Friday, September 30, 2011

Presenting: The Initiates Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

The Initiate’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Written by: Rachael Walker, Peregrin Wildoak, Samuel Scarborough, and Nick Farrell


The following is a document entitled The Initiates Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Its purpose, to open perspective to the needs of individuals, organizations, and mentors in the esoteric community as well as to offer some food for thought to the individual regarding various experiences they may have on their magical and spiritual path. It has been written by representatives and leaders of a variety of Golden Dawn organizations with the input and suggestions of people from the esoteric community. Due to the vast number of such organizations, not all, course, could be represented, and it is of the understanding of those who worked on this project that the breadth of the needs of every individual organization or person could not be met in a succinct Bill. There is also the understanding that everything included in this Bill may not be agreed upon by all, as each person has their own experiences and opinions to draw from. Instead, we hoped to make the “Bill” as universal as possible, and furbished in a way that would inspire those on a magical/spiritual path to travel it with common sense, contemplation, and guidance from the Divine at each turn. Truly, this “Bill” is merely a document of suggestions, based on the experiences of contributing individuals to help one to be aware of the various personal, political, social, and spiritual intricacies that may present themselves on the path of the initiate. I would like to thank all of the individuals who put their time and effort into helping me write or review this document, Peregrin Wildoak, Samuel Scarborough, Nick Farrell, Xandyr Walker, Nineveh Shadrach, J. Randich, and all of those in the esoteric community who chose to come forth and make suggestions on various fora, networking sites, and the blogosphere during this process. As of this publishing there are a few Orders who have chosen to ratify this Bill or parts of it into their by-laws or constitutions. It should be made clear that this document is meant to be a service for the community, to be used by individuals and organizations as an inspiration to help better the lives of others. If you have a group or organization and believe that this document or its ideas will be of a benefit to you, please use it as you see fit. Although intellectual property rights are maintained on this document, its ideas belong to the community.

On a personal note, I would also like to especially thank the individual who first recommended this idea. Unfortunately, his suggestion came in the form of an anonymous commentor on one of my blog posts...none-the-less, it's a perfect example of the power that each one of us has in this community to bring forth positive changes every day in ourselves and in the community.

Rights and Responsibilities in the Practice of Magical Spirituality


We as followers of the magical way, profess that no magical path is the same, nor is any individual Lodge, Order, Group, Initiate or person who chooses to follow a magical or spiritual path. We do recognize that as followers of various mystical traditions we share a common ground based on the right for each person to follow his/her particular spiritual calling and for each individual to have their basic human rights respected while engaging in such practices alone or with others who have chosen to follow the most honoured and illustrious methods of the Spirit. We understand that as humans we posses human faults and that no man or woman however seemingly elevated is beyond risk of the temptations of the ego or flesh and that these temptations should they overcome any one of us can and may put others at risk. Therefore we present this Bill of Rights and Responsibilities as a service to the magical and spiritual communities so that in times of confusion a person or group may have access to a resource which may provide guidance to them during times of need. This Bill is not put forth by any one person or group, but instead at the request of the magical community and with input of various traditions, teachers, students, and organizations. We recognise and respect the incredible blessings we have been given by the Divine and seek to honour the Immeasurable One through our efforts to cultivate a magical society that is based in love, respect, equality, and the promotion of human rights and actions that are becoming of our most perfect and unblemished souls. To this end we claim, that regardless of tradition or path we:

Value and hold dear all magical symbols and paths, for they are the bridge between our limited self and the Unborn, Real, and Eternal Truth.

We consciously cultivate respect for the magical way of life and the avenues whereby we may walk along it – the various teachers, Orders, teachings, books and wisdom so freely given to us.

We understand that Magic will transform us and that as we practice our path we will change completely. We consciously choose to live with change, recognising also that only that which is born can change or die. The unborn, uncreated aspect of the Self never changes nor does it ever die. Magic guides us more and more to identify with the True Self.

We recognize that the magical path is one of relentless honesty. We understand that as beings who may have not yet become one with our True Natures we are rife with resistance to change and are imbued with negative, self-serving patterns of action and behaviour. We do not deny our addictions to the lower or ego-self, but seek to change them in accordance with the higher or Divine Will.

We know that spiritual unfoldment takes place inwardly and has no unique outer sign recognized by our finite consciousness, other than Truth, Love, and Compassion. We also recognize our own self identified egos are sources of delusion and that we must refrain from consciously and irrecoverably judging another, but seek to engage with all people in the spirit of genuine fraternity.

Based upon these edicts we therefore present this Initiates Bill of Rights and Responsibilities as an honour to the Divine, our Souls, to the Masters who have gone before us, and to each person who has been brave enough to choose the Noble Path.

Section I: The Rights and Responsibilities of the Candidate
Section II: The Rights and Responsibilities of the Initiate
Section II: The Rights and Responsibilities of Leaders, Teacher, and Mentors
Section IV: The Rights and Responsibilities of Orders, Lodges, and Magical Groups

Before Joining A Spiritual Organization A Candidate Has the Right To:

· Know the purpose for why the Order or group exists
· Know the oaths, obligations, and by- laws he/she may be responsible to make and adhere to upon initiation as well as what will be expected of them in terms of time, finances, resources, and loyalties
· Have any general questions regarding the group, its history, its workings, its materials, and its beliefs fully answered before initiation or admittance.
· Take as long as one requires before committing to join
· Be given proper reasoning in a compassionate manner if one is refused admission
· Have any financial obligations handled appropriately before joining

The Candidate Has the Responsibility To:

· Accept that certain information, including but not limited to the exact name of the group, is not available to non-initiates
· Fully understand that if one joins a secret, occult, or magical group that his/her involvement including the possible requirement of maintaining certain secrecies or obligations may affect one’s personal life, as well as others who are a part of one’s life outside the group such as spouses or children
· Understand all of the requirements of membership before joining (and ask for assistance if required in gaining this understanding)
· Engage in all appropriate research of the group and it's history so as to have an appropriate understanding of it's full reputation, purpose, and goals
· Gain a general understanding of the broader magical traditions through published literature and internet content to understand the many options available to one seeking a spiritual path and to use this knowledge to make an informed decisions about which magical/spiritual path to follow and/or which group may best serve the purpose of one’s path
· Inform, upon request, the history of one’s spiritual work thus far, so that one’s future mentors may have a better understanding of one’s level of understanding of the mystery traditions
· Take care of any financial obligations before accepting membership
· Begin to address any culturally instilled fear of magic or ‘the occult’ which may impede his/her connection with the group or one’s spiritual practice
· Fully contemplate the nature of following a magical path, living a magical life, and the responsibilities of being a part of a magical group

As a Member of a Spiritual Organization an Initiate Has the Right To:

· Be treated with respect and integrity, regardless of grade or background, as a member of the fraternity
· Fair and equal treatment regardless of age, race, religion, sexual preference, lifestyle, gender, disability or other difference in life circumstance
· Follow one’s religious path and private spiritual practice, and to develop themselves individually where desired and work beyond the set curriculum of the Order and to pursue complimentary paths of magical/spiritual practice as long as it does not violate the natural progression of the system one has chose to follow nor one’s oaths or obligations
· Know that the institution is functioning with financial and legal integrity, and know where any monies donated or requested are going, as well as to be given proof of such upon request
· Be given a copy of the group/Order’s constitution, rules, regulations, by-laws and other information concerning the administration and rulership of the Order, and to be informed promptly of any changes to these
· Be able to vote as an equal on Order matters as outlined in the Order’s constitution, rules, regulations, by-laws
· Have one’s personal, familial, work/school, or religious responsibilities and the required time needed for such outside of the group respected
· Have one’s level of comfort in ritual involvement, or level of service outside of what was informed of them upon entering the Order or group respected
· Autonomous decision making with respect to any ‘higher’, ‘received’ or ‘Third Order’ teachings
· Be free from sexual, spiritual, mental and financial abuse, bullying, exploitation or manipulation
· An Order free from the promotion of leaders’ or members’ business, politics, financial interests or promotion of lifestyle, sexual preference, religion or other spiritual group
· Be told and given the outline of training and method of progressing within the Order and the requirements for progress
· Raise objections and questions regarding leaders’ decisions they think are unethical or against the good of the Order, and to receive an answer in a timely and fraternal manner
· Have the ability to suggest changes to the method of Order administration, the Order’s constitution, rules, regulations and by-laws and have those changes discussed and voted or acted upon at the appropriate venue and time
· An Order free of slander, defamation, verbal and other abuse directed at members of the group or other Orders or magical groups or their leaders
· An Order that is free from activities that are illegal; nor should there be suggestions from Order leaders or members to engage in any illegal activities in the privacy of their own home
· An Order free of magical attempts to harm, hinder, control, dominate or attack any other person
· To uphold their Oaths and Obligations made to any Order or group, and never to be asked by the leadership of an Order or group to do anything contrary to those Oaths and Obligations. These are not limited to, but include, being asked or commanded to violate the Religious, Moral, or Civil Obligations of the Initiate

The Initiate Has the Responsibility To:

· Respect the Order, its members, teachers, symbols and teachings and to follow all requirements set forth and agreed upon before initiation
· Support other Order members in following their own religious and spiritual paths
· Request access to Order records only for genuine and serious reasons
· Read and study the Order’s constitution, rules, regulations, by-laws and other information concerning the administration and rulership of the Order
· Vote with consideration based on the ‘good of the Order’ and not upon the notion of fear or favour in regards to gaining or losing position, title, access to higher grade materials or personal gain in any other terms
· Be open to the Order’s teachings and those of individual teachers, evaluating them without bias or prejudice
· Support other member’s choices regarding any ‘higher’, ‘received’ or ‘third Order’ teachings.
· Treat other members with fraternity and love regardless of age, race, religion, sexual preference, lifestyle, gender, disability or other difference in life circumstance
· Protect other members from any sexual, spiritual, power or financial abuse, bullying, exploitation or manipulation
· Accept and welcome their group leaders as human and imperfect
· Contribute to the upkeep of the Order through equally shared resource and financial contribution to the best of one’s ability and to help support members of the fraternity on their path of spiritual development
· Refrain from judging other member’s level of ‘spiritual development’
· Keep secret and confidential all information they have obligated and agreed upon
· Work through the spiritual practices and lessons set by their teachers with respect, dedication and honesty and to not request advancement beyond what one has received until all obligations of one current and past grades or positions have been fulfilled
· Refrain from using magic to harm, hinder, control, dominate or attack any other person
· Not teach other members material or knowledge outside of their particular level of advancement nor share with them secret knowledge obtained in confidence
· Not engage in slander, gossip, or action against a brother or sister
· Understand that although one has the right to study complementary spiritual paths and practices that when being a part of a magical group, one may be required to fulfill particular obligations before becoming privy to higher teachings and, to know that if one should seek out these teachings before the allotted time, one may find themselves at spiritual risk of not fully understanding the consequences of working with more advanced levels of magics and entities involved.
· To apply common sense to any and all situations, both within and outside of the Order or Group that they are a member, and to have one’s decisions respected
· To pursue the Work with integrity, discrimination, patience, diligence, moderation, responsibility, self-sacrifice, and service to others
· To report any criminal offense should it be witnessed or brought to light that anyone within the group including its leadership is or has engaged in violations concerning theft, sexual misconduct, extortion of finances or otherwise and to request that if a person be proven guilty that he/she be appropriately reprimanded
· To honor and respect the Sacred Tradition and one’s True Self by behaving in a manner that is becoming of the Sacred Traditions not only in an Order setting, but also in one’s private and public involvements.
· To understand that the members of the Order or group including other members, leadership, mentors, or officers of the Temple have other obligations outside of the Order that may affect their own involvement and ability to perform duties

When Leaving an Order An Initiate Has the Right To:

· Leave freely at any time, for any reason
· State freely to the leaders why they are leaving
· Have their decision to leave met with respect by Order leaders and members and be free from any verbal or other retribution or malice directed at them, nor to be inappropriately pressured to stay
· In cases of great concern, to have their views relayed to the entire Order at the appropriate time and through the appropriate media

When Leaving an Order the Initiate Has the Responsibility To

· Accept the Order may wish to conduct an ‘exit interview’ or questionnaire to ascertain reasons for leaving, and to honestly answer these questions where possible
· Try and find replacements or alternatives for any duties the Initiate may have committed to in the near future and to appropriately resolve any financial obligations agreed upon by the Initiate
· To return to the Order any property, manuscripts, tools, rituals, robes, implements of office etc, that were loaned to the Initiate, and to destroy any items that the Initiate committed to destroy via oath or obligation, including any Order rituals the Initiate was obligated not to copy.
· To refrain from slander, defamation, verbal and other abuse directed at the Order, its leaders or members
· To maintain the oath and obligation of secrecy regarding the Order as laid out in the oath or obligation in the section pertaining to leaving the Order
· To act with integrity upon leaving by not revealing the identities of the members of the Order or group, not engaging in destructive acts upon its materials, instruments or places of worship or sacred spaces, not stealing or committing crimes against the institution, nor distributing on the internet or otherwise its teachings, grade materials, pictures of members, events, ritual tools, regalia, or places of sacred ground

A Teacher, Leader, or Mentor of an Order has the Right To

· Be treated with respect by all students and members of the Order
· Have responsibilities and a life outside of the Order and their teaching obligations, as well as to have their time and responsibilities respected
· Be given appropriate time to respond to student requests or questions
· Continue to be trained and taught by their mentors.
· Be given the needed materials and lessons needed to teach others in light of the Tradition of the group or Order.
· Be supported in their mentorship by other mentors and leaders.
· Be seen as another human being who still has faults and treated with compassion and support should he/she succumb to these faults
· Refuse advancement to students who have not met the requirements set forth by the organization or present and past grade levels and to ask for assistance in responsibilities given if one is unable to fulfil or complete them

A Teacher, Leader, or Mentor Has the Responsibility To

· Inform their students and their organization of time constraints , and the best or preferred way of contacting them when outside of Order functions
· Inform a student honestly if one’s knowledge in a certain area will not answer or fulfil their educational needs and to take the time to research to the best of their ability the answer to the question.
· Interact with all students and members in an appropriate manner, and with the highest sense of integrity never engaging in gossip, improper sexual advances, or other actions that would break the bonds of the sacred student-teacher relationship.
· Step down from position if displayed or un-displayed faults begin to interrupt the spiritual development of others or in any other way cause serious harm

An Order Has the Right To:

· Have its teachings and rules followed by members who have been properly informed of them and who have agreed and given oath to do so.
· Have its teachings, materials, secrecies, workings, members, and rituals protected.
· Have autonomy and not be controlled, threatened or defamed by another Order/Lodge or group or person within or without the Order.
· Not recognize grade, position, or title given to an Initiate by another group or Order nor is required elevate them to such position if an Initiate seeks admission into their Order.
· Ask that all responsibilities that were agreed upon before admission be fulfilled by the members of the group so that it may maintain proper functioning as an institution.
· Have the ability to reject membership by any person, or remove any member should they violate their oaths, engage in poor behaviour toward the Order, its’ Temples, or members, or engage in illegal activities which may harm the Order or any of its members.
· Create its own rules, regulations, by-laws, offices, and voting structure and to require that these guidelines be followed in agreement for admission.

An Order Has the Responsibility To:

· Maintain behavioural and legal integrity to its members as well as to other groups and Orders.
· Respect the teachings of other groups, even if their chosen beliefs or practices are not agreed with.
· To keep detailed records of finances, and distributions of monies and to share them with the members upon request if it is believed that ill practices regarding them are being set forth.
· Not claim to be the only path to salvation, enlightenment, the Mystery Traditions, spirituality, nor the only beneficiary of certain Currents, Energies, Knowledge, or Lineage that is known to be shared among the practices and beliefs of other groups.
· Not to engage in “member-poaching”; which is defined as the active recruitment of another Orders’ or groups’ members.
· Not misrepresent the functioning or purpose of an Order to those outside or seeking admission, to appropriately and honestly answer all questions pertaining to the Orders functioning and rule, and to bestow knowledge of vows, oaths and obligations that will be required of a candidate before admission into the group takes place.
· Not function as a business used for economic or personal gain of an individual or persons but instead to function as a school of spiritual enlightenment designed for the improvement of its members, unless otherwise stated to the members before admission takes place.
· Not to use threat or promise of elevated or demoted status, grade-advancement, secret teachings, defamation, or otherwise to manipulate, coerce or control a member or members to engage in any actions that are against his/her personal beliefs, vows, integrity, or outside responsibilities.
· Not to proclaim seniority or lineage over another group or Order, nor publicly defame or slander another group or organization or person’s within.
· Not to interfere with the internal workings of another group or organization nor attempt to create schism.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with Ninevah Shadrach Part One

I am happy and honored to present this wonderful interview with Ninevah Shadrach author of the newly released Encyclopedia of Magical Squares. Nineveh is an accomplished scholar,mage, and author. In this interview we discuss the ancient traditions of the Ruhaniat and it's influences on the Western Mystery traditions.

You have been a practitioner of Ruhaniat and the Golden Dawn, as well as a priest in the Order of Melchizedek and Marduk (Osiris). For those who may be unaware of what Ruhaniat is can you give us a brief description?

Ruhaniat is taken from the Arabic root Ruh, which means Spirit. Ruh is the exact same as the Hebrew word Ruach. Ruhaniat basically means all that pertains to the spiritual arts. This covers all kinds of familiar topics such as astrology, theurgy, geomancy, alchemy, and so forth. English has multiple words to describe the various kinds of magic out there. Arabic isn’t as precise. The word Sihr is used for everything from stage magic to the darkest form of the craft. This is why instead of using Sihr most Arabs prefer to use the word Ruhaniat to describe the esoteric field in general and that includes more positive approaches to magic.

What is the main force or principle behind Ruhaniat?

The main active agent in Ruhaniat that allows for metaphysical things to happen is identical in many ways with the Greek idea of pneuma or Hindu concept of prana. Everything in the universe is part of a great universal spirit. Each thing possesses its own Ruhaniah or spiritual emanation or intelligence. Often, these Ruhaniah are seen as both integrated with the thing as well as distinct. They have an intelligence to them that can be called forth, communicated with and enlisted to bring about effects. Doing so requires knowledge of the sacred properties of letters, numbers, planetary movements and even stones and plants to create a harmonic connection. This is why Ruhaniat often has a complex system of planetary and elemental correspondences. Ruhaniah stands often as a separate category from arwah or spirits, which can be either ghosts or disincarnate beings, jinn, an independent semi-physical race that competes with humans, or angels, beings of light operating as agents of the Creator. Ruhaniat has its roots in pre-Islamic Near Eastern mysticism and esoteric lore, which covers a tremendous amount of influence from the Babylonian (Sabian cults) and the Greek and Persian schools of thought. This is partly due to the translation of texts from pre-Islamic societies, as well as to the fact that many of the masters of this tradition either resided in North Africa or were originally from Mesopotamia or Persia.

Is there any relationship between Ruhaniat and the Golden Dawn?

From my study of Western literature, I would say that Ruhaniat has had an impact on the streams that formed the Golden Dawn and it isn’t as unfamiliar as most people suspect. Think of the Picatrix as a prime example of an important text through Western esoteric history, which is part of the corpus of Ruhaniat. Some of the influences are a bit more under the radar. For example, the word "Armadel" is a corruption of the Arabic "Almandel", a methodology of evocation and scrying. The number of Arabic grimoires on magic exceeds the Hebrew and English ones by at least ten fold. You can also see parallels and influences when looking at the adoption of the names of spirits. "Amaymon" the Goetic king is an easily identified corruption of the Arabic "Maymon", the jinn king of Saturn.

Geomancy is part of Ruhaniat, correct? How different is this from the Golden Dawn version?

It goes without saying that Geomancy, which originated in Arabia and North Africa, has found its way into Golden Dawn teachings, albeit in fragments. Comparing notes between classical variants and the version that the Golden Dawn uses, I found enough variations in correspondences, structure, and interpretation method. The figures are the same, but that is about it really. Based on what is available, I can’t imagine anyone getting that excited with Geomancy compared to the Tarot. The accuracy of Geomancy is totally underrated. I have seen a method in an Arabic source where a Geomantic reading was cast, the figures were converted to letters, and that answer spelled out the location of a missing person whose body was fished out from the Nile based on that info. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the Golden Dawn for this. On the contrary, I am thankful to them for keeping the basic principles alive in Western occult literature by integrating it into their system. They simply didn’t have much to work with from the original sources and had to rely on European literature like Agrippa’s.

It sounds like you are seeing a cultural barrier of some sort.

I think there does exists a kind of bias and blindness due to political, religious, and historical divide between the Muslim world and the Western world. The work of famous medieval Arabic astrologers has also had an impact on Western astrology and its development. Astrology seems to be more open about its influences and, like a football, keeps getting thrown from one culture to the next in its developmental states and everyone is just fine with that. There is the old Babylonian phase, the Hellenic phase, the Arabic phase, and so on.The same can’t be said for magic and other branches of the esoteric field. You don’t often see acknowledgement of the Arabic influences, which creates the sense of separation and distance and unfamiliarity. I remember someone drafting a history of magic and suffering from a 500-600 year empty space. He counted all kinds of various cultural influences on Western esoterica, but had this gap. I tried to explain to him there was no gap. That period was when the Muslim world had the magic ball and was expanding on its development before passing it on. Let’s take a look at planetary magic squares introduced in Agrippa’s book and then in various grades in the Golden Dawn. There is rarely mention of one of the oldest published sources on them, which is the work of Ahmed al-Buni in the early 12th century. In the end, the issue goes beyond the matter of acknowledging the contributions of another culture. It is about pointing students toward the source so they can go further than the fragments that made its way into their corpus. If al-Buni’s influence had been recognized, it would have led to more interest in the rest of his work; that would have even further enriched the Western Mystery Tradition and further empowered the magic of Western practitioners over the span of hundreds of years.

Do you really believe the Arabic influence has had such an impact on the Western Mystery Tradition?

I believe the impact varied over time. Obviously, there has been little direct influence for a long time. However, this has been changing and there has been a shift more and more toward exploring this stream as of late. Yet, historically this influence was present. This influence is acknowledged and given credit as far back as the Rosicrucian story, in which Christian Rosenkreuz studies under the wise men of Fez and Damkar and takes an Arabic master with him to found the society in Europe. We see this story play out again in the Golden Dawn. Even if people today were to ignore the narrative, it is still there like the story of Genesis in the Bible.
Later on the idea of the Arabic Master had its impact on Felkin of the Stella Matutina with his contact with the Arabian master Ara Ben Shemesh.

Here is what we know:

• Felkin came under influence of the “Sun Masters”, the fabled Secret Chiefs
• Around 1908 he came in contact with Ara Ben Shemesh (“Lion son of the Sun”)
• Ara Ben Shemesh belonged as one of the “Sons of Fire” inhabiting a Near Eastern “temple in the desert”, who had been given permission to contact and teach Western students.
• His appearance to Felkin was a shadowy presence and was later described by a clairvoyant as being in Arabian dress.
• He described himself as a Chaldean
• He was seeking someone to help him in uniting Eastern (Ruhaniat) and Western teaching.
• He promised to appear physically later and Felkin and his brethren waited for years for this master to show up in New Zealand and teach them great wonders. According to people familiar with the story, he never did.

Beside a historical anecdote about astral encounters, what does that mean to the average student of the Golden Dawn? There has been criticism of Felkin over this incident.

Let me defend poor Felkin’s reputation. He is often maligned for this particular incident by those that are overly dismissive or ignorant of the symbolism in question. I will now shed some light on this from the perspective of both Ruhaniat and Near Eastern mystery tradition. At its heart, the Golden Dawn is an Osirian order. As you correctly identified earlier in one of your questions, Osiris is the Egyptian rendition of the Akkadian Marduk, associated with the constellation of Orion. However, it dates back much farther. The Osiris cult was an importation of an older Sumerian religion. The mystery of the son of Enki known as Dumuzidabsu or Asari Murdug gave rise to Asar Unefer in Egypt. By the time of the Akkadian period, Asar remained as Asarluhi and, based on Semitic language rules, Murdug was transformed to Marduk (K in Akkadian was a substitute for the Sumerian G).

Why is this important?

For one, the title of Marduk was Mariutu (Son of the Sun). This wasn’t just his title, but the title of many of the old priests of Uruk. For example, Enmerkar, the builder of the temple of E-anna, was called Mariutu (son of the Sun) just like his father Ara Ben Shemesh being a Chaldean (another name for the Babylonian era) wouldn’t have had a Hebrew name. It would make sense that he was speaking to Felkin in a language that he himself understood as a mystical language. It is more likely that his Chaldean title was Mariutu. "Ara" means lion and in old Babylonian motifs, we see the powerful Goddess Ishtar riding on a lion. The metaphorical lion is none other than the mystical son figure whose identification as the lion makes its way later into the Christian religion with the conversion of the Assyrians into Christianity and, of course, is mentioned in the Old Testament. On the surface, the title “sons of fire” is a reference to the jinn, but there is more to it than that. Marduk’s alternate name is Gibil, which translates as Fire God. However, the word for fire and light here is the same. "Aur" means both fire and light. The narrative of the “children of fire” (Beni Aur) also appears in apocryphal literature in Israel, where it is translated as children of light. The double connotation of fire and light has its direct connection with the emanations of the Sun. All of this brings us right to the “secret chiefs” of the Golden Dawn, the Sun Masters. I have seen no compelling evidence to believe in the existence of “secret chiefs” specific to the Golden Dawn, human or otherwise. Of course, this in itself doesn’t negate their existence.Having said this, I do believe in the existence of “secret chiefs” of the entire spiritual teachings of humankind, esoteric and exoteric. This isn’t something that started with channeling in the early 1900s. Ruhaniat text dating to the Middle Ages makes mention of “asyad al-ruhaniah” (Masters of Ruhaniah). One such master is no other than Metatron, known in Arabic as “Sayed Metatron” or Master Metatron. Metatron is a later rendition (attribute wise) of Nabu, the son of Marduk, whose temple in Sumerian is called Ezida (House of Righteousness) connecting him directly with the Akkadian Kittu (Righteousness) the son of Shamash (Sun), in later Babylonian theology. There is another layer to this mystery, when you consider the belief in the Near East that stars are bodies of angels and a less known mystery connecting the souls of all living things emanating and returning to the vault of souls, which are part of the Ruhaniah of stars.I think if Felkin failed to understand something, it is that Ara Ben Shemesh, whoever he is really, was guided by the "Sun Masters" to use the GD as a vehicle, but that should the situation change, that vehicle would be abandoned and another found. Assuming, indeed, that Ara Ben Shemesh intended to return physically, since he was seen as a shadowy apparition, it is likely what Felkin saw was a jinn announcing or heralding the arrival through incarnation. In Ruhaniat, each human has a jinn qareen or companion from birth. These jinn often appear as shadowy figures. Of course, if such an incarnation was to occur, it would have been futile for Felkin to wait, since he couldn’t know when it would happen and the child still would have to grow up.
I want to emphasize that I am not a member of Whare Ra, nor affiliated with any of its members. I just wanted to show how understanding Ruhaniat can shed some light on such experiences within the Golden Dawn.

Can you tell us a little about the differences between Ruhaniat and the Golden Dawn?

This is a tough question as I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I can say that the aims are the same, many of the methods are in harmony, and that while Ruhaniat isn’t the father or mother of the Golden Dawn, it sure is it's distant uncle. However, where the familial lines break has less to do with the Golden Dawn itself, but more with the cultural situation as it exists in the world today compared to the ancient world. In other words, it is between Ruhaniat vs modern new age thinking, or modern magick.

Can you tell us a little about the differences between Ruhaniat and modern magick?

Another difference between old and new is the idea that all power comes from within. You see more and more people basically pushing the Creator out of the picture altogether and making it all about us manifesting our own creation. Many old teachers of Ruhaniat argued that this was the danger of sorcery or association with the lower world denizens. One sign they warned against was that of letting power get into your head and feeling like you’re on equal footing with the Creator and attributing all gains to your own personal power. They saw that more with sorcerers and less with Ruhaniat practitioners and noted that. I should mention that I am using sorcery here in the Arabic sense to identify those who work with lower world denizens and seek to gain power over others. In Ruhaniat, the powers were always seen as having come from the Creator as a gift and blessing to help one spiritually and to benefit one’s community.There are differences between Ruhaniat and the styles of magic strongly influenced by Crowley. Crowley’s Aiwass would have been identified easily as an Ifrit (a class of jinn) by most practitioners of Ruhaniat, and the message and teachings he infused into magic bear hallmarks of that influence and not just Crowley’s own genius. In modern times, magical practices and objectives are considered more and more to be primarily a combination between mental imagination and pure human will unified to cause reality to conform to one’s personal will.This flies in the face of the teachings of Ruhaniat, which sees the craft as a direct tool to unveiling the barriers between the human consciousness and the realm of pure spirit. It was likened to soap, a tool to purify and cleanse the human soul and psyche and bring it to a state of spiritual perfection.The practitioners of Ruhaniat were also practical people and used their craft to help others on a physical level. The idea of high and low magic didn’t exist as it is understood today. There was nothing unspiritual about improving your life materially. High and low were associated in older Arabic literature with the realm of the Gods (angels, heaven, etc.) and the realm of the underworld (dead, lower jinn, demons, etc.)
This brings me to another point, which I think is becoming exceedingly unpopular in today’s pop-occultism world. You didn’t dance between both worlds back in the day. You chose to align yourself with either. Psychologically, we all want to balance and deal with our shadow self and not suppress it, but transmute it. However, Ruhaniat deals with objective spirits and, as such, they advised shifting back and forth. The lower jinn were harmed or made uncomfortable by the presence of the upper world denizens. Contrary to modern conceptions of banishing at will and evoking at will, you always had one or two such beings as your companion to help you out once you got started. The opposite side is that celestial or upper world beings required a certain level of purity elevation and were turned off by regular companionship with beings from lower worlds. Finally, Ruhaniat makes no distinction between magic and mysticism. In Ruhaniat mystical practices were often integrated into all facets of the craft ranging from prayer and fasting, to solitary retreats in darkness, engaged in chanting hymns and mantras. Ruhaniat is also strict about its dietary requirement of veganism during spiritual practices and admonishes its practitioners to even avoid looking at meat and slain animals when going through extended meditations. You don’t need to be a vegan all the time of course, but I know for me, my spiritual practices lead me to vegetarianism as a daily life choice. The re-integration of mysticism and spiritual discipline of a devotional level with magic and esoteric thought is what often gets most modern Western practitioners to experience a kind of mental computation error. Many have come to think of magic as a form of mental creation backed by will and most prefer not to have structure in their styles of magic; instead they like to create their own rituals. Ruhaniat would be a challenge as it requires consistent structured practice and discipline.

Can you give me an example of how a Ruhaniat ritual would differ from more modern methods?

Sure! Let’s say you want to consecrate a talisman. It takes time and preparation to just figure out the proper square that goes on it, the planetary timing (not just day and hour), and the consecration can take up to 40 days. You don’t project your own energy at it, but bring the energy from the macro universe and animate it like a golem. You want it to give you what you don’t possess, so you attract forces greater than yourself to it.

So, what makes this a better path for the average person?

It all boils down to efficacy. In the more popular modern methods, you often have to rely on faith that your work has done something. Frequently, the talisman is infused by your own will and energy, so it doesn’t have any more than what you can produce. If you are good, it may have energy, but it requires that you be psychic or intuitive to know that it has anything to it. In the Ruhaniat method, the talisman is placed on a tripod, and then it spins on its own – yes, on its own - and once it’s charged its energy is often physically tangible to random people. Some might report a feeling of their hand on fire or outright electrical shock from touching it. These are not the reactions of occultists, though I have had occultists have equally shocked reactions, which always amuses me, because they should know better. I’ve had family members visit where I asked them to close their eyes and first placed magical talismans on their hands and then normal objects without telling them what I was doing, and their reaction was amusing to behold.

This was part one of my interview with Nineveh...stay tuned for part two!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Azoth or The Star In The East- Commentary Part 1

"I knew on a very deep level that this was a Sacred Art"

Alchemy is known as the Royal Art. It is an art in the sense that it calls forth both the creative and destructive forces within. It stimulates both the inner and the outer, and gives a greater meaning to that which at first glance may seem worthless or trite. It opens the world like a book to the hungry reader and tells a magnificent tale of worlds outside, within, and surrounding our own. It is Royal or Noble in that it repels any superfulous influence. Its is a path of purity, of higher status for the soul trapped in a muddied world, one that places the crown of immortabilty on anyone who would undergo its trials and blessings. It is spoken of in Greek Myth and in Spiritual Allegory. In fact, I would say that it is the only Art. Truly every spiritual tradition, every system of High Magic, every mystical teaching is only an extension of the process of alchemy The transmutation of the soul from the state of unknowingness and plumbous nature of lead to that of the perfected, incorruptable, and auriferous nature of gold. To elevate oneself from the imperfect to the perfect, to be a vessel which holds the essence of the All, and can with a touch turn other things imperfect into their exhalted counter-parts...that is the nature of the mystical life, the spiritual life. To those who seek the Royal Path I offer a commentary on portions of Azoth or the Star of the East. It's purpose to offer a bridge for your own research and development in the Great Work for you will see that alchemical texts draw from many, many sources and it is the work of the alchemist to delve into each mystery slowly uncovering its source and its meaning, digesting it and making it apart of oneself. And as I am a student always and forever I welcome any commentary from fellow alchemists and mystics alike. May we all move forward together in the Great Work. I hope this short blog is helpful and interesting. I will be off on a spiritual journey for a few weeks time, so this one is short but when I return I shall continue with Part II.

Nosce te Ipsum
Soror FSO


In the books of the old physical Mystics, who conducted the experiments of transmutation and investigated the possibility of Nature in the world of metals and minerals, we find frequent reference to an all-permeateing and sublimating principle, which of the many forces deal with or referred to in occult chemistry appears most potent and most universal.

metals and minerals- refers to a more advanced stage of alchemy usually partaken of only after mastery of the
vegetable/herbal realm in which one has completed the "vegetable stone" known as the Minor Opus. This is the process of balancing and purifying the elements within through seperation and recombination. This work corresponds to the work of the Outer Order in the Golden Dawn taking one from Malkuth to the threshold of Tiphareth as well as to the world of Yetzirah and its effects on the astral body. The mineral work corresponds to the permanent psychic changes that are made in Briah, the Inner Order work and the spheres of Tiphareth, Geburah, and Chesed.

all-permeating;all-evading- Azoth is effective in all planes and for all times

sublimating-the spiritualization of matter; purification, the raising of one's vibrational energy. In chemistry this corresponds to the process of transition from a solid to gas with no liquid phase in between. Sublimation begins with the removal of the superfulous so that the purest parts remain possessing only the quality of the spirit, the term sublimation can also refer to the creation of the astral body.

It is the 'essential and final principle of the Great Work; its analogies in the intelligible order are to be found in the Divine Will; it is, allegorically speaking, the hand of God in Nature, and therefore in its symbolical aspect, as the outward sign of a withdrawn and unattainable potency; it has not been inappropriately designated the God of the Sages.

intelligible- denoting the metaphysical ream which is accessible to the intellect as opposed to the world of phenomena accessible only to the five senses. According to Pythagoras there are two worlds the sensible and the intelligible, the latter has the Monad as an originating principle. Plato also expounded on the intelligble world using his "Divided Line" analogy, a quick summery which can be found at

This force is the alchemical Azoth, The Catholicon, Magnesia, The Sperm of the World, Mercury, and the "Universal Medicine of Things, endowed with the most intent and concentrated virtue.

Azoth- The Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and the End, formed from the first and last letters of the hebrew alphabet Aleph-Tav

Catholicon- a remedy for ills

Magnesia-the "white" or "red" magnesia, the "magnet of Jah", the attractive principle of Divine Wisdom. This 'magnet' is also the power of attraction which establishes the orbits of the planets and the astronomical order of the heavens ( we hear this echoed in the Zelator initiation "He has bound Man with the Stars as with a chain. He allures him with Scattered Fragments of the Divine Body in bird and beast and flower, and He laments over him in the Wind and in the Sea and in the birds".\) It is the matter of the Stone. It "yields to nothing but love because generation is her aim and this is never accomplished through violence" The Sperm of the World from which all things are naturally generated, she (Magnesia) is of a middle nature (the Reconciler)

"It contains within itself" says the Book of the Wood of Life, "all other Medicines, as well as the first principle of all other substances, their accidents excluded. Unto this all things are alike; it uncovers every species, and imparts and immense streangth and catholic, central virtue.

catholic- universal

accidents-The nine accidents are quality, quantity, relation,action, passion, time, place, disposition, rainment. Accident was a term used by Pythagoras to describe a quality that was not apart of something's inherent nature (substance). For example a dog is a dog whether it is black or white. Therefore the dog is the substance, and the color is its accident. When the substance and accidents are reconciled together they form the one title, the perfect number, iota (10) (Matt 5:18: Verily I say unto you, till the heaven and earth pass away, one iota, or one title may not pass away from the law, till that all may come to pass). The iota is associated with the letter Yod-Hand in the hebrew alphabet. It is also associated with Virgo and The Hermit in the Tarot. (refer to the previous reference as Azoth being the hand of God in Nature)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And The Winner Is...

The American Breast Cancer Association i.e "Save the Tatas" so precociously left on my facebook wall, and in my opinion a very worthy cause. I think we'll have to do this again sometime!

Thank you everyone who participated in the donation fun!

Friday, June 10, 2011

In Gratitude To You Reader...A Donation to Charity.

Well, I was getting ready to start a blog expounding on some of the mysteries I came across in Waite's book Azoth or The Star of the East, but when I logged onto my blog today I saw that I had 100 followers! Now this may not seem like a lot in comparison to other blogs (or even in the scheme of popular written works) but to me it is a great honor that 100 people would want to read my thoughts, poems, papers, and ramblings. When I began this blog it was a way for me to solidify my thoughts, to get feedback on my opinions, magical practices esoteric research etc., and although it has accomplished these things, it also has become a blessing to me in so many other ways. Since starting this blog I have met so many wonderful people, I have been able to share in so many discussions, and learn so much from the great minds who include their input here and via others blogs. I have been able to witness the Great Work in action amongst those in the community who truly dedicate themselves to spiritual development, and have been inspired over and over again by what I have read and seen. Don't fool may think that the Golden Dawn community is full of drama, and bad-mouthing, and slander, but this is such a samll portion of what is truly represented by the people in our community and in the blogosphere. You are all amazing and inspiring people. I never expected to learn so much and be so blessed. I would just like to say thank all of you who read my blog, to all of you who leave their feedback, and to all of you who've become such great friends and colleagues because of it.

So I ask you to please celebrate with me! I will be donating $100 to a charity. Please leave your suggestion below or on my facebook account and in two days I will put them all in a hat and choose one at random, and let you guys know what charity is the winner! Only one paper per charity will be put in the hat.

Again thank you guys so much...and I promise I will be putting that commentary on Waite's book up in a few days...I really want to give everyone a chance to submit their suggestions.

Pax Profundi,
Nosce te Ipsum.
VH Soror FSO

Monday, May 23, 2011

Favorite Quotes

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.-- Albert Einstein

Don't follow any advice, no matter how good, until you feel as deeply in your spirit as you think in your mind that the counsel is wise. -- David Seabury

It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels he is worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him. -- Abraham Lincoln

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself. - Chinese Proverb

Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through everywhere..-- Emerson

Seriousness makes inflexible that which should remain flexible, the heart, the mind, and the spirit. Inflexibility causes the hardening of constructs, and the feeding of the ego that should instead be molded by the Divine daily. - Rachael Miller

Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him. -- Epictetus

Virtue means doing the right thing, in relation to the right person, at the right time, to the right extent, in the right manner, and for the right purpose. Thus, to give money away is quite a simple take, but for the act to be virtuous, the donor must give to the right person, for the right purpose, in the right amount, in the right manner, and at the right time.-- Aristotle

The world is a dangerous place to live;
not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don't do
anything about it.
. -- Albert Einstein

As the earth bears all that cast upon it, both the pure and the impure, and feels no resentment nor rejoicing, so shall you receive favors and rebuffs alike, with indifference. --Zen Proverb

Of other men, make him your friend, who is most distinguished by virtue. - Pythagoras

And when, after having thrown aside thy body, thou comest to the realms of the most pure ether. Thou shalt be a god, immortal, incorruptible.- Pythagoras

Friday, May 20, 2011

Only For Believers! Preparing For The Rapture!!!!

(Disclaimer: If you do not like satirical, dry, or otherwise slightly offensive humor DO NOT READ! This is meant purely for purposes of humor, nothing less, nothing more.)

That's right folks! St. Theresa is about to be joined by a whole lotta believers! Can you say partaay?! I'm sure no one likes to be getting their rapture on alone...but not to worry, this once in a life-time event is upon us! Now for such an occasion many of you may be wondering "What should I be doing over the next 24 hours to prepare for this glorious event?" Well I have prepared a list for you so that you can spend the next day taking care of and doing what's most important.

1. Don't Do Anything That Will Ruin Your Chances of Ascension! - Please don't mock" The Believers" and for Pete's Sake, don't sin! In fact, you better take you sinful butt down to Church right now, and get a Confession! Bringing the Priest milk and cookies might better your chances as well...

2. Have Sex! And Lots of It!- Of course, only if you enjoy the sanctity of marriage, if not refer to #1. But seriously folks you better take the day off of work and get some nookie now, who knows if you can get it in the after-life. I mean the last time humans and angels copulated we got the Nephalim and as Borat would say that "Was Notta So Good!" So, I'm pretty sure there's going to be a hands off policy.

3.Go Shopping!- Hell yeah! Run up those credit cards! Get what you want! The only things that will be left over after the Rapture are sinners and looting, so the credit card companies are going to be screwed anyway. Hey just call me and we'll go on a shopping spree, I just got a 30% off coupon in the mail for Kohl's, more savings = more things you won't be able to take to the Pearly Gates, but hey you've only got one day to get that mixer you've always wanted.

4. Pack For The Rapture!- Essentials include but are not limited to, portable harp, baby-wipes, hand-sanitizer (You better not clasp the hand of St. Peter with dirty fingers!) lavender-filled neck pillow (it might be a long trip), toothbrush, your ENTIRE collection of True Blood ( Blue-Ray preferred), and of course as mommy always told you, clean undies. I will also be bringing my kitty cat with, cause I just think she'll look super cute with angel wings!

5. Make Amends- Yes, I know your b*tch Trigonometry teacher gave you a "C", but this is no time to be slamming that cool glass of Hater-Aid, or taking a ride on the Ele-hater for that matter. No, you're gonna have to suck it up on this one or else be left here on this retched planet with her! You've spent that last semester dealing with her crap, you certainly don't want to spend the rest of eternity with her now do you? Send her some flowers or something with that credit card you won't be paying on and get extra eternity points!

6. Ladies, Put On Some Make-up and Get Yur Hair Did!- You've already seen the effects on your husband when he comes home from a hard day at work and you're still hanging out in that horrible fuzzy-teal robe your mother in law got you for Christmas. Mmmhmmm. Girl, you need to freshen up! It's not everyday that the real bridegroom comes to claim his wife, so get those highlights done and your nails pedicured up. After you're done refer to number 2 on the list, then number 1 (if you're living in sin), and then re-freshen up by lighting the oil lamps, applying a little lip gloss and spritzing on a little Eau De Salvation. Now you're ready for the rapture and never looked better!
7. Burn all your Sh*t!- You don't want those sinners looting your stuff post-rapture and getting all your goodies. No, they deserve the pits of hell, not Gramma's bone china. About 5:00 pm (because we all know the rapture starts promptly at 6:00) start a bonfire and start dancing! Or on second thought, don't! We don't want to be mistaken for those icky pagans dancing around praising Satan and such. Better to go back inside and start counting up your salvations points, just in case you need to quick run back to Church and see the Priest again.

8. Say Thank You! - I better not see you at the Pearly Gates acting like you belong their O.K. ! Humilty is key here. Make sure you say please and thank you, and if you want to go the extra mile take some soot from you bonfire and smear it all over...not you of course ladies, you don't want to mess up your hair, we can leave the dirty work for the men.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

To Share In Love and Light...

There is a man whom I've never formally met. This man, who lives thousands of miles away from me, whom I've never even spoke to on the phone has cystic fibrosis. It is a disease that causes mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive track. It's very serious and often leads to early death.

A few years ago, my little brother passed away. He was only fifteen and suffered a sudden brain aneurysm. It was a terrible and unexpected tragedy, but it was through this tragedy that I came to know Kenneth. Kenneth is a recipient of my brother's lungs. As I said, I have never personally met him. My mother has. In fact she has remained relatively close to him and his wife over the past few years, as they lived in the same state. Kenneth was the only recipient who ever contacted my mother. He even took the opportunity to visit her after she moved away from Michigan and was living by herself in Georgia for awhile, trying to heal. Those two things alone made it quite apparent that Kenneth appreciates every moment he is given and wishes to give back in return. To see a person reach out to a woman whom he has never known or never met where it is the trend to stay away, is the type of person I would want to be if such tragedy ever befell me. To go beyond the self to help the life of another, is one of the most profound mystical values that I hold dear. And as far as leading that type of life, although not a Rosicrucian, or most likely a mystic in anyway...Kenneth inspires me.

A few weeks ago, Kenneth's body started to reject the transplant and they placed him on a new donor list.

A few days ago, only after a few short weeks of waiting, they took him off the donor list and decided to transfer him to hospice.

I have never met Kenneth...only spoken to him via Facebook, but one thing I absolutely know is that he has a wonderful soul.

He is as kind as his soul is wonderful. He loves life. He likes awesome dorky stuff like old He-Man cartoons, Cannibal the Musical, Jeeves and Wooster, Lord of the Rings, and Monty Python. He enjoys photography and film-making.

Sometimes, I get the feeling that some things should be left alone. This is not one of those times. Something inside me is speaking, pleading, begging me to do something. Something is telling me that even if it is just the act of giving energy to man whom I have never met, that energy, those thoughts, that love which can be felt and shared from one human being to another is extensively needed. Until further notice of change in the situation I will be preforming a continuous vigil. When my mind is not on other tasks I will place it into prayer. When I am not preforming other duties I will be working consistently with the One. I am writing this because I see no point in having a blog... having a voice, and not using it for the good of others. Everyone of us as mystics has a voice and we have honed it to be powerful. We have and are continuously honing it to speak the Word, the listen to the Word, and to bring the Will of the Word into share its essence.

Many of you in the community joined me in healing rights for the Earthquake/Tsunami in Japan, as well for the healing of Haiti. It touched me deeply to see the community so bonded in healing. And although part of me feels a little imposing asking this, my soul cries out to say, will you join me in sending Healing, Love, and Light to Kenneth Staunton and his family? For a few minutes a day could I ask of those of you who read my blog to do a special prayer, ritual, or devotion for this man who has lead such an inspiring life? In return I will be hosting a special healing list every month. I will open it up to requests from blogs, facebook, twitter, e-mail etc. If you have a name to be added I will place it on the list and every month preform a special rite. I will keep you updated on any new that comes my way concerning this situation.

Nosce Te Ipsum,
Soror FSO

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gamma Frequency Oscillations Connected To Perceptual Binding/Consciousness

The study of human consciousness and perception has traditionally been ignored amongst the hard sciences due to its subjective and therefore assumed un-measurable nature. Studying the subjective aspects of the human condition has traditionally been left to the softer sciences of psychology and sociology and even considered to be more in the realm of philosophy and religion. However, recent applications of quantum physics, chaos theory, neurosciences, and even plasma, fluid, and solid state dynamics have opened the door to studying the subjective aspects of the mind and what have been termed the “neural correlates of consciousness”. Proposals for a theory of consciousness have ranged from quantum approaches applied to microtubules (Orch-OR Theory; Penrose and Hammeroff) and ion channels (Bernroider) to electromagnetic theories (Vitiello, Frohlich) and even the application of chaos theory to algorithms produced in the brain (Vandervert). Most proposals have subsequently been disproven by empirical data showing that the thermal temperatures present in the brain could not harbor the quantum effects suggested coupled with their inability to explain how the human mind combines a wide-range of stimuli into coherent experiences (the binding problem). Just as well, “mind as computer” theories are harshly debated in the scientific community with little scientific evidence correlating said theories with the exquisite nature of neural functioning. However, recent studies in gamma frequency oscillations and their corresponding neural correlations seem to be filling in the blanks that have traditionally made studying consciousness and perception so difficult. This blog will discuss the findings of these studies, the bio-physical correlates and the effects of gamma oscillations on coherency and perception within the brain.

In the last two decades advances in neuroscience and the use of electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetoencephalographic (MEG) techniques have solidified the observation that brain regions communicate by synchronizing the firing of neurons. The rhythmic input that is produced in the extracellular field potential results in brain oscillations represented by delta (0–4 Hz), theta (4–8 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), beta (12–30, Hz) and gamma (30–200 Hz) frequencies respectively. Previously thought to be a bi-product of waking, sleeping, and dreaming states, research in the past two decades has uncovered the possibility of these frequencies (especially those in the gamma range) representing a more causal roles in normal cognitive processes including memory, attention, perceptual binding and the experience of consciousness. Experimental data shows that gamma oscillations become highly correlated during different perceptual tasks amongst long-range neural networks which may lead to the creation of a unified field of perception.

Initial experimentation by Singer and Grey (1989) analyzing the visual cortex of cats presented with moving bars of varying orientations produced results showing that gamma oscillations work to synchronize inter-columnar input in the cortex when the bars were perceived. During a cycle of gamma frequency oscillations the neurons in different parts of the cortex fired “in phase” (i.e at the same time) leading to the proposition that gamma oscillations helped to “bind” different aspects of the scenery and convey a unified representation (Williams 2010). Further studies have found that the firing of cells in the visual cortex and elsewhere can become highly correlated over distances of many millimeters during perceptual tasks (Robinson 2007). Most studies of cortical network dynamics have focused on “random wiring” or “neighborhood couplings” however, recent studies point to more complex state of activity by utilizing local and long-range “patchy connections” (horizontal connections). Patchy projections seem to provide an exceptionally efficient way of wiring, as the resulting networks use significantly reduced wiring costs. Furthermore,” the eigenvalue spectra, as well as the structure of common in and output of the networks suggest that different spatial connectivity patterns support distinct types of activity propagation” (Voges 2009). In particular, the existence of strong two-point correlations in inter-columnar processing was closely associated with the oscillatory behavior in the gamma range. Two-point correlations of firing rates or local field potentials often show peak near-zero-time lag, even amongst easily detectable axonal conduction delays between the cells of interest. Correlations between cells are found to be highest when subjects are called upon to use similar preference features (line orientation, ocular dominance, etc.) and lessened as the disparity of presented stimuli increased (Robinson 2007). In cases where multiple stimuli were presented simultaneously, neural-cells partitioned off in “highly correlated groups each of which corresponded to one stimulus with little correlation between groups” (Robinson 2007). In comparison, the arousal of the same cells when presented with only one stimulus resulted in activity amongst all cells. Although changes in gamma activity were found to be statistically insignificant when a stimulus was perceived and not perceived, the level of correlation of gamma activity increased dramatically between cells depending upon the type of stimulus perceived (i.e multiple or singular). Mean-field theory, normally applied to fluid, static, and plasma physics presents working formulae which show how mm-scale patchy connections can support the properties of gamma oscillations with the proper frequencies needed for spatial structure even when motivated by uncorrelated points. These occur via resonances associated with the periodic modulation of the network connections rather than being due to single-cell properties.

Building on the initial experiments of Singer and Grey, experiments by Bartos et al (2007) found that cortical and thalamic regions display accelerated sub-threshold gamma oscillations of neuronal membranes. Synchronization of these rhythmic movements were shown to be facilitated by intra-laminar neurons which fire rhythmic spike bursts in the gamma frequency range and exhibited wide-spread cortical projections. Experiments focusing on the hippocampus of mice in the temporal lobe showed that gamma oscillations arise from the precise interplay of the action potential firing of excitatory glutamatergic pyramidal neurons and inhibitory GABAergic inter-neurons. Consequently, alternating pairs of current sinks and sources occur in the tissue, which require enhanced Na+/K+- ATPase activity to restore ionic gradients and to maintain excitability. ATPases enzymes are responsible for catalyzing the decomposition of adenosine trihosphate (ATP) in the andesonine diphosphate (ADP) and a free phosphate ion. Dephosphorylation reactions are responsible for the release of energy which is used to drive other chemical reactions. The local ATP consumption in neurons is rapidly counterbalanced by mitochondria via oxidative phosphorylation, mainly in response to changes in substrates and intracellular Ca2 +. The process requires sufficient glucose and O2 supply as well as proper activities of mitochondrial enzymes.

Results obtained by experimentation of gamma wave frequency oscillations and perception emphasize that neural synchrony does not require temporally synchronous inputs, but can be instead draw from a variety of seemingly non-related stimuli. Activated patchy connections in turn help to compose seemingly unrelated events and perceived objects into a coherent perception. It is also apparent that the fundamental cause for gamma oscillation synchrony is governed by the network eigenmode rather than single cell properties (although mean cellular characteristics determine wave properties) and correspond to biological functions in the brain such as ion gradients and enzyme catalyzation. Further exploration of these topics may lead to greater discoveries in brain functioning, neuro-degenerative diseases, and how the neural correlates of consciousness may function. They also show that consciousness and perception both have the ability to be studied empirically and that resulting data is significant in understanding the functioning of the brain, deepening bio-physical concepts, and understanding how humans process information.

Nosce te Ipsum,

Soror FSO

Monday, April 18, 2011

Your Soul For A Trinket?

Someone from another Order contacted a student of mine a few days ago and offered to "make him an Adept", "give him students" and a few other unmentionable trinkets to join their Order.

Yes, I suppose I could be upset that there is someone out there trying to "member steal", but honestly I believe that a person should be allowed to choose whatever Order they'd like to be apart of. In fact, when my Order split from the EOGD we told our students just must make your own decision and we will not get in the way of what you choose.

What did upset me however was the offer to bribe a student to join their Order by "making them an Adept". Call me "out of line" but since when does becoming an Adept come with a bribe? If C.R. hadn't most likely been lifted into the heavens he could very well be rolling over in his Vault right now!

All of my students know that when they come to me I will offer complete honesty. So what did I say? Well I asked him these questions...

Do you want to be in their Order because that it your decision to make. (no need to tell me this answer)

How important is it to you to become and Adept?

Do you want to become an Adept in Spirit and because of the growth it brings, or do you want to become and Adept for the sole purpose of having the title of Adept and some idea of authority and power over students?

(My student answered that he wants to become an Adept in the truest sense, and that he in fact did not want to be a part of the other Order)

Being an Adept is a sacred calling. It is a way of living. You cannot be bribed into true Adepthood, just as you cannot be bribed into enlightenment. It happens through hard work, perseverance and commitment. It comes with integrity, honesty, loyalty and devotion to the Divine. Just because you are given the title of an Adept does not make you one. "But most Adepts haven't made it to 'Adepthood' you might say, and they have the tile V.H. ____yes this is true. But those who have been made Adepts through the proper requirements have also gone through a significant amount of alchemy. Becoming initiated as an Adept means that you are ready for a life-long commitment, that you are committed to enduring the trials of the ego, and that you are ready to think not of yourself, but of others and the betterment of the world.

If one enters into Adepthood because he/she has been bribed into it, what energy do you think that will bring to his/her development? Does it represent the ideals spoken of above? Not only is bribing someone with a title of Adept a grave offense to what it stands for, but it is a grave offense to the student and to the Divine. Being an Adept is a state of mind, a commitment to development. How can you offer a role which represents the utmost in spiritual devotion to the Divine in a way that wreaks of such dishonor?

How can you guide the innocents onto a path of selfishness, conceit, and an addiction to power, when they have entered onto a path seeking enlightenment, fulfillment, and a true relationship with the Divine? The very thought of it is an anti-thesis to the calling of an Adept.

On top of that you have to think about the quality of people who are joining your Order if they are open to"incentives". Do you think they will be loyal to you and stay for the long haul? These will be people who will require that you give them things in return for their service, and as soon they are not getting the grade material that they want, the position that they want, or the power that they want they will leave (unless you can find some other way to manipulate them) Let's say you actually convince someone to join your Order this way and they actually believe that they will reach enlightenment faster by "all of a sudden" becoming an Adept. What will happen when they see that the Current is lacking, and find themselves amongst individuals who are selfish and power seeking? Their stay will be short-lived because you cannot offer them the Truth that you are seeking. So in the end you will have a group of people that will be like a house of cards...ready to fall at the slightest bit of trouble.

Nosce te Ipsum,

Soror FSO

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spiritual Parenting Part 1

My little one has just turned four. wondrous little Aries, so full of joy and curiosity. I can't help but think about how much he has changed me over the years, and then, on the other hand what my role is in helping him to grow up an enlightened soul. Unfortunately, most people don't think about these things, most parents it seems, are more concerned with having a child who behaves and ends up being financially successful in life. Even more unfortunate they will base a child's esteem and worthiness on these two factors. Now, I am not here to judge, these are things which are deeply ingrained in our society, but the spiritual parent has an obligation to go beyond these factors and to help their child to develop and deeper sense of awareness of themselves, of other people, and of the world.

To give help a child to attain the skills which will lead to the perfection of their souls later on in life (when they are old enough to make their own decisions about their soul's path), is the greatest gift a parent can bestow. So, what are these "gifts", what actions can a parent can take to help their child to attain these higher states of awareness later on? Well, first let me state that it is up to each parent to contemplate their own lives, the lessons they have learned, and the experiences that they have had which have helped them to grow to a greater understanding of who they are, and then to translate this into how they raise their child. But of course I would love to share with you those things which I have learned and have experienced that I feel gives children a great start in these areas...and will not only ultimately help to lead to more developed souls but consequently also then help to feed these other areas of success and good behavior which are so important in our society. This knowledge comes from my training in psychology, the time when I was a nanny, the times when I was a yoga and martial arts instructor for children, and of course from my own experience as a mother. I am not saying these are the end all be all of tips, but they are what I have found works well. I hope you enjoy, and of course I always appreciate your comments. (I will be writing this blog in a few parts for time's sake).

1.Self-esteem: Self-esteem is very important to a child, not because it makes a child feel good or bad, but because it helps a child to define who they are and what their place is in the world. Humans do not finish fully developing their "frontal lobe" until their late teens/early twenties. The frontal lobe governs the function of understanding others thoughts and feelings and the world around them. These are skills that as a mystical parent we want to instill in our children...the ability to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and others. As a child, the frontal lobe is fairly undeveloped still so children look towards positive reinforcement to help then to understand if what they are doing is good and bad, if they are cared for, how they fit into the world, and how their behavior affects others. By teaching your child proper habits, not only will your child begin to develop these concepts much faster than most, but practicing them will actually help their little brains grow!

Self-esteem boils down to one concept... respect. Respect is not something that is often considered when it comes to children. Traditionally, people are of the opinion that adults are to be respected while children are to keep their place and 'Do as they are told'. But, I will tell you from what I have witnessed as a teacher and parent that a child, although they may not be able to verbalize or understand the concept, do understand respect on some level. They know that parents are to be respected, and in turn look for clues that they are respected as well. This is natural, because we are their examples, so in order to feel as if they are apart of the world, they look to how you are treated, and how you act, and attempt to see if this is reflected in their world. To a child, knowing that he or she has mutual respect from a parent affects how they view themself, their performance in school, and their willingness to do what is asked of them. In fact, many people think that success in activities (school, sports, social-life etc.) leads to a good self-esteem, but in fact knowing that regardless of how one performs that they will still be loved and respected leads to good self-esteem, and thus gives one the confidence to continue to keep trying and learning until they have mastered those activities.

In a sense, what we are talking about is developing the notion that one should treat others as they themselves would like to be treated. Yes, you should look at the day to day situations you are involved in with your child and ask yourself how you should act and how you would want to be treated. For example, if you would like your child to develop the habit of good manners, then it is important to use good manners yourself, not only when speaking to others, but also when speaking to your child. If you want him to say "please" and "thank you" then, when asking your child to do something or get something, you should also say "please" and "thank you" to your child. The "do as I say, not as I do" mentality A.) does not show mutual respect for a person and B.) is not enough to help a child to develop a good habit. Instead he sees that it is fine to say these things in some instances, but not when is it appropriate and when is it not? Well for a child, who can't contemplate this, he doesn't instead you are gifted with erratic behavior. However, if both you and your child use good manners at home and outside of the home on a consistent basis then not only will that habit be ingrained in the child, but he feels as if he is apart of the world, and also experiences the positive effects of using good manners from his interaction with others. All of these help him/her to develop a greater sense of self and a greater sense of others. These two things are key to concepts of spirituality such as compassion and humility. Other areas which help with this concept are

1. Letting your child help you with household activities such as cooking and laundry. For example let him or her help you put laundry in the washer, or mix up the cake batter. Being able to help with the house-hold activities helps them to feel as if they are apart of the family unit, teaches responsibility, and gives greater personal confidence. 2. Giving your child "choices", this not only gives you the ability to set boundries but also gives them the ability to think for themselves. It's a perfect example of the balance that can be attained between these two concepts. For example, saying that "It's cold outside so no you cannot wear your spring sandles", but then giving them a choice of what warm outfit to wear, helps them to feel that they are still important and keeps the rules intact. Also saying things like "Would you like to put away your toys or go to time out?" rather than "Put your toys away or you will go to time out" gives them the opportunity to learn to start making proper decisions. Children are also much happier to be able to choose to put their toys away then to feel as if they are already being punished. 3. Fun! We are all busy, and tired at the end of the day, but just like you must take time to nurture your relationship with your signifigant other, you must take time to nurture your relationship with your child...and not just on the weekends. This may be as simple as reading together at night, or taking a half and hour for some" mommy and me", or "daddy and me" play time. Having some quality time each day that you dedicate to your child without the distraction of house-hold duties, shows your child that he or she is also teaches balance. Use this to help them learn the concept of responsibility. After dinner for example, have everyone in the house help with chores, and then spend some fun time together!

Remember, having a mutual respect between you and your child does not mean that you should let them walk all over you. It is important to remember that although you can show and teach your children respect, you are still the parent. Consistent boundaries are just as important to parenting. When rules are followed inconsistently children get confused, and this can lead to poor behavior and lower self-esteem. Boundaries not only teach children respect, but also help a child to feel safe in the world. So it is an important part of teaching respect to have boundaries and to keep them.

to be continued....;)

Nosce Te Ipsum,

Soror FSO