Monday, January 30, 2012

Various Assorted Thoughts and Considerations About Ritual Magick - Part 2

This is part two of a two part article that discusses some of the various issues that have been buzzing around the blogsphere.

Are Spirits Real or Mental Constructs?

Lon Milo Duquette has been reputed to have said regarding spirits that they are all in your head. It’s just that your head is a lot bigger than you think. Others have proposed that spirits (especially demons) are psychological constructs, while others have even gone so far as to say polytheistic gods and goddesses are psychological archetypes found within the collective social mind of the culture or race. In such a manner, all spiritual phenomena are relegated to manifestations of the mind, and they cannot be seen apart or distinct from human consciousness.

I think that this perspective has its foundation in the fact that spirits don’t appear to have a separate existence outside of human interaction. The argument goes that because they don’t have an objective physical existence that can be empirically proven, they can’t exist as physical entities separate from the human beings who claim to experience them. Of course, the same thing can be said about the proposed existence of Deity or Deities. Everything is a facet of the mind. Everything spiritual is purely psychological.

This perspective is true, but only if you wholly or exclusively accept the psychological theory or model of magick. In fact, I would rate this perspective to be reliant on an overly aggressive use of the mind model of magick. There are, of course, other models, and if you adhere to any of them, the aggressive mind model would not only be immediately rejected, but it would also be considered intrusively obnoxious. The paradox of the reality of spirits is that they become identified and defined by the model that one uses, even though any definition or model will fall short of actually defining them. The same logic can be used in the discussion of the nature of the Godhead - it depends on the model or perspective that you are using. I would suspect that there might be some quantum magic to be found within these paradoxes.

If you are using the spirit model of magick, then everything is centered around a definition of spirits that is external and subjectively objective to the magickal operator. This model is very concise and simple to apply. You develop a relationship with specific spirits (invocation, evocation or votive offerings), and they in turn may be called upon to perform certain operations.  The most important task that a magician using this model performs is to consistently establish and build on one’s spiritual alignment. This process has both a liturgical and an operational quality, which means that the magician functions as a kind of priest/ess or spiritual intermediary. Devotion, service, performing periodic liturgical rites, as well as invocation, evocation and assumption represent the core practices of this methodology. All of these techniques are important practices for the magician who adheres to the spirit model of magick.

However, if the magician is strictly engaged with the energy model of magick, then he or she perceives magick as a kind of energy exchange, and that the typical source of that energy is the human operator. Another aspect of the energy theory is the thaumaturgy model of magick, which proposes that a magickal operation is nothing more (or less) than the combining of various specialized elements to fashion or create a spell which produces a specific effect or impact. A pure energy model is very similar to a pure thaumaturgy model of magick, since both use specific elements to produce a magickal effect. To a magician who uses the energy model in exclusion to any other model, the questions of the reality of spirits is irrelevant and unimportant. Still, they would object to any theory that attempted to nullify their belief in an energy that exists as the foundation of their magickal practice. An aggressive psychological model would postulate that any kind of energy, combination of components, or the use of spirits are nothing more than psychological tropes. Such an over-reaching theory or model would make everyone unhappy, except those who whole heartedly subscribed to it.

Since I seem to function as such  hybrid in my practices and beliefs, I would subscribe to all three models simultaneously, as I suspect many others do as well. That would mean that I believe, to a certain extent, in the subjective objectivity of spirits, but that I can also see their operation and impact within my mind and deeply embedded in my spiritual nature. Because I am also a spirit (as well as a body and a mind), then there must also be Deities and Spirits both within me and in the outside world. 

These entities can also be found embedded in our culture and exist as pure symbols within what I would call the “super symbolic reality.” That spirits are both completely subjective (mental constructs) and subjectively objective (disembodied entities that exist and reside in the higher and lower strata of consciousness) is a known paradox, but one that I have had to make an accommodation with in order to make any sense out of what I have experienced. My magickal associates have worked magick with me, or independently using the same techniques and devices to invoke spirits, and have had analogous experiences to what I have had. This would indicate that there is a certain objective quality to spirits, although they remain a purely subjective experience.

Spirit Invocation/Evocation - Must Spirits Be Visible?

If spirits are subjectively objective, then one would assume that they must be visible, and that a successful invocation or evocation would cause the target spirit to be visually apparent. This is another topic that is making the rounds of the blogsphere, and most of the magicians who have written about this subject seem to agree that invoked/evoked spirits should be visually apparent.

My friend Ananael Qaa has written an article on this issue in his blog “Augoeides,” which highlights some of these points as well as highlighting the other individuals who have commented on them (you can find it here). Even Donald Michael Kraig has opined on this issue in his Llewellyn blog. Some in the “exclusive use grimoire” crowd have gone so far as to say that not only should the spirits be visible when successfully invoked, they should also be fully verifiable physical manifestations with an accompaniment of various psychic perturbations. This, of course, is the theory that Joseph Lesiewski has promoted in his book on magickal evocation. I have pretty much debunked the whole physical manifestation model of successful evocation requirement, but the other considerations for some kind of visual affirmation remain.

I guess the whole argument is that if you don’t at least see the spirit, then it can’t really exist, or at least the attempt to invoke or evoke it has failed. I might agree with this opinion if were not for the fact that there are quite a number of ritual systems used to channel the powers and abilities of spirits, and not all of them require a verifiable apparition. Sometimes a skrying device is required, other times a young child is used as a medium. John Dee didn’t see the many spirits that he conversed with, and he had to rely on the services of Edward Kelly as his seer. 

It would seem that whether or not a magician is able to visually apprehend a spirit which is invoked or evoked has to do with whether or not he or she is so gifted. I have met individuals who don’t have visual experiences when they work magick, and others who are more prone to hearing spirit voices or sensing them in some other way. I think that it is narrow minded to discount dream incubation, which has an ancient providence, or other signs and portends as being less valid than a visual apparition. My theory is that spirits communicate on multiple levels simultaneously, and that the visual phenomenon that one might experience may not be the most important or significant.

As for myself, I am extremely visual and also gifted in the ability to clearly hear the spirits speak to me. Often when I perform an invocation or evocation, the apparition of the spirit is accompanied with a complete visual-like dream-scape. I not only see and hear the spirit, but I also see the spirit’s domain as well. It’s as if I were somehow consciously transported to another world altogether. When I have talked to other magicians, I seem to be part of an extreme minority in regards to this phenomenon. It is one of my magickal talents and it has served me very well. 

Yet even though my senses have allowed me to be transported to another world, others who have either worked magick with me, or performed the same rite independently, haven’t had the same level of visual experiences that I have had. It is my gift, just as others have their gift or ability in the business of magick, and who is to say what gift is greater than the other?  For one thing, I don’t bother using a skrying glass or crystal, and I don’t astral project. I don’t need to, but others might have one of these abilities fine-tuned to a point that would be analogous to what I am able to experience, or perhaps even greater. So I believe it has to do with your innate talent and ability. Certainly, having a powerful imagination is very helpful, but it isn’t necessary.

I have met a few powerful magicians who work with spirits and don’t receive any visual proof that the invocation has been successful. What they have instead of a knack for visualization is a powerful relationship with a spirit or group of spirits, and by assembling the components of the spell and directing the spirit to perform a service, the magick is succinctly accomplished. 

One of my friends was a practitioner of Afro-Carribean religions and magick, and he never visually saw a spirit nor could he hear it speak in his head. He sensed a presence in his gut and his emotions, and communicated through divination tools, such as various kinds of dice, colored pebbles, knuckle bones, etc. He also had a very tight relationship with his chosen demigods and associated servitor spirits, but he never saw any specific apparition. Was his magick a sham or somehow less effective than someone who does see a visual apparition? I think that anyone who would have said as much to him would have really pissed him off. He would have been insulted by that kind of judgement, and rightly so. Magick encompasses a huge variety of practices and experiences, and every magician is nearly unique in how they practice magick and how they perceive it as well.

I think that making rules and establishing assumptions about how magick should work if it is to be considered valid is misleading, even when concerning the specialized magick that deals with spirits. The proof is whether or not the magick works, and that the magician is using his or her talents and abilities to their fullest potential. The rest is just the multitude of various possibilities that one can experience or somehow sense when performing any kind of magick.

High Tech Pirates, SOPA and PIPA - My Opinion

Arrgh! Avast ye swabs! Even a pirate has a pirate’s code! (OK, I got that out of my system!)

Nearly everyone has weighed in with their thoughts and opinions over the ongoing debate about various forms of media piracy. As an author, I am, of course, interested in preserving my literary assets (meager as they are), which I have spent many years developing, acquiring and writing for others to utilize. I don’t look kindly upon pirates, but I also believe that it’s probably impossible to eliminate them altogether. Unless we are to live in a police state with invasive government control and strict censorship, media piracy is going to happen.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to curtail anyone’s freedom of acquiring information or expressing their opinion. There are already strict copyright laws, fair usage guidelines, etc., and every now and then some media pirate gets put down through international legal mechanisms (such as what happened recently to Megaupload). I don’t believe that we need more laws to govern the use of media, and I am wholly against any kind of interference, control or censorship of the internet. Thus I am glad that both SOPA and PIPA were defeated, although there are still opportunities for the moneyed elite to oppress the powerless masses. All we need to do is to be vigilant and scream bloody murder when someone attempts to curtail our slowly dwindling rights.

The internet is like the wild west before it was supposedly tamed. You can find nearly anything you want to find on the internet. Uninformed opinions, urban myths and complete misinformation abounds on the internet, and all we can do to cope with it is to use as much critical thinking as possible, and to try to put out the truth wherever feasible. The internet is an infant medium that is undergoing a great deal of growing pains. It has already caused a lot of good and also posed some major social problems, but I think that it should be allowed to evolve into something more splendid than it is, and not be egregiously curtailed before it can mature.

Even though I occasionally find sites that purport to offer free downloads of my books (most of them are empty ghosts sites), and I do attempt to do something about them, my books and writings will end up on someone else’s media device without either recognition or payment of any kind. There isn’t much that can be done about this, and I suspect that eventually it will make most writing jobs and the many works that such individuals  produce worth very little if anything. I also notice that there are quite a slew of books that can be bought on Amazon for as little as a few cents (the postage costs far more than the book, and downloading an ebook costs next to nothing). These wholesale sites put pressures on book publishers to make less money, and this will ultimately kill most of them off.

Most people don’t have a clue what it takes to produce a book, whether fiction or non-fiction, and I understand that. I had to learn how to write, both grammatically as well as communicating ideas in a recognizable format. As a writer, I often have ideas and whole stories living in my head and heart for months or years, anxiously waiting to be given a verbal expression. I have hundreds of characters and stories aching to come out, and as my skill as a fiction writer improves, I hope to give those stories and characters life. I am also very passionate about my practices and beliefs regarding ritual magick, and I feel moved to write about them and share them with my reading public. I don’t expect to make very much money doing this, but then again, I do it because I love to do it. Writing has become my passion and also the manifestation of my ultimate magick!

It’s all so ironic because I used to be a terrible writer, and I have reams of writings and notes to prove that point. When I was a young man I was a poor writer, and it has required me to work very hard to become as proficient as I am today, which, I might add, is far greater than I was, but a long way from where I want to be. Considering the hundreds of hours that I have spent developing, writing, editing and rewriting to get my message to you, my readers, I should think that spending a few measly bucks for my books would not be too much to ask. After all, I am constantly giving away a lot of my writings on this blog, and I also share my rituals and workings with the members of my Order, all at no cost to them. To honor me as a writer and as an individual who is passionately seeking to communicate my ideas, you could do no less than buy at least one of my books (even at a bargain price), attend one of my workshops, or even perhaps buy me a drink someday. After all, I am doing this for you as well as myself. My hope is that some of what I have written will be useful and helpful so you can produce your own magickal system, which is my overall writing objective. 

So for this reason I have been steadfastly against legislation such as SOPA and PIPA, but I am also against media piracy of any kind, even though I know that at times the innocent are often duped into purchasing pirated merchandise. This has happened to probably anyone who has sought to order things more cheaply through the internet than buying something at a store. I have found that if the price for a given item is too good to be true, then it is likely either pirated or fake, or a combination of both. We have to protect ourselves and use good judgment while the internet and its various offshoots mature and become more self-governed. Anyway, that is my opinion on this matter for the moment, and it could even change in the future, depending on what happens. I might support a fair set of legislation that enforces a modicum of order on the internet, but considering how cagey most hackers are, any rules will have technical loopholes.

Frater Barrabbas

Friday, January 27, 2012

Various Assorted Thoughts and Considerations About Ritual Magick - Part 1

This is part one of a two part series consisting of various assorted thoughts about recent blogsphere topics.
It’s nearing the end of the month, and there are a number of small topics and comments that I would like to present to my reading public. I have truly enjoyed all of the comments and responses that I got for my article on non-duality, and I have a few comments of my own to add and also clarify what I said previously. Additionally, I have recently got a copy of Mr. E. A. Koetting’s more recent book “Ipsissimus” where he discusses the concepts and ideas of enlightenment ala the Left Hand Path. As I read deeper into his material, I will, at some point, deliver an opinion on his work. Despite the fact that I don’t actually consider myself an adherent of the LHP philosophy, I am also not disposed completely to the Right Hand Path either. I would also like to put forward my opinions about the issues of the reality of spirits, the verification of evocation, and literary piracy v.s. online freedom (the SOPA/PIPA controversy). There are a lot topics here to briefly discuss, and they are mostly unrelated, hence the title “Various Assorted.”

Multiple Paths to Enlightenment

In October of last year, I posted an article entitled “Path to Enlightenment Through Magick,” where I explained my perspective on achieving enlightenment through the artifice of performing theurgistic magickal rituals, which I call ordeals. You can find that article here, in case you want to review it. I have forged a path, although it is not thoroughly tested (I am not yet “enlightened”), which would take me to a place that is decidedly between the objectives of the Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path, making me a proponent of neither. I should quote this passage, taken from another blog article here, which pretty much sums up how I seek to achieve my objective by following neither ethical orientation.

This is particularly true because I consider myself neither a follower of the left hand or the right hand path, being a denizen of that shadowy grey area that is more a practical reality than an alliance to some path or persuasion. I aspire in my magickal workings to integrate the HGA or Bornless One into my own self, and thus elevate myself to the level of a godhead, however thinly or briefly. This is certainly a lefthand path perspective. However, I also give veneration, offerings and worship to my ancestors and my gods, thus making me a follower of the right hand path.”

First off, I would like to state that following a particular dualistic path (RHP or LHP) is probably overly simplistic. Practical approaches to the practice of ritual magick and its ultimate goal of union with the One would require any magician to forge a path that is unique and specific to his or her life path, keeping in mind the inherited legacy and the various virtues and flaws that each individual possesses. What this means is that a theoretical discussion based on ideals typically breaks down to practical necessity, and that there are as many different paths to that ultimate goal of spiritual unity as there are individuals who might seek it. Unlike mysticism, or mystical traditions and paths, the path of the traditional magician likely doesn’t exist. There are certainly traditions that form the foundation of any practitioner in regards to their inherent practice, but ultimately, every magician worth his or her salt will leave that tradition behind in order to create something specific and unique to themselves. So while there are specific and set mystical traditions, there appear to be no set magickal traditions in regards to higher level pathways and practices. This also means that the division of RHP and LHP becomes meaningless after a certain point in a magician’s development.

As I have stated in my recent article on monism, it is through our own internal godhead that we are able to perceive the active role of Spirit in the world, and it is when we become truly aware of our own godhead, and fully activate it, that we gain an intimate connection to that overarching Deity which acts as the ultimate source of all things. (We will talk a bit more about this issue later in this article.) Therefore, as far as functioning as a ritual magician and performing theurgistic ordeals, the primary purpose and task is to awaken the godhead within one. Once that awakening and merging of consciousness occurs, then we can proceed with the combined mystical and magickal tasks of completing that union with the One.

I think that the division of paths, and the ideation of RHP or LHP are useful discussion tools when one is below the level of achieving full union with the inner godhead. At that point and beyond, such distinctions are probably useless.

(A tip of the hat to my reader and commentator, Nik64, who gave me the inspiration and idea to write up this point.)

Further Thoughts About Non-duality, Magick, and the Qabbalah

One of my readers (Josh) had some real issues with what I had recently written about non-dual perspectives (i.e., monism) in regards to magick and a pagan based religious idealism, stating that monism was somehow restricted to a single viewpoint and that it excludes all other perspectives, which he called “pluralism.” I don’t really know where he got this idea from, since I couldn’t find in my article where I stated that my perspective and view was singularly correct, and that all others were somehow false. Here’s a small segment of what Josh said in the comments section of my article.

The problem with monism (one view and one view only) is that those coming from a monistic viewpoint always try to demonize other views as dualism or dualistic, even when there is a multiplicity (more than two) views.”

I really think that Josh was thinking about his objections to “monotheism” rather than “monism,” and they are actually quite different. Stating that a certain deity is the one and only godhead (and all others are false) can create a closed system that eliminates the consideration of other factors, or other godheads and their spiritual creeds. Monotheism can produce exclusionary spiritual systems that negate pluralism. Adopting a mystical perspective seems to eliminate the possibility of believing in the exclusive truth of one’s religion, and it also separates or makes a distinction between individuals who espouse a faith based perspective or experience Spirit directly from those who are merely believers. Through the artifice of stating that both the internal and individual godhead and the ultimate unified source are co-equal and the same is to enshrine both a unitary perspective as well as a pluralistic perspective. Many variations of monotheism as they are practiced in the West exclude the possibility that the individual is also a distinct godhead in their own right, since such a perspective (“All art God) would violate the integrity of a strict monotheistic creed. Throughout the ages, there have been more than a few mystics who have been murdered or taken to task by narrow minded sectarians of their own creed, and that would include Jesus of Nazareth himself.

Lao Tzu says it quite well when he writes in the very first chapter of the Tao Te Ching:

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see the manifestation. These two spring from a common source, but differ in name.”

According to Lao Tzu, the mystery or paradox is the One that is actually None, and the pluralistic perspective sees the Spirit alive and thriving in all things. I believe that the same ability to embrace the One and the Many exists in all forms of mysticism, and is important in regards to ritual magick, too. So I don’t think that there is an absolutist perspective in monism, but there certainly can be an absolutist perspective in monotheism and extreme sectarianism.

I also stated that my personal perspective was based on the pagan theology that I originally accepted as a part of being a practicing witch. As a traditional Alexandrian witch, I believed in the existence of a Goddess and a God, and that when joined together, they became a kind of union that has no name or characteristic. Traditional witchcraft (ala BTW) embraces a kind of “dual-theology,” and that only some of its adherents (such as myself) will hold that there is something that transcends them both. Not everyone in my tradition believes that the Goddess and the God are forever joined into a fusion that is greater than the sum of their parts. Yet once I grew beyond the boundaries that were defined by Alexandrian witchcraft, I also discovered the reality and necessity of individual and distinct pagan Deities, since there seemed to be many qualities to the overall aspect of deity in my experience, and these many qualities could be easily realized through a form of pagan polytheism.

What I found after many years of practicing witchcraft and paganism is that the concept of a dual-theology is just one way to perceive the concept of polytheism. There is also a true polytheism that sees many different gods and goddesses as distinct personalities, and there is the concept that all of these deities coalesce into a single unity, which I call the One. All of these perspectives are true and correct, but also limited and only conditionally true. Deity is, by nature, paradoxical, so any one single definition, model, description or perspective limits something that is unlimited, indefinite and infinite. Therefore, I would think that by making this statement I am embracing both a monism and a pluralism simultaneously. How I can do that (and get away with it) is to state that what is being described can’t be described. As Lao Tzu says in the first chapter:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things.” 

Curiously, this whole issue of monism, monotheism, plurality, polytheism and the individuation of the Godhead has been getting a fair amount of buzz in various blogs, most specifically in the collected web journals that make up Patheos. Gus diZerega, who is the author of “Pagans and Christians,” brought up some very interesting points about how monotheism has some problems when characterizing their Godhead as being completely separate and distinct from everything, as a Deity that is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, while still being capable of being loving, directly experienced and intimate. These opposing perspectives are merely labeled as part of the paradox of a deity that is both immanent and transcendent, but there are some real problems to this perspective that labeling it all as a paradox does nothing to resolve. You can find his article here.

Anyway, I think that I have more succinctly stated my beliefs and perspectives on this topic, and so I can rest my case and move on to other topics. The only reason why I have been working on this topic and its related perspectives in regards to the practice or ritual magick is that when I have experienced the highest states of consciousness that I am able, the resultant state is unity. At that veritable peak of my magickal experiences, I am able to sense how everything is connected together, and that within that union I have found the ecstatic bliss of the One. I believe that it’s pretty hard to dismiss what I have experienced, and correspondingly, it’s pretty hard to adequately explain it using words or mental models.

Finally, I would like to announce that I will be attending a weekend intensive at the local Twin Cities store, the Eye of Horus, with John Michael Greer. He will be conducting a three day series of classes on pagan ceremonial magick. I will be very interested in learning to hear what John thinks about this topic, since he has recourse to much of this material written in its source languages, a skill to which I am quite deficient. These classes will be taking place on Friday, January 27, through Sunday, January 29. I will write up a critique of this class and let you know what I think of it. I am certain that it will be interesting and rewarding. I have been corresponding with John for a few months now, and I have found his letters to be refreshing, interesting, compelling and sometimes, quite humorous. He is another one of those remarkable men and women, and I encourage everyone to seek out these kinds of people and learn everything that can be learned from them. It is an excellent methodology for self-enrichment, and ultimately, if you have rubbed elbows with enough remarkable men and women, you may become one yourself. 

(To be continued..)

Frater Barrabbas

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Santa Fe Adventure - Part 3

Further Archeomantic Ordeal Workings

Having a smaller apartment did make my life more attenuated and crowded, but as far as my magick temple was concerned, I still had plenty of room. This allowed me to continue the work that I had developed in Tallahassee. I had brought my magickal work to the zenith of my ability through the entrance and immersion of the first and lowest of the Qabbalistic dimensions (Dimension XVIII). I had repeated that working a couple of times, exposing others to its wonders and ensuring that it was something that was real and objective. The Santa Fe temple seemed like the perfect place to expand on this knowledge, so I prepared and performed an entrance into the next dimension in sequence (XVII), and then later on, performed a ritual that joined the two dimensions together into a singularity. These workings proved to be astonishingly remarkable, and performing rituals at a higher elevation had its interesting effects as well. I found that working magick within the Santa Fe environment compounded and amplified what was done to a much greater degree than anything that I had experienced previously. This might have had something to do with the thin atmosphere, the ambience of the location, the magical qualities of the land or because of the dust in the air. It might have been a combination of all of these qualities, but I did notice how much more potent the magick seemed when performed in the Land of Enchantment.

As I have stated previously, the triangular shapes found within the lattice structure of the paths of the Tree of Life are defined as Qabbalistic Dimensions. There are exactly 18 of these dimensions, and all of them are triangular with exception to the 4th and 5th dimensions, which are trapezoids. A Qabbalistic Dimension represents the synergetic union of the three Pathways, Sephiroth and Angular Vectors, which are said to be the Enochian Aethyrs. Thus, a Dimension is the veritable spiritual flesh and internal organs of the body of the Godhead, but it functions as a powerful unified being whose very nature is completely paradoxical and transcends all mental structures and considerations. When I have entered into one of these dimensions, I have found that they appear to operate wholly within the Causal Level of Consciousness, and seem to function as an unknown Godhead beyond any known occult definition. Accessing one seems to resolve itself into the activated field where all eighteen are realized as a holistic meta Godhead. When I have encountered one of these massive entities, it’s almost as if my entire mind is wiped clean and all that remains is an overpowering sense of bliss, unity, and a faint sound of celestial music. All other senses are null and void, and even thinking or conceptualizing is impossible. 

I continued to perform these so-called Transdimensional workings that I had started in Tallahassee, seeking to fulfill and complete the workings associated with the XVIII dimension (whose spirit was called Autogenes), and then performing the entrance into the XVII dimension (whose spirit is Sophia Charisima). Where the XVIII dimension was located on the masculine side, the XVII dimension was on the feminine side of the Tree of Life. The numbering of the dimensions was based on a logical premise that what is more accessible and closer to the magician (i.e., the actualized masculine pillar) received a higher number and sequence, and represented where the counting begins (bottom right to left, then higher right, left, etc.). However, the sequential numbering of the dimensions doesn’t indicate any kind of ranking, since the dimensions are seen as operating as pairs of opposites all the way up the Tree of Life.

Gaining entrance into one of these qabbalistic dimensions requires a complete magickal exegesis of the three Sephiroth, Pathways and Aethyrs, which function as the components of this kind of working. All of these elements are pulled together into a synthetic structure grounded on a cross-roads vortex, and upon that structure is erected a grand gateway, which helps to fuse all of the components into a unified expression. Entering into that grand gateway is the way that the magician enters into the dimension, causing a complete immersion into the phenomenon of the transdimensional vortex. Having experienced this process a number of times, I have encountered all sorts of peculiar phenomena, such as extreme time dilation, full visual revelations of other worlds and domains, some of them completely alien to our own world, and visions of futureevents, some near and others far. Yet all of these phenomena only occur immediately before and after full immersion into the dimension. Full immersion produces the overpowering experience of being in a reality that is completely void of thought or any kind of intellection. Through the years 1994 through 1997, and the first quarter of 1998, I performed various workings engaging this very high form of ritual magick. I also exposed others to it and received complete corroboration from those who experienced it.

Although the initial ordeal working was quite elaborate and lengthy, taking a couple of months to complete, and the actual final ritual working took three consecutive days, there was a macro ritual that could be performed to regain access to the dimension whenever desired. This macro rite used the already previously established ritual structures to generate the transdimensional vortex, and all that was required to gain access was to perform the associated mystery rite and erect and enter the grand threshold gate. Using the macro ritual allowed me to re-enter and re-experience the already fully invoked dimension several times. This re-entry allowed me to more fully examine the phenomenon of the dimension, and also, to exhibit and share its power and qualities with a few others. At the time, I believed that I had discovered the most powerful and profound magickal ordeal that one could possibly experience. So I was quite fixated on this methodology for the next several years. I still believe today that it is one of the most powerful systems of magick, but it is only one of several that I now have in my repertoire.

In the autumn of 1994, I performed a final re-entry into the XVIII dimension and then sought to shift my focus to the next working. Yet on November 23, I performed a ritual working that attempted to exteriorize the dimension as an evoked spirit (in this case, Autogenes). I used the Gate of Revealing and Iron Cross rituals, which are expressly used to exteriorize a spirit into the mundane world, to coalesce s the spirit of the dimension into this world. The results of that working were quite remarkable, but I decided that such a working wasn’t really necessary, since it didn’t seem to actually make too much difference to my overall magickal and spiritual process. I also developed and performed a new version of the Bornless One Invocation rite that had as its foundation the completely exteriorized Four Qabbalistic Worlds, acting as a kind of tiered temple with four steps to the summit. I accomplished this ordeal on February 11, 1995, just before beginning a new cycle of workings. This new development was both relevant and critically important, as I later found out when seeking to do the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal.

From that date, and through the rest of the year and into the autumn of 1996, I performed a number of minor invocations and other workings, developing and refining the system of theurgy that I had first presented to the Order back in the late 1980's. I was also performing the final edits and revisions to my three volume book, and seeking to get it ready for publication in the near future. In 1997, I sent out samples, cover letters and a table of contents to a least a dozen publishers, and then waited for some positive response. Of course, all of these submissions received rejections over the next year and a half. Even so, I made copies of this book and shared them with my friends. At over 550 total pages, the book was quite voluminous. I later would find it to be poorly written and overly redundant when I re-wrote it as the “Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick” series.

In the autumn of 1996 I began the working that would help me gain entry into the XVII dimension. In October, I separately invoked the three great Aethyrs of ZAA, DES and VTI. These workings turned out to be quite powerful and amazing all by themselves. They also caused some interesting phenomenon to occur in my mundane life, which seemed to parallel the symbolic revelations of these three Aethyrs. Pulling some interesting text from my own magickal diary, the following was written up by me during that period.     

The three invocations had a powerful effect on the outward experiences of my life, each seemingly having a direct impact upon me after their invocation. It was amazing to see these interesting and unusual (but also subtle) things happen. The first invocation produced an effect the day after it was completed. I received an unexpected call from an older woman (Gabriel) who was looking to put together a musical group to accompany the selected reading of Persian and Indian mystic poets, such as Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, Mirabai and Lalla. These poets exemplified the qualities of the aethyr ZAA, and so I accepted [the offer] to join three other musicians on very short notice to perform a concert consisting of sketchy themes and ideas for accompanying the most excellent of poetry. The concert was performed on October 17th at 7:00 PM. It was a great success at moments, and a bit long over-all. However, the poetry perfectly meshed with the message of ZAA, that I must submit to the love and will of the Deity in order to master myself and my destiny. This message I received and understood. The second and third aethyr did not produce such dramatic and immediate results, but they joined to establish the mood of the time, and colored the mundane occurrences of my life in later October and November.

I attended an interesting Halloween party and performed some amazing tarot card readings. I found out that evening that my friend Shann had breast cancer and was likely going to die from it. (Without any medical benefits, she had been unable or unwilling to see a doctor about her condition until the cancer was well advanced.) I saw her attempt to live, and her struggle seemed futile even at that time, then much more so a little later on. I brought her to the Halloween party, where she attempted and succeeded in dancing for a short time. Three weeks later she was admitted to a Nursing facility where she died only a few days later, just barely 44 years old, even though her wasted body looked like someone forty years older. As her designated Wiccan friend (I owed her some consideration for introducing me to all her friends), I had sponsored a Phowa ritual in Albuquerque on November 23rd with the assistance of Sandy Bryon and OZ. Shann was too sick to attend, and so I video taped it for her, and she at least got to see it a couple of days before she passed. It had snowed the night of the Halloween party, and soon afterwards, winter held the mountainous realms of Northern New Mexico in its icy grip

Winter had come to Santa Fe, and it was probably one of the more snowy and colder winters that I had experienced there. On November 9, I performed a newly developed and written invocation of Hermes Thoth Trismagistus, and through that working I discovered that he was my mysterious magickal mentor, guide, teacher and the inspirer of my magickal work. Thus my secret mentor was Hermes Thoth, so I received some very critical insights, lore and creative ideas from him through that invocation. Here is what I wrote in my magickal diary about that momentous event.

This was a very intense working, and it was a kind of home-coming for me. For many years I had pondered the source of my inspiration in the fashioning of a new methodology of ritual magick. I had made amazing progress over the years, and at each loggerhead I received inspirations and insights that guided me to new vistas of understanding. When I succeeded in conjuring Hermes Thoth, he revealed himself to me in an effulgence of light and glory, telling me that he was my guide and muse in the arts of magick. The source of this new methodology of ritual magick was inspired by the spirit of Hermes Thoth, who proclaimed me as one of his emissaries in this world given the task to modernize a venerable spiritual tradition fallen upon hard times. I was to invigorate the arguments for ritual magick as the preeminent yoga of the Western Mystery tradition.

The spirit of Hermes Thoth pervaded the magick of the temple and assisted in making the magickal invocations of the three aethyrs even more potently realized within it. His power and inspiration helped me not to lose hope during the dark and cold month of November. I felt a powerful optimism emanate from him. He told me not to forsake my path because of apparent setbacks or the slow pace of the realization of my aspirations. All things would come to pass, and he was acting as my guide and muse, thus I was well protected and directed. I was amazed that yet another piece of my inner puzzle was revealed, and that the source and inspiration of my magickal ideas came ultimately from Hermes Thoth. It made obvious sense to me, but I had certainly pondered over it for many years, never suspecting such an obvious source. This connection does not negate my own true will nor my creativity, for these are important to my inner nature and they allow the free flow of intuitive occult speculations. Hermes Thoth acts as an intimate source and background for my occult studies and inventions, therefore, I am well integrated into the modern expression of Hermetic Philosophy and the Western Mystery tradition

Then on the long weekend of January 17 - 19, I performed the transdimensional vortex gate working to enter into the XVII dimension. This ordeal had to be performed by myself alone, since I didn’t have anyone to assist me as I had previously in Tallahassee. The three day ordeal was therefore much more arduous than the previous ordeal of 1994, but it was no less profound and mind blowing than what I had experienced previously. Here are a few diary entries that encapsulate what I experienced during that wondrous event.

Without the aid of an assistant, the three night ordeal was very difficult but allowed me to exceed all expectations of endurance and perseverance. I relished the difficulty of the second evening and without much pause or rest, proceeded through all the rituals, establishing the three paths and Sephiroth associated with the XVIIth dimension. All throughout the ordeal, a myriad of reflections and insights occurred to me, all of which were of an extremely personal nature. I felt a profound degree of clarity in regards to the strange path I have been treading all these many years. My unusual relationships with women made perfect sense to me, and that society’s expectation that single people should find someone (just anyone!) to get married to is not relevant to one who is as deep a seeker of occult wisdom as myself, one who requires a partner who is willing to enter this World of Spirit and therein bond. I must determine for myself what is important in life and try to ignore or deeply understand the prodding and propaganda of our culture. Because I have abrogated the determination of personal meaning and truth, I must question the relevancy of all these urges, even those rooted in the core of my physical being.

Another insight that was revealed to me through this ordeal was that I must soon change the emphasis of my occult studies from being a solitary practitioner to a teacher among the peerage of magickal practitioners. I felt that this might also include a change of residence in the next two to three years, but there was not the powerful visionary mandate that was felt three years ago when I entered the XVIIIth dimension. But I felt that a change in my spiritual path would occur in due course

And this diary entry into the dimension recalls what entering it was like for me, and similarly, for others.

The resultant impact of the egress into the XVIIth dimension was so great and so intense that it seemed as if my mental capacities were completely eclipsed. I was not able to think analytically, and all that was left of my conscious mind was an openness to the experience, an unresistant flowing with the currents of the greater power of the entity of the dimension, Sophia Charisima. Thus I saw no visions but only heard her voice in my mind, and felt the great power of her presence. I sensed profound changes occurring deep within me, but I could neither articulate nor even visualize them. Whatever was occurring, I could not even grasp it except in a deeply intuitive fashion. This was the most profound magickal experience that I have ever undergone, and in fact its effects still profoundly haunt me even several months later. It is a process that is still unfolding in me, as it involves the most personal and intimate aspects of my being. Through this process I am understanding my own complex sexual nature, and the peculiar relationships that I have with women - as their initiator and priest of the hidden genius (Goddess) within them. The question seems to be whether or not I can take this role with many women and still be devoted to a single woman.”

Even though I had been shown through my experience with the XVII dimension that my spiritual and magickal path would be changing in the near future, that change didn’t occur until another year had passed. During the interval, I re-entered the XVII dimension four times, in February, September, November and finally, January 1998. I felt that I had exhausted the transdimensional vortex system, but during that time I had also come up with another mechanism. I decided that I would attempt to perform a re-entry of both the XVIII and XVII dimensions simultaneously, thus uniting them into single meta-dimension. I know for a fact that I performed this working because I have the time table of planetary hours written up for that specific date, but the diary entry was likely written on some loose pieces of paper and are hidden somewhere amongst the mass of papers and folders in my black filing cabinet. The impact of that working was likely quite remarkable and represented the final apex of that series, but as I had been informed, my spiritual process was starting to change, and this final working would be the last of that type that I would work for many years.

Here is some text that I wrote up prior to performing this working that explains why I thought it would be significant to join the two transdimensional vortex gates into a fused union. I wanted to attempt to experience the dimensions unified into a single expression, so it seemed natural to join the masculine and feminine dimensions together.

After having entered and experienced all the phenomenon associated with the two lowest but still potent Qabbalistic dimensions, I had pondered producing an expression representing their union. It is part of my methodology to seek a shortcut in order to gain egress to all dimensions without the arduous performance of all the ritual steps - the full three phases. However, such a complicated and intensive working as the trans-dimensional gate could not be expressed in a simpler fashion than through the synthesis of its component parts - namely the aethyrs, paths and sephiroth. Therefore, it seemed that in order to continue to benefit from the transforming powers of the Qabbalistic dimensions, I would have to continue to invoke them through the large array of the trans-dimensional vortex gate pattern one by one. I sensed that because there was a common thread to the experience of a dimension that it must represent a common space and state of consciousness, only marginally defined by the nature and quality of the ‘being’ of the dimension. Each entrance into a specific dimension represents the opening of a door into a common reality wherein the magician and “being” of the dimension enter into a profound union of consciousness. It should be possible for the magician to enter into that field of consciousness itself and seek communion with any or all of the dimensional ‘beings’.”

An examination of the dimensional structures of the Tree of Life revealed a double anomaly, that is, there are two dimensions that contain four sides instead of the customary three. The two dimensions indicated also have two dimensions on either side, thus causing them to be closer to the center than if they occupied either side of the middle pillar alone. There is a corresponding pattern if the two trapezoidal dimensions are joined to form a variant octagram that is analogous to joining two trans-dimensional vortex gate ritual patterns. Thus the trapezoidal octagram represents the key to all dimensions.

There are two methods of accessing the key to the dimensions. First, one may select any two opposing dimensions and perform their corresponding trans-dimensional vortex gate rituals together, forming an overlaying trapezoidal octagram. Second, one may perform the complete trans-dimensional workings to gain egress to the two trapezoidal shaped dimensions (dimensions IV and V) and then perform the Double Trans-dimensional vortex ritual and fuse them into the key. The first method will expose the magician to the power of the key and reveal its essence, the second method will assist the magician to master the key, thus allowing for subsequent macro-ritual workings to reveal the nature of all eighteen dimensions

So I managed to perform what I called the Double Transdimensional Vortex Gate ritual, but I never went any further with this methodology. What remains is for me to pick up this thread sometime in the future so I might complete this series of working. I suspect that such a task will include entering into the two higher dimensions that are trapezoids instead of triangles. It would also appear that the trapezoid is a special to key to the completion of this process, and one that I have yet to fully develop. Yet in the year 1998, I had exhausted all of my creative ideas about this methodology, and it was obviously time to focus on other tasks.

At times when we are deeply engaged in a highly self-absorbed process of high magickal theurgy, it becomes necessary to return to earth. This is part of the overall cyclic process, and one that I seem to always experience. After performing all of these workings it was time to return to earth and to ground myself in what was for me a foundational earth-based paganism. I had gotten very far removed from that spiritual perspective, and whether I realized it or not, I needed to get back to my basic spiritual beliefs and practices and re-constitute them. This began to happen when I was teaching and initiating my girlfriend into Alexandrian witchcraft, and it continued to build as I reconnected with my pagan friends and began to get involved in the pagan and witchcraft community again - although that was not to happen in Santa Fe. My relationship with my girlfriend was stagnant (she would never seek to make me her primary lover even after she was completely single), my work situation was stagnant, and so were my spiritual and magickal processes. I needed a complete change of venue, so in 1999 I began to seek one out, having decided to pull up stakes and leave town permanently.

After five years of living in the odd town of Santa Fe, I felt that I needed a change, so I sought and got a promotion with the company that I worked, which assisted me to move to yet another town. This time, I moved to the Twin Cities of Minnesota and left behind the wonderful (but desiccated) southwest. I took on a new job that gave me far more opportunities, and I also felt that I needed to move to a place that would accommodate my reintroduction into the pagan community. The Twin Cities are called Paganistan by the witches and pagans who live there, and for good reason. I would also become involved with the local body of the OTO in that town, but that, of course, is another story altogether - one that I will relish telling some day in the future. 

Frater Barrabbas

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Santa Fe Adventure - Part 2

This is part two of a three part biography about the time when I lived in Santa Fe. Continuing with my discussion about the New Age community and its foibles that I encountered back in 1990's.

New Age groups and perspectives were very dominant within the limited population of occultists in town. As a witch and ritual magician, I couldn’t have been more unusual or scary if I tried. My perspectives would either be misconstrued or treated as if I were some kind of perversely evil person. Two events that I remember seemed to really highlight the contrast between myself, a very serious insular occult practitioner with years of experience, and the fluffy, arrogant, naive, and superficial adherents of the New Age that seemed to flourish in that town.

A friend of mine who belonged to the Albuquerque Golden Dawn temple (and had to travel the 130 miles round trip to attend meetings) decided that he would sponsor a group discussion on angels and angelology in town to see if he could identify any interesting local individuals or groups. The discussion group was to last several sessions, but it only occurred once. I was invited to attend this group discussion, but others learned about it through the local occult book store. Those who attended were quite a mix of different spiritual perspectives, but I was probably the truly black sheep in attendance, or more accurately, the wolf in sheep’s clothing. My friend started the discussion and then requested that each individual sequentially in the circle of attendees talk about their experiences with angels and state what they believed about them. Since I was sitting on the left side of my friend, I was the last one to speak. However, what I heard everyone talking about was the most fuzzy, warm and diluted sort of religious nonsense that I have ever heard. It was the very sort of insipid things that many were reading and raving about in various New Age circles at the time. According to these folks, angels were beautiful, wholly good, friendly, helpful, guiding, child-like and sweet, as if the folks there were describing the chubby baby-like cherubs seen in various paintings and sculptures of the 18th and 19th centuries.

It was all much too sweet and cute for my tastes, and I found myself disgusted, bored and brooding about how I was wasting my time listening to these people. Almost all of the attendees were middle aged or older women, and all of them were obviously very proper Christians with some minor New Age leanings. When the discussion finally came to me, I stunned everyone by talking about how frightful, awesome and terrible many angels were to human sensibilities. I regaled them about the fierce Seraphim and Kerubim, armed with swords and spears, and that they fought wars, killed enemies and warded the Hebrew God from the profane. I also said that if anyone ever had a real encounter with a supernatural being like an angel, that they would probably shit their pants unless they were properly prepared. Of course, what I had to say was highly objectionable to all (except my friend, who was holding himself from laughing out loud), and they looked at me with loathing and outrage as if I had crawled out of some crypt from the bowels of Hell itself. Needless to say, they hurriedly left soon after I had said my piece, giving me pitying and hurt looks, and I am sure that I was the talk of their social circle for a long while, though I doubt if any of it was positive.

Another strange situation showed me how the New Age community was ravenously appropriating Native American shamanism into their practices, although without the usual care and sensitivity that such appropriations should require.

There was a household of women who had put together a supposed “pagan” New Age temple of the Goddess, and it was run by a matronly woman who had moved to Santa Fe from Dallas, Texas. She kind of reminded me of a Tammy Fey of the New Age community, overly made up and highly pretentious. She and her adult daughter (who was something of a hottie) espoused supposedly pagan sentiments about the Earth Mother and the Great Goddess, and they had gathered together a large social group, consisting mostly of women and couples, to practice a kind of New Age shamanism. I found her and her group to be mostly unschooled and spiritually superficial, but they seemed an earnest and nice enough group of people. Since there was little else that was going on in this vein in Santa Fe, I decided to accept their invitation to one of their gatherings. I should have known in advance what was really going on, because in order to attend this gathering, I had to pay $120 to help defray the expenses. The money collected was used to purchase a quantity of ground up magick mushrooms and XTC tablets, which were taken together to simulate the experience of mushrooms and ayahuasca. Of course, it wasn’t at all the same, and also, none of the important Native American practices and beliefs were incorporated into this event. It was, in a word, a New Age drug party, using some pretty powerful drugs to facilitate the breaking of social boundaries and inducing some kind of ecstatic release.

I had fancied maybe getting to have sex with the matron’s calmly daughter, but of course, that didn’t happen because there were too many people there (and she wasn’t interested). I brought my flute and entertained everyone with my music, but after a time, I found myself more interested in going deep within myself to fully experience the powerful influences of the drugs. Supposedly, that kind of antisocial behavior went against other people’s interest in taking combined baths, naked massages, getting “touchy and feely” and invading each other’s space. (The daughter managed to evade most of these attentions as well, but with better grace than I was allotted.) I endured the long session of being drugged out of my mind, which lasted the whole evening, and then in the early morning, without any apologies to those who acted so concerned about my social reticence (even though they didn’t know me), I got into my car and made my way carefully home to crash and reflect. I had a much better time once I was home and alone with my drug addled thoughts and feelings.

Afterwards, I politely told the matron that I wasn’t interested in any future gatherings and quickly disconnected from her and her group. I later heard that one of her sessions had ended in disaster when a young woman who was attending had passed out and died from taking the combination of drugs. She supposedly had an allergic reaction to the XTC and it killed her. Her death may have occurred because she was taking other medications and forgot to tell anyone, or perhaps due to some preexisting health condition - who knows. That event not only terminated the group’s activities, but likely put the matron and her drug procurer (and others) into jail for awhile.

I wasn’t surprised by anything that had happened because I felt that they were too inclusive, unknowledgeable of what they were doing, and that sooner or later, someone would have an adverse reaction to the combination of drugs. It proved to me that what you don’t know can kill you, and that a loose amalgamation of New Age naivety, illicit spiritual appropriation and a lack of spiritual discipline can be highly disastrous.  My periodic loneliness made me reach out to groups and individuals that I wouldn’t have normally bothered to contact, and such attempts only showed me that I, like Tigger in Winnie the Pooh, was the only one of my kind in town. However, unlike Tigger, I wasn’t happy about that fact.    

As a single man, I also made many attempts to find a lover, but they usually fell short, too. The one girlfriend that I did acquire (after living in Santa Fe for over two years) was also living with a flamingo guitar player who had been one of the local town drunks, now rehabilitated. He had the reputation of being quite a jealous and violent man, so we had to engage in our clandestine relationship at times when he was otherwise disposed. (This duplicity went on for a year or so until her lover finally got angry at her reticence to marry him, and left her when he found a suitable Trust Fund Brat.) She was one of the better known local belly dancers in town and was introduced to me by some mutual friends. She lived many miles north of town on a small ranch (exemplifying the term ‘land rich and money poor’), and we would discretely meet up at my place in town. 

We seldom went out, since too many knew her and would ask questions about me, so our relationship had some pretty severe boundaries. I taught her some rudimentary magick and initiated her into witchcraft, while she entertained our more carnal interests. She was quite a beautiful woman, but was also high strung, willful, emotionally volatile, stubborn and independently minded, even though she sought and did receive some financial support from me. That relationship lasted until I moved away from town some years later, although she never seemed interested in making me her primary relationship. I was always, and conveniently, the “other” man in her life. I later found out that this situation is rather typical of Santa Fe since there is a dearth of potential mates outside of the Hispanic and gay communities.

As for my career, I had the wonderful opportunity to work for a woman named Jo who ultimately guided and helped me to change the entire direction of my career. Through her I got the training I needed to transform myself from a mainframe programer and business analyst to a decision support analyst, UNIX programmer and database administrator. I learned the arcane art of data warehousing and I have continued to expand on that knowledge and capability all of the years since that time. It was a brilliant career move for me, since it meant that I wouldn’t likely experience any kind of downsizing or employment interruption due to the later fad of off-shoring technology jobs, which started to happen only a few years later. 

My area of expertise was in government health services (such as Medicaid and Medicare) in combination with my knowledge of developing, building and maintaining data warehouses that served as the source systems for all credible reporting, analytics, fraud and abuse detection, and policy management. This was obviously a level of expertise that couldn’t be exported to some DBA in India or China, since such policies didn’t exist anywhere in the world except in this country. Therefore, I had a certain amount of job security because of what my boss did to push my career in a certain direction.

Jo also was something of an occultist, and was steeped in the study of the Fourth Way, which consisted of the writings and practices of Gurdjieff and his followers (such as Bennet and Ouspensky). She managed to find a very important group in Santa Fe that actually practiced what the Fourth Way followers called the “Work,” so her move was spiritually fortuitous. Having a boss who was also an occultist was also very helpful, and I relaxed my typical discretion and reticence concerning my own studies and practices. This would come back to haunt me later on, but luckily it never caused me to lose a job promotion or get terminated. Later on, I would resume that discretion, but that single period of relaxing my boundaries did cost me something of my anonymity for a while.

(To be continued..)

Frater Barrabbas

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Santa Fe Adventure - Part 1

 Santa Fe is a very strange place to live and function as a magician and a witch - I know because I lived there for five years. While the New Age, Eastern traditions and Native American shamanism (as well as Native American religions) are well represented in this tiny town, the wiccan and pagan communities are barely in existence. There were only around 67,000 people living in Santa Fe when I lived there, and most of them were either Catholic, New Thought or Protestant Christians. Tibetan Buddhism had a large presence there as well, but paganism had probably a population of less than 50 individuals. I am speaking about Santa Fe in 1994, when I moved there, but it hasn’t changed very much in regards to paganism and witchcraft since I last visited (November 2011). It’s also a tough place to live if you are single and heterosexual, not to mention untenable if you happen to be a witch and sorcerer. Hispanic and Native American women that I met there found my involvement in the occult to be disturbing and highly off-putting.

Odd is a word that pretty much describes Santa Fe. All of its buildings are made of adobe and limited to four stories, so there are no large glass office buildings there, even though it is the state capitol. It’s also a very old town (est. 1610), probably rivaling St. Augustine, FL for the oldest town in the U.S. The original town consisted of two or three blocks on either side of the central plaza, bordered on the south by a small creek (Agua Fria), which is dry most of the year.

Santa Fe is located on a flat rocky plane just below the Sangre de Cristo mountains with an elevation of seven thousand feet; its altitude poses problems to visitors and newcomers alike. Cooking becomes more difficult and so does the consumption of alcohol. It was not unusual for a lady tourist to pass out at a restaurant or bar after drinking only two of her usual margarita cocktails. Doing anything physical was also much more taxing to someone not acclimated to the high elevation. It was also dry and hot in the summer (with cool mountain breezes in the shade), and somewhat damp and cold in the winter time; but overall, the temperatures were quite mild when compared to my birthplace (Wisconsin). One thing that I can say is that the quality of light during the day was quite remarkable, having a kind of a startling brilliant yellowish or amber hue offset by the bluest of skies. Sunsets and sunrises were also unusually remarkable due to the constant dusty atmosphere. I also found that the smell of the place was quite remarkable, too. The combination of sage, juniper and mesquite made the breezes off of the high chaparral foothills after a brief afternoon rainstorm smell like a romantic incense concoction, as if someone lit incense in preparation for some southwestern religious liturgy.

Traveling to Santa Fe by air usually required that the traveler land in Albuquerque and then travel the seventy miles north over three large escarpments to finally arrive in Santa Fe. This is because the airport in Santa Fe is quite small and ill-equipped to handle large airlines. The journey up and over these escarpments makes the drive quite scenic, since the traveler has to drive not only the geographic distance between these two points, but the journey also increases the altitude by two thousand feet. The last escarpment is the tallest and most intimidating (especially when it snows), and coming over the ridge and into the valley where the town is located illustrates to the traveler how well adobe blends into the rest of the landscape. Adobe buildings make Santa Fe fairly invisible from the heights during the day, and it only begins to reveal itself when the traveler exits the turnpike and drives into town. All of the buildings in the town and the surrounding area consist of various shades of tan, brown, beige and dun, which matches the color of the surrounding earth and rock. 
There are patches of green, but these are interrupted by sun baked boulders, red clay and rocky tables. While there are trees in the areas where there is water (such as around arroyos, wells or creeks), the greater share of vegetation consists of stunted and twisted juniper and mesquite bushes, along with an abundance of sage, jimson, and various other kinds of hardy thorn bushes. All of these plants are quite tough and able to withstand the periodic droughts that plague the area. Most of the water comes from the mountain runoff of melting snow, which tumbles down the creeks and arroyos and seeps into the sparse aquifers. Santa Fe is often a dry and dusty location, except during the winter and the monsoon season in June.

My reasons for moving to this exotic place was two-fold: I had an opportunity to advance my career by joining the team that would work as the front line for the company’s fiscal agency contract with the State of New Mexico, and it seemed like a really cool place to move. I knew next to nothing about Santa Fe other than it’s reputation for being weird, and New Mexico was called (in tourist books) the Land of Enchantment. Perhaps if I had known a lot more about what Santa Fe was like (and what life was going to be like living in that sparse pagan community), I might have decided not to move there. However, the opportunity was too good to pass up, and as it turned out, the move profoundly changed my career in a very positive way. As for my magickal career, it began a long period of spiritual isolation that continued even when I moved from that place five years later.

I got the news that I had been selected to be part of the team in May of 1994, and took a trip out there with my fellow teammates to meet with the client in June, and also to begin looking for a place to live. I discovered that houses were very expensive, the rents were high and the apartments small, due in large part to the fact that the standard of living was much higher in Santa Fe than in Tallahassee, and that Indian reservations surrounded the city, making available living space a premium expense. I settled for an apartment in the Zia Vista apartment complex off of Zia Road, which was both smaller and more expensive than my lovely townhouse in Tallahassee. The only saving grace was that my small apartment had a large master bedroom with an adjoining bathroom. There were mirrored closet doors on either side of the short hallway between the bathroom and the bedroom, so I had, in effect, a built-in system to trap and thwart spirits from entering the room where I would perform my ablutions. The room was large enough to accommodate my magickal needs, but the rest of the apartment was small. I had a futon couch in the tiny second bedroom, and the living room and dining room were crowded around the kitchen. This place became my humble home for the next five years.

Perhaps I could have found a better place to live if I had spent more time looking, and the particular irony is that many people have lived in the Zia Vista apartments as their first temporary residence. It was located on the southeast side of town, and was conveniently close to the road into town and that most of the stores I would need in order to live were nearby. Unlike Tallahassee, having a vehicle was very important, since nearly everything was distant and spread out, requiring a car to get around. There was also no effective transit system in the town, other than taxis and tour buses.

In July, I packed my things up in my Tallahassee townhouse, with some hired help, and everything was put on a truck and carted away. The Tallahassee pagan community must have finally found some value in me, since they even gave me a large going away party. (Or maybe they were just happy that I was finally leaving.) It would be the last community connection that I would experience and enjoy for years to come. What faced me now was a kind of hermetic based isolation, where I would have little or no contact with the pagan community where I lived. I rationalized that this new kind of lifestyle was necessary because I thought that it would better suit the kind of magick that I was now working. This new magick was deeper and much more intense than what I had been working in the past, and it monopolized my time away from work. I found that I had only a small amount of free time and less interest in what was going on in the occult community. In Santa Fe this attitude was probably defensible, but later, it seemed more of a trap than an important regimen of my magickal practice.

However, I felt that I had enough of living in the south for time being, but ironically, I would return there again several years later. While I lived in Santa Fe I would seek to develop my new system of magick based on Archeomancy and also attempt to develop my skills as a writer. I was still in the process of writing my first book on magick, called “Pyramid of Powers,” and actually, I had made a lot of progress on that writing project. A year after I moved to Santa Fe, I would complete the three volume book project that I started in Tallahassee and seek to find someone who could help me edit it. My objective was to publish this book so I could advertise the magickal order that I had helped to found.

Another odd thing about Santa Fe is the larger than usual population of artists, musicians, New Age spiritual leaders and others who are living in that town. When I did go to some social gatherings, which was rare, I was amazed that I found myself to be one of the few individuals who had a regular job and a real career. Many of the rest of those whom I met had odd jobs to help them survive, but were pursuing their true vocation as artists, which evidently didn’t pay very much. I did meet some very creative people, and even some world class artists, musicians, dancers, writers and many various New Age prophets and teachers. I also met a breed of people that I had never met before, and that was the “Trust Fund Brat.” This is the kind of person who has far more spending power than the average working stiff (such as myself), but who has no sense of the practical value of money or its singular importance, having gotten it without having worked for it.

Of all the people that I have ever met, the Trust Fund Brat seemed like the least practical or down to earth person on the planet. They were filled up with their own personal importance and had grand visions of what they were going to do. They also had the bad habit of always insisting on getting their way and knew that money could help them achieve that objective. Since there were many artists and others in town who just scraped by, these same folks availed themselves to be bought by those who had money. I saw a number of bizarre and dysfunctional relationships between Trust Fund Brats and their human pets. That pampered human pet was often some pretentious and mediocre starving artist who, through his or her moneyed significant other, gave the false impression of success and artistic savvy. These rude couples would ultimately make nearly any social affair tedious and poisonous. I also met some very eccentric and ostentatiously wealthy people whose origin was from California or the East Coast. They had decided to move to Santa Fe because of its supposed charming ambiance. These rich folks would build an expensive adobe mansion outside of town and reside there periodically during the summer months. Some of them were kind, generous and genteel, others were just rich, rude and totally obnoxious.

I also ran into self-made men and women who were the salt of the earth, and whose tenacious drive to survive and thrive in an inhospitable economic climate was a wonder to behold. I truly admired these rugged individuals, who seemed to possess the qualities that the first settlers might have had when they came to this part of the country as wanderers, traders, hunters or explorers. I had many interesting conversations with these earthy, rugged individuals, and they were far more interesting and fascinating to me than the puffed up Trust Fund Brats or the condescending and ostentatious wealthy expatriates. Yet I was an odd addition to this population, and didn’t seem to fit in wherever I traveled. I loved the country, but I was distinctly separate from it, as if in a permanent state of being a visitor or observer. I was intoxicated by the ambiance of Santa Fe, but found myself unable to relate to most of the people that I met. That is how I lived my life for five years in Santa Fe, but it was not without its charming qualities, captivating scenic vistas or moments of pure mystical awe. The land around this town was incredibly beautiful, but I found most of the people to be at odds with that beauty, except those who were really connected to the earth.

After discovering the local pagan community, or what little of it there was in Santa Fe, I met an odd middle aged women named Shann. We became friends because we both didn’t fit in the local pagan community. I found that community to be stunted and weak, sort of like the Juniper trees that grew in abundance out in the hills. There were a couple of individuals that I liked, but mostly I found them to be at the beginning stages of learning their craft, which meant that I was too advanced to function as any kind of teacher or spiritual leader. I suppose I could have tried to organize a group, but it seemed like it would require a lot of work, and I wasn’t interested in pursuing that path.

Shann was an outcast because she had problems with the inherent hierarchy of a traditional witchcraft coven and had spoken her mind far too often. So Shann had gotten kicked out of the only functioning coven in the area, but I liked her wit and her wicked sense of humor. She was a competent seamstress, artisan and purveyor of oddities, but I suppose that her real income was derived by selling pot and magic mushrooms to the local hippy population. She was also involved in the local middle eastern dancing community, and provided some of them with their costumes. I hired her to sew up some new robes for myself, and also through her, met most of my friends. She lived a sparse and economically precarious existence, and I suspect that she was disappointed that I wasn’t interested in her romantically.

The local occult book store was the Ark, located in an alley that was so narrow that it could barely support parking on one side of the road and traffic on the other (it was, therefore, a torturously one-way road, one of many in that town). The Ark was in many ways a weather vane on the alternative spiritual community in the town. Eastern systems of spirituality, as well as those based on the New Age or Native American spirituality were well represented with all kinds of stock. As for paganism, witchcraft, magick or the many forms of Western spirituality, there were some books and materials, but not very much. However, the Ark did sponsor some interesting events and was a center for anyone who wanted to contact individuals of like mind.

(During my most recent trip to Santa Fe, I visited the Ark and found it be slowly falling into decay, and the stock was of a poorer quality and greatly diminished. So it would seem that most forms of alternative spirituality have hit some hard times in that town. All traces of pagan or wiccan based books or materials were completely missing, perhaps representing that such interests had reached a new low point. One might speculate that the decline of the Ark might be due to the recent recession, but I found that other shops and stores doing quite well, representing that the buying power of the 1% had not diminished at all during this time. There had even been quite a bit of recent building in the area, showing that the recession had affected some, but not others.)

I can recall attending a lecture that the Ark sponsored at a large public auditorium presented by Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi, the author of several books on the Qabalah. That was back in October 1994, during a bitterly cold autumn rainy evening in Santa Fe. I don’t remember much of Halevi’s lecture, other than he was a strong proponent of the exclusively Jewish reclamation of that discipline. I also distinguished myself by asking him a question at the end of the lecture based on what Gershom Scholem had written about the Qabalah; that forms of gnosticism and magic were very much a part of its practices and discipline and were excluded only much later on. Halevi sternly denied that any occultism or magic ever had anything to do with the true Qabalah, a statement which would have astonished many of the academics of the time, including Scholem, had he been alive to hear it. As a good attendee, I didn’t contradict Mr. Halevi or argue with him, but it did unfortunately turn me off to his teachings and remained in my mind as a bitter experience. I came to the conclusion that Halevi was very biased and sectarian, which I found to be remarkable for anyone who was supposedly mystically inclined.

While living in Santa Fe, I attended some remarkable concerts, dance exhibitions and other interesting presentations. There was always something going on to suit the pallet of the afficionado of the obscure and the exotic. Shann and a few of her friends made certain that I knew about these social venues, and there were also some large block parties, effete gatherings at someone’s mansion or other events that I was able to secure an invitation. I was always seeking to connect with someone or to find new friends. Most of my attempts at expanding my social world met with dismal failure. I was just too different and set in my insular ways to be able to connect with any groups.

While some folks I have met have always raved about the Burning Man gathering that occurs in the southwest, there is another similar festival that is held right in Santa Fe, and has been going on since the 1920's. In September, the tourist season abates somewhat before the ski season begins, so the town’s temporary population drops down considerably, and local folks can actually find a parking place or go out to eat without having to deal with the crowds of tourists. In a sense, the local population gets their town back for a few months, and to celebrate this event, they hold an annual fiesta. September is also the month supposedly when the town was re-colonized by the Spanish conquistadors in 1692, after having been temporarily kicked out by the native inhabitants for 12 years.

So the town has two events to celebrate, and this celebration is called the Fiesta de Santa Fe. I imagine if you were an Indian, the parade of horse mounted conquistadors dressed in Spanish colonial outfits is rather offensive, but no one seems to mind. The highlight of that fiesta is when the town gathers at Ft. Marcy park to burn a giant effigy of old man gloom, called El Zozobra, a fifty foot spooky looking marionette. The event is marked by a whole retinue of odd costumed characters, such as the fire witch, the gloomies (children dressed up like ghosts), who dance before the moaning and menacing effigy. At the climax of the ritual, the marionette (who has movable arms and glowing eyes), is put to the torch of the fire witch along with scraps of paper and other items collected to represent town members' personal gloom. It is a very magical theatric event, and one that I have personally experienced more than once while I lived there.

(To be continued..)

Frater Barrabbas

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Secret History of the Nephilim - Part 3

This is the third and final part to the Secret History of the Nephilim series. This part discusses the alternate formula that assisted me in determine the descending fortunes of the followers of the Nephilim, their ultimate fate, and the legacy that they have left behind for us to realize.

The application of the Temurah cipher of AThBSh to the Pentagrammic Formula of the Nephilim substitutes ZYDChR for OMQSG (where the O is actually the letter Ain). This formula represents the fall of the Nephilim and the consequential retaliation against their illicit joining with humanity. It is critically important that we disregard the mythic trope that Yahweh cursed and punished the errant angels who deserted their heavenly posts and profaned themselves with women. It should instead be interpreted as the allied forces of progressive spirituality encountering terrible foes in the forces of orthodoxy, as it always does. The establishment of the spiritual and political power of an organized religion has always invested its leadership with a powerful desire to maintain the status-quo.

This conservatism has the compelling force to maintain the beliefs of a religion as a doctrine and a dogma, which blocks all possible change while enveloping its followers in a static social organism. The powers of progressive spirituality liberate the individual so that one can engage in a natural processes of social and spiritual evolution. It is the very nature of the descent of the Absolute Spirit, disguised as incarnated divine beings (avatars), to cause the ascent of liberated humanity. These two processes join together to form part of a larger pattern. Yet the forces that directly oppose this process of natural spiritual evolution do little more than give it greater power, endowing it with a greater facility and more clever stratagems for success. So, even the rigid adherents of orthodoxy actually play a part in the greater plan of spiritual evolution.

To clarify this point even further, it’s necessary to fully interpret the five new letters that were derived from the process of Temurah, thereby describing the struggle that the establishment of the Nephilim precipitated.

Ain - The Devil, Atu XV: The Promethean descent of the Nephilim violated the spiritual status-quo of human-based religious institutions, unleashing upon spirit and human alike, a contagion of inner plane contacts. Although the contact between human and spiritual agencies, as fostered by the Nephilim, was strictly controlled through the transformational process of initiation, it was only a matter of time before this process became abused by unauthorized individual use. Any system that is devised and used by humans will eventually fail unless it is continually regenerated. The spiritual intelligence who promotes spiritual evolution require that the instrument of progressive indoctrination be in a constant state of modification and growth. However, religions tend to become ruled by the powers of inertia. As the magickal system of the Nephilim became more vulgarized, its vibrant creative core slowly became inert. Magickal systems should retain a certain degree of secrecy and limited access so that their unique individuality and the purity of their inner plane contacts remain inviolate, otherwise they will be unable to survive intact.

Mim - The Hanged Man, Atu XII: The new system, which the Nephilim had established, allowed for a limitless degree of personal freedom and personal power; but this quality could also become chaotic and anarchic. Early societies required a greater amount of social cohesion than later cultures, even though later cultures appeared to demand far more cohesiveness of its peoples. The freedom of the village gave way to the tyranny of the city state. So the positive impact that a divinely born individual could bring to bear upon earlier societies was markedly less in later and more complex city states. It became necessary for the existence of an avatar (manifested godhead) to be realized through miracles in life and transformation within death.

The Nephilim could no longer live among humans without profoundly impacting them and powerfully influencing their free will. So they retreated to the abysmal nether worlds (a form of hyperspace) that lies between all time and space, emerging only at times of paramount need, otherwise existing in their guarded solitude. Those great spirits who had sacrificed their spirituality to partake in humanity could neither return to their formal existence nor remain in perpetuity in their human role. There was no place for them to finally reside except in a world that consisted of both spirit and physical matter, yet was neither. After their transition, the secret knowledge that they had built up was slowly lost and dissipated, until now, only echoes of it exist in the world. Yet this knowledge is still fully possessed by them and can be revitalized in our world, if only a way could be found to enter into their world and receive it.

Samek - Art, Atu XIV: The occult knowledge, myths and esoteric philosophies that the Nephilim founded managed to continue in some form or another, as time passed, and the various fragments of this lore was added to other occult philosophies. The Nephilim attempted to engage in a limited and indirect means of influencing humanity from their place of solitude, but this avenue became completely closed off. Only in dreams and in visionary magick did the potential of their teachings seem to survive. In time, through the methods of ritual and ceremonial magick, the knowledge of the Nephilim became more known and partially revealed (witness the skrying sessions of John Dee). Only echoes of this distant and isolated knowledge, in its pure and empowered form, still lingered in the world. Enochian magick, as unwittingly revealed by Dee, brought some of these themes forward, but still there was more mystery and an incomplete system of occult lore that confronted those who pored over his magickal diaries. 

What is required to unleash the true knowledge and power of this lineage is for seekers to pass through a special transformative initiatory process that will reveal the manner of gaining access to the hidden domains of the Enochian lineage. In this manner, the Nephilim will eventually become rediscovered and perhaps even reincarnate into new forms, leading humanity as they did in the ancient times of myth and legend. Their occult knowledge will be restored and updated to the modern age, making it far more useful than the current fragments of their knowledge spread through many disciplines and cultures.

What this means is that the power of magickal creativity will directly determine the outcome of the manifestations of events, so magick, philosophy, science and art will once again become united and distinctly relevant in the post modern world, after a long slumber through the ages.

Gimmel - The Priestess, Atu II: Two important things need to be revealed before the heralding of the New Age of Magick and Mystery. The first is the ascendancy of the Feminine Spirit and the realization of the critical importance of women in spirituality. The Nephilim succeeded in merging the two polarities of ancient culture, which were the Patriarchate and the Matriarchate. We have come to a time where the absolute rule of the old patriarchy has ended, but what remains is neither a reintegration with nor a re-emphasis on the feminine. Where there is fear and chaos due to the fears of uncertainty associated with social change and spiritual transformation, then the time for change is long overdue.

Whatever conservative political forces and orthodox religious societies seek to achieve in their attempt to guarantee power and stability, nothing can keep the status-quo from changing, whether by false assurances (propaganda) or draconian social controls. Those who are open to change, accepting both the positive and negative forces of our future heritage, will gracefully achieve their own self-apotheosis. Those who align themselves with reactionary ideals will ultimately reap the rewards of backing the wrong course. An incapability to change in changing times has its own eventual curse. The power of the Feminine Deity as the Great Goddess is already awakened in our world. Soon it will act as the symbolic transformer of all Western Culture.

The second event concerns the spiritual crisis that is occurring particularly in the West, where the old religions are dying and new ones are arising in their place. The institutions of orthodoxy are failing to promote the kind of group significance and destiny that has seemingly satisfied the ranks of individual believers for centuries. In the past it sufficed that religions dictated the meaningfulness of life and its ultimate purpose through the societal group as a whole. Now, the breakdown of mass religion has caused individuals to uniquely seek their own personal salvation and destiny. This individual search will lead people away from the mainstream religions of the prior age and herald the coming of the New Age.

An answer to our collective problems lies not in orthodoxy, which actually has assisted in fostering them, but in the individual syncretistic approach to spirituality that evolves into a custom methodology of personal ascendancy and spiritual growth. A fully spiritualized person will have a tremendous impact upon those who are family, friends or associates. Although this process will begin with very few individuals, it will become contagious, spreading throughout the social fabric of the Western World.

This is the beginning of a social spiritual revolution that will fulfill the secret destiny of the Enochian system of Magick. It  began with the descent of the Nephilim in the dim mists of the mythic morning of humanity and it will end in the ascendency of the human race as a unified godhead.

Frater Barrabbas