say ''the Greeks'' we have to be careful as a lot of our sources are Athenian and they gave all the virtuous martial attributes to their own Goddess. The Spartans obviously liked him and their raw recruits had to sacrifice puppies to him.  Mars on the other hand was an agricultural and sylvan God who was then converted into a war God as Rome built its Empire on the back of a militia of soldier/farmers.  These myths were then blended under the influence of Greek culture and as the Empire expanded.

Sometimes I see my fellow magicians taking Tuesdays as an excuse to work themselves into some kind of bane fest, smiting all and sundry but this is taking the low road when it comes to Martian working.  In some ways all of our ideas of the Gods are broken and we have to rebuild them but Ares/Mars seems particularly mis-characterised.  When your town is crumbling into the pits of hell it is Ares that will risk his life to come back and get you. When the other Gods run, Ares will hold the line. When I think of Martian working I think of loyalty, discipline, honour, and the defence of the defenceless not wrath, petty revenge and slaughter.

A long long time ago, I had a very strange encounter with a small grey man who was a follower of Robert Graves in the Bull's Head on the A47 who gave me beautifully hand written letters explaining the corruption/demise of the Etruscans as the result of the impact of some kind of cursed meteor in their lands.  This resonated with me.  I feel like thoughts of Mars bring up ancient memories, of a planet once beautiful but now laid waste.  The only way I can think of Mars as a truly violent character is as if he were himself a victim of war driven to madness, revenge and blood-feud by a sense of devastating, overwhelming loss of a planet reduced to absolute ruin - I feel nothing but pity and compassion in his grief.  In restoring and rectifying Mars I think of a God of Peace not of War - a God of family and of friendship, of passion and drive.  I think of the people who have encouraged me to push myself and I think of my own duty as a mentor as I push others to excel.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The WMT - Twin Peaks Season 3, Painting by Numbers II

Last week I discussed the fact that David Lynch was Painting by Numbers using the ''Hermetic'' Tree of Life as his source of inspiration.  I gave a number of predictions in that post about what symbolism we could expect to see in the next episode (Tifereth) if the theory was correct.  We expected lots of yellow and boy did we get it!

''Tifereth'' light in the lamp, yellow plates, blond wife. In the yellow room, upstairs, with ''Sonny Jim'' Cooper turns the lamp on and off by clapping.  Yellow wife makes call on yellow phone.

As I said there would almost certainly be the ''seat of the HGA''  but I particularly enjoyed the reveal of Diane (who has always been the Holy Guardian Angel of Cooper - Knowledge and Conversation) pictured to as great an extent as possible as an actual rotating yellow sphere sitting in a bar.

Sons everywhere as expected.  The yellow light escaping the dead boy (held by his mother) followed by the cut to the number 6.   No prizes for subtlety Mr Lynch. And this is only a quick selection to fit on a blogpost as any observers will note this list is not exhaustive! The episode was drowning in yellow.  What then is he trying to do here?

The strong Saturnian symbolism of the first episode led me to believe that this was a giant death ritual similar to Blackstar.  In light of that I discussed the Lovecraftian flavour of the epsiode and assumed that he was going to continue that throughout.  Since it is now clear that he is going from Malkuth to Kether I assume he is attempting to take his fans on an initiatory journey following the classic symbolism of Hermetic Qabalah in the style of something like Konx Om Pax.  If you're freaking out because this is a different show then steel yourself because I suggest Cooper may not return to the town of Twin Peaks for 4 or 5 more episodes.  I don't want to analyse this symbolism any further here as I want to avoid turning the Hermetic Lessons into a popular Occulture blog - there are enough of those out there and I feel that this consumes far more energy in our community than it should.  It boosts your traffic but talking about Stranger Things et al does not a magician make. You now have enough information in the Painting by Numbers posts that you can spoil the show for yourself (at least for the next few episodes!) with a few books by Fortune, Regardie, Crowley etc - skip to their symbol lists.

Bear in mind that (Golden Dawn) ''Hermetic'' Qabalah mutilated a lot of concepts by trying to fit a bunch of square shapes into circular holes, there is a lot of unnecessary conflation and over-egging that ends up obscuring a much more useful underlying astrological structure.  As an example there is no need to conflate Planets with the Sefiroth.  The Sefiroth should represent the ten depths - past/future, good/evil, north/south, east/west, up/down and the planets should be on the vertical paths only.  The Saadia Tree (dedicated to Saadia Gaon as opposed to created by him) is a Tree of Life rectified according to the obvious rule of 3, 7 and 12 with the arrangement in the simplest, most rational order - I have colour coded where possible and used glyphs to make the astrology as easy to access and uncluttered as possible.

The best way to start exploring this Tree is by looking at the Middle Pillar where you can see the Greater and Lesser Axes of Time.  The Greater Axis of Time takes place between the past (your birth) and the future (your death).  The Lesser Axis of Time takes place between the East and the West i.e. the typical day.  The planets only lie on the vertical paths and are no longer conflated with the Sefiroth.  We can see the path which occupies the Lesser Axis of Time (i.e. between East and West) is the Sun, Tifereth becomes (the Depth of) Sunrise, Yesod becomes (the Depth of) Sunset.  The paths which mediate the relationship between the Present and the the Future (Death) and the Past (Birth) and Present are Saturn and the Moon respectively.  As the Moon guards the journey from Birth, so Saturn guards your journey into Death.  I have explored this Tree a great deal throughout the site click on anything labelled qabalah or tree of life, enjoy and if you have any questions fire away.

Looking at the table below we can see how far off the planetary attributions of the Golden Dawn are when compared to earlier forms of the Sefer Yetzirah and obviously the path attributions themselves (where the letters go) are completely mangled on the Kircher Tree because it does not obey 3, 7 and 12.

Hebrew Letter / Planetary Attributions in the Sepher Yetsira, Shiur Komah and Other Sources
Suares 1SaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Work of the Chariot 2SaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Short Version 3SaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Long Version 4SaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Long Ver Recap 5SaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Saadia 6SaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Saadia 6aSaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Donash 7SaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Shiur Komah 8SaturnJupiterMarsSunVenusMercuryMoon
Zohar 9MoonMarsSunSaturnJupiterVenusMercury
Gra 10MoonMarsSunVenusMercurySaturnJupiter
Golden Dawn 11MercuryMoonVenusJupiterMarsSunSaturn
Adapted from Aryeh Kaplan, Sepher Yetsira, 1990, other sources

In closing I want to say that Theatrical Ritual like Twin Peaks will always produce strong effects. The cast of the show speak of ''happy accidents'' during the filming process, accidents which the magus in charge is inducing by manipulating the symbol set of reality.  A note of caution though, the Kircher Tree is so inherently unstable it will always produce errors and catastrophe in the end.  In playing Snakes and Ladders on the Tree of Life one can miss that the point is to Unify the Sefiroth. If Lynch is only using the symbolism of the Sefiroth (of the Hermetic Tree) he should be completely safe but if he is fully employing the Kircher Tree (paths with misattributions) the effect produced on the internal world of the cast/crew/producers or the external world of the audience will almost certainly be unbalanced or malign.  This said I want to be clear that this is my blog (therefore only my opinions), I don't think he is making that mistake and I absolutely love the new season and his work in general.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The WMT - Twin Peaks Season 3, Painting by Numbers

Now who should I call? Should I call Mr Strawberry? No. I don't think I'll call Mr Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.

Dopppledale, Twin Peaks Season 3, David Lynch and Mark Frost


In Season 3, David Lynch is painting by numbers using the (Golden Dawn) Tree of Life as his system. From the Black Lodge (Malkuth), Dale escapes into the purple astral realm (Yesod), replaces the orange jacketed Douggie (Hod) who is sent back into the Black Lodge, and becomes the green jacketed Douggie who works for Lucky 7 Insurance (Netzach).

What Lynch is doing is charting Cooper's resurrection so therefore the next episode should, in theory, see his consciousness, or a form of it, restored in Tifereth.  Already we can see the symbolism of Tifereth cropping up in the gold shovels, the yellow jeep and the copious amount of ''sons'' that have suddenly flooded the show.   I will need to watch it through again to see how much attention he is paying to the (probably Kircher variant) paths.  Although Lynch does put his own spin on this now I can see clearly what he is doing we can expect (in the next ''episode'') solar imagery, bold yellow, Jesus myths (or Egyptian equivalents), possibly ''seat of the HGA'' stuff*, more ''Sonny/Sunny Jim''.  As he approaches Tifereth note how our new Fallen Daughter has been introduced to replace Laura Palmer.**  I could go into more exhaustive analysis but it is beyond the remit of this post.

This should all be incredibly obvious to anyone with a modicum of understanding of the Hermetic Qabalah.  As I said in Lynch and Lovecraft, the Vision of the Machinery of the Universe is clear in the Yesod scene with the weird machine floating in space, and the portals through actual machinery. But if you take a book like Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabalah you can see the list of imagery and just tie it to the scene - for instance the sandals are associated with Yesod and one of the problems that Cooper has is his shoes disappearing.  This kind of painting by numbers art does produce quality material in the end, its a great source of both structure and inspiration, and I have employed this strategy myself numerous times in the theatre - you would struggle to find a show which hasn't been touched by the Qabalah in some way.

There are many flaws in the Golden Dawn Hermetic Qabalah - the system is almost certainly based on errors, there is a lot of unnecessary conflation in symbolism and the ''Snakes and Ladders'' approach forming their system of initiation is responsible for all kinds of misconceptions. Although there is a lot to be said for the way in which these problems force you to make detailed research, compare and contrast source materials etc most practitioners assume that the Kircher Tree of Life is the Tree of Life and we have paid a price for that in the WMT.  Fake Tree.  Even with a cursory study of the Jewish Kabbalah you should be able to see these mistakes and make corrections towards a Tree based in the clear rule of 3, 7 and 12 and you will immediately reap the benefits of a system way more in line with basic astrological knowledge rather than this muddled hodgepodge.

Over the last decade the Hermetic Qabalah has been under attack from all directions, but for the generation of Bowie and Lynch this system was not challenged - most practitioners really thought the Kircher Tree was the Tree and Golden Dawn derived Hermeticism as it existed in the middle of the 20th century influenced Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, the Doors, etc etc - and I can absolutely forgive Lynch if he ends up realising an unrectified/Golden Dawn interpretation of the Tree of Life in Twin Peaks Season 3.  Compared to the current phase of the WMT with its toxic attention to minutiae, pre-school ethics classes and endless dissolute chat, the broad carefree strokes of days gone by are actually fairly refreshing.

I'm old school Denise you know that.  Before you were Denise, when you were Dennis and I was your boss, when I had you working undercover at the DEA, you were a confused and wild thing sometimes.  I had enough dirt on you to fill the Grand Canyon - and I never used a spoonful because you were - and are - a great agent.  And when you became Denise, I told all your colleagues, those clown comics, to fix their hearts or die.

Gordon Cole, Twin Peaks Season 3, David Lynch and Mark Frost

*Tifereth is referred to as the Seat of the HGA, at this point in initiation it is when one has attained K&C with the HGA but not where one has become it (this is in Binah, the Magister Templi).  To some extent this is when the inhabiting spirit/daimon begins its dialogue, to some extent your mind acts as its throne.  Just like Gerard could be repossessed by Mike we might see Dale channeling some kind of other entity as well.
**The Fallen Daughter was Laura Palmer who was restored to the throne of the Superior Mother.  In my own system the Superior Mother or Binah is referred to as the Bloodless Being.  As the Bloodless Being explained the reason she is Bloodless is because she exchanged her blood for light so the leeches could not get her.  We see this light being when the Superior Mother Laura Palmer removes her face to show the light being underneath.  In creating this new Laura Palmer (Amanda Seyfried) would it be wise to predict her imminent death?