Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Litany of Humility

Throughout the week I feel a consistent urge to blog. Surprisingly I have found it to be a wonderful outlet for thoughts that like to incessantly poke at my consciousness...I say surprising because until my foray into the blogosphere I never thought of myself as a writer, and now I see the real joy behind it. Unfortunatly, I do not have the time to keep up with it the way that I wish to so I have come up with a compromise for myself. Instead of taking the hour or so to craft a blog whenever I have an idea to get off my chest, I will do what I do now, and do so when I have the time. But to fulfill my urge I will more frequently post excerpts from books, grimoires, or papers that I am researching at the time (that's what I have to spend the majority of my free time doing, since I teach). This way you can see more often where my brainpower is being focused, and I can feel what I am beginning to understand is a writer's need to release to some degree all the thoughts that swirl around in their head.

Right now I am loving the "Litany of Humility".This Litany is Christ centered, but I believe it can be altered for those who are not studying the Christian Mysteries. I personally have found that practicing humility in the occult sciences is not only necessary for keeping one's head in check when surrounded by such powerful energies, but helps one to become closer to the Divine, and bestows greater power to the magician(something that I will expound upon in a full length blog)

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Isis Invocation Video Posted to YouTube

A new video has been posted on youtube giving a glimpse of some of the Isis Rituals we have preformed throughout our Temples...truly amazing. I look foward to the Isis Invocations every year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mNcTh0Gqrg&feature=fvsr

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Overcoming Doubt During Times of Spiritual Pain

All who have followed a spiritual path have doubted their purpose, their work, themselves and even the Divine at one time or another. Even the holiest of people like Mother Theresa, the Apostles, and Christ himself expressed doubt during times of great duress. Doubt invokes one’s trust in the material faculty of the intellect in order to pull us out of the spiritual realm and back into the comfort of our ego and that which we find to be more pleasing and familiar. During times of great trial it is natural for us to experience what psychologists term “fight or flight” in order to return to a state of where psychological and physical pain does not exist. Doubt is a sister of fear, and fear as we all know, is failure. Conversely, “courage is the beginning of virtue”. Thus doubt is the attack that is used to turn the gaze of the spiritual man from the Will of the Divine to the will of the self.

We first see the serpent in the Garden of Eden use doubt to tempt Eve. He says “Did God really say that you must not eat from any tree in the Garden?” Eve responds,

"We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

What we are witnessing here is the first suggestion of disunity, division, and incongruence. For that is the only goal of a negative entity…to bring disharmony between one and the Spirit. Mental constructs which come from outside of the self are widely reconized in mystical and spiritual traditions throughout the world. At first one heartily believes that in fact they do originate with the self, but as one grows deeper in the knowledge of their inner landscape they begin to recognize which thoughts originate with them and which do not. As an example, can you think of a time when you suddenly had a thought and said “That’s not like me” or “Why would I think such a thing?” this is an experience of realizing that a thought did not come from your true nature.

One practice of the monks who reside on Mt. Athos is to delineate their thoughts in terms of what expresses love, virtue, godliness, trust, humility, sacrifice, unity, obedience, forgiveness, and chastity vs. what thoughts express non-unity, selfishness, pride, judgment, intolerance, and non-forgiveness. Thus when the latter thoughts come up they first stop and analyze where the thoughts are coming from, do they originate with their own lower natures or are they from outside the self completely? Then they contemplate them, and analyze them to find how these thoughts are attaching themselves to the ego, for as a negative thought is the bullet, the ego most assuredly is the gun, allowing the thought to deeply wound us. For how would doubt cause its trouble if our ego were not attached to certain beliefs, ideas, or opinions?

How then can we defend ourselves against it?

1. Practice Non-Attachment. This is a called santosa in Sanskrit and is widely practice in various eastern and western mystical traditions, as it helps one to not only quench the ego and to turn away from material desires but also to recognize the different aspects of one’s inner landscape. One can practice non-attachment in meditation by bringing the awareness back again and again to the breath or a certain part of the body should the mind wander and wish to attach itself to a thought..this is a subtle form of practice. Or one can practice non-attachment in life, by recognizing when one is in disagreement with something, then turning one’s attention to the ego to release it. I have found that saying “Thank you God, thank you for this trial” allows the vice grip of the thought to be overcome by humility and love.

2. Gratitude: it is often easier to focus on that which seems negative, in fact it is easier to focus on the negative than on the positive because until we reach higher degrees of spiritual development we are closer to our lower nature than our higher selves. We are closer to our egos and our evil persona, closer to the Nephesh and the things that make us want to focus on the self. Being grateful for what we have and what has been accomplished can fight off negative thought senders because gratitude is a brother of humility, the greatest defense against all attack. The strongest example of this is in Luke 4: 1-13 when Jesus was tempted in the desert (I would argue this was the greatest attempt at spiritual attack that was ever launched in the history of mankind). Each time Jesus was tempted, he overcame the Devil with humility…every time.

3. Look at the trend of things. If we look at our recent history it would be easy to think that we have not made much progress, but if one looks at the trend of progress over the years we can see that great changes have occurred. For example, I might look back on the last year and think that I haven’t changed much, and see that there is much to do…but if I look at the trend over the past ten years, I see that I am drastically different and much farther along on my path. The same thing holds true for spiritual groups and those in it. Although you may think that not much change has occurred look at all the things that have happened over the years, the people that were helped, the Temples that were built, the lessons learned, the growth that occurred…using this technique can quickly quell the temptation of doubt in your path.

4. Communication: More times than not, your personal opinion or relationship with another brother or sister will be the chosen by outside forces to cause you to doubt your path. How many times have we heard ourselves say “If this person were a spiritual person he/she would not behave this way?’ “If this were a real spiritual group this would not be happening.” A spiritual group is not meant to be a feel good club that you go to after a hard days work…it is meant to be a venue of transformation, a place where you learn about yourself, your weaknesses and your path. Everyone who involved is undergoing many tests, and trials as well as accomplishments and progress. A spiritual group is a veritable alchemical alembic in itself with all the processes that go along with it. Thus, it is imperative to communicate openly and honestly with your brothers or sisters for there may be many un-thought of explanations for the behavior which offended you. Can you think of a time when you wished you had been consulted on a problem before judged or wished you could have explained yourself better….things are not always as they seem and where there is darkness in understanding so is there also a fertile field of distrust. You can never over- communicate.

5. Forgiveness: There will be a time when everyone makes a mistake…maybe many mistakes, and these mistakes will open up the doorway for a great deal of doubt. We may even get angry, but at some point we must forgive. For a lack of forgiveness will allow for a an intense poison to set in to the mind, one that will let a flood of thought-senders in over and over and over again, torturing us until we run as fast as we can from our path. But forgiveness is a great virtue of Spirit. Forgiving as our Lord so forgives us brings us closer to Him, and is this not what we desire so deeply? To be closer to our Master? Mathers says, “Be not hasty to condemn another’s sin. How knowest thou that in his place thou would have resisted the temptation? And even were it so, why shouldst thou despise one who is weaker than thyself? Be thou well sure of this, that in slander and self-righteousness is sin. Pardon therefore the sinner, but encourage not the sin. The Master condemned not the adulterous woman, but neither did he encourage her to commit sin” (On the General Guidance and Purification of the Soul 3=8)

6. Writings of Saints, and other Spiritual Leaders- Taking the time to read the writings of Saints, Masters, and other people whom we look up to can give us examples of the proper way to handle a situation, for none of these people reached such high levels of spiritual status without undergoing great trials themselves. Writings which are particularly helpful during times when one is being mentally attacked are The Imitation of Christ, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, the essay “On the General Guidance and Purification of the Soul’, “The Litany of Humility”, The Bagavadgita, The Mountain of Silence, and The Dammapada

No path can ever be completed if one leaves it, and no path of purification is ever easy although its rewards are great. Quit the night and seek the Day!

Nosce Te Ipsum

FSO

p.s. check out a new blog written by my fellow brother and friend "Tales of Abiegnus" : Lessons in the Hermetic Arts in the style of tale and discourse!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Golden Dawn Interview With Samuel Scarborough

This interview will be the first in a series of dialogues with members of the Golden Dawn community. The goal of these will be to give those seeking or interested in this path an idea of what the Golden Dawn is truthfully. I hope that my readers will not only enjoy hearing about the experiences of Golden Dawn magicians, but will learn more about the true nature of the Great Work; its benefits, its pitfalls, and its magnificence.



Today I am presenting my interview with Samuel Scarborough. He is a contributing editor for the "Journal of Western Mystery Tradition" and also writes for the magazine "Hermetic Virtues". A senior member of the Ordo Stella Matutina, a modern Golden Dawn order that carries on the work of the original Stella Matutina, he currently resides in North Carolina. His esoteric interests lie in both practical and spiritual alchemy, tarot, astrology, Golden Dawn, Qabalah, ritual magick, and Hermetisim.


My personal experience with Sam is of a man who is not only kind and generous, but absolutely knowledgeable in his craft. Not only does he have a firm understanding of the Golden Dawn, but he also exudes its true nature in his attitude about life and in his correspondence with others. Unfortunately, this interview is only a small sample of what he has to offer the community but I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed making his acquaintance. So, without further ado...



Golden Dawn Interview With Sam Scarborough


FSO: How would you describe spiritual growth in the GD system?


SS: Like the growth of a tree. Slow and steady. The seeds for spiritual growth are planted in the very first ritual work and studying the First Knowledge Lecture. It slowly grows as you do the Work and advance through the grades. Doing the Work and fully integrating the energies that are raised from the initiations and work nurtures that first seed in my opinion.


FSO: When you first began studying the Golden Dawn were there certain changes in personal growth that you expected to see? Where these accomplished? If so, how quickly after being initiated?


SS: There were changes that I expected to see, but in the beginning I was a bit na├»ve and had lots of preconceived ideas about what I should expect. I thought that I could summon wind, control the physical elements, and other things which were a bit “Hollywoodisms”. Eventually, I learned that those sorts of things were not what the Work was truly about. It was about balancing out those parts of yourself so that you are more balanced and can draw closer to your own Divine Nature. Once I got this through my head, I began to see that I needed to work on things like being lazy, or daydreaming too much, or a volatile temper.

Over time and with very hard, diligent work through the Outer Order Grades I slowly began to fully integrate the positive aspects of the various elements into myself, and began to overcome being lazy, daydreaming too much, etc.
I did wind up overcoming lots of those shortcomings once I had identified them, but have found that it is a continuing job to keep them up and deal with the new issues that arise from doing the Work within the Golden Dawn.

None of those negative traits of laziness, daydreaming, or temper just “magically” disappeared because I had been initiated – instead I had to work at overcoming them as they were brought to my conscious attention through the grade material and the energies of the initiations themselves. In fact, I find that I must constantly work on myself to improve, plus the longer that I do the Work the more new issues arise that have to be worked through and overcome. There has been no set time frame from initiation to overcoming a negative trait for me and I presume that it is a different time frame for each person that works through the Golden Dawn System.

FSO: LOL. Well outside of not being able to shoot fire balls have you had what can be described as “peak experiences” of consciousness while doing magic or as an effect of magic, for example unified consciousness, one-pointed awareness, out of body experiences, levitation, etc…if so could you please describe a meaningful one? Have you found these to be common within people who study magic and the Golden Dawn?


SS: When it comes to my personal Work I mostly adhere to the concept of Tacere – "to be Silent" – in relation to it, but I have had a couple experiences of heightened consciousness from performance of specific rituals and to some degree in acting as an officer for initiations.

One experience that I will share though came about when performing the Middle Pillar Exercise with a full "Circulation of the Body of Light". I had been performing the "Four-fold Breath" in preparation to performing the "Middle Pillar". I began the visualizations and appropriate vibrations (vibrating the Divine Name as many times as there are Hebrew letters in the Name). I went through the whole "Middle Pillar" and then began the "Circulation of the Body of Light".
During the final “fountain” portion of the "Circulation of the Body of Light" I had this experience of snapping away from my body through my Kether-Galgalim and rising above the shower of light towards that infinite point far above myself. It was exceedingly peaceful and very comfortable – almost as if I belonged there rather than in my own body. The moment seemed to last forever as I lost track of time and to some degree, of space. Luckily at some point I sat down or else I think I would have fallen down in my ritual space. In any event I finally returned to myself feeling more relaxed and calm (peaceful) and realized that an hour and a half had passed since I had started the Middle Pillar.

In my experience there are a lot of moments similar to what I described above. Everyone experiences something at some point in their Work, especially if they are diligent and sincere in what they are doing. I do not think mine is a common experience, but things similar occur for a sizable portion of those doing the Work to not be “uncommon” at least.


FSO: Are there any particular techniques in the system that you believe are absolutely necessary to master for personal and spiritual growth?


SS: The "Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram", meditation, and the "Middle Pillar" ritual are absolutely essential elements that need to be mastered for personal and spiritual growth. I am not talking about just blindly following the material and just performing these things, I am talking about in reality experiencing these rituals and meditations; making a genuine connection with the forces that are generated through the performance of these. Couple with these a full understanding what these basic rituals and meditations do, and you will be well on the way to mastering yourself and growing in a positive manner.

FSO: What types of personal changes should someone expect to see when learning the Golden Dawn tradition?

SS: This is something of a loaded question. In a lot of ways this sort of question can set up preconceived ideas of what to expect and when certain things should occur from working the Golden Dawn system. There are some things though that everyone who is looking at beginning to work in the Golden Dawn system should realize, and this is that there is a lot of hard work. Like anything else, the more you commit to doing the work and actually do the work as outlined, the bigger the rewards will be. Hopefully, through doing the various exercises and grade work, a person should balance out most (if not all) of those negative traits that they do not like about themselves. This takes serious, hard work to accomplish though. In addition, the energies generated from the initiations and the work will need to be fully integrated into yourself. Again, this takes hard work, but the Golden Dawn system provides a solid framework to accomplish this sort of thing.

FSO: It seems many mystical traditions throughout the world have similarities in mystical experiences, as well as ones that are primarily within their tradition…how would you describe the spiritual experience of the Golden Dawn?

SS: The spiritual experience for me within the Golden Dawn has been one of slow illumination and self examination. The symbol set that is used within the Golden Dawn helps to fully integrate the specific energies into the Self- this is especially true during the Elemental Grades in the Outer Order. The principle thing is that each of the Elemental Energies from the Outer Order Grades must be fully incorporated into a person’s sphere of sensation. Once they are incorporated, then the person must balance these forces out so as to achieve equilibrium. This process is rather alchemical in nature, particularly in the spiritual sense (that is through mediation and working with the diagrams and symbols related to a particular grade ) rather than from practical alchemical means (the use of a physical laboratory to produce results in flasks, etc.).


FSO: What have you found the biggest pitfall in the Great Work and what advice do you have to give about overcoming it?

SS: There are several big pitfalls in working towards the Great Work. Taking yourself too seriously is obviously one. The Great Work is serious business and the Work is hard, but that does not mean that you have to think of yourself as always right or not laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. And make a mistake we all do, since we are still human and prone to making them. Take the time to enjoy life and your mistakes. Laugh at yourself, especially when you start taking yourself too seriously. You are not the center of the universe and you are not yet god.

Ego is the other seriously big pitfall that plagues those that are striving towards the Great Work. To begin with a magician (a person doing the Great Work) needs a strong ego just to try to reunite with the Divine. The problem is that too many of us doing the Great Work have strong egos that are not balanced but which run rampant. Many people fall into this trap of being “right” or having such-and-such title or degree, or that because we have such-and-such degree, we obviously know more and thus must be correct.

My biggest advice is to try your best to maintain a healthy balanced ego. Learn how to moderate yourself and to examine all your words and actions to see if they are egotistical. Also, go get therapy from a professional therapist or psychologist. Things come up in the course of the Work that you may miss that may feed our egos or other aspects that we are working on through the grade material. It helps to have an unbiased professional to advise you through those trouble spots and to keep us grounded.

Another piece of advice is to work with a solid group of well grounded magicians – a local temple or Order that has members that are rooted in common sense.


FSO: Some people believe the Golden Dawn can be tailored to anyone, do you believe it is for everyone, or do you think it is really for the niche, ceremonial magician?

SS: I am something of an elitist. I believe that the Golden Dawn is not for everyone, anymore than Wicca or Witchcraft is for everyone. Certain people will be drawn to either a more ceremonial approach to magic and theurgy or they will be drawn to something else.
The Hermetic Tradition, which the Golden Dawn is certainly a modern manifestation really lends itself to those more interested in ceremonial magic and theurgy.

FSO: What do you think is the current state of the tradition? How would you describe the climate? Do you think that it is really just a lot of in-fighting as the Internet makes it seem, or do you think that the Internet does not represent what it really going on in the community as a whole?

SS: Personally, I think that the current state of the Golden Dawn tradition is one of growth. The overall system has grown tremendously in the last 120 years, and with various modern Orders putting their own spin on the traditional material, the system can only grow.

The Climate in the Golden Dawn Community is one of guarded work in my opinion. There are several serious Golden Dawn Orders around the world that communicate and get along, even share some material, but there are outside forces that constantly threaten the overall Golden Dawn Community. Many of these outside forces claim that they represent the Golden Dawn or the Golden Dawn Community as a whole, but they are really on the outside looking in trying to tear apart something they do not wholly comprehend. Because of these outsiders, the other serious groups are very cautious in their dealings with others within the Golden Dawn Community.

The apparent “in-fighting” that is routinely seen on the Internet does not accurately portray what is going on in the overall Golden Dawn Community. This “in-fighting” is brought on by a few bad apples, as it were, that do not represent the overall community, but they certainly tarnish the rest of the community by their words and actions.

The Internet is a great tool, especially for magicians to share information, talk, and network amongst themselves. It is this that is overshadowed by the bickering and “in-fighting” that is more often seen publicly. There is more communication behind the scenes than the average person really sees on the Internet. Various members from several Orders communicate and network sharing and just talking among them. This is not just the average member of an Order, but also senior Adepti and even the various Chiefs of the Orders communicating.

FSO: Is there anything that you personally would like to express to the community? Any advice, words of wisdom, anything that you have always thought it was important for people to know?

SS: The only advice I have is to be fraternal with each other. Sure we can disagree on various points of doing the work of the Golden Dawn System, but do so without becoming person in the debate. Remember that all of us had to start some where nothing was fully formed at the beginning in doing this Work.
Do the Work. Be diligent, be discriminating in your choices and actions, and take responsibility for your words and actions, but be fraternal to those whom are doing the Work in another Order within the Golden Dawn Tradition as well as those that are in your own Temple and Order, after all we are all doing similar grade work and striving towards the same goal in the Magnum Opus.
Try to live up to the Hermetic maxim of Scire, Velle, Audere, Tacere (To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Golden Dawn Magician's Diet

Recently there was a post on the Golden Dawn World Wide Forum concerning the importance of diet in a magician's path. Since this is a topic that seems to come up on a fairly regular basis (especially since we in the U.S. are finally starting to get on the health-kick) I thought I would re-post my reply to the gentleman here. My comments are based on my years spent as a yoga teacher and how I melded it with the energies surrounding magic and the beliefs of Rosicrucianism.

It is an eternal debate within spiritual circles, how do we treat the body? Should it be ignored as and all our intention on the spiritual realm, should we keep it strong as a way to help us maintain focus on our studies and practices, is the answer somewhere in between, or does it really not matter at all? After having studied a wide breadth of spiritual traditions around the world, what I have found is that the answer to this question solely depends upon the tradition and the focus of its practices.

In Kabbalah we use the Tree of Life as the map of the universe and as our guide on how to return to the Divine. If we study the correspondences on the Tree of Life we will find that Malkuth is associated with the Gu'ph or physical body and the material world. However, it is also associated with the Shekinah aka the presence of God. Our physical bodies act as the temple which houses our consciousness as well as that which expresses the presence of God within us. Here she continually strives to be connected to her bridegroom the Spirit so that it can be manifested in the world. Therefore in the Kabbalistic tradition, the body takes on an important role, however due to our need to overcome the physical realm when astrally projecting, traveling in the spirit vision or in spiritual goal of not being attached to those things which are not of the spirit, it is essential in the path of a magician learns to take on a special attitude about the body. It cannot be overly exulted through vanity or gluttony nor overly emaciated through intense fasting.

Although intense fasting is this is a tool used in many traditions, it has limited use in the nature of magic. Whereas in the internal traditions (Buddhism, Vedanta, Sufism, etc.) , fasting is key in purification and in overcoming the desires of the body so that one's consciousness can be solely focused on in meditation, breathing techniques, and sense-withdrawal this does not work for the magician. Magic is expressive rather than internal and the magician must be strong enough to deal with banishing forces in the Temple, controlling and directing one's Will and other energetic forces so maintaining a balanced and strong constitution is key. Keeping your body clean from impurities helps the energy to flow more freely as it allows that which reflects the Light within to be less weighed down, but making sure to keep your body strong and vital will help with things such as long skrying sessions, healing work, banishing rituals... essentially any work the magician seeks to do, as one is raising and maintaining power.

In comparison, using fasting from time to time can help when you are doing astral work or engaging in a Vigil as in those instances overcoming the pull of the physical body becomes either needed or symbolic. As a magician it is your goal to find what works best for you as we are all our own expression of the Divine. Magic is an art, and after the rubrics have been learned and mastered it is that aspect of being an Art which denotes that you must now take these rubrics to express the Work properly within you. What works for some does not always work for others, and having a cookie-cutter diet or practice is more like training wheels for someone who is learning to become more adept at knowing their body or spirit. However, Here are some suggestions that might help you on your magical journey.

1. Keep a food diary- write down what you ate, the quantity, and how it made you feel afterwards, also right down your energy level. In magic, energy is currency...so try to pinpoint what foods give you the most energy and which make you feel weighed down, lethargic, or ill. I guarantee there are many foods which may not be compatible with your body, but which you may not realize since we pay so little attention to our body in this culture, eating in front of the t.v., while talking, or working on a project.

2. Experiment with foods for ritual. For example if you are working with Mars eat some red meat before hand, Mercury- fish, doing a Vigil-fast, Jupiter- fruits and nuts. Look up correspondences in magical manuals or commune with angelic beings to figure out what will empower your magic the most.

3. Combine your diet with exercise. Purifying your body by adding heat helps to clean out the deeper energy channels. Don't exercise to exhaustion, this actually depletes the body of energy reserves and nutrients (remember energy is our currency and must be protected)...exercise until you feel as if you've just pushed past what you feel comfortable with then stop,this will build your endurance slowly overtime. (yes, that may mean over-coming the ego and not training "as hard" as others) When you are done exercising you should feel energized not depleted. Trust me, I was training for a triathlon for awhile and going into the Temple after you have wasted yourself at the gym does you no good.

4. Oil massage- this is something that I learned while studying Ayurveda and I still practice it, it's called abyanga. Its not magical and its not a part of the Golden Dawn..but I love it. Get some organic sesame oil or olive oil, cure it by heating it to 212 degrees, let it cool, then store in a glass, not plastic container. Massage your body focusing on your hands, feet, and scalp (I massage my scalp without oil) then take a hot shower...the oil helps to flush toxins out of the body and calm the vata dosha (air) which I have found is often out of balance in magicians... plus its a super relaxing way to start the day! I only take about five minutes to do it..but I really focus on how it feels and visualize the energy channels opening and the toxins leaving my body.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Heart the Golden Dawn!

Compared to my other blogs this one may seem a little bit more informal...the reason being that I would like to express something from my heart and my life experience rather than my intellect.

If one were to judge the Golden Dawn by the internet alone, really, who would join? Seemingly it is one negative comment after another.

But, I would like those people who read my blog to know that my experience of the Golden Dawn and the experience of many, many, other people is one of joy, growth, love, harmony, self-sacrifice, knowledge, gnosis, prosperity, and fulfillment. I am blessed everyday to be apart of this community, and the only time I ever experience negativity is when I get on the internet, and have to read blogs and posts about how someone is a fake, a cheat, or fill in the blank with some slander. Yes, I have witnessed and experienced the frailty of the human condition in this community and in every community I have ever been apart of... work, gym, church, meditation group, family, Golden Dawn, but how many people in this world have actually reached the status of an ascended Master ? Not many, but there are those who are striving for it every day, and I am lucky enough to see it....everyday! 98% of my Golden Dawn experience is amazing.

I am a proud member of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn. I have lived by two large Temples and now I teach at another blossoming one. Because I found the Golden Dawn I am excited to get out of bed every morning. I am excited about life, and I can't wait to share that with my students, teachers, friends, family, and people I meet on the street. Before I found the Golden Dawn I had gone through a variety of traditions seeking the right path for me. When I was finally initiated into the Golden Dawn I saw more positive changes in the time I went from being a Neophyte to a Zelator than in the year I had spent at the yoga ashram meditating 8 hrs a day. Hmmm..if this path doesn't work, and if the Order I am apart of is a farce...well that's one heck of a placebo effect.

I have found this to be a true path of the Light, and I am sorry for those who have to see all this scandelous trash that is being spewed all over the internet as its only representative. Not only am I enjoying the fruits of its teachings and technique, but so are my students, my brethern, and the people whose lives I have found I can touch through the growth I have experienced here.

I am always blessed to be provided with new stories about how effective and inspirational this path is. Right my favorite inspiration is a student I have who came to the EOGD a few months ago. When I first met him he was already a deeply spiritual person, having an intesive practice everyday. But, he had some issues that he just couldn't seem to get past...years ago, he was held hostage for five hours, shot, and then witnessed his abductor commit suicide. Now, I would be comfortable saying that this would be something that few people would be able to get past their entire life. I would also like to say that if anyone were to be able to do it, it would have been him in the state of elevated consciousness he was in when I met him. But, it was a barrier he just couldn't seem to break through and it took the magic of initiation and only two rituals that he learned in the Neophyte grade for him to finally overcome what he said was the worst experience of his entire life. Amazing. This Work is amazing, and when I see people's lives change dramatically everyday I am continually inspired to continue on in this Work.

Seriously, I don't know what other people are doing, but I'm having a great life and I love the Golden Dawn. I talk to a lot of people in and out of my Order everyday...and they are doing great too! According to our forums and the people who show up to our Power Week event, there are about 3000 people world-wide who are having a great Golden Dawn experience. I think most people who are in the Golden Dawn community are having a great time doing magic, being apart of Temples, learning, teaching, communing with Angels, healing. In fact, most people are probably having such a great time...getting on the internet to talk about is probably the last thing they think about. I'm saying that because I was blogging a few times a week at first and then realized I really missed all the magic I was doing. I would gander to say if someone is spending so much time spewing up crap for you to read and get discouraged about...they probably aren't spending enough time having a great time doing magic and leading a fullfilling life....I'm just saying ;)

Nosce te Ipsum


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Protecting Your Path: Overcoming Spiritual Dissolutionment

Before I began studying the Golden Dawn system I spent many years studying the mystical practices of the world's religious traditions. Oftentimes, when I was particularly interested in a path I would join a corresponding group. From the time I was ten years old I knew my purpose was to become "enlightened" and so with each group and each tradition I strove very hard to immerse myself in it, to learn the techniques, be a good student, and to get to know the core people and teachers of the group. But for many years I kept running into the same disappointment over and over again. First, I would find the group and the teachings very enjoyable and inspirational. I would study night and day and begin to become closer and closer to the core people of each group. But to my dismay, as I drew closer to the group instead of finding people who were centered and enlightened as I had expected, I would find bickering, drama, rumors, and politics. After awhile with each group or organization I would become so disenchanted I would find myself leaving heart-broken and disgusted.


Most of this scenario did not change when I finally found the Golden Dawn, and for those of you who are familiar with it the politics and bickering within the community at large it can be quite a burden at times. However, as I began to feel the same sense of disenchantment wash over me as I witnessed the constant attacks on the Internet or watched the poor behavior of its "leaders" I finally realized something that caused me to break free from my break-ups.

It is not the path that is the problem. These spiritual paths are gold and have everything one needs to enjoy spiritual freedom. But, whenever we become disgusted with the way another person is behaving we are allowing them to become a blockade to our internal treasure. How many times have I heard or said "If this is how someone whose a Christian, Buddhist, Golden Dawner, _____ (fill in the blank with your preferred spiritual path) behaves then it obviously must not work. Ah, but it does...look at the many Masters that have gone before us who have completed the Path and finished The Work. How many people and problems did they have to overcome in order to make that happen? In order to master a path one has to complete the journey, and in order to do that we must free ourselves from the judgment of others and attachment to their behaviors. We can't change them, but we can keep ourselves from allowing them to ruin what we are working so hard for. This, I believe is one of the hardest tests I have seen any initiate overcome.

In a similar vein but on a different subject... something else I understand now that I did not when I was younger is that just because someone wears a sash, has earned a title, is an Adept, or is considered a great teacher does not mean that they as of yet have become perfected. In fact, especially in a mystical school, that individual may be going through harder internal trials then they had previously in their path as they seek to purify themselves on deeper and deeper levels. For those of you who are interested in Alchemy think of the difference between the calcination that one undergoes when creating a tincture vs The Torment of Metals that one endures when creating the Philosophers Stone...the latter being far more intense. The result is that this may cause people to behave in ways that seem unbecoming of their position as they are forced to deal with deeper issues. If this behavior is displayed in front of a younger brother or sister it may cause them to doubt the spiritual work that they have grown to love.



I believe that part of this problem lies in the willingness these days for teachers to be on more familiar terms with their students. It used to be common to keep a professional distance between teachers and students, or as we say in our Order to keep a "strict veil" between the Inner and Outer Order. This I believe to the detriment of spiritual traditions is not so common anymore. My first experience with this was when I was training at a kung-fu school. I remember really looking up to my Sifu (master) as an accomplished person, someone who had overcome great difficulty in order to master himself and his tradition. I studied at the school for about a year, and one night after class I was asked if I would like to go out and have dinner with a few of the members, which included the Sifu and two teachers. When we got to the restaurant they ordered a pitcher of beer. I was shocked, and then I thought, "Well there's nothing wrong with having a few beers". However, the more beers I saw my teachers drink the more uncomfortable I became, and I didn't quite understand why. I realized now that with every beer I watched them drink, my super-heroes...the ones I looked towards for absolute inspiration were becoming more and more human. After that dinner I began to hear about all the underlying drama of the school and it began to cloud everything for me as if I was living in a real-time soap opera. Eventually, I left because I had a hard time learning when I went there. The drills and forms lost meaning to me, and it was no longer a place where I could be inspired. Instead of seeing my Sifu or Older Kung-fu brother, I saw their problems, their drama.



Now, I do firmly believe that at some point all teachers must have that "fall from grace", but I have come to believe that this occurrence should happen later when a student has reached a level of spiritual development when they need to see that their Great Work rests on them alone. However in the beginning stages while groping in the darkness searching for the Light...they need a beacon. They need someone to guide them and show them the goodness of the Work, the fruits of it. By keeping a bit of a distance we allow them to have that "ornament" of the Order placed before them to guide and inspire. Now, some people disagree with me on this belief...they say "Screw it! Let them find out sooner rather than later...let the one's who are aren't strong enough weed themselves out". But, the formula is Isis-Apophis-Osiris. Everyone needs their Isis phase...its essential to their spiritual growth. Even St. John of the Cross discusses how at first a student must be enticed with the goodness of the Spirit, and then later taught how to stand on their own two spiritual feet, learning to do the Work of the Lord without attachment to feeling good or bad. Then, he is really doing the Work for he is not doing it for the feelings it brings but out of the pure love of his heart.



So for the students out there I suggest finding those people in your group who inspire you, and continue to let them inspire you. It may seem like a great idea to hang with the "in" crowd, but it may be to your own disillusionment for while there may be many who are at a point of peace there may be just as many who are undergoing difficult changes and may not be the role-model you deserve. Just because someone is a teacher does not mean their Great Work is finished.



On that note, as a student, should you come across a mentor or teacher at some point who has not behaved according to what you would have expected...try to be understanding. When one enters a position of mentorship many burdens are placed upon them, not only must they teach you, help run the school, do their own work, take care of their mundane responsibilities...but they must also deal with a higher level of internal development, a stronger fire, to push them past their imperfections. Please remember this never gives anyone an excuse to treat you poorly, or abuse you mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally as we sometimes hear in the "guru horror-stories". What I am saying is...use your common sense. Is this person behaving poorly because they are under a great amount of pressure, and their human frailties are coming through...or are they behaving totally inappropriately. If it is the latter...please speak to someone in your school so that it may be taken care of. But, don't let their behavior cause you to leave your Work...your path is between you and God. How terrible is it to fall off the path for another's transgressions?

For the teachers out there, consider your position and consider your role as a teacher...allow yourself the opportunity to be one who inspires others just as those who went before you inspired you to greater heights. Its fun to be friends with new students, but as we let down our guard remember they are still looking at us and placing under a microscope every decision we make, everything we say, and every attitude we have.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fear is Failure: The Folly of Pride

During my spiritual practice I often spend time invoking higher beings (i.e. angels, seniors, etc..) that I may learn the deeper mysteries of nature not available in books. Of all the secret mysteries to be obtained there is one that is not so secret, yet so powerful that it is told to me again and again. "Remember to be humble".

Over the years the meaning of this has changed in my perception. For awhile it meant to remember not to place meaning into a situation that may not be there or assume that I knew the thoughts of others. After awhile it changed to be a reminder that I did not know the fullness of every situation, or the outcome of it, and after that it showed me that the Divine chooses mysterious ways to emit his grace into the world... ways in which I may not understand until after I have long passed away. In all of these situations my involvement in the Great Work was tested and constants changed. But, what has always remained a constant is the fact that just the act of pride in any form is a constant reminder of my own imperfection, an imperfection that could destroy my path, especially if I felt justified in it.

We all know the saying from Dune "Fear is the mind-killer". Isn't it true that Pride is based first and foremost in fear? Can you think of a situation where your prideful nature was inflamed that didn't have its fruit born from fear? It starts out as a situation that makes you uncomfortable, something you don't like... someone's behavior, or action, a deed done wrong. Don't we feel justified in judging another because we fear that if some good may come from the them or the situation, or the wrong-doing our view of the universe could be shattered?

Even if we know that there is not a black and white, don't we feel better if we can pretend like there is? That's really what we as humans fear the most; a world-view that is not stable to the degree that we desire. The more unstable it becomes the more we fear, the more we must attach to the self...thus pride rears its ugly head. As it states in the Neophyte initiation of the Golden Dawn"Fear is failure". Why? Because fear causes one to leave the spiritual path. When we tremble at the flames and floods and the shadows of the night, it is not usually because we saw a demon, but more likely that we let the trials of our progress, our spiritual alchemy, and the alchemy of others turn us away. It is because our sense of right is tested, and our beliefs sometimes shattered.

The fear that something good could come from something we don't like I think for many is too much to bear. But that is where true humility comes in. Light and Darkness bow down to the Lord of the Universe equally, all things must fall under his command.

So in all situations we must remember to adhear to our highest sense of right and to do the right thing, but let us not forget the demon Samael who seeks to use and twist righteousness and goodness to throw us off the path. He invokes spiritual pride within us to convince us to turn our back on the Great Work, he uses reason and goodness against itself. True humility leads to discrimination, loyalty to our vows, and a steadfastnes in the Work which leads us to stay and change the wrong around us rather than to abandon our path.If our world-view is shattered let us rejoice because now we have the room to replace it with what the Divine wishes us to see. We must remember that until we have become one with our Holy Guardian Angel that our perception is imperfect. Let us let the Divine be the one to perfect it, wether it be with a sledgehammer or the lightest of touches.

To learn more about the Golden Dawn visit
http://www.thoth-hermes.org/
http://www.esotericgoldendawn.org/

Thursday, July 23, 2009

From Action to Being- The Stages of Self-Sacrifice

"For while he willingly puts himself under it, all the burden of tribulation is turned into confidence of divine comfort. And the more the flesh is wasted in affliction, the more the spirit is made strong by inward grace"- Kempis

The value of self-sacrifice; it's an oft talked about subject in the esoteric community, especially amongst alchemists and hermeticists. The notion of sacrificing the lower mundane material needs, the primal urges of the body and the ego so that one can rise to a higher, more spiritual state of grace and fulfillment sparks many debates. When one thinks about it, it is quite paradoxical. On one hand there is the notion that as a child of God, a spark of the Divine, one is worthy of consolation, fulfillment, and happiness even being blessed with having dominion over the land and animals of the earth. But at the same time, in order to have this in its truest form we must humble ourselves, thinking nothing of ourselves in order to rise up. This is difficult to not only imagine, but to practice.

We are so attached to our egos and lower natures that we immediately feel pain when we begin to withdraw from those things of which bring us comfort. Correspondingly the ego reacts beginning to question the point of pain and suffering...God is abundance why should we not live and enjoy this abundance? But here again is the paradox discussed in almost every major mystery and religious tradition, "to humble oneself is to be exalted", "the meek will inherit the earth."

We can look at this philosophically and easily see that in order to be truly one with God the Divine from the perspective of the direct knowledge of our consciousness we must overcome the small self (the Ruach, Nephesh, and Guf) so that we can transcend into the Unity consciousness of the big Self. But how does this translate into our practice and experience as spiritual people and magicians?

On its grossest level it begins with an understanding of its importance and a trust that self-sacrifice will bring us the fruits we seek. It is hard when we are young in the Work and so addicted to the world around us not to doubt its effectiveness and essential rightness as all we have ever known to be right has come in the security of things in our environment. But we seek now to move from beyond the security of eat, sleep, clothe, love, to a security of the spirit and in fact we will see as we travel along in our path that unhappiness comes from these terrestrial things as they are always transient and never lasting. Just like a jilted lover we endlessly seek to fill a hole when we see permanence in the impermanent nature of the lower plane. This is of course why we yearn for spiritual things, because our true nature is permanence and until we know it we always feel something is missing.

The next step is that of the rote habit of learning self-sacrifice. Anything that we can be successful in comes from doing it over and over again. At this stage in our development self-sacrifice is no exception, especially during the first stages when it is an action that must be taken rather than a state of consciousness (we will discuss this shortly). Not only does this require of us to physically give of ourselves, but to create a mental state within of being undeserving of the gifts we receive. It is usually not the former that causes great difficulty, but that latter notion amongst initiates. The problem does not come in the fact that we are or are not 'deserving' of a good life...our Father and Mother in heaven deeply desire for us to have absolute happiness. The problem comes in nurturing the belief that we are, because once we believe that we are, our egos become inflamed, and we deepen our attachment to those things which are fleeting and false. "Set yourself always in the lowest place and the highest shall be given to you, for the highest cannot stand without the lowest".


Now, during this time of habit-forming, one may begin to experience a sweet nectar, a small fruit of internal peace at times when renouncing the self. We have all experienced this while doing a "good deed" for someone. And although this is needed to feed us so that we may carry on when the tempest of our egos take hold, it is not the whole fruit that we are seeking. The reason I say this is that you will notice you are still functioning on a level of receiving. For example, when we go to the store and buy something that catches our eye, we relish in the feeling of receiving something pleasurable. The same thing applies here, we use self-sacrifice as a means to gain a pleasurable feeling, we may not realize it at first, but when being young in the work this is almost always the case, and when this is taken away many a spiritual student fall from the path. In "The Dark Night of the Soul this is referred to as God feeding one a mothers milk to help nourish him in the Work. But, at some point this must be taken away so that the young child of the spirit can learn to feed himself and walk on his own...the next step then is to overcome this attachment and this is when a real change in consciousness begins to take shape.

At this point you will begin to experience a shift in consciousness and will start to see the true nature of the material world. The things from which you previously sought comfort you will now see as empty for its transient nature. Why place your hope and trust in things which do not last. It is there for a short time and then we are off seeking to find it or something else to fill the space? Now you are beginning to find a disappointment in material things, yet a growing state of internal peace and happiness. Overcoming the material for the spiritual then begins to take over as the true priority, and this is when you will notice an influx of magical and spiritual powers because the essence of the true Self is descending upon its throne. The burden of tribulation is "turning into confidence of divine comfort" the mere act of thinking less of yourself, and doing more for your brother, or for God becomes a living life-force within rather than a mere trinket of pleasure. It becomes an essence feeding you, energizing you, fulfilling you...and its beyond measure; "and the more the flesh is wasted in affliction, the more the spirit is made strong by inward grace". Thus, now you have reached a point where self-sacrifice is not an act, but a state of consciousness, and when we read texts which speak of humbling the body, the mind, and the heart we will no longer feel repulsion or fear at the words, but hope, excitement and joy. Here you will find and endless fountain of grace, and you will know that your total connection with the Divine is just around the corner.

To experience true Grace in your life preform this exercise:

Pray daily that any spiritual gifts (or magical powers) you may be blessed to receive will instead go to another, perhaps a brother or sister in need, a cause, or a healing. Ask yourself if you are willing to sacrifice all your efforts in the Great Work so that the fruits you may attain can be given to another....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Morning Prayers

Just so my reader's don't think I've been spending my summer days lazing around here is a poem from a book of magic that I have been translating from French to English...

A Morning Prayer I

O my good and Divine Lady
Whose tears cause my soul to cry
Who are you looking for?
- I am seaching for my little child.
-He is on the cross, Poor Mother!

And his blood flows upon the earth
Like a seed that will flower into the
Happiest day, Easter.

Thus, the red fruit you will give
You a crown
These palms poured out into
Stars will shine

-Sweet Mary, Poor Mother,
Your son is no longer on the earth
-Where is he? He is in the sky
And now comes to us on an alter.

God the Father is also my father,
The Virgin Mary is also my mother
St. Peter is my godfather
St. John my eldest cousin

That's what I delight in most
My parents who are in the heavens

II
I hear an alluring voice
The beautiful Lady is calling
Calling from among the lillies
The flowering lillies of pardise

Winter passes over the earth
The spring returns me to my mother
And I see Easter Bloom
When God tells me to die

I hear an alluring voice
The beautiful Lady is calling
Calling from among the lillies
The blooming lillies of paradise

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Adept's Challenge: A Semi-Monastic Life

For those of us living as part of magical and mystical orders, we daily find ourselves tempted by the of the material world. Indeed a great many Adept have fallen from "The Great Work" because of the rigorous temptations that befall him during his personal alchemy. Because of this, it is imperative to read spiritual texts of a high nature such as the lives of Saints or books written by monks or yogis. Spending time reading about those who have reached the states of enlightenment we seek, conquering the pitfalls of the material world can spur on the fervor we had when we first began our Work.

However for some, these texts can have the opposite effect. Seeing the discrepancies between the way we live our lives and they way these great Master's lived theirs can at times be disheartening. I have personally found myself contemplating my own personal weakness when I can't get my face out of a bag of chocolate while at the same time reading about a Saint invoking demons into the desert to tempt him so he can learn to overcome them. But, we must remember that we do not have the ability to live the lives of mortification the way that these great sages did. Yes, we need to strive to disconnect ourselves from material inclination but, we cannot bring low the body as they do through extreme fasting, penance, vigils and constant meditation...we could not possibly function and take care of our responsibilities. Unfortunately, what then seems to happen is that we compromise by living mundane lives with magic and devotion spattered throughout rather than taking it upon us to become true spiritual athletes. Even if we take the time to set aside a daily practice, as soon as we are finished our minds turn to regular things taking a great deal of our power with it.

Thus, what needs to happen is a slow, progressive training of one's mind and life-style to coincide with the special challenges of those of us who should be living a semi-monastic life-style. I am specifically talking to people who are in the Second or Inner Orders of the Golden Dawn, or have finished the preliminary teachings of their tradition. You must be ready and committed to move onward to a more stringent life-style meant to further the progression of the spirit through the Torment of Metals.

A semi-monastic life-style is not a complete removal from the material realm, but instead a mentality of constant vigilance to the world we live in. It is a monitoring of the effects each event and activity has one's consciousness, a faithful magical practice, a training of the mind to be constantly focused on the Divine, and one's True Will. It is so easy, living in a non-cloistered environment to lose the jewel of our True Will in a sea of attractions. This sacred jewel must be guarded as the most precious thing we possess. Imagine if a King gave you the largest diamond in the world, and asked you to hold it for safe keeping from a pack of robbers? What would you do with it? Most likely you would guard it with your life, and this is what we are asked to do with the holy knowledge that is given to us. Yet we so easily drop it, or dirty it, or lose it while engaging in simple activities such as eating, watching t.v., or entertaining negativity, because it is constantly in front of us, tempting us. It is therefore our job to protect ourselves from this by moving outside of just having a regular magical practice to leading a life-style of true devotion.

So what separates someone who is leading a mundane life with magic in it, to one who has moved into a semi-monastic life-style? The difference is the latter leads a simple life, removing the things which aggrandize the Self, and replacing them with activities, people, and attractions which benefit The True Self. He makes every activity an offering to the Divine, especially those things which nourish the body such as eating, cleansing, and sleeping (so as not to forget that the Divine takes part in even the simplest things) He takes time each day for spiritual practice and then takes that practice with him into the rest of the day maintaining an uplifting attitude. He partakes in the sacraments of his Church, or if he is not of a Christ centered faith replaces it with the mystic repast of the four elements or other similar ritual. He keeps his mind in constant prayer, helps those whom are poor in the spirit, but does not seek the company of those who bring it low. He assesses all activities for their effect on their consciousness including forms of entertainment, and material desires, and does not allow himself to be addicted to any such thing. This person is one who enjoys the many gifts and wonders of the world, yet controls his passions so that he is not controlled by them...as it has been said by many monastic brethren, a far more difficult task than living away from temptation under the tutorship of a Superior.

As you can see, this is not a life-style for those who are young in the Work. Do not get me wrong, the work of the Neophyte or Outer Order member is just as Holy, but their focus must be on learning the rubrics and beginning to integrate themselves into a magical life-style. If a good basis is not formed one cannot possibly endure to be a spiritual athlete, and as many of us have seen even the early work, though enjoyable, can be tasking without the added practices of semi-monasticism. Even most Adepts do not choose this life-style, but for those who do, not only does their power in magic increase drastically, but their spiritual rewards are great for no material inclination can match the gifts of the Spirit.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Path of Purification/Enochian Seniors

In my last blog I spoke about the effects of inward purity on the power of one's magical workings. In theurgy, the process works in tandem. High Magic helps you purify, purity brings you closer to God, and thus your magic becomes more powerful thus leading you to greater purification. However, I have found to get the most efficient effects it is helpful to add onto one's magical practice other practices of purification such as prayer, fasting, meditation, right thought, right action, reading the lives of spiritual masters etc...

Over the next few months I will be undergoing a particularly special practice which will include a gradual purification practice that will build upon itself. Thus, I will start out slowly with one discipline and every few weeks add another until I have a very stringent regimen right around the time the event will take place. I would like to share the results on my blog of how this begins to affect my magic, its power and my consciousness.

Over this past week I began practicing the technique which I shared with you in my previous blog of constant prayer. I have used this technique before and have found it to be quite powerful. It is a little difficult at first to try and realize when your mind has entered a state of empty chatter while doing mundane things. The mind doesn't tame so easily, but as you begin to remind yourself over and over again, it becomes more natural. I haven't reached the state yet where my mind goes naturally to prayer...however I am already seeing the effects it is having on my magic.

This evening a Frater and I did a special ritual for peace. We have dedicated our personal practices to spiritual enlightenment, but our group work to healing the world and others. Recently I just came out of a bought of deep alchemy which was causing me to lose my motivation a bit, thus my magical practice was suffering. But I have been back on track for a few weeks now, and my experience has been good during magic, but not what it could be.

Tonight was a different story. I have been using constant prayer all week and today I made sure to go to Church as partake of the Eucharist. (This is not Golden Dawn, however I am a Rosicrucian and I choose to add Church etc...to my personal practice) During the banishings I began to see an underlying shimmer in the space around me. I can't exactly describe it, but it was if I was seeing that Light does permeate all things. Everything in the astral plane had a glow around it as if there was a Light shining from behind it somewhere. As I began moving through the rituals I found myself more intensely connected to the Divine Light than normal (normally its pretty good, but tonight was very powerful) I started to enter a state of bliss and felt entirely connected to the beings around me that we were invoking. It was as if I was on the threshold of a state of oneness with all that was around me, rather than it being there and me being here. Compared to the what I have been feeling recently this was a big jump...I guess a little purification can go along way.

This week I am thinking of adding on a Wed/Fri fast. This is a traditional Orthodox practice that is kept most of the time throughout the year. However, this week is a special week long fast of St. Peter and Paul so I am thinking of just fasting for the whole week. If I choose to do this I will then commence with the Wed/Fri fast the following week as well as the constant prayer.

On a separate note, I would also like to mention that I have found if you are going to seek counsel from the Enochian Seniors it is best if you are fairly purified first. I have been working with them for about 6months, and for about 3 wks or so I wasn't following as strict of a daily regimen as usual. Let me tell you, it is no fun to get your ass handed to you by Enochian Seniors...I very promptly began my practices again and took my butt to Church today to partake of the Eucharist. Of course, you may find a difference in your practice, which I would love to hear about. But this recent instance reminds me of the story of Moses when he hit the rock twice...it seems in my experience that once you have purified to a certain level, and you go backwards a bit, the spirits are not always as forgiving as they may have been when you were ignorant of that state. Just a heads-up ;)

I look forward to telling you all of my progress, please pray that I will remain steadfast throughout the months...may you be greatly blessed in your Work.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cultivating Real Magical Power

I was talking to a leader of the Golden Dawn today and we were discussing the differences between people who do and do not get the results they are seeking in magic. He said he often has felt disappointed over the years because students would do a ritual once or twice and then give up on it if they didn't see the results. It is very rare to find a student who is willing to work through this type of barrier. I said that is because people believe if you do a magical ritual once or twice you should be seeing results, and I do believe this to be true as does he. So what is the difference between people who see immediate and powerful results in thier magic and those who do not?

I believe this answer to be four-fold; Initiation, Training, Mental State, and a Connection to the Divine. The first two subjects are frequently discussed in books and forum so I would like to talk about the last two.

I have spent a great deal of time with my students over the years training them to cultivate a proper mental state before doing thier magic. Proper state meaning, a clearing of one's thoughts, and a raising of one's consciousness to what is known as the Kether Sphere (sphere on the Tree of Life that is vibrationally closest to the pure energy of the Divine). This allows one to become an open vessel for Divine Light to flow into one's ritual practice so that the most powerful forces of the Universe can be used to gain results. It is interesting though how many people gloss over this most important step when doing ritual. I have seen countless people at conferences out in a lobby goofing around and then go into the Temple, and without even taking a few minutes to calm thier thoughts go right into doing an LBRP....do you really think your going to banish anything when you are still thinking about that joke someone just told? So, this is the first step...taking time before ritual to sit, meditate on the Kether Sphere, clear your thoughts, and let your mind and body become an open vessel for the Divine Light. Once you have accomplished this then you can move onto the next step which will cause your magic to become trully powerful.

The second step deals with honing one's Will by focusing one's thoughts throughout the day on magic. This habit takes its place in someone who moves beyond being a hobbyist in magic and one who has taken the magical life-style as their calling or occupation. Even if one must work to gain money, or has familial duties etc...his thoughts are primarily focused on magic and connecting with the Divine. We can see the power of this even in mundane activities. If you look at the people in the world who have accomplished great things (politicians, olympians, humanitarians, scientists, writers etc...), you will find one thing in common...they have single one-pointed awareness on whatever it is they want to accomplish. The same is true for those monks, and yogis who ascend to the hieghts of enlightenement to become Saints. Do you not think if you were to put this much effort into your magical training that you could not, heal the sick with a touch, cast out demons, or control the weather? For every serious step you take to live a magical life-style, your power increases exponentially.

The key to this intense, but powerful training comes in monitoring one's thoughts, and guiding them back to magical topics. I am not talking about obsessing, although this state of mind can be very powerful (it can of course also be very dangerous as it is controlling you, not vice -versa). If you pay attention to your thoughts throughout the day, you will notice that you have a great deal of mental junk floating around i.e. thoughts that really have no purpose. By training yourself to notice these thoughts and than bring them back to what you choose, you are not only honing your Will, but you are placing the power of your thoughts onto one singular thing, thus building up that egregore around you, which can be tapped into when doing ritual work.

Now, you may choose to use this as you wish, but I am a theurgist so I believe that my power in magic is equivalent to how purified I am spiritually, and thus how close my relationship with God/ess is. Thus, the mental training that I have placed upon myself is to hone my thoughts towards the Divine rather than just a magical topic. I usually do this with what is called "constant prayer" I choose a particular short prayer, that I can use as a mantra and when my mind is not on a particular task I try to focus my thoughts on it. The eventual goal being to train my mind to go directly to the prayer when my thoughts do not need to be on something else, without noticing.

I have found it is best for my spiritual and magical development to mix in serious devotional work with my ritual training. As it is imperative to rise up to the Kether Sphere when beginning one's work, it is far easier to bring down that Divine Light, to commune with holy beings such as Archangels, Seniors, and Enochian Angels when I spend the time to work on constantly purifying myself through a devotional practice. By keeping my mind on prayer I leave very little space to dwell on things which lower my energy level such as lust, pride, vanity, and negatice thoughts. However, I also recognize that no spiritual gifts come to me of my own accord, but only through the blessings of the Most High as He/She sees fit...may you also be greatly blessed by the powers of the Lord of the Universe.

www.thoth-hermes.org

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

IAO-Osiris As An Active Phase

I recently got back from a magical retreat. I would just like to take a second to give thanks to Adonai for the opportunity to get together with some of the most brilliant, kind, and spiritual people every year to do some wonderful magic. Although the countless hours of magic did make my head feel as if it was going to explode, I feel refreshingly crispy ;) Thus, this blog will be short, and not as intellectually stimulating as usual...but I feel compelled to get the word out, even if I can still hear the echos of snap, crackle, pop ringing in my ears...

Before I left I mentioned that I was starting to go through some personal alchemical changes again. I belive this was instigated by the heavy Senior workings I was doing at the time. I'm happy to say that my retreat quite thouroughly pushed me through the final stages.

For those of you who may not understand what I am talking about. I am discussing the stages of IAO- Isis, Apohis, Osiris or birth, death, and resurrection. In magic this expresses the trancendental formula a person goes through in moving from the imperfected aspects of the lower self to the perfected, exhaulted nature of the True Self. In life, there is one Great IAO, both pertaining to the physical life, as well as the spiritual. In the Golden Dawn an other traditions which use this formula we seek to acceleratd through magical practice. But, within the Great IAO are many mini stages of it, that go into perfecting the self. I liken this to the distlillation process of the alchemists,. or the Great Breath of Thoth.

This Isis stage is denoted by the feeling of excitement and joy one gets when begining a new venture. Countless amounts of energy and zeal for the task (in this case The Great Work) are hallmarks of the experienced. This would be like the excitement one feels before about climbing and conquering a mountain (Abiegnus anyone?) During the Apohis stage, one begins to feel the brunt of the work. This is how you would feel, in the middle of the mountain climb (tired, hungry, worn) He/she may feel a dryness for the Work, lose interest, or start running into road blocks. This can be a very difficult challenge to go through but is necessary for the Osiris stage to occur.

Now, many people think that getting to the Osiris phase is the end of the path, and the beginning of rest, but this is not the case. As someone who has experienced this state a few times I can say that yes a feeling of refreshment occurs. You experience the zeal again of the Isis stage, but now with a more mature knowledge. You are able to reflect back upon the nature of the challenge you went through and see the deeper patterns underlying it and the steps you took to get here very clearly. After reaching Osiris whenever you are presented with the same problem, your internal state will not be affected, but instead you will face it with ease and confidence.

I always feel a deep sense of humilty and gratitude to the Lord of the Univsere when I have reached this stage as well. It is always so amazing to me, that when I have gotten to the point of ultimate surrender and vulnerability during the Apophis stage, the Lord rescues me from the Dark Night, and places me at the top of the mountain. No, I cannot give any credit to myself outside of showing up for the lashings...because it trully is Adonai who gives so freely of these blessings.

The most signifigant aspect of the Osiris phase is not having reached it, but using this accomplishment to continue in the Work, whether that be in furthering oneself into the next stage of purification or helping another to do so The Osiris phase is not a passive end of the road state but an active phase! If we look to the Hall of the Neophyte we see that it is Osiris who, risen to a state of perfection, thus takes it upon himself to invoke the Light of the Higher so that others may begin thier path to perfection.

Thus, as I take a small respite, and prepare myself to climb the next mountain may the blessings of Isis-Shekinah be upon you all.


IAO
Let The Divine Light Descend!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

BDSM and Spirituality?

This topic may be disturbing for some, as it will touch on practices and beliefs in a fringe part of society that is not accepted by many people. However, in my constant search to discover higher/altered states of consciousness and their purposes in serving the enlightenment of the soul I choose to leave no stone unturned. In order to do this I have studied many mystical traditions, and have recently moved into alternative and fringe cultures. This has allowed me to compare the effects of altered states of awareness brought on by such things as pain, and psychodrama within a non-spiritual context with those in indigenous and mystical traditions.

When I started this blog I was researching the states of consciousness associated with suspension. Recently, I have connected with some people from the BDSM scene. This may conjure up images of spanking, gimps in masks, and various other "deviant" mental pictures, but as I've discovered this is a very broad subculture with many varying and interwoven fantasies, fetishes, and life-styles that are taken into consideration. This culture is not one that is primarily focused on what some may call "sexual deviancy" but instead delves into the unspoken drives of man that have not been broadly accepted by the mainstream. And whenever the subconscious drives of a man come out, a new piece of his personality is known, new boundaries and ideals are revealed, and the ability to go through personal alchemy is given its chance.

What I have found in my friendships with people in fringe communities, is that the great majority of them are incredibly intelligent and mature. Many people in their "play" have found that the resulting experiences have helped them find an internal strength that is then brought into their work, family, and process of self-discovery. Of course if you spend time testing your boundaries, giving yourself to another in an intimate way, and expressing your subconscious desires, you are going to find things out about abilities you never knew you had.

As magicians...do we not seek similar things? The point is for it to be positive and to explore in a controlled environment. I don't believe in people exploring their "shadow sides" in order to "grow", and delving into drugs, alcohol, cheating and other situations that are the anti-thesis of control. These things allow your lower nature to take over which of course is not in line with personal growth. Instead exploring our subconscious desires in a positive way, with people we love and trust is one tool we can use to stretch and explore our boundaries.

Within my research in BDSM two states of consciousness have been the most intriguing. One is called "subspace" an altered state of awareness that seemingly comes from a rush of endorphins during a "scene" (ritual of play) that leads to feelings of bliss, floating, and an expanded awareness of consciousness. These are similar descriptions to what I have found in my studies of tribal cultures when using "pain rituals" to create visions and connect with Divinity. However, in this instance an assortment of sensations and mental stimulation may come into play such as sexual stimulation, becoming centered in a role-play character, pain, feelings of helplessness, grandiosity, intense love...the list is almost infinite. What is most important in this discussion is what the person, known as a submissive, takes from the situation into real life. Although it is often noted that there is a "come down" phase which can be experienced as emotional lows, many submissive claim to have gained strength, feelings of well-being, and spiritual bliss, by entering this state that can then be applied to their outside lives.

The second intriguing topic has been the notion of willing servitude. Disclaimer: I do not support ANY type of illegal, unwanted, forced, sexual, chattel, slavery, or slavery of any kind! What I am referring to in this blog is the a ritual preformed for by two or more people where the person in servitude has asked to be entered into it of their own free will for their enjoyment. For those outside the BDSM community this may sound preposterous but I have taken the time to interview and discuss this life-style with people who have chosen this, and I assure you they obtain great satisfaction from it. Which is what is intriguing to me and is the basis of this subject.

If one were to study the Western mystical traditions we see the belief that man is a reflection of God. It is the duty of man to shed the material inclination and to claim his mystical heritage as a son or daughter of God, being one with Him/Her and thus being a perfect vessel to express and wield Gods power in the world. However, in order to do this one must reject the sense of ego-self. Thus, he will connect with the Self, ones' true nature, also known as one's Holy Guardian Angel or Higher Genius. This state of absolute humility is only one that those of us on the outside can intellectually contemplate while we strive diligently falling time and again to achieve it. Most of us have not even witnessed extreme humility, as it is mostly gained by those cloistered away from the world, who have undergone daily, heavy, spiritual conditioning.

But, now I have witnessed the attitude of those who have gained a similar state, although not for the goal of spiritual enlightenment (so I believe on some level, there may is a difference). There is one quality about the state of those whom I have talked to, who seek this humility and willing servitude that I think can be brought to our studies. Their happiness is not complete unless they whom they wish to serve is happy. They think about it and contemplate it, and it was described to me by one person "even while doing the dishes", they are lifted into a state of pure bliss described as "otherworldly" by contemplating the other's happiness. This is not far-fetched I often find myself in a state of bliss, while performing my "motherly and wifely" duties. Another interesting quality that I believe factors in is that they feel "called" to this life-style. (Now some may argue that this type of situation can open up a person to some types of abuse, however those in the BDSM community take these things seriously and usually spend a great deal of time getting to know each other, of which is included strict screening and interview processes of all people involved)


Some of my readers may be appalled at the thought of my connecting these two subjects (BDSM and spirituality)...but I don't judge, and my main concern here is to find elements within society that can help those of us who are seeking the completed work of the spirit to get there.
For many, the spiritual path can be a state of great difficulty at times. We continuously see our own imperfection, feel the pain of overcoming unhealthy habits, get burnt out from keeping strict duties of purification, witness the imperfection of our mentors, and are tested by our evil personas. I am not saying that we are like this all the time, of course these painful times are interspersed between periods of great happiness and bliss. But, when we are going through an extended period of harsh alchemy it can be hard to get out of our own heads and quit focusing on the feeling of discomfort or pain to the self. As the imperfect parts die, our egos lash back causing a heated focus on the self, and the desire to turn away from the Work.

But, what if we can reframe our pain, and make our happiness based not on what is in our environment or what our emotional state is but on something greater? This may sound confusing, but think to yourself... Have you ever felt two things at once? One more surface and the other deeper? Have you ever been happy but sad, or felt pain but still peaceful? Emotions are an imperfect reflections of the whole state of awareness available to us. Instead we must get in touch with that deeper faculty inside that shows us the truth. This is where humility comes in, it is the one tool that strips the lower self of all imperfections so that one can clearly see the Light. Thus, the deeper faculty of the True Self is revealed. Our true Nature is to be in complete alignment with the Divine and the Will of the Divine. Does it not make sense then that we would reach this state the quickest through humility, the desire to do the Divine's Will totally?
If our happiness was based on the deepest desire to fulfill the goals of our beloved Elohim would we not swiftly go running into our Mother's arms? True humility doesn't care if he is happy he only wants his Lord to be happy, and paradoxically he becomes happier than he ever imagined.