Tuesday, March 29, 2011

De-basing the (s)elf Not the (S)elf- Practicing the Divine Art of Humility

Humility is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts of spirituality. The most common belief is that humility means "placing others above oneself", "being submissive" or even "self-abasing". If we look at humility from the stand-point of the dictionary, then yes this is what you get and if this is how you practice humility you will get dictionary results, not spiritual. However, when we analyze the mystery of humilty and its ability to raise one to union with the Higher Genius, then we have something else completely.

( just a quick note, when using self with the small "s" I am referring to one's personal self, whereas the use of big "S" refers to our True Self, the Higher Genius)

Let's quickly define the purpose of a mystical path...to purify oneself so that one may attain knowledge and union with the True Self, known in the Golden Dawn as The Holy Guardian Angel or The Higher Genius. Purification here is the key, and all acts that we preform in magic and mysticism are meant to purify the self wether it be meditation, yoga, right eating, right speech, magic, fasting, prayer, communion with higher beings, humility...there are literally hundreds of techniques that have been developed by mystics to accomplish this goal- the goal of purifying the consciousness so that one can see the True Light. A quick analogy for this is to think of a light-bulb with dust on it. As we preform these techniques and follow the path of The Great Work we slowly remove the dust that keeps our consciousness impure and keeps us from experiencing the True Light, until finally do we not only see the Light, but the Light is all that shines.

Humility by this definition should be an act which helps one to purify their consciousness. True Humility then is first and foremost a complete surrender and constant yearning for union with the Divine. All acts of spirituality should come from this purpose first and foremost. It is important to make this point because often-times when one de-bases themself for the sake of another in order to be "more humble", or act with "more humility", (although their intention may be pure) sometimes one is acting against their true goal. It is important for each person to be honest with themselves when following a spiritual path, and to ask each time "Will this action bring me closer to the Divine?" Sometimes you may find yourself really questioning either way, and in this case if you have time I suggest preforming a divination, asking the question "If I preform this act what will the spiritual outcome be?" You must be absolutly vigilant in your spiritual path, and make sure that every step you take comes from a place of communion with your True Self otherwise you risk walking in circles rather than forward.

Now, what is the first thing we learn as initiates in the "Hall of the Neophyte?" "Fear is Failure!"
Why? Because fear is a lie, and the fallen state that we recognize as our daily consciouness before enlightenment is one of illusion, a lie, known in the East as Maya. This illusion is the dust or film on the light-bulb we were discussing earlier, and humility then is a powerful tool to help remove this from our consciouses.

Humility removes fear.

First it places in a state of no-fear. Fear is based on the notion of protecting one-self. It is at the very basis of our psychological and physiological state of being...most people have probably heard of the concept of "Fight or Flight". But think abour fear for a moment. What do we fear? Not paying our bills, not getting the love of another, being alone, wondering if we are being spiritual, wondering if another is hurt or in pain, or even in some cases where we might eat or sleep? Most fears are based on the idea of protecting the self, or one's sense of self, or that which we love. There is always the element of "I" in fear. There is always a level of attachment. Attachment is the symptom of Maya. Practicing non-attachment (humility) removes Maya from our state of consciousness. Just think..."People weep rivers of tears because a son is not born or because they do not get riches, but who sheds even one teardrop because he has not seen God?"

Practicing humility takes the attachment to the self and to the physical world out of the picture as one forgoes the self for the Divine thus allowing for the powerful influence of the Divine to take its course in our lives. When this happens not only do we develop at a faster rate, but our knowledge of the Divine comes more vivid thus further removing more fear...for once we see the constant stream of love, positivity, increased awareness and intuition, and begin to have more confidence in our path and in our relationship with the Divine, we become even less fearful and more powerful in fulfilling our path as mystics. Think about how much more successful you are in life when you have complete knowledge and confidence? Think about how this state of mind would affect your spiritual path.

Magically speaking this is when we experience the most power in our practice, because "fear is the mind-killer" (dork points!). It blocks our energy as magicians, and keeps it from flowing. It also allows outside thoughts and fears to make thier way into our practice, where instead we should be developing a lazer-sharp level of concentration and communion during ritual. Removing fear increases our knowledge of the Divine, and having true Self-confidence (big S meaning the Higher Genius) not self-aggrandizement or egoism gives us the most power in our practice.

Humility then is not necessarily the de-basing of oneself, or thinking of others above oneself, yes these practices are beneficial when done properly, but one should always remember that True Humility is the practice of surrendering to the Divine which can come in many forms and should be practiced with great fervence.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Initiate's Bill of Rights-Calling All Mages!

The time has come to get the ball rolling on this. I have had quite a few requests for this since someone posted this idea to my blog, and I happen to think this is a very good idea. I am working with some leaders of the Golden Dawn community as would also like to hear the communities opinions and experiences. This Bill will be a reference document for all initiates regardless of tradition to help them make sure that they are dedicating themselves to a path of integrity and growth. So inquiring minds want to know? What do you think is important. What would you like to see in this Bill? Many of us have been in the magical community for a long-time and have learned a "thing or two", please share your wisdom with us!

I'd like to make a first point on this topic. Spirituality is a "sticky" thing sometimes. We talk about humility, sacrifice, surrender, non-attachment to material things. These topics are all valid, and important I belive to someone's spiritual path, but also are the topics that confuse people and often are abused by others in order to abuse those who follow them. I would personally like to see this topic addressed. Where do we draw the line? How does one know if they are following a spiritual idea such as self-sacrifice, or when they are allowing things to get our of hand? What could we include in the Bill that might make these points clear?

Can't wait to hear everyone's comments!

Soror FSO

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Can't Be Your Superman!

And now for a candid announcement....Sometimes I think the "B" in blog stands for bullshit. First of all having the ability to post whatever you want on the internet gives people the false impression that they are an "authority" which gives them permission to wag their dicks in anyone's faces about any subject what so ever....yes, I'm sure there is some comfort being a keyboard cowboy from the privacy of your own living room knowing you can say whatever you like and no one is going to come to your door and punch you in the face. Secondly, it's very funny how people begin to acquire a belief that just because you write a blog that means you wear some kind of "S" on you're chest and you can go around saving the world, physically swooping in to stop evil in it's tracks...and when you don't, well, hell hath no fury like an "Anonymous Poster" scorned...

And thus in light of these things above, from the comfort of my living room, key-board cowboy style, I'm going to break down this reality check for some of you real quick...(obviously this post is not meant for everyone)

1. Soror FSO posts things to her blog that she believes are relevant and worth her time. Whereas you may have a day job and get to sit at home surfing the internet with nothing else to do after work or during work my time is precious. Getting a MA degree in physics/biomedical engineering is no easy feat, and when I am not spending 40hrs a week on my homework I have a child, husband, house, students, and if I have the time, some magic to attend to. This means that responding to every moan, bitch, and complain that crosses the internet regrading "The Golden Dawn" is not on my agenda. If it's relevant and I believe makes an impact I will take the time to write about it...i.e. I did not feel that "Robert Zink" coming down to the Temple of Isis was anything to sneeze at. Yes, when rampaged around the internet and various blogs it sure seemed like the apocolypse had come and gone...the truth of the matter is that it was more like a fly landing on your back at the beach, annoying to say the least. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Robert does not have control of anything except the hearts and minds of five people....count 'em baby uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, sies!...Hot Damn! One whole hand! Maybe if Robert works really hard and doesn't screw anyone over by stealing anyone else's credit card information he might get that up to two hands pretty quickly...a far cry from the few hundred students which used to be apart of that Order...Did you know that when Sideshow Bob showed up to EQ, the Adepti and members vacated the premises?! Essentially Robert went down there and played "Big Fish in a Small Pond", Imperator of five people...go Robert!, after all those years you're back to where you started. And for those of you who are so "pissed" that we "let" Robert have the Temple did you also know that the lease of Isis is in the hands of those few people who love Robert so much? O! that gives me such great legal grounds to go down there and shut that whole "operation" down. Super Soror to the rescue!

3. Soror FSO is not apart of the EOGD anymore, and doesn't care what they do. Yes, I could get all upset and say "O, well Robert still has the ability to hurt people", but first of all, I did not sign up to be the Robert Zink police. I have been doing that since I was a Theoricus, and was even proudly kicked out of the Order twice because I got on Robert's bad side for not 'cowtowing' to his whims. Short of going up to La Crosse, WI and doing something illegal that will put me in jail there is really nothing else that can be done. The ownership of Isis is in the hands of those few who stayed with him. The rest of us few hundred people who were in that Order no longer have anything to do with him, them, or however they decided to live their life...it's democracy at its finest. So for all you little "Judgemental Judys" out there who want to act like we are the bad guys, I would like to make it clear that you have just as much power to do something about him as I do which includes...

1.Not recognizing him as a member of the Golden Dawn community

2. Boycotting his forums and blogs which include the World-Wide Forum

3.Suggesting to people whom he screws over that they press charges on him..which is the right thing to do. ( I would do this, but I never gave him a red cent)

4. Offering something better than what he has to offer

5. Informing those who may show interest to do a small amount of research

6. Help me to write an "Initiates Bill of Rights" which I will be making my next blog post about.

So now, Soror FSO is going to do what she has been wanting to do since she was a Theoricus and finally has the ability to do... be apart of an Order full of people I respect, enjoy doing magic, enjoy not dealing with drama, and that includes the internet bullshit. Most likely, (unless I feel its really relevant to discuss) this will be my last blog post which even gives credence to the Golden Dawn drama. There is so much more to this beautiful tradition and its time for me, and all of us to start living it. If you feel the same way, I say let's fill the internet, it's blogs, and forums with information that will light the way for people seeking the Light, let's turn our focus back to the Divine. Lets stop "defending the tradition" and start showing people our knowledge, our growth, and how to live the life of a mage...let's show them the tradition. Yes, I know there will always be those drama queens who can't quit gossiping, but I've learned its up to you whether you want to involve yourself in it or not. One can just as easily read a blog relevant to magic where they will learn something as they can read a blog that is essentially the "National Enquirer" of the Golden Dawn. Be an informed magician, be a smart magician. Ask questions, do research, study magic...leave all the distraction behind.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Day of Magic For Japan

Calling all magi! Today magical relief efforts for Japan will be undertaken by magi all over the world. The goals being to 1.Stop the partial nuclear melt-down that is occuring. 2. Invoke compassion for the people of Japan so that they may receive the physical help they need 3. Send healing light to the victims of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear melt-downs. If you would like to participate (please do, only if its for a few minutes) at some point today, preform a ritual, prayer, chant...something of you choosing, something your HG guides you to do for the people of Japan, and for these goals. It's times like these that the magical community can really shine, by pooling our efforts together for the benefit of the world.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

With Love To Japan

My thoughts, prayers, and love to all the people in Japan.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Apocalypse Now? The Decline of Earth's Biodiversity and The Next Mass Extinction

I subscribe to the Cell Press daily newsletter http://www.cell.com/cellpress It's a great way for me as a scientist to stay abreast of news in neuroscience, evolution, stem-cell research, cellular and molecular biology etc...and it keeps me preoccupied while waiting in line. Yesterday while I was at the bank I almost choked on my orange tic-tac when I read an article from "The American Journal of Botany" which stated:

"Earth's biodiversity- the number of microorganisms, plants, animals, their genes, and their eco-systems is declining at an alarming rate, even faster than the last mass extinction 65 million years ago. In fact two-thirds of the terrestrial species that exist today are estimated to be extinct by the end of this century!

Humans are an integral part of this extensive network of life. We depend of biodiversity for goods and services (and medicines); we impact biodiversity via rapidly expanding human population growth, consumption of resources and the spread of disease"

If you are not shocked by this please read it again...two-thirds of our biodiversity will be extinct by the end of this century?! The impact that this will have on us as a human species is almost incomprehensible...and yet I bet people will continue to bury their head in the sand thinking that it has nothing to do with them...nope only your children. If you don't make it to the turn of the century they most-likely will.

It has been long thought that humans and their activity are causing mass extinctions. Despite our increased efforts in conservation it has not been enough and we continue to see mass losses including oceanic biodiversity, amphibians, lizards, fish, the coveted rain-forest canopy (which has helped up to discover many different types of medicines) and many others. We have not even discovered all the species on earth (especially in the rain-forest) and two-thirds of them will be gone. The WHO stated the state of biodiversity continues to decline, according to most indicators, largely because the pressures on biodiversity continue to increase. There is no indication of a significant reduction in the rate of decline in biodiversity, nor of a significant reduction in pressures upon it.

These activities which are resulting in heavy loss in the animal and plant kingdoms also can result in human loss...for example over-foresting. In Bagladesh and India over-logging has caused the monsoon seasons to become even more deadly, and have also increased the deadliness of avalanches and mud-slides since these natural barriers may not even exist any longer in some areas where these natural disasters are prominent.

I have been thinking about the recent earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and wild-fires the world has been experiencing. Is it me, or does it seem as if these things are happening a little more frequently than before? Is the rapid change in environment and biodiversity causing these things to happen on a greater scale then before? Whether it is or not...its time to wake up! The world we live in is being destroyed right before our very eyes, and we are asleep to it. If we do not take action, out world will be in serious jeopardy..in our life-time.

Do It!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Update From Frater Francesco

Some of you may have read a blog earlier this week written by Frater Franscesco. I just wanted to share his update with everyone :) Sorry haters, I know you were waiting for the mud-slinging to get into full swing. I have always been proud to be apart of the EOGD, and after witnessing the actions of these wonderful people to make amends...I can say that I remain a proud member and Adept. Thank you brothers for all your hard work.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Indispensable Teachings Of Magic

From time to time, I like to take a step back and review my magical regimen. This is a little trick I learned when I was studying to become a yoga instructor because it is so common to become attached to the fruits of our labors that we forget the bigger picture...is what I am doing truly helping me to grow? This happens all the time. Studnents want to get to the next level, they want to get to the next grade, they want to become an Adept...these things to them mark success, and moving forward. The unfortunate consequence of this is that people begin to rush through the techniques that are meant to help them truly move into the next level, and so although they may have the book knowledge and even some practice under their belt, its very rare that a person takes the time to master a magical concept or practice. Mastering the practice is what brings true power to the practice. Having power in your practice drives you forward to union with your higher genius. Its like having a full tank of gas and a tuned car vs some spark plugs which aren't in all the way, and a half-empty tank of gas. If you're like me you want to get to your Union ASAP! but half-assing the Work only makes it take more time.

Magic is like mathematics. If you don't build a good foundation in algebra, you will have a hard time in Trig. If you end up skating through Trig by the seat of your pants, by the time you get to Calculus you'll find yourself in a world of trouble. In order to be good in Calculus you must learn the concepts, and techniques of algebra. It's the same thing with magic...if you want to learn how to invoke a spirit into physical form one day then you better learn your basics.

Learning your basics though is often an on-going process. What you may learn and comprehend in the Neophyte grade may be very different than what you can comprehend in the grade of Philosophus. Thus taking the time from a new point of view to review and re-learn your materials will be an indispensable tool for you as a magician...but it takes patience and will-power to sometimes go back to what seems so elementary.

Seems so elementary...this is a feeling that you get when you haven't truly learned yet the mysteries of the techniques you are studying. As one progresses and learns and begins to open themselves up magically one finds that no ritual, no matter how basic, is elementary. The depth of even an LBRP is beyond explanation, and as I have taught many students...what you are exposed to in the Neophyte grade is some of the most important material that you will ever cover because it encompasses, in seed form, the entire tradition of the Golden Dawn...mysteries upon mysteries lay in the 0=0 hall and in the material that is given to you.

Now back to me :) Over the years of re-reading an re-studying the materials I have found that there are some key teachings of magic that are completely indispensable to the magician who is serious about mastering himself and the Great Work...and I would like to share them with you....so now back to you :)

Concentration-Just the thought of it makes me squirm. I love to get up about a million times while I do my physics homework or think of something to do at the last minute before starting a ritual. Concentration is something that has not been easy for me, but I have learned is one of the most important things for a magician to master. Concentration allows one to focus on the energies around them, it allows you to focus your will-power like a lazer on whatever magic you are trying to preform, it helps to calm your mind during meditation so that you can transcend the senses and bask in True Gnosis. Training the mind to be keen in the skill of concentration will take you far in your magical life. Here are some great exercises to hone your skills.

Ex 1: Counting letters. Scan a paragraph of a book...how many e's does it have? The letter e is the most common letter in the English language. Count again...do you come up with a different answer? Most people will at first, but the more you do this very simple exercise the more your level of concentration will increase and the easier it will be to pick out all the letter e's.

Ex 2: Mantra- choose a mantra that is specific to what you are currently studying right now, I like to use my magical motto...repeat it in your head. How long does it take for you to start thinking of something else? Set a timer and start working up to five or ten minutes...this little exercise also prepares you for meditation.

Visualization- So key! A magician absolutely must hone his skills of visualization. Being able to very specifically picture in your mind the outcome you want to attain in magic will boost your power exponentially. Here we must also take advantage of our skills in concentration.

Ex 1: Tarot Contemplation: Gaze at a tarot card of your choosing. Open and close your eyes to see how powerful the image is in your mind's eye. Finally when you are ready close your eyes and see how long you can hold the picture in your mind. This may be difficult at first if you are not visulization-inclined. However, the more you practice, the more neural bundles will form allowing you to develop a vivid sense of visualization.

Tarot Readings/Divination: I expounded a bit on the benefit of this in another blog. The purpose of divination is not only to open you up to new information about the energies surrounding you, or what may happen in _____ situation...but also to help you get in touch with your Nechamah. The more you work on divination the more your power of intuition increases and helps you to become more naturally aware of people and events happening in your life.

Non-Attachment: This is a Buddhist concept, but one I love and believe is very important for a magician to practice. It is very easy to become attached to certain things, right or wrong and to have them equally blind us until we are stumbling around in darkness. The only thing we should be attached to is Divine Will and only by cleaving to this will ultimate enlightenment and fulfillment occur in one's life. We can not be attached to fear, we cannot be attached to praise, anger, hurt feelings, or even the fruits of our magic. You cannot worry if you will or will not get something, you cannot worry is someone likes or dislikes you...you must ask yourself in every situation if it is something that is bringing you closer to the Divine or not. Attachment breeds fear and takes power out of one's magical practice and goals, especially when one is attached to a result. Do your magic...and forget about it1

Just As Well..Banish and Forget About It!- Banishings seem like they are an over-talked about topic. However, when it comes to balancing your sphere of sensation and keeping out the ickies, they can't be over-looked. They are like exercise for you soul. Outside of helping to bring balance to your inner self, and opening you up to the higher energies, the most important aspect of a banishing (especially when used in psychic self-defense) is to do it and forget about it. A magician must claim the power of thier soul over the lesser elements. Banishing and continuing to worry about a problem doesn't do you any good. Instead worrying gives energy to the problem. Worrying is an expression of fear and fear continues to allow things which are undesirable to float around. Banish it...its banished..now forget about it! These things have no power over you.

Doing a little magical exercise in these few but simple areas will help you to increase your power exponentially. As you draw closer to the Divine by empowering your magic your life will begin over time to fall into place. Magic is about perfecting the self, and drawing closer to the Divine, but you must be an interactive partner in this.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Response To Nick Farrell's Blog Post "Revolution in an Esoteric Order"

Earlier today I came across Nick Farrell's new blog post "Revolution in an Esoteric Order". After reading it, it became apparent to me that there is still quite a bit of misunderstanding regarding the expulsion of Robert Zink so I thought I might expound upon it a bit so that the community was clear of the intentions for doing so (although I thought they were made clear in the public announcement).

First and most importantly I want to be very, very, clear that Robert was not expelled due to a vie for power amongst the Adepti of our Order, nor because we did not "like" the way Robert was running it. Robert Zink was expelled because he was victimizing the students who joined our Order through the illegal activities of theft, credit-card fraud, and inappropriate sexual advances to the female members of the Order. These activities became so gross and so often (daily) that as an Order (Outer and Inner) we were forced to take extreme measures. This was not a decision that was made lightly, and it was made as a last resort when all other attempts to help him reform (attempts we had been making for years) failed. After his expulsion I received a sea of e-mails from other Order members, current students, and ex-members who were quite thankful and exclaimed "What took you so long?!"

For those of you who were wondering what took us so long, the truth of the matter is that as an Order and especially as a Body of Adepti, being of a Rosicrucian lineage...we debated for a long time whether or not it was the proper and right thing as a Rosicrucian to do. Rosicrucian values teach love and forgiveness...does kicking out the "head" of the Order represent those ideals? It was only after seeing the intense pain, and suffering that was being caused to our members, and through much contemplation, and contact with spiritual guides that we realized something very important....as Adepti we are the servants, we serve our students just as the Shepard serves his flock. It is our duty to protect them, to guide them, to teach them, and above all not to break the spiritual trust of a student who is seeking the Truth in the mysteries. Above all, this is our utmost goal...the protection and care of our students, not the support of one man who has dedicated the better part of his esoteric career taking advantage of them.

Secondly, I would like to make it known that Robert was not the "founder" of our Order. Although he may have been appointed Chief and held that title for many years, he did not start the Order. The Order was started by a group of individuals, who after seeing a time of intense growth within their group decided to vote on a Chief after a round of testing. Robert was voted in as Chief, along with two other Chiefs (three in all) and as such he was voted out and expelled when he failed for over twenty years to fulfill his duties as a spiritual leader.

Thirdly, I would like to point out that throughout the history of our Order, the culture, presence and current was created by the group of people who worked very diligently to make this Order grow and thrive despite Robert's continued efforts to sabotage it...not by Robert himself. Nonetheless a Golden Dawn Order does not belong to one person, it belongs to all people. It is meant to be founded for the betterment of people, not for the ego-stroking of one person. The things that are built throughout time are built by the people...for the people. It sounds very American of me to say this, but a spiritual tradition who serves only one person is a cult not a service to the Divine or to the seeker of Light.

Lastly, we have not changed the workings of the Order thus far because it is the Order that we love, an Order that was created by the blood, sweat, and tears of many, many people with the markings of all these people's efforts. For as long as I have been around I have not seen Robert put one cent into the Order, nay he has spent many years instead draining Temple funds, scaring away our students by charging gas, snacks, and little league parties on thier credit cards without permission. Every Temple, every tool, every Power Week has been accomplished because of the sheer will and dedication of the members, and it is to the members that the Order shall go.

We may in the near future decide to change courses, but as I stated on another blog, our current efforts are focused on making sure that our students stay protected. As of now Robert is still attempting to use the EOGD name to gain access to people's credit card information and use it for unauthorized purchases via his website. We are currently working to put a stop to this, everything else is inconsequential.