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.


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.

Music: Lon Milo DuQuette’s “I’m Baba Lon”

If you’re on the fence about buying the music, the two second verdict is that it’s worth a buy. Also until midnight Friday, artists get 100% of the sales if you buy the music through CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lonmiloduquette

If people are worried about the production values of the MP3s, don’t be. We’ve all bought (usually pop) music where the MP3s sound like crap and they’re grossly squared. There’s none of that here. The guitar sounds properly mic’ed and it isn’t muddy, it’s got just a hint of separation which gives it nice depth and texture. The rest of the instruments sound nicely layered and it’s obvious DuQuette cared about the production of the CD just as much as the music.

The checkout process from CDBaby is painless and you can use paypal. It lets you link social network accounts but it’s not obvious why. You get your receipt from cdbaby, a receipt from paypal (if used) and a courtesy note about gnomes asking you to reply if you find any problems with your download. Slightly weird, but it’s actually a customer service note. The big question – can you download it again? The answer is “yes”. Sign into your account on another device and your download link is there again under “digital downloads”.

The overall feel of the CD is interesting, it’s somewhere between blues and country with a small pinch of southern jazz. A slide guitar provides the country, blues licks give some of the songs a bluesy feel, the jazz comes from a plucked bass. Sometimes you can wander around the house and have the music on in the background but the music will reward a better listen. “Last Night I Dreamed of Dead People” in particular has some witty parts which are easy to miss if the music is just put on in the background. “Cold Lips of Paper” also stands out as being a slightly different feel, the whole CD is without reverb but on Cold Lips it’s present and it gives it a nice, soft feel. “Caffe Vivaldi” is probably my favorite track on the entire album, it’s sort of a who’s-who of occultism and has plenty of puns.

What’s the topic of the CD? I almost feel like it’s an autobiographical work. Lon works magical topics in there to get back to his roots, but there’s a lot more in there about life in general. There’s romance, drinking too much, and human fault. If you’ve read his books, it’s the same tone in Low Magic and other works of his which tell stories. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to have him make a Low Magic musical. It would amuse me greatly. Lon does a great job of getting the listener to empathize with him, and through empathy with him we can approach empathy with other topics he presents. As a storyteller, Lon is in his element and the CD is just top notch.

Lon’s voice is fantastic throughout and his sense of timing also lends some of the songs a loose but fun feel. It almost feels like a live performance in places.

About the only criticism I can muster is that the tracks run together almost too easily. The sound is nice and meandering but a change of key or instrumentation would be appreciated. It happens for some of the tracks – “Miss Harlow” has a lovely string section – but this is a common gripe in the soloist genre and not a huge fault for a guy who only passingly mentioned guitar lessons as something to pay the bills in his books. Miss Harlow also has a neat phonograph noise at the beginning and end of the track along with a spoken word section.

The secret track “Shem” is another spoken word track, with a nice guitar background. It sounds like it could fit comfortably in The Chicken Qabalah. It’s a nice way to end the disc.

So is it perfect? No, but music rarely is. Some of the songs might run together but Lon’s storytelling is really the showpiece of this work. Is it a great effort and worth the $9? Totally. Buy it from CDBaby before Friday and Lon even gets to keep all 999 pennies.

Obamacare Part 2: Divination and Oracles

Obamacare was announced today (June 28th, 2012) at about 9:15am.

Incidentally those guys let you chart for free, which makes this really fun to play with. I linked to the chart, which includes basic interpretation of the chart. I don’t pretend to know anything about this topic, so I just read the chart and pretended the announcement was the “birthday” of the bill. It doesn’t always make sense but I’m sure other people on the blogroll will figure it out.

Single Rune Draw: Laguz

Talk about meaning, I normally hate the single rune draw but this time was neat. Laguz is two things: Water and leeks. Water of course represents life energy (healthcare) and the leek is medicinal. In typical runic fashion the first throw is typically the topic.

Single Cart Draw (WR Deck): Seven of Cups

“Wishful thinking, inability to make up ones mind, illusions, deception, cloudy thinking. May signify the danger of making a rash decision without thinking things through”. I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

Element: Water

Planet: Venus

Chakras: Second, Third

Color: Blue

Hexagram: 29

I think it’s particularly important to pay attention to the things which are obvious or overlap. Blue is also the color of Jupiter, certainly this is a literal goldmine for health insurance companies. Venus represents women (dur) and the water jives with the rune draw above. The hexagram would indicate a negative influence, so I am inclined to believe everyone’s health is going to suffer here.

Single Card Draw (Thoth Deck): Death (You’re doing it right when you say “I can’t make this stuff up”).

Sign: Scorpio

Planet: Mars (Pluto exalted)

Hebrew Letter: Nun (fish)

Tree of Life Path: 24 = 6, beauty to victory

Color: Green

Hexagram: 59 (I had to look this up)

I used the LMD book on the Thoth deck for the attributions. In typical “look for signposts” fashion that I like, I want some transition between the elements. The rune is water, the first card is Water, the next card is Fish. This typically seems to me like we’re on the right track for Making of the Key sort of work.

The scorpion typically represents suicide and putrefaction, while the eagle represents the sublime element and the potential for rebirth.

The quick reference says: “transformation, change, voluntary or involuntary. In either case the logical development of existing conditions, perhaps sudden or unexpected. Apparent death or destruction, but this is an illusion”.

Celtic Cross (WR Deck):

I know this isn’t the traditional use of this spread. Therefor I’m eschewing traditional interpretation and just looking at what’s present.

Stupid amounts of cups is present, which means emotions run high.

Pantacles are present next, which means security and resources are important.

Threes and Tens are present which means this is something new, this also means this is in it’s concluding stages.

Two kings, which means leadership. The two kings are upright, which would indicate standing together. This probably indicates the Government and the Court.

Finally the two elements split almost evenly in these cards are earth and water. (Green and Blue).

I Screw With Tarot Spread (Thoth Deck):

A spread I made up. Its decently good at describing the heart of the matter similar to the celtic cross.

The heart of the matter: The defeat of the emperor.

The unprepared emperor charged into the matter motivated by secret design. He becomes the empress and has a change of heart to be governed by love and unification. The existing government is destroyed, success is lost because the emperor is far too concerned with luxury than love.

My interpretation is this is going to be the end of the incumbent. He thinks he’s motivated by love, he thinks he has success, but what he’s done is traded comfort for his own future due to his own rash action. The signs are completely screwed up in this one but it tends to be dominated slightly more by fire than water and earth. The people are going to feel loved but if we look at how he enjoys his life and victory they will realize they are less equal and loved than they want. This brings destruction.

If he does somehow win the election, he’s going to be totally different.

Note that I’m kicking myself here for not taking at least a picture of the spreads. Also I favor the thoth deck.

Rune Spread:

I used my standard method. It’s worth noting that mannaz and ehwaz were off the cloth, but together, overlapping and upright. This generally means womens advancement isn’t going to be stellar under this program.

The spread came out with the typical clumps it usually does to indicate a topic and outliers. The rune closest to me (the individual) was Laguz again. This means for the individual things are uncertain about health and such.

Soliow is off to the left, it indicates a past, waning success in this issue. The bill passed.

I have three groups which make up the heart of the issue:

Group 1: Kenaz, Jeru, Berkano – If you’re a pregnant woman, great! This bill is for you! While women in general won’t get much advancement, women who are pregnant are going to do better here and play a key role in this legislation.

Group 2: Eihwaz (not ehwaz), wunjo, thurisaz – This is the “dude rune”. If you’re a guy and you’re providing support for your family, this rune set is for you. The other half of the foundation here is the burden of your insurance obligation is lifted.

Group 3: Isa, Urez, Ansuz – This is the top of the triangle, or what this all comes out to be. Isa in a group is about the only time I read a group negatively. Of course, it’s present in group 3. In fact if I didn’t think I had three groups with two outlying factors I would put isa at the heart of the matter but I don’t think it’s the overarching theme here from experience. Basically all insight, communication, learning and love go out the window here. Labor is lost, endless work is lost. While it’s a victory for the individuals, overall progress is damaged, frozen or reversed.

Conclusion: There’s a theme here. One of the things I look for in divination is a theme to link the last phase to the current one. The idea is that if we’re doing it right, it paints an interconnected picture. I get suspect when I can’t link things together. I think this particular question had a strong theme.

Obamacare is either the death of Obama’s political career or it’s the end of Obama as we know it. I definitely see it working well for individuals and families but being terrible for the current political establishment. If Obama does seek re-election and he is re-elected, he’s going to be completely different. If Romney is elected (I personally think he will) I think he will make it a point to be completely different. I feel individuals will actually do well under it – something I actually argued against on my mundane blog post. That’s the other reason why divination is interesting: you might not always be right. Finally I think the benefits extend to families too both literally and figuratively. As for the nation, the top card in my spread was The Tower. Specifically it’s ending success and luxury.

Post your own interpretation or better yet get those stones and get crackin!