Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Theatrical Ritual

'The "Third Method is the Dramatic," perhaps the most attractive of all; certainly it is so to the artist's temperament, for it appeals to his imagination through his aesthetic sense...

...In the third, identity is attained by sympathy. It is very difficult for the ordinary man to lose himself completely in the subject of a play or of a novel; but for those who can do so, this method is unquestionably the best.'

Ch.1, Magick in Theory and Practice, Aleister Crowley

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Tree of Life - Alternate Names for Kether

You cannot conceive the many without the one.
Plato, Dialogues, Parmenides

Within most texts explaining the mysteries of the QBL you will see oblique and opaque references to something called 'God' as if we all know what this means. The etymological beginnings the word God or a God in its true meaning refers to spirit or a spirit – not necessarily a wise, omnipotent, all knowing all loving being. However the QBL provides us with many words to “know” this God more completely and avoid the often poorly understood common usage of the word: En Sof, the Limitless; El, the Mighty; and Adonai, Lord, amongst many many more*. God in its general use is often seen to be an ineffability an unknowable force beyond human, beyond sense, beyond reason and as such, beyond discussion. We may come to the something called “God”, this “spirit” with many names through an understanding of its works, its creation – and in the QBL these works are undertaken through and with the Sefirot.

From reading the Sefer Yetzirah this essay recognizes the ten Sefirot as not only the tools and processes of creation but also as a map of the absolute directions of existence – spatial, temporal and observational. The ten Sefirot are the ten directions of the five polarities of the hypercontinuum of the universe – up-down, east-west, north-south, beginning-end and good-evil. This essay on the alternate names for Kether will avoid spurious references to God and instead use the rich literature of QBL to describe Spirit and its mode of operation within manifestation, the Sefirot – we will use and provide explanations of the meaning for God names, alternative names used in core texts, the Sefirot as universal directions of existence, and the letters as the pathways we take within it to provide the most precise meanings we can.

In the Sefer Yetzirah, the Sefirot are described as depths and the letters as infinite so although our essay will attempt to provide a comprehensive but concise account of the metaphysics behind the system, it must not be taken as fact or as all that is known and the student who would follow his own path should use texts like these only as guidelines for his own journey into the mysteries.

Crown/Keter – A crown sits on the head of a king as a sign of his majesty and influence; to crown a work is to perfect it. A king without a crown is bereft of recognition in his kingdom; a crown alone is ring of rare metal and precious stones enclosing nothing. In the Early Kabbalah (i.e. Bahir), the Sefirot were all called Keter (Keterim) – that is, per the Sefer Yetzirah, ten crowns of nothingness.

Existence/Ahyeh – Keter is known by the God-name of Ahyeh or existence. We have in Keter then the simplest concept of being or doing – existing. Taken in its fullest context we have the idea of Keter as all existence, and therefore the universe – creation itself as the crown of “the King of creation”.

Nothingness/Ayin – When we look into the universe we see immense reaches of nothingness, untold billions of leagues of empty space, distances so vast that even light itself takes epoch-smashing amounts of time to cross – so much so that when we look into space we look back into time at the light from the stars that has journeyed millions of years to reach and show us what once was. Since space and time are so intimately linked it is not only space that is mostly empty, but time itself as well.

Absence/He’der – Within this boundless ocean of emptiness we do observe little islands of form and matter but further observations, penetrating into the nature of matter itself, reveal tiny particles of opposing and neutralizing charge orbiting each other, from their perspective, at yet more vast distances of empty space. Indeed, were one atom a football pitch, the nucleus would be a ball on the kick off spot, and the opposing electrons would be peas circling around the lines of the edge of the pitch itself! Nearly all of the field is empty! Our islands of matter within the empty cosmos have been shown to be hollow and empty themselves, spheres of absence punctuated by the tiniest flickering sparks that oppose and neutralize.

Obliteration/Hefsed – Atoms are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. The charges on protons and electrons are opposed and cancel out within the stable atom or molecule, but the mass of a single atom concentrated within the nucleus, the tiny football in the gulf of atomic absence, is composed of titanic energies which when released can destroy whole cities and worlds. When one is heading with love towards the highest of the worlds the Kabbalists counsel one to withdraw in fear and trembling for fear of being obliterated; the core of the Earth is a super dense sphere of molten uranium which no man-made vehicle could penetrate without being ripped asunder.

Darkness/Hoshekh – In Lurianic Kabbalah, Keter is said to be the light of En Sof (a limitless expanse) concentrated to a single point within a hollow sphere. Concentrating atoms into an ever increasing density leads to a monstrous magnification of the forces of gravitation, and ultimately to the phenomena known as a black hole. Built in the imploding core of a supermassive star which gives light by crushing matter, black holes are so powerful they bend both space and time and even swallow light. At the very core of our galaxy, the primum mobile itself, there may well be clusters of giant black holes, their rotation and their swirling gravitational pull dragging the stars into their familiar spiral arrangement. Black holes themselves look white because we can only see them by the light they suck in – light itself travels along grooves in space-time caused by the gravitational maelstrom caused by the interaction of all celestial bodies.

Unity/Achad – Keter is one, the unit, the basis of mathematical reasoning which is the crown of the intellect. Keter is the everything that did not come from something, and will always be what it is forever; it fails to know even nothing as its father for as we have seen, the stuff of it is nothingness, and it operates within nothingness – the nothingness is the one. This everything certainly contains some things but these things by virtue of there being from the one thing that is everything are united in that one thing. It is impossible for us to take our existence outside of the existence we are within and look at it, but if we could we would surely see only the tiniest spark and this is all. From within this existence that is our existence, we simply see it streaming off in all directions; spatial, temporal and observational.

Thought/Machashavah – The oneness of Keter that serves maths, serves the mind as well for 1 is not so different from I. Keter is said, by Isaac the Blind, to be “thought” – it is the idea of one, i.e. Me, that the self depends on – as Adam Kadmon, the essential self awareness which is the true identity of man and the fifth and highest world, the tip of the Yod; as Arikh Anpin, the partzuf of Keter, the “Long Suffering One” who experiences all the countless identities within the one thing, and suffers as we suffer.

Alef, Yod and Qoph – These letters by virtue of their numerical oneness (1, 10, 100) take from and lend to the idea of Keter. Alef, the silent inbreath before speech, the airiness that blows leaves, the ox that symbolizes work about to be done. Yod, the closed hand, a sign of concealment, or as a fist, force about to be unleashed – with the fingers closed the five dimensions are clasped tight. Qoph the back of the head, that which we cannot see, and that part we rest upon when we close our eyes to the darkness of the self that cannot be known, when we close our eyes on the great concealment.

Keter is the sefira that symbolizes both everything and nothing. It is everything that it is existence, the cosmic crown of universal perfection, the unity that binds all form to the singular master and the building block of both mathematics and identity. But it is also nothingness, the emptiness that gives the form of things their structure and power, the darkness of our acknowledged ignorance that separates the tiny sparks of matter and knowledge that are scattered within the limitless cosmos.

*Enlil --> Ellil --> Eli --> El --> Al --> Allah

Monday, February 18, 2013


After watching a documentary about a tribe of remote Amazonian indians who believe the world is full of spirits I ask the class: Do you believe in ghosts?  A few hands go up.  Do you believe because you have experienced them? - nearly all the hands drop, perhaps one stays up - they have sensed a presence, or temperature drop.  The ones who believed but hadn't experienced I ask to justify their belief - they 'want to believe' because it seems the universe is a more interesting place with ghosts in it.  Fair enough I say.

Another question follows: Do you believe in spirits? More hands but still very few.  Why spirits and not ghosts?  It seems the definition is looser, people can play more freely with the word - there is a spirit of 'happiness', and a spirit of 'misfortune' - whether its an intelligence or a pattern/current in space-time few seem to want to pry into, but more of them have experienced such spirits, be they personal or not.

One more: Do you believe in aliens?  Not here necessarily but generally in their existence?  Most hands go up.  Why, I ask, if you've never seen them?  Well the universe is so big they must exist somewhere, they say - then why so readily dismiss spirits and ghosts? - I retort.

I am not a materialist, but the lesson goes this way from here: In medieval times demonologists and sorcerers believed that you were under attack from legions of invisible demons that were attacking you and your soul at all times, constantly trying to crack open your body and mind - such possessions resulted in lesions, frothing at the mouth, deliriums, etc.  There were even hierarchies of such demons, associated with an 'inverse' Tree of Life, logically then there were demons that attacked the head and demons that attacked the genitals or liver, etc.  I ask them if they believe in such demonic assaults.  No one puts their hand up, no one wants to live in that paranoid a world I guess.  I tell them I *know* they are under assault from legions of invisible demons at all times and then show them images of microbes.



Why do highly intelligent students of the international World, ruthlessly mock their alchemical and shamanic forebears as superstitious or charlatans when there is no justification?  Much of the advice given by such alchemists or shamans such as burning dead bodies, or advising ritual baths for cleansing, or praying in order to help 'fight off the disease' is sensible.  The idea that there is a demonic hierarchy that attacks different parts of the 'human soul' makes perfect sense - herpes simplex type 1 attacks the lips, and herpes simplex type 2 attacks the 'other lips'. 

We then focus on three powers traditionally linked to battling the undead: garlic, silver and sunlight.  Garlic ( in the form of allicin its active principle) is antibacterial against a wide-range of bacteria, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-viral - it gains this power from the chemical reaction between allicin and important enzymes the microbes use for their own metabolism.  Silver ions, literally burst the membranes of microbes - causing them to leak out their life fluids - and silver is used in plasters, hospital washing machines, socks (I have silver technology socks!!!) and it can also be taken orally, as I do myself, in the form of colloidal silver.  Vitamin D ('sunlight') activates the immune system, making it alert rather than sleepy - so there is evidence that the increase of illness (demonic attack) in the Winter is as much to do with lack of light as it is with temperature change.   These three, sunlight, silver and garlic form a holy trinity in the battle with undead and demonic forces.  The alternative is to use medicine largely made from petrochemicals, petrochemicals that have been essentially drawn from ancient necropolises of concentrated death - if you'll excuse my figurative language.  Or vaccines.  I had to make vaccines as part of my Biochemistry course.  *Nasty nasty process*.  As anitbiotics begin to lose their effect due to the evolution of superbugs, these traditional weapons of garlic, silver and sunlight will come back to the fore - perhaps souped up by technology.


I want to state again that I am not a materialist - my actual philosophy is currently something between Neopythagorean and Panpsychism.  I do believe these diseases are 'manifestations' and that everything is interconnected. To what extent these demons are somehow conscious or the manifestation of a consciousness that is attacking you, I do not know - but a troubled psyche (mind-soul) will have a weaker immune system for sure.  And burning death for power, or using medicine derived from death seems more than a little bit necromantic to me.  I'd rather go with herbs and minerals, if I can.

Which brings us neatly to iron.  The Apotropaic Use of Iron was an article I read many years ago from a then colleague of mine Bryan Gendler.  I don't know whether the article here has been copied from him or its his new pseudonym (http://blausternschlonge.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/the-apotropaic-use-of-iron/) but Jason Miller quotes the article in Protection and Reversal Magick when he discusses the use of iron in warding off demonic influence.  One thing that leapt out at me was the information I had learned about 'iron-stealing' bacteria during my course on the pathogenesis of infectious disease.  If you look at the questions at the end of the article and my own thoughts above, perhaps the use of iron in protecting against demons especially during childbirth (infant mortality due to unhygienic surroundings) and marriage (perhaps risk of STDs) is because they were aware somehow that the 'demons' wanted their iron (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731140223.htm)

Why iron?  Why is iron just so important from a more esoteric perspective?  Iron has an atomic number of 26 - qabalistically this has a lot of significance.  26 for instance is Alef, by the well known Qabalistic idea that Alef consists of two Yods (2 x 10) and a Vav (6).  ADM - could be considered to be oxygenated blood - in the sense that Alef or Air is married to DM which in hebrew means red earth - the soil that 'God' blew life into.  What is the important molecule in this oxygenation of the blood?  Haemoglobin.

Haemoglobin utilizes the oxidative properties of iron to carry oxygen around the body to all the cells via the blood.  Haemoglobin's structure, as a protein, consists of four subunits, in two pairs, just like Alef.  Pathogenic iron-stealing bacteria, remember the ones we are trying to fight off are then quite literally 'drinking your blood' - in that they are extracting the iron for their nutrition in an otherwise hostile environment.  Blood, is life's way of using rusting to beneificent effect.  26 is more than that - its twice 13 (prime), the meaning of which is 'unity' - our blood being an inescapable form of our bondage to the environment in that we breathe its air and we breathe into its air.  It is the full value of YHVH (10 + 5 + 6 + 5) - I am that I am - in that we are made up of it, a bag of mainly water, blood and various interstitial fluids (there are 'two waters' which 'Elohim' separated by breath, the intercellular fluids (i.e. the water inside the cell) and the extracellular fluids such as the blood, i.e. plasma carrying the lifeforce.*)  Remember that behind all the surface ideas there are deeper ideas - when I evoke atomic number I am not trying to reduce to matter, i am actually looking for a Neopythagorean reduction to number.  I think '26ness' is something in the same way I think the properties of silver are explained by its '47ness'.

*Another funny double use of the word plasma in cells and the Sun is strangely justified qabalistically by investigation into the links between iron and the Sun.  Go google them and have fun.