Where are We on the Tree?

This is an excerpt from a facebook group where the topic came up “Where are we on the tree?”

I think very few people can [cross the abyss]. I think in our present age we hang out in Da’at. We have literally all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips but we have absolutely zero wisdom. In some ways we live in a bizarre universe where we have to first work back down the tree through kindness and severity and so on until we stop simply knowing about these things – passively observing them – and actually experiencing them. Once we understand those, we can finally enter malkuth and literally go outside and understand nature. The problem is we think we know everything and it makes us prone to extremism. Eventually we can sort of enter kether but most of us won’t ever have perfect understanding and wisdom.

What do you think?

AE Waite’s “Ceremonial Magic”

The language alone is just fantastic, I’m hoping the rest of the book holds up:

Behind this Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King–which is so like the eye of the needle–there is the concealed tradition in and behind the mysticism of Christian Times. About this it is scarcely possible to speak here, and it will require some care not to confuse the image with which I have opened my statement. The Open Entrance of course leads to the Palace, but at a certain point there is found an exceedingly hidden postern and a path beyond, which is absolutely unattainable except through the lawful entrance, because, although the Kingdom of Heaven tolerates a certain quality of enlightened and loving violence, the sanctuary of all its sanctuaries responds only to the violence of that man who knows how to lay hands on himself, so that he may carry none of his extrinsics to the most intrinsecus place in all the world of God. This postern is hidden deeply on the deepest side of tradition, but by what can be traced concerning it, I think that there has been such a going to and fro upon the Ladder of Jacob that something more of the states which are not the term, but are perhaps penultimate thereto, has been brought back by those who have accomplished the next but one to all of the Great Work. I think further that they have gone so far that they have seen with their own eyes some intimacies of the term itself–being the state of those who go in and do not evermore come back.

These are aspects of the Secret Tradition in so far as it has declared itself on the side of God. It remains now to be said that there is a tradition à rebours, and though it may seem very hard to put it so roughly and frankly, I have not taken all the consciousness of the inward man for my province to smooth or reduce any of the distinctions between the loss and gain of the soul. The tradition a rebours is definitely and clearly that of miraculous power in the quest and attainment thereof. It is summarised by the ambition of the Magus in its contrast with the desire of the eyes and the hope which fills the heart of the true mystic. I am not intending to suggest that the Magus as such is of necessity at issue with the decalogue, or that he is under judgment by this sole standard, whether for vengeance or reward. As the position is capable of dogmatic statement, and as such is without any subjection to vicissitude, I will express it in dogma as follows: Whosoever goes inward to find anything but the Divine in his centre is working on the side of his own loss. As there is the height of Kether in Kabalism, so there is the abyss which is below Malkuth, and those who are seeking to exercise the powers of the soul apart from its graces are treading the downward path.

From the Book of Ceremonial Magic. This is one of the more annoying problems with Western (Occidental) thought – there’s really a golden thread in the religious text be it dealing with Sufi Islam or Abrahamic Judaism. In the west, of course, we worship money and consumption. We ignore the sublime and the inspired because we have access to every satisfaction. When we do that two things happen – we lose sight of what is in ourselves versus what is outside of ourselves and we can no longer experience exaltation. As a people, we have lost sight of the idea that every rainstorm is the Great Rite, and every loaf of bread to a starving child is nothing less than communion itself because it nourishes the body just as much as it encourages the soul to go on with life.

And what of the mysteries? How many churches teach esoteric Christianity? Has anyone studied Kabalah outside of the synagogue? Does Christ get mentioned in the mosque except as the scourge of the temple? (Seriously, post in the comments because I’m guessing even people who consider themselves “religious” and attend church weekly don’t study this stuff). Because we no longer dirty our hands in the business of living, we forget the divine inheritance. We, as people, have been given a terrible and divine responsibility: As above, so below. As without, so within. Do we sit here and let our lives pass us by or do we experience the world as it is and reflect on our experience?

Robert Rubin’s Defensive Occultism

Robert Rubin was kind enough in sending me an advanced copy of his book Defensive Occultism. It’s being self published through Lulu. Robert is a professional occult investigator in the Philippines and has contributed to Mysterium GMA. In America it’s roughly similar to what happens on Paranormal State with less Chip Coffey finding spirits of little boys everywhere. The episodes are a mix of tagalong and english so I really have no idea what’s going on.

The book itself starts out with a comprehensive who’s-who of the possible ailments. While in America we just have “ghosts”, Rubin’s book covers everything from maligned psychics to rogue occultists. While not everyone might agree on the classifications, the book itself is comprehensive and devotes enough time to each topic to cover it fully. The second part of the book covers briefly methods for identifying whats actually at work. This section sort of reads like a lot of DuQuette’s work where things are explained enough to get started but leaves enough room to fill in the details with your personal flare. The final part of the book is actually what you can do to protect yourself if you’re so inclined. People will recognize the LBRP here and be surprised at the inclusion of some voodoo sort of work. To Americans, this is going to be an interesting take on the culture combination.

If you’re interested in Ghost Hunters or Paranormal State in the American market but wish the programs had more depth to what actually goes on, this is the book for you.

The Party of God

This is one of these things which is righteous and interesting, but not for the reasons I think people bandy it around for. The Republican convention had a Seikh open with a prayer.

Think about that for a moment – that is a huge gesture. The prayer wasn’t Christianized either, it was probably how a seikh would pray. (I suspect most seikhs meditate, but whatever). The detraction is “Oh ok that’s a nice gesture, because that temple just got shot up”. No it’s much bigger than that, it’s the problems the Democrats have had for the longest time. The Republicans have the three Gs cornered (Gold, God, Guns). When you ask what the Democrats have in terms of religion – well, they don’t. Dolan is offering the closing prayer but frankly he should have told both parties to go fuck themselves with the moderate stance on abortion. Biden is anti-abortion, but being VP it doesn’t really matter. Romney is a rule-of-law person (he has to be since he lives and dies by tax code) so he’s a RvW guy. Both of these positions are offensive to the Catholic church. The Mormons go slightly easier on the topic and say:

In 1973, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement regarding abortion, which is still applicable today:

The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

That’s a fairly centrist position as far as the religious go. But it’s also an important point: Romney is a Mormon.

What the Republicans are doing, very clandestinely, is becoming not the party of Christ, but the party of the spiritual. Some of them might even be religious. Sure there’s going to be fringe objections to this – the Republicans have to deal with the collapse and re-integration of the Tea Party the same way the Democrats have to deal with their fringe Green elements – but they split off before and they can split off again. From the sound of the Ron Paul supporters at the RNC, I suspect it’ll happen. That being said, we’re actually watching an interesting paradigm shift. Will the elections after this one be held on spiritual grounds rather than economics?

Update – Now With Video:

Lodges

This weekend was busy. The sink upstairs had the pinhole leak go from a small drip when you run both taps to spraying water all over. To add insult to injury, the trap was rusted out and I broke off the collar which supports the trap because of the rust. The new trap uses compression fittings and putty to hold it on, after I cut the old trap off. That really set the tone for the weekend. There’s design philosophy here – good people can engineer, great people can repair.

I’ve been interested in joining the OTO just to see what it’s about. I’ve been stalking them online and the publications are generally thought provoking even if you can’t jive with what they’re saying. I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago and the question was, “Why did you have children? What’s the reward?” Well, I had children because I enjoy bareback sex, and there’s consequences! What’s the reward is a lot harder to quantify and I had to meditate on the topic for a minute.

The reward (and challenge) to children is they force you to take a long hard look at your life and moral fabric. There’s plenty of children bred out of lust and they’re bred for welfare paychecks and similar ignoble means and ends. It’s sad, really, and it speaks volumes towards the moral quality of the parent. So what happens when we’re actually interested in raising kids? One ends up thinking about the nature of war and poverty in addition to the joys of untempered discovery and inquisition. What do we tell our children of the problems in Africa and the Middle East? How do we raise children to be tolerant but also stand up for themselves? What is the definition of “polite” when it comes to inquiring about why someone might be handicapped or transgendered? You can tell more about the person under the facade they put forth by their children then thousands of blog posts from them on the web. We’ve confounded the problem with soft identity. Do we really know the people that we meet, on the street, each day?

That being said in order to “beta test” the process I’ve decided that finding a place to have moral discussion which isn’t the standard facebook bumper sticker braindead crap was to throw myself headlong into mixing up my real life circles of friends and joining a place people do have discussions about kids. The irony isn’t lost on me – Crowley thought the average voter was a moron and the lodges have enough progressive morality that gays are overrepresented in the population. The gay population doesn’t bother me but it has the same problem other churches have where either gays are under-represented or over-represented. A gay couple with a kid is a rare bird.

I found the Xanadu Oasis first, OTO bodies are camps, oasises, or lodges. We met at Craft Ale House and had a few beers. What was supposed to be a half hour meeting turned into a two hour discussion, Darryl is a nice guy and came along with a woman who’s name I didn’t catch. She didn’t speak too too much. They typically operate out of people’s houses and host, so it’s a bit like a coffeehouse without the coffee. The big plus for me is that it’s a smaller group and Darryl is an approachable guy who’s knowledgeable to boot. He’s got degrees in psychology and nursing so he’s educated and well spoken. I will probably try to hang out with these guys more.

In contrast I also managed to get the guys at Thelesis to mail me back. The problem with Thelesis is the building isn’t accessible and mostly a jumble of rooms. Howard, the guy in charge, can’t seem to delegate and while the people attending the meeting were friendly and outgoing, trying to get a foot in the door (literally) was an effort in trying to contact them and then trying to wring a response out. If you’re new to the whole thing, little time is spent going over the motions of the mass and I got all of 10 seconds to try to incorporate it. Frankly, it’s not enough. To further add insult to injury someone apparently can’t let things just flow and has to conduct it again this coming weekend. Two in a month? Someone apparently is butthurt about how things went and it’s an unpleasant current. It seems like it runs well enough under the hood so I will probably be back but it’s not newbie friendly. More on the point I suspect at some point this attitude will breed contempt and it’s a bit like sitting on the grenade.

So finally the crux of the topic – I really don’t think Crowley is the be all and end all of these things and I tend to worry people take it way too seriously. The kabalah is completely neglected in favor of chakras, for instance. If you’re saying “Wait, these don’t line up nicely”, you’re correct and I think it’s to the detriment of the practice. However, what is anyone to do? Putting “golden dawn” into google maps results in a bunch of diners rather than lodges and I think the GD is probably dead in the united states (blog readers – prove me wrong). So, I’ll take what I can get for my particular worldview at this time and we’ll see where it goes from there.