Sunday, July 28, 2013
He started drawing circles again until he had constructed an ouroboros—a serpent swallowing its own tail.
“If you really want to find peace and make peace, you have to kill this thing,” he said. Everyone nodded.
He made a rose bloom in the circular empty space framed by the ouroboros. A multitude of petals flared out. Watching them became a mesmerizing repast in which the sense of time was lost. A tiny light formed in the center of the rose. Looking at it gave a person an ecstatic and expansive feeling that made everything seem trivial and silly in comparison. Truly, looking into the speck of light in the center of the rose was like taking hold of a giddy and ineffable truth. So the lot of them sat gazing at it.
How much time passed in this pursuit was unknown—short or long—and it could not be measured in retrospect because no one could remember at what time the endeavor began. In any case, the Zosians sat mesmerized in gnostic bliss until, as occasionally occurred with the Entheos Mondo Amanita maneuver in which they were arrested, they began to startle and crash into queasiness, nausea, cramps, and diarrheal output.
Zosi was seething with quiet mirth. “Now that’s an opiate,” he exclaimed, and he bid them to make sure they each left the bathroom clean for the next person.
See the tab in the header at the top of this page.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
I started writing the Sorcerers and Magi series in 2003, which was the time that the Harry Potter series was gaining a lot of momentum. I knew very many 30- to 60- year-olds who were very enthusiastic about the series. Honestly, I never read the books, but I really enjoyed watching the movies. They—especially the earlier ones in the series—coddled me in the sweetest nostalgia of childhood and holiday movie extravaganzas—of treats from grandma and Christmas tinsel and that sort of thing.
One day in the late summer of 2003, I found myself watching a DVD of the second movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, every night for a week. I was particularly fascinated with the villainous Lucius Malfoy character, played by Jason Isaacs. I kept hoping that, as the series winded down to its denouement, that character would emerge as an antihero. That was not the case, but it inspired the development of my own antihero Leo de Lux. He starts out as a caustic and villainous but complex character and becomes an ambiguous hero and maintains that role throughout the series.
So, after watching the second movie over and over again one week and wanting more stories but not managing to read the books, I started to make up episodes in my head so I could be entertained in between movies. I realized that I had built up a completely unique story. I dithered about whether I should write it down, because I was reluctant to invest the time in a writing project only to then beat my head against a brick wall trying to get someone of influence—an agent or publisher—to give me the time of day. I couldn’t help myself, though, and got it into my head that I should simply pursue the project for my own entertainment and insight.
Listen to me discuss the series and the writing life in podcast #36 The Savior at the End of Time at EatSleepWrite.
The story I was entertaining was not a children’s story. It was a magical fantasy fiction story for adults. My aim, however, was to maintain a tone similar to that found within classic children’s fantasy fiction. My target audience was adults who like classic children’s literature—the work of C. S. Lewis, for example. I did not initially intend to write a series, but as I completed the first draft of the first book La Maga A Story about Sorcerers and Magi, another story popped into my head, which I originally gave the provocative title.The Sex Lives of Sorcerers but renamed The Fallen Fairy. I ended up linking them in the progression of an underlying apocalyptic theme introduced in the first book that culminates in the third book, titled The Savior at the End of Time. I intend to write at least 2 more books in the series. One will be a prequel and one will begin where book 3 ends.
The term “Inner Plane” comes from a writer within the Western Mystery Tradition named Gareth Knight, who is an apologist for a type of Hermetic magic originating in the medieval era, called Magical Christianity, which is a type of gnostic—or self-revelatory (as opposed to dogmatic)—Christianity . The Inner Plane is basically the world within the mind. It is a place of archetypal forms, dreams, and ideas in general. This place is more commonly called the astral plane, referring the realm of thought and feeling. In a sense, it is in incubation place where thought becomes paradigm and Reality. Reference to the Inner Plane is also a tip of the hat to a form of philosophical Hinduism called Advaita Vedanta, which I have followed for very many years. A strong influence from this philosophy and Buddhism permeates the series.
I’m using fiction as a creative and playful way to express my long-time interests in spirituality, magic, and mysticism. The work is a product of my research, practice, and hands on experience. My writing is a way to feed information back to myself—reaffirm and integrate it and also to entertain myself.
The main character of the first book, Sofia LaMaga, is something of an alter ego—or maybe someone who I would like to be. At the beginning of La Maga A Story about Sorcerers and Magi, we learn that Sofia has been living in political exile in a parallel plane coinciding with Tibet. Having received amnesty, she returns to her hometown where she becomes a high school teacher and wreaks havoc by forming a friendship with the juvenile delinquent teenaged son of the place’s governor, Leo de Lux. Because Sofia has been living in the environs of India and Tibet, she comes back steeped in the spirituality of those cultures.
When I was writing LaMaga, although I had all long-time background in eastern spirituality, I was also interested in folk magic and had been reminiscing about one of my great grandmothers who was said to be a stregona—that’s Italian for “sorceress.” Another word for that is “maga.” I began to explore Italian folk magic, and so that is why there is a lot referencing to Italian folk culture and evil eye lore in La Maga. My interest in folk magic led to interest in aspects of Western Occultism, including the work of Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley—big names in relation to the so-called Occult revival that took place at the turn of the 20th century.
By the time I got to writing the second book, The Fallen Fairy, I had become interested in philosophical alchemy and medieval magic, and so we have underlying themes about alchemy and spiritual transformation as well as reincarnation, fairy lore, and sex magic in that book. When I got around to writing the third book, The Savior at the End of Time, I had become an enthusiast of a current in postmodern occultism called Chaos Magick and a related counterculture scene called Discordianism.
No, Really, listen to me discuss the series and the writing life in podcast #36 The Savior at the End of Time at EatSleepWrite.
That story, which recently became available as a Kindle ebook and will be available for download through smashwords.com—and also as a print edition—in the late fall, is about a character named Aurelio Zosimo who is being set up to be the poster boy of a utopian political movement, introduced in book 1 of the series. What inspired me to launch that story was the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, which is my all-time favorite theater piece. It was around Easter time in 2006 and I was coming out of the winter blues. I was on a roll watching film and live theater versions of Jesus Christ Superstar and got the idea to adapt the template of the gospel story to the third novel of the Sorcerers and Magi series. The premise is similar to that of The Who’s rock opera, Tommy or Jerzy Kasinsky’s novel Being There, in which a person who is a little “off” is haplessly fashioned into a leader or cult hero.
We are told that Aurelio Zosimo has a plaque on his office door that says “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” This is a famous slogan among Chaos magicians that was picked up from the cult classic novel The Illuminatus! Triology, which is a wild-ride parody about conspiracy theories, secret societies, and the immanentization of the eschaton—that is, the hastening the end of the world—the apocalypse. There is an apocalyptic thread running through my series that culminates in this third book, and we find characters discussing the immanentization of the eschaton and Zosimo’s potential role in it in the third book.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
by Zoe-Sophia-Dione (= 821, “Babylon the Great” :-P)
23 (=Zos/life [ChiH]; Kia/joy [ChDVH])
Numerous paeans from more ancient times exist that extol the Goddess. Apuleuis in The Golden Ass (11.25) says of Isis:
You rotate the globe. You give light to the Sun. You govern the world in time and space. You tread down the powers of Hades. By You the seasons return, the Planets rejoice, the Elements serve. At Your command the winds do blow, the clouds do gather, the seeds prosper, and the fruits prevail. The birds of the air, the beasts of the hill, the serpents of the den, and the fish of the sea, do tremble at Your majesty.
The Devi Mahatmyam is chock full of statements such as:
You are the sovereign Goddess of all that is moving and unmoving. You are the sole substratum of the world, existing in the form of Earth. Existing in the form of water, the Universe is nourished. You are pure, limitless courage, the power of the All-Pervading Lord. You are the Manifesting and Limiting Principle, the primordial seed of the Universe. Goddess you have created this living dream that we mistake for Reality. Through your grace we are redeemed from it. (11:3-5)
We also find this passage within the very last piece of scrying work that Edward Kelley (1555 –1597) did with John Dee (1527–1608):
I am the daughter of Fortitude, and ravished every hour, from my youth. For behold, I am Understanding, and Science dwelleth in me; and the heavens oppress me. They covet and desire me with infinite appetite; few or none that are earthly have embraced me, for I am shadowed with the Circle of the Stone, and covered with the morning Clouds. My feet are swifter than the winds, and my hands are sweeter than the morning dew. My garments are from the beginning, and my dwelling place is in my self. The Lion knoweth not where I walk, neither do the beasts of the field understand me. I am deflowered, and yet a virgin; I sanctify, and am not sanctified. Happy is he that embraceth me: for in the night season I am sweet, and in the day full of pleasure. My company is a harmony of many Cymbals, and my lips sweeter than health itself. I am a harlot for such as ravish me, and a virgin with such as know me not: For Lo, I am loved of many, and I am a lover to many; and as many as come unto me as they should do, have entertainment. . . .
—From A true & faithful relation of what passed for many years between Dr. John Dee and some spirits
Dee, a mathematician and prodigious Renaissance man who was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, having become immersed in angelology and evocation magic, produced, with scryer-side-kick Edward Kelley, the foundation for Enochian magic. By gazing into a shewstone/black mirror (akin to crystal-ball gazing), Kelley pulled out of the aethers a unique, “angelic” language and Dee and Kelley were given elaborate instructions by presumed angelic entities about ritual set up for practices; coded, politically charged messages; and a method to “ascend” through angelic planes. But for all the glorious effort, neither Dee nor Kelley had very good luck in the aftermath of their workings. Did they barge head-first through a door behind which was the Goddess practicing katas with her swinging saber?
Immediately following this oft-quoted material (above) scryed by Kelley and Dee on May 23, 1587 (their very last scrying session by the way, occurring about a month after the archangel Uriel allegedly told the men to wife-swap), the Divine-Feminine entity evoked explains that “Wisdom is a piercing beam, which is the center of the spiritual being of the Holy Spirit, touching from all parts from whence the Divinity sendeth it out . . .” It continues, saying that Wisdom is inherent in what is immortal, including the human soul, and not in things that have an end. This is standard Hermetic/Gnostic/Cabalist jargon in which Wisdom—the Sophia or Sapientia —transforms soul (psyche) to spirit (pneuma) via the path of the Secret Fire. Further, the patent medieval Hermetic content in the longer citation about the Daughter of Fortitude is rather conspicuous.
|Cybele (Roman Magna Mater), who Revelations is really referring to (her and Rome) when it talks about The Lady Riding the Beast, the Beast being Emperor Nero) .|
The text then goes into doomsday jargon that either could be taken as a prediction about political upheaval or else a veiled way for an affected Kelley to express how really fed up he was with the whole Kelley/Dee trip, as has been speculated by researchers and autodidacts on the subject such as the person who maintains this blog: http://myfavoritemonsters.blogspot.com/2009/07/john-dee-edward-kelley-spirit-world-pt_28.html .
The story goes that Kelley, acquiring fame and fortune as a celebrity alchemist, abandoned Dee and fell in and then out of favor with King Rudolph II (1552 –1612), who imprisoned him for not appropriately proving his prowess as an alchemist. Kelley ultimately died of injuries sustained during a prison breakout—a rather pathetic end to someone who “channeled” such profundity as what is quoted above. But one could suppose that this illustrates the “‘get it’ or get a kick in the head” and “don’t fuck with me” kind of tough love that The Goddess seems to be into.
From here, my mind segues to veritable, no-joke rocket scientist Jack Parsons (1914 –1952) :
The catastrophic trend [the Age of Horus] is due to our lack of understanding of our own natures. The hidden lusts, fears, and hatreds resulting from the warping of the love urge, which underly the natures of all Western peoples, have taken a homicidal and suicidal direction.
This impasse is broken by the incarnation of another sort of force, called BABALON. The nature of this force relates to love, understanding, and dionysian freedom, and is the necessary counterbalance or correspondence to the manifestation of Horus.
—from the Introduction of Liber 49, The Book of Babalon, by Jack Parsons
Yes, but if I remember it correctly, Jack, even though you were incredibly eloquent, dedicated, waaay ahead of your time, and now are bestowed god-like reverence, almost everyone you knew, loved, revered, and trusted totally dissed and screwed you over. Then you got blown up moments before you were going to run away and live happily ever after with your conjured Babalon-Incarnate Scarlet woman witchy-chick, artist/occultist Marjorie Cameron (1922 –1995).
Yet shalt thou not be therein, for thou shalt be forgotten, dust lost in dust. Nor shall the æon itself avail thee in this; for from the dust shall a white ash be prepared by Hermes the Invisible.
And this is the wrath of God, that these things should be thus. And this is the grace of God, that these things should be thus.
—Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni, 15-18
But then one could point the finger at dozens of high-profile occultists, “crazy wisdom” teachers, saints, philosophers, and godmen/women through the ages who came to less than beatific endings.
This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.
—From The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot
One would say that their legacies and legendary statures compensate, but I say not. How can such things serve the dead? Such things are more bread and circuses for the rest of us and often the tool of one or another aggrandizing opportunist. At best, they can be catalysts of insight and transformation for us. Or else, they can be blinds, glamours, and pretentions that complicate our ride through the gastric tube of the Ouroboros. Both options are the purview of The Goddess.
And in the end, the Mysterium Tremendum, for those who are interested, is not about pleasure or pain, suffering in penance or atonement, redemption, the satiation of desire, or the assertion of will. It is about crossing over the Abyss and parting the veil between the Real and the Unreal.
This Mahamaya [“Grand Illusion”; “Great Measurement”] is the Yoganidra [power of stupor] of Vishnu, the Lord of the World. It is by her the world is deluded. Verily she, the Sovereign Lady, forcibly draws the minds even of the wise into delusion. She creates this entire universe of both moving and unmoving things. When favorable, she proffers boons to human beings for their final liberation. She is supreme knowledge, the cause of final liberation, and eternal; she is the cause of the bondage of transmigration and the sovereign over all lords.
—Devi Mahatmyam, I:54-58
But for my final word on all this Babalon and Goddess-mystique stuff, I quote Austin Osman Spare from the Anathema of Zos:
Is there nothing beyond entity? No purchase beyond sense and desire of God than this blasting and devouring swarm ye are?
Oh, ye favoured of your own excuses, guffaw between bites! Heaven is indifferent to your salvation or catastrophe. Your curveless crookedness maketh ye fallow for a queer fatality! What! I to aid your self-deception, meliorate your decaying bodies, preserve your lamentable apotheosis of self? The sword-thrust not salve I bring!
Friday, July 19, 2013
by Zoe-Sophia-Dione (= 821, “Babylon the Great” :-P)
23 (=Zos/life [ChiH]; Kia/joy [ChDVH])
Should you find that your own revelations of The Goddess become substantially different than the revelations of Mal-2, then perhaps The Goddess has plans for you as an Episkopos, and you might consider creating your own sect from scratch, unhindered.
—from Principia Discordia or How I Found the Goddess
and What I Did to Her When I Found Her.
I had been dedicated to the goddess Durga for very many years. I was not doing the “eclectic” neopagan thing of adopting a mishmash of foreign deities and making spiritual-practice stew out of them. I was (and continue to be despite my immersion in Western occultism and contemporary Paganism) a long-time adherent of reformed Advaita Vedanta. I became dedicated to a certain important scripture dated to about the 3rd century called the Devi Mahatmyam, or “Glory of the Goddess.” It is a trilogy of mythologies in which the Goddess, personifying the combined power of the gods, defeats various demons in battles and, thus, restores the order of the Universe.
The full scripture, which takes more than an hour or three to recite, is chanted in the context of devotional ritual (puja) and is prefaced and followed by several auxiliary prayers, chants, mantra, and ritual gestures. I took to performing a much abbreviated version of the ritual, in accordance with guidelines given to me by a senior swami of the Ramakrishna Order of Vedanta. I performed the ritual once weekly for about a year after many years of working with the text. At this time, I also was immersed in disciplines related to Kundalini yoga and had recently removed myself from association with a Nygmapa (Dzogchen) Buddhist sangha where I was being groomed to become a lama.
The ritual and contemplation or chanting of the Devi Mahatmyam is generally done as an exercise in which the Goddess is thought of as a beneficent entity who is being addressed for the sake of gaining favors and for protection from both supernatural evil and the nasty world-at-large. I ultimately took a more Gnostic and literal approach. After all, Advaita Vedanta is jnana yoga, the discipline of spiritual integration through gnosis. In addition, the translations of the names of the demons that the Goddess is battling in the Devi Mahatmyam include The Great Deceiver (Mahahanu), The Aimless One (Parivarita), The Hypocrite (Bidala), Anger (Kruddha), The Savage (Ugrasya), He Who Gives Way to Temptation (Durdhara), The Vicious (Chanda), The Malicious (Munda), Conceit (Shumbha), and Self-deprecation (Nishumbha). And the most famous demon celebrated in the scripture is Mahishasura—the “Buffalo demon” of egoism, the depiction of the slaying of which is an important piece of Hindu iconography.
So, these demons that The Goddess is protecting you from are not oogah-boogah things “out there”; they are negative qualities within yourself. How does The Goddess protect you from them? She rips you apart over and again with a barrage of weapons: the sword of discrimination, club of articulation, bow of determination, arrow of penetration, pike of attention, rod of restraint, axe of right action, net of unity, trident of harmony, and discus of revolving time. Then she cuts off your head and totally obliterates you in a confounding mush of ego dissolution that you ideally recover from changed.
So, a few years before I began to shift gears and look to Western occultism for empowerment and insight, and before I knew anything about Cabala or Crowley or the Abyss, I found myself returning to a particular difficult mind state in my meditation practices. What I would feel enveloped in would be a dark, abysmal space. In it, I would receive impressions of how I became who I am. I would receive visceral sensations and memories harkening back to earliest childhood. As a Tantric Buddhist and Yoga practitioner, I had been trained in how to maneuver such experiences. Nevertheless, and perhaps aggravated by volatility in my personal life, I slipped over the edge and plummeted into the core of a chasm one morning.
I looked and saw a great abyss and a dark funnel of whirling waters or fixed airs, wherein were cities and monsters and trees and atoms and mountains and little flames (being souls) and all the material of an universe.
And all are sucked down one by one, as necessity hath ordained. For below is a glittering jewelled globe of gold and azure, set in a World of Stars.
And there came a Voice from the Abyss, saying: "Thou seest the Current of Destiny! Canst thou change one atom in its path? I am Destiny. Dost thou think to control me? for who can move my course?"
—From The Cry of the 29th Aethyr in The Vision the Voice attributed to Aleister Crowley
I experienced profound ego-dissolution and it was no freaking way like the sunshine and moonbeams of an Eric Tolle New Age best seller. Whereas it was kind of like an “enlightenment” experience, it also was the antithesis of what I’ve ever read about such things.
I realized in that moment in a way that cut far deeper than mere intellection that I was not a person. I was a mask, an automaton, a provisional being not of my own making. Unconscious and automated. I was a composite of experiences and perceptions, habits, and conditioning that were not necessarily my own. Mere non-conscious karmic momentum of an interdependently arising neurotic fiasco called nature and nurture that stretched back to beginningless Time.
My spirit is no more; my soul is no more. My life leaps out into annihilation!
—From The Cry of the 2nd Aethyr
In that moment, to borrow words from Kshemaraja’s commentary on the experience of enlightenment in the Spanda Karikas, “all my thought-constructs were split asunder by the recognition of [my] true essential nature.” The event indeed “surpassed common experience” but was anything but “replete with unprecedented bliss.” My reaction was rage. Life appeared to be an oppressive lie foisted on me by others who themselves were utterly in the grip of the same lie. I was mostly angry because the way I felt about myself for so long—the way I persistently operated and struggled—didn’t have to be as it was. Everything was mere fabrication born of a delusion about Reality that I was force fed from the doomed moment that I took my first breath.
But what was worse than realizing the prosaic blather that Life Is but a Dream was the notion that the oppression of the illusion would continue to be suffered despite my new insight about it; I was not something other than this inexorable composite of karmic momentum. It was my ways of thought, my emotional responses, my personality, all the structures and nuances of my physiology.
The Bengali mystic Sri Ramakrishna was known to say, “God is real; the world is illusory.” I understood what that meant in that moment of crisis because I experienced the profound difference between myself as a personality construct and this organism called Reality.
Herein no forms appear, and the vision of God face to face, that is transmuted in the Athanor called dissolution, or hammered into one forge of meditation, is in this place but a blasphemy and a mockery.
And the Beatific Vision is no more, and the glory of the Most High is no more. There is no more knowledge. There is no more bliss. There is no more power. There is no more beauty. For this is the Palace of Understanding: for thou art one with the Primeval things.
—From The Cry of the 14th Aethyr
Prior to this episode, I had been an “insufferable know-it-all.” In a moment, however, the value of all concepts shattered. It was all vain blather, “sound and fury signifying nothing.”
I was “out-of-it” for several days, weeks perhaps. Humbled, humiliated, and feeling gyped and screwed about life. But when the dust settled, I felt free. Relieved. Off the hook. Nothing was true; thus, everything was permitted. I became relaxed. I put away my beliefs, books, and allegiances. I also arrived at a new sense of compassion, having glimpsed the roots of happiness and suffering concerning the human condition. There was no place to put blame; the cause was an interdependently arising phenomenon that drove the World Machine.
Yea! verily this is the Truth, this is the Truth, this is the Truth. Unto thee shall be granted joy and health and wealth and wisdom when thou art no longer thou.
—Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni, 13
But, actually, life went on with its twists and turns, joys and disappointments, peak experiences and hard lessons.
There have been other instances in my life in which the end result of fervent goddess work has been crisis: upheaval, pain, loss. Even though things turn out “all for the best” in the end, the pattern has made me skittish about working with goddess energy. So I wince at folks who look to the Goddess for a kinder, gentler kind of spirituality, who look to the self-effacing, ever-doting mother or else the ever-accommodating and never-clinging lover. The contemptible idealized woman. The Goddess is not this. Rather, she is the maw and secret of creation, sustenance, dissolution, and transformation.
O Circle of Stars,
Whereof our father is by the younger brother,
Marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space,
Before whom time is ashamed, the mind bewildered, and the understanding dark,
Not unto Thee may we attain unless Thine Image be Love.
Therefore by seed and root, and stem and bud,
And leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke thee,
O Queen of Space, O Jewel of Light,
Continuous one of the heavens;
Let it be ever thus
That men speak not of Thee as One, but as None;
And let them not speak of Thee at all, since Thou art continuous.
—From Liber XV (Thelemic Gnostic Mass), Aleister Crowley
This essay appears here:
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Chaos Magic meets Jesus Christ Superstar. The Savior at the End of Time, the third book in the Sorcerers and Magi series, will be available in Kindle format on July 4, 2013.
The tale is a veiled take on the Christ-story in which the unassuming and disheveled but oddly charismatic iconoclast, Professor Aurelio Zosimo, introduced in book one, is haplessly rendered into a new messiah for the Lions of Light agenda and the “Immanentization of the Eschaton.” The novel references the post-modern magical counterculture current of Chaos Magic. In this installment of the series, Leo de Lux and Sofia La Maga are at odds about their designs regarding Aurelio Zosimo. Both find themselves in over their heads as plot line of the series progresses toward an apocalyptic showdown and the revelation of portentous secrets.
The Sorcerers and Magi series offers thought-provoking ideas about finding oneself and one’s true purpose in the context of mystical magical fantasy and will be interest to adult fiction readers drawn to magia, mysticism, and spiritual philosophy. Book 1 in the series, La Maga A Story about Sorcerers andMagi, introduces us to the Inner Plane and its fragmented society of sorcerers, magi, and folk practitioners. There, the binding quality of love, transforms a father and son, shifts a paradigm, and gives a jump start to a utopian movement The Lions of Light. Magical fantasy is deftly woven with Eastern mysticism. In Book 2, The Sex Lives of Sorcerers, a hapless fairy incarnates as a woman in the world of “Commons” in the Outer Plane. Sorcerers from the Inner Plane swoop in to vie for her affections in the interests of love and occult power and opportunism. . As savior, a redeemer, and a siren, the story’s heroine circumspectly aids the Lions of Light and sets the stage for radical and illuminating transformations of all who come into contact with her. References to alchemy, medieval occultism, steganography, and sex magic permeate the text.