Biological knowledge is of immense value to the practising magician. For thousands of years biological classification, whether or not it was fully systematised at the time, has allowed shamans to collect plants and herbs to tend the sick of their community. Biological knowledge is useful in answering metaphysical questions such as the immortality of the soul and the nature of the self.
To begin with a practical point, in this post on Demonslayers I discuss the use of garlic pills (allicin), colloidal silver and vitamin D in fighting the undead (i.e. pathological microbes). I want to say that I tried this in combination for the first time the other day and it was incredibly potent. I seriously recommend you add these to your alchemical storeroom, especially if you live in Britain and are vulnerable because of the lack of light. Although I suggest in Demonslayers that demons as they were understood are pathological microbes I want to be clear that this is not a materialist explanation. I personally do not believe in matter as it is currently understood and think Rupert Sheldrake has a lot to provide to the scientific community when he talks about assumptions in science. I see no reason why the fundamental nature of the universe is not Mind and therefore all matter, and living matter, are manifestations of that Mind.
When we talk about the source of pathological microbes - human emotional states are a good place to start. If you are consumed with hatred, fear, sadness, anger, etc you are almost certainly stressed out. Stress in the form of cortisol causes your immune system to dysfunction which allows various viruses that are dormant in the ganglia of your nervous system to emerge (this is why when you get stressed you might suffer recurrences of herpes simplex type I (cold sores) and II). Your own mental demons have therefore released physical demons.
Furthermore if you are constantly unhappy, for whatever reason, you may well be a source of infestation - a carrier so to speak. Disease is always in you, so you don't necessarily notice, considering this to be your normality, but your presence is causing spikes of infection in the population you mingle with. Deeper than this and speculating, human DNA contains viral DNA, so it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that an individual can actually generate demons from within themselves as opposed to simply store them.
The Hermetic Lessons contain all kinds of useful applications of biology to magickal undertakings - healing, immortality, the true will, time travel, etc. They are a continuance of the alchemical tradition of our ancestors, incorporating new discoveries into our Hermetic foundations. There isn't more of this because there are precious few individuals in the Western Mysteries with scientific knowledge and these days people are more inclined to chat than work.
Demonstrating by way of example, one of the main subjects of the Hermetic Lessons is a physiognomy informed by recent findings in genetics, endocrinology and other aspects of the biochemical sciences. This physiognomy is designed to allow you to discover your own genetic root character and some of the likely advantages and disadvantages that this comes with. Although the subject here is identity I want to distinguish it from identity politics, an area which leads to more harm than good, much to the chagrine of the hordes of pagan social justice warriors who pour their lives into it, I am sure - more on this later. The genetic identity discussed in the Hermetic Lessons crosses race, gender and sexuality.
|THE MIME - CORTIOSL
My own genetic identity is predominately what I call a Mime, a set of genes I have inherited from my mother. This genetic identity has its basis in the hormone cortisol which is released in stressful conditions. Because of the way this hormone is released I have a much higher resistance to stress than the other physiognomical characters meaning I can stay cool, remain stoic or masterly, for longer in worse conditions, although it means that I can appear to be emotionally cold during these times. Where other people flip out and lose it I am able to multi-task very effectively (symbolised by the juggling) and have incredible stamina and resilience but when I reach the breaking point though I will have a complete meltdown as opposed to a series of mini-ones.
This set of genetics also comes with a propensity to manic-depression - a disease which most people self-medicate. Most of the time I have a kind of basal hypomania which allows me to function in the above described working conditions but during my long holidays the depressive aspect of the character generally manifests as indolence. The ability to control environments combined with the more Venutian aspects of the character leads my artistic inclinations towards sculpting and crafting, when I engage in theatre arts (directing, acting, stage crafts) I tend to chisel the finished project from an initial block of stone, so to speak, rather than let it grow or explode out of me as another physiognomical character might. I therefore approach the arts with a scientific mindset.
In order to manage my characteristics most effectively I need to pay attention to warning signs of too much stress and be pro-active in my relaxation remedies. One sign is clenched teeth at night, although other common indicators for this character are skin conditions. Remember when the cortisol gets too high you will get sick but for this character they will get really sick - therefore demonslaying at any sign of infection is also important as well as recognizing early symptoms as signs of stress.
Attention is one of the fundamental bases of the universe, in fact when we say the universe is Love, we might also say that the units are Attention. I am more susceptible to negative attention than positive attention because of my position in the web of attention that underlies the genetic characters, for instance I respect and react to intelligent criticism and despise and dismiss mindless sychophancy and compliments. My natural state is general flirtation, but under negative attention I will become more vampiric and seek out the positive attention of a single individual to restore the balance. Under positive attention, I will become an indolent dreamer until the effects of it fade away and I am returned to my natural state as a lover. This idea of there being a natural egoic state dependent on the attention we recieve is fundamental to the way in which these characters metabolise social nutrition - this equally applies to spirits.
These physiognomical characters are intended to help discover this genetic identity so we can manage our own psyche, get the best out of ourselves and heal others. Although my blog is not as widely read as those with a lower reading level, generally more accessible content or more gossip and internal politics I understand that it is read by some of my peers in the blogosphere. I therefore know that there are readers who are Shellfish, Prisoners, Many Mannered Mind Men, etc as I know what these individuals look like and therefore what they are most likely to struggle with as problems encountered on their paths. I can see how their underlying genetic characters are influencing not only their activities in the physical world but also their writing style. To be in denial about the influence of your own genetics on your behaviour is just that.
Whether or not the fundamental nature of the being we are is the genetic character or simply inhabits the genetic character temporarily it is to our own advantage that we play the hand we have been dealt. A great deal of unhappiness in the world comes from not understanding that hand or wanting a different one. As I said in my post on Genetic Disease if we have a set of natural skills but because of distorted attention (whether it be from the media, or general society) we are seeking a different one we are simply going to be a less potent version of that character and constantly unhappy. Lets imagine that instead of being comfortable in the suit of the Mime as I have described above, I desperately wanted to be a Jay - a character which is effectively an adrenaline monkey, very lithe, dextrous and good at sprinting, hunting etc with a fine, naturally acquired musculature and monstrously fast metabolism. I would spend way way more time acquiring that physique and that set of skills, almost certainly of lesser quality than a natural Jay, while letting my own genetic gifts atrophy - this is surely idiocy. To be clear though if I have a natural inclination to manic-depression, or another character has a natural inclination to fat storage, or alcoholism, I am not saying just go for it, pile on the sugar and booze - with this knowledge of the genetic self, you have to moderate your own excesses as I have described, whilst simultaneously pushing your own gifts towards excellence.
That is Alchemy.
If you are looking for ways in which to use the Hermetic Lessons, go through the earlier posts on the various characters, the hormones they are associated with and the masks they use in order to complete their metabolism and you may find things that speak to you or to other people you can help. I rely on these characters because its often something in the physique which speaks of pigginess, or a piscine quality, or avian features that is telling us their secrets of pain and power. In today's world with the media providing a source of attention designed to play on your fears and insecurities we are way more likely to encounter physiognomical characters out of place or whose problems are more extreme - whether it be anorexic Bloodless Beings, alcoholic Shellfish, obese Prisoners, aggressive Many Mannered Mind Men, etc and our primary task as esoteric practitioners is that of healing the sick.
What if the map is the territory?
How could that be possible?
What if the territory you are seemingly experiencing is, in actual fact, a map?
Maybe you can judge a book by its cover?