Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hermetic Lessons - Maps

I am teaching a three part course at the moment - three 45min lessons for a small group of relative beginners on a) maps b) mind and c) light.  The practical sides of the course are a) qabalah b) raja yoga and c) astral projection.  My students are all intellectual, have had some spiritual experiences and have a shared complaint about the difficulties of making any headway due to the sheer amount of information on these mixed subjects and the impossibility of making choices.  In describing the lesson I will be as succinct as possible and if you want to use this plan feel free to adapt.

(5mins) Draw map of the earth free hand
(5 mins) Draw timemap of human civilization 

(5mins) Discuss results.  Point out eurocentrism of the maps that students have drawn.  Use globe to show that effectively half of the planet is blue so they have only drawn half the planet.  Point out terra centrism. 

(5 mins) Using the results discuss usefulness and limitations of map(s) and shared language.

(20 mins) Dimensions - lecture and Q/A, elicit answers where possible

- Discuss physical and connotative meanings for the 5 dimensions

  • East - Sunrise, hope, rebirth, awaking
  • West - Sunset, end of things, dreams, sleeping
  • North - cold, contract
  • South - warmth, expand

- If we continue north in a straight line and not follow the curvature of the earth we would head into space.  At what point do the spatial directions lose their meaning in infinity?  If the universe is finite what happens to that line?  If the universe is infinite what happens to that line?

- Point out the usefulness of a certain kind of ''geocentrism'' that puts you in the middle of the dimensions.

- What does it mean if someone is ''warm'' or ''cold''?  The connotative meanings are important and will make sense of the Tree of Life as you look at it later for it is not only a map of space/time but it also a map of the psyche.* 

- Magnetite - studies have shown humans have magnetite in their brain in the same way other animals do who use it to navigate.  What would be the effect of calibrating the organism by spending some time in the north-south, east-west position meditating?  What ''powers'' could we have from the magnetite that animals have that our egoes drown out with their incessant noise about shoe shopping, etc?  If such powers are working unconsciously anyway then would our calibration have the effect of helping us to hear them?

- Use the location of the Pacific ocean to make points about the cultures of California and Japan.  If we suggest that the Pacific Ocean is like the unconscious mind of the Earth what does this say about those two places?  Do other parts of the world fill roles like this or not?  What does this say about the dimensions?  How useful is this idea what are the limitations/dangers?

  • Up - out, rise, lift, ascent, superior
  • Down - in, falling, descent, drop, inferior
- There is no such thing as a precise up and down they are more like in and out from our position in space.

- Why is the ''Fall'' bad, why is ''Down'' bad?  Side discussion on why down would be considered bad from the view point of evolutionary ancestors - down would indicate a journey to the jungle/forest floor with all the predators etc that this involves, falling would be bad in case the monkey breaks a limb.  Ask students to think about other evolutionarily built-in responses to dimensions as they continue to reflect.

- Point out that science as a rule tends to ''look down'' on things and break them into smaller parts in order to understand and that art/architecture as a rule tends to ''build up'' from smaller things to make larger creative structures.**

  • Good - nutrition, excellence/virtue
  • Evil  - poison, ineptitude/lack of skill 
  • Past - birth
  • Future - death

- Move students away from purely ethical understanding of the terms good and evil by asking them to think about what good and evil mean in art and what good and evil mean to a bacteria - think about our own instinctive reponses to eating vomit.  What is bad art? In general terms discuss at what point all dimensions either reverse in their meaning i.e. when does too much nutrition become ''bad'', when does too much warmth become ''bad''?

- (5 mins) Introduce students to sphere of the mind.  Ask students to meditate on the dimensions and insist that this should be pushed to the point where it becomes disorientating.

H/W - learn traditional order for elements, planets and zodiac signs

Notes for next lesson - discuss dangers of spheres in thinking

*For instance our Sefirah of Love and Compassion would be Warm and our Sefirah of Judgement/Fear/Strength would be Cold.
**This ties into an understanding of Hod and Netzach later on.

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