Sunday, September 27, 2015
Although I’ve spent the past several years delving into folk magic, Neopaganism, and the Western Mystery Tradition, my primary spiritual orientation is Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta is a form of Hinduism that I was introduced to nearly 40 years ago. It is a system that dates back to about the 7th century and is primarily founded in the Upanishads. The Upanishads are the philosophical portion of a set texts called the Vedas, the earliest written record of Hindu thought and praxis.
When I first began writing La Maga A Story aboutSorcerers and Magi in 2004, I was absorbed in Vedanta and related Eastern philosophies. And so concepts distilled from my then spiritual practice are represented in the work and intermingle with fanciful as well as some authentic motifs about magic.
The spiritual journey in Advaita Vedanta is, in part, about intimately realizing the connection between one’s own true nature and the Divine and also realizing that “the world is in the mind, like space in a jar”—as stated in a text called the Yoga-Vasishtha—which I worked into the very last chapter of La Maga. Advaita Vedantist philosophy is concerned with the idea of projection—the problem of not experiencing reality as it is but as dreamlike mental projections—colored by bias, fears, ignorance and automated habits and conditioning. For this reason, my characters sometimes contemplate the nature of reality and illusion. They also ask the question: What is it to wake up from the idea of yourself? To paraphrase thoughts I attributed to the antihero of the series, the sorcerer Leo de Lux:
Becoming truly real, conscious, and capable of free will begins by realizing the whimsical and fabricated nature of one’s own being—the idea of self—and then detaching from the automaton (the robot) of its personality, habits, and conditioning. Then the person who is the life beneath the mask of selfhood opens his eyes and watches himself reveling through the motions of daily life like a dreamer reveling in lucidity and exercising free will in it.
In the last published book in the series, The Savior at the End of Time (available in Kindle format), I have the main character of that story--a whacky Christlike figure who is a chaos-magic-practicing sorcerer named Aurelio Zosimo--deliver a sermon that basically crystalizes what I’ve come away with from my exposure to Eastern spirituality and spirituality in general, including magical spirituality:
Excerpt from Chapter 20 of The Savior at the End of Time
About 42 days after his confrontation with Lord Consul Tau-Bridge, Zosi began to be spotted in flamboyantly full ceremonial regalia within the Mercury Gardens. He would wear a tunic of thick raw silk and tightly fitted, black leggings that were made of tanned leather and full of straps and whips of lacings. Over this, he would wear high boots that matched a mottled, purple-black tanned leather cope embossed with images of ourobori, moondragons, and griffins. His hair was meticulously plaited and decorated with pins and ribbons. His head was topped with a black double-cone hat that was rakishly crimped and folded over so that the tips of the horn-like cones, embellished with opalescent jingle bells, menacingly flounced and jangled in front of his face. He wielded a rather large and tall staff, the core of which was made of slender poles of cedar and fennel stalks. It was wrapped in embossed leather that matched his ensemble. Like a sinister maypole, the staff’s leather sheath was itself wrapped in a filigreed design of cords and leather straps on which gadgets and flotsam were affixed and that dangled, flail- and cat-o-nine-tails-like, from the staff’s finial, which was a gold spearhead in the shape of a fish with an acorn protruding from its mouth.
Like that, he would stroll about the Gardens and then stop here or there to deliver a sermon that attracted larger and larger crowds as word of the spectacle grew. He would begin the rant in a gentle voice with the words, “See the illumination at the center of being,” and materialize some small sparkly object that would fascinate and mesmerize onlookers.
“The body and all phenomena arise causally and provisionally within absolute being,” he would continue, yet still in a very meek and quiet voice. It would be trembling and barely audible despite his ferocious appearance. “There is no time and no dimension to space, both being mere adaptive projections of mind. The personality is an interdependently arising construction of circumstances and experiences, driven by reactivity bred by conditioning devoid of awareness or true will. What is it to wake up from the idea of yourself? Heaven, hell, God, the Adversary, pleasure, pain, and all the pairs of opposites are projections of your own consciousness. You project ideas out of yourself. Treating them as independent entities, you go into them, fear them, and allow them to have power over you although they are your own creations. No one is there to deliver you; you must deliver yourself. Glimpse self-effacement and the root of your existence. Reality is silent, blissful, self-composed Being. This is the Redemptive Principle, the Christos, the Ground, and the Life beneath the mechanism.”
Friday, July 10, 2015
"What is it like to wake up from the idea of yourself?" That is a question discovered by characters in the fantasy fiction novel La Maga A Story about Sorcerers and Magi. I got the idea that I should illustrate the novel. I like to say that is it sort of like Harry Potter for grown-ups but is especially for grownups who like classic children's literature and also have an authentic interest in magic and mysticism. Rather than illustrate a section of the story to show you here on YouTube, I’ m sharing some of the illustrations while I tell you want the story is about.
The main character is a magical woman named Sofia La Maga. After many years in political exile Sofia returns to her homeland and becomes a professor at her alma mater The H. Trismegistus mystical arts academy.
Even though the governor of her homeland doesn’t much like her, Sofia befriends and mentors his juvenile delinquent son, Leonard de Lux, Junior. The only thing Leonard is good at—or think he’s good at—is playing the Phaeton Maneuver—a very dangerous, outlawed game that magical teenage boys secretly play in the where all these magical people live.
When Leonard’s father finds out that Sofia has not only gotten Leonard on the straight and narrow but has given him the experience of enlightenment, he is not sure whether he should be happy about it. After all, Sofia is an anti-establishment political dissident and a person from a much lower caste of society than he is. But he is impressed with her, and like young Leonard, he falls in love with her. Like Leonard, he undergoes a profound spiritual transformation that will, in turn, profoundly shapes destiny.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
[The third type of wisdom] is in corporeal creatures. –from Aphorism 9
Phaleg is the Olympic Spirit associated with Mars and the Roman god of the same name. The Arbatel calls Phaleg the Prince of Peace and the Intelligence ruling martial affairs.
The name Phaleg may be derived from Peleg, the name of a minor character in the Old Testament who is said to be an ancestor of Abraham. Peleg means split or divide. This suggests that Phaleg energy is related to the sphere of duality, including distinctions, conflicts, and reconciliations between self and other. The sigil itself may represent a horned animal in the way of a hunter’s arrow.
Phaleg is said to rule 35 Provinces. This translates into the equation 7 x 5, making its value 5. Its geometric form is the pentahedron.
It is represented in a diagram described in the Arbatel called the Seal of Secrets of the world as lines that divide the Seal into quadrants
That Phaleg is called the Prince of Peace may be a reference to the Pythagorean Tetractys, a triangle made of 10 points, in which the second tier of the triangle, composed of 2 points, represents strife and the third tier, composed of 3 points, the harmony or balance between opposing forces. Peace in the sphere of the martial is in diplomacy and so, rather than violent conquest or rash action, Phaleg may be more associated with focus, diplomacy, and strategy in achieving one’s goals in face of the conflicting goals of others. In this sense, the Roman deity Minerva the goddess of wisdom in Warcraft , strategy, and diplomacy also may be a suitable godform for this Olympic Spirit.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Och is the Olympic Spirit associated with the Sun and Roman gods associated with the sun such as Sol, Hesperus, and Apollo, The name Och may refer to the. Greek word ochros, meaning pale yellow. Or perhaps the Latin root for the number 8, oct, suggesting pervasiveness in filling the 8 directions of space.
Och is said to rule 28 Provinces. This translates into the equation 7 x 4, making its value 4. Its geometric form is the tetrahedron. Using simple gematria, if we take the number 28 and turn it into the equation 2 + 8 we get the number 10, which reduces to 1, alluding to the Tetraktys and ideas about the Empedoclean dimensionless point.
It is represented in a diagram described in the Arbatel called the Seal of Secrets of the world as larger circle in the Seal of Secrets within which the mansions of the moon are plotted
Och is said to have 36,536 legions; that is, 365 and 36. The number 365 refers to the solar year. The number 36, according to Plutarch (circa 46-120), represents the Tetractys and also with the World because it represents Totality. He arrives at this rationale by pythagorically adding together the first four odd and even numbers: 1+3+5+7+2+4+6+8=36.
Och is said to “to give 600 years.” 600 years suggests the hexagram –or double tetrahedron--representing the celestial sphere. Thus, achieving Och consciousness makes one master of the celestial sphere.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Hagith is a variation of a Hebrew name that means “festive.” In the Bible, Haggith is the fourth wife of King David. Her son is named Adonijah, which means “beautiful,” but the story of Adonijah is rather tragic: he tries to usurp the throne, which David gave his other son Solomon. Solomon forgives Adonijah but then has him killed when Adonijah has Haggith ask Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, if he could borrow one of King David’s concubines.
This story may be a veiled allusion to the rebellion and fall of Lucifer. The alternative Latin name for Venus in ancient Rome was Lucifer, a bright morning star that preceded the break of dawn. Why Lucifer was banished from the night sky and stood alone in the dawn was the subject of many ancient myths having to do with fall from grace. [slide of passage from Isaiah]
Hagith is said to rule 21 Provinces. This translates into the equation 7 x 3, making Hagith’s value 3. Its geometric form is the 2 dimensional plane, representing the terrestrial sphere and perhaps the plane of manifest existence between primordial chaos and transcendental consciousness. It is represented in a diagram described in the Arbatel called the Seal of Secrets of the world as an inner central circle that is divided into quadrants. The quarters represent the cardinal points of space, the elements and cyclical time.
Hagith is said to rule 4000 legions. This translates as 4 x 1000. Four here may refer to the 4 elemental quarters, which extend out into the multiverse (1000) and are each said to be ruled by an angelic prince and 6 nobles.” This is suggested in the statement regarding Hagith in the Arbatel that says “. . . over every thousand, he ordains Kings for their appointed season.”
The “rebellious spirits reserved for the Last Judgment” that the Arbatel speaks of may refer to us—human beings subject to the rigors of mortal life on earth secondary to the fall of Adam.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
The Crazy Professor was a strange, spaced-out sorcerer who looked like he belonged in a rock band. He taught philosophy at the Bythos Academy. He was heavily involved in charitable work for Deeples and also “Deevees,” the utter dregs of magical society, lower than folk practitioners. Leonard’s father thought The Crazy Professor was a terrorist. It did not surprise him in the least that, within weeks of the H. Trismegistus parent-alumni reception, Professor La Maga was seen cavorting with The Crazy Professor. His name was Aurelio Zosimo.
From La Maga A Story About Sorcerers and Magi
Aurelio Zosimo was a 44-year-old, wry, impish, and obscure-witted academic of early Greek philosophy and medieval Hermeticism. He had been a child prodigy. The prodigious-ness set the stage for him to become, at the mere age of 32 years, the Marsillio Ficino Scholar Emeritus at the Bythos Academy of Magical Sciences.
Zosimo had a plaque on his office door. On it was inscribed a motto adopted by Commons enthusiasts of his brand of sorcery. The plaque read Nothing is true; everything is permitted.
Popular lore had it that the 11th century ascetic Islamic fundamentalist Hassan ibn Sabbah—a mystic and mastermind of an assassin squad—had said it right before he bit the dust at age 90 years, but the saying was actually penned and launched as legend by the 20th century Commons beat poet and career drug-addict William S. Burroughs, in whom a romanticist fascination with Sabbah developed. Outer Plane Discordians and Chaos mages had cheekily spun lore about Sabbah and his alleged pronouncement into cult fiction, conspiracy, legend, and disinformation.
Those of small mind and little vision regarded the saying as an anarchist war cry. To them, the saying was tinged with hedonism of a kind more crass than the generally misconstrued motto expectorated by the notorious Victorian-era sorcerer-mage Aleister Crowley: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” However, in modern parlance among those who adopted the motto Nothing is true; everything is permitted, it was simply an affirmation that all belief was provisional, not absolute. Because belief shaped perception, which modified behavior which modified circumstance, perhaps circumstance could be modified if belief that modified perception and behavior was deliberately fabricated rather than imposed as unquestioned convention.
From The Savior at the End of Time
Sunday, February 22, 2015
What is really so provocative about 50 Shades of Grey that even Russell Brand has been compelled to pontificate on it? (And hit the nail on the head, btw. Thank you, Russell. <3) It’s cheesy erotica, written in hackneyed 6th-grade reading-level English, that became a media sensation in a pathetically dummied-down society driven by market trends and those who profit from and manipulate them. Kudos to the book's writer, I guess, for expertly playing the chat-board strategy to promote her self-published e-book.
That said, the big deal about the social implications of the “oeuvre” is curious to me. It says a lot about what we think about women. Folks are freaked out about how the book/movie glorifies abusive relationships and how confounding it is that women, in particular, are drawn to it. Hello. 50 Shades is erotica/soft porn. Women are not reading it because they so wish they could be in an abusive relationship; they are reading it (or flocking to the flick) because it provides a sexual thrill. A hot fantasy. Something to self-pleasure themselves to. Does that fact really need to be dissected and critiqued in a world where thousands of men are compulsively masturbating to computer porn on a daily basis?
Hand wringing over the social implications of this work of fiction is about on par with fundamentalist Christian concern that the Harry Potter series promotes Satanic magic-mongering among children.
Not long ago, I self-published a book called The Sex Lives of Sorcerers. It is the second book in a fantasy fiction series for adults that meld fantasy with authentic content drawn from Western occultism and Eastern mysticism. It is not meant to be dark or sexually provocative; it is meant to be thoughtful. One acquaintance who read The Sex Lives of Sorcerers said she felt gypped because the word Sex was in the title but there wasn’t any sex in the book. No, there’s definitely sex in the book—it’s just not graphic sex. It’s really not a book about sex, anyway; it is a book about alchemy, reincarnation, and spiritual transformation in the context of a bisexual MWM relationship. And it includes a bit of bondage and sublimation—like all good paranormal fiction…
“Men stare at you because you’re fuckable. That’s what men do,” Bobby said sourly. He downed the first shot of whisky in a biting gulp and pointed to a crowd at the far end of the bar. “The next guy who turns around—he wants to fuck you really badly.”
“You’re a retard,” Bella swiped “And you shouldn’t go off your meds like that.”
Bobby swilled another shot of whiskey and chanted that Bella be attentive lest she miss the portended sighting. His little finger, poised on a glass, gestured to where he had pointed before.
Sure enough, a man turned around. It was one of the men who had been in the woods that first time Bella had ever seen Bobby. He was the lankier one with the light brown hair, not the darker one with broad shoulders. He had a heavy brow and piercing eyes that despite the dim lighting Bella could guess were like an unusual blue-green gem. His nose was a perfectly streamlined protrusion and his beauty was masculine and brooding. He seemed a little age-worn, too.
He directed a cold glance at Bobby that drifted to pierce Bella’s gaze and soften. The gesture made Bella sting with fright and a thrill because . . . she didn’t know why. Then he turned away.
“Should we send him over a drink?” Bella asked.
“No,” Bobby tersely replied. He was a “vampire”—he and the other man, Bobby said.
-From Chapter 7 A Giant Pink Dragon in The Fallen Fairy by Soror ZSD23
Available through amazon.com.
Available through amazon.com.