Friday, September 30, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
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.
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.
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.
• 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.
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).
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.
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.
Friday, June 17, 2011
"I knew on a very deep level that this was a Sacred Art"
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
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.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
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,
Monday, April 18, 2011
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.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
My little one has just turned four. Ahhhh...my 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.